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In recent months Boxwalla Green Beauty Boxes have really upped their game with their curations, collaborating with some of the very best in green beauty. Case in point was April's Twelve Beauty London Mask or the upcoming box which features one of my personal favourites - the African Botanics Fleurs d'Afrique Intense Recovery Oil (one of the best!). However, the box that has been a true highlight for me was none other than June's moss skincare box, which featured none other than moss skincare (of course), a brand which I have had on my radar for a while now but haven't quite taken the plunge to purchase. 

moss skincare stands for "Modern Organic Sacred Skincare" and was founded by Celestyna Higgins, a physicist in 2015. The brand focuses on creating superior and safe skincare that draws upon the power of plants and botanicals. Each formulation is highly concentrated and powerful due to the brand's use of botanical hydrosols instead of water as the basis for all formulations. Each and every moss Skincare product prides itself in combining nature with science, using premium plant extracts as well as tried and true actives such as Vitamin C

Beurre Celeste Honey Infused Cleansing Balm was on the of items featured in Boxwalla and I haven't really put it down since. This cleansing balm has been enjoyable in almost every aspect of use - from the opening of the jar when you get that whiff of sweet floral honey to the way the balm melts on the complexion and finally to the beautiful lit from within glow this amazing balm gives as it washes off (effortlessly I might add...not cloth required). I've been using this so much that I have nearly run out and have since repurchased. I've quickly fallen in love with Beurre Celeste - so much so I would say its at Holy Grail status. 

***Please note I have been kindly gifted these products from the Boxwalla Green Beauty box with no expectation of a review. I simply adore this product so much that I had to share. All opinions about this product are my own honest thoughts and opinions. There are affiliate links in this post (anything Boxwalla FYI) but no pressure to use them

What Is It?

The Beurre Celeste Cleansing Balm is a beautiful honey-infused cleansing balm that emulsifies with water. 

What Does It Do?

The Beurre Celeste Cleansing Balm works to remove makeup and SPF, as well as provide with the skin with a gentle exfoliation to leave the skin smooth, fresh and clean. This cleansing balm works to preserve the integrity of the skin barrier. 

Ingredients: 

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Mel (Local Organic Honey)*, Garcinia Indica (Kokum) Butter*, Macadamia Ternifolia (Macadamia Nut) Seed Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Esters*, Di-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate, Hydroxystearyl Alcohol, Hydroxystearyl Glucoside, Sorbitan Olivate, Sunflower Lecithin*, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit CO2 Extract*, Citrus Bergamia (Bergamot) Oil FCF, Backhousia Citriodora (Lemon Myrtle) Oil*, Cymbopogon Martinii (Palmarosa) Oil*, Coriandrum Sativum CO2 Extract*, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Oil*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract *Organic/Wildcrafted

* Organic/Wildcrafted (90%)

My Thoughts:

Two words: HOLY GRAIL. The moss skincare Beurre Celeste Cleansing Balm has quickly become a favourite of mine, so much so that I am so close to finishing my current one and have already gone ahead and repurchased another. It really is just THAT good. This cleansing balm ticks all the right boxes for me - everything from the scent, texture to how it works and rinses off. Celestyna Higgins (founder of moss) has truly hit the nail on the head with this beauty of a cleanser. 

So what makes this so special? Well really, it just comes down to the formulation and how this gorgeous balm performs. The Beurre Celeste Cleansing Balm incorporates all the things I love about green beauty cleansers - the scent, the ritual, the escape. The scent of the moss Skincare's cleansing balm is sweet and delectable. Due to the use raw Nebraska honey (straight from hives located on environmentally protected USDA Pollinator Habitat land along the Loup River within Central Nebraska), Beurre Celeste smells like a honey cake straight out of the oven. It's sweet and floral scent (due to the other plant extracts) makes it such a pleasure to use, both in the morning and at night. 

Once the scent has hit, moss skincare's Beurre Celeste Cleansing Balm has the most beautiful texture. In the jar, it is like a typical balm cleanser with a beautiful golden hue. However, once warmed up in the palms of the hand, this becomes a luxurious thick oil that spreads and is easily worked into the complexion. The balm feels wonderful on the skin, with a good slip that makes it really easy to massage into the complexion to rid the skin of any makeup, SPF or impurities. I also found that when using this, the balm would also gently slough off any dead skin cells (warning, this may sound disgusting to some) as the bits of skin/granules would be suspended in the oil itself. Despite is exfoliation qualities, I do find this cleanser so incredibly gentle still. 

When it comes to rinsing off the Beurre Celeste Cleansing Balm, the fact that this balm emulsifies into a soft gentle milk, making it a breeze to use in the morning and as a travel companion as well. This beautiful balm rinses clean with water and without the use of a cloth which is truly wonderful and amazing. In the world of green beauty, it's actually quite hard to find a cleansing balm that not only smells and feels great on the skin but also one that emulsifies. Once rinsed off, I can feel that my complexion is visibly clearer and brighter. This cleanser cleans the skin well (eye makeup and hard to remove lipstick gone) and it is so gentle on the complexion. It doesn't strip the skin or leave it feeling squeaky clean or dry. Instead, my complexion feels balanced, nourished and hydrated - most likely from the use of oils and luxe butters such as Sunflower Seed Oil,  Kokum Butter and Macadamia Seed Oil. I also find that the Beurre Celeste Cleansing Balm works wonders in calming the skin, especially in areas that are looking a little red or angry, including areas that may have broken out. Once I use this balm to cleanse the skin, I find that those areas have soothed down quite a bit and the redness has subsided. This may be due to the high percentage of raw honey used in the cleansing balm and also the Sea Buckthorn CO2 Extract. 

Beurre Celstete can also be used as a hydrating mask due to its delectable formulation. I personally haven't used it in this way (although I really should) but due to the high percentage of raw honey, nourishing oils, butters and pure plant extracts, I can see this being a super hydrating and calming mask. 

In terms of the ingredients used, there is no doubt that Beurre Celeste utilises some tried and true and ingredients. However, what Celestyna of moss skincare has done really well is combine these fantastic ingredients into a simply amazing cleanser. Raw honey is an ingredient that has been used for centuries, not only for consumption but also for traditional healing remedies due to it having a high nutritional profile. Raw honey is filled with flavonoids and polyphenols, which act as antioxidants to help protect the skin. Studies have shown that honey also has a high level of anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it was such a medicinal favourite for centuries. Sea buckthorn fruit is another ingredient used in the Beurre Celeste Cleansing Balm, studies have shown that there is a presence of many active ingredients in the extract of common sea-buckthorn obtained by cold extraction from the fruit of the plant, including antioxidants, vitamin C, flavonoids, polyphenols and polysaccharides. Oils and butters used such a sunflower seed oil, kokum butter and macadamia oils have been carefully chosen for their non-comedogenic properties, lightweight feel, antibacterial, antioxidant properties and impressive fatty acid profiles. These oils work together to not only give Beurre Celeste its 'oil' base but also to help nourish, protect and maintain the skin's natural barrier when cleansing. As the moss skincare range does tend to focus quite a lot on skin types that are acne prone or quite oily in nature, the choice of ingredients for the Beurre Celeste Cleansing Balm show a real focus for antibacterial and soothing properties, whilst also respecting the skin's natural barrier function to help prevent further spots from occurring. 

There are two downsides to moss skincare's Beurre Celeste Cleansing balm with the main one being the cost. At USD$70 for 58ml of product, this product is in no way cheap and definitely is on the more luxury side of things. I found that I did go through this quite quickly (I also did use it lots) and for the everyday skincare junkie, this might be quite a bit of money to spend on a cleanser. It is most definitely a luxe purchase (do remember this is made in small batches and uses potent yet time-consuming techniques to create and extract ingredients), however for me, its worth every penny as I have not seen or used a cleanser quite like this one. The final downside (and it's not really a downside) is the size - I wish there was a bigger size available as I have just enjoyed using this so much. I find that 58ml doesn't last me as long as other cleansing balms. I just want a 100ml version of this gorgeous cleansing balm as I can't get enough! 

What I love about moss skincare's Beurre Celeste Cleansing Balm is that it not only works like a treat to successfully remove everything off the skin to leave a beautiful clean, healthy glow - it's a true experience. This cleansing balm isn't 'boring' in terms of its scent or texture - instead, it is a sensory and textural experience. However, what takes the cake for me, is that unlike a lot of green beauty oil/balm cleansers on the market, this beautiful cleansing balm is that little bit extra in its sophistication and it emulsifies. This makes it hands down one of my favourite cleansers as it not only gives me the sensory experience I love with a good green beauty cleanser, it also gives me the ease and convenience that often does lack in this category of skincare. 

Repurchase YAY or NAY? 

An absolute, yes and I already have. I love this cleansing balm and as mentioned before I think it does deserve holy grail status as it ticks all the boxes for me when it comes to a good cleansing balm. It's a great way to start the day or finish in the evening. It has everything going for it - ease of use, scent, texture and glow. It can be used quickly if in a rush or can be incorporated into an evening skincare pamper ritual. There is no doubt that moss skincare's Beurre Celeste is a favourite and I just wish it came in a bigger size. 

I received my moss skincare Beurre Celeste Cleansing Balm from the Boxwalla Green Beauty Box - at USD$49.95 these boxes are of amazing value (the moss skincare June Box and the upcoming African Botanics box is a testament to that!). You can subscribe to the box via my affiliate link here

The moss skincare Beurre Celeste Cleansing Balm can also be purchased on its own from the moss skincare website for USD$70 for a 58ml jar. 

Have you used anything from moss skincare before? What were your favourites? 

 

 

 

 

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As a 'blogger' (I hate that term), I am really lucky and blessed to have the opportunity to try all sorts of different skincare and beauty products. However, trust me when I say this - it is NOT as glamorous as you make think it is. To be honest, sometimes the sheer amount of volume of products that are sent can be quite overwhelming and at other times, brands put a lot of pressure to have a post or Instagram photo out ASAP. In my 2 years of blogging and Instagram, I have learned when to say "no" and I now know what sort of 'collaboration' works best for me. 

With reviews, I can sometimes take the LONGEST time to write one. Skincare products such as serums and eye creams are actually one of the hardest types of reviews to write due to the fact the product needs to be used for a decent amount of time consistently to see and know results. There is a reason why sometimes, I will have almost finished the bottle before I write a dedicated review of a product - I need to know the product well! Other products, I can get away with using in a shorter amount of time before reviewing, these include things such as masks or cleansers, where to results are pretty much instant. Makeup for me is a tough one as I am no makeup artist, I base my opinions on makeup very quickly as for me the product needs to work fast. Short little snippets of a review work best for me in this instance!

However, as a 'blogger' and a general consumer I find that there are products that don't quite work for me. Whether it be a reaction to the product in question or I find that the product a little disappointing in terms of results, texture or how just how it performs over time, there are products that I just didn't get on with. If there is one thing that I have learned in my time blogging is that not everything HAS to work for me and my skin can't agree with everything and it is okay to say so. 

