27 April 2014

Review: Quick Fix Facials - Exfoliating Scrub Mask & Anti-Blemish Mud Mask

I've been trialling two masks from Quick Fix Facials for quite a few weeks now and thought I'd utilise this long weekend to review them.

The Quick Fix Facial Masks are 10 minute masks that are jam packed with ingredients to get rid of skin issues.

There are three variants of Quick Fix Facial Masks -
Exfoliating scrub mask: For blackheads and blocked pores
Anti-blemish mud mask: For oily and spot prone skin
Mega moisture mask: For dry and thirsty skin

Since I have oily and blemish prone skin, I picked the anti-blemish mud and the exfoliant one to help prevent blocked pores, which in turn will hopefully prevent blemishes.

To point out the obvious, I love that the Quick Fix Facials Masks are packaged in vibrant squeezy tubes with a flip top cap. I absolutely hate masks in tubs as they're unhygienic no matter how clean your fingers are (unless you have nail-less fingers). The flip top caps make it so easy to close, compared to those that you have to screw on, especially when you have product all over your hands and fingers.

The exfoliating scrub mask contains pink rose clay to deeply cleanse and decongest the skin. It also contains glycolic acid to balance out uneven skin tone, and pomegranate extract for its anti-ageing and antioxidant to create radiant skin.

As mentioned before, this mask is perfect for removing stubborn blackheads and unclogging pores.

Whilst the instructions say to massage the mask into the skin before leaving for 5-10 minutes and removing with warm water, I like to leave the mask on for 10 minutes before damping my face and then massaging the product in. For some strange reason, my skin just feels cleaner and fresher when I leave the massaging last. I think it has got to do with scrubbing the gunk off as I wash it off, instead of scrubbing the gunk and leaving the mask with the gunk to set for 10 minutes.

As you would expect, the exfoliating scrub mask is NOT smooth in consistency and contains granules to help with the exfoliating process. It does not smell at all offensive. I actually quite like the smell of this mask. It has a rosey smell (from the pink rose clay ingredient). The mask gradually disappears after application, which is very unique, as I've never used a mask that goes transparent (except for the granules). I've included a time lapse photo at the end of this post.

Another fantastic thing about this mask is that it doesn't make my skin feel tight like other masks do when set. Once the mask is washed off, my skin feels incredibly smooth. Unfortunately, I can't comment on how effective this is at removing blackheads, as I'm lucky enough not to have this problem.

Although the exfoliating properties of this mask is decent, I wouldn't be replacing my face scrub with this. It doesn't provide enough grit for my preferences. However, I think if you were travelling and needed a two-in-one product to save space, this product is perfect as a mask and a scrub.

The Anti-blemish mask is great for oily and blemish prone skin. It contains deep sea mud to help absorb and control oil production, salicylic acid to draw out impurities and shrink pores, and tea tree oil to treat spots and prevent blemishes.

Scent wise, I much prefer the exfoliating scrub mask to the anti-blemish one. The anti-blemish mask smells like tea tree oil mixed with... mud. Although I hate the smell of tea tree oil, this mask is bearable, as the muddy smell kind of turns the smell of tea tree oil down.

Similar to the exfoliating scrub mask, the anti-blemish mask disappears gradually. It also does not feel tight on the skin but leaves the skin feeling so soft after washing it off.

Since this anti-blemish mud mask does not contain any granules, I just leave the mask on for about 10 minutes before washing it off. This mask felt amazingly cool on my skin, which was really great on a hot day (the exfoliating scrub mask was also cooling).

Unfortunately, I don't think this is brilliant mask for preventing blemishes, as two managed to pop up. I don't think they were as a result of using this mask, but more of a hormone thing. I'm also unsure about the "managing oil production" property of this mask, as I wake up in the morning with an oily face. :-|

Therefore, if I were to choose between the two, I'd pick the exfoliating scrub mask.

I did "swatches" of both masks side by side to show the difference in consistency. As you can see the exfoliating scrub mask is definitely more grainy than the anti-blemish mask.

This is a time lapse photo of both masks. After 8 minutes, both masks "disappeared" quite significantly! This probably explains why my skin doesn't feel so tight and restrictive once the masks have "set" unlike other clay masks.

