Tag Archives: product experience

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: KIEHL’S MIDNIGHT RECOVERY CONCENTRATE

Today I’m reviewing this overnight oil from Kiehl’s. Read all about it over at anez.me!

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: KIEHL’S RARE EARTH MASK


Lately I’ve been loving Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque. Head over to anez.me to read the full review!

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: ALONG CAME BETTY

It’s been a while since I discovered a surprise product that really impressed me, but this Along Came Betty scrub from Tesco has done exactly that!

betty1Most of the new products I try out these days come from recommendations or reviews I’ve read, but this was something I tossed into my shopping trolley a few weeks ago because I needed a replacement for the (also brilliant) Body Shop scrub I’d gotten for my birthday. I’m doubly grateful for that present now I’ve discovered how hellaciously expensive it is– so much so I couldn’t bring myself to spring for the replacement. I decided I’d try a supermarket alternative for a while, and if it didn’t work, I’d have to take the plunge and pick up the branded version. I am so glad I did…!

betty3

Along Came Betty One Pot Of Polish, despite the long title, is frankly amazing. At about €7, this is cheap as chips and astonishingly effective. After one use, my skin was smooth as a baby’s– Well, you get the idea. Honestly, nothing I’d ever used before had left my skin feeling anywhere near as nice as this! The effectiveness has not diminished with repeated use, and I think this (in conjunction with my Clarisonic Body head) are combining to completely rid my skin of any traces of unpleasantness like KP. It’s a sugar and salt scrub, so you get the best of both, and it’s got a lovely apricot scent. It’s quite scrubby, with little exfoliating particles, but doesn’t feel too harsh or touch on the skin. I love this stuff, I really do.

betty4

Here’s the down side: I’m pretty sure this is only available in a few, select Tesco shops (I picked it up in Dundrum, but it hasn’t been in most others I’ve visited). To make matters worse, I always find Tesco Ireland’s website be very lacking in its range… And of course, this isn’t available on it. If you live in the UK, however, you can order it through the site there, but it doesn’t seem to be available anywhere else.

If I can find this again, you can be very sure I’m going to repurchase, but alas, I have a feeling getting my paws on it is going to be tricky…

Have you tried this body polish? Are you likewise frustrated by product availability in Tesco? Do you have another body scrub to recommend? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: ESSENCE #176

Just in time for V-Day, I’ve fallen in love– with a nail polish!essence1

 

Essence is one of the better budget brands out there when it comes to nailpolish– when it comes to most things, actually, but I’m basically blown away by this effort. It’s #176, and the title is Headphones On! I picked up this bottle in Primark, but you can probably get it in all chemists that still have some in stock– I got the last one, but there’s no indication it is a hateful limited edition, so you shouldn’t have any problems. It’s also a complete and absolute steal for a polish this gorgeous, and will cost you less than €3!

Now let’s get the toad on the table: the brush pretty grim. Basically, it’s pants. This makes me very sad, because the polish is basically perfect, but it will in no way stop me from using (and loving) this polish all the same.

What’s good about it? Basically everything else. I love how it looks– it’s incredibly unusual, for one thing… But for another, if your wardrobe tends in any way towards blacks, whites, or greys, it will go with almost any outfit. It’s a dark grey glitter with super-tiny silver glitter mixed in with slightly larger blue, black, and holo flecks. Here’s an extreme close-up:

essence3

That makes it look like the particles are larger than they actually are, so here’s an action shot so you can see it in-situ:

essence2

The glitter is subtle, but it gives a really beautiful effect with real depth and shimmer. I’m wearing three coats here, because it isn’t fully opaque otherwise, but once you do get to the third coat, it’s pretty much completely solid. To my surprise and delight, despite three coats and the density of the glitter, it doesn’t feel rough or textured and bumpy at all. It’s the smoothest-feeling textured polish I’ve tried in ages, and I love that so much.  Granted, my application in the photos leaves a little to be desired (which is partly owing to the bad brush– this was my first attempt, and I think I’ll get better with practice), but you can at least see the overall effect.

