31 July 2014

Monthly Favourites: July

Another month, another roundup of my favourites of the past 30 days. I bought a lot of new things in July, but my favourites are mostly products that I've had for a while.

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water

This is a staple in most beauty bags, and although a staple in mine as well, I haven't used it quite as much these past few months. When I packed my bags for Europe, however, I made sure to decant this into a travel sized bottle to take with me on the aeroplane. Used with a cotton pad, it takes off makeup and even stubborn mascara with ease. As it is a French brand, I found all the different sized bottles in France: the 250 ml that we get here, as well as the 500 ml and the teeny tiny 100 ml (which I pounced on). They had special offers on twin pack 500 ml bottles, but I wouldn't have been able to fit that in my backpack.

Nivea Refreshing Facial Cleansing Wipes

After hearing Caroline Hirons's thoughts on face wipes, I decided to stop using it regularly, as she said facial wipes are only good for, "flights, fannies, and festivals". Well I was on two very long flights, as well as two very long train trips, so I figure that counts! I would use this straight after my Bioderma to ensure that I got all the makeup off.

The wipes are soft and moist (sorry, but there's no other word), and the one side has little embossed dots that almost feel exfoliating. The wipes smell nice and really feel like they clean your skin. My skin did feel a bit dry afterwards, but less so than with some other brands' wipes that I have tried.

Origins GinZing refreshing eye cream (sample)

This I received from a friend and is unfortunately not available in South Africa. The size of this is perfect for travel and I used this on the long flights and long train trips to de-puff and hydrate my under-eye area. It's also slightly illuminating, but not that anyone would notice on a train or a plane!

The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Serum

I purchased this at the start of July and have been using it in the mornings ever since. The little plastic bottle with the pump is perfect for travelling, and dispenses the right amount for application to the face and décolletage. It's a gel cream and sinks into the skin really well and does a good job of nourishing and hydrating the skin. In my opinion, this is another star product from the Vitamin E line-up.

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (travel size)

I've collected a few Beauty Flash Balm travel sizes when buying other Clarins products, and decided to take this with me on the trip. I used it as a primer in the morning to wake up my dull complexion and I also used it one night as a mask after cleansing my face. It wakes up the complexion as well as hydrates the skin.

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate (sample)

This little miracle worker was a godsend during the trip. I didn't use this every night, but when I saw my skin was looking a bit "meh", or that there was an impending breakout: I dabbed a few drops of this all over my face and gently smoothed it on, before putting on my night cream. The next morning my skin looked healthy and blemish-free. I'm definitely considering forking out the cash for a full-size version!

And that was my skincare-heavy July favourites! What were your favourite products for the month of July? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!


28 July 2014

European Haul: Makeup

On Thursday I gave you a look at skincare products I bought in Europe (if you missed it you can read it here). From all the things I bought in Europe (wow, it sounds like I bought a truck load!), I was most excited about two things that I'm featuring in this particular post. Can you guess which?

Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker in "Yummy plum"

This is a lip plumping gloss in the fun Soap & Glory packaging that we've all come to love. The actual tube is a matte glass tube. It has a doe foot applicator and the gloss is thick, but leaves the lips sheer and glossy with a hint of colour. It smells like fruit candies and tingles as soon as you apply it. I can't really comment on whether or not it plumps up my lips, but it definitely tingles like crazy!

The Balm's Mary Loumanizer

This seems to be a bit of a cult product and after hearing so many beauty bloggers talk about it, I just had to put it on my list. Both the little box and the compact are super cute and fun. The compact is sturdy and comes with a mirror. The powder highlighter is the most beautiful gold and is super soft and buttery.

Clarins Instant Lip Perfectors in 01 Rose Shimmer and 02 Apricot Shimmer

The pretty coloured tubes match the colour of the gloss inside. These lip perfectors have very interesting sponge applicators-- not brushes or doe foot applicators. You squeeze the tube and out comes the gloss from a couple of tiny holes under the sponge applicator. The lip perfectors smell of vanilla and leaves lips glossy, tinted, and incredibly moisturised without being gloopy or drying out the lips.

Tanya Burr Lip Glosses in "Chic" and "Picnic in the park"

The glosses come in square tubes with doe foot applicators. The gloss is thick (thicker than I expected it to be) and leaves the lips glossy with a nice wash of colour. It smells like fruit candies and isn't sticky or gloopy. "Chic" is a light milkshake pink even though it looks quite dusty in the tube. "Picnic in the Park" is more of a bright candy pink.

