February 02, 2014

Tried and True - Summer Besties edition

A warmer climate is definitely our kind of thing. I wouldn't know how I would cope living in a colder climate like the UK for the long term (although we did consider relocating to London before moving to Sydney!). I had my fair share during a brief secondment to Dublin back in 08 and while that was a fun winter adventure, its definitely not ideal having to think about layering so much!

While summer is the best time for picnics and beach fun, more fitness sessions outdoors and just generally more outdoor palava, it can wreak havoc on your skin and hair if you don't take some preventative care or at least some good after care!
As you all know, I only label something tried and true if I have go back to repurchase because the product delivers like it said it will, OR that it delivered even on first impression.
Here are my current faves for nurturing glossy locks, and ensuring my skin gets the moisture and care it needs during the hot weather. I've also got some makeup faves thrown in for good measure.

Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Spray: Smells refreshing like fizzy sherbet and sprays out so light that you pretty much feel nothing on your skin! It's hard to believe this stuff provides a SPF50 shield from the sun! The only downside is that you may need a bit of assistance to get full spray coverage on your back.

Dermalogica Skin Prep Scrub: Back when I was on the road to acne skin clearing with my new facial lady here in Sydney, she used this scrub (and still does) on my skin as a pre-wash before the mask and steamer hits my face. My skin is so much better than the wreck it was back when hormonal acne reared its ugly head in 2010 and now this scrub is the ONLY at home facial scrub that I use. I find it's such an effective scrub that is gritty enough to slough off dry flakey or assist with de-congesting skin at home, while remaining gentle on my sensitive skin. I sometimes use this with a gentle facial cloth to get a deeper clean. After applying it to my face and scrubbing in gentle circular motions with my fingers, I also sometimes let the scrub sit on my face for a few minutes and let the shower steam around my face before rinsing it off. Weird I know, but I like to imagine a beauty salon experience at home. You of course can apply this scrub whatever way you like and not get all nut jobby like me :)

Nivea In Shower Rich Body Lotion: This lotion is perfect for lazy girls like me. I absolutely loathe having to slather moisturiser after a shower then waiting around for it to absorb being getting my clothes on. Even worse when you're prancing around the apartment, feeling hot and then feeling tacky from moisturiser . With this moisturiser, there is none of this nonsense, you simply have your normal cleansing time in the shower, plonk this on afterwards whilst in the shower. Step out of the shower, towel dry and you're done. Silky pins , moisturised bod. This almond oil formula helped me immensely when I had one patch of my back sun burnt from absent minded sunscreen reapplication. It soothed my skin so much, and was a total lifesaver. The large bottle lasts a good amount of time, and I'm only onto my second bottle after a few months.

Pureology Hydrate Light Conditioner: My hair dresser introduced me to this brand as I'm prone to getting an oily scalp with dry ends, this is the best consistency between being light yet really moisturizing. I get gloss/semi-permanent colour every 6-8 weeks (to cover the annoying whites/greys) and I'd say its ideal for anyone that colours their hair, I don't notice any colour fade. It also smells minty and feels invigorating. Its a concentrated formula, meaning one bottle lasts you a LONG time. I wash my hair every morning and this is my second bottle, after the first one lasted me almost 3 months. If you're into being pure vegan, right down to your beauty products, this is 100% Vegan! Getting onto the shampoo in this range is my next task :)

Redken All Soft Hair Mask: This is perfect to rejuvenate salted locks from beach swimming, or hair that has turned a bit crunchy from having too much product. Again, this is easily applied in shower, I use it in replace of the conditioner step whenever my hair needs a good recondition, but mainly use as a treatment for the ends of my hair. I see that this is available in a tube instead of a tub now, which although may contain less content (I'm not 100% on this), which makes a tonne of difference! As having this tub with a twist top lid got a lil bit annoying after grabbing the cream out of the tub in one hand and not having a hand to then put the lid back on the tub.
The next one I wanna try is the Redken Diamond Oil, just to compare, since I love the normal Redken Diamond Oil Conditioner in that line, I'm sure I'll do a review in the future!

St. Tropez Gradual Tan for Medium/Dark skin: For those times when you want to have a healthy tanned glow but don't have the time to get it naturally (especially for us office workers), this is something I've found to be the best way to achieve it. Even better that your skin gets some moisturisation in the process. I've probably tried every gradual tanning lotion on this planet, and this St Tropez number works well turning my Asian skin into a subtle golden brown (not a bright shade of orange-yellow). In terms of smell, other brands I've tried include: Dove, Hawaiian Tropic, Johnson & Johnson, and St Tropez is by far the best one that doesn't generate that weird chemically smell overnight. Remember to exfoliate beforehand :)

Bourjois Happy Light Foundation in No. 54 Beige: This is a beautiful thick liquid foundation that surprisingly spreads on so light (funny that) and evens out the skin tone nice, giving a natural luminescence without making you look so dewy that you look greasy. The coverage is good enough to even out my skin tone without looking like I have schlepped on a mask. Its one of those foundations that leave your skin looking even and moisturised, perfect for the summer when you want something light. I'm also happy to report it isn't skin clogging. The downsides I only see are that if you are on the oilier side of the skin spectrum, I probably wouldn't say it lasts more than 6 hours on the skin before making you look a lil slick. When I wear it to work, I do make sure I powder a bit in the T-Zone. Another test for a good foundation is whether the bronzer/blush you apply on top, stays where its supposed to, and I'd have to say there is a bit of fade at the end of the day, but for the most part, the colour stays put. Also, the shade variety is unfortunately quite limited.

