Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Morning Skincare Routine

Having used so many beauty products over the past few years, I'm known be very fickle and don't really have a very set skincare routine. Add to that, my routine invariably have to change whenever I have to test a new product as I have to stop what I'm using and try the new product for a period of time for complete a review for it.

Despite all the chopping and changing in products, the basic elements of my daytime skincare routine is always the same: cleanse, serum, treatment, moisturise and sun protection. I don't use a toner as my hydration comes from the serums and treatments and don't believe toners should be used to remove cleansing residue if the cleanser was a good enough product in the first place.

Today I thought I'd share with you what I'm currently using in my day routine, some of which are products I've used on a long term basis and others are products I'm currently putting on trial.

For reference, I have oily/combination skin in my T-zones and cheeks but am also prone to very dry skin despite producing alot of oil. My skin consultant once said I have a masked dry skin condition as most people think I'm straight up oily skin but if I wash my face, most people would immediately say I have dehydrated skin (and I totally blame the office air conditioner for making the situation worse).
Click to enlarge to see details

1. Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel 500ml RRP A$87 - gentle yet effective enough to wash off dirt,  grime an and even makeup. I use this exclusively when I had a peel performed as it's non irritating and soothing on the most sensitive skin with the calming lavendar essential oils. one of my HG cleansers.  I use this with and without the clarisonic facial cleansing brush.

2. Kiehl's darkness diminishing activated eye treatment 15ml RRP A$62* - I'm currently putting this eye cream to the test to see how much it helps with my dark circles from poor circulation and lack of sleep. So far I've noticed reduced puffiness and brighter eyes from the light reflecting particles in the formula. I've yet to see much in terms of darkness reduction after 3 weeks use.

3. Shu Uemura Whitefficient Whitening Essence 150ml RRP A$115* &  4. Lancome Blanc Expert Whitening Activating Spot Eraser 30ml RRP A$118* - I alternate between these two whitening treatments on most days or use one in the morning and the other at night. The main reason for using whitening products is to brighten up my complexion and prevent the sallowness from creeping in. I'm also trying my hardest to fade some pigmentation I have around the eye area.

I find Shu Uemura's Whitefficent essence spreads better on the skin but can leave a sheen so is better suited for dryer skin or the winter months and It works well as a primer. It contains algae extract, prune extract and Ellagic acid which help to block melanin production and brighten the skin.

Lancome's Blanc Expert is water-based and is instantly absorbed into skin without any tacky or greasy feeling. It contains a proprietary Melanolyser technology to break down the melanin in skin and fade the dark spot.

Both products give a luminous radiance to skin . There is very some lightening on my pigmentation spots with 4 weeks use of it but it is more efficient with fading blemish marks and those disappear in 1-2 weeks on my skin.

5. Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum 50ml RRP A$49.99^- is my go-to daily serum that effectively plumps and hydrates my skin, while working to softens and fills in fine lines. Best of all it is affordable enough that I don't need to take out a second mortgage to keep using this on a daily basis.

6. Priori Cellular Recovery Serum 50ml RRP A$220 ^- When I feel my skin's particularly dry or irritated and needs a boost of radiance I would use this instead of the Olay Mirco-sculpting serum. Being water based, it is lightweight and instantly absorbed into skin, leaving it nourished, super hydrated and never ever greasy. It contains enzymes and liposomes prevent and repair cellular damage to help with the anti-aging process and firms the skin. This was one of the products used when I recently had my fraxel laser and it was soothing and calming to use. I have to say for the price, I expect to see more results but sadly I don't. I still really enjoy the product though I'd love it more if the price tag wasn't so hefty (thank goodness I received this from a competition prize!).

7. Neutrogena healthy defence daily moisturiser with Helioplex SPF 30+  for combination/oily skin 40ml RRP A$16.49 ^- a good moisturiser sunscreen that is affordable and suitable for oily and combination skin and doesn't have the white cast issues that other sunscreen products have. It's not too rich and rubs easily into skin although it's not as oil controlling as it could be. It works well during the cooler months on my skin and given I already treat my face with other serums and treatment products, this basic moisturiser sunscreen meets all my needs and gives me basic hydration and stable high sun protection. It's the last skincare product I put onto my face before I slap on my makeup.

8. Lanolips Lemonaid Lip Aid  RRP A$15.95 - my favourite lip balm/treatment product - I've tried the other lanolips and although nice, they didn't make much of an impression as this 70% pure lanolin balm. It helps to sooth and smooth my dry chapped lips, keeping them moist and soft and makes lipstick application more even and smooth. I love the tangy taste and scent of the lemon essential oil and it acts as a natural exfoliant to keep flaky lips at bay too. This is a limited edition product and it's still available in the Myer and DJ stores I visit in Melbourne but I'm going to be stocking this right up - just in case you know.

My star products that I would never swap out (or would quickly come back to) is my Dermalogica cleanser, Lancome Blanc Expert Spot Eraser,  Lanolips Lemonaid lip aid and Olay Regenerist Micro-sculpting Serum. They are my HG skincare products.

Next up, my night time skincare routine...

Products marked * were sent for consideration. 
Products marked ^ were competition prizes or gifts from generous friends. All other products were purchased by yours truly.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Clinique High Lengths Mascara

Unfortunately I'm not blessed by the lash fairies and have short stubby Asian lashes. For this reason one of my favourite makeup products are mascaras as they give me fluttery lashes and help to open up my eyes. In fact, it'd be the one makeup item I won't leave the house without (along with lip gloss and sunscreen)!

Always wanting to test out the latest on the market,  I tried a mascara with an interesting brush this month and have been surprised by how well it worked despite my initial scepticism.

Clinique High Lengths Mascara

check out the teeth-like brush head!
  • Has the weirdest flexi plastic brush design I've seen lately - the brush look like curved bow with stubby green spikey teeth but don't let this alien looking brush fool you, it works amazingly well at coating each individual lash to give defined separated looks. 
  • Not so much of a curling or volumising formula, it is slightly thick with works well with the flexible brush to really lifts lashes at the root and lengthens my short lash by more than 60% with 2 coats that is still very natural looking. Any more coats to achieve volume gave slightly stick-like lashes which had to be combed out so I would advise against going having more than 2 coats with this mascara.   
  • I didn't experience any clumping or flaking but did have slight smudging at the end of the day (I'm a serial blinker with teary eyes which could have contributed to this). 
look at the lift & length I got with this mascara! <3 <3
If volume is not your priority and you want defined, separated and flutteringly lifted lashes, this latest Clinique mascara will meet and exceed all those requirements. I'm as pleased as punch with the results I get with it and would definitely re-purchase.

