Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Elemental Herbology Purify & Soothe Facial Cleansing Balm

I think I might have found the perfect cleanser for my skin,Elemental Herbology Purify & Soothe Facial Cleansing Balm unfortunately though it’s not cheap.  Elemental Herbology Purify & Soothe Facial Cleansing Balm is a rich oil-like balm, not a cream. It contains :

Lipactive Inca Inchi® WO, containing the richest natural source of Omega 3 and 6 in any plant oil improves hydration, leaving skin feeling softer and more supple.
Fresh Cells™ Strawberry rich in minerals helps to gently detoxify and purify the skin.

Biovera Oil and Marshmallow Extract are ideal for sensitive skin and help to soothe and soften.
Cocoa Butter moisturises and nourishes.
Bitter Orange Peel helps to gently stimulate cell turnover to brighten the complexion.

Bio-Oils Argan and Sesame Oils nourish the skin with Essential Fatty Acids and improve its barrier function, helping to protect against wind, cold and dry air.
Chamomile Essential Oil helps to soothe sensitive skin.

It’s so rich I didn’t think that it’d suit my oily/combination skin but it’s beautiful. I had a 25ml size tube which I got in this kit and that’s lasted just under a month with evening use, regular size is 75ml. In this time I haven’t had one single new spot. Which is amazing, because I’ve been having terrible flare-ups recently. I really recommend the whole kit actually, especially if your skin is dehydrated. My skin hasn’t looked this nice for quite a while. 

Elemental Herbology Purify & Soothe Facial Cleansing Balm unsurprisingly smells very herbally which is really nice for an evening cleanse. I use about double the amount in the above photo to deep cleanse my whole face. It removes everything, even waterproof mascara (without stinging I should add). The balm is massaged onto the skin and glides easily. A wet face cloth removes the balm leaving no residue, just smooth and nourished skin. What I really like about this is that it does a brilliant job at removing everything without being harsh to my skin. There’s no redness or tightness after use, just really soft cleansed skin.

It’s recommended for dry, mature and sensitive skin but I personally think it’d suit most skin types. It really is a wonderful cleanser and despite the price I will be buying it again.

For more info visit Elemental Herbology and to buy visit Look Fantastic 

Have you tried it?

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Monday, 29 April 2013

Foundations for Sensitive and Combination/Oily Skin

I would love to have tested all the foundations for this post but that’s not going to happen. I’ve narrowed it down to one’s that don’t irritate or cause any breakouts. There’s a couple that can make my skin feel oily if my skin’s unbalanced. So, if you’re really oily I’d be weary of them. I’ll give a full description below. Overall though, I’ve found them all to be brilliant for my sensitive skin. By sensitive I mean: has red patches, breaks out easily, large pores (on my nose) and easily irritated. Otherwise my skin is oily around the t-zone and normal/sensitive elsewhere, mainly. Unless I’m hormonal, *sigh*.

Okay, so here they are. I’ll start with the ones that really suit my oily/combination skin and still currently one of my favourite foundations: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF 10, it’s such a good base for oily skins. This is a medium-full coverage foundation which can look heavy if not applied right. For a lighter and more natural application I really like the Beauty Blender. Initially I wasn’t buying into the whole hype with the Beauty Blender, I mean, how different can it be to a normal sponge? Well, it’s a lot different. It gives such a flawless finish, perfect for heavier foundations  I haven’t tried it though but I reckon it might be perfect for the warmer months. Double Wear is oil-free, dermatologist-tested, non-acnegenic and fragrance free. Due to its longevity I recommend giving a thorough cleanse. This doesn’t break me out, cause irritation or anything else nasty. It’s extremely long-wearing and doesn’t oxygenate on my skin. I really rate this foundation.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 is another foundation I’ve found that works brilliantly with combination/oily. This might be a bit controversial as many people find that MAC breaks them out, but I haven’t found this to be the case. It is a long-wearing foundation so again a good cleanse is needed, maybe this is where the breakout happens? I dunno. Anyway, this isn’t as thick as Double Wear but it’s still a good medium to full coverage. Although, personally I don’t think it’s as full as Double Wear. MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 doesn’t cause any extra oiliness around my t-zone and I find this comfortable to wear. I know that lots of folk have an issue with the colour so due to that and the possible irritation I really recommend getting a decent size sample of this. But personally I don’t have any issues with this, so it’s a yes from me. (This is oil-free)

