Friday, 23 January 2015

essence: hits & misses

Budget beauty brand Essence (or essence to be absolutely correct) send me a few bits to play with from their Limited Edition range called Come To Town and some of the newest additions to the rest of their range. Come To Town was for christmas... but it is still on the essence stand in my local... sigh.

The nail varnishes are as always great quality for very little spends (€1.79 - €1.99) with shades, finishes and textures to suit all tastes. Colour intensity is great and you generally get full coverage with 2 thin coats which dry quicker than you'd think from a budget brand. The nude colours may need an extra coat just to make it fully opaque.

essence Come To Town quattro eyeshadow 01 MAKE A WISH is a lovely little quad for €3.49, metallic, shimmer colours that are soft and buttery to touch with excellent pigmentation. The swatches you see on my fingers are a double swipe across the pans, no swirling or hard scrubbing, just two softish swipes. Lovely. The Silver and Gold are the stand out colours here and the darkest green would look lovely as an eyeliner. I don't have the right colour eyes or skintone for the lightest green though...

essence Metal Glam Eyeshadow singles are lovely in the pan and feel buttery soft, but it is a pain to get it onto the brush and near impossible to get it to show up like it does in the pan. I'd skip these unless you are willing to wet these to get a good intensity.   The eye-shadows that are not really floating my boat though are the 3D Shadow Duos. Pretty to look at and beautifully presented in the pan, these are hard. H.A.R.D. I really struggled to get the above swatch. I have 2 other colours and they are the same. Its a pity because these are so pretty... but in the pan only.

essence Long Lasting Lipsticks (€ XX) come in a mix of matte and satin shades with great pigmentation and a lovely feeling formula. 14 Adorable Matte! is a classic Red with a leaning to the pink side. Pretty, bright and super comfortable on the lip, the formula doesn't dry my already tender lips out and it doesn't sit in flaky patches. Its not completely Matte, but this means that it wears evenly and sticks around for a good 3 hours. The lid clicks closed with a solid CLICK so its safe enough to chuck in the pocket in my bag. I like Adorable Matte!

The "matching" Lipliner (14 Femme Fatale) is a proper tomato red. But it is more red than Adorable Matte! Lipstick and not a perfect perfect match. But its soft, sharpens easily and gives a proper matte finish if you choose to fill in your lips with this, but it wears off quickly in the center of your lips, so beware. It does make a great base for lipstick and its cheap as chips.

A winner and new to the range are the Liquid Ink Eyeliners. One shade: Black. Two finishes: Matte and High Shine. Price: €2.89 SCORE!

A proper brush with bristles means that essence listened to their customers and went back to the brush as opposed to the sponge thing that they used to have. Yay!

Liquid Ink High Shine eyeliner is nice. It is easy to work with, and the finish is high shine but ti takes a wee while to dry, so try not to blink too vigorously after applying otherwise you will end up with black lines on your eyelid in places you don;t want black lines. Perfect for wet look liner though as the finish stays shiny after its dried. Only thing is it isn't waterproof. This will run and the threat of tears. And its not for a rainy day in Ireland. But it does wash off easily.

Liquid Ink Matte Eyeliner is the Winner though, it dries to its matte effect fairly quickly, and it stays matte. Even after an eye-watering-inducing onion chopping session, this was un-smudged, un-budged and still matte. I was very impressed. However, this means its a pain in the hoop to remove. You WILL need to use an oil (I like coconut oil, I always have it in the house) and you WILL need to take your time getting it off.

To show how waterproof the Matte Liner is I ran it under a tap of warm water and gave it a rub with my fingers and it didn't budge. I had to go get a cloth (my kitchen microfibre one was handy) and even after a half hearted scrub (middle pic) it was still there... after a proper scrubity scrub, and hot water you can see its STILL there in the last pic. I needed soap on the cloth to get rid of it completely. But I used coconut oil and a warm wet facecloth to get it off my eyes and it worked fine, but I did need to massage it in well to get the liner to break down.

My MOST favourite is the essence silky touch blush in 08 Autumn Peach. Silky is the exact word to use for this blush as it is soft and silky when you run your fingers in the pan. This warm peachy colour is a perfect match for me. Its not too pink and its not too orange, it just gives a lovely colour to my cheeks. You do need a soft touch with this as it it quite pigmented and a brush picks up a hell of a lot of the colour. I prefer to use clean fingers with this and blend it into my cheeks gently. There is a very very slight shimmer which catches the light (the very little winter light) quite nicely and gives a lovely glow to my skin. I do like this and I will go out and get a spare.

essence has a good few gems lurking on the stand if you have one close, and even if the product doesn't suit you it didn't cost a fortune and if you lose it you know its not going to break the bank if you want to replace it. And they are well worth checking out as they have a good few dupes for more expensive brands...

