Monday, December 16, 2013

The 2013 Christmas Gifting Season

For me, travelling means that my days are blurring and I sometimes forget which day of the week it is anymore, since it doesn't matter as much when I'm on holidays. But I was looking up the calendar today and I can't believe there are less than 10 sleeps before Christmas. Where did the days go?

I have not even started on my Christmas shopping (but I do get special pardon, since I'm travelling and will be bringing gifts from overseas to my friends and family when I get back). If you don't have an excuse like I do, then you need to start making a list of things you need to get for the people you will be seeing this holiday season quick stat!

Now there is a plethora of gifting ideas but sometimes it's hard to narrow it down to the right present, especially for those hard-to-please people. I find asking them what they want to be futile as they will give you non-committal and confusing responses so I just pick for them something I think is a bit of a luxury and indulgence.

There's a few of such gifts I've cast my eyes on over the past few weeks that I think will make beautiful gifts for a bit of luxury and pampering.

Jurlique Hand Care Essentials - RRP A$85* 

This rich and emollient hand cream set will delight the fussiest recipients with signature scents from Jurlique including rose, lavender, citrus and jasmine. Enriched with natural botanical, you're getting hand and aromatherapy every time it's used. With four 40ml tubes, there's one to leave at home, another in the car, office and even a spare to stash into that big handbag so you're never without a hand cream.

-Available at David Jones, Jurlique concept stores and online.

Philosophy Care Package - RRP A$130
If you think someone deserves a little TLC this Christmas, then send them this care package to show them how much they mean to you. Containing everything to turn around their skin around, this easy to follow regime contains the micro-delivery exfoliating facial wash; purity made simple
3-in-1 cleanser; hope in a jar moisturiser, hands of hope hand and cuticle cream and a two-step vitamin c/ peptide peel to give healthy glowing skin.
- Available in David Jones, Mecca Maxima stores and adorebeauty online.

Laura Mercier Mini Lip Glace - RRP A$45 

Everybody loves a good lip gloss and these five colour-coordinated bare nude shades by Laura mercier will beautifully enhance lips with subtle soft colours as well as add shine, sparkle and hydration, ensuring these lips will be kissed on Christmas day. Shades include pout, bare peach, bare blush, bare baby, gilded rose.

- Available in Laura Mercier counters in David Jones.

Jo Malone Cologne Collection - RRP A$150 

Now even the fussiest scent lover will fall in love with this collection of signature scents from Jo Malone. Containing mini sized (9ml each) bottles of lime,basil & mandarin, english pear & freesia, blackerry & bay, peony & blush suede, amber & lavender, there is a scent to suit every style, occasion and mood.

- Jo Malone is available in city David Jones stores.

Voluspa Crane Flower 100 hour candle - RRP A$49.95 

If home is more the space you want to be gifting then nothing is more pampering and inspiring than one of these beautiful crane flower candles. With a burn time of 100 hours, you will have many nights (or days) of enjoyment and with its unique birds of paradise nectar and grapefruit scent. Beautifully packaged in a gold embossed holder, it will become a keepsake that can be reused for holding trinkets or cotton pads.

- Voluspa is available online at Saison Shop

Illamasqua Fatale Palette - RRP A$53*
What's Christmas without a bit of colour to add cheer to the day? With this beautiful palette of surprisingly wearable shades, you can turn up or down the festive mood with the use of mauve and plum shades alone or layer it with copper and/or aubergine to create a smokey party look. Pigmentation and blending is never an issue with Illamasqua so any girl can pick this palette up and use it in a cinch.

- Illamasqua is available in selected Myer stores or online.

Burts bees Tint n Shine - RRP A$19.95*

For a Kris Kringle or stocking-stuffer, I can't recommend this little pack from Burt's Bees enough. Made with nourishing shea butter and apricot kernel oil, I find their hibiscus lip balm very moisturising and impart a soft tint that keeps lips soft all day. The blush lip shine can be layered on top for an extra gloss or used on its on for lucious looking lips. The best thing is that I spied these in Target online for $9.99 this week!

Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal 

Now finally, if you can spare a gift (this might be the perfect and charitable re-gifting opportunity for that cheese board you don't need), get into the spirit of giving to those less fortunate. Head to a Kmart store and make a wishing tree donation to give someone who would otherwise miss out on Christmas, a little cheer this festive time of the year. They would be most grateful for your generosity of giving back to the community. Just mark your gift for the most age/gender appropriate when dropping it off to the wishing tree. 

- You can make a wishing tree donation at any Kmart stores up until Christmas eve. 

I hope this small selection gets you thinking of the last minute beauty gifts you might want to pick for the special someone or for those in need if you're in a capacity to be charitable. I'm off to make my wishing tree option now (yes, you can donate online via giftcards too!)

Have you done all your Christmas shopping yet? What else have you got to pick up? 

