EMPTIES | June 2017

I skipped a month or four in empties, and now I’m very sick of containers in my bathroom.. so here we go again.

I know what you’re thinking – candles? Who do I think I am, Zoella?! Don’t worry, I’ve no such delusions. But I felt like mentioning that as of late, I’ve quite enjoyed lighting candles in my bedroom. I don’t know why I like it – ambience, or something I suppose. I picked up the one in the background from one of my workplaces – it’s a limited edition candle by Aroha Love Candles, a local company, and was sold for Matariki. It has notes of pomegranate, lemon verbena and pink grapefruit, but I can also pick up some vanilla and a touch of rose. The purple candle with the ambiguous ‘inspiring’ wording on it was a very strongly scented passionfruit candle (I think). My mama gave me it for christmas, which was lovely, as she normally hates candles.

Then we have a common sight – an empty LUSH pottle. This was for my first pot of ‘Santa FUN. I just use FUN as a shaving cream or to make some fluffy-af bubbles in my bath, but it can also be used to wash your body and/or hair, or mould things. This one smells like jasmine & ylang-ylang, which is a lovely combination and one I find very comforting, particularly in a hot bath in the middle of winter (which would be appropriate if I lived in the Northern Hemisphere).

Look, more LUSH! There’s actually two 100mL bottles of Vanilla Dee-Lite body lotion I’ve used up, but putting them both in the photo ruined the aesthetic, so live with it. As we all know, I love this lotion. It is thin, but still hydrates my lizardy skin – and it smells of vanilla. It’s truly my favourite, even though I go through quite a lot of product with each application. I also have here a wee pot of what was pink FUN – a sample I got in a Kitchen order, and popped in a cleaned-out lip scrub container. The scent would appeal to any small child, I think – sweet and candy floss-like – but it’s otherwise the same as any other kind of FUN.

A few things I’ve given up on are in this empties, including the EOS lip balm sphere in Pomegranate-Raspberry. When I was using it, I bloody loved this balm because it was delicious in scent and taste, but I don’t actually rate the balm itself as none of the ones I’ve tried do anything for my lips. I stopped using this one when I moved on to more effective lip balms, and when I found it recently I noted it’s lost any scent entirely – now it’s just a ball of waxy sadness. Also on this disappointing train is The Healthy Deodorant by Lavanila in a limited-edition Vanilla Snowberry scent. I ordered this mini-size LE on Amazon about christmastime, along with a 7-pack of the regular scents in miniature. This was completely dried out upon opening, and entirely unusable. I should’ve contacted Amazon for a refund, but I didn’t think that far ahead.

Next up is a wee brown bottle I’ll be reusing – it held Hello Tanya‘s incredible cuticle oil, a verifiably magical mix that hydrates my nail beds like nothing else. I have another bottle already, but Tanya said she could use spare bottles back so I’ll recycle this one!

One of the two mini things seen here is the HASK Argan Oil Hair Treatment. I used to love this stuff, but nowadays it’s too siliconey for my hair. I prefer the Wella SP Luxe Oil to smooth and treat my hair – when I remember to use it! The second mini is of the Goodness Every Evening Cream – I got this in my trial pack and it’s a great night cream. This mini size lasted ages and I liked it so much that I’ve bought the full size to use when I finish my current night creams.

 Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner is a staple in my bathroom, no matter what kind – but I like the Beach Mate or Moisture variations best. I think I’ve mentioned it nearly as much as I have The Righteous Butter by Soap & Glory – a true gem of a body butter. Thick, creamy, sinks in fast, and smells like pink Shirley Temple drinks – it’s basically all I want in life. Sophie gave me this, and since using this up, I’ve already nabbed myself a large tub and another mini.

The final things here are face things – the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer and the Goodness Every Morning Moisturiser. The primer is weirdly siliconey for the thin texture, and is actually not finished – it fell victim to the old “I’ll save it for a special occasion” plan, and then it began to smell overpoweringly plasticky, and started clumping up in the container – ick. The Goodness moisturiser also isn’t bad by any means; it’s a versatile formula that’s going to be suitable for virtually any skin – sensitised to oily, even dry. I didn’t finish it up because I am lucky enough to have an abundance of excellent moisturisers that are a bit more tailored to my skin type. If I didn’t have them, I’d definitely consider picking up this for a good basic formula of moisturiser.

So that’s it! What’ve you used up these last few months?

SKIN | Hell Pore Clean-Up Mask

Today I’m reviewing the most bizzarely-named product in my cupboard: the Hell Pore Clean-Up Mask by Korean brand Elizavecca. I found this bonkers thing in one of my favourite little Korean skin/cosmetic shops in the Auckland CBD, and the minute I read the name I knew I had to have it, despite results. Luckily for me, it works.

Elizavecca is a brand I’ve been interested in for a while, mostly due to the carbonated cleansing mask I keep hearing about (and have found on amazon, but am resisting). This one belongs in the same range as the clay one – the MilkyPiggy range, which I think is the little pig fella on the packaging. This range is supposed to be super effective at removing dirt, hence a pig is used (’cause pigs.. spend time in dirt, I presume?), and I can tell you that this mask in the range most definitely does that. The information I have found says this about the product:

” A peel off mask that effectively removes skin impurities in just one use. This mask gets rid of whiteheads, blackheads and dead skin cells all over the face to free the skin from deep-seated dirt that clogs the pores. This mask contains 4% charcoal extract and caragana sinica which help control excessive sebum while also providing an abundant supply of nutrients to keep the skin healthy and glowing all day.” – Memebox

But how does it actually fare?

