Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blemish Busters: How to Regain Clear Complexion

Don’t you hate it when for no particular reason (that you can pin point anyway), your skin starts to act up and you start breaking out.  And it just always seems to happen at the worst of time - whenever you want to look your best without any angry red spots calling unwanted attention, giving rise to anxiety and frustration.

Unfortunately, I recently had (and am still having) this very problem with a break out on my chin and around the jaw line. I normally don’t get pimples in this area and couldn't pinpoint it to a particular reason be it related to stress, bad diet, or hormonal (as those generally triggers a break out on my cheeks). Needless to say, it's annoying and frustrating to suffer a break out.
Break out scars :(
So out came all the acne blemish treatments and skincare regime in my attempt to regain my clear chin again. Following the guideline of Treat, Heal and Prevent,  here’s a breakdown on how to say good bye to break outs, keep them in check and hello to clear complexion!

Blemish Busters


If it’s an angry outbreak, then treatment products can either stop the offending pimple from developing if caught early or if it's beyond that point, speed up its cycle so it can go away and heal quicker.

Try Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2-1 Fight and Fade spot gel (15ml $16.99) to reduce the duration of the break out and also help to fade any scars and marks.  I only use this gel at night because when used during the day with foundation over the treatment, you pretty much will have the product balling up and causing a mess to your makeup up

Another treatment I like is Clearasil Ultra Vanishing Acne Treatment Cream Extra Strength (20g A$14.49) containing 5% benzoyl peroxide to kill bacteria as well as dry out the pimples, quickly banishing spots. Those with sensitive skin types might find it too strong as it can irritate skin or cause stinging sensation so bear that in mind and try the normal strength product or use every other day only.

Dermalogica Spot correcting treatment (10ml  $35) is my preferred day time spot treatment as it doesn't ball up and has got a natural beige tint to help conceal any redness and dark marks. It also contains 5% sulphur and zinc oxide as active ingredients to help fight  and clear those pesky break outs.


When treating active pimples and acne, you need moisturising and soothing skincare as acne treatment products can by drying on skin. You want to look out for products that moisturise, help fade scars and speed up the recovery of healing skin.

Since treatment gel and creams often leave skin dry and tight, it’s important to use a hydrating moisturiser like the newly reformulated Clinique Dramatically different moisturiser Plus (50ml A$29 or 125ml A$49) containing sunflower seed, cucumber and barley extract to improve the skin barrier function and urea, hyaluronic acid, glycerine to increase moisturisation levels during the day. I like that it's non irritating so even sensitised skin will feel immediately comfortable with this great moisturiser that also gives soft silky skin.

To fight and fade off marks and scars, I've found Estee Lauder CyberWhite HD Advanced Spot Correcting Essence (20ml A$140) to be invaluable in reducing the appearance of scar marks on my chin. In fact, anything to do with pigmentation, whether from break outs or sun exposure, it has to capacity to correct and repair fresh dark marks over the course of 6 weeks. My marks from break outs are lighter and fading away by the day. I also notice that it gives my skin a translucent glow as it gently accelerates skin cell turn-over to improve skin clarity. Win-win!


Good skin starts with daily washing and facial washes can go a long way to helping keep skin clear. Here are some of my cabinet staples during periods of break outs.

Products that contain salicylic acid like Neutrogena Oil Eliminating Foaming Cleanser (150ml A$13.99) are not very effective in removing dirt, oil and dead skin , they reduce the chance of blocked pores. I love how this cleanser leaves skin with a velvety texture after washing, is non-drying and not too harsh. Afterwards, I noticed that it also helps to provide a couple of hours of shine control so I don't oil up as much.

For scrubs, the recently released fruity smelling Clearasil Daily Clear Vitamins & Extracts Scrub (150ml A$10.99) has avocado and pomergranate extracts to sooth and nousish skin whilst the salicylic acid and micro-bead scrub is effective with manually removing dead skin cell and grease build up whilst leaving skin feeling smooth and gently cleaned.

For a little something extra, the Neutrogena 2 in 1 Cleanser Mask (150ml $13.99) is handy as you can use it  two ways- as a normal daily cleanser or as a face mask. Every other day, or when I have a new break out, I would apply a thin layer over it as a mask , wait 5 minutes and then wash off to absorb excess oil and help soften skin and sooth the pimple. The clay-based mask cleanser is also great for reducing pesky blackheads as well as it also contains salicylic acid to dissolve and dislodge dead skin cells.

