Review: Gorgeous Cosmetics Prism Powder Highlighter

I loooove highlighters. They just bring so much light and magic back into your skin, I almost feel like they are magical* But at the same time, a lot of highlighters can be garish and instead of making your skin looks healthy from within, they make your skin look unnatural and harsh – so not what we want.

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I wanted to try the Gorgeous Cosmetics Prism Highlighter because it looked so soft, pink and delicate. I had never tried anything from Gorgeous Cosmetics before this highlighter, so my hopes were high! As an Australian, higher-end makeup brand, they aren’t super well known and I think this is because they only have a few stand alone (flagship) stores and aren’t sold in many retailers – however they been around for a while and are branching out – not only can you buy their products from their own official website, but other e-retailers have also taken them on board (like Adore Beauty, where I bought my highlighter from!).

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Here is what Gorgeous Cosmetics say about their Prism highlighter:

Prism’s multi-dimensional reflective properties give you a sophisticated shimmer. This transparent and pearlised, luminous powder gives skin a gorgeous subtle sheen. Prism’s soft particles are so finely milled that they reflect and diffuse the light, reducing the appearance of imperfections. Use as a highlighter to create catwalk cheek bones and backstage brows, by sweeping delicately along cheek and brow bones. 12gms.”
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 The black rubber packaging feels nice and sturdy. I like that the packaging is simple, yet well made. I love the embossed ‘Gorgeous’ in the pan – beautiful simplicity! The powder itself is indeed, super finely milled. You can see really teeny tiny sparkles in the pan, but nothing scary. The light pink colour of the powder itself should work for most skin tones as there is some translucency to it. The sparkles do show up on the skin, but because they are so very fine and because the pink shade is almost a translucent neutral pink – the highlighter is very subtle in regards to it’s effect. The powder doesn’t have a strong reflective quality to it, I would almost describe it like a ‘diffuser’ of light rather than a ‘highlighter’ in the traditional notion of the word. Because of it’s pink tone, I wouldn’t use this as an all over powder, but if you are very pale or fair, you could get away with using this guy as a blush.
Those of you who are scared of highlighters and all that can go wrong with them, would love this powder so much, because it really is fool proof. I tried to pack on the highlighter in the photos below, but it doesn’t build up after a certain point. Not all highlighters need to be super reflective, and it does give you that sophisticated, ‘expensive’ skin look which many beauties will love!
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 Above: A swatch of Gorgeous Cosmetics Prism Highlighter.
 I think it’s worth having a more subtle and natural looking highlighter in your kit – I personally don’t think that all highlighters have to sparkle (lighter shades of powders or cream will also highlight the high points of your face) and with Prism, you get the best of both worlds, a very subtle shimmer, which is still totally sophisticated and almost undetectable. It all depends on what mood you are in and what look you are going for. Prism is perfect for day time looks and even work. The other highlighter I recently reviewed for you beauties was the Bikor Kyoto Highlighter, which has a pearly sheen to it, more reminiscent of a traditional highlighter (but not over the top or garish – I just love it) and below you can see the powders next to each other and their swatches.
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Above L-R: Gorgeous Cosmetics Prism Highlighter and Bikor Cosmetics Kyoto Highlighter
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Above: I tried to capture the Gorgeous Cosmetics Prism Powder Highlighter on my cheeks, but as you can see, it’s so subtle it is difficult to capture on camera. Perfect for that ‘no makeup, makeup look’! 
Even though it is a very subtle highlighter, it is still beautiful and I’m glad I bought it. This highlighter will set you back $49 and if you buy it from Adore Beauty, free postage is included with every order!
Have you tried any products from Gorgeous Cosmetics beauties? Are you a fan of subtle highlighters or are you into the more reflective highlighters?
Catch ya next time!
Beauty Bee~

Review: Garnier Miracle Skin Cream & Miracle Eye Cream

Garnier sent me their newest offerings to trial and I was happy because the Miracle Skin Cream sounded really promising (calling it a ‘miracle’ cream creates a lot of high hopes!). There’s a few things I want from my daily day cream – firstly, hydration (both humectant and occlusive ingredients would be fab). Secondly, anti-oxidants to help protect my skin from oxidative stress and free radicals, so ingredients like vitamin C and green tea. The other important ‘ingredient’ is sunscreen, however I don’t mind using a separate sunscreen if I have to, however if it is high enough, having it combined with a great moisturiser is a time saver (and who doesn’t want that!). What would I want my miracle cream to achieve? To make my tired skin look awake, illuminated and feel fresh!

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Here is what Garnier promises to deliver with it’s Miracle Skin Cream:

A breakthrough formula with 12 patents that combines self-adjusting technology with anti-ageing benefits for an instant & long-lasting transformation. Instantly, its self-adjusting formula is enriched with micro-pigments that provide natural coverage by adjusting to match your skin tone. Skin is immediately flawless, radiant and appears visibly younger. Enriched with 7 anti-ageing actives* + SPF 15 protection, fights against the signs of ageing for lasting results. In 28 days, wrinkles and imperfections are reduced, complexion is more even and skin is firmer.

*An anti-ageing complex of 7 active ingredients: LHA, Pro-Retinol, Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, firming peptides, anti-oxidant ginger.

The cream is light and smells floral but fresh. It is quite fragranced so if you are sensitive to smell or have very sensitive skin, this cream may not be for you (fragrance is listed quite high in the ingredient list, so there must be quite a bit of it in there). What I notice very quickly with this cream is that it is tinted. I honestly don’t believe that the cream can ‘adjust itself’ to match your skin tone. I think that upon rubbing the cream onto your skin, the heat releases the pigments which are a medium warm tone, but are translucent at the same time. The tint doesn’t actually offer any coverage like a tinted moisturiser would (minimal coverage), but rather I think they were trying to add just a little bit of colour and warmth into the complexion. The problem with this is, that if you have a cool complexion or even a neutral skin tone, it can make you look a little funny. If you apply makeup over the top of the moisturiser, it isn’t very noticeable, however I just feel like it looks like a bad fading self tan whenever I wear it. I really, really dislike ‘tinted’ skincare products. I don’t think products can do 1000 different things amazingly well, so I wish they had just concentrated on 3 or 4 tasks and done those incredibly well. The eye cream is unfortunately also tinted. This makes the eye cream even tricker to use, because the pigments are encapsulated in little beads. You need to rub the cream into your skin for the beads to disappear and release colour. I don’t know about you, but I don’t rub my eye cream underneath my eye area, I dab it on, as gently as possible. I’ve tried ‘dabbing’ this eye cream on but the pigments make the eye cream look more visible than it should be and it’s difficult to distribute the pigment evenly. Why oh why did they do this?!

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Above: Garnier Miracle Skin Cream

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Above: Garnier’s Miracle Skin Cream rubbed into the back of my hand a little.

Back to the day cream itself, it is great that Garnier have used some fabulous skin care ingredients like vitamin B3 (niacinamide) which you beauties know I love because it hydrates the skin, helps reduce inflammation and evens out the skin tone – and it is at the top of a very long ingredient list (a really good thing!). The cream also contains LHA, which if you remember my Acids 101 post, is a great yet gentle exfoliant, perfect for sensitive skins. What makes me scratch my head is the combination of vitamin A (retinol), salicylic acid and vitamin C, as any AHAs or BHAs (like salicylic acid) and vitamin C, degrade the ability of vitamin A (retinol) to convert within your skin into it’s active form. It makes the addition of vitamin A a little redundant. Plus, retinol can make your skin sensitive to the suns rays, so adding it into a day cream doesn’t make much sense to me. Using vitamin C in the mornings is perfect, however I want to know how much vitamin C I am getting from my products so I know if they are working to their best ability and Garnier of course doesn’t tell us how much Vitamin C is in their moisturiser. The day cream also contains an spf of 15+ which is good (better than nothing!) but not great – if you live in Australia or are a skin care fanatic, you need to use a sunscreen of at least 30+ daily. The cream hydrates my normal to combination skin well, however I don’t know that it is ‘extremely’ hydrating, so very dry skin could suffer using this day cream.

