Why a blog?

Somewhere to jot down all things I am passionate about.
My little space to rant, rave and ramble on about this and that.
Most of all, just to share my thoughts with the world!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer

Howdy yet again folks!  This post is a review of a new primer that Tammerly sent out to me to test drive for her beauty, lifestyle and fashion blog, Spoilt.  The original review can be viewed if you click here, otherwise read on to check out my thoughts.
Estée Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer is a multi-purpose, anti-ageing, pre-foundation primer that refines the complexion, minimises the appearance of imperfections and provides targeted oil control to perfectly prepare the skin for makeup application. It is infused with soothing botanicals and vitamins to help calm and protect the skin for a smooth, even, flawless-looking complexion.

The primer comes in a sleek, opalescent, oval-shaped tube that is attractively embossed with a golden Estee Lauder logo and gold chrome lid, which as a whole portrays supremacy and class, ultimately reflective of the prestigious Estee Lauder brand.

This primer is in fact fragrance-free, so it’s less likely to cause irritation, making it safe for those with sensitivity issues.  The white, gel-like cream has a moisturiser consistency and is thick and silky in texture.  The oil-free, antioxidant enriched formula spreads easily, over my skin and dries fast to disguise problem areas and improve the overall appearance of my complexion.  It’s lightweight and non-greasy, instantly concealing pores and minor flaws, whilst plumping fine lines to develop a soft, buffed canvas that works alone or under foundation.  What makes this primer different is it also includes mattifying properties to correct my biggest skin concern; oiliness!  After using this primer, my skin doesn’t become excessively greasy within hours of application; instead it soaks up surplus oil from within, preventing surface residue for the most part, with only moderate maintenance required to keep my makeup looking perfect 

I love the convenience of do-it-all solution products like this multi-tasking primer, but it’s lacking one important benefit I rely on, especially for daytime use, and that is SPF.  Despite not defending against the sun, it’s a handy all-in-one, quick-fix that nourishes and softens my skin, prompts hydration and targets the visible signs of premature ageing.  At the same time, it disguises unsightly imperfections, prevents flaking, creasing, feathering and fading.  Additionally, increasing the longevity of my makeup and essentially providing oil control qualities.  As a product hailing from a luxurious, high-end brand, plus the numerous features, naturally you’d assume it’s not going to come cheap.  Be that as it may, the price tag is surprisingly comparable with other professional primers of similar standard and size, retailing at $48.  Therefore if cost is no obstacle and you’re happy trusting a reputable brand, then it’s worth considering.  This primer indeed refines my complexion and forms a protective base, to ensure my makeup remains beautiful and lasts the distance, yet, because my skin is exceptionally oily, the matte factor doesn’t quite ring true for me.  While the results are initially flawless and the melt-proof ability stops makeup sliding or rubbing off, unfortunately, I’m still dependant on blotting sessions or powder touch-ups to combat any unwanted shine, which develops irregularly.  For that reason, to achieve matte perfection, it’s my opinion the Estée Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer would best suit normal or combination skin types.  It does deliver for us oily-skinned folks, we just need to be diligent in mopping up the surface slick as soon as possible, so our face looks fresh and dewy, with a velvety finish, rather than greasy.

Tip:  A pea-sized amount is generally more than enough to prep my whole face, too much just causes greasiness.

Who’s a bit of an Estee Lauder fan?  Do you often like trying out new EL products, or is it only a ‘once-in-a-while’ splurge brand for you?  Do products that promise a matte finish appeal to you and if so do you ever find that due to your oily skin that even though a product claims to be matte, it’s not always the case when it comes to your complexion??  (It’s a bit of a bummer isn’t it!!!)  On the bright side, this might be perfect for you lucky normal skinned beauties, what do you think??

The image in this post is generic.

Dermaviduals DMS Mask with Vitamins

Hello again everyone!  The next product I’m posting up today was sent out to me by Tammerly, the author and brains behind the rewarding and informative Spoilt blog.  I’ve put this mask through its paces for just over a month and now I’m sharing this review based on my experience.  It can also be viewed by following this link!

The Dermaviduals DMS Mask with Vitamins is an anti-ageing serum enriched with a blend of ingredients that are compatible with the natural skin barrier.  It provides a supplementary dose of multi-vitamins and antioxidants that moisturises, nourishes and protects the skin, boosts cellular renewal and repair, whilst slowing the premature ageing process to visibly improve the appearance of the complexion.

