Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas & Busby Oil Winners

Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope you have been on Santa's good list and you were spoilt by him this morning!

Christmas is always about spending time together in my household. Although I do the gift exchange with friends, we don't really typically excahnge gifts on Christmas in our family (we wait till boxing day to shop up a storm for our favourite things!). For us, Christmas day is all about the gift of each other's presence and the sharing of a Christmas meal surrounded by love and laughter.
And as we are another year older, that becomes even more meaningful for me as I don't get to see my family members as often as I used to anymore.

This year, rather than doing the Christmas turkey or ham for lunch, we've decided on a typical BBQ at home - marinated beef skewers, honey soy wings, prawn mango salads, chilli prawns and a vodka laced lemon berry trifle! Yum!

I hope your Christmas day will also be full of joy, laughter and cheer in the company of amazing family and friends.

Busby Pure Tissue Oil Winners
And as I didn't get a chance to post the winners of the Busby Pure Tissue Oil - three luck readers will have an extra present added to their stockings today even if it does take the elves (aka postman) some time after the new year to deliver your goods, but I promise this is a present worth waiting for :)

So without further ado, the winners in no particular order are...

Ria &

Congratulations ladies. You'll need to get in touch with me via email ( with your postal address so I can organise for this to be sent to you. Please contact me by 31st December or new winners may be re-drawn.

Once again, Merry Christmas wherever you are, and if you are on holidays, have a fun and safe break. Catch you again soon!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Clinique Chubby Sticks

Do you love hydration of lip balms but wished for more colour payoff in them? If so, then I think I've found the perfect product that would do exactly that.

Clinique Chubby Sticks Lip Colour Balm
Woopin watermelon, Mega Melon, Super Strawberry, Whole Lotta Honey
Shaped like a crayon, what I love most about these sticks is that they don’t need to be sharpened at all when the stick gets blunt. All you need to do is twist the silver end of the pen and you’ve got a longer stick to use instantly. No mess, no fuss!

And with shea and mango butters, jojoba and olive oil, these seriously go on like a balm, is soothing and moisturise the lips for hours on end with not hint of stickiness, and give a beautiful sheen to lips.

As for the colours, they impart a sheer hint of tint to give lips a fuller and healthier look. Layering the product do intensify the colour and gives a deeper tint but my medium natural lip colour still shows through.

The range come in 8 shades and the current Chubby Colour & Shine set with 4 mini chubby stick which is part of the Christmas gift sets that I picked up last week at the Beauty Beats event contains the best selling shades set is perfect way the start the chubby stick collection with a silver makeup purse to keep them all safe.
These mini sticks are less than half size (1.2g vs 3g for the full size ones) but are a great way to get acquainted with the range for less than the price of 2 full-sized products.

And with Summer now in full swing these are the perfect lip product to take to the beach with you for softly tinted hydrated lips all day long.

Woppin' Watermelon is a pale cool pink and on my lips is the perfect milky nude pink. It is almost the perfect nude pink shade for me - if only there is slightly more colour payoff to cover my uneven tip tone.

Whole Lotta Honey is a warm red based caramel tint that looks like my lip colour but a hell lotta better!

Mega Melon is a peachy shade with just the right hint of pink to look pretty on lips.

Super Strawberry is a berry tint that stains the lips just the right shade.

For comparison and swatching completeness purpose I’ve also include a swatch of Chunky Cherry, which I have a full size stick of and is a bright cherry stain and is very apt of its name.
Chunky Cherry and swatch

Other shades available are Fuller Fig, Richer Raisin and Graped-Up.

Chubby Stick Full size 3g A$35 | Limited Edition Chubby Colour and Shine Set A$59 are available at Myer and David Jones stores.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NOTD: Zoya Adina

I've been giving my nails a breather from any colour and it’s been 3 weeks since I had a coat of polish on them (truth be told, I’ve been far too pre-occupied with other activities to do weekly manicures). But today, this beautiful polish has lured me back to lacquer world. 

Zoya Adina
Adina is a moody warm mauve with a tinge of silver green irredescence that playfully flashes through in the light. It’s pretty but edgy at the same time and I love how it

One coat gives a more magenta looking polish whist two coats gives a deeper duo-chrome finish which is actually quite difficult to capture in the photo and you see the irredesence as streaks of silver.
Zoya Adina one coat- no flash and flash (bottom right)
Zoya polish is smooth and easy to apply and very comparable to OPI polishes. It is also vegan with no animal by-products and is free of nasty carcinogenic toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP).

Zoya Polish RRP $17 at selected salons or online at Salon Style where it's currently on sale for $15.30.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Swatches: Rimmel Glam'Eyes HD - Green Park & Purple Reign

Today I’m going to be showing you swatches of the Rimmel latest eye shadow palettes the Glameyes HDs.

