Tag Archives: skincare

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: 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-

BIRTHDAY BONANZA!

Happy Birthday to me! I am now unsettlingly old (although let’s be real: that happened before yesterday), so here’s a cavalcade of beautiful things I can slap on  myself to distract from my impending decrepitude, okay?

birthday-haul

Birthday goodies! Clockwise from left:
Thin-knit Poloneck Shirts (Pamela Scott)
Macbook Air (Apple)
Handbag (Prada, via Brown Thomas)
Clarisonic (House of Fraser)
Urban Decay Naked On The Run (House of Fraser)
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish in Fair (Brown Thomas)
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Portobello Girl (Brown Thomas)
Urban Decay Vice 3 (House of Fraser)
Creme de la Mer Moisturising Gel (Brown Thomas)
Labyrinth Blu-Ray (Amazon UK)
L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (L’Occitane)
L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream (L’Occitane)
Shu Uemura 4-Pan Palette (Brown Thomas)
Charlotte Tilbury Palette in Rock Chick (Brown Thomas)
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Red Vixen (Brown Thomas)
Charlotte Tilbury Palette in Uptown Girl (Brown Thomas)
Shu Uemura Palette Refills in #495, #472, #595, and #311 (Brown Thomas)

Best. Presents. Ever. I also got a few bob from generous aunts and uncles, a pen, a little makeup bag, and of course my trip to Atlanta this summer. I’m not even going to play at humble bragging: I have the best family ever, and my mother is a fucking superstar who wants only to make me happy and is delighted to let me pick my own presents to be squirreled away for wrapping and presentation on the day of my birthday.

We had a lovely quiet day at home; Mum came over and put my presents under the tree with the Christmas things I’ve wrapped up but haven’t given to people:

presents

Then we made (well– she made; I stirred the gravy and explained how to use the clock on the cooker) dinner, which was delicious but has left me genuinely terrified to even put a toe on my bathroom scale:

birthday-dinner

This was what passed as a “proper portion” when I was growing up. It’s no wonder I’ve bones like Wolverine! I ate every pick of it, and I am not ashamed. (Afraid of the scale, but not ashamed. There’s a big difference there!)

Then it was time to open pressies! I’m so happy with what I got; I love everything, and all of it is perfect and exactly what I wanted. I confess that I did break into the computer early, but that was largely so I could have it set up by my birthday, and didn’t spend the entire day fiddling with settings and generally being a techy pain in the backside. Here’s a close-up of a few selected items:

clarisonic

I’ve been wanting one of these for ages, and I’m excited to try it. I have god-awful skin (which I’m considering going to the doctor about in the New Year), so I’ll do anything that might make it better. Here’s hoping! I’ll keep you guys posted about how I get along with it.

skincare

There is nothing like L’Occitane handcream for dry skin. Honestly, nothing. I’ve tried E45 in the past and it works pretty well, but I’ve found that nothing does as good a job at keeping my feet pretty as this stuff. However, since they actually do make a separate foot cream, I figured I should give that a go and leave the hand cream for my actual hands? The Creme is a product I used to use, but stopped, though I started again recently and I find that my skin appreciates it as a night cream only. I’m looking forward to breaking into all three of these.

shu

Right, I’ll be honest: this one was kind of an impulse buy. I don’t have a lot of green shadows– which is a shame, because I love them. While waiting around for my mother and her sister to come back from wherever they’d disappeared to, I dabbed on some of the gold shadow on my eyelid over my own makeup, mostly to pass the time.

I only realized later how insanely gorgeous it is, and then went back to get some. The assistant at the counter was busy making up someone else, so I ended up prodding at various other colours while I waited… And then noticed that you could get little 4-pan palettes. I couldn’t pass up the chance to put together a palette of perfect, gorgeous greens to add to my birthday stash!

On the top is #311 White Gold and #595 Dark Green. On the bottom, confusingly, both colours are called Medium Olive. They’re not at all the same, though! The one on the left is #495, and is far darker and more matte than #472 on the right, which is really more of a gold-green. Review and swatches of these babies coming soon! I’m so excited to try them out– and to add to my collection…

tilbury

So remember I was wondering why I hadn’t got any Charlotte Tilbury Face in a Box sets yet? I realized why when I went into the shop: I have way too many duplicate products for any of the box sets to be practical for me. In any box, there are a good few products I either wouldn’t use or already have dupes for, so I ended up picking and choosing the bits that filled gaps in my personal collection.

I picked up the eye palettes from the Rock Chick and Uptown Girl looks, the lip glosses from the Ingenue and the Bombshell ones (the Vintage Vamp one I thought I’d love was far too dark in person– let that be a lesson!), and as the face powder from none of the looks. I’m still contemplating blusher and highlighter, but we’ll see how I get on with these.

urban-decay

It’s December, so time to strap yourself in for limited edition UD palette sets! I don’t have any of the previous Vice palettes, so I am super excited to try this one out. The Naked on the Run set is less of a new invention for me, but the colours are really pretty and I’m looking forward to trying out the gloss and the mascara without having to shell out for them separately. I’m less excited about the bronzer (it’s quite orange for me), but the blusher also looks good, and I think this will be handy to carry around for holidays and things!

