Meh | Products

8/31/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
Today let's explore the not-so-wonderful world of the "Meh" products.  You know - the ones that aren't terrible, but aren't amazing. The ones that you don't think are doing anything, but are nice enough.  I tend not to like to claim any product is a write-off, and that is definitely the case here: these products are fine products - they do what they are intended to do, just not in a brilliant way.
L'oreal Skin Perfection Purifying Gel Wash
I purchased this along with the 15 Second Cleansing Oil from L'oreal - a product I absolutely adore.  The Purifying Gel Wash is a perfectly nice product, a "sturdy" product that really helps to take off the make up, but that is about all it does.  Perfect for a first cleanse, and to really get the make up off of your face - it is soft, creamy, and a nice cleanser, but nothing special.  Does it's job, but not sure that it particularly purifies the skin.
La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat
So, my problem with this is that it doesn't do what it says.  It is a perfectly fine moisturiser, but on my own face, the "Mat" claim just isn't lived up to - in fact I know of some not matte face creams that keep shine at bay better than this!  For a cream that has a less wet texture, one would expect it to keep the face shine-free.
Garnier Moisture Match
Again, like the Effaclar Mat, this is specifically for oily skins, and like the Effaclar, it just doesn't seem to work.  This has a drier texture that the Effaclar, and seems to only superficially moisturise the skin.  Now, even with my oily skin, I find that this has neither enough moisture for my skin, nor enough mattifying properties to keep it shine-free.
Garnier Pure Active
Another face wash falling into the realms of the L'oreal Purifying Gel Wash.  In my opinion, this just has the edge over the L'oreal, mainly because it has a menthol feel to it that helps the face to actually feel refreshed at the end of the cleanse.  It is very good at taking of make-up, so this combined with the refreshment actually makes it less of a meh product, but it isn't anything hugely special, but a good staple for a first cleanse!
And here are the make-up bits:
Hope you liked this slightly different post!
Love A.x

Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean | An Old Flame!

8/30/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
Soap and Glory's Peaches and Clean was probably the first cleanser I ever truly loved.  Since then I've had my fair share of dalliances and fancies - namely Elemis Tri-Enzyme, L'oreal's 15 Second Cleansing Oil, and Clarins more basic, but essential range.  But, after being sent a bottle of the newly reformulated and repackaged potion that is the amazing Peaches and Clean, I can honestly tell you that this girl's first love is still her true love!
Truth be told, the first time I ever picked this up was hugely to do with judging a book by it's cover, coupled with the fact that it was on offer.  Despite these shallow first moments, it was love at first cleanse, and remained that way for around a year, until my ridiculously fickle mind just for no reason at all fancied a change.  
Some people say that a change is as good as a rest, and for a time, that was true to an extent, but after a change on often craves the comfort of the familiar.  Now, I didn't even realise I craved the familiar until approximately one week ago when I pumped out the Peaches and Clean and smoothed it onto my face.  Hello old friend indeed!  From the second it touched my face I just knew this had returned to be my most-loved and most oft-used of cleansers!
With the same juicy peach smell, a slightly looser texture - perfect for a more efficient massage - and a little bit more of a tingle on the skin, the new Peaches and Clean is definitely proving it's worth.  After just 2 days of use, my skin looked obviously brighter, more even-toned and clearer!
Love A.x

Thurday's Thought Four | Fun

8/29/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins,
I'm sure in life you find yourself, like me, annoyed by things that you have to do every day - I keep positive with the help of the words of good old Mary Pops!
Love A.x

Another New In | Bioderma Sebium H2O

8/28/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
A quick snapshot of some skincare I received today - long-awaited and accepted gratefully!
Even though I have no make up on today, I have already swiped this beauty over my face - a lovely little refresher that I can see as being a beautiful first cleanse, or indeed - like I have just done - a lovely refresher in the humid weather.
Love A.x

To Read | September

8/27/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
Today's post leans more towards lifestyle than beauty.  I am attempting to revert back to my 9 year old self.  I was very much a little bookworm, carrying around 2 books with me everywhere just in case I finished the first and would have nothing more to read!  As much as that's a little fanciful these days, the essence of my reading self is what I am trying to rediscover.  So, these past few months I have had a full-on love affair with the Kindle app on my Samsung Galaxy Tab, but like my 9 year old self I am quite literally craving books.  And so, without delay, here are the books I wish to finish in September (although hopefully once back in the habit, I will read even more!).