*** Please note, I was kindly gifted these Aveda products in exchange for blog post. These didn't work for me, and thats okay! All the opinions in this post are my own honest opinions. 

It's Not You - It Could Just Be Me

One thing I think we all need to understand is that we are human. Part of being a living, breathing human is that we are all different. Everything from our genetic makeup, personality, conditions that we live in, habits, lifestyle etc. We are not all the same and this is so important when it comes to reading reviews because what works for Person XYZ will not necessarily work for you. There are plenty of examples of this on the internet. Cult products from brands such as The Ordinary, La Mer, SKII and recently for me, Aveda - all have rave reviews. However, there are people who just didn't get along with the product whether it be they didn't see the results that everyone was raving about, didn't see the value or the product led them to have an uncomfortable reaction. 

Speaking from my own personal experience, I was gifted products from Aveda. Looking at the ingredients on these products, they appeared fine for me to use (no SLS...yay!). However, after a few days using them, my scalp was an awful, dry and itchy mess. Quite simply, the product wasn't for me, and you know what? That's quite okay. 

It is really impossible to have a product work for everyone. The thing about beauty products, whether it be skincare, haircare or makeup is that half the fun is in discovering products. If something doesn't quite work, we can move on and find something else. It's an important message to remember as consumers AND as brands. 

Brands - this applies to you too

Going back to my story of my reaction to the Aveda products that I was gifted. Due to the fact these products were given to me, as good etiquette, I let the company know. Their response was one that really surprised me (in a good way). Basically, they said thanks for letting us know, and please be honest in how you feel about our products. This is something that I think a lot of brands - big or small need to really reflect on. Whilst the criticism might make a few people think twice about purchasing, nothing puts other off more than bad behaviour from brands. 

In my time on social media and blogging, there have been various dramas that have occurred on Instagram, the Reddit forums and of course on blogs. Quite simply, the behaviour of some brands has been rather appalling. Some brand owners can't take negative responses to their products and they expect everyone to love their hero or cult products. Whilst the vast majority of their users do honestly rave and love the product, others have just politely voiced that the product did not work for them or they may have questioned the efficacy. Those who offer a differing opinion should not be shut down and be treated awfully, they are absolutely entitled to. If you don't like what has been posted take a leaf out of brands like May Lindstrom Skin's book and perhaps help find the root of the problem. If that doesn't solve it, she graciously says thank you and moves on. 

Honesty First, PR Packages Second

Finally, in this rant, I look at you fellow bloggers. I don't understand bloggers who don't use products, yet post glowing reviews about them. How is this even humanly possible? There are products where I understand results can be seen instantly (think sheet masks, lipstick etc), but there are other products such as eye creams and serums where miracles, unfortunately, don't happen overnight or in two days. If it does, where can I get some? 

The blogger/influencer and PR relationship is an interesting one. If a PR company is sending items out, it generally is for consideration, unless otherwise specifically stated. To get in the good books of PR companies bloggers will generally need to post about a product and/or include a review (depending on the nature of the campaign). The more a blogger writes about a product from that PR agency (or brand), the more likely they PR agency will continue working with them. Please note, I when I say this, I don't mean everyone but only a select few, so please don't shoot me for saying this. However, there are some bloggers out there who constantly want 'free' goods and in order to continue this, they will write a 'great review' of a product on their blog. I am sure some of you have come across these 'reviews' whereby there is no substance, just a regurgitation of a press release with the added "I love this! It is amazing". Not very helpful if you are a consumer if you ask me. 

I am in no way perfect but when receiving PR packages, out of courtesy I will post an image of an item on my Instagram feed and/or include an Instagram story - blogs posts, however, are a whole other ball game. I only every post about products I really do enjoy using and when I do, I try to provide a little more of the why. Why did I love a product? Why didn't I like it? Lots of whys! Whilst I will admit, my blog is generally filled with 'positive' reviews, there are also some 'negative' ones there also, and with any 'good' review I give, I also do try to point out some of the flaws or issues with a product (for a lot of my products it is price!). If I can't review, I do try to think other creative ways to talk about the brand or the products - it doesn't have to be always reviews! It can be educational, though provoking or just fun!

So fellow bloggers, I do ask, when receiving products - please be transparent and please be critical when criticism is due. It's not all about free goods and numbers - it is about respecting your audience as they trust you to guide them in their purchases. Don't take advantage of your voice. 

Now Back to that Aveda package

So now, back to the product/s that started this entire blog post in the first place - Aveda's Damage Remedy Shampoo, Conditioner, and Hair Repair. As mentioned, the shampoo and conditioner didn't work out for me, quite simply, the product made my scalp feel extremely dry and itchy after a few days and I was getting dandruff. I stopped using these two products because the reaction I got wasn't fun and it did take about a week for my scalp to return back to normal. However, what did possess me to even look and consider these products in the first place was the fact that they were SLS free and the ingredients at first glance, looked harmless enough for me. I generally find it hard to buy SLS free shampoos, so I was willing to give the Aveda ones a go in the first place. Overall, I wouldn't purchase this particular product combination but after my experience with the Aveda PR team and how professional and lovely they were, I would consider looking into something else in the range later on down the track. The Damage Remedy range however,  was most definitely not for me. 

And that, ladies and gentleman, is quite simply the truth. 

 

 

 

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If there is one brand that I distinctly remember from my childhood, its Clinique. It's use of that infamous pastel green, beauty advisors in lab coats and the 3-Step System advertising is forever embedded in my mind from the countless trips to the department store with my mother and aunties. Clinique is simply iconic and is for me, is one of those 'established' skincare brands which I still go to the counter and look at to see what products they have launched recently. Whilst, Clinique and its beauty counter is very much part of my childhood (my mother was always fond of their gift with purchase), I never really knew much about the brand's rich history, until recently. 

Not long ago, I sent a few items from Clinique (products that I am both very familiar with and another which was new for me) and like with any brand I have the opportunity to collaborate with, I was inclined to learn a little more about its backstory. Clinique's rich history was especially fascinating as for me, the brand was a true beauty disrupter and a game changer at the time of its launch. It truly paved the way for many of the things we take for granted today, and it all started with a Vogue expose on the skincare industry. 

**Please note that I recently collaborated with Clinique who sent me products in exchange for a blog post. I have used a few Clinique products in the past and was excited about this collaboration! Any items in this post marked with a * were kindly gifted to me by the brand. All opinions are my own and honest opinions. 

Great Skin Can Be Created

The unique and fascinating story of Clinique Skincare, starts in New York City, where Carol Phillips, a Vogue beauty editor wrote an article in the August 15th, 1967 issue of Vogue Magazine, titled "Can Great Skin Be Created?". For this article, Carol wanted to debunk the traditional one-size-fits-all creams that dominated department stores at the time. She had researched the work of Dr Norman Orentreich, a New York dermatologist who was pioneering a three-step skin care method for his patients. This method, so fundamental today for Clinique (and many other brands) was considered to be quite unbelievable back then. In this article, Carol had sought Dr Orentreich to answer a comprehensive list of skin care questions, from simple ones like “What is a real cleansing job?” to more abstract questions like “Is there any relationship between sexual activity and skin?”. This investigative feature in Vogue made quite the stir in the beauty industry, including that of the Fifth Avenue offices of Estée Lauder. 

Image Source: Clinique

It was at this point in time that Leonard Lauder was head of Estée Lauder and he wanted to expand upon his mother's eponymous line and had the vision to create a multi-brand company. His vision was to create a new venture that was modern, inventive, and something that would attract a younger consumer who was asking more questions and demanding more results. It was from this article that Leonard Lauder knew that Carol Phillips was the right woman to head up this new venture with him. He introduced his mother, the iconic Estée to Carol and there was an immediate connection between the two women. Estée also found the idea of creating a new beauty line that was bold, fresh, different and that empowered women, a fantastic one. 

The name Clinique was conceived by Evelyn Lauder, Leonard's wife (who was a beauty pioneer in her own right). After a visit to Paris, Evelyn noticed signs for "Clinique Esthétiques" a place where Parisian women went to get facials and treatments. She loved the word as it suggested a fresh clinical approach to skincare with a hint of French glamour. The brand's packaging was considered to be equally as chic, using a pale green colour for its fresh and soothing appeal.  However, the most vital and unique aspect of the creation of Clinique was perhaps the contribution from Dr Orentreich, the original dermatologist which Carol had interviewed for her Vogue piece. She had persuaded him to join her on this new venture as Dr Orentreich had such a vision in terms of formulations and overall mindset. The result of this collaboration of beauty meets science, was Clinique to be the world’s first dermatologist-developed prestige beauty brand. On top of this, Clinique was also the first skincare brand to be both allergy tested and fragrance-free, to set it apart from the Estée Lauder brand.

Image Source: Clinique

A Game Changer is Launched

Almost a year after initial meetings and negotiations, September 1968 marked the time when Clinique was introduced to the world at New York’s Saks Fifth Avenue. The brand debuted with 117 skincare and cosmetic products. The star attraction was the now infamous 3-Step System, containing a cleanser, exfoliator and moisturiser. The Clinique Beauty Counter also included a new standard, with consultants donning a white Clinique lab coat who offered women a highly informative and tailored consultation. This service was considered to be the first of its kind in department stores. This infamous lab coat is said to be the most recognised uniform in the United States after the UPS uniform. 

Image Source: WWD

At the time, Clinique was revolutionary in the beauty industry, it's 3-Step System, the focus on allergy tested and fragrance-free, being dermatologist developed and having a somewhat "rebellious" advertising campaign, made it a true beauty disrupter and industry gamechanger. Its core advertising campaign was shot by legendary photographer, Irving Penn and are considered to be iconic.  In one ad, a white toothbrush sits perched in a glass, positioned opposite a trio of Clinique product. Each of these products is part of the 3 Step System, representing cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise and features the straightforward tagline - “Twice a Day.” The message it sent to the consumer was graphic, bold and uncomplicated - commit to the 3-Step System just as you would commit to brushing your teeth twice a day to get fantastic skincare results. The very same advertisement was so timeless and simple, it was used for more than twenty years and it's core concept is still used today. In a 2005 Elle Canada article, Tim Convery, senior vice president of Creative said: "We take a Zen approach to the advertising-elevating everyday products, like toothbrushes and soap, to art"

Clinique, Today. 

Image Source: Clinique

Now, after 50 years of the brand's initial launch, it's amazing to see that the brand has stayed true to its initial heritage and message. Carol Phillip's influence is still very much part of the company, even though she passed away in 2006.  Case in point: the 3-Step System remains essential to the Clinique experience and the names of these products were of Carol's creation. To this day, the original names such as Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, and 7 Day Scrub are still in use. Packaging, colour tones and the iconic lab coat uniform are still very true to the original Clinique launch. So very much iconic, that Head of Packaging has since said "The most challenging project is redesigning the 3-Step Skin Care System. We can't change it because it's iconic. I'm creating a few enhancements, like pump dispensers, and now we use plastic instead of glass in case the containers are dropped". 