This day cream will set you back $20 in Aus. Would I repurchase it? No. I wanted to like this cream, but the tint of the cream really puts me off. If the cream lightly highlighted and illuminated the skin without any obvious shimmer, then I would love it – but the addition of a ‘skin tint’, will not suit everybody. The ingredients list isn’t terrible – it has some nice additions in there, but as I mentioned, I’d rather my moisturiser do a few tasks extremely well (like moisturise and contain anti-oxidants) rather than try and fight countless skin conditions in one go. That might be a nice idea, but it’s difficult to achieve.

Ingredients: AQUA / WATER, GLYCERIN, E T H Y L H E X Y L S A L I C Y L AT E , N I A C I N A M I D E , DIMETHICONE, ALCOHOL DENAT., OCTOCRYLENE,BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE, ISOPROPYL ISOSTEARATE, PHENYLBENZIMIDAZOLE SULFONIC ACID, BEHENYL ALCOHOL, TRIETHANOLAMINE,PHENOXYETHANOL, POLYACRYLAMIDE, PARFUM / FRAGRANCE, AMMONIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYLTAURATE / STEARETH-25 METHACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER,DISODIUM STEAROYL GLUTAMATE, OCTYLDODECANOL, CETYL ALCOHOL, DIMETHICONE/VINYL DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER, TITANIUM DIOXIDE [NANO] /TITANIUM DIOXIDE, MANNITOL, PEG-100 STEARATE, PTFE, DIMETHICONOL, C13-14 ISOPARAFFIN, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE,ASCORBYL GLUCOSIDE, PANTHENOL, ARACHIDYL ALCOHOL, HYDROXYPROPYL TETRAHYDROPYRANTRIOL, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, CAPRYLOYL SALICYLIC ACID,DISODIUM EDTA, LAURETH-7, ZEA MAYS STARCH / CORN STARCH, CARBOMER, CETEARYL GLUCOSIDE, ZINGIBER OFFICINALE ROOT EXTRACT / GINGERROOT EXTRACT, RETINYL LINOLEATE, STEARIC ACID, ALUMINA, HYDROGENATED LECITHIN, LINALOOL, SILICA [NANO] / SILICA, BENZYL SALICYLATE,LIMONENE, HYDROLYZED RICE PROTEIN, BENZYL ALCOHOL, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, GERANIOL, CITRAL, [+/- MAY CONTAIN: CI 77891 / TITANIUMDIOXIDE, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 / IRON OXIDES].

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Now onto the Eye Cream promises:

Garnier Miracle Skin Cream Eye instantly smooths, brightens, illuminates and corrects dark circles. Consistent use reduces theappearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and firms skin. Contains 7 anti-ageing actives, and provides natural coverage that adjusts tomatch your skin tone. Instant transformation:
The unique self-adjusting formula of Garnier Miracle Skin Cream Eye blends upon contact with the skin. It immediately corrects the visible signs of ageing around the eye contour area. Instant visible results: Illuminates and brightens eyes. Smooths the eye contour area. Reduces signs of fatigue from morning until night.

A formula enriched with: 
– LHA
– Pro-retinol
– Vitamin E
– Vitamins B5
– Firming peptides
– Antioxidant ginger
– Argan protein

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Above: Garnier Miracle Skin Cream Eyes

The biggest plus of this eye cream for me is that it contains an spf of 20+ which is so good, as most eye cream don’t include sunscreen protection. Most facial sunscreens are generally ok to use around the eye area (unless the product specifies otherwise), however if spf is included in your eye cream, then that is one less thing to worry about! Vitamin A or retinol, is great to use around the eye area so your skin regenerates and cell turnover increases, but again, using it in the day time is risky. As the product contains sunscreen you are getting some protection to counter-act the UV sensitivity retinol can cause, however if there was a decent amount of retinol in the product, I don’t think they would have added it into a day eye cream. I can’t imagine using this eye cream at night because it is tinted, so it must be designed for day time use only. If it has a lower level of retinol, then it will only really help those with unproblematic skin which isn’t showing the first signs of wrinkles or ageing. The tint in this eye cream again is my biggest issue with the product, however it is nicely moisturising. For $20 it’s not a terrible product, however I would recommend you reach for something else if your under eye area is dehydrated or if you are showing fine lines or wrinkles. I want my eye cream to give a punch when it comes to active ingredients and moisturise like no other. Unfortunately this eye cream does nothing for my under eye circles, which is a shame as I struggle with the darkness under my eyes. Would I repurchase this product? No.

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Above: The eye cream contain little white beads which hold pigment. Garnier says that the beads are invisible, which isn’t true as you can pick them up on camera (and even more so in person).

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Above: Garnier Miracle Skin Cream Eyes rubbed into the back of my hand a little (you can see that not all of the white beads have yet released their pigment).

Ingredients: AQUA / WATER, GLYCERIN, ETHYLHEXYL SALICYLATE, OCTOCRYLENE, DIMETHICONE, ISOPROPYL ISOSTEARATE, PTFE, ALCOHOL DENAT.,DIMETHICONE/VINYL DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER, BEHENYL ALCOHOL, PHENOXYETHANOL, POLYACRYLAMIDE, AMMONIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYLTAURATE/STEARETH-25 METHACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, DISODIUM STEAROYL GLUTAMATE, CETYL ALCOHOL, MANNITOL, PEG-100 STEARATE, ARGANIA SPINOSAKERNEL EXTRACT, DIMETHICONOL, C13-14 ISOPARAFFIN, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, METHYLPARABEN, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, PANTHENOL, ARACHIDYL ALCOHOL, RETINYL LINOLEATE, CAPRYLOYL SALICYLIC ACID, DISODIUM EDTA , LAURETH-7, ZEA MAYS STARCH / CORN STARCH, CARBOMER, CETEARYLGLUCOSIDE, SODIUM COCOYL GLUTAMATE, ZINGIBER OFFICINALE ROOT EXTRACT / GINGER ROOT EXTRACT, HYDROGENATED LECITHIN, SILICA [NANO] /SILICA, HYDROLYZED RICE PROTEIN, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, CITRAL, [+/- MAY CONTAIN: CI 77891 / TITANIUM DIOXIDE, CI 77491, CI 77492,CI 77499 / IRON OXIDES] (F.I.L. B162653/1).

Sorry my beauties, these products just didn’t work for me – however, these products could still work for you if you don’t need to much moisture (if you have oily skin for example), are on a budget and if you think the tint of the creams would work for your skin tone. I’m definitely not against drug store skin care products, I just hate tinted skin care products with a passion lol (that also includes Clinique’s Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector – terrible…).

If you would like to see what skin care products I am currently using in the mornings, check out my Morning Routine Skin Care post here!

Are you a fan of Garnier skin care products beauties? I think I have only tried their makeup remover and skin care wipes, so a moisturiser from the company is a first for me. Let me know of your experiences with the brand and products!

Until next time beauties,

Beauty Bee~

Review: Estee Lauder’s Little Black Primer

I’m back beauties!!! The end of the semester was mental and I’m sooo happy to be back at it and have some time for myself again. Luckily during this ‘break’ from the blog, I got so many great ideas that I can’t wait to get started on :) But today I have a product review for you, which I have been able to test thoroughly over the last couple of weeks – Estee Lauder’s Little Black Primer. The product is a mascara primer which is black instead of the usual white. How obvious yet innovative at the same time lol Estee Lauder is the first (and probably now won’t be the last) to release a totally black mascara primer.

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I love mascara primers because while I have long lashes, I crave volume. Primers thicken up your lashes because you are of course adding an extra layer to your lashes, but it shouldn’t make your usual mascara look clumpy or crusty. Mascara primers are usually enriched with some added treatment ingredients, to help condition your lashes. Because my favourite mascara in the world is the original Dior Diorshow mascara, I have also been using the Dior Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum (what a mouthful!). The Dior mascara primer is good, however I didn’t feel to bad giving another primer a whirl, because who isn’t on the look out for something a little better? ;) I used to also use the Clinique Mascara Primer back in the day which was fabulous (and cheaper) but it was a pain in the butt to find and repurchase, so I just gave up on that mission.