On Beauty - Zadie Smith
I have wanted to read this for the longest time - maybe a case of style over substance as I love the cover, but I've also heard such good things about it.
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
This is my current squeeze, and I am really enjoying it.  A tale of interweaving cultures, and written in a lovely style, I am about halfway through this as we speak.
Pygmalion - Bernard Shaw
My Fair Lady has to be one of my favourite films ever "Move your bloody asssssssss" featuring the classic beauty that is Audrey Hepburn, so I thought I'd take a walk back in time and read the origins of that brilliant film.
A Streetcar Named Desire - Tennessee Williams
Literally can't believe I've not read this, but life is all about rectifying mistakes!
Love A.x

New | Cleansing Potions

8/26/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
Over the past month I seem to have accumulated a few cleansing potions, and as such have decided to do some mini reviews today.
Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser
I picked this up whilst it was on offer in Boots, having been enticed by the inclusion of one of my favourite acids - Glycolic.  Smelling beautifully of citrus, this is a lovely gel cleanser to use in the morning as a wake-up call, or in the evening as a freshen-up.  It works to smooth and clarify the skin and it's texture, and works nicely with the Clarisonic.  I tend to use this as a first cleanse, as I prefer something with a more luxurious texture for my second cleanse.
Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean
Perhaps the best cleanser ever, no joke.  No idea really why I stopped using this, silly fickle brain of mine.  Reformulated, repackaged, same but better - beautiful smell, beautiful texture, brightening and smoothing.  Perfect.
L'oreal Micellar
Easy to use, stings eyes, cooling and refreshing.  Good for first cleanses, but uses up a lot of cotton pads for a full on face of make up.  Wouldn't use as my only cleansing method, leaves the skin a little tacky, but good as a pre-cleanse.
Hope you liked my speed reviews!
Love A.x

Currently | In my possession

8/23/2013 05:50:00 pm
Hola Munchkins!
These seem to have found their way into my skincare bag...

I shall report back on my findings!
Love A.x

Thursday's Thought Three | Fights

8/22/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins,
For today's Thurday's thought I have turned to the wonderful world of Disney!
Love A.x

Thursday's Thought Two | Lost Days

8/15/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins,
I feel like I know a lot of people who are generally a little lost in life at the moment - who knows why.  Maybe the planets are aligned funny, or the stars aren't twinkling enough, or the world is ending, but what I keep as the background on my laptop reminds me that being lost isn't always a bad thing.
Love A.x

Monday Maskday | The quickfix brighteners

8/12/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
Today I am bringing you the quick-fix masks that I turn to to brighten my skin in times of need!  Both of these are quick-to-use, and are able to be used harmlessly before nights outs, interviews, events etc without risk of breakouts.
Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel and Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask are of the same mask family: enzyme masks.  The enzymes within the two masks chemically exfoliate the skin, gently but effectively loosening dead skin cells and the glue that holds dead cells to the healthy skin, to lift them clean off the skin, leaving soft, radiant, plumped-up skin.  The Papaya Enzyme Peel is the softer, the more gentler of the two - utilising fruit acids to aid the exfoliating mechanism.  This smells scrummy, quite like mangoes, and is left on the skin for around 15 minutes - it doesn't set, goes on creamy and is still creamy when you wash it off (with a flannel as I do).  The Elemis Tri-Enzyme mask uses stronger chemical exfoliants to do more or less the same job - it is almost menthol-y in both smell and feel on the skin, and really feels like it does a lot for the skin - mostly because it tingles!  Of the two, the Tri-Enzyme will always be my favourite - it is stronger, and as with all skincare I find more is always more!  The results are more immediate than the Papaya Peel, but both are effective in their own ways.
Love A.x

Thurday's Thought One | Inspiration

8/08/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
Today, I thought I'd share with you my phone background - it reminds me to be me, and to not worry too much about what others think:
Love A.x

Repurchase | Cleansing Oil

8/07/2013 07:35:00 pm
Hola Munchkins!
Now, I am not a good repurchaser.  I am ultimately fickle because I love skincare and always believe that there is something better out there, even if I actually have the perfect product in front of me.  It's a very confusing life!  But today, we have a repurchase! Shock, horror!  Here we have L'oreal's Cleansing Oil:
Repurchased before it ran out, that is a true testament to a product I really adore.  Now, I can sing the praises of this oil from the rooftops - you've probably had a little taste of how I feel about it in my August Faves post.  But essentially, this is a lovely, slippery, soft cleansing oil that removes all scraps of make up from my face, leaving it both refreshed, well-cleansed and softened.  I love this as a first cleanse - or a kind of pre-cleanse, if you will - because it takes the bulk of my make up off, which I find essential in the first cleanse.  I find nothing so easy and effective at a first cleanse as this - few pumps in my hand, massage onto face, starting at eyes, and then (depending on my mood) add water to emulsify and splash off, or wring out a hot flannel, and wipe the oil off.  Either way, the results are always brilliant - this resides in my forever-go-to-cleanser picks.
Love A.x

