Monthly Watch Club (Female, November 2017)

Monthly Watch Club (Female, November 2017) — Review

I’ve worn a watch ever since I was eight or nine. My very first was a little kid’s mechanical Timex (I had to wind it every day!) with a black and grey fabric strap—probably unisex or intended for boys, and I clearly recall an annoying little boy at the playground mocking me for wearing a boy’s watch! I probably said something like, “So what?” and brushed it off (he didn’t bother me again after that).

But the fact that this interaction has stayed with me for thirty years indicates that it did indeed mean something to me. I only remember one other similar instance as a kid: I was a big fan of the Gobots cartoon, and I vastly preferred its comedic tone to the overly serious Transformers, which it was obviously ripping off, but I didn’t care one bit.

Now, anyone who grew up as a kid in North America in the 1980s and early 1990s knows that you would carry a plastic lunchbox + Thermos to school every day. These lunchboxes were sold in masses every September, and they were branded with all kinds of toys, cartoons, movies, TV shows, etc. I remember having one with Garfield, possibly one with Snoopymaybe one with My Little Pony (which I loved but I shied away from overly girly things in my childhood), and most definitely one with my beloved Gobots:

Gobots lunchbox

Anyway, the first day back at school, I merrily carried my lunch in my new Gobots-emblazoned lunchbox. A few boys said something like, “Why are you carrying a Gobots lunchbox?” I merely said, “I like them.” And that was that.

What was I talking about?

Right—I love watches! I used to have quite a little collection of quartz watches back in my twenties, with a different watch for every mood and outfit. I don’t care if smartphones can tell time. I like a watch and I’m damn well going to wear one.

In my thirties, however, I’ve pared down my watch collection because I’ve gotten tired of replacing watch batteries in ten different watches every couple of years. At the moment, I have an everyday digital beater (Casio Baby G), a Swarovski-bedazzled dress watch (Citizen Eco-Drive), and my favorite, an automatic Hamilton from my husband. Thus, only one watch runs through batteries quickly (the Casio) and it’s so cheap that I basically just replace it every few years.

And yet, I always look at watches and am sorely tempted to pick up the interesting designs I see.

When Alberta, Canada-based Monthly Watch Club recently contacted me to review their product, I thought it was such an interesting concept and wondered if it could wean me off my minimalist watch ways again. They are a newer subscription box that initially started with men’s watch styles—this summer, they expanded to include women’s watch styles, as well.

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fivezero's Topbox (August 2017)

Topbox — August 2017

For my second Topbox (referral link) after resubscribing this summer, I didn’t “wish” for any of the special “Privé” boxes, because even though some of the brands were higher end/interesting (Bobbi Brown, Dr. Belmeur, Glamglow, Missha, Too Faced, etc.), I wasn’t enthralled by the actual products on offer, or their value. One option was actually a tarte eyeliner that costs $16 normally, so I’d be saving $4 by getting it? Gee, what a great deal. This isn’t what I find “fun” about a subscription box.

So, I stuck with the regular Topbox as I always have. (Will they actually have a Privé box that interests me, someday? I wonder.)

I also did not get a chance to pony up $10 for the additional “Beauty Surprise” since it sold out before I could sign up—but after checking out what other Topbox subscribers received, I’m a bit relieved that I saved my ten smackers.

I’m particularly relieved since I found my box this month to be something of a letdown. They are mostly items I can use, so at least they won’t go to waste, but there’s nothing I’m especially excited about at first glance. In hindsight, I should have opted for the Missha Privé, which was a tension compact valued at $24, which I would definitely have enjoyed using. Ah, well. Can’t win ’em all.

At least I didn’t get more Cake stuff, which is lovely but I’m so bored receiving the same Coconut & Cream hand creams from Topbox/Luxe Box.

All prices are in CA$ unless otherwise noted.

What I Received in my Topbox

  • Barefoot Venus🇨🇦 Green Tea Body Wash in Lilly Pilly (50 mL sample) [$6.90 for 50 mL /  $20.05 for 250 mL, value: $6.90 / $4.01]
  • Be a Bombshell Lip Crayon in Some Beach (2.5 g full size) [value: US$7]
  • BeneFit The POREfessional Pore Minimizing Makeup (5 mL sample) [$40 for 15 mL full size, value: $13.33]
  • Satin Smooth Day/Night Daily Moisturizer (10 mL / 0.35 fl oz sample) [US$43.99 for 1.7 fl oz full size, value: US$9.06]

Detailed pics follow:

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fivezero's Topbox, July 2017, plus $10 Beauty Surprise

Topbox — July 2017

I recently resubscribed to Topbox (referral link), a Canadian beauty subscription that costs CA$12/month (shipping included!) for four beauty products. I had originally canceled it back in December 2015 because I felt I was getting too many of the same repeated items—Cake Beauty lotion, in particular. I chose to resubscribe last month because I’d been checking out some of the recent Topboxes and they looked pretty nice. Plus, $12 is really quite cheap considering it includes shipping.

