Cleansing & Clarifying for Sensitive/Intolerant Skin

Posted on Sunday, 26 April 2015

To achieve a flawless makeup look, you need to ensure you are working with a smooth base. I have noticed that no matter how much makeup I pack on, it never looks good when I am dealing with 'bad' skin texture. I am a huge advocate for investing in skincare; having a routine suitable to your skin type is imperative. And so, I welcome you to the first post in a three-part series covering everything skincare for sensitive or intolerant skin. First in the series we will discuss cleansers, exfoliants and clarifying masks.

As a teenager my skin did not cause too much trouble; I never struggled bad acne-prone skin. I have however, always had sensitive skin. I remember my mother saying she could never use just any detergent when washing my clothes, and how often I had itchy rashes on my skin simply from sitting on the grass. A few weeks into using my first ever MAC products, which I got for my 16th birthday, my face started breaking out in these tiny blister-like bumps. I stopped using MAC, but still struggled for almost a year with this reaction that kept coming back as soon as I used any product on my face. I could not use any sort of make up or skincare product, other than Cetaphil. Eventually I found an ointment that seemed to get rid of this reaction and slowly I could work more products back into my routine. To this day I occasionally get reactions from new products, so I have to be careful about what I put on my face (not that this stops me from testing beauty products). Over time I have accumulated products that have become staples in my skincare routine, and so I wanted to share these with any readers that also have sensitive, reactive or intolerant skin.

A product that regular readers have heard me go on and on about is the Bioderma Sensibio Micelle Solution. This is a magic cleansing product that gets rid of the toughest makeup, yet does not sting my eyes or irritate my skin. It is a clear liquid that I squeeze onto a cotton pad and wipe over my face to remove makeup. I use this product both in the morning - to get rid of any dirt that accumulated overnight - and in the evening - to remove my makeup before cleansing. In the evening, I follow the micelle solution with the Philosophy Purity Cleanser. I am quickly becoming obsessed with this brand and if it wasn't for the price I would own a lot more of the products. Purity is a cream cleanser, marketed as a 3-in-1 product as it is meant to replace your makeup remover, facial cleanser and toner. This is the first cleanser that I have used since Cetaphil, and I love that provides a REALLY good clean. Yet my skin does not react badly to.

Moving on to exfoliation; the removal of dead skin cells to help rejuvenate skin. There are many processes for exfoliating, which include scrubs, chemical exfoliants, brush cleansers (i.e. clarisonic) and microdermabrasion. I am yet to try the latter but I regularly scrub my face. The only abrasive scrub that I reach for is the St.Ives Blemish Control Green Tea Scrub. It is rather gentle for an abrasive scrub and contains salicylic acid, which works wonders to prevent, reduce and help clear blemishes. The green tea extract adds to its the blemish fighting properties and also smells really good; this is one that I reach for when I have breakouts caused by hormones or a bad diet.

A second way to exfoliate which is not abrasive, is using chemical exfoliators (it's not as scary as it sounds). Witch Hazel is a toner rather than an exfoliant but has the same purpose. It does contain alcohol and can be a little drying on the skin, but helps to dry out blemishes and tighten pores. I must admit I sometimes skip this step, but when I do use a toner I apply it on a cotton pad and swipe it over my skin after a shower. Previously I have been quite hesitant about facial peels, however I have been testing an at-home peel and have only noticed good results. John Plunkett Glyco Peel* contains 25% glycolic acid which is meant to refine pores & fine lines and also reduce surface discolouration. It is meant to be used as an overnight treatment but because of my sensitive skin I do remove it after a few minutes. I do find my skin to look a little red and sensitive after using the peel, but in no way aggravated. Although I have not seen a miraculous change in my skin after using these peels, my skin does look more radiant, refreshed and smoother.

Facial masks have many different purposes to suit your skins need. Next week I will share a few of my favourite calming and hydrating masks, but for now lets focus on the cleansing masks. My favourite is  with no doubt, the Lush Mask of Magnaminty. I was actually advised against buying this product by the Lush team member, as it is meant for blemish-prone skin. I bought it anyway as I had read reviews and was curious about the product, turns out I love it. This peppermint mask works wonders on troubled skin and smells delicious too! It can also be used on the body for anyone that suffers with blemishes on their back. The Yes To Tomatoes Clear Skin Facial Cleansing Mask was one of the first masks I owned (not this particular tub though). It is a smooth consistency and contains lycopene (from tomatoes) and dead sea mud which helps to draw out impurities. This is a thick white paste that I'd usually apply before a bath so it has time to dry on the face. I find it helps to reduce blemishes and smooths out my skin when I'm having issues with my skin texture. A mask very similar in consistency is the Palmer's Purifying Enzyme Mask. This contains natural kaolin clay and papaya which is also used to draw out impurities. I might do an in-depth comparison of these products in a separate post because right now they seem pretty much the same to me. Both work well deeply purify and cleanse the skin.