After that, we just sat around and watched Labyrinth. It’s my favourite movie ever, and watching it has become something of a birthday tradition going back to when I was five or so. I actually got the Blu-Ray version for this year, and the quality was stellar. Simply gorgeous to watch, and if you haven’t ever seen that movie, do yourself a favour and find a copy, pronto!

I had a really lovely birthday, and I’ll be doing dedicated posts for individual items or sets as I work my way through them, so look out for those in the coming days and weeks.

Birthday season is officially over; let the countdown to Christmas begin! :p

What exciting birthday presents have you gotten this year? Do you feel like birthdays are an unwelcome reminder of the inevitable march of time, or do you embrace them with pride at having added another year to your tally? Is there any of the above items you’d especially like me to discuss in detail? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: GARNIER MICELLAR WATER

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve recently taken to using Garnier Micellar Water– me and everyone else on the planet, right? There’s a reason this stuff is taking the beauty world by storm, though.

micellar

Available in Boots –and, even better, Tesco– for about €6.50, this stuff is a wonder in a bottle. It’s a big bottle, too: the manufacturers claim you get 200 uses out of it (probably not if you have to use half of it on a chemical burned face), and while that might be pushing it, there’s certainly a healthy dose of it for your money.

I’ve never been a fan of face wipes. I’ve always felt they left my skin feeling dried out and crappy, but I understand why the convenience of them appeals to some people. The notion of something that is just as easy but which is better for your skin is even more appealing, so I decided to give this stuff a try.

I haven’t been sorry I did. Apart from a mad urge to call it “micellular water” (I can’t seem to shake this, so I hope admitting to my shame in public will make me remember to call it by its proper name: micellar, micellar, micellar-– God, I sound like Hermione now), I have no problems.

It’s slightly foamy, which is odd, but there’s no discernible scent and my skin doesn’t feel dried out after using it. It does a super job of taking off makeup (even my beloved unshiftable Clinique Lash Power mascara), and is a great first step in a two step cleansing routine.

I would absolutely recommend this; I admit that I haven’t tried any of the pricier options, but considering how well this works, I don’t feel the need to. This one is definitely going to be a repurchase, whenever I run out.

Have you tried micellar water? Do you like this product, or should I be reconsidering my stance on the pricier options? Do you have any other cleansing suggestions for me? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

PRODUCT EXPERIENCE: LA MARA FACE CREAM

If you’re a long-term reader of this blog, you’ll know I don’t generally post negative reviews; if I dislike something, I just don’t post about it. I make exceptions for things that cause severe pain and physical harm. What is this product? La Mara face cream.

I bought this back in March at Aldi, and never actually got around to trying it. Well, after my shower last night, I got a mad notion and decided to give it a go– but boy, I wish I hadn’t. I had said at the time that I was a little leery of it, and my suspicions were correct.

On application, it felt very thick and much heavier than I’d expected. I hate that, but I can put up with it if it’s going to do my skin a solid. As I continued to get ready, I noticed my face felt a little hot. That’s nothing new; plenty of masks and various other treatments have that effect, so I paid it no heed. Then I took a look in the mirror and noticed that I had wrinkles and lines in places I never had wrinkles and lines before: around my mouth and eyes and jaw. I was horrified– a moisturiser shouldn’t have that effect, surely?

Then my eyes fell on my hairline, and I’m not ashamed to tell you that I actually screamed.
face2

I’m 31 years old. In that time, I have put all manner of terrible shite on my face. I don’t have particularly sensitive skin, but I am prone to spots, so in an effort to beat them into submission, I’ve tried a lot of different things. Mustache bleach as a mask. Covering my whole face in eggs, and vinegar, and porridge (independently). Mud masks. Scrubs. Peels. Some of them have left my skin feeling a little worse for wear, but none of them had the same affect as this.

This stuff takes the cake. The only other thing which has had the same effect on my skin as this is several hours on the beach without sunscreen:

face1

Red, blotchy, hot, itchy… This hurt, and I also look like I’ve been jogging on the face of the sun.

I immediately tried to wash this stuff off, with limited success. Half a bottle of micellar water and ten cold flannels later, my skin had finally begun to cool down and was no longer the raw red of a baboon’s bum, but it took a full two hours for it to return to its normal Nezness.

I plastered on the Hydraluron, layered some Creme de la Mer over that, and covered it with Bio Oil. When I woke up this morning, both the wrinkles and redness had disappeared, although my skin feels far more dry, tight, and sore than it usually would, and I suspect I’m going to need another intensive moisturising treatment tonight to try and get it back to normal.

I usually say you can’t expect much from budget offerings, and I will forgive a cheap option a lot: limited pigmentation, shoddy quality packaging, limited impact, etc., but what I cannot forgive in any product is making my skin feel like hot sandpaper and giving me the countenance of a hitch-hiker who’s just come through Death Valley.