BeautyBay Beauty Blender

I received this as a GWP with my BeautyBay order. The purple egg-shaped sponge is similar (in shape) to the Beauty Blender sponge. It feels much more velvety and soft than my pink Clicks knockoff! You wet it slightly under the tap and use it to blend (or "bounce") in your foundation or BB cream.

Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush in "Flush"

A lot of overseas beauty bloggers raved about this, and I was intrigued about the whole watercolour idea. One tiny drop gives the most beautiful pink flush on the cheeks. It blends easily and lasts much longer than other blushes on my cheeks. I predict that this little bottle will also last me ages!

Too Faced Natural Eyes Neutral Eye Shadow Collection

The packaging of this palette is just beautiful. The tin is small and compact and surprisingly sturdy. It contains nine eyeshadows grouped by "day", "classic", and "fashion" looks. The base eyeshadow colours are bigger than the rest and the colour selection is just amazing. The tin comes with a large mirror and a booklet with instructions on how to create each of the three looks. Obviously you can (and should) create more than three looks, but this is just to get you started.

The shadows are soft and buttery and really pigmented. I expect to get a lot of wear out of this palette!

Urban Decay Naked Palette

I have wanted this eyeshadow palette for SO long and it is finally mine! It's quite a big palette, so travelling with it could be a bit problematic. The cardboard case is covered in chocolate brown velvet with the words "Naked" and "Urban Decay" in gold lettering. It contains 12 eyeshadows, a small mirror, and a double-ended eyeshadow brush. The palette also comes with four samples of the equally famous eyeshadow primer potions (it keeps your eyeshadow from sliding off your face if you have oily eyelids). The colours are bronze orientated but the variety is impeccable and I feel confident that I chose the right Naked palette for me! I have to be honest, I haven't used this yet, I just take it out of the box and stare at it for now!

The next two items aren't really makeup items, but it's closer to makeup than skincare I suppose?

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat and Seche Restore

I have proclaimed my love for Seche Vite to most people who know me. This is my second bottle and I will keep on repurchasing it. For those who don't know: this is the best top coat in the world. As simple as that. It dries your nails (and I mean DRIES) in seconds and leave them looking super glossy. It can shrink your nail polish at the edges, but I haven't really had serious problems with this in the past. The only bad things about Seche Vite are that it contains a small amount of Toluene (a "nasty" ingredient), it's pricey (much cheaper ordering from overseas), and it turns gloopy (or in my case, completely solid) in a few months. Which brings me to my next item...

Seche Restore is like paint thinner but for Seche Vite specifically. I thought about trying to revive my bottle of rock hard Seche Vite, but I think that ship has sailed. I'll rather keep it for the new bottle!

Phew, that was quite a long post! Is there anything you would like me to review? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!


24 July 2014

European Haul: Skincare

I'm back after a whirlwind two weeks in Europe, but it feels like I've been away for two months! I would like to say a huge thank you to all my blog readers, Twitter friends, and Instagram followers for the lovely messages and comments. I really means a lot to me that there are so many special people out there who care where I am and what I'm doing! The holiday was amazing and the conference went really well! The presentation went fine and everyone seem to like it, and I received  a lot of compliments.

I thought I'd give you all a look at what I procured (I love that word and never get a chance to use it) while I was away. For ease of reading I've split the post in two with today covering the skincare (which is a lot less than I anticipated!), and the next post covering the makeup bits. I also thought of doing a bit of a travel post later on since I took hundreds of photos and really can't wait to share my experiences with you.

Right, onto the products, shall we?

Garnier Miracle Skin Cream

This is advertised as anti-ageing and skin transforming care. It's a mixture between a moisturiser and a very lightly tinted moisturiser. So basically a tinted moisturiser then (duh). It has a very light "Garnier" fragrance and is a thin white cream. This miracle skin cream is probably better suited for use in summer, but we'll see how it goes.

Melvita Milky Cleansing Oil for Face and Eyes

Melvita is a European brand that I have heard a lot about, and I was excited to see a whole range at the duty-free shop in Munich airport. Melvita is organic and not tested on animals. The cleansing oil comes in a sturdy pump bottle and is a yellow oil that smells of roses, hmmmm!

