27 March 2017

Review: L.A. Girl Strobe Lite Strobing Powders

Ever wondered what exactly 'strobing' is? Strobing is basically the same as highlighting, just a more amped-up extreme version of it. Where contouring involves contouring, bronzing, and highlighting - darker shades create shadows and lighter shades make feature pop, strobing is just about highlighting your best features. Think of a beam that can be seen from space instead of just a subtle glow. I don't know about you, but contouring kind of stresses me out. I'm so scared of going out into the daylight looking like a muddy-faced clown! Highlighting? That I can do!

Strobing is achieved by placing the highlight everywhere the sun would normally hit your face: brow bones, cheekbones, center of your forehead, nose, cupid's bow, and chin. You can use any highlighter to strobe with, but obviously, calling it a "strobing powder" instead of a "highlighter" will pique people's interest! Recently L.A. Girl launched a whole range of strobing powders. There are 12 shades  ranging from a snowy white to a dark bronze, so there will be something for everyone. 

L.A. Girl Strobe Lite Strobing Powder

I bought the shades "110 Watt" (left) and "50 Watt" (right). First off, the packaging is quite sturdy but very bulky - this will definitely bulk up your makeup bag when you travel. I like the packaging but I feel like there's a lot of wasted space in the compact, they could have made it a lot slimmer. 

Both strobing powders contain shimmer but luckily no chunky pieces of glitter. Applying it to the high points of your face does not result in fallout that causes you to look like a disco ball - the colour stays where you apply it. That being said, these powders really bring the highlight, so use a light hand if you're new to the highlighting/strobing technique. The texture of the powders is quite buttery, which is surprising given the amount of shimmer. It blends easily onto the skin and doesn't look patchy or uneven.

The pale shade (110 Watt) is the second palest shade in the range and is a champagne colour. The other shade (50 Watt) is more of a peachy, rose gold shade. In certain light the two look almost identical, but as you can see from the photo, they are not. I use a fan brush (you can get a cheap one from the Cala range at Dischem, although it's not the best quality) and sweep the powders across the high points of my cheeks. I don't highlight my nose or chin (oily-skinned girls should stay away from chin highlights), but I will sometimes highlight my brow bone.

These powders are available from Dischem exclusively for R149 each and L.A. Girl products are regularly on a 3-for-2 promotion. Have you tried any of these powders? Let me know in the comments section!

Until next time!


23 March 2017

Top 5: Current favourite lippies

I have really been into pink and pinky-nude lips these past few weeks. I keep finding the same five products in my handbag so I thought I'd show you what they are.

There are three lipsticks, one liner-gloss duo, and one gloss. Four of the five products are drugstore products and the fifth is a bit more high-end.

Palladio matte lipstick in "Lady Rose"

This lipstick is super creamy, probably one of the creamiest lipsticks I own. It glides on smoothly and is very opaque. The shade is a milky nude pink and looks great paired with simple neutral makeup and a bronzy cheek. It doesn't dry out my lips and it stays put for a few hours. Touching up isn't a problem and there isn't any pilling or grossness, although I do prefer wiping it all off and starting over when reapplying. The smell is a bit powdery and weird but luckily it doesn't linger too long.

essence Matt Matt Matt lipstick in "03 Wow effect"

I saw a few of these essense Matt Matt Matt lipsticks on Glam Life Guru's YouTube channel and I was intrigued. Cheap matte lipsticks with a hint of shine (counterintuitive, I know) that are creamy and doesn't dry out the lips? Sold! This shade looks very nude and mauve-y in the bullet, but comes out as more of a pink shade. It's still very wearable and not in-your-face at all. It's creamy but a little more stiff than the Palladio lipstick, if that makes sense. I like the colour and the fact that it's so cheap! The shades all have colour-coded packaging so that you can immediately see which lipstick you're grabbing, which is very cool.

Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer in "10 Punch Pop"

First off, I love the packaging. The pink and silver square packaging gives it a very sleek and modern look. The lid also closes very snugly over the rest of the lipstick. Once again the packaging is colour-coded to match the lipstick which helps a lot if you have multiple shades. The lipstick is super creamy, and super pigmented. This bright pop of pink is definitely not a my-lips-but-better shade! The lipstick glides on and stains the lips ever so slightly so that when it fades, things don't look patchy. That being said, the lipstick wears extremely well, even through eating and drinking. This is the most expensive lipstick of the bunch but I think it's worth the money.

