Zoya Professional Lacquer in Temperance (mini), swatch

Zoya — Temperance (Professional Lacquer) Swatch & Review

Collection: Zoya 2015 Summer, Mystery Trio

Zoya occasionally releases Mystery Trio nail polish sets, and I don’t often get a chance to pick them up since the Canadian shipping cost can be a bit high for my liking. However, back in April, Zoya ran one of their Earth Day Exchange and I was able to get some of their “fun size” mini lacquers at 3 for $10. Temperance, from their 2015 Summer Mystery Trio,  was one of the options and I snapped it up.

I actually swatched this last week, but accidentally deleted the photos in my coffee-deprived stupor. This morning, I got fully drenched in the downpour here in Toronto and was inspired to pick up a rainy day shade for today’s blog post.

Temperance (ZP8102R) is described by Zoya as a “cool medium gray with a pink shimmer”. This is pretty spot-on, except I find that the pink has a magenta tint to it, possibly because of the cool tone of the surrounding gray.

Zoya Professional Lacquer in Temperance (mini)

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COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

COSRX — Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser Review

COSRX is a Korean cosmetic brand that is famed for its tidy line of minimalistic and effective skincare products. Their packaging reflects the concept well—while I do appreciate cutesy or more fanciful design choices made by many other Korean brands, COSRX keeps their products neatly labeled and functionally housed.

That said, I would have preferred that their popular Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser came in a pump bottle. I just prefer dispensing cleansers from pumps because it makes it easier to get a second pump when one hand is already covered in cleanser!

But to be fair, it’s really easy to dispense the correct amount of this cleanser from the first squeeze. This cleanser is a clear gel, not to liquid and not too goopy. A pea-sized dollop or two will do, and I usually aim for a pea in the morning and pea-and-a-half after oil cleansing.

Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

As the name implies, this is a fine cleanser for mornings, when you don’t have any makeup or much grease on your face. It also works very well as a second cleanser, once you’ve removed makeup with an oil cleanser or similar. It won’t do a great job removing the day’s grime off your face, nor have they marketed it as such a cleanser.

The advertised low pH (they claim 5.0–6.0) is actually around 5.5, which is—not coincidentally—the approximate pH of the surface of your skin. Cleansers are often too alkaline (higher on the pH scale), which causes drying of the skin.

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Deciem The Ordinary Colours Serum & Coverage Foundations in 2.0YG

DECIEM — The Ordinary Coverage Foundation (2.0YG) Review

Before I go into the review, Toronto-based DECIEM came out with some big news yesterday—they’ve sold a stake in the company to Estée Lauder.

The very very big thing has happened. It will change everything and yet nothing will change at all! @esteelaudercompanies (a really really big company behind really really big brands) has today acquired a minority stake in DECIEM. The ELC team embraced us like a loving family from the very first meeting to the emotional hugs at closing. Instead of trying to control things like big companies sometimes do, ELC insists that we continue to be who we are. We are really emotional today because we know that, together with ELC, we are going to lead innovation in beauty and bring you more and more of very good things (and less and less of very bad delays). We are here today because of your support and love for us along our journey in the past few years. We promise that every step we take will be one to continue to recognize your support. (PS1- No, we won’t change who we are in any way; PS2- Brandon is and will still be the CEO; PS3- Yes, we have a lot of money now to invest in big infrastructure so we can serve you very promptly; PS4- Yes, we will have many more stores in many more places; PS5- We never have and will not test on animals. ; PS6- No, we won’t raise the prices of products we sell to you; PS7- ELC may seem like a big conglomerate, but please believe us when we say that it has a big soul and a team of truly loving people; PS8- The release is here: elc.deciem.com) 🙈🐒🐒🐒❤️❤️❤️

A post shared by THE ABNORMAL BEAUTY COMPANY (@deciem) on

The very very big thing has happened. It will change everything and yet nothing will change at all! @esteelaudercompanies (a really really big company behind really really big brands) has today acquired a minority stake in DECIEM. The ELC team embraced us like a loving family from the very first meeting to the emotional hugs at closing. Instead of trying to control things like big companies sometimes do, ELC insists that we continue to be who we are. We are really emotional today because we know that, together with ELC, we are going to lead innovation in beauty and bring you more and more of very good things (and less and less of very bad delays). We are here today because of your support and love for us along our journey in the past few years. We promise that every step we take will be one to continue to recognize your support. (PS1- No, we won’t change who we are in any way; PS2- Brandon is and will still be the CEO; PS3- Yes, we have a lot of money now to invest in big infrastructure so we can serve you very promptly; PS4- Yes, we will have many more stores in many more places; PS5- We never have and will not test on animals. ; PS6- No, we won’t raise the prices of products we sell to you; PS7- ELC may seem like a big conglomerate, but please believe us when we say that it has a big soul and a team of truly loving people; PS8- The release is here: elc.deciem.com) 🙈🐒🐒🐒❤️❤️❤️

The optimist in me wants to say good for them! And that this new injection of money will seriously improve their production and distribution, particularly considering the issues they had upon the recent launch of their first colour cosmetics.

