Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chloé - A Perfect Neutral Floral

You would know by now when it comes to fragrance, I’m mostly a floral kind of girl because they are so versatile and pair well with other notes to create warm and cool scents.

Warm and Cool scents I hear you say? Yes – just like colours, the olfactory world can also be structured into warm, cool and neutral categories.

Warmer scents have bases of spices, leather or wood notes to bring that earthy warm sensation to the nose whilst cool scents tend to invoke a refreshing air, akin to the welcoming evening Summer breeze that cools down the heat with features of citrus, green chrype, aquatic and ozone.

Then there are those fragrance that fall into neither territory – they have been carefully blended to exhibit both warm and cool, yet remain neutral and balanced to the nose.

Today we’ll explore what I think is a beautiful neutral floral with a hint of coolness that has me nostalgic for my young formative years.

Chloé by Chloé
Chloé is a classic scent and she sure looks the part. Eighty-eight grams of pure white sand has been transformed to make the glass that houses her juice. She has a soft feminine art-deco feel with her rectangular ribbed surface, collared by a silver plated neck complete with a pale pink bow tie which is topped off with a clear, wide oval cap.

Only 4 years old, Chloé is the brainchild of perfumers Amandine Marie and Michel Almairac. Her youth is immediately felt with the burst of sweet lychee and peony shining through the minute you spritz this onto your skin. This freshness then mingles with sensual roses blended with the magnolia and Lily of the valley that slowly blooms when the scent settles and I can’t help but feel I’m experiencing the coming of age a beautiful young girl, witnessing her blossom and grow into that cool and confident woman.

And when Chloé completes her transformation, you have a hint of fresh cedar delicately balanced with the soft sweetness and warmth of amber to complete the perfect neutral scent.

Chloé may be young and delicate but she will quietly embrace you all day like a best friend would if you need her to. She will happily accompany you out on a beautiful Spring day but don’t let that stop you from taking her along whenever you are nostalgic and looking to escape to those innocent and free-spirited times.
Chloé by Chloé EDP 30ml|50ml|100ml for RRP A$90| A$130| A$170. Available online and instores in Myer, David Jones and The Perfume Connection in Australia.  

This featured product was provided for consideration.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Reviewed & Loved: Tripollar STOP

I love my gadgets but by far my favourite techy toys would have to be beauty gadgets. I love the idea of innovative technology used in the beauty industry to deliver more positive and lasting results than traditional topical lotions and serums.

And I’ve been keeping a watchful eye of all the advancement in non-invasive medical treatments of– from IPL and fractional lasers (Fraxel) for skin resurfacing & rejuvenation, LED light for skin rejuvenation to skin contouring with radio frequency (Thermage) for skin contouring- all these new technologies providing the beauty world results that would never in a hundred years be achieved from using any cream or serum in a jar.

With this development in the professional market, it has spawned a myriad of similar functioning devices for the at-home market. These are generally lower-powered (for safety reasons for the average untrained user) versions of the stronger professional machines in medical clinics and spas and promises to give similar results over a longer time period with a lower cost and has very little, if any, down time.

Last year, a new generation radio frequency based at-home device was launched into the Australian market. It has been sold in the European markets since 2009 and when it is finally available in Australia, my curiosity was piqued.

After doing some research on the technology and product, seeing pictures of the benefits treatments, I decided I must try it too.

Finally after 4 months of lusting and more readings on the technology and user reviews, I took the plunged and bought the products. Yep, I bought both the STOP and the POSE device in one hit!

Some Background Info
The technology behind the STOP and POSE devices is Tripollar radio frequency (RF), developed by Pollogen (a big name Israeli medical aesthetics company) and has multi-nation patents pending for this at-home device. TriPollar is a non-invasive, pain-free treatment good on all skin types to achieve body contouring, cellulite reduction and an improvement in skin laxity.

Unlike traditional mono-pollar or bi-polar RF, Tripollar RF combines both mono and bi-polar frequency to deliver RF energy where it’s need with less power output and hence less discomfort for the user and is a proven technology for skin tissue tightening and cellulite reduction benefits.

