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22 December 2014

Christmas Post: Goodbye to 2014

This post marks the last blogpost for Suzy Q-tip for 2014. I will be back in January with fresh content and maybe a little giveaway as well… 

This year has been incredibly difficult, as well as rewarding. In my personal and work life I have learned many lessons, such as that there are many good people in the world, but that there are also many people who have hidden agendas. I have met some wonderful people this past year, especially my social media followers and my blogger friends *waves*, and for them I am truly grateful.



The husband and I are in Cape Town as you read this, and I'm looking forward to some sunshine and wine in between the thesis writing. We are with my mom for Christmas this year and I look forward to spending Christmas Eve with my siblings and eating a delicious Christmas lunch on Christmas day!

I feel that 2015 is going to be a big year for me as well as for Suzy Q-tip. I celebrate my birthday on 1 February (the big 30, eeeeek!) and a few days later, Suzy Q-tip's first birthday. You can look forward to lots of reviews and hauls, and also a birthday giveaway!



I hope everyone has a safe and happy festive season. For those of you who celebrate Christmas: merry Christmas! Thank you to everyone who reads my blog on a regular basis, as well as those who sometimes pass by. Thank you to all my followers across all platforms: without you the blog would have just been another random webpage. THANK YOU!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

* Photo courtesy of Pixabay and Fincayra0204

18 December 2014

Favourite summer lippies

Summer makes me think of walking barefoot, wearing summer dresses and shorts, and eating watermelon and ice cream. Recently, summer also makes me think of corals, peaches, and soft pinks. These could be blushes, lipsticks, or glosses. Today I'm taking you through a few of my favourite summer lipsticks.


















From left to right: Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in "05 Olé flamingo!", Maybelline ColorSensational in "904 Vivid rose", The Body Shop Color Crush Lipstick in "18 Sunset Romance", Stila in "Amelia", Rubybox Smooch Stick in "Tangerine Tango", Topshop Lip Bullet in "Wine Gum".

I've spoken about the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet here. I wore it again over the weekend and it's such a fabulous product. It stays put through wedding toasts and big dinners, and the next day I still had a stain on my lips! It's a bright and punchy pink and the formula is creamy and non-drying which is amazing for a matte lip colour.

The Maybelline ColorSenstional in "Vivid Rose" is an underrated lipstick and as you can see it's a gorgeous bright pink. It dries out my lips slightly, so I just apply it over a thin layer of lip balm and I'm good to go.

The Body Shop Color Crush range is quite good, especially the new colour additions. I especially love this "my lips but better" shade which is a peachy nude and applies quite sheer.

This Stila lipstick in the shade "Amelia" has been laying on my dressing table for ages and I don't know why I haven't used it more. It's incredibly minty and fresh and the colour is a gorgeous dirty pink. It looks a bit more natural on the lips than in the tube and I love the minty smell.

Rubybox's Smooch Sticks are slim "chubby" sticks and perfect for popping in your handbag. I love this bright orange shade called "Tangerine Tango". It's not for the faint of heart, but looks beautiful with tanned skin. It's creamy and doesn't dry out your lips.

The last lippie on the list is this Lip Bullet from Topshop. If you like MAC's bright pinks with blue undertones, then you'll love "Wine Gum". It's a bright pink and the formula is super creamy. It wears well, but the colour is not for the faint of heart!

Which are your summer lippie staples? Let me know in the comments section!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo


15 December 2014

Review: Marc Anthony Bye.Bye Frizz Keratin Smoothing Treatment

Today I'm talking haircare on the blog. Haircare for sleek, smooth and frizz-free hair. I saw this Marc Anthony Keratin Smoothing Treatment kit at Dischem and decided to give it a go. The goal of the product is to eliminate frizz and to soften waves and curls, as well as to reduce blow drying time by 75%.




















The box contains a small bottle of clarifying shampoo and a larger purple bottle with the treatment. You also get a pamphlet with instructions and a shower cap, which is actually just a plastic bag...

I'll be honest...it is time consuming applying this treatment. I waited for a weekend when I knew I would be mostly at home and applied the treatment on a Friday evening as the instructions say to not wash your hair for 48 hours. I wash my hair every day, so this freaked me out a bit!

First you have to wash your hair with the clarifying shampoo, rinse it, and wash it again. The instructions tell you not to put on conditioner, and I must say, that was a weird feeling. The bottle of shampoo is very small, but I still have little over half a bottle left and I have long hair. The shampoo is very light and smells deliciously fruity. I don't know what I expected it would smell like, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fruity smell. The shampoo foams up nicely and you can feel it properly cleaning your hair. By the end of the second wash my hair felt clean and ever so slightly squeaky.

You then need to towel dry your hair and comb it out with a wide tooth comb. This part was horrible as I can't seem to comb out any knots unless I've had conditioner on my hair! After about five minutes of delicate combing and a few swear words, I managed to obtain smooth hair.

You then have to blow dry your hair to 80% dry, comb it out again, and divide your hair into sections. You then shake the purple treatment bottle, pour a little into the palm of your hand, and work your hands through your hair, piece by piece. According to the pamphlet, your hair should feel coated but not slimy or overly sticky. You then put on the plastic bag, ahem, shower cap, and let your hair rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes you do NOT rinse out the product: you blow dry your hair with a paddle brush until completely dry. After that you are told to divide your hair into four sections, and divide each of those sections into even smaller sections. You then straighten each small section by running a straightening iron (set on very hot) 5-7 times over it. After this you are finally done. Now you need to leave your hair like this for 48 hours so that the treatment can work its magic.

During the weekend I tried to not touch my hair too often. By the second day my hair started to look greasy, but I could still get away with it. The thing I noticed was that I had no frizz. I washed my hair the evening of the second night that I had the treatment in my hair, and a wash never felt so good!

The verdict:

My hair felt a lot softer, but unfortunately I couldn't see any difference. I don't know if I should have applied more product to my hair, but for all the effort I put into applying this, I am quite disappointed by the results (or the lack thereof). I also don't notice any reduction in my blowdrying time.

