August Favourites

It’s that time again – I don’t have many, but I do have some. Let’s go.

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LUSH Dream Cream Body Lotion
I got a little sample pot of this with my last LUSH Kitchen order, and tried it on the persistent eczema spot on my arm – it disappeared in 2 days, so I bought a big tub. Good job, too as I had a too-hot bath the next day and a horrible heat/eczema rash took over my hips & thighs. The calamine in this really helped soothe that, and whenever my skin is having a dodgy day (feeling very sensitive and mildly itchy), I pop this on and instantly feel better. I believe the hype.

Kryolan Bruise Wheel
I spent the second week of this month working as MUA on a show at The Basement that called for an actor to be made over as freshly-dead (she hangs herself), so I had to pick up this bruise wheel from Kryolan. In using it, I was reminded how much I fucking love Kryolan products for artistry – the pigment, blendability and texture are perfect. Of course they are, because that’s what they’re designed for, but through playing with this I was reminded just how much fun sfx can be (and that was only bruising!).

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Wella SP Luxe Oil Leave-In Hair Oil
In part one of my recent empties post I reviewed the hair mask and shampoo from this range – they were alright, but nothing will ever be a patch on the original Luxe Oil. I use this every time I wash my hair and I am left with significantly smoother, silkier and stronger hair than otherwise. This bottle in the picture is the only one I’ve ever bought, and even with regular use I’ve barely used a third since I got it over 18 months ago – winner winner chicken dinner!

Bobbi Brown EXTRA Eye Repair Cream
God, this is the most expensive skincare item I’ve ever bought. I was lucky enough to get this in a set, so I didn’t have to pay the full $146 it retails for (and in full size, too) – but I still paid a LOT. It was worth it because I’ve only just hit the bottom, have plenty to go and I know that no matter what happens to my eyes, this baby has me sorted.

Good Puff Cotton Pads
Okay, I know it’s ‘just cotton’, but hear me out – when you use one of these every day to apply a water-based product to your face, you don’t want them to fall apart in your hands or get bits of cotton all over your face. These don’t, unlike the K-Mart ones I was using. I pay approximately $0.0218 per cotton pad for these vs $0.0125 per pad for the inferior ones, and I can afford that, I reckon. Once again, Japan brings home the gold in eliminating tiny inconveniences.

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What were your favourite products this month?

HAIR | Happy Strands

As I’ve mentioned in both my May Favourites and a sampler review so far, I’ve been pretty fucking impressed with Ethique’s solid haircare products as of late. Due to 7 months of non-stop work at multiple jobs and a body that can’t process stress, my scalp had gone from relatively happy to distraught. Incredibly dry and therefore flaky and itchy, getting oily very quickly and losing ridiculous amounts of hair every time I moved, it was not the best. This sounds like classic over-cleansing with the wrong shampoo, but I assure you I’d investigated every cause and I was not over-brushing or over-washing, I didn’t have dandruff and I’d been using hairdresser-recommended SLS-free shampoos and silicone-free conditioners only once a week. I don’t style my hair and I’ve never pulled at it – it really just seems like it was stress. So when I decided to try Ethique (read the sampler box review here) and saw I could try a scalp-healing shampoo and a protective conditioner, I was all for it.

The second I finished the samples I went to order the full sizes, and here’s why.

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Ethique are all about reducing waste and unnecessary shit from products, which I am all for so long as the product is functional. I’m pleased to report the products here are definitely that. They offer solid ‘beauty bars’ – shampoo/conditioner/moisturiser/cleanser sans excess water, leaving behind the concentrated ingredients. Just a few swipes of the bars across your head or skin, and you’re good to go. They even offer in-shower containers made of sugarcane and bamboo that help drain your bars and stop them dissolving unnecessarily, which is really quite a good idea given how often I forget to take stuff out of the shower with me. Each bar will supposedly last about 2-3 shampoo bottles, meaning it’s well worth your cost.

Shampoos/conditioners are the products with the most feedback on Ethique’s Facebook page, and most regularly mentioned in reviews, so when I ordered my initial sampler, that seemed like a logical place to start. I’d been intrigued in the whole solid shampoo concept for a while – LUSH do similar bars, and while I enjoyed the one I had a year or so ago I found it quite stripping and drying on my hair, despite being designed for dry hair and scalps. Ethique’s products seem to be a lot kinder, considering the responses they get, so I decided to give it a shot.

I chose the Heali Kiwi shampoo bar, designed to help heal and soothe irritated and unhappy scalps while still cleansing appropriately. Within one use, my scalp was less itchy and already going an extra day without needing a wash. Within two washes, I had almost forgotten I even had a grumpy head. Similar story with the Guardian conditioner I chose – it left my hair feeling silky and soft, but not full of silicone-y gunk as some conditioners do, and my notorious stress-induced hairfall levels reduced a good third between the first and second washes with the bar.

Now let me just stop for a second and be super-straight with you – I have never been one to believe in one-use-wonder products, and haven’t ever encountered any prior to these items. I’m not one to fall for much marketing, and I am highly skeptical whenever anyone claims a product is some kind of instant wonder.