Review | Trilogy Rosehip Oil

8/06/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins,
Today I have for you a straight up review of one of my favourite type of product: the oil.  I have been an avid fan of oils - moisturising, soothing, cleansing - for a fair old while now.  I learnt quite early on that the right kind of oils help to rebalance an oily complexion, and help to penetrate deep down to aid any dehydration within the skin's layers.  Now, as I am the owner of an Asian complexion, the pitfalls of which include the ability to easily scar and tendency to be hyperpigmented, I couldn't wait to get hold of the Trilogy Rosehip Oil.  
Rosehip Oil is renowned for its healing and brightening properties: it has the ability to fade all types of hyperpigmentation, including scars.  The liquid itself is a vivid golden-yellow that looks ultimately luxurious upon first sight, and lives up to it's luxurious promises!  The oil is unctious, it is soft, and just slippery enough to allow you to massage this into the skin very well.
The pipette applicator makes it feel both ultimately professional, and hygienic.  I tend to apply 3-4 drops onto the back of my hand, and use a fingertip to spread it all over my lovely face, then really massage it in use my fingertips.  The massage aspect really helps to relax both the face and mind, and the smell uplifts the spirits!  Immediately skin is nourished and full of moisture, although it doesn't look greasy or oily as this particular oil leaves me with a demi-matte sheen to the skin.  Over time, the oil really helps to even out the skin tone, patches of pigmentation and scars left over from spots fade quantitatively.  I really do love this oil, and feel it would last an incredibly long time!
Hope this was helpful!
Love A.x

Monday Maskday | The Super-speedy Clay Fixers

8/05/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
Now, today is all about speed - the quick fixes for congested, breaking-out, rough skin: the clay masks.  I am a real mask connoisseur, and these two, although probably the cheapest of my collection, are the two I find myself turning to again and again and again.
The 5 Minute Facial Mask from Good Things is a really thick bu spreadable clay mask that sets to the kind of "OhmygodIcan'tlaughincaseIcrackmymask" type of hardness.  The smell is beautiful, fruity and refreshing, which makes it seem truly luxurious.  I love the fact that it contains no nasties, so I know it is putting goodness into my skin without any adverse effects.  The oil control properties are lovely: controlling without stripping the skin at all.  It also smoothes the skin whilst deep cleansing.
The Superdrug 3 Minute Oil Control Mask is simple, basic and effective.  Without any perceivable scent, basic white clay with a hint of green, this mask deep cleanses, softens and reduces breakouts, all in a miraculous 3 minutes!
Both of these are absolutely brilliant, pulling their weight with the RENs of the world!
Love A.x