RRP A$38 at Clinique counters or Clinique Online.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Make Your Own Solid Perfume

If you love to carry around with you your favourite perfume to respray during the day but hate the fact that it's a glass bottle and prone to breakages, then have I got a treat for you! 

You can easily turn any of your favourite scents into a solid form by making your own solid perfumes with this simple DIY project! Seriously, if you can make 2-minute noodles, you can make this. 

Solid perfume Benefits 
  • portability - a small solid perfume jar is easier to take around that full sized perfume bottles
  • no need to decant your perfume into purse size sprays to use it on the go
  • no leaks, spills or potential breakages of glass!
how cute is this jar for solid perfume?

Tools/Ingredients required:
  • 1 tablespoon Beeswax or vaseline (vaseline will give lighter and softer setting solid perfumes)
  • 1 tablespoon Almond Oil (or Jojoba Oil)
  • 8 - 15 drops Essential Oils or 5-10 spritz from your favourite perfume
  • Lip balm jars to hold your finished products- clean out old ones or buy new ones from craft shops  but any container with a tight fitting lid would work. You can even try the cute designed ones. 
  • Microwave-safe container (eg. glass bowl)
  •  stirrer - toothpicks, or paddle pop sticks
  1. Melt together the wax or petroleum jelly with the jojoba or sweet almond oil. You can either microwave the ingredients for a few seconds in a microwave-safe container to soften the mixture or heat it up over a double boiler - I am lazy and prefer the use of the microwave. Microwave for 5 seconds each time and mix the mixture to ensure even melting of the ingredients. 
  2. Once mixture has liquefied, add the essential oils if you're using that. If you are using perfume, spritz enough into the melted product until it reaches the desired strength of fragrance. 
  3. Use the stirrer to mixing the fragrance and melted mixture. You can use anything as the stirrer but expect your perfume to coat it, so either use something disposable or else something you can wash (so don't using your wooden spoon, unless you want it to smell pretty forever).
  4. Pour the liquid into your final container and give it a few hours to set.
Viola - your solid perfume is done and you can start to use it to any part of your skin and best of all, pop it into your hand bag so you can take it with you everywhere you go!

Easy and rewarding to make - you can even get creative by mixing different scents to create your very own customised ones - what scents would you make? Mine would be Rose and Vanilla. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kryolan Anti-shine Powder

Face powders, be they the pressed or loose varieties are used to set your makeup so that they last longer and help prevent creasing or premature disappearing of your foundation during the day.

Powders also serves as a quick touch up aid and to reduce shine and oil that accumulates on the skin throughout the day. Too much powdering however, can lead to the cakey look and the product may even settle in fine lines and make make you look worn and tired than refreshed! 

Mattifying powders and foundations help resolve this problem to an extent but readers, let me tell you of a miracle product I've newly discovered one weekend whilst foundation shopping with a girlfriend  that keeps me shine free for 10+hr days - an amazing feat considering the grease ball I become most days in the office. 

Kryolan Anti-Shine Powder
  • Looks and feels like any other loose translucent powder - it appears as a mirco-fine white powder in the shifter lidded jar but is colourless when brushed onto skin so any skin tone can use this product. 
  • Comes in a massive 30g jar and will literally last you forever if you use this exclusively on your face or 1/2 a lifetime if you use it on other parts of your body as well - i'm not kidding.
  • A little goes a long way. Don't think you are getting more mattifying power by applying this stuff all over as you would normal translucent powder, it will leave your skin with a white cast and looking flat and de-void life or luminosity- not a good look really. 
  • Apply your normal loose powder as you normally would, and then pick up the tiniest amount of the anti-shine powder with your powder brush (I use a large fluffy powder brush like the MAC #150 brush or Bobbi Brown's Powder brush). and just lightly dust with deft hands on areas you are prone to grease up during the day, T-zone, around the mouth and cheeks. Use a fluffy blending eye brush (eg. MAC 224 or Stila #9 brush) to work on the nooks and crannies of the nose and mouth areas. 
  • Update: I now apply this powder before loose powder as there is less of that flat look when I change the order of powder application around. 
  • Tip: Apply blush/bronzer/highlighter after this powder liven up the face and avoid the flat look. 
  • With zero touch up, my face at 8pm after a long 10 hour working day was still looking very presentable - skin was looking very fresh and hydrated with minimal shine - unreal!
Ingredients: imethylimidazolidinone rice starch, talc, parfum.
Probably the best mattifying products I've ever used and considering this stuff is used in theatrics and TV, you know it stands up to all the heat and rigour of the stage industry (Kryolan is a theatrics makeup company after all). The bonus is it's cost effective since you probably only ever need to buy a jar of this.

The only gripe I have is how flat it can look when freshly applied. I'm thinking of mixing it into the translucent powder to see if that helps with the finish upon initial application - otherwise, this is the savour for anyone who oils up like a grease ball and shines like a beacon of oily light within a few hours.

If you couple this with a mattifying primer, you will have the perfect weapon for a shine free face under any circumstances.

RRP A$29 for 30gram at selected Kryolan stocklists. For stocklists or other Kryolan product details, please visit Kryolan Online.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review: Dove Foaming Makeup Remover

Removing makeup at the end of the day is the first step of my evening skincare routine to prep it for the active skincare products I put onto my face. Being a year older (and wiser), this routine is more important than ever.

My favourite makeup removers are the 2 phase types (eg. Clinique Take of the Day, Lancome Bi-Facil or Face of Australia Gentle Makeup Remover) where you have to shake the product to emulsify them before use as I find them more effective at removing stubborn eye makeup - especially the waterproof varieties.

So when I heard there is a new type of makeup remover in the market, I just had to check it out to find out more about it.

