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A Few Canadian Beauty Product Must-Haves

By Rae Chen, Canada, Global Expert

Rae, the easily-distracted Canadian blogger behind theNotice: a beauty blog, is neither the brains nor the beauty of the operation. (The subjective existence of either has yet to be determined – we’ll get back to you on that one.)

She is, however, a rather relentless makeup junkie with a camera, a lack of a filter, and a writing style that’s rather more snark than sycophant.

A Few Canadian Beauty Product Must-Haves

When I think “Canadian products,” my mind goes promptly to Annabelle and Marcelle, gets stuck in a rut, and refuses to move on. It’s probably the result of some sort of secret frontal lobe damage, but I’m just going to pretend it’s because they really are stellar lines. (Which they are – but I’m long overdue to check out more Canadian products! This is clearly ample justification for a trip to Shopper’s.)

Must-haves for… Lips

If you’re a gloss girl, you have to check out Annabelle’s. They do three different formulas (Le Gloss, Le Gloss Star, and Volumelip), and honestly, all three are worth checking out. Basically: they’re scent- and flavour-free, ridiculously shiny, less than $9 apiece, and non-sticky. I’d love them even if they weren’t Canadian drugstore products!

My other lip love at the moment are Marcelle’s cream-finish Rouge Vitality lipsticks, which pack a ridiculous amount of pigment, a buttery, moisturizing finish, and scent-free, paraben-free formula. Most of the shades wear best on neutral-warm skintones, but the brights would make a gorgeous statement lip on just about anyone! (They’re really lovely on the cheeks, too – I tend to use mine as 3-in-1 lipsticks, lipstains, and cream blushers.)

Must-haves for… Eyes

Marcelle’s Waterproof Eyeliners are often compared to Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eyeliners, and while I can see the similarities… for me, these ones come out on top, every time. The formula’s more solid, so it’s easier to create a sharp line – and, unlike with the Urban Decay pencils, I can get all-day wear with absolutely no transfer or smudging. (They don’t apply well to the waterline, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay!)

I’m head over heels for Marcelle’s Lux Liquid Eyeliners, too, in both the Diamond and Metallic formulas. I adore the Diamond ones, but they really are just your traditional glitter liner – the silver one’s an exact dupe of Annabelle Plutonium (a Glitterama liner), but in better packaging 😉 The Lux Metallic liners, however, are something I’ve never seen before. Instead of chunks of glitter, they deliver a gorgeous, liquid-metal sheen – not quite opaque on their own (not in one pass, at least), but absolutely stunning when layered.

The Quick List

Lips: Annabelle Le Gloss Lip Shine ($8.95  CDN) Annabelle Le Gloss Star Lip Shine ($8.95 CDN), Annabelle Volumelip Plumping Gloss ($8.50 CDN), and Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipsticks ($11.95 CDN).

All four formulas are scent-free, but the Volumelip and Rouge Xpression lines are paraben-free, as well. I’m particularly fond of Annabelle’s Flash Dance (a shimmery medium-rose Le Gloss Star) and Cherryoké (a bright, sheer cherry red Volumelip), and find myself reaching for Amour, Cleopatra, and Paris Rose a lot (the three Rouge Xpressions in these photographs – a semi-matte true red, a bold violet-fuchsia, and an intense pinked-coral, respectively.)

Eyes: Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliners ($10.50 CDN), Marcelle Lux Diamond Liquid Eyeliners ($11.95 CDN), and Marcelle Lux Metallic Liquid Eyeliners ($11.95 CDN).

These ones are all paraben-free, too, and they’re quite gentle on the eyes. My favourite Waterproof Eyeliner shade is probably Indigo (a rich, shimmery navy blue), and I get a lot of wear out of the Pure Gold Lux Diamond eyeliner. (They look amazing together, actually – I’ll do a small kitten flick with former, then outline it with the latter). Jade is probably my favourite Lux Metallic shade, but honestly, they’re all knockouts!

See more photos & swatches!

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Holiday Gift Guide: Guy’s Guide to Gifts

The Tech Guy
Shaun, aka The Tech Guy, aka my boyfriend, was wrangled into doing his take on a “gift guide.”  He’s twenty-nine with normal-to-dry skin and suffers from no more acne (much to my envy!).  He has no dedication whatsoever to his writing duties here on Temptalia, given his absence of years (or however long it’s been) but, thankfully, is more attentive to keeping the site alive and well.

Shaun enjoys long walks on the beach, vegging out on the couch watching chick flicks, and cuddling with Mellan. Or maybe not! He handles all the behind-the-scenes action here at Temptalia, from tech support to server woes.