This eye collection is a collaboration with Kate Moss who provided the inspiration for the so cute design of the Union Jack strips to house the different colours of the shades in the palette.

Although the design is beautiful, it is quite unpractical as the small triangle wedges and thin strips of some of the shades make it very hard to pick the colour up with your regular eyeshadow brushes without contamination the bristles with its neighbouring colour. This is where you really need the sponge tip applicators which are more precise to pick up the product from the pan.

That design flaw aside, the product is beautiful. The colours all have a pearly finish that gives just the right hint of shimmer in all lighting without being overly glittery. They are soft, smooth and the colour pay off is quite high with minimal fall out during application.

They don’t feel chalky, blend well together without going muddy and are pretty crease resistant lasting 3 hours on my oily eyes before I start to see creasing along my semi hooded lids.

Rimmel Glameye HD quads come in 6 different palettes:
  • Black Cab is a grey/silver/black combination that gives amazing smokey eye looks
  • English Oak is a neutral beige/brown/pink combination for soft pretty everyday wear.
  • True Union Jack is a bold navy/blue/pink/silver combination that would give striking party looks. 
  • Green Park is a gold/olive/mustard combination for would complement brown and green eyed beauties.
  • Royal Blue is a grey/silver/dark and light blue combination that works well with both blue and brown eyes.
  • Purple Reign is a silver/mauve/purple grouping that gives a pretty day or night look depending on the intensity you apply these shadows with.
Below are swatches from two of the quads I have:

04 Green Park -the gold (d) is one of the best I’ve seen, it gives just the right warmth. the mustard greens (a & b) are also unique shares that are not often seen in other palettes.
on NC30 skin, indoor white light, no flash

06 Purple Reign – my favourite shade from this quad is the mauvey pink (c) and silver (d).
on NC30 skin, indoor white light, no flash

This Rimmel Glam Eyes HD collection may be the best eye shadows from Rimmel yet. Now I just need to dig out my sponge-tip applicators so I can apply them precisely!

RRP A$15.95 each at Priceline, Coles, Woolworths Kmart, Big W and David jones and selected pharmacies.
This review featured samples provided for consideration.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 Holiday Gifting Guide

Christmas is fast approaching with only 10 more sleeps away, are you scratching your heads for some gift ideas for the family, friends and that work kris kringle this Christmas?

Then let this post full of gifts sets be some inspirations for you :)

Keep in mind some of these are limited editions and won't last long, to pick it up soon to avoid disappointment.

Budget friendly KK gifts
OPI Sweet Sensation Avojuice Skin Quencher Flavour Pack
Mini hand & Body lotion with fruity and floral inspired flavours like mango, jasmine, coconut, vanilla snowflake, and cranberry, they sound and smell good enough to eat.
RRP A$14.95 from David Jones

NP Time to Shine Lipgloss set
A trio of the best selling glosses from the NP Set range. With moisturising Aloe Vera and Shea Butter, you'll get sweet candy-licking glossy lips with good dose of colour injection.
RRP A$15 from Target Australia.

Bloom Organic Gift Pack*
Make your recipient look good and feel good with this travel-friendly set containing Organics Soothing Lip Balm, Organics Gentle Hand and Body Wash 50ml, Organics Exfoliating Towel.
RRP A$19.95 from Bloom Counters and online.

Natio Feeling Good Set
A pretty warm pink nail polish and lavender and rosemary hand cream with a great makeup bag that you'll want to take with you everywhere you go. It's too good to give away but at this price you can afford to get one for yourself as well.
RRP A$14.95 This set is available at David Jones and selected pharmacies only.

L'Occitane Delice des Fluers Collection*

This limited edition has the best gift picks for floral and rose lovers. The mini hand cream 30ml and solid perfumes 10g are great value at only RRP A$9.95 each and are perfect as stocking fillers, whilst the lipgloss 5g A$12.95, body milk  250ml A$29.95 and shower jelly 250ml A$19.95 make the perfect gift set together for any sensual rosy experience.
Available at David Jones and selected Myer stores. It is also available at L'Occitane online.

MOR Sweet Surprise Panettone Gift Set*

A duo of sweet lychee flower soapette in a resuable tin case and a 50ml hand cream. This gift will convey how lovely and sweet your recipient is to you!
RRP A$19.95 at Myer, David Jones and online.

For the girlfriends, sisters and mums
Estee Lauder Pure Color Gloss to Go Set

A set of 6 delectable glosses all stored in a beautiful red holiday case. With shades in Sugar Rush, Pink Innocence, Wired Copper, Raspberry Pop, Star Ruby, Plum Divine, this will make sure that special someone stay hydrated, sparkly and shiny this holiday season.
RRP A$65 on counters at David Jones and Myer.