However, in a world where marketing and the beauty industry, in general, is very much different to that of 1968 - how has Clinique adapted to the times but still remain true to its message of simplicity and zen? In a Racked article, Jane Lauder, Clinique Global Brand President said “We’ve always been about the product first, and it’s always about custom fit. There’s not one ideal of beauty". For her, whilst the brand doesn't actively shy away from working with beauty influencers or celebrities, it doesn't engage with them the same way newer brands like Becca, Kat Von D or Benefit Cosmetics does either. For Jane, it is important that Clinique is a brand for all and thus the brand has a wider net to cast with its marketing. Choosing the right collaborations is essential to this. She says, “I think that we’ve done some collaborations with like-minded brands where we’ve both collaborated around a brand or people that have a deeper message to tell.” Collaborations and new products must toe the line between standing out and staying true to Clinique’s ethos. “You want to add a bit of fun and light-heartedness because there are so many brands out there about crazy makeup,” Jane Lauder explains. 

Image Source: Clinique

For its younger consumers and for environments like Sephora, the Pep Start range was launched a few years back. With a focus on brightly packaged and portable products providing the same benefits of a Clinique product, the Pep Start line is for the on-the-go millennial woman. The CliniqueFIT line was also released a few months ago, with the focus of workout proof makeup which transcends well with the recent focus on health and athleisure. 

Image Source: Clinique

The beauty industry has changed a lot in the past decade, with more indie brands available in the market and consumers being more clued in than ever. Clinique isn't necessarily considered to be one of those 'it' brands or 'cool' brands, it, however, is one of those tried and true brands with a rich heritage and history. The brand's simple, effective and results-driven approach to skin has given it a cult following for women and men everywhere. For Jane Lauder, she believes that quality never goes out of style and that is the main focus of the Clinique brand - quality. She explains, "It’s hard in this new day and age where fast fashion can sometimes overcome quality. We need to make sure we’re really speaking to her, or him, in ways that we can communicate the quality and the efficacy".

What I am Currently Loving in the Clinique Range

There is no doubt that many of us, at some stage in our lifetime, have used products from the Clinique range as their products are so iconic. Products that I have enjoyed using and always have recommended in the past is the Clinique Take the Day Off Balm* (this removes makeup incredibly well and is very easy to find, read a little about it here) and the Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm (I am currently loving Fuller Fig). However, I recently had the opportunity to try one of their newer released (gifted by the brand) - the Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-replenishing Hydrator and have found myself reaching for this quite often. Whilst it is still a relatively new addition to my skincare routine, I really do enjoy the lightweight gel-like texture that sinks into the skin, giving it that boost of hydration. I find that when I do use this, my skin does feel and look more hydrated and plump and the moisturiser also gives a really natural dewy finish. The texture of this moisturiser makes it really easy to use both in the evening and in the daytime. It also does sit very nicely underneath my makeup. What I do enjoy with this moisturiser is the fact that I can use this throughout the year as it is hydrating enough to use in winter but texture wise, its lightweight feel would make it great for combination skin types in the summer.

Whilst Clinique is more of your traditional skincare brand, it is one that does have some fantastic products in its line up. There is a reason why I have purchased their products in the past and will continue to do so in the future (the Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate has me fascinated since Caroline Hirons spoke about it). Clinique has stayed true to its founder's beliefs and heritage in creating simple, yet effective products for everyone. 

Do you have any fond memories using Clinique? I would love to hear them in the comments section below. 

 

 

 

 

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I don't know about you but I think makeup for me is a way to chill out and have a little bit of fun expressing myself. Makeup for me is fun, I don't really delve too hard into scientific claims and if there are any, I often flat out ignore it. Skincare for me is something I enjoy but take seriously, makeup is an area where I can experiment a little more with and 'loosen' up a little. I am always happy to chop and change products like blush, lipstick or how I do eyeliner depending on my mood and what I am wearing for the day. I don't delve too much into ingredients for most makeup products but I am big on packaging, how a product feels, how easy and functional it is for me to apply and of course how it looks on my face.

For me, makeup is all about texture, colour and expression. I love luxe packaging and I love the overall look and feel of a brand. When it comes to makeup I personally love a natural and sheer base, hate applying eye makeup and love having fun with a bold lip (I have various shades of red and berry). For me, Bobbi Brown is one of those makeup brands that has a makeup philosophy similar to mine and resonates with me greatly - "At Bobbi Brown we see beauty. We see confidence. We believe a woman is most beautiful when she looks and feels like herself". One of my first ever bronzers that I purchased with my first ever paycheck was the infamous cult product, the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick which was then followed by their infamous gel eyeliner. Mind you that was almost 10 years ago now and things have changed a little at Bobbi Brown and I have been introduced to some exciting products that are quite new to me!

**Please note, the products marked with a * have been kindly gifted to me by the Estee Lauder companies in exchange for some sort of blog post. I have used Bobbi Brown products before and I have enjoyed the products I have used, so was more than happy to collaborate! All opinions in this First Impressions post are my own and honest opinions - I have really enjoyed discovering new products and I hope you do too!

Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colour* First Impressions: 

I really like the idea of this lipstick. For me, the concept of this lipstick works so well for everyday wear. The Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colour is a lipstick that is supposed to leave that lived in "flush" of colour, almost like a stain but slightly more pigmented. The colour that was sent to me was Telluride, which to be honest, didn't quite suit me as I like lip colours in reds, berry or pink tones nudes. This was more erring towards brown/mauve which I don't personally love. However, that being said this I have found that this has been a great colour to mix with reds to create more of deep wine colour that I am obsessing over, which is how I have been using it.

You might be thinking "why are you using a product that doesn't suit you?" Well, to be fair, whilst I didn't love the colour of this - I was completely blown away with the texture and the pigmentation of this lipstick. It has just that right amount of "colour" for someone who wants a nice pop but the colour isn't so overwhelming. As I said earlier, its coverage is that beautiful 'lived' look. What I also really enjoyed about the Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colour is that it felt really comfortable on the lip. It gives the lips that hydrated nourishing feeling and doesn't feel 'tight' or like it pulls, very much like a lip balm. The finish and consistency of this is a mixed between sheer and creamy and overall I am a huge fan of the formulation. Its a great option for everyday wear and feels so effortless. In terms of how long it lasts, I can't really comment as I do mix Telluride with other lipsticks. However it is supposed to last 'all day'. 

Would I Buy This: 

Yes, I would, but not in this shade. I actually have been looking at Plum and/or Cranberry as my next lipstick purchases as I really do love the overall look and feel of this lipstick. For me, this offers something a little different to my usual bold lip. It is a less intense alternative and gives a effortless pop of colour to my lips. 

The Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colours can be purchased from Bobbi Brown and are AUD$46, USD$29 and GBP £24.

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick* First Impressions:

The one area of makeup that I really struggle with is the eyes. Having Asian eyes and the Asian eyelid, I am always at a loss of what to do when it comes to eye makeup. I usually stick to just a simple liner to define the eyes and skip mascara completely because I usually can't be bothered and mascaras are a pain for my straight as a stick eyelashes. I usually struggle with eyeshadow and have always found it a little difficult to create a natural 'smokey eye'. One area of eye makeup that I have found that has started to really work for me in the past year is the use of eyeshadow sticks. For me, this amazing invention allows me to combine the step of eyeshadow (which I seldom wear) and eyeliner in one and gives me some form of a 'smokey' eye. The Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Rich Caviar allows me to do this perfectly as its so pigmented and blending this out is such a breeze. 

My favourite way to be wearing the Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick is to apply just a little line at the base of my eyelid and then using my finger (you can use a brush too!) to blend this out gradually. Only a little is needed because this is so pigmented. For me, it gives the perfect, effortless smokey eye as the formulation is matte and due to its creamy consistency, it is so easy to work with to give the desired effect. What used to be (for me) a difficult task, is now made quite easy for me using the Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick and I am loving the look of this natural and effortless smokey eye when using this shadow stick. Oh, and did I mention? This lasts ALL day on my oily eyelids. Another win with this product!

The Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Sticks can be purchased from Bobbi Brown for AUD$46, USD$30 and  GBP£23.

Would I Buy This:

An absolute YES from me. I am always hesitant to try new eye products because most of the time, they just don't work for me or I find that they don't last. I was so pleasantly overwhelmed with surprise when I first used the Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick as not only did they give the desired look that I wanted, it was also so easy to achieve and the formula lasted al day for me. The shade Rich Caviar sent to me was perfect as its beautiful dark brown/black and it would be a colour I will absolutely repurchase again. However, since I loved the formulation so much, I will be also looking into other colours like 'Shadow' (a smokey blue-grey) to add to my collection. 

Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Cream*: First Impressions: 

Honestly, I haven't used this yet, however, I have swatched this. When I first received this, I thought this would be too heavy for my skin. However, after playing a little bit with this on my hand and around my neck (I always patch test!), this moisturiser has a 'whipped' texture. It feels like a cloud in a jar and when I massaged this into the skin, the moisturiser literally melted, leaving a smooth, satin finish. Its ingredients listing is pretty standard, there is no crazy scientific jargon and it seems like a nice hydrating moisturiser to use for every day. 

Would I Buy This: 

The jury is still out on this one for me. I haven't tested this enough (in this case, at all) to give a solid answer. However, from initial impressions and looking at the ingredients, this moisturiser looks to be a decent base to be layered underneath primer and makeup for an event. The silicones give this skin that silky "smooth" finish without that uncomfortable feeling and the moisturiser seems hydrating enough. I would be interested to know how it wears throughout the day and how it suits my combination skin type. 

The Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Cream can be purchased from Bobbi Brown for AUD$85, USD$60 and GBP£43 for 50ml. 

Bobbi Brown Holiday Shimmer Brick Trio

This wasn't gifted to me, I purchased this a while ago and it is what Bobbi Brown does so well. The original Shimmer Brick, as mentioned before was one of my first bronzer purchases as I was so attracted to its beautiful gradient of browns and shimmer on the Bobbi Brown counter. This Shimmer Brick gave me 'glow' before I knew glow was even a thing for the complexion. When this limited edition was released last year, nostalgia hit and I just HAD to purchase this as it featured my original shimmer brick along with 2 other classics. There is no doubt that Shimmer Brick is so multitasking, it can be used as a bronzer/blush as well as an eyeshadow or highlight depending on what Shimmer Brick is purchased. The limited edition Shimmer Brick Trio incorporates the best of three different 'shades' - Gold, Bronze and Wild Rose. The Gold and Wild Rose are limited to this palette. The Bronze serves as a highlight, the pinky tones Wild Rose serves as a 'blush' shade and a lighter luminous Gold works beautifully as a highlighter. It is beautifully pigmented and this palette gives the most stunning glow without looking like a glitter bomb. 