**Samples gratefully received, opinions my own

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Night Time Skin Routine: January 2015

Eh... its almost the end of January? Already?!? Bloody hell. Time is flying for me at the moment, the kids are busy at school and after school, the hubby is busy at work and I am trying to spend my mornings productively (cleaning, tidying, throwing out, making stuff, writing) because afternoons and evenings are filled with the kids activities. Moms Taxi is alive and well and parked in my driveway...

But I am making time in the evenings to treat my skin properly. I only need about 10 minutes, but I take the time, every evening to do the whole routine. Because 5 months ago my skin had a shit-fit. I am still not sure what caused the break-outs, I am careful with what I use on my face, so I am sure it wasn't a reaction to dodgy ingredients... I am putting it down to hormones (please let it not be "The Change" I'm only 35 for pete's sake), its the only thing that makes sense, especially since the breakouts are concentrated around my jaw, cheeks and chin. Sore, angry cysts started, and clusters of blocked pores that just got nasty. My T-Zone is producing oil like its being paid by a desert sheikh. I kid you not.
But after 5 months of struggling, I think I am finally seeing progress and a possible light at the end of the tunnel. This is what I am using:

I got this little tube of Balance Me Cleanse And Smooth Face Balm as a freebie in a magazine last year and I've been using it every evening since Mid November when I dug it out of my stash in desperation.

Give the tube a squeeze and you get a golden worm of balm that melts on contact with your skin and spreads easily. There are "Gritty" bits in it from the oat powder that are more soft than gritty, these provide the polishing effect. This lifts off all the days dirt and is a lovely way to start the wind down process of the day.

It smells delish and the best bit is it rinses off easily with warm water and a facecloth. Skin feels soft and smooth and clean without feeling squeaky. This says its for normal/dry/sensitive skins, but its not doing my combo-oily skin any harm especially since I make sure to rinse it off properly (a la Hirons). I am impressed by how long this has lasted me, especially since I've been using it every day for 2 months, and its just a trial size. I will deffo be springing for a bigger tube (£20 for 125mls) when this one starts running low.

TIME TAKEN: 3 Minutes

Next up is the Vichy Normaderm 3-in-1 Cleanser/scrub/mask. I'll be honest and say I don't like this as a scrub. As a cleanser its ok, its not going to remove makeup, but it does a good job at absorbing excess oil. It is great as a mask and its not that spendy at €13.50 for a 125ml squeezy tube. Its a light green creamy clay-based mask with blue scrubby bits that when spread on in a thin layer dries quickly (within 5 - 7 minutes).

I put a skinny layer of this on and let it do its thing for 2 - 3 minutes while I am brushing my teeth. The clay absorbs the excess oil and the salicyclic acid gets to work on the spots. Warm wet facecloth to remove being as gentle as I can I don't want to scrub at my skin. I am using this most nights, but never more than 3 nights in a row. 

TIME TAKEN: 2:30 - 3 Minutes

I bought myself a bottle of Alpha H Liquid Gold at the beginning of January out of desperation. For €37.50, from Cloud10 Beauty, I had high hopes. And after 3 weeks of using it every 2nd night, I think this stuff is Liquid Gold. Bah dum tish. 

Glycolic acid works to dissolve the bonds holding dead skin cells on the skins surface to help newer skin to the surface quicker. A little of this on a cotton pad and smoothed over my skin (it stings like acid on any open spots) leaves my skin a little tingly for a few seconds but once its dries: nothing. Nothing except smooth skin ready to accept/drink/devour serum and moisturiser.

My skin has taken to this quite well, I expected sensitivity and more breakouts but that has not been the case and I have been tempted to use this every night as opposed to every 2nd night, but in the interest of making it last (it is quite spendy for my budget) and not having a reaction to it, I am following the directions and using it every 2nd night.
If I have a particularly nasty and sore spot/cyst I dab a bit on a cotton bud and dab it on the spot directly every night as a spot treatment.

So far Liquid Gold is working quite well for me and I have started saving for my next bottle. I have a feeling I am going to need this in my life from now on.