The problem with the brush is that it’s tapered at the edges, but also untidy; for me, this is the worst possible combination. Still, a little perseverance and care and you can do a reasonable job. It’s not something you can slap on too easily, but it doesn’t fight you every step of the way, either. The formulation is also a tiny bit on the thick side, but not so much that applying it is terrible difficult. It dries quickly, barely smells, and is reasonably long-lasting. I got three days before it started to chip– it does chip rather than fade, so if that bothers you, that’s something to be aware of. (I’m not usually a fan of chipping, but this is such a rock chick look that I don’t mind it; I think it seems kind of grungey and cool.)

Grey polish is definitely a thing for me– it suits my skintone, and my wardrobe, and my style. This is I will definitely be wearing this a lot, and I’ll be looking to buy it again. For €3 in Primark, how could you say no?

Are you a fan of Essence polish? Is this a look you’d like? Do you have another grey glitter to recommend to me? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: ESSIE MILLIONAILS

Having chronically weak nails, I’m always on the lookout for products to prevent breakages, so when this was recommended to me recently, I was quick to try it out!

essie-millionails

A recent post by the lovely Heulwen at Rays of Heulwen drew the comparison between Sally Hansen Miracle Cure (my long-standing go-to nail hardener) and this stuff, so when the Essie version was hailed as being superior, it got my attention. I’ve taken quite a shine to Essie polishes recently, and while I find them priced a little high (they’re around €11 here in Ireland), there are certain things I’m prepared to splash out on when it comes to polish. One is a good black polish (black is my bread-and-butter polish colour– always has been and apparently always will be), and the other is a hardening product.

I don’t think I can over-estimate just how crap my nails are when left to their own devices. According to my grandmother, you could only have good hair or good nails, but never both. I’ve met plenty of people who seemed to disprove this rule, but it’s certainly true in my case: my hair is thick, shiny, and happy to grow to great lengths, but my nails… They’re weedy, brittle things which peel and snap at the slightest provocation, despite eating what I think is a fairly decent diet. I even tried a course of those vitamin tablets that are supposed to beef them up once, but all that happened was I got a face full of spots for my trouble. This is unfortunate for me, since I love long nails, and nailpolish, but in addition to having naturally weak nails, I’m also a fidgeter and a tapper, and I’m almost never off the computer, so my nails are in constant contact with a keyboard for a good chunk of the day.

I’m telling you all this to make the point that when it comes to nail hardeners, I’m a tough customer. My nails are useless by nature, and I put them through hell on a daily basis. In order to keep them from breaking, a product has to be pretty damn good… Which this undoubtedly is. What I’m not so sure of is whether or not it’s better than my previous product.

I rarely had breakages with the Sally Hansen,–not unless I really slammed my hand into something (I’m clumsy as hell, so this is not as irregular an occurrence as you might imagine). I had three breakages with this, and although they were minor and the impact had been pretty serious (it involved a fridge door; we shan’t speak of it), I don’t feel this protected me any better than the Sally Hansen product did. It did stop the nails from breaking badly, though, so clearly the chemistry of this formulation isn’t too shabby. (Yes, that pun was both lame and intentional.)

The thing which really bothered me about this product, though, wasn’t so much its performance as what I read on the back of the box in the shop when I was trying to decide which one to buy.  “For added strength follow Millionails with Grow Stronger base coat”, it says. I really don’t like the idea of having to use two products for the one job– shouldn’t two coats of this one be sufficient, instead? I don’t want to have to purchase two different bottles, and I feel it’s silly to suggest I should.

My biggest gripe with the Sally Hansen product is that the polish gets thick and gummy very quickly. I find I rarely use one bottle fully, having to bin and replace at about the halfway point since it’s just so thick it’s too difficult to apply after that point. This does not happen with the Essie version– it’s a far more liquid solution, which I find a lot easier to apply. Having to use two bottles, though, would mean each bottle lasts twice as long, and that increases the likelihood of the product thickening due to air exposure. The thinner formula is actually (in my opinion) the big plus for this product, so having to use two different bottles would cancel this out.