After 6 weeks, I'm still not out of the woods with my break outs. I do however, find that the pimples take only a few days to heal rather than the full week. Now if only I can stop new ones from forming, I'll be on my way to clear skin again. I've also increase my intake of fresh seasonal fruit (strawberries are in season right now) and drinking plenty of water helps flush out the toxin and clear the break outs quicker. I think I'll need to add an exercise regime as the final process to help to rid toxins out of the body quicker as well.

If you are suffering a break out, give these products a try and I hope they work as well for you as they have for me.

This review features products provided for consideration but I've previously purchased and will continue to buy the above acne treatment products to help me get rid of my break outs. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Budget Friendly Everyday Minimalist Look

It's been a long time since I have done a look post -  so I thought I'd share with you my typical makeup style these days - the minimalist look. There's not a plethora of products to layer over, just a slick of foundation to even out my skintone, blush and lipstick for some colour, defined brows, mascara on curled lashes over lined and lightly shaded eyes to widen it up and away I go.

For an everyday look, I don't think you need to spend a small fortune (and some of us don't have the disposal income to do so) so I've decided to showcase how to achieve with basic products that are budget friendly and costs less than $20 per item.

Everyday Minimalist Look
First up, the products I used are below:
Rimmel London Match Perfection in shade #102 Light Nude A$17.95*
Face of Australia loose translucent powder A$11.95
BYS Blush Trio in On the Bright Side A$6.95* (reviewed here)

Canmake four shiny eyes eyeshadow palette in #3 Milk Chocolate (bought online for approx A$13 when our currency was above parity)
Face of Australia Impact Curl mascara A$11.95*
Maybelline Master Precise liquid liner in black A$13.95
Daiso Eyebrow pencil in Dark Brown A$2.80

Rimmel London Kate Moss lipstick in shade #103 A$11.95

All up, the cosmetics will set you back just over A$90 at full price or cheaper if you can pick up some of the items during sale periods (eg. Priceline currently have 50% off Maybelline products).

Minimalist look
As you can see, that's almost a complete essentials set of  makeup products. The only thing that is missing from this essentials kit is a good concealer which is handy if needing to cover blemishes or dark circles (I've yet to find a good one at a budget price so have not featured it here).

How to achieve the look:
  1. Dot foundation of moisturised skin and use brush or fingers to blend product into skin (I always use a synthetic flat top brush to do the job). 
  2. Apply one, two or all three shades in the blush duo in a "C" shape from the temples down to cheeks and blend with a makeup brush to achieve a natural flushed look. 
  3. Set face makeup with loose powder using a fluffy powder brush (I set  my makeup after blush to lock in the colour for longer as well as helping to blend out any harsh lines)
  4. Define the brow with this brow pencil by drawing light quick strokes to fill in sparse brows. Use a brow comb on the other end of the Daiso pencil to soften any harsh edges (a cotton tip is also handy to lighten overly draw brows). 
  5. 2. layer on the mid colour from eyeshadow palette onto lids with a flat eyeshadow brush or sponge applicator. 
  6. Use a crease brush to apply the deepest shade shadow in the palette 1/4 from the outer corner of eyes and then blend the edges to soften the look (sponge applicators won't work here to give that smooth look).  
  7. Line eye with this precision eye liner with sharp tips that give fine defined lines that only liquid liners can provide. 
  8. Curl lashes and then apply a coat or two of Impact Curl Macara. 
  9. Apply lipstick onto lips directly from tube (or if you want well defined lips, use a lip brush), blot with tissue and reapply to make the colour more lasting. 

So you can see, the eye are only slightly enhanced as I've blended away aot of the colour, the cheeks are lightly flushed and lips are just natural pink shade. I usually carry this look to work as it's easy to put on in the mornings and easy to co-ordinate with any outfit without too much thought involved.

These items are products that I actually use regularly, if not everyday basis and just to create this look either as they are good value, and provide great quality. If you don't mind the non-fancy packing, the smaller selection of colours/shades, then you don't need to spend a fortune to look good.

All the products (except Canmake eyeshadow which is an Japanese cosmetic brand and only available online) can be picked up at accessible stores such as Priceline, Big-W, K-Mart or your local pharmacy.

