Sunday, 28 May 2017

ModelCo Replenishing Rose Mist Facial Mist

Prior to purchasing this hydrating toner from ModelCo, I had never tried any products from the brand. I am not a fan of fake tan and this is primarily what I associated with ModelCo, however they actually have quite a broad range of skincare spanning from exfoliating scrubs and cleansers to serums and SPF for face and body that launched back in 2014. Being a major fan of toners, of course this is the first product that I decided to try from the range.

The Replenishing Rose Mist promises to tone, replenish and refresh the skin to eliminate shine, excess oil and minimise the appearance of pores. It is vegan and cruelty-free.

The key role for a toner like this in my skincare routine is to add moisture back to my skin after cleansing, especially, and acid toning. I am not too fussed on the idea of minimising my pores or reducing oil production and more concerned with adding another layer of hydration to prevent dry skin. I definitely don't use a toner like this in the hopes of removing any leftover makeup after cleansing - that's what the double cleanse is for! This is a relatively heavy mist and I think it does the job well of eliminating the tight skin feeling after cleansing and exfoliating. It is not the kind of fine 'setting spray' toner that I would use over the top of makeup, as it is much too heavy and wet (for want of a better word!).

I use three sprays of this to cover forehead and each cheek. Because it is not a fine mist, three sprays leaves your face feeling pretty soaked but I pat it in and it absorbs relatively quickly. Damp skin also seems to absorb the succeeding skincare layers better so I don't mind this too much. My one real issue is that inevitably some of the mist ends up on your lips and ugh, does it taste awful! I have taken to applying a lip balm before spraying this on and sucking my lips in to try to avoid any overspray. I have never experienced such an awful taste with a mist - I mean, it's not made for drinking obviously, but yuck!

In contrast to the taste, this has a lovely rose scent that is actually quite refreshing for rose. It is not a heavy 'grandmother' rose but light and not overpowering or lingering. I have to admit, the tan coloured packaging is not my favourite. I would almost decant it into a nice glass spray bottle to look better on my dressing table (but I know I am just being fussy!).

The base of this mist is water with lots of hydrating ingredients added for good measure, including polysorbate (an emulsifier for hydration), glycerin (an humectant, again for hydration), rose damascena (scent and soothing), plus açai and pomegranate extracts (antioxidant properties). Dehydroacetic acid and benzyl alcohol act as preservatives, and that is the sum total of ingredients. A nice, simple toner to refresh and rehydrate the skin.

Price: $20.00 (ModelCo website) [$0.16/mL]
Rate: hydrating, scent
Hate: packaging, heaviness of mist, taste
Verdict: would not repurchase, simply because I can't stand the taste when there is overspray on to my lips and there are other toners that do the same job without tasting awful (Kosmea Hydrating Rosewater Mist being a fantastic example in the same price range and 100% Pure Jasmine Green Tea Tonique a great one currently part of my daily routine)

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Wish List I

I have somehow managed to distil my current wish list down to just five things that I wish were in my skincare collection. Of course, there is a whole lot more than this...always. Nothing makeup related at the moment - probably because there is still way too much skincare that I would like to try.

The asap Platinum Collection contains four deluxe size products and two full size products from their range. The deluxe size products are all serums: super A+ serum, super B complex, super C serum, and the radiance serum. The two full sized products are the ultimate hydration cream and the anti-ageing night cream. I am currently using the super C serum and it is absolutely amazing! My sister gave it to me as she is currently pregnant and I have pretty much used the whole bottle in the two months since she has given it to me. It has really helped to brighten and clear up my skin so it was going to be a definite repurchase for me, but then I came across the Platinum Collection and just thought, I have to try it all! This is currently $175.50 at Adore Beauty, which is a great price considering all of the products are around the $70.00 mark full size so you essentially receive three deluxe sizes for free. I am so keen to see if I enjoy the rest of the asap range as much as the super C serum.

I keep hearing bits and pieces about how awesome the Drunk Elephant range is, so I am definitely wanting to try something from them. After my success with the asap super C serum, the C-Firma Day Serum from Drunk Elephant is number one on my list but I also wouldn't say no to the TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum which is packed with skin resurfacing AHAs and BHAs. These are pricey serums, with the C-Firma Day Serum currently $116.00 at Mecca, so it will probably end up being a 'treat yourself' moment around birthday time.

Leahlani is another brand that I've heard about but have not yet had the opportunity to try. This organic Hawaiian brand is just stunning and all of their serums are on my wish list to be honest. The Champagne Serum is described as "happy hour for your skin" (love it!) and is designed to help combat redness and clear up any scarring in the skin. It is available in Australia from Eve Organics for $46.00, which is a pretty similar price to my current favourite oil serum Face Hero from Go-To Skincare.