Catrice Contourious Lip Contour & Colour in "C01 Nude"

I'm not really the biggest fan of double-sided lip products, but I absolutely adore this one (I spoke about it here). The one end is a matt lipstick in the shape of a 'lip crayon' and the other side is a gloss in the same shade. I've worn these two products separately and together, and I love it. The gloss does pill a bit after a few hours and then I have to wipe it off and start again, but apart from that I can't fault the product. This was unfortunately limited edition but you might still be able to grab one from a Dischem sale rack.

essence XXXL Nude lipgloss in "06 Soft almond"

This is the newest addition to the list, but also the one I've been wearing the most these past few days. The essence lipglosses come in different finishes (if I can call it that), but the glittery and shimmery lipglosses aren't my favourites. I was ready to give up when I saw this stunning nude shade. It looks like a more nude version of the Catrice gloss shade. I've only worn it on its own and the colour is so beautiful. It looks natural, but with a glossy finish. It's not tacky or goopy on the lips and it wears incredibly well for a gloss. It fades evenly and reapplication is painless. A definite win in my book.

What are your current favourite lippies? Enable me!

Until next time!


20 March 2017

Retail Therapy: Where I Buy My Beauty and Skincare

I honestly don't know if anyone will be interested in this, but I thought that I'd just list where I buy my skincare, haircare, and makeup. Let me know if this is helpful at all?

Bargain Betty

I don't consider myself a Bargain Betty in the true sense of the word, because then I wouldn't have nearly as much makeup and skincare products as I do now! I don't often pay full-price for something, but if I do, I make sure that it's worth my while. I subscribe to newsletters (sometimes to my detriment!) and I keep an eye out on Twitter or on those pamphlets they put in your post box along with the weekly community newspaper. If I see I'm running low on something, or if there's something that I really, really want, I make a mental note of it. Sometimes these products will be on a 20% off sale or a 3-for-2 sale.

Clicks and Dischem

Clicks and Dischem are the two big "drugstores" in South Africa and I always compare their prices as they stock a lot of the same products. Clicks regularly have 3-for-2 sales and they've expanded the sale to include ALL skincare, beauty, and makeup products. As long as it's three items from the same brand, you're getting the cheapest of the three products for free. I mostly buy essence, NYX, cotton rounds (they usually have the three-packs on a 3-for-2 sale), Sorbet products, shower gel, body lotion, tampons, razor blades, and haircare from Clicks. On the current sale I have my eye on some NYX products as well as new launches from Maybelline. I get my medication from Dischem (just because it's more convenient), but many times they are cheaper than Clicks (Neutrogena serum, I'm looking at you), but they don't regularly have 3-for-2 specials. Dischem stocks LA Girl and Catrice, which are both brands that I love.

Both companies have loyalty cards and you can get cash back with both. Both also have a click-and-collect service where you order online and then go to the store to collect your goodies. I've only tried this service with Dischem, but it worked quite well.

Retail Box

I don't shop at Retail Box that often, but I like shopping their sales because my beloved Pureology Hydrate shampoo and conditioner is regularly on sale. Their Secret Boxes are also great and I look forward to getting my hands on a box suited to my hair in the near future. Their product range is also extensive and they sell makeup and nail care items as well. If you live in Cape Town (northern suburbs) you can collect your order from their warehouse. Their service and communication is impeccable and delivery is very quick. 

Runway Sale

I've only recently rediscovered Runway Sale. A new event (or two) launches every day of the week and then ends at a certain time. I've bought a Beauty Blender at about half the price, as well as REN and SAMPAR products (I'll do a post on these later). They have anything from makeup to watches to handbags to clothes, depending on the event. The only downside is that you have to pay R45 shipping fee no matter how big or small your order, and you have to wait around three weeks for your order to arrive. So you have to decide what's more important: paying less and waiting longer, or paying normal retail prices and getting it sooner?


Takealot isn't a website you would normally associate with beauty products, but they've expanded their lineup considerably in the past few years. Name a beauty or makeup product and they probably have it. They also regularly have sales where you get anything up to 20% off. I've bought a facial steamer, perfume, and a lot of Real Techniques makeup brushes from them. They have Daily Deals  and there's a very cool app where you can easily order your goodies from. Their service is impeccable and their delivery is super fast (except in December, don't even go there) and there have even been times where I've gotten my order a few days before the expected time of arrival.