Both these masks (as well as the mega moisture one) retail for $8.95 and can be purchased at Woolworths.

Have you tried Quick Fix Facials before? Or a mask that disappears (that still amazes me)?

23 April 2014

Bellabox - Mother's Day Edition

When I received an email from Bellabox advising that there is a limited edition Mother's Day box for $49.95, I wasn't all that interested to be honest. I clicked the link in the email, which brought me to the Bellabox Mother's Day box page. I was sold almost instantly when I saw that a Mimco pouch was included. I think that alone has got to be worth $49.95. So I bit the bullet and purchased one.. for myself... because dogs count as furry babies, thereby making me a mum... right?

The Mother's Day edition box was full of goodies. I can assure you that the box did not look like that when I opened it. I was trying to arrange it in the box so everything was visible, but I gave up and took a shot hoping it'd look artistic but obviously failed miserably.

Since I was super lazy, I didn't swap out my macro lens, and this was the best I could do to include everything in the picture without growing out my arms to get a further away shot. Although some most of these items were in previous boxes, I am quite happy with them as I haven't been subscribed to Bellabox enough to have received many dupes.

As per my normal beauty box subscription reviews (I thought I'd write this post like it's a review), these are the items that were included in my Bellabox Mother's Day Edition box...

1. Mimco Mim pouch - RRP: $69.95
The main reason why I purchased the box. I'm glad they included the dust bag!

2. Luxe Hanoi City Guides - RRP: $12.99
This is useless to me. I don't see myself (or my mum) going to Vietnam any time soon (or dare I say ever?).

3. Wotnot facial wipes - 5 wipes - RRP: $7.95 for 25 wipes
These wipes are seriously one of the best makeup removing wipes I've ever used. I prefer the new oily/sensitive version to this but it's still fantastic. They don't sting my eyes, and they don't leave a greasy/oily residue on my skin. The wipes are also nice and thick and feel amazing on my skin (compared to other brands). I purchased a full sized packet of the Wotnot facial wipes (for oily/sensitive skin) to get free shipping when I checked out with this limited edition box.

4. Harnn Cymbopogon Hand Cream - RRP: $38.50 for 50g
This is some pricey hand cream. Not sure how it smells, as there's a seal that needs to be broken. I might give this to my mother, as I rarely use hand creams.

5. Bellabox Pout Pencil in Ruby Tuesday - RRP: $14.99
I highly doubt I'd use this, as I'm not one for "loud" colours. Not quite sure what I'll do with this, as I can't see my mum using this either.

6. Jane Tran hair clips
Not sure how much these are worth, but I'll most likely use these to keep my annoying hair out of my face.

7. Natio Nail Colour in Ruby - RRP: $9.95 for 15ml
I wish I received this box before the long weekend, as my mother in law is in Sydney and was looking for a red nail polish for a pedicure. I managed to find three polishes to spare, and I would have given her this one as well, as I don't use red polishes much!

8. Janesce Softening Refresher - 25ml - RRP: $31.95 for 100ml
This contains rosewater and rose oil, which smells amaaaazing (I'm currently in love with rose smelling things). It kind of reminds me of Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist fragrance wise.

9. Rubifresh Cleansing Oil - RRP: $23.00
"Many cleansing products strip away the skin's PROTECTIVE oils, moisture & environmental barrier, telling our skin to produce more oil to protect itself. This refreshing blend of OLIVE, citrus & APRICOT oils, plus certified organic lemon-scented TEA TREE, will protect & nourish your skin, while removing makeup, dirt & grime. Massage onto face daily, wipe off with a warm damp face cloth for baby smooth skin."

I found some information on the Rubifresh website and I can't say I'm all too excited about this. The tea tree ingredient is really throwing me off, as I hate the smell of tea tree despite it's benefits. Has anyone used this? Does it stink of tea tree?

10. Indio Renew Cream - 10ml - RRP: $109 for 50ml
Containing AHA, Vitamin B3 and Honeysuckle extract, this is an anti-ageing product best used at night. I'm quite excited to give this a go, as my Kate Somerville RetAsphere is nearly empty :(

11. Griffin + row Skin Hydrating Spray - RRP: $27.50 for 100ml
My skin leans oily than dry, so I'm not sure if I'll use this hydrating spray. Might either give this to mum or save it for when I get extremely dry, itchy skin after using a self-tanner.