This stuff has been a whole new level of impressive for me; the past year or so I’ve been finding stress exhibiting itself in all sorts of weird ways on my body, and I seem to be reacting to more things than ever before. Even when I try and reduce my stress I’m still dealing with these side-effects, so I’m rapidly trying to adjust the products I use (or don’t use) for my uppity skin. The only shampoo and conditioner I’ve found that don’t irritate my scalp are these ones, and I genuinely believe my scalp recovery is mostly due to them. At my recent haircut, I mentioned how ‘fluffy’ my hair had been lately and my hairdresser friend Jessie informed me that the ‘fluffiness’ is in fact tiny baby hairs, growing in place of all the hair I’d lost about 3 months ago. In fact, I would estimate that at one point mid-April I had 2/3 the amount of hair I normally do, and the main difference I’d made since then was the use of this shampoo and conditioner. My hair is healthier, stronger and shinier since using these products, and the odd time I do switch to something else for a wash, I’m left disappointed with a dry and sore scalp once more.

I’ll admit that towards the end the bars do get a little squidgy, but what more could I expect from a solid bar being kept in a damp place? The in-shower containers definitely extend the lives of the bars considerably, and are relatively sturdy – I am an absolute klutz and have dropped these bright cubes in the bath multiple times, but you’d never guess. Once I’d adjusted to picking a bar up instead of a bottle and begun to see the effects, I was converted. Ethique, you have a solid (ha, ha) advocate in me.

 

Shop Ethique products here. This post is NOT sponsored – all products purchased by me personally.

 

 

P.S. I’m by no means an environmentalist, but I have to say that there’s something super satisfying about not chucking out a bunch of plastic bottles every few weeks – a lot less clutter in my bathroom, and a lot less junk in the ocean. Win-win.

Have you tried any Ethique products? What would you like to try from them?

EMPTIES | The Skin/Makeup Stuff

And here we have part two of my latest huge empties offload (and I’m about to start them monthly.. oh dear). What follows is the skincare and makeup stuff – probably my favourite section!

THE SKINCARE

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First up is the skincare things I’ve gone through recently. Starting up in the left corner, we have..

Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Sponge
This is my favourite thing I discovered in my time working for Dr. Hauschka. They are soft and durable, but get all the cleanser/face mask/drool off your face with a gentle exfoliation. I especially love that when one gets a bit gross, I can just chuck it in the washing machine instead of throwing it out – so handy. This one is definitely a bit too old, though.
Repurchase? Already have another on the go, and a backup.

Kiehls Samples – Multiple
This is a collection of used Kiehl’s samples that I’m not actually reviewing here (as I’m writing a separate post on them), but included in this picture anyway because I didn’t think about it.
Repurchase? Well you’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you.

LUSH Love Lettuce Fresh Face Mask, 45g
I got this in exchange for 5 pots, because the one I wanted wasn’t in stock. It didn’t do much except annoy me, because the little seaweedy bits kept falling off. To be fair, it wasn’t as harsh as my Evolu clay mask (a good thing), but not anywhere near as good.
Repurchase? No.

Formula 10.0.6 So Totally Clean – Sensitive Formula, 150mL
Ah, the third one of these in 18 months. Fuck me, I love this. Morgan put me onto it via her popular article on chemical exfoliants, so I picked it up and I am never putting it down.
Repurchase? I’ve nearly finished up another, and have a regular version in my cupboard to try because I can never find this green one. It smells strong and I’m scared of it, so I might just try Pixi Glow Tonic if I can’t exchange it.

La’Bonic Organic Spot Targeting Oil, 5mL
Another Morgan-influenced product, via an amazing giveaway I won 2 years ago (I still have the cute note that came with it). This is the best spot oil ever, and my 18-year-old brother used the whole thing up on the sly when I lived with him. I’m pissed, and tea tree oil isn’t cutting it.
Repurchase? Yes – nothing helps heal and extract so well.

Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Shea Butter, 125mL
When I worked at Farmers, a friend managing the Clarins counter gave me half a tube of this to try, and it was perfect so I bought it. A year later, I’m at the end (that was not with consistent use at all, if I’m honest). It was lovely, thick and gentle but thorough and not drying. Gem.
Repurchase? I’d like to, for the summer months, but I’m trying to get through a Trilogy one.

THE MAKEUP

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Rounding out my big empties overhaul, I’ve got a few makeup items. This is rare, given I don’t actually wear that much anymore, but I’ve definitely got some opinions.

Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara, 5mL
Oh, my old faithful. This is the third half-size I’ve used up of this mascara, and even when it’s as empty and dry as this one is, it never stops trying to make my lashes look good.
Repurchase? I’ve got a fair few more mascaras to try, but I’ll keep collecting these ones as long as I can. I have never had fluffier lashes.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair/1, 5mL
This is the second one of these I’ve had, and they’re as good as they say they are. Just don’t powder this concealer down or suddenly you have small deserts under your eyes.
Repurchase? I’m going to bite the bullet and try Nars Creamy Concealer, but unless it’s approximately thrice as good, I’ll be back.

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, 5mL
A lil baby sample size I was given when I bought Double Serum. I do recall using it the first time and actually feeling it firm my face – a bonkers sensation that I still haven’t decided if I like.
Repurchase? Perhaps when I need a little more firming – I’m lucky enough to not need any yet.

Dior Diorskin Forever Foundation in 010, 30mL
I did not use this whole thing up, as I was given it by a MUA friend when it had about 10 mL left. It was a bitch to get the last out and I was hoping I’d hate it (due to price point), but unfortunately I don’t. I really liked it – possibly as much as my YSL Fusion Ink – and the shade match was dead-on. Oh no..
Repurchase? I’ll be hunting down a sample to try it again, but this could be a new purchase..

Alrighty, so there we go. End of another empties, but prepare yourselves for another two coming shortly! In the meantime, what are your most-repurchased makeup/skincare products?