Dove Foaming Makeup Remover

  • Liquid in bottle, the unique formula turns to foam upon pumping it out of the bottle. 
  • Can be applied to dry or wet face to remove makeup by massaging the foam onto skin to break the makeup down and then rinsing it off with water. 
  • I find that 2 pumps is adequate to cover my whole face and I use 1 more pump for the eye area as the heavy makeup there needs more foam to remove the eye products. 
  • Foaming remover feels like cotton wools carressing face and is pleasant to use with a nice fresh fragrance. 
  • Does a great job with removing grime and makeup from face with ease of use depending on makeup formula (with more foam required for waterproof or emulsifying lip products) 
  • The foam is not tear-proof - this means if you do get it into your eye, it does cause mild irritation so be careful when taking off that waterproof mascara. 
  • Can almost double up as a cleanser as well as it leaves skin cleansed and soft and non-tight feeling. However, it is slightly greasy  after washing face and as I like to double cleanse, I follow up it with a quick cleanse with normal cleanser afterwards (I do use less cleanser though).

A pleasure to use and if you like the feeling of soft cottony foam removing makeup from your face, then this is something you should look into.  It isn't as effective as the 2 phase emulsion type removers but it is certainly more enjoyable to use and I like the fact that it is a cleanser as well.

What is your favourite makeup remover? 

RRP 150ml A$10.99 at Priceline, Supermarkets and selected Pharmacies.
This product was provided for review.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview: Greg Roberts on Onkaparinga

You may start off wondering what all Aussie Onkaparinga is all about as it's one of those brands that you don't think of normally unless you are in the market for it.

Let me tell you Onkaparinga is a Proud Australian company with rich heritage that dates back 1869 and is synonymous with high quality luxury sleep products and accessories. Their growth in recent times have seen them expand to the bathroom and to the beach with their latest and upcoming offerings.

I recently had the fortunate opportunity recently to interview the Greg Roberts - Managing Director of the company to find out more about its business and its products. 

Onkaparinga was established since 1869 – there must be a lot of history. Could you give a brief history of Onkaparinga. What has the growth been like?
For generations Onkaparinga was associated with high quality Australian woollen blankets and has established a rich heritage as a well known, trusted brand.

[The name Onkaparinga comes] from the indigenous word meaning “The Women’s River” and was referred to as that before reverting to the original name in 1837. The river, at its source at the foot of the Mt. Lofty Ranges, was the site of the Onkaparinga Woollen Mills, first established in 1869.

In recent times Onkaparinga has expanded its range to become a leader in the luxury warmth and comfort category... continuing its range extension to beyond the bedroom to the bathroom and beach but always based on a premium premise which allows our consumers to pamper and indulge themselves. 

What sets Onkaparinga apart from other companies offering similar products eg. Sheridan. What is your differentiation?
Our heritage first and foremost sets us apart. It has taken 142 years thus far to build trust and a quality reputation so we are not about to compromise that. Onkaparinga concentrates less on fashion and more on comfort, quality and pampering our customers. Our quilts and bedding ranges are proof of this, as is our new bathroom towel collection and wait until you see our Retro Beach Ware to be launched in David Jones later this year.

What’s next on your horizon? What can customers look forward to?
We continue to expand our bedding lines, with high end linen to follow soon. 

In September we launch our beach ware selection, a retro range of beach towels, umbrellas, beach lounges and beach carry bags... We return the fun to beach ware. Look out for it in David Jones this summer.

What is your favouirite past and current product ranges and why
It is difficult to be objective but everyone here is wildly excited with the upcoming release of the Beach Ware range. But, then the current range of our Egyptian Cotton towels is fantastic as well... (Greg couldn't decide on his favourite range and listed a the various ranges he was fond of instead). 

Would you expand to clothing or accessories?
Yes, though within our categories. Sleepwear is one, so too beachwear, such as sun hats, t-shirts and board shorts. Onkaparinga is a brand synonymous with and unique to Australia. So within our category that sits comfortably under this umbrella is the answer with the proviso that it is of premium quality and pampers our customers.

Thank you Greg for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. 

I also had the chance to check out the luxury towel range and I can tell you these towel are hotel quality and stand up to the abuse of daily use and washing and drying and still come out nice and fluffy and soft. I can't think of anything warmer this coming winter than to step out of the shower and onto the soft bamboo bathmat whilst being wrapped up in fluffy soft towels like Onkaparinga's. 
Latest Egyptian Cotton towel range

What's more these towels with their ribbed pattens and sophisticated colour selections (my favourite are the mushroom colours as it's nice and neutral) means there's bound to be one that would suit your decor and add an extra touch of luxury into your bathroom.
Latest Luxury Towel range and bamboo bath mat

Onkaparinga Towels start at RRP A$9.95 for face washers to A$64.95 for large bath sheets.
For more information on Onkaparinga products or stocklists, please visit Onkaparinga Online.

Samples from the latest towel range were provided for consideration.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Shop Online @ Bobbi Brown Australia Now

If you haven't heard the good news, Bobbi Brown Australia is now available for those of us who like to go shopping in the wee hours of the night or just live too far to get to a Bobbi Brown Counter.

You now can shop away to your heart's content with all the latest offerings from Bobbi and to celebrate the launch on the online store - Enter the code "WELCOME4" to receive free shipping and
  • a deluxe sample of Extreme Party Mascara (3ml)
  • a deluxe sample of Intensive Skin Supplement (3ml)
  • and a deluxe sample of your choice with your first purchase.
Offer valid whilsts stocks last. 

What's more there's now a review function on all the products lines on the site. As an incentive for you to contribute a review of your favourite product, you will be awarded a duluxe size cleansing oil for your hard efforts if you are the first 100 reviewers. How good is that?

What is your favourite Bobbi Brown product? - mine is the award winning corrector in peach.

Review: Orly Rich Renewal Creme

The winter weather's causing havoc on my skin this month. Scaly legs and dehydrated arms are starting to show up. Add to that, my hands are getting very dry and the cuticles are looking ragged and chapped. It was time to take some action and hit myself up on some intense hydration.

