L’Occitane Shea review & free samples: Cleansing Oil, Light Comforting Cream (aka magic cream), and Gentle Toner

Monday, January 5, 2015

L'Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil review

The products: L’Occitane Shea Light Comforting Cream, Shea Cleansing Oil, and Shea Gentle Toner

New year, new beginnings… new super-exciting giveaway that’ll put December to shame. (Keep reading or click here for the giving bit of this post.)

L’Occitane is one of my favourite brands to work with, and their French-made Shea Butter range plays a big part in that — each L’Occitane Shea product bought helps women in Burkina Faso achieve economic emancipation through sustainable, fair trade practices. So, today, I’m talking about three really affordable new silicone-free products in the range, and sharing one with you!

The L’Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil ($26 CAD) and Gentle Toner

L'Occitane Shea Gentle Toner review photos

The Cleansing Oil and Light Comforting Cream join L’Occitane’s Shea Gentle Toner in their permanent Shea Butter range this January, and I couldn’t be happier. Both carry the same scent as the moisturizer (though in much smaller amounts), and are just as gentle on my skin — even the toner.

I find the Shea Cleansing Oil to be quite a heavy oil, but it washes off with no residue and removes my makeup really easily. I like it a lot more than Shu Uemura’s Cleansing Oils, surprisingly enough, and it’s actually super-cheap – only $13/100 ml! (Tatcha’s Camellia Cleansing Oil is still better, but it’s a whopping $40/100 ml.)

L'Occitane Gentle Toner review

L’Occitane Gentle Toner

The L’Occitane Shea Light Comforting Cream AKA MAGIC FAIRY-DUST CREAM* ($30 CAD)

This is L’Occitane’s big launch of the new year — a face cream that pairs shea butter (5%) with a creamy, lightweight texture. And, somehow, L’Occitane manages to pull it off beautifully.

I do find that the Light Comforting Cream leaves my skin feeling tight after I apply it (it’s targeted for normal/combination skin, but they also offer a 25% Shea Ultra Rich Face Cream; not silicone-free), but it seems to nourish my skin over time – unlike things like German Nivea or Weleda Skin Food. Rather than providing a thick, comforting layer off the bat, it sinks in quickly and works to hydrate over time and eliminate surface dehydration completely over the course of a few days, which is… kind of crazy-impressive, if we’re being honest.

L'Occitane Shea Light Comforting Cream review

L’Occitane promises that their Ultra Rich Cream will sink into the skin with “an almost disconcerting ease,” which is freaking wonderful copy and totally applies here, too. My one complaint for this line is that it’s way more fragranced than it needs to be – the Light Comforting Cream smells good, and quite cozy, but the scent hangs around for so long that I can still smell it when I splash my face with water 12 hours later.

» Best for: silicone-free skincare regimens & regulating dehydrated skin! My skin has been crazy smooth and breakout-free since I started using this.

L'Occitane Shea Light Moisturizer review photos

L’Occitane Light Comforting Cream (5% shea)

Get your sample

And now, for the exciting part! I’m lucky enough to get to test out a lot of L’Occitane for theNotice, but this time, you guys get to be the testers. Just walk into any L’Occitane store in Canada and mention theNotice for a free 8 ml sample of the Light Comforting Cream (or use the code SHEAFACE online).

The promo expires at the end of January and only covers samples for 50 followers of the blog, so try to get to a L’Occitane boutique soon — and tell your friends! Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply outside of Canada, but think of it this way: it’s probably all you freezing, dry-skinned Canadians who really need it.

L'Occitane Cleansing Oil review budget buy shea butter

L’Occitane Cleansing Oil (5% shea)

The verdict?

L’Occitane has never really blown me away with their face care until this very moment, but blow me away they did. The Shea Butter range is incredibly well-priced and (now) comes with a bunch of great silicone-free options, so it definitely has my stamp of approval.

If you have dehydrated skin, check out the Shea Light Comforting Cream ASAP. The Gentle Toner is fine and the Cleansing Oil is quite good, but it’s this new moisturizer that really shines.

Availability: All three products are permanent products as of January 2015, and will be available online soon!

Ingredients »

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! »

Sephora + Pantone Marsala Color of the Year collection

Saturday, December 20, 2014

For once, the colour of the year is one that I think we can all appreciate: Marsala. It’s a little drab, a little red, and a little rustic — so, basically, a colour that I should hate (but totally don’t).

Unlike the bright green and violet that we’ve seen these past two years, Marsala is more or less wearable… maybe a little more on the less side, for us cool-toned girls. But it’s work-appropriate, at least, and that’s definitely a start!

And that rose gold packaging — I mean, Sephora isn’t even playing fair anymore.

Sephora Pantone Universe Marsala Collection

How do you feel about Marsala?

Six (super sexy) scents to consider for the season | The Gift Guide

Monday, December 15, 2014

I know, I know: perfume is a hard thing to gift. It’s hard to select one from the hundreds, it’s hard to choose the right scent family and bottle size, and it’s hard to get it right. 

That said, here are six scents that I absolutely love for the winter. (Confession: I actually started this post last year and forgot about it, but I’m still loving all six of these this year!) Whether you’re indulging in a little holiday gift for yourself or you’re choosing something for the androgynous-leaning femme in your life… I hope you love these as much as I do.

