Friday, January 31, 2014

The new additions

This 'new additions' post is all about skincare.  My skincare routine has had a little re-shuffle recently and *touch wood* seems to be working.

First up is the Caudalie Moisturising Mattifying Fluid.  When I was in the UK over Xmas my skin was constantly breaking out round my chin and had been for a couple of weeks.  I quite frequently switch up my skincare and I finally pinned down that it was the Kate Somerville Goats Milk Cream that was causing the breakouts.  It was making me really miserable and I didn't have another moisturiser with me, so on Boxing Day, out of sheer desperation I ordered the Caudalie moisturising sorbet which I had used before from Look Fantastic and threw this into my online basket too.  I was really impressed with Look Fantastic by the way-I ordered on Boxing Day and it arrived first thing the next morning.

This moisturiser is very light and absorbs quickly.  It does mattify the skin and will be great in the summer months in Dubai when the weather is so hot and humid.  My skin cleared up in days as well after I started using this.  I am really pleased with it.

The packaging is great for not over dispensing the product and keeping it hygienically sealed.

Next up is the Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel.  I have probably had this in my skincare stash for almost a year but something (and I really don't know what) was putting me off trying it.  Until Rebecca from Be Beautiful reviewed it.  If she liked it I knew I would too so I opened it up straight away when my Clinique Take The Day Off balm ran out.

God I love this cleanser!!!  Why oh why did I take so long to try it!!  It fits into my skincare routine as my first 'make up removing' evening cleanse.  I apply the gel to dry skin, massaging it in.  It turns into an oil on contact with the skin and then a milk when you rinse it.  I also go over my face with a wet flannel as well-I think if you don't you can feel like you have a residue left on your skin.  It smells amazing, so light and fruity and does a great job removing make up.  I have had no breakouts and can see me buying this over and over again.  It doesn't strip or dry out the skin and I find my skin feels really soft and nourished after using it.  It makes a nice alternative from cleansing balms and I really really enjoy using it.  I am so glad Rebecca reviewed it or else it would still be sitting unloved in my skincare stash.

Next up is Serozinc.  This is my 3rd tin of this toner and I use it twice a day as my 'hydrating' toner after using my 'exfoliating toner'.

It's has a very fine spray which you spritz over your face after cleansing (close your mouth-it does not taste nice!).  It's a simple concoction of Zinc Sulphate, water and sodium chloride which is soothing, hydrating and antibacterial and it feels lovely and cooling on the skin.  It dries quickly and causes zero irritation (if does say you can also use it on razor burn and nappy rash).   I have two more as a back up.  You still cannot buy this in the UK or Dubai-I have ordered all of mine from French online pharmacy Le Guide Sante.  It's less than £5 and postage was really fast from them to the UK.

Next up is the exfoliating toner which replaced the Michael Todd Organic Lemon Toner.  It's the much hyped and stupidly expensive Biologique Recherche Lotion P50.  I picked this up in Liberty in London in September (who were the only UK stockist but I read recently they have stopped stocking it) and this is the new formula, not the Caroline Hirons raved about formula, which contained 'phenol' which has since been banned-and that is the ingredient Caroline really raved about.

There are now 3 versions of the P50-P50, P50v and P50w.  I have the P50w which is the mildest version of the toner and claims to gently exfoliate and balance the epidermis.   It doesn't sting or smell particularly strong and is as good as the Michael Todd and the La Roche Posay exfoliating toners-but it's not better.  And for the price of £52 (ouch) it should be amazing.  It does leave my skin clear and soft but I haven't been blown away.

So if you're a big fan of Caroline Hirons you can skip this entire next paragraph but if you're relatively new to skincare and thinking 'why do you use two toners and what the hell is a hydrating toner and an exfoliating toner' then here is my (non expert) explanation.

