31 August 2013

DIY - Hair Mask

I've had the worst hair ever in my life after spending stupid money bayalaging my hair (and the hairdresser didn't do the best job either - I wanted a gradient, but my hair looks like it's got massive regrowth instead). My hair was completely wrecked. It felt like hay, was extremely frizzy, and was so easily tangled. It also snapped really easily, especially trying to brush the tangles out. I've tried using my good ole' Kerastase Nectar Thermique, but even that couldn't save my hair (although it did help smoothen the frizz out until I washed my hair).

After hearing the magical wonders of coconut oil, I decided to give it a go. I was so amazed at how much my hair transformed, that I HAD to blog about it. I've used this recipe three times now, but I've made slight variations to the recipe each time, which I'll tell you as we go through the steps to making this amazing hair mask.

Step 1: Scoop out a tablespoon of Coconut Oil into a bowl.
I actually used some leftover coconut oil in a label-less glass container, I'm not entirely sure where that coconut oil came from, but I thought I'd show you the coconut oil that I plan on using next when I finish the one in the label-less glass jar. I purchased the bottle of coconut oil in the picture below from iherb.com. (Use code CEW675 to get $10.00 off your first iHerb purchase).

Step 2 (optional): Microwave for 20 seconds.
I did not microwave the coconut oil when I tried this recipe out the first time. I found it less messy when it wasn't microwaved, as the mixture ended up being a paste instead of a watery solution, which ended up all over my table.

Step 3: Squeeze in a dollop of honey and mix. I didn't quite measure how much honey I put in, but I think it'd be about half a tablespoon.
I found that it was quite hard to mix the honey in with melted coconut oil, compared to the first time using this recipe, when the coconut oil was more solid. I also had to mix in a bit of water, if you choose not to microwave it.

The second time I used this recipe, I also added a bit of coconut cream in. I don't think it made a difference in the end result, but feel free to give it a go if you like.

Step 4: Massage the mixture into your hair.
I sectioned off the top half of my hair and clipped it up with the hair-claw-clippy-thing. I worked the mixture into the bottom half of my hair, concentrating on the ends, where it was brittle and really damaged. I also used a wide-toothed comb to comb the mixture through my hair. I then released the top half of my hair, and worked the mixture through that section.

Step 5: Leave on for at least 45 minutes before washing off.
I did not have any trouble washing off the oil. In fact, there was practically nothing to wash off (especially the first time I used this mask - without microwaving), as it felt like my hair had completely absorbed the mixture.

This is such an amazing hair mask recipe that doesn't break the bank. It has left my hair feeling so much stronger, silkier, and less tangley! I can't imagine how amazing your hair will feel if you already have pretty healthy hair.

If you do try this hair mask out, please let me know how you go!

28 August 2013

The Skincare Tag

I was tagged by Sophie of Born to Buy to do this skincare tag. My skincare routine isn't very complicated, but I have been experimenting to find a good routine that will solve my oil problem. So far, no dice. :(

Describe your skincare routine in five words. 
Simple, easy, fuss free, experimental.

What's your skin type? 
Annoyingly oily.

What's your favourite skincare product? 
This is a tough one. I think I'll have to go with my Christian Dior Diorsnow UV Shield White Reveal Moisturizing UV Protection. It has SPF50 and does not leave an oily residue. It has smells amazing. The only con is that it's price tag. Regardless, I find myself going back to this moisturizer/sunscreen all the time.

Top blemish zapper? 
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. This stuff is AMAZING. I've done a post about blemish zappers (read here), and have raved about the drying lotion.

Face wipes, yay or nay? 
Yay! I use face wipes to remove most of my makeup before using my clarisonic and a cleanser to remove the remaining makeup.

Toner, yay or nay? 
Yay! Although, I have been using the SKII Facial Treatment Essence as a toner, and I don't think it's meant to be used as one. :-s

High end skincare or high end makeup? 
Definitely high end makeup. Currently, Chanel and YSL lipsticks, and NARS blushes are my weaknesses.

What's the most unusual skincare product you've tried?
Nothing comes to mind. I'm not someone who will willingly put unusual products (such as snail slime) on my skin. I'm not THAT experimental.

You're in a French pharmacy and can only pick one item - what is it? 
La Roche Posay LIPIKAR Balm. I admit that I've only used this a handful of times since getting a sample in my Lust Have It box (read here). But every time I use this on a really dry, itchy spot (usually on my legs somewhere), the itch goes away in about a minute! A stark contrast to any regular moisturizer that still leaves my skin itchy for at least a few hours.

Tell us your top skincare tip.
To get the most out of your skincare products and obtain maximum penetration (sounds a tat kinky here), use lighter products first (such as serums) and then heavier formulas.

