Clinique custom phone cases & more | New 14/09/14

Sunday, September 14, 2014

New this week are a few long-awaited launches (like the NARS Audacious lipsticks), as well as a couple new-to-store ones (Charlotte Tilbury at Nordstrom, and that pastel Shiseido trio!) and a few unique items that caught my eye. If you’ve tried the new Micro.mini Beautyblenders, for instance, or that new Sephora makeup-removing lip gel, I’d be curious to hear what you thought of them! (And those new Bottega Veneta perfumes, hrrrnnnngh.)

New (& more than noteworthy)

Also upcoming this week is an event — and a very, very cool one at that. Manhattan residents are invited to the Clinique counter at Bloomingdale’s on 59th St. to receive a complimentary Smart Skin Consultation and create a customized smartphone case designed by fashion illustrator Brooke Hagel.

Clinique custom phone cases

The event will be held this Thursday, September 18th, and while I obviously won’t get to go… I can only hope that one of you will take this opportunity to have a phone case custom-illustrated with Chubby Stick sketches!

What: Complimentary Smart Skin Consultations, a fall trend fashion preview, and a custom-illustrated phone case with the purchase of Clinique’s Smart Repair Serum.

When: Thursday, September 18, 6pm-8pm

Where: Bloomingdale’s 59th Street Beauty Studio (1000 3rd Ave at 59th Street, NY)

Pre-book an appointment at the counter or by calling (212) 705-2879.

MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi, De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence & Tea reviews | Canadian beauty at its best

Thursday, September 11, 2014

miyu beauty essence tea review

The products: MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence and De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence

A lot of blogs work on deadlines; SEO; what’s-new-now. But on theNotice, as you may have (heh) noticed, I work on a different metric: the product itself.

When I received these Beauty Essences (and their tea pairings), just hammering out a review on them didn’t feel right. So, even though I had waited long months for their launch, I kept waiting: an entire year past their initial release. But, finally, I feel like I know exactly what I want to say about these delicate, one-of-a-kind serum mists, and I’m beyond excited to finally be able to share my thoughts with all of you!

MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Tea

MIYU Hydrate Mi Beauty Tea

What exactly is a beauty essence? The long and short of it is simple: beauty essences are a cross between a facial mist and a serum. They were formulated by Connie Tai, cosmetic chemist and founder of MIYU Beauty, who has both the extensive industry background and approachable-but-no-nonsense chicness that make you want to trust her products… and buy everything she tells you to.

I had a chance to meet with Connie while she was still developing these beauty essences, and even in rudimentary sample packaging, these mists and teas still made me go, “oh.”

A misting tip from Connie: if you’re going to do it, do it. The packaging she chose for the MIYU Essences works beautifully, delivering an unusually full, diffuse mist — but only if it’s sprayed with conviction. Half-depressing a mister won’t just deliver half the product, it’ll make the spray weak and uneven!

MIYU Beauty essence reviews - spray serum

The beauty essence formula

As someone who loves only the idea of facial mists, I was surprised to find that these beauty essences didn’t ever irritate my skin or break me out, even with repeated use. Instead, they have consistently helped to add hydration both under my moisturizer and overtop my makeup, and they do so with packaging that’s both luxurious and lightweight.

The magic, I think, lies in the formula: these alcohol, paraben, and silicone-free mists are comprised not only of water and glycerine, but also include large amounts of pentylene glycol (a humectant with anti-microbial properties) and sodium hyaluronate (think of this one as a more effective hyaluronic acid). As a result, the formula of MIYU’s mists is just as hydrating as other facial mists–if not more hydrating,–but leaves behind a smooth, silky finish with no stickiness at all.

MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence review spray serum

Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence & Tea ($42 CAD/$42 USD for both)

I reach for Hydrate Mi most often, which uses extracts of wild pansy, goji berries, and mangosteen to boost water transport and retention in the epidermis. It smells sweetly floral, like a rosewater facial mist, and is optimized for dehydrated skin, frequent travellers, and dry climates.

