Skin skin skin

I’ll try not to keep going on about my posting frequency… but thanks to all the ladies who have commented in the past couple of weeks about my blog. One of my main motivations for blogging is from the conversations I have – I figure if one person is asking, at least ten other people are interested – so may as well write about it! So hello to all my readers, old and new…

It’s currently winter in Australia, so moisture is much-needed. Windy days, combined with cool mornings means we have to work a bit harder for our skin. I know a lot of people try to improve their skincare at this time too, so I’ve had a few people asking me about what they should be including and what order.

Five components, all take next to no time and give great results. The word “dry” in French is “sec” and it’s going to be important in your routine.

Cleanse – Tone – Sec

Cleanse
Avoid anything soap-like, anything that foams or anything that doesn’t really move your makeup. A good cleanser should get the majority of your makeup off; all of it if you are wearing a minimal amount. If you have party makeup on, use a proper eye makeup remover and do a double cleanse.

Luxe pick: Dermalogica Precleanse Oil
Starter pick: Aveeno Positively Radiant Brightening Cleansing

Tone
This is where I save money and just buy something that won’t irritate my skin. I’ll be honest and admit I’m not totally convinced as to the necessity of this step, so I include it, but at the lowest cost possible. Generally, this step for me just helps calm any redness and tighten up my pores.

Luxe pick: Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner
Starter pick: La Roche Posay Physiological Soothing Lotion

Now we move into Sec territory – Serum, Eye Cream and Cream (Moisturiser). Follow this order and kiss dryness goodbye.

Serum
I love a serum and think they are worth spending a bit more on – so save your dollars on a toner and invest in a decent serum. The difference between drugstore and department store serums are significant, so I apologise in advance for the high price point in the items I’ve included in my picks below. Use enough to cover your face, and try to use a patting motion, rather than massaging it into your skin.

Luxe pick: SK II Facial Treatment Essence
Starter pick: Clarins Face Treatment Oil

Eye cream
Eyes show one’s age, so a seperate eye cream can reduce your thoughts on cosmetic procedures. Apply gently with your ring finger, both below your eye and on your eyelid. Eye cream packaging is always tiny, but it will stretch a long way.

Luxe pick: Clarins Eye Contour Gel
Starter pick: Clinique all about eyes

Cream (Moisturiser)
Get the best that you can afford – and never, ever skip this step. Whether you wear a lot of makeup, or none at all, moisturiser is a must. You may want one with SPF, you may want to apply your SPF separately – do some research to see what suits you and your needs.

Luxe pick: Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream
Starter pick: QV Moisturising Day Cream

Initially it will just feel great, but when you put in some serious time, you’ll see some results in your skin. Best case scenario, do this once a day, preferably at night. Worst case scenario, spend some time once or twice a week following all of these steps. Spend some time trialling some products – don’t be afraid to ask for samples. You’re often looking at an item that is >$50 – you should at least be able to make sure it doesn’t give you a reaction prior to your investment. Good luck with your winter skincare!

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use...

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Travel Ready: Skin 

Regular readers will be overwhelmed by my increase in post frequency – how many posts do I have to do to officially state that I’m making a comeback?!

Anyways, jokes aside, I’m excited to post more than once in 6 months! 2017 is turning out to be a year of travel for me, so another travel post seems fitting. Prior to my last post, I was prepping for Nepal, and now I have another country in sight – #blessed. Unfortunately, overseas travel results in dehydrated skin and break outs for me, so I’ve learned over time to shamelessly take a range of skincare abroad with me.

Moisture

Flying dries out skin big time, so commit to something that will give you serious rehydration. Drinking water is obviously key, but you can further aid that with a serum. The Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum is great for this – if you are a regular Clarins user, you may be able to get a sample of this for a trip, or get a mini-version in a gift pack. I don’t necessarily use this all year round, but it is great for when you are travelling. I apply this day and night soon after a flight.

Sun Protection

Invisible ZincI admit, I don’t wear sun protection on my face all year round, but on days where I will be outside a lot and during summer, I try to use a face cream with SPF. When I’m on holidays, I’m out and about a lot more than usual, so need some serious protection. QV Moisturising Face cream is SPF 30+, and is light enough to wear after a hydrating serum, and under makeup. If I am going to be in serious sun, I use Invisible Zinc (SPF 50+) and avoid applying any face makeup. QV is great for something less intense –  it’s non-irritating, and you won’t need any additional moisturiser on top.

