Skincare routine

Before the past three to four weeks of fifteen hour workdays and five hours’ sleep per night caught up with me, my skin was in great condition. And when I say great, I meant that each time I washed my face I was constantly surprised at how soft and smooth it was. I wanted to do a skincare routine documenting what I was using at the time because: 1) I’m not sure exactly which product it is that gave such results, and often it’s probably a cocktail of products and not just one that results in a noticeable difference; and 2) let’s be real, six months down and 13835789 new products later, I’d forget the combination of products that I was using no matter how good it is. Although three weeks only, my skin’s not looking so great, I do think that when I was keeping normal hours of work and sleep, the products worked wonderfully. So it’s not a very involved routine, but here we go.

Morning

I cleanse my face with either the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser or the L’occitane Brightening Foaming Cleanser.

Using my ring fingers, I pat a tiny dab of Pai Echium & Argan Gentle Eye Cream around my eyes. Next I use the Origins Make A Difference Plus+ Rejuvenating Serum. I give it a minute or so then I spread the Omorovicza Illuminating Moisturiser all over my face.

That’s all for my morning routine!

Night

When I get home, I use the Bioderma Sensibio Micelle Solution and a cotton pad to remove my eye makeup. The rest of my makeup I remove in the shower – I massage the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm onto my dry face, and after I step into the shower I use a warm damp flannel or muslin cloth to take off the rest of my makeup.

After my shower, if I am not going immediately to sleep, I spray about three spritzes of the Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner on my face. If I am going to sleep quite soon after, I skip the toner and go straight into cleansing again. For this I’ve been using Lush Angels on Bare Skin, which my skin LOVES. I use the Pai Echium & Argan Gentle Eye Cream again, followed by the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum and the Omorovicza Revitalising Night Cream.

That’s all I do – maybe once a week I use The Face Shop Raspberry Roots Sleeping Mask, but that’s about it. I haven’t used exfoliants, chemical or physical, in some time because I think my skin is a little too sensitive to them. I’ve noticed that something else that really affects my skin is alcohol, so I’ve consciously been trying to imbibe less of the stuff. Other than that, sleep really does make a tremendous difference, so I’m going to take some of my own advice and be off to bed now.

2013 favourites

I thought I’d just make a record of my favourites of 2013. I haven’t got something from every category as I only want to put in stuff that I truly did enjoy and not have to force something out just so that I’d have something for that category. Without further ado:

Song: Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood. I found this song through Arden Rose’s Youtube channel. Listened to it and absolutely fell in love. I just love the whole vibe of the song. It makes me feel like that is exactly what I want out of life.

Music: The Neighbourhood. Of course, having fallen in love with Sweater Weather, I had to check out the rest of The Neighbourhood’s music as well, and proceeded to fall in love. Particular favourites are Wires, Afraid, Female Robbery and West Coast.

Book: Atlas Shrugged. I don’t agree with all the ideas espoused in the book, but I enjoyed the book very much. The story is incredibly absorbing, and it really made me re-think concepts which I took for granted. Definitely a book which has shaped my outlook on life, and I absolutely recommend it.

Lifestyle: Exercise. I started exercising more regularly sometime mid this year and, I have to say, I really enjoy it. Call me strange, but I especially like feeling my muscles ache for days after a gruelling workout.

Makeup: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (in Custard). Concealer is the most important item in my makeup arsenal because it just makes the BIGGEST difference to my face. The NARS one is the only concealer that I’ve found which is effective in covering my really dark under eye circles. It’s kind of expensive but I would not hesitate to buy it again and again.

Obsession: Skincare. Some years are fashion years, some are makeup years, 2013 was skincare year. It could be because now that I’m in the latter half of my 20s, I’ve noticed that my skin is drier and more easily irritated. Whatever it is, some of my favourite Youtubers – such as ViviannaDoesMakeup and A Model Recommends – have really made me interested in skincare. Thanks to Pixiwoo, I also discovered Caroline Hiron’s blog, which is a treasure trove of skincare tips. To be perfectly honest though, despite purchasing a lot of skincare and reading a lot about it, I’m still quite lazy when it comes to actual application. I do the proper double cleanse (this was also the year I discovered cleansing balms, which I now can’t do without), serum and moisturiser, but not much else. I try to do a mask at least once a week but sometimes I’m just too lazy.

Shopping website: Cult Beauty. Apart from feeding my skincare obsession, this website has wrecked havoc on my bank account this year because it is just so relaxing and wonderful to browse. I like the idea of a collection which has been curated so only the best products of a particular brand have been included. Plus I am a sucker for samples, and Cult Beauty do the best sample bags, which they come out with every couple of months.

Event: My engagement! I got engaged in 2013! That was probably the biggest and best thing which happened to me this year. Coming in second was my trip to London and Paris, which I enjoyed immensely. It cemented London as my favourite city to visit :)

To be honest, 2013 hasn’t been the best year, work-wise, and 2014 looks equally bleak/busy. And work takes up about 80% of my time, sadly. However, I’m going to try my best to be positive and take things as they come. Here’s to an amazing 2014!

