Thursday, May 30, 2013

L'Oreal Shine Caresse & YSL Glossy Stain Comparison

Whenever a successful product is launched into the market, it generally isn't long before others try to emulate its success by coming up out with similar products (think the plethora of BB creams we now see in the market). Sometimes it’s even the same company who come out with similar/competing product to cater for a different demographic/segment of the market.

Such would appear to be the case with today’s product review. L’Oreal is the parent company for both L’Oreal Paris and YSL but have different target market; one being more drugstore or budget friendly and the other caters to the high-end prestige market - but undoubtedly they would share many R&D findings and outcomes between both companies and their products would contain similar formulations which would be tweaked enough to provide differentiating factors to justify the two separate markets.

So with the success of YSL Glossy Stains since its 2012 launch, it wasn’t long before a more budget friendly version of the product was brought to the market by L’Oreal to fill the gap. This is how I think L’Oreal Paris Shine Caresse lip gloss/stain came to existence.

I couldn’t help myself the other day when there was a 40% off sale in Priceline and picked up a couple of shades to try out and do a comparison with my much loved Glossy Stains (reviewed and swatched here).

L'Oreal Paris Shine Caresse - 6ml 

This hybrid gloss/stain is marketed as:
"The next generation lip colour, that combines the texture & shine of a gloss with the long wear of a stain. Delivering a lasting colour with a subtle glossy shine". 

It’s touted to contain a unique formulation with 30% water and 60% oil, that delivers real hydration for up to 6 hours after application. To me it sounds very similar to the Glossy Stain.

Packaging –  this comes in a clear tube showing the shade of the product and has a gold base and a tapered gold applicator lid. Initially I thought the base was the lid, but it was the tapered end that holds the tear-drop applicator.

Scent – it has a sweet sugary scent that reminds me of cotton candy at a carnival. Love it or hate it, it goes away after a few minutes on lips

Texture, finish & formulation – Shine Caresse feels feather-light and goes on lips with a watery feel and a vinyl gloss finish. The shine wears out to a subtle sheen after a few hours of wear but is still very flattering. The formulation can gives slightly patchy application of the colour as it doesn't always spread evenly, so may require a second coat to get an even opaque coverage. It is initially hydrating but on me, it does feel a bit sticky/tacky as time goes by and the only way to avoid this is to not layer on the product and rather slick on a lip balm for added hydration afterwards.

Colour -  a decent amount of pigmentation is present in the deeper shades but it can be a bit patchy on application for the lighter shades with its lower pigmentation levels. An extra coat of product is required to achieve good even coverage. As with stain products, the initial colour oxidises and deepens over the first 2 minutes of wear. But once developed it stays true and wears for hours and hours on end. I had #300 and that lasted me more than 6 hours of wear (it did fade to a lighter stain after eating).

Lasting power -  lasts through food without smudging. In fact, this is the stand out feature of Shine Caresse, along with its lightweight formulation which gave very comfortable all day wear (save for the slight sticky feel at times).

#200 Princess is a coral red on my medium pigmented lips. I find the colour goes it slightly patchy and my natural lip colour shows through slightly (especially at the edge). It is a very pretty shade that compliments all skintones, particularly warm and medium skins.

#300 Juliet is an oranged based red when swatched on skin but a deep red on my lips and in certain light (especially after the colour develops), it looks like a deep bruised berry colour. It is definitely one of the most changing shades I've encountered in a while which goes to show some shades are just unpredictable on individual lips.

Shine Caresse v Glossy Stain
The most visually obvious similarity for me between the two products is in the sponge tip applicator - the slight difference in shape doesn't detract from the fact that they are fundamentally teardrop shaped. The initially watery feel, the light-weight texture and likeness in shine finish is also quite uncanny.

Ingredients listing comparison
YSL Glossy Stain: Octyldodecanol, Aqua / Water, Trimethylsiloxylphenyl Dimethicone, Ethylcellulose, Sorbitan Stearate, Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Sucrose Cocoate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Calcium Aluminium Borosilicate, Silica, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Alumina, Benzyl Benzoate, Anise Alcohol, Acrylates Copolymer, Tin Oxide, Parfum / Fragrance 

L’Oreal Shine Caresse: Octyldodecanol, Aqua / Water, Trimethylsiloxylphenyl Dimethicone, Ethylcellulose, Sorbitan Stearate, Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Sucrose Cocoate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Calcium Aluminium Borosilicate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Hydroxycitronellal, Alumina, Silica, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Linalool, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Citronellol, Acrylates Copolymer, Benzyl Alcohol, Tin Oxide, Parfum / Fragrance

As predicted, Glossy Stain and Shine Caress can pass off as siblings as the main ingredients are the same for both products. But this is where the parallels starts to end. The difference are in the trailing ingredients gives Glossy Stain (pigment and fragrance being a main difference) the advantage in pigmentation and comfort during wear.