I’m starting to move into an area that might not suit the really oily among us but I’ve found these foundations to be brilliant for sensitivity. Firstly Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation. This can cause a bit of oiliness around my t-zone but it’s such a lovely finish and has good wear-time that I’m going to include it. Oily-skins beware though, I’m not sure how it’d fair on your skin. I find it brilliant for sensitive skin though. If I’m having a bit of a flare-up and don’t want to go bare-skinned I always choose this or Nars. Silk Creme doesn’t block my pores or cause irritation but it does a brilliant job at covering redness and evening skin tone. It’s non-comedogen, oil and fragrance-free.

Nars Sheer Glow Foundation, like Laura Mercier, doesn’t cause my skin irritation and doesn’t break me out. There’s also a Sheer Matte version for really oily-skin. I went for Sheer Glow because I just didn’t want a too matte finish. Surprisingly this doesn’t really bother my t-zone. I do need to powder every now and then. But it stays in place and feels comfortable. So, if you’re not too oily Sheer Glow might be perfect otherwise Sheer Matte is worth a try. Both are fragrance-free and non-comedogenic.

Oily-skins should tread carefully hereafter. I’m including these last two because I’ve not found them to cause irritation or spots on my skin. However, these don’t last too well on my skin and need a good bit of setting and prep if you want longevity. YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation gives the most beautiful natural finish. It’s light-reflective and all glowy. I don’t think oily-skins will be able to handle this though, unless a really good mattifying primer is used. This does contain fragrance so sensitive skins should also be wary. I haven’t had any problems with this though, again I really recommend a sample of this.

Finally, Liz Earle Signature Foundation. Described as being suitable for all skin types. In my humble opinion it’s not suited for oily skins. Even on mine, which can play nice sometimes, it doesn’t last. This probably due to the oils it contains. It has vitamin e, soya bean oil and synthetic beeswax which makes for a very slippy base. The reason I’m including it is because I’ve found it to be quite good for sensitivity. I’d step wisely with this though. Liz Earle are pretty good at samples so definitely do get one before purchase.

Phew, I really appreciate it if you’ve made it this far! I wanted to give a good overview of what I’ve found works best for my sensitive and oily/combination skin. I hope this is helpful to you in some way.

Thanks to @amanda_J_hewson for the inspiration for this post!

Have you got any recommendations for me?


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation

Firstly, I don’t think the shade I have is actually s100, I’m sure it’s s110 and unfortunately it’s too dark for my skin. So I’ll put that issue aside of focus on it’s other qualities. Vapour Organic Beauty is a relatively new brand to me. Like most things beauty related I first read about it on Drivel About Frivol’s blog. Vapour Organic beauty is 100% natural ingredients, cruelty-free, gluten-free, as well as a having a whole host of Green credentials. Their Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation is a high-end, high-performing product. It claims to produce a natural, radiant and even complexion, while balancing out all skin types- even combination/oily. I have to say foundations that claim to work on all skin types rarely do, well the ones I’ve tried anyway. I have sensitive combination/oily skin and unfortunately this doesn’t last on my skin. Which really is a shame because I quite like it otherwise.

Vapour Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation needs a really good shake to make sure everything has blended properly. Once blended the texture reminds me of Georgia Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup, but thicker. It has that unusual oily-powdery texture. I didn’t think my skin would be able to handle the texture initially,but once it dries on the skin I couldn’t feel it. It sets on my skin to a glowing, velvet finish. I really do love the finish of it. 

Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation blends seamlessly and flawlessly, as you can see from the photo above. It doesn’t settle into pores or cling to dry patches. Due to the texture though it can crease around the eyes, it’s easy sorted with a wee bit of patting. This foundation does need setting though and wear-time might be improved with primer, but I haven’t tried it with any. I rarely wear primer. 

There's a definite smell to this foundation.That herbal smell that many natural skin care products have. This smell is partly due frankincense and other essential oils in its ingredients. 