Here is what Estee Lauder claim their Little Black Primer will do for your lashes:

“Think of it as the little black dress for lashes. Unlike traditional lash primers that are white, this primer is tinted black, so you can use it on its own.

Three ways to wear it:

Tint: Colours and lifts bare lashes so they stay silky black throughout the day and even overnight.

Amplify: As a primer, it’s the optimal mascara base for volume, lift and length.

Set: Brush over mascara for a long-wearing, water-resistant topcoat that helps reduce smudging and flaking.

No well-dressed lashes should be without it.”

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When I excitedly opened up my very new new mascara primer, I was actually disappointed by the brush. It just looked so ‘meh’. Nothing fancy indeed. It looks like an ordinary curved mascara brush, that ‘curling mascaras’ always have. The bristles are quite short and this isn’t a silicone brush. I’m used to seeing big bristles on mascara primers because those brushes usually go with volumising mascaras.

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Above: The wand and brush of Estee Lauder’s Little Black Primer. I had a very difficult time trying to get my camera to focus on the brush lol I think the white flowers behind it were to distracting…

However, I found the brush to be pretty darn good at applying the primer to the lashes! My lashes have a natural curl to them, so I can’t tell you if it does indeed help to curl lashes (and hold the curl), but it separates them well, applies without any clumps or glugginess. You could as Estee Lauder suggests, wear the primer on it’s own for very natural but yet defined lashes. The primer on it’s own doesn’t add any volume to my lashes, but it does add some length. If you are after simplicity and perhaps a multi-tasker – this guy is it! The primer layers beautifully under your regular mascara and does give your regular mascara that little bit of ‘lift’ (both length and volume). I couldn’t find any info on the mascara primer working as a lash conditioner, but that isn’t a deal breaker for me. Here is how the primer works on my lashes!

Photo one is me with no product on my eye lashes. Because I used a little bit of black eyeshadow on my lash line, the camera didn’t pick up any of my natural lashes lol I naturally have quite long lashes, but they are light at the base and darken as you go up the lash (so they do look mostly black).

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With one coat, as I mentioned, lashes look defined but very natural.

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With mascara over the top, I get the effect that I am after – thicker, longer and more defined lashes.

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Not bad eh?

Estee Lauder’s Little Black Primer will set you back $45 in Aus. Usually I would pair any mascara primer with my fav mascara – the original Diorshow mascara – but when my boyfriend was off to the States I asked him to pick up the EL Little Black Primer primer along with Dior’s Diorshow mascara, but the poor lad got confused and bought me Dior’s Iconic mascara instead, so I’ve been wearing that lately (and it’s what I’m wearing with the Estee Lauder Little Black Primer in the photo above). It’s not bad and gives a very similar effect to Diorshow but it does transfer a little onto my brow bone unlike Diorshow, so once I’ve used it up, I will go back to my tried and tested fav!

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Would I buy the Little Black Primer again? I would :) I would say that it’s very comparable to Dior’s Lash Plumping Serum. I also heard that the Smashbox mascara primer is fab, so just maybe I will give that one a go next.

Here is my finished makeup of the day look btw :) You may have seen the photo as I posted it up on FB showing off my new haircut ;) Join me on FB if you haven’t already!

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I noticed of course that Estee Lauder got Kendall Jenner to be the face of this new release. How do you you feel about celebrity endorsed products? I can see that her current popularity might be well received by the ‘younger generation’, but I almost feel like using her as the cash cow is a little… tacky? I don’t know, I just don’t see the appeal but whatever floats your boat! I only buy a product based on the product itself, not on who is endorsing it, but the celebrity endorsements do get irritating…

Do you use a mascara primer ever? Does the Little Black Primer look appealing to you?

Catch ya next times beauties!

Beauty Bee~

 

Review: Rodial’s Dragon’s Blood Eye Masks & Super Acids X-treme Hangover Mask

Today beauties, I have two skincare goodies to review for you :) Both come from the UK brand, Rodial. It’s a brand which I have heard and seen about the place, but I had never tried any of their goodies before. Not only can you find their products in Priceline now (how easy and convenient is that!) but I noticed that their eye masks not only have a cool name (hellooo – dragon’s blood anyone?) but they are also made out of bio-cellulose! I loooove bio-cellulose because it is the most premium ‘sheet mask’ material you can get (you may remember my spiel on why bio-cellulose is superior in my Bel Mondo Beauty Facial Sheet Mask review). And then the super charged lime green Super Acids X-treme Hangover Mask also caught my eye, as I’m on an acids kick lately (not the drugs kids, just the skincare type ;) ).

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Rodial Dragon’s Blood Eye Masks 

I’m a big fan of eye care products (so both eye creams and eye masks) because the skin around your eyes is such a delicate area. It’s one of the first areas on your face which show the signs of ageing and as I put my eyes through some torture (late nights studying or marking on the computer and suffering from migraines will make you look oh so tired and accentuate under eye circles) I want to do everything I can to make them happy and look more rested. But I do admit, it’s hard to find good quality eye care products which actually work – so I was happy to test out Rodial’s offering for myself (oh and I did buy these products with my own hard earned cash btw)!

“A recent addition to the cult Dragon’s Blood range, these innovative eye masks combine the expertise in bio-cellulose technology with our unique dragon’s blood complex to intensely hydrate and moisturise the eye area. The dragons blood extract works as a second skin whilst soothing and repairing the skin cells. The Hyaluronic Acid works instantly to plump and hydrate, helping the eyes to appear firmer, plumper and younger! Arnica extract helps to reduce the look of under-eye puffiness and dark circles for an instant, brighter-eyed appearance. If your eyes are lacking life and starting to show signs of ageing this eye mask is your solution! “

  • Instantly plumps the skin and offers 24 hour hydration.
  • Elimination of blood pigments to reduce puffiness and inflammation around the eyes.

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Dragon’s blood isn’t a skincare ingredient you see around very often, but it has a lot of topical benefits! It isn’t a made up ingredient either, it’s actually the sap from a very special tree (croton lechleri) which is red – hence the name. This special tree grows in a few places in the world and one of those is the Amazon. Tribes living in the Amazon have used dragon’s blood for various skin ailments – stings, rashes, burns, sores, cuts and wounds. It contains antioxidant phenols (they may affect cell to cell signaling, receptor sensitivity and inflammatory enzyme activity) and help reduce inflammation, swelling (so great for the eye area) and protects active healthy cells. Dragon’s blood also contains proanthocyanidins, an antioxidant which protects skin cells from oxidation, prolongs the lifespan of vitamin E and C, and helps strengthen cell linings and the lattice like structure of proteins in the skin (like collagen). Another reason why it is used by Amazonian tribes is because it does have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral activity – so perfect for helping your skin heal from lesions but also great for reinforcing your skins delicate lipid barrier around the sensitive eye area.

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Above: A drop of dragon’s blood! 

One ingredient that the Rodial product description doesn’t mention (even though it’s quite high up in the ingredient list) is scutellaria baicalensis root extract – a root from a herb, most often used in traditional Chinese medicine. My research tells me that it’s an anti-allergin, often used to treat eczema, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, and also contains antiviral properties. Some of the flavonoids contained within the root boost skin thickness and the levels of matrix metalloproteinase, suggesting it’s great at repairing damaged caused by UVB rays. Not bad eh?

The other mentioned ingredient is arnica extract, which comes from a mountain flower. Arnica flowers have been used since the 1500s and it’s still a really popular extract in Polish eye creams and gels, because it’s anti-inflammatory, cooling and is great at minimising puffiness and swelling.

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Above: Arnica Flowers

The other ingredients include sodium hyaluronate (similar to but more stable than hyaluronic acid, which is a great humectant moisturiser), allantoin (soothing), hydrolyzed collagen (which is quite a large molecule and won’t actually penetrate the skin, but it does moisturise), glycerin (a humectant, occlusive moisturiser AND an emollient), morus alba bark extract (white mulberry – has antioxidant properties and reduces the production of melanin so it brightens skin tone) and witch hazel (de-puffing and tightens skin).