Pros


  • You can do it yourself
  • At R139.95 it is quite affordable

Cons


  • Time consuming
  • You're unsure if you have enough product in your hair
  • It didn't work for me

Have you ever used this product or something similar? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

08 December 2014

How To: Cover dark under eye circles

Late nights, bad diets, stress, allergies...all these are common causes of dark under eye circles. Add to this the possibility of inheriting it from your mom or dad, and you're pretty much doomed to use under eye concealers. I have compiled a little list of tried and tested under eye concealers and I hope that you will find something useful if you suffer from dark circles under your eyes too.


The first thing to remember is that, because of the blue (or sometimes yellow) tint of your under eye circles, you cannot use normal concealers that you would use for blemishes. You need something with a salmon or pink tinge to counteract the blueness.

Hiding dark circles

Whatever product I use, I like to either use my ring finger to gently pat the product onto the darkest areas under my eyes, or I use a concealer brush. I then use my Real Techniques Contour Brush to gently buff everything in. I like to follow that with a highlighter just below the concealer and also pat that in. I then use a loose or a pressed powder and my Real Techniques Setting Brush to set the concealer.

For dark circles that aren't too prominent

If you don't really suffer from very deep dark circles, I would recommend something like The Body Shop's All-in-one InstaBlur for Eyes. It has the consistency of a primer but is tinted so it evens out the fine lines under your eyes and gives a hint of coverage. It can also be used as a lid primer (which is what I mainly use it for). This retails for R135.

For very dark circles

There are three standout products in my beauty bag for this. Now this list is by no means complete, these are just the products that I've tried and that I've found work for me. The Garnier BB Cream for Eyes is a light and liquidy BB cream that you apply with the cool metallic rollerball applicator. It blends in seamlessly and doesn't cake at all. It comes in three shades (light, medium, and dark) and retails for R65 at Clicks (they currently have it on special for R55). The Bobbi Brown Corrector has pretty much reached cult status and really is a great product. I find it difficult to use in winter when it's cold and the product just doesn't want to warm up. I feel like I'm dragging the delicate skin under my eyes, but in summer it's a breeze to use. A dupe for the Bobbi Brown Corrector is Erase Paste from Benefit. I got my cute little round pot as part of a Benefit highlighter kit. The colour is more or less the same as my Bobbi Brown Corrector, but the consistency is much more creamy and blendable. Unfortunately it only comes in about three colours, whereas the Bobbi Brown range is much larger.

Highlighting the eye area

The iconic YSL Touché Eclat spawned this craze, but nowadays you can get away with a highlighting/concealing pen for far less than R500. Clarins, Estee Lauder, and numerous other brands make very good quality highlighting pens, and a favourite of mine is this Clarins Instant Light Brush-on Perfector Pen. One click dispenses enough product to draw on a triangle below each eye, at the top of my nose, and anywhere else I need a bit of "perfecting". I also buff this in with my Contour Brush. It wakes up the face and make the eyes seem more well-rested and awake than they really are! This retails for R315 at Clarins counters.

Do you have any under eye concealer tricks or holy grail products? Let me know in the comments  section!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

04 December 2014

Monthly Favourites: November

When I started rummaging through my things trying to think of what I used the most these past few weeks, I honestly didn't think I'd come up with six products! November was a busy month and without thinking I seem to have kept on reaching for the same products.


Toni & Guy Prep Smoothing Detangler

I bought this as part of a Toni & Guy gift set at Clicks. R199 got me a stunning makeup bag, smoothing detangler, as well as shampoo and conditioner (the shampoo and conditioner normally retails for R99 each). I'm not normally someone who uses detangling sprays or lotions, because I comb the knots out of my hair in the shower while I still have conditioner on. This smoothing detangler comes in a pump bottle and one pump dispenses a tiny amount of product. The product itself is of a liquidy consistency and it smells divine. I rub two small pumps into towel dry hair before combing it out and drying my hair. My hair is left soft and tangle free, hooray!
 

Korres Fig Showergel

Firstly, I absolutely love the packaging of this shower gel. Secondly, the smell. It smells exactly like fig jam, and although I'm not a fan of fig jam, I love this shower gel. I bought it on Look Fantastic when they had a promotion on a two-pack of these shower gels (so another one in the cupboard for me, score!), but you can buy Korres at selected Edgars stores.

Nivea In-shower Body Moisturiser for dry skin

I've only ever used the white bottle (for normal skins), but I thought that seeing as it's summer, the more moisture I can get the better. I can't really fault this product: it's cheap, it's effective, and it smells like Iced Zoo cookies. What's not to love?

Pureology Essential Repair Conditioner

I've been using the purple Pureology for a few months now and I absolutely love it. When my conditioner ran out, I decided to pick up a bottle along with a Retail Box Secret Box. As luck would have it, this Essential Repair conditioner was on special for R150. It's a thick and creamy conditioner and it makes my hair super soft and shiny. I love the amazing coconut scent that lingers in my hair throughout the day, but I'm not sure if coconut is actually one of the ingredients. 

Maybelline BabyLips in Electro

I have about five of the BabyLips variants, and this one is definitely part of the favourites group. The orange-tinted lip balm goes on creamy and smooth and tints my lips with only the lightest hint of orange. It smells like orange cooldrink and at the price of around R24.95 you can't go wrong.

Garnier BB Cream Eyes

This is the most recent purchase of the list and one I'm quite chuffed with. It normally retails for R69.95 at Clicks, so when they had it on offer for R54.95 I saw it as a sign! I'm a big fan of the Garnier BB cream (especially the Pure Active one), so I was keen to try this out. I'm always looking for an easy way to cover up the dark circles under my eyes and this product does not disappoint. The metal rollerball cools the skin while the little ball glides smoothly across the skin without tugging at it. A single swipe underneath each eye delivers the right amount of product to buff into the skin. It nicely covers my dark circles and the tube is small enough to pop into my handbag.

Have you ever used any of these products? Let me know in the comments section!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

27 November 2014

Review: Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in "Pink Quartz"

Today's review is of quite a splurgy item, but I bought it on a blogsale for far cheaper than the normal price, so I'm feeling quite chuffed! I've never owned Bobbi Brown products before the middle of this year, but I'm slowly but surely building up my little collection. The newest addition is the beautiful Shimmer Brick in "Pink Quartz".