Glossy Stain shades doesn't change colour as much during its development stage so what you see in the tube colour is more representative of its end shade. It is also much more pigmented, especially so for the lighter shades where one coat is enough for a decent colour payoff whilst with Shine Caresse, its sheerness means multiple coats to achieve the same level coverage.

Scent wise, Shine Caresse comes across as being more synthetic but I don’t mind it at all. In short, Glossy Stain wears better, doesn’t feel sticky after long hours of wear and has more sophisticated colours selections.

Obviously the price points between the two products are also very different. Shine Caresse is less than half the price of Glossy Stain in Australia so you can buy two for the price of one.

The price difference makes L’Oreal Shine Caresse an excellent alternative for many and I have to agree. But my lips are quite snobby and whenever possible, I’d take the YSL Glossy Stain for a bold shot of colour and only supplement with the Shine Caresse when I want to wear sheerer lip shades.

L'Oreal Shine Caresse - RRP $23.95 Available in 8 shades in Australia at pharmacies, Priceline, Kmart and Target stores. Note that the shade numbers and names differ from region to region (Asia and North America seems to have different number and colour releases for the same shades compared to Australia).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain - Swatches and Review

Being prone to dry lips, I prefer my lip products to be of the hydrating variety but I love intense colours as well. So when YSL released their hybrid technology Glossy Stains last year – it just met all my lip needs.

This new generation of hybrid lipstick/gloss/stain technology with amazing wear just captivated me. I know there are countless reviews of the products already out in the web, but I’ll just add in my two cents today and explain why I love them so much!

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain is marketed as:
"a technological breakthrough, a must-have with an exceptional hold. Fresh and light, the texture does not run, streak or fade. Lips show off a new kind of shine, they are infused with show off a new kind of shine, they are infused with colour. The pleasure is reinforced by an extraordinary feeling of comfort."

Glossy Stain is packaged in a bold black plastic rectangular tube with a clear window on the panel to indicate the shade of the product with a gold applicator lid on top and a red embossed YSL logo.Overall, it feels weighty, practical, sturdy and looks classy – all things you would expect from a high end product and from YSL albeit not as luxurious as their other lip product packaging (hello Rouge Volupte Shine!).

The applicator itself has a tapered flatten tear-drop shaped sponge tip, which works very well for depositing the product on lips brushing out to cover and blend, and when turned on the side, the brush does a great job of defining the edges of the lip.

The formula is the stand-out factor of the product. It has a faint and pleasant rose/floral scent when applied to lip, feels initially watery with a bit of slip, giving it that smooth and moisturising feeling without any sticky or tackiness. Texture wise, it feels feather-light on lips . I actually feel like I’ve applied a conditioning lip balm rather than a siren screaming lip colour. It doesn’t give a glassy gloss finish but the mid-shine finish and really adds moisture to any dry lips.

Glossy Stains also delivers the most amazing shot of colour, gliding easily on application to provides sheer (one coat) to complete coverage on my medium pigmented lips, something I rarely see with gloss products and would only get with lip stains and lipsticks.

Not only is the initial colour intense, the staying power is amazing. Once applied on lips, this stuff lasts through all day of normal wear, even with eating and drinking without much fading at all (which easily equates to 4-6 hrs if I had to give a number). Seriously, the gloss factor may wear off but the colour survives through the whole lunch or dinner course. Of course, it isn’t as intense as first application, but it’s still respectably presentable as a lip stain and sometimes I don’t try to re-apply the colour, preferring to slick on a tinted lip balm to get a lighter shade of wear after.

Ever since my first YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain last year, I've been hooked. I started my collection  with the siren red shade #9 and have slowly been working my way through the brighter colours in the collection. Today I have 4 shades to swatch for you.

#9 Rouge Lacque is a true siren red with a cool undertone. It instantly glams and brightens up the face with its richness and intensity. Probably not for the faint hearted but definitely a starring shade for an evening out.

#12 Corail Fauve is a coral shade with a pink undertone in one coat and becomes more a coral red shade with 2 coats.