What look do you wear everyday and how much does the products you use to create the look cost?

Products marked * were provided for editorial consideration. The rest were purchased by yours truly. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

BYS Blush Trios - Budget-friendly and Packing Punch

These days, you don't have to spend a fortune to find good cosmetics - whether they be in terms of quality, colour selection or staying power, the competition at the lower end of the market is heating up and you definitely can find value for money if you know where to look (and thankfully they are not too hard to find either!).

One such product comes from BYS. Their latest release is a collection of blush trios and being a sucker for palettes, I thought I'd give them a try.

My previous foray with BYS until this week have only been their nail polishes. I've now discovered that they has reformulated and revamped many of their makeup offering and have a full line of cosmetics ranging from foundation to blushes, lipsticks, eye shadows and liners.

BYS Blush Trios

There are four trios in this collection. From top to bottom L-R: Coral Me in for a coral pink/red based trio, Endless Summer a peachy pink collection, On the brightside, a collection of vibrant pinks and Heart Skipped a Beat for some dusty pale pink and lilac shades.

The one that landed on my desk to swatch for you today is is the bright and vibrant palette aptly called "On the Brightside".

First up, I have to say I adore the shades of this palette, they are beautiful bright colours that are perfect for making cheeks pop. On the left of the palette is a berry pink with micro shimmer that looks beautiful on its own and gives skin a glowy sheen. The middle shade is a matte hot pink and the right shade a cooler matte pink. Blended, the three shades come together nicely to create a pretty warm pink shade that gives skin a healthy sheen (left swatch below).
BYS Blush Trio- On the Bright Side: blended, shades from palette L-R on NC30 skin in natural light
The packaging is a sturdy albeit thin black plastic case with a clear top window to show the colours underneath. Inside sits three large (and I mean LARGE) colour rectangles in your chosen colour palette (you won't be running out on these for a very long time let me tell you!). These trios don't come with a travel brush but isn't missed as most included brushes are pretty useless and thrown out by me anyway.

Texture wise, the shimmery berry pink was very creamy whilst the matte shades were more powdery but are not too crumbly and easily picked up by a soft and dense long hair makeup brush (I use white goat hair brushes for my blushes and my favourite is the MAC 168 contour blush brush). Blending and layering of the colours was a cinch and helped to correct any accidental mistakes of over colouring cheeks.

 The pigmentation is amazing - all three shades deposit good colour with a single sweep over cheeks and you definitely need to be light-handed to avoid looking too like a tart rather than a naturally flushed goddess.

These blushes are also very lasting - I had them on my cheeks in the morning and at the end of the day in the office, the colours are still going strong!  I'm definitely impressed by these BYS blush trios. They are easily truly stand up well against pricier products on the market.

The colour offerings are all very versatile and will take you from morning to night without the need to touch up (unless you want to strengthen the colours at night). At the price of $6.95 per trio palette, you can afford to collect them all!

Stay tuned for the next post where I do a look using entirely budget-friendly products.

BYS Blush Trio 8gm - RRP $6.95 each from K-Mart, selected pharmacies, Ice Accesories, Cosmetics Plus or online at FashionAddict

Friday, August 9, 2013

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquers

Rimmel recently launched the latest lip offerings into the market called Apocalips. 

I was initially thinking this would could be another hybrid lipstick-stain product(al la L’Oreal Shine Caresse) but it is in fact a new category in its own right. This is a new breed of lip lacquers/glosses that are highly pigmented and creamy in texture, as you would find in traditional lipsticks but with the shine that is often seen in lacquer glosses. Lets check out the official wordings first shall we? 

Rimmel Says:
Combines the intense colour of lipstick with a lacquer like shine, Apocalips lacquers are packed with pure colour pigments; its lusciously creamy, conditioning formula promises a never-before combination of colour, shine and comfort that lasts and lasts.

My Views: 
Lightweight and wearing comfortably, it feels very emollient on lips without a hint of tackiness or stickiness  and the high shine also helps to create a plumping effect for those with thin lips. 

It conditions like a lip balm, helps to prevent lips from drying but will show up chapped lips so conditioning lips and exfoliating them is a must (try a dry toothbrush after showering when the flaky lips are softened).