If you would like to do this tag, please feel free to leave your link down below. I'd love to read it! Also, any recommendations for oily skin will be greatly appreciated! :)

26 August 2013

Violet Box - August 2013

Another monthly beauty subscription box appeared in my room, when I got home from work today - Violet Box! I purchased a 3 month-subscription a few months ago, and this is the third and last Violet Box for me. I probably won't be re-subscribing because I currently have a massive obsession with Wantable, which so happens to be crazy expensive. But Violet Box did put out a pretty impressive box this month...

Contents of Violet Box August 2013
 1. ghd style Heat Protect - full size (RRP: $24 for 120ml)
"Provides an invisible barrier against everyday heat damage on damp or dry hair. Containing the unique ghd heat protection system, this spray can be layered with other styling products to create the result you desire. Best for protecting against the heat of hairdryers, stylers and tongs while leaving hair with a 'no product' feel."

Since my hair is already so damaged from the chemicals I like to soak it in, I try to make it up to my hair by not subjecting it to heat. Therefore, I don't normally need heat protectant. BUT it always comes in handy for when I need to blow dry my hair for some strange reason.

2. Dr Bragi Age Management Moisturizer - 5ml (RRP: $179 for 60ml)
"Now with increased enzymes and hyaluronic acid. Dr Bragi's patented formula combines his unique, super active' marine enzymes with the added hydrating and plumping abilities of hyaluronic acid. This versatile facial moisturizer helps to reduce the signs of ageing by fighting the effects of environmental stress."

Holy moly guacamole! Did anyone else notice how expensive this moisturizer is?! I hope I hate this...

3. Goldwell Dualsenses Rich Repair Cream Shampoo, Dualsenses Rich Repair Anti-Breakage Conditioner - 10ml each (RRP: $24.95 for 300ml each)
"Repair your hair from the inside out with the Dualsenses Rich Repair range. Using the most advanced technologies and customised ingredients to combat dry, stressed hair forever, even a single application can deliver softer, healthier-looking hair."

Bleh... sachets... At least the sample size is quite generous. It probably could last me two washes, considering how long and damaged my hair is.

4. Jelly Pong Pong Lip Blush in Cranberry (RRP: $22.00)
"A moisturizing lip stain that tints your lips with just the right amount of juicy colour and hydrates like a balm. Apply liberally, purse and let the silky lightweight texture melt onto your lips. BONUS: Made with beeswax and ceresin wax for a sheer, smooth application."

This sounds like an amazing product, shame that I got a colour that I wouldn't use (I can't pull off a red lip). If it's sheer enough, it might be ok but I don't think I'll take the chance, as it'll be such a waste if I swatched it once and never use it again. So instead, I'll put this in my giveaway box and hopefully someone will make better use out of this.

5. Jelly Pong Pong 2-in-1 Shadow/Liner in Bronze (RRP: $19.00)
"A uniquely formulated crayon that doubles as an eyeliner for thick, precise lines as well as a perfectly-blended eye shadow. The exclusive combination of Italian-formulated waxes and pigments allows you to build up the colour, smudge or create bold lines quickly and easily."

Another great product. Although I'm a bit scared of opening this as well. I'm not sure if I'll use it! #firstworldproblems This may appear in a giveaway sometime in the near future.

Overall, I'm quite happy with the box Violet Box has put out this month. Although there are products that I know I probably won't use, it's nice to get them anyway... especially make up ones.

What did you get in your Violet Box? Were you happy with it?

24 August 2013

Lust Have It - August 2013

Yesterday was like Christmas. I haven't been able to get to the post office to collect my presents from the postman ever since I started working Monday-Friday 9-5, so dad normally gets the post. However, he has been busy Monday-Thursday and was not able to pick up the mail until Friday. It truly felt like Christmas, especially when I saw two of my three subscription boxes sitting in my room (violet box being the third). I HAD to blog about Wantable first (read here) because I've been waiting so long for it, and was going to leave Lust Have It for Sunday but it's too good to leave it for another day.

I think I've waffled on a bit too much now, so here's what came in my Lust Have It box this month...

I was impressed with the variety of products that were included in this month's box, despite the evil sachet and the tiny tiny sample of Revlon foundation...

1. Revlon Nearly Naked Makeup (RRP: $25.95 for 30ml)
"So light, it melts right in, working in harmony with your skin's unique tone and texture for an even, fresh, flawless finish. Vitamin and antioxidant-packed to pump up our natural glow. Available in 12 true-to-tone shades."

Although it's nice to have four different shades of foundation to choose from, as it means that there's a higher chance that you'll find a shade that matches your skin tone, I don't think there is enough in that tiny little sample for more than one use.