Speaking of Go-To Skincare, I am in love with their new silk pillowcases! Because I don't already have sufficient silk pillowcases (three and counting...), I would really love to add this one to my collection. I especially love the embroidery! The Face Case is $65.00 from Go-To Skincare - not a bad price for a silk pillowcase.

The final item(s) on my list is anything (and everything) from The Ordinary. If you have not heard of this brand before, then I'm afraid you may have been living under a rock! I have been stalking this brand for quite a while and they have just released their much hyped foundation which is something I would love to try at some point soon. Apparently there were 25,000 people on the waiting list for the foundation, so I might be waiting for this one for a little while, however I am keen in the meantime to try some of their skincare. They have products including all my favourites: retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid, and are super affordable ranging between $8.80 to $24.90 per product (yes, that's AUD!). I have also heard amazing things about their customer service so don't feel nervous at all about ordering from their website rather than an Australian stockist. Definitely number one on my wish list is the Advanced Retinoid 2% which I am hoping will match up to my big love Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil.

What is currently on your wish list...and what should I add to mine that you're currently loving?

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Swisse Manuka Honey Detoxifying Facial Mask

Everyone knows Swisse for their vitamin range. "Tired? Stressed? You'll feel better on Swisse!" Personally I am a big fan of their Zinc+ which really helps to keep my skin clear when I commit to taking it regularly and has really helped to keep colds at bay so far as the weather starts becoming colder (touch wood!). In terms of their relatively new skincare range though, this charcoal mask is only the second external care product I have tried from them - the first being a deluxe sample of their hydrating toner which I really enjoyed. I picked this one up at the Priceline 40% off skincare sale for an absolute bargain as it has been a while since I've used anything but hydrating masks on my skin.

The Manuka Honey Detoxifying Facial Mask is a naturally absorbent mask that promises to purify and detoxify the skin leaving it feeling smooth and hydrated.

The mask comes packaged in a squat little amber jar and is pale blue-grey in colour (I love the colour of it!), drying down to a whitish grey. The texture is typical gluggy clay and is a little grainy to the touch. It smells a bit medicinal to me (the boy "quite likes it") and not like honey as I was mistakenly hoping! It is really easy to apply and smooth over your face, with no real roughness or exfoliating properties.

I apply this all over my face after cleansing and leave on for 10 minutes as recommended. No longer otherwise the mask really dries down and tightens on the skin. For someone with dry skin like me, this is taking it too far and leaves the skin feeling badly dehydrated. During the drying down process, the mask really sinks into your pores which makes for interesting viewing in the mirror! I find it relatively easy to remove with a warm damp flannel by rehydrating the mask and then gently wiping off.

Immediately after removing the mask, I find my skin does look brighter and plumper. Any breakouts are brought to the surface and in particular the first time I used the mask, two yucky little bumps on my chin came to a head after the mask. I make sure to rehydrate with a serum or oil and a moisturiser after use because clay really has a drying effect on the skin and I certainly disagree with Swisse's claims that this mask will leave your skin feeling hydrated. Uh, nope! I have been using this about once a week since purchasing and, whilst it has not performed any miracles, it feels great to apply when you're having a bad skin day to help clear up breakouts a bit faster.

The base of the mask is actually aloe vera gel rather than water, which is probably a good thing given that the mask contains two types of clay, kaolin and white, as well as tapioca starch and charcoal powder as absorbents to help clear oily skin. Glycerin is included to bring some hydration back into the formula. There are plenty of antioxidants in this mask: oat bran extract, manuka honey, and seaweed extract are the main three. Salicylic acid, citric acid and eucalyptus oil are included to aid in clearing the skin. Basalm of Peru oil is included as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, as well as adding a fragrance factor. Xanthan gum and Irish moss are in the formula to help thicken the mask. Dehydroacetic acid and benzyl alcohol are included as preservatives.

Not being a huge clay mask fan, I was happy to see that this one helped with purging my skin of some yuckiness and I am glad to make the effort to use it every once in a while. Hydrating masks are still my one true love though.

Price: $17.99 (Priceline) [$0.26/g]
Rate: texture, efficacy on breakouts
Hate: scent, messy, drying if left for too long (though I haven't met a clay mask that isn't!)
Verdict: probably not a repurchase for me, just because I hardly use clay masks so I'd like to try something new if/when I ever run out of this one

Have you tried this clay mask from Swisse? Are there any masks you would recommend I try next?

