Monday, 15 February 2016

Review: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle

It's been a while guys (about a year and a half), but here I am! Working full time is tiring and draining, but I think I have gotten the hang of it now... sort of. Highlighting seems to be all the rage at the moment, especially as we are welcoming the trend of strobing (usually done with cream or liquid products as opposed to powder). Prior to the purchase of this MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle, the only dedicated highlighter I had was theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer. The Mary-Lou was probably the first of the best highlighters out there, before the likes of Becca and Anastasia followed suit. As much as I loved my Mary-Lou, it isn't one to be used on a daily basis- it is instead the one you gravitate towards for a dramatic highlighting effect. I had a look around at other more subtle options for a highlighter, and the more I heard about Soft and Gentle, I knew I had to get it.

She's beautiful, isn't she? MAC describes the Mineralize Skinfinish as a "luxurious velvet-soft powder with high-frost metallic finish". Coming at $47 a pop it isn't exactly your most affordable option, but given you get a nice 10g of product, it's not bad. (Especially compared to Becca Skin Perfector which is a whopping $60 for only 5.5g). In photos Soft and Gentle leans very rose-gold and coppery in the pan, however on my skin it appears very subdued. The colour is definitely not overly dramatic, and is beautiful for a ethereal glow that can work for everyday use. Application was nice and smooth, although the texture of Soft and Gentle is not as finely milled as Mary-Lou. I'm also yet to find the perfect face brush to be paired with it- if you have any suggestions, definitely feel free to comment below! At the moment, Real Techniques' Setting Brush from the Core Collection will suffice.

I'm very happy that I have finally tried the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish, as it is the first MAC powder I have delved in and it didn't disappoint. Soft and Gentle will suit light to medium skintones best, giving the skin a lovely rose gold sheen.

Have you tried the Soft and Gentle? What is your favourite highlighter?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Skincare SOS

Winter has been wreaking havoc on my skin, causing it to be dehydrated, red and sensitive. I have found a combination of a few certain products have always ensured my skin stayed its best in the cooler months without flaring up, with most being in my holy grail of skincare.

First off, I absolutely love using the Sanctuary Spa Ultimate Facial Cleansing Oil for removing my makeup as it removes every single trace with no residue at all. It is very gentle yet deeply cleanses the skin from all dirt and stubborn makeup without irritating the skin. Next I use the Bioderma Sensibio H20 as a toner to prepare my skin for moisturising, and to pick up anything that the cleansing oil may have missed. 

I love spritzing my face with the La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water (which I interchange with the Avene Thermal Spring Water) after cleansing to further soothe my skin and really, just because it feels refreshing! The slight dampness of my skin ensures that the Trilogy Rosehip Oil  (I also use the Antioxidant+ version) is applied more easily. Rosehip oil does wonders for the skin; it hydrates with omega 3, 6 and 9 and evens out the skintone. It is an utter necessity for my skincare routine! Lastly I slather on some La Roche-Posay Toleraine Soothing Protective Skincare which is perfect for skin which feels tight and intolerant, especially in this weather. This moisturiser is very basic as it limits the amount of ingredients to avoid allergy risks, and is fragrance-free, preservative-free, paraben-free and non-comedogenic. Usually I would use a thicker moisturiser, or one packed with more capabilities but when my skin is suffering, I like to stick to the safe options to allow it to return to normal.

Have you used any of these products before? What skincare products do you turn to in a skin SOS?

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Bioderma Sensibio H2O vs. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

Micellar waters have become the cleanser and makeup remover of choice since the boom of Bioderma's Sensibio/Crealine H2O Micelle Solutions which I reviewed here last year. What makes these micellar waters popular is their ability to remove makeup from even the most sensitive of skin and eyes without irritation, and not needing to be rinsed off. I have adored my Bioderma Sensibio H2O and have finished a whole 500mL bottle already, as well as stocked up on a few large bottles from overseas! The Bioderma does come at a price though, retailing in Australia at $29.95 for a 250mL bottle (I haven't seen the 500mL sizes in store). So when Garnier released their rendition called Micellar Cleansing Water for $11.99 for 400mL, I had to see how it performed. Being at a fraction of the cost, I was curious to compare Garnier's version to the cult favourite Bioderma Sensibio H2O.

Seeing as we all know what the fuss is about micellar makeup removers, I'll let the photos do the talking. The Garnier version is made in Poland whereas Bioderma is made in France and  since being both European countries, this does not bother me the least. Packaging wise, I have no issues with the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water as it is housed in a plastic bottle with a cap similar to Bioderma's. Its solution is clear, water-like and not unlike the Bioderma Sensibio H2O. So far, they are looking quite similar.