Lastly I wanted to mention the Lush Mint Julips Lip Scrub. This sugar scrub exfoliates the lips & removes all the dead skin cells and is a staple product in winter as my lips get very dry and chapped. P.S it tastes/smells delicious and because Lush is all natural it's ok to get it in your mouth!

Let me know if you have any skincare suggestions for sensitive/intolerant skin or if you have any questions. Make sure to check back next Sunday for products that help to calm, moisturise and rehydrate the skin!

*Products that I have received as a PR sample. All opinions remain unaltered and I am not obliged to review these products.

Autumn Appropriate Red Nail Colours

Posted on Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Nail polish in a dark oxblood-red is a favourite I reach for all year round, but it's most suitable for the Autumn season. I think coloured nails are a great way to test beauty trends, without going all out. I wanted to share my favourite red nail polishes that are on the darker side, which you might want to try out this season.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in 480 Wine Stock - My favourite formula and colour! It's a dark oxblood with just the right amount of red. The Miracle Gel formula's are the best quality nail polishes I have tried and last without chipping for at least five days.
OPI Nail Lacquer in Malaga Wine - I reach for this shade when I want something with more of a red tone to Wine Stock.
Revlon Brilliant Strength in 210 Persuade - My least favourite formula out of the bunch. It is a nice colour, berry-toned and not too dark, but streaks a lot and requires at least three coats. 
Essie Nail Color in 665 Rock Star Skinny - Although the tone is similar to Wine Stock & Hypnotic Red, it is unique as the only colour that has a 'shimmery' finish. This ensures the colour doesn't look 'flat'.
Rimmel Salon Pro Nail Color with LYCRA in Kate 706 Classic Red - As the name suggests, this shade is the closest to a true red but I still feel it has a berry undertone. 
L'oreal Color Riche in 409 Hypnotic Red - This shade is almost identical to Wine Stock  Although at a fraction of the cost, this is a good one if you're new to dark reds. I'm a big fan of the Color Riche polishes and use this formula when my nails need a break from gel polish.
L'oreal Color Riche Eva's Nude - Clearly not a nude. I'm not sure why this colour was included in the 'nude' range, but it is beautiful none the less. It definitely has the least red and has almost a brown undertone.

Unfortunately the weather decided to turn gloomy as I was taking these photos so please excuse the quality. Also, shout-out to The Collective for having the perfect cover colour combo to suit this post! Look out for an Autumn Appropriate Make Up post coming soon!

LUSH Big Sea Salt Shampoo

Posted on Monday, 20 April 2015

Welcome to the Sunday-post! Yes, I know it is Monday and this post is a day late but University- and retail work had gotten the better of me last week.

On a daily-basis whenever I'm fussed to wash my hair requires a nourishing shampoo. Although now and then, because of all the products (i.e. dry shampoo) I use, my hair requires a really good clean. Insert the Lush BIG Shampoo; a super clarifying shampoo that gets all the gunk out of your hair. I'm onto my second pot of this shampoo, which says a lot considering it retails at AU$26.95 a pot. 

According to Lush, the BIG Liquid Shampoo provides volume, shine & softness that puts 'bounce' back into your hair. I use it fortnightly as a clarifying shampoo, or whenever I feel my hair needs it. The shampoo contains 50% sea salt, which leaves your hair super clean but can be dehydrating if it is used too often. The consistency is liquid with chunky bits of sea salt, which is messy to work with. I find this works best if I tip my head over and wash my hair over the bath, rather than in the shower. I'll usually follow this product with a hydrating mask on the ends of my hair. It works really well as a clarifying shampoo and I love how squeaky clean it leaves my hair.

Have you ever used a clarifying shampoo, I'd love some recommendations on other products?

Shop My Stash #1

Posted on Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Not labelling it an official spending ban - because calling it that would just make the rebel inside of me want to shop even more - but I am trying to cut back on my spending. I have a large amount of beauty products stashed away, which I don't often reach for. In an effort to save some moola and use more  of the products that I own, I am going to be doing regular 'shop my stash' updates. For the next few weeks, I will be displaying a few products that I am making a conscious effort to rediscover. Welcome to the first 'Shop My Stash'. 
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer - I cannot believe I ever stopped using this product, it smells of divine chocolate goodness and applies smoothly. I've been using this both for bronzing and contouring. I must say it is probably the best bronzing product I own as it doesn't look 'splotchy'. 

Revlon Colorstay Shadow Links in Copper - this colour looks beautiful on its own swiped over the lid. It lasts well and is decently pigmented.