For more information on Tripollar and radio frequency technology please visit here

Ok -Tripollar technology. So What?
I’m not one to be easily impressed, but looking at the before and after photos on the company site and on forums and learning how Tripollar is used to deliver optimal radio-frequency (RF) energy to the dermis and fat layer of the skin (2mm deep) to heat the skin’s fiboblast and thereby can shrink fat cell in and stimulating dermal activity to encourage collagen production, I was very much sold.
After 6 Stop treatments for an EDS forum user
And if that isn't enough and you want some clinical studies then head over here and  here to read the review and results of Tripollar treatment. Although the second listed study not independent and based on the professional Tripollar treatment, they are still very impressive and convincing.

The STOP and POSE devices

Both these devices are powered by the impressive Tripollar technology but are of different power ratings and designed to used on different body parts.

The units are not only different in size, but the energy outputs are different (STOP is output of 1.5A and POSE is 2.5A).

The STOP device is designed for the face, the back of hand and neck whilst the POSE device is designed for trouble spots in your body like your stomach, thighs, arms etc.

Today, we'll take a closer look the STOP device.

Tripollar STOP
This little hand held device comes in a beautiful box, looks sleek and is well made. The device comes in three colours, black, red and white. I ended up ordering the black unit because the red unit I wanted was out-of-stock.
Inside the box, there is a jar of preparation gel to use during the treatment, an after treatment moisturiser, the unit itself, a power supply, instruction manual and DVD and international warranty card.

My unit is glossy black with gold trim at the base and comes capped to protect the work component of the device. It is an elongated hexagonal shaped device and surprising is very comfortable to hold in the hand during use.
On off switch and power adaptor input; Stop electrodes
How does STOP work?
At the base of the power supply there is the intensity setting that delivers low, medium or high output voltages (7V, 8V,9V). When plugged in, a green light indicates the power setting selected and the sliding switch on the side allows for setting controls.
Underneath the cap of the STOP device is 4 metal electrode balls that will be in contact with skin during treatment.

There is also a temperature sensor in the middle to measure skin temperature during use and will cut-off if it detects overheating of the skin ensuring that you can never injure yourself with this device and the green light will go off during use when this happens.

How to use STOP
For the RF energy to be properly conducted into the skin, the preparation gel is needed. You smear a very thin layer all over the area to be treated prior to use. As it is very thick, it feels much like ultra sound gel and is quite gooey in feeling. Thankfully it is pleasant in smell.

I turn on the device and I start off with the low setting during first use to get my skin used to the heat. Nowadays, I go straight to the high setting.

The green light on the STOP machine indicate it’s on. I then press the electrodes onto my skin, making sure that all four nodes are in contact with skin for the RF to do its job.
The instruction manual and video advises that you need to do a warming up stage to warm skin to the right temperature followed by a maintenance stage by going over the area again in upward lifting motion to finish off. The advertorial instructional video can be viewed below.

I take a slightly different approach - I complete the entire process for my one side of the face first before moving to the other side.

Starting at under the eye area, I move in small circular motion to warm up the face until there is the amber light shows up to indicate the skin has reached its optimal temperature (40 degree c). I would stay on the area for another 5 sec before moving to the next area.

After 5 minutes minutes I’m done and move to maintenance mode and do larger sweeping motion on the side of the face for another 5 minutes. So in total it takes me 20 minutes to do my entire face. I haven’t tried this on my neck yet but this would obviously lengthen treatment time more.