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This is a whole new level of peel-off mask – very thick, very grey and VERY strong. It takes a bloody long time to dry so in that time you should prepare yourself, because when time comes to grab the edge and pull your eyes will water. This stuff sticks to your face about as strongly as spirit gum, and on first application smells just like the nit stuff my mother used to gas my scalp with when I was a child. It’ll pull out tiny hairs on your face, sebaceous filaments (not necessarily a good thing, but harmless) and all the shit on your face that you thought you’d already got off. Unfortunately, it also dries out your skin a fair bit, so I followed it up with Clarins Hydra-Quench cream-mask, but so long as you moisturise appropriately (or for drier-skinned people, use a hydrating mask like I did), you’ll be fine.

My skin is left clear, smooth as a baby’s butt and pretty much perfect for quite a while – you’ll not be needing any other clarifying masks for a fair few days with this one, and I’d suggest going easy on any exfoliation as you’ll have pulled more dead skin off your face than you knew you ever had and it will be a bit sensitive. While it most definitely lives up to it’s claims of dirt/crap removal and sebum control, I’d certainly hesitate to say it provides “an abundant supply of nutrients” to the skin. I found it very stripping on the skin, but that much is to be expected when you’re using something called a ‘hell pore clean-up’ mask, I suppose – you’re getting a lot more from this than any clay mask.

Repurchase? When I use this up, I’ll buy another tube of this crazy mask – nothing else has ever cleaned my face so thoroughly, and although it’s very rare I need to use it, it would be ace for anyone with excessively clogged skin.

Have you tried any Korean skincare products?

MAKEUP | Lashes for Days

The item I hear most about stashes of in the beauty blogger/vlogger world is mascara. Mascara goes off quicker than just about any other beauty product (you should be popping that tube in the bin 6 months after opening, by the way) and I can’t personally justify having more than one on the go at once, but I did find eight – yes, count ’em, eight – hanging out in my stash of things during a huge clear out recently. I thought it’d be a good time to do a bit of a run down of them, and tell you my thoughts – there’s a repurchase in there, 90’s-esque colour, and a packaging hatred, so get amongst for some lash-by-lash breakdown..

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Line-up: Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye; Maybelline Rocket Volume Express; Maybelline Great Lash Classic in Vision in Violet and Very Berry; Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes; Revlon Photoready 3D Volume in Blackest Brown; MaxFactor 2000 Calorie in Brown Black; LA Colors mascara in brown

First up, Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara. This one is a miniature size, but oh BOY the price is not. Do you fancy dropping $57 on a mascara? Because I don’t, despite how perfect the product is. Smokey Eye Mascara is gorgeously black in pigment, lasts well and makes my lashes look long, and fluttery as fuck. I actually prefer the miniature size, because it means I can finish a mascara before it dries up and gets useless, but I don’t waste $30 when it does. Bobbi, please sell these perfect little minis. I’d drop the outrageous dollars I’m sure you’d charge on them, because I know how idyllic this stuff is – I just want a size I can finish!

Next, we set in on the half of this line up that Maybelline make. The Rocket Volume Express mascara was much-hyped in 2012-2o13, first brought to my attention by (then) Essie Button, but unavailable in NZ, as it remains to this day. It’s a pretty great one, separating lashes like no tomorrow and keeping them relatively same-looking all day, yet still easy to get off when all is said and done. It’s a plastic, mildly terrifying wand that will absolutely scrape your tightline and make you flinch several times, but if you’re happy to adjust then it does the job pretty well. Gets a little thick and spidery at the end of it’s life, but definitely one Maybelline need to bring to Antipodean shores. I hear the waterproof version is even better.

The Maybelline Great Lash formula is pretty damn iconic – around since the 70’s, the pink-and-green tube has several different incarnations – big/little wand, super-dark formula, blah blah blah.. and then, colour formulas! I picked up two from Amazon a while ago – ‘Vision in Violet‘, a playdough-purple monstrosity, and ‘Very Berry‘, a red mascara with the world’s most unimaginative name. These were technically fine – Violet was a bit thicker than Berry in my experience, but they both had a thin wand and average wear. On the whole, I have two words to say about Violet – never & again. It was a terrible colour and dried up far too quickly. Berry was actually pretty cool – being a burgundy it enhanced my blue eyes and really made them pop in a way a bit more obvious than the usual brown trick. However, trying to remove it was a horror film – despite thinking I had properly removed it all, I woke up to a terrified ex-boyfriend thinking there was something very wrong with my eyes. A lot of fun to own, but I’m sure the other few plum/burgundy mascaras out there will have formulas that outrank this.

The Maybelline Great Lash Brush Gimmick I chose to buy into was the Lots of Lashes brush – a tiny cone/heart-shaped brush that’s designed to get to every corner. I bought it because I’d been intrigued by it for a while and it was $11, but I bloody loved it – easy to get off, separates my lashes nicely, gets ’em all, and isn’t soul-rippingly expensive ($28 for a mascara that costs US$6 is a fucking rip, and you know it Maybelline).

Back when Kmart redid their makeup section, they sold stuff really cheap. I was well into brown/black mascaras at this time, and that’s when I picked up the Revlon Photoready 3D and the MaxFactor 2000 Calorie mascaras. Revlon’s offering stayed unopened for a while, and fell in love with Max Factor’s, which made my lashes look long and fluffy with it’s thicker, drier formula. I noticed as time went on that it flaked off onto my cheeks at the end of the day, and left my lashes looking pretty shite. I thought it was down to it needing to be chucked, so I picked up another one. Straight out of the shop, same deal. Gave it 7 tries and got fed up. No thanks, Max.