12. La Clinca Gly C Refine Micro Dermabrasion Facial Scrub - 10ml - RRP: $42 for 100ml
Being so picky when it comes to facial scrubs (well, I'm not THAT picky, I just like a scrub with lots of grit), I'm unsure if I will love this, especially when I've already found my HG scrub (Clinique Face Scrub for Men). I will take this with me when I go overseas in June though, as it's the perfect travel size.

13. Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream - 3ml - RRP: $49 for 118ml
Ah! The highly hyped Egyptian Magic Skin Cream! I've never tried this skin cream before, but I'm looking forward to despite the sachet.

So that's it for the limited edition Mother's Day Bellabox! I think this box is definitely worth the $49.95, even though there are quite a number of items I wouldn't use. If only Bellabox regularly releases boxes of the same quality....

Did you purchase the Mother's Day box? What do you think of it?

17 April 2014

Wantable - April 2014

I'm not going to waffle on about my love for Wantable, as I've done it countless times in all my Wantable reviews. Wantable costs USD$36 a month, and if you're in Australia, shipping is an additional USD$10 (free for the US, USD$6 for Canada and USD$7 for UK). It is a cancel anytime subscription, and it's as easy as a click of a button. Unfortunately, I've had to use this easy cancellation procedure, as I'm broke (see previous post here). I think I'll probably subscribe to Wantable every second month, as it's just too good to cut out of my life completely. Also, I need a good surprise in the mail every so often, as I'm no longer subscribed to Lust Have It.

[Please excuse the blurry picture. I was in a hurry to catch the last few minutes of good sunlight (I hate daylight savings!!!), and didn't realise it was blurry until I was editing it.]

Wantable has a new box yet again! When I first subscribed, it was plain white with the Wantable logo on the front. They then changed it to black a few months ago before this new box came out this month. Wantable makes great boxes for packaging blog sale items (hint hint, nudge nudge - see blog sale here).

There were four items in my Wantable April box. As usual, all items are full sized, and tailored to my preferences via a survey I did when I first subscribed.

1. Chella Eyebrow Tool Case - USD$45.00
"The Chella Eyebrow Tool Case contains all the tools you will need to groom and shape your eyebrows into beautiful frames for your eyes as well as room for your favourite brow and eye pencils. This tool case contains Chella scissors, unique eyebrow razor with brush and comb, and our specially designed tweezers, along with Chella's Eyebrow Shaping Guide, all inserted into the beautiful Chella Tool Case."

I love that all the tools are packaged in what seems to be a good quality case. I also love that there is room for other tools, such as eye or brow pencils. The tweezers remind me of my favourite Tweezerman tweezer. I have yet to use any of these tools, but I will definitely be taking this kit with me to Singapore/Maldives in June.

2. Three Custom Color - Warm White Highlighter - USD$22.50
"This gorgeous pressed powder highlighter is finely milled to blend beautifully. The warm white colour gives a natural, lit-from-within look. Beauty Tip: Apply and blend onto the tops of your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, on your brow bone, and on your cupid's bow. Pair with a contouring shade for cheekbones to make any supermodel wildly jealous!"

I was meant to use this highlighter this morning, but I forgot. :( I was quite impressed when I swatched it last night though (swatch at the end of post). The powder is so velvety-soft and pigmented, and it does not look glittery at all.

3. Sorme - Jet Liner Black - USD$22.50
"Exceptional for flirtatious, defined eyes. Jet Liner creates a dramatic line and dries fast to prevent smearing or smudging. Exclusively designed brush is firm and thinly tapered for ultimate control. Lets you create a fine natural line or super sexy 'Sophie Loren' look. Beauty Tip: Apply to upper lash line, laying the brush against the top of the lashes. Tilt upwards at the outer edge for youthful, sexy eyelift."