Cult Beauty Haul

A short little picture haul on what I got from Cult Beauty during one of their Black Friday / Cyber Monday promotions!

I basically make a purchase whenever they do one of those goody bag type promotions. This time, I got a REN set (don’t think they have it anymore) and the Therapie Discovery Kit.

REN set (L-R): Radiance Perfection Serum, Resurfacing AHA Concentrate, Micro Polish Cleanser, Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask

REN set (L-R): Radiance Perfection Serum, Resurfacing AHA Concentrate, Micro Polish Cleanser, Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask

Therapie Discovery Kit(clockwise from top left): Restore Aura Spray, Equilibrium Bath & Shower Essence, Boost Hair & Body Wash, Cherish Skin Repair Serum, Himalayan Detox Salts

Therapie Discovery Kit(clockwise from top left): Restore Aura Spray, Equilibrium Bath & Shower Essence, Boost Hair & Body Wash, Cherish Skin Repair Serum, Himalayan Detox Salts

With 75 pounds spent, I got this awesome Best of 2013 goody bag!!

A ton of awesome things!

A ton of awesome things!

Worth every penny, in my opinion :)

StyleXStyle’s Little Black Beauty Box for December

This is a little late as I think it’s no longer available, but I thought I’d share what I got in StyleXStyle’s Little Black Beauty Box for December. This is the first time I ordered a box from them, and it was a pleasant surprise. It was the Estee Lauder edition, which probably explains why the box is jam packed with good stuff.

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As you can see, it comes beautifully packaged – a classy looking black hard box with a pink ribbon. The box opens like a book, which I like.

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The goodies inside were plenty. Unlike other boxes, which often have 4-5 samples, this one had ELEVEN samples, and good sized ones too – not those little sachets of stuff.

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The box comes with the following products (all in miniature):
1) Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II
2) Origins Plantscription Anti-aging serum
3) Origins Make a Difference Plus+ Rejuvenating serum
4) Clinique dramatically different moisturising gel for combination oily to oily skin
5) MAC pro eye makeup remover
6) MAC zoom lash
7) DKNY Be Delicious Skin
8) La Mer the moisturising gel cream
9) Bobbi Brown shimmer lip gloss in Rose Sugar
10) Lab Series Age Rescue Face Lotion
11) Lab Series Multi-action Face Wash

Overall, I’m really impressed. You can order future Little Black Beauty Boxes here.

October 2013 favourites :D

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I can’t believe October’s come to an end… it means that Christmas is coming and that the year is drawing to a close.

Strangely, although this has probably been one of my freest months of the year, leaving me the most time to test products, I don’t have many product favourites this month. On to my favourites:

1) My iPad mini. It’s actually meant for work, but if it can be used for play as well, why not? My morning bus rides are so much enhanced by watching YouTube videos on the iPad mini instead of on my tiny iPhone 4s screen.

2) Filling in my brows. Prior to this month, the only thing I used to do with my brows was get them threaded once every couple of months and DIY plucked every couple of days. When I went on holiday to Europe at the beginning of October, I took along my new Anastasia Brow Wiz in Brunette to test. I’ve not looked back since. Filling in brows is the subtlest way to make yourself look better and more awake. Since I’ve taken to wearing spectacles half the time, I’ve realised that filling in my brows really does make a difference. Before I got the Anastasia Brow Wiz, I was considering other brow kits but I finally decided that I didn’t want to have to faff around with brushes and powders. I like the Brow Wiz – it’s a nifty tool with a very thin mechanical crayon on one end and a spooly-thing on the other. Quite easy to use – just colour and brush, all in one tool. However, I’ve not tried other brow products so I’ll reserve judgment on this one.

3) Smith’s Minted Rose Lip Balm. I got this sometime around last Christmas, and I’m not going to lie, when I first got it I was kind of disappointed in the smell. I thought it was going to be a very sweet, gourmand scent but it turned out to be quite a sharp and herbal mint. The scent has grown on me, and in any event I’ll keep using this as this works absolute wonders. I have quite dry lips – half the lip balms I try just aren’t moisturising enough. Smith’s is the best one I’ve tried, in terms of moisturising the lips. It does go on a bit sticky though, and because it’s in a pot it’s not quite as hygienic as I’d like it to be. I have a pot of Smith’s in the office, and I feel I can only touch up my lip balm as often as I wash my hands (due to the hygiene factor). I took it with me when I went to Europe and although my entire face was peeling my lips stayed hydrated.

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4) Switzerland! More specifically, Grindelwald, Switzerland. We stayed at the Sunstar, and the view from our hotel balcony (see the picture) was just beautiful. I felt like I was in the Sound of Music.

… and that’s all folks. November’s going to be a busy, busy month for me. I wonder what favourites there’ll be in store for me. Check back for more posts!