TIME TAKEN: 1.30 Minutes

After allowing the Liquid Gold to work for 2 minutes I go in with my serum and eye cream. Serum of choice at the moment is La Roche Posay Redermic [R]. I stopped using this as I thought I was sensitive to the ingredients and that it was making my skin worse. But I was wrong and added it back into my routine after reading THIS post. So using Redermic [R] in addition to the Liquid Gold has proved to be the magic formula. My skin is much brighter and my pigmentation is loads better. I think that this combination is what is actually helping to clear the cysts and clusterfucks spots.

TIME TAKEN: 1.30 Minutes

Depending on how my skin is feeling and what the weather has been like, I use one of two moisturisers: Either the Kerstin Florian Correcting Rescue Créme or The Body Shop Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet. I use the Rescue Créme when my skin is feeling really dry and tight and windburnt or ravaged by central heating. But when I use this I find that I wake in the mornings with super oily skin: I need to wash my face immediately, so I am tending not to use this too often.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet (€15.00 ) is a strange one. It has a funny texture, sort of gritty but not, pillowy and soft and gel-like. But I was happy to hand over my money for this because I have a secret love affair with their Body Sorbets.

Amazingly cooling, which is kind of what I am after some nights: deep hydration without the oiliness. Its light and absorbs easily. The little bits dissolve on your skin like little miniscule waterbombs and my skin isn't greasy the next morning.  I like it. I really do.

TIME TAKEN: 1 Minute

This 10 minutes every night is finally starting to make a difference. I do this before I settle down in front of the TV, so that my skin can benefit from the products for those few extra hours.

So far my skin is playing ball. I have had a few new cysts (deep, red carbuncles that refuse to make a head they just sit there all sore and red and hot) and the spots that have come through are coming to a head (gross I know, sorry) and healing much quicker than they were. 

I am not wearing as much makeup, because I am worried about it upsetting my skin. If I do need to wear makeup I take it off as soon as I get home. I am also taking a vitamin supplement, eating more greens (specifically raw green coloured veg which I blend into a smoothie most mornings) and taking fish oil capsules and drinking plain old water (3l a day) to help my skin from the inside. Its all starting to kick in (its only taken 3 long bloody months) and I am seeing an improvement. I am just hoping I can get my clear skin back before May this year as I have a wedding to go to and I am sick of hiding when cameras come out.

Are you using any of these products? Do you have any recommendations? Leave them in the comments below or catch me on twitter!

 **Post contains samples gratefully received for review& products bought with my own money. Opinions my own

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Catrice ViennArt : My Picks

I am loving what Catrice is doing just lately, and for a budget brand their quality is pretty amazing for the small price. The ViennArt Collection has been out of a while now, and the new collection is due out, but since I live "in the sticks", the ViennArt collection is still on the stands in my village. This is a gilded collection that pays tribute to Art Noveaux.

First up is the handy little mirror (€3.99). While it looks like it is going to be quite a heavy piece of kit to lug around, its actually not. The packaging feels a bit plastic-y but its not flimsy. Its just light-weight. It opens easily, and feels comfy in your hand and it is just the right size for touch ups. The mirror has two parts, one ordinary mirror and a magnifying mirror.

This very gorgeous LE (Limited Edition) Baked Eyeshadow called C02 Stunning Stucco has a silvery lace overlay that doesn't actually affect the eyeshadow underneath. It dissipates very quickly actually to leave a highly pigmented nudey-pinky-champagne-coloured shimmer behind that looks lovely over the entire eyelid, either with a smoked out liner or a super sharp cat eye style liner. I have been wearing this quite a bit lately, its so easy to work with and wear and the colour really opens up my eyes. This baked shadow also comes in C01 Pearly Plastering and C03 Lovely Lace.

There are 2 real stand outs in the ViennArt collection for me though and the nail polishes are one. Metallic foils and frosts dominate here. C01 Pearlescent Purpose and C03 LilART Lily where my colours for Christmas 2014. These are €2.99 each and the bottles have the pretty floral detail on them.
LilArt Lilly is a lavender coloured foil that is opaque in 2 coats. More silvery with a lilac/lavender undertone it looks quite elegant on.
Pearlescent Purpose is a bit like Marmite, you will either like it or not. If you put in the time, and enough thin coats you will get this fully opaque, I got bored after 4 thin coats and you can still see my nail line. But 2 coats gives a transparent pale shimmer that is going to look ACE against a tan this summer!
Longevity with both of these is pretty good, but you will get tip wear within the first day no matter what you do. its not so noticeable with the lighter colours though, so you will get away with this for at least a few days.

