Nails of the Day: Heavenly Clouds

2048

I haven’t done a ‘Nails of the Day’ post in aggggges! Why? The nail on my thumb (on my left hand) ripped half way up the nail horizontally. I don’t even know from what or how, but it progressively got worse. It wasn’t to painful, but it was super annoying because I had to be careful that the broken nail wouldn’t catch on anything and rip off (now that would be painful!). Sounds awful, I know. I decided to give my nails a good break from nail varnish (except for the occasional nail stregthener/treatment). Even once my nails were healthy and strong again, I just couldn’t be bothered painting them. Lazy Beauty Bee strikes again. I think a good break from most things does us some good and my nails now feel ‘refreshed’! Now that I felt like painting them again, I thought I would share my ‘look’ with you :) It’s not the best nail painting job in the world, but I’m chuffed with the colour and texture combination on my nails! I also used some nail polishes which I knew would last a good week or more.

P1030718

I loooove the Zoya Pixie Dust nail polish in Tomoko. It’s so gorgeously shiny and not to gritty. It adds some texture to your nail, without feeling or looking harsh. It also lasts very well, so no need to worry about chips! I used a top coat over the varnish and luckily this doesn’t take away from the final effect. I also decided to use the L’Oreal Color Riche Le Vernis nail polishes in the shades #857 Chantilly Lace (a white) and #858 Ocean Porcelaine (a very pale blue – almost like a off white blue). For me, the colour combination reminded me of the sky and heavens :) I love the partly gel formula of the L’Oreal nail varnishes. White nail polish is hard to do – it’s often streaky, thick and gluggy or thin and not pigmented. Chantilly Lace is the perfect texture, not to thin and not to thick. You do need at least two coats or best three, if you painted your nails unevenly. It’s still one of the best white nail polishes I have ever tried and I would rate it more highly than the  Essie 024 Marshmallow.

P1030722

P1030724

I was originally going to paint my nails white and gold, but the contrast was to ‘harsh’ and the blue just added the perfect balance. What do you think of the colour combination? Have you tried the new L’Oreal nail polish formula? My thumb nail is painted pale blue just in case you can’t make it out.

I’m thinking of doing a nail care and lip care post soon. What do you think of that idea beauties? I’m going to be working a lot more over the coming weeks (the new academic year has begun in Australia and I’ll be teaching a bit) so I will have to do some more planning when it comes to my posts, but I’m positive I can stay on top of it all! It’s all about quality not quantity right? :P

Catch ya next time beauties!

Beauty Bee~

Review: Mungo Murphy’s Seaweed

If you have been a reader of my blog for a little while now, you may have noticed how much I loooove baths! <3 I think it stems from my childhood – in Poland, most people live in apartment blocks and bathrooms as a result tend to be quite small. In order to save space, you usually find that people have a bath combined with a shower (so like a shower attachment connected to their bath tap). Even once we moved to Australia, baths were just the natural choice for me. Along with being super relaxing, I now know how beneficial they can be for our health (and extra beautifying ;) ) In my salt bath post, I mentioned how beneficial baths are when you add into a warm bath ‘nutritional’ and natural ingredients. This is because your pores and skin cells expand in warm water, allowing nutrients from the water to be absorbed by our skin, reaching the deeper layers of our skin. When I first found out about Mungo Murphy’s wonderful Irish seaweed, I have to admit that I was a little surprised by the idea of using all natural seaweed in the bath. I think this was because Australia has such a large coast line (and as a result – lots of seaweed) but I’ve never come across this bath/body treatment before. If unrefined sea salt is rich in minerals and vitamins, it makes total sense that seaweed could be just as beneficial. I just had to try it, and share my results with you :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mungo Murphy only uses sustainably hand-harvested seaweed from the West Irish coast – creating wild and magical beauty products, as well as seaweed for human consumption. Apparently seaweed baths are an age-old tradition in Ireland, used to naturally treat many health conditions such as poor circulation, muscle aches, promote weight loss, depression and poor liver function. Today however, both seaweed and salt baths are still used to effectively boost circulation, speed up your metabolism, minimise the appearance of cellulite and to soothe skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and dry skin. In hot water, seaweed releases light oils which contain vitamins A, B1, B12, C, D, K and E, amino acids and trace elements (up to 79 trace elements have been found seaweed species – including maganese, potassium, phosphorus, iron and zinc). The types of seaweed harvested by Mungo Murphy also contain polysaccharide Fucoidan, which is an anti-inflammatory that is also possibly an anti-oxidant. I predict that in a matter of few years, seaweed will be labelled a ‘super food’ because it is just brimming with vitamins and nutrients (and most species are still being studied for their nutritional benefits and topical uses).

So how exactly does a seaweed bath work you ask and how do you prepare one? Quite simply really! Mungo Murphy offer Sea-Bags and loose seaweed, which they call Simply Seaweed. Let’s look at the loose variety first – Simply Seaweed.

P1030648

P1030645

The Simply Seaweed loose seaweed, comes in a box containing approximately 200 grams of dried Atlantic seaweed. You can break it apart to get a few seaweed baths out of one box, or use the whole amount for one bath. I would suggest either using half the seaweed or the whole amount in one go – because this way, you will get a concentrated treatment. You can also collect the seaweed from your bath and dry it out again, to reuse a second time.

P1030642

Once you’ve decided on how much seaweed you want to use, pop it into a pot of boiling water and let it infuse and rehydrate for about ten minutes. During this time, the oils within the seaweed will start to release into the water. After about ten minutes, pour the pot of water and the seaweed itself, into your bath. Now while the seaweed is rehydrating and realising it’s oils, it does have a somewhat strong smell – not fishy (for some reason, I thought it may smell fishy), but it has that ocean-y salty smell we all recognise from the beach (especially if seaweed is lying around on the sand or being washed up on shore). Once the seaweed itself and the water containing the oils is mixed into your bath, because it gets ‘diluted’, the smell becomes very subtle should you be worried about this.

P1030640

Having the seaweed float around you in the bath is quite lovely – it makes you feel as if you are swimming in the ocean – except that the ocean has come to you :) The oils the seaweed releases are also quite light – it won’t feel as if you have coated your skin in let’s say, coconut oil. Oils which are quite thick or occlusive in nature, often feel like they sit on top of your skin (most oils actually become occlusive if you apply to much to your skin) and once they rub off, you notice that your skin is again dry as paper (occlusives work by creating a barrier on top of your skin, locking in whatever moisture is already in your skin – they won’t add in moisture themselves). Because these oils and the nutrients within the seaweed can penetrate your lipid barrier with the help of warm water, your skin feels very hydrated without that very oily feeling. It’s quite remarkable really, because the difference in the of moisturisation of your skin is very noticeable.

P1030646

The warmer your bath water is, the better – however, after rehydrating the seaweed in boiling water, I have added the seaweed into a lukewarm bath before and I still felt like I got most of the benefits out of the seaweed oils. This is a great help should you live in a warmer climate (salt baths need to be very hot – the bath water has to be around 40 degrees for you to reap the benefits of the salt – not ideal if you live in a tropical climate or are in the middle of summer). Make sure that you catch some of the floating seaweed in your bath, to give it a good squeeze – you want to get all the oil possible out of the seaweed! *Fun Fact* Seaweed is rich in mineral iodine, a nutrient which is essential for a healthy functioning thyroid. Mineral iodine in turn, promotes a healthy metabolism. 

A box of Simply Seaweed costs £10.66 – that’s about $20 Australian dollars atm. You can find Mungo Murphy products at Love Lula boutique – a UK based website, but don’t fret, they offer free world wide shipping! Yay! If your not sure if the loose seaweed is for you (there is a little clean up hassle) then the portioned up Sea-Bags are made for you!

P1030649

The individual Sea-Bags are great! You need to rehydrate the bag full of seaweed in the same manor as the loose seaweed, however you can do this in a bowl instead of a pot as the Sea-Bag is more compact.

P1030662

P1030663

Once your seaweed has rehydrated and the oils have started to release from the seaweed, pour the bag and the water into your bath. Make sure you give the bag lots of good squeezes, so that all the oil can find its way out of the bag. You can use the gentle bag as a loofah as it’s made out of muslin cloth, to get some exfoliation happening while benefiting from the seaweed oils. It might be a little easier to dry out your seaweed bag after your first use of it, so you can reuse it for a second bath. I don’t find that I need to moisturise my skin after my seaweed bath (because the seaweed oils are so lovely and hydrating) but being the moisture fanatic that I am, I still try to do so, so that I can seal all of that goodness in for longer :) You can buy a box of 6 Sea-Bags for £19.18 from Love Lula, which works out to be around $39 Australian dollars (the box of Simply Seaweed contains around 200g of seaweed while in all the Sea-Bags combines you get 360g of seaweed – so almost double).

