My February Beauty Wishlist

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I know, I planned in advance. Are you impressed?

You shouldn’t be.

The sad reality is that the next time I go out to hunt for beauty products, it will have to be in February. Living in rural England means that any trip to the nearest Boots is more of a trek than a trip. As for visiting any Laura Mercier stockists, I can forget it until my next trip to Bristol. Which takes this long:

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Ah, what I do for love.

Anyway, here’s a cheeky breakdown of my wishlist for February:

Laura Mercier Silk Crème Foundation – £33 – Tried it at the beginning of the year; fell in love with it; must now buy it. I’ve still got some Christmas money saved up, so this will be a reasonably guilt-free purchase!

Travalo Refillable Perfume Atomiser – £12.49 – This was on my Christmas wish list, and I feel that it’s really about time that I bought it. This is especially true when I consider how much wincing I did when I packed my heavy, cumbersome, and most importantly glass perfume bottle into a travel bag last week. It really comes down to this: buy a Travalo, or continue to wrap my Chanel in four pairs of socks whenever I visit my boyfriend. I think I prefer the former option.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer – £4.19 – In fairness, I keep trying to buy this, but they never have the right shade in stock. Get your bloody game face on, Superdrug, for goodness’ sake.

The Beautyblender Classic – £16.00 – The original and the best, or so I’m reliably told. I’ve been fascinated by this product for years, but thanks to dabbling in cheap (and inadequate) makeup sponges, I never took the leap to the premium version. In fact, I probably won’t take the leap in February, either. I feel this is going to be a long-term fixture in my lust list.

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Perfecting Primer – Hopefully Free – Whilst hunting online for the perfect primer, I’ve heard amazing things about this little beauty. I’m hoping that when I go to Space NK to pick up the above foundation, they’ll put a blob of this in a pot for me to try. “Hoping” being the operative word.

Benefit The Porefessional: Agent Zero Shine – ? – It’s coming soon and I can’t wait to try it. Clearly this beauty blogging thing is starting to take its toll!

Benefit ‘They’re Real’ Mascara – I got this for Christmas, but because I’m a twit, I’ve put it down somewhere in a Monday morning brain haze and now can’t find it. Finding it again is on my wishlist. I’m fairly sure I didn’t leave it in Bristol, so that’s a start.

Clarins ‘Huile Lotus’ Face Treatment Oil – Hopefully Free –  In order to take full advantage of Clarins’ “See if you like it” initiative, which I mentioned yesterday, I just have to try this oil. Hopefully, next time I pitch up at Boots, they won’t have run out of samples!

And finally…

Who’s that girl?

WHO’S THAT GIRL?

Who’s that girl?

WHO’S THAT GIRL?

It’s JESS.

New Girl. If E4 don’t start showing it again soon, I might have to cry. This is what drives people to illegal downloads. Maybe one day those media bigwigs will work out a way of providing a legitimate online streaming facility. That way us little Angleterrians could pay to watch ‘New Girl’ and ‘Mindy’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ at the same time as they are broadcast in the USA, and we wouldn’t have to wait months and months for UK telly networks to pull their trousers up. I’d like to be morally comfortable and stay up to date with my favourite TV shows, thank you muchly. Also, why are there only two seasons of ‘Modern Family’ on Netflix?

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I feel I may have digressed somewhat.

That was my beauty wishlist, which at some point developed into a desperate request for pay-as-you-go lighthearted comedy. Not that Game of Thrones is lighthearted comedy…never mind.

How do you feel about the way US telly is broadcast in your country, or foreign telly in the US? I imagine America had to wait a while for the likes of Sherlock, which can’t have been fun. We all had to wait quite long enough for that as it is.

And speaking of waiting, who else is excited for the new Porefessional powder?! Let us all know if you get your hands on it early.

Beauty love,

Effie xx

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Free Clarins Skincare Samples Alert!

So I was milling around London Liverpool Street Station this evening (in the beauty section of Boots, naturally) when an interesting display caught my eye. Candy-striped paper bags and a large glass jar full of beauty treats decorated a small table, surrounded by Clarins advertising boards. Apparently, if you go into Boots over the next two weeks, Clarins are running a “try before you buy” deal. Free of charge. Hubba hubba.