Consequently, I only bought the one, and perhaps that’s why I didn’t find it as “protective” as I might have liked. What I did like was how thin the polish was, and how quickly it dried. I’ve said before how much I like the brush with Essie polishes, and it goes double here– with a clear polish, I am lazy, and this brush is perfect for hit-and-miss application where you don’t care if you get some on your cuticles or fingers. It has absolutely no smell, and gives a lovely, mildly-shiny finish. I’ve applied this more or less every day since I’ve got it (when not wearing coloured polish, I tend to re-apply a new layer of clear protection every day, sometimes being lazy and slapping it on over the pre-existing coat) and there is as yet no sign of gumming or thickening.

There’s a lot to like about this polish, but I’m not sure it is the best polish out there for giving you hard-as-steel nails. I feel like there has to be something which combines the benefits of this (thin, quick-drying, beautiful applicator) with the Sally Hansen (super-tough nails) for some kind of ultimate, holy-grail strengthener which is easy to apply, doesn’t need replacing when there’s still half a bottle left, and makes your nails as hard as– Well, hard as nails, basically.

Have you tried Essie Millionails? Are you a Sally Hansen devotee? Do you think I just need to use another couple of coats of this stuff to get the unbreakable finish I was looking for? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: MAC BRUSHES

It’s the ultimate MAC eye brush showdown: #217 vs #224. Which is better, and are either of them any good? Take a look for yourself and see what you think:

mac-compare5
For quite a while now, I’ve wanted to give MAC brushes a try. There has to be a reason they’re the go-to standard, constantly recommended and mentioned everywhere, right? Except… They’re so expensive. I have one, which was bought for me by my mother many years ago, but it’s a foundation brush and so doesn’t get used very much. I wanted to try out the eye brushes, since those are something I use every day, and the difference between a good eye brush and a bad eye brush is the difference between a good eye look and a bad eye look.

I have other brushes, of course– Clinique, Jemima Kidd, Catrice, and my personal favourite, Real Techniques. So how did the MAC ones measure up? Well… It’s a mixed bag. As mentioned in my previous post, the two that I bought were #224 and #217. Those numbers might be close together, but there’s a world of difference in between them.

mac-compare1

#224 (right) is basically your average good eye brush. #217 (left) is genuinely the holy grail of eye applicators.

Look, here’s the thing– I didn’t believe it, either, when I read reviews of it before. People basically raved about this brush, and it doesn’t look all that impressive, and I kind of thought, “Yeah, sure”. If you’re reading this and doubting (I don’t blame you), let me just say: try it yourself. Don’t take my word for it. I can’t convince you of how great this damn thing is, because you will have to try it for yourself to believe how it will perform some sort of godly eye magic. It blends colours with two or three light passes, and it does it perfectly. How? I don’t know. Sorry. I’d love to be able to explain how that works (it’s possibly because it has natural bristles?), but I can not.

What I do know is that it’s fabulous. I’m in love with this brush. I’m going to buy more of them. This brush to me, is basically what Ferraris are to the superrich– I probably only really need the one, but I’m still planning on getting a load of them for very slightly different functions, and I’m going to display them outside my house so as to make everyone jealous of my hoard of supercars. Er, superbrushes. Whichever! The point is: you should probably buy one. Soon. Before I cause some kind of worldwide shortage of the damn things.

…And now on to #224. I confess: I was disappointed. Which is kind of unfair, because I’m pretty sure I’m only disappointed because it wasn’t on the same level as #217. It’s a great brush, and does a nice job on blending. But when it comes right down to it? I don’t know how much I’ll use #224. I have a feeling I’m going to reach for #217 every time I need a superblender, so I almost wish I had bought two of those, instead (to start off my neighbour-impressing collection).

So does that mean #217 basically just does the same thing as #224, but better? Well… The more I think about it, I’m actually not sure.

#217 is listed on the MAC site (the US version; the UK version won’t show me anything but a pointless slideshow of faces, annoyingly) as being for “the application and blending of powder products”. #224, by contrast, is for “gently shading and blending the crease line with powder shadow”. Those two things do sound awfully similar to me.