* products marked were provided for editorial consideration. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Travel Guide - How to travel light and have more fun

Travelling for long periods of time, especially overseas makes you value how much you value space and weight. So that's why whenever I travel, I try to pack as little as possible (which of course frees up more space in my luggage and allows me to buy more products along the journey to take home with me :D)

So if you are curious with what I brought with me for my 4 weeks of travel, take a look at the photos below. I must say looking at them, I think I still over-packed, as I have bought more toiletries and skincare products from Watson and Sasa to compensate for all the decanting and travel sizes I brought over! A beauty addict like me just never seems to learn ><

With clothing, I usually pack light shirts and natural fibre tops like woolen sweaters that can be worn in mild weather or layered if it gets colder. I always pack 2 pairs of jeans and get a whole week's wear between them before they get washed. I also bring a cardigan for those strange weather days or cool evenings, leggings that can be worn on its own casually or under a skirt in the evenings and a weather proof jacket for those wild rainy days which offers some protection when it's too hard to trek around lugging an umbrella (and your shopping bags and camera).

Jeans, North face jacket, a few woolen knit tops, hats and scarves (I'm heading to Sapporo in winter) are all fairly lightweight items in my suitcase. 
With beauty products and toiletries, sample or travel sizes are my favourite products to take away (this is where all those gift with purchase products get used). Decanting full sized products into smaller sized pots, bottles and jars are also another favourite options of mine, especially if the original packaging isn't very travel friendly (eg. made of glass, awkward shaped etc). And remember you don't need to bring your whole bottle of shampoo because if you do run out and not stuck in some remote part of Africa or some other far flung exotic locale, you can always duck into the local shops to pick up a replacement and even try their local offerings (and treat it as part of the travelling experience).  Wet wipes are always handy to have to remove makeup, clean and refresh your face and hands on the go so I always have a pack of that in my bag whenever I'm on travels.
Travel sized skincare
Products in the bag:
  • Kiehl's Creme de Corp body cream for my dry skin
  • Guinot Biological Peeling radiance gel for a evening facial when my skin is stressed and worn out. 
  • Kiehl's ultra facial cleaner. This isn't a travel size but I couldn't decant it and love how it's gentle but gets rid of all grease and grime in one easy wash
  • Abivon - my French gem of a vitamin A cream for evenings to keep my skin supple and those fine lines at bay. 
  • La Roche-Posay Melt-In BB Cream - I love this non-greasy lightweight BB cream that gives a natural finish to help with minor imperfection and all day round SPF protection. A must when travelling. 
  • Bobbi Brown hydrating eye cream - emollient and rich, the perfect cream for restful eyes whilst travelling 
  • Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eyes - intense hydration for times when I need more stronger skincare and given it's so small, I'd probably finish it in a week's time anyway. 
  • Origins Ginzing refreshing eye cream - because I'm obsessed with eye creams and this little tube will only go another week after my other two finishes up. 
  • Pelativ Facial Refiner Deep Cleansing Scrub - for days when I need to exfoliate my face of the dead skin cells but don't want my skin feeling raw afterwards. 
  • *edit* I forgot to include earlier but the Clinique bottle is actually my diy vitamin C serum that I've decanted into the small bottle to take with me for this travel. It normally sits in big bottle in the fridge at home. I'll post a post on the how to make the serum over the new year! 

I carry minimal cosmetics products whenever I travel as I find I don't have time to do my face in the mornings and even when I do, by the time I'm finished walking around all day long, my makeup looks smudged and worse for wear. So my only products that I carry for travelling liquid eyeliner, mascara, tinted lip balm/gloss with UV filters, concealer, BB cream, pressed powder and oil blotting paper. I also carry a long wear lipstick for evenings when I do want staying power on my lips.

Minimal makeup kit
  • Estee Lauder concealer - this cream base concealer is the best for hiding dark cirlces and imperfections without budging once set. It's my new holy grail concealing product this year. 
  • La Roche-Posay Melt-In BB Cream - I love this product so much I've included it twice in this post! Great for a light hydrating, coverage and sun protection and shade #2 is a surprisingly good match for me, I can't sing the praises of this product enough. 
  • Clinique Super City Block SPF 30+ - this isn't makeup I know, but I always have a tube of sunscreen in my makeup bag just in case I don't use any makeup, at least my skin is still protected, especially when travelling]. 
  • CoverGirl pressed compact - its convenient, has a built in mirror for quick on-the-go touch ups. I can't ask for more. 
  • Kiss Me Heroine liquid eye liner - my hero liquid liner that I never stray from 
  • Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara - this deluxe travel size means its easy to carry and won't dry out before I finish using it. I love how this particular one gives me intense thick lashes that are non-clumpy and easy to remove. 
  • Lancome Tresor EDP miniature. I haven't put this to use yet so thought I may as well bring it with me. I am after all going to be spending NYE in Hong Kong in a potentially swanky place, I should come prepared. 
  • L'Oreal Shine Caresse lip gloss in Juliet - a deep berry shade that lasts hours without drying lips. It will be on me for NYE for sure.  