The idea is that you go over to their counter, discuss your skin type with the nice lady there, give them your name and number, and go home with a couple of beauty samples. If you go back to repurchase, apparently you can get a good deal on a massive set of something else. Apologies for the vagueness on that last bit. I found that snippet of knowledge on the blogosphere, rather than during this evening’s travels.

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Sadly, they had run out of samples of the mystical Lotus Oil at Liverpool Street, so I’ll have to return to another branch this week and see what I can find. However, I did receive a moisturiser for oily or combination skin, called Hydra-Matte lotion, and also a special morning toner, called Daily Energizer Wake-Up Booster. This sounds like exactly what I’ll be needing first thing on Monday morning!

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– I sadly didn’t have the foresight to take a picture of the adorable bags, and couldn’t find one anywhere online, apart from on a fellow blogger’s page. I have borrowed this picture from Isobel Rose, you can find her experience here.

I’m sorry that this is only a quickiepost; I’ll be back bending your ears (or eyes) next week though, fear not!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and are feeling fresh for next week. Do let me know if you take advantage of any free Clarins samples!

Skincare love,

Effie xx

Fighting Oil with Oil – Does It Actually Work?

If you ask someone with oily skin whether they think adding extra oil to their face is a good idea, their immediate response is usually a series of expletives and a resounding “NO.”

That was certainly my response when somebody suggested it to me. I have been suffering from oily skin since my teens, and the resulting acne has made me rather obsessive about letting anything oily touch my face. If I eat pizza, I must wash my hands afterwards. If I change the oil in the car, I rush over to the sink. If somebody else touches my face with dirty, foody fingers, BLOODY WOE BETIDE THEM.

However, a certain school of thought has recently emerged, suggesting that adding natural oils to your skincare regime can actually reduce the amount of oil your skin produces on its own. I can hear all your “well that’s silly” alarms going off now, just like mine did. And yet, after a bit of experimentation and reading around, I think I might be a convert.

Photo from livingcivil.com

Photo from livingcivil.com

In most cases, oily skin is caused by overly excitable sebaceous glands. While hormones, stress levels, and a few health issues can cause your skin to produce more oil than the average person’s, at the end of the day it’s all down to genetics. So if you’ve got oily skin, you’re stuck with it. Unless you’re still dealing with the joys of puberty, in which case it will probably get better with time. Either way, though, you can’t stop having oily skin, you can only control it.

For many people, the most logical way to control oil is by getting as much of it off your face as possible. Stripping it away with harsh cleansers, and keeping your skin as dry as you can, is the natural response for most of us, but in reality all this does is cause a rush of oil to rise up and splurge all over your face, in a dramatic attempt to replace all the lost moisture. It’s all rather counter-productive, really.

The clever types now believe that instead of stripping back the oil, what we should be doing is tricking our sebaceous glands into thinking that they have already produced enough oil, so they don’t produce any more. When our sebaceous glands try to moisturise our faces, they produce sebum, which is much more likely to clog pores and cause spots than natural plant oils. If we apply a good quality face oil to our skin, we can cleanse and moisturise it without adding to that glaringly shiny oil problem.

That’s the theory, anyway. Was I sold before I tried it? Not really. Was I sold as I was trying it? Again, not really. Afterwards, though? Yes. Yes I was.

I first tested out oil cleansing after receiving a bottle of DHC Deep Cleansing Oil in my You Beauty Advent Calendar at Christmas time. Seeing the word “oil”, I immediately grimaced and though “haha, no.” But I resolved to try it out anyway.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil 

The instructions are to massage it into a dry face, and then rinse afterwards. As I began massaging, I wasn’t a very happy bunny. My inner monologue was screaming “OH MY GOD I HATE IT MAKE IT STOP THIS FEELS SO WRONG.” After what seemed like an age of stoic perseverance, I rinsed off the oil, and was pleasantly surprised. My skin felt clean, plump, and healthy, and rather than feeling slightly parched after cleansing, like it usually does, it just felt clean. There was no oily residue left on my face, and, despite the uncomfortable method, I really liked the result. A few hours later, I was waiting for the rush of oil to come and meet my nice clean face, but it never came.