Still, the funny thing is… These two really do have quite a different effect. Let’s take another look at the comparison photo, shall we? Here’s how they apply and blend the same two colours (Half Baked and Snakebite from Naked 2):

mac-compare5

As you can see, the #217 delivers more product to the skin, and also delivers a slightly more subtle blend. The #224 gives you a lighter impression of colour on application, and blends out the colours almost into a single shade. Both make a complete mess of my shadow tray, by the way– far worse than anything I’ve seen using my RT brushes. There was also a huge amount of fallout powder around the side of my arm and on the table from doing this, too. I hadn’t really noticed this before doing on my arm, but I imagine it does the same on your face, as well, so my advice is to apply with a less… Enthusiastic brush, and then blend out with one of these.

Let’s break it down even further:

#217

→  natural fibres
→ more precise
→ picks up lots of product
→ messy; fallout when applying
→ subtle but effective blending
→ slightly cheaper (€25)

#224

→  natural fibres
→ covers a broad area
→ picks up minimal product
→ messy; fallout when applying
→ extremely strong blending
→ slightly pricier (€32)

If I have to pick (and possibly you should, because these are heinously expensive), I prefer #217. It blends exactly to the level I like, but no further. It’s also super for applying product– look how much denser and more vibrant the Snakebite looks when applied with #217. That said, I think #224 might be a little more useful when blending colours more different than the two used in the example here, where a subtle blend is just not quite gonna cut it.

I might try that out, in fact, on a day when I feel like washing both brushes thoroughly afterwards, and report back. For now, though, I’ll just say that they’re both pretty great, but if you can only pick the one, #217 is probably the better all-rounder, as it applies and blends really nicely. They’re very definitely not the same, though, so if you can stretch to both, I think your brush collection will be better for it.

Have you tried either of these brushes? Do you have a preference for one or the other? Or do you just refuse to buy into the hype surrounding MAC brushes (and these in particular)? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: AT-HOME IPL, PT.1

We’ve all heard the expression “Summer Bodies Are Made In Winter”, and while that definitely does apply to fitness, it also applies hair removal. If you’ve ever considered laser hair removal, the dead of winter is a great time to go for it. I’d tried out salon laser removal a year or two ago, and while it was great, I stopped going back due to a combination of having exposed my skin to sunlight and the fact that it was exquisitely uncomfortable. I mean, we’re talking real pain here– I wanted to kick the nice lady administering the treatment, especially when it came to the bikini region.

Now that it’s winter again and my skin hasn’t seen sunlight for three or four months, I wanted to go back again, but just couldn’t stomach the thought of both the pain and paying over €100 per session– and that was just for underarms and bikini. The solution? At-home IPL.

Great strides have been made in the area of at-home laser treatment in the last few years; while previously you needed expensive replacement heads and sometimes gels, the newer models come with long-life lamps which means you can get years worth of treatments (140,000 flashes, apparently) without having to buy replacement parts. Still, even without having to buy replacement parts, these things are not cheap.

I got a pretty great deal on this Philips Lumea Precision Plus from Boots in the sale, and only had to part with €400 instead of the usual price of €530. That’s still no small chunk of change, but it’s a good deal compared with salon prices, where six treatments for underarms, bikini, and legs works out somewhere in the €750 region, and any subsequent treatments are extra. This way, I’m saving upwards of €350 just on the basic outlay, and any subsequent treatments are a bonus.

I’ve only used mine once, so I can only give an initial report on the experience of using the device at this point, but I will update this in the future with how effective it is in terms of long-term hair removal. For now, though, let’s take a look at what you get and how it works. For your €400 (or €530, now the sale has ended), you get a Manual, a Quick Start Guide, a cleaning cloth, a storage bag, the charging cable, two application heads (one for face and one for body), and the laser device itself.

lumea

The device is hairdryer sized and shaped, and has five intensity settings. The guide explains which one is likely to work best for you based on your hair and skin colour. (Basically, the bigger the difference between the two, the higher the setting that you can use– with my super pale skin, I’m cleared to use Level 5, but if you’re darker, you probably shouldn’t go higher than 3.) There’s a separate head for use on the face which has an extra filtration layer, and a larger, less filtered head for use on the body. Both heads have a pressure-sensitive, multi-segment protection ring, and all parts of the ring must be depressed before the flash will trigger. That helpfully means you can’t accidentally flash it in front of your face, but it also means that you need full-on contact with the skin in order to get it to work…. And that’s not always easy.