Bright Buddies | The Brightening Edit

8/04/2013 06:00:00 am
Hola Munchkins!
I am always, always intrigued by any product that claims to brighten, or give the skin a natural glow, and today I am going to share with you the products I have found to work towards a lovely, bright visage!
I have quite the extensive line up when it come to brightening and radiance product, but above you can see the products I have put together to show you - this is my brightening edit!
First up, let me introduce my beloved Alpha H Liquid Gold: this was a natural progression for me after a succession of regular glycolic face peels when I worked as PR Officer for an aesthetic clinic.  After I had left the job, my skin had a few tantrums, and it seemed to me the lack of glycolic was contributing heavily to my skin misbehaving.  I thought about giving myself peels on a weekly basis, but even though I may have been trained in the basics of skin peels, I'd rather leave it to the professionals!  I have now been using this for about three years, before the Liquid Gold really became known, and I found it to immediately help my troubled skin: smoother skin, breakouts diminished and scars faded.  Liquid Gold I find can be used in two ways: as a maintenance a few nights a week, or as I use it, as an intensive treatment every night for a week.  From Vichy, I have two offerings - the Idealia Pro Serum and the Idealia Smoothing and Illuminating Cream.  These two products are soft in texture, with a view to help tone and texture, as well as radiance of the skin.  The serum is the more intense of the two, focused mainly on the eradication of hyperpigmentation, and the cream focuses on adding illuminating properties to the skin.  I turn to the cream for nights and days when my skin just looks haggard and tires and more or less just old - it adds radiance and is such a comfort blanket to the skin.  The serum is one that I'm not sure how it's working, but I tend to find it just is working - it imparts some blurring/ softening effects to the skin.  The small blue pot is L'occitane, and is part of the Immortelle range: it was a sample in Harpers Bazaar last month, and is a very rich, thick cream that I use sparingly and occasionally.  It is more suited to drier skin types, and as such I use it if my skin gets to the point of extreme dehydration (I tend to avoid getting to this stage).  The Garnier Anti-Dark Spot is a bit of a multi-use product: it is both moisturiser and treatment in one.  At the moment, I am not using it as I am currently on a hydration-blitz of my skin.
In terms of items I mix into my skincare to add brightness, I find Benefit's That Gal and the Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm to be the best of the bunch: both impart a glow to the skin, and I tend to mix these into my foundation, as opposed to adding them as another layer of skincare, as this tends to blend the radiance seamlessly into the skin.
Last of all we come to what I find to be the real heroes of any brightening edit: the oils.  Rosehip oil is renowned as being brilliant at tackling hyperpigmentation and scars.  Sweet Almond oil is know to be a brightening agent, as almonds are used in various forms to brighten the skin.  These two, used together, or alternately aid in the brightening, the toning, and the re-texturising of the skin.
I hope this gave you an idea of the brightening products available!
Love A.x

Faves | August

8/02/2013 05:19:00 pm
Hola Munchkins!

July has been both a wonderful and stressful month - the sun has done absolute wonders for my mood, my skin, my general demeanor   But, July has also been a very stressful month at home, so this month's faves consist of radiance-boosting, glow-making, un-stressing the old skin, and I have quite the cornucopia of products that have really helped me achieve a destressed visage!
First up, let's have a little chat about skincare basics - as you can see, this month we have both a cleanser and a toner!  Shocked that I have only one of each to be quite honest.  The weather, as we all know, has been absolutely beautiful, perfect weather for a cold-blooded creature like myself, and as such, the basics of cleansing has been made substantially lighter in texture.  The L'oreal Cleansing Oil is just a beautiful, beautiful product (so beautiful in fact, that I have finished this bottle and already repurchased a new one!), a very loose, light oil that is water soluble and as such can be taken off by splashing off with water, or by using a flannel, which is my general method.  It rids the face of all make up, and leaves it both clean and hydrated, a real winning combination in my books!  The toner that I have been working my way steadily through has been the Toning Lotion from Clarins for Combination Skin, and I have to say, it is proving to be a lovely, relaxing step in a summer skincare routine.  This just simply aims to balance the skin, ridding the skin of oil, feeling fresh, and leaving it prepped for any skincare/ make up that goes on next.
Next up is my base of the month - a concoction that I have been mixing up and enjoying, all the while feeling like an apothecary: my potion of choice has been a splodge of Elemis Pro Radiance, Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser, Vichy SPF 30 and a dollop of whichever foundation I deem most suitable per day.
These have been the fixers for my skin for this month: an oil, and a mask.  The Trilogy Rosehip Oil is absolutely beautiful, I received it in my BBB Beauty Box, and I adore it: you need the tiniest amount, it rubs into the skin so well, and leaves a demi-matte finish, which is unusual for an oil.  It brightens, softens skin, and helps to fade any discolouration on the skin's surface.  The Tri-Enzyme Mask is one of my absolute skincare essentials.  It uses enzymes to chemically exfoliate the skin, and really is one of my quick-fix masks, but also has cumulative effects as you continue to use it.  Skin is refreshed, bright and soft.
In terms of make up, apart from my base concoction, highlighters have been a big deal for me this month.  I have read a lot about the Hourglass Ambient Lighting, and it looks as though my Kiko Eyeshadow in 118 is a fairly good dupe for the Dim Light variation.  It is a beautiful soft gold/ champagne, with almost taupe undertones.  The Benefit That Gal and Sun Beam are cult classics, pink and gold respectively in colour, and both impart a beautiful glow to the skin.
Hannibal came to an end this month, and was brilliant, but has left me wanting more!
And lastly, The Returned!  Utterly captivating, the series has ended and to be honest I still don't know what on earth was going on but I loved it!
Hope you enjoyed my favourites this month.
Love A.x