Break Outs

Unfortunately, my skin breaks out quickly and easily. For this reason, I really can’t afford to leave my overnight spot treatment at home.
I’ve recently converted to the Dermalogica Special Clearing Booster (prior to this I was using the Overnight Clearing Gel). This stuff is great if you can feel something coming, or if something does pop up and you need it to be gone asap. It’s small, and can fit into your clear carry-on liquids bag.

The Final Layer 

Anybody who is yet to use the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm (BFB) is missing out, big time! This is a cult product and has never needed a sponsored ad in it’s lifetime. Think of this as a moisturiser, a clear BB cream and an instant face lift. I use this on top of a moisturiser; I think of it as almost like a protective film – perfect when the air quality is compromised, and you have pores to think about. It tightens and brightens, and gives you a youthful glow – great if you are trying to avoid wearing too much makeup while on holiday. This stuff needs to be carefully applied – avoid rubbing it in as much as a moisturiser; it really does sit on the skin.

Pamper 

Now, am I even me, if I don’t suggest a mini-pamper? You’re away from home, away from the usual demands of life, so treat your skin with some TLC. A sheet mask takes up minimal space, and can help your skin when it’s been ravaged by a pressurised air cabin as well as changes in food, water and air quality. Pack one per 7 days that you are away (i.e. if you are away 2 weeks, pack 2), and no doubt, you will find some time to use this – you can thank me then for the suggestion. Sheet masks take up a lot less space than a tub face mask, and I personally find them more intense than a liquid/clay mask.

Skincare while travelling seems so indulgent, but it’s easy to do, and the pay off is worth it. Travel size bottles/jars make it light and small enough to fit into your on-board luggage, so there is really no excuse. Don’t return home looking like you were living in a hut without running water (unless of course, that is exactly where you were living)!

And as always, if irritation occurs, discontinue use. 

Brows maketh the face

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When I look back on my high school years, I think of all those hairs I tweezed out of my eyebrows that I’ll never see again. In my adolescent years (and very likely in your adolescent years, unless you are around 20) THIN & SHARP are the words that come to mind when we imagine the perfect brow. How far we have come in the past decade – over tweezing is out, patches be gone and the perfect brow is thick and neat. If I walk around my local shopping centre, I don’t think I see anybody under the age of 25 with thin brows. Of course, this isn’t always a good thing – like any trend, some people just take it TOO FAR.

Anastasia Beverly Hills can be credited with some of the biggest improvements in the brow game with her pencils and powders. If you want to improve your brow look, read on…

(Disclaimer: I haven’t talked about concealer or eyebrow brushes – consider this a beginners guide to eyebrows)

Pencil

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If you are new to getting your eyebrows on fleek, or want something low-fuss, this stuff is THE SH*T. Easy and quick to use, huge range of colours and completely natural finish. You can buy it direct from the Anastasia Beverly Hills site, or from Sephora Aus.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil
RRP: $26.00 (USD) / $42.00
Stockists: Anastasia Beverly Hills / Sephora 

Powder

smashbox-powder

Anybody who watches Cammy on Snapchat [she’s an eyebrow queen from LA / find her @blossombeautylo] knows that the secret to a completely natural brow is the ombre finish at the start of the brow. For a long time I only used powder, but I find the ABH pencil is quicker and more precise than this powder. If you have unruly brows, the wax in this set is useful. Unfortunately, I think this powder is either on it’s way out or just isn’t worthy of being in Australia. Keep your eyes peeled if you’re overseas.

Smashbox Brow Tech
RRP: $26.00 (USD)
Stockists: www.sephora.com

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It is completely annoying to read recommendations of products not available in Australia, so I’ll include a product that you most definitely can find locally. Benefit has really upped their brow range this year and although I’m satisfied with my current tools, I think they are worth checking out if you are keen to find a decent product at your local department store. Powder and wax combo that has 6 shades.

Benefit Brow Zings
RRP: $55.00
Stockist: Myer 

Gel

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If you were not naturally blessed with a lot of hair in your brow, but have a decent shape and want to thicken up your look, use a gel to add some fake hair. This will help even up any patches or thinness and will blend in effortlessly. If you fear any of these other products or think drawing it on is too much, this is the stuff for you.