The trouble with doing this yourself is that you need to be flexible. Like, properly, ready-for-Ringling-Bros flexible, because you have to be able to put the device where it’s needed, and with the right degree of pressure, while also being able to see where you’re making contact so you can move it to the next spot without too much overlap or skipping any areas in between.

For places like your lip or your ankles, this is not so hard. For the underarms and the back of the thighs, it’s a bit of a different story. I did manage it, but I am flexible, and I also didn’t have a flinch reflex because it wasn’t hurting. If you struggle to bend in half (i.e., if you can’t stand up and put your hands flat on the floor without bending your knees), this may prove difficult for you.

Things might be further complicated if you’re petite, as you’re going to have to press in quite hard when using the body head, because it’s big, and your smaller limbs mean that your shin or ankle may not be much wider than the head itself– and slightly curved, to boot.

So those are the downsides. There are, however, numerous upsides (aside from the price). If you’re wondering if it’s safe, apparently it is; no goggles are supplied with the machine, and there’s nothing in the manual saying you need protective eye gear. (Despite this, however, I took my own precautions, and wore some UV-filtering sunglasses while I was using it just to be on the safe side. Still, it’s nice to know I can go without if need be.)

It’s also nice and quiet. While using the device, it makes a sort of whirring noise, like one of those useless low-power hotel hairdryers, or the fan on your computer when you’re looking at a particularly Flash-heavy website. It’s nowhere near loud enough to cause a problem, but it did surprise me a little bit, so I’ll mention it here. As for battery life, you will need to charge between uses, but it’s still better than expected. One charge was enough for me to do my legs, underarms, and bikini line, which I thought was pretty great.

The surprising big plus is that this hurts a lot less than the salon treatment. I mean, a lot less. At the salon, it hurt quite a bit to have my underarms done, and my bikini-line was basically torture. With this, neither my underarms nor legs hurt at all (I didn’t even bother trying to get my legs done at the salon)– it was exactly as described: a warm sensation. That was using Level 5, too. I am duly impressed, and if this is half as a effective as the salon version, I’ll be delighted.

When I came to the bikini line, though, having remembered how unpleasant it had been at the salon, I turned the intensity down to 3. I was jolly glad I did, because it still hurt, in places. Some rather badly. This was a bit of a disappointment, but I suppose in areas where the skin is thin and there’s little fatty or muscle tissue underneath, it’s just going to hurt no matter what you’re using, and I’m going to have to suck it up.

In the hours after treatment, my legs and underarms were heat- and blemish-free. I wouldn’t have known I’d done anything to them other than shave in the shower that morning. My bikini area was another story. It hurt. And was a little red. It was absolutely no worse than it was from the salon treatment, and it didn’t last too long, but was still irritating. The salon had suggested a warm facecloth and then the application of some aloe gel in the case of redness, which I duly followed, and it helped quite a bit. By the next morning, there was no problem whatsoever.

A few days later, I had hair regrowth, which was an unpleasant surprise. With the salon treatment, my regrowth was diminished instantly, and I didn’t have to even look at a razor for about a fortnight. I’m hoping this isn’t a sign it’s not effective over the long-term and simply means it’s not effective in the short-term– something I can absolutely deal with, so long as it does work in the end. I’ll keep you guys posted on how it works out for me in the long run, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.

Would I recommend this to others? Well, tentatively yes. For me, the convenience of being able to do it in my home, at a time of my choosing, to the level that I’m comfortable with, and to be able to take breaks as desired offsets the drawback of having to contort myself into all kinds of pretzel shapes and get a sore wrist from pressing a light-flashing hairdryer into my skin. What really remains to be seen, though, is how effective this is.

The two or three treatments I had in the salon definitely reduced the amount of hair growth in my underarm and bikini-line area, and I’m hoping this will more or less kill it off completely. If it can manage that, it will absolutely be worth its price… But I can’t say that it has yet. The jury’s out on this one, folks, but I’ll definitely update to let you know how I get on.