My Experience 
  • I found the heat very comfortable, it wasn’t too hot and during the cooler month, a very welcoming sensation.
  • There is a intense heat sensation when you overstay in an area of your skin, especially if you have the device on higher setting. It doesn’t cause any burning but it’s momentarily painful until you move the electrodes to another area of the skin and that area cools down. Thankfully you do not suffer any burns from this.
  • The lighting system was very weird for me, sometimes it takes a while to turn amber while other times it turns amber immediately, I think it has to do with the ambient temperature in the room, and heat dissipating from the surrounding treated area, so when you move to the next spot, it heats up faster. I also found it annoying to always having to look into a mirror to be able to see the amber light. After a few uses, I just learnt by feeling of the heat on my skin before moving to the next section.
  • The gel definitely made the gliding of the STOP electrode more smooth and pleasant even if it feels slightly icky when initially applied. It also wipes off easily without leaving any residue or stickiness which is very handy. 
  • I used the after treatment moisturiser and found it to be very rich (although thankfully not greasy in feeling). I’m not sure I like the richness after my skin is all heated up.
  • Afterwards my skin looks flushed like I’ve just gotten out of a very hot shower. It looks plumped up but it also looks like it could be due to a slight swelling effect as well. 
  • It works a treat on removing my under-eye bags. The dark circles are still there but you can see that my eyes are less puffy. It also helps to get rid of the crepey look in that delicate skin area The lines look the same until the next day. I can see the expression lines under my right eye is that little bit shallower compared to the day before. Even when I smile, the crinkles are less deeper. This effect lasts about 3 days before the lines creeps back again, albeit shallower.
  • Helps with zapping minor hormonal zits as the heat seems to do a great job of killing the bacteria on skin. 
  • I do notice immediate lifting and tightening effect. When done on one side of my face, I can see a difference – it looks more lifted and sculpted. I tried capturing it in photo but the effects aren’t as sensational as it is in real life in the photos below. You will see there is slight redness and swelling on left face of the before pic as I have only used on one face so far. In the after pic, 20 minutes after treatment and washing off the gel, my face is no longer red, and it appears more sculpt and the skin feels taut.
  • Having used the device for 4 months now (about 9 treatments so far because I find it had to find time to consistently sit down for a session in the past few months. Nor have I been following the manual's advice of  2 treatments a week for 6 weeks and then once a fortnight maintenance regime due to a irregular evening schedule) 
  • But STOP gives your face the fresh and healthy look. It seems to improve skin clarity and give the impression that I’ve had plentiful and restful sleep even when I haven’t. 
  • My skin is ultra soft and smooth the next day after using STOP and stays that way for 3 days before the glow and clarity fades and is akin to applying my ultimate serum and moisturiser combo (more on that in another post) 
  • My skin also feels very taut. I can pinch and pull it and it feels like the skin elasticity is given plenty of resistance and springs back immediately. 
  • The skin also feels thicker – I feel like I have skin back in my early 20s again where it was bouncy and with consistent use, my lines haven’t disappeared but they are less prominent. 
Notice the bags under the eyes have improved and the face looks more lifted and sculpt on the left side
The verdict:
I’m enamoured with the results that I get from STOP. The expression lines are not fading fast enough for my liking but I can’t complain as I have few lines to begin with and they are definitely softening.

My biggest love is the taut bouncy skin I get that lasts for over a week with the use of this device. I’ve never had a topical product ever give me skin with so much elasticity and At hefty price of almost A$400 STOP is not cheap but it is cheaper than paying for a professional session of RF treatment.

You need to be committed to find the time to use this product regularly for it to give you results. If you are prepared to put in that effort, the rewards are worth your while. Otherwise you will just have another expensive gadget sitting in your cupboard.

For me, this device is a keeper and worth its price and more for the skin sculpting effects and reduced fine lines. I can achieve all that in the comfort and convenience of home.

You can now read my review of the POSE body contouring device here.

Tripollar STOP - RRP A$399.99 online or at selected Myer stores.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DIY Hair Colouring with John Frieda Precision Foam Colour

These days, the lastest in home hair colouring isn't just about brilliant shiny colours. it's about ease-of-use and salon quality results.

This has lead to innovation with hair dye kits that come in the mouse or foam formats. That’s right, no longer is the liquid hair dyes cool – it’s now hip to be whipped so to speak (only if you are a hair dye anyway - we are not talking Fifty Shades of Grey here).

One of the earlier foam based dye is the Asian Palty Foam Dye. Then last year, Nice'n'Easy came up with the Foam Blend, Schwarzkopf with the Perfect Mousse, L'Oreal Sublime Mousse and now John Fireda has joined the foam dye bandwagon with Precision Foam Colour.