The pessimist in me realizes that The Estée Lauder Companies is one of the world’s largest cosmetic conglomerates, with brands like Clinique, MAC, Too Faced, Bobbi Brown, Tom Ford, Becca, Origins, Smashbox, La Mer, Aveda, Jo Malone, Le Labo and more under its umbrella. It seems possible that formulations might become altered, prices may start to increase, and some of the things that I personally liked about the company will change: being local, cruelty-free (Estée Lauder is not cruelty-free), and the values they claimed to have about honesty in skincare.

Each box DECIEM mails out has ABNORMAL BEAUTY COMPANY emblazoned on it in bold, sans-serif letters. It rings a bit false now that there’s a beauty behemoth behind the scenes.

Deciem box

In any case, Brandon Truaxe will remain DECIEM’s CEO (he has previous with launching a company only to sell it, and was also a founder of Indeed Labs). The company’s fans, including myself, will have to hope that this move allows DECIEM to grow comfortably, without losing sight of what made them so very popular in the first place.

•••••

This week, I test drove Canadian skincare brand DECIEM’s first foray into color makeup with one of their two new foundations.

In April, they released a Serum Foundation and a Coverage Foundation under one of their brands, The OrdinaryI picked up both in the color 2.0YG (Light Medium, Yellow Undertones with Gold Highlights) for my NC25–30 skintone.

Deciem The Ordinary Colours Serum & Coverage Foundations in 2.0YG, bottles

Deciem The Ordinary Colours Serum & Coverage Foundations in 2.0YG, color labels

Last week, I reviewed the Serum Foundation, and I wasn’t a huge fan.

Today, I’m reviewing the Coverage Foundation, which, obviously, is meant to provide more coverage. It claims a light cream texture, full coverage, higher pigmentation than the Serum Foundation, and a semi-matte finish. The shade I got, as indicated by the “G” in the name, has additional subtle gold highlights mixed in.

Sounds good to me!

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theBalm Hot Ticket Nail Polish in All You Ever Do Is Taupe, swatch

theBalm — All You Ever Do Is Taupe (Hot Ticket Nail Polish) Swatch & Review

Brand: theBalm

I actually stayed up late last night (I’ve been averaging about 5–6 hours of sleep a night, not good) swatching a polish for today, but then in my morning stupor, I accidentally deleted the pictures. Hooray for me. It was Zoya Temperance, which is awesome so I have to reswatch it for you guys soon. But anyway, this morning, I decided to do something different.

theBalm is not a brand I normally associate with nail polish—I think of blush and maybe eyeshadow. It’s also not a brand I run into very often, mostly since in Canada, the only brick-and-mortar retailer I know of is Rexall pharmacy, which until recently was not one I went to very often. (I’m a Shoppers Drug Mart girl, OK?) But in the last couple of years, Rexall have opened up bigger stores downtown that are more convenient for me to visit, so I’ve been popping in occasionally to check out the brands they carry that aren’t available at Shoppers.

Some Rexall locations carry theBalm, and last week, I finally visited a location that had a display, at Queen & University in Toronto. Luckily, this display stocked around twelve to fifteen shades of theBalm’s Hot Ticket Nail Polish and they were about half off! Or perhaps not so luckily, since it probably means they’re getting rid of them.

I picked one up last week for $4.96—they’re normally $10 (US and CA, for some reason)—then returned this week when Rexall was running a “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” sale on nail polish. So, I managed to get three more theBalm polishes for a tidy sum of $9.92!

theBalm actually produces 31 shades of polish (not quite Baskin-Robbins) and unfortunately, the Rexall I went to mostly carried tame shades of red, pink, and brown. Gah! No pretty blues, yellows or greens.

But here’s what I got, anyway:

theBalm Hot Ticket Nail Polish haulage, June 2017

  • Strawberry Fields Forevah
  • Girls Just Wanna Have Plum
  • All You Ever Do Is Taupe
  • You’re So Hot and Gold

The names are on the wordier side, aren’t they?