2. Revlon Photoready Skinlights Face Illuminator in 400 Bronze Light - full size (RRP: $29.95 for 30ml)
"Revlon Photoready Skinlights Face Illuminator is a lightweight liquid illuminator that works to instantly brighten skin. Designed to enhance skin's natural radiance, it boosts natural illuminosity, minimises flaws, enhances skin with a hint of sheer colour and protects the skin from harsh environments."

I have been embracing my paleness lately and haven't been using bronzers. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this. I have read the post on how to use this if you've got pale skin on the LHI facebook page (read here), and while it's nice to get some ideas on how to use this bronzer, it's just something I wouldn't use regularly (or even at all), only because I'm such a lazy person.

3. Sinful Colors Nail Enamel in Under 18 - full size (RRP: $4.95 for 15ml)
 "Sinful Colors nail enamel has a long wearing, chip-resistant, professional formula and is available in 69 runway inspired shades. Shades range from cream and metallic, to shimmer, glitter and matte. Sinful Colors vivid shades inspire and complement any outfit!"

I love nail polishes and I LOVE it when I get some in my monthly subscription boxes. It's also a bonus that this is such a gorgeous metallic red. I own some Sinful Colors polishes, and they are pretty darn good, considering the price tag attached to it. Fun fact - Sinful Colors is owned by Revlon... I see a theme to this box!

4. La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water - 50g (RRP: $21.95 for 300ml)
"La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring water soothes sensitive skin irritated by outside factors (sun, dermatological treatments, etc) and helps prevent skin ageing. It is also a natural anti-oxidant."

I'm not a big user of these types of water sprays. The only times I've used something similar was when I was in Singapore, and it was unbearably humid. It's really refreshing. I've just sprayed some on my face, and this is no different. It feels really refreshing and cooling on my skin. I'll probably save this for the next time I go to Singapore or somewhere hot and humid.

5. La Roche Posay LIPIKAR Balm - 15ml (RRP: $37.95 for 400ml)
"La Roche Posay LIPIKAR Balm is a lipid-replenishing body balm that offers a 24 hours anti-scratching efficacy. Its quick-dress texture for fast absorption into the skin is adapted for babies and children."

I think that claim (above) from the LHI information card is pretty much spot on. The only thing I'd amend is that it's adapted for babies, children AND Abigail. I had a pretty bad itch on my legs yesterday, I slapped some of this balm on and the itch went away almost instantly. There was no oily residue. My skin just felt so smooth. I think I'm going to have to purchase a full size of this when I run out of this sample. Pity it's fragrance-free (I love my body creams scented)...

6. KMS California Free Shape Hot Flex Spray - 30ml (RRP: $31.95 for 200ml)
"KMS Free Shape Hot Flex Spray offers a flexible shaping and elastic hold allowing style to last until the next wash. It gives unlimited heat styling without damage."

Not sure if I will ever use this. My hair is the last thing I tend to in the morning. Sometimes I don't even have the time to fix it up, and just tie it up in a bun before running out the door.

7. KMS California Free Shape Shampoo - 12ml (RRP: $28.95 for 300ml)
"Create unlimited style transformations with hot tools. Styles last until the next wash. The FREESHAPE Shampoo and Conditioner increases manageability and pliability for preparation for heat styling."

Am I missing a sachet of Conditioner?! Also, eww... sachets. I'll probably save this for the next time I go traveling though.

8. Lush Gorgeous Cream - 10g (RRP: $74.95 for 45g)
"A protective, vitamin filled, softening moisturiser formulated with best ingredients have been used for this light, bright cream."

When I visited the Lush store last week to find the perfect skin-care routine for my oily skin, the sales assistant was telling me about this facial moisturizer, and it's crazy price tag. She said that she uses it and it's quite a rich, moisturizing cream. She didn't really recommend this to me, as she didn't think it'd help with my oil control/production. Therefore, I think I'll use this as a night cream or a body moisturizer.

Overall, Lust Have It has really picked up their game this month. I'm really pleased with what I received this month, despite the evil sachet. But the range of products they have included is really superb. I'm hoping that next month's will be equally as good (or even better, if that's even possible).

What did you get in your Lust Have It box? Were you happy with what you received?

If you're not subscribed and would like to do so, use the code "Wallet" to get $5 off your first box. Click here to subscribe.

23 August 2013

Wantable - August 2013

My Wantable box was a tat late this month because of some issues with Australia Post (surprise, surprise...), and by a tat late, I mean it's slightly over 2 weeks late. Due to the built up suspense, and my lack of patience, I HAD to blog about it today despite stupidly leaving my camera at Mike's. So please excuse the rather crappy iPhone-photos.