#14 Fuchsia Dore is a deep fushia with micro gold shimmer. On my lips, its looks a deep mauve shade and intensifies over time to be cool berry mauve that I adore for evenings.

#25 Fucshia Neo-Classic on my lips, it looks a rich fushia pink with warm berry base on my lips. Is is probably my favourite of the shades as it complements warm skin tones very well.

For my daily wear, I prep my lips with a lip balm (currently using Kiehl’s Lip Balm SPF 15), then lightly pencil in a nude lip pencil shade (to boost lasting power and act as a primer) before applying the Glossy Stain.

To me, these Glossy Stains are what technology can do to beauty products, bringing together all the best qualities of products in one. I can’t bang on enough of them and they are and will continue to be a staple in my makeup rotation. Although pricey, they are definitely worth their it and I’ve yet to find a good enough dupe, even in the L’Oreal Shine Caresse which I blog about here.

RRP A$50 at YSL counters in department stores or online here. I purchased mine online at Harrods (shade #25) and from duty free stores (with prices ranging from €27.50 to approx HK$240).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Win: MUK Spa Argan Oil Packs x 3

*This contest is now closed
Today I bring to you another competition on the blog.

I have been so smittened with the recently reviewed MUK Spa Argan Oil range that I've persuaded the kind people over at MUK to let  me share my love of it around and give you a chance to try out the range yourself.

That's right, you can enjoy this heavenly hair experience yourself as I have three (3) packs of the full MUK Spa Argan Oil range to give away this week.

Each pack is valued at over A$150 and comprises of:
  • MUK Spa Argan Oil Repair Shampoo 300ml
  • MUK Spa Argan Oil Repair Conditioner 300ml 
  • MUK Spa Agran Oil Repair Mask 250ml 
  • MUK Spa Argan Oil Shine Repair Spray 100ml
  • MUK Spa Argain Oil Repair Treatment 100ml 
To be in the running to win a pack, you just need to complete 3 simple steps:
  1. Like the MUK Haircare Facebook page
  2. Like the Things I Love Facebook page 
  3. Comment on the Thing I Love FB page letting me know you want to win a Muk Spa pack in your own creative words. 
  4. Register your details on the form below so we can track your entries. 
Terms of the giveaway:
• This is a game of chance and only one person per entry is allowed. 
• The competition is only open to Australian residents and will run from 22nd May to 29th May 2013. 
• Three (3) winners will be randomly drawn and announced on the blog and Facebook on 1st June 2013. 
• The judge's (yours truly here) decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 

If you want to find out more about the products in this amazing range - go check my review on them here.

Best of luck everyone!
x A

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Clear Skin Series: Busting Back and Body Acne

I was recently asked by someone what I would recommend them to treat back-acne.

Well, I have a confession to make. I suffer from the condition too – not severe, but enough to make me think twice whenever I need to consider wearing strapless or backless clothing.

Suffering from acne anywhere on your body can be debilitating, whether it be on your face, back or chest that can be hidden by clothing, it ultimately can have the same effect and lower your self esteem and affect confidence levels. Acne on the body is generally caused by hormonal imbalance, where to body is producing too much sebum and the best thing is to try and keep the oil and grease off the skin so it does not clog the pores and hair follicles on the body.

Here are my tried and true products that I use to keep my body blemishes at bay.
Back-Acne Busters
1. Wash skin with an anti-bacterial cleanser on a daily basis. I recommend anything with benzoyl peroxide as an active ingredient as it will help to kill off the bacteria on skin and remove excess oil. Benzac AC 5% Face and Body Wash is a good place to start and it's not too drying on skin.

2. Incorporate into your cleansing  routine a body wash with AHA to help with removing dead skin cell build-up and unclogging pores. The ASAP Revitalising Body Scrub is great for this as it contains glycolic acid (a type of AHA)and micro polishing beads to manually exfoliate skin leaving it baby smooth without all those layers of dead skin that blocks pores. I recommend using the product 2-3 times a week in place of the anti-bacterial body was.

3. As a further step of exfoliating the skin, try a dry body brush to brush off oil and grease from the body and is especially handy for those hard-to reach areas like the back. The Manicare Cellulite Bristle Brush will do the job perfectly and help with removing skin cells and help with blood circulation. I haven't really used it as a cellulite reduction brush and cannot say how effective it is for that but for exfoliating, it is amazing.