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

I already own the Origins Drink Up overnight mask and I've spoken about that and the sample size of the charcoal mask here. The mask is a thick dark grey cream that thankfully doesn't smell like charcoal. It's the same consistency as a clay mask and is good for purifying congested skin.

Soap & Glory The Ultimelt Hot Cloth Cleanser

This cleanser comes in a white "toothpaste" tube and includes a facecloth (like the one you get with the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask). It's advertised as a deep purifying hot cloth cleanser for all skin types. It doesn't really smell like anything and is a thick white cream. I love hot cloth cleansers, so I'm pretty excited to try this one out.

Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk

I bought this travel size bottle at a Parisian pharmacy. I would have liked to buy a lot more from this brand, but the products are quite expensive, and only upon returning did we find out about places to buy it for less! This cleansing milk contains sweet almond (good for a gentle cleansing) and cornflower (good to combat oil if I'm not mistaken). It contains 0% nasties and is a white cream with a soft floral scent.

Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream

This hand and nail cream also contains 0% nasties. It has the most amazing fruity smell (thanks to the grape skins from which it is made) and nourishes the hands well without any greasiness.

PapayaGold Moisturising Balm

This adorable red tube caught my eye while browsing online one evening. I initially thought it was (only) a lip balm, but it's more of a multipurpose balm. It is enriched with Bio Active Manuka honey and soothes, relieves, and moisturises dry, chapped lips and irritated skin. It's a very thick colourless cream (it reminds me of Eucerin's Aquaphor Balm), and it has the faintest of honey smells. As soon as it gets into contact with your lips it just glides onto the skin, but doesn't leave your lips greasy. It doesn't even look that glossy, amazing!

 Florena Creme with Bio Camomile

I actually bought this on a whim as it was a grand total of 1.99 euros and I liked the tin! I have yet to go and translate *all* of the German on the tin, but so far I think it's a multipurpose cream. Not sure if I can use it on my face, but for the rest of my body it'll be fine. It's a rich white cream and has a beautiful camomile fragrance.

Origins Plantscription Powerful Lifting Cream and La Roche-Posay Redermic Eyes Intensive (samples)

The Origins is a white day cream with no fragrance. The La-Roche Posay contains no parabens, and the eye cream comes in a sealed metal tube.

Konjac Sponge (all skin types)

Ah, I was so excited to try this and then my friend gifted me one when we went to stay with her and her husband in Bordeaux. She loves her sponge and actually introduced me to the concept of Konjac sponges long before they hit South Africa! You wet the sponge with clean water and then use it to clean your face (with or without facial cleanser, it's up to you). It improves circulation and the overall tone of your skin. The sponges can be used for up to three months, and is biodegradable.

Dermalogica Daily Resurfacer (sample)

These packets contain leave-on exfoliants for daily use, each packet enough for one day.

And that's it for the skincare section of my haul! I hoped you enjoyed reading it. Please let me know if there is anything specific you would like me to review.

Until next time!


21 July 2014

Review: Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet

I wasn't going to buy this, really I wasn't. But then I saw Anna from ViviennaDoesMakeup rave about this countless times… According to her the nude shades aren't worth the hype, but the bold colours are. I bought the shade 05 Olé Flamingo! which is a bright dark pink. At first I wasn't too sure about the colour and thought that I maybe should have bought a red instead, but now I love it!

Firstly, the stain comes in a square plastic tube and just looks classy and modern. The doe foot applicator is a good size, but for colours this bright I still prefer to go in with a fine lip brush to do the edges of my lips.

It applies like a thick cream, very much the same consistency of the Rimmel Apocalips stains. It dries to the most gorgeous velvet stain and the staying power is amazing. The first time I applied it was over a weekend so that I could properly test it. I applied it late morning, had lunch, and by early evening I had to scrub it with Bioderma to get it off! The second time I used it, I tried to remove it with Bioderma, then went for a shower, and then my face cloth still got a pink stain when I washed my face afterwards! Obviously you shouldn't touch your lips or bring your lips near your husband's collar (sorry, husband), but overall the staying power is incredible.

The second thing I find amazing is the fact that it doesn't dry out my lips. My lips easily dry out, and some lipsticks and even some lip balms dry out my lips and leave them flaky and chapped, so I was pleasantly surprised when this velvet stain didn't dry out my lips at all. I'm talking not one flakey bit.