Is this too much products to bring for 4 weeks? Do you travel with more or less?  If you want to see what I've been buying and getting up to in Asia, head over to my Instagram for the glory pictures.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hello from Taiwan!

Hello, if you've been following my tweets the last couple of days, you'd know that I have started my month long holidays and have bounded for Asia, Taipei being the first destination.
Getting ready for travel when I received this #Niveaduckie
The flight was one of the most relaxing one I've had and I have to commend the Qantas staff for my making my journey stress free (web check in helped me avoid a 1.5 check in queue at the airport as I was only in the bag drop line for 5 minutes!). I met up with my travel buddy Sam, who has been on holidays in Asia for the last 3 weeks whilst in Hong Kong airport for transit as we continue the holiday together.
During Hong Kong transit - glorious sunset
We arrived in Taipei late last night and my first impressions is beautiful and clean city is one filled with beautiful warm and friendly people. We were going to take a taxi to get to our accommodation but the tourist help desk lady was so helpful, she showed us with bus to take and it only cost us $145NTD (equivalent to $4.50) to get into the city centre and our accommodation.

Too tired after checking in, we just wandered downstairs of our local night market (we are staying in the Daan district) to pick up some supper and milk before coming to our temporary home to crash.

Our accom in Taipei for the next 3 weeks - a 1 bed, 1 study apartment found on AirBnB
Prior to this holiday, the last week of work was crazy - I was doing 12 hour days for the whole week to get my project in a state that I could hand over to my manager without too many outstanding actions. This meant I didn't get a chance to blog before I started the holiday.

Thankfully, this vacation is not going to be a busy, scheduled filled one. Instead, it's quite free flowing which means I'll be able to blog and update you on my travel journey and some normal beauty posts as well.

The travel updates will mainly be via Instagram (because a picture tells a thousand words and probably do it better than and written word can).  If you are wanting to catch up with my antics, you search the the #lilpilinAsia tag on Twitter and Instagram. So now I'm off to explore Taipei 101 and the shopping precinct area on the beautiful sunny day and get some good tourist photos.
Taipei 101 Tower in the distrance
Until the next update, stay beautiful!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Quick tip on cleaning facial brush heads

If you use a cleansing brush to wash your face with, you'll enjoy the deeper cleansing that they provide, being able to remove dirt, grime and makeup residue better than manual hand wash can.

But after a period of time, the brush heads themselves gets quite dirty with the makeup residue (even after removing makeup before using the brush) and becomes grimy. Like makeup brushes, it's important to keep the brush heads cleans so that you don't have bacteria sitting on it and introducing it onto your skin when you go to use it.

You can clean your makeup brushes using the face wash itself but I find that wasteful and not the most effective as these cleansers are made to be gentle on skin. Instead I find foaming hand washes and makeup removers are the most effective brush cleansers.

dirty face brush heads getting a foamy wash

Here are my two favourite cleansers to revive the those worse for wear looking brush heads:

Dove Foaming Makeup Remover 155ml - RRP A$11.57

This makeup remover is great to use only only on your face but also if the bristles of your facial brush are starting to look more brown than white. Makeup removers have the ability to take away the residues of waterproof makeup and this  foam based one makes its easier to disperse and work into the bristles to quickly remove the grease and makeup build-up so the brushes look clean and white again.

Dettol Touch of Foam antibacterial handwash* 250ml - RRP A$3.49

This handy softening foam hand wash is strong at killing nasties but gentle on hands and with a sweet cherry blossom scent. Use this on your brush heads for clean, fresh bacteria-free bristles, eliminating the chance of spreading any germs back onto your face. The large pump means it's easy to dispense the right amount of airy foam for use as a hand wash or a brush cleanser and I've used it to wash a few of my eye makeup brushes as well.

The other things I always do is remove the brush from the body of the cleansing device and allow it to air dry properly. I find this is more effective that drying the brushes attached to its body unit, and means I can wash the unit of any soap scum

With proper care, you an pro-long your brush heads and not have to change them as frequently. The recommended time frame to change the brush head is after 3 months of daily use, but I find that I can get away with an extra month or so before I have to change brush head when I look after
Clarisonic (right) and Panasonic Visa Pure brush head after cleansing. Looking new again

Dove Foaming Makeup Remover and Dettol Touch of Foam handwash are available at supermarkets, leading pharmacies and Priceline.

* Product provided for editorial consideration

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Did Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power make the Boyfriend shave more often?

When it comes to men's grooming - most men like to keep it simple. And when it comes to shaving, most guys will just grab the closest disposable blade and think it will do the job. Case in point: the boyfriend who gets a 5 O'clock shadow only shaves twice a week - once midweek so it he maintains some decency for work and then again on the weekend when I see him and complain that his facial hair is too prickly for me to go near his face.