OPI Best of the Best Set
Can't decide what colours to wear on your digits or toes? Well these set of ten 3.5ml minis will ensure that your lucky (or fussy) recipient is spoilt for choice with the best selling OPI shades. They can go for neutrals or bright colours depending on their mood. Too easy. Shades are Alpine Snow, Bubble Bath, Tickle My France-y, Strawberry Margarita, Cajun Shrimp, Big Apple Red, I'm Not Really a Waitress, You Don't Know Jacques, Russian Navy, Lincoln Park After Dark. I've bought one last week and am stalking the postie anxiously to get my hands on it.
RRP A$49.95 at David Jones and selected salons.Get it now at Adorebeauty online for only A$44.95

Soap & Glory You Cube*

All packaged in a cute reuseable box, this has Soap & Glory's best selling products mini sized including a shower puff, Righteous Butter 50ml, Clean On Me 75ml, Hand food 50ml, Flake Away 50ml.  Personally I think it's missing the heel genius foot cream to be a complete set but overall, is a great collection perfect for taking on travels.
RRP $39.95 at Kit Cosmetics and online.

Korres Japanese Rose Duo Set

This limited edition of sweet smelling duo of shower gel and body butter is inspired by the Japanese Rose and will bring a smile to the scent loving girlfriend.
RRP A$39.95 at Kit cosmetics and online.

Ginuot Beaute NeuveRadiance Renewal cream & Anti-Wrinkle Mask*

For the sister or mum who relishes radiant skin, you can't go past this AHA infused day cream A$121 that manages to exfoliate the skin without irritating or causing flakes - it really is a facial in a jar. Couple it with the no-rinse anti wrinkle mask A$65 for firmer skin to fight of the signs of aging, it will guarantee youthful looking skin for longer. Who needs a beautician when you have all the products you need at home?  
Available at Guinot salons and Adore Beauty online.

Botega Vennetta 30ml
This woody mossy white floral is the new scent of season and would appeal to the sensual women who loves a sophisticated scent with interjections of suede. It took a few sprays to grow on me but I now that it has, I can't stop thinking about it.
RRP A$100 at David Jones.

Vani-T Precious Pack*
For the girl who loves their colour and their bling, this precious looking set from Vani-T will impress. A diamonte studded packaging of the Boheme Mineral Bronzer for gorgeous sun kissed cheeks and mineral lipstick in shade 'frisky business' a nude pink shade in a glittery makeup bag. Too pretty!
RRP A$75 at Vani-T online.
Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lift set
An impressive ultimate firm and lifting skincare range that will forever put you into the good books of mum or the mother-in-law. My mum used it last year and it is her all time favourite face cream to date. The set contains four luxious skin essentials Re‑Nutriv Ultimate Lift Age-Correcting Creme 50ml(full-size), Re‑Nutriv Ultimate Lift Age-Correcting Serum, 15ml, Re‑Nutriv Ultimate Lift Age-Correcting Eye Creme, 7ml, Re‑Nutriv Intensive Hydrating Creme Cleanser, 50ml in a chic silver travel bag
RRP A$470 (valued at over A$740).

For the Special Men
Biotherm Aqua Power Set
For the man who looks after his skin (or is coaxed to be) this set containing the AquaPower moisturiser 75ml, cleanser 30ml and lotion 40ml will ensure his skin is hydrated and well cared for.
RRP A$64 in Myer stores.

Braun Series 7 790cc

For the man who loves to groom and adores his gadgets, the ultimate electrical shaver is this smooth gliding with 10,000 micro vibrations a minute that hugs the contours of face for the closest shave yet. best of all it is also self cleaning. If only he can be like the shaver around the home as well!
RRP A$549 from David Jones, Myer and the Shaver Shop

Remington Powerhouse Clipper*

For men who wants to maintain maintain their beard or side burn, he can now do so in the comfort of his own home with his own electrical clipper. Each charge gives 40 minutes of use and there's even an LCD screen onboard to let him know how much usage time he has left before the next charge which he can do using a USB cable. If he's game he can even try trimming the hair on his head with this as it comes with clipping attachments to cut hair lengths ranging from 1mm to 42mm.

And one for the family
Braun Triump 5000*

All you need is to buy separate brush heads and this gift can be used by the whole family. It comes with 5 brushing modes and various brush head attachments With a wireless sensor timer that monitors the duration of your teeth brushing and senses if you are pushing against your teeth and gums too hard, it's perfect for teaching the little ones how to correctly brush their teeth and maintain good oral hygiene. Nifty!
RRP A$199.99 at Myer, David Jones and the Shaver Shop

Have you been inspired? Is there anything on this list you are buying this Christmas?
Items marked * are samples provided for consideration

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In Review: Busby Pure Tissue Oil

Do you suffer from dry, dehydrated skin?
Or you have some dark marks from new scars you would like to fade?
How about stretch marks? What wouldn’t you give to make those lines fade away right?

