Sunny Days Ahead

Hello, dear reader!

Summer is around the corner, and with that comes the damaging rays of Sydney’s sunshine. Cancer Council Australia published a survey today revealing that 2.7 million Aussies are getting sunburnt on a week – don’t be a statistic! Protect your skin and your health.

This post is coming to you from sunny Bali, where I’m getting a head start on summer. I am crazy about sun protection, and want you to be too. Excessive sun exposure and a lack of sun protection is the number one way of ageing your skin, and undoing all the good skincare routines you have.

There is a lot of talk of chemical and physical sunscreens in beauty media – I personally like a combination of the two, and think there is no such thing as too much sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens essentially soak up the sun’s rays, like a protective sponge. Physical sunscreens protect your skin by creating a physical layer between the sun and your skin.

Physical sunscreen is recommended for those with sensitive skin and for children; chemical sunscreens are ideal to mix with makeup. Physical sunscreens are a lot thicker and sit on top of the skin, whereas a chemical sunscreen mixes and blends into the skin a lot more easily.

As always, here are my recommendations… complete with a Bali backdrop.

Neutrogena Beach Defence

This stuff comes in a spray bottle, and comes out really thin and easy to apply. Recommended for difficult to reach spots on your body, as you can angle the spray directly onto those areas. I’ve been using this sunscreen religiously for years and have never been burnt whilst wearing it. It is absorbed easily by the skin and has an inoffensive scent. It does leave a bit of residue, so I recommend it for casual wear, or let it dry properly and then get dressed.

RRP: $16.99

As you can see, the product is extremely minimalist.

Invisible Zinc

This stuff is when I want to be really serious about my sun protection. It’s thick, takes ages to rub in and leaves a nice, white layer where you apply it. If you are going to be shamelessly in the sun all day, this is the stuff for you – you won’t get the ultimate Instagram shot wearing this stuff, but you will save your skin.

RRP: $21.95

This product is thick and serious.

Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster

This is a new addition to my skincare, and is ideal for incidental sun exposure (e.g. walking to a cafe). It is a chemical sunscreen, so is easily absorbed by the skin and is nice to mix in with your usual moisturiser. It’s not enough on it’s own as skincare, so should be mixed with whatever you are already applying as your base layer. SPF 50 – very serious sun protection yet less effortful than the Invisible Zinc.

RRP: $72.50 (can easily be found cheaper online/ in salons)

Texture is thin and easily applied – like a normal moisturiser.

So those are my top 3 sunscreen recommendations for this summer. Don’t look prematurely old – slip, slop, slap and wear a hat.

And if irritation occurs, discontinue use.

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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...

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. 

Best of 2014

Happy new year, readers! Hope you have all been enjoying some sort of break, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. I personally don’t celebrate (though I do enjoy it, possibly due to my love of shiny things), so I headed to Hawaii for a beach break. Regular readers will know that I love the USA, and need little encouragement to visit. The Australian dollar isn’t quite as strong as it has been in the past, but Hawaii did not fail me with it’s offerings. I was flying for NYE, which suited me just fine, because I’m a bit of a NYE grinch.

So as 2015 rolls in, I think it’s customary for bloggers to post their 2014 favourites… right? I drafted this very easily, so turns out I had some very clear favourites in 2014. I selected one clear standout product in each category of Skincare, Eyes, Face, Lips, Hair & Nails.

Best of 2014

Skincare Clarins HydraQuench Cream
This stuff is so gorgeous and was a late-2014 discovery. I picked up a Christmas gift set that included this cream, the matching serum and a third item I haven’t even taken out of the bag yet. This cream is extremely hydrating, sinks into the skin beautifully and feels amazing. My only gripe is the packaging – I hate jars you have to dip your fingers into, as it doesn’t seem that hygienic plus I find I use a lot more product. Clarins does great skincare and is really easy to find in department stores and salons. This cream retails at $65.00 [Myer]. Not the cheapest product, but it’s worth the $$$.

Eyes Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eyeshadow
I did a whole blog post on this, so it’s probably not a big surprise to regular readers that it’s a favourite. This stuff is fiddly to use, definitely not an item for everyday and is crazy expensive – but I haven’t seen much else on the market that does the same job. Retails for $44.00 [Mecca Cosmetica].

Face Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
2014 saw me increase my highlighter use as part of my everyday routine. Now I’m addicted to using it to add some colour to my face without adding blush. It really adds dimension to my face, and helps fake a healthy glow. I had read a lot about this highlighting palette before picking it up in the US, and after first use I realised why it was the holy grail for so many beauty bloggers. The powder is like velvet, and the tiniest bit goes a long way. Face palettes can sometimes be rubbish, because they try to cater for too many skin tones, but this palette seems universal. Retails for $76.00 [Mecca Cosmetica].

