30 July 2015

Billion Dollar Brows are here!

Billion Dollar Brows (BDB) is a famous international brand known for their wide array of brow products (they are the only cosmetic company to only specialise in brow products). Anything from brow pencils, to tools to help you shape your brows, to brow gel. You name it, they have it. The well-known brand launched in Sandton in June, and I was fortunate enough to get a brow pencil to try out, which I will be reviewing today.

I am still trying to figure out what works for my brows and what doesn't (expect an in-depth blog post about this soon). I've tried brow mascaras, triangle pencils, felt tip pen brow products, and powders. The BDB Universal Brow Pencil, however, is different than all those mentioned above. Firstly, the pencil is soft and creamy, whereas normal brow pencils are hard and waxy and you need to almost hurt yourself in order to get some colour. Secondly, the pencil is very thin and not triangular: it's cylindric with a sharp-ish point. I have to say that this scared me about the pencil. This pencil allows for precision eyebrow-crafting and due to its softness, is not for the faint of heart. The first time I used it I pressed down too hard and ended up looking like Frida Kahlo, but since then I've learned how to use the pencil to get the desired effect. 

Another nice feature of the pencil is that it will suit blondes all the way through to brunettes. If you have a very light hand with the pencil, the colour comes out a dark blonde. Press a bit harder and the colour is suited for light brunettes. Press even darker and you get a perfect colour match for brunettes. The pencil also contains a spoolie at the other end, which is always a bonus!

What I like

  • Universally flattering colour
  • Easy to get the hang of
  • Creamy and blendable
  • Doesn't need sharpening
  • Spoolie!

What I dislike

  • Can sometimes be a bit too creamy
  • Not for total beginners

Would you give this eyebrow pencil a try? Let me know!

Until next time!


27 July 2015

The Many Uses of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant

It's amazing how some products just stand the test of time due to their quality, miracle abilities, and cult following. Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant is one of these products. Developed for the first time in 1930 to soothe skin, it was also the first product to carry Miss Arden's name. It was such a hit among her clients, that she used it to soothe the legs of her thoroughbred horses. How the name "Eight Hour" came about is also an interesting story: one of her loyal clients used the skin protectant on her child's skinned knee, and "Eight Hour"s later it was all better. I have been using Eight Hour Cream (the fragrance free version as I cannot stand the original one's smell) for a few years now and thought it was time I collated all the different uses in one post. 

What makes Eight Hour Cream so special is its blend of petrolatum, a skin-soothing beta-hydroxy (salicylic acid that gently exfoliates for smoother skin), and Vitamin E (protects the skin from free-radical damage and soothes the skin).

Personally I have used Eight Hour Cream mostly as a lip balm and on very dry areas such as elbows or heels. It is really good for hands, especially during winter, when the skin can get very dry, itchy, and flaky. It is also amazing for keeping cuticles healthy and soft. Eight Hour Cream can be used to tame unruly eyebrows and to smooth onto eyelids for this season's glossy eye looks.

When we went to Mauritius for our honeymoon nearly three years ago, I stupidly forgot to pack in after-sun lotion. I applied Eight Hour Cream to my sore, tight skin at night, and the next morning everything felt more smooth, supple, and less-burnt. I've also since applied it to mosquito bites, and it soothes the itchy red patches fast. The latest use I've found for Eight Hour Cream was a few weeks ago when my eyelids suddenly became dry, rough, and flaky. I freaked out when I saw it and immediately applied oils and eye cream, but nothing worked. Out came the trusty Eight Hour Cream! I applied it at night and by the next morning the flakiness was gone, and my eyes were back to their old self later that day.

Do you have any other uses for Eight Hour Cream? Please let me know in the comments section!

Until next time!


23 July 2015

Currently Testing

I'm currently testing a couple of new products and I thought for today's post I'd show you what I'm testing. There are a few skincare bits, a few makeup bits, and one nail item. Please let me know what you would like to see a review of first.


