Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May Favourites

It's officially winter and along with the changing weather my products on rotation have undergone some major shaking up. In May I used and loved some old favourites and some new introductions. Changing seasons mean goodbye autumn, hello winter and scarves and boots and jackets and cute socks and candles and cosy nights curled up with Youtube and course readings and mugs of tea and hot chocolate (coffee is a luxury that I reserve for being out and from barista hands). 

David Babaii Instant Straight Smoothing Balm
I bought this from Priceline in the most recent 40% off haircare sale and I believe it retails for $24.50 but it was marked down to $10, and after a discount and a Priceline Sister Club cash-back voucher it was practically free. I bought it because I'm too lazy to heat style my naturally wavy hair and it can get a little frizzy after air-drying. Prior to this, I didn't own any other proper styling products (so it was justified). It's a creamy paste that smells pleasant and I find my hair is neater when I pat this into the ends and layers, especially when I wear my hair down. 

Bourjois Healthy Mix Correcting Concealer in 53 Dark Radiance
I turned to this after hitting pan on my Laura Mercier Undercover concealer and I don't know why I put it away and forgot about it. Previously I mentioned that its medium coverage wasn't high enough but now I find it provides enough coverage to camouflage the hyperpigmentation left behind by blemishes and it blends and wears especially well after I've taken to trying out the Wayne Goss powder trick that Michelle posted about. My latest makeup routine that I've been sticking with has comprised of solely this concealer for a base product. That being said, when I run out, which could be soon as I'm close to wringing out this tube, I might try the NARS Creamy Concealer instead of repurchasing because this costs $24 RRP and the NARS is $35. 

Lush No Drought
Since posting about this, I have not loved it any less. It's a great loose dry shampoo that keeps me sane when I skip shampooing every other day. I hate the feeling of day-old hair but this clears up the feeling of natural oils and adds texture and volume to the roots. The light citrus scent is pleasant and doesn't linger and the bottle makes it surprisingly easy to puff the powder out.

Rimmel Santa Rose
This blush is an old favourite that I liked using over a year ago and I dug it back out when throwing together a on-the-go makeup bag and chose this because it's tiny and compact (and cheap so if it shatters I won't be sad). It's such a pretty, flattering peachy coral that looks understated and subtly sculpting. 

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water
This 'drugstore' 'Bioderma-dupe' has been on the shelves for a long time but I resisted purchasing it while I was still using the Garnier Clean Sensitive 2 in 1 Makeup Remover, but when I saw it on sale at half the normal price I caved and I've been using it on some mornings instead of an over-the-sink facial cleanse, and on some evenings to remove traces of concealer and bronzer and eyebrow pencil. Admittedly I prefer bi-phase products like the Garnier Clean Sensitive 2 in 1 Makeup Remover to remove makeup so I wouldn't depend on a cleansing water to remove all my makeup (including very waterproof mascara) in one go. Personally I don't regard Bioderma as my favourite micellar cleansing water- that title belongs to the Caudalie Cleansing Water, which is more refreshing and pleasantly scented. I've used Bioderma Crealine and Bioderma Sebium before and they do a good job of removing makeup and product on the skin without leaving a residue or the skin feeling tight. This Garnier rendition removes product fairly well but leaves a somewhat soapy residue, which means after using it I'm obliged to follow up with a second cleanser or at the bare minimum, a rinse with water. I'm in the habit of doing so anyway, which is why this made it into the monthly favourites but if you're looking for something that cleanses like Bioderma does, you won't find your solution in the Garnier version.

I've joined the candle bandwagon, with the Yankee Happy Birthday Vanilla Cupcake popping the candle cherry. On a spontaneous jaunt to IKEA I purchased their Mixed Berry and Vanilla candles as well, which smell lovely. I'll see how long this phase pans out for and if I dip more than a toe into the pool of wicks, soy and scents long enough to dabble with more commitment. 

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask to Quench Skin's Thirst
Last spring I put this tube away and only recently dug it back out for the cooler weather. It is, quite frankly, luscious. It smells deliciously of apricots and the consistency is so rich and hydrating. It's my second winter with Drink Up Intensive and I don't regret buying this because sometimes the skin is crying out for something intense and on dry winter nights, this is what the skin is crying out for.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Dry, No Doubt

After converting to alternate night hair washes, using dry shampoo to tide me over second day hair has become imperative. I've dabbled in the aerosol side of the range, with Batiste and Klorane, but I wanted to try a non-aerosol variation and Lush's offering No Drought is affordable and easily accessible. 

Spraying it from an aerosol can to the hair's roots is straightforward but using a bottle seems a bit perplexing. Despite this first impression, puffing it out of the bottle is a lot more convenient than I'd perceived prior to purchase. It doesn't dispense too much, which is something I found aerosols had the tendency to do due to the high pressure that caused it to gun out. Lush's ingredients basically read as a citrus-scented cornflour. The scent is mild and unoffensive but is reminiscent of lime sherbet. It doesn't leave the hair with a white cast, but I don't normally have that problem because after letting it settle for half a minute and brushing through to blend the powder into the hair it doesn't show. I'm happy with the way it wears over the course of the day- it absorbs the oil at the roots and leaves the hair feeling dry and quite textured, which I would rate equal to the Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, which was my preferred aerosol can choice. I quite like Lush's No Drought but I'll wait until I'm at the bottom of this bottle to determine whether I've been fully converted to loose non-aerosol dry shampoos.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Skincare Resuscitated

It's a blessing and a pity First Aid Beauty is being discounted for clearance at David Jones because it's a beautifully designed brand with a simple, clean ethos that I find refreshing in a sea of garish, indistinguishable brands. Free from harsh chemicals, parabens, phthalates, colorants, alcohol and fragrances, FAB is straight to the point, functional and easy to interpret. Over the last couple of months, I've acquired a few of their products since my first foray into the brand.

Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask
The shea butter content makes me hesitant to use it all over the face because it can aggravate and congest sensitive acne-prone skin. Instead, I've been enjoying using this on my cheeks where the skin is drier and it's been doing a great job of soothing dryness and calming irritation. There are countless DIY oat mask tutorials on Youtube for those who manage money wisely but this is a neat way of having one on hand.

My more recent purchase was the Forever Fab set discounted from Christmas and the sale was too good to resist. (PS: Thanks to Lena for posting about this set first!) It contains the Detox Eye Roller, Facial Radiance Pads and Ultra Repair Cream. 

Detox Eye Roller
Eye cream is foreign concept to me- I am afflicted by neither dark circles nor dry skin so I've never ventured into that field apart from a couple of deluxe samples. Despite that, I've fancied the idea of the Garnier roller-ball and have entertained the idea of purchasing it a few times. This Detox Eye Roller is almost identical in purpose and is more fun than functional for me. It says the 'caffeine packed formula alleviates puffiness and dark circles and smooths fine lines'. I haven't seen immediate results but the metal roller ball feels cool and physically that in itself could reduce puffiness. Curiously the solution contains the finest microshimmer, which, if I was to hazard a guess, is meant to illuminate and draw light to the under-eye area. It dispenses a generous amount, which makes it easy to apply too much. 

Ultra Repair Cream
Like Steamcream, this basic moisturiser can be used from head to toe and contains glycerin, shea butter, colloidal oatmeal and FAB antioxidant booster. Truthfully speaking I haven't opened this yet because my combination skin doesn't necessitate a bona-fide moisturiser at this time of the year. I'm storing this for later in the year when winter comes, or to give to someone who could love it more.

Facial Radiance Pads
I've been using these about 5 times a week for the past two weeks and while I'm uncertain of the long-term effects, after a few uses I felt my skin's texture was smoother and more refined. They're gentle enough to use everyday, with aloe, glycerin, cucumber to soothe and lactic and glycolic acids to exfoliate. They haven't made good on the claim to diminish fine lines but including a gentle chemical exfoliant in my skincare routine is something I've wanted to try for a long while now.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

April Favourites

At the beginning of the month, April was declared 'birthday month' and I took it easier than I deserved, honestly speaking. Very tardy with these Monthly Favourites and life-outside-of-blogging is taking over (I'm still keeping up with reading your blogs though!) Hormonal breakouts rampant; between treating myself to skincare and cosy home spa nights becoming more frequent because of the weather chilling down, I'm finding more products to post about after a little plateau/rut.

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque
To combat problem skin I've been using this kaolin clay mask as a cleanser. After purchasing and finishing the REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser and a little nudge from this video by Lisa Eldridge I thought nightly cleansing with the mask would be a good way to use it up (It's almost all gone!). I didn't notice drastically quick results with the REN but I found my skin was clearer progressively, and I'm getting the same results from this much-cheaper alternative. With the REN costing $40 and the Queen Helene around $4 on iHerb and $4 flat rate shipping, treating congested skin is cheap and cheerful. I do like more luxurious clarifying masks like the Origins Clear Improvement and the Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque (I'm eyeing up Aesop's Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque next but it's an eye-watering $51) but the Queen Helene is hard to beat in price and effect especially when used as often as I have been. I've already repurchased and am waiting impatiently for it to arrive in the mail.

MAC Sheen Supreme lipstick in Bare Again
I was swatching Rimmel's Moisture Renew Lipstick in Notting Hill Nude in Priceline and cheekily got out my on-the-go makeup stash to swatch MAC Shy Girl and MAC Bare Again next to it and I was surprised to find I preferred Bare Again out of the three. It's a very wearable natural warm pink with the right amount of brown and peach. The formula is glossy, as the range implies, but it doesn't have a lot of slip to it. The click is secure enough that I keep the tube in my tote bag and reapply whenever the fancy strikes.

Korres Lip Butters in Jasmine, Pomegranate, Mango
Access seems to be the only thing stopping me from using or playing with lip products. I usually hide them away in a compartmentalised makeup storage system so in an effort to break the 'out of sight, out of mind' philosophy I had going, I placed this stack of pots of sheer coloured goodness on my desk and have been applying them more often than I have before. After all the hype and hubbub that went down in the blogging community surrounding these sheer tinted lip balms I'm glad I've rediscovered them and getting more wear out of them. They smell lovely, they impart a pretty tint and the formula is faultless.

T2 Gorgeous Geisha
I'm all but addicted to green tea and drink a mug every morning; the aroma of strawberries and cream makes me that bit happier. Thanks PC! ;)

My Beauty Diary Sake Yeast Masks
Late nights have called for less of an experimental focus on lotions and potions and on a few exhausted nights I've taken to whacking on one of these masks before bed and drifting off with it on. I haven't used face masks from a brand as well-known as My Beauty Diary in a long while and out of their droning line varieties I'm glad I chose Sake Yeast. It contains hyaluronic acid, aloe extract and sake yeast extract, which is reminiscent of SK-II's signature ingredient, pitera, also an extracted by-product of sake brewing. MBD claims the masks are whitening and moisturizing on the box and hydrating, oil control and repairing on the website but I'm just happy to find my skin smoother and more hydrated when I wake up in the morning (sans mask because I've taken it off my face in my sleeping state). I bought mine from an Asian beauty store in Westfield Garden City in Southern Brisbane but they're also available online at

Caroline Hirons on Youtube
To the delight of people the world over, the legendary skincare godmother of the blogging world has begun creating Youtube videos!