Organic/Bio Camellia Oleifera (Camellia) Seed Oil, Organic/Bio Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Organic/Bio Lecithin, Organic/Bio Cera Alba (Beeswax), Silica, Essential Oils and Natural Fruit Essences, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Boswellia Serrata (Frankincense)*, Organic/Bio Ocimum Sanctum (Tulsi/Holy Basil), Organic/Bio Nelumbo Nucifera (Lotus Flowers) [+/—: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499), Mica (CI 77019)]

Once on the skin the smell disappears. As does the foundation after a couple of hours *sad face*. I really am a bit gutted about the longevity of this. It’s such a beautiful finish. It evens out skin tone, provides good medium coverage, and leaves the skin looking healthy. Also, I haven’t experienced any break-outs with this or any other irritation. I think this would probably work best on normal to dry skin. If my skin balances out (and I had the money) I think I would buy a full size of this purely for the finish. I can’t think of any other foundation that looks like this does on my skin. I really would recommend trying a sample of this before buying a full one.

Have you tried this brand? What do you think of it?

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Monday, 22 April 2013

Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color in Pink Blossom 4

Bobbi Brown has released another new lip colour which is perfect for the Spring/Summer (whut?). Sheer Lip Color (/colour) is described as:

"The sheer lip look of the season-introducing a lightweight formula for lips that delivers an effortless wash of colour plus nourishing shine. The best part? Luxurious butters and oils improve the overall condition of lips, instantly and over time. Glides on smoothly and evenly for hours of feather-free wear. In a range of creamy, glossy shades (the hardest part is having to choose)."(source)

This is a fully pigmented sheer, I'd actually describe it as semi-opaque. The above swatch is only swiped once on my skin so you can see it's not really that sheer. It's super nourishing and soft on the lips which makes it really easy to apply. Despite it's moisturising qualities it's also pretty long-wearing on the lips It doesn’t smudge and there’s also little transfer. I’m really impressed with the formula, it’s light, comfortable and moisturising. 

The colour I have is Pink Blossom which I think is a bit of a misnomer as it’s a coral red. It’s kind of similar to Revlon’s Fire and Ice but not quite as opaque, but definitely within that colour range. I really like this addition to Bobbi Brown’s lip colour collection, I will probably buy another colour too.

Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color more info and to buy: Bobbi Brown 

Have you tried it yet? 

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Sunday, 21 April 2013

Libertine Magazine

We all like to look at pretty things right? But it's also good to read interesting, intelligent articles and learn about new things and people. So steps in Libertine, a new magazine "for interested women". The editor, Debbie, rightly points out in 'A Word from the Editor' that there is a much needed shift of perception that science, technology and business, for example, are the domain of the masculine. Judith Butler might have something to say about the use of masculine, but whatever. The point is that women's interests aren't only shoes, nail polishes and hand bags they are much wider and varied (as are men's)

You can see from the photos above the scope of content in the first issue of Libertine. There's articles on the philosophy of space travel, Mills & Boon, Esperanto and Gillian Anderson and much more. I think Libertine is a much welcome and needed addition into the realm of 'women's magazines' and hopefully there will be a proliferation (yeah ok, I'm being optimistic of the current climate in publishing) of magazines with this kind of intelligent content.  


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Illamasqua Liquid Metal in Electrum

Illamasqua Liquid Metal in Electrum is also something I've had on "loan" (I'm keeping it) from my mum, I also have these
This is the first time I’ve tried Illamasqua’s Liquid Metals and I’m seriously impressed. It’s such a beautiful colour. It’s described as antique gold which I think perfectly describes it. I’ve been wearing it all over my lower eyelids and it’s just lovely. I feel like I’m ready to hit Studio 54 and dance to this:

Electrum can be worn as a light wash over the eye or more built up. It’s also a really nice highlighter and would look stunning on darker skin tones. In fact you can use it pretty much where ever you like, apart from your lips that is. The texture is smooth and creamy making it easy to blend. It can crease a bit on the lid, primer may help stop this but I haven’t tried it. It’s also reasonably long-wearing on my oily lids. My only gripe about it is the packaging. The lid can be a bit of a pain to get off but other than that I think this is a wonderful product and I’ll definitely be getting more colours.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Pai Organic Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Exfoliator

I’m going to try and be balanced in this review of Pai Organic Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator but damn do I love this! Having sensitive skin means that often exfoliators are too damaging and cause further irritation. Pai states that this exfoliator is ideal for sensitive and problem skin, and that includes eczema sufferers, redness and acne, of which these latter two I do suffer from.  I’m also prone to congestion so a good exfoliation is ideal for getting things going and making skin healthy looking. 

