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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Live Clean: Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo Review

Hi everyone! I thought I'd take a quick break from studying and give myself a lovely facial (currently looking like a mint green monster with my face mask) and write up a small review on the latest thing I've been loving :).

I've been needing a clarifying shampoo for quite some time now and decided to give Live Clean's Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo a try. I wasn't too impressed with their Argan Oil but had heard good things of this shampoo. I was a bit worried it would smell bad (let's face it, the scent of Apple Cider isn't the most friendly to all noses) but to my surprise it didn't! It smells like apples and pears and is very pleasant without being too strong. 

So the real question comes down to whether or not it does in fact clarify your scalp. The answer is: YES! My hair felt sooo much lighter than it had before using the shampoo. Any traces of buildup was definitely gone. Another perk was that hair styling products (such as a volumizing spray) worked ten times better after as well!

Overall, it's a great product! It's: affordable (around $7.50), eco friendly (98% plant derived, pure vegan, SLS/sulfate free, paraben free), smells nice, and removes buildup. 

The only down side to it is that it's rather drying, so be sure to use a good conditioner afterwards. I also recommend only using it once a week or every two weeks. 

Well, I'd better get back to my books now. I wish everyone a lovely friday and a fun weekend! :) 

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Bioderma Sensibio AR (Anti-Redness Cream)

I've been really enjoying using the Bioderma H20 Cleanser (which I reviewed here) and so I eagerly went out to try another product by Bioderma. I was in need of a new moisturizer and this one caught my interest the most. There are very few reviews on it online so hopefully this one will help!

This cream is perfect for anyone who suffers from Rosacea (a skin condition that is characterized by redness on the face). My main affected areas are my cheeks and nose.

This cream promises to:
reduce redness
intensely sooth
moisturize and protect

This moisturizer checks off all points for me! This is the very first product I have ever used that actually reduced the redness (which I considered to be permanent). The redness around my nose has reduced to the point where I don't feel the need to cover up the area with concealer. It's also instantaneously soothing! It feels amazing to apply anytime I feel a flare up/burning. My most affected area are my cheeks to which the cream has helped with redness, though only by 15% I'd say. However, it has definitely calmed them which is more than I can ask for from just a cream.

It is on the richer side so great for anyone with dry or combination skin. My skin type is oily but it hasn't broken me out, no matter how much I lather it on.

Overall, a really amazing product for anyone with Rosacea or just sensitive skin :). Bioderma is greatly impressing me! 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

They're Real vs. The Falsies (review)

Every beautyjunkie on Youtube or through blogposts will have mentioned these mascaras multiple times throughout the year. They can easily be labeled as the most raved about mascaras in 2012. However, I've decided to review them side by side for those who cannot make up their mind on which to go out and purchase :).

I'll start off with The Falsies by Maybelline:

Budget friendly (I got mine on sale for only $4.99, and the normal average price is $8.99)
Bottom Lashes look very natural 
Easy to remove
Easy to reach inner corner lashes

(No Mascara)

(With 'The Falsies', top and bottom lashes)

Formula is very dry
Keeps hold/curl for only a couple hours
Gives the appearance of spider lashes
Doesn't separate lashes well

Now, let's have a look at They're Real by Benefit:

Wet Formula
Natural looking
Doesn't flake or smudge
Keeps hold for almost the whole day
Easy to reach inner corner lashes
Lashes look smooth (not clumpy)

(With 'They're Real', only top lashes)

(With 'They're Real!', top and bottom lashes)

Not easy to remove
Expensive (around $30 for full-size)
Lashes sometimes stick together while blinking 
Bottom lashes look a bit unnatural/too thick (personal opinion) 

Overall, I do personally greatly prefer They're Real by Benefit. I love the formula and it just sits perfectly all day. I use to stop putting mascara on my bottom lashes because it would always end up smudging by the end of the day (gotta love sexy Racoon eyes!), but never with the Benefit mascara. It really is a high quality mascara that is worth splurging on. The Falsies just make my lashes feel a bit too dry.

But I do have a good tip if you want to get the Benefit mascara without spending more than you feel comfortable with: buy the mini version at Sephora. It's only $12! I can never 'finish' a mascara by the time you're suppose to throw it out so a mini version is perfect for me :).

