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?

Ethique: Eco-Friendly Products That Are Actually Quite Good

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For a while now, Ethique has been popping up all over my Facebook feed and in NZ blogs I read. Formerly known as Sorbet, Ethique is a company that believes in reducing packaging waste by removing the excess water from your staple beauty products, leaving you with a concentrated solid bar packed full of goodies to cleanse, moisturise or enhance your skin, your hair, your pets, your clothes and just about all the basic things you need to look after. I’d heard nothing but positive reviews on multiple Ethique products so one ludicrously early morning I placed an order for one of their sampler boxes; a little box with five samples of their products that you select, for a minimal cost with free NZ shipping. I chose a shampoo bar, a conditioner bar, a cleansing bar, a body butter and a face moisturiser – all generous sizes, designed to last about a week so you get a good feel for each product. It’s now been about a month since I received my sampler, so let’s give it a review, shall we?

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T-B: Heali Kiwi Shampoo Bar; The Guardian Conditioner; SuperStar! Cleansing Bar

The products I was most excited to trial were the shampoo and conditioner bar I chose, as these are the products with the most feedback on Ethique’s Facebook page, and most regularly mentioned in reviews. I chose the Heali Kiwi shampoo bar, designed to cleanse whilst helping to heal and soothe irritated and unhappy scalps. My scalp has been having a tantrum for a fair few months, and within 2 uses, this had sorted it. Similar story with the Guardian conditioner – hairfall reduced by a very considerable amount, soft and happy hair that didn’t get frizzy. I don’t wash my hair more than twice a week, and these bars lasted through three washes, so I did get well over a week’s use.  I presume a ‘week’s worth’ of product insinuates daily use which these bars didn’t make, but I consider it great value for money considering I have thick, medium-length hair with a lot more strands than most people do. Needless to say, the moment I used up the last of these, I ordered the full-size, with some fancy containers. Full review soon, because DAMN am I impressed.

I was somewhat skeptical of the SuperStar! cleansing bar as it is designed to remove makeup and cleanse the face without stripping or irritating the skin, but contains Sweet Orange oil which can be an irritant to sensitive skins as it contains limonene. As a person with moderately panicky skin, I was hesitant but gave it a shot anyway and was pleasantly surprised – it melted easily with my body temperature, removed my makeup fairly well and most importantly, left my skin feeling clean but not filmy or parched. Despite being very strongly scented with it the Sweet Orange oil didn’t end up upsetting my skin, though I suspect it was mostly this ingredient that stung my eyes a little when getting mascara off (this could well be user-error, despite my best efforts to be careful). I’m not 100% in love, but I can certainly appreciate the versatility of the product and the formulation.

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L-R: Jasmine & Ylang Ylang Body Butter Block; The Perfector Face Moisturiser

I’ve been on a bit of a Jasmine-scented kick since discovering the LUSH Flying Fox shower gel, so I couldn’t go past the wee daisy, which was the Jasmine & Ylang Ylang Body Butter Block. This was definitely not a week’s sample as it only gave me one full body moisturising, but I’m not complaining because I don’t think you really need much more of a trial for such a product. It was a product that meant I could definitely forgo perfume, as it scented my skin, my clothes and my towel beautifully and quite intensely – almost too much so – but also coated my skin in a luxurious soft oil that left my desert-like skin quite happy. Probably not an every-day use product for me, but certainly an indulgent one.

The Perfector is Ethique’s moisturiser offering, touted as a solid face cream. It’s certainly got an impressive ingredient list – boasting rosehip and coconut oils, glyceryl, kaolin clay, hyaluronic acid and a fragrance of frankincense, ylang ylang and vanilla. The hyaluronic acid and glyceryl definitely do their job in the hydration department, and the oils cover the nourishing aspect quite well, leaving me with plump, happy skin in the morning. The Perfector is like SuperStar! in that you melt it on your face and massage it in, but I ended up with far too much product the two times I tried this so I ended up melting the amount I wanted in my hands, rubbing them together and pressing the product into my face as I do with other face oils. I’m not convinced this would sit well for me under makeup as oil takes a while to sink in to my skin and I don’t like waiting, so I’m happy with this as a night product. Possible repurchase.

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All in all, I really liked my first taster of Ethique’s products and have found at least 3 products to repurchase in full. In fact, I have the shampoo and conditioner awaiting me in my cupboard, so expect a full review soon, along with a run-down of the five other products I’ll be trying in the second sampler I ordered with my hair products. If you’re looking for a new something for your skin/hair/body and don’t fancy breaking the bank, I’d thoroughly recommend Ethique. Super fast shipping in NZ, high-quality products with easy-to-read ingredients lists, and customer service who have been nothing short of bloody fabulous whenever I’ve spoken to them. Certainly a new staple brand in my cupboards!