FAVES | October 2017

Welcome back to the periodically-neglected site I write on, and thank you for popping by again! The site has had a bit of a hiccup lately and all the posts had to be re-uploaded (unfortunately sans-photos). As such, please bear with while my incredibly patient webmaster Finn fixes things, and I re-upload a veritable shit ton of photos. It might not happen quickly, because I refuse to put pressure on Finn (he is the true saviour of this site and often my sanity), and I avoid my blog when I am anxious – which is often.

Anywho, in the past few months I’ve taken a couple of leaps of faith in terms of beauty and skincare, resulting in some new favourites, one or two mistakes, and unmentionable amounts of money leaving my bank account. Today’s post features some of the good stuff – mostly the things I’ve used and liked during the past month for my ease, but I promise I’ll release the rest in another rambly post.

First up, some familiar items around these here parts. About a year ago, I raved about the Ethique solid beauty bar range (see here), in particular the Heali Kiwi shampoo bar. It straight-up saved my sore and grumpy scalp, and within 3 weeks of beginning use I had a whole host of wee baby hairs sprouting up, proving the much happier state of my scalp. I found myself in the same predicament this year – a sore, perpetually itchy, dry and generally sad head. So of course I ordered the only thing that I knew worked, and after my first use of my new bar, my scalp stopped screaming and my hair was lighter and infinitely happier.

You guys, this stuff is some heavenly witchcraft. I must always have a backup as of yesterday, and after I’ve rehabilitated my scalp with this bar, I’ll be using Ethique’s Oaty Delicious bar as my regular shampoo (also super gentle for grumpy scalps).

Secondly in skincare land (the scalp is skin..), is the Aésop Control Gel. We all know I love Aésop and nearly all they do, but the shining product in the past however-many weeks has definitely been their Control Gel. When my skin hates me, a dot of this helps calm the offending site, reduce redness, dry out the blemish (without drying out the surrounding skin), and limit scarring. I have fair and scar-happy skin, and the good amount of niacinamide in this gel helps reduce the evidence of spots, which is always welcome. I’m relatively certain it’s mostly (added) fragrance-free, but if it does have any, it doesn’t upset my persnickety skin balance. AND, it’s like $20. Winner winner chicken dinner. Now, onto makeup!

I’ve said it before – while I’m middling on her actual music, Rihanna knows her makeup. This is evident in her groundbreaking makeup line Fenty Beauty, which launched in September and immediately reeled me and the rest of the world in. I (naturally) went for the single lip product in the initial launch – a ‘universal colour’ lip gloss called the Gloss Bomb. It’s designed to work for anyone of absolutely any skin tone, and judging by the 100+ swatches I’ve seen on people of all tones, it really does. I don’t know how or why, but it does. The colour isn’t too saturated, it’s not too shimmery or sticky, it tastes of sweets, and it’s probably the truest example I’ve tried of a My Lips But Better colour (as much as I hate the term). Of course, there are some downsides – number one being it’s a gloss, so it sticks to your hair and the rest of your face. Number two is that way too much product comes out on the applicator, though that’s easily fixed. Otherwise, it’s a perfect wee pick me up to have in my makeup bag, for something to pull my last-minute look together and moisturise my oft-neglected lips. As a bonus, it makes a nice subtle highlight when dabbed on the cheekbones in a pinch. Yeah, it’s expensive, but for a gloss that I actually use and don’t fundamentally hate? I’ll take it.

I have less to blub on about with the other two favourite makeup items I have, but they’re the same thing, and they even came in the same Sephora order as the Fenty Beauty gloss. Said order was largely spurred by the offer they had on, where upon dropping $90+ on makeup, you could get a mini of the cult classic Kat Von D liquid eyeliner. As you can see I took that offer, and I am very glad I did. I 110% get why people love this liner – it’s so easy to control! It has such a precise tip! It’s fucking brilliant! I’d never actually used a true brush-tip liquid eyeliner pen, and only now do I see the light. Honestly, the control I have with this is out of this world. Though it’s not as pigmented as others I have, I don’t mind too much as I can quite easily do another swipe and build it up a wee bit. It doesn’t bunch, it doesn’t crud up on top of itself. Beautiful. I even cried with it on, and didn’t have a problem with dulled eyeliner wings.

Liner #2 was actually an add-on to my basket, because I wanted to meet the minimum to get the KVD liner. It’s the Sephora Long Lasting Khol Pencil in #07, Infinite Beige (what an inventive name.. not). This matches my skin in an eerily-perfect way, so when its in my waterline it does exactly as it should: making me look more awake and generally put-together. It’s super soft, yet hard-wearing – doesn’t scratch upon application and also stays put for many an hour. The only time it’s gone wrong on me was when I tightlined my eye with my Nars khol liner and forgot to let that dry before applying the Sephora one, which ended up taking on a grey tinge from the Nars liner. Once I realised my mistake and let it dry first, we were fine. As with many Sephora products, this was very good value – approx $10, and it’s noticeably longer than most khol pencils so is excellent value for money.

Another favourites done. Despite being long, I think I’ll stick to the format I forced myself to take this month – just 5 (or less) things each month. Then I’ll have less excuses, and perhaps I’ll conquer my anxieties and post a bit more. I know I’ve rambled far beyond acceptable limits in this one, but it is good to be back behind the keyboard, even if I am overthinking every phrase. If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking around. I promise I’ll try to make my efforts a little more obvious around here – I have a lot of posts planned, but the main thing holding me back is the anxiety I get from managing a presence on and relative to my blog (which I’m not very good at, evidently).

Speaking of, feel free to tell me things you like to read. I’m thinking I might branch out a little more into some mental health/coping mechanisms posts – things that pertain to my actual life, as I only wear makeup twice a week – in an effort to name and identify the things holding me back. Of course, this doesn’t mean a halt on beauty and skincare – god no! Those are my favourite topics by far. Anyway, I’ll leave you with some interesting questions this time round:

What’s your preferred blogging style (as a consumer), and what would you want to read more of? Alternatively, what were your favourite things 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?