Remember that moisturisers allow your skin to work at full capacity so they are very much needed if you want to look young and fresh! The skin around our eyes is soooo fine with little to no sebaceous glands , so damage rears it’s head very quickly if you don’t take care of it. What I love is that these dragon’s blood eye masks are made out of bio-cellulose. Bio-cellulose is superior to other sheet mask materials because it was originally developed for medical use (for burns patients etc) as it covers the skin exceptionally well, aiding the healing process. It’s moldable, flexible and comfortable, allowing ingredients to fully penetrate into the skin. Bio-cellulose is made from cultured bacteria, so it’s even environmentally friendly and is bio-degradable. It feels like a gel like material and because of it’s structure, it can hold up to 100-times it’s weight in fluid – perfect for face masks! It is more expensive than other sheet mask materials, but it’s worth it as you are getting the most our of the mask formula and delivering it to your skin in the most comfortable and efficient way. You get 8 pairs of eye masks in your Rodial Dragon’s Blood Eye Masks box for $49.95, which isn’t to bad! That’s $6.25 per mask, not bad at all. I bought my box from Priceline and you can usually hold out and wait for a promotion before buying them (I bought mine when the Rodial line was discounted by 20%).

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So what do I think of them?

First of all, as with all bio cellulose masks, the eye masks are very comfortable to wear. The masks sit in-between two protective sheets, so that they don’t get damaged or get teared. I have noticed that sometimes one eye mask can be thicker or more opaque in colour compared to the other eye mask which is from the same pack. That’s a little odd, but I don’t think it changes how the mask works etc. Rodial suggest leaving the eye masks on for about 20-30 minutes which I think is ideal (sometimes if I forget about them being there, so I will leave them on for a bit longer). When you peel away the eye masks, there’s barely any serum left on your skin because your skin as absorbed the serum so well. The mask serum is hydrating. The skin around my eyes looks and feels more rested after these babies and any dehydration lines etc disappear. The one thing I think they could work on is the shape of the eye masks. The eye masks themselves reach down quite low onto your cheek, which isn’t bad per se, but they don’t entirely reach into the corner of my eye very well (it’s a little difficult to position the mask into the inner corner of my eye) and don’t cover my dark circles as well as I’d like. I think that’s a shame, because that’s where I want my skin to be especially hydrated so that my dark circles don’t become more pronounced. I’ve included an unflattering photo for you, just so you can see what I’m on about :)

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I don’t think they lighten my under eye circles or improve their look significantly, but because dryness is so detrimental to the eye area it does help my eyes look more rested generally and I know that I am helping to prevent fine lines and dehydration.

Would I buy Rodial’s Dragon’s Blood Eye Masks Again? Yes, I  would – but I will be on the look out for some other great eye masks also. They are easily accessible, are made out of a premium material and are still reasonably priced for the amount you get. You also can’t go wrong with a hydrating formula (I will still keep looking for a dark circle zapping miracle product!). I do wish they were shaped more like the Lonvitalite Collagen Crystal Eye Masks but alas.

Ingredients: Aqua(Water/Eau), Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Propanediol, Croton Lechleri Resin Extract, Olive Oil Glycereth-8 Esters,Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Carbomer, Arginine, Glyceryl Caprylate, Xanthan Gum,Panthenol, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Sodium Citrate, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin,Disodium EDTA, Parfum(Fragrance), Hydrolyzed Collagen, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract,Pentylene Glycol.

Rodial Super Acids X-treme Hangover Mask

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I think the name of this mask is fun but also smart – whenever your skin is feeling dry, dull and out of whack, this guy will come to the rescue! If you remember in my Acids Skincare 101 post, I spoke about how wonderful acids are – they not only exfoliate, removing dull dead skin cells, unclog pores, but they also stimulate your skin to produce more hyaluronic acid and collagen, which keep your skin plump and hydrated. I thought this mask was interesting because not only is it full of juicy fruit acids, but it also combines clay and probiotics. Interesting combination!

A triple action resurfacing clay mask to deeply cleanse, exfoliate and restore a healthy looking complexion. Pronalen fruit acids gently exfoliate and retexture whilst age-defying laracare and argireline exapeptide help to minimise the appearance of fine lines for skin that appears lifted with improved tone and texture. Beneficial biotilys probiotic technology helps strengthen and protect skin from daily external aggressions by boosting hydration. The perfect post-party recovery mask to revitalise skin.

  • Eliminates dead skin cells
  • Reduces appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Improves skin hydration
  • Boosts skin radiance

Kaolin clay (also known as China clay or white clay) is one of the main ingredients in this mask and it’s probably one of the most popular clays used in skincare. Kaolin helps to exfoliate and deeply cleanse the skin but it is still gentle as it’s very fine, so it is also recommended for sensitive skins. It has disinfectant properties and stimulates circulation, improving healing processes (perfect for treating breakouts and acne).

The other stars of the show are the fruit acids! Pronalen fruit acids are a concentration of passionfruit, lemon, grape and pineapple acids. These acids are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) which are water soluble and refine skin texture. They are perfect for refining surface scars like hyper-pigmentation, sun damage, wrinkles, fine lines and any bumps and lumps. To bump up the acid kick, Rodial have also added glycolic acid to their mask – also an AHA (derived from sugar cane). If skin texture is an issue for you – glygolic acid and fruit acids are your heroes <3

Probiotics are an exciting area of skincare, because some recent studies have shown great benefits for the skin when they are applied topically (internally they also work wonders, zapping skin inflammation).  Some studies have shown that probiotics decrease skin sensitivity, redness, inflammation and improve skin elasticity. That makes it a great pairing with acids, especially if you do have sensitive skin.

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How did I rate the mask?

I love this face mask. I thought I’d love the eye masks a bit more than the face mask (just because my eyes suffer so much) but this guy stole my heart! The texture of the mask is quite thin thanks to the fine kaolin clay and it has a pale green colour. It smells light and fruity and the scent reminds me of something I can’t quite put my finger on (I think perhaps some fruity chewing gum from my childhood?) but I love it! It dries down like a regular clay mask but it leaves your skin feeling so refreshed and clear. I have also tried this mask on days when I’m super tired and my skin is red and a little distressed, and not only did it remove some of the redness in my skin but it also didn’t irritate my skin one bit. The one odd aspect of this mask is, that the instructions only mention to leave the mask on your skin for a minimum of 5 minutes. So how long do you leave it on for? I’ve left it on for about 20 minutes before, with no irritation. If you have sensitive skin, perhaps leaving it on for 5 minutes to begin with is a good idea and then work your way up time wise. The green tube looks amazing and fresh, and I love that the mask comes out of a squeezy tube.

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The mask costs $49.95 at Priceline (though again, you can wait for a promotion and get this guy for a bit cheaper). I highly recommend this mask for whenever your skin is feeling dull, dry or blotchy.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Kaolin, Cera Microcrystallina, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Sodium Lactate, Phenoxyethanol,Glycolic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Ceteareth 20, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum(Pomegranate) Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Parfum (Fragrance), Galactoarabinan, Alcohol Denat, Ethylhexylglycerin, Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate, Passiflora Quadrangularis Fruit Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Acetyl Hexapeptide- 8,Sodium Bisulfite, Tetrasodium EDTA, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 19140 (FD & C Yellow No. 5), CI 42090 (FD & C Blue No. 1),Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool, Farnesol

Would I buy Rodial’s Super Acids X-treme Hangover Mask Again?

Yes – definitely! From the packaging, the scent of the mask and how it leaves my skin feeling (clear, soft, refined and soothed even) it’s the perfect pick me up – just like a mojito! :D Check out these mojito and kiwi inspired ice-blocks, amazing :)

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Have you tried any goodies from Rodial before? I’m so happy with my new picks, especially the Super Acids X-treme Hangover Mask <3 love, love, love!