Back in the day toners were used to ensure you'd removed all traces of make up and tended to strip the skin.  Then someone went 'Duuuuh, shouldn't your cleanser actually remove all your make up and therefore shouldn't a toner have some other kind of skincare benefit??'  WHEN YOU USE TONER YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TRACES OF MAKE UP ON THE COTTON PAD-GO BACK AND WASH YOUR FACE AGAIN.  AND USE A FLANNEL (Gets down from high horse)

So in came toners with actual skincare benefits.  And they broadly fall into 2 categories-exfoliating and hydrating.  Exfoliating should be used first, followed by hydrating.  Exfoliating should be swept over the skin with a cotton pad.  Hydrating should be (ideally, according to Caroline) be spritzed on (I tweeted and asked, she replied) or if that's not possible, applied with a cotton pad.

Exfoliating toners contain AHA's.  They are naturally occuring fruit acids.  They exfoliate your skin by removing the top layers to reveal new shiny skin underneath.  They add radiance.  They fade old scars.  They give you baby soft skin.  They kick start your skin into renewing itself.  They're gentler than 'grainy' facial scrubs on your skin.

Hydrating toners erm hydrate the skin.  They will contain ingredients like glycerin or aloe or hyaluronic acid.  They keep your skin plumped, hydrated and really for your next layer of skincare.

And here the lesson endeth.  I am no expert but I can tell you that double toning has changed my skin for the better.  And I will do it forever.

NB the first few days of using a new exfoliating toner I tend to first spritz the cotton pad first with a purified water spray (like the Evian or Avene ones) to dilute the toner a little bit so I can assess how strong it is.  Tingling is common with exfoliating toners but should not last more than a few seconds and will subside as your skin gets used to the toner.

Finally, my last new addition is Glamglow-the white version.  I raved and raved about the black version here.  The white version or 'Supermud' focuses more on clearing the skin and has a whole heap of fancy ingredients such as patented Teaoxi Eucalyptus Leaf and Acnecidic-6, a blend of 6 AHA's and BHA's such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid and lactic acid for a multitude of skin benefits.  It also contains charcoal and clay for deep cleansing.

You can read all the fancy ingredients here.  So far I have used this mask three times and again have been really pleased with the results.  It doesn't feel as tingly on the skin as the Black version but it's a little harder to wash off-you definitely need a flannel to help with the removal process.  I have a sneaking suspicion I could like it as much as the black version.

Have you tried any of these products?


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lip Six!

You know the drill-my last six lip choices

Top row (L) MAC Mineralize Rich lipstick in Grande Dame (R) Clarins Rouge Eclat lipstick in Coral Pink 08

Middle row (L) Guerlain Rouge G lipstick in Gil (40) (R) Armani Rouge Ecstasy in 510 Dolci

Bottom row (L) MAC Lipglass in Evolution Revolution (LE) (R) MAC cremesheen lipstick in Sunny Seoul

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

What's in my handbag

I know I am a beauty blogger and my blog will always be 98% beauty but sometimes it's nice to post something non (totally) beauty related and as I started using a new handbag last week I thought I would do an updated 'What's in my handbag' post.

I have done two of these posts before-What's in my bag featuring my Longchamp Roseau bag and What's in my handbag-the travel edit featuring my Prada Saffiano tote.  This post is my everyday/ what I take to work/holds everything handbag.

My new bag is the Chanel Cerf tote in black caviar leather and I have had it for around 18 months although this is the first time I have used it.

I love roomy tote bags that go over the crook of your arm-that is definitely my signature 'style'.

I also carry a lot in my handbag as you will see!!!

I went for the Cerf tote because it was the perfect size for work, had short handles and hard wearing leather.  It also has lots of compartments to keep my bag tidy.  It is a structured tote and stands on it's own but I have heard that over time the bag does 'slouch' somewhat.

It has a removable pouch in the middle (which I have removed so that I just have one large centre) and has a pocket on each side of the bag plus an internal zip pocket on each side.  The front pocket is accessed by opening the intertwining CC clasp but I don't keep anything in that section.  The back pocket is where I tend to keep my phones, access pass for work and key holder so they're all really easily accessible.