Given I tick all the above, I’m always looking for products to address my conditions. So when I had the opportunity to try new product that claims to improve the appearance of stretch marks and scars, restores the skin moisture level and even help with minimising the appearance of wrinkles, it sounded too good to pass up.  Was it as good as its claims? Let me share my experience with you.

Busby Pure Tissue Oil
  • Core ingredients in this product are grape seed oil, rose hip oil, vitamin E and avocado oil which are high in linoleic acid, omega-3 and omega-6 acids, all known elements that help to promote collagen production for healthy firm skin as well as anti-oxidants that help to fight off free-radicals.
  • Despite being an oil, it is amazingly light and absorbs instantly with a pleasant and light fragrance. It is light enough to be used on the body and face if required.
  • I used the oil on my body as I don’t have dry skin on my face. Immediate results with use are re-hydrated skin with the skin’s moisture barrier is boosted as the oil creates a fine film to improve the skin’s moisture retention levels.
  • Over week, skin was softer, smoother and less prone to dryness. There were no changes in scars or stretch marks. I can't comment on wrinkle reduction as I don't have wrinkles in my body, but with any oil, I would see it plumping up the skin area to improve its appearance upon use.
  • After six weeks of use, the scar above my knee where I had a big gash last year is a lot fainter. The skin around it is also baby smooth and better in texture. I can see this being very good for healing scars and burns.
The scar above my knee
As for stretch marks, I only noticed a very slight change after 6 weeks use. My stretch marks are still the pale silvery slithers against my skin (which was the case before I started using the product) but I think the width of the lines have decreased slightly and the skin is more even toned so they are less prominent relative to the rest of the skin. I would expect to see more results if the stretch marks were newer.

This oil has been a pleasant surprise oil for me. It isn’t a miracle product but gives hope that with longer term committed use, I’ll see more fading in my scars and further improvements in my stretch marks.

Busby Pure Tissue Oil 100ml RRP A$17.95 at selected pharmacies.

Are you interested in trying the oil yourself?
Well you’re in luck as I have 3 bottles to giveaway. All you neeed to do is comment on this post and tell me what you hope this oil to improve for you most.

Be quick as this giveaway closes midnight Monday 19th December AEST.

Giveaway Terms:
  1. Entry is open to all Australian readers or readers with an Australian address.
  2. Winners must leave their name in the comment to be identifiable (eg. their Google Connect Username). All entries that cannot be verified uniquely will be invalidated. 
  3. Limite of one entry per reader.
  4. The 3 best answers as judged by writing creativity will be chosen as the winners.The judge's decision will be final and no correspondance will be entered into.
  5. Winners will be announced on Twitter and this blog on 23rd December.
  6. The prize will be sent to the winners by the promoter in January 2012.
This product was provided for consideration.

Monday, December 12, 2011

November Highlights

I’ve decided to start a monthly series in which I showcase the highlights of the previous month. This could be events I’ve attended, products that deserve accolades with a sprinkle of any personal highlights I think worth mentioning.

For the inaugural post of this series, it's only fitting that we start with a beautiful and special event that is dear to me - MBBE 2011. 

MBBE 2011
The Melbourne Beauty Blogging community is a cosy one. We ladies we have met at last year’s MBBE are like family and quite a few of us catch up regularly for lunches, dinner and ‘on the job’ at various events. So when this year’s MBBE gathering came around, it was like another little sorority meeting where we caught up with each other’s lives, work and chatted about our latest beauty favourites (this time it was BB creams).

All this against the beautiful backdrop at Miss Fox – a chic and vintage inspired salon that provides impeccable manicures, luxurious spa experiences and every beauty services in between.

We were given the warmest hospitality by Victoria, the owner and hostess of the event, providing us with refreshing PIMMs cocktail and delectable cupcakes as well as pampering with mini hand massages, manicures with Zoya polishes and mini make overs.

The highlight of the afternoon was a keynote speech by Kate Morris, Founder of Adorebeauty online beauty store and winner of the 2011 Telstra Business Women’s Awards. It was inspiring to hear how her perseverance in dealing with numerous rejections from brands that Ms Morris contacted and wanted to represent online who just wasn’t interested which made her more determined than ever and now many of these big brands are embracing the online era and joining her legions of brands representations at Adorebeauty.