4. Sometimes, all the over-counters products will not be enough to treat your problem if it is persistent and severe. Don't be afraid to call in the help of the GP (you don't have to be dying of the flu to see them!). I recently did just that and was prescribed something topical to help with treating the pimples. If you suffer severe cases, your doctor may be prescribe you oral medication. I use Epiduo Gel which contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide to kill off the bacteria and 0.1% adapalene, a retinoid to help unclog pores as well as reduce inflammation and swelling of bumps and cysts.

5. The other thing to keep in mind is to wear natural fibre clothing so that excess moisture and oil can be absorbed by the fabric and still let the body breath comfortably. To that end, I recommend wearing cotton, bamboo or woollen materials over the synthetic and polyester clothing.

I hope that these tips will help you keep you skin clear and blemish free (or at least reduce the number of nasty bumps on you skin). Let me know if you have other methods that works for achieving clear skin on your body.

Stocklist Information:
Benzac AC 5% Face and Body Wash 200ml - RRP A$16.99 is available at pharmacies.
ASAP Revitalising Body Scrub 200ml - RRP A$39 is available at selected salons and online at the SkinCareStore.
Manicare Cellulite Bristle Brush - RRP A$14.95 is available at Priceline, Kmart, Target, Big W and selected pharmacies
Epiduo gel is a prescription-only drug and available from your GP upon request.

In the next skincare series, I'll review some great scar treatment products.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's My Birthday so I'm having a Giveaway!

It's my birthday today.

I try to let this day pass by quietly because I don't like to be reminded that I'm another years older, especially now I'm moving through the 30 something bracket...

But they do say you are only as old as you feel and act, so I'm determined to feel young at heart for yet another year. And what better way to do that than to celebrate it positively and share the joy of the occasion with family, friends and extend that celebration virtually to you, my readers?

That is why I've decided to host this giveaway to celebrate my birthday - and the best thing is, it's open to all readers, so all you international readers can get in on the act this time!

All products for this giveaway are purchased by yours truly during my travels last year, either because they are cult and iconic beauty products or are irresistibly cute. As a way of thanking you for your support of the blog, especially the past 6 months which has been a very difficult time for me personally and I haven't had the opportunity to update as frequently.

So let's take a look at what the stakes are shall we? I present to you the prize packs on offer:

I've broken the prizes into 4 packs so there will be 4 winners for this giveaway.

Prize 1
consists of the iconic Laduree macaroon key ring I picked up at The Grands Magasins in Paris and a YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch corrector in shade #2 (light)

Prize 2
comprises of the gold-plated limited edition, cult-status eyelash curler from Shu Uemura and the Kit Cosmetics bronzing powder brush

Prize 3
is a travel-friendly Guerlain makeup compact picked up at the Hong Kong Duty free store with 5 eye shadows and 4 lip shades with mini brushes.
Prize 4
last but not least is the irresistibly sweet Vera Wang Princess EDT juice (30ml)

To be in a the running of one of these fabulous (if I do say so myself) prizes, all you need to do is comment in the form below and answer the question " what was your most memorable birthday to date?".

You will also get one bonus entry each of the actions below
  1. Liking the Things I Love page on Facebook and then sharing this giveaway post
  2. Following me on Twitter and tweeting "I'm entering @lilpil99 birthday giveaway to win some awesome beauty booty #win #ShuUemura #Guerlain #YSL #Laduree"
  3. Following me on Instagram and reposting the competition picture
  4. Subscribing to this blog via email. If you already are a subscriber, you already get a bonus entry! Just leave your details in the form below
The bonus entry actions are not mandatory but I'd appreciate and be very grateful for all your love and support the blog on all the various social media channels!

I've tried to make this competition as simple and easy as possible but here are the nitty gritty details:

The competition is opened from 16th May to 31st May AEST to all readers including international readers. The prizes will be allocated in the order of winners drawn by June 2nd 2013. The judge's decisions are final and no correspondence shall be entered to.

Good luck beauties!
x A
Birthday Giveaway

Monday, May 13, 2013

Go to Hair Heaven with Muk Spa Argan Oil Haircare

It's not often I get excited about hair care products - particularly shampoo and conditioners. However, when I was recently introduced to this range - let me tell you it was pure hair romance and love at first wash. And the adoration just continues every time I use it.

So what is this amazing range? Well it's none other than the latest Argan Oil Repair range from MUK.

For those not quiet acquainted to the brand, MUK is actually started by 3 passionate entreprenurs 6 years ago in Melbourne with the philosophy of creating great market leading hair styling products with attitude. They have since gone from strength to strength, branching out from the original "Hard Muk" hair styling product to now include haircare and hair styling tools as well as expanding into international markets in the UK, Western Europe. USA, and Taiwan.