Both of the outer pockets both also have gold 'popper' fastenings on each corner.  I love this bag.  It goes with everything and is just right in terms of size.

What's actually in my bag?? (warning-lots of photos!)

If you have read either of my other 'what's in my handbag posts' you will have seen my battered old Louis Vuitton make up bag.  I've had this bag for at least 12 years and it was the first ever 'designer' item I bought.  I carry it everyday and just love it.  The actual material is spotless-it's just the opening that is a bit battered but I prefer to call it 'well loved'.

I tipped out the contents and found 9 lipsticks-and then a 10th floating around the the bottom of my handbag!  There were also 4 perfume testers in there!

I love being organised-in my bag I carry a notebook which literally is the 'book of everything' and has all the details in it I need to survive!!  I got it from a little stationers in Dubai but the brand name is 'daycraft'.  Its really soft leather and has ruled pages inside.

The book at the front is my handbag address book and is from Paperchase.

My diary/planner is from Erin Condren and as you can see is personalised with my favourite things.  I love this and it's helping me stay organised in what is shaping up to be another very busy year.  It's really sturdy as well which is great when you're lugging it around every day.

The next thing I have been carrying around is my new Microsoft Surface Pro 2 which I picked up in the UK.  It's an amazing size-its about the same size as my ipad and has a magnetic detachable keyboard so you can use it as a standalone tablet or as a laptop.

I am such a 'tech-y' girl, I love my gadgets, just like my dad!  I have an ipad mini and an ipad and I blog mainly on my Macbook Pro but because I travel quite a lot for work I wanted a smaller 'laptop' to take with me for doing actual work and after hours of research this fit the bill.  I have been a MAC/Apple girl for years so using Microsoft is taking some getting used to.  But I do like it-it has a great touch screen and is very compact.

My work blackberry and iPhone 5 are always with me wherever I go.

If you have read my other 'what's in my handbag' posts you'll have seen these two items before-my pink Prada purse and Prada key holder.  Both very generous gifts from my best friend Danielle.  Both are made of saffiano leather which I love as they're so hardwearing.  I adore the colour too!

Living in a sunny climate means I always have sunglasses to hand!  These are my Tiffany sunglasses and have a slight cat eye shape.  They are black with Tiffany blue trim.  They also come in a hard Tiffany blue case which is great for protecting them.

My Cath Kidson pouch was a gift from my mum for Xmas and holds all my random bits together.  Currently in there are some painkillers, my asthma inhaler, some Sephora cotton buds, my HSBC secure keys and 2 powder puffs!  How cute is the pouch!!

Also in my bag is my Kindle-another gift from my parents for Xmas.  I had the 'old' kindle but the new one is so much better.  I am currently reading Paramedic to the Prince-an interesting insight into the medical world in Saudi Arabia from an American expats point of view.  It's quite eye opening.

The final 'always in my handbag' items are my car keys, my work pass and my lovely Swarovski pen.  I have two of these white, sparkly was a gift from my friend Anna and the other a gift from my friend Hannah.

Here are some random items that were also in my bag this weekend when I tipped it out!

My blogging notebook that was a gift from my friend Bev, another mini can of Batiste-cherry is obviously my favourite flavour!  Also a packet of white blu tack which I bought from the supermarket after seeing Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup and Lily Pebbles 'Guide to blogging' video.

Also in there were three online orders that arrived in my office last week from the US-Christian Dior DreamSkin, By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Bronze Moon and Burberry lip cover in Hibiscus.

And finally in my bag was a packet of Hotel Chocolat 'Caramel Cheesecake' chocolates.  These are utterly divine and I brought them back from the UK at Xmas.  I am surprised they have lasted this long!!

Let me know if you have done a 'What's in your handbag' post-I do love having a good nosy in peoples handbags!!