But my favourite of the bunch is the Catrice ViennArt Shimmer Lip Colour in C03 Kilmt's Ardent Kiss (€4.49). The fact that I am a bit of a Klimt fan, is neither here nor there, but ohmigoshiflippinglovethis!! Kilmt's Ardent Kiss is a deep bordeaux red shot through with a fine gold shimmer, but this shimmer doesn't show on your actual lips, instead you get a lovely deep red that looks amazing on pale skins in this cold weather. It feels quite balmy on my lips too, but be sure to prep lips before hand because as this wears off it will sit in any dry areas, but it won't dry your lips out any further.

Klimt's Ardent Kiss isn't an opaque formula. So it is perfect to get a lovely sheer wash of colour if you want to pat it on with a finger. It applies just fine straight from the bullet though and this is how I like to use it. Another plus is the very lux looking packaging that CLICKS closed properly!

I had a look at the other 2 colours C01 Nude Nouveau (nude) and C02 Klimt‘s Gentle Kiss (soft apricot) but they looked a bit wishy-washy when I swatched the testers.

Did you pick up anything from the collection, or is it already gone from your local Catrice Stand?

**Samples gratefully received for review, opinions my own.

Monday, 12 January 2015

LUSH FUN: Do you wanna build ....

I do love a bit of Lush. And I am not alone in my love... both my son and my daughter share this fondness for the brand. My kids also love playing with their bathbombs (I have to break them in half and give each a half before they get in so that they can fizz them in their hands and various containers) and so it was a natural progression to get them a bit of FUN: the bath equivalent of PlayDoh.

As far as I know, all Lush products are vegan, and just lately Lush are making a move toward Self-Preserving products, negating the need for preservatives, so do have a look at your favourite Lush goody and see if they haven't made a Self-Preserving version! Lush Snowman Fun is a soft, playdoh like texture, that as long as you keep it dry, acts just like playdoh but it smells of their Carrot Soap. And when you break a bit off and add water: BUBBLES!!!

The packaging is bio-degradable, and the label gives a suggestion as to what you can build with it. But don't feel like you HAVE to build the thing. I cut the totally yummy smelling Snowman FUN in half and let the kids go to town.

Hannah made Olaf. And Liam made a pretty respectable Penguin (bear in mind the lad was only 6 when we took the photos, he has since turned 7 and is "way better at it now").

The ingredients are pretty skin friendly, even for my daughter who struggles with eczema and extremely dry skin, so this is great because its something she can use without fear of irritation her sensitive skin.

You get 200g of FUN for €6.95, but you will get great value out of this as the kids have used this for about 7 baths and there is still a little more than a third left. They pinch off about a thumbs worth and play with it a bit as playdoh, then they mush and rub their creations into their face cloths, it all suds up and they wash with the suds. Hannah's hair smells sweet and fresh, but it does still need a little conditioner through the ends as it is quite long. Liamo is ok to use this as a shampoo (without the need for conditioner) as his hair is short.
Just don't get the suds in your eyes: it does sting.

FUN doesn't only come in the Snownan variant, Lush also did a GOLD one for Christmas that you might still be able to pick up, and during the year you can pick up FUN in Pink, Red, Blue, Green and Yellow for your bathtime shenanigans.

I highly recommend FUN as a great Value-for-Money product for the kids (and Adult-kids) as a fun gift and something a little different and exciting for bath time.

**Purchased with my own money. Well actually with my Husband's money, if I'm being honest.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Review: The Body Shop Hand Creams

Confession: I've had these mini Hand Creams from The Body Shop for quite a while now... actually I've had them for about a year. I keep meaning to blog about them but then something else bumps them down the list a bit. Which is silly, because these little buggers are actually quite awesome.

As you can see they are mini, but don't let that put you off. The Body Shop Hand Creams pack a proper punch in the "phalangeal moisturisation" department and they smell DIVINE.

They come in 8 yummy "Flavours" and the 30ml tubes cost just €5.95. It sounds like a lot of money for a very little bit of product, but you need a pea sized amount of product to soothe dry hands and elbows and the hydrating effect lasts a good long time, without hands feeling sticky.