I wasn’t crazy about the Hydrate Mi tea, but then again, I don’t like sweet teas! It’s definitely one of the prettiest teas I’ve ever seen, however, and contains green rooibos, goji berries, white pear essence, and candied pearls. (My mom keeps trying to get me to eat goji berries; we have some in our garden. I hate them.)

MIYU Beauty Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence ingredients:

Water, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Pearl Protein, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Hydrolyzed Viola Tricolor Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Lycium Chinese Fruit Extract, Garcinia Mangostana Peel Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Proline, Serine, Glycine, Glutamic Acid, Lysine, Alanine, Arginine, Threonine, Sorbitol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phenoxyethanol, Betaine, Polysorbate 20, Disodium Edta, Ethylhexylglycerin.

MIYU Beauty De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence review serum mist

De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence & Tea ($42 CAD/$45 USD pairing)

I reach for the minty De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence less often, but I do still really enjoy using it — the peppermint extract can be quite refreshing, especially in the summer.

De-Stress Mi is packed full of good stuff (even more so than the Hydrate Mi essence), including peppermint leaf, licorice, ginger, honeysuckle, and dandelion root extracts, as well as skin-conditioning aloe vera and a number of newfangled yeast/iron ferments that are said to have antioxidant properties. All in all, De-Stress Mi targets strained skin and targets inflammation, and would be great if you’re worried about pollutants in the air.

Like the Hydrate Mi tea, the De-Stress Mi blend is a little bit sweet, too — so skip it if you’re a peppermint-spearmint purist like myself. It contains organic peppermint, licorice root, chamomile blossoms, and candied pearls.

MIYU Beauty De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence ingredients:

Water, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Pearl Protein, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Peppermint Leaf Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Ginger Root Extract, Honeysuckle Flower Extract, Dandelion Rhizome/Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Proline, Serine, Glycine, Glutamic Acid, Lysine, Alanine, Arginine, Threonine, Sorbitol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Phenoxyethanol, Betaine, Polysorbate 20, Disodium Edta, Ethylhexylglycerin.

MIYU Beauty De-Strees Mi Beauty Tea

MIYU De-Stress Mi Beauty Tea

The verdict?

I waited an entire year until I could tell you this with utmost confidence in what I was saying, but at long last: if you’re looking for gentle, effective hydration, the MIYU Beauty Essences are my No. 1 recommendation for a facial mist or serum. They’re beautifully formulated, wonderfully packaged, and a great way to buy Canadian.

I am usually loathe to recommend a facial mist for more than $20 (after all, they’re usually sticky messes of glycerine and water), but at $34 CAD, I think you’ll find these to be worth each and every penny.

Availability: The MIYU Beauty Essences are available for $34 CAD; the teas are $16 CAD. Get them at MIYU Beauty, Birchbox, Gloss48, and Anthropologie.

Keep reading! »

Shu Uemura Pink Hues Prêt-à-Palette review, swatches, photos | Pulling off an easy, pretty pink makeup look

Monday, September 8, 2014

shu uemura pret a palette pink hues review

The product: shu uemura prêt-à-palette (“Ready-To-Wear palette”) in pink hues

As someone who has always, always loved pink eyeshadows, I’ve never understood how they ended up with such a bad reputation. Like, sure, they can be unflattering, but — so can any colour. It’s never the colour that’s the problem, as far as I’m concerned; it’s the way the wearer has chosen and applied it, or the way the manufacturer has produced it.

So, if you find your pinks are too pink, or your pastels are too chalky, add a bit of black eyeliner to your tightline. And if that fails, prepare yourself for a rave review and buy this palette, because, dude, it makes pink easy

shu uemura pink hues eyeshadow reviews

shu uemura matte smokey purple (new), matte smokey dark bluish pink (new), G135, pearl rosy pink (new)

The shades: The Pink Hues palette begins with a matte plum, dusty in colour but not texture. Next, there’s a matte medium pink, which feels very bridal to me – I think it would look incredibly soft and pretty on medium skintones (especially medium Asian skintones!) The matte pink is followed by a pan of clear sparkles, which reflect green, pink, and silver and impart a base colour only in a very heavy swatch over primer. [ I fracking love sparkles, you guys. ]

The palette winds down with a frosty pink-white, which is rather cool, a frosty beige (quite similar, but smoother in both texture and shimmer), and a muted matte ivory, which applies surprisingly solidly but is a little… grey. It’s a rather corpse-like, but it’s designed to act as a base to intensify and brighten the other shades, and it does a wonderful job of it.

