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!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Clearasil Daily Clear Vitamins & Extracts Scrub

Howdy once again fellow beauty lovers!  Here’s another product that was sent on to me to trial and review from Tammerly over at Spoilt.  If you read my previous post about the Clearasil Daily Clear Vitamins & Extracts Wash then you would know I had reservations about this range, but I must admit when it comes to new skin care, as always, I was still eager to try!

This facial exfoliator is a part of the new range from well-known anti-acne brand Clearasil.  With a skin conditioning formula, the Clearasil Daily Clear Vitamins & Extracts Scrub (can't seem to find this product on the Australian website at this stage??) is enriched with Avocado and Vitamin E to nourish, along with the antioxidant benefits of Pomegranate, plus hydrating Glycerine to help retain moisture.  Unlike the existing Clearasil line-up, this range has been designed with a lower content of Salicylic Acid (a powerful pimple-fighting ingredient) to make it kinder to the skin, yet still efficient enough to target and prevent breakouts, delivering a deep-pore cleansing action that sloughs away dead skin cells and removes impurities, to unblock pores and encourage cell renewal, without drying or stripping the skin.

I usually shy away from granular exfoliants myself, based on the advice of my therapist that my sensitive prone skin will end up red, raw and angry after using an abrasive skin care product too often.  On the rare occasion that I do use a facial scrub, I’m armed with the knowledge that I must carefully avoid the fragile/delicate areas around my inner cheeks and nose to prevent any further aggravation.  I still exfoliate, opting for non-abrasive chemical exfoliants, with the potential to clean deep down, minus any inflammation to the surface.  This particular scrub has the dual–action capabilities of a physical + manual exfoliant, due to the Salicylic Acid, which is incorporated into the formula, along with microbeads, giving it the power to work twice as hard to dissolve dirt, oil and bacteria from my skin.  As long as I use very light pressure, I am able to gently apply this scrub and benefit from a thorough cleanse, without it causing irritation or upsetting my skin.  The actual grains in this formulation are only sparse, which suits me better, as they don’t scratch my skin or provoke facial redness, instead I’m left with a clean, smooth, soft complexion.

The scrub has an ultra thick, glossy, pearlescent texture and is pale green in colour, speckled with random dark green beads that I imagine would be too abrasive if they were in abundance.  It also spotlights the same refreshing fruity fragrance as the cleanser in the same range, which stimulates my senses, yet isn’t too overpowering and doesn’t linger once it’s rinsed off.  While the instructions claim this scrub can be applied twice daily, I don’t think my fragile skin is suitable for such frequent exfoliating.  Not to mention, my research has lead me to believe that over-exfoliation can compromise and damage the protective barrier, disrupt the pH balance, trigger inflammatory and/or sensitised skin conditions and even accelerate premature ageing.  Therefore, I only exfoliate a couple of times each week and would stress, depending on the individual skin type, the need to be cautious at the beginning before determining how often to use this scrub.

Over the past month, I’ve incorporated this scrub into my regime twice a week and have determined that whilst it’s one of the better physical exfoliators I’ve ever tried, I don’t consider it a crucial to my skin care plan and regard the partnering cleanser, which is infused with the same ingredients, bar the beads, delivers the same results with no risk of any side effects, as a better option for my needs.  However, I’m confident these two products adequately targeted my pimples, cleared congestion and removed bacteria, so my skin is now looking buff and bright and any new pimples are becoming few and far between.  I would recommend the Clearasil Daily Clear Vitamins & Extracts Scrub to people with resilient, breakout prone skin, as it’s ideal for all budgets and readily available at supermarkets and pharmacies Australia wide.  Especially those who are fond of manual exfoliants, then it’s worthy of a test-drive, promising instantly cleaner, tighter, firmer and smoother skin, that’s nourished and conditioned, rather than dried out or robbed of moisture.

Presented in an easy-to-squeeze upside-down tube that boasts the same green and white colour scheme across the range with eye-catching Avocado and Pomegranate images decorating the front of the packaging, it’s chic and modern, appealing to both men and women of all ages in lieu of the typical teenage audience that Clearasil usually attracts. The tube has a large opening so lots of product comes out at once when dispensing, which is not only messy, it also results in using more product than needed, so it runs out quicker than it should.  The snap-shut lid is quite flimsy and needs to be handled with care to avoid breaking it off altogether.  On the plus side, the lower half of the tube graduates toward being translucent so it’s easy to see how much product is left before it’s finished.