Apparently I'm not alone in the loathing of scraggy stubble look as over 50% of women in Australia* also regularly make this complaint and avoid kissing their partner as the prickly stubble irritates them.

Now the excuse from the boyfriend for not shaving more frequently is that his skin becomes sensitive and raw due to the razor blade scraping against it, causing him irritations. So when I was offered some Gillette sensitive shaving products to review, I was only too happy pass it over to him in my attempt to encourage more regular shaving.

Now the boyfriend was previously using his Gillette Mach3 razor and hydrating shaving gel so he was skeptical that he new goodies he got would make much of an improvement. I'm glad to say that he was happily wrong when he tried out the Fusion ProGlide Power razor.

Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power is the latest technological disposable razor offering from Gillette that was released last year. The thinner 5 blade is meant to cut more hair in one scrape, giving a closer shave around the contours of the face and an improvement to its predecessor the Mach3, but the boy doesn't feel there was a big enough difference to make him rush out and buy into the hype of 5 blades. He did say that the fusion Proglide blade retains its sharpness better than any other blades he's used, even after 4 weeks of use so for those who don't change their razors regularly, this would be a better (and cheaper in the long run) option. He also liked the ergonomically designed battery powered base which creates vibrations during use that helps the razor glide through his skin with less tug, meaning less irritations and rawness.

The Gillette Sensitive Skin Shaving Gel which turns into foam upon dispensing helped to soften his skin and facial hair enough to help give a comfortable shave and helps prevent redness and tightness of Skin. The boy already alternates between the hydrating and the sensitive skin variety (according to him, there was no difference in use).

His favourite new product to his shaving regime was the Gillette Intense Cooling Balm. The aloe based balm with its quick cooling and calming  properties helps to soothe and restore moisture as well as reduce some of the rawness of just shaven skin. The only downside is the scent is too overwhelming and slightly too pine-fresh for ones liking, especially for sensitive skin types as it can conjures up images of household cleaning products with the same scent. That aside, the balm is like a moisturiser for irritated skin that just helps restore the skin barrier function after its been scraped off by the razor.

So after all his new grooming products to try, did I succeed in getting my boyfriend to shave more regularly? I'm sad to say only marginally. We've come to an agreement where he shaves on days we see each other to save me the prickly stubble feel whenever I'm close to him and and he can have his scraggly facial hair at other times. Win-win I say.

What about you? do you prefer a clean shaven face or you don't' mind some facial hair?

Fusion ProGlide Power razor RRP A$16.99, Sensitive/Hydrating shaving gel 196ml RRP A$6.20, Intense Cooling Balm RRP 100ml A$11.99. Gillette products are available at supermarkets, pharmacies and Pricelines stores.

*Stats provided by P&G's Gillette 2013 study on a sample size of  over 1,000 Australian women aged 18-39. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Playing with Colour Theory Cosmetics

Makeup is an expression of ourselves whether we use it to subtly enhance our natural features or theatrically transform our looks. But most of all, it's meant to be fun.

Now makeup can range from being relatively cheap where a couple of dollar will be buy you a lip gloss or eye shadow to the eye-watering prices from prestige brands that would set you back a small fortune. Obviously marketing and packaging is a factor in the price differential but as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for and quality is definitely a big reason why there is such a price difference.

However, the quality difference between high-end and what drugstore/chemist brandz is closing in today's competitive beauty market. One such brand that have recently launched in the Australian drugstore market last month is Colour Theory.

Colour Theory is a new chemist-exclusive line of cosmestics that consists of lip, face, eye and nail products including lipsticks, glosses, liquid and pencil eye liners, eye shadows, concealer, primers and nail polishes in an array of current wearable colours. The highlight of this line is it's four simple price point of $4, $6, $8 and $10 - meaning that you can get more with you

I've had the opportunity to play around with a few of the offering to see first hand what they are like.

Eyeshadow Palette - $10 in four colour matched palettes

The quint eyeshadow palette looks amazing, the colours in the "All Eye Need" is a well matched neutral brown family with 4 metallic shades ranging from pale champagne, silvery lavender, brown copper, cool brown to matte dark brown housed in a sturdy clear plastic case.

Using the sponge applicators provided, I had no problem picking up the colour to swatch or use on my eyes but for some reason, it was hard to pack the product onto makeup brushes during application and many rounds of picking up the colour was required to achieved the desired level of colour payoff. The texture of these shadows are also a bit chalky but was easy to blend and you do achieve the colour on the pan after some persistent application. There was hardly any colour payoff from the matte dark brown shade (It was very hard to pick up by finger, sponge or brush) so would be suitable for use to do crease work only and not to line eyes. I'm not sure whether the other palettes have similar problems or it's this particular shade that cause the formula to be harder to work with.