Have you tried IPL, either at home or at the salon? Have you tried out this product? Or do you find the whole thing just too scary and potentially painful to bother with? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: CHARLOTTE TILBURY LIP LUSTRE

Another one of my delightful birthday presents, today I’m taking a look at the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Portobello Girl.

portobello

I have another one of these in a different shade which I’ll do a write-up on at some point in the future, but I’m going to cover this first because it’s easier, since this is a great “everyday” product. It’s from The Ingenue, one of my favourite of Charlotte Tilbury’s “Iconic Looks” as I think it’s a great everyday face. As it happens, this is the only product from that look which I own, as I already owned items which could fill in for the products (no need to be greedy and double up, now). I really love the pinky lips, though (for me, they define this look) and I was tempted by the promise of “a non-sticky gloss”, so I thought I would give this one a try.

Here’s a genuinely terrible close-up of my badly-bitten lips (with bonus earphones) so you can see what it looks like on:

tilbury-lips

Sorry about that; I thought I’d be able to crop the image down to just my mouth, so I didn’t bother to take my earphones out… But the image of giant, disembodied lips really freaked me out, so I went back to the original crop. Hence the earphones. And the god-awful skin. Oh, well. Back to topic:

This gloss has its good points and its bad points.

The good points:

  • It has really sturdy packaging. The stick “clicks” home, and can’t look closed when it isn’t, so there’s minimal chance of sticking it back in your bag by accident when it’s open. It also takes a fair bit of force to open it, too, so I’m guessing lip-gloss-everywhere-oh-god-no incidents are unlikely to happen with this one.
  • It’s gently glossy: there’s a gorgeous sheen without any kind of glare.
  • The shimmer pigments suspended in the formulation give the appearance of fuller lips.
  • If you’ll pardon the pun, this really glosses over any areas of uneven skin: if you’re a lip-biter or one of those disgusting people who pulls the skin off their lip with their teeth (like I do), then this will help to disguise any rough and baldy patches you’ve left behind.
  • It’s got good staying power– for a gloss, it lasts pretty well, though it does leave a residue on cups and glasses (and probably men, if you have one).
  • It’s not so sticky that you’ll feel that awful smacking sensation when you part your lips to speak (or eat, or breathe, or do anything else).
  • The colour is really pretty.

And the bad points:

  • The smell. It isn’t overwhelmingly strong, but considering you’ll be applying this right under your nose, you will probably notice it if you’re all all sensitive to scents. To me, it smells like burnt penny sweets, which is not desirable in a luxury product.
  • It’s still sticky. Not so sticky as other products I’ve tried, and it’s not going to stick your lips together, but if your hair gets in your face, it’s going to stick to your mouth.
  • The colour is very sheer. If you like that, as I do, then you’ll be happy. If you think you can use this alone to achieve the level of colour in the model’s pictures, you’re going to be disappointed.

Overall, the good points outweigh the bad, but considering that these are in the €22 range (again: gift; I don’t have exact price to hand– my apologies), unless you are crazy about one of the colours in this collection, there are probably cheaper options out there which will do much the same thing. Still, it’s far less expensive than a similar product from Dior or Armani– it’s about on a par with MAC, which I feel is about the right pricepoint.

Bad points aside, I still love this product. I can see it living in my handbag for a quite a long time as a replacement for my beloved Estee Lauder Ultra Light Gloss, which has sadly been discontinued. (Why do the makeup gods take away everything I love, why!?)

If you’re  looking for a sheer, pinky gloss, which is minimally sticky and shimmers beautifully, this might be a good option to consider.

Have you tried this product? Are you a fan of lip glosses in general? Do you have any recommendations for a gloss that is genuinely not-at-all-sticky? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: CHARLOTTE TILBURY AIRBRUSH POWDER

Continuing on with my exploration of my Christmas and Birthday presents, today’s write-up is about my experience of the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish powder. There’s a lot to like about this powder– the first of which, for me, is that it’s properly pale!

airbrush

The powder only comes in three shades: Fair, Medium, and Dark and they all lean towards the lighter side of things. For me, this is great, because I’ve always struggle to find foundations and powders which are light enough for my skin. I am naturally very pale, and have no interest in attempting to change this basic and inoffensive fact with makeup– something most makeup manufacturers seem to find a baffling and upsetting notion, if their product offerings are anything to go by.

