22 September 2016

A Mini Kiehl's Haul

I love Kiehl's products but I won't lie, they are quite expensive. That's why I wait for their annual (I hope it'll stay annual!) 20% off promotion. You can buy any Kiehl's product and get 20% off - no minimum spend, no weird conditions. I also received a ton of samples.

Kiehl's Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash

When I heard that this was a "foaming" cleanser, I was a bit apprehensive. Luckily it doesn't actually foam up into big bubbles like foaming cleansers usually do, it just kind of creates a dense foam-like substance. It leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean, but I'm not really blown away by it. Granted, I've only used it a couple of times and I haven't used it solely for a few days straight, but the way the Kiehl's consultant hyped it up, I was expecting a bit more. (I don't know *what* I was expecting, after all, it's only a face wash!) I've used samples of the Calendula toner before and that blew me out of the water, so I'll stick with this and report back at a later stage.

The texture of the cleanser is quite syrupy and on damp skin it has a nice slip to it. When adding a drop or two of water it emulsifies and creates the foam-like substance. When washing it off you can use your hands to splash warm water onto your face, or you can use a sponge, hot cloth, or face cleansing brush. It doesn't have an offensive smell, it's very gentle and the pump bottle is a big plus.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer

My day cream is finished and I'm quite frankly tired of paying upwards of R500 for a good day cream (the other option being buying one for R150 and not seeing any results, or ending up with dry flaky patches on my face). This moisturiser from Kiehl's is an absolute no-nonsense-it-does-what-it-says-on-the-tin product, which is exactly what I was looking for. It doesn't reduce my wrinkles or give me a J.Lo glow, but it moisturises my skin beautifully and that's all I need it to do. It can be used both day and night, and was developed to be used on all skin types. It contains squalene and glycerine which are a fantastic hydration combo.

There is also a creamier version of this product (I would assume for drier or more mature skin) that comes in a tub (and is a little more expensive).

Kiehl's Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque

This was the product I was most excited to get my hands on (as well as the orange mask, but that was sold out). Brands are realising more and more that pollution is a big contributor to tired, dull, and wrinkled skin. This mask is said to help defend the skin against these pollutants and to replenish the skin's vibrance. The cilantro (coriander) and orange extract strengthens the skin and with continued use, skin is said to be renewed, radiant, and protected.

Kiehl's recommend that you use this mask three times a week at night. You apply it to clean, dry skin, and pat the excess off after five minutes so that a very thin layer remains. You can then go to bed with this thin layer and wash everything off the next morning. The texture of this mask is not what I was expecting. I was expecting a gel cream, but instead it's more of a cream. It didn't feel extremely rich or greasy when I applied it to the back of my hand, so I don't think we should be worried about ruining our pillow cases! It's a very pale green and the scent is also extremely surprising: it smells like a spicy toothpaste. Yes, I do realise how insane this sounds. But it smells kind of like a cross between Lush's Wiccy Magic Muscles massage bar and minty toothpaste. Don't fear, however, as it smells incredible.


Kiehl's has a great "try before you buy" system where you can ask for samples and then try it out at home before committing to spending your hard-earned cash on something that might not work for you. Usually when I go to Kiehl's they're out of whatever I want to sample, but on my recent trip there the guy showered me with sample packets! I received samples of the Skin Rescuer, Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate, Ultra Facial Cream, and the Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque. The Skin Rescuer is a "stress-minimizing daily hydrator" that contains botanical extracts and chamomile. It helps reduces the visible signs of stress and flare-ups, skin fatigue, and redness. The Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate really piqued my interest as it contains quinoa husk extract. What next! It's said to help accelerate the cell turnover of your skin cells, revealing brighter and fresher-looking skin. I received samples of the Ultra Facial Cream so that I can compare it's texture and feel to that of the Ultra Facial Moisturizer that I purchased. I was bummed that the Turmeric & Cranberry seed mask was out of stock, so I received a little sample packet to try.

Have you tried any of these products? Which is your favourite? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!


19 September 2016

My Beauty Wish List

Being a beauty blogger definitely has its pros and cons. The biggest pro is that you are one of the first to know about exciting new products and launches, and the biggest con is that you want all the things.  Is there a new liquid lipstick on the market promising unheard of longevity? Obviously I need it. Does the latest gel nail polish promise two weeks of chip-free wear? I'm just grabbing my car keys. There are many things that I have my eye on and I've started making a list on my phone so that I can see what I'm working towards. Some things I'll have to save for, some things I can put on impending Christmas and birthday wish lists, and other things could be payday-YOLO purchases. 