I do love that the Honeymania Hand Cream doesn't smell overly sweet, as you would think it would, it smells quite floral to me actually, but its not over-powering at all. Its not massively in your face, but I like that you get a lovely flowery wiff everytime your hands come past your face, so I would tend to use a florally perfume if I am putting this one in my hand bag.

The Moringa Hand Cream is my favourite. It's the scent of mu childhood. This little tube has been sitting next to my chair and it gets used at least 3 times a week, most often after I take my nail polish off because it replaces the moisture that the remover strips away. And cos it smells nice and sinks in quickly.

I finished the Honeymania tube in November 2014, but I still have a few uses left in the
Moringa one, and the tubes are lovely and squishy so you can get every last bit of gorgeousness out of the tube.

Get thee to The Body Shop soonest as they have a massive sale on at the moment, I just wish I lived closer to a store or that you could buy online from the Irish site

** Samples provided for review, opinions my own

Monday, 5 January 2015

Nespresso Delonghi Lattissima Pro Review: ERMAGERRRD!

So, I'm rather lucky. Yup I'm counting my blessings : Healthy self & kids, roof over our heads and food in the press, and BLOODY AWESOME COFFEE IN MAH KITCHEN! The hubs came home with the Nespresso Delonghi Lattissima Pro (it was a demo model from one of his shows) and I was skeptical. Until I plugged it in, filled it with water and milk, and put it on.... that is when I fell a little bit in love.

I'm not a fan of overpriced, over syruped coffee. I can't have one more than once a week (Starbucks and Costa are hexpensive habits to have) and I am happy not to have it at all for months on end. But I do enjoy a lovely coffee (sans sugar or syrup) with a nice milky froth every now and again, and I like to be able to choose my blend. We have a great little coffee shop in Dundalk called Panama (its on the town square) and its a great little place to sit and watch the kids run about in the fountains on a hot day.
But in the winter: I like my coffee in my bed where I am toasty & warm or on the sofa, where I am toasty & warm. And this little machine has made great coffee on my sofa possible, with no messing about with wet coffee grounds & Cafetiere after.

It looks complicated but it is really not. And its neat and sleek on the counter, taking up a little more space than the kettle, but not as much as the toaster (which has been relegate to the top of the wall cupboards). Everything is designed to be easy to clean, easy to assemble, easy to use, with minimal fuss and faffing.

The milk frother jug fits in the fridge door neatly to keep the milk cold & fresh and every 2 days you take it apart (so easily The Husbag can do it) chuck it in the top self of the dishwasher (hallelujah!!! it goes in the dishwasher!!!), re-assemble, fill it with milk and you're good to go.

Making a cup of coffee is easy:
-Turn the machine on and allow it 30 seconds to heat up while you select your coffee (there are 22 varieties with limited edition flavours every so often)
-Pop the pod into the top of the machine, close the silver handle
-Push the button of your chosen coffee type (Lungo, Espresso, Ristretto on the left, or Latte, Cappuccino on the right)

If you choose one the pre-sets (Latte & Cappuccino) then the milk is dispensed first into the cup and then the coffee. Handy as its a single button push and you're done, all you have to do when its finished is turn the button on the top of the Milk Frother to clean and let it clean itself then put it back in the fridge (cold milk froths better). And you have an awesome, tasty, very professional looking cup of coffee at the touch of a button, in about 1 minute (including heat up time).
Oh and did I mention no throngs of people, no cues and no having to explain your order or spell your name? AAND THEN there is the fact that no one will look at you funny when you pitch up bleary-eyed in your jimmy-jams looking for your morning caffeine fix!

It also does properly hot frothy milk. My kids are loving this function. Their bed-time drinks are something a little bit special now. The button on the top of the Milk Frother controls how frothy your milk is, so you can have LOTS of bubbles on the top of your drink, or have more milk than froth.

This is a machine that I can allow my 9year old to use, its that easy. I have shown her that the silver milk nozzle gets very hot and how to avoid touching it and she has shown a bit of savvy when using it. So now I don't even have to get off the couch!!!

Now to cost: This model, the Latissima Pro, is rather pricey at €499.00 according to the Nespresso website. But you can get other models for a bit less, and you could probably get a great deal if you shopped around. And if you compare it with getting a Latte at a popular establishment, it will pay for itself in a year, see my calculations below. The pods are cheaper than I expected them to be: a sleeve of 10 pods (which means 10 coffees) costs between €3.60 and €4.20 .

Nespresso VS Starbucks: FIGHT!!

