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 | 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?

 

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?

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?