Back to Basics: Summer Skin Tips 101

As the summer sunshine heats up – sometimes we need to remember the basics (especially when the holiday season makes us all a tad cray-cray!). Today I have 3 basic but essential summer skin tips prepared for you by NeoStrata’s skin expert Karen Varker. NeoStrata is a brand I used to use regularly during high school when I was fighting against acne. My dermatologist recommended the brand and as it was no fuss and contained actives. One of my favourite products back in the day was the Ultra Smoothing Lotion (containing 8% glycolic acid). I stopped using the brand once my skin improved, however I have just recently discovered the brand all over again and was pleasantly surprised to see that they have grown their skincare line substantially! Check out Karen’s recommendations to get you started should the brand sound perfect for your needs and to keep your skin happy this summer :)

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  • SPF – Using a moisturiser with SPF is essential all year round, however it is most important in the summer months when the sun is at its strongest. A product like the NeoStrata Daytime Protection Cream with SPF 15 ($49.95) is fantastic for everyday use, as it gives 94% coverage and its patented poly hydroxy acids work to hydrate and repair the skin whilst protecting it from further sun damage. Don’t let the sun steal your beauty!

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  • Stay Hydrated – Dry, dehydrated skin is more prone to lines and wrinkles. Keeping skin hydrated means the cells are naturally more plump giving the skin a full and glowing appearance. Cleansers and moisturisers that act as humectants bind water to the skin cells keeping it naturally hydrated all the time. Other ways to keep skin hydrated are with a hyaluronic serum in your regime. Recommendations: NeoStrata Restore Facial Cleanser ($35.95) , NeoStrata Restore Ultra Moisturising Face Cream ($49.95) and Skin Inc Hyaluronic Acid Serum ($131)

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Hyaluronic Acid Serum HR

  • Be Prepared to Repair –  Sun burns and blisters are unfortunately part of the Australian summer. It’s always best to prevent sun damage by applying and reapplying sunscreen, however in the occasion that sunburn happens it’s always useful to have an effective treatment on hand. The  Licorice Serum ($131) from Skin Inc has soothing properties that are packed with anti-oxidants to rehydrate and bring the skin back to its optimum health.

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NeoStrata products are available at Priceline and from chemists nationally. Skin Inc products are available from their official website (how amazing do they look?!). I’m hoping that I will get the chance to review a few of these products soon, so hang tight beauties! Thank you Karen Varker for your great tips and product suggestions :) Check out NeoStrata’s Facebook page for more tips and product information, as well as Skin Inc’s.

What are your summer must haves and skin tips? I would just like to add, that awesome sunnies are also a must have! :P

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Until next time beauties!

Beauty Bee~

The Beauty of Sea Salts

Sea salts are something special. Unbleached and unrefined sea salts contain a multitude of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) which our skin can actually absorb within a warm ‘salt bath’. Who knew that within a warm bath, our skin cells and pores expanded, allowing nutrients from the water to become absorbed. Our circulation also speeds up, meaning that the nutrients enter our body more quickly and actually speeds up our metabolism! After a salt bath, we can expect our skin to be more firm, hydrated and smooth.

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So what’s actually in these sea sats that make it so great and beneficial for our skin and health? Firstly – magnesium. 70% of adults are low in magnesium. This is because magnesium helps your body function in numerous ways and is quickly depleted in times of stress. Magnesium is needed in the formation of bone, proteins and fatty acid formation. It is essential in activating B vitamins (for energy), calcium and vitamin D (to also help strengthen existing bone). Magnesium contained in bath salts also deeply hydrates the skin, as it pulls moisture along with it into the deeper layers of your skin while helping to hold it there. Water is stored in-between cells in ‘canal’ like structures called aquaporin, delivering water to cell membranes. Magnesium helps unblock these canals so that water flows more easily to cells and hence your skin becomes smoother, wrinkles ‘fill out’ and skin is more hydrated and firmer to the touch. Magnesium works best when it’s paired with potassium, sodium and calcium, so check to see if your sea salts also contains these minerals. When magnesium is paired with these other minerals, it helps to speed up skin regeneration as new cells are then formed more easily (so it’s also anti-ageing!).

How to get the most out of your salt bath? Prepare your salt bath in the evening as a salt bath is warming and relaxing. The best results come from highly mineralised salt baths, so you need about 100 grams of salt for every 10 litres of water. So don’t be cheap with using that salt! The water should be heated to about 36-38 celsius and you should soak in the salt bath for about 20 minutes. After your salt bath, don’t wash your hot body with soap or shower gel, just give your bod a quick rinse with some lukewarm water. After drying off, it is a good idea to just a body moisturiser as you don’t want any left over moisturise on your skin to evaporate. It’s also good to drink some water (would you like a slice of lemon with that? ;) ) after your bath – you will notice that you are thoroughly heated and warm, so you don’t want to become dehydrated. Tip*: you can use your bath salts in foot baths and to soften your hands before a DIY manicure :) it’s best to not use a salt bath after hair removal as your skin may become irritated. If you have sensitive skin, use original, unscented and uncoloured bath salts.