Orly Rich Renewal Ultra Hydrating Creme
  • The purse size 60ml tube of goodness is handy to carry arounnd and comes in 3 amazing fragrances - Passion, Peace and Paradise. I had the Peace one which is a light vanilla and white tea scent - yummy and heavenly at the some time. 
  • Indeed very rich but not at all greasy - in fact is has this silken feel and is very much similar to L'Occitane's ultra Rich Cream in texture. It is absorbed quickly and starts to hydrate skin immediately.
  •  Love the fact this multi-tasker can be used on the all parts of the body and works well on hands to soothe culitcles
  • Leaves skin soft and silky by quenching it with moisture whilst subtly scenting it. Within 3 days my scaly arms were starting to look very normal again. 
Ingredients listing:

    I just can't get enough of this stuff and could slather it on all day long. I love it for the scent alone but this beauty is a winner in the all important hydration and softening department as well - what's there not to love?

    60ml RRP A$10.95 or 240ml A$29.95 at selected Pharmacies or Orly Online.

    P.S. use the discount code 'beautyheaven' to get 15% of all your purchases when you checkout online. This code was provided to all members of beautyheaven, which I'm part of.

    This product sample was provided for consideration.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Review: Shu Uemura Fresh Cleansing Oil

    There are facial cleansers and there facial cleansers. Some work better for different skin types but basic skincare starts with cleansing. We've all tried the foaming ones, the gel and the cream ones ones but most of us would rarely think of using oil to clean our skin would we?

    It seems bizarre to use oil based products to cleanse your skin but in chemistry, oil dissolves oil so makeup, sebum on our skin litterally will slides off with the use of oil cleansers.
    Not only does it give the most thorough cleanse but oil cleansers is it doesn't strip your skin of its natural lipids so doesn't give you that tight and squeaky clean feel after washing.

    The most famous oil cleansers are from Shu Uemura as they are the pioneers of bringing this formulation to the market in 1967 and is so popular, a bottle is sold every 20 seconds around the globe.

    Most recently Shu Uemura has released another cleansing oil to the range to give you the pore less look.

    Shu Uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil

    • Infused with sakura leaf extract -sakura is Japanese for cherry blossom which soothes with its anti-inflammatory properties to reduce irritations and skin redness.
    • Other worthy-mention ingredients include LHA (a salicylic acid derivative) and cherry extract (a natural AHA) to remove dead skin cells and help gently refine and improve skin texture.
    • suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin and has a fresh fruit scent. 

    Directions for oil cleanser use:
    Start with dry hands and face, and pump 3-4 pump of product onto hand
    spread product all over face, gently massaging it into skin
    Add a few drops of water to face to emulisfy the oil (watch it turn a milky white colour)
    Rinse off completely with luke warm water.

    • No makeup is match for this, not even waterproof mascara disappears after one wash with this so you can actually skip the makeup removal step (although you will have to use more oil cleanser to get a proper clean)
    • leaves skin feeling balanced, and purified - none of that tight dry feeling at all. 
    • Over a few weeks use, pores do appear to look less visible after daily washing. 
    • Also perfect for cleansing those stubborn foundation/concealer stains from makeup brushes - the bristles come up white and clean after 1 wash 90% of the time - it's my new HG makeup brush cleanser. 

    Have you tried oil cleansing before? If not Shu Uemura is currently giving samples of this product out in David Jones city stores. Print out this voucher and redeem away and try this out for yourself. Warning - you will be hooked.
    sample offer valid till 31st May whilst stocks last.  

    150ml/450ml RRP A$55/A$110 in Shu Uemura counters at city David Jones stores.
    This product was sent for consideration.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Supermarket Haircare Offerings that Actually Works

    Hair Care has taken a serious turn in supermarket aisles this year with brands making more accessible professional quality products and updating their formulas to be better than ever to help us have glossy and luscious manageable locks every day.

    With so much out in the market, it can be quite daunting to try and find a new shampoo and conditioner for your hair.

    Let me try and demystify these latest range for you so you go to the beauty aisle armed and informed when you next visit you local store.

    Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal* - 350ml RRP A$7.99
    • New recharging Pro-V formula, the Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal shampoo and conditioner works more effectively to restore damaged hair back to healthy, shiny looking locks. 
    • The new light-weight formula leaves hair feeling supple and shiny but doesn’t put extra weight and there’s less of that slippery dimethicone feeling when compared with its predecessor. 

    Wella Pro Series Shampoo & Conditioner*  - 750ml RRP A$10.99
    • This new Pro Series puts professional product normally found in salons into homes and includes a comprehensive hair care and styling line. The range features fruity, floral scent with whiffs of Egyptian pear, peach, roses, jasmine petals and chamomile, mixed with cashmere, sandalwood musk and coconut milk. 
    • The haircare range comes in Shine, Volume, Colour and Repair Series to meet different types of hair concerns 
    • The styling range (RRP A$7.99 each) comes in Volume, Strong Hold and Max Hold to meet the demands of any style you dream to create. 
    Pantene Clinicare Ritual 1 week Trial kit* – RRP A$10.99 
    • A joint effort from Pantene’s scientist and Wella Professional experts, this range is created to revitalised chemically stressed hair. 
    • Contains Pro-Vitamins, three amino acids and Vitamin E to add moisture, radiance and shine whilst strengthening hair with regular use. 
    • Range includes Fullness Charge for fine hair, Hydro-Surge for dehydrated hair, and Miro-Repair Revitalising for chemically damaged hair. 
    • The trial kit includes a shampoo 40ml, conditioner 40ml and two 15ml rinse off treatment for an extra dose of restorative on a weekly basis. 
    • The full size items costs A$14.99 for 250ml and A$19.99 for 5 ampoles of the rinse off treatment. 

    I had the big task of putting all these hair care items to the test and finally, the results are in:

    If you have normal-dry hair
    • Pantene’s Daily Moisture Renewal is your best bet. It really does leave hair soft, silky whilst adding shine and still leave hair light and full of volume without any added weight. 
    • This is my new go-to shampoo and conditioner from Pantene and whilst I was a fan of the original formula, the lightweight feel I get after using this is a welcoming change. 
    • I’ve also known a few people who were previously not so keen on Pantene’s normal formula really enjoying the use of this latest range. 

