Monday, December 31, 2012

December empties

Here we are again-the end of the month empties post!

As I was on holiday in December I had some empties whilst I was away so I photographed them separately and threw them away to save weight.

Holiday empties

Kiehls Acai Damage Minimizing Cleanser

I'll be honest, I don't expect miracles from cleansers.  All I want are products that don't strip my skin, don't irritate my skin and don't cause me to break out.  Having said that I rarely buy the same cleanser twice and I prefer wash off cleansers.

Kiehls has been my go-to brand for cleansers this year as they do all of the above.  This is a light foaming cleanser and I used it in the evenings to remove my make-up and thoroughly clean my skin.  For some reason on the Kiehls website the cleanser is called Acai Texture Perfecting Cleanser but the packaging is Acai Damage Minimizing Cleanser.

The Kiehls website says Açaí is a “super berry” sourced from Brazil with exceptionally high levels of nutrients. Known to be one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants.  This cleanser preserves skins natural moisture barrier and provides radiant clarity to the skin.

The cleanser lasts such a long time so although is expensive at £20.50 it lasted me about 4 months.

Would I repurchase?  Yes

What have I replaced this with?  Currently using Kiehls Ultra Facial Cleanser

Katy Perry Purr perfume

Who knew Katy Perry loved cats?  I didn't but apparently they inspired her first foray into the world of celebrity perfumes.  This perfume is a heady mix of jasmine blossom, peach nectar, pink freesia, Bulgarian rose, vanilla, white amber, sandelwood and musk.  I wore this as an evening perfume but in the winter wore it during the day.  It's quite strong and lasts well on the skin so you only need a little hence why it lasted so long-if you like Angel you would probably like this as well.

Would I repurchase?  I don't think it is available any longer, I've looked online without success

What have I replaced this with?  Ralph Lauren Romance

Benefit Instant Brow Pencil in Medium

I could not get the hang of this pencil at all at first but I am so glad I persevered because I loved it in the end!  Only thing about brow pencils is that they are so soft that they don't last long as you are constantly resharpening.  This one has a brow brush at the end of the pencil which is really useful for softening the colour and avoiding the 'drawn on' look.

Would I repurchase?  Yes!

What have I replaced this with?  Make Up Forever Aqua Brow

The rest of the empties
Non make-up empties

Non make-up empties

Sally Hanson Extra Strength nail polish remover

As I change my polish quite a lot I always go for removers with extra conditioners in.  This Sally Hanson one is great-non drying and effective.

Would I repurchase?  Yes!

What have I replaced this with?  Bourjois One Seconde

Fake Bake Beyond Bronze Self Tanning Mousse

Best applied with a mitt, this fake tan mousse smells very subtle and goes on really evenly.  It contains colour so you can see where you're applying it and the end result was non streaky.  Dries really fast too but if you sleep in it in white sheets, expect some residue in the morning.

Would I repurchase? No-but only because I have found something even better!

What have I replaced this with?  Fake Bake 60 mins Self Tan Liquid

Kiehls Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser

I was using this cleanser in the mornings whilst using the Acai cleanser in the evenings.  I don't like to use anything harsh on my skin in the morning as I just want to refresh my face for make-up and so this fit the bill nicely.  This is a light liquid you massage onto dry skin and then wash off.  I didn't find it foamed at all though.

Would I repurchase? Yes

What have I replaced this with?  Kiehls Ultra Facial Cleanser

Clarins Extra Comfort Toning Lotion (sample size)

I really like this toner because it is so gentle.  It's thicker than water and has almost a very runny gel like consistency but its super soothing on the skin and contains aloe vera.  I don't use toner very often as I worry they strip the skin but this one feels so gentle and removes every last trace of make-up.

Would I repurchase? If I was buying a toner I would strongly consider buying this one

What have I replaced this with?  Not currently using a toner.

Make-up empties

Make-up empties

Make Up For Ever HD Primer in 05

I purchased this primer along with the shade 0.  The difference between the two is that shade 0 is 'Neutral' and is designed to add natural luminosity to the complexion and 5 is 'Blue' and designed to add radiance to fair skin and reduce minor imperfections.  Both are oil free and are designed to create a protective layer between your skin and foundation for a smoother and longer lasting application.