Would I Buy This: 

Well, I did! I loved the original so much that I had to get the limited edition palette which not only gave me the original Shimmer Brick but two other new ones to play with. This is a beautiful palette and it is great for travelling as it pretty much has everything you would need to create a beautiful natural face. Whilst this particular palette is no longer available, Bobbi Brown has released another Shimmer Brick Trio, called the Highlight and Glow Palette - it is truly stunning!

Whilst my palette was a limited edition, the current version of this beautiful palette - Highlight and Glow can be purchased from Bobbi Brown for AUD$140, USD$72 and GBP£55.

Have you tried much of the Bobbi Brown range? What are some of your must-have products from the brand? Share your recommendations in the comments section below!

 

 

 

 

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I find that beauty subscription boxes are some of the best ways to discover new products and new brands. They are often a wonderful way to treat yourself or a loved one and feature products that you would not normally think to try and always offer such a truly indulgent experience. I always find that beauty boxes are a really great way to try some luxurious brands without that luxury price tag as they offer such great value, not to mention they make the perfect gft to yourself or a very special someone. 

MINTD is no exception to this with their monthly offering of luxurious beauty treats, often featuring beautiful high end, niche products. Their gorgeously curated edits generally feature around 6-7 deluxe and full sized products which revolves around a monthly theme. Past themes for MINTD have included Summer Beauty Essentials (May) or Spring Clean (March) and when the opportunity came to try their June edit, I was so excited to "Explore" (hahaha see what I did there?). Who's ready for an unboxing?

***Please note that this box has been kindly gifted to me in exchange for an unboxing post and some images on Instagram. There are NO affiliate links in this post (and if there was I will always tell you!). I do genuinely love MINTD box's edits and all opinions about this box and its products are my own honest opinions. 

MINTD's June Explore Edit is all about travel and exploration with the upcoming summer holidays in the Northern Hemisphere.  As MINTD Box puts it perfectly "Whether you are meditating in Bali, trekking among ancient ruins in the Far East or sun soaking on the pebble beaches of Brighton, you need a nourishing and replenishing toolkit for your journeys. We’ve demystified travel beauty with combination of witch hazel, cucumber and chamomile to cleanse and refresh, salicylic acid to exfoliate and reveal fresh skin and Vitamin A to firm and contour. Indulge your skin, wherever you find yourself." Indulge we shall, here's a little run down of what's inside this month's box. 

OM Skincare Mindful Traveller

Is this not one of the most ingenious little skincare products that you have seen? It really does take travel skincare to a whole new level of convenience and ease. What OM Skincare Mindful Traveller does is combine its beautiful Pure Glow Cleanser and Daily Radiance Moisturiser in one very travel-friendly packaging, with the cleanser sitting on one side of this 'stick' and the moisturiser on the other. The concept is so simple, yet just so smart and it really does make such a wonderful travel companion. I recently took this on a trip with me and absolutely loved having this in my carry on as the moisturiser was able to keep my skin nourished during my flight and the cleanser helped to give my skin a refreshing deep cleanse. I actually enjoyed the Pure Glow Cleanser in the morning as it has such a refreshing scent that really invigorates the senses. 

What I really love about OM Skincare's Mindful Traveller is that it really is a great little travel companion in functionality, size and overall the way it has been packaged. It is lightweight and is 20ml in size, making it cabin friendly on all flights. The bonus with Mindful Traveller? The packaging is refillable, so you can always be on the go with this ingenious travel sized product. Its a great addition to MINTD's Explore Edit and really does capture the art of travel so perfectly. A full-size 20ml version of is included in the Explore Edit and is valued at £48.00.

OSKIA Skincare City Life I-Zone Lip and Eye Balm

I absolutely love OSKIA Skincare, and the addition of one of their newer products in this month's MINTD Box excited me greatly. The new City Life I-Zone Lip and Eye Balm is a product which works to protect and nourish the eye and lip areas with its powerful antioxidant properties. Featuring ingredients such as nourishing avocado oil, tried and tested vitamins A and E and newcomers, Astaxanthin and Collageneer (a patented active ingredient derived from white lupin), OSKIA's Lip and Eye Balm helps to provide extreme antioxidant protection whilst also soothing the delicate eye and lip areas. 

The small size and dual use of OSKIA Skincare's City Life I-Zone Lip and Eye Balm make it a great travel companion. With the added benefits of the nourishing oils and antioxidants, the I-Zone Lip and Eye Balm are sure to keep the eyes and lip protected and nourished no matter where you are in the world. MINTD Box features a full 20ml size of this OSKIA beauty (valued at £55.00)

Skin Laundry Purifying Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes

Travel skincare would not be complete without cleansing wipes. On a daily basis, I don't normally use cleansing wipes, however, I find that when travelling - wipes are standard. I always have them in my travel kit as they are convenient, easy to use and also work well to clean clothes in an emergency. In saying that, not all cleansing wipes are made equal as some are so incredibly drying or irritating for my skin, I actually really do struggle to find wipes that do work and are often hesitant to deviate away from my usual suspects. These Skin Laundry Cleansing Wipes have made it to my list of usual suspects as they do efficiently and effectively cleanse my skin without drying it out. 

The Skin Laundry Purifying Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes were a saviour at removing a face full of makeup on the weekend (I attended a good friend's wedding), including that heavy eye makeup. I found that it didn't sting or irritate my skin and that these managed to properly clean the skin with such ease - meaning I got to bed quickly after a somewhat exhausting day! I am a huge fan of these wipes and I'm so glad that I have been introduced to these as I think I will definitely repurchase for future travels. A full-size version is included in MINTD Box's Explore Edit and is valued at £14.00 for 30 wipes. 

Omorovicza Instant Plumping Mask

I am a huge fan of Omorovicza skincare - their Deep Cleansing Mask is one of the best on the market when it comes to mud masks. In the June edition of MINTD Box, a deluxe size version of the Instant Plumping Mask is included, introducing me to a product from the brand that I have not yet experienced. The Instant Plumping Mask is to be used like an overnight mask and helps to provide instant hydration and also to plump, repair and strengthen the skin. For me, this sounds like a perfect product to use on a long haul flight to help lock in moisture and provide skin that extra boost of nourishment when on a plane. I find that planes often dry out my skin and extra nourishment and moisture is always welcome on any long flight. 

This little treasure that is the Omorovicza Instant Plumping Mask will be saved for later on in the year when I do have to travel to Hong Kong! I will be definitely needing this on those flights as my skin will be needing some extra TLC. The Instant Plumping Mask comes in a super cute and travel-friendly 15ml size and is valued at £33.00. 

Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant

When flying, sometimes it is hard to take products such as deodorant or perfume to assist us in smelling fresh. The Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant helps to solve some of those problems with its minty eucalyptus scent and it has the added benefit of being a roll on, making it perfect for plane travel as it can be taken as cabin luggage. The formulation of this is supposed to be quite gentle and is alcohol-free and aluminium free for those concerned with these ingredients in deodorant. 

For me, the scent is not quite to my liking, however, I do see the benefit of this product in travel and why it would be included in the MINTD's Explore June Edit. The size, convenience and premise behind this product is fantastic and who doesn't want to smell fresh and clean when travelling? It's a service to both yourself and the person you would be sitting next to on a flight. Explore features a travel size 28g Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant which is valued at £12.00.

Stephie Ann Dawn Silk Eye Mask

The silk mask is that elusive product that you don't think you need until you actually have the opportunity to experience it for yourself. Once you do have the chance to experience the effect of a silk eye mask - you often think, why didn't I try this sooner? Due to the addition of the beautiful Stephie Ann Dawn Silk Eye Mask, I have now been introduced to the world of non-disruptive sleep. It is quite life changing, especially when you do need that extra shut-eye. 

Stephie Ann Dawn's Silk Eye Mask hasn't actually travelled with me yet as it sits quite comfortably on my bedside table. I have been using this when sleep-ins are highly encouraged (ie. the weekend) as I do feel like I get that extra hour or so of precious sleep when I have this on. These soft like cloud silk eye masks designed to help full block out the light and feel so incredibly comfortable on the face. It is made of luxe satin silk and is definitely something I will be taking with me on my next long haul flight to help myself have a restful and non-disruptive sleep. The Stephie Ann Dawn Silk Eye Mask features a beautiful purple rose like print and is valued at £25.00 each. 

Overall, I feel that MINTD Box has really hit the nail on the head with curating a very well balanced beauty box that features all the relevant travel essentials. I have found it to be so very well thought out, featuring skincare products that are targeted to skin concerns relevant to travel as well as products that are incredibly smart and can be used in a plethora of different ways. MINTD Box has gone beyond the travel skincare essentials though and gone that extra step by including products to help one feel clean and smelling fresh as well as products that help with sleep. It really is a very well curated box and I find that most elements and concerns of travel have been well addressed in this edit. The attention to detail is second to none. June's Explore Edit has once again introduced me to some new products from well-loved brands and has also allowed me to experience products I never would normally purchase. I think it is one of the best travel edits I have seen and it would make a wonderful travel companion or the perfect gift for someone who travels often as it is so luxuriously presented. 

The MINTD June Explore Box is £70 (approximately USD$95) and has an amazing value of up to £187 (USD$250) with a saving of up to £117 at the MINTD website. Currently, there is a special offer whereby you will receive a FREE full-size Omorovicza Oxygen Booster when you sign up to a 3, 6 or 12-month plan and MINTD ships worldwide to the UK, Western Europe, North America and Australia. 

 

 

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Goldfaden MD is one of those skincare brands that seems to perfectly blend both science and nature together in its formulations. It is the first dermatologist-developed, naturally inspired skincare brand on the market, co-founded by Dr Gary Goldfaden himself, a dermatologist for over 40 years. The brand tries to build the gap between natural luxury and physical strength/dermatologist formulated skincare, merging tried and tested actives with more gentle formulations based on 'cleaner' and 'greener' skincare. The Goldfaden MD range prides itself on creating superior formulations featuring naturally derived ingredients with effective delivery systems. Most formulations have been inspired by Dr Goldfaden's in-office experiences and patients needs and wants. "We couple scientific, results-driven products with globally-sourced natural ingredients, bridging the “natural” and “physician” product categories at the prestige level in a way no other brand has" says Lisa Goldfaden, Co-Founder of the brand. 

I love the Goldfaden MD's philosophy of nature and science working synergistically together to create a product that is gentle, 'clean' and easy to incorporate into an everyday routine. It is rare to see a skincare brand that merges both nature and science and do it well. As you may know, I have been testing the Goldfaden MD Brightening Elixir on and off now for the past 9 or so months, reaching out for it on a regular basis in the mornings. This serum, whilst loaded with tried and true antioxidants and vitamins has been so gentle on my skin. I find that I can use this on days where my skin feels quite sensitised, without any irritation. However, what I have enjoyed most about Goldfaden MD's Brightening Elixir is the how it has left my skin feeling healthy, balanced and radiant - it really feels like this serum has given it all the vitamins the skin needs to protect itself and have it working at an optimum. 