The Body Shop

I absolutely love The Body Shop's skincare and body care products. Their shower creams, body butters, and masks are all heavenly. If there's a new skincare product, I'll buy it and there will be a very good chance that I'll love it! I also love shopping for gifts, whether for myself or someone else. They regularly have 3-for-2 specials, 20% off specials, or even 50% off specials. Having a loyalty card lets you in on Secret Sales and secures your discount. You also get a R50 voucher in your birthday month and you get cash back for every purchase you make (you get it back as a digital voucher). They will also let you use multiple vouchers at once, so it's worth saving up those digital vouchers!


Once or twice a year Woolworths has a Beauty Fair where you buy three products and get 20% off. This is combined with "gift with purchase" deals, so if you're clever you can get a lot of bounty for your money. I like to use the Beauty Fair to stock up on Clarins skincare where you always get a nice gift with your purchase.


To be honest, I don't really shop at Edgars. They have a "Thank U" loyalty card where you get cash back, but it's usually not worth it. I've had so many incident where I turned around and left the store in a huff - without my purchase - because there's always some issue with my points. The points will be doubled for that weekend but for some or other reason mine won't be. And then the system will be off, you know how it goes... That being said, they have a Red Carpet Sale once or twice a year that is quite fantastic. Usually you get R100 off if you spend R500, R200 off R1,000, and R400 off R2,000. So if you've had your eye on a Chanel lipstick, a Dior foundation, or a perfume, this will be the perfect opportunity to buy it. There's no limit on how many items you have to spend, so you can buy one thing or 10, it doesn't matter.

The Cosmetics Company Store

Now this is a bit of a Johannesburg and Pretoria secret. Dotted around Joburg and PTA are Estee Lauder "factory shops" which sell Estee Lauder-owned makeup, skincare, and fragrances at 30% below the normal retail prices. These items are overstocked or discontinued, so there's nothing wrong with them. I have gotten incredible deals, but I've also gone to the store three times in a row and each time walked out empty-handed because the items weren't what I was interested in. Some of the items I've bought there: Clarins Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, Bobbi Brown foundation stick, Bobbi Brown eyeshadow palette compact, and MAC lipsticks.

Where do you find the best deals for skincare and makeup? Let me know in the comments section!

Until next time!


16 March 2017

A New Drugstore Foundation

Every few months I get obsessed with a new set of beauty gurus on Youtube, and it was during these past few weeks that I first saw the new LA Girl foundation. I've never tried any of their foundations but I love many of their other products, so when Tati from GlamLifeGuru gave it an enthusiastic two thumbs up, I knew I had to try it.

LA Girl Pro Coverage High Definition Long Wear Illuminating Foundation

Phew! Now *that* is a name and a half! I picked up this foundation together with two of the new LA Girl strobing powders (more on that in another blog post) when Dischem recently had a 3-for-2 special on LA Girl products.

The packaging reminds me a lot of Makeup Forever HD foundations. Not that I've ever seen one in real life, but I have seen it in countless beauty videos. The big top clicks off and reveals a pump. The pump has a tiny hole but believe me, it dispenses more than enough product. There are a lot of shades and I have the shade GLM645 - Nude Beige. It is unfortunately a bit too warm for me so I'll have to go back and get a slightly lighter shade. But, since it's summer I can make it work and get away with it for now.

The foundation comes out quite thick but it applies easily and buffs out very nicely. I like putting one pump on the back of my hand and then dotting the foundation on my forehead, my cheeks, nose, and chin. I then use my Real Techniques Buffing Brush or the Sigma F80 to buff the product in. Although it's quite thick it blends into the skin easily. I've also tried this with a couple of different types of primers and it sits nicely on top of all of them. I have yet to try an illuminating primer, although I fear that that might not go so well.

The result is quite dewy, which was surprising to me considering how thick the foundation initially felt straight out of the pump. I have combination-oily skin so I have to set this with powder and blot once (maybe twice) during the day, but other than that this is a beautiful foundation. It covers everything that it should without looking like a mask.

Have you tried this foundation yet? Let me know what you think.

Until next time!


13 March 2017

Review: Skin Creamery products

I have wanted to get my hands on Skin Creamery products ever since I saw photos on Twitter and Instagram. For my birthday this year I decided to treat myself to the everyday cream for face and body as well as the facial hydrating oil.