Not so here.

Of course, if you’re at the other end of the skin scale, you might not be able to find anything in the range to suit you; the Medium shade is what most companies would class as pale, and the Dark shade doesn’t look to me like it would suit someone with very black skin. For my vampire-esque paleness, however, this is perfect. If you’re been looking for a luxury powder in a pale colour, this should definitely be on your radar.

The packaging is pleasantly sturdy, and also blessedly compact– my other preferred powder option has a far bulkier case, so this is a vastly more portable option. The trade-off for this, though, is that it doesn’t come with any kind of applicator, so you’ll have to either bring a brush or apply with your fingertips when you’re out and about. Given that it’s palm-sized and very, very slim, I can happily overlook the lack of applicator.

The powder itself is also thankfully odourless (I am not usually a fan of scented makeup), and it is insanely finely milled. It feels buttery soft (that’ll be the rose wax and almond oil), and it basically disappears onto the skin when applied. Unless you absolutely cake it on, there’s a very minimal “powdery” appearance, though it does still make a difference to the look of the skin in terms of reducing shine, blurring pores and fine lines, and giving softness. I’m guessing (though cannot speak from experience) that it would also set makeup pretty well, too, on account of how tiny the grains of powder are.

Colour-wise, this might not work for everyone: in addition to being very, very pale, it’s also more yellow than pink. For me, though, this is a bit of a god-send, as most paler foundations seem to operate on the principle that you would tan if only your skin would allow it, and thus if you want a pale foundation, you must be a pink-toned Classic Irish Lass or Traditional English Rose. However, yellow-toned people who still prefer avoid the sun do exist: I tan well, when I venture outside. I just generally tend to not, on account of wrinkles and melanoma and also the fact that I would be hard pressed to find a more boring activity than lying idle and spread-eagled in a patch of warm light to try to ensure my sun damage is evenly spread… Apart from the inescapable white arse and headlamps, obviously. (Why does anyone tan? This is genuinely a mystery to me. Unless you do it nude and flexibly, you end up with more stripes than a zebra crossing. I just do not see the appeal.)

This powder, however, does appeal. I like how pale it is, I like how lightly it sits on the skin, and I like how it feels to apply. Also in the €45 bracket (I cannot remember exactly how much, as it was a present), this is not a cheap option, but if you’re looking for a non-pinky, finely-milled, super-pale, expert-blurring powder, you should definitely give this one a look.

Have you tried this product? Do you have a powder to recommend for those of us who are pale and (questionably) interesting? Can you explain the appeal of using the sun to turn your body parts different colours? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: CLARISIONIC PT.1

Some of you may remember that one of the lovely birthday presents I received last year was the Clarisonic Plus, and it was one of the items I was most excited to try out. I’m sure most people know something about the Clarisonic by now, but in case the product is new to you, you can read about it here. Basically, it’s a sort of vibrating brush that supposedly cleans your skin six times better than manual cleansing alone– an electric toothbrush for your face, in other words.

clarisonic

It’s a great idea I’ve long admired, but I’d balked at the fairly high price of the Clarisonic. The Plus retails for about €230, and even the replacement heads are in the €25 bracket (though cheaper versions with fewer functions are available from €150). That’s a pretty heavy initial outlay for something which may or may not work for you, especially considering conflicting reports abound when it comes to these products. Some people say they noticed a massive and immediate improvement in their skin, while others found only a moderate or minimal improvement, and some people felt that it actually made their skin worse. There’s a theory that this is a purging period while your skin adapts to the new regime– and again, some swear by this notion while others dismiss it as nonsense.

The thing is, everyone’s skin and situation is different. Some people may experience a brief purging period before things get better, and others will simply have a bad reaction to a product right off the bat. If such a thing as a universally beneficial product existed, we’d all be buying it, and the shops wouldn’t be filled with fifty kinds of moisturizer, cleanser, etc. There’d just be the one option, and it would have Suitable For All Skin Types And Guaranteed To Improve Your Skin Or Your Money Back written on the front. Different things work for different people– and budget is a factor, too, which is why I’d previously tried the far-cheaper no7 version from Boots as opposed to the more expensive Clarisonic. I liked it, and I felt it did make my skin cleaner… But at the expense of drying it out, because it was a little on the harsh side. It was also not very waterproof as it had a user-accessible battery compartment, into which water eventually leaked, and rusted, and corroded the batteries.