***Please note that this product was kindly gifted to me with no expectation of a review. However, I have been so impressed with this that I had to share my love for it via a review. Please note that all my opinions are my own and honest opinions. 

What Is It?

Goldfaden MD’s Brightening Elixir is essentially a thin serum that has been meticulously formulated with active ingredients to create a more gentle and clean alternative to your typical brightening/antioxdant serum. 

What Does it Do?

The Goldfaden MD Brightening Elixir is a skin-refining treatment helps to enhance firmness, diminish dark spots, protect the skin from environmental stressors and improve skin’s overall tone so that the skin is left looking fresh and radiant. This serum is perfect for those who are concerned with skin issues such as dullness and lost elasticity. It contains some specially chosen actives such as addition of Vitamin C, B3 (niacinamide), B5 (pantothenic acid) and E to help create a brighter, healthier complexion. 

Ingredients:

Purified Water (Aqua), Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid, Glycerin, Tocopherol, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, TEA, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium PCA, Niacinimide, Phenoxyethanol. 

My Thoughts:

The Goldfaden MD Brightening Elixir is one of those 'all in one' products - helping to hydrate, brighten and protect the skin. It is also one of those products that seem to blend both science and nature together so effortlessly and perfectly, taking the very best out of both worlds. What I love about the formulation of the Goldfaden MD Brightening Elixir is its simplicity, gentleness and efficacy on the skin. I personally have really enjoyed using the Brightening Elixir as I have found it hydrating enough to be used on its own. The real magic of this serum happens over time though and I have noticed that my complexion looks healthier, radiant and appears somewhat brighter when used consistently. 

There is no doubt that looking at the Goldfaden MD's ingredient listing that the formulation is simple, with only 12 ingredients - an impressive feat for a serum which is often much more complex. However, when delved in further it is obvious that each and every ingredient serves a purpose in its formulation, with a fantastic blend of great actives. The first active ingredient is L-Ascorbic Acid, one of the best forms of Vitamin C on the market. As many know, Vitamin C is a powerhouse ingredient in the world of skincare. It works as a potent antioxidant that can be used topically to treat and protect the skin from environmental stressors and it can also be used for the treatment of hyperpigmentation by brightening the complexion. The Brightening Elixir contains 9% L-Ascorbic Acid, which is gentle enough for most skin types. Ferulic Acid is another key active ingredient (3% concentration) in the Goldfaden MD's Brightening Elixir. Ferulic Acid is another powerful antioxidant that helps to protect the skin and is often found naturally in fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet corn, and ricebran. Niacinamide is another key active ingredient found in the Brightening Elixir (2% concentration). This essential nutrient has been proven to help with skin concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, texture, and uneven skin tone. Finally, Goldefaden MD's Brightening Elixir also contains Tocopherol, otherwise known as Vitamin E at a concentration of 2%. This essential vitamin is a naturally occurring antioxidant which helps to protect the skin but also assists in hydration. Along with a few other fantatsic ingredients, it is obvious that this serum aims to not only protect the skin with its plethora of proven antioxidants, but also to help hydrate, brighten and assist in overall skin health. I love the simplicity of the ingredients listing - clearly each and every ingredient serves a purpose in keeping the complexion healthy and radiant. Its simplicity also makes it fantastic for those who may have quite sensitive skin, as its short ingrdients listing makes it so easy to navigate and understand. 

Simple, short and fantastic ingredients aside, does Goldfaden MD's Brightening Elixir perform? In a nutshell, yes it does, keeping in mind some of the claims of this product is hard to measure (I can't measure antioxidant activity). I found that each and every time I used this serum, my skin felt hydrated and I did not need to layer an additional hydrating serum underneath. I felt that the Brightening Elixir performed reasonably well when it came to hydrating the skin, as the serum gave that instant plumping effect. Other improvements that I noticed instantly was the evening out and general calming of the skin when this serum/elixir was applied. The cooling, watery gel consistency felt fantastic upon touch and immediately had a soothing effect. I found that it helped to calm and even out any redness after the serum had sunk into the complexion.  

In terms of brightening the actual complexion, I found that overtime the Brightening Elixir helped a little in this area. Whilst it didn't brighten the complexion as quickly as some other formulations I have used in the past, I did notice darker 'spots' in the skin were improving around the 4-6 week mark. It is important to note that Goldfaden MD's Brightening Elixir is also aimed at more sensitive skin types and those who might not be as tolerant to more 'active' formulations. So whilst it did take a little while for me to see results in terms of brightening dark spots and pigmentation, I can understand the reasons why this may be due to active ingredient concentrations. The aim of the Brightening Elixir after all, is to maximise the effects of actives whilst also minimising any risk of irritation. It is for this reason, I appreciated this formulation when my skin was feeling a little more sensitised than normal. However, those who may be used to stronger active ingredient concentrations, may not see much of an improvement in brightening as the percentages in this are much lower than what some may be used to. 

What I loved most about Goldfaden MD's Brightening Elixir however was the glow and the overall effect it gave to my complexion, its hard to explain, but my skin just looked and felt healthier and more radiant. The well rounded approach to the formulation and ingredients definitely had an effect to my skin's overall health. I also found that when I reached for the Brightening Elixir often, my complexion didn't break out as much and overall it was more balanced. Due to the plethora of antioxidant and nutrients in the formula, I found that my skin felt more nourished, stronger and resilient - like it was performing at its most optimal. I felt that my complexion had improved immensely in its overall tone and texture and my skin was no longer looking dull or tired - instead it looked and felt rejuvenated and fresh. My skin was obviously happy with me using this and when I did, my skin felt and looked, radiant, healthy and like it was working at its optimal. 

When it comes to texture and scent, Goldfaden MD get it so incredibly right with the Brightening Elixir. When pumped from its plastic airless bottle, a slightly viscous clear liquid is dispensed. The texture of this serum is slightly thicker than water and when applied on to the skin, it feels immediately cooling but it also sinks into the complexion with ease. After about 30 seconds, the serum feels weightless on the skin and is ready for another oil/serum or moisturiser to be applied over the top. Its weightless feel makes it perfect for those who like the feeling of nothing on the skin or in summer when it starts to heat up. It also works well layered underneath other products. As the liquid that comes out when dispensing the Brightening Elixir is quite thin, I find that a little goes quite a long way with this. Whilst I have had this for some time now, it's still not finished (I am not complaining) and the USD$80 for 30ml seems quite well worth it. In terms of scent, those who do not like fragrance or are sensitive to fragrances/essential oils will thoroughly be appreciative of Goldfaden MD's Brightening Elixir as there is no scent whatsoever. The brand is really keeping true to their philosophy of trying to keep formulations as non-irritating as possible. 

Overall, I think the Goldfaden MD Brightening Elixir is a fantastic product for those who are just starting out with actives as I think the serum is a great introduction to ingredients such as Vitamin C, Ferulic Acid and Niacinamide. It is also a product I highly recommend to those who have slightly sensitive skin types to look into. The formulation of the Brightening Elixir is quite simple and meant to be gentle; yet still have some of those actives and powerful antioxidants to help protect the skin. I also think its a fantastic serum for those who want to invest in one good serum that addresses a few common skin concerns as well as protect and hydrate the skin. In summary, I absolutely love the way that the Brightening Elixir gives me both immediate results as well as long-term results. However, I am so impressed with the way it was helped to boost my skin's overall health and also how it loaded with antioxidants help to protect my skin. For me, the Goldfaden MD Brightening Elixir is almost like an all in one serum that addresses a few main skin concerns but does it so incredibly well in both its cosmetic elegance, formulation and efficacy. 

Repurchase YAY or NAY

Whilst the Goldfaden MD Brightening Elixir was kindly gifted to me, I would definitely repurchase this later down the track. As I mentioned earlier, my skin is so balanced and looks and feels so healthy when I use this. For me, it is a great product to use when my skin is feeling a little sensitised and a fantastic product to pull out of the stash when my skin needs a little bit of maintenance. The texture, feel, immediate and overall long-term results that I get from using Goldfaden MD's Brightening Elixir makes this an absolute joy to use. I love the proven science behind the range and the dedication to merging science with nature. 

Goldfaden MD's Brightening Elixir comes in a 30ml airless pump and can be purchased from the Goldfaden MD website for USD$80, Cultbeauty for GBP£72 and Mecca Cosmetica for AUD$116. 

 

 

 

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We all know too well about the drama and social media WTF that is DECEIM's The Ordinary. Many have loved the products but are so very deterred over the antics of the founder, leading to many thinking - what are the alternatives? In this day and age and considering how competitive the beauty market is currently, many will be pleased to know that there are some fantastic alternatives out there. Whilst these substitutes might not be at the groundbreaking prices The Ordinary is priced at, they are definitely options for those who are looking for more budget friendly alternatives to replace the products they may have used previously. These brands are in no way exorbitantly priced and for what they do, I believe that they may do the task at hand quite well. 

Do not get me wrong, what The Ordinary did was in fact quite extraordinary. For me, I found that it encouraged those who might not necessarily be interested in skincare to become interested in what they were applying on their skin. I think it encouraged many more individuals to be more clued in to active ingredients and what these ingredients did for their skin (even if the names of the products were a little confusing). As you may have known from my own personal experiences with The Ordinary products, I thought they were rather meh. I didn't love them and I found that I enjoyed other products in both texture, feel and efficacy so much more. 

In this blog post, I hope to offer some alternatives brands to look into for those who may wish to jump ship from The Ordinary or want to step up from what they are currently using in the range. Please note, these are just suggestions and whilst these brands may not offer the extensive line up that The Ordinary has, they do provide some great alternatives. 

Ausceuticals

Image Source: @ausceuticals Instagram

Aussie brand Ausceuticals is a husband and wife team consisting of an aesthetic physician and a natural skincare formulator. The brand aims to be different by being as transparent as possible and having each and every product loaded with active ingredients. Formulation is also key for Ausceuticals, aiming to create and formulate skincare products with a minimal amount of fillers. Each and every ingredient serves a purpose in each of the brand's formulations and there is no trace of silicones or denatured alcohol in their product range.

A refreshing outlook on the industry, the founders believe in keeping the costs to the consumer at a minimum. There is no gimmicky marketing, miracle ingredients from the Amazon and no middleman. Each and every product promises to give the consumer "the highest beneficial concentrations of active ingredients and the best available raw ingredients, at an affordable price point". This can be seen throughout their formulas, offering serums which contain 10% Vitamin C, 20% Vitamin C, Retinol, Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid. The brand also offers pure plant oils such as Prickly Pear and Marula oils for those who truly want something natural. 