I've been using Maybelline Lasting Gel Eye Liner lately (see review here), and I've been taking for granted how easy the Maybelline eye liner is to use compared to liquid eyeliners such as the Sorme Jet Liner above. Although the Sorme Jet Liner is super pigmented, I find it quite messy when I tried it on one eye last night. This may be due to me not being used to liquid eyeliners. Therefore, I'm not sure if I'll use this... at least not in the near future whilst I have my Maybelline Lasting Gel Eye Liner.

4. 'Tini Beauty - Eye Cordial Frothe - USD$18.00
"Say goodbye to creasing and fading with Eyetini Eye Cordial Shadow + Base. Our revolutionary formula glides on beguilling creamy colour and sets to a transfer-resistant finish that doubles as a wear-extending base under powder shadow. Frothe serves up creamy, pearly white. Beauty Tip: For expert control, apply with your fingers instead of the applicator wand. Then blend quickly before it dries. Clean up any mistakes with a cotton swab and eye makeup remover."

This shadow+base is an interesting product. Looking at it, it reminds me of a concealer. When swatched, it reminds me of a highlighter. It is quite blendable (see swatch below) and pigmented. I am looking forward to trying this out over the long weekend, when I have time to play with eyeshadows and really give this product a test run.

L-R: Sorme Jet Liner; 'Tini Beauty Eye Cordial Frothe; Three Custom Color Warm White Highlighter
That's it for April's Wantable box! If you would like to subscribe (you won't regret it!), I'd greatly appreciate it if you used my personal invitation link here, as I get a $10 credit towards my next box.

What beauty subscription boxes are you subscribed to? Are you subscribed to Wantable?

14 April 2014

Recent happenings & blog sale update

In case you haven't heard, after months of house inspections and auctions, my husband and I are now proud owners of a dump house. We are also in some serious massive debt. :(

The settlement will take place in approximately 5 weeks, and I may not be able to blog much when we finally move in. I personally would love to hire a bulldozer and knock the house down, but current finances say no. Therefore, a lot of work needs to be done. There is mould on the ceilings, paint/wallpaper peeling in every room, shower is leaking, there is no straight beams in the roof, the laundry room is a dodgy extension to the house and is incomplete, there are smoke stains on the walls (you can clearly see where they've placed photo frames, as there are nice outlines of them). We're going to try really hard not to sink too much money into the current house, as knocking it down and rebuilding is definitely what we want to do (hopefully in the near future).

We're (well, at least I am) so excited about building our new home that we've already drawn up a floor plan that we would love (whether we can get/afford it is another story). I made sure that there was a ginormous walk-in-wardrobe/Abby room connected to the master bed room, which is about 7m by 6m. I think our dream house is going to cost an absolute fortune. Furthermore, we're looking to build a granny flat for my parents to live in when they're ready to retire. The granny flat will be built before the house, as Mike wants to build the main house himself (well, as much as he can) for two main reason - 1. it's cheaper and 2. he will know it'll be done right - we've heard so many horror stories of dodgy builders. By building the granny flat first, he'll be able to see if he will be able to build the main house himself. Also, it's a good opportunity to learn what to do and what not to do.

As a result of being broke for the next 30 years and having all these crazy plans for our dream house, I have decided to put more makeup on my blog sale page (click here). I've also put up 3 zoya polishes for sale on my nail polish blog sale page (click here), and will probably put more up later, as all my polishes are in storage at the moment. I would absolutely love it if you could check out my blog sales! Extra goodies/samples will be added to each order!

10 April 2014

Review: The Jojoba Company - Jojoba Bead & Bamboo Facial Exfoliant EE Cream

The latest alphabet cream is out - EE cream! EE cream, in the case of the Jojoba Bead & Bamboo Facial Exfoliant EE Cream, stands for Extra Exfoliating. It's not so much of a moisturizing cream that you leave on your face (like I thought it was), but rather it's an exfoliant which can double up as a face mask.

This EE cream is a multi-tasking cream, as it works as a AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and a BHA (beta hydroxy acid). The jojoba beads and bamboo are the AHAs that help remove dead skin cells and renew the skin, allowing your serums and moisturizers to work more effectively. The salicylic acid (BHA) clean out your pores without the need to scrub.