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Daily Skincare Routine I

My current daily skincare routine has been really pared back lately, for a couple of reasons. Firstly,
we have just moved from the city to the country in the past two months and for the vast majority of those two months, I have not been bothered to unpack all of my beauty bits and pieces. So I learnt to make do with what was I'd thrown in my toiletries bag before moving, which wasn't very much! Secondly, the hormonal acne on my jaw and chin has been absolutely horrendous so I have been trying to keep things simple with adding in a product here and there to see if it is successful in controlling it at all (spoiler: I actually have found something that has worked wonders, but that's part of my nightly routine and a story for another post).

First up (always) is an hydrating toner and my current baby is the 100% Pure Jasmine Green Tea
Tonique for normal to dry skin. This one is all natural and vegan and smells amazing. I love anything jasmine (probably one of my first purchases when I eventually own a house will be a jasmine vine...) and this has such a beautiful, refreshing scent. It is a pretty heavy mist so probably not a great one for misting over makeup to refresh it, which doesn't bother me because I use this purely as skincare and an extra hydrating layer. It is packaged in a beautiful white glass spray bottle and (touch wood) I haven't dropped it yet so I love the packaging. Heads up, this is currently on sale from Nourished Life and a really good price, so get on to it if it sounds good to you!

Next is eye cream. I am currently using the Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream from Antipodes. Look, I don't particularly love this one. It is hydrating, sure, but really doesn't do a lot for me in terms of plumping or smoothing the eye area. I was also mega disappointed when I first opened it to use it that it didn't smell like kiwi fruit! It is actually more of an herbal, woody scent and perfectly fine, just not what I was hoping for because how good would that smell! This tiny little jar is lasting me forever and I have probably been using this for at least a year now, so it is definitely value for money. Not my favourite eye cream in terms of what it does for my eye area and I am looking forward to moving on to something else soon.

Serum follows eye cream and, whilst I would usually be switching between a few depending on what my skin needs, I have been almost exclusively using Hydraluron from Indeed Labs because it was in my toiletries bag. This is an always repurchase for me because it is such a saviour for dry skin and also a great all rounder serum that suits my skin no matter what. No such thing as too much hydration, right? It's also great on sunburn, FYI. It's light, easy to use, doesn't affect any makeup, and plumps up skin beautifully. My only problem with it is the packaging. Because the serum is so runny, it runs straight out of the opening in the tube and you always end up with way more than you need everywhere! I can forgive the packaging woes though, because this is just so good and so simple. It is basically my go-to serum when I'm not really sure what my skin wants that day.

Moisturiser is the next layer and I have currently been using a new purchase, the Boost Balancing Moisturiser from Botáni. This is beautifully light and absorbs super quickly, so it has been awesome to use under makeup on work mornings because it sets really nicely so it won't disturb your following layer of foundation. It has a woodsy smell when first pumped out of the bottle but once applied, it actually smells quite sweet! It gives off strawberry jam vibes to me. I really enjoy using this and love how the scent develops. The packaging is also a big win - so quick, easy and hygienic. I can see myself repurchasing this as a work morning moisturiser and it is most definitely the winner of the two moisturisers I purchased in the Priceline 40% off skincare sale.

What does your current morning skincare routine look like - and have you used any of my current routine before?

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Go-To Skincare Exfoliating Swipeys

Personally, I am not a fan of physical exfoliation and will always choose chemical exfoliation in the
form of an acid toner over traditional exfoliating scrubs. I feel that chemical exfoliation is a better way of exfoliating as it is easier to thoroughly spread the product over your skin to ensure even exfoliation rather than trying to push scrub particles here, there, and everywhere. I am also a huge fan of Zoë Foster-Blake's peachy cruelty-free skincare range Go-To Skincare, so when you combine the two together, myself and my skin are sure to enjoy! I have previously tried the Face Hero from the Go-To Skincare range and my skin loved it, so I was keen to see how it fared with the Exfoliating Swipeys.

These single use exfoliating face pads are soaked in an AHA solution that promises to remove dead skin cells and refine the skin's texture. The inclusion of essential oils also promises to hydrate and moisturise.

I really enjoy using single use pads like these at it makes life so much simpler as opposed to mucking around with a bottle of liquid and a fluffy cotton pad. These pads are nicely soaked in the lactic acid solution and are sufficiently moist to cover all of your face and down your neck too. I am down to the last couple of pads in my tub now and they are still as soaked as the first few started out. I did not find them to sting at all, however I have been using acid toners for quite a few years now so it takes a particularly strong one for my skin to say ouch!