One of the most highly mineralised sea waters out there is Dead Sea water, and Ahava (an Israeli brand) harness these minerals in their products. I looove their Dead Sea Salts. You can buy them in ‘original’ (so with no added scents/fragrances) or with added lavender oil (calming), eucalyptus oil (soothing and rejuvenating) or juniper oil (comforting). These salts contain all the above mentioned minerals and you can buy them in tubs containing 907 grams of product (so you will get multiple ‘treatments’ out of one tub!). The salts are ‘created’ using a natural evaporation process – so the dead sea water is ‘dried out’ or dehydrated in the desert sun, leaving behind these naturally forming salt crystals. That’s about as organic and natural as you can get! The cheapest place to buy them is from Fresh Fragrances & Cosmetics (from what I can tell) as they also don’t charge you with shipping :)  <3

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Salt bath are excellent if you have cellulite or if consume a lot of salt in your diet (ummm… this may be me – so put down those chips Beauty Bee!). Salt baths speed up your circulation (and so oxygen is delivered to cells more efficiently), metabolism and drainage, so fat cells are more easily burned off. Your skin is able to clear itself from toxins, regenerate and reduce swelling. Did someone say detox? Himalayan salt is excellent for this as it strengthens the skin whilst performing all of these functions. Babe scrub do a Himalayan Pink Salt Body Scrub, which can be also used as a bath salt. I reviewed this scrub a little while ago – so check out that review here if you are interested :) Other salts from warmer seas are also beneficial (e.g. like from the Mediterranean) especially when the salts are concentrated in various body products. I also found and really enjoy using the Soak Society’s Original Wellness Soak. They have combined unrefined celtic sea salt with epsom salt, bentonite clay and essential oils to help your skin and body to detox. I can smell the peppermint essential oil through the packaging, which I love as I am a fan of peppermint! One pack contains 250 grams of salt and I find this lasts me for about two salt baths.

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I bought my Wellness Soak from Candour Store (an online shop specialising in natural goodies) but you can also buy the soak from Soak Society direct (and they offer free shipping).

Bath salts are used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis. This is why many people in Europe who suffer from various skin conditions go on holidays to the Dead Sea or the Red Sea as the water there is highly mineralised. They come back with soothed and smooth skin! Funnily enough, doctors don’t actually know why this is, but they are constantly researching this area of dermatology. It’s not a good idea to soak your face in a salt bath as the skin on your face is to delicate .You can of course, use face products which have been formulated using the minerals found in bath salts. Ahava has formulated face care products and other body care products utilising water and salts from the Dead Sea. I’m itching to try their Dead Sea Plants Caressing Body Sorbet, Liquid Salt Treatment and Firming Body Cream :) Check out their products on Fresh :)

Have I convinced you that you can benefit from salt baths? :) I hope so, because I know I do! They are perfect both pre holiday season (to help get us in shape and look fabulous!) and for afterwards, when we are feeling sluggish and tired. It’s a great way to bring the sea to you, even if you live far away from the seaside or if you are missing summer. Let me know if you are a fan of salt baths down in the comments below or if any of the products I have mentioned above, have taken your fancy ;)

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Until next time beauties!

Beauty Bee~

Warning*: If you have high blood pressure, heart problems or are pregnant, consult your doctor before using bath salts.

Nails of the Day: Life Gave Me Lemons

Lemons are just great – and while I’m at it, so are limes! :D What drew me to Life Gave Me Lemons is that this nail polish shade is in-between a lemon yellow and a light lime green. Perfect for summer and for perking up your mood :)

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I was worried that this shade would be very translucent, and while it’s somewhat sheer, it’s very easily build able, so you don’t need a white base coat. Two coats is nice, not to over the top birght so somewhat subtle, while three coats will give you a more neon bright shade (as pictured below on my nails)!

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Now this nail polish does ‘wear out’ more easily on the tips of your nails, so it isn’t as long lasting as other OPI nail polishes – but in saying that, with a decent base and top coat you should get about 5-6 days wear with this nail polish. You could say that it’s a little more high maintenance but it delivers on the ka-pow factor, so I think it’s worth the ‘trouble’ :) Isn’t it beautiful? I bought my nail polish from Ebay (from the outlet nail shop) for US $6.19 and $3.97 shipping (and that’s international shipping).

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Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday, I am feeling a little more worn out as we get to the end of the week, so I think a citrus cocktail is in order over the weekend :)

Until next time beauties!

Beauty Bee~

Cream Eye Shadow Comparison & Review: Maybelline Color Tattoo Vs. Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Color

Happy Wednesday beauties!

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Cream eyeshadows are perfect for summer because these days, the formulations last all day without creasing and add a gorgeous sheen to the eyelid, making us look more awake and bright eyed! I’ve stayed away from cream shadows for a long, long time because I just never had an awesome experience using them – layering and blending out the shadows seemed difficult, the colour range was always quite small and most importantly – they used to crease – no matter what! I decided to give them a go again when the Maybelline Color Tattoos became insanely popular and I kept hearing how great they were.

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I can see why the Maybelline Color Tattoos became so popular. They are very reasonably priced (at $12 a pop here in Aus) and they don’t crease – staying on your eyelids all day. I then decided to try a high end cream eyeshadow, to see what the difference would be in staying power and texture. I went for the Shiseido Simmering Cream Eye Colors, because the colour selection was so impressive and because I had read some great reviews about them. At $44 a pop (from department stores) they are more than double the price of Maybelline’s Color Tattoos :S So would they be worth it?

