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?

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 | 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?

 

SKIN | 5 Mini Reviews – Aesop

In a move borrowed directly from Evelyn over at We Were Raised By Wolves, I have decided to begin posts on the samples I use up in my wee sample drawers. I always find Evelyn’s sample reviews so interesting, and they offer a chance to discuss the first responses we have to products.

First up, I’m reviewing some Aesop samples I was given in Melbourne* a few months ago – cleanser, exfoliant, toner, moisturiser and a mask. Each sample was quite small, but with the exception of the mask, provided me with ample product to cover my face. There wasn’t actually any dud in this selection, the lovely lady who served me clearly paid excellent attention to my skin needs and selected the samples accordingly as my face felt positively wonderful after using them all. I’ve definitely got a few on my to-purchase list..

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Fabulous Face Cleanser

This is a very liquid-ey, low-foaming gel that smells fresh (bergamot & citrus) but is not stripping. Left my face supple and refreshed, but didn’t leave behind residue – a dream of a cleanser. Mildly calming, too (which God knows my skin needs!).

Repurchase? Most definitely – on the list.

B & Tea Balancing Toner

Nothing like any other toner I’ve tried – where you normally think of toner as a watery essence, B & Tea is more of a liquid-leaning gel. As I find with most regular toners, I couldn’t see an immediate difference. But it felt refreshing and most importantly, hydrating (which most toners don’t really do for me, so it can’t be a bad thing).

Repurchase? I’ll consider it, once I’ve used up my current stash.

Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream

When I first squidged this out of the packet I was rather taken aback by it’s yellowness. But it didn’t smell weird so I put it on my face, and I am so glad I did. It hydrated my notoriously dry skin wonderfully without feeling too balmy and taking an age to sink in.

Repurchase? Oh, fuck yes. Hello, summer moisturiser.

Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste

This was the finest grit I’ve ever felt in a physical exfoliator, and the closest I’ve ever been to a physical polish of my skin. I used this on my skin when I hadn’t exfoliated (in any form) in quite some time, and it’s a good job I did because I would be mildly concerned about stripping layers off if I used this regularly – even gently. Having said that, a full-size would last bloody ages because you don’t need much at all.

Repurchase? Probably not, I have exfoliators close to this grit already and I don’t use them enough to justify purchasing this.

Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque

A drying mask that doesn’t freak my skin out? What?! I’m sold. Especially when it left my skin visibly clearer and managed to soak up excess oil without pulling all moisture from my skin. Magical.

Repurchase? Yes, but only when I’m feeling seriously flush with cash.


For the record: I have dry and sensitive, mildly reactive skin that likes to be looked after gently (hint: just like people, most skin likes being looked after gently). If you have similar skin and you’re looking for something in these categories, I’d highly recommend giving these products a try. Or you could do what I suggest other skin types do and pop into an Aesop retailer and ask the expert, because I can’t see your skin and even if I could, they’re much less likely to fuck up a product recommendation.

Have you tried anything from Aesop before?

 

 

*Flinders Lane Store – Miranda served me and she was an absolute gem. Truly a stellar customer service experience.

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?

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?

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?