    If you have very chemically processed that needs intense treatment
    • With my 1 week trial kit, I found the shampoo and conditioner do a fair job of hydrating my hair and keeping it adding shine back to my hair. 
    • The stand out for me though is Clinicare’s rinse off treatment ampoles which are amazing for the all round hair rejuvenation that probably needs to happen once every week if you have dyed your hair to oblivion. 
    • I can’t say that I’ve ever had a $80 treatment to validate whether this range beats that as the product claims, but I personally prefer the salon treatment for the extra pampering experience (I’ve only had A$40 treatments that leaves leave looking uh-mazing but if you are after value, then this at home kit would work for you). 
    If you have fine hair and are after everyday hair maintenance 
    • The volume range from Wella Pro would be your best bet. You can’t go past the value for money that Well Pro provides in its Shine, Volume, Colour and Repair series – there is bound to be a range here that meets your most discerning needs. 
    • My personal pick is the Repair haircare series as I have brittle damaged hair - I especially love the conditioner from this range - it silkens my hair like nobody's business, leaves hair full of volume without any added weight. 
    So there you have it, depending on your hair needs, you really can go any way with these latest haircare offerings. Be sure to check them out next time you pause down the beauty aisle of your supermarket.

    What is your favourite supermarket haircare range?

    Pantene, Clinicare and Wella Pro are available at supermarkets and selected chemists now. 
    Product marked * were sent for consideration.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Harajuku Lovers - G of the Sea

    Every once in a while, a product with cute as hell packaging would come along and steal my heart. And one such item in the past month was a limited edition from Harajuku Lovers - G of the Sea.

    Now G is no ordinary Harajuku character, she’s not only more prettier than her other girly Harajuku friends but she’s actually a mermaid, the very reason why I fell in love with her when I saw her for the first time.
    The Ad Campaign
    G is adorned in a cute seashell bikini and melts my heart with her flowing blond locks and  gorgeous  green tail that flips off to one side and sits on top a round blue bottle. She comes all nicely wrapped up a her own special underwater themed box, complete with cute little imprinted sea critters and even a seahorse play mates to keep her company when she is at home in her under sea playground.
    Love at first Sight with G of the Sea

    Developed by Perfumer Gil Clavien from Firmenic, G holds a whimsical fresh woody scent that instantaneously reminds one of summer fun by the sea.

    Upon first spray G of the Sea, you pick up the scent of fresh apples and crushed berries along with water lilies in the tops notes and get the sense you're heading towards the summer evening to cool off with pina-coladas. 

    As it settles, a floral middle notes peeks through and a bouquet of freesia mingled with jasmine pink peony lingers around. It finally finishes with a heart of sensual musk and woody layer of amberwood. 

    Whenever I wear this, I daydream of being transported to a tropical island and although the scent can be fleeting, I just have to re-apply a few hours later to re-live the day dream again.

    Gwen Stefani has really outdone herself this time in the packaging department. If you are a collector of the Harajuku Lovers, then I would rush out and cast a net over G whilst she is by the sea before she mystically disappears into the ocean again.

    EDT 30ml RRP A$65 on counters now at Myer, The Perfume Connection and selected pharmacies nationally for a limited time. US readers can pick this up for US$45 at Sephora.
    This product was provided for consideration.

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Kiehl's Melbourne Bloggers Event

    On a bitterly cold and raining evening last Thursday, Kiehl's decided to to warm things up in Melbourne by holding an event to share its recent announcement of shrinking prices with a handful of beauty bloggers.

    For those of you who aren't as familiar with the brand, here's a bit of a low down on Kiehl's:
    • Established in 1851 by chemist John Kiehl's with humble beginnings in 3rd Avenue& 13th St New York, Kiehl's is an iconic puveyor of fine quality skincare products. 
    • Provides fuss free, no nonsense products that are promoted via word of mouth with no advertising or use of paid celebrity endorsements.
    • Kiehl's products contain innovative, natural ingredients and have grown from salves and pharmaceutical tonic to today's product lines in skin, body and hair care products. 
    • Prides in the moto that actions speaks louder than words and that the great products will speak for themselves. That's why Kiehl's have samples of almost all the items in their range to let you take home and try it first before buying it (other brands - take note!!).
    • Has one of the best customer service I've experienced. Every time I've interacted with them, their consultants have been knowledgeable, helpful and never ever pushy to make a sales. 
    Now that intros are out of the way, back to the event...

    Mingling with the other beauty bloggers and fellow MBBE ladies, we were treated with light refreshments.

    Jacie, Steph & Jess
    VioletCelina, myself and Akisa with Mr. Bones
    After a while, we were gathered together to hear Tere - General Manager of Kiehl's Australia give us a brief history of the brand and the exciting announcement Kiehl's wishes to thank their loyal customers for their growing success by giving back and significantly cutting back the prices of over 100 products in the 360 strong product lines effective from May 9th 2011. 

    Stand out examples of the price drops include the Creme De corps body lotion previously A$89, now A$68 and the Ultra Facial Cream previously A$105, now A$64.

    This means local shoppers will now pay prices similar to as they would if they shopped online from US sites and have the benefit of experiencing the amazing customer service at the local Kiehl's counter to ensure they are using the right products for their skin needs. 
    Jessica (EG PR) and Tere Sharing the great news with us
    We were then given a personal consult (I was lucky enough to have Tere help me) and a customised skincare regime to take home afterwards. In my kit I received:
    • darkness diminishing eye treatment to help me address my dark circles, 
    • Ultra Facial Cream for the dehydrated skin I'm experiencing, 
    • Kiehl's famous SPF15 lip balm and various other samples to try out.
    My personalised Kiehl's skincare
    I had a fabulous evening getting to know more about Kielh's product offerings and it was also great opportunity to catch up with the lovely MBBE ladies and a few of us even headed out to dinner together afterwards. 

    A very big thank you to Jessica from Elise Garland PR and Tere for organsing and hosting the event.

    If you want more info on Kiehl's Australia's price changes and other updates, check them out online on their Facebook page.

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Guess Biotherm Austrailia's New Prices and Win

    As you would have heard and read in my earlier post, Biotherm is amongst a leading group of beauty brands to lower their Australian retail prices on many of their top selling products.

    Biotherm's timing couldn't be better as it coincides with the 10th year Biotherm has been in the Australian market. So to celebrate the occassion and thank the local market for their support, the good guys decided to run a competition on their facebook page and let you guess their new lower prices on various products for a chance to win a A$500 Myer gift voucher or 1 of 20 Biotherm moisturisers.
    So what are you waiting for? Head over to Biotherm's Facebook page to like them and start guessing away before it ends on 29th May. 