TIP:  Instead of wasting any incompatible facial scrubs, try using them on your hands and feet to eliminate unsightly rough, dry skin and to keep them super soft and supple.  The invigorating properties can help stimulate circulation to revive and nurture stressed out, overworked hands and feet after a long, tiring day and makes for the perfect way to relax and unwind.

Rating: I am rating this exfoliating scrub with 3 stars out of 5. It loses 1 star for being, in my opinion, an unnecessary addition to the range, delivering the same results as the cleanser, but with added granules.  Also I’m not certain why anyone would need to scrub their skin twice a day, so I’m taking off another ½ star as I’m concerned that over exfoliating could damage already sensitive skins.  The final ½ star is subtracted due to the poor quality packaging.  I will continue to use this product for the time being, but only as an occasional scrub, to effectively maintain problem skin such as pesky pimples and congested pores.  I am sure it would make a great addition to any bathroom beauty arsenal, for anyone wishing to benefit from the reliable zit zapping qualities, although I doubt that I will purchase it again for myself, as it doesn’t meet my current skin care requirements.

Well, no doubt you have heard of Clearasil, but have you ever tried it yourself?  Do you think the products have come along way from the first Clearasil products that were on the market years ago??  Please comment with your thoughts and opinions!
Cheers guys xx oo

Clearasil Daily Clear Vitamins & Extracts Wash

Hi peeps, I’m back!  The next product was forwarded to me by the lovely Tammerly author of Spoilt.  I must admit I had a few reservations when I first saw the brand in question was Clearasil, because it was one of the first skin care lines I recall being familiar with as a teen and over the years as I got older I moved away from what I considered to be a range appropriately suitable for teenagers.  However, I still do battle with the spots quite often, so I decided to give them another try now, after all these years……

This 2-in1 cleanser/mask is a product featured in the new range from well-known anti-acne brand Clearasil.  The energising Clearasil Daily Clear Vitamins & Extracts Wash (can't find this range on their website at all??) is enriched with nourishing Avocado and Vitamin E, along with the antioxidant benefits of Pomegranate, plus hydrating Glycerine to help retain moisture.  Unlike the existing Clearasil line-up, this range has a lower content of Salicylic Acid (a powerful pimple-fighting ingredient) making it kinder to the skin, yet still efficient enough to target and prevent breakouts, delivering a comfortable deep-pore cleanse that removes impurities, without drying or stripping the skin.

I never suffered acne as a teen, however I have had a bout of adult acne a few years ago and even more recently, my skin has gone a bit berserk, leaving me battling an onslaught of whiteheads that I was keen to get rid of fast, so the new Clearasil products arrived at an ideal time.  I’m actually thrilled to find a targeted spot cleanser that I can tolerate, because it isn’t too potent or harsh for my sensitive prone skin and clears up breakouts without robbing the skin of its essential moisture.  I was impressed with the blemish control properties of this product after frequent, daily use over a four week period, it helped to rapidly reduce the swelling, redness and tenderness associated with existing pimples, allowing them to heal quickly, minus any long-term damage to my skin.  When used for the sole purpose of cleansing, I didn’t succumb to any aggravation and have since noticed a positive improvement of my overall skin health, including the return of my blemish-free complexion.  The Clearasil Daily Clear Vitamins & Extracts Wash is available at various major retailers in Australia, for an absolute steal of a price, affordable for all budgets.  For anyone who leads a busy lifestyle and is struggling to get control of their skin, then this cleanser is worth consideration.  It’s effective enough to treat problem areas, clearing congestion, thoroughly cleaning dirt, excess oil and bacteria that gets lodged deep inside the pores, all the while being gentle enough for even the most fragile skin.