Their latest additional to the current 23 haircare product line is the Muk Spa range.

with the core ingredient being the now ubiquitous Morroacan Argan oil we see in almost all hair care products, Muk's philosophy and point of difference is to only use ingredients that are actively beneficial to the health of hair. That means that the range is free from sulphates, parabens, phosphates, mineral oils and are full of nutrient giving and conditioning ingredients that nuture hair back to full health. Not only work on all hair types, its also colour safe so your pretty hair colour doesn't fade due to its use. Ok - that's enough talk, lets get straight into the range shall we?

Argan Oil Repair Shampoo 300ml - RRP A$26.95
 This has got to be my favourite shampoo to-date. It is gentle on use yet, smells divine with is warm sandalwood and aromatherapy based scent and gives hair and scalp a good clean. Not the stripped-of-all-oil but the nice-but-still-have-a-bit-of-moisture clean.

My hair doesn't feel stringy and even during the rinse, it is already smooth and untangled. I don't know how one can describe freshly washed and dried hair can be fluffy and soft, healthy, full of vitality without frizz or fly-aways, but that is exactly what this shampoo (together with the conditioner) does to my hair. I feel like I've created volume from the roots and the unruliness that my thick wavy hair is well renowned for is tamed.

That is definitely saying a lot without the aid of any styling products or tools. It's almost like magic really and hair feels light without being weighed down by residues or silicones (yes, you can tell I'm very much enamoured by this shampoo.)

Argan Oil Repair Conditioner 300ml - RRP A$26.95
Thick, and nourishing, this conditioner has the same aromatherapy scent as the shampoo but is richer and just adds moisture back into hair, effectively treating the dry ends that we're all prone to with all the hair styling and hair dying that hair is subjected to these days. It conditions, smooths and add shine back into hair - the perfect pair with the shampoo as is almost as effective as a hair treatment.

Argan Oil Repair Repair Mask 250ml - RRP A$26.95
I use this luxuriously rich masque once a week in place of conditioner to help add extra moisture back into hair, reducing dry ends and helps to improve brittle damaged hair. Make sure to leave this for 5 minutes or more so that the conditioning agents can penetrate into hair. Results are tangle free, smooth straight glossy hair every time after blow drying.

Argan Oil Repair Shine Spray 100ml - RRP A$34.95

A range cannot be complete without some post-washing hair care product and this has got to be one of my favourite products in the current market. It spray a fine mist to just lightly coat hair for a lustrous shine and reduces hair hair drying time when sprayed onto hair that is 40% dried. It also helps to keep any stubborn fly aways at bay and doesn't add weight to hair. I love how this shine spray also conditions and nourish hair to imrpove its health with the argan oil rather providing a temporary shine solution with heavy silicone based products.

Argan Oil Repair Treatment 100ml - RRP A$34.95

This is a viscous gel serum that is good on damp hair as it is on dry. The dropper dispenser makes it easy to dispense the right amount onto hands to use every time. On damp hair, it helps to tame and provide straighter hair once blow dried. On dry hair, it acts as a shine serum to add shine, and protect against heat damage, making it an ideal heat protectant product (I wouldn't advise to rely solely on this for heat protection as it would require too much product to provide the protection and be too heavy on hair).

I can honesty say I love washing my hair these days thanks to the MUK Spa Argan Oil range. I am already scouting for a local MUK salon so I can refill when I finish my shampoo and conditioner (I've been using them for 4 weeks and so am only halfway through them).

MUK haircare products are available at MUK stocklists. Call 1300 768 264 for stocklist info. International stocklists can be found at Muk Online.

These featured products were provided for editorial consideration.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

DIY Gel Polish with Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit

Today I have guest blog from a dear friend of mine - Stef. She is as much of a beauty lover as I am and we have enabled each other to a countless number of beauty purchases! One of Stef's great love is getting her hands manicured and today, she shares with us a review and tutorial of her latest nail haulage.

* *
I’ve always loved finishing up my gym workout session with a manicure session at a local salon. And ever since I found out about gel nail polishes, I was hooked! I love that it dries instantly and doesn't chip; is still glossy and shiny even after 2 weeks. For me, gel polishes are the best things since sliced bread because I can still wash dirty dishes (I don't use gloves) and not have to worry about my nail colours fading or chipping!