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I have two Maybelline Color Tattoos – #35 Tough as Taupe, a dirty medium purple taupe, and #45 Bold Gold, an antique gold. After swatching all the available Color Tattoos in Priceline, I decided on these two colours as they seemed to be the most workable (for me). The colour selection itself didn’t impress me all that much. I know that in Australia, we don’t have all the available shades on offer which sux. We have 7 shades in total and all of these shades appear to be quite dark in my opinion. I also found the texture of these cream eyeshadows to be quite dry and thick. Tough as Taupe is especially dry – you can tell it’s got a very dry texture just by looking at it in it’s pot. I do admit that these last on the eyelids (even without a primer for me – though others may still need to use a primer) and I think that’s what makes them popular. I tried building up Bold Gold on my lids, but this didn’t really work as the shimmer seemed to intensify more than the colour itself. Because of it’s thicker texture, layering the cream shadow isn’t the most pleasant or easy thing to do either (it’s also then more likely to crease without a primer). Did I fall in love with these? I tried – I really did as I wanted to get in on the hype, but I just couldn’t :(

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So what about the Shiseido Shimmering Cream Colors? I have the colours Sunshower (OR313) an orange based sparkly brown and Yuba (BE217) a pale neutral gold. Texture wise, these cream shadows are the complete opposite of the Maybelline color Tattoos – the cream is thin and very emollient, so they blend out beautifully (whether you are using your fingers or a brush). The colour is build-able and as you wear the shadows, it almost looks like they have a wet finish – they glisten and shine like no other cream eyeshadows I have seen before! Now I need to use an eyeshadow primer underneath these, but if wearing a primer, they last all day – super impressive considering the texture. You would think that they would easily move around on the lid (slipping and sliding) and yet they stay put even in humid conditions. The colour range is also impressive – there are 23 shades in total on Shiseido’s official website (though on the poster below, there is only 15, so it might be a little dated)! Now on Myer’s website I can only see 12 shades, but Fresh Fragrance & Cosmetics currently has 21 shades on offer.

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For some reason, Fresh is selling them for $47 each – $3 more than Myer ($44). If you join up to their loyalty club however, you automatically receive a discount on all purchases and they also run lots of promotions and sales throughout the year, so you can usually buy them for lower than the advertised retail price at department stores (I bought mine on sale for $36.70, so that’s $7.30 cheaper than in Myer).

Do I rate these cream eyeshadows more highly than the Maybelline Color Tattoos? Yes – definitely! I do think they are worth their high price, as it is a joy to use them and the colours and finish of these eye shadows is unique! They are expensive and I know not everyone is going to be able to buy the whole collection (I certainly can’t) but the two colours that I myself own  – Sunshower (OR313) and Yuba (BE217), have become my spring/summer makeup staples and I get so much use out of them (while I don’t really use the Color Tattoos now that I own the Shimmering Cream Eye Colors).

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Swatches from left to right: Sunshower (OR313), Yuba (BE217), #45 Bold Gold, #35 Tough as Taupe.

So here is a summary of the pros and cons of both formulas:

Maybelline Color Tattoos:

Pros:

  • Very reasonably priced at $12 dollars a pop!
  • Lasts all days on the lid – even without an eyeshadow primer (in my experience) so great for oily eyelids.
  • Solid glass packaging.
  • Could be used as a eye makeup base colour, if you don’t mind the fact that most shades are pretty shimmery.

Cons:

  • Limited colour selection in comparison to the range available overseas.
  • Texture of the cream is thicker and drier, more difficult to blend out.
  • Takes more work to build up the colour and intensity of the cream eyeshadows.

Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Color:

Pros:

  • Colour selection – the range of colours is impressive, from neutrals to brights. I haven’t seen anyone else offer such a variety of colours in their cream eyeshadows.
  • Thin, emollient texture – very pleasant and easy to work with (a breeze to blend).
  • Shadows are buildable.
  • After a few hours the shadows look ‘glossy’ on the lids, which I think is unique and very fresh looking for summer.
  • Packaging is very light and minimalistic (but doesn’t look cheap). Those who travel a lot or work as MUA will appreciate this!

Cons:

  • No doubtebly the cost of these shadows is high.
  • I need to use an eyeshadow primer underneath these cream eyeshadows in order to make them last – but they do last all day when paired with a primer.

So my winner? Shiseido all the way :) Of course, others will have different preferences so it’s about narrowing down what you need out of a cream eyeshadow.

I have been on a Sunshower kick recently and here is my everyday makeup look using this beautiful shade :) I use a neutral powder matte brown eyeshadow in the crease, just to add a little more definition (I’ve been using Urban Decay’s Naked eyeshadow). It’s also all about dewey, radiant summer skin!

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When I want to take this look up a notch, I use Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet liquid lip colour in 06 Ping Pong – because it is super bright and long lasting!

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Summer is calling beauties! :)

Are you a fan of cream eyeshadows? Which ones are your favourites? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to know :)

Until next time beauties!

Beauty Bee~

Nails of the Day: Sorry I’m Fizzy Today

With summer in full swing, I couldn’t resist purchasing this cool toned coral nail polish. I believe that this colour was released with OPI’s Coca Cola Summer collection a little white ago. It applies on the nail beautifully, isn’t streaky and is richly opaque! I of course used my trusty Sally Hansen top coat, to finish off my DIY manicure (Mega Shine top coat).