It comes in a simple white, plastic canister tube (available in either 30 or 50ml sizes) with a white label featuring a blue logo and black print. It’s got a clear plastic snap-on cap to cover the airless pump dispenser, which helps to seal in the goodness of the ingredients.  The downside of this packaging is that you can’t see the product level and I also found it gets a bit messy under the cap due to a bit of dribble from the pump.

The mask has a very thin, runny, milk-like consistency with a weightless, silky texture.  In my opinion it smells something like plastic, not an overly pungent or unpleasant scent, but it’s not the kind of fragrance that I find appealing, so luckily it’s not overbearing and doesn’t linger for long after it’s applied.  I found two pumps of fluid were enough to spread in a circular motion onto my skin, but I have to work quickly because it’s a bit messy and is prone to dripping.  It does make my skin rather tacky for a few minutes, but then it fully absorbs without a trace, which was surprising, because I have an oily complexion and the directions instruct that any surplus cream is to be removed with a tissue.  It melted straight into my oily skin and therefore left no excess to wipe off.  I experienced a very subtle tightness and the lightweight film was noticeable on my skin, yet there was absolutely no greasy residue and regardless of being left on, it didn’t exacerbate my oiliness.  It’s a leave-on mask, so I prefer to use it as a nightcap, as personally, it’s too rich for me to wear during the day, and due to the super nourishing formulation, I definitely don’t need a separate moisturiser.  I like taking advantage of this potent cocktail of beneficial nutrients that penetrates deeply and works its wonders, all while I sleep, so skin awakens soft, firm and replenished, with a dewy, healthy-looking glow.

This product really isn’t your average facial mask.  In fact it’s actually a complex skin care product that can be used as a night cream, daytime serum or moisturising lotion, as well as a hydrating booster for the eye contour.  I consider this leave-on mask to be more of a treatment serum or moisturising night cream than a mask.  It looks and feels just like a lotion, however it rapidly transforms a dull complexion, delivering prompt, effective results and is perfect for a ‘pick-me-up’ on a bad skin day.  The gentle formula is completely non-irritating and didn’t upset my sensitive skin at all.  I’ve used this mask a few times a week for the past month and while So far, I haven’t seen a noticeable change in my skin, it’s an excellent choice for long term maintenance, by replacing the important lost moisture and repairing the skin’s barrier, making it a handy addition to any anti-ageing skin care regime.  I’ve certainly noticed the short-term effects it delivers, such as the smooth, supple skin with no roughness, which looks and feels plumper, fresher and brighter, imparting a more youthful radiance.  I’d recommend this Dermaviduals DMS Mask with Vitamins to people of all ages, especially if you want to invest in a multi-purpose, intensive skin treatment to use as often or as little as needed to quench thirsty skin and to help achieve optimal skin health.
A glimpse of the brand behind the product.

I’ve awarded this mask with 4 stars out of 5.  My only little gripe with the product itself is the actual smell of it, causing the deduction of a ½ star from my rating.  Also, I’m unable to ascertain the correct pricing or even purchase this brand online, because it’s a salon-only/in-salon range (although their website does offer a phone number that one can ring to possibly find out pricing information??).  That to me is inconvenient, especially since I live in a semi-rural area and getting into a salon is absolutely NOT a viable option, so that ousts another ½ star.  For that reason and because I’m not sure how much it would actually cost me, I can’t say for sure if I’d buy it again or not.  I’m guessing that due to being a salon line, it will have a luxe price tag, and if that is the case I’d probably only consider it as an occasional splurge; particularly ideal before big events like weddings etc.

TIP:  This mask makes a good alternative to a daily moisturiser and the perfect canvas for makeup for those with normal to dry complexions.

Are you familiar with this brand or have you had the chance to try any of the products in their range?  Do you like the sounds of a leave-on, multi-tasking mask?  What are your thoughts on the availability of products in-store only?  Would you prefer to have access to your beauty booty online or would you rather have the personal touch of visiting a salon whenever you need to stock up??  Please feel free to comment with your thoughts!   Ta for that xxx ooo

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Physicians Formula Dark Spot Corrector & Skin Brightener

Hi there good people!  This next targeted skin treatment was sent for me to trial and review by Tammerly, the beautiful author of the Spoilt blog.  You can read about my experience below, or feel free to click here to visit my original publication.