There’s something about using all natural, almost ancient treatments isn’t there – they inspire the imagination… :) We now also know thanks to studies that seaweed baths are very good for our health and I would say that they are even nurturing. Taking the time out of our busy schedules to take a bath is great because we get to slow down for that 20-30 minutes and relax. I love taking seaweed baths now and I will continue to treat myself to them every now and again (intermittently with my salt baths). Do give the seaweed a go, I think most people will be surprised at how lovely the treatment is!

Mungo Murphy’s Seaweed Co. also make a powdered Nourishing Seaweed Mask which I will also review for you and show you how to use – but that review will be in another post (episode two if you will ;) ). So stay tuned! Also, be sure to check out Mungo Murphy’s Facebook and Instagram pages to see some gorgeous Irish countryside and all the products in the making!

How does this beauty treatment sound to you Beauties? Are you a fan of baths or are you more of a shower beauty? Have you heard of seaweed baths before and are you intrigued? :)

Catch ya next time,

Beauty Bee~

A City Girl’s Morning Face Care Routine

A city girl has it pretty tough – air conditioning, UV rays, pollution, dust and stress. All of these factors can make your skin weaker, sensitive, dehydrated and more prone to ageing. So what do we need? Products that work first and foremost, and that are multi-functional.  After cleansing, the most important factors to consider are UV and free radical protection, boosting your skins functionality and hydration. How do we achieve this? Antioxidants, moisturisation and sun protection.

Below is my morning face care routine. Hopefully it acts as a little bit of inspiration when it comes to layering skincare and what ingredients to look for. I should also mention for those who don’t know that I live in Sydney and am 26 years old (I was about to write 25, but no, sadly that was last year lol) and very focused on prevention. Prevention is key when it comes to anti-ageing. I also used to battle with acne and while I don’t use specific acne treatments anymore, I try and find products that will keep my skin clear and cell turnover high (without being to harsh and over exfoliating) while also dealing with other concerns (e.g did you know that vitamin C not only prevents pigmentation, but also stimulates collagen production and boosts your UV protection?). Keep reading if you are interested! :)

tumblr_lrrhgpxnl61qawee5o1_500_large

The first step is of course to cleanse. Splashing your face with water in the morning isn’t enough – it will rinse off sweat or surface dirt, but it won’t get rid of cell build up and deeper impurities. At night, our skin cells work hard to repair damage sustained during the day and create new skin cells. The build up of old cells can sit within your pores, along with trapped dirt and oil. With time, this build up can make your pores larger. Not cleansing properly will also with time make the process of cell renewal sluggish and make your skin dehydrated (because moisturiser will have a difficult time reaching the deeper levels of your skin if it is indeed clogged up). Here are my picks for the morning :)

P1030441

Jurlique Clarifying Deep Cleansing Gel - If I have a little more time in the morning, I do prefer to use a cleanser that I can wash off with water. There’s something about using water that makes me feel ‘clean’. This gel cleanser is very refreshing for the skin – it’s clear and jelly like in texture and only foams up slightly. It also contains micro exfoliating beads, but these are very small and smooth (not rough at all). It smells a little herbal, but it’s still quite a fresh scent (thanks to rosemary, sage and peppermint extract). Jojoba esters are very high in the ingredient list and thanks to this along with soybean proteins, means that the gel isn’t drying. Oily skins would love this cleanser. Witch hazel, nettle and willow bark extract help clarify the skin. In summer, I often wake up a little sweaty and oily, so this cleanser ticks all the boxes in that regard. Once I use up this cleanser, I think I will change to a cream cleanser for the cooler months ahead, but I will keep you posted on that change once it happens ;)

Bioderma Hydrabio H20 Micelle Solution – For mornings where I am rushed or running late, Bioderma’s Hydrabio micelle cleansing water is a saviour! I reviewed this particular cleansing water ages ago (find that review here) and I am still using it, because it is simply great. I personally don’t use micelle waters for makeup removal as I then need to use so much product it almost feels like a waste (though for sensitive eyes and skin, it’s a God send!), however for morning cleansing I only need two cosmetic cotton rounds soaked in a little bit of product and my skin is left fresh and clean :) It takes a little getting used to (cleansing without water) but it works a treat! I never ever use products which leave the skin feeling tight or aggravated, so this ‘hydrating’ micelle water is perfect! <3 I should also mention that it doesn’t leave a film on the skin and you will still need to use a moisturiser after cleansing, but it’s just less irritating and stripping compared to some other cleansers out there.

The second step of my routine is to tone. I don’t think toners are absolutely necessary (and I skip this step when in a mad rush) BUT they are lovely to use and if you use one which is full of antioxidants, then this extra step will provide you with more protection from oxidative stress (the more the better really!). Futurederm’s 7 Wonders Antioxidant Rich Toner contains a triple tea complex (white tea, green and red tea) and grapeseed extract (all great antioxidants) . Alternatively, you can pick a toner which will target a skin concern of yours (e.g. dryness, oilyness, pigmentation etc). Check out my Toners 101 post if you are not sure what toner to go for. I love that this Futurederm toner smells delicious. It’s a little pick me up in the morning and as I am not a morning person, every pick-me-up is welcome! I just really hope they haven’t discontinued this guy (I can’t seem to find it in the Futurederm shop atm). IF they have, I will be very upset :(

P1030459

Next up is my ‘targeted’ pigmentation spot treatment and eye cream. Acids or any types of chemical exfoliants should be applied to clean skin before any kind of serum or moisturiser. Acids or chemical exfoliants should never be combined with vitamin A but can be used alongside products containing vitamin C. If you do use any kinds of acids or chemical exfoliants in your morning routine, make sure to be diligent with applying sunscreen in the morning also. Using chemical exfoliants in the morning may not be the best idea for sensitive skins (leave this for your night routine if this is you).

I have been using this Medik8 White Balance Click treatment on some seriously stubborn pigmentation spots (which I believe to be sun spots). The treatment is made up of 7 strategic acids/ingredients (Kojic Acid, L-Lactic Acid, Niacinamide, Linoleic Acid, N-Acetyl Glucosamine, Sepiwhite andL-Leucine). It is meant to work on freckles, age spots, sun spots, blotchiness and uneven skin tone. How is it doing? Ok. I’ve already used up one little bottle of this (I dropped the bottle as I was reaching the end of the serum – it’s glass you see) and am now onto my second (you receive two little bottles in one pack – this keeps the acids ‘fresher’ and more active for longer). The pigmentation has faded, but hasn’t totally gone (yet). I don’t have a lot of issues with pigmentation, but the few spots I do have irritate me greatly. After I finish off this spot treatment, I will probably give my pigmentation spots a break (for the time being…). I thought this treatment would make my skin sensitive or more prone to irritation, but it hasn’t actually. It’s also very thin in texture and sinks into the skin quickly, without leaving a film on the surface – so it’s perfect for using under other skin care products. You could use this treatment all over the face, or as a spot treatment as I do.

P1030445

My choice for morning eye cream is the Futurederm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0. I think it’s worth having and using two eye creams in your beauty cabinet (one for morning use and one for evening). Check out my Eye Care 101 post here if you want to read more about why. The Futurederm eye cream is phenomenal because it contains 10% vitamin C and 1% vitamin E (most eye creams don’t contain anywhere near this amount), which has been proven to work at decreasing dark circles, pigmentation and uneven skin tone – brightening the whole under eye area. Products containing 10% vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) have been found to decrease the depth of wrinkles with consistent use over the course of three months. By combining vitamin C with 1% vitamin E, each antioxidant can borrow an electron from the other, renewing itself in the process. This is why you should use a product which contains vitamin C and vitamin E in it’s formula. The eye cream has a cream texture, but it is very light and sinks in incredibly quickly.The cream also contains avocado oil (fatty acid) and grape seed oil (antioxidant)

The only time I have experienced some irritation while using it, was when I used to much cream and it got into my eye (my eye just felt itchy but it wasn’t red or inflamed thankfully). I have been using this eye cream for a few weeks now (a little over a month) and my under eye circles do look less ‘bruised’ and purple. I would definitely call this eye cream my morning ‘staple’. The only slight negative when it comes to this eye cream is that if you don’t apply makeup over the top of it (and you go au natural instead) and you rub your eyes, the formula left on top of your skin does ball up and you will find white flakes under your eyes. I believe this is one of the slip agents which makes the eye cream easy to apply. It isn’t a big deal (but worth noting as we shouldn’t be rubbing our eyes anyways – but something I clearly fail at ;) ).

P1030455

The next step in my routine is my all over vitamin C and E serum. At the moment I am using the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum, but I do slightly (and I mean ever so slightly) prefer the Futurederm Vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serum 16+2 (full review of that product here) because of it’s formula and price. I had to revert back the SkinCeuticals version because Futurederm was out of stock of their serum for a while (I have two bottles being shipped to me as we speak!). While the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic is twice as expensive as the Futurederm offering, it does last a looong time, so you are getting your monies worth (longer than a bottle of the Futurederm CE Caffeic serum – it just hurts paying $174 all at once).