The selling points of foam-based hair dyes are that they're:
  • Non-drip so less mess is made on your skin, clothes or the bathroom floor. That said, I'd still use protective clothing to prevent staining your favourite tome
  • Stays on hair where  it will coat and colour your hair strand by stand rather than on your clothes to give a more even colouring
  • provides ease of application, especailly when trying to access hard-to-reach back of head hair to ensure that you get a more professional looking result
  • Are permanent hair colour dyes and provide 100% grey coverage
So when I recently had the chance to try my first foaming hair dye, I thought I'd find out first hand whether it lives up to its promise and expectation. So one week-night, I decided to get in on some DIY hair colouring action.

John Frieda Precision Foam Colour

Easy to mix - CHECK. The mixing of the colourant and activator was just as easy and number coded so you can't go wrong. Just 5 tilts back and forth the bottle (and not shakes because that doesn’t activate the product) and I was ready to squeeze the bottle for foamy goodness into my gloved hands. It was like magic really, because liquid just turned to foam the minute it's squeezed through the dispenser.

Easy to apply - CHECK. I don't colour my hair at home often and when I do, I normally enlist a helping hair but with this foam, there isn't that need. I was able to get to the back of my head without worrying about drips and mess. And as it’s easy to see if the foam was been applied to a particualr section of the hair, I could work out which section still needs to be dyed with foam.

Easy to remove stain - CHECK. One of the reasons I don't like doing my own hair colours is that I'm a klutz. I would get hair dye on my ear and forehead and it would take ages to get the stain off my skin. No drama with John Frieda; with a soapy cloth, I was able to wash off my skin that was stained after application (and waiting for the colour to develop) without too much effort - definitely a bonus for clumsy people like me.
John Frieda foamy hair colour in action
My natural hair colour is black so unless I bleach it, not much colour comes through and I can only go about 3 shades lighter (which is a rich dark chocolate brown shade). I have had colour in my hair for the past year and they were fading so I was hoping the 3VR Deep Cherry Brown shade would show up well.

You are meant to leave the foam after completely after finishing applicatio on your whole head for another 25 minutes. I left it on for 10 minutes longer as my hairdresser always told me my hair is very strong and resistant to colouring so I knew what my colouring limit is. If your hairdresser hasn’t mentioned this to you or you have never had your hair professionally coloured, I advise to stick with the package instruction times.

I also like that there is a generous 50ml tube of highly concentrated hair conditioner. Enough for 3-4 uses after the initial hair dye to keep hair in healthy condition.

Great Colour - Checkity CHECK. The colours vibrant, rich and hair felt soft and silky after colouring. To be honest, it didn't change my natually dark hair too much and I didn't experience dramatic colour transformation. My hair colour went from a warm chestnut brown to a richer reddish brown that showed up quite dark in normal lighting and is brighter red under the sun.
Indoor lighting before and after using  shade 3VR
Given my previous experience with hair colours on my thick black hair, I was more interested interested achieving evenly coloured hair than getting dramatic colour changes without the use of stronger bleach.

The surprising thing is that the hair dye didn't seem to do damage on my hair (low peroxide content). In fact, after using the conditioner, my hair is soft, silky and healthier.
3VR Under the sun - my old highlights gave me  multi tonal hair colour

The Verdict
Would I colour my hair with foam dye again? Absolutely. It gives a professional finish and is cheaper than going to the salon. Don't expect big colour transformation unless you are going darker in colour with this (or any other) hair dye. If you want dramatically lighter hair colour, you will need to use a bleaching hair dye which I will definitely leave to the pros as I don’t want to make a mess and have strands of straw on my head.

So if you are wanting a touch up in between professional hair colourings or you are saving for that new Car/House/Holiday/{insert big spending item}, and need to go down the cheap but not nasty path of at-home hair colouring, then look no further than foam hair dyes.

I haven’t tried many in the current market but John Frieda’s Precision Colour Foam suits me just fine for on-going colour maintanience.