Contents of my Wantable August Box
 If you don't know what Wantable is, it is a monthly beauty subscription box (there's also a jewellery and a new intimates box). What sets Wantable apart from all the other beauty subscription box is that it is tailored to your preferences. There's a pretty extensive survey that you fill out prior to subscribing, so that they know what you love, like or dislike. So far I've received three boxes (this one included), and I LOVE everything. I haven't received anything I wouldn't use (besides the one bonus product that I received in my first box, but that doesn't count since it was a bonus).

Wantable is quite expensive compared to the other subscription boxes in Australia, but I think it's so worth it because not only are all the products full sized, but you actually do get things that you'd use! It goes for $36 a month or $40 for a once-off purchase. There's also a shipping fee of USD$9 to Australia. They also ship to Canada for USD$5, and shipping within the US is free.

Let's get started on what I got that totally justifies the cost of the box...

1. Michael Marcus Nail Polish in Geisha Girl - 15ml (RRP: USD$15)
"Housed in a sleek, geometrically shaped glass bottle, Michael Marcus Cosmetics nail polishes are free of Toulene, Formaldehyde, and DBP. They are also chip resistant and offer long lasting staying power."

If you've been reading my blog for a while or follow me on instagram, you'd know of my "problem" with nail polishes. So it's no surprise that I squealed when I found this gem in my box. I'm also really pleased to have received a polish that is work-friendlyish. It's almost a hot-pink colour, but it leans a little more to red. I also love the unique-ness of this bottle!

2. Michael Marcus Blush in Bashful - 3g (RRP: USD$26)
 "Michael uses triple milled powder in this richly pigmented blush for the highest performance."

Although this blush looks quite scary (at least it does to me), when swatched, it's not all that bad despite how pigmented it is. I think it's quite wearable, as long as I'm careful about not being too heavy handed. I can't wait to give this blush a go tomorrow!

3. FACE Stockholm Brow Shadow in Myrrah (RRP: USD$24)
 "Our specially-formulated eyebrow shading powder makes eyebrows look their natural best. Delicately fills in brow and blends for a soft, naturally defined look."

After swatching this on the back of my hand, I was so amazed at how soft (not normally a word that I'd use to describe pressed powder) and pigmented this eyebrow powder is. It did look a tat light, but when I roughly applied it to my eyebrows, it looked really natural. Another product that I can't wait to use tomorrow!

 4. Besame 1930s Waterproof Mascara in Black - 8ml (RRP: USD$18)
"Besame reintroduces a classic mascara formulation from the '30s, with only 7 all-natural ingredients including conditioning oils and food grade colorants. This oxygenated, hand-mixed formula has a creamy consistency which coats every lash with breathable pigment. The result is a gentle, water-resistant formula that gives length and definition with hollow brush applicator for clump-free results."

I literally went "OOooooo" when I took this mascara out from its box. It has to be one of the prettiest looking mascara I own. I love the gold tube with the print. It makes it feel so much more expensive than what it's worth. I actually semi-don't want to use it, because it's so pretty.

 5. Japonesque Travel Flat Eyeliner Brush (RRP: USD$11.0)
"Conveniently sized for portability, the Japonesque Travel Eyeliner Brush allows for maximum control and easy application on-the-go. The firm bristles create sharp and defined lines at the lash. Synthetic bristles easily wash clean while maintaining their shape."

I've been using the Japonesque eyelash curler for the past month or two, and I absolutely love it. So, I was quite pleased that they included this brush in my box, as I've been meaning to try their brushes as well. The bristles feel stiff, yet soft at the same time (I don't know how that's even possible). The bristles are also positioned in a thin straight line, which will most likely create a thin line.

6. Echo Vie Organic Body Oil Sample
"The luxurious mixture of organic jojoba and sesame oils absorbs deep into the skin to restore moisture, keeping it youthful and radiant. This oil is naturally healing and is loaded with potent antioxidants and vitamin E. It is infused with 10 premium essential oils that naturally uplift, relieve fatigue, stress and anxiety."

I love that this can be used as a hair oil as well, as my hair still desperately needs moisture. This also came at such a great time, since it's winter and my skin gets dreadfully dry during this time.

Overall, I can't believe that I love every single product that I've been sent... even the sample! This is the reason why I love Wantable so much, and will keep subscribing until I can't afford it. If you'd like to subscribe to Wantable or learn more about this amazing company, click here.

16 August 2013

The quest to find the perfect Lush skincare system...

I never really cared for Lush because there isn't a store near me and nothing turns me off more than having to pay for shipping. Thus, when I started working my new job, which is located really near a Lush store, my interest sparked. I don't know what happened or how it happened. Maybe it was the chalk writings all over the shop or maybe it was gorgeous range of unusual forms of skin care. Anyway, so I wondered in one day and asked for recommendations to combat my annoyingly-oily skin. Prior to this lush visit, I have to blot once a day. My goal is to not blot at all.