The shimmer brick comes in a sturdy compact that shuts with a satisfying click-- no broken shimmer strips or powder in your makeup bag. The compact has a large mirror, but the shimmer brick itself is quite small. It consists of five shimmery powder strips of different shades. Each shimmer brick has a different colour theme and this one, Pink Quartz, has a sheeny pink theme.

They go on to say that you should sweep your brush (a blush brush or something similarly tapered) across all five shades and then dust it lightly on your cheekbones (where the light hits your face) after applying blush. Not only can you use it to highlight skin (think cheekbones, brow bone, cupid's bow, and nose), but you can also use it as eyeshadow.






The shades are absolutely beautiful and are more champagne/rose and bronze than pink. I think this would suit most skin tones. There are two pinky shades (top and second from the bottom) and the top one is much more shimmery than the one second from the bottom. The three bronzy brown shades are quite similar, with the top one being more brown and the other two being more bronze. 

You can pinpoint certain colours and then just use them (like when you're using it as an eyeshadow), but these past two weeks I've just been swirling my blush brush over all five shades and applying it as blush! It gives my skin a healthy glow and it's especially good on mornings when I'm faffing about and there isn't really time for blush-bronzer-highlighter. The compact is quite large, but I think it's a good product to travel with as it is multi-purpose.

Have you ever used a shimmer brick? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!
Hildegarde

xoxo


20 November 2014

Travel Thursday: Swaziland and the Maguga Dam

As mentioned in a previous blog post, my husband and I went to Swaziland for our second wedding anniversary. It's so weird driving just three hours from home and having to use our passports! Getting through border control was a breeze and the people were friendly and quite efficient.



We drove another half an hour or so to get to our accommodation. On the way there we stopped at the Ngwenya Glass Factory that we've heard a lot about. They make recycled glassware and you can stand above the workshop and see how they blow glass and make everything by hand from wine glasses to ornaments in the shape of giraffes and elephants.




We arrived at the Maguga Lodge which is the only accommodation next to the dam. We really couldn't have picked a more beautiful location!  Swaziland uses hydroelectricity to power the country, and most (if not all) of it comes from the Maguga Dam.

The dam is absolutely breathtaking and although our rondavel didn't have a dam view, we could see it from pretty much everywhere else. Most of the rondavels are divided into two, and are rented out as two separate rooms. I'm not a fan of round rooms, so the fact that I had a straight wall behind my head while sleeping was quite comforting! It was rustic, yet clean and the room is quite large with a Kingsize bed, a television with DSTV, air conditioning, a butler's tray with a kettle and some coffee and tea, a vanity table of sorts, and a separate bathroom with a humongous shower.

About 50 m from our rondavel was the main building with the reception area and the restaurant. The restaurant overlooked the dam and many times we just sat there with a drink and looked out over the peaceful dam.



When we weren't at the restaurant, or snoozing in our room while waiting for a thunderstorm to clear up, we drove around and explored the western part of Swaziland. We made it as far as Mbabane (the capital). All the towns we saw were small and rural, but Mbabane is a city with a CBD and lots of cars and big buildings. On a much smaller scale than, say, Pretoria, but still much more busy than the rest of Swaziland. It's also a treat driving on the highway in Swaziland: they have a grand total of two lanes going in a certain direction, and there is hardly ever more than four or five cars in front of you. And by "in front of you" I don't even mean "close to you"! Due to the light traffic the highway is in a very good condition. When we got closer to Mbabane the traffic got heavier, and there were also quite a few trucks on the road.









We also visited the Phophonyane Falls in Pigg's Peak and the Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary in Lebombo. Both were quite beautiful and definitely worth a visit, as is the rest of Swaziland!

Things to note before visiting Swaziland:

  • A valid passport!
  • If you're taking your own car you need the following: 
    • A letter from the bank stating that you are allowed to take your car across the border (if you don't owe any money on your car this is not needed), 
    • A copy of your car's registration papers 
    • A letter from your insurance company saying that your car is insured in Swaziland
  • According to the AA you need a "ZA" sticker, but we took ours along and we weren't asked to stick it onto the car.
  • You won't have cellphone reception as soon as you step into no man's land between the border posts.
  • We used our Absa credit cards in Swaziland without notifying the bank that we are going to be in another country (normally they stop your card for safety reasons if it is detected that you are suddenly using your credit card in another country without letting them know)
  • There are limitations on what you are allowed to bring into Swaziland. Electronics are fine as long as you don't plan on selling your camera over there! Electronics such as cameras, tablets, and laptops are declared at border control by filling in a form at customs. Ours were never checked, but you never know.
  • You are allowed to bring alcohol across the border as long as it is for personal use. So you can bring two bottles of wine, but not twenty cases.
  • Taking firearms over the border complicates things, so it's best to leave them at home! 
  • Speaking of safety: Swaziland is very safe, but I won't recommend getting out of the car at the small informal settlements. Once again, you never know.
  • They have a different currency to ours, but the exchange rate is 1:1 and you can happily use your Rands to pay for everything.
  • Some petrol stations do not allow you to pay with your South African credit card, so you will have to use cash. We filled our car with diesel before we hit the border, and we only needed to fill up halfway back home, so that might be something to consider.


I hope you enjoyed this little travel interlude! Let me know if you would like to see more of these types of posts.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

17 November 2014

Empties Post #3: Skincare

I've made a conscious effort to try and finish products instead of letting them go to waste, or having a bathroom overflowing with half-empty bottles. This post is centred around skincare products that I have used up over the past few months.

Clarins Extra-comforting Cleansing Cream


Likes

  • Creamy - I love the luxurious feel of cream cleansers
  • Typical "Clarins" scent
  • Very hydrating and doesn't make my skin feel greasy or stripped

Dislikes

  • None that I can think of

Would I repurchase?