Afterwards, there was a quiz with prizes to be won from Garnier, Guinot, Illamasqua, Endota, Avon and GlossyBox for the smart cookies who manged to get the most answers correct. That quiz was probably as difficult as the most recent CAPM exam I sat for (being unprepared didn't help). 

There was even an award presentation for Jacie for her Online Beauty Writer of the year from Beauty Directory presented by Kimmi of The Plastic Diaries. We were proud as punch and it was as good as winning the award ourselves to have one of our MBBE receive such high accolades.

As always with such events, literally thousands of photos were taken. I thought instead of posting it all up, I'll create a slideshow with my favourite photos to share with you. The music can be switched off if you prefer.

Valerie from Ponikuta must be thanked and congratulated for bringing the new and old MBBE gang together and organising such an amazing event this year. She is the woman who made MBBE a reality and runs around tirelessly for months to plan and co-ordinate activities and sponsorships and made the day such a fabulous success!

P.S - for those of you interested, I didn't end up wearing those pretty red pumps, the beautiful warm day called for a pair of red-hot sandals instead.

The majority of the photos in the slideshow are credited to Brendan Cook, who was our official photographer of the day.

Oscar Oscar Salon
Mid November saw a breakfast champagne event on a bright and early Sunday morning at Oscar Oscar Chadstone hair salon, home of leading hair styling artists and the talented Jackie Chan who works magical kung-fu equivalent of hair styling wonders as seen first hand by yours truly on the day.

We were given some brand overview and product information on Aveda Hair products whose premise is to combine art and science to infuse plant extracts and flower essences into professional and high performing hair care and styling products.

We also learnt lots of tips and techniques watching Jackie re-create the low side ponytail and a sleek half-upstyle that was all the rage at the recent runways (the trick is to use a rubber band, but instead of tieing with it, you secure one end of it to your hair with a bobby pin, then wrap the rubber band tightly around the pony tail,take a strand of hair and wrap it over the rubber band to hide it and secure the other end with another bobby pin).

We even had a mini makeover afterwards provided by the entire talented Oscar Oscar team. I managed to have Jackie worked the Cloud Nine styler on me to give my hair soft waves and I had some backcombing action at the back of the crown to create the Barbrarella big hair look.

Fast fact: did you know Cloud Nine is develope by the original makers of GHD, who then sold off the technology off and went to further develop and innovate with the Cloud Nine?

I learnt so much at the session that day and truly appreciated having the advice of a great hairstylist who can give you a great cut to make your hair work with you rather than against. If only Chadstone wasn’t so far out of the way for me, I’d be paying Jackie very regular visits.

Clinique Event
The end of November saw Clinique host its first Melbourne blogger event and some of the MBBE gang again got to catch up during the mid-week soiree over hors d'oeuvres, champagne and drinks and hear from the beautiful Alexis and Miranda gving us the low down on the Clinique story and sneak peeks of some upcoming releases (look out for growing additions in the Even Better product family line and a mascara exchange program next February).

(Be sure to hover over the pictures whilst the slide show plays if you are interested in reading the title or commentary of the photos)

With the business side of the event out of the way, we had a make up demonstration by the talented Courtney with IT Girl 2011 Melanie being the model of the evening to showcase a simple yet sophisticated look using products from the upcoming Black Honey collection.

We also had a skin consultation with the wonderful Clinique ladies and then continued the socialising where conversation topics moved from dodgy hair stylists to more BB creams and plastic discussions. The talk was so riveting and the hospitality so warm, we didn’t even realised time had flown and it was 10pm when we wrapped up. I was definitely trying to hide my worse-than-usual dark-circles and bleary eyes the next morning at work!

And Finally...
Being such a whirlwind month, I was glad to finally close November off. It had been hectic at work and having family from overseas visiting for 3 weeks and then going interstate for a wedding threw me completely off my regular routines.

Bring on the party season of December and the quieter family time that the festive season brings as we head towards the close of yet another year.

I wrap today's post up with one of my favourite photos taken whilst taking the relatives around the Great Ocean Road on our way to the Twelve Apostles. I just love the broody ominous-looking sky.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Beauty Beats at David Jones this Friday

Got a hot date or a Christmas party to hit this Friday night? Wanna get glammed up for 30 minutes for $30 and be served with drinks and refreshments to kick off your evening and then receive a goodie bag afterwards? Not only that, the $30 is redeemable on any purchase you make at the night after your makeover?

If this sounds like something you need, then you should act quick to secure a booking with David Jones Beauty beat for December 16th.
Participating counters that evening include MAC, Bobbi Brown, Estee Lauder, Clinique and Aveda Hair counters.

In fact, you might even catch me at the Bourke St Clinique counter getting my face done :)

This is what you can expect from each counter on the evening:

Let Clinique give you the 'ooh and ahh' It Girl look. A 30 minute makeover will cover all bases with flawless foundation, perfect pout and attention grabbing eyes. Move from day to night in style like an It Girl should.