So why is a vitamin C and E serum such a beneficial and important product that needs to be included in your morning routine? Vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid stimulates collagen production in your skin. Luckily this serum contains 15% pure L-ascorbic acid (the Futurederm serum contains 16%). It also boosts sun protection four fold when used under sunscreen. As I wrote earlier, your morning routine should be full of products which help prevent damage before it occurs. The formula does contain alcohol, however this helps the product penetrate into the deeper levels of your skin and the drying nature of the alcohol is offset by the hydrating and antioxidant power of the vitamin C. As I mentioned above (when writing about the Futurederm vitamin CE eye cream), vitamin C and E work in a synergistic way to prevent and treat oxidative damage (and hence it is great for minimizing existing pigmentation – plus the UV boosting capabilities will prevent any new pigmentation from taking hold if you also use sunscreen daily). Vitamin C is also an anti-inflammatory and will be extremely beneficial to those treating acne or breakouts. Tick, tick, tick! :) *If you can’t allow yourself to go for the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum and don’t want to order goodies from overseas right this moment (cause the Australian dollar sux at this very moment and you can only order Futurederm goodies from their US based website) the other great option is the SkinCeuticals Serum 15 AOX+. It still contains a big dose of vitamin C (15%) along with hydrating sodium hyaluronate. It just doesn’t contain the vitamin E.*

After applying a serum, the next step has to be of course, moisturiser. You must moisturise no matter what skin type you have. If you don’t give your skin enough moisture, fine lines can start to creep in because of dehydration. Your skins primary function is to act as a barrier between you and outside ‘threats’ (bacteria, irritants etc.) and without enough moisture, your lipid barrier can become compromised, leading to hyper sensitivity and possibly, infections.  I was using a gel moisturiser earlier (the Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion) but wanted to try something a little more hydrating plus with added antioxidants. This is where the Jojoba Company’s Hydrating Day Cream comes in. The moisturising ingredients in this daily moisturiser are superb – jojoba seed oil (contains vitamins A, D and E), glycerin (a humectant and occulsive moisturiser), beta-glucan (a moisturiser that promotes wound healing and reduces wrinkle depth and height), macadamia seed oil, shea butter and panthenol (vitamin B5). I love that this day cream contains loads of antioxidants – green tea extract, olive leaf extract, pomegranate seed oil, vitamin E (tocopherol), rice bran oil (oryza sativa). The moisturiser also includes a host of other extracts like Siberian ginseng (tightening and firming), silk amino acids, balckcurrent seed oil, chamomile extract and rosa damascena oil – to name a few.

The moisturiser comes in a pump bottle which is so handy and means that all the ingredients in the moisturiser will stay fresh and potent. The cream itself is a light lotion and spreads easily over the skin. The cream makes my skin slightly shiny, but this doesn’t bother me as it isn’t overly shiny. If you are very oily, you can of course use makeup over the top of the moisturiser to minimise the shine. The Jojoba Company do also make a daily moisturiser with added sunscreen – but I prefer to use a seperate sunscreen hence I went for the moisturiser without spf. This particular moisturiser also seems to include more botanical extracts and oils.

Finally, the very last step of my morning skincare routine :) Sunscreen! Sunscreen is crucial for every girl – including a city girl as UV rays are uber sneaky… they come in through windows, bounce off buildings and pavements. My all time favourite sunscreen is the Neova DNA Damage Control Everyday SPF 44. Now this is a high tech sunscreen! Not only does it contain a combination of physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen (a combination means you get the best of both worlds and the sunscreen remains stable) but it also contains a combination (which we know is best!) of vitamin C and E, PLUS L-Ergothionene (a powerful antioxidant) and Photolyase – a type of plankton which increase UV protection by capturing UV rays and helps repair DNA cell damage. If you’re not sure which sunscreen is best for you (and fits into your budget) check out my Sunscreen Battle post here and my Sunscreen 101 post here.

That wraps up my morning skincare routine Beauties :) You will reap the benefits of a skincare routine if you are consistent. This routine takes around 5-10 minutes each morning and is quite easy to do once you form a habit of it, Let me know what products and steps you can’t live without in your morning skin care routine!

morning2

Catch ya next time,

Beauty Bee~

Review: Australis Velourlips Matte Lip Cream & AC/ME Eyeshadows

Australis Cosmetics is a drug store Australian brand and they have been making affordable makeup products since the 90s. I can still remember some of their ad campaigns from the 90s – think beach girl, sporting the quintessential 90s nude makeup look. I haven’t bought anything from the brand in years and years, so when a few of their products started gaining popularity, I thought it was time I check them out again. You can buy their products at Priceline or online through their website (which is what I did).  I had a 50% off code (thank you Facebook!), which was a clear sign that I had to buy something! This made the products ridiculously cheap – but I didn’t go overboard, picking only four products in total :)

P1030572

First up, Velourlips Matte Lip Cream in Hon-o-loo-loo (a ‘nude’ light pink) and Mi-a-mee (a light coral, leaning a little more pink than orange). There has been a lot of talk about these liquid matte lipsticks (especially on youtube). They’ve become so popular that Australis keeps coming out with new shades (which is great!). Are these as good as the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets? Or even Lime Crimes Lip Velvetines? I don’t think so. All the colours in the range are very cool and ‘milky’ slash chalky looking. They also don’t totally ‘set’ on the lips, so if you eat, drink or rub your lips together to much, the colour will begin to look patchy and fade. Patchy matte coloured lips are not attractive in my books. They are very smooth and easy to apply however, and the scent is gorgeous (they smell like hubba-bubba bubblegum!). Will I be buying more of these? No. At $9.95 a pop they are very affordable, but I’d rather spend that little bit more and buy the Bourjois Rouge Edition liquid matte lipsticks instead.

P1030582

P1030578

P1030569

Above: Wearing Hon-o-loo-loo on my lips. I personally don’t like the my lips looking like they are covered in pink toned foundation. Such colours wash me out and I don’t think they are very natural ‘nude’ lip colours.

P1030567

Above: Wearing Mi-a-mee on my lips. This colour is a little more to my liking (I love corals!) however it is still very cool toned (it looks warmer on my lips in the picture). If it had lasting power, I’d find a way to wear it, but it’s just to much of a hassle.

Luckily, I had more luck with AC/ME Eyeshadows. These are ‘foil like’ eyeshadows and I bought two out of the three available colours. I bought Bronzonce (a light copper) and Jay Zed (a golden khaki green). There’s also a plum shade called Plum Diddy (the names are quite amusing!). The texture of these shadows is very similar to the Stila foiled eyeshadows – they feel like a gel slash cream eyeshadow – very light and airy. They are very pigmented and last surprisingly well on the lid (as long as you use an eyeshadow primer underneath them). You can either apply them with a brush all over the lid for an opaque foil like finish, or dab them on your lid over powder eyeshadow, to add a shimmery highlight to the eyes and just a touch of extra colour. I find these easier to use then the Stila offerings because the glittler particles are smaller and less ‘chunky’. At $7.95 you cannot go wrong with these (the Stila foiled eyeshadows cost $44 for comparison – yep, shockingly high compared to these)! Yes, they don’t have to many shades on offer, but hopefully they change this soon :) They are limited edition which sux, so get them while you can, just in case! I think I’ll be grabbing the plum shade this week if I can find it instore.

P1030575

P1030554

Gorgeous or what?! 

I’m quite happy with my little Australis ‘haul’. I expected there to be some hits and misses and so far it’s half and half. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more gems and let me know if you have any recommendations!

Until next time beauties,

Beauty Bee~

 

 

Review: L’Occitane’s Shea Whipped Body Care Line & Arlesienne Body Oil

You may have seen on Instagram, the gorgeous gift that one of my friends bought me – a box packed full of new L’Occitane goodies!

P1030282

P1030285

I was super duper excited to try out L’Occitane’s new Shea Whipped body products and the scented Arlesienne body oil, which just looks so darn pretty! I think more luxurious body care products are a great gift for friends, especially if you know that on a daily basis they use more ‘basic’ products (like shower gel and soaps from brands readily available from the supermarket). Because we use such body care products daily, it can feel like a bit of a splurge to buy a soap for $20. L’Occitane’s body care products definitely fit into that more ‘luxe’ category and I love that they are still made in France!  So how do these products fair? :)

P1030480

Shea Whipped Body Cream - “The Shea Whipped Body Cream combines the nourishing properties of a balm with the lightness of a mousse, to help nourish and protect the skin. This whipped formula, made with 10% shea butter, gently melts into the skin when applied, leaving skin supple and comfortable. Shea Butter is an ideal beauty ingredient, used by women in Sub-saharan Africa to help nourish and protect their skin and hair. Since the 1980’s, L’OCCITANE uses shea butter from Burkina Faso, harvested in a sustainable and fair trade partnership with the women who produce it.”