Before I start my review on the samples, I'd like to say that I've visited the same Lush store 3 times over the 3 weeks that I've been working, and seen the same lady, who is so amazingly knowledgeable and friendly. I almost feel bad I haven't purchased anything.

Enzymion Face Moisturizer; Angels on Bare Skin; Tea Tree Water Toner; Fresh Farmacy Cleanser
During the first visit, the sales assistant, Ashley, recommended the Enzymion Face Moisturizer. She also gave me a sample of Angels on Bare Skin because I asked for it, after reading the crazy rave reviews on it online. Ashley used Angels on Bare Skin on the back of my hand and I was really surprised at how smooth my skin felt after. She then applied a layer of Enzymion Face Moisturizer over the top after wiping my hand dry. I was quite impressed with how my skin felt and left the store happily with samples of both products and confident that I'll find the perfect Lush skincare system for my skin.

Angels on Bare Skin
I used Angels on Bare Skin in the morning, followed by my SKII Facial Treatment Essence, and then a thin layer of Enzymion Face Moisturizer over the top before applying makeup. 

Angels on Bare Skin is such an amazing cleanser that can be used on all skin types. It also smells quite nice. Please note that I'm not a really big fan of Lush scents, they tend to be a tat too herbal-ly for me. Angels on Bare Skin has lavendar oil in it, which I think makes it smell nice. The only thing I don't like is the application. I hate digging my nail in the product to get some out. I'm also not a fan of having to adding a bit of water and making it into a paste before massaging into the skin. I'm a lazy person, and Angels on Bare Skin is not I'm-LATE! friendly. 

Angels on Bare skin retails for $16.95 for 100g, which is reasonable, as it lasts quite a while. For a better picture and more details, click here.

Enzymion Face Moisturizer
Enzymion Face Moisturizer is apparently Lush's most mattifying moisturizer. I'm still not quite sure if this moisturizer is for me. Enzymion is packaged in a tub, which I find highly unsanitary. It's also relatively expensive at $34.95 for 45g. Lastly, I'm not a big fan of the smell. Some say it smells like fruit loops, I say it smells like... I can't even describe it. I can smell a bit of the cocoa butter (which is one of the ingredients), that makes the smell slightly more tolerable.

The pros of this enzymion face moisturizer is that it does not leave an oily residue and it did get absorbed into my skin quite quickly. To see a better picture and for more information, click here.

With this skincare routine trialed over three days, I had to blot TWICE per day. I went back to Lush and consulted with Ashley, who then recommended I switch my morning cleanser to Fresh Farmacy and use the Angels on Bare Skin at night. She also recommended incorporating the Tea Tree Water Toner in both my morning and night skincare routine.

Fresh Farmacy Cleanser
I was given a generous sample of Fresh Farmacy (20g). I've only used this block of cleanser about 4 times and still have loads left. Fresh Farmacy is recommended for troublesome skin, as it contains calamine and chamomile, which are great for calming the skin. I love the smell of this cleanser and it also leaves my skin feeling really fresh and clean. I actually dread using anything after this cleanser because I don't want the smell it leaves behind to disappear.

The only con that I can think of is the packaging (yet again), although it is less annoying then Angels on Bare Skin, as I don't end up having to scrap product out from under my nails. To use this bar of cleanser, you have to rub it between wet hands until you get a sufficient amount of product. Since I dislike bar soaps, I do not have a bar soap holder for my sample to dry on, so I pop it back into the paper bag, and that works a treat.

Fresh Farmacy retails for $15.95 for 100g. Click here for more information.

Tea Tree Water Toner
I'm pretty sure I've mentioned somewhere that I'm not the biggest fan of tea tree oil. When Ashley recommended this toner, I was thinking uh-oh... I hate the smell of tea tree oil!!! But I persevered and gave it a go. Not sure if I like this toner at all. I think the smell of it has a bigger impact on my opinion than I believe (I'm in denial). The sample lasted about three days (morning and night), and I haven't noticed much of a difference. Having said that, this tea tree water toner is meant to be great for blemishes, and fortunately, I haven't had any.

I do like that this toner is packaged in a spray bottle though (she obviously couldn't give me a spray bottle, so she decanted some in a sample tub). This retails at $9.95 for 100g or $19.95 for 250g. Click here for more information.

With this new skincare routine, I only had to blot once a day. It's an improvement from the first skincare routine, but it still does not meet me goal of no-blotting.

I went in again to update Ashley with my average blotting results, and we discussed about different types of makeups. She gave me a sample of one of the translucent powders from the Lush makeup range, which I did not photograph because I didn't plan on including it in this SKINCARE post (and I've only used it twice). But so far, it hasn't done much for me.