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What do you think of this creamy pink-coral? :) I bought mine from ebay (here) for only $7.50 US, plus $6.00 shipping. On a somewhat related note – I’m not into Coke or Cola at all. I used to sometimes have a glass with a slice of pizza (special occasion hoho ;) ) but now, even when scoffing down a cheesy pizza – Coke it doesn’t tempt me at all. After some Coke, I am sooo thirsty because of the high sugar content, I don’t know how people drink it regularly without dropping from dehydration (though I am unusually thirsty all the time…. lol). Do you have a soft spot for soft drink? I’ll happily stick to my nail polish and cheese obsession instead ;)

Well that’s all from me today beauties, drop by and say hi on my Facebook page or on Instagram – joining the ‘hive’ will be fun I promise! ;) :P

Beauty Bee~

Makeup Look: Green Viper

While I don’t live in the tropics – Sydney has been soooo humid over the last couple of days, that sometimes I think I am living in Bangkok. Going along with that theme, I saw this to die for single eyeshadow from Giorgio Armani called Green Viper (#17) and had to buy it! I have never owned a lime green eyeshadow before, let alone worn lime green eyeshadow lol So today beauties has been my awakening! And I love it! This shadow is sooo pigmented and silky, which is what you would expect of course from a high-end brand (though eyeshadows from brands like Dior and Chanel can be hit or miss) and this eyeshadow delivers! It’s not cheap – but the colour is so unique and lovely to work with (it can also be used wet or dry). It has a slight gold sheen, which brightens up this colour ever more. So how to work it into a makeup look?

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The secret to this look is firstly, dewey-summery-fresh skin. I usually mix my foundation with a few drops of hydrating serum and liquid highlighter. Lately however, the hydrating serum I usually use (Dior’s Hydra Life Serum Sorbet) hasn’t been cutting it. I don’t want my face to look like an oil slick, but I do want it to have a slight sheen. The solution? Adding a few drops of rosehip oil into my liquid foundation! I’ve been loving the Kosmea Radiance 24/7 Youth Boost. It combines rosehip oil with seabuckthorn, apricot, camellia and pomegranate oil for an additional antioxidant boost. 2-3 drops mixed into your foundation gives you the most perfect dewey complexion! And it doesn’t leave my face looking oily and doesn’t break me out (very important!).

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The perfect mix for a flawless-dewey base: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone (it’s very subtle and the shimmer is undetectable when mixed into your foundation), Kosmea Radiance 24/7 Youth Boost and YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat.

I lightly contoured my face, used a liquid blush on my cheeks and lips (in a nude shade) and used a rose gold highlighting powder to add some more dimension and glow to my face. You want to keep the colour on your face down to a minimum and all colours should be from the same colour family/tone. Don’t powder your face if you can help it. If you must use some powder, use it very sparingly. I did use a taupe brown shadow in the crease of my eyelid, but then went over the whole lid and crease with the lime green shadow. I used the taupe brown shadow on my lower lashline and then used lots of black mascara on my lashes. It’s a very simple eye makeup look – but still packs a punch!

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Essential products for this makeup look: Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Single Eyeshadow in the colour Green Viper (#17), Becca Beach Tint in the colour Fig (LOVE this product – review here) and Laura Mercier Mineral Illuminating Powder in Candlelight.

I hope this look has inspired you – let me know what you think of it :) Have you ever worn lime green eyeshadow before?  I bought my Armani eyeshadow from Myer for $48 or $49 (yikes!). You can also find the Armani single eyeshadows on the Fresh Fragrances and Cosmetics website, but they don’t currently have Green Viper in stock.

Catch ya next time beauties ;)

Beauty Bee~

New Goodies!

So I think I may have bought a lot of makeup towards the end of November… I’m feeling another $100 beauty challenge coming up lol perhaps post Christmas/New Years, more beauties will want to join me for a slight spending detox! And yes, all the goodies below are just for me lol! First up is a ‘small’ haul from Sephora. Wanna see what I bought? :)

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First up, let’s inspect the blushes as blushes make me happy :)

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On the far left we have Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in the colour Calypso Coral (2). I wanted to try this product and colour because a) coral cheeks and lips are always perfect for the summer season and b) this product and colour in particular has been ‘famous’ for so long, I wanted to see what the fuss was about! I love that this cream blush contains no shimmer, it instead has a waxy transparent finish, which imparts some ‘natural’ looking shine to the skin so that your face doesn’t look flat. The only other Bobbi Brown products that I own and have tried are the gel eye liners, so it’s nice to try another product from her line (Bobbi’s teen makeup book was a staple for me growing up – her older books seem to be more in depth and are more conversational in text).

The middle blush is Tarte’s Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in the colour Exposed, while on the far right we have another Tarte blush in the colour Tipsy. Exposed as you can see is a browny pink ‘nude’ shade (in the picture above you can’t see the ‘pink’ to much in the pan, but in person it’s there!) while Tipsy is another coral. I love Tarte’s packaging in that the colour of the packaging matches that of the blush. So simple, yet so effective! Exposed doesn’t contain any shimmer, while Tipsy seems to contain micro shimmer (but it’s virtually undetectable!).