Lips Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner
Finally something that does not cost a bomb! I’ve been a long time lover of Rimmel as a brand, but this was my first year of buying the Exaggerate lip liner – which is their automatic wind up pencil. I generally don’t like automatic pencils because I feel they never have a decent point and the wind up mechanism can die before the pencil runs out – but Rimmel does not fail. I picked up the nude shade (the shade name escapes me now) and it quickly became everyday wear. I can’t think of any other product that I used to completion in 2014, but this little number got used up. Not much thinking or risk involved for a product that retails at $12.50 [Priceline].

Hair Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating Mask
This is another product that made it from a single blog post to the favourites list. When I used it on its own, I liked it, but didn’t love it. Recently I used it in conjunction with a toning shampoo (I’ve become addicted to blonde ombre in 2014 also), and the results were magnificent. Anyone who has ever used a toning shampoo will know that their hair will turn to straw immediately. I used this straight after using the Fudge Purple Shampoo, and not only did my blonde ends look better but my hair felt better than before! Retails for $49.50 [Skincare Store].

Nails Essie Good To Go Topcoat
This may be boring to some, but anyone who loves painting their nails like me will know there is nothing worse than painting your nails and then managing to bump the paint an hour later. This topcoat is fast drying without chipping easily like some other fast-drying polishes do. Extremely shiny, and maintains a manicure for 5-7 days; retails for $17.95 [Priceline].

So that’s it for me! Thank you for those who have been reading along in 2014 – I really appreciate you reading my beauty raves and rants, and look forward to sharing more in 2015.

And remember – if irritation occurs, discontinue use…

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…

Summertime Sadness

Just kidding about the heading – no sadness about summer. But as summer is fast approaching here in Australia, it’s time to get serious about summer skincare. I have combination-oily skin, and am fearful of the sun’s rays touching my skin. Here are my summertime essentials:

Summertime Sadness

QV Face Moisturising Day Cream
I’ve been using this moisturiser daily for a year, and am still loving it. I’ve mentioned my respect for QV before, and this moisturiser has become a bit of a HG face product. It has SPF included, and is light and non-greasy, so perfect for summer. [RRP $11.99 – Find it at Chemist Warehouse]

Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Spray (SPF 50)
Now, I’m not much of a beach person, but I tend to make an annual pilgrimage there, and do my best to shelter from the rays. I picked this little beauty up last summer, and have replenished my stock for this coming summer (side note – it lasts ages, I disposed of mine during my US trip to make room for more exciting products!). It’s non-greasy on the skin, and leaves no residue when sprayed on your body – it does leave a sticky residue in your hair though, as though you’ve sprayed on too much hairspray. I actually use this on a regular basis when gardening, and I love it. [RRP $12.95 – Find it at your local supermarket]

Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil
This little beauty was a sample from a Clarins counter in Myer. This oil has lasted ages, and I think will be a worthy addition to my summer collection, particularly as hair removal routines return to normal and my body demands more moisture. It claims to be suitable for preventing stretch marks during pregnancy, but if it doesn’t do that, it still smells and feels amazing. [RRP $62.00 – Find it at Myer]

Glam Glow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment
This was a US purchase that I am using very sparingly – the price is ridiculous. I made sure I sampled the hell out of this mask (unlike most other products in Sephora, it was like getting blood from stone at times to sample this), and found it to be extremely hydrating. It smells delicious (I sensed hints of coconut, one of my favourite scents), and can be worn as a short-term mask, or overnight. It takes a few uses to really notice the difference, but once I wore it around 4 times, my skin was feeling a lot softer and hydrated. [RRP $75.00 – FInd it at Mecca Cosmetica]

Bumble & Bumble Defrizz
Now, I’ve been heat styling my hair since the 9th grade. I still remember the first hair straightener I bought, it had a double function as a crimper – it was a great era to grow up in. Ever since then, I’ve been fighting the battle with fly aways and frizz, and have tried a range of products, both high and low price points. Nothing frustrates me more than spending time on my hair, and then heading out into the heat and having it frizz out. Bumble & Bumble have an amazing range of hair products, and I’ve yet to try anything that didn’t do as the bottle indicated (although my exposure to the brand doesn’t extend to every product), and this little bottle of serum-y goodness doesn’t fail to deliver on its promise. Only a tiny bit of product is required, blow dry it in and see the results almost instantly. I also find that it seems to extend my blowdry/straightening session for an extra day – score! [RRP $38.00 – Find it at Mecca Cosmetica].

