Annabelle Cosmetics Eye & Brow Palette

    Annabelle eye and brow palette review - Canadian beauty

    The product: Annabelle Cosmetics Eye & Brow Palette

    As a beauty blogger, my least favourite part of my job is finding wonderful, expensive products. I would never judge a product for its price point, but at my core, I’m a pretty frugal person. It’s tough to find something amazing, recoil in horror at the price tag, and then still feel justified in recommending it.

    I know that makeup is inherently a luxury category, but I love finding great products that won’t cost an arm and a leg. Accessibility to the mainstream is so important to me, and access to high-quality makeup is something that I think everyone deserves. Is makeup a human need? Of course not. But it’s not something that should be restricted by income or class.

    Annabelle spring 2017 review

    The Annabelle Eye & Brow Palette is one of those rare finds that’s both well-made and accessible to all income levels. At $12.95 CAD, it’s not the fanciest product–it’s packaged in thin, light plastic and has a scratchy little brush. But the shadows inside are excellent.

    On primed eyelids, these eyeshadows last all day on me. I put them through a solid 12 hour-test, naps included, and was able to repeat the test with no creasing and only slight fading. They blend well, and on the lids, they look great–not too chunky and not too sheer.

    Annabelle eye and brow palette review

    Annabelle Eye & Brow Palette packaging

    Annabelle eye and brow palette swatches

    Annabelle Eye & Brow Palette swatches

    This palette leans warm, and I didn’t love the way it swatched… But then I tried it on. It’s a beauty on the lids, and looks low-maintenance and sexy even on cool-toned skin.

    If I could tweak this palette just a little, I would have added one more shimmery highlight. (I wore it with an Annabelle Chrome Eyeshadows in my post-Valentine’s Day makeup look with it.) And, because I hate powder eyeliners, I’d have tweaked the formula of the mattes as well. They’re designed to be used as pressed powder eyeliner or brow definer, so they’re less blendable than the rest.

    I get the intention behind it, and it’s not a bad idea. I just rely on having one dark, cool-toned eyeshadow per palette so I can smoke up my lashline, and it was tough to do with a brow powder.

    Annabelle Eye & Brow palette review

    The verdict on the Annabelle Eye & Brow Palette

    If you love neutral eyeshadows, this palette is definitely worth adding to your collection. It’s a great example of drugstore eyeshadows done well, and while it may not be as buttery or shiny as a department store eyeshadow palette, I love how affordable it is.

    The Annabelle Eye & Brow Palette Eyeshadows wear just as well as any good high-end eyeshadow, and it offers a really good mix of shades. Plus, it’s affordable and lightweight, so it’s ideal for high-risk makeup scenarios. You know: date night, travelling through customs, impromptu sleepovers…

    Availability: $12.95 CAD at as well as drugstores and mass market retailers across Canada.

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    Matrix Biolage Anti-Static Spray review, photos

    Matrix Biolage Anti-Static spray review

    The product: Matrix Biolage Anti-Static Spray

    There are winter necessities like mitts, warm jackets, and heavy blankets.

    And then there are winter necessities like these: silicone-free anti-static sprays, that really aren’t necessities necessities, but are nice to have all the same.

    Anti-static spray review

    I’m a firm believer in the fact that a great haircare product will feel like absolutely nothing. Sure, you want some grit out of a volumizing powder, but most most products should do their job so seamlessly that your hair is left feeling only manageable and smooth.

    So does it work? Absolutely. The Matrix Biolage Anti-Static Spray has just a touch of fragrance (orange peel and woods), but it’s otherwise completely unnoticeable in my hair. The texture is very neutral, with one big difference: I get zero staticky flyaways aggressively mauling my face and neck when I use this.

    I’ve been crazy about Biolage products recently–I just finished my R.A.W. Shampoo & Conditioner duo and already miss it–and this is just as good as I’ve come to expect from the brand. It’s a little pricey, but for a non-obnoxious scent, that’s something I can easily stomach.

    Matrix biolage anti-static spray

    The Matrix Biolage Anti-Static Spray verdict

    This anti-static spray is simply composed, but very well done. And, in addition to being effective, it never weighs down my hair (which is always a worry when it comes to anti-static products.)

    For those of you who have never lived on the prairies, let me reassure you: Edmonton is pretty darn dry. If something works for static here, it’ll most certainly work for static in someplace more humid, like Calgary or Toronto!

    Availability: $23 USD/$22 CAD. Available at select salons & Ulta.

    Note: This is an anti-static spray, not an anti-frizz spray. For a smoothing product, opt for something like the Living Proof PhD Night Cap Overnight Protector instead.

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    Sudio Vasa Bla Earphones: Bluetooth earbud review

    wireless earbud review sudio vasa bla

    The product: Sudio Vasa Bla Earphones in Rose Gold White

    If you remember my Holiday Survival Guide editorial from this past Christmas, you might recognize the Sudio Vasa Bla Earphones. I began testing them last December and have continued to do so up until now, and I’m finally ready to give them a full review.

    I have really small ears, so I had some trouble testing these. That’s why I waited: I wanted to read a few trusted reviews first. But my experience with these products has definitely been influenced by the fact that I’m 5’2″ and built small, so keep that in mind as you read!

    sudio vasa bla earphone rose gold review

    The promise: design meets function

    With the Vasa Bla (properly the Vasa Blå), Sudio promises “studio quality sound, elegant design and 8 hours of freedom.” The Sudio Vasa Bla earbuds are compatible with all Bluetooth enabled devices, so they pair easily with your phone, tablet, and computer.