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    It's My Birthday

    I have never been one to celebrate my birthdays with parties. In fact I don’t think I’ve properly celebrated my birthday in the past 10 years. It would have been cake and dinner with family and that would be it and a few surprise presents from lovely friends.

    In a few short days, It will be my birthday again. And this time round, it feels different. This is where I kiss my 20s goodbye and cautiously embrace womanhood in my 30s. 

    I’ve always felt despite being an legal adult since I turned 18, I was still a young adult, one exploring and learning through experience, allowed to to make many mistakes and a free spirit, not laden with responsibilities and obligations. In my late 20s I had more responsibilities, but even though I felt like I was a proper full adult, I could still take time out to be silly and be a bit wild once every a while.

    Now that I’m reaching a milestone date, mentally I have stepped across the threshold into a new paradigm. I feel the weight of responsibilities bearing on me more (though it is no different than the past few months), but there is a mental shift in my mind associated with turning 30.

    So readers, help me dissolve my fears of getting another year older, and celebrate with me a milestone as I continue along my life journey.

    It’s nerve-racking and exciting. I’m not sure what to expect in my 30s – hopefully exciting opportunities in love and career and in my ability to pursue my passions and all the things that bring me happiness and pleasure. 

    No doubt beauty and blogging will continue to be an important part of it as clearly, it's one of those things I love dearly and I love sharing it with you.

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    Olay Men Solutions Skincare

    Men’s Skincare is becoming more prominent and given the number of times men have been caught "borrowing" their wives/girlfriends/sisters skincare products, it seems a natural evolution that they get a skincare range of their own that actually targets their specific needs.

    One such range recently released by is the Olay Men Solutions Collection
    Designed to fight three types of male skin issues roughness, oiliness, and dullness with their toner and moisturisers and help men look more confident by providing fuss free one-stop solution to address their skin concerns

    Olay Men Solutions collection comes in 2 ranges:
    Multi Solution Range - Suitable for Dry to Normal Skin

    • Smooth Cream Foaming Cleanser – RRP A$12.99
    • Revitalising Cream – RRP A$19.99
    • Refreshing Toner – RRP A$19.99
    • Eye Gel – RRP A$19.99

    Refreshing Energy Range - Suitable for Normal to Oily Skin

    • Gel Foaming Cleanser – RRP A$12.99
    • Gel Moisturiser – RRP A$19.99
    Uniquely formulated and features star ingredients Niacinamide, Vitamin Pro B5, Vitamin B3 and Vitamin C and multiple botanical and mineral essences for men’s skin including Ginseng, Green tea, Witch Hazel & Cucumber. Niacinamide helps to increase hydration, improve skin texture, minimize pores and reduce sebum production. Vitamin’s E & C are great oxidants to help skin to resist damage from free radicals, and Vitamin Pro B5 is a proven skin smoother that helps to strengthen skin’s moisture barrier.

    Big DD, the patriarch of the family and a non-believer of skincare (I had to insist he give these a go) put some of these products to the test and here are his verdict.

    Eye Gel
    Not used to putting products around my eye and it felt slightly sticky, it doesn’t smell (has only a light fragrance) and is otherwise a nice gel. The skin around my eyes felt softer after use and maybe it helped with the dark circles but it didn't help much for my puffiness. 
    Smooth Cream Foaming Cleanser
    A very nice product – I like the smell of it and leaves my face soft, not too oily but not too dry either and I feel refreshed afterwards. 

    Revitalising Cream
    Smells good like the cleanser, moisturises, quite watery (translation: it's light and fluidy in texture) and not sticky which I like. Keeps my skin soft and smooth. 

    Post Shave Toner
    This is like splashing perfumed water on my face after shaving. It is cooling and soothes my skin irritations. It doesn’t sting on areas where I cut myself and makes me feel very refreshed. 

    Big DD has high expectations and he gives this range an overall thumbs up with his favourite product being the cream cleanser and the post shave toner. He did mention that he wanted to see more anti-aging results from his skincare range (bear in mind he is hitting the big 6-0 this year).

    Next time you visit the skincare care aisle of the supermarket or the chemist and you want your guy to look after his skin (or move him away from borrowing your products), why not suggest this range to him? It’s affordable and will keep his skin looking as smooth as a baby’s bum.

    Olay Men Solutions is now available in supermarkets, Priceline and selected pharmacies.

    These products were sent for consideration.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Beauty Brands Lowering Prices

    Lets face it, beauty is a luxury that not every body can afford. Sure there are budget brands and premium brands but often after paying off living expenses, not many of us have got much left over to indulge ourselves in beauty products on a regular basis as it isn't considered an essential item in most people lives.

    Sure you won't die without it, but if skincare products helps to keep your skin looking youthful longer and makeup makes you feel prettier and more confident in life, then I say it is a pretty essential aid in your lives.

    Many brands are recognising that consumers are hurt by increased costs of living and with most of the world still griped by the GFC and living on tight budgets, it was time to review the pricing policies. What gave this movement momentum is the growing price disparities in the local market vs international markets in a period of our appreciating currency exchange that makes online shopping more appealing.  The brands must have decided to take action to stem the loss of local sales and to re-align Australian prices with international markets.

    It started earlier this year with Lancôme announcing permanent price reductions in prices for their popular skincare and beauty lines, like the Genifique serum (now A$115 for 30ml) and their Teint Idole Ultra Foundation (now A$68).

    Then French skincare line Guinot reduced their prices across all product lines by up to 8.9%  (every bit counts as it's more money in our pocket).

    Last week Biotherm have announced lower prices across all their product lines (some as much as 46%) and now US skincare brand Kiehls have joined the giving back bandwagon and have slashed prices of their products by as much as 40%.

    As a beauty addict, this is welcoming news and it's great to see these top beauty brands respond to the demands of consumers for more parity in pricing policies. I hope to see more brands get on board this movement and I think we won't have to wait too long before being pleasantly surprised with more upcoming price reductions across more brands on all our favourite products.

    Hopefully this will mean that more people can now afford to look and feel as good as they do inside.

    What would you rush out to by next if it was reduced by 40%? - for me, it would be a Estee Lauder's Pure Lip colours as I'm currently obsessed with lipsticks. 