The colours range from subtle nudes to bright and vibrant shades so there’s bound to be a shade that suits all occasions. One swipe of the brighter shades and you have full coverage on your lips – something i’m very impressed with.  What’s better is that you can layer these lacquers so you can mix two Apocalips together to form your own custom shade as well as dial up or down the brightness of the colours. 
Under natural light on NC30 skintone

Under Flourescent light on NC30 skintone

Packaged in a doe-foot sponge applicator, it spreads the formula easily and can even be used to create defined lines when tilted on its side which makes touching up on the go easy-as. It has a tasteless but distinctive apple peel scent which is quite unique as well.

My only complaints are that some of the creme shades without any micro shimmer to add dimension can make lips look flat ‘painted on’ (which also could be an effect you are going after as well but isn't flattering for everyday wear). Good thing is that this can easily be resolved with layering of shades to create one that sits better on your skin.  

Lasting-power wise, the nude colours survived about 1 hr of wear before fading and disappears even faster when eating but the brighter shades lasts 2-3 hours and still holds its colour through light eating. 

The Colours

100 Phenomenon
A pale pink nude that looks best on fair skin and those with cool skin tones for a very natural my lips but better look. Those with pigmented lips like myself with have some difficulty pulling off the look with this shade as it’s washes out the lips too much. 

600 Nude Eclipse
A brown based nude pink that works much better on warmer skintones and also sits better with pigmented lips. This would be the ‘my nude lips’ look if you have medium or warm skintones – then this shade is for you. I love wearing this on my lazy weekend days where i like a bit of hydration but am not going for colour.

701 Stargazer
Full of golden micro-shimmer, Stargazer is very sheer and on my lips, I can barely see the colour other than the shiny shimmer from different angles. I think this shades works best when layered over other lip products to bring some golden warmth and sparkle to the colour. 

201 Solstice 
This is a dusky rose shade that would suit all skintones. The presences of shimmer adds a dimension to lips and just makes this an even more exquisite shade on my skin. This is one of my top picks  of the Apocalips collection.

101 Celestial  
This is a warm dusty pink with a creme finish. It differs from Solstice in that it's a brighter version of the shade and it doesn't contain shimmer is produces a nice block colour effect for lips.

102 Nova
This is a cool Barbie-resque mauvy pink that would wear better on those with cool and light colour skintones.

501 Stellar 
This is a warm and vibrant cherry red that just pops and brightens up lips and goes well with all skintones. In bright white lights, it even has a slight orange tint to it. I love wearing this on my no-eye makeup days because all attention goes to my lips.

303 Apocaliptic 
A rich berry pink, this signature shade that just accentuates the pouts and again would suit all skin tones. It's definitely another bright colour so make sure you co-ordinate your blush with warm berry colours when wearing this shade.

Personally, I love the texture and comfortable wear of Apocalips. My top picks from the current eight shade offering would have to be Solstice, Stellar, Apocaliptic and Stargazer for layering. These lacquers are even better value when on sale (as often can be found at the Chemist Warehouse) for up to 50% off. 

Apocalips Lip Lacquer RRP A$15.95 and is available from Priceline, Priceline, Target, Kmart, BIG W, selected pharmacies and selected Coles and Woolworths stores. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Catch Up: Cristina Re and Target Collaboration

I don't know about you, but I love pretty designs and love seeing them on stationary like note books, pens or pretty product packaging! Unfortunately, I don't have the creative flair to come up with elegant designs and am glad for uncle Google for inspirations when I need do any graphic or design work.

There are no such problems for designer and Melbournian entrepreneur Cristina Re who has successfully set up her own design house helping others create their own beautiful stationary designs (think wedding invitations and scrap booking albums), as well as collaborating with many brands to create products that adds that a feminine and elegant flair to stationery, home decor, bath & body items and even food collection via her high tea service.
Cristina Re.  Image Credit: Cristinare.com

For those of you who haven't heard of her or seen her works, you must check her out here, where you can familiarise with her philosphy and even purchase her products online.

Cristina partnered up with Target earlier this year to produce a range of home, bath and body range and I had an opportunity to check the items out first hand. Let me tell you I was not disappointed. These items sit well in any home environment and add a touch of chicness, especially the scented candle and home fragrance diffuser.
Cristina Re for Target range
I also had the  the pleasure of asking Cristina a few questions via correspondence to see if I pick her brains and channel some of her creative inspiration into myself (sadly, it was not successful) but she has further reinforced the notion to pursue's one's dreams and the key of perseverance to success.