The one skin care product that I bought was a little 7ml Pure Marula Facial Oil. Marula oil is said to be more rich in moisturising properties than say Argan oil, so I thought I’d give it a go (perhaps my mum will also be interested in this product). The oil comes with a roller ball for dispensing product and I’m not sure how I feel about that…

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Up next we have NARS’ Radiant Cream Compact Foundation in the shade Deauville (Light 4). I’m not sure if you know, but I usually only own one foundation at any given time. Once I find a foundation which matches my skin tone and has a finish that I like, I stick to it. I also look for a medium coverage foundation so that I can customize the finish/coverage I want myself (by mixing it with liquid highlighter or a hydrating serum). Currently my foundation of choice is YSL’s Le Teint Touche Eclat. I decided to also try this Nars compact foundation because I figured it would be nice to have a ‘going out slash special occasion’  foundation. I also wanted to see if a compact foundation could feel lightweight and look radiant (the 90s were not kind when it came to compact foundations!).

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I’ve played around with it once so far and I am so impressed! I’m slightly peeved that you have to buy the compact/case for the foundation separately, but it is good that the compact is refillable. I didn’t buy the compact for the foundational refill just yet and unfortunately the cap on the ‘refill’ itself doesn’t close very well, so I’ve had to use a clip to keep it shut tight (I don’t want it to dry out!). Doesn’t look the fanciest but oh well lol The foundation itself doesn’t look the nicest now that I’ve had a play with it, but I’ll show you the colour I bought anyway!

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I also splurged out on the Smashbox Full Exposure palette :) A whole row of matte shadows and a row of shimmery/glittery shadows? The perfect combo in my eyes – your options becomes endless!

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There’s one one more goodie from Sephora which I bought and almost forgot about (I forgot to add it into the top group photo). It’s another goodies from NARS, their Eye Paint in the colour Solomon Islands. This is both a cream eyeshadow and a cream eye liner. This colour is just… beautiful! :)

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Isn’t that cream shadow the most summery colour you have ever seen?!? I can’t wait to play with it! :D

Next up, I have a few goodies bought from Lipstick Republic and one goody from Fresh Fragrances & Cosmetics!

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I love Lime Crime’s Lip Velvetines, and although I’m not sure if I can pull off this purple lip shade (Utopia) I figured it was worth giving a go ;) :P

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I also reallllly wanted to try some Nudestix and thought that starting out with the concealers would be perfect! I bought the Concealer Pencil in shade Light 1 and Light 3. I wanted the lightest shade for highlighting and a darker shade for traditional concealing. I think I should have bought concealer 2 instead of 3, but oh wells (it looks a touch to dark for me). I am surprised at how creamy and soft these guys are!

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And finally, last but not least, I bought a Laura Mercier Mineral Illuminating Powder in Candlelight – a light rosey gold shimmer, which is oh so gorgeous! It’s very finely milled, and the shimmer within the powder is not chunky at all.

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I did a quick swatch of the illuminating powder for you, since you can’t see the colour of the powder even when you take the lid off the packaging.

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That wraps up my haul beauties :) Have you been going a little crazy with your spending lately? I so hope it’s not just me lol There’s just way to many good deals on atm… It’s just not the time of year for saving is it? Do any of the goodies above catch your eye? What has been on your shopping/wish list lately?

OH – and since it is the holiday season and I’m sure everyone is shopping up a storm, don’t forget to check out a discount code site before purchasing any xmas goodies online! I’m loving Flipit at the moment – they have so many discount codes available for some of the biggest E-retailers in Australia (the Iconic, Surfstitch, Asos etc). And every penny saved is another penny you can put towards beauty goodies :D ;)

I need to go cool off – Sydney is soooo hot at the moment, I think even my laptop is struggling….

Catch ya next time beauties!

Beauty Bee~

Skincare 101: Skin SOS! How to Soothe Red, Irritated & Hypersensitive Skin

Is you skin red? Does it hurt? Is it stinging? This beauties means that you skin is irritated and is currently hypersensitive – your lipid barrier has been compromised and your skin is reacting because it’s trying to protect itself, either from a foreign substance or harsh environmental factors which have broken down your lipid barrier.  Your number one objective is to reinstate the lipid barrier – this will automatically soothe all irritations and help your skin to begin to heal itself.

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How did this happen? This could be because of a variety of factors. Usually this occurs when a foreign substance has made contact with ‘mast cells’ within your skin (your lipid barrier usually protects these cells) and they set off a strong reaction signalling the release of particular chemicals (one of which is called histamine – this is why you can take anti-histamines from the chemist to block this reaction if you have experienced an allergy or hay fever, as these chemicals can go into overdrive). Histamine and your body’s defence system work a little in this way – when you skin has reacted with ‘a foreign substance’ – the skin swells, becomes inflamed and red. Your skin cells open up and the lymphatic system in your skin activates (hence the redness). The cells in the point of contact of the reaction (where the irritation first took place) becomes very pale, blood flow to this area is constricted so the irritation doesn’t spread.

More serious allergies (like the ones you can experience from food)  can overwhelm your body and take a while for your immune system to activate and ‘localise’ the irritation or allergen. This kind of reaction can occur up to three days after eating a particular food (and then it’s harder to work out what triggered the reaction slash allergy). Usually with skincare products, if an ingredient irritates your skin and sends it into a hypersensitive reaction – you usually know pretty quickly.

What do I do? If your skin has become hypersensitive because of a skincare or makeup product or seems super irritated because of environmental factors (sun, salt, snow, wind), stress or even perhaps free radicals (pollution) your number one priority is as I mentioned – to restore your lipid barrier and use ingredients which soothe the skin asap. If you think you have had an allergic reaction to food on the other hand – you must go an see your doctor immediately.