Join us at the M.A.C Counter for a make-up and lash application. The application will focus on one key feature of your face to add to and enhance your current look. Lashes must be purchased or redeemable as part of the offer.

Bobbi Brown
Pretty Powerful Instant Makeup in 30-minute. The Pretty Powerful Instant Makeup combines two of Bobbi's most popular makeup lessons that teach women how to freshen up their look using Bobbi's tricks of the trade whilst creating a customised beauty routine for each individual.

Estee Lauder
Visit the Estee Lauder Counter for your 30-minute makeover and take the Doublewear challenge. You won't need to retouch no matter how hard you party.

Aveda (Elizabeth street only)
Enjoy a full service blow dry including a sensory journey for the special price of $30, usually valued from $55. Your $30 is redeemable on a future service the next time you need another blowwave.

Beauty Beats is only avaiable at David Jones Elisabeth Street (02) 9266 5544, Bourke St Mall (03) 9643 2222, and Queens Plaza (07) 3243 9000. Book now by calling the respective stores.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How To: Bust Pesky Ingrown Hairs

 If you shave or wax then you would most likely experienced to some degree the frustrating condition of ingrown hairs. Guys are not spared either, in fact, they are more prone as most of them are likely to be shaving their face on a daily basis.

To add insult to injury, these unsightly red bumps not only make a mockery of your attempts for beautiful fuzz free skin, but can be quite painful when they become inflamed and infected, and worse scar your skin afterwards – ouch!

Ingrowns are caused by growing hair curling back as it grows so it gets trapped under the skin. This happens because the end of the hair shaft are cut at an angle during shaving or breaks off at with a sharp tip and courages the hair to grow back into the skin rather than out, and inflaming the hair follicle in the process.

There’s no magic trick to stop it from occurring but here’s a few things to do and products to try to minimise its occurrence.
Manicare Cellulite Bristle Brush, ASAP revitalising body scrub, Skin doctors Ingrow Go, Caron Bump Eraiser
  • Shave in the direction of the hair growth so that hair grows back straight rather than against, which encourage it to outward from your skin and minimises the curling.If you are a waxer, then the best is to prep your skin before and treat it after to prevent ingrown hairs (see below points).
  • Exfoliate daily. This is a key factor to ensure that there are no skin build up that might trap the hairs under your skin. Try using an exfoliating brush (my favourite is Manicare’s Cellulite Bristle Brush RRP A$14.95. Available at Priceline, Myer and selected pharmacies) or a exfoliating body scrub (I’m loving ASAP Revitalising body scrub RRP A$39 which also has AHA to help remove those dead skin cells and give smooth glowing skin. Available at the Facial Company and selected salons)  
  • Use products that specifically treats ingrown hair. Skin Doctors Ingrow Go RRP A$24.95* which is a salycilic based liquid that is particularly good at softening and exfoliating the skin so ingrowns don’t get a chance to develop at all. Ingrow Go has an alcoholic smell and can sting if you have open cuts so is best used in the days before and after shaving rather than immediately afterwards. Available at Myer and selected pharmacies.
  • Another star product is Caron Bump Eraiser medi paste RRP A$16.75, a thick cream with tea tree, triclosan and vitamin A to treat the redness and swelling of inflamed ingrown while it prevents further ingrown. With medip paste, you can use the product immediately after without too much discomfort and the days after to prevent bumps occuring after waxing or shaving. I’ve also managed to reduce the appearance of the few bumps at the back of my arms after 2 weeks of use and can’t wait until they completely disappear.Available at selected pharmacies.
If you are suffering from embarrassing and painful ingrowns, don’t just hide away and suffer in silence. Fight back with the right products and a regular exfoliating regime, you’ll soon lose the bumps and and marks and have the smooth skin you’ve always coveted.

Do you suffer from ingrowns? which areas are you most prone to them? I get them on my inner thighs (and I don't even shave there, so go figure), lower legs, less often on the upper arms and underarm areas.

Products marked * were provided for consideration. All other products were either purchased or won in competitions.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beauty Boxes: LustHaveIt & ILoveThisBox

You may have seen and heard over the past few month a few beauty box houses popping up in the Australian market, all wanting to emulate the success of Birch Box in the US and Glossy Box in the UK.

For those of you who aren’t familiar,  these beauty box services are a subscription based sampling service that promises to deliver a surprise box of newly launched beauty products right to your door-step for you to play with and test out. Most of the items sent are sample/travel sized with some full-sized items thrown in.

The first to come into the local scene was Lusthaveit, and then BellaBox and Glossy Box AU (formerly known as Beauty Box). Last month another beauty box service - ILoveThisBox has joined the growing beauty box service market.