Shu Uemura Pink Hues Pret a Palette swatches

shu uemura pink hues prêt-à-palette swatches

shu uemura pret a palette review - pink hues

shu uemura G135, pearl rosy pink, ME126, M813 eyeshadows

The textures: Honestly, I’m smitten with every single texture in this Prêt-à-Palette — but I have to tip my hat to the matte plum in particular. It applies sheerly with each swipe but layers incredibly well, revealing a darker, richer hue that never starts looking chalky.

Overall, these satin mattes preform very well, with a dense, smooth formula and sparse microshimmer that adds depth without being apparent. (I’m partial to the frosty beige for a wash of colour, because, you know, I’m boring.) The frosts perform equally well, and none of the shades kick up any dust.

shu uemura pink hues palette swatches

shu uemura pink hues eyeshadow palette swatches: matte smokey dark purple and matte smokey dark bluish pink (new), G135, pearl rosy pink (new), ME126, M813

shu uemura pink hues eyeshadow palette review

shu uemura pink hues ready-to-wear eyeshadow palette

The verdict?

I love a lot of things about this palette – and there’s no “but…” attached to that.

With both delicate and dramatic shades, this is easily the most elegantly executed palette of pinks that I’ve ever seen. Each different finish (man, I love it when palettes mix finishes) has the quality to back up these wearable shades, and the shiny black compact is so sleek it practically makes me shiver. Which, in retrospect, may be TMI.

I think Pink Hues plays best on the light to medium Asian skintones it was designed for, but it works well with other fair, yellow, and neutral skintones, too. For darker skintones, however, perhaps pick a pink palette with less light frosts and more fuchsia – that way, you’ll get more distinct colours on your lids.

Availability: $85 CAD (ouch) with free shipping at shuuemura.ca, or at select Holt Renfrew and Sephora locations across Canada. Also available in warm brown, black and white, and blue morning.

The shimmery pink (G135), frosty beige (ME126), and base colour (M813, the No. 3 top selling shade in Japan) may be available for $19 CAD each, or are available in Japan.

Additional photos & more »

Back to school beauty with I love…

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back to school beauty with I Love

Fall term started yesterday, and so far it’s been… kind of hellacious. So today I’m doing a brief overview of a bright, fruity back-to-school kit sent my way by Farleyco Beauty (thanks, guys!) It’s not a review, because guys, I want to go to bed, but hopefully those happy-looking stripes will make up for it. They certainly cheered me up.

I love…

I Love strawberries & cream body butter

Despite having the worst name in the history of ever (you try Googling a company called “I love”), these Shopper Drug Mart exclusives actually smell delicious — and they’d be a great send-off for a first-year college student, at their door or in a care package.

The Raspberry & Blackberry Bubble Bath and Shower Crème ($9.99) directions are, honestly, kind of creepy (“pour me seductively under running water… squeeze me generously into the palm of your hand”), but the product itself smells like candy, and the not-as-explicit Strawberries & Cream Nourishing Body Butter ($9.99) makes up for it — though I do prefer the raspberry scent.

You can check out the rest of the I love… range at Farleyco (though, again, it’s a Shopper’s exclusive), but keep in mind that the body butter is not silicone-free!

I Love raspberry blackberry bubble bath shower gel

Perspirex and X3

This particular back-to-school kit also included a bottle of Perspirex Roll-On Antiperspirant ($19.99), which claims to last up to 3 days, and a thing of X3 Labs Foaming Hand Sanitizer ($4.99) — you know, for dorm life. I prefer to wash my hands than use hand sanitizer, but in a pinch, this has always been my brand of choice! It’s alcohol-free as well as fragrance-free, so it plays well with my crazy-dry skin. And also my tendency to put my hands in or near my mouth.