There are eight colours in the range, and you can buy them at selected Clicks stores for around R125.95.

Have you ever tried these velvet stains? Which shades are your favourite?

Until next time!


14 July 2014

Top Five Winter Nail Colours

Last month I showed you my favourite beauty products for winter. I already spoke about hand creams and cuticle butters, but today is about putting some colour on those pretty fingertips. Winter nails to me are an opportunity to play around with dark plums and moody blues, and even break out the 'ol Black Satin! Below are five of my favourites.

Yardley Gel-Lac Nails in "Burgundy"

I really like the Yardley Gel-Lac nail polishes as they come in beautiful wintery colours, have wide brushes, last quite long, and leave your nails incredibly glossy. This particular one is a rich burgundy that looks amazing paired with short finger nails. The colour is opaque in two coats, but if you apply if very thinly you might need three.

Chanel Le Vernis in "219 Black Satin"

What is there I could say about this classic polish? Shiny black nail polish without a hint of shimmer or sparkle that doesn't look flat or like you've just joined a cult. The staying power of this isn't too great, but that is understandable. One of the chemists at Chanel said that the pigment of the dark nail polishes contain a certain element that causes it to chip quicker than lighter colours. A beautiful colour, none the less. Two coats give you a beautiful opaque look.

Yardley Gel-Lac in "Gunmetal"

Another favourite in the Gel-Lac range is this beautiful gunmetal grey with a hint of shimmer. Two coats leave the nails completely opaque and the staying power is very very good.

Nails inc. in "Baker Street"

I have received so many compliments when wearing this polish and it is easily my favourite blue. It's a bright electric blue, but doesn't look tacky or like you've travelled back in time from the 80s. It's just a beautiful grown up and modern blue. This goes opaque after only one coat, but I normally apply two coats anyway. I found the staying power of this to be slightly iffy, but I think I need to give it a few more chances.

Chanel Le Vernis in "18 Rouge Noir"

My last favourite is another cult classic. The iconic Chanel Rouge Noir is a moody burgundy, and is actually a lot like the Yardley Gel-Lec polish, but more opaque. The staying power of this is about the same as that of the Black Satin. A very sophisticated colour that always catches the eye.

Below are all the colours swatched: FLTR Yardley Gel-Lac in Burgundy, Yardley Gel-Lac in Gunmetal, Nails inc. in Baker Street, Chanel Le Vernis in Black Satin, and Chanel Le Vernis in Rouge Noir (thumb). Each nail has two coats of polish except for the Nails inc. nail that only has one coat.

What are your favourite nail colours for winter? I'm always on the lookout for new ideas.

Until next time!


10 July 2014

Suzy goes to Europe! Travel Skincare Bag

When you read this, I will be finishing up at my conference in Spain and packing my bags for the next leg of our trip: Bordeaux. I can't tell you how excited I am to go there and visit my friends!

Before I get too excited about Bordeaux, let me show you what I have in my skincare bag... I'm only going to show you what I will be putting on my face every morning and evening and leave it at that, otherwise I will have to write a few extra posts!

For my main skincare bag I packed my beloved Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel which is a repurchase after I finished the first one. On a random note: they changed the packaging of the cleanser slightly, it now has a flip top instead of a screw on lid which means less things to fall on the floor. Anyway, I'll use the Pure Melt in the mornings and evenings with a face cloth or face sponge, and I also packed a small sample of the Daily Energizer Cleansing Gel which looks the same to me as the Pure Melt, but is apparently different. For toners I have a sample of the Gentle Exfoliating Toner and The Body Shop's Vitamin E hydrating toner which I decanted into a spray bottle.

I recently purchased The Body Shop's Vitamin E Moisture Serum, partly because my Woolworths serum is too bulky to travel with, and because I seem to be smitten with the entire Vitamin E range (I may need to do a post on this).

I also packed the Clarins Multi-Active Day Cream, Clarins Multi-Active Night Cream, and a sample of the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. For an eye cream the Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector was my first choice, and for eye makeup remover a sample of the Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover. I also packed the normal boring cotton rounds as well as a pack of the Nivea Facial Cleansing Wipes. I normally don't use wipes, but I think this will be a godsend on this trip!