Containing 10% pure shea, honey, rosemary leaf extract and sunflower seed oil, this body cream has a very different texture to the standard body cream or body butter. It looks and feels like mousse – like the chocolate variety, except that this product is white and not for consumption :P I thought that because of the texture, the cream would be light on hydration, but it isn’t. It’s like an air-rated body butter – it’s very rich and moisturising, but it’s light in texture, which really messes with you lol I was surprised that the tin only holds 125ml of product, but as it is so concentrated perhaps that makes sense. I love using it on my legs post shaving – it feels soothing and leaves a protective layer on top of the skin (but it isn’t oily or sticky). Because of the texture, at first it may seem that the cream isn’t sinking into the skin, but it does (and perhaps your using to much if this is happening) – after a moment or two, the cream absorbs wonderfully and easily into the skin. I also love the tin packaging. There’s something old school about it. I’m definitely going to hold onto it even once I’ve used up the body cream!

P1030482

Shea Whipped Shower Foam “Delightfully creamy, this shower foam with its unique whipped texture wraps the body in a soft cushion while gently cleansing the skin. Enriched with shea, it leaves skin feeling supple and comfortable.”

P1030487

I’ve used facial cleansing foams before, but never a body shower foam. It makes sense that you could use one on your body if you can use them on your face! I was a little worried that it could be drying on the skin, but it’s silky, moisturising and quite creamy once rubbed into your skin. It doesn’t have a scent per se – it’s the same scent that the she body creams have, so it isn’t strongly perfumed or different from the rest of the line.

P1030486

Shea Whipped Hand Cream – “The Shea Whipped Hand Cream has a playful yet smooth texture. Made with a high concentration of shea butter (25%), it helps to nourish, protect and soften the skin.”

If you love the original L’Occitane Shea Butter hand cream, you will also love this version. The texture is very similar to that of the Shea Whipped Body Cream, except that it has a higher concentration of shea butter in its formula. The little 30ml tubes of hand cream are the cutest and are so easy to carry around in your handbag, but I would like a giant 100ml of this stuff :P I think L’Occitane hand creams are so famous and popular because they don’t leave a sticky residue behind. They are almost dry to the touch once rubbed into your hands. Sometimes I like the silky residue left on my skin, but the hand cream is very practical, especially when out and about.

P1030490

Shea Ultra Rich Lip Balm“The Shea Ultra Rich Lip Balm helps to repair, nourish and protect dry lips, leaving a supple and soft sensation. This convenient tube format is perfect for your handbag or your bedside table.”

The Shea Whipped line doesn’t contain any lip products, but the regular Shea Butter line does, so my friend was kind enough to include one of their super popular lip balms in my present. This lip balm contains 10% shea butter and comes in the form of a wind up stick. It’s smooth, not to thick but moisturising. Lanolips Lip Ointment used to annoy me because you had to squeeze it out of a tube – and if it was cold, the lip ointment would go hard and it was so tough trying to squeeze that thing out. Plus is was also suuuper sticky. With this lip balm, you don’t have any of those problems and it also doesn’t disappear from your lips after 2 minutes. My lips feel comfortable and most importantly, hydrated.

P1030493

P1030497

This particular lip balm doesn’t have a taste or scent (perhaps it very lightly smells like the rest of the shea butter line – but it’s much much more subtle). It would be a great ‘primer’ under lipstick as it isn’t to thick or sticky. It does have some slip to it, but that makes it a comfortable lip balm. Love!

Arlesienne Body Oil - “This light, translucent body oil sublimes hair and body and envelops them with a sensual and delicate veil. It reveals the vibrant scent of the Arlésienne fragrance: bouquet of rose, sweet violet and saffron. 

The elegant and gracious woman of Arles – the Arlésienne – is embodied in this feminine fusion of three flowers. Elusive and mysterious, she leaves in her wake a unique trail that lingers wherever she goes. Made with extracts of rose from Grasse, sweet violet, and saffron from Provence. Do not use on the face.”

I looove body oils, so my friend hit the nail on the head with this one :) This particular body oil was released right before Christmas along with the scent Arlesienne and a few other other products. The body oil is perfumed with the Arlesienne scent, which is quite floral (I can smell the rose and violet without a doubt). The saffron adds just a little bit of depth, but otherwise it’s a decisive floral scent. This would be the perfect gift for someone who doesn’t like to use perfumes because they are to strong. On it’s own, you could definitely forgo using a perfume and let this body oil shine. You can also use this oil in your hair, so it would be a lovely hair perfume. Anyone with a fondness for floral scents would love this!

P1030523

The oil itself is quite light. I wouldn’t call it a dry oil, but it’s light and leaves a soft sheen on the skin. It took me forever to find the ingredient list for this oil (thank you L’occitane Finland!) but finally, here it is:

INGREDIENTS : OCTYLDODECANOL – CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE – HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL – COCO-CAPRYLATE/ CAPRATE – PARFUM/FRAGRANCE – AQUA/WATER – GLYCERIN -CROCUS SATIVUS FLOWER EXTRACT – ROSA CENTIFOLIA FLOWER EXTRACT – VIOLA ODORATA LEAF EXTRACT – VIOLA ODORATA EXTRACT – SODIUM BENZOATE – POTASSIUM SORBATE – TOCOPHEROL – ALPHA-ISOMETHYL IONONE – LIMONENE – CITRONELLOL – COUMARIN – LINALOOL – METHYL 2-OCTYNOATE – CITRAL – GERANIOL.

Capric triglyceride as my avid readers would know, is a component of coconut oil’s fatty acids. It gives the oil a light silky feel (and is very often used in facial moisturisers and skincare products). Coco-Caprylate is an ester derived from coconut fatty acids (but with a slightly different chemical structure to capric triglyceride) and it’s often used as an emulsifier and emollient (and along with glycerin, which is also in the ingredient list, makes the oil extra moisturising – tick!). I’m really surprised to see the saffron extract (crocus sativus) is quite high in the ingredient list. This would be an extract from the flower itself (saffron is picked from inside the flower) and hence isn’t as overwhelming as the spice itself. Together with rose and violet extract, the oil is wonderfully perfumed.

P1030524

I also really appreciate the packaging for this body oil. I love that even the gold cap is engraved with L’Occitane’s logo. The graphic on the front of the oil is bright and quite modern, while the back on the bottle doesn’t have a logo/sticker, but the glass is imprinted with the floral motive.

So out of all of my goodies, which are my faves? That’s super hard, because none of these products are duds, but as some of these goodies are limited edition I would suggest you run and try the Whipped Body Cream and the Arlesienne Body Oil. The lip balm is also a new fav! Oh – and my gorgeous friend also included two little samples in my package -

P1030498

I reviewed the Milk Concentrate back in the early days of Beauty Bee (here) and I would love to get another jar of the stuff as it’s lovely! The Ultra Rich Cream (for the body) I haven’t tried yet. It contains 25% shea butter so it’ll be super moisturising!

Do you have any favourite products from L’Occitane? Let me know if you have any recommendations! Do you give body care products as gifts to friends and family? Do you enjoy receiving such gifts?

Let’s keep in touch! Until next time beauties,

Beauty Bee~

The Conclusion of the $100 Beauty Challenge

Hi beauties! Sorry if I haven’t been posting as regularly lately – I went away for a few days (check out my Instagram account to stay in the loop and to see even more beauty musings!). But I have returned and the end has finally come to the $100 beauty challenge!

tumblr_myy80ojzgi1sgbgvno1_500

I must admit that it has been somewhat difficult – I think of skincare and makeup as a ‘hobby’, something that inspires me, is creative and feels good. Because I spend a lot of my disposable income on beauty goods, it’s difficult to say ‘stop – you’ve got enough!’. I don’t want to be buying any beauty goods just for the sake of it. I want my purchases to be thought out carefully and not wasted (what’s the point of having every piece of makeup from a given collection, when they won’t be used up or appreciated?). It’s easy to give in the the hypes about new products and collections, but remember – a lot of beauty gurus get makeup and skincare products for free, and they themselves probably only use a few tried and tested products consistently. I’d also like to save more this year (hello, holidays!), hence why limiting my beauty purchases to $100 a month gets me into thinking about my spending habits more carefully.  So what were the purchases that fit into my monthly budget of $100? Let’s take a look! :)

P1030428

So not a whoooole lot lol beauty products and toiletries tend be on the more expensive side in Australia, so I knew that I would have to be careful with my spending. Here is a breakdown of the products and how much they cost:

  • Reef After Sun Repair Gel – $10.00 (bought at Woolworths)
  • Reef Dry Sun Tan Oil SPF 30+ – $10.00 (bought at Woolworths)
  • Schick Intuition Razor Refills – $9.50 (bought at Priceline)
  • Blackmores Nails, Hair & Skin Supplements – $20 (bought at Priceline)
  • The Jojoba Company Hydrating Day Cream – $43 (bought online from http://www.thejojobacompany.com.au)

Total: $92.50

P1030430

I only really started going to the beach this January and I needed to pick up some more sunscreen, so I went by my local supermarket to stock up! Reef is such an old school Australian brand and I just love their tanning oils. They have this traditional coconut scent, which reminds me of school holidays :) The tanning oils are moisturising and give your skin the most gorgeous glow at the beach. Even if I use sunscreen religiously at the beach (which I do!) I find that I still pick up some colour regardless, and this tanning oil makes that tan more even in colour. They do have a version without sunscreen, but I would recommend that you always go for the SPF 15+ or 30+ version (30+ would be the beauty bee thing to do!). It is pretty oily and sand will no doubtebly stick to you, but I think this cheap as chips goodie is still worth it!