Issada Mineral Liquid Powder Foundation in Cream Beige - I'm a fussy one when it comes to base products. I purchased this foundation along with a few other Issada products a year or so ago. The mineral powder foundation quickly became a staple in my beauty routine, however I did not very often use reach for this liquid foundation. It does provide good coverage without being too thick on the skin,  which results in a really natural finish. I do like this product but I still prefer the finish of the powder foundation. 

Chi Chi Viva La Diva Lipstick in Bombshell - I have so many lipsticks I could probably go half a year using a different one each day. I've really enjoyed reaching for this shade as we're heading into the cooler months. The formula is creamy, which is also a bonus for the dryer weather. I love the look of this lipstick paired with the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough As Taupe. 

I will continue raiding my stash to find some once-much-loved products that I can share with you guys. For now I am off to work on my University assessment!

NYX Cream Eye Liner Review

Posted on Sunday, 12 April 2015

I am a basic-bish, a neutral lover; when I do embrace colour it is usually in the form of nails, lips or eyeliner. I have a rather large range of crayon eyeliners and these NYX Retractable Eye Liners are my pick of the bunch. They are twist-up, with a cream formula and super pigmented. Comparable to the, much pricier, Clinique and Urban Decay eyeliners. 

The formula is waterproof and really does last all day on the eyes. I have the colours Golden Olives, Gold and Silky Cashmere. These three colours are the perfect trio for me and suit most of my eye-looks. The twist-up function is a total plus because you don't have to struggle with sharpening these and it allows a really silky formula that glides on smoothly. For a minimal make up look, I swipe these on close to my lash line and smudge them out a bit, then apply mascara & DONE! I also use these liners along with eyeshadow and find they make my eyes pop. The NYX Retractable Eye Liners are available in Australia from Target and retail for AU$9.95 (but you can often find them on sale!). 

Considering that you can pick up three of these NYX liners for the price of one Urban Decay eyeliner, they are a staple in any beauty-drobe. Let me know if you've tried these eyeliners, or what your favourite eyeliner is?

Tips For Living A Happier Life

Posted on Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Most of us go through phases in life of being in a slump; it could be something big (like a job loss or break-up) causing you to feel like this, or it could be something small you cannot pin-point. I wanted to share a few things which have helped me when I have felt a bit… meh.

Time is whizzing by! Lately I've felt like there just is not enough hours in a day and days in a week to get everything done. I have so many books and magazines I want to read, new places I want to visit and things I want to get done. A large factor in this lack of time, comes from my addiction to social media. I admit, I am a total #instaaddict. I easily spend waste hours on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter a day. Not to mention the time I spend on emails and online shopping. One thing I am trying to work on is to switch off all technology an hour before I go to sleep (haven't yet achieved this), and spend this time doing something I don't otherwise have time for, like finally reading that GIRLBOSS book.

Leading on from #1, is getting enough sleep. I often go to bed after midnight because I spend so much time on my computer. I am one of those people, however, that cannot function on less than eight hours sleep, so I end up wanting to sleep in or sleep through my alarm. Something that always makes me sleep better is exercise...

I have a serious love/hate relationship with exercise... I'm either really into it and go to the gym nearly every day, or I'll go weeks without wanting going to the gym (currently I'm stuck in the latter). One thing I can say for sure is that I feel SO MUCH BETTER (physically and mentally) when I exercise on a regular basis. I'm no professional but I do know that exercise (or getting your heart rate up) releases endorphins, which in turn makes you feel happier. I suffer from irritable bowl syndrome (TMI?), and I can also feel the positive effect that regular exercise has on my metabolism. I hate to say it, because I love nothing more than a sleep in and I am no morning person, but an early workout is really the best way to start your day!

You know that friend, the one that constantly puts you and your accomplishments down, I'm 99% sure you thought of a specific person. If you did, then you really need to end that friendship right now. Getting older, I have learnt that you really do not owe anyone, except yourself, anything. If someone is having a negative effect on your life, then no matter how hard it can be to 'break ties', you will be better off without them. 

When was the last time you did something completely 'selfish', without feeling guilty. We all need have some sort of hobby (even if it is shopping), during which we can enjoy some down time. You could do something creative like an art class, or indulge yourself with a spa treatment. 
If you cannot afford to do anything that indulgent, even just taking time to make yourself a cup of tea and having a LUSH bath with a magazine can help.

I hope there was something here you could take away from this post. Please share your own tips for leading a more positive life below!

The Affordable Concealer Round-Up

Posted on Thursday, 2 April 2015

1. Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Sand / 2. Maybelline Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser / 3. L.A Girl Pro Conceal in Natural / 4. NYX Concealer in Porcelain
Happy Easter every-bunny, I hope you have all enjoyed some relaxation time this long-weekend. The internet, however, does not sleep - so the blog posts have to keep coming. I have a confession, I have NEVER purchased a high end concealer. I've been tempted by many - Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier and NARS are some I really want to try - but I can never justify the price when there are many 'drugstore' concealers that work well. 