Holiday Gift Guide: Guy’s Guide to Gifts

The key for shopping for a dude, at least this dude, is not buying him anything he doesn’t trust or hasn’t used. He will generally make it pretty clear what he likes or dislikes. If he wants an iPad or any other Apple product, he will have mentioned his love or want for said iPad, but if he falls into the Android camp, then he most likely despises Apple and everything they stand for. We like the brands we like, and we don’t always have a good reason for liking said brand. It worked in the past, why shouldn’t it continue to work?

Aveda Men Pure-formance Dual Action Aftershave ($35.00 for 2.5 fl. oz.) | I haven’t tried a lot of aftershaves, but I really like this one. I’ve been using it for a long time, and it has never run out; that might be because I shave once a month and usually look like I emerged from a cave to check if it’s time to harvest. This has a fresh scent and goes on very smooth, and more importantly, it doesn’t burn like you stuck your face in alcohol after a shave. Another benefit is that it moisturizes so you don’t have to slather two creams on your face if you are comfortable enough with yourself to moisturize.

MACH3 Catridges (price varies depending on brand/quantity) | These are literally the most expensive things on the planet. Every time I start to feel my face being ripped off while shaving, I have to have a debate with myself about whether or not I should change the blade. Generally, due to blood loss, I will yield and switch out the cartridge only to curse myself later. These are a great buy, because we hate buying them, so if we don’t have to look at the price it’s all the better.

Amazon Kindle ($79.00) | This thing sells itself these days, and if your man is somewhat of a reader it might be time to send him into the digital age with an E-Reader. The Kindle is ridiculously cheap and most people are hooked into Amazon one way or another.

Batman: Arkham City ($59.99) and/or Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ($59.99) | Ladies, let me tell you a little secret that will probably get me in trouble with men everywhere. If you want something and your man has been putting the kibosh on it, get him one of these games. Let them get addicted, and while they are playing, ask them for the aforementioned item. He’ll be so engrossed in the game that he’ll just grunt, thus giving you the approval to go obtain said item! Then when he asks about it later, just say he agreed to it while playing the game. He won’t be able to remember and you win! These games are both incredibly solid–Batman especially–just make sure that he doesn’t already own them. You’ll be able to tell if he has been holed up in front of a computer or TV for ridiculous amounts of time recently.

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Dior Merveille Vernis Nail Lacquer

Dior Merveille Vernis Nail Lacquer
Dior Merveille Vernis Nail Lacquer

Dior Merveille Vernis Nail Lacquer

Dior Merveille (651) Vernis Nail Lacquer ($22.00 for 0.33 fl. oz.) looks like a fiery orange-red in the bottle, but it turns out a little less fiery and more coral-orange on the nails. Nubar Pink Flame is closer to the shade I expected from the way Merveille looked in the bottle (it appears redder on the nails than Merveille). There is faint golden-copper shimmer, but it doesn’t show up much in natural light–only in really bright lighting does it arrive (fashionably late) to the party.

I was also surprised that this wasn’t opaque after two coats–it seems like such a rich shade, but there is a hint of visible nail line after two coats. Even though the flow was even and fluid, it just didn’t provide as much color coverage as a polish should, especially this kind of a shade! This shade was a little thinner than others but didn’t seem watery when I was applying–but by the underlying translucency, it might be a touch watery. I do typically get a week of wear with only minor tip wear with Dior’s formula.

Holiday Gift Guide: Gift-Giving Tips & Tricks

Holiday Gift Guide: Gift-Giving Tips & Tricks

If you’ve ever experienced the feeling of giving a really fantastic gift, it’s know how amazing it can be.  It’s so fulfilling and satisfying to know you picked just the right thing for that one special person.  Similarly, when you receive a gift that’s exactly what you wanted/needed, you get a sense of how much thought the giver put into the gift.  It seemed like several readers struggled trying to figure out what kind of gifts to give friends and family when it came to beauty, particularly because they weren’t sure what colors to choose.  I thought I would touch on some tips born from past experience on that particular issue as well as some more generalized tips and tricks when it comes to the art of great gift giving.

Little Touches Count

The little things can add tremendous value and appeal to your gift. Think about when someone takes an amazing gift but throws it into a paper bag at the last minute; or how about the time you totally forgot to grab a card and just shoved a gift in someone’s face?  Fancy wrapping or expensive greeting cards are by no means necessary to a great gift, but remembering to take as much time in the presentation of the gift as you did in the acquisition of it is important. You can also keep an eye out for gifts that already come in festive packaging or bags.