Pai Organic Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator (phew, bit of a mouthful) contain perfectly cylindrical spheres, this causes less irritation than other exfoliators. These spheres are suspended in a thick gel that contains omegas 3 & 6, vitamins A, D and E as well as other “exotic oils”. It smells gorgeous, a gentle citrus smell. It also feels lovely on the skin, you can really feel it giving the skin a good cleanse while being gentle. There’s plenty of exfoliator beads in the recommended two pumps, which is the perfect amount for a really good scrub of the whole face. There’s no stinging or roughness, it’s thorough while still being kind to sensitive skin. When you rinse with water the gel turns into a lush milk that leaves your skin super-soft, glowing and refined. My skin looks refreshed and well better. There’s also no tightness after using this as it doesn’t contain detergent or alcohol. 

I think this is a brilliant exfoliator for sensitive and acne prone skin. It cleanses deeply and thoroughly without dryness or irritation. After use skin is soft, bright and smooth. Extra points for being cruelty-free, vegan friendly and certified organic by the Soil Association.

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Thursday, 11 April 2013

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light (Oil-Free)

smashbox photo finish foundation primer light oil free silicone free primer

Smashbox say of their primer:

"Our new oil-free, 60% water based primer is ideal for oily, acne-prone or sensitive skin. This silky blend of vitamins and antioxidants helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores for visibly softer skin and can be worn alone or under foundation to increase its longevity. The revolutionary formula has oil absorbers for a smooth matte finish all day, light diffusers to minimize the appearance of imperfections, and vitamin C and peptides to help even skin tone and promote collagen production for a flawless future."

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light Oil-Free sounds perfect for my sensitive and sometimes oily/acne prone skin. Those of us with oily skin knows how difficult it can be to keep foundation on for most of the day so I thought I'd give Smashbox a go. I find it really hard to get a primer that works for me, I don't like the feel of silicone based primers on my skin and it usually causes me to break out. Also, instead of primers smoothing away the appearance of pores I find that they often highlight them. I thought that maybe a primer that is 60% water based might work. Plus I've read good things about this primer, I figured I was onto a winner but I just don't get it.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light Oil-Free is very much like a light moisturiser in texture and appearance. It comes out of the tube white and when rubbed into the skin the colour dissipates to mattify the skin. I think it does give a nice finish to the skin, a smooth velvet finish with light-reflective properties. However, I don't think it does a great job at reducing the appearance of pores, especially an large ones. As with other primers I've tried Smashbox highlights them, and that's not a good look.

I also don't think it makes my foundation last any longer than when I'm not wearing it. In fact, I feel I get a bit more oily around my nose. I really think the best way to treat oily skin is to reduce the amount of product than increase it, I guess this is why I'm just not a fan of primers. Having said that though, I do want to try Laura Mercier's one ;)

There are things I like about this primer such as it making my skin softer. But well, I can get that from moisturisers and as I said above it does give a nice velvet-skin finish. I'm just not convinced about it's other claims.

I bought the travel size Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light from Boots for £12.50

Have you tried any of Smashbox primers?

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Monday, 8 April 2013

Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil

Clarins Treatment Oils have a bit of a cult status in the beauty world and were recently in the Guardian's Top 50 Beauty Buys. High praise indeed. So, what are the products claims? There are three options to choose from: Blue Orchid for dehydrated skin, Santal for dry/very dry skin and Lotus Oil for combination/oily skin. The oils contain 100% Pure Plant Extracts with no preservatives and a different combination of extracts such as sandalwood and lavender to treat and balance specific skin complaints.