Surprisingly, these shadow have incredible lasting powers on my oily eye lids, staying in place for more than 4 hours with very minimal fading or smudging. Perhaps its budge-proofness during application meant that it also didn't budge on skin afterwards, fairing better than a lot of its pricier competitors.

Brow Liner and Liquid Eye Liner - $6 each 
I've never used a liquid brow pencil before so found this light colours pen very easily to use to fill sparse brows and give it shape and definition. The fine felt tip means more precise lines can be drawn to create the perfect brow. My only wish is that they made a darker shade that would suit my black brows more.

The black liquid eyeliner is smooth to apply with its fine tip to give neat lines, and once set was able to last 4 hours before starting to fade to give a very sultry line. My only disappointment is that the colour is not jet black enough but rather a dark grey shade.
From T-B: liquid eye liner, liquid brow liner, brown eye pencil 
Eye Pencil - $4 in six shades
Once set, was budge proof on my arm but on watery eyes, do get a bit of smudging - something that all pencil eye liners are prone to but is great for creating a smokey eye look.

I've created a neutral smokey eye look using the products from Colour Theory and thinks the results look amazingly pretty. I would use the eye products, even the difficult-to-apply shadow palette when I have a bit more time to do my eye makeup (perhaps it's a sign I need to invest in a pack of sponge eye applicators)!
Colour Theory eyes products as above. Base: Laura Mercia secret concealer #3 and La Roche Posay melt-in BB cream #2. Lips: Rimmel Long lasting lipstick by Kate #16

Nail Polish -$4 in twenty-two shades

By far my favourite product is the nail polish - it goes on evenly and provides high glossy coverage that is easy to apply and non streaky, the shade Mochachino is the perfect beige colour on warm skin tones that makes nails looks sophisticated and chic.

Colour Theory cosmetics offers so many different products and universally flattering colour at such good prices, it's hard to go past them without giving them a try. They are great for those starting out with makeup and want to experiment with different colours as well as for a little pick me up when you don't want to spend a lot of buy something for yourself.

Colour Theory is available now at all Amcal, Amcal Max and Guardian Pharmacies across Australia.

Have you tried Colour Theory? What are your thoughts on this new range?

Monday, November 4, 2013

John Plunkett Glyco Peel and my Crazy month in October


It's been a couple of weeks since my last update and I've been a busy bee. I've filed 4 tax returns for the family (with still another 3 to go ><), almost bought a property,  finalised the mortgage of and sold a property (for deceased estate) and got through the presentation and evaluation process with a tender at work. It's been such a stressful month in October that it's my neck, shoulders and arm started to play up with constant pain over the past few weeks.

Anyhow, things are looking a bit brighter now and it's only 4.5 weeks until I'm off to Asia for a much needed break in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. Yes I'm getting just a tad excited now.

And even though I've not had the time to write as frequently as I like, I've been using a few new products lately and this one I'm reviewing today had me so impressed with its efficacy, I wished I had found out about it years earlier - particularly during my teens.

John Plunkett Glyco Peel - 25% Glycolic Acid 

The reason this home grown product piqued my interest was when I read about it  on a forum a while back about how it does amazing job of controlling blackheads. Since blackheads are a 'permanent' fixture on my nose, I decided to give the product a go and see if it would remove this 'unwanted' guests.

With 25% glycolic acid in a buffered solution, it acts as an intense night exfoliating treatment to accelerate the removal of top layer dead skin cells and unclog any blocked pores. It also helps to fade any superficial marks and discolourations from blemishes and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines. It also contains lactokine (milk protein) and aloe vera extract to help reduce skin inflammation and perfect for speeding up healing of blemishes.

Glyco Peel is a clear watery liquid that I use on freshly cleansed skin at night. I spread a very thin layer over my nose, cheeks and chin (basically the T-zones where I'm prone to blackheads and congestion on the skin).
I have fairly tolerant skin but this product can still cause a slight stinging sensation as the product is absorbed, especially when you have any broken skin from popping a whitehead but as long as you are able to tolerate the sting, it was fine to use (even though it's marketed for all skin types, if you have sensitive skin or can't tolerate stinging sensations, I suggest doing a patch test or washing the product off if it stings too much). I wait for the liquid to dry on my skin which take only a minute or two and then proceed to apply other skincare (usually a whitening serum, and a night moisturiser) which also helps to calm down the sting cause by the Glyco Peel.

The word peel in its name is deceptive as it doesn't cause the skin to peel, which was good news to me as I wouldn't use the product if it caused visible flaky skin.

Within a day's use, my skin is less oily. After 3 night's of use, I see that the pores on my cheeks are reduced and refined. I also noticed that underlying blemishes under the skin and congestions are calming down and disappearing. The blackheads on my nose take the longest to see results with over a week's use before I notice fewer black dots on my  nose and they were easily dislodged during a scrub in the showers. 2 weeks later, I almost have a clear nose again.