I still haven't been to the newly opened Urban Decay store in Sandton City, because I just know it will wreak havoc on my bank account. I can actually curate an entire wish list solely from Urban Decay products, but I'd thought for this post I'll stick to the most important things... These are the All Nighter setting spray, the UD XX Vice Ltd Reloaded palette, and the Naked Skin concealer. The setting spray and the concealer have both reached cult status and I can't wait to try it for myself. The Vice Reloaded palette is not something I would normally go for, but the more I look at pictures and swatches, the more I like it. The palette contains shades that were discontinued and this seems to be a stunning "walk down memory lane" palette.

There are two local products on the list in the form of the Skin Creamery's Everyday Cream and Lulu & Marula's Face Mask Brush & Bowl. The Everyday Cream can be used both on the face and the body and is apparently a treat to use. The face mask bowl is a super cute handcrafted bowl containing 22ct gold and you use that and the brush to mix your face masks before applying it to your skin (especially convenient for powder masks that need to be activated!).

No wish list can be complete without at least one thing from The Body Shop! Their new products look simply amazing and, although only the Chinese Ginseng & Rice mask is pictured here, I would like all four masks in my collection! I am obsessed with face masks and I already have a couple from The Body Shop that I enjoy. Another new product is their Skin Defence SPF50 sunscreen which is apparently a godsend to us oily-skinned gals. I've been on a mission to incorporate more sun protection into my daily routine and I think this will do the trick.

The last two items are quite splurgy in the sense that they're quite expensive, and that I really don't *need* them. The Lancome Juicy Shakers have been making waves since their release and is a lip tint-lip oil hybrid. I can't wait to try them! A new offering from Stila is their Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Eye and Cheek Palette. It comes in four different shade options, each complementing different skin tones. The palette consists of five eyeshadows and two blushes and as usual the packaging is absolutely stunning!

I have many more items, but I'll save those for a future wish list! What are the main items in your wish list? Let me know in the comment section!

Until next time!


15 September 2016

New In: The Body Shop's Fresh Nude Cushion Foundation

I used to be a BB cream-only type of gal until I found a few amazing drugstore foundations that have made me a convert. Foundations come in so many different variants: there's mousse formulas in pots, pump bottles, serum formulas in bottles with pipettes, stick formulas, cream compacts, the list goes on. The latest craze in foundations is cushion compact foundations. Cushion foundations are basically the liquid foundations we all know and own, in compact form. So instead of whipping out your pressed powder compact and powdering your nose, so to speak, you can now whip out a compact of liquid foundation. 

The cushion compact foundation idea comes from, you guessed it, Korea. K-Beauty is on fire at the moment and have overtaken France as the leading role model for women's skincare internationally. Cushion compacts sound messy, I know, but the compact is designed for exactly this purpose. The little cushion only dispenses product when you dab your finger/a sponge/a brush in it, and doesn't ooze foundation everywhere. I haven't managed to find any cushion compact foundations in South Africa, so great was my excitement when I walked into my local The Body Shop store a few weeks ago and saw a shelf full of cushion foundations. I swiftly started swatching and experimenting before walking away with the shade "Comoros Vanilla". It is a little bit light for me and the other shades are too dark, but I'll make this work.

The compact is about the same size as a normal compact and the packaging is sturdy, as well as being easy on the eye. Upon opening it, you see a mirror and a small sponge. Now, don't throw away this sponge, as its shape and size was developed to be used specifically with the foundation.

The part with the sponge also flips up, revealing the cushion. Initially the cushion is dry, but as soon as you touch it, a small amount of foundation is dispensed.

The idea is that you use the sponge to press onto the cushion and then apply it to your face, pressing as you go along. I put my index finger and middle finger through the satin tag on the sponge and then gently press on the cushion. I then press the foundation onto my skin without rubbing it or trying to buff it in. I find applying the foundation with the sponge to be easy, but because I'm not used to this method I struggle to blend it properly. I've had better success with my Real Techniques buffing brush which I gently pat onto the cushion and then buff into my skin. Below are two photos showing the foundation on my skin, and then the foundation blended out on my skin. It looks dewy and fresh and melts into the skin, perfect for summer! 