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Review: YSL Temps Majeur Concentre De Serum

    Serums are a great way to boost the benefits of your skincare regime, whether they be rejuvenating, repairing, protecting properties and should be the best friend for anyone looking to get the most out of anti-aging benefits.

    Serums are usually water based and should be the first product applied to allow first absorption and to prep skin. It also acts to draw other skincare products deeper into the skin's epidermis layer to boosters your other skincare products effects (rule of thum: apply the lightest most fluid product onto skin first before layering any other richer, heavy products on top or not all products will be absorbed into skin).

    The lastest in the line up of serum is from luxury brand YSL, who in celebration of its 10 year anniversary, have come up with an advanced high-tech formula to complete its renowned anti-aging Temps Majeur collection.

    YSL Temps Majeur Concentrate De Serum 
    • Contains double the concentration of star ingredient Ganoderma Lucidum – the mushroom of eternal youth when compared to its predecessor serum. This magical mushroom is renowned in the Asian culture (where it's known in Chinese as ling-zhi or 靈芝) for the last two millennia is known as the elixir of life for its regenerative properties and therapeutic benefits. 
    • A silky light fluid that is freshly fragranced, it is instantly absorbed into skin and leaves skin very hydrated without any stickiness. 
    • Over times helps with cellular regeneration and rejuvenation to give radiant skin and for a glowing face. 
    • Leaves skin baby soft and firmer to touch. 
    • Suitable for all skin types, it helps to strengthen the skin barrier and smooth out skin – especially under the eye area where crepiness has reduced in appearance. 
    This serum is the quintessence of luxury and anti-aging with a price tag to match. If money was no object and you need to test out a new fountain of youth, YSL Temps Majeur offers you this concentrated serum that will surely delight. I will enjoy every pump of my bottle and will be saddened the day it runs out.

    Do you use serums as part of your skincare? What do you use?
    RRP A$375/US$225 for 30ml at YSL counters now.
    This product was provided for consideration.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    Review: Dr. Lewinn's Synergise Range

    Dr. Lewinn, one of Australia's leading skincare brand has recently launched a diffusion range to cater for the younger and more budget conscious consumer by putting it into assessable Coles supermarkets shelves.

    The range, known as Synergise is an anti-aging range design to be fuss free and easy to incorporate into women's everyday life without it taking too much time, effort or cost.

    As the adage goes, an apple a days keeps the doctor away. The Synergise range takes this up literally and features in all its product star ingredients Swiss Apple stem cells for its regenerative and protective properties to you maintain the fresh youthful look for longer.

    Other ingredients within the range include anti-oxidants such as Acai Berry extract, Green Tea extract, Pomegranate extract and anti-ageing peptides Matrixyl 300, which is known to reduce fine lines and promote healthy radiant skin.

    The entire skincare range includes
    Facial Scrub 150mL RRP A$19.95
    Cream Cleanser 150mL RRP A$19.95
    Foaming Cleanser 150mL RRP A$19.95
    Alcohol free Toner 150mL RRP A$19.95
    Mask 100g RRP A$34.95
    Day Cream 50mL RRP A$39.95
    Day Lotion 50mL RRP A$39.95
    Tinted Moisturiser SPF 30+ 50mL RRP A$39.95
    Eye Cream 15mL RRP A$39.95
    Night Cream 50mL RRP A$39.95
    Eye Make-up Remover 100mL RRP A$14.95

    I had the opportunity to check out the below products in the range last month. 

    Synergise Foaming Cleanser
    • Light foaming, I use this with my clarisonic for the deepest clean. 
    • Has a refreshing apple fragrance which is very pleasant and is non-irritating so suitable for all skin types, even sensitive. 
    • Removes makeup, oil and impurities and leaves skin feeling super soft and soothed. 
    • Isn't too drying or moisture striping like some other cleanser which can leave skin feeling tight after use. 
    • Not too sure how anti-aging this cleanser is as most of the antioxidants and active ingredients are only on skin for a minute and washed off. 

    Synergise Facial Scrub
    • Comes a cream base scrub with fine spheres of exfoliating bead which are less harsh and unlikely to scratch skin to reveal softer, fresher new skin. 
    • Great for use in showers not just on the face but neck and decollatage areas as well to remove dead skin cell build up, impurities.
    • Provides an invigorating massage with the exfoliating beads and leaves skin feeling smooth and baby soft. 
    • There is no tight skin feeling after using this so it does not over strip moisture from skin and I would recommend it for all skin types, even sensitive skin. 
    Synergise Toner
    • Helps removes any stubborn residue traces of impurities that cleansing may miss.
    • Re-hydrates and softens skin, I like to use this immediately after cleansing my face to ensure my face is not striped of moisture during the wash. 
    • Although I don't normally use a toner after cleansing and instead opt to use serums to increase my hydration level, this toner gives an added level of hydration to my skin leaving it feeling super hydrated, soothed and rebalanced, ready for other skincare creams and serums to be used on top of it.
    Synergise Eye Cream
    • Is a very light fluid cream that has a very very faint fermented apple scent (unlike the rest of the Synergise range which has a more fragrant apple scent).
    • Easily absorbed into the eye area to instantly hydrate the skin in that delicate area. The immediate results from the hydration also reduces visible fine lines and crepiness. 
    • Does a good job of reducing puffiness on my eyes but not much change on dark circles. 
    Synergise Day Cream

    • With a delicate fruity scent in a jar packaging, those who are concern about hygeine may want to use a spoon to scoop the product out for use (on the plus side, it means no product is wasted and you can use every bit of it from the jar). 
    • Has a relatively light in texture for its richness, it is alot richer than the day creams I'm used to. It take a few rubs to be absorbed into skin and leaves a slightly sticky feel and gives a dewy finish with the stickiness going away in 5 minutes time. . 
    • Leaves skin feeling soft, hydrated, slightly firmer to touch with a more even complexion. 
    • Has no/little sun protection so you will need to top it up with and SPF product after this (try it with the SPF 30+ tinted moisturiser). 
    • Suitable for normal to dry including sensitive skin types 
    My star picks from what I've tried so far from this effortless skincare range would be the facial scrub and eye cream.

    Have you picked anything from the Synergise range from Coles yet? What are you most excited to try out?