The Physicians Formula Aging Dark Spot Corrector & Skin Brightener is a powerful cosmeceutical treatment serum that addresses the visible signs of premature and photo-ageing, caused from sun and environmental damage, as well as uneven skin tone, including dark patchy skin and pigmentation spots.  The antioxidant formula is enriched with plant-based ingredients that have lightening abilities and exfoliating AHA’s to help achieve a brighter complexion and a more uniform tone.

At first glance, the presentation of this product looks modern and stylish.  The clear, plastic outer wrap is brandished with the same indigo-hued colour scheme as the 30ml-sized inner bottle, which strikes a spunky contrast against the sleek, white, pearlescent finish with silver chrome edging and a clear, plastic, snap-shut lid.  I can’t help spotting the eye-catching, round, indigo label on the boxes front, which reads “Look 6 Years Younger in 4 weeks*”.  The back is adorned with consumer info, as well as before and after images to highlight clinically proven visible results, based on a panel of women using serum, trialling the Physicians Formula Aging System skin care regime.  Upon closer inspection, I found the packaging to be plastic-coated aluminium with a screw-off pump-action nozzle that isn’t attached to a stem inside.  To begin with, pressure seemed to dispense the serum, but after a while, it stopped pumping, so I had to shake it out of the bottle.  I don’t consider it travel-friendly and despite looking impressive, the bottle is fairly novel and not of the best quality.

The pale, lilac-grey, coloured serum has a silky texture and a thick, balm-like consistency.  The scent is absolutely disgusting and I can’t think of a familiar fragrance to describe the exact smell, but it’s very herbal orientated.  Fortunately, the unpleasant aroma quickly dissipates and is undetectable when applied to the skin.  One pump (or a pea-sized amount) produces enough serum to cover my whole face and neck with a thin coating that sits on the surface of my skin.  The film has a sticky, tacky finish that takes between 5 – 10 minutes to fully dry (not ideal if you’re in a hurry) and even then I can still feel a heavy, mask-like veil on my face.  The rich, potent formula is slightly shimmery, with cosmetic pigments to enhance the brightening effect, but thankfully, it didn’t make me look like a glittery disco ball and the hint of glimmer isn’t overly obvious on my skin.  Instead, my complexion appears instantly dewy and fresh, creating an impression of being significantly brighter, smoother and plumper.

Outer packaging, clearly boasting that bold claim.
I only apply this treatment in the morning, after cleansing, rather than morning and night, as directed, because it’s not compatible with existing products in my religious, nigh time routine.  During this trial, my sensitive skin wasn’t aggravated and never broke out, however if you are prone to sensitivity, patch test first to avoid exposure to suspect botanicals included in this serum, which are known as potential irritants.  After daily use of this treatment for over a month, I’ve concluded it’s just too rich and heavy to befit my oily complexion and the uncomfortable, suffocating feel of the film on my skin triggers excess shine and greasiness during the day.  In my opinion, I can quash the misleading claim of looking 6 years younger in 4 weeks, when in fact, it’s closer to 6 weeks that I’ve been using it and I can’t see any noticeable changes in the appearance of my skin, other than improved radiance.  I’d suggest the Physicians Formula Aging Dark Spot Corrector & Skin Brightener would be more suited for normal to dry skin types, although committing to twice-daily application over a longer period could possibly secure more outstanding results.  Additionally, it’s a reasonably well priced skin tone treatment, retailing at $29.99 (very decent compared to similar type products) and if it’s used in conjunction with the entire Physicians Formula Aging System, the anti-ageing payoff might be better to deliver a more refined, polished complexion.  As is, you certainly won’t be disappointed with the instant skin-gratifying effects of this product, especially if you’re in need of a quick-fix, skin booster that promotes a smooth, supple texture, whilst temporarily plumping up fine lines and imparting a brighter, healthier, all-over glow.

I personally wouldn’t buy this serum again myself, as it was incompatible with my oily complexion and uncomfortable to wear.  For that reason, I would only award it with an average 3/5 star rating.  Not to mention, the dodgy pump that doesn’t work properly and the misleading promise of knocking six years in age off my appearance after just four weeks.  (Definitely too far fetched, that claim ~ Don't get your hopes up!).

Have you tried this brand yourself, or possibly this product?  What do you think?  Just because it isn’t ‘all that’ for my skin, doesn’t mean that it won’t generate better results for you, especially if you’re not blessed with an oily complexion. Are you interested in products that help reduce pigmentation and dark spots, if so what do you personally find works the best??