The Lattissima + is €299 at Harvey Norman
Official Nespresso Arpeggio pods are €3.60 for a 10 pack (lasts me a week) by 52 weeks = €187.2
So in the first year: €299+€187.20 = €486.20
And you don't even have to get dressed.

Starbucks large Latte costs approx €2.85, four times a week = €11.40 by 52 weeks in the year = €592.80. Notice here that you are only getting 4 coffees per week as opposed to 10 per week with the Nespresso.


After doing the calculations and seeing the numbers, if we didn't already have the machine, I would ask for one for my birthday or Christmas.

I have also found that I am not drinking as much coffee during the day... just one or 2 cups of Nespresso compared to 5 or 6 cups of instant coffee, and I'm not missing the sugar at all. I am a lot in love with my little machine. And I can't imagine starting my mornings at home any other way now. Its a little bit of luxury, that I can have and enjoy twice a day.

Are you a coffee drinker, would you consider getting a Machine? Or are you happy having to get dressed to go and get your coffee?

**Harvey Norman provided the Machine, but they didn't know I would be reviewing it. Nespresso pods purchased by me

Sunday, 21 December 2014

#irishbbloggersSS14 Reveal

It's here! I'm late to post, I know and I'm sorry... but better late than never! Massive thanks to Aisling (Total Makeup Addict) to organising it again this year.

I was asked to buy for Audrey from The Nail Affair, and I hope she got her pressies, I haven't heard from her yet...


When my own pressie arrived, I laughed when I opened it. And then I cried. I cried some more when I read the card. Sharon you Legend. With a CAPITAL L! I love everything! Everything was wrapped up so beautifully I was loathe to open anything... but I did.

She picked out things that I would have picked for myself. And Sharon went to the trouble of making sure my all time Man-crush was wrapped up snug and safe with some gold glitter polish up his bum. Yup, Sharon got me DAVE GROHL!!! And in this house Dave Grohl poops gold glitter. I love it. I love him. I love him so much he sits on the shelf above my chair so he is always watching over me.

Roger & Gallet Cedrat is my most favourite scent ever. Fresh and clean with a soft bitterness that is a proper lemon scent, this sits next to my chair and I use it through the day as my hand cream and to revive me when I'm feeling a bit flat. This is something I always pick up, but put back on the shelf because I struggle to spend money on creams for myself (kids could use new clothes/markers/toys I call it parental guilt), so I really, really appreciate this!

The kids also say "Thanks Very Much Aunty Shazza!!!". The reindeer noses didn't last very long, but the kids loved that they also got a treat out of Mommy's box of pressies :) I'll be honest and say that Green&Blacks isn't a brand I would normally choose, but I have since picked up a few more of the burned toffee variety to hide in my bedside table for nights when I am reading and need a bit of something to satisfy the sweet tooth.

Tomorrow is my birthday, so I will be wearing the earrings and the polish when the family come over for coffee and cake in the evening.

Again, big thanks to Aisling  for organising Secret Santa again this year!

I hope that you all have a fantastically merry festive season and that 2015 is easier on all of us!

Seasons Greetings!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Surya Brasil : A gift idea for the Himself in your life

Looking for a present for himself that is vegan, natural, and good for his skin (and the Environment)? Then you need to check out Surya Brasil Sapien Men. A distinctive hair and body range with a clean, masculine scent of citrus, spice and woody notes, the formulations are made up of gluten free amaranth proteins and mild cleansing agents. And they smell yummy.

"Made by Surya Brasil, the Sapien Men range has been blended from natural ingredients that are ethically and sustainably harvested to support the local economy and indigenous population. Organic certified by Ecocert and formulated for a man’s tougher skin, these products are vegan and free from any synthetic fragrance, sulfates, petroleum by-products, silicone and gluten." The packaging is sleek and unassuming and looks good on the shelf, or in himself's gym wash-bag.

We have had these in the house for about a year now and its only now that I am finding that Himself is only starting to get to the end of these two tubes now... making them seriously great value for money. Your Tonic are the exclusive stockists of the Surya Brasil products in Ireland and their service is brilliant, I can't recommend them enough.

He was sent two products from the Sapien Men range and we both had a go at them. I leave him to use the products for a week and then I trial them for a week: so that I can flesh out his answers a bit more. When I ask him how he liked a product I normally get very brief answers. So I need to make sure I know what he is talking about... the fact that he uses them until they are pretty much done is rather telling, as he has a good variation of brands to choose from.