Benefit 3D Browtones
RRP: $42.00
Stockist: Myer 

Cream

pomade

I admit this stuff is the scariest of the lot – the almighty pomade. It’s not a product I personally want to use, but the severe nature of the pomade just doesn’t suit me and nor do I have the patience for it. Keep in mind, I am olive skinned and have naturally dark brows (no $$$ spent on eyebrow tints for me), so I’ve found the pomade finish is just a bit too much for me. If you have some serious bald patches or are seriously faking it when it comes to your brows (i.e. you don’t have much hair there), this stuff is for you. You will need a stiff angled brush for this as well as a spare 10 or so minutes.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade
RRP: $18.00 (USD) / $32.00
Stockists: Anastasia Beverly Hills / Sephora 

Waxing, Tweezing and in between

My final warning to you is about what to do to care for your brows. You can have all the pomades and powders that Anastasia can think of, but they are useless to you if the base is hopeless. Only tweeze stray hairs, don’t even think about touching those long hairs your face has been growing for God knows how long! Find a decent brow technician, and find what suits you – tweezing, waxing or threading. Whatever you do, DO NOT go to a walk-in salon that does not specialise in brows – you will be butchered, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll never see those hairs return. You may be slaying in all other aspects, but rubbish brows will be your downfall. Go to someone who will see you as an ongoing client – save your walk-in waxing for arms and legs.

Remember, BROWS MAKETH YOUR FACE.

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

Winter Face

Leaves falling, scarves and coats on, snow coming down. Oh hold on, we are in Australia. Very minimal snow falling, and instead sunny days, cold nights and inconsistent weather conditions is probably a more accurate summary! With winter comes the dreaded ‘Winter Face’ – skin that needs some serious TLC. Fear not, for your beloved blogger will tell you some great stuff to slap on this winter!

FACE : DERMALOGICA SKIN SMOOTHING CREAM

skin smoothing cream

This stuff will save your skin over winter. All of Dermalogica’s moisturisers are great, but personally, this one gives me the right balance between moisture and oil control. It is gentle on the skin, smells good, and has great packaging (I hate any moisturiser that involves dipping one’s finger). Don’t let the price scare you – it’s worth the $$$.
rrp: $79.00 (look online, you’ll find it cheaper)

MASK : LUSH OATIFIX

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Your dry skin will love you for this mask. It’s made with mashed bananas, ground almonds and loads of oats (so it smells delicious). The oats will calm down any irritated or flaky skin while soothing any redness. Not great if you have oily or combination skin (luckily Lush has a huge range of masks to select from).
rrp: $13.95 

SERUM : CLARINS HYDRAQUENCH INTENSIVE SERUM

clarins hydraquench

It may seem small, but it is mighty. This serum is light and not oily like many serums can be. This is my go-to product after flying as it adds back moisture to dehydrated skin really quickly. If you do go to a Clarins counter, try to get a sample size of this. It is often included in Gift-with-purchase specials, so keep your eyes peeled. That will make the price much easier to swallow.
rrp: $72.00 

HANDS : THE BODY SHOP HEMP HAND PROTECTOR

hemp hand protector

Don’t those stickers on the image convince you? This hand cream is the shiz for dry skin. I think one of the driest areas I get in winter is on my hands, so this stuff is a saviour. The packaging could be better (I like to apply hand cream in the car, so the lid is annoying), but the stuff truly does the job.
rrp: $19.95 for 100mL

LIPS : BITE BEAUTY AGAVE MASK

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This lip mask seems a bit ridiculous – like seriously, a mask for the lips? Bite Beauty are known for their amazing lip products and this lip mask is no less than anything else they have produced. It can be near impossible to get your hands on it (Sephora stocks it) and it is expensive – so it you are feeling like a splurge or need serious lip care, this is it.
rrp: $38.00 

Alternatively, I think there is nothing wrong with good ol’ Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment. Cheap as chips (rrp ~$5.00), readily available and has it’s own little cult status, if you are that way inclined (I know I am!). lucas-paw-paw-ointment-25g-tube.jpg

And remember, if irritation occurs, discontinue use…

Until next time – enjoy the blasting wind and winter fashion!

7 ways to a Sunday Treat Yo’Self

Regular readers will know I’m all about the Sunday pamper and regular Facebook stalkers will know I’m a big fan of lists… so why not combine my love of both?

1. Have a bath

The perfect day for a long bath! Treat yo’self to a Lush bath bomb during the week, and chuck it in – you can thank me for this suggestion later.