The images in this post are generic.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Balm timeBalm Foundation

Hello again peeps!  This review is based on one of my favourite subjects – foundation (yes, I've always loved using foundations and trying out different formula’s and new brands).  When Tammerly from Spoilt asked me to trial and review this foundation for her website, I couldn’t wait to 'slap' it on! Read on for my thoughts, or click here for the initial published version.

The Balm timeBalm Foundation is a solid cream foundation, free of parabens and enriched with rejuvenating, anti-ageing ingredients like antioxidants and an array of vitamins, which is considered 'makeup with skin care benefits', whilst it irons out imperfections and creates a flawless, long-lasting  finish.  Suitable for all skin types, even the most sensitive.

The foundation is wrapped in a cardboard outer box that has a very simple blue, yellow and grey colour scheme, scattered with faint stars and product information, but the presentation is quite dull in comparison to the majority of their colourful, entertaining, retro-style packaging.  The inner compact-sized container looks cheap and a bit tacky, made of clear, rather brittle plastic, with a screw off lid (that will break in a flash if accidentally dropped).  I was somewhat surprised after my previous experience with this quality brand to find their foundation housed in something resembling that of a budget, no-frills cosmetic brand.  The compact has no mirror and the sponge is too flimsy, so it was essential to use my own applicator, so based on the whole packaging concept, I wouldn’t consider this product to be very travel friendly and not ideal to pop in my bag and use on the go.

The foundation has a slightly dry, stiff surface texture, however it amazingly transforms into a smooth, creamy consistency once it begins getting worked.  It has a subtle herbal-type scent, which isn’t offensive or noticeable after application.  Providing a generous coverage that is highly pigmented and super buildable, it blends evenly and there is no streaking, flaking or a caked on appearance.  Because of the weightless, moisturising, noncomedogenic formula, my skin was able to breathe instead of feeling suffocated and it provided adequate hydration throughout the day, without causing excess oil or greasiness.  I received this foundation in the shade medium, which appears to have yellow undertones, which I do prefer, particularly when, like in this case, it is a perfect match for my own natural colouring.  It gives my face a uniform colour and discretely conceals any noticeable flaws for a polished, healthy-looking, finish that stays in place with decent longevity, only requiring minimal maintenance throughout the day.  Because my skin is so oily and this foundation doesn’t exactly eliminate excess oil, I still wind up with a bit of shine, so a quick touch-up to blot away any surface shine will help to refresh the look.  

Both the inner and outer packaging.

Despite having such poor, dodgy packaging, the quality of this skin-loving foundation is kind and super effective when it comes to my oily and sometimes sensitive skin.  The gentle formulation hasn’t triggered any irritation or breakouts and I am almost certain that my skin has improved slightly during the time I’ve been using it..  With buildable coverage that conditions and transforms my complexion to skin perfection within moments, it layers and blends over any areas that need extra support, yet never settles into fine lines and pores, nor does it start flaking and looking crepey.  Since having deemed the included sponge useless, I’ve tried various application methods, but I achieve the best results using a synthetic foundation brush.  I’ve used it alone and with a pre-foundation primer, however I prefer the overall product performance when I prep and prime my skin first, then follow up with a light dusting of translucent powder to set the finished look.  I guess the retail price is quite expensive as far as foundations go, however considering it’s infused with nurturing, caring skin-friendly ingredients and there is actually quite a decent amount of product in the pot, which I also expect will last for ages, it’s not really that unreasonable.  Personally, I would be prepared to splurge on the cost of The Balm timeBalm Foundation for myself and I would confidently recommend it to anyone who is looking for a suitable foundation that’s flattering, comfortable and long wearing to help achieve/deliver a fresh, dewy, naturally flawless appearance.

TIP Can be layered if needed, to dab on any extra problem blemishes or under eye circles.

Have you tried this foundation or any of the other products from this brand?  What do you think, sound like something you would be keen to try or....??  Let us know your thoughts by commenting below. xx oo

The images in this post are generic.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Philip Martins Maple Rinse Conditioner

Hello beauty world, this next post is a follow-on from the last post about Philip Martins Maple Wash Shampoo, sharing my experience on the conditioner in the same range.  Tammerly from Spoilt asked me to trial and review the duo for her blog. You can view that published version here.

The hydrating, plant based Philip Martins Maple Rinse Conditioner is suitable for dry hair and scalps, claiming to restore elasticity, nourish dry, damaged ends and untangle for smooth, shiny, more manageable locks.

I received this conditioner in a sample sachet, so am unable to share my thoughts on the product packaging.  I am aware though, that it is available in both 100 and 250ml sizes.