Shave Cream €19.55/£17.00
A massive 200ml, easy to squeeze tube, which allows you to dispense the product easily and the flip-top (oh how I love me a flip-top) means no fussing. A formula rich in organic vegetable extracts give you a smooth shave that is comfortable and allows the blade to glide over the skin. It contains organic cupuassu and macadamia extracts that soften the skin to prevent against irritation and organic aloe vera and acerola cherry extracts means that skin feels well hydrated when you are finished.

I got a fabulously close shave on my legs when I used the Shave cream and I loved that the blade rinsed easily, even though the water wasn't super hot. I used a minuscule amount of product and it lathered up nicely so that you can see where you are shaving, which means you won't inadvertently go over shaved skin again, thus avoiding the chance of irritating the skin.

After Shave Cream €16.10/£14.00
"Soothes, regenerates and protects the skin. Contains Açai, Aloe, Macadamia and Cupuaçu, anti-irritants that promote natural softness and hydration, leaving the skin reinvigorated and healthy. Enhanced with a perfect combination of natural minerals, the face is left feeling invigorated, moisturized and radiantly healthy." While his Highness liked this, he didn't Love it.

You get the same no-fuss-flip-top tube but just 100ml of product, which is still impressive. It is a thick-ish cream that feels slightly greasy and this is what he didn't like. He said it felt a bit cloying on his skin, but he does have combination/oily skin. I think gents with dry skin would get on with this much better. I didn't mind this on my legs, it didn't absorb as quickly as an ordinary moisturiser might and I could still feel it a few hours after I had applied it.

Between the 2 of us we experimented with how much/little product was the perfect amount, but Himself just didn't like the way it felt like it was still sitting on his skin after 30 minutes and I don't think I would like that either, but both of us have skin that tends towards the oily side of the scale. As I said I do think this would suit dry skins better.

If you are looking for a pressie for an eco-conscious man-friend, then you can't go far wrong with Surya Brasil Sapien Men products as there are other products in the range:

Shower Gel €19.55/£17.00
Deep and effective cleansing with perfect moisturizing for the demanding needs of men’s skin.

2 in1 Shampoo and Conditioner Price €16.10/ £14.00
Provides a gentle and intense cleansing and conditioning experience for the hair without leaving a residue, this combo shampoo/conditioner has a minty natural scent.

Hair Styling Gel Price €11.50/£10.00
Provides a medium hold without using synthetic fasteners (which promote a ‘false dandruff’ effect) keeping the hair naturally shiny and bright. Excellent for all hair types.

Facial Scrub €13.80/£12.00
Removes impurities from the skin’s surface and deeply cleans the pores, leaving the skin fresh and soft.

Sapien Men Stockists:
Available from Your Tonic, the online and distribution market specialists for natural hair colour, natural beauty cosmetics and complementary healthcare products.

** Post contains samples gratefully received for review, but opinions are my own

Friday, 28 November 2014

NYX: Sparkles for the festive season

Silly season is well and truly upon us so its time to haul out anything that sparkles or shimmers. I'll be honest and say I like glitter... but I prefer it on my cards and decorations. Oh and on my nails... I love me some lots of glitter on my nails. However, these little babies from NYX are on the right side of sparkle without out going full on Gary Glitter....

NYX BORN TO GLOW LIQUID ILLUMINATOR (€9.49 per 18ml) comes in 2 variants:
Gleam (golden peach pearl) and Sunbeam (pale pink pearl). Similar but different, these two little bottles are highlighting gems. Gleam is perfect for warmer toned complexions, while Sunbeam will suit cooler skin tones. Mid tones can rejoice as you can use both!

First off: this is a beeeg tube for just 18ml of product, but the nozzle and the formulation means that the cream comes out easily, but precisely and there is no danger of dispensing too much and wasting it. But this also means that there will be loads left in the tube when you think its finished, so I would recommend cutting the tube open to get the last bit of product out.

NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator is a light weight cream, that NYX say can be used as a moisturiser, but unless you are going for the glitterball look, I would stick to using this on points of your face that you wish to highlight, because this is what it does really really well.

As this is a cream this sits better over cream and liquid foundation, but it will work if you blend this into your skin well before you go in with a powder foundation. It does blend easily though there is a chance you can use too much... so go easy with it: its easier to add a touch more... its near impossible to un-sparkler-ify your self...

In the summer months a small dot of Gleam blended with your foundation/bb cream will give the most gorgeous glow to your skin.