In Australia, this service will set you back A$14.95 a month and you can cancel the subscription at any time. The various services differ in their brand partnering and it’s best to go to their website directly to see latest brand partnering up with them as they are always signing up new brands and companies.

To date, I’ve had the pleasure of receiving two boxes from two separate services. The first was one given to all the beauty bloggers at the September ABBW event received an exclusive LustHaveIt and more recently, I was provided the very first ILoveThisBox.

From observing what's been provided by these services over the past few month and what I've received in my two boxes, I thought I'd mention a few strengths and weaknesses I see with this service offering.

  • You get to try out the newest products that you would otherwise not consider or even know about.
  • You're getting a big surprise every month because you’ll have no idea what you are getting in your beauty box. 
  • If you live out of town and away from stores with a good selection of beauty products then you don't even have to get out of your PJs or get into the car and you'll still be able to receive your monthly beauty fix. 
  • Is relatively cheap for a great range of products and great value for money when full size products are included into the box.
  • No choice in products sent. Generic products sent means no tailoring to to your skin or preferences (wave good bye to a matching foundation shade) so if you are the sensitive skin type or just don’t like certain products (eg. SLS shampoos break you out or you hate brown eyeshadows) then bad luck. On the plus side, your friends will love you more and happily take these items off your hands.
  • For alot of these samples provided, if you go and visit to the counters and ask the lovely sales assistants nicely, you'll probably be able to get a free sample. But this will cost you time and effort to walk around collecting samples and is not mine or everyone's cup of tea (my time is far too precious!).
  • If you don’t like surprises, you might not like the idea of buying a box of random beauty items every month.
 Now that's off my chest, let’s take a look at the offerings I received.

I must stress that this box of items is not the exact products received by subscribers in the first or second box (although it included some items from those boxes) but instead, a representation of the brands and product variety you would get your this beauty box subscription.

In the ABBW Beauty Bloggers exclusive LustHaveIt box:
  • Mirenesse Secret Weapon Mascara – full size. This alone retails for more than the subscription cost so you’re already making a great saving!
  • I Love My muff – feminine freshing up wipes sample for your *ahem* downstairs area. I haven’t used this but can see it being handy if you are travelling/playing sports and need freshen up afterwards without going for a shower.
  • OPI - Touring America Collection in "On Collins Ave"- full size . A beautiful bright coral pink shade, this is perfect for Summer.
  • Kerastase Exilir Ultime  - this tiny sample would probably not be enough for my head or at most single use only. Thankfully I have a full size bottle of this product so don’t have to make judgement on whether it’s any good with this teeny tweeny sample.
  • Laura Mercier Foundation primer - sample size. This light and easily absorbed primer will make sure your makeup goes on smoother and stays in place for longer.
  • Bioeffect EGF (epidermal growth factor) Serum – sample size. An amazing new product that warrants a whole post on its own and I’ll write about that another day. Suffice to say, I’m glad to receive another sample of this miracle-like product.
  • Dermalogica hydrating mask –sample size. Great for stressed and dry skin, I’ve yet to use the product so can’t elaborate more.
  • Pure Fuji Cocunut milk shower gel –sample size.  It smells delicious already and can see this being a handy travel item.
  • Nougat Rejuvenating hand polish – travel size. This great hand product moisturizes and exfoliate at the same time to give smooth supple skin. I definitely like the sound of that.
This special edition LusthaveIt box is certainly impressive. I believe the standard version contains 5-6 samples instead of the 9 seen above. I like the brands being offered here and if it contains as many and such great variety of products in its monthly boxes, I’d definitely to sign up for the service.

ILoveThisBox decided to send me their very first box that went out to their subscribers last month (no special treatment for being a blogger here!). Interestingly, I prefer this rather than a ‘special edition’ box as it gave a truer representation of what to expect each month and allowed me to evaluate whether the product offerings were items I’d like and want to subscribe to.

These are the contents of the box - 3 full sized and 5 sample items:
  • POD liquid tan face tanner serum – full size. I’m not much of a tanner so personally won’t use this but I do know of a few people who’d love to try this out so will be passing the love along.
  • NVEY Eco’s eyeshadow in Taupe #172 – a versatile colour, this sample pan will be added to my growing collection of neutral colours.
  • Essie French Affair Collection – mini size. I love my pale pink shade "French Affair" and can see it on my digits during the working week.
  • Sunsilk Keratinology shampoo & conditioner – full size. I haven’t used the products yet but am intrigued with the product description promising amazing hair through the use of micro keratin technology.
  • Caudalie 3 facial skincare products  - sample sizes. These 3ml size products will be able to give you a good feel of the texture and to try it out for any reactions but personally tiny samples are a pet peeve of mine as I struggle to squeeze more than 50% of the products out of these tiny tubes and have to cut it up to use the contents inside.
  • 10% off promo card for jewellery purchase from Magnolia Jewellery.
As there are full size products in the box, you are easily getting twice or 3 times your money’s worth in the service fee you paid. If ILoveThisBox continues to include a few full size items every month, it's definitely great value for money. 