The thick, white conditioner is rich and looks like a velvety mousse-like dessert, featuring the same distinct, strong, sweet fragrance as the shampoo.  I personally find the smell to be the only downside, however while it’s initially quite overpowering, it eventually fades into a subtle, non-offensive aroma that perfumes my hair.  I only need a small amount of product to massage into my scalp and through the strands, which instantly detangles and easily rinses straight out, leaving no build-up or greasy residue to weigh down my mane. 

After conditioning and drying my mop was silky soft, smooth and full bodied, with a healthy, lustrous shine.  I teamed this pH balancing conditioner with the complimentary shampoo in the same range and experienced no scalp irritation; therefore I can confirm this range is gentle enough to use on even the most sensitive of skin.  I consider the price to be quite expensive, yet similar to that of a high-end, professional brand, and to be expected for a range enriched with natural, scalp soothing ingredients.  I would recommend the Philip Martins Maple Rinse Conditioner to those who are interested in quality, plant-based hair care products that are safe and effective, with the ability to transform your tresses and provide essential nutrients to maintain health and vibrancy.  If you like heavily fragranced products, then give this pair a try, you will be sure to achieve beautifully shiny, hair that looks and feels soft, voluminous and bouncy.

Are you familiar with this brand or have you tried it before?  What are your thoughts??  Can you recommend a good natural range of haircare products based on your own experience?  Please do share xxx ooo

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Philip Martins Maple Wash Shampoo

Hello to all of my readers out there in the Blogosphere!  I've been out of action again and this time it is due to having a new operating system that I've been trying to tweak to my liking.....BUT I just can't seem to get my emoticons working, so unfortunately it's time to bid them farewell.  I am feeling a bit lost without them and have to get use to the fact that from this post onwards it's just going to be standard text (bit boring, but what can you do???).  Anyway, please bare with me until I get these layouts happening to my preference, you will still see the same style of review, just minus the emotion.  Cheers for that xxx ooo

I was sent the next product, a natural based shampoo, from the gorgeous Tammerly, author of Spoilt blog to test drive and then write about my experience for sharing on her website, which you can find published here.

The moisturising, plant based Philip Martins Maple Wash Shampoo is suitable for dry, unmanageable or chemically treated hair and claims to restore elasticity, whilst increasing shine and body for cleaner, softer tresses.

I received this shampoo in a sample sachet, so am unable to share my thoughts on the product packaging.  I am aware though, that it is available in both 100 and 250ml sizes.

The very pale amber coloured gel is translucent and of a medium consistency with an extremely sweet and very potent fragrance.  Actually, the aroma is quite hard to ignore, as it so strong and unfortunately reminds me of the old pharmacy perfumes my Nana use to wear (think Tabu or Yardley for example), very cloying and is what I consider a bit too overpowering.  After washing it does eventually settle and evolves into a less pungent scent that isn’t offensive, so that’s a relief.  Because of all the natural ingredients that are infused in the formula, this shampoo doesn’t have the same foaming action to lather up like a frothy detergent based product, therefore I just massaged it onto my scalp and distributed through the lengths.  It is also recommended to repeat the wash process to achieve the best results.  It rinsed out with ease, leaving my hair feeling thoroughly clean and not stripped of its natural oils.

I used this shampoo in conjunction with the conditioner in the same range and the duo left my locks ultra soft, shiny and full of extra volume and bounce.  While my strands were left lightly fragranced the gentle formulation didn’t irritate my scalp or cause it to get dry and flaky, so it’s great for even the most sensitive of skin.  One restricting factor for me is that the shampoo is, in my opinion, expensive, however, if the scent were more appealing and not so oversweet, I would definitely invest, as I was impressed with the way it transformed my mane without causing any aggravation to my scalp.  I’d recommend the Philip Martins Maple Wash Shampoo to anyone who is interested in high-end hair care product enriched with natural ingredients and a scalp-friendly formulation that will deliver super clean hair that is lightweight, incredibly soft and smooth, with a natural, radiant looking sheen.

TIP - Leave this shampoo in your hair for 1 – 2 minutes after massaging before rinsing out (Yes! Do this not just for conditioning, but also shampooing). Natural shampoos are packed with botanical ingredients that take longer for your hair to absorb, hence, your locks will really benefit from the rich nutrients during this absorption process.

Have you heard of or tried this brand before?  What is your favourite natural brand for hair care products?  Please comment below with any thoughts. xx oo

The image in this post is generic.