The lightweight wash has a pale green, super creamy texture, so about a 10-cent coin sized amount works up into a non-foaming, mild lather.  It’s then gradually massaged all over my wet face and easily rinses straight off omitting any tacky residue.  The pleasant fruity fragrance is both refreshing and invigorating.  It’s not overly perfumed, nor does it linger on the skin, but acts as a perfect pick-me-up to ensure I start each day feeling instantly recharged.  I like to use this cleanser every morning, as it adequately cleans my skin, but it’s not at all dry or taut; instead it’s surprisingly conditioned and feels soft to touch.  Due to my sensitivity issues, I found using the product as a mask unsuitable for my personal needs and after leaving it on my skin for longer than a minute or so, I experienced an unusual reaction with a tingling/stinging, almost burning sensation and the sudden discomfort sent out warning bells and I had to wash it off straight away, afraid it may lead to irritation and trigger redness or other side effects.  After that one occasion, I simply continued using the product solely as a cleanser for the remaining duration of the test drive.

Presented in an easy-to-squeeze upside-down tube that boasts the same green and white colour scheme across the range with eye-catching Avocado and Pomegranate images decorating the front of the packaging, it’s chic and modern, appealing to both men and women of all ages, in lieu of the typical teenage audience that Clearasil usually attracts.  The tube has a large opening so lots of product comes out at once when dispensing, which is not only messy, it also results in using more product than needed, so it runs out quicker than it should.  The snap-shut lid is quite flimsy and needs to be handled with care to avoid breaking it off altogether.  On the plus side, the lower half of the tube graduates toward being translucent so it’s easy to see how much product is left before it’s finished.
TIP:  Even though it’s suitable for cleansing purposes, if you suffer from sensitive skin problems at all, then you should patch test prior to a mask application, just to avoid exasperating the condition.

Rating: I am awarding this clever cleanser with 4 stars out of 5.  Basically, it loses ½ a star for the poor quality packaging, with the lid just hanging in there, whilst the inability to control the amount of product that is dispensed from the tube is totally wasteful.  I’ve deducted the other ½ star because the mask function could prove to be too potent for people like me with more delicate skin and really needs to be pointed out.  Despite those minor negative points, I would definitely look at buying this product again.  It makes for a great staple cleanser that the whole family can use whenever they need a little help zapping some stubborn zits.

So, did you ever try the famous Clearasil products when you were a teen?  Have you tried them since??  What are your thoughts on this new range, would you be willing to use it yourself??  Please comment below with any feedback!

Thanks xxx ooo

NIVEA In-Shower Body Moisturiser

Hello to everyone in the blogosphere who maybe reading this.  I’ve been very quiet on the blogging front lately, so thought I’d take the opportunity to add a few reviews that have been sitting in limbo on my PC for ages, while the time allows.

The lovely ladies at Beauty Heaven sent me this product to test out and review for their Trial Team.  Here are my thoughts:

When I first received this product, I was under the impression that is was just another moisturising body wash, so when I discovered that it was a completely new and different concept all together, I was keen to try it out!  The NIVEA In-Shower Body Moisturiser is a time-saving, convenient way to nourish and hydrate your skin, whilst enjoying your regular daily shower.  Simply wash as normal, then slather all over your body, rinse, dry as usual and you’re good to go!  It features glycerine, sea minerals and caring skin oils, which are water activated and prevent the skin from becoming dry.

It’s presented in a large, white and blue 400ml flip-top bottle that typically represents the NIVEA brand and fits perfectly in my shower caddy.  It boasts the standard crisp, clean NIVEA fragrance that isn’t too bold or overpowering and would appeal to both men and women alike.  The moisturiser itself is white in colour and has a fluid-like texture, with a medium consistency, so it isn’t too runny.  The creamy formula is however quite difficult to spread, so I realised that I needed to use a large amount per application to work it all over my slippery wet skin, but as long as I’ve got enough product it does glide on with ease.  It rinses straight off with water and absorbs well, leaving a silky protective film on my skin.  Afterwards, my body felt smooth, soft and comfortable and the lasting moisture seemed to lock in all day long.