  • Definitely (once I finish my other cleansers)


Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution


Likes

  • Takes off ALL makeup
  • Gentle enough for sensitive skins
  • Best makeup remover by far - I tried other cheaper alternatives but nothing came close to this

Dislikes

  • The price - it went from about R120 to R190-R200 in little over a year

Would I repurchase?

  • Definitely (I'm on my third bottle)


Woolworths Treat Anti-ageing Serum


Likes

  • Well-priced for a serum (about R260)
  • Nice scent
  • Pump bottle

Dislikes

  • Not travel-friendly at all (large bottle)

Would I repurchase?

  • Maybe


The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Serum


Likes

  • Sinks into my skin quickly
  • Soft floral scent
  • It is very affordable
  • Pump bottle
  • Perfect for travel

Dislikes

  • Not sure how much it really does for my skin (is it as good as a R600 serum?)

Would I repurchase?

  • Definitely (I'm on my second bottle)


The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner


Likes

  • It hydrates my skin
  • It is very affordable (especially on The Body Shop promotions)
  • Soft floral scent

Dislikes

  • The texture is a bit syrupy

Would I repurchase?

  • Definitely (I'm busy with my second bottle)


Have you ever used any of these products? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo




13 November 2014

Review: Bobbi Brown Lilac Rose Eyeshadow Palette

My love for eyeshadows (and eyeshadow palettes) have been well-documented. Add to that a nifty little compact, and I'm sold! The Bobbi Brown Lilac Rose Eyeshadow Palette ticks both those boxes.















The palette is rectangular and really small, yet it contains eight eyeshadows and a mirror! Upon opening the lid you see the mirror and the top four eyeshadows. The bottom part of the palette slides open on little hinges (!) to reveal the other four eyeshadows. I mean, have you ever?

This palette is from the Lilac Rose collection. What I can gather from a quick Google search is that this collection came out in 2013, but I'm not 100% sure.




The shadows range from matte to shimmery to metallic. I've never tried Bobbi Brown eyeshadows before, but I was a little bit disappointed with the quality. It's not as buttery and blend-able as my Stila and Urban Decay eyeshadows. That being said, having all these purply nude eyeshadows together in a tiny compact does come in handy. 


The top eyeshadows are (clockwise from top left): Ivory (matte), Pale Rose (matte), Stormy Grey (shimmery), and Pink Lily (metallic). Ivory and Pale Rose (actually more of a camel colour) are great for the brow bone or over the entire lid. Pink Lily and Stormy Grey are accent colours and look very pretty combined with the other two colours.


The bottom eyeshadows are (clockwise from top left): Barely There (shimmery), Heather Brown (shimmery), Black Chocolate (matte), and Dusty Lilac (matte). To me, Barely There and Heather Brown are both in the same "neutrals" class as Stormy Grey. The colours remind me of a few Urban Decay Naked 1 shadows, but are unfortunately not as pigmented. Dusty Lilac is a beautiful dirty pink/purple that would look great on both green eyes and brown eyes. Black Chocolate is a deep and dark chocolate brown and would be great for lining eyes or for some precision crease work. My favourites so far are Stormy Night and Heather Brown (big surprise there!).

I love experimenting with the colour combinations and find the shadows really great for day-to-day looks, and for travelling. As I've already mentioned, the colour payoff and the longevity aren't outstanding, but the colour selection, size, and downright cute compact makes up for it...

Have you tried other Bobbi Brown eyeshadows before? How was the quality and the colour payoff? Tell me in the comments section, I'd love to know.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

10 November 2014

A non-beauty post for a change

Today there will be no beauty or makeup post, but I do have a few things I'd like to say.

Things have slowed down a bit on the blog as I have been very busy at work. I'm in the final stretch of my PhD and I don't really have time for anything more than working, eating, working, and sleeping. Oh, and working. I'm trying my best to blog because I love blogging, but also because I don't want you guys to think I'm abandoning you or the blog! I apologise in advance if the posts aren't going to go live as regularly as usual, but do know that I am trying my best.

The husband and I are currently away on a little break. We are celebrating two years of married life today and decided to spend a long weekend in Swaziland. This is also the last "holiday" I will be able to take for the next five months or so due to the PhD. I will be going on Christmas holiday, but the laptop's going with...



Thank you for your continued support and interest in my blog and my life outside of blogging! It really means a lot to me and it's support like this that keeps inspiring me to blog.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

* Photo taken by the über talented Nielen de Klerk at Vredenheim


06 November 2014

eyeSlices: A slice of cool for your eyes

There is no official blog post on Suzy Q-tip today, but my post on eyeSlices is going live today over on the Go Beauty Blog where I will be contributing when my time allows for it.

In short, eyeSlices are a South African company who produces little green eye "slices" that you put on your eyes, almost like the cucumber slices we used to put on our eyes! The eye slices don't contain any nasties but do contain complex chemical technology that makes it effective in combating many of the eye dramas we ladies hate: puffiness, tired and red eyes, wrinkles, shall I go on?



If you want to read more about what I thought, head on over to the Go Beauty Blog.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

03 November 2014

Monthly Favourites: October

Another month, another monthly favourites post. This past month flew by as my mom came to visit for a week, and then I went to a conference in Cape Town for four days. I've been very good at keeping up with my current skincare routine (featured here and here), so the only new favourites I have this month are makeup related! Oh and a few small non-makeup related bits...who knew?


Real Techniques Buffing Brush

I've had (and used) this brush for more than a year, and recently rediscovered it. It's super soft yet dense, so it buffs in liquid formulations and mineral foundations beautifully. It also washes beautifully, and easily returns to its original state after a good cleanse. I bought mine from Amazon, but I hear Real Techniques now also ships to South Africa.

Bobbi Brown Corrector in "Light Peach"

After hearing numerous glowing reviews about this (and finishing my current under eye product of choice), purchasing this was an easy decision. I must admit, I did struggle to use it at first. When I bought it it was still cold in Pretoria, so I had a difficult time in applying the product as it just didn't want to soften enough to apply without dragging the delicate skin under my eyes. Now that it's much warmer, using this product seems so easy now! I dab it onto my under eye area using my ring finger, and then use a concealer brush to work it into the darkest areas.