Revlon, had the opposite problem – as it got older it became wetter, and left lash imprints everywhere. I also found the name misleading – it did give a brilliant result (especially with that brush on there – long soft plastic bristles everywhere that got all my lashes and made them stand out of my face like nobody’s business) but I promise you there was no volumising going on there whatsoever. The final complaint I have about this one is packaging. It’s a good mascara, but a makeup bag space hog. Not my favourite mascara of them all, but I didn’t despise it. Not like..

LA Colors brown mascara – a nightmare I should’ve seen coming, given it cost me $3. It did fuck all, and was way to warm for anyone. It was cruelty-free though, so props for that. I ended up desperately trying it in my brows for a week, and then it got gloopy. Not a good time.

There you go – some thoughts on mascara. A post you didn’t know you’d want to read. Or maybe you didn’t – I don’t know. Now go forth, and don’t buy an LA Colors mascara.

EMPTIES | January 2017

And again, here we are – but this time, with a new year to incorrectly write on forms for a few months.

Look at my trash, I guess?

Caudalie Beauty Elixir: I bought this on a whim from Sephora, after seeing long-time faves Sali Hughes and Caroline Hirons raving about it – I had no idea it had so much menthol in it, but I’m still a fan. Where most brands push their spritzes as “pore-tightening” or something equally as impossible for a fancy water to do, Beauty Elixir lives up to it’s claims and more. It really DOES speed skin healing, and feels incredible. The packaging is pretty luxe regularly, but my special edition Jason Wu design is one I’ll be keeping to reuse. I can see why it’s a classic. Repurchase? Yes, when I can afford to.

LUSH Curly Wurly coconut shampoo: This was a sample I received with one of my kitchen orders – I’d wanted to try it for ages, but was apprehensive about the chunks of coconut in it getting tangled in my hair. I was right to be – it made my hair washing process fairly harder than normal. Despite how much I liked the results of the rest of the shampoo, the coconut pieces just weren’t worth it. Repurchase? Not unless the formula is changed, sadly.

LUSH Angels On Bare Skin fresh cleanser: Another sample that came – I had it once before a few years ago and didn’t like it because of the oily layer it left. My skin is drier now, and I my skincare tastes have matured so I can appreciate the hydrating layer it leaves. I do like it, but I wish I could buy smaller sizes – due to the other LUSH cleanser in this empties, I never even finished this sample before it’s use-by*. Repurchase? I’m definitely considering it, but I’ll have to ensure I’m only using that one while I have it.

Seventeen Phwoarr Paint under-eye concealer in Fair: As you can see, this isn’t used up – but it’s so old, it really needs to go. I mentioned it a few months ago in a Favourites post and those feelings haven’t changed, if I’m honest. I’ve just had this far too long.. coming up 3 years now! Repurchase? When my Bobbi Brown corrector is used up, I think I will. An excellent dupe at a much more reasonable price.

Goodness Skincare Chia Seed Oil: Another recent favourites mention, I am well and truly on the Goodness bandwagon. A no-nonsense, quality skincare brand that doesn’t cost the earth. Inspired. This chia seed oil hydrates my face excellently, and its now a staple in my routine before my moisturiser. On days that are particular write-offs, I like to use twice as much as normal in place of my moisturiser for a big boost of nourishment. Repurchase? Currently using another mini I got with my full-size purchase, but when that’s up, I definitely will.

Trilogy Very Gentle Cleansing Cream: It’s been 18 months since I escaped left Farmers, and I’ve finally finished my last tube of this cleanser. It’s been my go-to gentle cleanser for the longest time, and there’s not much more I can say about it that I haven’t already. It leaves slight residue, but cleanses thoroughly without irritating the skin – one of the few cleansers I don’t have to immediately moisturise after using. Repurchase? I’m on a new cream cleanser buzz now due to budget, but if I can handle the price, I’d love to use this again.

LUSH Bûche de Noël fresh cleanser: Because I was just getting in to my sample of Angels on Bare Skin around Christmas, I thought I’d pick up the festive cleanser LUSH put out annually, as they were apparently quite similar. They were, but I didn’t like this. The smell is fine (though a little strange in summer), but large pieces of cranberry are really annoying to put on your skin and to fish out of your plughole. Also, didn’t last well. Repurchase? No, as I only got a third of the way through this before I needed to chuck it out.

Goodness Every Day Cream Cleanser: Another mini from my Goodness sample box, and boy is it a goodie. It’s now replaced my Trilogy Very Gentle as my favourite cleansing cream, not least because it’s less than half the price and works just as well. Not quite as soothing, I’ll admit, but still amazing – I use so little that my full-size will go very far. Repurchase? Already have!

Evolu Purifying Mask: Just like the Trilogy one, this is one of my final tubes from my days at Farmers. It’s a hard-core clay mask that will pull oil from your skin like nothing else. Incredible for when my skin feels congested and unbalanced. I also like to mix it with a cream mask such as my Antipodes Aura mask, and it does a beautiful job of rebalancing my complexion without sapping moisture from my mantle. Repurchase? It’ll be rough, but yes. It’s worth the dollars.

LUSH Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair shower gel: I bought this when the latest lot of new permanent products came into NZ LUSH Stores, and only in 100mL in case I hated it (reviews are pretty split across the blogosphere). Turns out I really like it – it’s a lavender/jasmine/rose/guava/fig scent, and I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve experienced lavender in a more bracing format as opposed to the usual ‘relaxation’ vibe. It’s awesome – bright and refreshing. Also makes an excellent clarifying shampoo. Repurchase? Yes, definitely.