In-flight skincare bag

This is something that's very new to me. Whenever I fly it's only within the borders of South Africa and then I pack deodorant, lip balm, hand cream, blotting paper, and powder. You know, the things that are normally in my handbag. This time, however, we are on overnight flights going to Spain and flying back from Germany. I didn't go full-on Lisa Eldridge with my in-flight skincare routine (I love that video!), however I did decide to at least take off my makeup and keep my skin moisturised.

As you can see from the above photo, I packed a whole lot of pills, because you never know when a headache or tummy ache will strike. So the plan is to take off my makeup with the decanted Bioderma micellar water and cotton rounds, and then apply Origins GinZing refreshing eye cream for puffy eyes (sample). That is followed by Clarins Hydra-Quench Bi-Serum (also a sample), and a layer of Clarins Beauty Flash Balm which I will tissue off after about 10-15 minutes.

Also included in the bag are Clarins hand and nail cream, teeny tiny toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and lip balm.

Have you ever done the whole in-flight skincare routine? Let me know, I'd love ideas for the next trip!

Until next time!


07 July 2014

Suzy goes to Europe! Travel makeup bag

A few weeks ago I showed you what my travel makeup bag looks like for a long weekend (you can read it here). Well, this post will be along the same lines, but this will be slightly different as I will be away from home for two weeks, and I am carrying a big hiking backpack!

I tried not to take too many products, as I plan on buying quite a few things, as well as bringing back the sneaky little purchases I've already made online which will hopefully be waiting for me when I get there...

For the sake of keeping this post short-ish, I didn't photograph everything on its own. For primers I packed my teeny tiny Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch (and yes, the name is about three times bigger than the tiny red pot). I packed my Garnier Pure Active BB cream (I did a review on it here), as well as a small sample of the Clarins HydraQuench Tinted Moisturiser which the lovely ladies at the Clarins counter was kind enough to give me. For dark circles under my eyes I took the Bourjois CC eye cream (featured in my favourites here), and the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion for priming my eyelids. My holy grail essence All About Matt! loose powder came along to set my makeup.

In the eyeshadow department I decided to play it safe and only take neutral colours. My MAC Paint Pot in "Groundwork" and the Rimmel ScandalEyes Shadow Paint in "Rich russet" (more on it here) both provide good bases for eyeshadow, or look perfectly neutral on their own. As far as eyeshadow palettes go I took my Wet n Wild trio in "Silent treatment" (which is a new addition to my makeup bag that I absolutely love) and my trusty Smashbox eyeshadow trio in "Filter" (featured in my favourites here). For eyebrows I can't leave home without the Smashbox Brow Tech To Go in "Taupe" (another favourite featured here) and a clean spoolie, and for lashes the L'Oreal Miss Manga mascara in black.

I packed two blushes: MAC powder blush in "Melba", and Bourjois Little Round Pot Blush in "95 Jasper Rose" (isn't that the most adorable blush compact ever?).

For the lips I packed two lipsticks and one lipgloss: MAC lipstick in "Syrup", Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in "Berry Smoothie", and Chanel Aqualumiere gloss in "Tangerine Dream".

I left all my Real Techniques brushes at home and rather took my Bourjois brush set as well as the Eco Tools travel set for eyes. I also packed a small essence blush brush as well as my Sigma F80 flat kabuki.

And that's it! Everything packed nicely in my bright and colourful Clinique makeup bag (it is summer where I'm going, after all). I hope you've enjoyed reading this. Which items are must haves in your travel makeup bag?

Until next time!


03 July 2014

Suzy Goes to Europe!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Instagram would have seen me blabbing about going on an overseas trip sometime in the near future. Well, that near future is pretty much tomorrow evening, eek! I will be presenting a paper at a conference in Spain next week, and after that my husband and I will be touring France and Germany for a week. I am very nervous and extremely excited as this will be my first time in Europe, and only my second time leaving the country.

I don't know how my internet access will be while I'm away, but I'll reply to all comments as soon as I can, so feel free to leave me a lot of reading material! 

As I am writing this I have a couple of posts planned, but I don't know how far I'll get or how many I'll complete before I leave. You can follow me on Bloglovin to keep up to date with my latest posts. Posts to look forward to in the following week or two are sneak peeks into what I'm packing, as well as my favourite nail polishes for winter.

Adiós! Au revoir! Auf Wiedersehen!


* Photo by Gaertringen.