I don’t have overly dry skin, so after using the moisturiser for the past month, I’m pleased that it provides my body with the essential hydration it needs each day and as a result my skin is definitely looking healthier.  I have sensitive skin and the dermatologically proven formulation didn’t cause irritation and in fact I found it very soothing and relaxing instead.  I am really impressed with my experience using the NIVEA In-Shower Body Moisturiser, as I have often neglected my body and skip the daily moisturising step, especially if I were short on time or just couldn’t be bothered having to wait around for the lotion to dry, but this handy shortcut only takes an extra minute when I’m already wet and in the shower, so it keeps my skin healthy and happy!  The only thing I would change about this product would be to introduce a variety of fragrances, which would definitely make it even more appealing to me as I do love indulging in beautifully scented body products.  Otherwise, it’s brilliant and makes the ideal, effort-free alternative for those who are always in a hurry and don’t give their bodies the attention it deserves.

Ideal For: Anyone with a busy lifestyle would benefit from this time-saving, hassle-free body moisturiser.

TIP:  Be sure to wash your hands properly with your normal hand wash after using this product to completely remove the film left on your skin, because if you accidentally touch your eyes or mouth it can be quite uncomfortable or even irritating.

Rating: 5/5

 So, what do you all think?  Does this sound like it would be a product that would make your life easier or is it just another gimmick???  Have you tried it yet and if so please share your thoughts!

Cheers xxx ooo

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

The images in this post are generic.

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

The image in this post is generic.

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.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Australis 4-1 Conceal Correct

Hello beauty lovers!  :-h  This post is a review of a multi-tone concealer, released by a well-known Australian cosmetic brand recently.  Tammerly the brains and beauty behind Spoilt blog, provided it to me for a test drive, so I could share my thoughts with you all.  :-@

The multi-tasking Australis 4-1 Conceal Correct is a round palette consisting of 4 different shades of concealer to disguise imperfections, including redness, dark circles, blemishes and uneven skin tone for a flawless complexion.  :)

The compact palette comes in a small cardboard box boasting the black and bright pink colouring recognisable throughout the Australis range.  It also features three coloured panels on the top and both sides, all of which share product tips, such as purple fades away dark circles, green covers up redness and flesh tones to use over the colour correctors to camouflage imperfections.  The tiny round black plastic palette with a flip-top lid has dual levels, with two shades each and a handy mirror for touch-ups on the go.  ;)

The correctors and concealers have a lightweight, rich, creamy formula that is soft, smooth and easy to apply and provides a medium to light coverage, depending on which shade I use.  The purple is the lightest and needs to be carefully layered to effectively hide any dark areas under my eyes,  (:|  however it even does double duty as a makeshift highlighter for my cheekbones, inner eye corners and cupids bow etc.  ;;)  The green works well at covering up any facial redness,  :">  which is mostly around my nose and inner cheeks, but is exceptionally good for hiding noticeable red pimples,  #:-S   whilst the light and dark skin toned shades blend over the green and purple to even out my complexion.  Unfortunately, even though the coverage was good, the darkest flesh tone shade was too dark for my colouring and the paler one was too orange-y, so I couldn’t achieve a very natural-looking finish.  :-S   I also find that too much layering causes the concealer to appear cakey, crease and settle into fine lines, so I can conclude that using less is definitely best.  The staying powder is not ideal for my oily skin because it gets a bit greasy after a few hours and I generally need to keep touching it up during the day, causing it to look even more caked on.  :-O  The formula might be more workable for me during the cooler months, when it’s less likely to slip and slide off my face as much.

Overall, this is a cute and thoughtful palette that includes everything you need to achieve complexion perfection in the one compact little case.  =D>  It does subtly hide my flaws, but it generally takes a bit of work to make sure the finished effect looks natural and not overdone.  I get more use out of the green and purple shades over the two flesh toned colours, that are too overwhelming for my own natural skin tone and seem to have too much of an orange tinge.  I would prefer the flesh toned colours to be more universally flattering for a wider range of complexions, but as is they might be a more suitable shade match for those with warmer undertones.  The Australis 4-1 Conceal Correct is so useful because it has all the shades necessary for basic correcting and concealing abilities, in one, easy to use set, which is also the perfect travel companion.  It adequately covers minor imperfections, like pimples and problem areas of redness, including broken capillaries, but if you want something that has fuller coverage and better performance, this is probably not going to appeal to you.  Considering it retails for only $12.95, this multi-tasking concealing palette might meet the needs of those with normal to dry skin who have a warm, buttery skin tone, because it certainly won’t break the bank and is a versatile addition to any makeup kit.  <:-P

Tip –  *-:)  While I don’t mind applying it with my fingers, a slightly damp concealing brush helps blend these shades into my skin more evenly.