As for fine line reduction claim, I've not noticed this in the 3 weeks I've used the product so won't say it meets this claim, unless it's delivered after long term usage but my skin is softer and smoother with its use along with other skincare products.

I'm rapted with the results of the product and now use it every night when I'm having a bad skin week or every second night to just help control my sebum levels. I still experience the slight tingly/stinging initial sensations, but it doesn't cause my skin to flare up so I continue to use it as I think I've finally found a winning product in combating pore and blackhead problems. Just keep in mind that glycolic acid is an AHA so will cause photo-sensitivity so be sure to slap on the sunscreen during the day to keep the new skin protected from sun damage.

John Plunkett Glycol Peel 15ml  - RRP A$28.95 at selected pharmacies and online at Plunkett Pharmaceuticals.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Perricone Blue Plasma for a non-irritating face peel

Given our skin is the largest organ of the body, when it's not at its best, the first signs of that will often surface on our skin. Which is why we sometimes have bad skin week. It generally comes around whenever we are run-down, didn't get enough/proper rest or are just plain stressed.

That's been happening to me of late. Aside from the hormonal break outs on my chin, my skin just looks a bit sallow and dry, lacks vitality and is very reactive with any strong product (which my skin normal tolerates well) causing sensitivity, redness, and additional break outs on my cheeks and around the temple area.

So in search of something that can help clear my skin whilst I de-stress my body and mind, I found it in a blue bottle of liquid from Dr. Perricone which promises to give me smooth soft radiant skin without causing inflammation, abrasions or micro-scarring, irritation or redness, photo-sensitivity or requiring any down time.

Perricone MD Blue Plasma

Blue Plasmas seeks to increase the skin's natural renewal produce by increasing the rate of cell turnover - this sounds pretty much like a exfoliator, yet it isn't one. It appears to act like a peel and it isn't that either, not in the traditional sense anyway.

Here is an excerpt from the official marketing of this quirky product:
A non-acidic daily peel for brightness and radiance. The revolutionary technology of Blue Plasma reinvents the action of more traditional peels or exfoliators. It bio-specifically peels only dead skin cells, micro-purifies the pores and hydro-fuses the skin with nutrient rich water.
Slightly sticky with a faint but unremarkable scent, this blue (it's blue because of the dye but it's supposed to replicate the blue of the copper gluconate in the product) fluid  is meant to be used after on cleansed skin once a day (either morning or evening is fine).You apply the product into skin (I dispense a dropper for each side of the face and another one for the forehead and nose, chin area) and use the patting motion to pressed it into skin until it's absorbed before continuing with your regular skincare routine of serums and/or moisturisers.

The first thing I notice is that skin is immediately re-hyrdated thanks the the hyaluronic acid and aloe combination. It's other key ingredients list is also impressive - the enzymes in the hydrolised salmon egg roe attacks only the dead skin cells on the surface level to help gently speed up the shedding of skin. The amino acid L-carnitine unclogs congested skin and bring to surface impurities within skin, magnolia bark extract to sooth irritations, copper ions to promote skin cell healing and  ptersostilbene provide anti-oxidant functions to give skin radiance and clarity.
look how dry my skin is lately - immediate hydration after applying just one dropper of Blue Plasma
When using Blue Plasma, the irritations and flare ups on my skin often will die down within 15 minutes after application, which makes it great for those for sensitive skin who normally wouldn't consider any peel products as those can be too harsh on sensitised or reactive skin. Other than that, I don't really notice anything different in this product than any other serums.

I didn't experience any flaking skin with its use, yet it looked like I have renewed skin after 4 days' use. I notice that my skin tone is clearer - the sallowness has disappeared. In fact, Blue Plasma helped to rid me of flakes around my blemishes that were being dried up by acne creams and accelerating the healing of the blemishes. My skin is now calmed down and smoother again.

After 2.5 weeks of almost daily use, I am more than impressed by its ability to speed up healing of minor blemishes, and ability to gently exfoliate skin without any irritation and causing further flaking during the process. The fact that it doesn't cause photo-sensivity like many other 'peel' products is a winner as we head towards the summer months.

My skin is now softer, smoother, clearer and more even in tone. I can't say that the result is entirely from using this product alone as I use other skincare products on top of Blue Plasma and also use a cleansing brush (Clarisonic) to wash my face, but I definitely see that without it's addition, the results just isn't as efficient and I don't get the clear skin as quickly as I do with its use.

Blue Plasma is really a mini facial in a bottle and the new generation of home face peels; you don't need to go to salons to get the coveted radiant clear skin if you have this bottle in your beauty cabinet. And best of all, it is effect for all skin types so anyone can use it for clear and bright skin. The only downside is that once you've discovered it, you may become addicted like I am and fear you will run out of it.

Perricone MD Blue Plasma RRP A$130 for a 59ml dropper bottle at Mecca Maxima stores and Cosmetica online in Australia. Internationals can try their Sephora stores.