    Like any set of earbuds, the Sudio Vasa Bla Earphones deliver sound that is tuned by Sudio’s own driver and amplifier. Their signature sound is intended to separate out each instrument for a “true studio experience,” with a crisp, distinct sound.

    sudio vasa bla rose gold review

    For all of the audio and design geeks out there, here are some of the Vasa Bla specs.

    AUDIO: 10.2mm dynamic speaker. 112 dB SPL @ 1 kHz sensitivity. 18 Hz – 23 kHz frequency response. 32 Ohm @ 1 kHz impedance.

    DESIGN: 14 grams, composite & aluminum body. In-ear with Bluetooth 4.1; 10 meter Bluetooth range. 10 minutes quick charge; 120 minutes full charge. 8 hours battery life/10 day standby.

    sudio earbuds worth it

    How the Sudio Vasa Bla Earpods performed 

    From a convenience perspective, I enjoyed using these – but only casually. Bluetooth earbuds are handy to have around, but from a sound perspective, the Sudio Vasa Bla Earpods do not have a “studio quality.”

    Sudio earbud sizes

    I am by no means an expert on sound, but I did spend two rather miserable years of my life dating an audio engineer. I’ve spent countless hours listening to vinyl, digital, and digital masters on studio quality sound equipment. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the kind of richness and detail you should be able to expect from “studio quality” products, and these didn’t have it.

    They sound very much like mid-range consumer earphones, but they don’t have the price tag to match. Compared even just to your standard Apple Earpods, I notice a loss of quality when I switch to my Sudio Vasa Bla Earpods. Sounds come through noticeably more muffled, and I have to press the earpods into my ears with my hands in order to make out small details.

    sudio vasa bla sound quality review

    At 14 grams, the Vasa Bla Earpods are on the heavy side, and they fall out of my ears quite frequently. I’m using them with the smallest sleeves (4 different sizes are included) and I enjoy the freedom of going wireless within the house, but my right earbud is constantly going rogue. It’s tough to cook with these in, much less work out with them.

    Worth noting, however, is the battery life of these earbuds. I find that most companies (Apple included) will fudge their battery figures slightly, but these really delivered. This was the Sudio Vasa Bla’s strongest selling point for me, and I feel like I almost never have to charge them. It’s kinda like having a magical pair of earbuds!

    sudio review vasa bla wireless earbuds

    The verdict?

    I’ve read highly positive reviews from a number of my friends on these earphones, and I’m not saying that they’re wrong. We’re just measuring these against different metrics, and neither is “right” – this is just a second opinion.

    Are the Sudio Vasa Bla Earphones gorgeous, functional, and easy to use? Absolutely. Would they work well for someone with bigger ears, or less finicky tastes? Quite probably.

    But are they “studio quality”? No, not in my opinion. I love these from an aesthetic standpoint, but I wouldn’t pay $140 for this sound quality, even if they fit my ears perfectly.

    Availability: $140 CAD at Sudio. Free express shipping worldwide.

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    Make Up For Ever Acrylip, Annabelle Eye & Brow makeup look

    red lip makeup look neutral eyes

    Valentine’s Day is over. That doesn’t mean that red lips are, too.

    In fact, now is a better time than any to wear a bold red lip out on the town–they always make such a mess when you’re kissing somebody, and once Valentine’s Day has passed, that’s not really a worry anymore. Like, sure, there’ll be kissing, but is it going to happen in such exorbitant amounts?

    I really hope not. I need time to wear bold lip colours.

    annabelle rose gold eyeshadow review swatch makeup look

    This look is a really simple one, but I loved wearing it around. It gave me a great excuse to test the new Make Up For Ever Artist Acrylip Lipsticks ($24 USD/$29 CAD) (review upcoming; this one is 501 Eggplant), as well as some of the Annabelle spring 2017 eyeshadow launches.

    I feel like Eggplant steals the show for this look, but I actually enjoyed working with the Annabelle Eye & Brow Palette and Chrome Eyeshadow the most. The eye palette was well-pigmented and easy to blend, and the Rose Gold Chrome Eyeshadow provided the perfect pop of metallic shimmer.

    With an eye primer, the two lasted for more than 12 hours with no creasing or fading at all.

    annabelle eye and brow palette review swatch

    make up for ever acrylip swatch review

    As much as I loved wearing this look around, though, I’m starting to miss wearing coloured eyeshadow. It’s been ages since I’ve done anything but a neutral lid and a red lip, and I wanna mix things up again!

    What are you guys loving on the eyes? I see a lot of lip & highlighter love on the internet, but I feel like eyeshadow love has gone slightly off-trend. It’s all warm hues and peachy shimmers; crisp liner and big lashes. Where’d the colourful eyeshadow quads go? 

    make up for ever acrylip 501 eggplant swatch

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    Givenchy Mémoire de Forme Jelly Highlighter & more | New 18/02/17


    Has anyone else noticed recently that big beauty stores are getting really into niche products? It started out with Anthropologie, of course–you know, because the folks at Antro live and breathe coolness–but then Sephora started picking up on it, and now Nordstrom has added an enormous repertoire of K-Beauty and high end skincare to their catalogue.

    There’s honestly too much variety to even list, so check out the widget above for more skincare deets. It’s worth your time, I promise!


    For real, you guys. I need that Givenchy Highlighter Mémoire De Forme Strobing Pop-up Jelly Highlighter (geez, what a name!) in my life like oh my god. It sounds perfect: giant, beautiful, watery, and subtle, with a gentle violet scent.

    What else do I love from this week’s New This Week? Well, that CHOSUNGAH 22 Real Cheek Smoother, for starters. I’m kinda just all over everything lilac and watery right now – I’ve been wearing MAC Full of Joy for like, seven days straight, with no end in sight.

    But enough about me. What are you guys loving? Anything cool catch your eye? Are there another jelly highlighter out there that I’m missing out on and need to check out?