There are quite a number of key ingredients in this EE cream that help promote healthy, hydrated, clean skin.
  • 100% natural Australian jojoba - antioxidant, high in vitamins A, D & E, naturally hydrating.
  • Bamboo - exfoliating
  • Shea butter - hydrating
  • Witch hazel - calming and toning
  • Vitamin E - antioxidant
  • Ivory clay - hydrating
  • Salicylic acid - natural BHA, deep cleanse
  • Jojoba beads - nourishing, exfoliant

According to The Jojoba Company, this EE cream is suitable for all skin types, including those with sensitive skin. I agree with this, as the Jojoba Bead & Bamboo Facial Exfoliant EE cream is not very gritty (see picture below), and therefore isn't very harsh on the skin.

When smeared out, there aren't many beads compared to other exfoliants/scrubs I've tried, thereby making this the perfect product for those with sensitive skin. Personally, I prefer exfoliants with more grit (such as Clinique Face Scrub for Men aka my HG face scrub), as it feels like they're doing a much better job at removing those icky dead cells. Regardless, the result is more or less the same. My face is left feeling moisturised and so incredibly smooth. 

I've also used this EE cream as a mask, and this is my preferred method. It just seems to make my skin feel so much smoother compared to using it just as a scrub. I apply a thin layer of this EE cream on my face and let it do its magic for about 10-15 minutes before I hop in the shower. I wet my face and then gently rub the product around in circular motions before rinsing it off. 

I highly recommend this EE cream, even if you're into gritty scrubs like I am, because it makes a great mask!

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

06 April 2014

Review: Kate Somerville RetAsphere

I've been using the Kate Somerville RetAsphere for quite a few months now. I thought long and hard before purchasing this in the states, as it's really expensive at USD$85 for 30ml.

I initially wanted a prescription for retinol, which is Vitamin A, a fantastic ingredient for anti-ageing. Retinol helps increase cell turnover, and can thus help with evening out skin tone and texture. Unfortunately, my doctor refused to give me a prescription for retinol, as she didn't think I needed it. Instead, she recommended vitamin E oil to help get rid of my old acne scars and the occasional zit. Vitamin E oil was a waste of money, and I need to get a new doctor.

After much umming-and ah-ing, I finally decided to bite the bullet and purchase Kate Somerville RetAsphere, as it's one of the strongest non-prescription retinol products on the market.

To give you a better idea of the way RetAsphere works, I've typed up the description from the box -
"This rich 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream is designed to gently infuse the skin with pure Retinol to help diminish the appearance of fine lines and even out texture and skin tone. The RetAsphere Smart Release Carrier System gently delivers pure Retinol in a lipid shell that melts evenly into the epidermis,while Seaweed Extract helps prevent over-drying by locking in hydration. The result is supple, smooth skin that looks younger and brighter:
In just 2 weeks: 70% of women experienced a statistically significant smoothing of wrinkles.
In just 4 weeks: 96% of women showed a significant increase in elasticity and firmness."

From the reviews I've read, some say that RetAsphere made their skin red and flakey initially before results were seen. I was a tat worried/nervous, so I only used it once every other day. Thankfully, I had no side effects and decided to use it every night.

I use it after I've cleansed and toned my face before bed. I love that it comes with a pump, as it dispenses sufficient product for my whole face with just one pump.

One pump of RetAsphere
The results of this product is truly remarkable. Although it was a gradual improvement, my skin feels so much softer and smoother since using RetAsphere. My pores have shrunk, and I don't seem to have many pimples, even though it's been about 6 weeks since I've come off the pill. I've also found that my scars have faded. I feel more comfortable in my skin and now have the confidence to leave the house without makeup.

Therefore, despite the hefty price tag, I think RetAsphere is worth every cent. It's a miracle/HG product for me, and I would repurchase in a heartbeat. I just wish it was closer to the USD$85 mark here in Australia, but like with everything, the price of RetAsphere is over inflated at AUD$110. I'd love to try a prescription Retinol product to see how it compares. I think I'm going to try get one from a different doctor.

Have you any experience with Retinol? What are your thoughts?