Catch ya next time beauties,

Beauty Bee~

Review: Bikor Makeup – Kyoto Highlighter, Morocco Eyeshadow Quads no. 1 Palace Royal and no. 4 Marry Me

I have a ‘new’ makeup brand to introduce to you beauty bees, Bikor Makeup. I was so excited to find this brand, because there isn’t to many higher end, professional Polish makeup brands (besides maybe the well known Inglot makeup). For those of you who don’t know or who haven’t been following my blog for a while, my background is Polish, so I love keeping up to do with what is happening in the Motherland :) Not only does the aesthetic of the brand appeal to me, but so does their ethos, which is all about translating beauty to others using your own history and creativity. The range of the brand also surprised me, because I know the brand started out in 1992 with a bronzing powder called Egyptische Erde (which I do believe translates from German into English as Egyptian Land) which is still available, however their line now carries single eyeshadows, eyeshadow quads, a pressed powder highlighter, powder foundation, blushes and brushes (so it’s quite large), Bikor have been receiving great reviews in the Polish bloggasphere since their products reformulation and expansion, so I was itching to try some of their products. Luckily their website can be viewed in both Polish and English and they ship worldwide. The products have been reformulated and are made in Italy, so I was expecting great quality (plus, when a brand is founded by a makeup artists such as Bikor is, I assume that makeup artists want to create products which perform superbly and push the boundaries of innovation).

I decided to start with purchasing the Kyoto powder highlighter because I love highlighters and I love Kyoto (so that was an obvious and easy choice lol) plus two eyeshadow quads. Their eyeshadow quads look amazing and I love that they offer so many bright colours. It was soooo hard settling on just two eyeshadow quads (the quads are called Morocco Eyeshadows), but I did eventually choose no. 1 Palace Royal and no. 4 Marry Me.

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All the product I have so far are packaged in a matte black, plastic compact. The matte black elevates the packaging so it doesn’t feel cheap. All of the powders are also scented with this sweet vanilla caramel scent (a little bit like MAC lipsticks) which I am in love with! It’s not something which is needed, but I think it adds a nice touch. Once the powders have been app[lied to your face, you can’t detect the scent at all, so it is rather the compact perhaps, more so than the powders.

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Above: Kyoto Highlighter

All of the powders, whether it is the highlighter or the eyeshadows are so so soft. I think this is also because the formulations contain skin loving oils and vitamins. This gives them that almost ‘creamy’ feel to the touch. The Kyoto Highlighter contains very fine shimmer, which leans towards very light pink and pearl tones, This is one of those ‘sophisticated’ highlighters, which isn’t garish and is hard to over-do.

Play of Light & Shadows – Unparalleled selection of components and it’s structure created based on the formula with the highest degree of micronization, enable the KYOTO highlighter to condition the skin, not only optically evening it out but also imparting a beaming and luminous look to it. 

Care – The unique formula of the KYOTO highligher includes emollients which actively condition the skin and are used in creams. Vitamins A and E softens and smooths the epidermis, increases the elasticity and connective tissue, preventing dehydration. Supports cellular renewal, has the ability to neutralise free radicals, thus protecting against oxidation and damage to collagen and elastin fibers responsible for skin springiness. It slows down the ageing process of the complexion by creating a natural antiradical shield. Sweetbrier Oil characterised by intense properties that help condition and regenerate the skin. The component has its application in sensitive and irritated skin care, possessing highly soothing and calming effects. It is extremely effective in the fight against skin that is dehydrated or devoid of color. Lecithin normalises metabolic processes of the epidermal cells and increases it’s overall degree of hydration. Coconut Oil provides vitamins and minerals . It is an unmatched component with natural antioxidants delivering potent nutrition, regardless of thermal fluctuations. It softens the skin, restoring its elasticity. Lanolin by moisturising the skin in an indirect manner, it forms an occlusive layer that prevents excessive water evaporation. It perceptibly smooths the epidermis, rebuilding the lipid barrier. Does not contain parabens, hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested. 

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It’s difficult to confirm the skincare benefits of makeup products, but hey, if they do something, even in a very small percentage then that’s better than nothing! I’d rather they try! I can’t say that the highlighter moisturisers my skin, but as I mentioned, it’s so uber soft to the touch, and it doesn’t highlight any dry patches on my skin which is a bonus. It doesn’t accentuate pores and because of it’s texture is blends beautifully on the skin, so it almost looks like it has blended itself out for you (you can’t pick up any harsh lines), maybe ‘airbrushed’ is the right description!

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Above: Swatch of Kyoto Highlighter

It’s difficult to pick up all of the tones of the highlighter on camera, but as it’s a traditional pearly shade (pearl and pink particles), so it should suit most skin tones. I packed on the highlighter in the photo below and not only does it still not look over the top, but it just makes my skin look diffused – as if perfections have been blurred away and I have a glow from within!

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I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this highlighter and at $52 US dollars, I think it’s an adequate price.  Perfect for everyday but also for evenings out where you still want to look sophisticated ;)

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Now to the Morocco eyeshadow palettes! Both palettes comes with two matte eyeshadows and two shimmery/stain eyeshadows. I love that both the no. 1 Palace Royal (the purple toned palette) and no.4 Marry Me (the more neutral toned palette) come with mattes, as mattes will ground any shimmery shades and make them look more sophisticated. I do prefer matte eyeshadows for everyday looks over shimmery shades (that’s just my personal preference) but sometimes you do want that added drama and sparkle.

The Face of Color – The very high level of pigmentation, the color combinations and the unique silky texture of MOROCCO eyeshadows offer a virtually unlimited spectrum of eye makeup possibilities. They may vary from ‘nude’ effect natural, matte, or satin, to smokey eyes – expressive and metallic. Moreover, the eyeshadows also include components that condition the skin of your eyelids. Thanks to out original micronization process and near creamy texture, each layer adheres to the eyelids to prevent crumbling and deposition of eyeshadows in the eyelid crease. The unique formula of MOROCCO eyeshadows enables you to use it dry or wet, making it a great substitute for an eyeliner. The wet application extends the longevity of the eyeshadows. Keep in mind that the applicator (brush) should be only slightly moistened. In both cases apply the base (OSLO compact powder) under the eyeshadow first. The idea here it to allow combining different eyeshades to create new colours. Does not contain parabens, hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested. 

The eyeshadows just as the highlighter (if not more so) are buttery soft. The pigmentation of all the shades, especially the mattes is phenomenal. The mattes are as creamy as Urban Decay matte eyeshadows (which I rate highly and enjoy using) but I think they are even more pigmented. I have no trouble blending the matte eyeshadows.

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Above: Morocco Eyeshadow Palette in No. 4 Marry Me

Marry Me could be your everyday makeup kind of palette if you are into neutrals, but want a little colour to lift your complexion. The individual shades in the palette don’t have names from what I can tell. The top left hand shade is a pearly satin white. It has some transparency to it, but I think that’s to stop it from becoming a frosty white. The shimmer in the eyeshadow is very fine and understated. These white shade is my kind of highlighter eyeshadow – not over the top. The gold metallic eyeshadow on the top right of the palette, is soooo super creamy its almost like a dream :P It’s a light cool toned gold. The brown shade in the palette on the bottom left, is a dark cool brown. totally matte and yet very workable and blends out like a dream. The pink shade on the bottom right hand side is really interesting, because on my skin at least, it applies as a medium toned pink, looking almost like a salmon pink. It isn’t a pastel or wishy-washy pink. It’s also totally matte and very pigmented.

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Swatches from the Morocco eyeshadow palette in no. 4 Marry Me

Palace Royal is a purple toned palette, also containing two matte eyeshadows and two super shimmery eye shadow shades.

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Above: Morocco Eyeshadow Palette in No. 1 Palace Royal

The top left shadow is a totally white matte shade, with a hint of pink to it. I think the pink warms it up slightly, and makes it a little less stark looking. It’s a good base eyeshadow and blends out very easily, thanks to it’s light tone. The top right hand eyeshadow on the other hand is a very dark eggplant purple. It almost looks like a dark navy in the pan, but it’s definitely purple. It’s maybe not as soft and buttery as the mattes in the Marry Me palette, but I think that’s because purples are more difficult pigments to work with (alway rebelling lol). It’s still lovely though. The bottom left eyeshadow is probably the most stunning shade in the palette. It’s quite  light violet metallic purple. Worn all over the eyelid, this colour would give you the most stunning bold purple eye look! It’s again, maybe not as soft as the gold metallic shade found in Marry Me, but it’s still decently pigmented and layers wonderfully. I’ll also note that the swatched below don’t capture the gorgeousness of this violet shade – it’s a lot more true to pan in person. The bottom right had shade is also a metallic, but more of a silver – maybe with a teeny tiny hint of warmness? It’s difficult to tell, but it’s super soft and shiny!