First of all, the packaging is absolutely stunning. The items arrived in these beautiful monochrome boxes and for the first month I felt too bad to throw it away so I had to keep opening and closing the boxes to get the bottles out. The bottles themselves are also stunning: glass bottles with simple and clean lettering.

The everyday cream for face & body

The everyday cream comes in a big bottle with a pump (Skin Creamery also sells a refill pack so you don't have to throw out your empty bottles). It contains organic oils such as coconut, jojoba, and baobab. It smells delicious and I can detect a strong hint of mint. The cream is rich yet feels very light on the skin. It is absorbed into the skin immediately and there is no white cast. Throughout the day my skin feels hydrated and comfortable - there's no stickiness where I feel like I'm sticking to my table, nor is my skin left feeling dry halfway through the day. At R285 for 200ml it is a bit on the pricey side for everyday use, so I tend to only use it on my arms and chest. Since the cream only contains natural and organic goodness you can also use it on your face, but I haven't tried that yet as my skin doesn't always play nicely with new moisturisers.

Facial hydrating oil

The hydrating oil comes in a beautifully sleek glass bottle with a dropper. The oil smells delicious and out of the two products this is definitely my favourite smell. It contains jojoba, melon seed, and baobab oils. The consistency is very light and thin and it is easily absorbed into the skin. The instructions tell you to apply two drops onto wet hands, rub your hands together to emulsify the oil and water, and then massage it into the skin. I've tried this, but my current favourite way to use it is to spray my face with Avene thermal spa water and then apply two-three drops of the oil on top of that. It works beautifully and my skin is left hydrated and supple without any stickiness or greasiness. I've used this in the mornings post-cleanse, but I almost prefer to use it at night as the scent is so comforting and soothing. This costs R295 for 50ml but at two drops per application, it should last you a very long time.

You can order these (and other products) directly from Skin Creamery's website or you can order it through Faithful-To-Nature. Some of the products are slightly cheaper on Skin Creamery's website, while others are cheaper at F2N, so it's worthwhile to shop around. Both websites have lightning fast shipping (SC's is free). For my next order I have my eyes firmly set on the Oil-milk cleanser and the Skin tonic.

Have you ever tried any of Skin Creamery's products? Let me know what you thought of them.

Until next time!


06 March 2017

Monthly Favourites: January + February

Many of you probably thought that I've quit this blogging business, but I'm happy to report that I'm back! I've published a total of one blog post this year, but that's mainly due to things out of my control. As some of you know, our house got broken into for a third time in January, this time while we were in the house sleeping (the burglars were in the opposite side of the house and we are unharmed, but still), we got a puppy (more on that later), and I finally finished the last few things for my PhD. My defence went amazingly well and I will be awarded my PhD degree at the end of April.

So now that I've caught you up I'm sure you will understand why I've been so quiet on the blog! But don't fear, I am back and I am here to stay. Today's post is going to be about my favourites for the past two months. For the post I tried only sticking to things that have never been featured in a monthly favourites blog post before, so that's why it might look a bit sparse for a two-month favourites post.

Ohhhh my goodness, I think I have found a new favourite shower cream. Dischem had these Palmolive Gourmet Spa Shower Creams on sale for R44 for two big bottles (500 ml). I picked up this Mint Shake and the Creamy Coffee one (which I still need to try) and I am in love. It smells exactly like peppermint crisp and it's very cooling on the skin, perfect for summer. It's very creamy and nourishing and isn't drying like many other inexpensive shower products.

I have had Skin Creamery goodies on my wish list for such a long time and just before my birthday at the beginning of February I decided to spoil myself. I got this Jojoba, Melon Seed, and Baobab Hydrating Facial Oil and I'm hooked. The directions say to apply two drops to wet hands, emulsify the product, and then apply it to your skin. Apparently this helps the product to absorb better. My favourite way to use this is to spray my face with a thermal water (Uriage, Vichy, La Roche-Posay, or Avène), apply two-three drops of the oil in the palm of my hand, rub my hands together, and gently pat it onto my wet skin. It smells amazing and is so light, you don't feel oily or greasy. The packaging also gets an A+ from me as it's absolutely gorgeous.