Don’t use any actives while your skin is hypersensitive (vitamin c, retinol, AHA/BHAs etc.) Apply a soothing mask to your skin. Your mask should be made up of soothing ingredients to help calm and minimise redness and irritation, plus moisturising ingredients, to reinstall your lipid barrier and protect your skin from further irritation.

  • Soothing ingredients include – panthenol, allantoin, thermal water, chamomile extract and sweet almond extract.
  • Heavy duty moisturisers will help reinstill your skins lipid barrier, so look for ingredients like sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid (both act as humectants), glycerin, shea butter, paraffin and ceramides (ceramides are lipids which are found inbetween skin cells – they’re often described as the ‘glue’ which hold cells together – so they help to make up your lipid barrier and keep cells strong). Ceramide 3 helps your skin to hold moisture, while ceramide 1 strengthens cells. Ceramide 6 exfoliates and retexturises skin – so stay away from ceramide 6 for the moment if you skin is irritated and hypersensitive.

Leave your soothing mask on as per the instructions on the packaging. There’s no point leaving the mask on for longer than the producer recommends, as ingredients loose their potency over time. Use the mask 3 times per week until your skin strengthens. At the moment I have the Bioderma Crealine Mask (I think it’s now called the Sensibo Soothing Mask, but it’s still the same formula).

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Bioderma’s soothing mask is fragrance and paraben, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic (so it won’t block pores). What soothing ingredients does it contain? Glycerin, capric/caprylic triglyceride (which is part of coconut oil’s fatty acids and is a great emollient and is non-sensitising), golden seaweed extract (anti-inflammatory) and Toléridine, which is Bioderma’s own patented set of ingredients which helps to decrease inflammation, strengthen the skins lipid barrier and make it more tolerant to external forces over time. You leave on the mask for 10-15 minutes and then rinse it off or wipe it away using a cotton pad. I find that Bioderma’s Crealine mask works wonderfully for restoring hydration levels, getting rid of itchiness and tightness, but I didn’t find it did much for my redness. It leaves a light residue on the skin and this is probably because the ingredients help to rebuild our lipid barrier (protective duties!). This would be the perfect soothing mask if you are concerned about breakouts as well.You can find this mask at Priceline and at Adore Beauty online, for $39.99.

As your skin regenerates at night (this is when your skin cells turnover quickest and your skin is busy repairing itself!) it makes sense to utilise a soothing mask which you can leave on all night (especially if you often experience hypersensitivity). The Ultraceuticals Ultra Replenishing Mask is the next soothing mask I want to try (especially for over the summer, when my poor skin needs more s.o.s treatments!) as not only can you leave it on for 10-15 minutes like you would a regular mask, but you can also massage it into your beautiful face and leave it on overnight :)

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This mask is more expensive than the Bioderma Crealine mask, but it contains so many wonderful goodies – Hyaluronic acid, ceramide 3, coconut oil and shea butter moisturise the skin, while panthenol, cucumber extract and jojoba oil (or ‘easters’) soothe. This mask is also fragrance and paraben free. Fragrances and artifical colourings can irritate the skin especially so, when it is hypersensitive, so make sure you choose products which don’t contain these. Again, if you are using an ‘overnight’ mask, makes sure you do this maximum 3 times a week.

Irritation can also occur around the eye area. This is because the eye area is incredibly thin and contains minimal sebum glands. Your skins natural oils (sebum) are naturally protective and help reinforce your lipid barrier, so it makes sense that this area of your face is even more exposed to external aggressors. The eye area still contains a high number of mast cells, which respond to irritants just as much as other skin areas. Give your eye area a break by using specially designed soothing eye mask, as most masks will stipulate to not use them around the eye area (except for the Bioderma Crealine/Sensibo Soothing Mask – you can use this one around the eye area as well as the rest of your face – bonus!). Two of my favourites are from Lonvitalite, in particular – their 24K Active Gold Eye Mask.

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The 24K Active Gold Eye Mask contains glycerin, azulene (which is a compound derived from chamomile, so it is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial – tick!), hyaluronic acid, niacinamide (vitamin B3) and propylene glycol (a humectant moisturiser). It also contains a few ‘anti-ageing’ ingredients (white mulberry extract, gold, collagen amino acids) and doesn’t contain fragrance.

The Collagen Crystal Eye Mask also contains fantastic ingredients to soothe and hydrate the eye area – but it does also contain fragrance. This is shouldn’t be toooo bad, because it is last on the ingredients list (which means it’s in the lowest concentration in comparison to the other ingredients) and this is a product designed for the delicate eye area. If your have very sensitive eyes, then you may want to stick to 24K Active Gold eye mask, while other beauties can give this one a go! The Collagen Crystal mask contains propylene glycol (a humectant moisturiser as I mentioned above), yeast beta-glucan (this is an interesting ingredient, because it is plant derived but stimulates the production of langerhan cells in our skin, whose job it is to protect and fight off bacteria and viruses, so it’s essentially part of our skin ‘immune system’ whilst instigating repair. As we age, beta-glucan helps our skins response system to activate and respond in a timely manor ;) ) and glycerin, panthenol, allantoin and green tea leaf extract. There’s also collagen elastin and coenzyme Q10 for added ‘anti-ageing’ properties. So you can see that the Collagen Crystal Eye Mask still contains some great ingredients! Both masks are available from Lonvitalite’s official website and Adore Beauty (who offer free shipping). The prices are a little different on both sites (cheaper via Lonvitalite but you have to factor in shipping, so make sure you compare both sites before ordering!).

