Monday, February 28, 2011

Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color - Plum Rose

Bobbi Brown recently put out a new line of lip colours called 'Rich Lip Color' that claims to be a "new lightweight, colour-saturated formula for lips."

I decided I had to check them up myself and see if they stacked up to their claims when I saw the words 'lightweight, rich, full coverage, SPF" used to describe this latest offering.

Rich Lip Colour - Plum Rose
Plum rose is a slightly cool rosey plum colour with a blue base; it's a cheery and vibrant shade and would suit most complexions. On me it comes off as a medium blue plum shade.
Plum Rose on NC30-35 arm - indoor white light
  • True colours of pigments as they are created with a clear base - tick. These are definitely true to colour on lips as it is in the tube. The colours are vibrant and intense which is really great as I usually choose colours based on their tube colours and sometimes it just doesn't turn out right. With these, I won't have such problems. 
  • Creamy and emollient - I would say the formula gives a satin finish that is quite creamy for the light-weightness they exhibit. Obviously they are not as creamy when compared to the hydrating lipstick varieties but then again, those are not as lightweight. Over time, this does loses its creaminess and does dry out a bit so I'd slick a gloss over it after an hour or so to continue to get some moisturising properties. 
  • SPF 12 - I'm loving the fact that cosmetics are increasingly incorporating skincare properties as well. Although not as high of an SPF as I personally prefer, anything to protect your lips from the sun from your normal lipstick is definitely a plus. 

Plum Rose did indeed provide full coverage and feels great on with its amazing lightweight formula. It lasted a good 2 hours before fading off evenly. I'm definitely a fan of this new range and can't wait to try the other colours in this line, especially Soft Coral and Bikini Pink.

RRP A$44 / US$22 at Bobbi Brown counters now.
This product was sent for review.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Going Blonde with Wella Professionals

I've always wanted to go for a change in hair colour just as I would for my makeup or lipstick when the seasons change but I was never quite sure what colour I wanted to change to and I was also afraid of the additional damage I'd be subjecting my hair to (I already get my hair straightened so it's more manageable in mornings)

When I recently had the opportunity to have leading Melbourne Wella Creative Director Marie Uva, 4 time finalist of the prestigious Hair Expo Awards and Creative Director at Rokk Ebony South Yarra transform my hair, I thought it was time to ditch that fear.
Rokk Ebony South Yarra
The stylists at work
Despite the resolve, I was still nervous on the day about my hair colour transformation as I still wasnt' sure what shade I want to end up being. 

Thankfully, the minute I walked into the swanky establishment that was Rokk Ebony on Toorak road, South Yarra. I was immediately put at ease with a cookie and a cup of tea (talk about service here), abundant magazine offerings and the ambient environment of the salon - the place is amazingly beautiful with its high ceilings and modern, streamline decor and importantly, well equipped styling areas. 
See how sleek and chic this place is?
I was even more comforted when I looked over at the window sills which were literally covered with a multitude of awards and trophies won by the talented creative stylists throughout the past few years.

After a few minutes wait, I met my amazing stylist, Marie who has styled many celebrity hairs and have had her creations featured in magazine spreads as well as making guest appearances on TV show The Circle, for styling tips and advice for the latest looks. 
One of Marie's creation for the 2010 Hair Expo competition
The photo above is one of her styling creation for last years Hair Expo Check out her work last year and you can see more here.

We went through what colour I wanted to achieve and what shades would complement my complexion best. She mentioned that for it is better to do 2 sessions of bleaching to lift the colour out for dark hair like mine than to try and bleach it to blond in a single go to mimimise damage done to hair (as well as achieve more accurate colours). In the end we settled on blond foils on top of my crowns with a warm chocolate base to soften the contrast.