I tried 0 first and I loved it-possibly the best primer I had ever used.  I therefore had high expectations for the 5 shade as I am fair.  But I found the 5 formula to be slightly thicker and less easy to blend into my skin.  It just wasn't as good as the 0 version.

Would I repurchase?  No

What have I replaced this with?  I've repurchased another 0 version and am currently using that as it's so good!

Anastasia Lash Genius

I reviewed this product here recently so I won't say too much more about it apart from this is a fantastic waterproof top coat to stop your mascara running and smudging!

Would I repurchase?  Yes!

What have I replaced this with?  I bought a full size version from Cult Beauty and am using that.

Illasmasqua Skin Base in 06

In all honesty this is not an empty but its a product I have decided to bin as I just can't get on with it at all.  I had massive hopes for this as so many people do seem to love it.  On me, this product always looks cakey and I look washed out.  I've tried it with my MUFE primers, with Illamasqua's own primer and without primer and still no joy.  I always find that after a couple of hours it seems to have 'split' around my nose and gone veiny.  It's quite a thick foundation and I even found the bottle difficult to use-you need muscles to squeeze that tube to get the product out!!
Would I repurchase?  No

What have I replaced this with?  I have gone back to MUFE HD foundation in N117

Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer

Guerlain products have the most beautiful packaging!  They have quite an old fashioned reputation and they are no doubt, an expensive high end brand but they are definitely worth a look as their old fashioned reputation is undeserved.

This bronzer has lasted me a lifetime it seems!  I use shade No1 which is their lightest shade and it was perfect for my skintone and I used it as both a blusher and all over bronzer.  It contains no shimmer at all so perfect for day time.

Would I repurchase?  No-but only because there are cheaper products out there that are just as good 

What have I replaced this with?  Shu Uemura Bronzing Powder in Light

I love reading empties posts so please don't forget to link me into yours by leaving a comment below!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Estee Lauder Holiday Editions 2012-Hit or Miss?

I bought these two Estee Lauder Holiday editions with high expectations.  Although Christmas has now gone, these products are still available and most of the products are part of the permanent line if you wanted to buy things individually.

Estee Lauder/Michael Kors Limited Edition Holiday 2012 and Estee Lauder Art of Lips Chic Pinks

Estee Lauder/Michael Kors Limited Edition Gift Set

This Michael Kors collaboration came in 3 colour-ways-red, pewter and black but the colour relates to the Michael Kors make up bag included with the set only.  It was quite difficult to choose which of the 3 sets to get as they all contain different shades and none of the websites stocking these sets had good descriptions so I had to go on pictures alone.  I chose the pewter set and when it arrived I have to say my first impression was that I was not disappointed.

Aside from the Michael Kors make up bag which is lovely, the set contains a full size lipstick from the Pure Colour range in Rubellite, a mini Sumptuous mascara in black, a mini Pure Colour Intense Kajal eyeliner in Blackened Black, a mini sparkly lipgloss from the Pure Colour range in Raspberry Pop, a travel size blusher blush and a beautiful full size gold compact containing 3 blushers.  The compact is huge-much large than an average blusher.  The set also contains a nail varnish but unfortunately when I ordered it I forgot that you cannot send nail varnish through Aramex Shop and Ship to Dubai and they removed it from the package.

Pure Colour Shimmer range-88 Rubellite
Pure Colour Gloss in Raspberry Pop (sparkle)

The only product in this set I won't use is the Sumptuous Extreme mascara because I'd had it before and hated it!  The brush is massive and so difficult to use.  The only other negative is that although I like the lipstick colour the formulation is very very soft and when I went to apply the colour from the bullet the bullet bent!  So I had to apply it with a lip brush.

Overall this set is a HIT for me!

Estee Lauder Art of Lips-Chic Pinks

I purchased this set in Bangkok, Dubai never received any of the Christmas edition products Estee Lauder produced!