2. Do a face mask

Go for an exfoliating mask, like The Sanctuary Warming Microbrasian Polish, or hydrate with the GlamGlow Thirstymud Hydration Mask. If it’s really overdue, go crazy and do an at-home facial. After a bath or shower, use an exfoliating scrub (Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is my choice for at-home facial standard) then put on a hydrating mask (Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque if you want a mask to sleep in; GlamGlow for a wash-off option).

3. Wash your brushes

Even though this is work, it truly is a treat yo’self. You will love yourself the next time you pick those brushes up and apply your makeup. If you aren’t sure how to clean your brushes, read here. I know the gold standard is to wash brushes after every use, but who honestly has time for that? Every Sunday is pretty good for casual makeup users, in my opinion.

4. Drink some tea

I know tea isn’t for everyone, but T2’s Gorgeous Geisha truly is – it is the perfect combination of calming and flavour – if you don’t like the bitterness of regular green tea or alternatively, love green tea – give this a go! I will usually brew a small pot to drink while I have a bath – makes me feel like I’m at a spa.

5. Sleep early

Those that know me will know that this is a “do as I say, not as I do” point. I’m hopeless with sleeping early on a Sunday, but when I do, I love myself for it. No better way to start the work week than feeling well rested.

6. Paint your nails

Life is too short to have plain nails – I am really anti acrylic nails and basically hate going to nail salons, which means an at-home manicure is the only way. If you are trying to save some money or just want to try out some of your polish collection, set aside some time for nail care. If you find yourself consistently doing this, invest in salon pieces – cuticle cutter, cuticle oil, nail files etc.

7. Look after yourself

I know these aren’t all beauty related but forgive me for suggesting life is more than just beauty! If you are anything like me, the week is totally hectic and jam-packed. Social commitments, work and fitness basically take up the entirety of the week – so take an hour out of the week to do something that may feel like it could be better spent doing something else. You will love yourself for it. Even if it means reading a book for an hour, listening to a podcast, watching something you usually don’t have time for, talking to a loved one on Skype – you will seriously set yourself up for a great week. And it’s not totally unrelated to beauty – whatever you feel on the inside exudes on the outside.

pamper night

Happy Sunday!

If irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

Lock It In: Spray

The final step: tshhhhhh. That’s the sound of the spray, in case you were confused. My personal preferred use of sprays is for long days where I want my makeup to stay on point or when I have serious party makeup. This does not stretch to work days or short events – there is something about these sprays that make me feel too sealed in and therefore prone to breakouts. I don’t actually break out when wearing them, but mentally they feel a bit weird to wear on a daily basis.

STAGE 3: SPRAY

Urban Decay

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Ok, this stuff is the bomb. This was my first foray into setting sprays and what a good bloody foray that turned out to be. Urban Decay has three types: All Nighter, De-Slick Oil Control and Chill ($49/Mecca). I’m an All Nighter gal – I figure if you control oil with primer and powder, the spray step is really all about just making sure none of it moves.

Model in a Bottle

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Yup, the name is dumb/humorous but this is one of the original HG’s of setting sprays. It used to come in a really tacky looking perfume style bottle, but I see now they are trying to look more professional. They have two sprays (Original & Sensitive Skin) as well as an eyebrow sealer and lipstick sealer – haven’t used eyebrow or lips version, so can’t vouch for those. It’s an American product which can be found on Makeup and Glow ($35).

Makeup Forever

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Argh, I love this stuff even more than the Urban Decay spray. The Urban Decay just feels a bit too wet, whereas this stuff feels a bit lighter. It really does lock everything in and for me is party use only ($17 30mL/Sephora & $39 125mL/Sephora). I have had the travel version for 18 months, and although I don’t use it a lot, it has stretched further than I expected.

MAC has their classic and well-known Prep + Prime Fix + which a lot of people use as a setting spray. From what I understand, it is actually not a setting spray, but rather a spray to use prior to makeup application. I won’t lie, I’ve spritzed it at the end of my makeup at times, but more to give myself a glow, rather than to set my makeup. Use this to wet brushes and change looks when you need to add liquid, but don’t trick yourself into using this as a setting spray – you will be disappointed.

So, that ends my “Lock It In” series. Hope you enjoyed it and found it helpful – if you are about to hit the wedding guest circuit, you are set!

If irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

Lock It In: Powders

You claim to be serious about locking in and securing your blending and buffing? Then get ready to set it with powder.

STAGE 2: POWDER

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Powder

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As the name suggests… it really does keep everything in place. Use a fluffy brush, tap it lightly and then press it into your skin. This stuff will hold it all in place. Colour range is extensive and it is very easy to source ($50/Myer).

Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder – Translucent 

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Haven’t heard of this stuff? How’s that rock you’ve been living under treating you? This stuff is the HG of powders and you aren’t a YouTuber if this hasn’t been mentioned before. It’s translucent, so no fussing with colour matching. Same as above, use a fluffy brush, tap it lightly and press into your skin. There is a high risk of using too much powder when it is in packaging like this – do not allow yourself to be a cake face, so be careful and make sure you are tapping off excess.

Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder 

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If you are oil-prone and really want something that won’t make you look oily, this stuff is for you. It’s a weird white powder which should be used sparingly – it could potentially show up in flash photography if you are not careful. Lightly apply it by pressing it into the parts of your face that are the most oil-prone. It looks weird but it will do the job. I personally don’t use this just to set my foundation, but rather if I’m worried I am at risk of looking oily – for me, that is usually on a hot day or on a day where I am going to have heavy makeup on for a long time ($52/Mecca).

Believe it or not, that’s all I’ve got in the powder domain. I’m not a big powder lover and think one of these three will do the job. No cheaper recommendations unfortunately, I think most of the drugstore brands are pretty cakey and not worth the trouble. If you have any cheaper brands you think are worth it, please comment below. When you are going to use some powder, make sure you generously apply moisturiser beforehand.

If irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

Lock It In: Primers

Hello to you all on the interweb! Hoping you had a wonderful Easter long weekend – did your weekend feel like it was only 2 days, like mine? I hope you had plenty of chocolate and enjoyed some makeup adventures like I did!

So, the wedding season is fast approaching for me, which means long days and blending until my arms are numb. This also means I need to seriously consider all my options to really set my makeup and lock it in. Just a heads up that this will be part of a series of blog posts (primers, powders and sprays) – get excited!

STAGE 1: PRIMER
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Take this advice seriously – if you want a polished finish, and want your makeup to have maximum staying power – use a good primer. There are a lot on the market that target specific skin concerns, so choose wisely.

Smashbox

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My go-to primer for regular use – Smashbox Photo Finish (RRP $58/Mecca Maxima). They have a great range – hydrating, pore minimising, blemish control, colour correcting and SPF. Get a sample and see which, if any, suits you. If it doesn’t work for you, fear not – there are plenty of other brands.

Hourglass

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This is a much raved-about primer, and is a much simpler choice than the Smashbox range. Hourglass have two primers – oil-free ($83/$115) and an oil-filled serum ($104) – it’s not actually called oil-filled, obviously! They both come in a travel size ($29/$35). I have a little sample bottle that has been useful on many occasions – it is my go-to primer when I have a serious party/event.

Urban Decay

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 10.31.01 am.pngI’m not a regular use of this primer, but that is related to allergies rather than the actual design of the product. This is an eyeshadow specific one – for a serious event, I will prime my face and then prime my eyes separately. I do think this is a really decent primer and for a while, I didn’t react to it, but sadly, now it’s out of my rotation. Easily sourced in Australia, available at Mecca ($33).

Soap & Glory

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I know it’s highly irritating to read about products that aren’t available in Aus – but for those curious as to what I’m using regularly on my eyes, this is the one. I love most things Soap & Glory, and this primer makes me happy. Being the hoarder I am, I buy this in bulk when in the UK (£8/Boots UK).

Face of Australia

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Although I don’t recommend this for party makeup, if you are new to the primer market and want to try something that isn’t going to cost you a lot, I think this stuff fits the bill. I recommend trying it out on a workday to just get a feel for it ($12.95/Priceline).

Laura Mercier

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I have to finish with my favourite. This stuff is THE SHIZ. The staff at the DJ’s Laura Mercier counter will ignore you and act all bothered that you wanted help – so just go it alone. Try all the different types – trust in me and all the YouTube bloggers that bang on about this stuff. There are a wide variety of formulas – radiance, oil-free, hydrating, bronzer, SPF and mineral. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between say, the hydrating and mineral – let me know if you have the answer. My choice in this range is the Radiance – I bloody love to glow ($50/David Jones).