The Body Shop's Vitamin E range is one of my favourite skincare ranges. It's affordable, the range is extensive, and there's something for everyone. This "Eyes Cube" seemed a bit like a novelty item, but I couldn't resist trying out yet another Vitamin E product. The name is a wordplay on the fact that it is cooling ("ice cube") and it's designed for your eyes ("eyes cube"). The product is solid and you swipe it under each eye to cool and brighten the under-eye area.

Another new thing from The Body Shop is an addition to their Vitamin C range (clearly I love my vitamins!). The Glow Boosting Moisturiser is for "dull, tired, grumpy skin" and looks, smells, and feels absolutely yummy. It's like a glass of orange juice for your skin.

On the other side of the price bracket we have the Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate. I bought this when Kiehl's had a promotional offer of 20% off on all their products for a limited time. The serum comes in a pump bottle, which I love. It's a hydrating serum and contains, amongst other things, Glycerin.


The makeup bits I'm testing out are all about brows and lips. The essence Make Me Brow eyebrow gel mascara is a much more affordable version of the Benefit Gimme Brow. The spoolie is small enough for eyebrows and the colour looks natural.

Billion Dollar Brows recently launched in South Africa and I was lucky enough to get a Universal Brow Pencil to try out. It's called "universal" because it caters for all hair shades: the darker your hair, the harder you press on the pencil. The one end is a super-soft and blendable twist-up pencil, and the other end is a spoolie.

For lips I am testing two drugstore products, one from Maybelline and one from Catrice. The Maybelline ColorShow lipstick in "Cherry on top" is a gorgeous red and it smells like fruit sweets! The Catrice lippie is part of a limited edition collection called "Check & Tweed". This twist up Velvet Lip Colour in the shade "01 Queen's BEAUTea Time" is a pretty orangey-coral.


I've been searching for this shade for a while, and finally managed to hunt down Essie's "Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Low". It's a gorgeous silvery gold metallic shade. I know that's very cryptic, sorry...

What are you currently testing? Tell me in the comments section.

Until next time!


20 July 2015

Review: Urban Decay Naked On The Run

Those of you who regularly read my blog will remember that I did a UK haul on the blog a few months ago, and that I promised you a review of my amazing birthday present from my friends Marcelle and Steve from France. I've used the "On the run" kit many times and today, at last, I'll be sharing my thoughts with you.

The kit contains everything you need for a full face of makeup except foundation and brushes. In the top three rows you can find mascara, eyeliner, and lipgloss. Below that are six eyeshadows, as well as a bronzer and a blusher.

The black Perversion mascara sports a big and daunting brush. It separates the lashes nicely and coats them in jet black colour. I really like this mascara as it adds nice length and volume to my lashes. I did have a few problems with panda eyes, so I won't be using this on my lower lashes.

The 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in "Stag" is a beautiful and creamy dark brown eyeliner. It has the faintest of shimmer and looks beautiful incorporated in a smokey eye look. It lasts long, although I can't comment on the 24 hour claim! The creaminess (it doesn't drag your eyelid) and the longevity make this a winner in my book.

The lipgloss in "Sesso" is beautifully packaged and is full-sized. The colour is a pretty medium-pink with shimmer. It's quite a thick gloss, but it applies nicely and doesn't feel sticky or gloopy. It lasts quite a while for a gloss and the colour goes with most makeup looks and outfits.

There are six eyeshadows in the kit, but at first glance the layout makes it look like five shadows and a highlighter. There are five square shadows next to each other, and another larger shadow at the bottom right of the kit. I tried to take photos of swatches, but I couldn't seem to capture each shadow's unique characteristics.

The shadows are, from left to right: "Dive", "Fix", "Resist", "Dare", "Stun", and "5050". There are two matte shades and four shimmer shades. "Fix" and "Dare" are the mattes: "Fix" is a light brown mocha colour, while "Dare" is a dark chocolate brown. These two are also the most buttery of the lot. The first colour, "Dive", is a stunning rosy copper with shimmer. It's the least "naked" of all the shades, but my favourite. It looks incredible paired with the other shades. The third shade, "Resist", is shimmery golden taupe. It looks much more cool-toned in the pan than it does on the eyelids. The fifth shade, "Stun", is very similar to "Resist", but much more golden, and with a bit chunkier shimmer. The shade "5050" is a champagne peach with a pearlescent sheen.