Having used some of the products myself (I really enjoyed their Niacinamide Serum, which contains 10% concentration), Ausceuticals is that perfect, effective and affordable in between. It's not the cheapest product on the market nor is it ridiculously priced. For the high quality of the formulation, concentration of active ingredients, great feel and texture of the product and of course it's effectiveness, Ausceuticals is definitely a brand to consider when looking for active serums. 

Ausceuticals pricing averages at around AUD$39 for a 30ml serum can be purchased directly from the Ausceuticals website or via The Beauty Edit Store

CosRx

Image Source: @cosrx Instagram

When it comes to affordable K-Beauty, CosRx is definitely one of the first brands that come to mind. The brand is not only affordable, but there is a significant amount of science that does back up a lot of their products. The company prides itself in creating effective products that uses minimum ingredients to treat certain skin concerns. What I love about CosRx is that its a little bit of east meets west in terms of their approach to skincare. For me, the brand itself is relatively easy to navigate in terms of finding products for certain skin concerns and using tried and true key ingredients that many of us will be familiar with such as acids, honey and hyaluronic acid to target these concerns. However, CosRx is also not afraid to incorporate truly 'Korean' ingredients into their range either using snail mucin or yeast ferment in their formulations. 

What makes CosRx such a fantastic alternative is that their products are simple, easy to understand and it is just so easy to build a routine with their current offering, without being too complicated. A fantastic, yet effective routine based on a cleanser, toner, treatment and moisturiser can be obtained with ease using solely the CosRx line. In terms of key active ingredients, CosRx is also a little ahead of the curve, with recent launches taking advantage of Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) which are said to be less irritating than that of traditional BHAs and AHAs. 

For someone who is really starting to understand key ingredients and wanting to build their skincare routine, CosRx is a fantastic starting point and is now quite easy to find. The range can be found at Style Korean, Beautytap and SokoGlam (home of the infamous 20.5% Vitamin C Serum). 

Bravura London

Image Source: Bravura London

If you are an acid junkie, then look no further than Bravura London. This brand features a plethora of different variations of acid peels and at a fraction of the cost of the traditional ones you may see in a department store or boutique. Ranging from Glycolic, Lactic and Salicylic acids, Bravura London has an acid for almost anyone.

Whilst for some, the percentages aren't quite high enough,  Bravura London will keep most of those who have only been introduced to the wonder of the acids - satisfied. Concentration of acids range from 2% to 10% in the Bravura London portfolio and with pricing starting at GBP£9.59, there is no doubt that Bravura London is highly affordable option for many. However, acids aren't the only thing that Bravura London offer - cleaners, creams and serums are also available on the website and again, at just the fraction of the cost of a typical product in a department store. 

To be honest, I haven't tried the other skincare offerings but I can attest to how much my skin enjoyed the Salicylic Acid 2% peel (before I spilt it all over my bathroom vanity...oops!). I felt that the this really worked well to get deep into the skin to help decongest and help 'fight' off spots that came my way. 

Bravura London is UK based and can be purchased directly from their website

Timeless Skincare

Image Source: Timeless Skincare

Don't be deterred by the simplicity of Timeless Skincare's packaging - according to social media - this brand is the bees knees when it comes to its 20% Vitamin C E Ferulic Acid Serum. It's even been compared to the iconic Skinceuticals version! However, this is not the only product in the brand's offering as Timeless Skincare prides itself in specialising in skin care products that have a focus in the areas of anti-aging, treating scars and aiding those with acne prone skin. With focused serums such as Matrixyl 3000 SerumVitamin B5Matrixyl S6 and Coenzyme Q10, there is no doubt there is a cosmeceutical/science focus with the Timeless Skincare lineup. 

I haven't tried this brand myself, but reading some of the reviews, this brand overall has some fantastic feedback and clearly offers some fantastic alternatives. The prices of the products are still accessible to everyone (maybe not as low as The Ordinary) but it still offers some great well priced choices and alternatives for those seeking it. 

Timeless Skincare formulations start at USD$8.95 but average at around USD$24.95 for a serum. The products can be purchased directly from their website

Beauty Pie

Image Source: @beautypie Instagram

Beauty Pie was slated as a beauty industry disruptor by the press and various media outlets since its inception since early 2017. Beauty Pie offers and promises its customer's luxury grade products for a fraction of the cost - think USD$2.50 lipstick.  The catch? Members will need to pay a monthly membership fee starting at USD$10 a month for access to these prices, a relatively small price to pay for such amazing prices from everything to mascara, lipstick and of course, my personal favourite - skincare. 

Beauty Pie claims to purchase products directly from luxury-beauty factories and sell them at their manufacturing cost and is based on the idea of cost transparency. Each product on the website will have a breakdown of how much was spent on product and packaging, warehousing, safety and testing etc. 

When it comes to skincare, the Beauty Pie offering seems quite impressive, offering a range of beautiful sounding products and textures. Perhaps one of the most interesting is their Super Retinol range which contains a 1-3% encapsulated retinol complex, which aims to work on the skin in a much gentler manner. This technology reminds me very much of luxury label,Verso skincare and how it works - but just a fraction of the cost. The Super Retinol Serum is priced at only USD$11.09! Apart from a focus on retinol, the Beauty Pie skincare offering draws inspiration from trending Asian beauty as well as plant technology with their Japanfusion and Plantastic lines. 

Again, I haven't personally tried any of the Beauty Pie skincare range, but I have used their lipstick. If their $2.50 lipstick impressed me as much as it did, then I am excited to see how their skincare range performs - especially ay such an accessible price point. Beauty Pie is available both in the USA and UK via their respective websites. 

Have you tried any of these skincare brands before? What were your thoughts on the range? Do you have any other suggestions? I would love to hear more - so please leave your comments and suggestions below!

 

 

 

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orchids&peonies by Orchids&peonies - 2M ago

It's been a while since I have done an empties post! With work being quite busy and the move early this month, its been a little hard to take the time to write all about the things I have used up over the past few months. Having looked at my empties - serums seem to have a heavy focus, especially of the hydrating variety! However, there are a few other skincare bits and pieces as well as new holy grail product in the mix.

I have said it a few times in the past, but I really do enjoy both reading other's empties posts and writing my own as it allows myself to know what products myself and others have really enjoyed using, or products that are on regular rotation in daily routines. This particular version of empties contains products that I really have made the effort to use consistently.  Some of these I have written about before in other blog posts and others are products where a review is pending! Overall, I have really enjoyed many of these products and it's probably why they have all been used up! Read on to find out more about my March/April empties.

Please note, anything marked with a * has been kindly gifted to me by the brand without the expection of a review or write up. Products with a ^ have been given to me by my place of work for my own personal use and general well being (my eczema was getting a little crazy). I have simply included these products in this post because...well...its empty and as always, all opinions are my own honest opinions. 

Eau Thermale Avene XeraCalm A.D Balm^

If you suffer from eczema, I highly recommend that you look into the Eau Thermale Avene XeraCalm range. In terms of maintaining and relieving the itch, this cream is like a gift from the gods. It's so damned good in every way possible, from its effectiveness to just how it feels on the skin. In the past, I have tried a range of different products, ranging from creams, balms to oils and everything from medicated to all natural. I have found that there have been a handful of products that have been great at keeping the discomforting itch at bay but quite often these products were quite heavy in texture, extremely expensive or very hard to get. Nothing ever seemed to be that 'perfect' product and to be honest I never expected to find it as eczema, as with all conditions are personal and vary from person to person. 

I was recently introduced to Avene's XeraCalm A.D Balm at work and to perfectly honest, I was completely sceptical of the product when I was first encouraged to use it. Surely nothing could be that good when it came to soothing and helping to calm the eczema itch. Well, those thoughts were debunked quickly as I started to notice a difference in my skin within a few days of using the XeraCalm Balm. My skin no longer looked dry or flaky; in fact,  it looked less irritated, the redness was reduced and my skin was well on its way to looking 'normal' again. Not only was my skin healing but when using the balm, I found that my skin definitely felt less itchy and uncomfortable. Whenever I had a flare up, the balm seemed to soothe the area and I didn't feel the need to scratch. 

However, the biggest selling point for me was the texture. Never had I used a cream that not only helped to relieve and calm my itch but also didn't make my skin feel heavy, oily or greasy. The Avene XeraCalm A.D Balm was that perfect in between for me,  it is heavy enough to nourish and strengthen my damaged skin barrier but it is light enough to comfortably apply to my skin on those warmer days. Even though it is called a 'balm', I found that this was a slightly heavier cream that feels rich upon application but sinks into the skin and replenishes and nourishes the areas that need it most. 

I think this cream/balm is an absolute godsend and I don't think I ever want to be without it. It is an absolute holy grail for me when it comes to maintaining my eczema and my skin has never been better. The Avene XeraCalm A.D Balm comes in a 200ml size can be purchased from Avene USA, Boots UK and Priceline and Chemist Warehouse Stores in Australia. 

Jane Scrivner Skincare Bioluronic Buzz 2000 Smoothing Hyaluronic Hydrator*

The Jane Scrivner Bioluronic Buzz 2000 is a hydrating serum that is absolutely jam-packed with hyaluronic acid - 2000mg in every 135g bottle to be exact. I absolutely love using this in the evening, as the hydration it provides is so long-lasting. It can withstand environmental factors such as constant airconditioning and heating - things that can easily suck out the moisture in the skin. When using this in the evening, I felt that the plumping and lifting effect from the burst of hydration lasts well into the morning, leaving me with a lift in the complexion when I wake up. In terms of texture and consistency,  this serum doesn't sink into the skin as easily as some of the other serums/gels I have used in the past and it leaves a little bit of a 'film' after application. However, once layered with another oil or cream over the top this 'film' disappears immediately and what I see is an instant plumping, lifting and hydrating effect on the skin. It's ingredients are the following:

Aqua (Water), Hyaluronic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride*, Propanediol**, Salix Alba Bark, Aloe Barbendensis Extract, Sodium Bicarbonate, Boswellia Carteri Extract, Phytic Acid***, Benzyl Alcohol****, Spilanthes Acmella (buzz button) Flower Extract.

* from coconut **from corn sugar ***plant origin ****naturally occurring in essential oils

What makes this serum even more enjoyable is perhaps the larger than average sized pump bottle that this comes in.  One pump dispenses a large amount of serum which is a perfect amount for the face, neck and décolletage, making it a great product for those who are very heavy handed with their hydrating serums (that is me!) and like to use it everywhere else. There is no doubt that for the amount that you get, this hydrating gel/serum is well worth the money. It is a fantastic hydration and a product I thoroughly enjoy using due to its capacity to not only inject some moisture into my skin but also keep it there when I need it most. 

The Jane Scrivner Bioluronic Buzz 2000 can be purchased directly from Jane Scrivner Skincare online for £59 for a 135g pump bottle. 