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Swatches from the Morocco eyeshadow palette in no. 1 Palace Royal

Each Morocco eyeshadow palette retails for $54 USD. I’m so happy with the quality of my Bikor makeup buys. Not only is the quality of the products great, but their customer service is top notch as well. Bikor ship worldwide, but when I went through the checkout process and picked Australia as my shipping destination, no shipping methods came up for me to choose from. I emailed Bikor and they replied to my query super quickly. I arranged to pay for the order via Paypal and the whole transaction went through smoothly. When you spend over $200 USD (or 150 euros or 120 GBP) you receive complimentary shipping. Shipping is via courier, so my order arrived in a matter of days, which amazed me (one day the order was showing as being in Poland and the next it was at my door).

I’m already thinking about what my next purchase might be – I’d love to try the all matte quad, no. 5 Bed & Breakfast and no. 3 Rainforest (a palette of greens), no. 7 Summer Break (blues) or perhaps no. 10 Wonderland (bright metallic glitters). The website is really well layed out and looks super professional, so have a browse and let me know what products appeal to you then most! Hopefully some of you beauties will be tempted to try a few of their goodies :)

Until next time!

Beauty Bee~

Review: Dr Lewinns Revitanail Whitening Glow

If you wear nail polish A LOT, then you might have run into the problem of yellowing nails. I think we can all agree that this is not the most attractive ‘look’. Some nail polish colours stain the nail bed more easily (reds, purples, blacks etc), so it makes sense that if you wear even light shades of nail polish over extended periods of time (without a break) they will stain your nails eventually to some degree. Of course, you have to rule out other health issues (such as nail infections/fungus etc) however, generally if you are healthy and you know that you have been wearing nail polish non-stop over the last few weeks/months, you can generally put it down to this cause. If you want to get even more technical and science-y, a good explanation of this phenomena is because your nails are made up of dead cells binded together and keratin. Keratin allows the movement of water throughout your nail bed and can also absorb water. Some of the pigments within nail polishes are a types of iron oxides. Iron oxide is often used to make yellow and red pigment and is what is found in rust (it’s what gives rust it’s orangey or red tone). A good base coat can sometimes act as a total barrier between your nail bed and coloured nail polish, however not all base coats are as good as each other and they can break down over time.

Not only is a break from nail polish a good idea if you find your nails starting to yellow, but once you start to paint them again, a whitening nail polish which is a translucent white colour can counter-act the yellow pigments in the nail bed (visually at least). As you can guess, I have been wearing nail polish way to often lately and found this to happen to my nails. I saw the new Dr Lewinns Revitanail Whitening Glow polish at my local chemist and decided to give it a go.

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This is what Dr Lewinns Revitanail claims this polish will do:

“An enhancing nail treatment providing an instant smoothing and perfecting effect. Makes yellow brittle nails natural looking, beautiful and bright. Contains perfecting White Sapphire and whitening peptide B-White to help brighten nails. Directions: Apply 1 coat for a sheer finish and 2 coats for a brighter look. Finish with 1 coat of Top Coat for a gel-like finish. Reapply top coat every 2 days for extended wear.”

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Pretty big claims huh lol I don’t know what or how the white sapphire and peptides are meant to work, but I was willing to give it a go. First of all, I tried the Whitening Glow product on its own, without any undercoat or top coat. The polish in itself isn’t strengthening which is a shame. After about 2-3 days the polish starts to chip and flake away quite dramatically. I then tried the polish on top of a strengthening base coat, which seemed to help it last and keep my nails in better condition. A top coat also helps with this of course. Even when using a base and top coat, the staying power of this nail polish isn’t the best ever. I start to notice wear after a few days and chips start to occur around day 4-5. One coat of the Whitening nail polish gives a very subtle look but it does minimise the yellow tone of nails.

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Above: One coat of Whitening Glow

A second coat of Whitening Glow gives you a whiter and brighter nail bed, however I do have to add that if you apply the nail polish to thickly (which is easy to do with this formula as it’s slightly on the thicker side) it can go streaky and look very uneven. I wouldn’t recommend applying more than two coats of this polish, because each layer takes a while to dry since it’s on the thicker side and if you apply a layer over half dry nail polish, you have to deal with unevenness, streaks and general messiness.

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Above: Two coats of Whitening Glow

If you are careful with your application and your prep and finish your nails with a base coat and a top coat, this product can make your nails look healthy and gives them a subtle and sophisticated glow. Because it is fussy and frustrating (who has time to wait 10 minutes or more in-between coats) I won’t be reaching for it to often.

I remember back in high school I used a whitening nail polish by Cutex and I am going to see if it is still available, as that nail polish was so easy to apply without the fear of streaks appearing and from what I remember, had awesome lasting power. Let’s *hope* it is still around so i can compare it to the Revitanail Whitening Glow.

Have you used a whitening nail polish before? Are there any that you recommend? Let me know below! :)

Until next time beauties,

Beauty Bee~

Review: L’Occitane Aromacholgie Collection

I love aromatherapy. The simplicity of altering your mood with scents just appeals to me. I think it’s also a little nostalgic for me – I remember when aromatherapy was ‘in’ in the 90s and my sister and I would go around to all of our local candle shops, collecting essential oils and candles. It seems that L’Occitane has also wanted to go back to basics and use the gorgeous pure essential oils they became famous for in their new collection. After all, Provence France is known for it’s flower crops, so there’s lots of delicious scented oils to be distilled. Here is what L’Occitane says about it’s Aromacholgie collection:

Since 1976 when rosemary was first distilled by our founder, Olivier Baussan, essential oils lie at the heart of L’OCCITANE research which creates formulas that combine their active ingredients with the benefits of their scents.
Our body care rituals contain Mediterranean essential oils and feature 100% natural scents which help to soothe or to revitalise body and mind.
Each of our hair care ranges contain a blend of five essentials oils brought together to act in perfect synergy to meet the needs of different hair types.

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The collection is made up of products designed to relax your body and mind (Aromacholgie Relaxing), to energise (Aromachologie Revitalising) and a whole variety of hair care products. I don’t have the whole collection (it’s pretty large!) but I have bought a selection of products from the Relaxing variety to the Revitalising.

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I haven’t been sleeping the best lately. I don’t have insomnia per se, but I’m so exhausted by the end of most days that I can’t fall asleep very quickly (you know the feeling?). It sux. So I was really really *hoping* and praying that L’Occitane’s Relaxing line of products would work their magic on me.

First up are the really cute and rustic looking Aromachologie Relaxing Perfumed Sachets. Filled with dried lavender and scented beads (only naturally scented with lavender, bergamot, sweet orange and geranium essential oils) these sachets are meant to naturally relax and soothe your mind. They are quite subtle in scent (nothing overly powerful or intense) with lavender being the most noticeable scent (though it is lightly sweet, so it isn’t a ‘dull’  and heavy or suffocating scent). L’Occitane recommends placing the sachets on your bedside table. I would recommend that you keep them in-between your bedsheets or pillows while you are out and about, so that your bed linen becomes lightly fragranced. As my dogs would automatically steal these sachets and devour them, I actually keep them in my cupboard. Keeping them in a confined space intensifies the subtle scent. If I kept them out in the open, I have a feeling the scent would become a little to diffused and un-noticeable, so this works for me a little more. I love that they are cloth/linen bags and work so well in cupboards and drawers. They come in sets of twos for $20, so I have a feeling I will be getting a few more of these.  They aren’t an essential product to have, but they enhance your bedroom space and home is all about the little touches right?

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Next up is one of the products I was most excited about, the Relaxing Essential Oil Blend. A blend of 100% pure essential oils (made up of lavender, bergamot and orange organic essential oils). The scent is very similar to the Relaxing Perfumed Sachets however as it is concentrated, the scent is obviously more intense. You shouldn’t use the essential oil blend undiluted – however there is a variety of ways you can use it. You can either add about 15 drops of the essential oil blend into a warm bath for a relaxing treat (which isn’t to oily) or make your own scented body oil by adding a few drops of the blend into a carrier oil (e.g. jojoba or argan oil etc.). My favourite way to use it, is in an oil burner. I add about 5 drops into some water and then relax while the oil evaporates, filling the room with a gorgeous soothing scent. The sweet lavender scent is just perfect.