Photo from Clarins.co.uk

Photo from Clarins.co.uk

Joanna from JoannaLoves also had an interesting experience with this new skincare philosophy recently. You can read about it here. To summarise: rather than using an oil cleanser, she tried out Clarins ‘Huile Lotus’ Face Treatment Oil. It took a while to soak in, but the morning after using it, she woke up to a perfectly clear, non-oily face, and didn’t have to do any additional blotting or powdering all day. Another unexpected result from fighting oil with oil!

If you do finally decide that fighting oil with oil is a good plan, the investigation doesn’t quite finish there. The final thing to do is decide which oils are going to work best for you.

The more expensive facial oils from the premium skincare companies are highly concentrated and mostly aimed at the anti-ageing market. However, Joanna’s Clarins oil contains Rosewood, Geranium, Lotus, and Hazelnut extracts, which are aimed more at tightening pores and sorting out the problems associated with oily skin.

Photo from baseformula.com

Photo from baseformula.com

Rosewood extract, for example, is antiseptic and bactericidal, while Geranium oil regulates sebum production, is a natural astringent so causes skin to tighten and firm up, and improves circulation, elasticity, and the rate of skin cell regeneration. Geranium oil is a bit of a dream, actually.

The flagship Lotus oil has been used in skincare since Ancient Egyptian times. It has been known to shrink pores, moisturise the skin, and improve circulation and elasticity, as well as boasting anti-inflammatory and restorative properties. Hazelnut oil is rich in nutrients, fatty acids, and nice things like Vitamin E, so is also very popular in skincare. Clarins clearly know their stuff.

Other oils which are known to be good for oily skin include Tea Tree Oil (antibacterial), Rosehip Seed Oil and Jojoba Oil (both balance sebum production and help acne scars to heal), Evening Primrose Oil (anti-inflammatory), Lavender Oil (antiseptic and calming), Grapeseed Oil, Sesame Seed Oil, Oregano Oil, and Castor Oil. No doubt they’ll all be popping up in lovely products very soon.

Finally, the lady at http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com advises that you make your own, using actual olive oil. As in, from the supermarket.

My sole advice? Don’t buy the one infused with chillies. If it gets in your eyes, you’ll know about it.

Review: Bourjois ‘Délice De Poudre’ Bronzer

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Hello chums.

A couple of weeks back, I bought this bronzer with a Boots gift card which my auntie had given me for Christmas. Before then, I’d never bought a matte bronzer for contouring, because I didn’t know what contouring was. I just thought that bronzer was a more glowy substitute for blusher in the summertime.

I know.

Today, however, I know better. I had been on the hunt for a good bronzer for ages, but had never knuckled down and made a purchase. I stuck with a very orange one from Next, which I’d been given as a gift once. It was sufficient, but not great.

Anyway, in my Bristolian Beauty Haul, I bought this bronzer from Bourjois. This is the one that looks like a bar of chocolate. Hence ‘Délice de Poudre’. It doesn’t smell like chocolate, but I think the appearance is enough, really.

Anyway, here’s a swatch. The shade is the lighter of the two available, and is called Peaux Claires / Médianes (51):

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And this is my attempt to wear it. I’ve got Bareminerals Matte SPF Foundation, Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer, and a good-night’s-sleep-face on underneath.

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Sorry for the weird half-smile, but you can’t see the product if my cheeks are scrunched up smiling! I still haven’t mastered the arts of countouring and blending, but I hope this gives you an idea of the subtle glow this bronzer offers. I think it’s very natural looking, which is always nice.

Here’s a breakdown of the review:

Pros:

  • Matte: Although this product claims to be “filled with glints of sunshine”, it isn’t glittery or sparkly at all, unlike a lot of bronzers at this price and above. The matte appearance makes it much more natural looking and perfect for contouring.
  • Good Colour Pay Off: I know this is usually something you’d say about eyeshadow, but the pigmentation on this product is very good for a drugstore or high street bronzer.
  • Light Texture: This is very soft and easy to move around the face. It’s almost a creamy textured powder, which is interesting.
  • Price: It’s £6.99. Bit of a no-brainer, really!
  • Works for Pasty People: This is rare in a bronzer. Often, they are too dark, too orange, or too obvious to contour pale skin in an attractive, subtle way. But this one is perfect.
  • Not Orange: So many bronzers are orange! But this one is brown, and thus much more natural. Très bien, Bourjois. Bien fait.