I also grabbed their After Sun Repair Gel for the first time, which is like your traditional aloe vera after sun gel, with the added benefits of menthol (to cool your skin instantly) and green tea (to help your skin repair). It sinks into the skin really well for a cheaper product and doesn’t leave a sticky film on top of your skin (so after applying, you can go to sleep without sticking to your bed sheets like glue!). It’s very cooling on the skin, so it gives your skin that instant relief. The scent in this after sun gel is rather strong (it smells like coconuts drenched in alcohol – this is what I assume pirates would smell like :P ) which is quite off putting once you’ve smothered yourself in the gel, so I don’t use in on my face or my chest area (I use the Ultraceuticals SunActive Face & Body Recovery Cream for those more sensitive and delicate areas).

At Priceline I was able to score myself two bargains – A pack of Schick Intuition razors (refills) and a bottle of Blackmores Nails, Hair & Skin supplements. When it comes to my Schick Intuition razor – I love it! If you are still using a separate razor and shaving cream, you really have got to get onto this stuff! The razor and shaving block in one make shaving so much easier, quicker and more comfortable. I’ve never cut myself using this razor either, so it’s worth the price. I usually pay around $13 at Woolworths for a pack of 3 razors, but they were on sale at Priceline for $9.50 – so a small but important win for Beauty Bee during this challenge! :P While I was at Priceline I also found a bottle of my Blackmores Nails, Hair & Skin supplements also on sale – this bottle contains 120 tablets and cost me $20, while I usually pick up a bottle of 60 tablets at Woolworths for about $15. I ain’t good at math, but even I know that’s a good deal! The extra smart thing would have been to buy at least two bottles of this stuff but alas, I didn’t think that far ahead :/ (even though I take two tablets daily and plan to for the coming months). It’s still a small win either way :)

Last but not least (and my most expensive purchase of the month) was my new Jojoba Company Hydrating Day Cream. I was coming to the end of my Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion which suited me perfectly during the hot and humid summer days, but I thought it would be a good idea to buy a moisturiser with a little more moisture and antioxidant power for the coming Autumnal days (I can’t believe I just wrote Autumn!).

P1030466

The Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion is a gel moisturiser, PERFECT to use for normal to oily skin in the summer. I’m looking forward to the trying and using the Jojoba Company Moisturiser – and it comes with a pump dispenser! Yay! It’s still quite a light lotion, so if we have some hot days in February and March, this moisturiser shouldn’t feel to heavy. I’m also hoping that this moisturiser lasts a bit longer than the Dr Dennis Gross moisturiser, which seemed to only last me around 2 months (and I was only using it in the mornings). Maybe I have high expectations in this regard, as my old Dior Hydra Life moisturisers used to last me around 4-5 months (and I was also only using them in the mornings) I kid you not! A review of the Jojoba Company Moisturiser will be up once I have trialled it over a few weeks.

P1030479

Now I do have to admit that I paid postage to get this cream delivered ($10 postage to be exact) so including the postage it would have put me over budget by $2.50 (my monthly beauty spend would then total $102.50). But that’s still a pretty darn good effort isn’t it? :P

So what do you think of my efforts beauty bees? I’m going to try and be very sensible when it comes to my beauty purchases over the coming weeks – but in saying that, if you do splurge only once in a while, don’t feel toooo bad about it, as life is to short to worry!

40c85148d37fa5e2d8c7d8063a797bcd

Let me know what you think of my purchases beauty bees and whether or not your daily moisturisers only last you a couple of months and if its just me who thinks that they should last a little longer…

Catch ye next time!

Beauty Bee~

Makeup Look & Review: NARS Eye Paint in Solomon Islands

Oh how I would like to go away on an island holiday… Unfortunately I have to bring the island ‘feeling’ to myself as I won’t be taking a long holiday anytime soon (though I am going away for the weekend this coming weekend!). Coloured eye liner is an easy way to bring some colour into your everyday makeup look (especially in the warmer months). I wanted to use a bright blue which channelled the tropical warm waters found in the Pacific Ocean.

7680731448_e799cb5f9e_b

I got that ‘island feeling’!

While pale and bright blues aren’t traditionally a colour match made in heaven for pairing with green eyes, when I saw the NARS Eye Paint in Solomon Islands – I wanted to give it a go anyway because it just looked so damn gorgeous. Plus the name is just so well fitting! I’m such a rebel, I know :P NARS’ Eye Paints are an interesting product, because they are gel based cream eyeshadows slash eyeliners. Cream eyeshadows have to be very pigmented if you want to use them as eyeliners and these Eye Paints are just that – insanely pigmented!

P1030179

P1030180

The little pots of Eye Paints are quite small and very reminiscent of gel eyeliner pots. The cream slash gel product itself feels quite thin and dries pretty quickly (not to quickly though). I am just so so happy that when using this product as eyeliner, the cream does not go patchy or flaky. You can go over your original line numerous times, without worrying about the line looking uneven. It is incredibly long lasting. Regular eye makeup remover will not remove this baby (not even Bioderma will help you). You will have to reach for a waterproof, dual phase makeup remover (my pick is L’Oreal’s Dermo-Expertise Gentle Makeup Remover Waterproof). The odd thing though, is that while the eyeliner on my top eyelid doesn’t budge all day, it can slightly migrate onto my lower lash line. I think this could be just from blinking (if the product is in roots of your lashes on your top water line). It’s a little annoying, but manageable (I love the Almay Oil-Free Makeup Eraser Sticks for fixing up any stray makeup on the go).

P1030181

How amazing is this colour?!

P1030228

P1030194

I used a cool toned brown eyeshadow in the crease of my eyelids to give my eyes some extra definition. Lashings of waterproof mascara help frame my eyes a little better (so that the intensity of the blue doesn’t wash me out).The rest of my makeup is quite simple and bronzed, so that the eyes stand out (as they should!). I used my bronzer as a face warmer rather than contouring in the traditional sense (so I used the bronzer on top of my cheeks where the sun would naturally hit, rather than below my cheekbones). I’ve been loving Benefit’s Box O’ Powder Blush in Dallas paired with bronzer. The dirty rose colour just adds enough colour to the cheeks, without competing with the bronzer.

P1030223

Above: NARS Laguna Bronzer, Smashbox Full Exposure Waterproof Mascara, Lanolips Lip Ointment in Dark Honey & Benefit Box O’ Powder Blush in Dallas. 

P1030226

P1030233

Using the Zoeva 317 Wing Liner brush makes drawing liquid liner very easy. The brush itself is thin, perfectly angled and just so easy to use.

I’m so happy with the way this look turned out and I think it’s so fun and summery! I’d love to try and find a mid-toned purple liquid liner next (I know finding a pencil liner would be easier – but liquid liners tend to be more saturated in colour and pigmented). It’s to bad that NARS don’t do a light or mid-toned purple in the Eye Paints, because I am super impressed with the formula! The Eye Paints retail for $34 from Mecca Cosmetica here is Aus. 

Are you a fan of coloured liner? Let me know what you think of this look!

Catch ya next times beauties,

Beauty Bee~

Sheet Mask 101 & Review: Bel Mondo Beauty Facial Sheet Masks

After discovering Lonvitalite Sheet Masks (check out the review of their Coconut Milk Mask which I love here!) I was all for trying some more, high quality sheet masks. The reason I say high quality is because I have tried some cheaper alternatives (namely some drug-store Korean sheet masks) and they didn’t impressed me very much. Now I understand why this is – the sheet masks you choose have to be made using a material which adheres to the skin well and uses high-grade ingredients which work together to can actually penetrate into the deeper levels of your skin. Usually, facial sheet masks are made from these four materials – Fibre (cotton), Pulp (sometimes labelled as rayon cellulose), Hydro-Gel and Bio-cellulose.