My thoughts and first impressions:

  • The foundation smells fresh and slightly floral (it's not called "Fresh Nude" for nothing).
  • The cushion dispenses enough product to cover an entire cheek, so I'd say about three-four cushion presses for my entire face. 
  • The foundation is easy to blend (although I have to practice more with the sponge).
  • The foundation looks natural on my skin.
  • Skin doesn't feel suffocated.
  • Can still smell a hint of the floral scent after application.
  • Perfect foundation for summer.
  • Ideal if you want something light, but I'm unsure how buildable it is.
  • Only downside is the price.
This foundation retails for R375 at The Body shop which is a bit pricey unless you buy it on a 3-for-2 special. Or really really want a cushion foundation... Have you ever tried it? Please leave your comments below.

Until next time!


12 September 2016

Review: Palladio Crushed Metallic Shadows

If there's two things I love it's high-quality, pigmented eyeshadows, and a bargain. So when Charlene from GeeWhiskers posted a few snaps on SnapChat about how great the Crushed Metallic eyeshadows from Palladio are, I perked up.

Palladio is stocked at Dischem and these eyeshadows cos R99 each. Now at R99 per shadow it doesn't seem like a bargain, but wait until you experience the colour, the pigmentation, and the longevity. To sweeten the deal, Dischem regularly has Palladio cosmetics on 3-for-2, which means that for R200 you get three high-quality eyeshadows.

What makes these eyeshadows so special is the fact that they are botanical and vitamin infused: it contains Aloe, Chamomile, Safflower, Camellia, Gingko Biloba, and Ginseng. These shadows are so intensely pigmented and, although called eyeshadows, they are referred to as "pressed pigments" on the Palladio website. Like I said, R99 might seem like much, but have you seen any other high-quality, affordable foil pigments at the drugstore? I didn't think so.

I have five of the shades (I think there are about 12) and they are, from left to right, top to bottom: "Light year", "Stellar", "Meteor", "Supernova", and "Eclipse". "Light year" is a pale rose gold, while "Stellar" is a cool-toned bronzy-taupe. "Meteor" is a full-on copper and is, in my personal opinion, quite a bold colour to wear! I would only wear this at night. The same goes for "Supernova" which is a rich plum. On the skin it looks a bit more coppery than full-on purple, but it's a stunning colour. Lastly is "Eclipse" which is a rich gold. Being the neutral-lover that I am, my favourites are "Light year" and "Stellar", but all of these stunning shades are getting a lot of time on my lids!

Below you can see some swatches. The first photo is taken in natural light, the second in direct sunlight, and the third with a flash. You can see that in all the photos the shadows look absolutely amazing! "Light year" seem to be less pigmented than the rest of the shadows, but I think that has a lot to do with the way I photographed the swatches. Best is to go swatch for yourself!

These shadows are a very good option if you have oily eyelids. I have oily eyelids and these shadows do not budge, with or without a primer, for a good six hours. I apply them with my fingers as I find they make my brushes very dirty, very quickly, and then the bristles tend to clump together, making it very difficult to use them again without a good wash. I use my fingers to apply the shadow to my entire eyelid, and then I blend out the edges with a fluffy brush. Usually I will go in for a second "coat", just to make sure there aren't any patchy areas, and to really make the colour pop.

Have you ever tried these shadows? Which shade is your favourite? Let me know in the comments section!

Until next time!


08 September 2016

My Updated Toiletry Bag: (Long) Weekend Away

For the past week I've toyed with the idea of writing a "monthly favourites" post for July and August, just to realise that I don't have any new favourites. The whole of July was spent packing and the whole of August was spent unpacking (and finishing my thesis). So for these two months I just stuck with what I know worked. This is why I've decided to not do a "monthly favourites" post, but rather show you my updated travel skincare/haircare/body care bag for when I go away for a night or two (or four!). During all the hoopla of August we actually managed to stay in a hotel in Johannesburg for two nights, and this is the bag that came with me. I'm also including a few handy tips that I've picked up along the way. Please let me know what YOUR packing tips are.

Firstly, this big toiletry bag was a freebie that came along with a Vichy purchase a year or two ago. I find that it's the perfect size to keep all my toiletries. I also keep this stocked so that whenever I'm going somewhere, I just take it out of my closet and put it in my suitcase. I will tweak the contents slightly depending on how many nights I'll be away, how much I'll be in the sun, and if I will have time for a pamper session.