Rating – 3 out of 5 (Published for Spoilt. Click here to view)

What do you think?  :-?  Does this type of concealer with multiple shades appeal to you?  Have you found a reliable concealer that looks natural?  :-/  If so please fill me in, would love to hear what works for others when it comes to concealers….

The images in this post are generic.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bobbi Brown BB Cream

Hi peeps  :-h  I’m sooo excited to share this next post with you all, because as it turns out, despite my initial scepticism, this little gem has won my heart and I honestly can’t wait to tell the world!  :-@  When Tammerly, the name behind the lifestyle, fashion and beauty blog Spoilt, sent me a BB Cream from one of the more elaborate, professional cosmetics brands, I must admit I had my reservations,  /:) but was still keen to see how it compared to the authentic versions I’d previously tried.  Read on to find out more about it and why it’s earned a permanent niche in my beauty kit.  :)>-

Embracing the hottest Asian trend of multi-tasking BB Creams, (aka Beauty Balm or formally Blemish Balm) which have successfully built the bridge between skin care and makeup, The Bobbi Brown BB Cream is a combination moisturiser, skin treatment and foundation with broad spectrum sun protection, all-in-one.  Available in 5 shades, this diverse beauty balm suits all complexions.  :-*

Presented in the distinguished, sleek and classy Bobbi Brown-style packaging, this product epitomises the professional quality, high-end brand to perfection.  The 40ml squeezable tube is jet black, adorned with basic white text and is housed inside a cardboard box of the same design.  The screw-top lid also serves as the base, to allow for upright storage. 

Claiming to be fragrance-free, this beauty balm gives off a delicate, yet very subtle fragrance, which I am grateful, smells nothing like a sunscreen.  #:-S   Whilst rather thick in consistency, the super weightless, emollient formula is smooth and creamy, spreading easily and virtually melting into my skin.  The pigmentation is worth raving about; unlike the usual tinted sunscreens/moisturisers I’ve ever used, it has a light-to-medium coverage that irons out my flaws, just as if it were a foundation.  (*)  I have the Medium to Dark shade that noticeably lends to more of a yellow-undertone, common amongst the Bobbi Brown foundation range, but even though it initially appears kind of darkish, it blends into my own skin tone harmoniously.  The soft, silky finish is natural and dewy, however it doesn’t cause my oily complexion to get greasy or the colour to fade, slide or become blotchy at all throughout the day.  In fact, I can vouch that my skin remains as fresh at the end of a humid, summer day as it was after the morning application.  =D>

Due to the bonus skin care functions of this superior ‘do-it-all’ product, when completing my morning cleansing ritual, I can now scrap my routine skincare/makeup preparations, since this one cream covers all bases, and undoubtedly takes significantly less time.  :D   Meanwhile, it’s ultra hydrating and delivers ongoing nourishment, so a separate moisturiser isn’t even necessary.  Nor is an additional sunscreen, primer or foundation; this BB Cream really does cover all bases – and does it very well too.  It disguises minor imperfections, corrects my uneven skin tone, absorbs excess oil and keeps shine at bay, all while safeguarding against damaging UV rays and other external pollutants.  I can hardly believe there is any sunscreen in this formulation, as it leaves no white cast or other side effects I usually suffer from when using SPF products.  Fortunately, I’ve not been burned when wearing it either, so I’m confident it’s working.  I normally opt for a foundation brush when applying liquid foundation, but I’ve just been using my fingers and it blends spotlessly, with no visible steaks or lines.  ;;)  I personally prefer a light dusting of translucent powder to set the look and to give me more of a matte finish, but those who like a warm, radiant-looking complexion, need not bother.  ;)