The aloe vera included in the formula certainly does its job of ensuring your skin is not dried out from the lactic acid and after use, my skin is plump and bright. From pure habit, I'll follow these up a minute after use with my usual skincare routine of an hydrating toner, serum and moisturiser, however they do not leave the skin feeling tight and in need of moisture in any way. They haven't had much impact on my hormonal chin and jaw acne but have definitely kept the rest of my skin texture smooth and clear.

I like to use these mainly at night time and usually every second night, so the 50 pads will last around a third of the year for me. They also come delivered with a really cute zip-lock bag so that you can take some away with you when travelling. I don't love the actual texture of the pads - they almost feel a bit plasticky compared to the usual cotton pad and they are certainly rougher - but this isn't really noticeable until you have used most of the product on the pad and it is dried out some. The plastic peach tub packaging is great and I have never noticed it to leak.

The main ingredient in the solution is water, followed by lactic acid for exfoliation and aloe vera for hydration and soothing properties. The fourth ingredient is alcohol in the form of ethanol which could be a concern in drying out the skin and increasing sensitivity, however I consider myself to have dry skin and it has not bothered me in this formula. Making up the rest of the formula are propanediol (hydrating and can increase skin absorption of other ingredients), polysorbate 20 (surfactant and emulsifier for cleansing), dehydroacetic acid (synthetic preservative), benzyl alcohol (organic alcohol that acts as a preservative too), sodium citrate (controls pH as well as acting as an antioxidant and preservative), and potassium sorbate (another preservative). Finally, the formula does contain fragrance from mandarin and lemon extract.

I thoroughly enjoy these pads as a way of exfoliating chemically and they are so easy and quick to use! I personally have seen better improvement in my skin using a glycolic acid exfoliator but I love the idea of these as a brightening treatment for my skin.

Price: $46.00 (Go-To Skincare) [$0.92/pad]
Rate: brightening effects, packaging, ease of use, Australian-made and owned
Hate: nothing, really!
Verdict: I'd definitely repurchase as a brightening treatment for my skin but not as a skin clearing treatment.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

3 Weleda products currently in my bathroom

Standing in the shower the other morning, I noticed that three of the items I used were all from the same brand - Weleda - so I thought I would show them a bit of love. Weleda is a German/Swiss company which has been around since 1921 (although somehow I have only recently come across it in the past 12 months or so!) that focuses on creating natural and organic products in ethically, socially, and environmentally responsible ways. They source their key ingredients from biodynamic, organic and wild-crafted suppliers. I had never heard of "wild-crafted" before, but it means that plants are cultivated without chemicals in their natural wild environment and harvested sustainably to conserve their numbers, which is pretty cool!

The three products that I currently have from Weleda are the Wheat Balancing Shampoo, Lavender Creamy Body Wash (kindly gifted at the most recent Bloggers United Australia Perth event), and the Salt Toothpaste.

The Wheat Balancing Shampoo is for hair and scalp care. It promises to remove loose flakes, moisturise dry scalp, and gently cleanse the hair. The shampoo is free of synthetic preservatives, fragrances and colours as well as containing no mineral oil or silicone. My hair is generally pretty flaky and I usually employ Head & Shoulders to get rid of the flakes when they appear once every other month. I wanted to try a more natural shampoo to see if I could have any luck controlling the flakes on a more ongoing basis.

The shampoo is a golden-coloured gel that smells very herbal with a definite hit of tea tree and hints of rosemary. I always shampoo twice - once to remove any products from my hair and again to properly cleanse and massage the scalp. When I first started using the shampoo, I found that it left my hair feeling really heavy, especially at the back, almost as if I had washed it with an oil or put too much product in my hair and it looked oily too. I promptly gave up (bad blogger) and did not touch it for a couple of months, thinking that natural shampoos were not for me.

In our recent move from Perth to Bunbury, I picked it up again and thought I would give it another go whilst I wasn't working and it didn't matter how my hair looked. After consistent use over a week or two, the heavy feeling after washing with this shampoo disappeared and the flakes on my scalp had completely cleared up. Apparently it is pretty normal for your hair to "detox" when you switch from one shampoo to another (regardless of whether transitioning to a natural shampoo or not) so I just needed to persist with it whilst my scalp adjusted. It is probably worth noting that I kept using a non-natural conditioner, although I am going to look into buying a natural one now too!

The Lavender Creamy Body Wash promises to gently cleanse the skin whilst soothing and calming with pure lavender essential oil. I have previously used the pomegranate version of this body wash and loved it, so I asked the Weleda representative at the Bloggers United Australia event what she recommended, which is how I ended up with the lavender version.