Topbox offers a couple of different options each month. You can create a box wishlist from a list of “Privé” boxes, which typically consist of 1 or more items from a single brand (this month I recall seeing Privé options for Bobbi Brown, Dr Belmeur—there were quite a lot to choose from! I am just drawing a blank). You can wish for the Privé boxes that interest you, and depending on your luck, you might receive that box instead of the general Topbox. I’ve never personally wished for a Privé box—for whatever reason none of them has ever piqued my interest enough to forgo the regular box. I guess I just like getting a selection of brands!

Another option is the $10 Beauty Surprise, which you can add to your monthly Topbox. I believe I’ve only done it once (possibly twice?) and I remember receiving a full-size Teeez lipstick, which was awesome, except that it was red and I honestly have enough red lipstick. Nevertheless, I thought I’d do the Beauty Surprise this month—go all in!

My first Topbox, now that I’m back, is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, I got some great stuff that I will definitely use. The bag is well worth the $12+$10 I spent. On the other hand, I did get some repeat items!

What I Received as a $10 Beauty Surprise

  • Cake Beauty🇨🇦 Delectable Skin Perfecting Bronzing Body Lotion in Sweet Cream (100 mL full size) [value: CA$18]
  • Cake Beauty🇨🇦 Delectable Ultra Nourishing Hand Cream in Coconut & Cream (60 mL travel size) [value: CA$6]

Great, more Cake stuff! That was my first reaction, because I was already annoyed about receiving Cake lotion upon Cake lotion from both Topbox and their other subscription box, Luxe Box. I was initially also annoyed about getting a full sized bronzing lotion, since that isn’t something I normally use. But upon giving it a try on my skin, it turns out that it’s super subtle despite the way it looks in the bottle—and it smells awesome! I’ve never tried the Sweet Cream scent before, and it smells lovely and milky. So this is a reasonable win.
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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.

View this post on Instagram

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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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. [2017-10-28 EDIT: This chart is now being updated on the Product Value: Loose Powder page.]

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Deciem The Ordinary Colours Serum & Coverage Foundations in 2.0YG

DECIEM — The Ordinary Colours Serum & Coverage Foundations (2.0YG) Swatch & First Impression

In April, skincare company DECIEM released their first ever The Ordinary Colours makeup in the form of two foundation products. And, in keeping with The Ordinary’s high-impact, low-cost business model, the foundations are both a mere CA$6.70 for each 30 mL bottle. Isn’t that wild?

So, as you’d imagine, they were extremely popular products and the company ended up having trouble fulfilling all the orders in good time. They released an explanation and an apology, and I was delighted when my foundations finally arrived!

I’d ordered each one separately, since the Serum Foundation was released shortly before the Coverage Foundation; the first order arrived last week and the second just came yesterday. [2017/06-16 EDIT: I have now reviewed both foundations: Serum Foundation and Coverage Foundation.]

Both foundations come in the same range of 21 shades, which is quite impressive. Here is their handy Shade Guide. I ordered both products in the same shade: 2.0YG (“Light Medium yellow undertones with gold highlights”) for my NC25–30 skintone. The “2.0” indicates it is the lightest of the medium shades, the “Y” indicates it is yellow-toned (P = pink and R = red), and the “G” indicates a very fine metallic gold effect (S = silver effect, and most shades do not have a metallic effect at all).

For some reason, 2.0Y does not exist. 1.2Y seemed too light and 2.1Y too dark, so I threw caution to the wind and went for the gold effect.

Deciem The Ordinary Colours Serum & Coverage Foundations in 2.0YG

The Serum Foundation is described by DECIEM as a “lightweight pigment suspension system with moderate coverage“.

The Coverage Foundation, by contrast, is a “high-spreadability pigment suspension system with high coverage“.

Deciem The Ordinary Colours Serum & Coverage Foundations in 2.0YG

As you can see, the colors look very close in their bottles (at least I am pretty sure that the bottles are clear—the foundations fully coat the insides!), with the lighter-coverage Serum formula appearing just a hair lighter/less yellow-toned.

I am also very thankful that the bottles are plastic! I am always so leery of accidentally breaking The Ordinary’s glass skincare bottles. These foundation bottles and their pumps feel nice, with a slightly matte finish.

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