This set contains a make-up bag, a full size Pure Colour Lasting Shimmer lipstick in Candy, a dual ended lip gloss containing Shocking Pink and Raspberry Pop (raspberry pop is included in the Michael Kors set also) and a lip liner in Fuchsia.  All of these products are in the Estee Lauder permanent line.

The make-up bag is very cheap and tacky.  That has gone in the bin immediately.  I love the look of the Pure Colour lipstick-I always have loved the gold packaging with the colour at the bottom but I don't like this shade at all.  It reminds me of the shade my nan wore in the 90's, is very frosted and feels very thick on the lips.

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Candy

The glosses fair better, I really like both shades.  The 'shocking pink' isn't shocking at all though-its very sheer but the formula is very glossy, almost glassy and looks great on.  There is no stickiness in the glosses either.

Pure Colour Gloss in Raspberry Pop

Pure Colour gloss in Shocking Pink

I never wear lip liner and I don't think the lip liner included will encourage me to start! 

Overall this set is a MISS for me and a regret impulse purchase.  I don't own many Estee Lauder products and I'm a little on the fence as to whether I would explore more of the range.  I have however just bought a Double Wear foundation which people seem to love so keeping my fingers crossed!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Latest In Beauty Advent Calender from You magazine

Yes Christmas is definitely over and I've definitely eaten all of my chocolate advent calender and I am sure this has been reviewed on other beauty blogs but this post is really aimed at those who wondered 'should I or shouldn't I' indulge in one of the many beauty advent calenders around this year.

I'll be honest, I ordered the Latest in Beauty calender too late for it to be delivered to me before 1st December in Dubai and then we were away for 2 weeks and then I've been sick since Boxing Day so I only opened this today-but I absolutely love it and I wanted to share the contents so you can see if when the 2013 beauty advent calenders launch you want to purchase.

The calender 'after'

I'm so pleased with this calender for the following reasons

1-It came beautifully packaged tied in a big pink ribbon (even after a 3500 mile journey)
2-All the products in it are a decent size
3-There are some brands in there that I haven't used before
4-There was a great selection of products
5-The majority of the products are 'high end' beauty products
6-There is only one product I probably won't use in all 24 products

Here's what the Latest in Beauty calender contained

Days 1-6
 Days 1-6

1-Mavala Nail Polish in Rouge Rubis.  A beautiful Xmassy red with finely milled glitter
2-The Vintage Cosmetic Company Eyelash Curler
3-Benefit They're Real Mascara 3g
4-L'occitane Shea hand cream for dry hands
5-Richard Ward Couture Hair Volumiser Root Booster
6-Espa Lift and Firm eye serum and moisturiser

Days 7-12

Days 7-12

7-Perricone MD No foundation foundation
8-Philosophy Purity cleanser
9-BioEffect EGF Serum for face
10-Dermalogica mini set including Special Cleansing Gel, Daily Microfoliant, Skin Smoothing Cream and Multivitamin Power Firm
11-Jo Hansford Intensive Hair Masque
12-Balance Me radiance facial oil

Days 13-18

Days 13-18

13-St Tropez Instant Glow body lotion
14-Bella Pierre loose pigment in Celebration (a bronze colour)
15-Mirenesse Velvet Lip Lift (gloss)
16-Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning bath and shower oil
17-Nicky Clarke Instant Calmer Hair Balm
18-Steamcream (beautiful tin)

Days 19-24

Days 19-24

19-Yardley Royal English Daisy body spray
20-Eve Lom Rescue Mask
21-Trilogy Rosehip Oil for face
22-Mont Bleu Glass nail shaper
23-Balm Balm Rose Geranium lip balm
24-AS London candle

The calender also came with discount codes for almost every item for future online purchases.

I really hope that You Magazine launch another one in 2013 and keep up the same quality of this one.  If they do, I'll definitely repurchase!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Stila All is Bright Lip Glaze Set-review

I love Stila! I have said before in previous blogs how I was upset when it left the UK a few years ago and am delighted its now relaunched in the UK and so many people are stocking it including Boots and Selfridges on the high street and loads of websites like Cult Beauty, HQ Hair and Beauty Bay. It's not in Dubai but its very accessible in the UK and both HQ hair and Cult Beauty will ship direct to Dubai.