Now once your redness and irritation has subsided, remember to be gentle with your skin. Use gentle products, stay out of the sun, wear sunscreen and use the masks a few times a week for about a month to really get your skin back into shape!

This gif will now teach us how else we can respond to respond to stressful situations :P

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Have you ever experienced hypersensitivity or irritation because of a product/ingredient or environmental factors?

Catch ya next time beauties,

Beauty Bee~ 

Nails of the Day: OPI’s Push & Pur-Pull

I’ve noticed that bright purple nail polishes are difficult to do. Even though I love the L’Oreal Colour Riche Le Vernis nail polishes, even their purple (Atomic Purple #829) nail polish was not crash hot. When I saw OPI’s neon collection (for summer 2014), I thought the nail polishes looked seriously fun! I originally just wanted to buy the shade Life Gave Me Lemons (a citrus colour somewhere in-between a lime and lemon lol) but then I gave in and bought the purple shade and the special base coat polish which is meant to make these neon nail polishes pop (if I’m buying two colours, I may as well get the base coat right?! :P)!

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Let me start of by saying that the base coat is terrible lol it’s super white and streaky (I expected the white to be a specific tone so that it could make other colours stand out) but the terrible consistency really threw me. Because the white base coat is so streaky and applies unevenly – whatever coloured polish you apply over it, also looks uneven. Push & Pur-Pull is already a little sheer itself, so I’m not sure how many coats I would have had to apply in order to make the white from underneath  showing through (I tried 3 coats, and it still looked awful and streaky, so I gave up and removed the polish). So the moral of my experience is – forgo the base coat lol

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The purple on it’s own is relatively good. It’s by no means terrible and I think the formula just gets a little getting used to. As I mentioned, the polish is a little sheer and can build up a little to much if you are not careful (the brush seems to apply to much product). But if you take your time, paint on a few coats carefully and as thinly as possible, the colour is quite gorgeous :) The more coats you apply, the darker the purple shade gets, but this I don’t mind. In the above photo I am wearing four thin coats. Yes it takes a little work, but as soon as you get a hang of the formula, subsequent coats are easy to paint on (and thiner coats dry more quickly!).

The finish this polish gives is a little strange (it’s actually very similar to the L’Oreal’s Atomic Purple) it’s almost matte and it reminds me of vinyl lol I dunno, I’m not a fan of the finish, but a regular top coat (mine is Sally Hansen’s Mega Shine topcoat) fixes that problem right up :) Do I think it’s a neon shade? Not really lol perhaps it would be if I could get away with just one or two coats but alas… Perhaps I should try it over another white nail polish and see how I go? To bad that white nail polishes are also uber difficult to get right lol But should I try this I will let you know!

For all the effort you put in to painting your nails, at least along with a good base and top coat, this nail polish still lasts a good week! Very decent longevity. I bought my nail polishes off Ebay, from a shop called outletnail.

What do you think of this shade? Have you had much experience with purple nail polishes? Please let me know if you have tried any of the nail polishes from this collection as I would love to know!

And finally – here are some extra shots of my garden – just because :)

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Let me know what you are currently rocking on your nails!

Until next time,

Beauty Bee

Review: Jurlique Sun Specialist Sunless Tanner

Hi Beauties! So it looks like the sunshine has arrived in Sydney (we are currently experiencing a ‘little’ heatwave haha)! Today it is currently 40 degrees where I am (that’s about 104 Fahrenheit I believe), so I am feeling a little pasty since technically the summer season hasn’t even begun and the sun is upon us in it’s full glory!

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Luckily for me, Jurlique have just released a new sunless tanner as part of their new Sun Specialist range. For me tanners should ‘undetectable’. They should impart just enough colour, without looking orange or over the top. And of course it should also not be streaky. Never be streaky!

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So what does Jurlique promise to deliver with it’s new sunless tanner?

“This lightweight, non-streaky tanner is designed to provide multi-benfits of a natural, golden sunless tan, protection from environmental aggressors and intense hydration. Specially formulated with Sweet Orange fruit extract to help gently produce a natural, bronzed glow, and new Superberry Complex, a fruit extract blend that delivers essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids to condition and protect the skin from environmental aggressors. With a hint of colour for an instant glow and Safflower Seed Oil to deeply hydrate, skin feels smooth, soft with a healthy-looking colour and luminosity. Creates a gradual, customised radiance that deepens with each application.

How to use this product - Gentle exfoliation prior to use is recommended. Apply evenly to clean skin as you would apply a daily moisturiser. For streak-free results, blend thoroughly to ensure all product  is absorbed and apply sparingly to elbows, knees, ankles and hairline. Allow to dry before dressing and wash hands thoroughly after use. Wait one hour before showering and swimming. Colour will develop in approximately two to four hours, depending on skin type and care. Reapply daily for a deeper colour and to maintain colour. Suitable for face and body.”

From the description I thought that this tanner almost sounded like a gradual tanning moisturiser (seeing as it’s build-able and hydrates deeply). As it is more on the expensive side, I hoped that it provided more colour than a gradual tanning moisturiser (this baby retails for $45). Luckily, it does provide more colour! I’ll start off by saying that while I am fair, tanning products usually work quite well on me because I have more of a neutral/yellow skin tone and I do naturally tan in summer. I think this tanning cream slash gel is yellow based and as such provides more of a golden bronze tan, rather than a red based chocolate tan.