Which mascara do you prefer? :)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Clinique Review: Rinse-Off Eye Makeup & Clarifying Lotion

So I had recently received these two products in my January Topbox and was curious enough to give them a try. I've been put off by Clinique products ever since I had a reaction to their All About Eyes cream. I have never particularly considered myself as someone with sensitive skin, mainly because I never have reactions to skin-care products. However, Clinique is making me rethink that...

Let's start off with the Clarifying Lotion. The first question I had was why it is called 'lotion'. It is not a cream, in fact it's a liquid. A toner to be precise. There's nothing 'lotiony' about it. It also states to be for dry/combination skin. This confused me since the main ingredient is Alcohol, which is the most drying ingredient one can have in skin-care products.

Now, the real trouble began when I opened the bottle. Oh.My.God. The smell... Where do I even begin? It's like opening a bottle of strong liquor (such as Vodka) and having the smell burn your nose and make you feel queasy just from a slight whiff. Yup, it was that bad. I tried very hard to ignore the smell and continued with application. Then it began to burn on my face... not cooling or tingling, just burning. Again with the liquor reference, it's like that burning you get from taking a shot, aka not so pleasant. My eyes also really began to sting even though I avoided applying in that area. Needless to say, I made a quick dash to the sink and washed it all off.

I tried hard to convince myself that the make-up remover wouldn't be as horrifying.
Nope. I attempted to remove my eye-makeup with this product and once again, the burning began. I ended up quickly removing the product with my Bioderma makeup remover (bless Bioderma for saving me).

I don't know if it's a certain ingredient that Clinique uses in their skin-care line that makes my skin go "ahhhh!" but I'm definitely going to stay away for my own safety :P. I know a lot of people praise Clinique, but if you are someone with sensitive skin then I wouldn't recommend their line of products.

Has anyone else had troubles with Clinique? Or is it just me?

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Topbox January 2013

This month's Topbox is very different from the rest, mainly because it's not actually a normal Topbox. January is featuring their new line of "Prive" boxes. The difference is that with the Prive box you receive samples from only one well-known brand instead of several different ones. Everyone received the same prive box this month but for the upcoming months you will be able to decide whether you want a Prive box or just a normal Topbox.

This month's brand is Clinique. Personally, I'm not the hugest fan of Clinique. They're not a special brand in my eyes and I find their packaging to look and feel quite cheap which is odd considering how much their products are worth. However, I don't mind using their products. They're just not necessarily something I would buy myself. I only have two products by Clinique, one a moisturizer and the other an eye cream. I had a reaction to the eye cream so ever since I have laid off purchasing anything else from Clinique, especially since there are so many better brands out there for skincare.

Anyway, here is what came in this month's box:

1. Clarifying Lotion (for dry/combination skin)
2. Rinse-off Eye Makeup Solvent 
3. Colour Surge Eye Shadow Duo (in the shades 02 Like Milk)
4. Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector 

I definitely have a use for all these products so no one of them will go neglected. I approve of the eyeshadows, definitely the usual colours I go for. And who doesn't love an eye make-up remover to go with it?

The only complaint I have is how tiny the spot corrector sample is. Only 7ml! Barely any product inside to use long enough to see results. However, I'll still give it a go with the some spots of hyper pigmentation I have.

Overall, it is a good box but it doesn't 'wow' me. I think I'd only opt for a Prive box if it happened to feature one of my favorite brands. But I do applaud Topbox for coming up of the concept, it's very forward thinking :).

What are your thoughts on this month's box? :)

2012 Favorites!

I know I'm really really late to post this, but I still felt the need to do so :).

There are loads of products I have been loving during the past couple months, but I decided to only include the things I consistently used all year round.

1. Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette: I saw this amongst many 2012 favorites and had to include it in my own. It's my go-to palette and is perfect in creating every day looks and even some evening looks. The quality and pigmentation is amazing and definitely one of the best releases this year. It's also really compact, I always had it in my luggage while I was travelling during the summer.

2. Revlon Lip Butters: I couldn't choose a particular shade since I have so many, but these were definitely a highlight of 2012. They come in several beautiful shades and are super moisturizing to the lips. I always carry at least two of them in my purse and tend to receive compliments when wearing one of the shades.

