SKIN | 7 Mini Reviews – Kiehl’s

I used up some more samples – this time from Kiehl’s. I’d heard so much about numerous Kiehl’s products, such as the green eye cream and the famous Midnight Recovery Oil so I headed over to a counter and had a consult. I was suggested these products – but what did I think?

Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash

This face wash was a non-event – not bad, not good. It didn’t irritate my skin, sure, but it also didn’t clean particularly deeply. Repurchase? No.

Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner – Alcohol Free

Just like the cleanser, nothing special. Good that it’s alcohol-free, but as far as I’m aware this has no actual hard-hitting skin friend ingredients. Repurchase? Nope.

Centella Skin-Calming Facial Cleanser

This was the loveliest cream cleanser I’ve ever used, hands-down. It obviously didn’t foam, but still left my skin feeling clean and soft without the residue my Trilogy one sometimes leaves. Repurchase? On the list.

Skin Rescuer

I’d heard that this was a miracle-working moisturiser; it calmed angry skin, hydrated (but not too much) and balanced the skin’s mantle. But it did the opposite, and despite washing it off as soon as the reaction was obvious, I had plenty of pimples the next day. Repurchase? No, as much as I love the idea.

Creamy Eye Treatment

This is ridiculously thick and takes an age to massage in, but it hydrates wonderfully and smooths my under-eyes. It’s average under make-up. Repurchase? Using the full-size now.

Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturising Serum Concentrate

I really needed a good boost of hydration when I used this, so I popped this on and it was awesome. I was initially worried about the silicone-y smoothness it gave to my face, but that soon went away and it didn’t have the clogging effects silicone-based serums usually have. Repurchase? Perhaps next winter.

Midnight Recovery Oil

Oh, what high hopes I had for this. It felt lovely and smelt incredible – but the next morning, my face was covered in tiny surface pustules (yet under those, very glowy). A week later I tried again and sure enough it repeated. Yet to work out which ingredient it was. Repurchase? No, god no.

So on the whole, an equal split of hits & misses from this sample batch. I’m definitely interested in trying some more Kiehl’s products – but I’ll be taking their promises with a grain of salt.

 

Have you tried any of these Kiehl’s products? What do you think of them?

 

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?

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?

May Favourites

Jumping back into beauty blogging means writing posts about your favourite things every month, and here we go with May. This month there’s ten products on my desk, so let’s get started.

L-R, from top: Clarins Double Serum; MAC CoyGirl blush; Tangle Teezer Salon Elite; Formula 10.0.6 SOoTotally Clean; Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Wine Ink; MAC Beauty Powder in Natural; LUSH Don't Rain On My Parade Shower Gel; Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil; Ethique Sampler Box

LUSH Don’t Rain On My Parade Shower Gel
Just before Easter I picked up the seasonal Ultraviolet bubble bar and liked it, so when I saw this similarly-scented gel, I snapped it up. Violets coated in treacle, with a touch of malt.. amazing. I can see myself buying the big size when this one is done.

Clarins Double Serum
A friend who worked for Clarins showed me this stuff almost a year ago, and I promptly fell in love with this smoothing, nourishing serum. After a minor breakout thanks to a product failure, I’m confident that my nightly pump of this helped my skin recover. In fact, this always helps my skin bounce back from anything.

Bobbi Brown Face Oil
As my friend Selinah would tell you, I hated the idea of oil the first time I tried this. Long story short, she kept making me try it and eventually I bought this little mini size at the end of April. Nothing I have ever tried hydrates my skin so fully, leaving it so supple and smelling so good.

Formula 10.0.6 So Totally Clean (Sensitive Formula)
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, Morgan taught me about the importance of chemical exfoliants, and this was the gentlest and easiest to access AHA/BHA toner I could find (a suggestion in Morgan’s post). This is my third bottle of the stuff, and helps keep my skin just that bit clearer and fresher. Amazing.

Ethique Heali Kiwi Solid Shampoo
Having had a needlessly stressed-out, irritated scalp for the past few months, I turned to Ethique and their solid shampoo bar designed to help heal troublesome scalps. I’m glad to say the sample I ordered of it worked a treat, and I have the full size on it’s way!

Ethique Guardian Solid Conditioner
When you use shampoo, you use conditioner, right? This smells like lime cordial and leaves my hair so very very soft. Also on it’s way in a full size and I can’t wait.

MAC Maleficent Beauty Powder – Natural
I redisovered this in my stash when I was re-organising it and after some googling to refresh what it’s intended for, I have been using this Beauty Powder (world’s most ambiguous product name) to set my face and keep things in place without over-mattifying or looking like I’ve got anything on. It doesn’t work under my eyes, but elsewhere I look glowy and perfect all day when I wear this. Make it permanent please, MAC.

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner – Wine Ink
I feel a little like a cheat for including this given it was only in the last week of May that I discovered this, but when I had my session with Amy Conway at Selinah’s Bobbi Brown counter, I couldn’t leave without this. We all know how I love rich plummy colours on my eyes, and this is just perfect for my blue eyes in our winter/autumn weather. Gently defining, colour-enhancing but not boring, as brown can be.

MAC Coy Girl Sheertone Powder Blush
I scored this on Trade Me in the beginning of the month for about $8 including shipping – if you know MAC pans that’s a blimmin’ bargain, as there’s well over 1/4 of the product left (retails for nearing $50 now full size). Such a beautiful bright mauve, and I’ve been wearing it whenever there’s makeup on my face.

Tangle Teezer Salon Elite Hairbrush
Another end-of-April purchase, I’d been hearing endless praises about Tangle Teezers and when I found myself in town on very few hours sleep and not having brushed my hair in a while, I caved in and bought this. Even with my grumpy, easily-knotted thick hair, brushing my hair is a dream with this thing. While it’s not 100% pain-free (I can’t expect anything to remove knots from my hair and be pain-free), it reduces pain and time spent brushing my thick locks. I appreciate that. Works wet or dry, and easy to clean. WIN.

There’s my round-up; what have been your favourites in May?

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?

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?