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The cream feels very light and does feel gel like (but not completely). Now I’m no tanning pro – I can’t be bothered using a tanning glove or waiting 30 minutes naked for a tan to dry lol I like to apply tanning creams after a shower or bath (which I usually take at night) using them in place of my usual body cream or oil. I then wait an hour or two before going to bed so it settles and then wake up all sun kissed (well that’s usually the plan lol)!

I apply tanning creams where I would naturally tan quickly (i.e. my legs and sometimes my arms, shoulders and chest area). I never use fake tan on my face because I don’t think my other skincare products would work quite as well if they had to be applied over the top of tanning cream. Also, the tanning agent in 95% of tanning products (DHA) does naturally attract a few free radicals to the skin upon intense sun exposure and I’d rather not risk using it on my face (plus if I’m honest, it’s way to much effort for me – and more on the free radical business down below). If you are like using tanning product on your face, then this cream slash gel should work well both on the body and face because of it’s light texture. Luckily, applying this tanning cream after a bath or shower (once towelled off of course) applies very well without leaving any streaks.The application is ‘sweetend’ by the creams scent of sweet oranges <3 Love!

The tanning cream/gel has a light caramel colour to it once out of the tube, so directly after application your skin is automatically *subtly* sunkissed. One application results in a very natural light tan (perfect for those of you who don’t naturally tan in summer). A second application results in medium golden tan. I waited a day inbetween applications and I also shaved my legs in the bath right before the second application. While the colour slightly faded after shaving (since shaving naturally remove some dead skin cells from your skin), the second  application still layered beautifully.

At the moment, I think a medium golden tan is most natural looking for ‘spring’, but of course – you could keep building up the colour! Now during my second application, I did get a little lazy and I didn’t rub in the tan quite as diligently as I should have on one arm – so one of my wrists is a little uneven in colour (you can see where the tan ends and my natural skin tone begins). It’s not super noticeable because the tan does look so natural – but – being a decent tanning product that imparts colour and all, you still need to take a little more care when slapping it on (unlike your regular moisturiser).

Unfortunately, the scent of sweet oranges fades and once your tan has developed, and then your left with a pretty standard fake tan scent. I do love the sweet orange scent upon application however (and because the sweet orange is from an extract, it doesn’t smell artificial)! While I wouldn’t say that the product dries out my skin (like some tanning products can) I can’t say that I experienced ‘deep’ hydration. I think you should most definitely still use an additional body moisturiser/oil to help extend the life of your tan. Safflower oil and glycerin does impart some moisture into your skin, so after application your skin doesn’t feel dry at all. To keep your skin comfortable for a longer period of time, once your tan has developed, I would recommend using that additional moisturiser,

Note: Now I did mention that DHA can induce or attract free radicals (which it does) and these free radicals work by breaking down the amino acids and protein within your skins layers. Intense sun exposure does not help with this process. What is fantastic and quite innovative, is that Jurlique have added antioxidant plant extracts into their tanning cream to help counteract this process (most tanning products don’t do this). I still believe fake tan is better than a real sun tan – and like everything, if you use sunless tanner in moderation and stay out of the sun when UV rays are high to – extreme – you should be fine! Protecting your skin with sunscreen and moisturisers containing antioxidants is fabulous the best thing you can do for it long term. I keep fake tan around for the warmer months, and I give my skin breaks – as I said, moderation is key and be smart about your skin care ;)

Here is the full list of ingredients for the Jurlique Sunless Tanner -

Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Carthamus tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dihydroxyacetone, Heptyl Undecylenate, Saccharide Isomerate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Behenyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Erythrulose, Hydrolyzed Citrus aurantium dulcis Fruit Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Echinacea purpurea Extract, Viola odorata Extract, Viola tricolor Extract, Trifolium pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Bellis perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Arctium lappa Root Extract, Stellaria media (Chickweed) Extract, Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) Extract, Usnea barbata (Lichen) Extract, Tasmannia lanceolata Fruit Extract, Syzgium leuhmanii Fruit Extract, Kunzea pomifera Fruit Extract, Fragrance/Parfum*, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Caramel, SD Alcohol 40-A (Alcohol Denat.), Benzyl Alcohol, Sclerotium Gum, Lecithin, Myristyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Lauryl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Limonene*, Linalool*, Amyl Cinnamal*, Citral*, Citronellol*, Geraniol*.

You can find Jurlique’s Sunless Tanner on their official website here. Jurlique is becoming more accessible (boutiques and counters are popping up all around the world) so you should be able to find a stockist for their products on their webiste. Adore Beauty don’t seem to stock it just yet (but I’m sure they will!).

I thought this graphic was hilarious and is so spot on lol the sun is powerful! We don’t often think of it as a star – and it is :)

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Are you a fan of fake tans beauties? What are your go to products? I was always a bigger fan of gradual tanning moisturisers, but I’m loving this Jurlique tan at the moment! The Elle Bache Great Tan (another fab Australian skincare company) is another goodie I fell in love with last summer (I only tested a sample and that sample lasted me for aggges) so I might have to do a comparison with that tanning cream also :)

Now, don’t mind me while I pass out from the heat :P

Beauty Bee~