I have thus concluded that Lush will not be able to help me reach my ultimate goal. I do like the Fresh Farmacy and Angels on Bare Skin Cleanser enough to possibly purchase a full-size in the near future though.

Have you found a Lush product that works for you? Have you discovered any oil-banishing products that is worth purchasing?

11 August 2013

If I had $10 to spend at Born Pretty Store, what would I get?

I was contacted by Born Pretty Store and given $10 to spend at the store. I was scouring through their website, trying to decide what to get. It was such a hard decision to make for an indecisive person, as there were so many things for sale - from nail polishes to false eyelashes to accessories, and even contact lenses (although the contacts were more than $10).

After probably an hour of ahh-ing and umm-ing, I finally settled on a nail polish (so predictable) and a pump dispenser bottle.

Born Pretty Holo Polish in No. 2; Pump dispenser bottle

Born Pretty Holo Polish in No. 2
Born Pretty Holo Polish in No. 2 is a gorgeous pink holographic polish. Excuse the blurry photo on the right, but I thought it showed the holographic goodness rather well. I picked a holo polish, as I don't have many in my collection. There are about 12 different colours available, but I settled on this pink one, as I LOVE pink polishes and it's work-appropriate (click here to see the range). I also do not have anything like this in my collection.

Before we get into the swatches, I'd like to apologise for my lack of organisation, as I've had a series of blogger fail moments in the making of this post. I actually applied the Born Pretty Holo Polish in No. 2 last weekend, but it was far too late to get a good shot of the nail polish on my nails, as the sun had gone down. I did not have a chance to take any through the week, as by the time I got home from work, the sun had already set (I hate coming home when it's dark :( ). Therefore, I do not have any pictures of my freshly manicured nails. I also forgot to take the bottle of nail polish with me to Mike's over the weekend. So none of the photos of my week-old manicure are posed with the nail polish. :(
To make it up to you, I'm going to bombard you with four photos of my week old mani.
Indoors - indirect sunlight, no flash
I'm actually quite amazed at good it looks after a week. I haven't exactly been kind to my nails, as I do type quite a lot at work. There is a bit of wear on the tips, but it really isn't all that bad!
Indoors -  indirect sunlight, no flash
I'm also quite amazed at how different the polish looks under different lights. If you compare the top two photos, the intensity of pink is quite different.

Indoors - in direct sunlight, no flash
How amazing does this holo polish look?!

Indoors - in direct sunlight, no flash
Not only is the colour so gorgeous, the polish was a breeze to apply (and remove). The brush was neither too wide nor too narrow. It was perfect for my nails. It did take about 3 coats of polish, as I do have french acrylics on, which makes the nail line really prominent and hard to conceal. The polish also dried reasonably fast. It took about 30 minutes after applying a top coat for me to feel comfortable to bash my nails about. I waited about 5-10 minutes in between coats, depending on how distracted I was.

I still can't get over how well this nail polish wore for USD$4.59! If you would like to purchase this polish, click here.

The next item I "purchased" was the pump dispenser bottle.
I love pump dispensers bottles for my nail polish removers, as I think it's so much more convenient to press down on the pump with a cotton pad than have to shake or pour some out.

I also love that when you pump the dispenser, the nail polish remover stays in the "bowl" and doesn't go back down into the bottle. This makes it perfect for nail art, especially when you have to clean nail brushes or when you have to go in with a q-tip to fix up boo-boos.

I have purchased two of these bottles on ebay, and none of them will hold the nail polish remover in the bowl. So I'm extremely happy with this pump dispenser!

If you'd like to purchase this pump dispenser, click here. It costs USD$3.55 and there's free shipping worldwide!

Also, use coupon code "SRKW10" to get 10% off storewide!

Happy shopping!

These products were kindly provided for my consideration. All opinions expressed are my own.

06 August 2013

Recommend 10 Blog Swap with Jenny - Part II

I thought it was about time that I did the second part of Recommend 10, considering it's been nearly two months since I've received these items from Jenny of The Shopping Queen. If you haven't read the first part, which explains the story behind this swap, you can do so here.

Having spent two months trying out (most) these products, I thought I'd share my opinions with you so you can go forth and support the economy!

Just a recap of what Jenny sent me. Also, special thanks to Jenny for these pictures on this post. All pictures were taken by her.

Revlon Colorstay for Normal/Dry skin in 180 Sand Beige; Revlon Colorstay Combination/Oily skin in 180 Sand Beige; Tweezerman Mini Slant Tweezers
Revlon Colorstay Foundations: I have yet to use these but I have used the Combination/Oily one before and I really liked it! I didn't repurchase because there were other foundations that I wanted to try. I'm not sure if the normal/dry skin one will suit my skin tone and type, as my skin is oily and fair.