So without further ado, here's what Ms Re had to say on her journey to building a successful, beauty and collaboration with Target.

Where do you get inspirations from for your designs and patterns?
I draw my inspiration from my travels around the world, in particular Rome (I was born in Rome and lived and studied in Italy for a number of years), Paris and Asia. I am inspired by nature, by the flora and fauna of Australia and many other beautiful countries. I am influenced by art & design from the past, and am also a big fan of beautiful interior design and draw inspiration from old vintage fabrics and wallpaper. You could say I also love fashion and beautiful packaging, and follow trends from around the world to help me create my new ranges.

What has been your favourite project/body of works to date and why?
I get very excited about the Bath and Body ranges I have produced. Creating these collections is very exciting for me, as I have always had an obsession for beautiful fragrances and packaging. For as long as I can remember, I have indulged in purchasing exquisite soaps, candles and perfumes from around the world and have found myself keeping each piece as a collectable decorative object used predominantly to adorn my home - so now I'm proud to have created my own products with my own favourite scents adorned in elegant packaging.

What does a typical day of yours entail?
A typical day is very busy! I am a very hands-on worker and like to oversee every creative element of the business. I am passionate about design and believe it is important to inspire and motivate my team to ensure that they understand and believe in the vision. Having said this, my days consist of overseeing the creative process of creating new designs and products, marketing my company and brand, whilst also managing the rest of the business from a higher level as well.

What do you attribute to your success?
I attribute a lot of my success to the people I have surrounded myself with. Having a good team of people to support you is critical. I have always had many like-minded friends in the industry that have pushed and inspired me and I have had great support from my family. In order to create a good team I believe that communication is the key to achieving success. I also believe in treating my staff the way I like to be treated myself and having a philosophy of work life balance is key. I aim to provide a beautiful and highly creative environment that inspires and breeds success.
There have also been many amazing businesswomen in the international arena that I have been inspired by, often in completely different fields of work, namely writers, television personalities and fashion designers. 
 How did the target collaboration come about and where was its inpirations?
Target approached me to design the Peacock Garden range as they were looking to associate themselves with other recognized Australian designers that have a wide fan base and following. With the Peacock Garden range Target wanted me to design something stylist and feminine for this year's Mothers Day which was also the ultimate affordable indulgence.  
My inspiration behind the Peacock Garden range for Target was to create something centered on my love of gardens that also contained pretty florals and my favorite animal motif, the beautiful and iconic peacock, which I incorporate in many of my paper designs. My inspiration behind the 3 fragrances in 3 pretty colour choices was my favorite personal blend of flora and fruits, containing hints of rose, jasmine, summer flowers and fruity fragrances.
Enjoying the Cristina Re's Amber Rose Diffuser 
What one beauty product can you not live without?
I would have to say body lotion. My favorite product from the collection would have to be both the body wash and hand lotion, because the beautiful scents linger all day and leave a lasting impression. They have a stimulating and sensual fragrance, reminding me of summer flowers and fruit. They also contain no parabans, SLE’s or PEGS which are gentle for the skin and are not tested on animals.

What upcoming project/works can expect to see in the near future from you?
I am a big dreamer and visionary, an overachiever and love challenges, so I see the development of many diverse and unique lifestyle product ranges to expand the Cristina Re offering. I love telling a story in every collection that I release, so I look forward to creating new and unique ranges that set the trends and continue to inspire people.
I plan to extend the High Tea collection to offer further new colours and patterns that are feminine and beautiful. The new releases will be perfect to mix and match and become collector’s items to invest in and cherish for years to come.
My long term goals are to further expand my line of giftware products by continuing to offer innovative and beautiful collections that tell a unique story, providing the ultimate sensory and celebratory experience. I hope to continue to inspire others through my artistic work, and perhaps through writing self-help motivational books and films.

Thank you Cristina for taking the time out in your busy schedule to answer these questions. You can pick up Cristina's affordable Target products in three delectable scents: Amber Rose, Mandarin Passionfruit or Pomergrante Lychee in stores or online.

• Scented Soy Candle RRP A$14
• Home Fragrance Diffuser RRP A$20
• Fragrance Soap RRP $8
• Fragrance Body Wash RRP A$13
• Peacock Garden designed journal RRP $10
• Small gift set RRP A$20
• Large Gift set RRP A40