What did you use up in January? Anything you really loved/hated?

Sunday Feels with Hello Tanya and Nicetouch

On Sunday, February 12th, a momentous occasion took place. Tanya, my holy grail Nail Queen and fabulous friend, joined temporary forces with Lucy, proven Masseuse Monarch and equally ace mate. Together they put on Sunday Feels – a luxurious event for you and your best buds. With cheese.

Image courtesy of Lucy & Tanya.

I conned one of my favourite people, Steph, into coming with me to the inaugural event and to cut to the chase, we had a brilliant time. Beginning with hugs and the offer of beautiful kimonos to wear, we were off to a perfect start. Then came selection of our nail shades & deigns over a cheese plate and cocktails – I think I asked about 3 times what the cheeses were because they were so darn delicious, but I still forget! Regardless, we ate it all with delicious Forage + Bloom Iced Tea cocktails that Lucy prepared. I’m not sure what variant of tea we had, but it was deep burgundy in colour, and tasted like forest flora in the mouth – delectable!

Following on from the brief catch-up over cheese, we went our separate ways to begin the pampering. Steph, being as indecisive as she is, went with Tanya first so she couldn’t overthink her nail choice and I went with Lucy as I was in desperate need of a massage – more than I knew.

Not the massage room I was in, but Lucy’s regular practise. Photo courtesy of Lucy.

The massage took place in Tanya’s gorgeous bedroom, set up with a salt lamp in the corner, a candle gently flickering and the massage table in the centre of the room. Lucy talked me briefly through how she was going to do the massage before she left me for a moment to get undressed and plonk myself on the table. Upon her return, she used a warm oil blend to massage my legs and feet – a miracle in itself, as I’ve never been relaxed enough for anyone to touch my feet before! Following on, she wiped away excess oil with a hot towel (which felt amazing), and began to work on my back and lower neck. I know I have a lot of tension in these places and I usually experience quite a lot of pain with any form of massage, but I felt nothing but bliss with Lucy. While I didn’t fall asleep (as I’m sure many do), I was in a magical trance-like state as my muscle tension melted away and afterwards, I genuinely felt like a newer me. I kid you not when I say this was the most amazing massage I’ve ever had – and I know Steph felt the same. As a bonus, the oils Lucy used with the scalp massage did wonders for my hair; I washed it that evening and it was ridiculously soft & silky.

Next up: Nails!

Tanya’s excellent set-up at her wonderful Mt Eden home – regular up top, and featuring Rodney the cat on the bottom. Photos courtesy of Tanya.

Naturally, Tanya knows me and my nails quite well by now. As such, she knew I’d need another treatment of the IBX nail treatment system to keep my nails in top-notch condition. And that it does – it had been approximately 2 months since my last appointment and yet my nails were mostly pretty darn strong, with a free edge for what feels like the first time ever – pretty amazing when only a few months ago I had acrylic-ruined tiny nubbins for nails. If you have the chance to get IBX, do it! It truly is a nail-saver.

Due to my new-found free-edge, I decided to embrace the relative length and incorporate a bit of a negative-space design, a look I’d wanted to try for ages, but never had the length for. Tanya suggested small negative-space triangles on one nail on each hand (we all know I’m secretly a filthy hipster), and I went for a warm glittery red on my right hand and a cool-toned grey on my left, with alternating feature nails. It’s a big claim to make, but I think this may be my favourite design I’ve had with Tanya yet – even over my fabulous tweed nails I had for my last birthday. Something about the colour combo and simple but interesting design really gets me – it’s been several days and I can’t stop admiring my hands!

My very rad nails by Tanya – check out the precision on those triangles! Photo courtesy of Tanya.

It’s pretty safe to say that Tanya and Lucy have a really, really good thing going here. Steph and I had a fantastic time; in fact, I think it’s safe to say I’ve converted her to these ladies (sorry, Feargus!). Both offer impeccable and friendly services that leave you feeling awesome, and I have no plans to see anyone else for massage or nails ever again. Lucy has the same ethic I love about Tanya – straight up yet caring, professionalism meets friendship. You won’t leave either of these ladies without a big grin on your face, and I can’t say enough nice things about the idea of getting to see both of them in the same day, in the same place. Genius, really.

Tanya and Lucy – Miracle Workers. Photo mine.

If you want to experience this magic, head on over to Lucy or Tanya‘s pages and make an enquiry. They do Sunday Feels events once a month at present, and after Steph and I were first, places are booking fast. Alternatively, you can check out their services separately – both have pretty majestic cats at their places, and will treat you like the Prince or Princess you are!

Sunday Feels is a monthly event, with overall prices TBC.
Please contact Lucy and Tanya to book your place.

Image courtesy of Tanya
Image courtesy of Lucy

Have you ever had a brilliant, out-of-this-world beauty experience? Did you get snacks while you had it?

*This post is not sponsored. I paid for these services with my own money in full. I’m just a rad person, talking about rad things.

January Favourites

I had a strange January; full of excitement, disappointment, busy days and boring days.  So, like a normal month.. but heightened. Regardless, I have more favourites than I have for the past few months, because I keep discovering pretty rad things – so here I am to boast about it.