I fell in love with this gift set as soon as I saw it. I've loved their Lip Glazes for years and this set that retailed for £18.50 had 8 lip glazes, 6 of which were limited edition new shades!

Although this is a Christmas limited edition set its in the sale so I though I would review it and you could snap up a bargain as the colours are so lovely and wearable. There is not one colour I won't wear to death from this collection-usually in this sort of collection there is always one or two that don't work.

Lip glazes are not too highly pigmented and they are so easy to apply as they are quite sheer. They come in a 'pen' and I find the applicator so easy to use and you won't need a lip brush to apply this product as the applicator is so easy to control. They are a little sticky, but no more sticky than a Mac Lip Glass. In fact the glittery shades remind me of Mac Dazzleglass.

I've swatched all 8 below.  The glitter shades are all very subtle and you would have to be in direct light to detect their shimmer.  They all smell divine too.  You can buy this set here for £12.95 in the sale and here for £12.33.  Lots of stockists still have it-a quick google search is all you need.

Jack Frost (Ltd Edition) Sheer coral with pink and silver glitter
Holly (Ltd Ed) Red-orange-the most opaque of all the 8 glosses
Jingle (Ltd Edition) Slightly peach, your lips but better
Jolly (Ltd Edition) Baby pink with gold glitter

Joy (Ltd Edition) Sheer fuchsia pink
Sugar Plum (Bestseller) Another very neutral, your lips but better shade
Black Cherry (Bestseller) My favourite!  Sheer plum
Splendor (Limited Edition) Sheer pink with white and purple glitter


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Haul.....

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas!  Unfortunately it's fair to say ours was an unmitigated disaster-Mike has been sick since Monday which lead to him being grumpy which led to arguments and tears-all part of being an expat at Christmas!!  Thank goodness for Skype, I Skyped with my mum and dad five times yesterday and they tried so hard to keep me smiling!  So lucky to have such amazing parents.

I got some ace beauty related products for Christmas from my lovely family and friends.  Here is a quick haul post to show you my gifts.  I apologise for the quality of some of the photos-I have been at work today but finished early so I was battling with the fading light.  Over the weekend I'll do some swatches-this is literally a 'look what I was lucky enough to get' post!

Ciate Caviar manicure in Mother of Pearl and Rainbow and Ciate Velvet Manicure in Mink Cashmere

Beautiful case of the Laura Mercier Glamour Wardrobe

Laura Mercier Glamour Wardrobe

Laura Mercier Glamour Wardrobe

Benefit Cabana Glama

Benefit Cabana Glama

Too Faced Glamour to Go-Spun Sugar Edition

Too Faced Glamour to Go-Spun Sugar Edition

Illamasqua Empower eye palette

Illamasqua lip gloss in Mistress

Clinique Mix It Up Kisses set

Nails Inc Colour Collections

Opi The Top Ten

Ginko Gold Caviar Facial Gel and Call Repair Thai Silk Cleansing Gel
Not beauty related but at 10pm last night we got this delivery of 2 trays of yummy CHOCOLATE and balloons from my lovely mum bless her!

I would love it if you would leave me links to your Xmas haul posts-would love to read them!

I will do swatches at the weekend of the palettes-they're all beautiful!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Wishing you a Merry Christmas

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a scented candle or two.  I love these ones from L'Occitane which I picked up recently in Dubai.  Both will burn for 20 hours.  I think L'Occitane candles make a lovely gift at any time of year but I picked up these ones which I felt were most appropriate for the holiday season.

Candied Fruit Candle-scented with honey dipped dried fruits, patchouli, vanilla and caramel notes.

Winter Forest Candle-scented with pine needles, peach and cinnamon.

I'd like to thank every single person who reads this blog for your support.  I've only been blogging for about 2 months now but I am really enjoying it and am looking forward to continuing into 2013 and beyond.

Wishing you a very merry, peaceful, happy and fun filled Christmas

Stacey xxxx

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Origins Christmas Bauble 2012

I wish I had received this earlier in December so I could have blogged about it as it's SUCH a cute little Christmas present but I think they've all sold out now (unless there are any floating around on ebay)

I received mine from Selfridges today and it's fab!