For removing my makeup I take a micellar water and some cotton rounds. I used to decant my micellar water into a smaller bottle, but Garnier has brought out a dinky 125 ml bottle that's perfect for travelling. I also take enough cotton rounds because you never know when you'll need them. They're great for anything from removing makeup to wiping up spilled makeup on a table. I got this little cotton round holder from Dischem and if you squash them you can get about 20 cotton rounds in there. I can't remember the price but it is very cheap! Our Dischem has a travel product display near the pharmacy where they have small tubes of toothpaste, small deodorants, and these cotton round holders. If you don't want to pack cotton rounds and a bottle of micellar water you can always just get a pack of micellar cleansing wipes. Although I'm not entirely sure how much space that will save!

I'm not a regular Dermalogica user because I find their products to be eyewateringly expensive. That being said, I do love their products and their travel kits are great. The travel kits are still expensive but Sorbet usually has an annual 20% discount on all the products in-store and that's when I buy my travel kit, or replenish some of the travel minis (you can buy the mini products loose but that works out even more expensive, sigh). The photo above is for anything from one night to a week away. There is a small bottle of Precleanse that I use if my face is feeling really dirty (I will use that before my Garnier micellar water). Then I wash my face with the Special Cleansing Gel which is an amazing product for people with combination/oily skin. If I feel that my skin is particularly spotty or "ugh" I'll go in with the Prep Scrub which is a physical exfoliater, which means that you should not be rubbing your skin vigorously when using this. After washing that off I spritz my skin with the Multi-Active Toner which is one of my favourite products from this kit. It smells herby and clean and leaves my skin looking dewy and hydrated. I then apply Active Moist which is a rich (but not overly rich) moisturiser. If it's in the morning I will apply the eye cream with built-in SPF as well. I also pack a teeny tiny Clarins Bright Plus serum for when my skin needs that extra boost, and a Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Serum for the evenings. My two travel masks of choice are the Clarins pink clay mask and the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask, all of which I received either with a purchase or because I asked nicely. When I'm only going away for a night and there won't be any time to pamper or faff, I leave behind the Precleanse, Prep Scrub, and the masks.

As for haircare I decanted some Pureology Hydrate shampoo and conditioner into two squeezy travel bottles from Woolworths (I can't find them online so I assume you can't buy them anymore). I didn't take close-up photos of them because the one's sticker is beginning to come off, and the other one's cap is cracked. You know how it goes! I also pack a wide-tooth comb because I always comb conditioner through my hair while in the shower. I got this particular comb from a Test Box long ago, but you can buy similar ones for very cheap at Dischem, Clicks, or even Pick N Pay and Checkers. 

For body care I pack a mini Lush Lord of Misrule shower cream. This is part of their Christmas collection but I simply love the smell and the size is perfect for travelling. I also pack my Venus Snap razor. I have been waiting forever for someone to come up with this brilliant concept: A normal-sized razor but with a teeny tiny handle, in a travel case. No more lugging around razors with long handles or nicking yourself on a blade while scratching in your toiletry bag. This razor works with most Venus blades, and I always make sure that the blade is relatively sharp before my travels.

I always make sure to keep a small bottle of body lotion handy. On my most recent trip I found out that my Kiehl's Creme de Corps mini doesn't smell like it's supposed to anymore, so I'll swap that out for my small Nivea body cream tub (such as this one). I also take a small sun lotion. This one from Nivea is a "pocket size" and if I don't keep it in this bag I keep it in my handbag. Although I don't use dry shampoo that often I still keep a small can in my toiletry bag, just in case. My hair has the tendency to go flat towards the end of the day, especially when it's hot, so this helps it to retain some of that volume from earlier in the day.

Apart from all of this I pack my bath lily, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, earbuds, and a facial sponge to wash my face with or to remove my face masks. As you can see from the very first photo I also pack my bottles into two ziploc bags. I pack all my essential skincare into one bag so that I can easily find it, and I pack all my shower things (comb, shampoo, conditioner, shower cream) into another bag. Partly for easier access but I also do this so that I don't get any nasty, gooey surprises on the other side.

That was my updated travel toiletry bag! I hope you enjoyed reading this, let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

Until next time!