With that decided, marie went on to work her magic. This took quite a bit of time as I have a lot of hair and the foiling technique that Marie did was time consuming to achieve the look of diffused highlights. All up my colouring session took just over 2 hours for application and colour development and another 30mins for rinsing and toner application to add depth and remove harsh brassy tones from the bleaching. 
Marie working on the foils - check the trophies in background by windows
My hair was then dried up, styled and given a trim. So what do you think of the results? 
Before Wella hair colouring/cut and after
With Marie after the colour
I'm loving the super subtle blond highlights is amazing diffused throughout my head.

Many thanks to Marie and Natalia, Marie's assistant that day for my amazing hair transformation and for the lovely Wella girls for organising this styling session for me. 

If you're thinking of transforming your hair colour or looking for a change in style, visit Marie at Rokk Ebony South Yarra and you will walk out with amazingly transformed hair.

Marie will once again be entering this year's hair expo competition. Good luck Marie - those style creations I had a sneak peek of are amazing!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review: Skinvigor8 Decollette Pads

Who’s been guilty of putting sun production on their face and hands but forgetting to do it for the neck and chest? Yes, you can add me to that shameful list of people who let their guards down (or are just plain forgetful) and are sometimes worse for wear for it.

Thankfully I have time on my side and I’ve only forgotten the sun protection half a dozen time over the past year, but if I were to continue down this path I’m sure I’d be left with sun damaged neck and d├ęcolletage, the surest sign of aging even if my face has been protected all these years.

This is where the guys over at Skinvigor8 comes in. Designed by Hollywood Emmy winning Makeup Artist Camille Calvet, Skinvigor8 is an adhesive pad to help you try and reverse the signs of aging by diminishing the appearance of wrinkles without having to resort to surgery.

Skinvigor8 Decollet pads

Skinvigor8 packaging and adhesive pad
I was provided with one of these silicone pads late last year to try. These medical grade silicone pads and are a rounded heart-shape adhesive that you can slap onto your chest area at night whilst you sleep. These could also be worn during the day under clothing but you would probably need to wear tops with a higher neckline to conceal the pads if you wore it during the day.

Despite not having any wrinkles on my chest area yet, I thought I’ve give it a try for a month anyway to see how it could improve my skin texture. Here’s what I found:
  • Easy and straight forward to use - it was like sticking a piece of plaster onto clean dry skin, and once stuck, it doesn’t really move around, even during sleep which was good as I didn’t want it sticking to my sheets the next day.
  • Surprisingly comfortable on skin, it wasn’t irritating, too sticky, too tight or too anything! In fact, I often forget I have it on.
  • When removed doesn’t leave any residue on skin at all. On humid nights, my skin did feel slightly damp upon removing the pad but that’s just sweat trapped under the pad and it evaporates pretty quickly. These pads can also be washed and dried when it starts to get slightly dirty from use.
Results:
The results shown on the skinvigor8 website looks amazing, but I’m sure there are many skeptics out there who wondered how long the user used the product for, whether camera lighting played a factor or if they had any help from other products as well.

Before from website
After from website
These pads are meant to correct and prevent wrinkles, so I’d dare say that if you have some deeper set wrinkles, you’re more likely to see satisfactory results than if you have shallow ones (simply because the improvements would be more noticeable) as the adhesive will help to support and strengthen the skin structure in that area over time.


My Experience:
Without any real wrinkls on my 3-decade old chest, I personally can’t comment too much on its wrinkle removing effectiveness, which is a shame as I'm sure that's the aspect you'd be most interested in. There are, however some testimonies and before/after photos on their site that you can peruse to make up your own mind.

For me, the pad acted as an overnight  mask for the chest area. After use, my skin felt softer in the morning and the adhesive had a gentle exfoliating effect that help to keep skin clear and smooth. This was evident when I had a blemish there (don’t ask me why I had a spot there) and it healed much faster than normal without any medication at all.

When I do have any signs of aging/wrinkles on my chest area, I’d definitely reach out for one of these adhesive pads. I would suggest anyone who is too scared or not quite ready for more drastic actions to give these a go too.

In the mean time, I’m going to be more vigilant with slapping on the sunscreen on my neck, chest and back of my hand every time I’m out and would urge you to do the same.