But each gel polish manicure costs $35-$40 - do I really want to spend that amount every 2 weeks - especially when I realise that I could probably do it myself (though probably not as well as the salon manicurists, but practice makes perfect right?).

So when I found the Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit, it was Hallelujah! I ordered my kit from eBay, which was the best way to source the product from the US to Australia.

Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit
The kit contains:
  • 1 base coat 1 colour coat in “Wine Not” 
  • 1 top coat (I love the glossiness of this coat) 
  • 10 cleanser pads 
  • 1 nail buffer 
  • 1 gel polish remover 
  • the LED lamp
The application is really simple:
  1. You apply a very thin coat of  the base coat. This is important! If you apply a layer of slob, it won't set properly. Trust me - I've been there before :( 
  2. Then you cure it for 30 seconds under the LED lamp.
  3. Apply the colour coat thinly. Depending on the colour intensity that you want, you can either apply one or two coats of colour. 
  4. In a single coat, “Wine Not” looks like a bright red with shimmer. In two coats, the red looks a bit deeper, sexier, and richer. Cure it under the LED lamp for 30 seconds with each coat.
  5. After curing the colour coat, apply the top coat thinly; cure it under the LED lamp for another 30 seconds. This is my favourite part. As soon as you layer that top coat, it lifted up the whole polish to show this glamorous glossy colour. 
  6. Use the cleanser pad provided to rub over the nail colours to remove the tacky residue from your nail polish. 
  7. The last step is to apply the CND Solar Oil - a sweet almond oil base cuticle oil. Brush a good amount on your cuticles and gently brush it in with your finger. Not only is it nourishing to cuticles, it also helps the nail polish to stay on longer. 
  8.  I purchased another gel polish last week: CND Shellac in “Hollywood”. Below is the comparison of the two colours. My nails are polished in “Wine Not” - 2 coats and my toe nails in “Hollywood” - 1 coat.
    On hands: Sally Hansen "Wine Not", on feet: CND "Hollywood"
The Verdict:
I think this at-home Gel Polish kits make a good investment and Sally Hansen has come up with a value-for-money kit. However, I find that their gel polish are not as long-lasting as those from the CND Shellac range. So, once my current Sally Hansen gel polish runs out, I'll be getting CND Shellac or Harmony Gelish gel polish replacements. 

RRP US$64.15 at major US drugstores or you can source this online at Amazon.

Do you like doing your own nails or prefer to visit the salons?

Thanks Stef for writing for the blog - hopefully she will be making more regular appearances!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Winners: Natio Mother's Day Orange Blossom Giveway

Happy Hump Day everyone!

I hope your week has been travelling well so far. I've had a busy week already at work and am counting down till the weekend again (it seems to be a vicious cycle these days).

As promised , I'd like to share with you the winners of the recent Natio Orange Blossom Mother's day competition today.

After reviewing all the great entries, there were two stand out responses that struck a chord with me. They were about the strength, determination and selfless giving of mothers to help those around them even when it disadvantages themselves.

So congratulations to the following ladies for the fabulous entries.
Sarah Butihen
Michelle Vamvas 

You have both won a fabulous Natio Home Spa Orange Blossom Kit and your prizes will be mailed out to your shortly. I hope you and/or your mothers enjoy the amazing products!

On another note, it's my birthday next week and I'll be hosting a few more giveaways to celebrate - so look out for the details on the blog over the coming week!

x A

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Guinot Biological Peeling Radiance Gel for Baby Soft Skin

I'm always looking for a good cleanser to add to my morning routine. Usually I look for products that are AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) based as I find that those products are more effective in removed dead skin cells that build up over time that can dull skin complexion and a cause of dry flaky skin.

One such product that I've recently had the opportunity to try out is now on my favourite list.

Guinot Biological Peeling Radiance Gel - 50ml

Guinot Description: 
A gentle facial peel the exfoliates by softening the keratin kinks between dead skin cells. Fruit acides dissolve the dead skin cells.

My View: 
This is a light gel with a pearlescent sheen when it comes out of the tube.  It also has a pleasant floral scent that can be a bit strong for some but I personally didn't mind it.

It contains AHA made from can sugar, apple and citrus to gently exfoliate and Green Tea extract as an anti-oxidant to protect cells from being damaged through oxidisation. It also has shea butter and glycols to help soften skin.