DrGL Skin Repair

I have spoken about how much I adore this little serum and how I am adamant it is made from unicorn tears as it works to heal my skin lit no other. PIH marks are gone, as this little beauty helps to heal those dreaded pigmentation spots caused by pimples (and in my case picking).  Using plant stem cell technology, the liquid gold in this little green bottle works to repair and heal the skin in a record amount of time.  I find that my PIH and scarring disappear so much faster when using this and I don't think I could ever be without this. Ever. My skin just loves this that much and I love the rapid results that I get from using this. 

I usually use this to spot treat on any blemishes or on areas that I have been naughty and 'picked' at. When applied on a fresh blemish, I find that it overnight, it has already started to heal and diminish, redness is absolutely reduced. However, the real magic with this happens with areas that I have attacked or are in the healing phase. Within a week of constant use, the area in which I have spot treated has healed significantly. Depending on the scarring, I find that within 2-3 weeks the area of pigmentation has almost disappeared or has lightened significantly. Usually, around the 5-6 week mark, traces of PIH have completely disappeared and the area of skin looks like nothing had ever erupted. The sheer efficacy and speed in which my skin heals with this little bottle of magic astounds me and is the reason why I will continually purchase this again. 

DrGL's Skin Repair can be purchased directly from the DrGL website for SGP$118 for 10ml. 

Mabel + Meg Lumilixir*

The Lumilixir Serum by Mabel and Meg Mabel one of those hydrating serums with a little extra oomph. With active ingdrients such as hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C, this serum does not only work to hydrate the skin, keeping is plump and taut, it also works to give the skin a brightening and glowing effect over time. I find that this truly an amazing serum underneath makeup, as it hydrates and plumps out the complexion with minimal pilling. Skin looks healthy, hydrating and glowing when using this underneath a moisturiser. The thin, viscous texture of this serum, sinks beautifully into the complexion, both working to smooth and plump. It is one of the best hydrating serums I have ever used when wanting to use underneath makeup. 

What I love about this hydrating serum is that it plays nicely with other products - working well with other skincare products as well as makeup. There is never any pilling when I have used this and I find that it absorbs so well into the skin that it feels like nothing once it has dried down.

Mabel + Meg's Lumilixir Serum can be purchased from Mabel + Meg directly and comes in both a 20ml and 30ml size at GBP £29 and GBP £39 respectively. 

LILFOX Miami Amazon After Dark Melty Jungle Cleansing Balm*

I absolutely love a good cleansing balm and I find that the green beauty brands are excellent at creating luxurious delights which evoke all the senses. The LILFOX Miami Amazing After Dark Balm is no exception - this cleansing balm is luxurious in feel, with the balm melting into a beautiful oil once warmed into the skin. I find that it melts off makeup and leaves a really hydrated, fresh and clean complexion after washing off. This beautiful pinky/purple hues balm works wonders to both nourish the skin as well as cleansing it thoroughly to remove the day's makeup and buildup with its beautiful and exotic mix of oils and butters. Its ingredients are the following: 

A.murumuru (Murumuru) Butter**, H.annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, P.edulis (Maracuja) Oil* + C.oleifera (Camilla) Oil* (Infused With H.sabdariffa (Hibiscus)*, R.spp (Rosehip)*, S.alba (WhiteWillowBark*), O.oleifera (Babassua) Butter*, Ceterayl olivate + Sorbitan olivate (Olive wax), M.indica (Mango) Butter*, T.grandiflorum (Cupacua) Butter**, R.comunnis (Castor) Oil*, Lecithin (Sunflower/Non-gmo), Hydroxystearyl Alcohol + Hydroxystearyl Glucoside (Derived from Castor Oil and Sugar), Coco Glucoside (Coconut-Based), T.ferdinandiana (Kaduku Plum) Extract , S.alba (White Willow Bark) Extract*, V.amazonica (Amazonian Lily) Extract, N.sativa (Black Cumin) Oil*, R.officinalis (Rosemary) Antioxidant Extract, Proprietary Essential Oil Blend Including: Rose Geranium, Rosemary,  Bergamot*, Ylang Ylang*
*Certified Organic **Wildcrafted

The scent of the Amazon After Dark is truly stunning (as with all Alexis' concoctions) - it is a unique, sensual and slightly sexy floral scent that is truly indulgent. It is one of those balms where it becomes an absolute treat to use after a tough day at work or if you need a little TLC, making it the perfect start to a skincare ritual. You find yourself looking forward to using it once you have it due to its sensory experience. In terms of washing this off, this does become a milk once water is applied to the balm but I find that I do need a cloth to wash this off fully. This is to be expected with cleansing balms that are packed with nourishing oils and butters.

Overall, I loved the scent of the Amazon Balm and the way it left my skin feeling afterwards. This is definitely a cleansing balm which I will consider repurchasing later on down the track. The Amazon After Dark Melty Jungle Cleansing Balm can be purchased directly from the LILFOX Miami website for USD$68 for a jar of 50ml. 

5YINA Autumn Grace Hydrolat

As far as hydrolats and natural face mists/toners go - 5YINA possibly make some of the best out there in terms of unique scent. I have had the pleasure to try 3/4 hydrolats in the 5YINA range and each and every one of them has been an absolute delight to use. The Autumn Hydrolat has been a permanent fixture in my travels, handbag and at work over the past few months. This beautiful mist has kept my skin feeling cool, fresh, calm and rejuvenated whilst on the go and its scent is just intoxicating. I love to use this to set makeup, to refresh the skin (office aircon anyone?) and to help calm my skin in the heat. What I think makes this particular hydrolat/mist so special is the unique blend of ingredients, making it so much more complex and intricate than most of the other mists I have seen on the market. The Grace Autumn Hydrolat takes advantages of soothing and healing ingredients such as rosehip, calendula and chamomile whilst adding elements of Traditional Chinese Medicinal herbs such as  Chrysanthemum, Reishi and Oolong tea. Its full ingredients are as follows:

Rosa Ssp (Rosehip) Distillate*, Calendula officinalis (Calendula) Distillate*, Verbascum densiflorum (Mullein) Distillate*, Matricaria chamomilla (Chamomile) Distillate*, Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) Distillate, Vegetable Glycerin, Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola), Morus alba (Mulberry) Leaf, Chrysanthemum morifolium (Chrysanthemum) Flowers, Schisandra chinensis (Schisandra) Berries, Camellia sinensis (Oolong Tea), Lycium barbarum (Goji) Berries, Ganoderma lucidum (Red Reishi), Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice) Root, Leuconostoc Ferment Filtrate (Radish Root) Extract, Salix nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Osmanthus fragrans, Squalane (Olive), Silver Citrate, Citric Acid, Michelia champaca (Champaca) CO2 Extract.

*Organic
+ Wild-crafted

The 5YINA Grace Autumn Hydrolat has been an absolute joy to use on a daily basis over the past few months and I would definitely repurchase this and any of the other 5YINA Hydrolats out there. My skin loves the fresh and revitalising feel that these mists give and I always get a compliment when using this on a flight. These are a must-have for any frequent traveller!

The 5YINA Grace Autumn Hydrolat can be purchased from the 5YINA online store for USD$45 for the perfect 50ml travel size. 

The Evolve Organic Beauty Hyaluronic Acid Serum 200

This little travel size of Evolve Beauty's Hyaluronic Serum has been most handy when I was travelling at the end of last year/beginning of this year. This hydrating serum reminds me a little of Jordan Samuel Skin's Hydrate in terms of texture and consistency. The Evolve Organic Beauty Hyaluronic Acid Serum boasts 200mg hyaluronic acid per full-size 30ml bottle and prides itself on being 99% natural in the way of ingredients. 

I found that it worked quite well to hydrate and plump the skin when applied and the results definitely would last throughout the day. I found that it sat relatively okay with most makeup, with some pilling occurring in a few instances. This serum is another perfect hydrating serum for those who are really into their green beauty. The formulation of this will make most green beauty advocates happy and better still, this does what it is supposed to do - hydrate the complexion. Its ingredient is the following:

Aqua (Water), Rosa Damascena (Rose) Water*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder*, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Extract*, Glycerin, Amorphophallus Konjac Root Powder, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Dehydroacetate.
*ingredients from organic farming

I did enjoy using this serum but I think I already have cumulated a number of favourites and unfortunately I did not love this enough or found it special enough for me to repurchase again. There are other serums that I think I enjoy using more and whilst this is effective, it just didn't wow me. The 30ml bottle of the Evolve Organic Beauty Hyaluronic Acid Serum can be purchased directly from the Evolve Beauty website for £30.00. 

Have you had any recent empties? What did enjoy using the most? I would love to find out more in the comments section below!

 

 

 

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Sorry everyone for taking forever to update the blog! Its been a hectic past few weeks with things happening at work, moving apartments, Easter Long Weekend and just general 'adulting'. I find that when I did have the time to blog, all I really wanted to do was just curl up and sleep or watch reruns of Dawson's Creek (yes, I discovered Dawson's Creek!). In a nutshell, blogging was the last thing on my mind, however, after nearly a whole month of absence - I have missed it! 

One thing that I have learned whilst juggling a few different projects is just how much I enjoy a good masking session and how it really does help me to unwind and relax. I love the fact that masking can come in a variety of forms that cover various people and lifestyles. The choices are endless with everything from slow and easy powdered masks to masks that can be applied on the go. I enjoy all different types of masks but a favourite go-to of mine is the sheet mask. I truly believe that nothing beats a good sheet mask in terms of giving the skin that beautiful dewy glow and they work so well both during the day to enhance the complexion for makeup or in the evening as a means to relax and watch a movie. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to try out Lancôme's Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask which is based on the infamous Lancôme Advanced Génifique Serum - a cult favourite from the brand. Each mask contains an impressive 30ml of serum and uses a hydrogel base for a perfect fit and optimum penetration it the skin. The Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask was definitely quite the luxurious mask, but in a day and age where sheet masks are so readily available and affordable, was it worth the splurge? 

**Please note - this mask was kindly gifted to me in return for an image on social media, with no expectation of a review. I had so many requests and questions on this that I decided to share my thoughts on this mask via a more in-depth review. All opinions are my own honest opinions. 

What Is It?

The Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask is a sheet mask made from hydrogel and fits on the face like a second skin. 

What Does It Do? 

Formulated with probiotic extracts, the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask contains the equivalent of what is found in the 30ml bottle of the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Serum which will work to give the skin an instant glow and leave the skin looking plump, smooth and refined. This sheet mask will also work to give the complexion an overall youthful well rested appearance (because I know I need it!). 

Ingredients:

Water, Glycerin, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sucrose, Lactobacillus Ferment, Tocopherol, Sodium Benzoate, Madecassoside, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sodium Succinate, Phenoxyethanol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Adenosine, Faex Extract / Yeast Extract, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Arginine Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyacrylate-13, Allantoin, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Salicyloyl Phytosphingosine, Limonene, Pentylene Glycol, Linalool, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum / Carob Gum, Carrageenan, Sorbitan Isostearate, Disodium Edta, Potassium Chloride, Citronellol, Potassium Hydroxide, Methionine, Potassium Sorbate, Glycine, Fragrance.