Fibre masks are the cheapest sheet masks to manufacture and as a result, they don’t adhere to the skin very well. This also means that the ingredients embedded in the sheet mask serum will not penetrate into the skin very well because the fibre does not absorb the serum to it’s full capacity. They can also be a little course in texture. Cheaper drug-store sheet masks will most likely be made out of fibre and this would explain why they never blew me away. The ‘next best’ material to make sheet masks out of is Pulp. Pulp is also quite inexpensive to manufacture but it has better absorption capabilities than fibre. The downsides to pulp masks is that they can dry out pretty quickly and might also not adhere to the skin very well.

Premium sheet masks tend to be made out of Hydro Gel. Hydro-Gel masks are made from two different components, have excellent absorption capabilities and contour well to the skin. They are quite expensive to manufacture and hence the more pricey price tag that accompanies them. The other premium ‘material’ for making sheet masks is Bio-cellulose. Bio-cellulose was actually developed for medical applications (to cover burns and wounds, to aid healing) and as such, isn’t commonly used for sheet masks. It is expensive but it adheres to the skin exceptionally well (not an inch of skin is missed). It is actually an all natural material made by cultured bacteria (may sound funky – but I promise you it isn’t!) and as a result, is biodegradable. Bio-cellulose can hold 100-times its weight in fluid and so it makes sense that it would be a fantastic material for face masks! As you may have guessed, Bel Mondo’s sheet masks are made from bio-cellulose. The Bio-cellulose itself feels a little gel-like to me and is very ‘moldable’ – once it’s adhered to your skin, you don’t need to worry about it ‘flopping off’. It’s also flexible, so it’s not uncomfortable or tight feeling once applied to your skin. Along with a fantastic formulas – you can be sure you are getting salon quality face mask treatments at home if you use a bio-cellulose sheet mask. Let’s be honest – if we are finally setting some time aside during the week to use a face mask, well it better be good (says every city or busy girl out there)! I find it really difficult to schedule in some time at a beauty salon – and added to that, I haven’t found one which I am totally comfortable and happy with, so I’m all for salon quality, at home treatments! This is where Bel Mondo Sheet Masks tick all the boxes!

tumblr_mzvb4dLIQR1qjlsqio9_500

I found out about Bel Mondo sheet masks thanks to Futurederm, and I knew that if Nicki rated these guys, they must be good! At the moment, Bel Mondo offer three different types of face sheet masks, anti-ageing, calming and ultra-hydrating. 

P1020907

Let’s first take a look at Bel Mondo’s ultra-hydrating mask, as this one was the first that I tried!

P1020909

P1020910

Before I begin telling you how the ingredients in this face mask work and how wonderful it is – I have a confession to make. I was sooo excited to try these face masks that I didn’t quite read the directions on the box carefully enough and made a near fatal mistake. I decided to fess up to you beauty bees, so that you don’t make the same mistake I did! The directions clearly state to remove the mask from the individually sealed packet and to use the middle layer of the mask. There are two outer layers, which protect the Bio-cellulose mask. You will know which is the middle layer, as the Bio-cellulose face mask itself feels gel like and a little slippery. The two outer layers are more rough and have this lattice like texture to them. Discard the lattice textured outer layers. I of course, took the mask out of the packet and didn’t discard the two outer layers of the face mask and whacked the whole thing onto my face *face palm*. I obviously didn’t get the full benefits of the face mask during my first attempt, which annoys me greatly… Luckily, I learnt the second time around :)

P1020911

The Bel Mondo Ultra-Hydrating Mask is just full of amazing hydrators. Here is the full ingredient list:

Ingredients: Purified water, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, propylene glycol, sodium alginate, Dansonyl (plant extract), ceramide gel, chlorphenesin, Skinasensyl (acetyl tetrapeptide-15, sodium citrate), rice extract, Hydromanil (moisturizing compound derived from tara seed), olive oil, hyaluronic acid, biosol, panthenol, fragrance.
Hyaluronic acid is a well known hydrator, which holds up 1000 times worth it’s weight in water. Sodium hyaluronate is very similar, however is a little more stable than hyaluronic acid. Both are humectant moisturisers, drawing water from the air into the deeper levels of your skin. If there isn’t much moisture in the air however, they could potentially leave your skin dry if not paired with other types of moisturisers (such as occlusive moisturisers). Sodium hyaluronate is great because it works in both high and low humidity environments. While hydrators like this may not be anti-ageing as such (repairing damaged skin), they allow your skin to work at full capacity, renewing skin cells, stimulating collagen product etc. so inadvertently, if you want your skin to look and work it’s best – hydrators are crucial!  The Ultra-Hydrating Mask also contains ceramides, which I spoke about in my Skin SOS post. Ceramides are lipids which are found in-between 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. Rice extract is a new ingredient on my beauty watch list, as it’s moisturising (as an emollient – softening the skin) but also a anti-oxidant (gamma orzanol is the antioxidant name). Not only this, rice extract also stabilizes fatty acids and oils already found in the skin, optimising the hydration levels already found in your skin. Olive oil is another emollient and an anti-inflammatory, while Dansonyl (more commonly known as Baobab) contains water binding agents to provide even more skin suppleness!
How did I find this mask? If you suffer from any kind of flaky-dry skin, this mask is for you! It’s intensely hydrating, without any oiliness or grease. My skin felt soooo insanely soft after using this mask and I think I also looked less tired as a result. I love that the Bio-cellulose mask itself sits comfortable on your skin and also covers your under eye area. As I suffer from under-eye circles (and chronic tiredness) I know that my poor eye area is also being treated with this mask.
*Tip* Bel Mondo recommends leaving this mask on your skin for 20 minutes. Different ingredients and their delivery systems vary in the time they need to reach the deeper layers of your skin. All ingredients have a threshold when it comes to penetrating your skin, but it’s generally thought that your skin needs 5-60 minutes to absorb all the possible nutrients contained within a mask. After about 20 minutes, your skin should have absorbed about 80% of the mask nutrients, while at 60 minutes, your skin should have absorbed about 99% of the nutrients (I read this tip on Futurederm). Because these Bel Mondo masks are soooo comfortable, keeping them on for an hour isn’t to much trouble – it just comes down to how much time you have. I will definitely be trying to keep these on for and hour and hopefully life won’t get to much in the way ;) *Note* If your mask contains AHA/BHA or other acids, only leave the mask on for as long as the manufacturer indicates. Otherwise, you may over exfoliate your skin and do more damage than good!
Once you have removed the mask from your skin, massage in any of the product remaining on your skin. There’s always a little bit of serum left in the foil packet, and I use this extra bit of serum on my chest area and wherever else I can put it! A pack of four Ultra-Hydrating Masks costs $45 US from Bel Mondo official web shop.

P1020916

Bel Mondo’s next face mask offering is their Calming Mask. If I had known about Bel Mondo’s Calming Mask a few weeks ago, I would have included it in my Skin SOS post (How to Soothe Red, Irritated & Hypersensitive Skin). The Calming Mask contains some great soothing ingredients, to both calm the skin and reduce inflammation – chamomile, allantoin and green tea (also an anti-oxidant). The mask is of course very moisturising also, which is very important in rebuilding the skins lipid barrier (so that the skin can protect itself against external aggressors). Your skin usually becomes irritated or hyper-sensitive when your lipid barrier has been weakened. Sodium hyaluronate, glycerin, olive oil and rice extract will moisturise and rehydrate your skin. Biophytex on the other hand, boosts microcirculation and soothes the skin. Skinasensyl is a tetrapeptide that makes skin less reactive to external stimuli, and reduces sensations of pain and discomfort.

Ingredients:  Purified water, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, propylene glycol, sodium alginate, Biophytex (plant extracts), chlorphenesin, Skinasensyl (acetyl tetrapeptide-15, sodium citrate), Laricyl, chamomile, rice extract, green tea, Caresoft (purified curculigo orchioides root), olive oil, tocopherol, allantoin, biosol, fragrance.

P1020917

I gave one of these Calming Masks to a friend of mine who experiences hypersensitivity quite often. She said that this mask didn’t aggravate her skin (big plus there!) and so there was no stinging or discomfort. Some of the redness and swelling she was experiencing reduced and her skin felt a whooole lot more comfortable after using this mask. That constant tightness and stinging had subsided. If you are experiencing a bad episode of hypersensitivity, you may have to use this masks a couple of times a week, to help get your skin back into shape. I used the mask after spending to much time in the sun (I wasn’t burnt per se – but I think my skin was dehydrated and just stressed from the onslaught of the elements) and my skin felt soothed, hydrated and comfortable again. A box of four Calming Masks will also cost you $45 US from Bel Mondo’s official web shop.

P1020912

Last but not leat, we have the Anti-ageing Mask!

P1020914

You may be wondering why in the world I would be using a anti-ageing face mask when I am ‘only’ 25 (I’m turning 26 this week and have not accepted this fact just yet!). Smart skin care is all about prevention! With all the wonderful progress that has been made in dermatology, you would be mad to not take advantage of the high-tech ingredients and treatments out there. ‘Fixing’ damaged skin is so much more difficult than preventing damage, and using anti-ageing products suited to your skins concerns is more than ok! I don’t believe in ‘age appropriate’ skin routines or products, I would suggest that you use products that target skin concerns instead.