You apply this onto dry skin on your face, contours of the eye and neck and then in circular motion, rub this  into skin until it becomes a clear liquid and with a slippery texture with an oily sheen on the skin (this takes about 2 minutes for the whole face). The product does rinses off completely away with lukewarm water without any residue.
Oily sheen texture after working the peel into skin. 
I find that this is a great exfoliator for gentle skin because its not a scrub which can irritate sensitised skin and can be use quite regularly.

As for result , immediately after use, my face feels as smooth as a baby's bum afterwards and looks clear and radiant. It is soft and velvety to touch and an improved in clarity where any rough or dull skin is removed as old cells are rubbed off and new skin cells are revealed.

I also found that using the peel helps with speeding up the lightening of the scar marks due to improved efficiency in the cell renewal process.

I use this facial peel 2 to 3 times a week in place of my normal morning cleanser depending on the condition of skin and it's my go-to facial cleanser if I suffer from flaking skin as it sorts out the problem out in the first go.

Tip- try use this peel once a while on the back of your hands for the smoothest paws in town- you'll see the layer of dead skin cells that gets rubbed off like magic.

RRP A$57 Guinot spas/salons or online at Adore Beauty.

This featured product was provided for editorial consideration.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

WIN: Natio Orange Blossom Kit for Mother's Day


Wouldn't you love to win your mum (or yourself if you are a mum) an indulgent pack for Mother's Day?

As a way of saying thank you to you, my lovely readers, you could do just that!

The kind people at Natio is kindly sponsoring this year's Mother's Day giveaway and today I have up for grabs two prize packs consisting of a selection their products from the upcoming Orange Blossom Home Spa range.

Each Orange Blossom Home Spa prize kit is valued at A$39.85 and contains: 
  • A refreshing and luscious Body Wash,
  • An invigorating Sea Salt Scrub, and 
  • the delectable Orange Blossom Hand Cream 
To win, all you have to do is fill in the form below and answer the question of "What do you admire most about your mother?".

The give away will close on 11.59pm May 7th AEST. Winners will be chosen by yours truly based on the creativity of their response and announced 8th May and their prizes delivered shortly after.

Best of Luck beauties!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mother's Day Gifting Guide 2013 Edition

Can you believe it’s already May? This means mother’s day is around the corner.

I know lots of people say it’s become such a commercial thing with mother’s day, but you know, if it takes a commercial focus to get us thinking and getting around to thanking and appreciating our mothers’ tireless efforts, then I’m more than happy to follow this particular commercialised event.

Some may already know what they need to get their mothers, but for the rest of us stuck on ideas, my one advice is think gifts that are PAMPERING! Don’t rush out to get her more kitchen gadgets or boring appliances (unless she specifically asks for it) to help around the home. Think indulgence and pampering because mothers often don’t get or take the time out to indulge or pamper themselves.

Being a beauty aficionado, I’m going to be biased and suggest a few amazing beauty products – all geared towards making mum feel special and pampered.  And as always, there’s gift ideas to cater for all budgets.

For the Scent-sational Mum
MOR Deluxe Soy Candle 284g -  RRP A$49.95* 

Let mum enter the world of sweet jasmine and vanilla musk with this deluxe Marshmallow soy candle that also has notes of roses and cotton candy sweetness. With over 60 hours of burn time, she will get many evenings of enjoying this exquisite candle housed in an ornate ceramic candle holder that can be re-used to store bits-and-bobs afterwards.Presented in a beautiful bowed tied box - how can she resist? Available in Myer, David Jones and MOR online.

 Balenciaga L'Eau Rose EDP 50ml - RRP A$125 
For the mum who likes a sophisticated twist, the sparkling notes of violets is infused with delicate roses and sweetness of blackberries. But the watch out for the lingering spicy green notes of patchouli, cypress and cedar that creates a sophisticated blend of pretty perfection. Available in David Jones, Myer and selected pharmacies.

 Estee Lauder Beautiful Romantics Set - RRP A$145

If your mum loves her classic, then you can’t go wrong with giving her the Beautiful set – with a burst of roses mandarin and lily scents, she will feel feminine whilst being enveloped by mid notes of Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang and orange flowers that lingers and with a sandalwood velvetier base. A great value when the 75ml comes with a perfumed body lotion and Bath and shower Gelee (also 75ml each) to make the scent lasts even longer and is valued at over $179. Available in Myer, David Jones and Estee Lauder online.

Oscar De La Renta Oriental Lace EDP 100ml - RRP A$165
For mums with more exotic preferences– this heady juice starts up with an inviting blend of hoya carnosa flower, laced with the sweetness of honey and almonds but shows a warm dark cacao and sensual heart of patchouli that is sure to please all discerning tastes. Available exclusively at David Jones stores.