Make Up For Ever released a range of primers for different skin concerns about 12 months ago and obviously I rushed out and bought it immediately. I had huge hopes but I didn’t feel they lived up to the hype. They don’t make my list of recommended products, but check them out if you are in Sephora sometime.

My final comment on the use of primers is that I don’t think it can truly replace a good moisturiser – so moisturise first, let that set and then slap on your primer. They claim to be a moisturiser replacement but that’s a no from me.

And as always, if irritation occurs, discontinue use… 

Sunday Night Pamper (February ’15)

Oh, it’s been too long since I did a pamper post! Alas, a monthly pamper post looks unlikely, so I withdraw that fake promise. You will have to trust me – when I find something good, I’ll tell you about it!

So my pamper of late has changed a little bit. This year my New Year’s Resolution included trying to get more sleep… completely do-able I think. I have no kids, and a stable job which I manage during daylight hours – so what’s my excuse? The challenge for me is putting down the device, ending the conversation or turning off the TV. I’m a compulsive over-talker, an Instagram addict, and I regularly turn the TV on really late at night and can’t resist Everybody Loves Raymond repeats. So, come 2015, I am trying to be a bit stricter on myself – the conversation will never be over, Everybody Loves Raymond will be on again tomorrow and there will always be more #fotd tags to look at on IG.

So, this month my pamper involved some changes to help myself feel more refreshed. Some changes to exercise, some regular reading and a farewell to summer!

February

As a February baby, I got a nice little haul of birthday gifts this month, and the FitBit Flex was part of it (thanks MO!). I’ve been a hardcore gym-goer for a number of years now, but the past 12 months I’ve been struggling – suddenly I’m so bored of it, so this year I’m trying to motivate myself to just get out and about. I’ve had it for 2 weeks, and already hate taking a step without it – unrecorded steps are a total waste! It’s helped motivate me to walk to my brother’s place nearby, take my nephew to the park and arrange walks with friends – perfect when the mornings are as gorgeous as they currently are! My best friend is a new mum and has become a champion walker, so it’s a great way to see her and baby Z too.

Books continue to be a part of my monthly pamper – my book club continues to select some great books which I take ages to start and then involve me rushing to finish in time. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd was a great choice; I love anything based in the Deep South of the US, and highly recommend it to anyone who is intrigued by that region and the slavery period. Warning for this book is that it is intensely sad – no silver linings in a novel can be a bit tough.

Summer has now officially ended (we welcomed Autumn here in Sydney with a 38 degree day!), so I’m trying to bust out a few bright colours before I return to my berry and grey/black shades. Essie’s ‘Watermelon’ is my go-to pink shade, so I’ve been sporting it for the past few days to bid summer adieu. I replenished my Essie’s ‘Good to Go’ topcoat, so can go back to painting my nails just before bed and not wake up with a fabric imprint. Late night nail painting is a bad habit of mine, but a fast-drying top coat means I can still get to bed at a decent hour!

Finally, the Indeed Laboratories Pepta-Bright Fade to Bright Intense Brightening Treatment is a product I’m currently trialling, to see if it lives up to the hype. I’ve been using it on and off since last year, but for the past 2 weeks have used it nightly to see if there is any change. Unfortunately, none for me at this stage. 2 weeks on one person is hardly an intensive research study, but I haven’t been fussed by the results. The tube is small (30mL), so I thought it would be a concentrated and intensive treatment, but it hasn’t really proved to be the case. I personally won’t be repurchasing this, and don’t really recommend it.

be enlightened

Finally, I’m burning a Be Enlightened candle, which I am loving. I was introduced to this brand through a contact of mine, and I am mad for these candles. I’m burning the Oriental Baies, which is a blend of currants, berries and pear, combined with rose, jasmine and precious woods (err, that description is from the website, I’m not that knowledgeable about scents!).

So, that’s it for me – February was filled with the above things for me, plus very disciplined sleep times. I have been going to bed at a decent hour and have woken up feeling more refreshed – I haven’t slept in once this month! Feel free to share in the comments if you have any New Year’s Resolutions – I love to hear what others are trying to change or improve!

Until next time readers, treat yourself to a pamper night!

Welcome to Rancho Relaxo (Monday Night Pamper)

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged about a pamper session – I do apologise! I actually haven’t had a lot of inspiration lately, but this month I was inspired to not only have a pamper session but to take it to another level – visit a skin spa.