This product was provided for editorial consideration. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tooling up with Real Techniques Duo-Fiber Collection Brushes

When you are looking for the flawless, streak-free finish, you need to invest in proper makeup brushes as the application of a product  is often only as good as the tool used. It used to be that you have to look high-end brands to get good quality brushes but there are now value-for-money options that does equally as good if not sometime better job.

Take the latest brush set from Real Techniques. Created by a make-up artist and you-tube beauty guru, Samantha Chapman (or Pixiwoo as we've endearingly known her), who knows tools of the trade can make or break a job sometimes so it's fantastic that she has created a line of great value duo-fibre brush set of three that makes achieving a flawless air-brushed look easy and fool-proof.
Made by synthetic duo fibres of thicker and short black to add density to the brush with longer and finer hair optic hairs to give to make blending light work. The hair on the products did not shed on me, unlike real animal hair duo fibre brushes that I own from MAC and Hakuhodo, which sheds when used with liquid products. They are also slightly firmer, but not scratchy (at least not the set I have as I've seen online comments that the eye brush bristles can be too stiff), making it easier to blend liquid and cream based products to achieve that airbrushed look.

The face brush is a flattened round shape that is tapered at the tip to create a dome shape. It is perfect for very light weight application of pigmented powders – think bright coloured blushes.  On liquid foundations, I  dot the product on skin and then stipple it in so that the results  like it was achieved with an airbrush– ie, even and diffused, giving me that perfect coverage that looks good even under a magnified mirror.
On cream based foundation I apply the product on my hand and the finish off the final blending with the duo fibre face brush to achieve the airbrushed look.

The contour brush is great for working in tricky areas like around the nose and near the eyes where the face brush would be too big for precise work.  It is also perfect for contouring with a matte bronzer to create that killer high-cheekbones look.
Using the duo-fibre brush with a Bobbi Brown shimmer brick to create the diffused glow on the face
The eye shadow brush is amazing for blending and crease work and it helps me to achieve an amazing smokey eye look every time, I even use it to smoke out my under eye area using the very tip of the brush.

I’ve now incorporated these brushes into my everyday routine and it is now a welcomed addition to my family of makeup brushes.  If you don’t yet have duo brushes in your beauty ‘toolbox’ then I highly recommend you look into these versatile and value-for-money brushes

Real Techniques Duo Fibre Collection – RRP A$49.95 is limited Edition and available at Priceline and online at the Beauty Office. Those in the US can try the Real techniques online store here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

11 uses for Lanolips Lovely Lanolin Golden Ointment

I love versatile products which is why when I tried Lanolip's  Lovely Lanolin Golden Ointment and kept finding different uses for it, I made sure it's always in my handbag wherever I go.

Packed with 60% medical grade lanolin, Manuka honey, apricot oil and vitamin E - ingredients that soothe, smooth, heal and rebuild the skin's natural protective barrier.

This light golden coloured ointment is thick and highly moisturising so a little goes a long way. It can take a bit of rubbing for the product to absorb into the skin but it is worth the extra effort for the multitude of miracles it performs on problem skin. So far, I've found 11 uses for my little tube of golden magic ointment:

  1. For itchy skin. Allergy and ezcma, psoriasis sufferers can rejoice and stay off steroid creams with the use of this ointment for minor and temporary relief of itches. Even nappy rash can be soothe with this little beauty. 
  2. On mozzie bites - A life saver when bitten, it soothes the bite and settles swelling.  Now I just have to work out how to get those mozzies to stay away from me. 
  3. As an ultra hydrating lip balm - when you'r lips are dry or chapped, nothings seals it and moisturise it like this ointment. It also has the slightly sweet taste of honey that makes it lip-smacking delicious. 
  4. As a lip exfoliator - layer it on a thicker than you would use as a lip balm and leave for a few minutes before rubbing it off gently with your fingers to remove the flakies bits off your lips. Trust me, you will love the resultant kissable soft lips.
  5. for dry elbows and knees  - it's the bee's knees for it (sorry, for the lame pun - I just couldn't help myself). 
  6. As a heel softener -  keep those feet happy and cracked heels at bay by rubbing a bit on and popping on a pair of cotton socks when you head to bed at night. In 2 weeks weeks, you'll have no cracks or rough heels in sight. 
  7. As a cuticle cream - soften cuticles and treat rough/ragged bits from your fingers by rubbing this in any time your digits feel dry.
  8. For Minor burn treatments - it seals the burn and blister area and helps prevent bacteria getting in. It also helps skin to heal faster. 
  9. As an intensive hand cream - too greasy for normal use but if your hand is super dry or like me, you do chores and wash dishes and hand wash clothing leaves your hands under stripped of moisture, then this will be your S.O.S ointment. 
  10. As an extreme weather barrier - this is great for air travel or when visiting the snow where air is dry and thin. When applying on my face, I spritz a bit of water to wet it first to make the ointment spread more easily. 
  11. As an after-shave balm - its soothes and calms irritated skin after shaving as well as provide hydration and less than a pin head size of the ointment is needed for rubbing in to the chin and each side of the face. 
So if you are after a multi-purpose product or just lacking space when traveling and want to pack light, pack a tube of this and you will be set for almost all sorts of skin situations. 