Each pad lasts 30-60 days and retails for RRP A$43 (ex GST) online at Skinvigor8 and selected retail stores Australia wide/ or US$28.95 at Decollete Pads in the US.

This product was sent for review.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Competitions Galore

I've only been back into my blog readings this week and have noticed there is currently an abundance of beauty competitions running.

It's serving as a prompt that I too have to get my act together and run my own giveway soon. But before I get into that (I'm such a teaser I know), here are a bunch of great competitions you need to check out and enter this week.

Win a trip to Germany flying Business Class with Nivea 
Beauty Heaven have teamed up with Nivea to offer an amazing money can't buy opportunity to be part of Nivea's 100 year celebration in its homeland Germany in May this year. The best part of this holiday is that the ticket is open ended, which means you can travel the rest of Europe after your Nivea birthday bash if you so inclined - how awesome is that? Competition closes 12th March. Enter away here.

Win a trip to New York with Herbal Essence
Herbal Essence is promoting its latest Tousle Me Softly range to give a lucky winner 5 nights in New York to see the Gossip Girl tour and have $2000 spending money. Just my kind of holiday really. Try your luck now before the competition closes 26th February.

Win 1 of 3 ipads
Revlon is currently holding a promotion where you can win 1 of 3 ipad or snag yourself one of their new CustomEyes mascaras. This one ends on 10th March but don't leave it till then to enter...

Win the full range of Clinique Mascaras
5 lucky ducks will get to win a set of 8 Clinique mascara so you can wear a different lash style for every day of the week! Get in quick as the competition closes 25th February.

Cosmetic Cupcakes 1 Year Blog Giveaway 
'Chelle is an awesome Sydney based beauty blogger and she's celebrating her blog's 1 years anniversary with a giveaway extravaganza. Need I say more? Go enter it now.

The Plastic Diaries OPI Giveway
Kimmi is hosting an amazing OPI prize this week to win the Serena Williams Glam set, the Katy Perry set as well as the mini Lil Shooters set from the Texas Collection. Competition closes 4th March. You will need a special code word to enter but its worth the search. Enter here once you work out the code word.

Audrey's Urban Decay Extravaganza
Audrey over at AudreyDao.com is also celebrating an anniversary. This one is for her 2 years of blogging and it's a massive prize I tell you. The winner gets to choose between the Urban Decay Naked palette or the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils 15 Year Anniversary Collection. The runner up gets the other prizes plus a whole host of other runner up goodies are up for grab too. Go here to enter and check the out prize offerings.

Krasey Beauty Mega Giveway
Yet another 2 year anniversary, there is just a prize galore going on down at KraseyBeauty.com. The grand prize includes MUFE makeup, Zoya nail polishes, the whole set of Harajuku fragrances plus a whole host more... phew that is a massive prize. Head over there now to enter this big one...


So many prizes, so little time... I know I'll be trying to enter them all. Good luck to all of us, especially me hehe :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Biotherm Starter Kits

When it comes to beauty products, I love kits and palettes. They are more travel friendly so you can easily take them with you anywhere you go and are generally more value-for-money when compared to buying the products separately, giving you more bang for buck.

With that in mind, it's great to see that Biotherm has this year re-launched their ever popular starter kits for both women and men (see, no one misses out here). These contain deluxe sized items of their best selling skincare lines.

If you haven't tried Biotherm skincare before, now is a good time to pick up one of these kits and give them a try yourself or as a gift for that special someone.

So here's what on offer at your nearest Biotherm counters from now till 31st April 2011, whilst stocks last.

