21 January 2016

Why Things Will be Getting a Bit Quiet Here for a While...

January is always the month for starting afresh and although I never make resolutions (it's too much pressure trying to stick to them and I end up feeling miserable), I decided to make a few for 2016. I'm not going to list them all here, mostly because they're just the normal "be healthier, lose weight, get fit" type of resolutions. But the main resolution is for me to finish my PhD this year, and I plan on achieving this no matter what. That means that certain sacrifices have to be made, and my regular blogging schedule is unfortunately one of them. I love blogging and interacting with my readers, but it's time for me to get my priorities straight. My work contract expires in a few months (too few!) and I need to hand in my thesis before then. 

So things are going to get a little quiet on the blog and I hope that you understand why. I will still blog occasionally, but I won't be posting as regularly as I usually do. As I said, this will only be for a couple of months. Don't fret, I'll be back to my proper blogging schedule soon!

Until next time!



* Photo courtesy of

14 January 2016

Top Beauty Products of 2015

On Monday I showed you my Top 25 Makeup Products of 2015 (you can read it here). Today I'm showing you what else I loved during 2015 in the skincare, haircare, and body care categories.


In 2015 the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water finally made it to our shores and I couldn't be happier. There is a pink and a green bottle: the pink is for sensitive skin and the green for normal/combination skin. Both remove makeup effortlessly and both cost a whopping R80 each at Clicks. I'm almost finished with my second bottle and there's already a third bottle waiting in the wings. You can read my comparison between this and the Bioderma Micellar Water here.

My favourite cleanser for 2015 is one that I bought on a whim. I've always liked Nuxe as a brand, so I decided to give this Purifying Cleansing Gel a whirl, and boy am I glad I did! The pump bottle is very handy and keeps everything nice and clean. The cleansing gel is quite a thick white gel and smells incredibly fruity and fresh. It doesn't foam, it just produces a lather on my skin. I like to use this twice a day, but especially in the evenings, sometimes with a hot cloth and other times with a facial cleansing tool such as the Olay or Sorbet cleansing tools.

I feel like 2015 was the Year Of The Spritz for me. I really got into thermal waters and face mists and my skin is thanking me for it. This thermal water from Avène is a goodie. I can't say that it's better than Uriage or Vichy, because to me, French thermal water sprays are French thermal water sprays. That being said, Avène is the one I currently have on rotation and it's saving my poor skin in these heat waves.

Facial oils also received a lot of airtime on my skin, but none more than the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I have to be honest, the first few times I used it I was a bit disappointed in that it didn't do anything. That was on good skin days. On bad skin days, when nothing seems to work and everything seems to aggravate the situation, this is the only thing that helps. Four drops applied at night before my moisturiser leaves me with smooth, clear skin come morning. Magic in a glass pot, I tell you...

If you've familiar with this area of the web you'll know that I have a mild obsession with face masks. So it will come as no surprise that three masks made it into my top beauty product post! I rediscovered the Origins Clear Improvements charcoal mask and it has solved many a skin issue over the past few months. It's a dark grey clay mask that you apply to clean skin, and then you leave it on for about 15 minutes. I've found that if I leave it on for longer (say 20-30 minutes), I get better results.

The REN Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial is also a goodie. I use this twice a week after my Kiehl's MRC and before my night time moisturiser. It smells horrid, think rotting orange peels, but luckily the smell goes away after about a minute. You sleep with the mask on, and by morning your skin issues will be a thing of the past!

SKOON. skincare was introduced to us in 2015 and I was sent a little sample pack to try out. The absolute star of the show for me is the Ruby Marine Overnight Hydrating Mask. I've had this little pot for months and it's only just below half, *that's* how little you need. I apply this once or twice a week instead of my night time moisturiser. It smells deliciously coconutty and feels a bit oily on the skin, so I lightly blot my skin before going to bed. I wake up with the softest and smoothest skin. I don't know what kind of magical ingredients they put in there, but I hope they keep doing it!


In 2015 I was a bit of a floozy when it came to bath and body products. I used whatever I could lay my hands on, from Soap & Glory to Lush to The Body Shop. I loved about 90% of whatever I used, but the Soap & Glory Orangeasm body butter deserves a special mention. It smells like orange Game and sweet orange sweets. It's a thick and creamy body butter with tiny orange "massage" spheres that sinks into the skin immediately and leaves you moisturised without feeling greasy. It's unfortunately not available in South Africa, but if you want to smell like orange sweets, get a mule to bring you a tub!