John Frieda Precison Foam Colour is available in 20 shades to suit blondes, redheads and brunettes.
RRP A$22.99 at supermarkets and pharmacies

This featured product was provided for consideration.

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's Makeup Playtime with Pure Poppet

As a kid, I loved playing with my mum’s makeup. Although she was a miminalist and didn’t have much for me to play with, I loved applying lipstick for a perfect pink pout and put on blush as part of my dress-up fun.

Kids today are no different, they love dress up and costume parties and love imitating adults around them and applying makeup as well.

And now, there is a whole product range made especially for kids to fun and safely play with colours on their  face!

Pure Poppet Play Makeup
  • Created by Georga Holdich to enrich the playtime of all kids, especially little girls, the range includes makeup crayons, lipbalms, mineral powders and makeup stencils for fun and playful designs. 
  • This is a natural way for kids to play with makeup and colours. The products are safe and gentle on delicate young skin. 
  • They are free from Ferric Ferrocyanide, artificial dyes, FD&C colours,talc, Carmine (aka Cochineal), Bismuth Oxychloride, mineral oil and paraben.
  •  My pick would be to get a play pack as a great introduction and includes a crayon to draw design straight onto skin and a mineral powder that can be applied dry onto skin or mixed with water to make face paint! The pack also comes with applicators and sponges to draw onto skin and face. 
  • Other play packs are the lip balm and powder or the mineral powder duo sets. 
  • They are safe and provide children endless hours of fun and enjoyment that is limited only by their imagination. 
  • If you want fancy designs without the fuss, then draw your pictures over stencils for pretty designs that look like a pro. 
  • These are hits as birthday gifts and treats for kids as witnessed first hand when I presented the play pack to a little 4 year old recently. It pre-occupied her for hours and she just wanted her face made all afternoon!

Little gorgeous having lots of makeup fun

Pure Poppet Mini Play Pack RRP A$9.95, Stencils (pack of 5) RRP A$4.95. Pure Poppet great for kids age 4 and up and is available online and in selected children stores
This featured product was provided for consideration.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Clinique Runway Coral Long Last Lipstick

It may be terrible weather with the chilly air and dreary skies in the Australian eastern coast at the moment but that doesn’t mean your wardrobe or makeup have to suffer from the same winter gloom.

Brighten up your face with a pop of colour as if it's Summer time. As they say, if you don’t have it, fake it.

Look at it this way, at least you will look good in those Instagram photos that you and your friends snap regardless of weather or season!

And nothing brings pop better than a bright lip colour, be they bright berries, sizzling reds or bold corals – they will bring some cheer to you face.

One of the latest coral is from Clinique. Good on them for releasing such a great shade that is normally reserved for the Spring season (or I should say we're lucky to live in the southern hemisphere so we get the Spring range of our northern hemisphere cousins).

Clinique Runway Coral Long Last Lipstick 
  • This is a nice and bright warm coral that universally flatter all skin tones. It is rich and creamy and goes onto lips smoothly. From a shade perspective, its a fairly good dupe for Tom Ford's True Coral, which is slightly more red whereas Runway Coral is a smidgen more pink tone(see swatch comparison below). However, Tom Ford is far more pigmented and creamier in texture when worn. 
  • Runway Coral provides medium to full coverage with a sheen finish which helps to gives a full-lip look. 
  • The other great thing is that it isn’t prone to feathering off the edge of lips when worn so there is no fear of colour bleeding onto skin and needing touch ups every 30 minutes. 
  • As for lovegivity, it does well without food and drinks (unless it’s from a straw) but the colour will fade quite a fair bit with eating and drinking. 
  • Because of the creaminess, it does show up dry lips so be sure to prep your lips with a lip scrub followed by a balm before slicking on this lippy. 
Daylight, no flash on NC30 Skin
Runway Coral is a limited edition and online exclusive that was created by Clinique Global Colour Artist, Jenna Menard and looks beautiful paired with peachy cheeks in this cold winter weather.