    Dr. LeWinn's Synergise range is available now exclusively at Coles Supermarkets. 
    Products marked * were received for review as part of BeautyHeaven's trial team.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    2011 Mother's Day Pickings

    Wow where have the time gone? It's already the 3rd of May and Mother's Day is this Sunday 8th! Yikes!
    I've been so caught up with work and socialising on the weekend lately that I haven't even begun to hunt for a gift for my mum yet...

    My mum is notorious for being picky and is very hard to gift for. I usually take her to the shops to let her select her products so she will actually use what I buy her rather than have it sit in the shelf or cupboard back at home. So with Mother's Day dinner done and dusted (we had to celebrate it early so my sister can join us as she is flying back to the UK tomorrow), I just have to find the perfect gift, which is usually either some kitchen gadgets, or some skincare products.

    So this year for those of you who would like some inspirations on Mother's Day gifting, here are my top beauty gifts for the mum who deserves some pampering and luxury this Sunday.

    MOR Essentially Yours Mother's Day gift set* - RRP A$24.95

    Best sellers from the Essentials range, the Honey Nectar (candied warm almonds and in warm honey and brown sugar), Sugar Rose Tiger Lily (sugary roses mixed in tropical fruits with a floral accent) and the Grape Neroli Clementine (citrus infusion of sweet mandarin and candied orange) set contains a delicious and decadent fragrance soap with a soap tin and a body product beautifully presented in an opulent gift box.

    See my previous review of MOR Essentials products for more information on how these products moisturise and subtly scents your body. If you can't make up your mind, you can buy more than one set as they are affordably sweet at A$24.95 each.

    Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh  EDT- A$115/$145 for 75ml/125ml

    This new lighter and fresher version of the original Daisy perfume has notes of ruby grapefruit, raspberry, mingled with lychee, wild rose, jasmine, apple blossoms and a lingering base of musk, plum and cedar wood. It represents the free spirited mum who is bright and full of charm. It helps that the adorable packaging with the floral cap and pretty bottle will sit right proudly at mum's dressing table.

    Napoleon Perdis All About My Mother -RRP A$59 
    Napolean has put out has 3 different luxurious coloured sets for the mum who loves to look and feel her best.
    Valued at A$100, each set includes a Nickies Rose cream blush, luminous lip veil and a Prismatic eye shadow Quad and a vintage-inspired cosmetics bag and beautifully gift wrapped and boxed. All sets contains thoughtfully complementary wearable colours that will make sure mum looks classy and elegant.

    I hope these 3 pickings give you inspiration on what to give mum on her special day, but remember it doesn't need to take that one day in the year to celebrate what a big part mums are in our lives. I am thankful and grateful of my mum every other day.

    How will you be celebrating Mother's Day this weekend?

    Mor and Marc Jacobs are available in leading department stores, and selected pharmacies.
    Napoleon Perdis is available in David Jones, Napoleon Perdis concept stores and selected pharmacies and salons.
    Products marked * were provided for consideration.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Review: Rimmel London Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation

    One of the hardest thing I find to to shop for is foundation. The process of colour matching can be the biggest challenge and there just never seems to be a perfect shade for me, even if there are close matches.
    Always in search for the best matching ones that gives me just the right coverage and feels great on skin, my recent hunts have taken to towards Rimmel London's Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation.

    • Contain built in aqua primer to give a flawless finish, this liquid foundation claims to last through sweat, heat and humidity that will last you the entire day and beyond (hence the 25 hours claim) 
    • Provides a medium coverage that is buildable through layering of the product. 
    • Has a dewy and slightly glowy finish. It feels slightly sticky on skin if you are concerned about such things, once set with translucent powder, the stickiness disappears. 
    • Light and fluid, it isn't too thick and is very easy to blend with fingers or a brush (I use the Sigma flatop kabuki brush to buff it in). I love the even flawless finish you can achieve with this foundation and the fact it is quite transfer resistant (you have to rub pretty hard the get to colour to budge).
    • Is very hydrating on skin is suitable for dry skin type. Oily/combo skin types may find it a tad too greasy for their liking. 
    • Lasting power wise, I found the makeup melted at the end of a lengthy 9 hour work day in an office environment and even when touched up with powder, it is definitely losing the some of the coverage when compared to the freshly applied look. The 25 hours claim doesn't stack up here for me, but considering it does last longer than most foundations and did take me through the working day, I can't complain too much.

    I didn't get a colour match from the range that is available in Australia (a quick search online showed that the US again has a larger shade selection - why do we only get such limited range?). The 2 colours I tried did somewhat adjust to my skin when applied and 200 Soft Beige (too light) with a yellow base is more suited to me than the more pink beige under toned 201 Classic Beige.

    Rimmel Lasting Finish on NC30 skin

    If you are after a hydrating foundation with a dewy finish, this will be the foundation for you. The only challenge will be finding your right shade, and with 7 shades available, you just might be lucky enough to find one that matches.

    RRP A$17.95 at Priceline, supermarkets and pharmacies.
    This product was provided for consideration.

    The Liebster Blog Awards

    I was surprised and humbled to find out last night that the lovely Su from My Perfume Diaries has nominated little moi for a Liebster Blog award. Thank you Su for your high praises and support.

    For those who don't know. The Liebster is a award for those who have less than 300 Google followers but deserves a lot more recognition and following than what they currently get. They are the unsung heroes of the blogsphere, plugging away in their little corner, churning out fantastic work and we need to do something to help them get some publicity.

    If you receive the award you link back to the blogger that nominated you and nominate 3 more blogs. Below are 3 equally beautiful blogs that I would would like to pass on the Liebster Blog Award to. They also deserve your following and support so get going and check them out!

    The Best Beauty Blog
    I love Ling's candidness and ability to weave a great story into her beauty reviews. Her posts are thorough and often have a humourous insights into her life.

    All I want is Everything
    Jess from Miss J Shopaholic does wonderful review posts and amazing youtube video reviews. Her enthusiasm for the products she loves is infectious and often have me wanting to run out to the stores to pick up her reccommendations.

    Emma always shares with us her beauty finds in an honest and open tone. I love the fact she reviews many affordable products that you can just run up to Priceline or local chemist to pick up if it's something that takes your fancy.  

    And of course shout out to all other beauty bloggers, particualarly my MBBE girls - you are what makes this such an amazing blogging community to be a part of.