Cons:

  • Lasting Power: I’ve only put this in the ‘cons’ section because I had nothing else to put in the ‘cons’ section. I haven’t noticed anything about its lasting power, probably because bronzer is a subtle art and I don’t really notice whether its still on my face or not at the end of the day. I’d guess it lasts 5-6 hours though. Which isn’t bad.
  • Scent: As above. I had nothing else to write here, so am going to be facetious about the scent. It smells nice, but not of chocolate. Misleading! Oh also, I only noticed that it had a scent when I sniffed the box to check, whilst writing this blog post. I’ve been using it for two weeks prior to this and didn’t notice the scent. Hmmm.

In conclusion: c’est délicieux!

Have you tried this bronzer before? What’s your favourite contouring product? I’m still learning, so would love to hear your recommendations!

A bientôt,

Effie xx

Eye Makeup Removers: A Comparison

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After this week’s rather alarming discoveries re: face wipes, I thought I’d do a comparison post on other methods of removing makeup. And by “methods”, I mean products.

I’ve realised that the title of this post is already slightly erroneous, because not all of the products I’m featuring are sold specifically as eye makeup removers. For this reason, it might be a bit harsh to compare the official eye makeup ones with the more general cleansers. But still, we’ll see how they fare first, shall we?

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First up is Bobbi Brown’s Cleansing Oil.

I received this about two years ago, when I bought my first pot of Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner. The liner came in a set with this cleansing oil and the liner brush. Anyway, because it’s so old, I think they’ve changed the formula now, but it’s still worth the comparison:

Did It Work? Yes! Usually when you see cleansing oils, you think they’ll be far too gentle to remove tough mascara and long-wear liner. As Bobbi sold this cleanser with her long-wear liner, though, she was obviously pretty confident in its effectiveness. No need to scrub at the eyes, and very good at removing mascara. Bonus points for removing all my face makeup when I washed it off too. 5/5.

Ingredients: Olive and Jojoba Oils, Ginger Root Extract. That’s all they had room to tell me on the mini bottle. The new version, which is called Soothing Cleansing Oil, contains all three of these, as well as Sunflower Oil, Kukui Seed Oil, Lavender, Jasmine, and a few other seedy flowery extracts. The only cause for concern is Tocopheryl Acetate, which is basically Vitamin E + acid, and can be a mild irritant. A few other ingredients have also been known to cause acne flare ups, but only in particularly sensitive skin. These efforts to add preservatives keep kicking us!

The Bottle: Handy pump mechanism dispenses just the right amount onto your cotton pad. Excellent for clumsy oafs like me.

Texture: Oily. Because it’s an oil. I still kind of hate the sensation of rubbing oil into my face, but once you wash it off it’s fine.

Does it Sting? Unlike face wipes, not at all. I got it in my eye a few times, but all it did was blur my vision a bit as I blinked to get it out of my eye. Zero stingy pain. Hurrah!

The Aftermath: Despite the oily texture while I was massaging it into my dry face, once you’ve washed it off you don’t get left with an oily residue. Skin feels soft and supple to the touch, and any product soaks in.

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DHC Cleansing Oil:

I received this with my You Beauty Advent Calendar. When I first tried it, I hated it. The feeling of massaging oil into a dry face just made me squirm. I’ve got used to it now though, and actually really like this stuff. It’s also a good price, at just £4.50 for 30ml, which lasts quite a long time. The full-size 200ml costs £21.50 though.

Did It Work? Yes! The oil must do something to lubricate the makeup, making it easier to get it off your face. Whatever’s going on, I like it. I think I’d need a little bit of extra help with the eye makeup though, so for removal power this gets 4/5.