BBRL-FrontAll my readers who are my real-life friends will know this is my regular beauty spot. All forms of hair removal, hair maintenance and skin repair happens in this place for me. I’ve been a long-term client of this place, and have seen it grow and change over the years. There are multiple therapists available, however my regular appointments tend to be with Rachael-Lee herself. She’s seen me through my early 20’s problem-free skin, my adult acne days and I guess what is now my (early stages of) ageing skin (although that’s not something I want to admit!). It had been quite a while since I’ve had a facial here (about 12 months), so I figured it was about time I treated myself.

I’m a passionate small-business supporter, so avoid going to large chain spas or laser clinics for any of my treatments. I mean, check out these little details at Beauty By Rachael-Lee (the link will take you to their Facebook page).

BBRL - Bed

 

BBRL - Products Close Up

I ended up having a Multivitamin Facial, which was amaaaaazing. There is nothing quite like a proper facial – I can do my own little pamper sessions throughout the month, but nothing beats a deep exfoliating and cleansing facial. I always need a little bit of extraction, and I forgot how painful this can be! Luckily, I only needed a few extractions (I’ve had some very intense extraction sessions with Rachael-Lee in the past), and I can see the value in this step – for me, it makes a really dramatic difference in my skin health and appearance.

BBRL - Room

I don’t always care for the relaxing waterfall-style music that is played on endless repeat in day spas, but luckily Rachael-Lee sometimes gives me the option of more upbeat music (if we’re the only people in at the time). This time, I went with the already-playing cover music (one of my favourite genres – if it is one). The massage and products were all amazing, and I left feeling very relaxed and ready for bed. I always book my facials in the evenings (or late afternoons) and make no plans afterwards – I want to maintain my zen state, keep the products on my face overnight and wake up feeling refreshed.

Obviously I live in a small part of the world, and not everybody can get out to this lovely place. Therefore my tips for judging a facial treatment and spa quality are as follows:

  • No sales – you should not feel pressured to buy something after the facial. There should be no feeling of sales tactics during the facial either.
  • A decent temperature – if the spa can’t maintain a reasonable temperature during your facial, it’s going to be a struggle to enjoy it.
  • Respect for your privacy – once I went for a facial at a random spa and the therapist told me to get completely undressed, left me with a hand-sized towel to cover my body, and re-entered the room without knocking, and I was definitely not ready. For the record, Rachael-Lee offered me a robe, will knock before attempting to re-enter the room, and really just wants straps off your shoulders – I don’t remove any clothing.
  • You should know what they are doing, but keep it to bare minimum details. This may just be my personal style, but I like to know what step the therapist is up to, what she is applying and that is about it. I don’t even think this much detail is necessary, but as a skincare lover, I’m always interested to know what the beautiful product is that is being rubbed on. Any more details and I really start to over-think it.
  • The therapist should actually advise you on what you should be getting for your skin needs and skin type. I had a glycolic peel many years ago from a random therapist and afterwards was advised by my regular therapist (incidentally it was Rachael-Lee back in her hey-day of being someone’s employee) that the procedure was completely unsuitable for my skin type at the time. You should never get a specific treatment just because it’s the most expensive.

ONE WEEK ON….

My skin is looking and feeling amazing. I had a few raised inflammations (very tiny) for the following two days, but these settled easily. Unfortunately I am not one to really go without makeup, even though I know it would be quite helpful following a facial, but my skin never seems to get irritated with makeup application after treatments. I think it’s worth keeping your skin as makeup-free for as long as you can after your facial. I try to avoid any exfoliation for about 5 days, which was a little trick I picked up on after having a series of microdermabrasian treatments. It’s a particular recommendation following microderm, to avoid exfoliating. I feel like giving my skin 4-5 days after any facial before using an exfoliant works wonders – my skin is really glowing post scrub!

If for some reason you’ve never tried a professional facial, or are unsure where to start – dive in. Make a gentle decision for your first one, something with deep cleansing and scrubbing but maybe nothing more invasive than that. It is the ultimate pamper and a great way to treat yourself.

Beauty by Rachael-Lee is located on the corner of Stafford Street and Colless Street, South Penrith. In case there’s any confusion, this is most definitely not a sponsored post, I really am just that big of a fan! [Treatment was $AUD80 and went for 1 hour]

And remember – if irritation occurs, discontinue use…