Clarins Lotus Oil contains rosewood, geranium and lotus which is supposed to purify, tighten pores and produce a refined skin texture. Also in the blend is hazelnut oil to soften and sooth the skin with the aim to prevent fine lines. I've been using this on and off for almost a year now. I always get sidelined with other treatments, especially Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. But I do come back to it when I feel my skin's needing a little TLC. 

Clarins Lotus Oil smells lovely, a very relaxing aroma that's perfect for night time application. This feels heavier than Kiehl's Midnight Recovery and takes a bit longer to sink into my skin too. I always start with just one drop on clean, dry skin to see whether my skin will drink it up or not. Sometimes one drop is all is needed. Even though it's an oil it doesn't (or shouldn't) leave your skin feeling greasy. Mine is left feeling replenished and soft. What I really like about this is that it doesn't irritate or clog up my pores. So hopefully it shouldn't clog up yours either.  If I'm using it for a wee while I definitely notice a difference in the texture of my skin, it looks more refined and my pores aren't as large/noticeable. Also, I've found that my t-zone isn't as oily throughout the day when I've been using this. Once stopped the appearance doesn't remain. 

If you're having trouble finding something that's moisturising without irritating your skin and fancy trying an oil I'd say this is worth a go. Clarins counters usually have the treatment oils out so you can feel the texture and maybe get a cheeky sample before spending £30 on something you might not like. It will last you for ages though, so if it does suit your skin it's worth the investment. 

Have you tried any of these treatment oils from Clarins? Did you like them?


Saturday, 6 April 2013

Recent Skincare Purchases

Hello, after discovery a link between mineral oil and my breakouts I've decided to try products that don't contain this irritant. Elemental Herbology gets a lot of love from different bloggers but it is expensive so I thought I'd try out the Moisture Replenish Starter Kit (currently on offer from ASOS). In the kit you get:

- Cell Plumping Facial Hydrator SPF8

- Facial Glow Radiance Peel

- Purify & Soothe Facial Cleansing Balm

- Facial Souffle Overnight Repair Cream

- Muslin Cloth

All of which are pretty generous sizes. I think this will last me around a month with regular use so you'll get a good feel if the products will suit your skin or not. I have to say I'm seriously impressed so far. My skin is noticeably smoother and refined already. None of the products have irritated me or broken me out either. I think this is definitely worth a try for all skin types but particularly sensitive/dry. Wonderful.

Pai skincare also has a cult fan base. There's nothing irritating in the products and they're perfect for those of us with very sensitive skin. Pai do a trial kit  which gives you a nice idea of the quality of the products. This is how I first came to try Pai Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator. This is an incredibly gentle exfoliator that leaves the skin brighter and smoother. It's a gel with micro-beads that turns milky when water is added. It really is very lovely.

I bought Pai Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator from Naturisimo so I could try out some samples from Vapour Organic Beauty. I ordered the Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation in s100 and s110, and Illusionist Concealer in 010. I'm pretty sure though that the foundation samples are both the same colour, what do you think? Anyway, both products smell of herbs, the concealer less so. I'd need to give it a proper go to see if  the smell fades on application.

Do you have any recommendations for mineral oil free skincare for sensitive skin?

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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

ELF HD Blush in Superstar

Yes, another blusher post. I'm going through a phase. ELF's HD Blush is only £3.75 though in my defence. It's rather lovely, Cherubian ruddy colour, a beautiful corally-pink. A very pretty colour that would suit most skin tones I think. 

I think ELF's HD blush is really similar to Daniel Sandler's Watercolour Blushes, they've also been compared with Make Up Forever's HD Blusher; but I haven't tried these so can't really comment, the packaging is remarkably similar though. Like Daniel Sandler's blushes you only need the teeny tiniest amount. I HIGHLY recommend starting with a pinhead sized amount and building it up, unless you're going for an Aunt Sally look.

This blush is really pigmented and I find it easy to blend. It needs a good shake before dispensing with the pump otherwise the creamy liquid splits and comes out a bit watery and a bit creamy. I use my fingers then tidy it up with a brush if needed, similar to the video above. It gives a nice, healthy glow to the skin and lasts well. I don't really have any complaints with this blusher. I think ELF can be very hit and miss but their HD Blush is great for the price and has a lovely colour selection. Worth a go if you're looking for a nice cheap way to perk up your face.

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