3. Sally Hershberger Supreme Lift: I already have a detailed review on this product. I officially can't live without it. I use it after every shower to give my hair a big boost of life and volume. It also prevents my hair from getting oily quickly and works as a heat protectant. A true miracle product.

4. Revlon ColorStay Foundation: I have officially used this foundation for over a year and can say that it is one of the best foundations I have ever owned. Medium coverage, doesn't look cakey, and actually stays put all day (without a primer). I highly recommend this foundation to anyone who wants a natural, slightly matte finish.  

5. Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Liner: A brilliant gel liner. Goes on very smoothly, good pigmentation, and doesn't crease. Also, no need for a primer. It won't budge until you finally remove it with make-up remover. The quality of a high-end gel liner for a drugstore price! :)

6. Revlon ColorStay Mineral Blush: You can tell I was quite the Revlon lover in 2012. I was just amazed that all their ColorStay products were true to their name. This is my go-to blush (shade is Honey Miel) and I trust it to do the job because it will literally stay on my cheeks the whole day. This particular shade is very flattering and natural :).

7. Clarins Joli Rouge Long-Wearing Moisturizing Lipstick: And last but not least, my ultimate favorite lipstick of 2012. I have the shade 724 - Simply Nude. It is the best nude lipstick I have ever come across. It's also the most expensive lipstick I ever bought ($32). However, it is worth the price. It is the most moisturizing lipstick I have ever tried. I would even say it's as moisturizing as an actual lip balm (and that says a lot coming from someone who always has dry lips!). Which in turn makes it so surprising that the pigmentation is so high!

The downer with the Revlon lip butters is that because they are so butter-y, the pigmentation isn't always great. However, that is not the case with Clarins Joli Rouge. It doesn't dull out your lips at all like some nudes do since it has a sheen finish and the lipstick itself has a slight gold shimmer to it.

So those are my 2012 favorites! Let me know what your favorites were this past year :). 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Lush Bath Bomb - Cinders: AVOID

Whenever I come home from work and feel really sore, I always love to relax with a nice hot bath, preferably with a bath bomb. I love the scent and how moisturized my skin tends to feel after using one. A few weeks ago, I decided to finally use my Cinders bath bomb by Lush. I had been saving it to use around Christmas time since it's a very festive smelling bath bomb. However, what was suppose to be a relaxing evening turned into a stressful one.

The bath itself was fine, though the scent faded quite quickly. The problems began when I had drained the bathtub. I was greeted with this sight:

The bath bomb had stained my bath tub. I had tried everything to scrub it off, but it just would not budge. I finally had to go out and buy bleach, which finally did the trick and removed the unsightly yellow marks.

(even the ends of my shower curtain were stained!)

So in summary, unless you want to spend your evenings scrubbing away at your bath tub with harsh chemicals, please please don't purchase this bath bomb, no matter how alluring the scent is.

Are there any bath bombs by Lush that have stained your bathtubs? 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Sleek Haul!!!

This whole package of goodies arrived only one day before Christmas (2 weeks earlier than I thought it would!) and I've been waiting to share it all with you :). I had heard loads of good things about Sleek, especially their eyeshadows - they have been known to be compared to MAC eyeshadows. Essentially they're claimed to be amazing quality but for very little money!

I ended up purchasing 3 eyeshadow palettes and 2 blushes. I'll start of by saying, I LOVE the packaging. Very stylish, good sturdy quality (not going to break easily), and don't look cheap in the slightest. Each palette and blush even comes with a really large mirror, making it perfect to take with you when on the go.

The three palettes I chose are: bad girl, oh so special, and (of course) the original palette

(Life's a Peach, Flushed)

These blushers are in the shades Life's a Peach and Flushed. I've already tried both of them and absolutely love them! Though they look very bright, they look incredibly natural on the cheeks. Flushed is very pigmented (to the point where one must be careful with application) and is the perfect winter shade. Life's a Peach is a bit light when it comes to pigmentation, definitely needs a few more swipes with a brush but gives amazing results. This orangey/peachy blush is perfect for the summer but also looks amazing even during the winter time :). Both look very very natural. The staying power isn't too bad- about a few hours. However, the price definitely makes up for it. Only $5.99 per blush...bargain!