This is an exclusive 2012 Christmas decoration filled with a travel size selection of 5 of their best selling skincare products.

The contents are;

5ml Modern Friction facial exfoliator

7ml Clear Improvement charcoal face mask

5ml Plantscription Anti Ageing eye treatment

7ml Plantscription anti Ageing Serum

5ml Ginzing eye cream

I've been a huge fan of Origins for years-it's such a shame it is not available here in Dubai.  Of the 5 products I have used and loved Ginzing eye cream and Clear Improvement charcoal face mask before and I think they are 2 of their best products.  I am looking forward to trying the others.  You will only get a couple of uses out of each product as they are small sizes but enough to make a judgement.

I would love it if Origins would consider bringing out more of this kind of thing in the future, a great way to try their products and this only cost £6 which I think is great value!

Ginger all the way....

I must admit I love the smell of ginger at Christmas-its warm comforting spiciness is a real treat for the senses.

Here are my top 3 ginger bathing products

The Body Shop Ginger Sparkle range, Origins Ginger range and Philosophy The Gingerbread Girl

The Body Shop

This year The Body Shop brought out 3 limited edition Xmas ranges-Vanilla, Cranberry and Ginger.  The Ginger range is so cute, with gingerbread men characters on the packaging.  Whilst I was in Bangkok I picked up this beautiful gift set in a snowflake adorned rose gold tin.

This gift set was NOT available in the UK-I believe the UK version of it looked like this

In my set are 200ml Ginger Sparkle body polish and shower gel, a ginger lip balm and a 200ml Ginger Sparkle body butter.  All the products in the range smell the same and this has the most subtle scent of the 3 I am reviewing.  Its an earthy ginger smell, not overly sweet.  Not as sweet as you would expect it to be-it doesn't smell sugary like gingerbread.  The shower gel and body polish are lovely-my skin felt so soft after using them.  The polish wasn't 'sticky' at all and washed off easily.  But I found the body butter didn't absorb very well into my skin and left it feeling tacky which meant I couldn't jump into bed straight away-and having been awake for 40 hours following an overnight flight from Bangkok this was a little annoying.

I had a look on The Body Shop website yesterday (UK site) and none of the Xmas products were listed!!  There was a small banner saying 'Xmas delivery has now ended' which I fully understand but how Bah Humbug!  There were still 3 days before Xmas and their retail stores would have been packed-not very good for shoppers looking for online gift inspiration before hitting the store!

Origins Incredible Spreadable Invigorating Ginger Body Scrub and Origins Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream

These products are part of the permanent line at Origins and are not limited edition nor were they a gift set.  The body scrub is much more finely milled than the Body Shop one and comes out like a paste but is lovely on the skin.  As you massage it in the granules dissolve to leave your skin super soft.  The whipped body cream is a-mazing.  It is light as a feather and absorbs immediately into your skin-I absoluely love it.  The Origins version has a spicier and sweeter smell than The Body Shop range and is stronger with zesty orange undertones.  The souffle carries a stronger smell than the scrub.  Both products cost £23 each from Origins (200ml).  Definitely a luxury buy but the body cream is worth it!

Philosophy The Gingerbread Girl gift set

To me, this set is the most aesthetically pleasing-its utterly adorable!  When I saw this in my local Sephora I snapped it up, only to discover that this was LAST YEARS Philosophy Holiday promotion-Shame on you Sephora Dubai for selling old stock!

The set contains a combination bath shower and shampoo gel and a body lotion.  This is the sweetest smelling of all 3 products but it doesn't smell like Gingerbread!  The shower gel/shampoo/bubble bath is a beautiful amber colour, produces lots of lather and is packed with glitter which thankfully doesn't stick to your skin.  This is a citrus-y, almost fizzy ginger ale smell-not unpleasant at all and possibly the most 'Christmass-y' of the 3.  The body lotion is light and non greasy and has an almost chocolate-y scent. 

Have you got any of these products?  What do you think?

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