Tweezerman Mini Slant Tweezers: I believe I have raved about Tweezerman before... except I can't find the post. Tweezerman tweezers are AMAZING. They get the stubbiest hair with no troubles at all. I also love the pattern on this pair of tweezers, and it's great that $1 goes to starlight children's foundation.

MUFE HD Powder; Orly Bonder; The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Dome
MUFE HD Powder: This is a great powder that I have used to set my foundation with. The only problem I have is the mess I seem to create because it's a loose powder. I get white powder everywhere! I wish they created this in pressed powder form.

Orly Bonder: I've got two opened bottles of this, so I have yet to use this exact bottle. It's a fantastic base coat. However, the reason why Jenny gave this to me was because you can peel your nail polish off when having a hot shower, making it perfect for removing annoying glitter manis. Unfortunately, I don't stay long enough in the shower for this to work. I also think my acrylic nails plays a part in my polishes not peeling.

The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Dome: I have to admit that I've been neglecting this product. I've only used this once. The smell of it didn't appeal to me at all. I tried to use it on my lips but the smell just got to me, and the reason why I haven't been using it on my cheeks is because Jenny sent me a far superior product that I haven't been able to stop using (product to be revealed further down).

NARS Blush in Deep Throat; MAC Eye Brows Crayon in Lingering
NARS Blush in Deep Throat: This is the reason why I haven't been using The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Dome. This is the perfect blush for me. The colour suits my skin tone perfectly and is perfectly pigmented (I think I might have overused the word "perfect", but it IS indeed perfect). It doesn't make me overly made-up but neither does it disappear into my skin. It's the (dare I say, again) perfect everyday blush.

MAC Eye Brows Crayon in Lingering: This eyebrow crayon was great when I had blonde highlights through my hair. However, after recently dying my roots dark brown (and ends blonde), Lingering is a touch too light for my liking. Having said that, it's a great eyebrow crayon that does not need sharpening. I would most likely purchase this in a darker shade (if there's one... I haven't looked yet as I'm still broke).

NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in Beige; Maybelline ColorSensational 914 Vibrant Mandarin
NYX Lip Gloss: This is a great lip gloss! I love everything about it. Love the colour, the taste, the packaging, the texture, the smell. It is also not sticky. 

Maybelline ColorSensational: I tried this lipstick once. Unfortunately, as Jenny had predicted, it is too vibrant for my comfort levels. :(

Face of Australia Glitterati in Studio 54 and Funky Town
Face of Australia Glitterati polishes: I have tried Studio 54 but not Funky Town, as I haven't had the opportunity to try it out yet. Studio 54 was a breeze to apply, but not so much removal (as expected, since it's so glittery). It's a gorgeous rose-gold coloured nail polish. I used it as an accent nails, so it wouldn't be an overkill. I actually do not have anything like this in my nail polish collection.

So that's the end! I wish I had planned this earlier and taken some swatches (I'm writing this post from my parents' and some of these products are living in Mike's house). If you would like to see a more in-depth review of some of these products, please leave your request below.

If you'd like to see what I gave Jenny, click here. Jenny has also blogged about her thoughts of the products I've sent here, which you can read here.

Please make sure you head over to Jenny's blog and check out her posts! She's one of the most amazingly friendly and generous bloggers I've ever met. I'm looking forward to our next swap, which will hopefully be sometime in the near future! :)

04 August 2013

Review: Neutrogena Rapid Clear range

I have a few amazing pimple-busting/preventing products to share! I was given the opportunity to test and review the Neutrogena Rapid Clear range, which consists of a 2-in-1 Fight & Fade Spot Gel, Deep Cleansing Wipes, Oil-Eliminating Foaming Cleanser, 2-in-1 Cleanser Mask, and Blackhead Eliminating Scrub.

I have been using these items for the past few weeks (although not as consistently as I'd have liked to) and here are my thoughts...

Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2-in-1 Fight & Fade Spot Gel
The claim: 
"Delivers a concentrated dose of salicylic acid via Neutrogena Microclear technology direct to your breakout. Added glycolic acid helps skin-cell turnover to fade the look of post-acne marks."

The price tag: $16.99 for 15ml

My thoughts: 
This did work to a certain extent. I used this in conjunction with my Mario Badescu Healing cream on a pimple that hadn't quite surfaced on my nose. It was one of those really painful ones that was under the skin. It worked really well in that instance, as the pimple did not surface and the pain was gone 2-3 days later. 

I also used it on an already erupted pimple. The results weren't all that noticeable. I think it did help "fight" the pimple a little initially, but did not do much else after. 

As for the fading claim, I honestly could not see any drastic and noticeable changes to both new and old scars to convince me that this definitely works. The new post-breakout marks did fade slightly, but the rate of fading would be more-or-less the same as when I do not use any products.