The shadows are all buttery soft, especially the matte ones, and the pigmentation is incredible. The blending ability and lasting power are also what we've come to expect from Urban Decay.

The bronzer and blush are unfortunately just named "Naked On the Run Bronzer" and "Naked On the Run Blush". The bronzer is warm-toned and a bit orange, but matte, and the colour is exactly the same as it looks in the pan. The blusher is a bright pink with faint shimmer. It looks quite bright in the pan, but blending it out results in a beautiful and healthy pop of colour on the cheeks.

The kit is about 13 x 13 cm and 2 cm thick. It's a bit bulky to carry around, but I never take it with me on travels anyway for fear of anything breaking. It does house a nice big mirror, so if you don't mind carrying this around with you, you'll only need to pack brushes and foundation.

Until recently you couldn't get this in South Africa, but I've seen Hashtag Awesome advertise it. It seems to be sold out at the moment, but at that price I'd try to import it if I were you. Or find your own makeup mule...

What do you think of this kit? Would it suit your travel needs?

Until next time!


16 July 2015

The Winter Shakeup

The winters in Pretoria are cold and extremely dry. I never used to swop out skincare products between summer and winter, but the more I read up on things and use them, the more I realise that it is necessary. In summer you can get by with a pair of shorts and a top or a short sundress, but in winter you need long-sleeved shirts and coats and boots. The same goes for your skin: in summer gel creams and light moisturisers are sufficient, but in winter your skin cries out for things that are richer and more nourishing. Seeing as we're halfway through winter I thought I'd share how I shake up my skincare and body care routine for this time of the year. On Monday I spoke about my five favourite lip balms which you can read here.


I try to steer clear of foam cleansers, but now would especially be a good time to crank out the oils and balm cleansers. Favourite balm cleansers include Balm Balm's Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm, The Body Shop's Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, and Lush's Ultrabland Facial Cleanser. For oil cleansers I like the Melvita Milky Cleansing Oil as well as The Body Shop's Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil.

It's important to use a hydrating serum in winter to replenish the skin's moisture. The Body Shop's Vitamin E Moisture Serum and the Overnight Serum-in-oil are budget-friendly products that get the job done. I've been through about five of those pump bottle serums! For pricier options there are the Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate and the iconic Midnight Recovery Concentrate. These oils are a cross between an oil and a serum, and in my opinion, the best of both worlds. In terms of moisturisers I like using a cream in winter as I feel it nourishes my skin better. My favourite is the Clarins Multi-active Day Cream.

Face masks are very effective at giving your skin a boost, whether it be brightening, tightening, or hydrating. I always use either a clay mask or an exfoliating mask (or both) and then follow that up with a super hydrating mask. Some of my favourite hydrating masks are overnight masks, which provide maximum hydration as you don't wash them off until the next morning. Favourites include the Origins Drink-up Intensive Overnight Mask, Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, and for a cheap-as-chips option, Freeman Honeydew & Camomile Sleeping Mask.

Body care

In winter I swap out my fruity "Wake me up" shower gels with thicker, more comforting shower creams. I don't do well with cold weather so I feel very sorry for myself when I have to go shower late at night or early morning. If I absolutely have to go shower, I at least want to be comforted by a nice warm scent. Soap & Glory do amazing shower and bath products and I'm currently loving their Whipped Clean Shower Butter that smells like nuts and cookies, amazing! Cheaper and more readily-available options include Dove and Nivea.

Body lotions are also swapped for body butters as I find that they moisturise my skin that much better. Body butters are too rich for summer and leave my skin sticky, but they are perfect for cold and dry winters. The Body Shop make the best body butters by far and some of my favourite scents are blueberry and honey. Body oils are also taken out of the closet at this time of year, and two favourite options are Beauty Factory's Pure & Simple Body Oil (it smells like clean linen) and Woolworths's Love Your Skin Extreme Moisture Dry Oil Spray.