So, for my birthday this year, I mentioned that I would like to give the Clarisonic a go, and mother duly provided. (She’s a champ.) It was actually her suggestion to upgrade to the Plus, as she thought the body brush angle was worth the extra money. I’m not much of a shower lingerer (being wet, naked, and glasses-less in an environment where I can’t hear very well makes me uncomfortable; blame my obsession with horror films as a teenager), but I figured it couldn’t hurt, so that’s what I got.

I’ve now been using the Clarisonic Plus for a month, and this is how I’m getting on:

Effectiveness

I love it. I absolutely love it, and I’m so annoyed with myself for not getting one of these sooner. For my experience, it’s basically been magic. I didn’t experience any of the purging other people talk about, and my skin has definitely improved from before I began using it. Now, admittedly, I haven’t been using this product alone. I’ve also increased my vegetable intake, reduced my sugar intake (or tried– it was Christmastime, for god’s sake), and I’ve thrown a few other new products into the mix, too. Even so, at this point, I am very pleased with the Clarisonic.

I’ve been using my Plus twice daily on the middle (universal) setting, and I’ve noticed fewer spots and clogged pores. My hormone-related breakouts haven’t evaporated, but they’ve definitely diminished in intensity, and that’s a blessing I would take any day of the week. When I over-use it (and I have, on a few occasions, by pressing too hard or forgetting myself and “scrubbing”), I’ve noticed dryness and flaking skin for a day or two afterwards. When I don’t do this, I don’t have problems.

Construction & Battery Life

The unit is waterproof and impressively sturdy: I’m a serial dropper, and this has hit the floor several times due to slippery wet hands, but continues to power on. Unfortunately, as being properly waterproof can only happen with the use of inductive charging (i.e., there are no plug-in ports on the body of the machine to let in water– or electricity), charging to full from empty takes a long ass time. Because of this, I would recommend not letting the battery run flat if possible– I toss mine on to charge once every two or three nights, and it’s usually back up to full by morning. I would be happier if it would charge faster and last longer on a charge, but nothing is perfect, and you can get a full body cleanse and several facial cleanses out of one charge, so I can’t complain too much. (Without using it on the body, you can get about a week between charges if using it twice daily for the recommended period.)

Assistant Products

The cleansers I’ve been using with the brush are the Creme de la Mer Cleansing Gel in the mornings, and Neutrogena’s Pink Grapegruit Daily Scrub at night. Fortunately, both seem to work pretty well with it. (I have to mix up my cleansers for morning and night; I get spots if I skip out on a salicylic acid cleanser, and flakiness if I use one twice a day, so switching between them seems to work as the best balance for me.) I haven’t tried the ones that came with the brush– I quite like my original cleansers, and I’m kind of iffy about switching out products when the ones I have already seem to agree with my skin. I don’t think anyone need be hesitant about using this with their regular cleanser unless they use something with a particularly exfoliating texture, so don’t let that put you off.

Body

As for the body function… Well, I try to remember to use it, when I have time, but showering for me is mostly a crap-I’m-on-the-clock experience, so I have a tendency to skip it sometimes. On the occasions I have used it, though, I do notice my skin is softer– and if you suffer from Ketosis Pilaris, it should help you with that, as well.

Conclusion

It’s early days yet for me to give this a full and hearty recommendation; I’ll update at the beginning of March with a three-month report… But as of now, I’m hugely impressed. If the price doesn’t scare you and you don’t have especially sensitive skin, I would recommend trying this out, if you can. If price is the only thing standing between you and giving this a go, there seem to be a  number of second-hand models on Ebay at reasonable prices; all you’d need would be a new brush head.

You won’t be seeing mine for sale, though, because I’m definitely holding on to it.

Have you tried the Clarisonic? Do you recommend it, or do you prefer a different electrical facial cleanser? Or do you eschew electrical goods for your face and prefer the manual approach? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-