Caitlin Moran – How to Be A Woman:
My best friend of going-on 6 years, Claris, gave me this wonderful book for Christmas. I’d long-heard of Caitlin Moran and had been meaning to read her books for a while, but Claris said she thought I’d especially love this one. Turns out I do, because Caitlin is exactly my kinda person. Witty, honest and utterly unabashed, she tells stories she’s lived that helped her recognise what it meant to be a woman for her. The stories seem at first a little random and other than being in chronological order, seem to just be entertaining anecdotes. But by the 3rd or 4th chapter, I began to see a pattern emerging – each chapter drawing to a close in a very natural way (compared to most narratives), and leaving me thinking “Oh, I remember when I had a similar experience..” and actually beginning to think about how different experiences helped develop and shape who I am as a woman. I think every lady should have a copy of this book, stat. No matter what, you’ll learn something – I even think my mum will like it.

Colourpop Super Shock Eyeshadow – Cat Nap:
As I may have previously mentioned, I’ve been trying to get a bit more wear out of my makeup by putting it on more often, and this kitten (haha.. geddit?) has made it a lot more fun for every day. My beautiful friend Sophie gave me this shadow for Christmas, and I do genuinely love it. It’s a little icier than most shimmery pinks I’ve seen or own, and I love the sparkly glimmer it adds to my eyes. It does fall down a little and wears off after about 4 hours, but I don’t mind because that’s about all the time I go out for most days.

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick – Sand Dune (Mini):
I’ve had this cute lil’ fella rolling around in my makeup bag for a while now, and while I do use it every now and again (cream shadows are great for travel), it’s very much come into it’s own this month. Now I’m wearing a bit more makeup I’m really appreciating my fast/multi-use products, and this one fits right in. A medium matte brown, I can draw some all over my lid and blend for a nice light layer in a hurry; or if I’m feeling fancy I might pop a little in my crease and blend it out before chucking another colour on the main lid. It’s quick to apply, and once it dries down, lasts a FUCKING long time.. I’m telling you.

Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick – Blush:
On Boxing Day, I took myself to the Newmarket Life Pharmacy in the hope that the Elizabeth Arden counter would have my favourite lip balm on sale. They didn’t, but I needed it anyway. I got chatting to the counter girl (who I’m afraid I can’t remember the name of, but was probably the greatest person I interacted with all day), and she surprised me by letting me know that I qualified for the GWP, a full size of the Lip Protectant Stick I already know I bloody love. I was bloody stoked. It’s a tinted one, and it makes your lips a lovely ‘look-at-me-aren’t-I-beautiful’ pink, WHILE protecting them from the sun and hydrating them excellently. This is now attached to me permanently, until summer is over.

LUSH Bubbly Shower Gel:
Also scored in Boxing Day sales; I had originally planned to get the 250g size of this shower gel, but the sales assistants pointed out I could have twice as much shower gel for $6 more, so I took their advice and now I have the biggest bottle of shower gel I have personally ever seen. Good job though, because I love this scent. It’s the Celebrate scent, just like the body lotion and the Golden Wonder bath bomb, and it smells like orange Fanta when I use it in my hair. It never fails to make me feel super happy and sparkly, no matter the mood I was in previously – fitting, given it’s designed to smell of fruit and champagne!

REN Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial:
Mecca Newmarket didn’t have my Holy-Grail mask (the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal) in stock when I popped in, so I decided to try their relatively-new offering in the same line. Designed to gently but thoroughly chemically exfoliate your face overnight, it obviously has lower actives & acid levels – but it still works and you do get more product than the mask, so it all evens out. As it’s to be layered with serums and before moisturiser, it doesn’t dehydrate or injure the skin, just does it’s job and leaves your skin fresh when you cleanse in the morning. Perfect the night before a big day when I want to impress people I have crushes on by making my face look especially gorgeous.

Aesop Camellia Nut Hydrating Facial Cream:
I chatted a little about this in a brief round-up here, and when the Auckland Aesop store opened I knew I needed a jar of this in my life. The time finally came this month to wave goodbye to moisturisers of old, and crack this open. Upon first application, I was instantly reminded why I had been dreaming of this cream for near-on a year – it’s light, yet hydrates every patch of skin; protective but doesn’t leave a film on my upper dermis. Super soothing and not gluggy, I fucking adore this. I don’t use a lot either, because I don’t need to – yet another box ticked. This is how a high-end, quality moisturiser should make you feel.. in skin paradise.

Soap & Glory – The Righteous Butter (mini):
Another Sophie gift, that she must’ve read my mind to choose. I’ve been kicking myself since I left the UK over  years ago for not investing in more Soap & Glory bodycare, which hasn’t been helped by the constant praise I hear for it from my favourite UK bloggers. Soph gave me The Righteous Butter, a super-thick body butter ideal for very dry skin (hi, that’s me) and carries their signature Pink scent. I am so, so in love. This tiny tub has lasted 3 full-body applications (no small feat), and has at least one more in it. I am ordering more on Boots.com as we speak, because I never want to smell like anything that’s not sherbet again.

What were your favourites in January?

December Favourites

Lavanila Deodorant – Vanilla Passionfruit:
Lavanila is a deodorant brand I’ve been wanting to try for a few years now – ever since Esteé started raving about it. Luckily it’s available in Sephora in Australia, and my brilliant and kind friend Sophie offered to pick me up some things while she was in Melbourne. I’m a convert – it’s gentle and non-irritating on my annoying eczema-prone underarm skin, and smells amazing, all day. I’ll note that when it goes on it’s a thick white paste, but I assure you it doesn’t mark or stain any clothes. My trusty Bionsen deodorant has a contender!