Nothing better than a test to compare these two directly! Here I swatched two eyeliners, one being a long-lasting one, another a gel, and one eyeshadow in the middle. On the left I will trial the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, and on the right, the Bioderma Sensibio H2O.

L-R: Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Brown, The Balm Shade Lady Palette Vol.2 Shade Feisty Felicia,  Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner in Brown
L-R: One swipe of Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, one swipe of Bioderma Sensibio H2O
The photo above is the remnants of the eye products after placing a cotton pad soaked in each micellar solution for 5 seconds and swiping once only. I found that they performed quite similarly with the one swipe test, and that both did not manage to budge either of the two eyeliners, although the Bioderma did manage to take a little off the gel eyeliner on the far right.

This is the residue left behind after rubbing the soaked cotton pad about 8 times over the makeup. If you look carefully the Bioderma has performed a bit better than the Garnier.

The final result after vigorous rubbing with the cotton pad- you can see some redness from how much I rubbed! Both micellar solutions did not completely remove the makeup as there is still minor marks leftover. Overall, the performance of the Garnier is near to similar as the Bioderma. The only one problem with the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water is that it leaves a slightly soapy residue afterwards that may need to be rinsed off, whereas the Sensibio H2O has no residue at all. This may be a deal breaker for some!

All in all, I like both the micellar solutions. Nothing can replace my beloved Bioderma Sensibio H2O as it is foolproof, does the job and doesn't leave any residue behind. However, the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water is just so much affordable and accessible (I can even buy it in the pharmacy I work at) and is regularly discounted. It performs nearly as well as the Bioderma- sans the soapy residue- but at a fraction of the cost, you can't go wrong.

Have you tried any of these micellar solutions? Which one do you prefer?

Monday, 2 June 2014

Review: Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm

Monkey see, monkey do. Isn't it always like that in the beauty world? This time it's the popular Nuxe Reve De Miel Lip Balm which I emptied my wallet for. I purchased this from the UK online store Escentual before Nuxe was available in Priceline. Declaring itself as a "cult" and "ultra-nourishing" lip balm are huge claims, as well as boasting about how one Reve De Miel Lip Balm is sold every 28 seconds across the world. So does this luxurious lip balm live up to its hype?

Housed in a solid luxurious glass jar, the Reve De Miel Lip Balm presents itself well. Retailing at $19.95 in Australia, it is by no means an affordable product to have- but perhaps a great product for those who really love their lip products (me!) and as a nice little gift. Nuxe describes the Reve De Miel Lip Balm as a repairing, nourishing lip balm with a rich, delicious texture that can restore suppleness and comfort to dry and chapped lips. As an avid lip balm user, I was keen to see how this matched up to its claims.  

Tested in the Canadian cold? It should definitely survive in the Melbourne cold then!

The Reve De Miel Lip Balm presents as a golden paste which is thick with a slight grainy texture- it is  something that isn't like your regular lip balms. I love this texture as it isn't greasy and stays on the lips for a long time without wearing off (pawpaw ointments, I'm staring at you). The scent is very fresh, and smells like orange peel mixed in with a little honey- strange I know, but it does work! It feels very nice on the lips as it has a matte finish and sits very well, making it perfect for using as a base underneath lipstick.

I love to lather this onto my lips before bed as a nice sumptuous lip treatment which is such a treat. Hey, it's the little things in life that makes us happy, right? Understandably the jar form makes it "unhygienic", however this isn't much of an issue for me as I only keep it by my bedside table to use. I personally wouldn't take the Reve De Miel Lip Balm in my hand bag as it isn't the most convenient of lip balms, but by all means feel free to take it away travelling if you like!

The final verdict? I love this lip balm!  Although it hasn't reached "holy grail" status, that's reserved for another lip balm which I will review sometime in the future (and with my sporadic blogging habits, who knows when that'll be). The Reve De Miel Lip Balm is definitely worth a try if you are a lip balm lover or are looking for a nice lip treatment to use under lipstick or just to treat your lips.

Have you tried the Nuxe Reve De Miel Lip Balm before?

Friday, 21 March 2014

Review: Clarins Rouge Eclat Satin Finish Age-Defying Lipstick in Chocolate Rose 14

Clarins sure love naming their products with super long names! Lately I have been lusting over Clarins' range of lipsticks, admiring its gorgeous gold packaging along with swatching the testers offered at the stand every time I walked past. I typically associate Clarins to be a brand that generally targets more mature women, however there is no age factor when it comes to makeup! The more I swatched the beautiful Rouge Eclat Satin Finish Age-Defying Lipsticks, the more I fell in love with its creamy and easy to apply formula. After one stressful day, I parted with my money and came home with the Rouge Eclat in Chocolate Rose.