I am so happy with the overall efficacy of this BB cream, because it is so compatible with my oily skin and has proven capable of lasting the distance during the hottest of days.  I am in love with the results and would gladly shout out and tell everyone and anyone just how good it is.  :x   It hasn’t caused congested pores or breakouts and after adopting this healing beauty balm for the past month, I can honestly say my skin is noticeably smoother, clearer and more uniform, with an improved texture.  I was originally a bit discouraged when I saw the price of this product, (with an RRP of $60)  :-S  but in reality, it actually costs less than my favourite dual-purpose primer, which boasts similar features and is almost half the size!  #-o   I know there are many cheaper BB Creams on the market, but the price is justified, considering its highly effective skin-regenerating properties as well as the convenience, versatility, performance and longevity.  The biggest drawcard is that it’s like I’m not even wearing any makeup, yet instantly my skin looks and feels gorgeous!  I’m certain I’ve found myself a new day-to-day winner with the Bobbi Brown BB Cream.  The multi-purpose, versatile skin treat, meets both my daily skincare and first base makeup needs perfectly.  I would recommend it to any busy woman, especially those with oily, combination, or breakout-prone skin – finally we have a BB Cream that isn’t too rich and heavy!  <:-P  It’s ideal if you want a fuss-free, comfortable-wearing, anti-ageing beauty aide, with beneficial ingredients such as botanical extracts, caffeine, peptides, vitamins and minerals that provide the ultimate moisturising, protecting, correcting skin care-makeup to optimally transform your skin from the inside out and enhance your complexion, so it’s bright, healthy and sporting a flawless, natural-looking glow. \:D/

Finally, I have now experienced the true hype behind BB Creams and this is definitely the first instant beautifier to change my previously ‘not overly convinced’ mind that BB Creams really are even ‘all that’.  I would absolutely repurchase this deluxe product and am awarding it with a five-star rating, simply because I found it to be 100% faultless!  :)

Well, have I convinced you how good this product is and are you keen to try it out for yourself??  :-?  Are you a fan of the whole BB Cream revolution?  Have you been lucky enough to find the ‘one’ for you yet?  :-/  Please comment about any of your own experiences with BB Creams.  Cheers for that! xxx ooo

The images in this post are all generic.

Covergirl + Olay Pressed Powder

Hey, hey, peeps, I’m baaack!!  :-h  My next review is for a product that was formulated by a duo of highly popular beauty brands that amalgamated to produce their own skin care orientated makeup line-up (which seems to be all the rage these days).  B-)  I have used both brands over the years but never combined (despite having heard about it for a while now   #-o  ), so I must admit, when Tammerly from Spoilt blog offered me the chance of a trial, I was keen to oblige.   Here’s my feedback or you can click here to check it out on Spoilt!  :D

Covergirl and Olay unite to present a tinted pressed powder that covers imperfections and brightens the skin tone. The built-in smooth-glide serum ensures the finish isn’t heavy or cakey.  =D>

The Covergirl + Olay Pressed Powder comes in a sleek, dark purple, mirrored compact, accented with silver for a stylish presentation.  The sturdy compact is elegant and the only let down is the quality of the powder puff, which is pretty weak and flimsy.  :-S

The weightless, non drying formula is smooth and slightly creamy, due to the included serum, as apposed to being dry or chalky like other powders I’ve used.  #:-S   I have the shade 350 Medium, which provides exceptional coverage and is an ideal colour match, suiting my skin tone perfectly.  ;;)  The silky powder glides on with ease and controls any excess oil without clogging my pores or causing congestion.  I press the powder over my foundation using a velour puff and then buff with my kabuki brush.  The velvety finish is luminous but not glittery, so it’s ideal for mature skin.  ;)  The staying power is brilliant and it remains fresh and shine-free all day, but doesn’t settle into lines or accentuate my pores.   It’s comfortable to wear and if I do need the odd touch up occasionally, mostly during the hotter summer months, it works like magic to transform and revive my complexion for a smooth, polished finish that never looks caked on.  After using this powder daily for the past few weeks, I can thankfully say it doesn’t upset my sensitive skin or cause breakouts.  <:-P