Rimmel Salon Pro Polish
Finally, summer isn’t summer unless I have some garish bright nail polish slapped onto my tips. The little coral number in the photo has yet to get a chance on my hands, but it’s not too far away. Great range of shades for a low-price polish, and I find the Salon Pro colour range quite interesting – not huge, but every shade is quite unique. [RRP $8.95 – Find it at Priceline].

So that’s me in the lead up to summer – I’m sure many products will be added, but I’m expecting these to remain. Stay safe in the sun and heat, and don’t forget your hat!

Sunday Night Pamper (March)

Anybody who knows me well, knows I love a good pamper night. A pamper night is my version of an “I can’t attend, I’ll be washing my hair” invitation refusal. I usually aim to do it at the end of the week (Thurs/Fri night) or the holy grail of pamper nights – Sunday! It all depends on my weekend social schedule, but this year, I’ve been pretty consistent with doing one every Thurs or Fri. After watching Lisa Eldridge’s mask video, I’ve also been trying to get some additional mid-week masks into my routine.

So, as a regular feature on my blog, I’m going to include a monthly pamper night piece, which will detail what I’ve been using for my pamper nights, what I rate, what I hate, etc. This month’s pamper includes 10 products.

Before the pamper can officially begin, I must light a candle. This month, I’m lighting a Pink Molli ‘Lychee Peony’ candle, which I bought from my hairdresser – all the rest of my pamper night will include huge brands and companies, but at least this way I’m supporting a local small business. This scent is a sweet floral, which is right up my alley.

The Sanctuary ‘Hot Sugar Scrub’ – I’ve reviewed this before, so feel free to check out a more detailed review here. This was followed up with a L’Occitane ‘Cherry Blossom Bath & Shower Gel’ which is a nice floral treat. I love all things L’Occitane and all things floral, so this was a no-brainer for me.

Clarisonic Mia II + Philosophy Cleanser – I’ve also reviewed the Clarisonic Mia II here. The Philosophy ‘purity made simple’ cleanser was my choice for a pamper night just because it’s so simple – it’s very much a barely-there product. No foaming, no heavy scent, no film or residue after using – perfect when your skin is to be heavily invaded.

I’m currently using the Herbal Essences Shampoo & Conditioner ‘Colour Me Happy’ combo (this range is for colour-treated hair). I regularly rotate hair care products, and this what I rotated to this week. I love Herbal Essences, I’ve loved it since I was a primary school student, and still love it to this day. I used to think of it as a pretty indulgent hair purchase in my school days, and I wish they still had the old packaging. I just love its scent, which makes it perfect for a pamper night.

Post shower, I moved to my favourite step – the mask. My current mask of the moment is The Sanctuary Time Reversal Mask. It’s essentially a collagen mask, with Vitamins A & B, which is perfect for when my skin is looking a bit tired and dull. It’s very hydrating, and can be left on for an extended period of time as it has no harshness or acidity to it. In fact, according to the packaging, it’s recommended to wear it overnight once a month – very interesting.

My current body moisturiser is the Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion, which is a solid performer in my opinion. It absorbs well, doesn’t leave your hands feeling oily or slimy (Nivea Lotion, anybody?), minimal scent – completely inoffensive.

After the mask, I applied Philosophy’s ‘When Hope is Not Enough’ facial firming serum. Now, I love a good serum, but am pretty inexperienced with them. So for me, the jury is still out on this product. I don’t love the feel of it before it fully sets – it feels quite tacky for a while, and I cannot stand the smell of it, it’s actually revolting. But once it’s set, it feels nice, the scent goes away, and after using it for over 3 months, I haven’t had any negative reactions to it.

Finally, I finish off with an eye cream. I’m currently using a Boots Essentials Cucumber Eye Gel. After my disaster with the Burts Bees eye cream, I quickly retreated to this little £1.00 beauty that I’ve kept since my last UK visit. It feels so nice going on, feels so refreshing once it’s dry, and really seems to brighten up my eyes and surrounding skin.

The perfect ending to my Sunday pamper night is painting my nails. Essie’s ‘Master Plan’ has been waiting for me since my recent Priceline haul, so I was glad to finally try out this nude-grey shade.

As always, thanks for reading, and please comment if you have any suggestions or requests – I’m very interested in April’s pamper night already. pamper night

Love at First Use: Bourjois Happy Light Foundation

I know I’m giving a lot of Bourjois love this week, but it was a large percentage of my Priceline haul two weeks ago, and they were the products I was most interested to try out. I started using the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation last year, after Lisa Eldridge kept busting it out in her tutorials. I couldn’t resist and started using it in Shade 54. The mix was nice, but way too sheer for my full-coverage desires, and the shade was too light for me – so was always mixed with a darker shade.