Women's Kits:
AQUASOURCE NORMAL SKIN STARTER KIT $39.00 - valued at $80
Contains
Biosource Dry Cleanser 50ml
Biosource Dry Lotion 125ml
Aquasource Dry Moisturiser 15ml

AQUASOURCE SKIN PERFECTION STARTER KIT A$39.00 -Valued at A$82
Contains
Biosource Cleanser 50mL
Biosource Toner 125mL
Aquasource Skin Perfection Moisturiser15ml

Men's Kits:
AQUAPOWER STARTER KIT A$29.00 - Valued at A$47
Contains
Aquapower Cleanser 40ml
Aquapower Toner 30ml
Aquapower Moisturiser 20ml

HIGH RECHARGE STARTER KIT A$29.00 - Valued at A$55
Contains
Cleansing Gel 40ml
High Recharge Toner 30ml
High Recharge Moisturiser 20ml


And lastly, for you Club Biotherm members out there (its free to join), you'll also receive a 50 Bio point voucher with your starter kit for use on your next multi-product Biotherm purchase. How good's that?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Survived a Month Without Makeup & Travel Wrap Up

Hello!

Yes It's me.  I know it’s been over a month since my last post and despite coming back to Melbourne over a week ago, I’ve just been so busy with getting things back on track that I haven’t had the chance to blog (ok I admit, it’s also due to the post-holiday blues that had me unmotivated to update sooner). I assure you that I haven’t abandoned this blog – in fact, I’ve got so many great posts planned, I just need to now find the time to write them all!

Whilst travelling, I was makeup-free virtually every day. I did attempt to put on foundation and eye makeup on the first 2 days whilst in Kuala Lumpur but within 30 mins of being out the humid weather, I looked like a grease ball and it was not a pretty sight at all. So other than moisturisers and sunscreens and essential skincare items, I was a total non-beauty addict for a month.

Understandably, I was suffering from major beauty withdrawal symptoms and since I've been back, I've been eagerly rediscovering my beauty products and falling in love with them all over again.

I also lament that I didn’t have the opportunity to go beauty shopping whilst in Malaysia (other than a quick duck into Watsons to pick up a Majolica Majorca mascara). Travelling with family doesn't result in the most conducive environment to spend an hour looking at makeup and beauty products (not with a whinging 15 year-old and bored uncle and dad in tow). I didn’t bother with trying to find cosmetics in Cambodia or Vietnam as they didn’t really have a developed enough beauty industry (and if they did, I didn’t know where to look for them). 

Before I resume normal beauty posts, I thought I'd share a few things I’ve learnt from my month long travel:
  • Don’t go on your first family trip with 2 sets of families. You will spend more time arguing about where to go and what to do than actually doing it – highly inefficient use of time. 
  • Never underestimate the bond of family– despite all the disagreements and fights, we didn't hold a grudge and let bygones be bygones. Otherwise, we would have killed each other or gone insane (which I almost did towards the end). 
  • Blackheads have equally strong bonds in humid weather. My nose was constantly plagued by them. Boy did I love my ASAP glycolic scrub for it and sorely missed my clarisonic pro last month. I don’t think I’m ever going to leave that gadget home when I next go on long travels. 
  • 80% DEET spray and a personal electronic mosquito repellent will become your best friends when in SE Asia. Sadly I didn't have these items with me and my Aerogard could barely stand up to these pesky blood suckers. Mozzies can definitely ruin your holidays. 
  • Fruits in Asia tastes 10 times better than back home because they don’t use pesticides and are allowed to ripen on trees. Jackfruits and sugar cane juice were my daily staples in Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • Staying in third world countries, I appreciated what I have even more and it really puts life into perspective. A very tasty meal in Cambodia is often less than US$2 (which is basically the same as A$2 these days). Most people there get by on less than US$5 a day! With this in mind, it’s going to make it hard for me to splurge on my next beauty buy when I think of how many mouths that money can feed in poorer countries. 
  • By the end of the trip, I made a commitment to myself to be show more kindness to those I meet in life. Incredibly every time I’m upset about something/someone, thinking about being kind to them calms me right down. It really must be karma at work already! 
I don't intend to post too many photos from the holiday since they aren't very beauty related (and I haven't yet sorted through them), but here’s one of me and my all time favourite fruit – the jackfruit, taken on a fruit farm along the Mekong Delta.
Looking forward to getting back into the groove of blogging again.
Lilpil