When I cut my hair early in 2015 I had to find a hairspray that could hold my curls as well as not make my hair crispy and crunchy. If you're looking for the same thing, look no further, because L'Oreal Elnett Satin hairspray is the bees knees. And at less than R70 for a big can, who can argue with that? I also fell in love with the milk_shake Incredible Milk. It's basically an all-in-one miracle milk for hair. I use it post-washing and pre-blowdrying. It makes my hair super soft and manageable, and it seems my hair holds a curl better after using this. Also, it smells like a vanilla milkshake.


The award for multitasker of the year goes to none other than the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream! The many uses of this product just keep on amazing me. Not only can you use it on your lips, you can use it to tame eyebrows, soften cuticles, and moisturise skin. The past year I've used it on extremely dry and flaky skin, insect bites, as well as burn marks. Earlier in the year I had trouble with my eyelids: overnight they just started to flake off and I couldn't put anything on there without it looking extremely gross. So for two nights I went to bed with Eight Hour Cream smoothed onto my eyelids, and by the morning my problem was completely gone.

Those were my beauty favourites for 2015! What made your list? Let me know in the comments section!

Until next time!


11 January 2016

Top 25 Makeup Products of 2015

We're almost halfway into the first month of 2016 and I'm glad to report that I'm mostly back into the swing of things. I've hit the PhD writing with a bang (more on that in an upcoming post) and I'm excited to also be back to blog writing. Today I'm showing you what made my list of top 25 makeup products for 2015. There are many more products that I've loved, but I thought I'd only show you the things that I really really really loved and which weren't on the previous year's list.

Skin and cheeks

My favourite BB cream of the past year has to be the L.A. Girl Pro BB cream in the shade "Fair". This doesn't provide a lot of coverage and I wouldn't recommend using this on bad skin days, but on days where my skin is well-behaved or when I just want to look like I have *something* on my face, this is what I reach for. It's more of a tinted moisturiser, really. The tube is also small enough to throw in your handbag and there are a ton of shades to choose from. Although I'm not a big foundation wearer, 2015 saw me finding my HG foundation. Yes, the L'Oreal Infallible 24H Matte foundation (I have the shade "20 Sand") is *that* good. It's mattifying without looking cakey or flat, and after months I'm still loving it.

As for setting powder I've really been loving the Bourjois Healthy Balance powder (I have it in the shade "52 Vanilla"). The compact is thin and sturdy and includes a mirror, and the powder is finely milled and doesn't leave your makeup looking caked-on.

In the concealer department there was only really one product that stood out: the Rimmel Wake Me Up concealer in the shade "Classic Beige". The product is creamy and I use it under my eyes, around my nose, and anywhere I need touching up. It blends beautifully and doesn't just sit on top of my skin. If I set it with powder it also doesn't crease under my eyes. Sadly it is not available in South Africa and I'm already dreading the day I finish it (which, it seems, will be soon).

I forgot to photograph it (you can still see it on the first photo), but the NYX HD High Definition Eye Shadow Base was basically the only one I used in 2015. It's nothing fancy but it does what it says on the tin: it makes my eyeshadow last longer, and that's fine by me.

I tried a lot of cheek products this past year and I couldn't just pick one favourite. Three blushes made my top list: two from Cargo and one from Benefit. Benefit's Coralista is a gorgeous peachy coral that makes you look like you've spent long days on a beach in St. Tropez. Cargo's Blu-Ray HD Blush/Highlighter in "Pink" is a buttery pinky peach with delicate shimmer running through it. The Cargo Water Resistant Blush in "Bali" (in the tin) is the perfect subtle pink. It just adds a delicate flush to the cheeks and makes you look healthy and awake.

My favourite bronzer of 2015 is hands down Soap & Glory Solar Powder. The bronzer is two-toned: one a chocolatey bronzer and the other a lighter, slightly more illuminating powder. Swirled together they create the perfect bronzy cheek. The packaging is cute but cardboard, so not very sturdy or handbag-friendly. Apparently they now come in plastic packaging, which I am thrilled about. This is unfortunately not available in South Africa, but do put this on your wish list next time you head overseas.