I was tested for a shade at the Bobbi Brown counter and walked around with it the whole day to see how it sits on my skin. Most of the shades are a salmon colour to combat blue circles. There are a lot of shades, so it's best to get tested by a pro.

Clarins Instant Light Brush-On Perfector in "02 Medium Beige"

This is also a product that I've had for quite a while, but only recently rediscovered. The Instant Light Brush-On Perfector paired with the Bobbi Brown Corrector makes a mean team in combating dark circles and tired-looking eyes. The Brush-On Perfector comes in a gold pen that you twist on the bottom to dispense product through the thin brush. I draw triangles under my eyes, and dab it onto a few more places that need perking up, and then blend it in with my Real Techniques Contour Brush. There are three shades to choose from and they currently retail for around R345.

Revlon Highlighting Palette in "010 Peach Glow"

I won't call this a "dupe" for anything, but this is sort of like a drugstore version of the famous Bobbi Brown shimmer bricks. I can't and won't comment on the difference/similarities in quality, as I don't own a shimmer brick.

I bought both the Peach Glow and the Bronze Glow palettes, but so far the Peach Glow is my go-to palette these past few weeks. There are five stripes of colour and there is a bit of shimmer, but nothing that will make you look like a disco ball. The shades range from rose gold to brown, and there is even a yellowy gold strip. I normally just lightly swirl my blush brush across all the stripes and apply it to the apples of my cheeks as blusher. I then try and swipe only the bottom two stripes (yellowy gold and pale rose gold) and apply it as a highlighter to the top of my cheekbones. 

It's a really nice, easy to wear palette, and perfect for travelling when you don't want to think about packing separate blushers/bronzers/highlighters. I suppose you could also use the shades as eyeshadows, although I haven't tried that yet. You can buy this at Clicks and Dischem and it retails for around R110 (I think).

EOS lip balm in "Raspberry Pomegranate"

I've been lusting after EOS lip balms for a long time so I was thrilled when I heard that HashtagAwesome were selling these on their website. I bought the Raspberry Pomegranate and the Coconut Milk one, but I'm saving the Coconut Milk for when this one is finished, which, by the looks of things, won't be too long!

EOS lip balms are made with natural ingredients and contain no nasties, and the packaging is super cute. I must admit, the packaging might be one of the main attractors! It smells delicious and moisturises my lips without it feeling tacky or like I've just applied a layer of wax. I also don't need to reapply it too often, but let's be honest, with packaging that cute, who would mind?

Rubybox Fresh in a Flash Brush Cleanser

I received this brush cleanser in a previous Rubybox and I love it. It comes in a small spray bottle, and it dispenses a reasonably fine mist: fine enough to not squirt the poor brush with product, but also not so fine that it floats around the whole bathroom and settles on the mirror.

I don't know what's in it, but it smells quite strongly and it does a hell of a job of cleaning my brushes. I use it to spot-clean my brushes, and then to properly wash those that I use most often (buffing brush, blusher brush, powder brush, eyeshadow brush). It cleans the brushes much quicker than some of my other brush cleansers and I think I'll be investing in a few more bottles of this. You can buy it from Rubybox for R69.95.

Mr Price tropical earring pack

The last favourite is a fashion favourite, something I never thought I'd see on Suzy Q-tip! I've been loving the tropical trend this season, and I've made it my mission to acquire palm tree, pineapple, and flamingo accessories and clothes. I haven't managed to find flamingo earrings yet, but I've found a flamingo top and necklace, so that's a win in my book! These pineapple, palm tree, and cherry earrings are adorable and really add a fun and quirky twist to any outfit. I bought the earrings online for R9.99 (yes I know!).

What were your favourites for October? Let me know in the comments section!

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

27 October 2014

Favourite Face Masks

The first time I ever used a face mask was when I was in high school. My best friend and I would buy those French masks in the packets at Clicks (you still get them, amazing!) as they were the only ones available, and we loved thinking that we were pampering our skins. I always went for the peach kernel scrub mask, which, in hindsight, probably did more bad than good. My best friend would go for the peeling mask, which never ended well as she couldn't get the mask completely off.

Fast forward to a few months before my wedding (about August 2012) when I started going to a certain beauty salon for monthly facials and was reminded of how much I used to like putting on masks. Since then I have tried quite a few masks and acquired enough to give the whole neighbourhood facials. In this post I will give a quick rundown of my favourite masks, most of which I mentioned in my Masking routine blog post.

Chemical exfoliators


The only chemical exfoliating mask I'm currently using is the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask. It has a thick consistency and is slightly gritty (gritty as in not smooth, not gritty as in abrasive), and smells like marmalade. A few generous pumps of this is applied to clean, dry skin and left for about 10 minutes after which it is gently washed off with warm water and a cloth (a cloth is included when you buy this mask). This mask can tingle slightly and leaves your skin clear and smooth. It doesn't break me out, but I find that this mask only really works for me in conjunction with other masks.

Clay/purifying masks





As you can see, I have built up quite the collection of clay masks. Clay masks purify and deep clean the skin, but using it too often can lead to the skin being too dry, and therefore producing more oil.

The Clicks Chocolate Face Mask (not pictured) is a cheap packet mask. It reminded me of the Placecol hydrating chocolate face mask that they always mix in a bowl and slap on your skin before removing the mask-like remnants in one swoop after 20 minutes. It looks and smells exactly like chocolate and is a real treat for your skin. This doesn't break me out, but leaves my skin feeling nice and hydrated.

The REN Detoxifying clay mask does exactly what it says on the tin. It's a detoxifying clay mask for combination to oily skin. I love the REN pump bottles with the little nozzle thing-a-majigs that keep the spout open and unclogged. I don't really have more to say about this besides that it's a lovely clay mask.

Origins is unfortunately not available in South Africa, but if you're ever overseas, treat yourself to a few of their products. The charcoal mask, for instance, is a nice and purifying mask that gets the job done. It doesn't smell like charcoal, thankfully, and gets rid of blackheads and other unsightly blemishes.