P1020913

Bel Mondo has utilizes some great actives in their anti-ageing mask. Syn-Tacks specifically, is a combination of peptides which boosts cellular communication. Syn-Tack has been shown to stimulate proteins of the Dermal-Epidermal Junction where the uppermost layer of the skin meets the underlying layers. This means that cells can communicate more efficiently and work on repairing the skins structure – skin tone, firmness and wrinkles. Orange stem cells have been included in the mask to help encourage the production of elastin. Tocopherol is a form of vitamin E and is a powerful anti-oxidant, which helps reinforce the skins lipid barrier. Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 is a lipopeptide which helps form layers around and in between skin cells, creating a barrier that keeps natural moisture intact and prevents it from escaping. Palmitoyl Tripeptide strengthens connective tissue and lessens wrinkle effects. Your skin should also be incredibly hydrated after using this mask as it contains sodium hyaluronate (which hopefully you will be looking out for now ;) ), glycerin, soluble collagen (protein that draws moisture to skin while providing a protective shield) and olive oil. Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals and repair aged skin AND retinyl palmitate is a combination of retinol (Vitamin A) and palmitic acid. Retinyl palmitate is a skin cell regulator, and one of the primary antioxidants found naturally in skin.

Ingredients: Purified water, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, propylene glycol, sodium alginate, soluble collagen, chlorphenesin, Skinasensyl (acetyl tetrapeptide-15, sodium citrate), Syn-Tacks (palmitoyl dipeptide-5, palmitoyl dipeptide-6), Citrustem (orange stem cells), olive oil, tocopherol, palmitoyl tripeptide, palmitoyl hexapeptide, biosol, retinyl palmitate, alpha lipoic acid, fragrance.

I tried Bel Mondo’s Anti-ageing mask and also gave one to my mum to see what she thought (I’m pretty sure she will be using the remaining two from the 4 pack lol). My mum said her skin felt very smooth, plump and hydrated. She works outside a lot and unfortunately I don’t think she always wears sunscreen. The elements make her skin very dry and so if she says that her skin feels and looks hydrated (for longer than just an hour or two) than you are onto an excellent hydrating product! I’m hoping that with more uses of this mask, she notices a long-term difference in her skin. I of course love this mask also, even though the effects may not be as noticeable on my skin.

*Note* As this face mask contains vitamin A, I wouldn’t apply a chemical exfoliant to the skin afterwards (AHAs and BHAs do not mix with retinol or any kind of vitamin A). As this mask contains actives, apply a regular moisturiser over the top or a rich night cream. I would also advise to use this mask in the evenings as vitamin A can make your skin more sensitive to the suns rays.

A box of four Anti-ageing Masks also costs $45 US from Bel Mondo’s official web shop.

P1020915

You can also by the masks individually for $12 each (the box of four masks will save you $3). At the moment, Bel Mondo doesn’t offer international shipping from their web shop :( BUT they are working on sourcing an Australian supplier for their goodies and I have a *feeling* that this will happen very soon! As soon as it does I will let you beauty bees know :) Bel Mondo is a smaller brand which has a really enthusiastic and innovative team behind it. It’s obvious that they care about the products that they make and the quality of these masks is superb. I really hope you all get to try them soon!

Are you a fan of sheet masks beauties? Which one would be your pick out of the three Bel Mondo offerings? Let me know what masks you rate highly, as I am currently obsessed with face masks!

Until next time,

Beauty Bee~

My Hair Care Strategy 2.0

2015 will be the year that I achieve long, luscious locks! Haha On a more realistic note, it would be great to grow my hair past my shoulders, while keeping it looking great, healthy and strong. For fine hair (yet alone blonde hair along with it), this is really, really difficult.  I remember reading an interview where Naomi Watts also stated she experienced this problem (as in, growing her hair past her shoulders and hence usually settles for a bob slash lob) and I automatically felt like the two of us became instant bosom buddies (she understands me!).

golden-globes-2015-red-carpet-naomi-watts

Naomi Watts at this years Golden Globes. Didn’t she look fabulous? And her hair is beautifully styled!

Fine hair weakens due to everyday stressors (like environmental factors), diet, heat styling and chemical colouring, and hence becomes prone to snapping and split ends, so regular hair cuts are a must. However, did you know that hair elasticity, strength and vibrancy decreases with age? We often talk about ageing skin but ageing hair? Not so much. Even if you don’t have fine hair, you may notice that with age your hair falls out more easily and may grow more slowly.

284078688964727913bhfxjC2Ec

My dream hair! *Le sigh*

One of the most crucial improvements you can make is making sure you are getting enough fatty acids, minerals and ‘hair specific’ vitamins in your diet. Fatty acids make up about 3% of the hair shaft and are also found in the cell membranes in the skin of your scalp (a happy scalp means stronger hair!). Our body doesn’t make fatty acids by itself, so they have to be supplemented in our diet. If you don’t eat enough oily fish (a couple times a week) then taking fish oil capsules is a must. I love my salmon sashimi, but I can’t say that I eat it weekly (let alone a few times a week) so I’ve always taken fish oil capsules (more so ‘when I remember’) and flaxseed oil capsules. Fish oil is full of omega 3 (anti-inflammatory and great for your skin as well) while flaxseed is full of omega 3, 6 and 9. You can ingest as much omega 3 and 6 as you want to, as it doesn’t build up in our bodies over time (doing harm), but you should however, be more careful with omega 9 as this fatty acid can build up in your body. So the plan for 2015? Taking 2 x fish oil and 2 x flaxseed capsules daily. 

P1030124

If your hair has been falling out more than normal over the last couple of weeks, it may be beneficial to ask your doctor to test your vitamin D3 and iron levels. If we are low in vitamin D3 and iron, hair can become weaker at the hair follicle level, easily falling out. Zinc on the other hand, regulates cell renewal and supports healthy skin tissue. Dull, matte hair can be a sign that one is low in zinc. Zinc and magnesium are also needed for the production of hair pigments, so diet could help with keeping those greys away in some part! Seeing as my diet can be really all over the place (I know, I know) hair supplements can go a long way when it comes to strengthening your hair. The catch is, that you may not notice a difference in your hair strength and growth cycles until 3-6 months in after starting your supplements. Taking hair supplements has to be a long term project, so don’t expect transformed locks after 2 months. My pick when it comes to hair supplements is the Blackmores’ Nails, Hair and Skin supplement. I always look out for ingredients like zinc, iron, vitamin c (which helps the iron be absorbed), biotin and silica (minerals). I stopped taking the Blackmores Nails, Hair and Skin supplement a few months back and started taking a French brand of supplements, but the ingredient list was quite similar and it just became a hassle trying to source them.

P1030125

I can usually find the Blackmores supplements on sale either at Woolworths, Priceline or chemists. You need to take two of these a day and I usually take them after eating my lunch.  Here is what they contain specifically if you want to compare these hair supplements with others.

Silicon dioxide (Silica) 25 mg
Equisetum arvense (Horsetail) extract equiv. to dry stem 466 mg
Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) 30 mg
Folic acid 150 µg
Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) from calcium
pantothenate 21.8 mg, 20 mg
Iron (as ferrous fumarate 9.5mg) 3 mg
Zinc (as zinc amino acid chelate 37.5mg) 7.5 mg
Manganese (as manganese amino acid chelate 10mg) 1 mg
Biotin 1.3 mg
Betacarotene 1 mg

As we get older, the circulation in our scalp slows down, which not only means slowed hair growth, but hair can be weaker, dullers and brittle because it isn’t getting all the nutrients it needs to be strong. The other tactic I plan to employ is using products which strengthen the hair from the outside in. There’s nothing worse than using a shampoo which leaves your hair feeling tangled and dry like hay (I’m looking at you Moroccan Oil Volume shampoo!). Even brushing dry hair can make it snap and break, so it’s all about being super gentle with your hair. What ingredients should you look out for when looking for gentle shampoos and conditioners? Moisturising ingredients like glycerin, panthenol, ceramides, keratin, amino acids, zinc, fatty acids (yep – even in your shampoo and conditioner!) and oils like argan and coconut oil. Don’t forget to use UV filters when out in the sun for extended periods of time.

My products of choice at the moment?

P1030102

My everyday shampoo and conditioner are from Theorie. Their Argan Oil shampoo and conditioners are excellent! The first time I used the shampoo, I thought it was conditioner – that’s how rich and moisturising it is! They are designed for severely damaged and ‘unresponsive’ hair – but neither shampoo or conditioner weighs down my hair despite the rich ingredients (that’s a worry of mine, as my hair is so fine – and flatness is the enemy!). Argan oil is of course the main ingrendient in this duo (and it’s listed as ingredients number two only after water in the conditioner, so you know the conditioner is packed full of argan oil!) which is perfect as argan oil is full of fatty acids (omega 6 and 9 specifically), antioxidants (providing some protection from UVA and UVB rays) and vitamin E. Both products also contain silk proteins and grapeseed oil. They are formulated without parabens, sulfates, and phosphate which is good news. I love that they come in bottles fitted with pumps and they both contain 400ml of product. For the amount of product you receive, I think the price of $24.95 is very reasonable. I bought my shampoo and conditioner from RY. 