I've always been a lover of French skincare, but Clarins definitely shows that they do luxurious makeup products too. At $38 a pop, by no means is it affordable, however compared to the likes of Chanel and YSL, it is significantly less expensive. It definitely doesn't hurt as much when I am able to get a 25% discount on it too! The beautifully luxe lipstick case doesn't compromise on quality; it weighs nicely in the hand and its golden exterior looks indulgent thrown into my handbag. Clarins describes the Rouge Eclat as a lipstick with intense long-lasting colour, while boosting collagen and protecting lips from dehydration- absolutely what I would look for in a lipstick. 

The colour choice is so typical "me"; I adore a more warm, browny pink/nude shade as it is perfect for everyday wear, which can never go wrong (although I seem to have plenty of lipsticks with a similar shade oops!). The Rouge Eclat applies on so smoothly and effortlessly, with a beautiful satin finish that is absolutely plush. My lips are quite pigmented and many lipsticks struggle to show up, but the Rouge Eclat performs excellently, coating my lips with a lovely colour. The swatch on my arm came out a little more orange-leaning than its true colour, however my lip swatch gives a better representation of this demure shade. I love how hydrating the lipstick is, and you can see just by the shine that appears on my lips! 

My first ever lip swatch!
I am very impressed with how the Rouge Eclat performed in terms of colour and application, and its longevity wasn't too shabby either. The colour wore away evenly which was a plus- patchy lip colour is not the look I'm after! The Rouge Eclat is also one of the most comfortable lipsticks I have worn and I highly praise its formula. I won't hesitate to buy more Clarins lipsticks, although my wallet might start to complain if I keep this a habit!

Have you tried any lipsticks from Clarins before?

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Review: Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow

I had always lusted over Benefit's cosmetics- their lovely products encased within eclectic yet pretty packaging always drew my eye. The more I heard and read about Benefit, the more I wanted their gorgeous makeup. But there was just one huge obstacle that stopped me from purchasing anything, and that was its price. Absolutely absurd prices were slapped onto all its makeup instore, which was a huge deterrent (eg. a boxed blush was $52!). However a cousin of mine from the UK was visiting and was able to get some Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadows for me, and I am now in possession of three shades "No Pressure", "Skinny Jeans" and "Bronze Have More Fun".

Gorgeous cardboard packaging

The little pots of cream eyeshadow in a sturdy tart-shaped glass topped with a lid that resembles the casing for the "tart" deserves a 5/5 for packaging. I chose these three shades as I thought I would get the most use out of them, and I absolutely love nudes. I avoided the popular shade "Birthday Suit" as I decided that it would not show up well on my skin, and quote Lena from sleepandwater, "it's barely visible and very underwhelming" when on the eyelid.

Clockwise from top left: No Pressure, Bronze Have More Fun, Skinny Jeans

The Creaseless Cream Shadows are Benefit's award winning crease-proof and budge-proof eyeshadows which glide on smoothly, and can be used with the fingertips for a soft wash of colour, or with a brush to build up intensity. The first time I tried these shadows, it was nothing like I had tried before! Its super buttery texture paired with an effortless application definitely makes these my favourite cream eyeshadows- these are heaven in comparison to my Maybelline Bad To The Bronze (despite loving this cream eyeshadow for ages, it has failed me by hardening a little...). The colour payoff was amazing and of the three, I can safely say that No Pressure is my favourite. Bronze Have More Fun disappointed me a little- it felt more greasy than the other two shades, and if you look carefully, its swatch is a little patchy too. I found it a little strange that the different shades could have different textures, but I'm hoping it'll improve the more I use it!

Single swipe L-R: No Pressure, Bronze Have More Fun, Skinny Jeans
Favourite shade!
The Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadows are a joy to use and there is no doubt that its pretty packaging contributes to this as well. I highly recommend giving these cream eyeshadows a swatch, I guarantee you will fall in love with its butteriness! Its longevity was amazing, and definitely lives up to its crease-proof and budge-proof claims. If I were to add another one to this collection, I would probably go for My Two Cents, but I might hold off for now. A little off topic, but sorry again for not regularly posting! I have been on a summer placement at a hospital for past few weeks, and in another two weeks time, I am on a rural placement. Hopefully after all this I can get back into blogging again :)

Have you tried Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadows before? What is your favourite shade?