I hope you enjoyed my little shakeup. Do you also shake up your skincare and body care routine this time of year? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!


13 July 2015

Five Favourite Lip Balms for Winter

I don't know about you, but my lips have been giving me hell these past weeks. I'm very lucky in that I don't get cold sores and that my lips don't chap as badly as when I was younger, but man, they've been dry. It feels like no matter what I put on my lips, they just drink it right up and ask for more. The gentle lip balms that I've been using during the summer no longer work, and I had to bring out the big guns. Below are my top five picks for lip balms during the cold, dry winter months.

Palmer's Dark Chocolate & Cherry Lip Butter

The lip butter has a clear gel-cream texture and glides onto the lips. It leaves a bit of a sheen, so it's nice when your lips absolutely need some lip butter, but you still want a bit of gloss. It doesn't feel greasy or oily, and it sinks into the lips over time. It doesn't dry out my lips and feels very comfortable. Plus it smells exactly like chocolate and cherry, I mean!

I can't remember the price, but I bought it at Dischem for under R50 (in the isle leading to the tills along with the other lip balms).

Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm

This little pot of wonder deserves its cult following, as well as its price tag. At R150 for a 15 g glass jar it's not the cheapest of lip balms, but trust me when I say that it's worth it. I recently posted a photo on Instagram where I showed my empty lip balm pot (pictured in this post is my second pot). I've been using this every single night that I've been home (about 90% of the time), and it's taken me a year to finish it.

The lip balm is dark yellow and has a very thick consistency. The colder the weather, the thicker the balm becomes. It contains honey, plant oils, shea butter, and grapefruit extract (hence the slight citrus fragrance). With this thick balm you only need a tiny bit to smooth onto dry lips. I only apply this at night, as I don't think it will make a very even base for applying lipstick. I wake up to soft and smooth lips.

You can buy this online (I bought mine at back in the day) or at selected Foschini stores. Oh, and this specific pot with the green lid is an anniversary edition to mark the 20th anniversary of Rêve de Miel lip balm, so that should tell you something!

REN Vita Mineral Lip Balm

I recently spoke about this lip balm here. It only launched a month ago, but it's fast becoming a favourite of mine. It smells exactly like the much-loved Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (marmalade, basically), and is an amazing lip balm. It's a thick off-white cream and applies nicely to the lips. From the first application you can feel that your lips are in good hands: the lip balm doesn't just sit on top of your lips, you can feel it actively getting to work to moisturise your lips. 

You can buy this for R150 from REN's online store, or at stores selling REN products (Woolworths, Foschini, etcetera).

Oh-lief Natural Lip Balm (Grapefruit)

This product is all-natural and proudly South African. The cute little tin houses the most delicious olive oil and grapefruit balm. The balm is thick and dark yellow, and as soon as you apply it to your lips, the waxy texture melts into a beautifully fragrant oil. I applied this to my lips an hour ago just to refresh my memory, and I can still feel it. It's ever so slightly greasy, but in a "my lips are being taken care of" way. Oh-lief as a brand has positively exploded in South Africa and their products are now also stocked in selected Woolworths stores.

Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil (Raspberry)

The last item on my list is technically not a lip balm, but it does save dry lips. The Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil is quite a new addition to the brand and has only been available in South Africa since mid-May. The one I'm using is the limited edition shade/scent called "Raspberry", while the permanent shade/scent is "Honey". I've spoken about the lip oil here and here.

The consistency of the oil really surprised me... I initially thought that it would be an oil-oil, like the ones you rub on your body, or use to take your makeup off. Instead, this oil is quite thick and feels like a lip gloss. Don't let that put you off, though, as it is absolute heaven for dry lips. The oil adds a beautiful gloss to the lips, and stays put for hours. It almost feels like it forms a protective barrier between your lips and the outside world, and moisturises your lips in the process. After using this my lips are soft and smooth and never chapped.

At R250 this is quite a pricey purchase, but why not treat your lips to some luxury lip oils? You can buy this from Clarins counters or online at Red Square.