The Freeman's range of masks is a really good budget option for those who either want to expand their mask collection, or who want to start playing around with masks. I have both the Chocolate and Strawberry clay mask and the Lemon and Mint clay mask, but the Chocolate and Strawberry is my favourite, for obvious reasons. It smells like chocolate (just like the Clicks mask), and does just as good a job, in my opinion, as some of the higher-priced brands. I've found that the Lemon and Mint one makes my eyes water, even though I keep far away from my eyes. But that might just be me. You can buy Freeman's from Dischem.

The Dirty Works Vitamin C Brightening Mask is another gem from Clicks. It's well-priced, comes in cute packaging, and does as good a job as some of its more high-end contestants. I can't really say if this really has a brightening effect, but as far as a clay mask, it does a good job. And it smells like oranges, so what's not too love? This didn't break me out, but left me with clear skin.

The Body Shop is really killing it in terms of skincare products. Besides their warming mask, I love the Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask. It's the colour of cement and it pretty much smells like seaweed, but oh boy is it a goodie! It does however sometimes burn my skin, but I've never had a rash or breakout afterwards, so maybe it's just an indication of it working...? Either way, this is a pretty cool mask to try and also won't break the bank, especially if you keep an eye open for special promotions.

I can't really say too much about the Clarins pink clay mask since I only have a few samples, but it's also a nice deep cleansing clay mask. Nothing more, nothing less.

The last clay mask I'm featuring is the Korres Pomegranate clay mask. I actually won this in a competition and couldn't wait to try it out. As you can see it is well-loved! It's a small tube but I've already got about five uses out of it. It's also the perfect size for travelling. The smell is inoffensive and it's also another nice deep cleansing clay mask. You can buy this at certain large Edgars stores who stock Korres.

 Moisturising masks





This is another place where I seem to hoard masks!

I received the Optiphi Hydra-Derm HA Masque from a fellow blogger and I absolutely love it! It's a thick and creamy mask that you apply to the skin almost like a moisturiser. You can either tissue it off after 10 minutes, or leave it on. I normally leave it on and then just pat it in by the time I go to bed. It leaves my skin smooth and hydrated and just looking good!

The Origins Drink-up intensive overnight mask is a good companion to the charcoal mask. This mask is a thick pale yellow cream that smells like apricots and is also a leave-on mask. This also leaves my skin looking plumped and healthy.

It might be blasphemy, but I think I prefer the Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask to the Origins one! It doesn't smell as good, but the results seem to be more...in your face? (See what I did there?) It's also a positive for the girls in South Africa, as Clinique is freely available, while Origins is not!

Another Dirty Works gem comes in the form of their Rose & Glow Moisture Mask. Soft rose scent, check. Budget friendly, check. Moisturises and plumps, check.

A lot has been said about The Body Shop Vitamin E moisture sink-in mask, and I can confirm that it is indeed a winner. I'm not too fond of the smell, to me it doesn't smell as nice as the other Vitamin E products, but it might just be this specific jar. Does what it says on the tin, travels well, won't break the bank.

Last but not least is the packet masks from SkinLogic and Sorbet. They cost anything between R32 and R50 and is super easy to use. You tear open the packet, unfold the mask, put in on your face, and leave it on for 20 minutes. I find it extremely difficult to do ANYTHING with this on my face, as it feels like it's slipping off the whole time, but a treat nonetheless.

And those are all my favourite masks that I've been collecting the past few years! I hope you enjoyed reading this, and thanks for reading all the way to the end! What are your favourite face masks? Come one, enable me.

Until next time!
Hildegarde

xoxo

23 October 2014

My Face Mask Routine

In the past week I've let you in on my AM and PM skincare routines (here and here), so I thought it would be good to do a post on my face mask routine.


Exfoliation is very important, as is using masks. I absolutely love face masks and I have more than I wish to share on this blog. I am a bit obsessed with face masks, but I see it as an investment in good skin days. For a while I applied masks twice a week, but I find that this routine doesn't work for me, timewise. So I rather do it once a week over the weekend and use the opportunity to soak in the bath with a magazine. Although I have been so busy lately that even that has fallen by the wayside! I do however plan on changing that and getting back to my masking routine.

You've all probably heard of double-masking, but how many of you have heard of triple-masking? That's right: applying three masks, one after the other. I read about this either on Caroline Hirons's blog, or in an interview someone did with her. After trying it, I was hooked. It's based on the idea that you first need to purify and exfoliate your skin, and then put the moisture back in.

I cleanse my skin as mentioned in the PM skincare routine (I only use masks at night), and then apply a clay mask to deep clean my skin. For this I love the Korres Pomegranate clay mask, REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask, and the Origins charcoal mask. I leave this on for 10-15 minutes (any longer and you run the risk of drying out the skin), before gently wetting the hardened clay and removing it with a facial sponge and rinsing my skin off.

For the next step I use a chemical exfoliator. Chemical exfoliators contain fruit enzymes to gently exfoliate your skin, rather than manual exfoliators that can be abrasive and hurt your skin (like something with gritty peach kernels, eek!). For this step I like using the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask. Placecol also does a nice one with an incredible fruity scent, but I can't remember the name. I apply this straight after washing off the first mask (and gently patting my skin dry with a clean towel), and leave it on for 10 minutes before gently washing it off with warm water and a facial sponge.

The third and final step is to apply a hydrating mask to put all the moisture back into your newly-cleansed skin. There is a long list of masks that I like for this, including Sorbet and SkinLogic packet masks, The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Sink-In Mask, Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, and the Origins Drink-Up Intensive Mask. None of these masks need to be washed off: the packet masks are removed after 15-20 minutes, and the residue massaged into the skin. The rest of the masks are left on the skin until bedtime, or even the next morning.

This routine keeps my skin looking clear and glowing, and keeps nasty spots and blemishes at bay. It is a little bit time consuming using three masks, but I love the ritual of it. And I get to use more of my masks!

And that is my masking routine! Do you have any mask suggestions? I'd love to hear them.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

20 October 2014

My PM Skincare Routine

On Thursday I gave you a look at my AM skincare routine. Today it's time for the PM routine, and it might be a long post!