For the festive season either Gleam or Sunbeam is perfect for adding a bit of pretty sparkle to cheekbones, collarbones, cupids bow and if you are going bare legged: a very slim line of shimmer down the shinbone gives the illusion of longer leg...

well blended swatches...

If I had to choose just one of these opalescent beauties I would go with gleam, its adds a bit of warmth to skin while catching the light really nicely and for me its not as sparkly as as sunbeam is.

NYX is starting to win me over with their well priced products that perform really well. And with new stands popping up every week they are gaining in popularity. I know that the girls from Viva Adonis are fans of the  NYX Butt Naked Eyes palette (€29.99) so you would be crazy not to find a stand and have a little play with the products, I already reviewed the NYX Jumbo Lip Pencil and Butter Gloss and its safe to say the Jumbo Lip Pencil is one of my favourites

*this post contains PR Samples, but my opinions are my own.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

La Roche Posay REDERMIC [R] : so far

Generally, I like to trial skin care bits for at least 8 weeks so that I can get a proper feel for how the product reacts on my skin and if it actually does the things that they claim. La Roche Posay is a favourite brand of mine and I was already researching their Redermic range when the New Intensive Bits slipped through my post box like somebody had been checking my google search history (I initially called Paula psychic).

La Roche Posay REDERMIC [R] is targeted to wrinkles, uneven skin tone and dark spots. Everything I am either starting to get or have been battling for at least 10 years, the dark spots being the worst of my issues so I was super excited to get started with this.

There are 2 new additions to the REDERMIC range, both of which are followed with the [R], which stands for Retinol. Retinol is one of the most widely used ingredients in anti-aging solutions as its efficacy has been proven to be effective. Now LRP has combined Retinol with an "exclusive Retinol booster complex" to enhance the formula while keeping it suitable for sensitive skin.

First impressions are good. I started using in once a day (at night) every second day for a week and had no issues so I went to using it every night. Its only bloody lovely.

REDERMIC [R] EYES Dermatological Anti-Ageing Concentrate - Intensive is pretty good. The formulation is light and sinks in really easily, you don't need very much for it to overwhelm the whole area, so little is best with this one. I don't have anything bad to say about this. It is light, but still manages to be intensely moisturising and spreads like a dream so you won't be pulling at your eyes to get it to absorb. Its still early days to give proper feedback about wrinkles, but I do think that my peeper area is tighter and less papery. The lines are still there, but as I said, it still early days. Even though this is rather pricey (RRP €27.50 for 15ml), you need so little to do both eyes, this is going to last at least 6 months.

REDERMIC [R] Dermatological  Corrective Concentrate - Intensive is the one I am not so sure of. We started off great friends. We really did. I have used retinol treatments before and they have always left my skin feeling extremely dry and tight. This didn't. It glided onto my skin and absorbed really quickly. I had no sensitivity, no tightness, no dryness, no cracking (yes, the area around my lips cracked, peeled and bled when I used other retinols). I was in love. My skin felt really good and looked really good. And then.

Ahem. Now honestly I am not sure it is actually REDERMIC's fault, I really suspect my hormones. Because the volcanoes that have erupted on my jaw look like a hormonal break out to me. And they are Not. Bloody. Budging. Urgh.
I had thought that after 5 weeks the REDERMIC would have helped shift the buggers (I have been sooo freaking good about not touching them or squeezing them and keeping my face clean and hydrated and I haven't even binged on the halloween candy), but they aren't moving and they aren't any smaller. Sob.

REDERMIC [R] serum (the full name is too long) costs €34 for a 30ml tube. It smells really clean and fresh and I love that it hasn't made my skin dry and tight and sore and the fact that this tube has lasted me 7 weeks of daily use and there is still a good 3/4 of the tube left. LRP know exactly how to deliver value for money.

But for now I have had to put this in my drawer for testing at a later date. I need to find something to shift the Vesuvi (Vesuvius-es Vesuvius-s) off my face. Suggestions in the comments please!!!

Overall I really like the idea of this range. It is something that I have been looking into for a while, my pigmentation (the dark spots that look like a thousand freckles all decided to appear RIGHT next to each other) is an issue for me, and I will always be looking for something that will help me. The fact that this targets deep wrinkles, sun damage, uneven skin tone and uneven texture, all at the same time makes it cool.

I look forward to testing this properly as soon as my skin has stopped freaking out.

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