Ingredients: I do love a short ingredients list. Olive oil, rosemary leaf oil (which explains the nice yet foody smell), caprylic/capric triglyceride (which is derived from coconut oil and glycerin, and is coveted for its skin-loving fatty acids), Vitamin E stuff, two other non-bothersome chemicals, and stearyl glycyrrhetinate (which is another much loved fatty acid derived from liquorice.) The bad news? Phenoxyethanol, an irritant, has snuck in there as the only slightly questionable ingredient. It can be an irritant for some people, but then they have to use a preservative somewhere to keep out bacteria. Sad.

The Bottle: Basic, but only lets a small amount out at a time. The 70ml and 200ml versions come with a nice pump, though.

Texture: Oily because it’s an oil. As above. I hated it initially, but persevere. It’s good stuff.

Does It Sting? Not at all, but again, if it gets in my eye, the oil clouds my vision for a few seconds. No biggity.

The Aftermath: Skin feels plump and smooth and healthy, not at all parched, and with no oily residue. Happy days.

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Clarins ‘Démaquillant Express’ Instant Eye Make-Up Remover (Waterproof & Heavy make-up).

This came as part of a free gift, when I was given some Clarins Skincare stuff for Christmas.

Did It Work? Of all of the cleansers here today, I’d say this was least effective, but it’s still very good at dissolving makeup – it’s a tough crowd! Dealt with my mascara nicely, and didn’t require scrubbing. 4/5.

Ingredients: Organic Camomile Extract, Organic Cornflower Water, Organic Rose Water: explains the delicious slight fragrance and the gentle feel of the product. There are a few chemical preservatives which aren’t known to be problematic, as well as Sodium Chloride. Random, but fine. Less fine are Tetrasodium EDTA (made from known carcinogen Formaldehyde, but considered better than parabens), a few colourants (why?), and that pesky Phenoxyethanol again. Grr!

The Bottle: Idiot-proof. I dropped it on the floor and swore a lot, but none of the product escaped thanks to the clever bottle. Love that! Dispenses just the right amount.

Texture: A little bit oily on application, which I didn’t like. Still, the feeling didn’t rest on the face for longer than 30 seconds, and I’d rather makeup was dissolved with oil than alcohol!

Does It Sting? Nope. Very kind and gentle, despite its ability to remove heavy makeup. I poked myself in the eye with it several times, and had no trouble.

The Aftermath: Skin felt fresh and healthy after use. Good times.

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Clinique ‘Take The Day Off’ Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes & Lips

Yet another freebie minature here! They’re so easy to pick up when you buy something from Clinque. This one is specifically for eye makeup so we’ll see how it fares.

Did It Work? Yes! Removal power is slightly better than Clarins, and this product did what it said on the tin. Goodbye, mascara. 4/5.

Ingredients: No natural oils in here, but equally nothing too offensive. And table salt has popped up again. This is so weird! Right at the end of the ingredients list, I spotted phenoxyethanol. I really wish this hadn’t been sort of semi blacklisted now, it seems to pop up everywhere!

The Bottle: Also idiot proof, but in a bad way. I couldn’t get the lid off for ages.

Texture: Again, slightly oily, but less so than Clarins. I didn’t feel the need to rinse with water afterwards.

Does It Sting? Nope. As always, I got this stuff in my eyes, and it didn’t sting at all. Face wipes have a lot to answer for!

The Aftermath: Skin felt very soft after use, and not at all parched, which is always nice after cleansing. I felt very healthy!

THE VERDICT:

It’s actually rather tricky to choose a winner from this very close contest. However, in terms of ingredients, I’ll go for the DHC Cleansing Oil. It’s definitely the least risky if you have extremely sensitive skin. That said, all of these are very gentle, so shouldn’t bother most people in the slightest. If I can get them in my eye without stinging, it’s not going to bother your skin too much.

In terms of removal power, all of these beat face wipes hands down, as zero scrubbing is required. I think the Bobbi Brown was best at removing eye makeup, but as none of them got less than 3/5 in this contest, you wouldn’t be hurting yourself if you bought any of these. They are all brilliant!

So there we go. A slightly inconclusive list of why all of these makeup removers are equally good, but better than face wipes.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Effie xx