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Pure essential oils always come in little bottles, as you only need a few drops per use. The relaxing Essential Oil Blend comes with 10ml of oil and costs $25. I light my oil burner as soon as I get home from work and it helps me to unwind slowly throughout the evening. I find this really helps me to fall asleep quicker once it is bedtime.

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The other product I had super high hopes for was the Relaxing Pillow Mist. You can use this mist over your pillows and bedding right before going to bed or as a room spray. The spray is also made up of the same essential oil blend found in the other relaxing products – lavender, bergamot, mandarin, sweet orange and geranium, however, this blend is a little more woody and has some more depth to it. As it is supposed to induce you to fall asleep, I think it makes sense that it is a little more ‘heavy’. It isn’t my favourite scent out of all the products but I actually think it works. It’s woody and specific in scent, but I wouldn’t say that it is offensive or to strange. Every time I have used it, I have fallen asleep quicker and haven’t tossed and turned as much as I usually do.

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I love that the pillow mist comes in a heavy glass bottle. It’s very classic and feels luxurious also. You get 100ml of product for $30. I would expect that this bottle will last me a long time as you don’t need to spray a lot of the scent for it to be effective (especially since it is quite unique and concentrated). If I had to recommend only one product from the range to someone who was having trouble sleeping – this product would be it. It’s the first pillow mist I have tried and I’m so surprised at how well it works. I will also mention that my dogs hate the smell of this pillow mist, but that’s a bonus for me as it means that when they are sleeping in my room, they don’t hog the pillows haha excellent!

Lastly, I wanted to try the Revitalising Roll-On oil. Because I don’t usually sleep very well, mornings are hard. Oh so hard lol Anything to wake me up and feel more energised is always welcome.

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I’ve also noticed that uplifting scents can help soothe my headaches and get me through the work day if I have no choice but to keep going. The blend of uplifting essential oils includes lemon peel, grapefruit, rosemary, orange and spearmint oil. The notes most noticeable to me is the orange oil and the spearmint. The combination of the citrus oils and the spearmint is so uplifting and balances really well. I will say this though, don’t expect to get an idea of the roll-on’s scent by sniffing the roller ball. All you get when doing that is the scent of alcohol. Same goes for when you first apply the scent to your wrists. Let the oil sit on top of your skin for a few second (5 to 6 seconds or so). If you smell it immediately after application, you will get a strong scent of alcohol. I assume that after a few seconds of sitting on your warm skin the alcohol evaporates, leaving the essential oils behind. It is a little bothersome as when I have a headache, if I get a whiff of alcohol I feel immediately nauseous. Luckily, I can avoid this as long as I know to hold off from smelling the oil for that few seconds. Once the essential oils do come through, it is uplifting and really pleasant.  The 10ml roll on will set you back $25. It’s also made from glass which is a nice touch.

I’m very happy with my new buys and especially happy with the essential oil blend and pillow mist. I know that L’Occitane also recommends that you incorporate the Relaxing Massage Oil into your nightly routine, to feel and see the full effect of it’s oils relaxing properties but at this point I don’t have a nightly routine down pat, but I think I’m on the right path. As I’m exhausted by the end of the day, I don’t want my nightly to do list to get large either.

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If only we could all sleep as soundly as a Beagle….

Do you have a nightly routine down pat for unwinding? Any tricks or tips for getting a good nights sleep despite stress? L’Occitane has so many products in it’s Aromachologie range, which you can check out here.

Until next time beauties,

Beauty Bee~

Review: Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Ultimate 16h Wear Concealer

If you are a fan of watching beauty and makeup videos on Youtube, I’m sure you would have heard about Collection 2000’s concealers. These concealers have become famous on Youtube because they are not only ‘cheap’ but also darn effective at concealing (specifically, the under eye area). The problem is that Collection 2000 is a brand from the UK and you can only find these drug-store concealers in the UK and Ireland (I do believe). As I am someone who suffers from dark under-eye circles, I am always on the look out for a fabulous and effective concealer, so after watching countless videos on these very concealers, I was determined to find them and give them a go myself! I couldn’t find any online retailers that would ship the products overseas (to Australia), so I finally gave in and started searching Ebay for a trusted seller that would sell me the legit product. Low and behold I found a seller from Latvia who sells a lot of British drug-store beauty brands, called MrsFashionistaUK. There’s only three shades in the range and I snapped them all up.

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Each concealer works out to be about $20 each when converted to Aus dollars and I think that’s a pretty standard price when you are talking about good drug store brands. The packaging isn’t flash – the product comes in a plastic tube with a doe foot applicator. The product stopper at the top of the tube doesn’t completely stop the product from leaking a little into the cap (if you have a look at the middle concealer in the top photo, you can see a little of the concealer peeping out from under the cap) however, it’s not terrible – I haven’t had it spill all over other products etc. I have also heard that when you are running low on the product, that the product stopper is removable and if you remove it, it will allow you to get the last drops of concealer out of the tube (good tip!). I do wish the print on the tube didn’t rub off so easily, but that’s a minor detail when you are talking about drug store branded products. So how do the colours compare and what is the coverage like on *pretty bad* under eye circles?

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L to R: Fair 1, Cool Medium 2 & Warm Medium 3

Fair is very light and cool toned. I probably could get away with using just no. #1, however I don’t want to risk the panda eyes effect, so for a little more colour correcting power, I mix colours #1 and #2 together. I would call #2 cool toned, but it’s definitely quite a bit darker than #1. Because of the limited shade range, to get the perfect under eye colour you probably do have to mix two shades together, to balance out the depth of colour which will be best for your skin tone. No. #3 is most definitely warm toned and quite peachy.

The texture of the concealer is quite creamy and light in feel, but because this is a concealer which ‘sets’ it can be a little drying. You need to be quite light handed when applying the concealer, as the more you add, the more drying it becomes. Because it can dry out areas which have fine lines (accentuating them more), a hydrating eye cream is a must before application. It doesn’t turn patchy or cakey as long as your under eye area is hydrated and as long as you don’t apply a tonne of concealer under the eye, but I find that using a under eye concealer primer also helps the concealer stay smooth and more creamy (my choice is the Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer). Another technique I use when using this concealer is to only use it where the dark circles actually are – not all the way to the outer corner of the eye. I find applying concealer all around the line is usually overkill, and emphasises those little laugh lines.

The concealing power of these guys is pretty darn good! I get what the hype was about now. I gave the Balm’s Time Balm concealer a 7.5 out of 10, and I would give Collection 2000’s concealer an 8 out of 10. It’s on par with Laura Mercier’s Secret Concealer (when i started pairing it with Smashbox’s Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer, I don’t have issues with patchiness anymore etc and it’s easier to work with) which I would also give an 8 out of 10. Laura Mercier’s Secret Concealer is much thicker and creamier, but as I mentioned, as long as your under eye area is hydrated using eye creams etc, the dryness of the concealer shouldn’t be *to much* of an issue. For a $20 concealer, that’s pretty darn good!

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My formula for camouflaging dark under eye circles, L to R: Kosmea Apple of My Eye Cream, Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer, Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Ultimate 16h Wear Concealer and Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening Powder  #1.  

Despite the limited colours in this line, for $20 I think you are getting a super decent concealer to work with. I know I will be using my concealers very often. If you live in the UK or Ireland, you are very lucky to have these babies more widely available! I doubt that another drugstore concealer has the same high coverage power as this guy, but if you do perhaps know of some other fantastic under eye concealer I just have to try – let me know in the comments below!

Until next time beauties!