The Avène Soothing Moisture Mask comes in a small tube, perfect for travelling, and is a milky cream. If that doesn't make sense, imagine a thick sunscreen or a watery cream. I like to apply it after using a clay mask to soothe and hydrate my skin. I apply it and let it sink it, wiping away the excess before bed (to save my pillow cases). It's a no-nonsense mask: no big claims, just hydration.

I love many of The Body Shop's skincare products, but I'm not always the biggest fan of their makeup products. That being said, this Vitamin C Skin Boost Instant Smoother kind of falls between skincare and makeup. It is said to wake up dull, tired, and grumpy skin. The product has the distinct citrussy smell of the Vitamin C range, so maybe avoid that if you're sensitive to strong smells. The product has a velvety texture and smoothing it onto the skin leaves me with a silky complexion, almost the same as when you would apply the Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch primer or Benefit's Porefessional. It gives me a fantastic base to which apply makeup on and I don't experience any pilling or patchiness. Makeup goes on smoothly and evenly, and my only gripe is that the pump dispenses a bit too much product at a time.

I have been searching for a good hand cream for a while now, and I was delighted to find the Palmer's Shea Formula Raw Shea Hand Cream at Dischem. It contains natural Shea butter and Marula but no parabens, phtalates, mineral oil, gluten, sulfates, or dye. It smells amazing and very familiar, I want to say it's a vanilla scent, but I can't put my finger on it. It's quite a thick hand cream but it sinks into the skin in record time. I've had no problems with greasy hands and I keep this on my desk at work so that I can moisturise and go on typing.

Since cutting my hair at the start of December I've been curling it every morning and obviously I need something to set my curls with. I always use the L'Oreal Elnett hairspray, but since I am a floozy and a sucker for new things, I decided to try out the VO5 Strong Hold Weather Resistant Hairspray. Apparently VO5 relaunched in South Africa last year (can't say I noticed) and this was one of the 'new' products. It's a gigantic can (400 ml), but I have to say, it's quite good. It's difficult to compare something like hairsprays so I can't say whether or not this is better than the Elnett, but it smells good and it does the job. The other day my husband told me that I smell very nice, and that was just after I used this hairspray, so if that's not a stamp of approval then I don't know what is. Apart from smelling nice it doesn't leave my hair crispy and the mist is fine. It keeps my curls in place, although I can't vouch for it being "weather resistant" (Gauteng thunderstorms and flash floods...?).

I purchased the new Bourjois Radiance Reveal concealer in February, and oh my goodness, it's amazing. It's got quite a liquidy consistency and I think it won't work for a lot of people, but I'm really enjoying it. I have it in the shade "02 Beige" which is the perfect shade for me. I mainly use it on my under-eye areas, but also on the sides of my nose and to cover any blemishes. I let it dry for a few seconds and then gently buff it in with my Real Techniques Contour Brush before setting it with powder. 

The Catrice High Glow Mineral Highlighting Powder has been my HG highlighter for months. This Deluxe Glow Highlighter trio in "010 The Glowrious Three" definitely does not replace it, but it is great for when you want a similar look, just a little more toned down. The three shades are all gorgeous: a champagne-shell colour, a more bronzy champagne-shell colour, and a light bronzy shade. I take my fan brush and just swipe it back and forth over all three colours and apply it to the tops of my cheekbones. It gives a beautiful highlight without looking too "beaming".

Last on my list of favourites is the beautiful Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer in "10 Punch Pop". The packaging is super cute and the sound of the lid clicking in place is very satisfying... The lipstick has a built-in primer and I can definitely feel that. The lipstick is creamy and applies beautifully. It doesn't drag across the lips and it stays put. It's not matte so it doesn't dry down, but it's not super glossy either. Even through eating and drinking it mostly stays put and the best of all: it doesn't wreak havoc with the condition of my lips. I can wear it all day to work and by the evening my lips will still be in great condition. The colour is also stunning: a rich dark pink that will be flattering on a lot of skin tones.

I have a last monthly favourite, but it's not makeup, nor skincare. As I said at the start of the post: we got a puppy at the start of January and I am besotted with her. Mia is a labrador/Border Collie cross and we got her when she was nine weeks old, making her 18 weeks now. She is so cute and smart, but she's getting a bit naughty now. We try to give her things to do (as much as you can with a puppy) to keep her busy as both labradors and Border Collies are "worker dogs". Here are a few snaps of Mia on 18 weeks for those interested. She sat next to me while I was taking blog photos, happily chewing on her rope.

Until next time!