Which of these have you tried? Do you have other options for me to try? Let me know in the comment section.

Until next time!


09 July 2015

Unboxing: The Test Box - July

Another month, another exciting subscription box from The Test Box! This month's offering is aimed at blonde ladies. I myself am not blonde, but my hair is ombré, so I figure I can still get away with using it.

This month's box includes a Tigi Dumb Blonde Shampoo (50 ml) and Tigi Dumb Blonde Conditioner (50 ml), as well as a Tigi Afterparty Smoothing Cream (10 ml). The shampoo is a super fun pastel purple and the conditioner is a banana yellow. They both smell like sweets, which you know is always a plus point for me. The smoothing cream is a thick white cream and smells very luxurious.

The reason these bottles look different than usual, is because The Test Box came up with a very smart plan to give us samples of the best possible products. Samples are quite hard to come by, and there aren't always samples available of the products that they want us to try, so they decided to produce their own adorable little bottles and decant the products of their choice. So now the sky's the limit!

This box costs R160, and you can even pay it off over a certain period. For more details on the pricing and the payment options, hop on over to The Test Box's website.

Will you try this? Let my know in the comments section!

Until next time!


02 July 2015

Monthly Favourites: June

The first month of winter in the southern hemisphere is over, and good riddance. It's bound to get even colder and drier, but by now everyone is used to layering and hibernating under blankets. Looking at my monthly favourites, there aren't any makeup items, that's a first!

Melvita Milky Cleansing Oil

I picked this up at duty-free in Munich last year when we had a stop-over before going to Spain. It's a dark yellow oily oil: it's not a dry oil, but it's not thick and gooey either. It smells like roses and softly and gently cleanses your skin. It contains rosehip seed oil as well as fresh rose extract. I use about two pumps and apply it to a dry and dirty face. I massage my skin and then gently remove all the oil and grime with a hot face cloth. The oil becomes milky when it comes into contact with water, so it removes very easily and doesn't leave your skin sticky.

Origins GinZing eye cream

I've spoken about this eye cream before, but this month it really came in handy. It moisturises, depuffs, and brightens the under-eye area. The consistency is cream, yet I have had no breakouts under my eyes. It adds a bit of illumination to the under-eye area, which is nice in the mornings when you need that area to look nice and bright.

Soap & Glory Whipped Clean Shower Butter

The smell of this is absolutely amazing. It smells like warm almond cookies, and using it feels like slathering almond butter onto your skin (in a good way, of course, unless you're into that kind of thing). You use it as a shower cream, except that it has the consistency of whisked butter. One big squirt is enough to wash your whole body with a bath lily, and your skin is left feeling soft and smooth and hydrated. No body butter needed afterwards! It does, however, make the shower floor quite slippery, and they actually say that on the back of the tube! This is unfortunately not available in South Africa, but I'll definitely be stocking up on a next overseas trip.

Nivea Intensive Nourishing hand cream

This was a cheap and cheerful purchase I made in Clicks a while back. It has a delicious nutty scent and sinks into my hands immediately. It does feel a little bit tacky, but that disappears after a few minutes. It contains Macadamia nut oil and is perfect for winter.

Versace Eros Pour Femme

I have been wearing this perfume almost non-stop since receiving it. If you can remember from this post, I won the big bottle and received the small one in a goodie bag. The smell is amazing and I'm addicted. It's fast becoming one of my all-time favourite perfumes, and definitely one of the favourites currently in my stash. It contains notes of Sicilian lemon, bergamot, pomegranate, jasmine, peony, sandalwood, and musk.

MoroccanOil Hydrating Styling Cream

I received a travel size of this in a Retail Box months ago, and I've been really enjoying it this past month. I wash my hair at night and roughly blow-dry it until it's about 90% dry. I then comb through my hair and apply a 10c blob of styling cream to my ends and the lengths of my hair. I find it tames fly-aways as well as ensuring that my hair holds a curl better. The smell is also great, which is always a bonus!

Have you ever tried any of these products? Let me know in the comment section.

Until next time!