X3 hand sanitizer

Keep reading! »

Make Up For Ever 150 Precision Blush, 174 Concealer, 304 Lip Brush reviews, photos

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Make-Up-For-Ever-Brush-review-Artisan-Collection

The products: Make Up For Ever Artisan Brush Collection – 150 Precision Blush Brush (Wavy), 174 Concealer Brush – Small (Straight), 304 Lip Brush with Cap (Straight)

I’ve been testing Make Up For Ever’s Artisan brushes for the better part of a year, now, but it was just a few weeks ago that I finally fell in love with one of them. I’m fond of the collection on the whole, from the gorgeous design to the fact that all of the brushes are synthetic, but it just — I don’t know. It took me a little while.

Dany Sanz and the MUFE team worked on these brushes for five years, and the finished product is a line of 76 brushes with beech wood handles and straight (for heavier, more precise application) or wavy (lighter, more splayed) bristles. Each brush features a beveled end to help with applying false lashes or retrieving product on set, and the range is broken up into four categories: complexion (100s), eyes (200s), lips (300s), and artistry brushes (400s).

MUFE-brush-review-150-304-174

Make Up For Ever “Artisan” Brushes (detail)

150 Precision Blush Brush ($40 USD/$46 CAD)

I thoroughly believe in starting with your best foot forward (or, at least, I do this week), so here’s the brush that I’m loving right now: the wavy-bristled Precision Blush Brush. Its angled bristles are smooth but firm, and don’t feature the “oily” feeling that some of the Artistry brushes are said to — instead, it’s just kind of narrow and fluffy. 

Make-Up-For-Ever-150-precision-blush-brush-review

Make Up For Ever 150 Precision Blush Brush

Make Up For Ever recommends this brush for loose or pressed powders including blush, contour, and highlighters, but I actually think it excels at applying and blending cream blushes and stains – a tip I got from my sister. I find it to be a little too stiff for everyday powder contour or blush, but does a beautiful job of really working cream products into the skin. (It would also be a wonderful brush to work with for that severe, “Kardashian/Instagram” sculpting!)

MUFE-150-cheek-brush-reviewMUFE 150 Precision Blush Brush

174 Small Concealer Brush ($21 USD/$24 CAD)

The straight-bristled Small Concealer Brush is pretty standard, as far as concealer brushes go, but it serves its basic function well. This one is great for applying and blending concealer on a large blemish or around the nose, but I don’t find that I reach for brushes like this anymore – I prefer sheer, all-over coverage paired with precision spot concealing, so this style of brush just too wide for me.

That said, if you’re looking for a brush of this size to work with cream or liquid concealer, you could do far worse than the 174. It’s well-priced and easy on the eyes, and the bristles have just enough give to deposit product without irritating a blemish.

Make-Up-For-Ever-174-small-concealer-brush-review

MUFE-174-brush-review

Make Up For Ever 174 Small Concealer Brush

304 Lip Brush ($25 USD/$29 CAD)

The last brush I have to share with you today is the 304, a collapsable lip brush. Now, I don’t usually use a lip brush when applying lipstick or gloss, but I love brushes like this all the same — they’re perfect for applying concealer on the go. 

Make-Up-For-Ever-304-lip-brush-reviewMUFE-304-straight-lip-brush-reviewMake Up For Ever 304 Lip Brush (cap used as handle)

You know those days when you have a really bad blemish, but you’re going to be out from 9 ’til 9, too? Brushes like this one are the perfect thing to throw into your handbag, because they have a small enough tip to cover your blemish just right, and the brush handle will then pop off to cover the tip of your brush. Super clean, super compact, and awesome especially if you’re working with a creamy concealer.

The Make Up For Ever Artisan brushes are my favourite brush range, aesthetically, at the moment — what’s yours?

Keep reading! »

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