In the evenings I remove my eye makeup with Bioderma on two cotton rounds. I've recently run out of Bioderma, so I grabbed a bottle of Nivea Gentle Eye Makeup Remover. I use eye makeup remover as a precleanse because I can't stand my face cloths being covered in eyeshadow and black mascara streaks during the next step! Cleansing my face at night is a real treat to me, because I have many cleansers on rotation and I enjoy picking out products for the night's cleansing routine.



I normally use an oil or a balm, followed by something a little bit lighter. For oils I like The Body Shop's Camomile Cleansing Oil and the Melvita Rose cleansing oil. For balms I enjoy using Clinique's Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm and The Body Shop's Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter. For a second cleanse I would use Clarins Pure Melt cleansing gel or Soap & Glory Ultimelt Hot Cloth Cleanser, or something similar. Neither an oil or a balm, but I've been loving REN's ClearCalm 3 Clay Cleanser as a first cleanser, followed by something lighter. Recently however I've started using the Lipidol cleansing oil (mentioned here and here), and I haven't been using anything else for a first cleanse! The past few days my skin has been looking and feeling icky because of the hot weather, so I've been using the REN ClearCalm 3 Clay Cleanser as a second cleanse and that seems to solve the problem.



After cleansing my skin I use the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Toner on a cotton pad to gently exfoliate and brighten my skin. This is an acid toner that gently exfoliates your skin, and isn't really a toner in the normal sense of the word. I don't use a hydrating toner after this, but Caroline Hirons advocates it, saying the more moisture the better. I normally don't use an eye cream because I can't really be bothered. My main concern is puffiness (I've decided to just accept my dark circles), and that I treat in the morning.



The next step is the treatment step: either a serum or an oil. I prefer to use an oil rather than a serum, but The Body Shop's Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil is the best of both worlds as it contains both. The Clarins Lotus facial oil is pricey but oh-so-luxurious, as is the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate (of which my sample is quickly running out). For the past month or so I've been using the Lipidol facial treatment oil religiously and my skin is thanking me for it. On very hot nights I often wonder if I'm doing the right thing by slapping oil on my skin, but I think my dehydrated skin anyway just slurps it all up!

To moisturise I've been using the Clarins Multi Active Night Cream for months, but again, after another price hike and currently at R610, I've switched to a cheaper alternative. I've found this cheaper, but equally good, option in the form of the REN Revitalizing Night Cream (formerly known as the Frankincense night cream). Some people might not like the Frankincense smell, but I personally find it very comforting as the last step of my nightly skincare routine. It's not a greasy cream, yet it is still quite rich and makes your skin feel nice and plumped.



And that's it for my PM skincare routine! I hope you've enjoyed this little skincare series. I'm busy with a post on my favourite masks and how I use them, as that to me coincides quite a bit with a good skincare routine.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

16 October 2014

My AM Skincare Routine

I'm always fascinated by what other people do for a skincare routine, so I thought I would do a post to tell you what I put on my face on a daily basis. To keep the post relatively short I have decided to split my skincare routine into AM and PM.

My skin has been looking clear and bright lately and I think that I've found a good routine. I do try to eat healthily, but that resolve goes out the window most days. I also don't drink nearly as much water as I should; if I drink more than three glasses of water a day, it's a miracle. I do make a point of removing my makeup and washing my face every. single. night. You won't catch me going to bed with makeup on. Granted, I don't really wear a lot of makeup, but I love wearing eyeshadow and mascara, but I also have sensitive eyes, so sleeping with eye makeup isn't really ever an option for me. With that disclaimer out of the way, let's get to the fun part!



Now that the weather is finally warmer, I don't use my hot cloth cleansing in the mornings anymore. I've spoken here about my love for the Konjac sponge and I find that most mornings I just apply some of the REN Mayblossom T-zone cleansing gel to a dry face and massage it in before massaging my skin further with the wet Konjac sponge. I then rinse off my face, rinse the sponge, and massage my skin once more.

I have a LOT of cleansers, and I do love swapping them out, but everything that I mention in this post is what I'm currently using on a daily basis. I'd be happy to do a "Favourite cleansers" post if anyone is interested?

After cleansing my face I apply a hydrating toner. I used to use the green toner from Clarins, but for the past few months I've been using The Body Shop's Vitamin E hydrating toner on a cotton pad. I then apply eye cream, at the moment I'm using an Origins Ginzing sample which is a really lovely eye cream. I always apply eye cream before serum. No matter how carefully you apply serum, you'll always get a tiny bit around the delicate eye area, and if you apply your eye cream on top of the serum, you won't get the (full) effect from the eye cream. So either apply the eye cream first, or don't apply it at all (you don't really need eye cream, I just like the ritual of applying eye cream).

For a serum I like Clarins Multi Active Serum, but at R575 it's very pricey for a little tube. When mine ran out at the start of the year, I bought the Woolworths Anti Ageing serum for R290 and it worked lovely. Since finishing this, I've switched to the even more affordable (and significantly more travel-friendly) The Body Shop Vitamin E Serum (R149).

On very dehydrated and "urgh" days I'll apply a very thin layer of Hydraluron to my T-zone, and then go in with the Clarins Multi Active day cream. I am very very very bad with remembering to apply sunscreen, but when I do remember it's usually a Kiehl's sun protection fluid sample, or my Bioderma sunscreen.

And that is my current AM skincare routine! What are your essentials for healthy, clear skin?

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo

13 October 2014

Review: Lipidol oils

Over the past few months I have seen a few tweets and Instagram photos floating around about a brand called Lipidol, and that they will soon be launching exclusively at Clicks. Well, fast forward a few months and Lipidol seems to be the name on everyone's lips! What I can gather about the brand is that they are owned by the same people who gave us Bio Oil. Lipidol produces six oil products in extremely minimalist packaging, and each product costs R79.95. I bought the Cleansing Face Oil (blue) and the Overnight Face Oil (yellow).


I don't know about you ladies, but I have really fallen hard for the oil trend. I've lost count of how many oil products I have and I use about three each day. I have combination-oily skin and I find that facial oils really help my skin to retain its moisture levels. It also doesn't break me out or result in more oil.