Cult beauty haul! :D

Clockwise from top left: Dr Bronner's Magic Soap in Lavender; Borghese Fango Active Mud for Face and Body; REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask; a sample of Collin Regenerating Collagen Gel; a sachet of Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint; a sachet of Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser; RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream

Clockwise from top left: Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap in Lavender; Borghese Fango Active Mud for Face and Body; REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask; a sample of Collin Regenerating Collagen Gel; a sachet of Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint; a sachet of Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser; RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream

Look what greeted me when I came home last night! :D:D (Well, this was all in a box but it was an equally welcome sight.)

I am a total sucker for gifts with purchase, especially those which give you samples from a variety of brands. So when Cult Beauty offered a free goody bag filled with bath and shower goodies with £60 spent, I jumped on it.

I got the Borghese Fango Active Mud for Face and Body because ViviannaDoesMakeup has been raving about it so I need to try it. I also got the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask because a ton of Youtubers have raved about it. (Yeah, this is how I spend my money… being influenced by Youtube and beauty bloggers.) I also got the RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream because it looked so nice and whipped… However when it arrived it was a clear liquid, which is probably the result of being delivered in 30 degree weather. I think I’ll probably have to stick it in the fridge before I use it. The Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap I got just to take my order beyond the £60 mark.

And here’s the goody bag!

L-R: Samples of Miller Harris perfume; Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts; REN Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil; Elemis Pro-Collagen Body Cream; Caudalie Divine Oil; Kai perfume oil; Aromatherapy Associates Relax Deep Bath & Shower Oil; Coco Shambhala Invigorate Shower Gel

L-R: Samples of Miller Harris perfume; Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts; REN Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil; Elemis Pro-Collagen Body Cream; Caudalie Divine Oil; Kai perfume oil; Aromatherapy Associates Relax Deep Bath & Shower Oil; Coco Shambhala Invigorate Shower Gel

I already know that I love the Aromatherapy Associates Relax Deep Bath & Shower Oil, so I was pleased to get another mini-sized one. I foresee that I will be getting plenty of use out of it in the comings months, which I expect to be stressful and busy. And I’ve heard so many amazing things about the Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts that I’ve been just itching to try it but couldn’t justify buying even the smaller size version as I don’t have a bathtub… so this is a good way to try it! Good excuse to take a staycation at a nice hotel with a tub…? The Coco Shambhala Invigorate Shower Gel smells very similar to the L’Occitane 3 essential oils shower gel (which I LOVE… but that’s another post for another day), so I’m excited to try that. (:

Europe haul

Just got back from a trip to Italy, Switzerland and France, and this is what I bought! (The Origins mask is from Singapore duty free, but everything else is from Europe.) As a picture is a thousand words, I’ll let my pictures do the talking (: (:

Ribbon and leaf bracelet charms from Thomas Sabo

Ribbon and leaf bracelet charms from Thomas Sabo

L-R: Bourjois shower cream in Sublime Moi!; Le Petit Marseillais shower cream in Huile d'abricot & Fleur d'amandier; Bioderma Crealine H2O Micellar Solution x 2; La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL 50+ SPF tinted sunscreen; Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask; Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser (which came free with Votre Beaute magazine)

L-R: Bourjois shower cream in Sublime Moi!; Le Petit Marseillais shower cream in Huile d’abricot & Fleur d’amandier; Bioderma Crealine H2O Micellar Solution x 2; La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL 50+ SPF tinted sunscreen; Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask; Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser (which came free with Votre Beaute magazine)

L-R (excluding samples): Jo Malone Earl Grey and Cucumber perfume; Fragonard Ile d'amour perfume, Fragonard Belle de Nuit perfume; L'Artisan Perfumeur box set with Mure et Musc, Un Chasse aux Papillons and Premier Figuier perfumes :)

L-R (excluding samples): Jo Malone Earl Grey and Cucumber perfume; Fragonard Ile d’amour perfume, Fragonard Belle de Nuit perfume; L’Artisan Perfumeur box set with Mure et Musc, Un Chasse aux Papillons and Premier Figuier perfumes :)

Clockwise from front: Bourjois Rice Powder; Bourjois Bronzing Primer; KIKO Creamy Lipgloss in 102; KIKO Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow in 05; KIKO Kiss Balm in 06 Blackberry; KIKO SMART Eye Pencil in 801; KIKO Pencil Lip Gloss in 06; KIKO Twinkle Eye Pencil in 02; KIKO Eyetech Look in 117

Clockwise from front: Bourjois Rice Powder; Bourjois Bronzing Primer; KIKO Creamy Lipgloss in 102; KIKO Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadow in 05; KIKO Kiss Balm in 06 Blackberry; KIKO SMART Eye Pencil in 801; KIKO Pencil Lip Gloss in 06; KIKO Twinkle Eye Pencil in 02; KIKO Eyetech Look in 117

I’m excited to try the KIKO Eyetech Look and the KIKO Pencil Lip Gloss in particular – will probably do a review of these soon!

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