PS the scarf in my top photo is a silk skull scarf from Alexander McQueen


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dior Spring 2014 Trianon collection-lipstick picks

Regular readers of this blog may know I am a big fan of the Dior 'Rouge Dior' formula.  In fact, I might go as far as to say it is my favourite formula of all time.  It's super easy to apply, glossy, very hydrating and the colours are lovely and opaque.  The packaging is divine too!

So in the Spring 2014 'Trianon' collection there are 4 new shades to the range.  I bought 3 of them.  The 'Trianon' collection is inspired by Marie Antoinette and contains many sugary sweet, pastel colours.  Although gorgeously packaged with ribbons and bows embossed into the palettes, I didn't pick up anything else from the range as I felt the shades weren't wearable for me.  Covertable but not practical.  Expect maybe the single blushes....

The lipsticks really speak for themselves so I will leave you to enjoy the swatches below.

Souveraine is literally lipstick perfection for me.  A little bit like 'Crosswires' from MAC, this pink/red/coral is perfect for spring and summer.

Courtisane is barbie bubblegum pink.

Allegresse is definitely a bright pink with a hint of lilac-not for the faint hearted but it definitely brightens my complexion.

I purchased my lipsticks from Selfridges (where else?  I should buy shares) where the range is currently exclusive in the UK.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Mac Huggable lip colour

My boys wanted to be part of this blog post! 

When MAC launched a new lipstick range you know I am going to be all over it like a rash! 'Huggable lip colour' launched on the 26th December, is limited edition but currently still online and in store.

Not to do things by halves, I picked up six.  I love every shade I bought, I am just not sure about the formula.

The lipsticks are housed in a very sleek silver bullet-similar to the Sheen Supreme lipsticks but also very similar to the Bobbi Brown lipsticks.

These lipsticks are marketed as glossy, high shine, lightweight, long lasting and hydrating.

Glossy and high shine is a definite tick in the box as you can see from my photos.  The lipstick is quite hard to apply from the bullet in terms of getting a precision finish and has quite a lot of slip, I found it best to use a lip brush in the corners.  I also found it quite hard to get the colour even and opaque, each lipstick took about 2 to 3 layers to get an opaque finish.  You can see how 'Commotion' and 'Red Necessity' aren't quite even.  The feel is quite heavy and syrupy-it's not uncomfortable or sticky but certainly feels different to a normal lipstick due to its gel base.  Another annoyance is that it's not easy to reapply all the shades-some seem pucker and flake on the lips when you try to reapply a few hours after the first application.  However, they do last a good 3-4 hours on the lips, leave behind a nice even stain and are not drying at all.  I did experience some bleeding with the darker colours but an application of an invisible lip liner seemed to stop this.

So I am on the fence.  Would I buy more?  No.  Do I like the shades?  A definite yes, they are beautiful, wearable and glossy.  Do I like the formula?  It hasn't blown me away.

Have you picked up any of these shades?


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nars 'Final Cut' blushes

Here's a sneaky look at all four of the newly released blushers in the 'Final Cut' collection-as you can see I caved and bought them all!

Final Cut, Love, New Attitude, Sex Fantasy
I have been trying them all out this week and I love every one.  I have quite a big Nars blush collection because I love the texture and pigmentation.  And the cheeky names as well.  I managed to make all the boys in my team blush one day by declaring my blusher of that day was 'Deep Throat'.

And these new offerings don't disappoint at all.  The swatches on my (NW15) skin may look poorly pigmented but they translate much better on the cheeks.  Each blush is matte with no shimmer at all.

I haven't done face swatches but the absolutely beautiful Laura over at Buy Now Blog Later had as much willpower as I did (i.e none) and bought all four as well.  Her lovely swatches are here, Laura pulls every one of them off beautifully.

This range is currently exclusive to Selfridges in the UK and launches nationwide (I believe) on 1st Feb in the UK and US.

PS Ali the terrorist cat wanted to say hello as he hadn't featured in a blog post for ages.  Here he is overseeing my photo shoot!  We have creative differences.

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