So if you are keen to try out new products each month, don’t have sensitive or reactive skin and don't mind offloading unsuitable products to loving friends and families, these beauty box subscriptions are worth checking out.

For me, the novelty of receiving a surprise package wears off quickly after a few months and I’ll be left wondering what to do with all these small samples (already an occupational hazard of being a beauty blogger with so many products to trial) that will just accumulate unloved and untouched. I rather save up the money and pick up something I really, really love. But I know that I'd probably miss out on the next cult product in the near future (hello Bio Effect!) when it gets included in one of these boxes and I’d be kicking myself then. Oh well - you can't win them all.

Have you subscribed to a beauty box service? Which one would you choose?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Balenciaga Paris vs Balenciaga L'Essence

It’s no secret that my favourite scent for some time is Christobel Balenciaga’s Balenciaga Paris. I’ve been yearning for it since the first spritz in David Jones last year (when it was a store exclusive) and it has been on my wish list since.

The fragrance fairy god-mother must have seen my list and decided to grant me a bottle a few months ago. Not only that, I was also lucky enough to land the latest edition Balenciaga  L’Essence last month.

You can imagine my delight to be in the possession of these two beautifully designed bottles of magical elixirs and today I try to describe to you why I love the original so much and the subtle difference between the first and second chapter of Balenciaga fragrances.

Although born of the same design, there is no doubt here that Balenciaga L’Essence is winner in the looks department. Both bottles are heavy, with a pentagonal bottom, rising to an arch at the top to give it sleek angles, corners and curves – a beautiful and sensual amalgamation.

Whilst Paris is a clear bottle, L’Essence in depicting its greener heart, is tinted a gradated cool blue tone. Both have a dome cap sitting atop a wide ring neck. In Paris, the neck is yellow marblised ring bearing the engraving of its name with white with black crackle effect ball cap.

The colour goes well with its clear bottle and is undoubtedly feminine. However, I find the golf ball like cap sits awkwardly against the beautiful body. L’Essence has learned from this mistake and has instead a metallic silver neck ring that with scratch markings all around set along its engraved name and a slightly smaller black steel cap. This gives it a more sophisticated and masculine look. 

Both Paris and L’Essence are created by Olivier Polge and is described as a green Chrype, which really means it belongs in the fresh green family and is a scent that invokes images of strolling down a forest path in the morning along a running stream and inhaling the sharp mossy leaves crushed under your feet mix with the fresh coolness of surrounding green air.

To me, Paris opens up with potent sparkling qualities and is bursting with a big bouquet of violet and carnation notes. I’m a fan of violets and it’s the very reason why I fell in love with it originally (which is why I also love Tom Ford’s Violet Blonde).

Paris is a not soft floral but one that mixed with the green notes, gives it an airy quality that is both refreshing and livening to the senses.  There is also a hint of lemony citrus that helps to sharpen the scent, giving it that modern edge. It then settles to a creamy powdery base layered between earthy vetiver and mossy green patchouli that continues to captivate me.

L’Essence is a greener and fresher version of Paris. It is said to be more intense than Paris and has more metallic and masculine qualities. Personally, I think L’Essence isn’t that strong and instead, just opens up differently – not as vibrant as Paris as the floral notes is missing the carnation so you only get a pure dose violet leaves.

This is tempered by notes of pepper and pimento berries that heighten its greenness before a brief sweetness of something I can’t put my nose on enters the equation. I didn’t detect the metallic quality but there is a leathery note that does make it more masculine. It then dries down to an airy green of cedar and vetiver.

Both scents are beautiful day scents that can easily carry you into the evenings. L’Essence is a pleasant unisex scent, more so than Paris, which is saying something as unisex scents are hard to design and often end up not appealing to either parties.

Balenciaga first and second incarnation are aloof scents that leaves people wondering what you have on with its complex, airy, green mystery surrounding you. 

The problem for me with L’Essence is that it fades faster on my skin than Paris does. What I love most about Paris is the scent holds well and doesn’t transform much after the dry down. It continues be the powdery and musky green for many hours afterwards and only fades in intensity rather than change into something else.

RRP A$95 30ml | A$145 50ml | $175 75ml at David Jones, and select Myer stores only. L'Essence is a David Jones store exclusive as it was launched last month.

Products featured were provided for consideration.