Oasis Sun SPF30 Suncream:
As a translucent, milky-white skinned specimen I usually smirk at SPF 30, but it turns out that’s quite a naïve view. I’ve used this as my only suncream, both as day-to-day facial skin protection and as a dedicated sunburn prevention in direct sun. Both ways its excellent, and while I know it’s not supposed to be water-resistant I’ve been consistently and impressively protected, even spending all day sunbathing in the pool.
I do have to say that I’ve not tried too much from Oasis Beauty. However, I’ve definitely heard good things, and I’ve been so enamoured with this stuff that I think I’ve found a new brand to scope out..

Nude By Nature Single Eyeshadow – #12 Quartz:
When a palette I’d been wanting was sold out in Sephora, I asked Sophie to surprise me with anything she thought I’d suit in the palette’s place. She brought me back this shadow from Nude By Nature and holy shit I am so glad. I’d never really looked too far into Nude By Nature, and while I had seen they’d revamped their range and begun bringing out new things, I never looked too closely – my mistake. If this eyeshadow is anything to go by, I’m surprised the whole range isn’t sold out! It’s buttery, hugely pigmented, housed in in gorgeous copper-toned packaging and flatters my blue eyes like few other things do.. what’s not to love?

MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation:
Okay, so this is far from a new item – in fact, it’s half gone. But this month I’ve had an extra appreciation for my ‘lazy face’ foundation, my MAC Studio Fix powder. I don’t wear a great deal of makeup (I know, what kind of MUA am I?!), and when I do I like it to be able to be done fast. Studio Fix lets me chuck on an even-ish layer of base in a heartbeat, and doesn’t protest when I want to add further powder on top. It settles on my skin pretty quickly at this time of year, and doesn’t suck all the moisture from my skin.


Hello Tanya’s Nail/Cuticle Oil:
Now that I see Tanya on a semi-regular basis and my nails are beginning to bounce back from The Acrylic Experience, I’m making an effort to actually care for them. Hand cream was a basic step, but then Tanya explained that to do my hands justice, I should use cuticle oil too. She’s begun to make and sell her own blend, and it is the TITS. Seriously, you’ve never tried a more nourishing and wonderfully-scented oil, and definitely not one that sinks in as fast as this (without leaving a filmy residue, too). It’s only available in limited quantities, so I suggest you check Tanya out lickety-split; quite aside from the cuticle oil, her expertise is a surefire ticket to snazzy nails.

Real Techniques Blush Brush:
I don’t have the hugest collection of makeup brushes compared to your average MUA, but I definitely have more than enough – especially when it comes to powder brushes. I’m not sure why, but I significantly prefer a more tapered and fluffy brush to apply my powders, and the Real Techniques Blush Brush hits the mark dead-on. It reminds me of the Bobbi Brown Powder Brush in it’s style, but it sheds much less, and weathers a lot better. It’s been working seamlessly with the aforementioned MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation to give me a finish that’s even, but not too heavy.

Goodness Every Evening Night Cream:
As I mentioned in last month’s Favourites post, I’ve been trialling the Goodness range, from the people behind Trilogy. In that post I professed my love for the Chia Seed Oil, and in this post I’m all about their night cream. Morgan raved about it last year, my friend Nicole is a fan and now I’m jumping on the bandwagon. The chia seed oil base is nourishing and soft without being heavy or reactive, it doesn’t interfere with my various other skincare layers and it smells of honeysuckle. Oh, it also lasts AGES. Seriously. I use this nearly every night and I’m not even halfway through my mini size. I’ll have absolutely no problems paying $24 for the full size.

What products did you love in December?

EMPTIES | December 2016

Over November and December, I used up a huge collection of products and barely even had to try for it – the empties blogger’s dream. Here they are!

Dr Hauschka Revitalising Mask:
Of all the products I grew to love when I was with Dr. Hauschka, this is my number one; my can’t-go-without-it product. Whenever something is a bit off with my skin (or the night/day before a big event) I slather this on and let it do it’s magic. It gently revitalises skin, with a result similar to that of harsher ‘revitalising’ products, but without harming my wussy skin.
Repurchase? It’s a little steep at $87 a pop, but this is definitely worth it.

LUSH Celebrate Lotion:
I first tried this when it came in a Christmas gift I received last year, and I tried to stretch it out as long as possible, but eventually gave in to the scent and used it all up. Definitely a favourite scent in the LUSH ranges.
Repurchase? I was hoping it’d be released in this year’s Christmas range, but alas. Come on, LUSH Kitchen!

Meiskin Mandarin Face Scrub:
This one has been in the cupboard a while – given to me by my friend Steph when we worked at Farmers. It is quite lovely though, it gives me an excellent scrub, on the level of a self-microderm kit! Unsure of the kind of beads in it, though.
Repurchase? I have just ordered another in their Boxing Day Sale!

Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara (mini):
A regular feature in my empties – nothing fluffs my lashes as beautifully as this magic formula.
Repurchase? As I always say when I use up one of these; Bobbi Brown – let me purchase minis of this, and I’ll buy them until I die.

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads:
I bought these in order to incorporate an AHA/BHA product back into my daily routine. I do love them (a great low-level acid product), but I have to say I feel strange about using a pad a day and having to throw them out. Feels unnecessarily wasteful.
Repurchase? I’m looking a these as an option, but until I choose a product I’m using something else.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick:
This stuff is good. An offshoot of the Eight Hour Cream line, this is a hugely hydrating lip balm with SPF 15, in a stick form. Very handy and great during summer (especially as my skin gets drier).
Repurchase? Not any time soon – I was given (a tinted) one as a GWP recently.