This is a really beautiful rich creamy body wash that is super moisturising for the skin. It does not lather up a whole lot, which doesn't bother me, but for those who like a bubble bath in the shower may be a problem! My issue with this body wash is the scent. It is so intense! The lavender oil is really strong and too much for me. I find it overpowering rather than relaxing, so unfortunately I just don't enjoy this body wash as much as its pomegranate sister.

The Salt Toothpaste promises to prevent tooth discolouration and reduce the build up of tartar with regular brushing. This toothpaste is definitely out of the ordinary compared to a regular toothpaste! I have been using natural toothpastes for a long time now - Grant's mild mint toothpaste is my favourite given it's Australian (and available from Coles) - and I am always happy to try something a bit different. I had seen great reviews for this one by Weleda so thought I would give it a go.

It is a gritty brown paste that does not look super appealing but smells minty like a regular toothpaste. I swear I read a review somewhere that said this tastes like salted caramel, so I was super keen to try! The taste is pretty overwhelming. Really salty with hints of mint. It takes a while to become used to it but I have pushed through and don't notice it so much anymore. Luckily too, because this has a really whitening effect on my teeth, more so than any other natural toothpaste I've tried (including two activated charcoal ones which are all the rage at the moment). So, positives and negatives for this one.

There you have it. A quick review on three Weleda products I'm currently using in my bathroom. I think the likely only repurchase for me would be the shampoo. Whilst I like the Salt Toothpaste, the saltiness is just too much sometimes (especially right after breakfast!) and the body wash is not my jam.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

100% Pure Vitamin C Serum

100% Pure is a Californian brand that I have slowly become more acquainted with, via a few too many orders from online store for everything organic Nourished Life. This particular serum was purchased on a bit of a spree to qualify for a gift with purchase (shhh!). The brand is cruelty free and all products contain no artificial colours, fragrances or synthetic chemical preservatives. Personally, I waver back and forth between choosing natural skincare versus everything else but this is definitely a brand to check out if you like to live an organic/cruelty free/vegan/natural lifestyle. My personal favourite product is their coffee bean caffeine eye cream which is absolute joy (review will follow one day, promise).

The 100% Pure Vitamin C Serum claims to boost collagen, brighten skin tone, and stimulate skin cell renewal. It can be used both morning (under SPF) and night at the serum stage.

I have used up the entire bottle of this serum at this stage, applying primarily in the morning, due to the tightening effect that it has on the skin after application (I prefer to use something heavier and more nourishing at night like a face oil). It is a clear thick, gel - pretty similar texture to its main ingredient, aloe vera gel - that spreads easily on the skin and absorbs really fast. It is great under makeup in this respect, as there is no chance of it breaking through. There is no real scent that I can detect, perhaps faintly of aloe vera. It comes packaged in an opaque amber glass (essential for preventing the degradation of vitamin C due to exposure to light) pump bottle

I cannot say that I noticed any real effect of this serum on my skin. It kept my skin sufficiently hydrated but there were no skin brightening or clearing effects that I noticed. My hormonal (and otherwise) acne kept popping up regularly and didn't fade away any faster than usual. I did not notice any anti-ageing effects to report back either. My suspicion is that either:

a) the vitamin C had broken down ruining its efficacy, due to vulnerability to air and light (the bottle does not have an expiry date so there is no real way to know, however I used the bottle with the 6 month use by indicated on the bottle after opening and there was no change to the colour of the serum to indicate oxidation had occurred), or
b) the concentration of vitamin C was not high enough to have any noticeable effect on my skin (the concentration of vitamin C in this serum is around 2% but you can purchase serums with anywhere up to 25% vitamin C).

As mentioned, the base of this serum is organic aloe vera, giving it a thick, gel texture. The vitamin C is in the form of Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, one of the two forms of vitamin C that are stable in water solutions. Other ingredients include vegetable cellulose, vitamin E in the form of tocopherol, xanthum gum, green apple extract, grape extract, vitamin B5 in the form of panthanol, superoxide dismutase (a potent antioxidant), alpha lipoic acid (another antioxidant), broccoli seed oil, flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, willow bark extract, witch hazel, and glycerin.

This would not be a repurchase for me as I did not notice any great skincare benefits despite using up the entire bottle. I would love to try a more potent vitamin C serum, as it has such excellent skincare benefits. This serum would be suited for those looking to try vitamin C for the first time, and definitely for those with sensitive skin due to all of the soothing ingredients included in the formula.

Price: $49.95 (Nourished Life) [$1.67/mL]
Rate: organic ingredients, packaging, great for sensitive skin, good under makeup
Hate: efficacy
Verdict: would not repurchase, but I am not giving up on vitamin C just yet!