Beauty Bee~

Book Review: In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age by Nev Schulman

Hi beauties! Today I am back with another book review :) Most of you would have heard about the documentary Catfish which became really successful a few years ago (if you haven’t watched it, please do because it’s great!) and came to coin the term ‘catfish’ to mean, someone who deceives another person/s online by lying about their identity. The documentary followed Nev’s online romantic relationship with a girl named Megan and ended with Nev turning up in Michigan where Megan supposedly lived, only to find out that ‘Megan’ was created by a married, middle-aged woman named Angela. After the success of the documentary, Nev started receiving emails from people all across the world who could relate to his story because either they had been deceived by a catfish online or they were worried that the person that they were currently in an online relationship with, was indeed lying to them and also a catfish. Online relationships are a phenomena of our generation and time, so with all the people looking for help and guidance, Nev decided to create a tv show, helping regular ‘Joes’ investigate who they were really in an online relationship with (and hence the MTV tv show came about, titled Catfish: the TV Show).

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Snacks – check! A good book – check! 

Nev both in his documentary and tv shows, comes across as the ultimate good guy – empathetic, insightful and intelligent. I think through his book he wanted his audience to understand that who is today, is not who he was 10 or even 2 years ago, and that it was only through hard work that he could start to change from a self-described a-hole, into ‘the all round good guy’. I like that throughout the book he isn’t self-righteous about the changes he has made (and still needs to make) but rather presents his story in a really honest light. The parts in the book that detail his personal story (or journey) are my favourite, because it’s real and honest. The book is also a short guide on how not to present yourself online and includes someone online dating ‘rules’ or tips. These sections of the book weren’t my favourite, only because I don’t date online and the warnings he gives people about what not to post online, I’ve already figured out thankfully (e.g. don’t send compromising or naked photos of yourself to someone online or via sms, even if they are your bf or gf), though I can see that for younger kids especially, this may not be so obvious (especially with the rise of snapchat – people can still capture images before they are deleted kids!). I did also really appreciate Nev’s insights into why people invest soooo much time online creating the perfect online representation of themselves (even when it’s often tweaked to excess or totally made up) and why people seek out online relationships instead of relationships in the real world. Here are a few of my favourites quotes from the book –

In other words, catfishing has become so ingrained in modern life that many people do it unconciously, in small but significant ways.

The quote above really struck a cord with me because we have to realise that everything that is posted online is edited – people choose what to post up online, it is not a real reflection of the world or our lives. It’s either unrealistic and made up or only a snapshot of a given situation or person. One look at Facebook demonstrates this perfectly – who hasn’t altered a profile picture or posted up only flattering photos of themselves? Here is also a good quote on why some people prefer to invest time in online relationships, rather than face to face relationships, even when they have a big suspicion that the relationship online is based on lies.

This is key; it reveals how little it takes for people to feel valued these days. We are so desperate for external validation that we’ll even accept it from someone who may be lying to us. We want people to tell us that we are worthy and our connections online are about confirming what we already want to believe about ourselves.

The book time and time again, pushes the fact that who we want to be, cannot be merely created online – if anything, the time we spend online takes away from what we could be doing to improve ourselves and better our lives. Nev isn’t naive in thinking that we will all switch off our apps and social media accounts, but he highlights the idea that we usually don’t use these tools in the right way anymore (to stay in touch with family, friends who live far away) and instead, they take time away from our real lives, friendships and erode our privacy (why do we let people who we don’t even like or who we don’t even know, observe our life?). I liked that he pointed out that we often feel ‘connected’ and in touch with the world when we take part in online discussions, but let’s be honest, unless you are using these tools to either create something or for chatting with people who we have shared experiences with etc, these ‘contributions’ often don’t lead to anywhere. Occasionally, we do start new friendships online which are fruitful and start something positive, but unless we move these friendships into the real world and as long as these new friendships are numbered, they won’t be distracting us from what’s actually happening outside of our windows.

Here’s how friendship works: There’s a finite amount of connection that any one person can have with the world around them. You get to choose how to distribute that time and energy. It’s like your bank account of friendship. If you have a gf or bf, you’ll give a certain value of time and energy there. And then you have your family and your best friends, who take up more value. At that point, your account is pretty depleted. There’s no “failure” online, in the real world sense – but there’s no acheivment either. The things that seem like “success” online – gaining more friends; having people “like” your pictures, repost your comments, read your Twitter feed – are, for the most part, ephemeral. These social media achievements are merely a kind of popularity contest. And being popular online doesn’t get us any closer to the things we want in real life (I know there are exceptions – but they are not the norm).

When it comes to online relationships (and sometimes even ‘real life’ relationships), we think that as long as we love someone and they love us back, everything will be fine and it will save us from our daily troubles and dissatisfaction, making us feel fulfilled. But that’s not how it works.

You can’t rely on someone else to feel good about yourself. If you judge your worth based on the person you are dating or the people you are friends with, you will never be happy. Love isn’t the answer either. Growing up, we’re led to believe that love is a fairy tale. love solves everything: Find it, and you’re set for life. We believe in love at first sight and that once you meet your perfectly fitting ‘soul mate’ the rest is easy. There’s no need to work on yourself, because the person you’ve found will love you unconditionally. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, relationships require constant care and maintenance. And you as an individual have to challenge yourself to grow and improve so you can bring that knowledge to your relationship.

A friend of mine recently started a psychological blog (check it out here) and in her first post, she tackles the concept of love. It turns out that many studies and philosophical debates, reiterate that love makes us happy when the other person challenges us to grow and become better. Love needs to stimulate us cognitively and physically. At the same time, we need to see that our partner is also willing to put in the hard work it takes to make a relationship succeed. I really do think that Nev is spot on with this line of thinking.

The problem we get into when our relationship is 90% online (if not more), is that we don’t see the other person in everyday situations. After all, you can ‘log off’ whenever you want to. It’s a censored reality. This doesn’t mean that online relationships can’t work, but the majority of online relationships end because people can’t transition them into ‘real life’ relationships. Long distance relationships are different albeit also really difficult, because these relationships begin with that physical connection (which is also essential to a relationship – it isn’t the only important factor of course) and is built on shared experiences also (before one person needs to move away from the other). Online relationships unfortunately don’t have this foundation, so you need to be realistic when it comes to deciding whether or not it will lead you to a dead end. I really enjoyed this book and all the lessons contained within it :) It’s quite an easy read, despite presenting lots of meaningful ideas. I would highly recommend the book especially for teenagers or young adults who put a lot of time (and probably to much time) in creating their ‘perfect online profiles’. While not every section of the book was entirely relevant to myself, I enjoyed the parts where Nev critically assessed his online relationships and journey to becoming a better person.

The biggest lesson I will take away from the book is to switch off my phone more often and limit my time on Facebook/Instagram. Instead of trying to document every event that happens in your life, go out and enjoy those moments without being tied down to your phone :)

I bought my copy of the book from the Nile (free postage is offered for all orders).

Have you see the documentary Catfish or the tv show? Do you spend to much time online? ;)

Until next time beauties,

Beauty Bee~

Nails of the Day: Navy & Gold

Hi Beauties! I hope you have all been keeping dry (Sydney experienced a typhoon like weather sensation it lasted for three full days – it was insane) and safe!

If you remember a little while ago, I used gold foil on my nails for the first time (here). The results were good, however not as delicate as I would have liked. This time, not only did I try using smaller gold leaf pieces but I used way less of them, only adding a ‘little’ detail to each nail. I’m even happier with this result this time round and the nail look is even more eye catching in real life. I’ve received lots of compliments about my nails these last couple of days, which is lovely. It’s the little details that count, right? ;)

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I contrasted the gold leaf with OPI’s nail polish in Road House Blue. a gorgeous deep navy blue. The gold leaf looks a little more delicate in real life than it does in the photo (I think this is because of the high resolution of colours in the photo), so it is definitely a more subtle look. While I loooove the colour Road House Blue, it doesn’t last as long as other OPI nail colours. I’m not sure why, but if the polish last a week without chips etc. I am very happy (it doesn’t chip horrendously, it just seems to ‘wear’ down more easily). So you must wear a good base and top coat with this colour. In saying that, I put my hands through torture most days (e.g. I don’t wear gloves when washing dishes etc). So that also probably doesn’t help… but what’s a working girl gonna do?!

How do you like this nail look? Any ideas about what i could do with gold leaf next? :)

Until next time,

Beauty Bee~