RRP A$36 at Clinique Online for a limited time. Get it before it runs offline.
This featured product was provided for consideration.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Bites: What's in My Handbag

Monday is another start to the working week and also the worse day of the week for me. Not only does Mondayitis set in but I have 8 meetings  lined up back-to-back that eats up the whole business day so I often find myself finishing off report consolidation at home after dinner. It's definitely not the ideal start for anyone!

Given Mondays are a brain-drain day for me, I usually can't think straight to write a beauty post. Instead, I thought I’d introduce snippets of interesting things that aren't so beauty focused to just add a bit of variety to the blog (and let's face it, you're probably sick of reading the 100th beauty review on a lipstick or face cream and I'm).

I'd  like to start with a show-and-tell post and share with you what I carry with me on a daily basis. Yep, today you get to peek inside my handbag and see what I cannot leave the house with.

My bag of choice is a tote because it can open up and fit so many items when needed and still looks stylish.

For the past few weeks I’m carrying my small Longchamp Le Pilage tote in hot pink (hey I have to contrast it with all the dull black and dreary grey colour I wear for work during the winter month). This was a gift from my aunt earlier in the year.

It's lightweight, cute and easy to hold on the arms or over the shoulders. Truly, I think everyone needs a Longchamp tote in the life.

So let’s take a look inside to check its contents shall we?

I use a Purseket, the pink polka dot bag liner/organiser you see in the photo below, to add compartments to an otherwise big bag to give it structure and to organise my contents. I don’t think I can live without one of these things in my handbag anymore.

It also makes it easy to transfer contents from one bag to another if you like to change your bags frequently as you just lift the Purseket organiser and pop it into your new bag.

Now lets check what's floating within and amongst all these compartments.
  1. Oroton Umbrella – with all the rain in Melbourne lately, having this small fold up brolly is a-must if you don’t want to be caught out like a drenched cat. 
  2. Oroton Wallet – it holds my cash, cards and IDs. Say no more. 
  3. Kleenex To Go tissues* – these slim and easy to carry in bags or your back pocket comes in packets of 6 tissue in assorted pretty and funky prints that would match your bag or add style to it (this floral one matches my pink bag just fine). Tissues are always handy to have and I use it to blot my face (because I’m too lazy to carry facial blotters), clean my greasy hands after eating and help with the sniffily nose in the morning. 
  4. Dermalogica Multi-vitamin Body block SPF20*. It may be grey and raining but there is still UV rays on overcast day. I carry this SPF moisturiser all the time for when the sun peeks out and I need to protect my arms or a top up on my face and neck when I’m rushing between buildings for meetings.
  5. Keys – can’t leave the house without it or get home. It also has my work token to log into my work remotely. The key chain is from Kikki and I love the little leather bird
  6. Nail file – I have a bad habit (we’ll talk about that in another post) that always sees me breaking nails. This filer from Dr. Lewins that I got as a Priceline freebie ensures my nails are tidied up on the go to prevent further damage and leaves no mess with its own storage compartment.
  7. iPhone 4. I have nomophobia and would die without my phone. On days I do forget because I’ve left it on the charger at home, I feel like I’ve lost a part of me. Funny how 12 years ago, I lived without a mobile phone just fine (holy-molly: I just realised I been using a mobile for that long!) 
  8. A cute makeup bag (from Clinique that's under all the makeup contents). Inside the bag are:
  9. ASAP Pure lipstick in Four* – smooth creamy and luscious. Every girl needs a lipstick at her disposal at all time. This one is shade and is my daytime office shade (swatches coming up). 
  10. Face of Australia lip Shine in Morning Mist*. Pretty and pink and ultra glossy with shimmer. I love slicking this on when my lips feel abit dry. 
  11. Lancôme Rouge in Love in 159B. When I’m heading out or need a pick me up colour – this baby comes to the rescue. 
  12. Tom Ford Illuminating Powder*. My go-to press powder with its own brush for touch up during the day to keep the shine in check and give my skin a light fresh glow. I love how light and sheer it is and makes skin feel like silk.

Other items not shown in the photos are my train tickets, my work security pass, a small bottle of water and USB stick for work files.

What do you have in your handbag?
Items marked * were  provided for consideration.