Lanolips Golden Ointment RRP A$28.95 for 50g at David Jones, Priceline, Adore Beauty online and Terry White Chemists.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Modern Muse EDP by Estee Lauder

Modern Muse is the newest fragrance from Estee Lauder since it's last offering Beyond Paradise, launched a decade ago in 2003 which I adore and currently own two bottles of.

Modern Muse is Estee Lauder's most grown up floral fragrance - it embodies independence, confidence and with a firm feminine touch from the jasmine and woody accords, a exemplification of the modern women and the multi-roles she plays in today's society.

Sleek and tall, the bottle's curved edge and clean and clear straight lines houses a light grapefruit pink juice, complemented by the rectangular geometric gold and black top to gives it a bold and strong presence, representative of a strong  feminine woman standing tall and holding her own.

Upon first spray, the highlights of fresh citrus makes a brief appearance before waltzing off to give way to the belle of the ball - the sambac jasmine accord which have been cleverly enhanced by mandarin and the light sweetness of honeysuckle. The woody aspects don't really project strongly in this Modern Muse. Here it plays more of a supporting role - gently wrapping around the white floral scent to enhance it with notes of amber wood, soft musk over a vanilla back drop. Modern Muse also features patchouli but I can't say its very discernible to my nose.

Modern Muse may be floral and feminine, but it is no wall flower. Being able to come off as very clean, fresh and cool, I see myself putting Modern Muse on during a spring or mild summer day, as it it imparts to its wearer the confidence to get through whatever challenges she may face on her given day.

RRP A$85/ A$115/ A$155 for 30ml/ 50ml/ 100ml
Modern Muse  EDP is available now at Estee Lauder counters and online.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Think Pink in October and Support Breast Cancer Research

Once again October is upon us and it's the month to Think Pink and open up the wallet to support the various Breast Cancer foundations (the National Breast Cancer foundation and McGrath foundation being 2 dedicated breast cancer funds) with its endeavours to fund research and support those affected by breast cancers. Having been touched by cancer in my family, this cause is always close to my heart.

So instead of telling you to buy some pretty pink merchandise offered on the streets, school or workplace to take part in the fundraiser, I'd like to encourage you to donate online directly to the National Breast Cancer foundation so that every cent of your dollar is fully utilised to find a cure for breast cancer.

However, if you have to buy something - a birthday gift perhaps for the October babies, then might I tempt you with these luscious offerings by the following beauty brands who are huge supporters of Pink Ribbon Day (Friday October 25th 2013)? In fact you might even want to indulge and buy these for yourself and feel good that you're contributing towards the cause.

Bobbi Brown Pink Blush Set - RRP A$85
Too cute for a travel sized goat hair blusher brush and blush in Pink. 20% of sales goes towards the National Breast Cancer foundation. 

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Pink Ribbon Honey Set - RRP A$36 
A pretty lip-tint and a cute little case will be perfect for any teen. $5 from every sale goes towards the Nation Breast Cancer foundation. 

Cedel Extra Firm Hairspray - RRP A$3.99/$5.49 
A little something for yourself in this too cute pink ribbon packaging - one for home and another baby sized one to carry in the hand bag for those touch up moments. Whilst no confirmed amount is pledged, the awareness raising when using this spray will show that you care. 

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Recovery Complex II - RRP A$95 for 30ml 
The recently reformulated cult serum just got better when this adorable pink ribbon bracelet charm that supports the McGrath foundation

GHD Proud to be Pink Diamond Styler and brush set - RRP A$289
If you love pink and bling then this is the perfect item with this limited-edition GHD pink hair straightener and diamond encrusted hair brush. Raise awareness and bling on the good hair days I say!

Kiss Press on Manicure in Breast Cancer Nail Brave design - RRP A$14.99
Have pretty cheery nails this month with this press-on nail stickers. 50c from each purchase goes towards the National Breast Cancer foundation. 

OPI Pink of Hearts 2013 - RRP A$24.95
Another Nail offering, from OPI in Pink-ing of You and More than a Glimmer to paint your digits pink and bring on the bling with crystal decals and pink ribbon stickers included. 

Revlon Super Lusterous lipstick in Pink Hope - RRP A$21.95
A beautiful medium pink shade, this will brighten up any face when it's worn. All proceeds goes towards the Pink Hope foundation

Sukin Limited Edition Organic Rose Hip Oil - A$19.95 for 25ml 
The cult product from Sukin has gotten a makeover this limited pink packaging to promote Pinktober and raise awareness for the McGrath foundation.

Don't forget to wear pink on Friday 25th October to show your support.