On the plus side, I guess it has drawn my awareness to the fact that I don’t apply my facecreams right to the root of my hair, which is something I should look at? Other than that, there are absolutely no positives to this product whatsoever, at any price. My recommendation is not to buy it– but then again, when it managed to give me sunburn, I would say that, wouldn’t I?

It’s possible I’m just allergic to it, but I’ve never had a reaction like this before to anything else, and I don’t have any known allergies, either. In any case, I’m not taking any chances: I won’t be passing this on to my family members (as I would usually do with beauty items that didn’t suit me).

What skincare horror stories do you have? Have you ever had a reaction like this one? Or have you tried this product and found it to be fine? Drop me a line and let me know!

-A-

HANDCREAM IN A TOUCHSCREEN WORLD

I have a question for you, folks: how many of you use hand-cream regularly? I go back and forth on hand-cream as a product in general, partly due to laziness, and partly due to one other factor: the increasing rise of touchscreen devices.

I regularly use an iPad Mini, and my iPhone is never far from my grasp. Typing on a regular keyboard after using hand-cream isn’t really an issue, since they’re not transparent and aren’t a display: you don’t have to prod where you look. Touchscreen devices, on the other hand, as they function as both keyboard and screen, look icky, and sticky, and worse: the accuracy of your prodding and swiping is generally reduced as well. I’ll be honest: I’m not really a fan of touchscreen devices. I miss the days when phones had proper keyboards (by which I mean a mini QWERTY keyboard; none of your predictive text multiple-taps for me), but it seems now that it’s almost impossible to purchase even a laptop that doesn’t incorporate some element of touch input.

I was hoping I could avoid buying any tech during this period and skip right to the Minority Report style of touchless input:

minority-report1

image from reuters.com

But I have a feeling I’m not going to be able to wait. Which leaves me with my hand-cream dilemma. To use or not to use: that is the question.

Is there any way of using it without getting it all over my screens, blurring out the images and text I need to see? If I don’t use it, will I end up with crone-like old lady hands before I reach forty? Where do other people stand on this issue? Drop me a line and let me know!
-A-

SWITCHING UP YOUR SKINCARE

Putting up a poll for this one, because I really am curious to know the answer: how often do you change your skincare routine?

Quite often –mostly on beaut.ie— I see people talking about how they must try out this new skincare item, and everytime I do, my mind boggles. Good skincare products are, as a rule, expensive as hell. The notion of “trying out” skincare items to me sounds like someone saying they’re “trying out” moving to Russia without speaking any Russian, or they’re “trying out” lion-taming as a hobby. It’s not that lion-taming or moving to Russia aren’t great ideas that could work out really amazingly, they’re just not things you should rush into without a lot of consideration beforehand.

My skincare routine has evolved over a period of years, and I only add or remove something if I absolutely have to– like if my skin has started really acting up, or if something I’ve been using has been discontinued. Changing it at the drop of a hat is something I just can’t imagine, especially if there are expensive products involved. What do you even do with them if you try them out and discover they don’t work and you’re left with 270ml of something you can’t ever put onto your skin again? The guilt of that would kill me.

And so, a poll. Give me some insight into the trends of others, and perhaps I will bend to the wisdom of the majority:


 
Am I just a cheapskate? Am I pathologically change-resistant? What do you do with all the skincare products you’ve tried that haven’t worked for you? Drop me a line and let me know!
-A-

HYDRALURON: A HORROR STORY

I’ve posted previously about my love of Hydraluron, and that hasn’t changed. I still think it’s essentially a miracle product that’s made an enormous difference to my skin. I do, however, have a warning for anyone wanting to travel with it in their suitcase: Hydralyron is basically the Houdini of skincare products. Think I’m kidding? I bloody wish.

On a recent trip, I filled up my miniature container with Hydraluron in the same way as I packed the others with moisturiser, cleaners, etc. I screwed the lid on tightly, popped it into my waterproof baggie, and assumed there wouldn’t be a problem.

Except there was a problem. Unlike every other product I brought with me, and despite the lid being screwed on tightly, somehow the Hydraluron escaped the container and smeared itself all over the other containers. I examined the pot for cracks, but there didn’t seem to be any. I assumed I’d put the lid on wrong, but I hadn’t. And then I began thinking. This wasn’t the first time that some of my precious serum had escaped its container. No matter how careful I am to put the cap back on the tube properly, without spilling any product into the outer ring of the cap, every time I pick up my tube of Hydraluron at home, some has managed to worm its way in there.

hydra

See? The cap has a clear ring of product in it. Only… Here’s the funny thing. It never seems to fill up. The level of product that manages to get out there seems to remain the same. If I wipe it out, when I come back to the tube next, there’s the same amount. If I don’t wipe it out, it doesn’t get any bigger. It doesn’t matter how tightly I screw the cap on, this continues to happen. Maybe this doesn’t happen to everyone, but I thought I would draw attention to this just in case anybody else was thinking of using this on their holidays: make sure to put your closed container inside another closed container to be sure of preventing spills!

Is this some side-effect of the manner in which it draws in moisture to the skin? Is my tube haunted? Has this ever happened to you? Drop me a line and let me know!
-A-