03 April 2014

Empties - March 2014

Although I'm thankful for the (slightly) cooler temperatures, now that we're a third of the way through Autumn, I absolutely hate how early the sun sets. It's currently in that awkward stage where the sun gets in my eyes when I'm driving to work AND back. #firstworldproblems Anyway, I'm sure this whole awkward/annoying situation will pass when daylight saving ends over the weekend. But I still hate having shorter days. /rant

I finished a handful of products last month. More skincare than cosmetics (again). I don't know about you, but it takes me FOREVER to finish cosmetics, especially blush. I don't think I've ever finished a blush before. This MIGHT explain why I have far too many. I'm thinking about putting a few up on the blog sale actually.

Anyway, getting back on topic... these are the products I've finished in March:

1. Bath & Body Works Cashmere Glow body lotion
Favourite bath/body products brand ever. Cashmere Glow smells amazing, and I wish I bought more!

2. Bath & Body Works Beautiful Day shower gel
Absolutely LOVE this shower gel. If you like apple scented shower gels, you'd love this one. There's not much more to say about this B&BW shower gel, as I've raved and carried on about B&BW products in quite a few empties posts.

3. Bath & Body Works Moisturizing Conditioner
I HAD to pick this up when I found out B&BW made conditioners. Unfortunately, it didn't do much for my hair. Although it smelt nice. I probably wouldn't repurchase, as I'd rather spend my money on their shower gels and hand wash.

4. Macadamia Deep Repair Masque
Macadamia makes amazing hair care products, and the deep repair masque did not disappoint. It made my hair feel so smooth and soft. I was using this like a conditioner and was extremely sad when I finished it. Would repurchase in a heartbeat (except I spent my fortnightly allowance on benefit - see here).

5. Biore Marshmallow Whip Facial Wash for pore care
I purchased this from Singapore last year. I also purchased a refill for normal/combination skin, which I've poured into the container. The pore care one was fantastic. It did not strip the oil from my skin, as there was no tight feeling after. My face just felt clean. I used this with my clarisonic in the shower, and it worked a treat. I love how dense the foamy facial wash was when dispensed. I will most likely pick up another refill pack when I go back there in June.

6. Lancome Tonique Douceur Softening Hydrating Toner
I believe this is a deluxe sample. I didn't think much of it. It did the job, but it's nothing I'd go out of my way to purchase or rave about.

7. Johnson's 3 in 1 Facial Cleansing Wipes
The more I use Johnson's cleansing wipes, the more I dislike it (compared to other brands). I was looking forward to finishing this, and was quite happy when I finally pulled out the last wipe. Unfortunately, my happiness was short lived as I realised I had another pack of these wipes in my drawer. I'm currently taking a break from them, but will most likely use the last pack next. The reason why I'm not a big fan of these are that they aren't as moist as I'd like them to be. This may be the reason why they don't do a fantastic job at removing my makeup.

8. Jurlique Balancing Day Cream
This is a deluxe sample size that lasted me a very long time despite using it daily. I really liked it, and was actually looking at purchasing a full size before remembering that I have a gazillion other day creams that I need to use up. This day cream was not too heavy and oily for my oily skin. Whilst I don't think it helped keep oil at bay, it didn't cause an over production of oil either. I would most likely repurchase this in the future, as I really like that it was light but yet managed to adequately moisturised my face.

9. 17 Wild Curls Mascara
Whilst this mascara did give volume to my lashes, it wasn't a mascara that I'd run out and replace, as there are other mascaras out there that do the same if not better job.

10. Korres Provitamin B5 & Rice Bran Mascara
I found this mascara to be quite dry. I'm not sure if it's due to me using it a handful of times and then not using it for a long time before using it again. As there are little fibres in the formula, this mascara did a nifty job lengthening my lashes. It didn't do much in the voluminising department. Not sure if I'd repurchase.

11. Anastasia Brow Wiz in Brunette
Absolutely LOVE this brow pencil. The Brunette shade is perfect for me. I love that it is retractable and no sharpening is needed. I also love that there's a spoolie at the end, as it's perfect for travelling. I was extremely sad when I ran out. I really want to repurchase this but I'm not sure how, since Sephora put a ban on freight forwarders!

That's it for March empties! What did you finish last month?