I recently bought a set of Kevin Murphy products (also shampoo and conditioner) which I plan to use interchangeable with the Theorie Argan shampoo and conditioner. They are from the Young Again range of products, designed for ‘mature hair’, but also for brittle hair. What drew me to them is that they contain 20 different amino acids PLUS lotus and orchid extract, bamboo extract (anti-irritant), kakadu plum (vitamin C and elastin) baobab oil (which contains vitamins A, D, and E) and mango seed butter (in the conditioner).

P1030115

I bought my Kevin Murphy products from Adore Beauty. They are more expensive and more of a splurge, with the shampoo costing $37 and the conditioner $38. I was lucky enough to buy them in a gift pack which always makes them a tad cheaper. Luckily Adore Beauty also don’t charge for shipping!

Treatment products like hair masks are just as important as picking a good shampoo and conditioner as the ingredients are more concentrated. If you colour your hair, they are even more important as the ingredients are usually chosen on their ability to help repair the hair structure – not just protect it. If you have the chance, also ask for an in salon hair treatment after a colour as any colouring will weaken the hair structure. The salon I visit doesn’t offer to many treatments, but they have one particular heated protein treatment which works like a bomb! It’s worth the extra pennies me thinks. For at home treatments, I’m loving these ‘three’ at the moment!

P1030108

Theorie Argan Oil Ultimate Repair Hair Mask is just as good as their shampoo and conditioner. Argan oil is the star ingredient of course and it works brilliantly at smoothing the hair and making it shiny. Grapeseed oil and shea butter also help ;) This hair mask smells sooo good. I’m not sure what the scent is, but it’s delicious! The mask contains these little beads, which I think may be the argan oil (or the shea butter) but I’m not 100% sure. They melt into your hair without a problem. This mask only needs to be left on your hair for 5-10 minutes. You get 300ml of product for $25, which again, is great value!

P1030110

P1030113

If you are often time poor, then the Evo The Great Hydrator Moisture Mask should be your jam! The glycerin and argan oil contained in this mask, only take about 5 minutes to work their magic. It leaves hair soooo soft and manageable, that really – you can’t go past it!

P1030111

P1030112

You receive 150ml of product for $30, which isn’t the cheapest. It is quick and easy however, and the tube would be perfect (and light) for travelling! Plus, everyone needs a good fro for the bus!

The next two hair masks are from Hello Hair. – their original Hydrating Mask and their summer version, Hydrating Mask Island Escape Edition. Both masks are very similar in how they work and how they leave your hair feeling. They both contain coconut and argan oil, olive oil (smoothing), olive leaf extract (antioxidant and anti-fungal) and castor oil (omega 9 fatty acid). Coconut oil can actually penetrate into the hair shaft unlike many other oils out there and I would say that it’s definitely the coconut oil which shines in these masks! The Hydrating Mask also contains sweet almond oil (which is abundant in protein and vitamin E) while the Island Escape edition leaves this oil out so that those with nut allergies have an alternative they can use. I actually reviewed the original Hydrating Mask, so if you would like more info check out that post here!

P1030126

The Island Edition also contains pomegranate see oil (great for boosting circulation on the scalp!) and grapeseed oil (light, yet moisturising and smoothing). It has a sweet scent, while the original mask doesn’t smell much (maybe lightly of coconut oil). These masks are more time consuming as you apply them before washing your hair (as a pre-treatment) and you should ideally leave them on to penetrate into the hair for about an hour. I do prefer these masks to straight coconut oil as they are lighter thanks to the carefully selected blend of oils. I do also apply a little conditioner to the ends of my hair after shampooing these masks out of my hair (twice) and if it works for my fine hair, then it should work for you also! These masks are a little heavier than the previous ones mentioned, but this isn’t a huge problem as they don’t leave your hair totally flat, especially if you shampoo them out and lightly blowdry your hair just to give the hair a little lift! The original Hydrating Mask is $15 for 100g while the Island Escape Edition is $18.

In my quest to achieve luscious locks – I will be trying to use as little heat styling as possible. As my hair is so fine, it usually air dries very quickly and once it is about 75% dry I quickly blast it with a hair dryer just to give it a little lift. I do like to curl my hair using hot rollers, but I don’t do that very often and I will try and steer clear of all heating tools as much as possible (velcro type rollers will be my jam for air drying my hair in the summer heat!). The two styling products I love (and don’t recquire heat) are the Kevin Murphy Shimmer Shine Spray and the Evo Salty Dog Salt Spray.

P1030118

I wasn’t sure the Salty Dog Salt Spray would work as it’s hold factor is rated as a 1 out of 5, BUT it does! It gives my hair a light wave, a *little bit* of grit and it smells amazing! I love to spray this into my hair (damp or dry), give it a good scrunch and then pin it up in a bun. When I un-do the bun, I’m left with gorgeous waves thanks to minimal effort ;) I’m not sure that this would work on thick hair, but Evo do a texturising spray (with added heat protection) called the Mister Fantastic Texture Spray which can be used like a sea salt spray. It has more hold factor (3 out of 5) and so should be more suitable for thicker hair. The Salty Dog Salt Spray costs $27 from Adore Beauty.

P1030120

Kevin Murphy’s Shimmer Shine spray looks amazing in the bottle! It contains little gold flecks, which of course, shimmer and shine! I picked this shine spray over others as it contains repairing oils within it’s formula – Immortelle, Baobab and Bamboo. It’s very light on the hair and yet imparts a healthy looking sheen (no chunky bits of shimmer to be seen – the effect it leaves on the hair is actually quite subtle). It’s very princess like if I say so myself :P It has an interesting scent – I would say it’s kind of spicy? Like cardamon or even pepper? I don’t mind it and it does fade away after a while. This shiny goodness costs $40 from Adore Beauty. 

P1020173

On days when I am at home and want to use a ‘leave in conditioner’ in my hair, I use this Potion Organic Argan Oil. What I love about argan oil is that it isn’t very heavy or greasy – I would even say that it is slightly dry to the touch.

That’s it beauties! It’s a rather large roundup of hair care products I suppose, but I did have to get serious if I wanna knock my locks into shape this year! I also probably should get a hair sunscreen type product as my current one is a little old and past it’s used by date. If you have any recommendations let me know (but don’t worry, I won’t be buying any until my $100 beauty challenge is over!). If you have any tried and tested recommendations for products which repair and protect the hair, do let me know! I will let you know how I am going with my hair care routine soon and update you with any new additions of products should they arise. I do also use a purple toning treatment on my blonde hair, but I want to write up a thorough review for you in a separate post.

That’s it from me beauties – don’t forget to check out my Facebook page here and join in on more beauty bee action!

Catch ya next time,

Beauty Bee~

Starting the $100 Beauty Challenge

That time of year has come again, where I will be limiting my beauty spending habits to $100 for four weeks. After a few *cough cough* weeks of overspending and excess, I really need to get into the habit of saving, appreciating what I already own and rediscovering forgotten goodies. Call it a spending detox if you will :P

url

I know that for some people, $100 is a lot in itself and I’m very lucky to be able to spend that amount on beauty goods & cosmetics, let alone more. Because I will need to buy some essentials and generally cosmetics and toiletries are more expensive in Australia, $100 should cover all the basics I might need over this time period. What kind of purchases will my $100 cover? Any kind of makeup, skincare, beauty tools (cotton balls, nail files etc), hair products and nail goodies!

large

I usually don’t mind spending a touch more on good quality skin care products because they are something I use everyday (or even twice a day) but luckily I shouldn’t run out of to many of my current skin care staples over the next four weeks (or else my $100 budget would be blown pretty darn quickly if I wanted to replace one of my ‘basic’ products). If I do need to purchase a product over the next four weeks (be it a skincare product or something else), I will try and make as many substitutions as I can so that I don’t fail the challenge (and I might discover some great new *thrifty* products!). I tend to over spend on makeup products which I then rarely use or forget about – and that is not good.

10353577_573806352721285_2172552608974446239_n

I will update you on what I have bought, my struggles and what substitutions I’ve made (if I need to do so). Feel free to do this challenge with me – the support would be amazing! I’m starting the challenge today, so for me the challenge will end on the 5th of February (eek!). My birthday falls on the 22nd of January, so whatever gifts I receive (if they are of the beauty kind) they will not count towards the challenge as I didn’t buy them :P

Would you consider doing this challenge? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Money Smart Beauty Bee~ ;)