For the Spa-licious Mum
Skin Physics Derma Sonic Cleansing Brush - RRP A$119

This latest gadget from looks like it could be a clone for the much pricier Clarisonic Plus facial brush with the same benefits of sonic technology and providing 6x the efficiency of manual cleansing. Not only that, just in time for Mothers day, you will get a Cellugen skincare pack valued at over $265 that you can gift to mum or keep yourself - what an amazing bonus!
Skin Physics available at Myer stores.

Natio Orange Blossom Home Spa Range*

Natio’s Orange Blossom Home Spa range Get a whiff of orange blossom in full bloom with Natio’s latest body care Spa range in Orange Blossom. From body wash to lotions to hand creams, the tangy citrus floral and fresh neroli scent is sure to be a hit to mums with prices ranging from 8.95 for the hand wash to $18.95 for the sea salt scrub. My pick – try the hand cream ($9.95) and body butter ($16.95). Available in Myer, David Jones and selected pharmacies from 6th May 2013.

MUK Spa Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner - RRP A$26.95 each*
By far my favourite hair care product this year, this shampoo and conditioner set will give soft luscious silky manes to the most unruly hair, not only that, it is effective yet gentle, it's also free from parabens and sulphates. Mum will feel like she just stepped out of the hair dressers every time with its use with her transformed into shiny locks full of volume and body without the frizz. Available at MUK salons. Call 1300 768 264 for stocklists.

For the Skin-Savy Mum
Sisley Phyto Blanc Intensive Lightening Serum 30g - RRP A$390* 
Give mum bright luminous skin with this indulgent whitening serum. She will love the lavender scented light fluid that contains vitamin-c, AA2-G, extracts of mulberry, scutellaria and lemon to lighten pigmentation and give supple skin the is full of clarity and radiance. Available at Sisley counters in David Jones

Prevage Intense Moisturiser serum 30ml - RRP A$270* 

if mums been through stress lately, and showing the signs she’s appreciate this intensive serum with concentrated dose of idebenone, atrazine and thoitaine to protect against free radical damage and give skin improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and whilst boosting skin firmess and skin lumiousity. Available at Elizabeth Arden counters.

 SK-II Stempower Gift Set -  RRP A$159
Infused with SK-II's piteria essence, this set contains a full size 50g Stempower cream that promises to increase firmness and improve texture in 10 days. The set also contains travel size of its famous Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser 20g, Facial Treatment Essence 75ml, and a Facial Treatment Mask and is valued at $280. Available at all SK-II counters and Adorebeauty online.

Shiseido Cherry Blossom skincare set  - RRP A$75
The Hydration Cherry Blossom collection is the perfect pack to help regulates and maintains optimal levels of moisture for a healthy-looking, luminous complexion , valued at $120, contains: Night Moisture Recharge 75mL Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam 30mL Hydro Nourishing Softener 30mL Refining Makeup Primer 10mL. Available at Shiseido counters in Myer

For the Glam-loving Mum
Estee Lauder Mother's Day Makeup Collection - RRP A$90 
Let your mum master the art of glam with this limited edition makeup set  containing superb products with incredible value containing Shimmering palette of 9 eyeshadows, bronzer, 3 Glosses, the Sumptuous Extreme Mascara and 2 Pure Color Intense Eyeliners in a deluxe makeup bag with tip cards that help her create looks that shimmer day and night.Available at Estee Lauder Counters or online.

Clinique High Impact Favourites – RRP A$38 
The essential to creating glamourous statement eyes. Includes quickliner for eyes, mascara both in intense black, Take off the Day makeup remover in a cute little mesh beauty bag. Available at Clinique counters.

Tom Ford Private Blend Lip Color - RRP A$65

Opulent and luxuriously creamy, which mum doesn’t want a Tom ford lippy to add to their collection? The pigments and shades deliver unparallel wear and colour sophistication – there’s bound to be a beautiful shade that would suit mums everywhere. Available in City David Jones stores.

Revitanail French Manicure Set - RRP A$25.00
For the classic manicured nails, mum will love this pretty and budget friend manicure set. Available at Priceline and selected pharmacies.

I hope this selection has inspired you. If not, take a look at all the catalogs that have already started flying into your inboxes - there's bound to be something that will tickle your mum's fancy. As long as you remember to give her something that pampering in mind, she'll love it because it came from you!

Product marked * were provided for editorial consideration.