The Lipidol packaging is to the point and minimalist and I absolutely love that. Both bottles are clear plastic with white screw caps. There is not a single label on the bottles- all the writing is printed on the back in white, and the product's name is embossed on the front. In the store itself, the bottles are all in clear plastic wrapping and you can immediately see if someone has opened it. One of the things I was most interested in was what type of bottle opening there would be. Sounds silly to wonder about that, but there is clearly no pipette (eye-dropper), so the other option was surely just a big messy hole through which you poured the oil. The people at Lipidol clearly applied themselves, because the top of the bottle is flat with a single smallish hole. You have to tilt the bottle to get a drop or two out, and if you want more product, you can either shake the tilted bottle gently, or squeeze the bottle.

The Cleansing Face Oil smells like a more menthol-y version of Bio Oil (when I asked my husband to describe the smell, he immediately said it smelled like Bio Oil, so there you go). According to the website it contains rosemary and niaouli essential oils. I find that my face cloths are much dirtier since using this cleansing oil, and I attribute it to my skin being cleansed more thoroughly. I squirt about a teaspoon of oil into the palm of my hand, press my palms against each other, and press my palms against my (dry) skin. I massage the oil into my face, especially my eyes. I then use a warm wet face cloth and start massaging my skin in circular motions. I then rinse my face off with warm water (just incase), and then pat my face dry with a towel.

My skin is clean, clear, and smooth. I haven't had a single breakout since I started using this and I don't see myself using anything else at night for quite a while.

The Overnight Face Oil contain Ylang-Ylang and Black Pepper essential oils, and I have to say, I'm not too fond of the scent. It's not overpowering, but I think I was expecting a scent closer to the Clarins Lotus Oil (seeing as the bottles look so alike!). I use this after cleansing and toning at night. I apply a couple of drops onto my fingertips and pat it into my skin. I use about four drops: one for each cheek, one for my forehead, and one for the nose-chin area.

My skin feels soft and hydrated in the mornings and I haven't had any breakouts. The combination of these two products are really doing wonders for my skin, and at R79.95 a pop, I think it's ridiculously good value for money. I've also mentioned both products in my September favourites which you can read here.

I've recently purchased the Cleansing Body Oil which is a shower oil that smells of limes. I've only used it a few times, but I might report back later when I've had a good go at it. I'm determined to try all the products in the range! You can view the whole range online here.

Have you ever tried any Lipidol products? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo





09 October 2014

Favourite lip balms

I love trying out new lip balms and butters, but I'm always a bit skeptical of the claims. I'm quite fussy with lip balms, and even though I have about 20, there are a select few that I will keep coming back to.

My lips tend to get chapped very easily (especially my bottom lip) and some products seem to aggravate it. In the past few months I've heard that you shouldn't put Vaseline on your lips because it contains mineral oil and actually depletes the moisture from your lips, or something like that? For the duration of my high school career I only used Vaseline with Vitamin E for my lips. That and lipgloss used to be my staple, and let me tell you: in those couple of years I did not once have chapped or sore lips. My lips were soft and smooth and after starting to use lipstick quite often, I'm considering going back to my trusty Vaseline with Vitamin E!

As for proper lip balms, here are my pick of the crop.



Kiehl's Lip Balm #1



This was quite an expensive tube when I first bought it, but boy oh boy is it amazing! It leaves my lips soft, smooth, and nourished with a hint of clear gloss. I'm currently on tube number two of this, and before that I tried the cranberry fragrance which was equally divine.

You can buy this from Kiehl's (selected Edgars stores) for around R125.


The Body Shop Aloe Lip Care



I heard about this little tube from various overseas beauty bloggers, and when my lips started acting up a few months ago, I knew it was time to try it. It's almost half of the price of the Kiehl's, and does an almost equally good job. It's pretty much fragrance free (it doesn't smell like aloe, thankfully) and is quite a thick gloopy lip balm to put on. After application you can feel it nourishing your lips, and you only need to reapply a few times during the day (much less than with other lip balms, I would say).

You can buy this from The Body Shop for R70.


Maybelline BabyLips in Hydrate



Now I know there is a big divide between the two camps: either you love Maybelline BabyLips or you don't get it. And in the "Love BabyLips" camp, there are some who love this Hydrate variant, and others who can't stand it. As this lip balm made the cut for this post, you can guess in which group I fall. It's really been years since I've found a lip balm in stick form that does such a good job as this one. It doesn't smell of anything, but simply glides onto your lips and keeps them hydrated. Nothing more, nothing less. And for around R25 you'd be hard-pressed to find something better.

You can buy this from Clicks, Dischem, or recently Pick N Pay. Oh, and the reason for the stock photo is because I've finished tube number three of this and thrown the empties out.


Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm (jar)



This is one of the most raved-about lip balms that I have probably ever heard of. It took me a long time, but I finally got my hands on a jar at the end of winter. The consistency and the smell were very different to what I had expected. I somehow expected a creamy yellow lip balm with a honey scent. Instead it is a thick yellow-orange balm that smells of oranges. That being said, it definitely lives up to the hype. I use this religiously every night before going to bed (and sometimes during the day when I'm at home such as over weekends), and wake up to smooth lips. No more chapped lips or horrible dryness!

You can buy this from selected Truworths stores or online for R130-155. Pricey, but a jar lasts a long time.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream lip protectant



I have always been a fan of the Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant, although not of the smell. This lip protectant comes in lipstick form, and even though it has the distinct medicinal smell, it's slightly less offensive than that of the skin protectant. I apply this before I start with my makeup, so that my lips are smooth and moisturised by the time I apply my lipstick. Being in lipstick form, it glides across the lips easily and hydrates the skin without leaving it sticky or greasy. I'm almost finished with mine and am seriously contemplating getting another one.

You can buy this from stockists of Elizabeth Arden. I'm unsure of the price as I bought mine as an Eight Hour Cream set.

What are your favourite lip balms? I'm always on the lookout for new ones to try, so let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!

Hildegarde
xoxo