Bad Girl is the best palette to own when wanting to create night-out looks. I've already created several looks with this palette and love each color. The pigmentation is amazing, and I had an experience with Sleek eyeshadows (multiple by now) that I never had with any other eyeshadow: it stayed on the whole day, no budging whatsoever, without a primer. That's pretty amazing for me since eyeshadow never lasts more than 2 hours on me without a primer. Only $9.99 for a palette. Very, very impressive Sleek!

Oh So Special really surprised me. I had no idea that pink eyeshadow can actually be very flattering! Again, very pigmented and great quality. Stays put all day without a primer and probably is my favorite and most used palette at the moment. Ideal for everyday makeup. 

The Original has some great colors and is a favorite among many beauty guru's. I have yet to try it but seeing as this is the most popular/well known palette, I'm sure it'll be just as amazing as the others. 

I'd have to say Sleek is officially my new favorite makeup brand! I have never seen such amazing quality in products worth such low prices. I honestly can't wait to try out more items from Sleek! :)

Monday, 7 January 2013

New Years Resolutions

Happy New Year! С Новым Годом! Frohes neues Jahr! 

I was planning on posting another review for all of you today, but instead decided to make a more personal post :). It's officially 2013 and I want to make the best of it. I have come up with a list of resolutions that should help me. I do find resolutions hard to stick to, but I feel they are positive influences and help guide us in achieving our goals in life :).

1. Make more time for friends and family: Second year in university and having a part-time job means not having a whole lot of free time. My answer to anyone who wanted to hang out was "I'm either studying or working". I was absolutely touched when my closest friends surprised me on my birthday since I had barely seen them during the past few weeks.

I love my friends and plan on trying to squeeze in more time with them whenever possible :). 

2. Be more tidy: Sadly, my room turns into complete chaos during semesters. Tea cups seem to be in every corner I look. Each year I vow to clean up more and be organized. Lets hope I can actually stick to it for once :P.

3. Do well in school: This is a given. I'm sure every uni student has made this resolution. Longer study sessions, less procrastination (hardest thing thanks to the internet, specifically Youtube!), and good grades is the goal! I always feel very proud of myself when I'm actually being productive with my work :). 

4. Blog More: When I started this blog, my rule was to post every 2-3 days. Instead it's now become once a week. This will change, I promise!!! 

5. Cook more: It's very hard to stand in front of the stove and cook something up instead of just buying a pre-made meal to save time. But I have bought Jamie Oliver's Cook Book, "Meals in Minutes", and plan on using it!

(Caught in the act!)

6. Visit the boyfriend more often: This might sound like a very weird resolution to anyone who reads this, but we have a long distance relationship and can only see each other during school breaks (which are every few months). But since I now have my job, I can afford to visit him a bit more this year :). He means the world to me and being with him is the best present I can ever receive. 

So there you have it, my new years resolutions! I wish everyone a great start to 2013 and would love to hear what resolutions you have made for this year :). 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

First Aid Beauty - Ultra Repair Concentrate

Happy New Years everyone! I am officially starting off 2013 with a glowing review on First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair Concentrate. I've been wanting to review this product for ages now since it's been a life saver for me during this winter.

I was having a problem with a really bad dry patch of skin, specifically my nose and cheeks. No matter how much moisturizer I used, my skin remained dry and just continued to flake. I tried several different creams, but nothing actually made a difference.

Then I found this. I was a bit skeptical about using it, mainly because I thought it was so heavy that it would block my pores. I dabbed some on before bed and amazingly enough, when I woke up my skin was back to normal! Completely repaired: smooth and soft. No flaking skin. And my pores were just the same.

Another brilliant thing was that my face wasn't oily! The texture of the balm is a bit oily but when it's completely absorbed by your skin, no oil remains. I also found that when I use this, my skin tends to produce less oil during the day, most likely because the balm is so hydrating that my body doesn't feel the need to produce excess oil to keep my face moisturized.

I use it about a couple times a week. I wouldn't suggest using it in the morning mainly because it does leave your skin looking a bit oily/really dewy before it gets fully absorbed.

I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who suffers from dry patches or just general dry skin. It really is an amazing product. It is a bit pricy (around $30 at Sephora) but it will last you ages. A little goes a long way with this product. I've used it for about a month and I still have plenty left.

I hope everyone had a lovely New Years Eve and I wish you all the best for 2013! :)