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-Serge Lutens Chergui ($135) - If I had to pick an all-time favourite perfume, this would be it. It’s the perfect blend of dry, warm, smokey, and sweet, and wears just beautifully in the winter chill. (Plus, it’s like catnip for M — but don’t tell him I told you; I’m not sure he knows yet.)

-Prada L’Eau Ambrée ($56) - L’Eau Ambrée has been discontinued and is getting harder and harder to find, but it’s one of the cornerstones of my fragrance collection – so snap it up now, if you can. It’s simple a wisp of silvery smoke in the night, simple but not boring, and it is my longest-standing perfume love. Full review here.

-Tom Ford Black Orchid ($75) – This is definitely the most feminine of the bunch, but it’s far more outrageous and brash than it is girly. Expect a loud perfume, but a well-blended one — it carries none of the astringent or sticky-sweet notes most “loud” mainstream perfumes. Read my full review here.

-Osmia Organics Cedar Smoke ($75) – I really wanted to include an all-natural perfume in these picks, and Osmia’s Cedar Smoke had to be it. Not quite as sharp or as strong as Juniper Fire, it smells wonderfully natural and woody.

-Illume Woodfire ($10 and up) - This one’s not a perfume, but it’s definitely a scentWoodfire may be my favourite candle scent ever (so far), and is an amazing steal for $10. It smells like wood burning in an outdoor fire pit, and even my mini sized tin has enough throw to fill my whole room within minutes. (Also, Illume makes matching matches!)

-Bottega Veneta ($103, on sale at Nordstrom) - Read my full review here! This one has lots of bergamot and patchouli, and it leaves behind the most divine tendril of leather

What scents are on your wishlist this year?

Annabelle Lipsies review, swatches, photos (Holiday 2014)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Annabelle Lipsies review swatches - tinted lip balm

The product: Annabelle Lipsies Lip Balm (Holiday 2014 edition)

  ↳in Roasted Marshmallow, Yummy Gingerbread, Flirty Candy cane, Grandma’s Peppermint, Cinnamon Candy, and Hot Chocolate

So, you guys know how much I love jumbo lip pencils, right? (Right). Well — Annabelle Cosmetics has come out with a limited-edition range of six for the holiday season, and they smell amazing.

Annabelle Lipsies Holiday 2014 winter review

The formula and wear: I get 2-3 hours of comfortable, moisturizing wear out of these (more moisturizing than a Chubby Stick; less moisturizing than an eos sphere), with clear to medium coverage depending on the shade. They have a soft-shiny finish, and all five shades are quite understated.

The packaging (retractable!) and overall aesthetic makes them a lot less, uh, luxe than most jumbo pencils, but I think they’d make amazing stocking stuffers — especially for a pre-teen or teenager just getting into makeup. (Or a makeup addict who doesn’t take her stash too seriously!)

Annabelle Cinnamon Candy Lipsies review swatches

Each Lipsies balm comes adorned with a cartoon drawing of their scent!

The shades and scents

Roasted Marshmallow is clear with a bit of super-fine, glossy-looking sparkle and a fruity scent — weird, considering its name, but delicious. Yummy Gingerbread is an almost-clear peach shade, and it smells like sugared cereal in milk (or an Urban Decay Rocket Lipgloss; those things were equally gross.)

Flirty Candy Cane is a sheer milky pink with a white frost finish–which makes it look more pigmented in this swatch than it really is–and again, it smells quite fruity. It’s a more standard fruit scent than Roasted Marshmallow, and a tiny bit sweeter, but both are mouthwatering. Grandma’s Peppermint is a pretty, universal sheer pink that smells like peppermint tea rather than your standard minty lip balm, and is the glossiest of the bunch.

Cinnamon Candy is by far the highlight of the group, and smells exactly like cinnamon hearts — but without the burn. It’s a new-to-me lip product scent, with a warm-red tint that sinks in to look like a stain after 15 minutes. Finally, Hot Chocolate smells like your typical chocolate-scented drugstore product, and both it and Cinnamon Candy have good pigmentation – more than Fresh or Clinique tinted balms, and I’d recommend using a mirror to apply.

Annabelle Lipsies swatches - cinnamon, gingerbread, peppermint, chocolate, candy cane, marshmallow

Annabelle Lipsies swatches: Roasted Marshmallow, Yummy Gingerbread, Flirty Candy Cane, Grandma’s Peppermint, Cinnamon Candy, Hot Chocolate

The verdict?

These ones aren’t available online, but if you can pick them up in-store, do it!! They’re a lot of fun, and at $4.95 CAD, they’re a really good price — for yourself or as a gift.

Must-have: Cinnamon Candyespecially if you look best in warmer reds! And Grandma’s Peppermint, if you love peppermint tea — this scent is spot-on. (The shade’s really pretty, too.)

Nice-to-have: Roasted Marshmallow and Flirty Candy Cane – the shimmer in both is very fine, and both are inoffensively fruity. If colour is of no consequence to you, I say go for the marshmallow.

Skip: Yummy Gingerbread and Hot Chocolate. They’re pretty gross-smelling, to be honest.

Available at drugstores and mass retail stores across Canada while quantities last.

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