Bourjois Happy Light Ultra Covering Concealer in No. 23 Beige: This belongs in the same family as the aforementioned foundation. I would compare it to MAC Studio Finish concealer but more on the creamier side. Its really easy to use and contains a little mirror inside the flip top compact which is quite nice to enable you to pop into your handbag for a bit of touch up on the go. It definitely delivers what it says it will and conceals dark circles by illuminating the under eye. I blend it onto any blemishes I have and I even used this shade on Jane for her wedding day here. The limitations are that there aren't many shades (I only saw 2 shades at my local Priceline) and is only 2.5g (vs. MAC Studio Finish being 7g). But this is absolutely perfect for those on a beauty budget. I've used this concealer with a domed blender brush, but I prefer finger tips if using on a daily basis.

Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Bronzing Veil in Tropical Nights: I will always be faithful to my NARS Laguna Bronzer and Chanel Soleil de Tan, but I must admit I maintain a wandering eye on any comeptition that's out there. I first heard about this bronzer from one of my favourite beauty bloggers; Its Judy Time, and it took me awhile to cave into buying it because lets face it, $50-60 for a bronzer ain't cheap! Now that I have it in my hot little hand, I'm glad I took the leap because it is a beautiful bronzer that delivers a natural sun-kissed veil of colour. If you're after more of a contouring powder though, this wouldn't be the one to grab. If you can't find this bronzer anywhere, you can definitely get it here!

MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Magnetic Appeal (Limited edition as part of the Magnetic Nude Collection):  This is more of an illuminator and delivers a beautiful subtle bronze sheen without making you look like a glossy face. Easy to apply, and versatile as a skinfinish product for the face and eyes for a quick wash of colour. You don't need a lot of product for it to show up on your skin, so I think this will last a LONG time. I have quite a few skinfinishes in my makeup collection and I haven't 'hit pan' on ANY of them. I probably wouldn't recommend it when you are having a break out or the skin surface is a bit bumpy as this would exaggerate them a lot.
Overall, I'm a bit in love with this Magnetic Nude collection and will definitely dip my fingers into the eyeshadows and blushers.

Kose FASIO Full Dynamic Long Mascara (Japanese product): Short lashed ladies watch out. This mascara delivered on first application and held a curl that was not expected. It's a waterproof formula, so swimming with it on is easy. And for once, I've found a waterproof formula that hasn't damaged or dried out my lashes. Second tube purchase has already been done. The only downside is that it is a bit hard to take off. If you're lucky enough to visit Japan, nab this beauty for only 1500YEN

Eyeko Curvy Mascara: If you don't have access to Japanese beauty products like the Fasio I mentioned before, this is a nice one. I've been skeptical about this brand for awhile but when I took the leap to purchase it, it delivered on first application and I could safely say this is a great substitute for the fasio. Waterproof and nondrying, my lashes were perfectly curled without looking clumpy. I'm curious to see whether I can squeeze out every last drop of this mascara, with it being a squeezy tube container. I'm definitely going to have to post a before and after pic, my lashes stay curled all day AND night! The only weird thing with this mascara was that it came with a guitar pick. Does anyone know why they include this in the packaging?

24H B&C Brow lash EX Waterstrong pen in Natural Brown: Japanese brown pens were a discovery in a 100YEN store (that's $1 store to Aus folks) in Tokyo. I have a guy friend who lives in Tokyo that is on standby to help me out in buying these. I've gone through 4 tubes and can't get enough! I used to have brows so dark and full, but now they're sadly lightening and require a bit of filling assistance. This brow pen has a liquid brush on one side, with a conventional twist up brow pencil on the other. It's waterproof, long lasting, easy to use and natural looking!

Bioderma: And then after all that, the best thing to do for your face is to wash it all off haha. But seriously, try washing your made up face with your regular facewash and then wipe a Bioderma soaked cotton pad over your face and you will be horrified with how much dirt/makeup that has still remained on your face. I've made it a ritual that after anytime I wear makeup, I'm sure to clean with Bioderma first. None of that makeup wipes business for me here!
One bottle lasts for aaaaages, and this is my 3rd bottle after being faithful to the brand for 2 years. I'm pretty sure this is widely distributed around the world now, but if you can't find it in stores, here's where I'd go.
If you're a lucky duck living in Asia with massive access to a million varieties of beauty products, Haruhada brand is a great substitute at almost half the price.

Geez that felt like a long post, but I've been procrastinating a bit with this post because I knew I may harp on for ages. I do have to say that I have a few other products I wanted to include but I will have to save that for another time :)


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