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Tony Moly LIPTONE Lip Care Stick in Rose Blossom

TonyMoly — LIPTONE Lipcare Stick (Rose Blossom) Review

I’ve been subscribed to Ipsy for the best part of three years now, and I’m really glad that they’re starting to include products from Korean beauty brands, too. A few months ago, my Ipsy bag came with a rose lip balm from the popular TonyMoly brand.

The company’s name is variously displayed as TONYMOLY, TONY MOLY, TonyMoly, and Tony Moly, even in official channels and publications. I’ve been inconsistent with how I’ve written it, too. They seem to have changed their logo of late, so I’ll go with TonyMoly—one word, but still kinda reads as two.

TonyMoly store

Tony Moly store.
Via ss501fighting.

TonyMoly store

Two words, or just poor kerning?
Via Visit Korea.

TonyMoly US website, June 2017

TonyMoly US website (June 2017).

Anyway, the product I received is the LIPTONE Lipcare Stick, which comes in three flavors: Honey Moisture (01), Rose Blossom (02), and Mint Light (03). Their website actually shows a fourth beige color, but it doesn’t seem to be available anymore. Tester Korea offered it, and it’s called Sugar Scrub (04).

I’m a huge rose fan, so I was tickled pink to have received the Rose Blossom.

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Deciem The Ordinary Colours Serum & Coverage Foundations in 2.0YG

DECIEM — The Ordinary Serum Foundation (2.0YG) Review

This week, I test drove Canadian skincare brand DECIEM’s first foray into color makeup with one of their two new foundations.

In April, they released a Serum Foundation and a Coverage Foundation. I picked up both in the color 2.0YG (Light Medium, Yellow Undertones with Gold Highlights) for my NC25–30 skintone.

Deciem The Ordinary Colours Serum & Coverage Foundations in 2.0YG, bottles

Deciem The Ordinary Colours Serum & Coverage Foundations in 2.0YG, color labels

Today, I’m reviewing the Serum Foundation, which is the more lightweight version. It claims a light serum texture, medium coverage, excellent pigmentation, and a semi-matte finish. The shade I got, as indicated by the “G” in the name, has additional subtle gold highlights mixed in.

The formula is fairly liquid and serum-like, and it is indeed well-pigmented.

Deciem The Ordinary Colours Serum & Coverage Foundations in 2.0YG, swatch

This foundation also has SPF15, though it can only be claimed in the EU:

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Marcelle Face Powder, Translucent

Throwback Thursday! Marcelle — Face Powder (Translucent) Review, Plus a Massive Loose Powder Cost Comparison Chart

For non-Canadians, Marcelle is a Canadian cosmetic brand that has been around for a very, very long time.

Marcelle and Annabelle are the mass market cosmetic lines owned by Québec-based Groupe Marcelle, and they are practically ubiquitous in Canadian drugstores. Groupe Marcelle, also very recently acquired Lise Watier, a luxury Canadian cosmetic brand, to add to their drugstore lineup.

While Annabelle is better known for makeup (I even remember their squat little oval nail polish bottles from the ’90s, though sadly, I never purchased any), Marcelle is probably best known for skincare and the product I’m reviewing today: their Translucent Face Powder, which has been around for ages.

Marcelle as a brand never appealed much to me—probably because they don’t sell nail polish, ha! Jokes aside, their face products always seemed a little too pink-toned for my warm-toned skin, and while their popular eye makeup remover works well and is well-priced, I’d rather pony up a little bit more for something better. Their makeup packaging is also decidedly ho-hum and a bit lost in the ’90s, and reminiscent of Almay’s stodgier sister.

However, at the end of 2014, I was in the market for a new loose face powder and I picked up Marcelle’s Face Powder in Translucent. It was a total whim, since I didn’t even wait for it to go on sale. Of course, I paid CA$14.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart, and then it went on sale the week after.

I can’t say it wasn’t worth full price, though. The tub is gargantuan.

It holds 2.4 oz / 70 g. Do you know how much loose face powder that is?!

Loose Powder Cost Comparison Chart

Because I have insomnia, I compiled a table of loose powder prices by weight. Note that this Marcelle powder can be found at Well.ca and some drugstores for $14.99, though Marcelle’s website lists it at $15.95. I’m using the cheaper price since that’s what I see in drugstores, where one is more likely to buy it. (But even at $15.99, it still ranks as the best value on this list.)

Then, this morning, I went and scoped out a couple others in-store (Joe Fresh, Quo, and Iman).

All of the following 85 (yep) loose powders are available in Canada, and prices are listed in $CA.

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