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer is the only concealer I have used for spot concealing; it is a really great match for my skintone, which means it doesn't make my spots any more noticeable. It comes with a doe-foot applicator which easily applies the creamy concealer to either a brush or straight to the skin. It provides good coverage but can become 'cakey' if it is built up too much. 

The first ever concealer that I used and still use to this day, is the Maybelline Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser. A concealer popular among beauty lovers for it's build-able, yet natural coverage. The concealer comes in twist-up tube packaging, with a dome-shaped sponge (on the top) for easy application. There have been comments that the packaging is unhygienic, because bacteria from your skin can grow on the sponge. However, I've used this concealer for years and I've never had a problem with any of the tubes that I've had. I apply it straight from the sponge to my under-eye area (in a triangle shape) and buff it in with a brush. It comes in both brightening (with pink undertones) and concealing colours. I've used both and while I disliked the brightening shade, the concealing shade (in Light) is a staple of mine. A product that is too illuminating under the eyes often accentuate my dark circles. 

During the last few months I have been reaching more often for the L.A Girl Pro Concealer in Natural. This product is not available in Australian stores but you can usually find it on the internet for under $5.00. It comes in a squeeze tube packaging with a brush applicator, which you can use to apply the concealer straight to your under-eyes. The texture is a bit thicker than the Maybelline concealer and sets fast. This means that once it is buffed in it lasts longer on the skin. The reason I most often reach for this foundation is because of its orange undertone. This sounds like an odd concept but the orange really helps to cancel out any blue in your under-eye 'bags'. The final concealer is a more recent purchase but I wanted to mention it because it is easy accessible to most Aussies (at Target) and at a great price (under $10). The NYX Full Coverage Concealer is packaged in a tub, it is a super creamy concealer that provides a powder finish. Because it is so creamy it hasn't proved to last as long as the L.A Girl Pro Concealer, but still provides build-able coverage.

Although I am fond of all these concealers, I still have one common problem - throughout the day it settles into my fine lines under my eye. If you have had a similar issue with concealers and have found something that doesn't settle, please link me or let me know!


Posted on Wednesday, 1 April 2015

I don't talk about my favourites on a monthly basis, only because I don't really have new things to show every month. Despite this, the month of March has been a great month filled with new things that I wanted to share with you.

First things first - this month I have been getting back into blogging on a regular basis, I'm trying to stick to a schedule of posting twice a week (Sunday and Wednesday). Over the Christmas holiday I was quite unmotivated, but right now I am in a really good place with the blog and I can't wait for the opportunities to come this year. Stemming on from this is another favourite of mine, Obsession 2015, a beauty blogger event I attended in Brisbane. The event itself was great but meeting so many other beauty bloggers based in Queensland was even better (and the goodie-bags were amazing - check it out on Instagram). I also wanted to mention the fabulous Samantha from Milly + Co who designed Oniochalasia's business cards; she perfectly understood the minimalistic-chic look I was after.

On the make up menu for March, it was all about indulging in high-end make up. I purchased (and loved) my first ever Hourglass products. The Hourglass Modernist palette in infinity is a neutral palette with mauve undertone - the texture of this eyeshadow is so smooth and easy to blend. I enjoy using this palette so much that I went and purchased a second one today. Working hand-in-hand with this eyeshadow, is the Zoeva 226 Smudger brush, because it allows you to place the perfect amount of shadow on the lid. The Mecca Maxima girl I spoke to informed me that the trick to working with Hourglass products, is to take the 'less is more' approach. Hourglass products are highly pigmented so you really only need to use a tiny bit.  I've also been loving the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim light. I have been using this product as a setting powder along with the NARS Luminous Glow Foundation and it has provided such a flaweless finish.

To set all these products in place, I have been using the Urban Decay Chill Makeup Setting Spray, which I purchased off Beautybay before I realised UD was coming to Mecca Maxima. I wasn't the biggest fan at first, because it made my foundation feel 'thick', but I have noticed that it really helps my makeup last longer throughout the heat. I've recently raved about the Benefit Roller Lash so I won't say too much, you can read my full review here. In a nutshell I think this would be the perfect mascara if only it was available in a waterproof formula. 

Making an appearance in my daily skincare routine is the Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm, which smells good enough to eat (like honey and citrus). It provides the perfect base for lip products as it is hydrating, with a matte finish. But more on that to come later this month! 
Easter is not even here yet, and already I have consumed far too many of these Malteaster bunnies. If you haven't tried these, stay away because they are far too addictive - your diet will thank you!

Now that you know what my favourites are, I would love to know yours! Leave me a comment below or a link to your monthly favourites.

*some products in this post was gifted as PR samples - all comments made are 100% my honest opinion and have been reviewed out of my own decision