I do, personally, splurge on fancier gift wrap, because I have a thing for Christmas decor and like to see lots of shine and color under the tree.  Holidays come earlier and earlier each year, so you can find great bargains on wrapping paper at local discount stores as well as online.  You can also stock up right after the holidays for the next year if you have some storage space!  I also like festive ribbons for smaller gifts or awkward-to-wrap gifts.   I often make my own cards to attach to gifts with colored card stock and simply scrawl a short and sweet note to the recipient.

It’s Not About the Money

I cannot emphasize it enough, but it is the thought that really counts, especially when you’re not gifting to a five-year-old who’s been dreaming of the latest gaming system for the past 364 days.  But in all seriousness, the majority of people, and hopefully, your dearest friends and family, are not googling what you bought them to see how much you spent on them.  Your best friend who is the girliest girl you can imagine doesn’t want to receive a weed wacker for the holidays, and it’s just important to know your recipient and find a gift that would resonate with them.  Don’t get caught up in the idea that more is better or that bigger is better!  Keep gift ideas in mind all year round, even pricier ones (that are just outside your budget), because if you know your partner has their eye on such-and-such electronic, you can keep an eye out for price drops towards the second half of the year.

Sales, Sales, Sales

Stemming from looking out for deals on must-give gifts much earlier than the last two months of the year is taking advantage of sales, but I will caution you not to let them take advantage of you!  Just because there’s a sale doesn’t mean you have to find something for someone there.  November is the time for Friends & Family sales and events, several having already taken place, but there are more to come.  Similarly, the infamous Black Friday is nearing (along with Cyber Monday), which can be a good opportunity to take advantage of sales.

Use Social Media and Networking

So much of our lives are now online, from the photos and videos of our lives to our favorite interests.  Many people have their favorite social networking sites that they use, and you can learn more about their various interests from a profile.  I’m totally serious here!  Sometimes you bond with someone over certain common interests (say, beauty), but you might not know their favorite music or movies.  If you have friends or family members who are really active, you might be able to see what kind of things they’ve liked in the past couple of months to help give you an idea of where to start your search from!

Gift Guides from Everyone

Almost everyone has some sort of gift guide these days, and I don’t mean bloggers but major retailers and individual brands.  Most of them have a section on their website for gift sets/value sets as well as gift guides broken out by price or “personality.”   Perhaps you have a favorite brand you want a friend to experience or you know your friend’s favorite brand but you’ve never used anything by them; either way, you can peruse through recommendations from the brand as a great jumping off point.

5-Minute Primer on Beauty Products for Others

You have your beauty partner in crime, but you’re just not confident about buying them something because you don’t know if they’ll good in it or if it’s a shade they’d like.   There are fantastic items that are more neutral and general that work across skin tones and undertones, but there are certainly plenty of products that just tend to look better on a certain skin tone/undertone.

  • Stealthily get a grasp on their skin tone:  if your friend wears a bracelet or watch, you can try to get a look at the underside of their wrist/forearm by asking to see their bracelet/watch close-up.  Green veins indicate warmer undertones, while blue veins indicate cooler undertones; if you can’t really tell, they may be neutral.  You can also use the jewelry trick; does your friend wear a lot of gold or silver jewelry?  Is there one they look better in?  Gold looks better on warmer skin tones, while silver looks better on cooler skin tones–but be careful, a lot of people prefer a metal over the other, regardless of their undertone!
  • Think about the colors/styles/products you see them in most:  if you’ve never seen your friend wear red lipstick and only baby pinks and barely-there nudes, buying them a red isn’t necessarily the best way to go (unless you’re deliberately prodding them to finally wear one and you know the perfect one for them!).  Do they wear bold eyes? cheeks? lips? What feature do they emphasize?
  • Something old or something new?  Consider whether you’re trying to simply buy them something they would love to wear, which means it is likely to be similar to other shades they already own (so go see if you can snoop through their makeup bag!) or if you’re trying to get them to try something they wouldn’t normally wear (perhaps something they’ve been curious about).
  • Warm undertones look best in shades like earthy neutrals, coppers and bronzes, yellowy greens, metallic golds, corals, oranges, and yellow-based pinks.  I believe anyone can wear anything–it’s just a matter of pairing it with the right products; this is merely a quickie guideline to pick the most-likely-to-suit products.
  • Cool undertones look best in shades like sooty neutrals, beiges and taupes, charcoal browns and grays, blues, blue-based teals, blue-based reds, fuchsia pinks, berries, cotton candy pinks.  Again, this is a mere snapshot of common colors that often work well on those with cooler complexions but you should feel free to wear whatever you like!

 Share your gift-giving tips & tricks in the comments!