Clarisonic Sensitive Facial Brush Head (not pictured):
Just like with toothbrushes, you’re recommended to change your Clarisonic brush head every 3 months. Also like with toothbrushes, I don’t – in fact, I think I change my toothbrush more often! In my defense, I rarely use my Clarisonic these days, and when it’s not in use I keep the brush head off the device, dry and tucked away in a sanitary place. This one is alright (it came with the body), but still a little harsh for my liking.
Repurchase? Not so long as I can get a gentler one.

Goodness Every Week Scrub:
I was super impressed with this, especially as I wasn’t a fan of Trilogy’s facial scrub (Goodness’s parent company). This gives me similar results as the Meiskin scrub, but is much easier to get and cheaper – winner! I also like that the scrubby bits are jojoba beads which are degradable and environmentally safe, but not jagged enough to ruin my skin.
Repurchase? It’s looking very likely!

Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion:
This came in a Black Box I was sent a few months ago, and I’m glad cause I’d been wanting to try it. Quite slippery, as it warns, but hydrating and protective on a budget.
Repurchase? Maybe in the future.

Bobbi Brown Radiance Boost Mask (mini):
I only used this up just the other night, and it was a lot finer than I’d expected for an exfoliating mask. Like the other two scrubs I’ve mentioned, it was a microderm-style scrub and I was very happy with it!
Repurchase? Probably not, as the other ones I’ve mentioned are significantly cheaper with similar results.

Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner:
I really, really love this. I wouldn’t call it a toner at all, rather just a hydrating mist, but it’s beautiful and the scent reminds me of  on of my favourite places in the world. Excellent for hydrating my skin and cooling it down, as well as calming my mind.
Repurchase? Yes!

Clarins Double Serum:
Another frequent flyer on this blog, I’m a big fan of Double Serum. I swear it’s a good chunk of why my skin is behaving better these days.
Repurchase? Yep – though I’ve just started on a 50mL size.

Apples & Pears Beeswax Lip Balm:
It only took me two years, but I’ve finally finished one of the best lip balms I’ve ever used. It transforms into an almost oil-like texture that nourishes my lips significantly better than most products.
Repurchase? If only – Apples & Pears no longer exists. I have one more, though.

LUSH The Comforter Shower Cream:
The scent of LUSH’s famous Comforter bubble bar is beautiful – blackcurrants and clouds. They’ve replicated it in a shower cream format, and it’s only a touch less amazing than the original bar.
Repurchase? No need right now, but yes.

Bionsen Sensitive Stick Deodorant:
I prefer a stick formula to roll-on or (heaven forbid) spray deodorants, and the unisex scent of this one is pleasant but not strong. It’s not an antiperspirant, but still keeps me fresh all day. It also happens to be one of the only deodorants that doesn’t irritate my eczema. Thank heaven for it’s existence.
Repurchase? Yes! Almost due for another Boots order actually.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Caplet Serum:
I’m not sure why this serum is in the Elizabeth Arden Ceramide range, because it’s not particularly hydrating. It is, however, VERY sparkly and alluring to look at. Not sure it did too much in terms of brightening my skin, though.
Repurchase? No.

Anatomicals Be Good With Your Hands In Bed Night-Time Hand Cream:
This was quite cheap and I used it up very quickly, but I tell you what – it’s great. Very hydrating, sinks in well and doesn’t leave a film on your hands. Not as good as my EA 8-Hour Treatment, but with a name like this (and a price point like that – $8), I’m not complaining.
Repurchase? Yes, if I can find it again!

Nivea Refreshing Facial Wash Gel:
I was expecting this gel cleanser to be very stripping and harsh, but it was surprisingly gentle and hydrating. Felt lovely on the skin, and was only $2.90.
Repurchase? Quite possibly, yes.

Thanks for reading! What about you? What have you used up from your stash lately?

EMPTIES | October 2016

This month I’ve made a huge effort to clear out the things I have doubles and samples of and get them used up, so it’s a packaging-heavy month.

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Dr. Hauschka Melissa Day Cream
This was my last tube I had stocked up from my time with Dr Hauschka, and I was both sad and excited to see it go, in all it’s summery, lemony yellow glory.
Repurchase? I want to try other moisturisers, but I can always come back to this.

LUSH Miranda Soap
Every month or so I chop off a chunk of one of my soaps to work my way through. This was my second chunk of Miranda, and I like it. Clean, fruity and inoffensive.
Repurchase? Quite possibly.

Clinique All About Eyes Cream – Rich
In my quest to find my perfect eye cream, I got this sample from a Clinique counter in town. A good eye cream, sank in nicely and kept my undereyes hydrated.
Repurchase? Definitley over my current Kiehl’s one.

YSL Fusion Ink in B10
This sample is nearing 2 years old – I used it up much much earlier than now obviously, so it was well over due date.
Repurchase? Already did a month after this sample!

Clarins Eye Contour Gel
I was given this sample quite a while ago, and I never used it up because it was not for me. It didn’t do anything, and I don’t think a gel for eyes has much of a point anyway if I’m honest..
Repurchase? No.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in 2
I loved the texture of this upon application and the way it made my skin glow, but it never stopped feeling tacky, which I abhorre, and it oxidised.
Repurchase? Sadly, no.