Shade 350 - Medium
I have oily skin so I always need to use a powder to set my foundation, although I usually opt for the translucent variety.  I’ve used Covergirl powders in the past, as they are always affordable and available everywhere, yet I’ve never found one that is better than average…until now!  It must be care of the Olay partnership, because this is definitely the best budget powder that I’ve used in terms of performance, durability and results.  =D>  The soft, satin-like powder looks and feels great, while helping me achieve a healthy, natural, radiant-looking complexion that is absolutely flawless without looking made-up.  :x   I am so impressed with the long lasting wear of this lightweight powder and how good it keeps my skin looking, even after a long humid day.  If you consider yourself a bit of a ‘powder snob’ and can’t get past the ashy, chalky results of most finishing powders, then I encourage you to try the Covergirl + Olay Pressed Powder because you will be pleasantly surprised.  \:D/  It will perfect your look by evening out your skin tone, setting your makeup and reducing shine, so your face appears smooth and refined with a lovely, radiant glow.  :)

So have you tried any of the products made by the two brands combined??    :-/  Or maybe you are just loyal to one brand or another, I know Olay has been around since I was a kid and I remember my mother using it back in the day when they made a cream called Oil of Ulan, ROFL!   =))   Seriously though, what do you think?   :-?  Please comment with your experience or any thoughts.  xx   :-*

The images in this post are generic. 

Covergirl Clump Crusher by Lash Blast Mascara

Hello beauties  :-h  I’m back to do another update and upload some more posts that I’ve been meaning to publish. This next review is for a mascara that was sent to me by Tammerly, author of the lifestyle, fashion and beauty blog Spoilt.  The following is a recollection of my product experience along with my shared thoughts.  :)  You can also check out my review over on Spoilt by clicking here.

The Covergirl Clump Crusher by Lash Blast Mascara, with a curved slimline wand, promises to deliver 200% more volume with no clumps for beautifully, separated lashes.  ;;)

The first thing to catch my attention when I saw this mascara was the loud, green blister pack style packaging, housing a bulky, 13.1 ml plastic tube and a wand, both in the same brilliant green colour.   @-)  It’s typically Covergirl in design and screams Lash Blast all over.  Not sure if green is my kind of colour, but there is no doubt, it will be quick and easy to find in my makeup bag.  ;) The plastic applicator brush is curved with super fine bristles positioned close together and tapering into an ultra fine tip. This allows for easy manoeuvrability from root to tip, ensuring each individual lash, regardless of how sparse, is completely separated and coated in mascara, even in the inner corners.  The slimline wand is lightweight, but has sturdy cap that is comfortable to hold.  :D

The buildable, clump resisting formula is not wet and runny, hence no drying time, instead its drier with a smooth, silky consistency, ideal for layering.  =D>  In fact, I need two or three coats to create perfect soft, volumous lashes, which feel lightweight, flexible and look so ala-natural, while remaining totally clump-free.  I have this mascara in shade number 810, Black Brown, a rich, bold colour that is not OTT and suitable for daytime wear.  The finish is long-wearing and my lashes stay looking fresh all day long, minus any fading, smudging, running or flaking; therefore no dreaded panda eyes.  #:-S   It is free of fragrance, so it doesn’t cause irritation to my sensitive eyes and it’s easy to take off with a simple everyday eye makeup remover.  <:-P

I love this as my go-to mascara for use on a day to day basis, because it defines my lashes, making them visibly plumper and longer.  :x   If it’s drama you’re after, then this is probably not your best option, as despite being able to apply several layers successfully, instead of creating a bold ‘va-va-voom’ effect for a night on the town, too many layers will eventually leave your lashes feeling heavy, crunchy and flaky.  :-O   But if you are in need of a decent and ‘oh so affordable’ daily mascara, to add a desirable fullness and length for flutter worthy lashes that make your eyes pop, then the Covergirl Clump Crusher by Lash Blast Mascara is exactly what you need.  It beautifully fans out my lashes for a soft, subtle everyday look and I wouldn’t hesitate to repurchase it, especially for the price (the RRP is $17.95) availability (can get it just about anywhere) and super effective results.   \:D/

Are you a Covergirl mascara kind of girl??   :-?  What type of mascara do you prefer - one that creates the ultimate drama effect or would you rather the soft and natural look?   :-/  Please comment if this sounds appealing to you, or if you have something better to recommend.  

The images in this post are generic.