Therefore, I'm not sure if I would repurchase this, simply because it only really worked one time for me - on the painful, invisible pimple.

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Deep Cleansing Wipes
The claim: 
"These wipes have been clinically proven to help fight breakouts faster, for healthier, clearer-looking skin every day. In as little as 8 hours, the breakthrough Microclear technology clears pores to give you visibly clearer skin. The formulation also works effectively to prevent new breakouts by dissolving oil and pore-clogging impurities, without over-drying or irritating the skin."

The price tag: $7.99 for 25 wipes

My thoughts:
I'm not actually sure whether this can be used to remove makeup, as it does not say anywhere on the packet. But it does say in the press release that it does remove makeup. I have used it on a face full of makeup, and it does remove everything except waterproof mascara. It does not leave my skin feeling greasy or yucky enough to make me want to thoroughly wash my face. It does have an unoffensive scent, which lingers a fair while. Thankfully, it's not a scent that I hate, but neither is it one that I love. It did sting my eyes a little, but to the product's defense, it does say to "avoid delicate eye area".

Since this wipe isn't marketed (on the packaging) that it's for removing makeup, I think the only time that I'd most likely use this is on a long flight when I need to freshen up and there's a long queue for the toilet.

Admittedly, I've only used about 3 of these wipes because of its inability to remove eye makeup. Therefore, I cannot really comment on its ability to "fight breakouts faster". I probably would not repurchase simply because I will not use these wipes much. I would have preferred it was a all-in-1 wipe, where it fights breakouts and removes makeup at the same time.

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Oil-Eliminating Foaming Cleanser
The claim:
"Lathering into a rich creamy foam, this refreshing cleanser cuts through excess oil removing it completely and leaving skin shine-free for hours. Pore-clogging dirt and impurities are also removed and skin is free of any greasy residue."

The price tag: $13.99 for 175ml

My thoughts:
I use this in the morning and was really hoping this will help reduce oil production. Unfortunately blotting was required half way through each day. I did switch foundations to see if that would help lessen the need to blot but it didn't. That is the only con of this product.

I love that this made my skin feel so refreshed and clean without making it feel tight. I also love how clean this facial cleanser smells. It also quite calming. It also does lather into a rich, creamy foam, which makes cleansing my face more enjoyable and less of a chore (I now associate cleansing my face in the morning with work).

I would probably repurchase this despite the claims that it leaves skin shine-free for hours because the pros outweigh the cons.

Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2-in-1 Cleanser Mask
The claim:
"A unique daily cleanser that can be used in two different ways to help fight breakouts. It contains salicylic acid and natural clay minerals to help control oil and cleanse deeply, so skin looks clearer and healthier."

The price tag: $13.99 for 150ml

My thoughts:
I LOVE this 2-in-1 cleanser mask. I thought that this was effective in cleaning out my pores when used either as a cleanser or mask. I love that it can be used as either, and would be perfect for travelling, as you'd only need to bring this instead of a cleanser AND a mask.

This made my skin feel so ridiculously smooth and clean without stripping my skin of all the natural oils and making it feel uncomfortably tight. It also has a similar scent to the oil-eliminating cleanser, which I love. I also love that this product contains menthol! I love love love the refreshing feeling of menthol on my skin.

The only con is that I did not notice any pimple shrinkage after using it as a spot-treatment mask. I actually have not found a mask that reduce pimple size (if you found one, let me know in the comments!).

However, I would most likely repurchase this when I run out (which probably won't be anytime soon) because like the foaming cleanser, the pros outweigh the cons.

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Blackhead Eliminating Daily Scrub
The claim:
"Contains gentle exfoliating beads to sweep away dead skin cells and remove blackhead-causing dirt and oil. Skin soothing beads deliver conditioners to help prevent skin from over-drying."

The price tag: $13.99 for 125ml

My thoughts:
I just realized I have yet to review one of my all time favourite scrubs - Clinique Facial Scrub for men. Anyway, this blackhead eliminating scrub is definitely comparable to Clinique Mens facial scrub. I love that this scrub contains Menthol (same reason as mentioned earlier). It also leaves my skin feeling so soft and smooth. The only two differences that I can think of between the Clinique scrub and this daily scrub are the price differences and the clinique one is a little more abrasive, which has its good and bad points.

This scrub also has the same scent as the cleanser mask and foaming cleanser, which I love. So with that, it ticks all the boxes for best-scrub-ever. I recommend this if you have slightly sensitive skin and love menthol in your scrubs. This may not be suited if you have really sensitive skin, as it may be slightly too abrasive.

Have you tried any of these products before? What are your thoughts?

These products were kindly provided for my consideration. All opinions expressed are my own.