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Fast forward to 2014, I still have my Healthy Mix, and despite it’s sheer coverage, I can see why it’s popular – it feels really nice on the skin, has a nice scent, and blends well. Given the 40% off sale at Priceline, I decided to try a different foundation – the Happy Light foundation. Again, very limited shades (4 shades), and I went for 54 Beige again. There was no tester, so I checked the 53, and decided 54 was a safe bet. A safe bet indeed – the colour turned out perfect. A much better match than the Healthy Mix 54 shade, and an even better formula!

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This foundation, like the Healthy Mix, feels great on the skin. Doesn’t feel too chemical-ly, has a nice scent, and provides medium-full coverage. This foundation blends a lot better than the Healthy Mix. I’ve been applying it with my new Real Techniques buffing brush (which I will discuss at a later date), and the smallest pump goes a long way. The coverage is good, and provides a really solid base without being too heavy. Now I’m not one for a no-makeup makeup look (I figure if I’m wearing it, I may as well show it), but this foundation really works perfectly for that – evens out your base, and looks very natural.

The packaging really works for me – a very sweet peachy pink pump glass bottle, and plenty of product (30mL). I’m a diehard Rimmel Match Perfection daily user and despite trialling other products, have never managed to reduce my usage, but this foundation has been worthy. In my case, It doesn’t need the Match Perfection to correct the shade, so can be used by itself. The finish is definitely heading towards a “dewy” or “glowing” finish, without quite being there. I definitely would reconsider this for an event where I would be in front of the camera a lot (which is actually extremely rare), but for regular use, it’s perfect.

Would I buy it again? For sure.
Who would I recommend this to? Anyone looking for a natural-look finish, with the magic of a more full-coverage foundation – i.e. one that actually corrects any blemishes and imperfections (otherwise, what is the point?).
Is it value for money, and how can you get it?  In the foundation market, it is definitely worth it. The RRP is $29.00 (Priceline), but it can be sourced on Asos for <$20. I got it for $18.00 at the Priceline sale.  

Skip a step… Nivea In Shower Body Lotion

A birthday gift review, scream my tens of readers! Just what everyone has been waiting for! I figured I may as well continue the birthday gift reviews with the easiest product, the Nivea In Shower Body Lotion. It was the easiest because a) I had been thinking about buying this since it’s introduction in late 2013, b) it was one of the cheaper items and therefore not as tempting to hoard, and c) the opportunity to use it was high as it is a shower product

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I didn’t have huge expectations for this product – the idea of combining a body lotion into the shower seems quite ludicrous, especially as I have been expertly taught to moisturise immediately after bathing for my entire life. I generally like Nivea lotions for post-shower application though, and the idea of being able to skip a step is very intriguing.

In terms of use, the bottle explains quite simply to use a body wash first, apply the lotion, then rinse it off. The packaging is perfection, an upside down tube with a flip-top lid (you hear that, Sanctuary?). The tube is quite large, so I feel you definitely got a decent amount of product for your buck. However, I will say that after having used it intermittently for a few weeks now, the product does get used up fast – a traditional Nivea lotion in the same size bottle would last a lot longer.

So, using it is easy enough. It doesn’t leave any residue in the shower (you still listening, Sanctuary?), and is super quick and efficient to use. I haven’t used it nightly due to my above mentioned moisturiser training, but I’ve used it on nights when I really want to be over and done with the shower as quick as possible. The smell is lovely, if you already enjoy the Nivea lotion scent (which I do), and it really does leave you feeling moisturised. It’s an interesting product however, in that you can almost feel a thin layer on you when you first step out of the shower. That does go away, but it’s a very unusual feeling after having a shower. The first time I used it, I scratched my arm after getting out, and noticed that my scratching hands’ nails had some residue under it. This did kind of gross me out, so I’ve modified my post-shower scratching habits. Another interesting feature was that once I got out of the shower after using this product, the bathroom temperature didn’t feel quite as low as usual. I guess it really does provide a thin layer over the skin. This is an intriguing sensation, but nothing horrible – the science seems to check out.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with this product. I don’t think I would replace my normal body lotion with this, but it is excellent when you want to reduce your shower steps and therefore save some time.

Would I buy it again? Sure.
Who would I recommend this to? Individuals who are lazy with moisturising.
Is it value for money? I think the RRP is around $7-9, but I’ve seen it on sale for $3.98 – definitely worth it at that price! [seen at Priceline and Big W for that price]
How can you get it? Any store stocking Nivea – Priceline, Big W, Kmart, supermarkets, Target – it’s easy to find.