This has to be the latest addition to my makeup stash, but one that I am already very fond of. The Benefit Watt's up! Highlighter is just amazing. Firstly, just look at the cute packaging! The one end has a twist-up highlighter and the other a spongy tip so that you can blend it out. The product is the most beautiful shimmery gold, and is very creamy and blendable.

Eyes and eyebrows

My favourite mono eyeshadow of 2015 is the teeny tiny Wet N Wild ColorIcon single eyeshadow in "Nutty". It's the perfect one-wash eyeshadow and the colour is a beautiful taupey brown-grey. It has a hint of sheen and looks good whether or not you are making an effort with your makeup or just slapping on a few products. My favourite cream eyeshadow has to be the MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in "Groundwork". It's a medium brown and looks quite boring in the pot, but on the eyelids it is the perfect wash of neutral brown. I like applying this with my fingers and then blending the edges out with a brush.

My favourite drugstore eyeshadow palette of the year is this little brown beauty from Catrice, aptly named "Chocolate Nudes". It contains six buttery eyeshadows ranging from a very pale pearly shade to a rich chocolate brown. There is a mix of matte and shimmery shadows, which are all buttery and blend perfectly, and they last really well with an eyeshadow primer.

The non-drugstore eyeshadow palette that stole my heart this past year is the MAC 15-pan Warm Neutrals palette. It contains 15 gorgeous shades, and although the contrast between the shadows could have been a bit more, I still love it. There's something for every nude-lover!

I have to be honest, I don't have a mascara that stood out head and shoulders above the rest, but I have been using this Maybelline Lash Sensational Lash Multiplying Mascara for a long time. The slanted brush makes combing through the eyelashes very easy and the mascara is black and wet: easy to smudge it onto your skin, but amazing for coating the actual lashes and making them look sexy and well-defined.


Obviously I was never going to skimp on the lip products! I tried narrowing it down, but I ended up with six lip products that were my favourites of 2015. I absolutely love the L'Oreal lipstick collections where they teamed up with celebrities to create shades complimenting each star's skin tone. First there was a "Pure Red" collection and then a "La vie en rose" (pink) collection. From the Pure Red collection I have "Julianne's red" which is a bright orange-toned matte shade. From the La Vie En Rose collection I have "Eva's Delicate Rose" which looks dark in the bullet but is a fantastic "my lips but better" shade on me. 

I was surprised by the quality of the essence lipsticks. This one in particular ("03 Red Rocks" from the Merry Berry Christmas collection) is a bright pink-red. It's matte but also creamy and doesn't feel drying. Another super cheap, but amazing quality, lipstick is this Luminous Lips one from Catrice called "120 Wood Rose propose?". It's glossy and extremely creamy, so creamy in fact that my first one melted and then broke off! This shade is a great neutral option and is a slightly brown rose colour. Winter 2015 saw me wearing plummy and vampy shades on my lips and this one from Wet N Wild called "Sugar Plum Fairy" was the one that got me over my fear of wearing plums in public. It's a bit drying, but with some lip balm underneath you don't have to worry. It's a gorgeous dark pink-plum and I can't wait to crack it out in winter! Last but not least is a nod to liquid lipsticks. The Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque in the shade "07 Fuchsia perché" is all kinds of fabulous. It applies very wet, it basically feels like you're applying water to your lips. Within seconds it sets, leaving you with a gorgeously glossy berry-stained lip.


I'm still loving my Real Techniques brushes, but I thought I'd only include new tools. This past year I've been loving the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Makeup Sponge. I wet it under the tap or with setting spray, and then bop (it's a technical term) it all over my face. It's good for concealer and foundation, but also when you feel like you've overdone it: it can make cakey areas look less cakey in a flash. I've also been loving these three Cala eyeshadow brushes from Dischem. I have the 311 Blending Brush, the 314 Angled Shadow Brush, and the 312 Shading Brush. If I remember correctly they were R29.95 each.

If you're reading this it means you made it to the end of my very long list of makeup products that I loved in 2015, congratulations! Next time I'll feature the rest of my beauty products that made the cut for 2015. Which products made your "best of" list? Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time!