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Bobbi Brown EXTRA Repair Moisture Cream
This is my favourite winter moisturiser, as talked about in this post. This is my second pot, and I came to the end of it just in time to switch over to summer moisturiser, which I’m currently hunting for.
Repurchase? Yes, even at the price tag ($150.. ouch)

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Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation in 1N1
Another foundation I quite like – but perhaps a little too heavy for me to use too often.
Repurchase? I’ll consider it when I’ve used up my YSL Fusion Ink.

YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation in BR20
This was a lovely light-medium foundation that was very dewy. Could be a concern in summer months.
Repurchase? No – I love my Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation too much.

Bobbi Brown EXTRA Repair Eye Cream
The thickest and most expensive eye cream I’ve ever used, and unfortunately I adore it.
Repurchase? Currently searching desperately for something as good (or close to) that doesn’t carry a $146 price tag.

Clarins Instant Light Brush-On Perfector
This is the closest thing I’ve found to the YSL Touche Eclat, in texture and colour. This one is just a tad more yellow-tone, but I’m not complaining.
Repurchase? Maybe when I’ve used some more things up.

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Tonymoly Egg Pore Tightening Pack
Shit man, this stuff really sucks the oil out of the face, and has the most unwieldy packaging. But it eventually dried up.
Repurchase? Probably not, as the need for nose packs has diminished quite a lot since using more acids in my routine.

Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Frizz Remedy Hair Treatment
This is the second Aussie hair treatment I’ve used up, and just like the last I enjoyed it. Made my hair soft but not weighed down.
Repurchase? Yes!

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask
Like most of the beauty blogging world, I love this stuff. I have found in recent months that I can’t really use it directly on my face, but it makes a wonderful hybrid mask when mixed with clay. Also a wonderful calming spot treatment or overnight mask.
Repurchase? Yes – and so will the friends I’ve referred to this stuff.

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LUSH Turkish Delight Shower Smoothie
I used up one of these not so long ago, and only got through this one so fast because I depotted half of it into the top of my large size of this.
Repurchase? Yes, as long as the Lush Kitchen bring it back!

LUSH Twilight Shower Gel
Ah the cult classic, hard to find Twilight. Deliciously sweet and calming. I prefer it in this scent to the bath bomb, but I think I like the heavy malty element of the jelly over the gel.
Repurchase? Not soon – I have a full 250g bottle in my cupboard at the moment.

LUSH Flying Fox Shower Gel
This is legitimately my all-time favourite shower gel. It calms me down when I’m anxious, yet makes me feel powerful and confident when I need a boost. Of course, it’s discontinued.
Repurchase? Yes, when I’m down to one bottle left (currently 2.5).

LUSH Vanilla Dee-Lite Body Lotion
Another often-talked about thing here, and another discontinued item. Luckily it’s been back in the Lush Kitchen a few times, so I’m hoping it’ll be back again soon.
Repurchase? Yes, when I don’t have a few back-ups.

What interesting things did you use up in October?

November Favourites

November is over, thank cheese! Here’s stuff I enjoyed in between the hellscape of awfulness the month brought.

Goodness Chia Seed Oil
This month I’ve been trialling Goodness, a fab little skincare line made by the people behind Trilogy. I’ve enjoyed all the products, but especially this stuff – it smells comfortingly warm and foody, and plumps and strengthens my skin without being heavy or oily. I’ve been using it day and night – rare, for me!

Heart Lapel Pin
I’ll be honest – I only bought this because I felt weird about paying shipping for just one item from Present Indicative (it was a very funny mug). But I found this and not only was it a good price for a metal pin, I love the design and how good it looks on my favourite jacket.

The Caroline Hirons Routine
For most of the month I’ve really vamped up my skincare – more products, more consistency. This is inspired by the routine Caroline recommends. In all honesty I haven’t managed to stay completely on the wagon, but the biggest takeaway I’ve found from the stuff she recommends is the consistent use of washcloths. I don’t use a new one every day because I don’t do washing every day (though I dry them out hygienically in between uses), but I think my skin is clearer and cleaner due to the practise.

Friends
I’ve had a dreadful month, in case you couldn’t tell. In fact, I actually had someone remark to me at one point “Man, your life is really not fun right now”. The saving grace has been the presence of some amazing people I call my mates, who chat to me and cheer me up, go to lunch with me and talk me through the hard times. They’re people I can count on and who I am always there for, and I have so many of them to be grateful for. It’s soppy, but their friendship has been such a lifeboat – this month especially. Thanks to my gorgeous buddies Marshall, Shawna, Caitlin, Sophie, Kristina, Molloy, Sarah, Nicole, Hugo, Claris and Harata. You’re excellent, and I love you.

IBX Nail System
A few months ago I got acrylic extensions, and they fucked my nails up big time. My favourite nail technician (Hello Tanya Nails) was rightly furious with me and recommended the IBX Nail system, which helps restore the health of your nails. I’ve had 3 applications of it with Tanya, and my nails are stronger than they have EVER been. I normally have no free edge whatsoever, but now I can tap my nails on things without them bending at all (and without polish on them). I’m trying to help my anxious and OCD tendencies by looking after my nails and my hands, and having healthy and pretty nails is really really helpful.

Eat My Lunch
This month I signed up to the very cool Eat My Lunch subscription service. For $12-15 a day, you get a good-size, healthy and delicious lunch. No two days a week are the same and the main foods range from filled rolls to flavoursome pasta salads. They’re delivered to your work, and you eat well. The best part is that in addition to you getting a great lunch (which I would pay that much for anyway), another full lunch is supplied to a NZ child who wouldn’t otherwise get fed properly. Help kids, get fed. Win-win.

What have been your favourites in November?