My Thoughts: 

There is no doubt that the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask leaves the skin feeling hydrated, plump, dewy and radiant. It truly is a beautiful mask where the mask itself not only feels amazing on the skin but fits like a second skin. Like with most sheet masks, the results from the Hydrogel Melting Mask is instant, making it a fantastic pick me up when the skin needs to look it's very best ASAP. Unlike a lot of the sheet masks available on the market, Lancôme's Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask is priced well above its typical Korean skincare counterparts at USD$15 or AUD$29 for one single sheet, putting it right up there as a luxurious purchase. Is it worth it? There is no simple answer to this one, it is a bit of yes and a bit of no. 

As many of you may know, sheet masks come in all different varieties and can be made with all sort of different materials. The Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask is made from a lightweight hydrogel mesh which is supposed to melt into a fluid once it reaches room temperature on to the skin. Once it reaches this temperature, the mask releases its unique blend of ingredients (think fermented extracts such as Bifidus extract) which ultimately will contribute to the skin's healthy and radiant glow. Based on Lancome's best selling Advanced Génifique serum, the mask contains the same quantity of Bifidus extract as one full 30ml bottle of serum. I personally loved the hydrogel on the skin, it was comfortable on the face and it acted almost like second skin. The mask itself was so cooling, soothing and relaxing as soon as it was applied making it a real treat to use on a hot and humid evening due to its hydrogel material. When removed, the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask does leave some 'serum residue' behind which I massage into the skin and leave for another 10-15 minutes before applying my moisturiser. The final result? A radiant and luminous complexion.

For me, the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask does absolutely perform. It gives the skin that lit from within glow and a complexion that is as plump as a peach. The instant hydration, calming and cooling effect that this mask gives the skin is truly amazing and it would create the perfect canvas for makeup before a big event as it helps to plump up the complexion and even out skin tone. When removed from the face, this mask gave me a beautiful radiant glow. Within the 20 minutes of applying this mask and removing it, my tired looking complexion looked brighter, happier and healthier making the Hydrogel Mask an instant one-step lift to the skin. I found the results of this mask did last for a few days.  I found that my make up did seem to sit better over the course of the few days as my skin was so soft smooth and felt so even in both texture and appearance. Whilst I only had one of these masks to use, the first impressions that this mask gave me was an impressive one.

However, my only gripe with the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask is possibly its price. Those who have used sheet masks often will also note that many other sheet masks can also give a similar plumping effect to the skin and are also made of the same hydrogel/bio-cellulose material. For me, a sheet mask made of hydrogel is nothing revolutionary and can be found in the world of K-Beauty at a fraction of the cost. Brands such as Leaders Insolution, JayJun and Innisfree have similar masks available in their lines. These masks also do give the skin a beautiful luminous glow and will also work to give a dry, dull and dehydrated skin that instant kiss of life - just at a lower price point. This is probably the biggest downside to Lancôme's  Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask for me. Whilst yes, this does contain 30ml of Lancôme's infamous Advanced Génifique Serum in each mask pack, I do personally find it a little hard to part with AUD$29/USD$15 for one single sheet mask, it makes it quite hard to use on a regular basis. This, for me, would go under luxurious purchases only and would be something that I would save for the most special of occasions. I would recommend this mask for all brides to be and special events as it does give the complexion an amazing boost. 

Overall, I did enjoy the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask very much. I loved the instant radiance and hydration boost it gave to my skin and loved the fact that this effect lasted for a few days. For me, this mask is beautiful in the materials used and the results that it gives. The only downside that would prevent me from purchasing this as often as I would like is the price point. There is no doubt that this is a luxurious purchase and is a mask that I would not use on a regular basis, especially with so many other competitors out there on the international market. However what Lancôme offers with their Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask is guaranteed results and effectiveness. With a K-Beauty market that is often so overwhelming to the average consumer, the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask is indeed convenience and the guarantee of that perfect lit from within glow. 

Repurchase YAY or NAY?

Despite its price, I would purchase the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask again as I do have a few weddings coming up over the course of the year. It is a product I would absolutely purchase as a gift to a bride in the lead up to her special day. Its luxurious pricing makes it a special occasion mask, and whilst for me, the pricing isn't worth it for regular use, it is a mask that is well worth it for big and special events. 

You can purchase the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask as a single sheet for USD$15/GBP£16.50/AUD$29 from Lancôme or as a pack of 4 for USD$55/GBP£59/AUD$110 from Lancôme. 

Have you used much skincare form Lancôme before? What have you used and what were your thoughts? I would love to hear in the comments section below. 

 

 

 

 

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I think it is pretty safe to say that many of us understand the importance of cleansing the skin and how integral it is to keeping skin healthy. Choosing the right cleanser, as I have learnt is much more than 'just cleaning' the skin, cleansers play an important role in keeping the skin balanced and healthy. I have learnt that ingredients and strenuous formulation play a key role in creating a fantastic cleanser and that all cleansers are not made equal. Some cleansers can be harsher than others, thus damaging the skin's structure and causing damage such as redness, dryness, breakouts and inflammation on a deeper, cellular level. Since understanding this, I have become much more careful of the cleansers that I use in my routines. 

I recently became quite interested in the Dr Barbara Sturm skincare line due to Barbara herself and her impressive medical background (she is a highly successful orthopaedic surgeon). What interested me most in Dr Sturm's line is perhaps her philosophy in skincare and the goals of healthy skin. Dr Sturm's skincare line has a huge focus in anti-inflammation in the skin. In an interview with Instyle magazine, Dr Sturm says "From my scientific work I knew that inflammation was responsible for most skin conditions - from ageing to wrinkles, enlarged pores, eczema, acne, uneven pigmentation, etc. That's why one of the three pillars of my skin care line is anti-inflammation". Dr Sturm's other two pillars of her skincare philosophy are telomerase activation (an enzyme which has an effect on skin ageing) and hydration. Using her understanding of skin on a molecular level, Dr Sturm has been able to harness the most advanced ingredient science and using her signature ingredient Purslane (a potent natural anti-ageing herb) to create a minimal skincare line that focuses on optimal skin health. Her line is simple and uncomplicated, yet it is packed with ingredients that have a real focus on the anti-inflammation of the skin's cells, thus delivering not only clear and balanced skin but also healthy skin cells.

This approach to skincare was quite unique and so interesting for me that I went out and purchased the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser (the first of a few Dr Barbara Sturm products I have purchased). Using what I knew about cleansers, I wanted to see how the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser performed and I have to say, I am quite impressed with the results. 

What Is It?

Quite simply the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser is foaming cleanser that when dispensed comes out as a light, airy mousse. 

What Does It Do?

The Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser aims to give the skin a gentle yet deep cleanse without causing damage or stripping the skin of its natural oils. 

Ingredients: 

Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panthenol, Urea, Lactobacillus/Portulaca, Leracea Ferment Extract, Citric Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Salicylic Acid, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Tocopherol, Pantolactone, Sodium Benzoate

My Thoughts:

I have a love/hate relationship with foaming cleansers, as it actually quite hard to find one doesn't leave the skin feeling squeaky clean. I find that it is far too easy to find a cleanser that is just too harsh on the skin due to its formulation and high pH levels. In saying that, the foaming cleansers that I have found work for my skin, I absolutely love and the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser is one of these. 

Over the past few years, I have started to learn the importance of pH and appreciated the expertise in formulating skincare products. For those that aren't aware, the pH in a cleanser can be quite an important factor, as cleansers with a high pH can actually do more harm than good, essentially stripping away the natural oils of the skin, affecting the skin's acid mantle and overall ruining the skin's natural pH balance. Upsetting this balance can cause issues such as breakouts, redness, dry skin and even accelerated ageing. Having a pH balanced cleanser helps to keep the skin healthy, clear and protected, working with the skin to cleanse (to read more in-depth about pH, cleansers and the skin, I suggest reading this). When doing a pH test on the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser, I found that in my 5 tests I measured a pH of 5.3 to 5.5 - a gold standard level in cleansers. This is most likely one of the factors in why this cleanser felt so calming and gentle on the skin, helping to feel more balanced on my complexion rather than tight and squeaky clean. 

With any Dr Barbara Sturm product, there is a lot science behind her formulations and her simple yet effective ingredients list is a real testament to that. Aloe Vera is a renowned ingredient for helping to calm the skin and reduce redness. Studies have shown that aloe vera has promising results with reducing inflammation of the skin as well as helping with wound repair. Panthenol is a form of Vitamin B that helps to attract and hold moisture into the skin, working well to keep the skin feeling and looking hydrated and also makes up some of the first ingredients in this cleanser, Urea is another ingredient that is featured in the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser and is an organic compound that works as a humectant for the skin. It works as an active natural moisturising factor which helps to keep the skin hydrated and protected. Purslane Extract, Dr Sturm's signature ingredient, of course, makes an appearance in this cleanser. This extract helps to boost the skin's health and prevent inflammation and to slow down the signs of ageing as it is very rich in antioxidants, including vitamins A, C and E, as well as glutathione, an immune-system booster. Purslane extract also can help to treat skin allergies, reducing inflammatory responses such as acne and can also help to improve conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and skin pruritus

What I have really enjoyed about Dr Barbara Sturm's Cleanser is that when dispensed, the cleanser itself comes out as a beautiful, light, airy foam (comparable to the froth on your latte or cappuccino). This makes it quick, easy and enjoyable to use on the skin as no lathering is required - you can literally dispense into the palm of the hands and begin cleansing the skin straight away. It's this ease of use that makes the Barbara Sturm Cleanser a favourite to use in the morning (who doesn't value those extra few moments of sleep) and also as an easy second cleanse in the evening. When applied, this cleanser feels like a cloud on the skin, its soft and light mousse texture makes it very comfortable and enjoyable to massage into the complexion. This can apply to the skin dry or applied with the skin damp, depending on your own preference. For myself, I like to apply this on dry in the morning and damp in the evening as a second cleanse. 

In terms of performance, I found that the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser does not disappoint. For a foaming cleanser, it leaves the skin feeling clean, refreshed and comfortable. I get no feeling of tightness and instead skin looks and feels balanced. I find that this does give a deeper cleanse than most of the foaming cleansers I have used, making it great for those who have slightly more oily complexions or when skin is feeling more decongested. My skin is visibly clearer and also much more calm in areas which may have any redness or inflammation (angry spots anyone?). In terms of makeup removal, this performs surprisingly well. I did not expect the Dr Barbara Sturm to be able to remove my makeup the way it did. When using this as an experimental first cleanse, I found that this cleanser actually does remove most of my foundation, bronzer etc and the only residue that really remained was my eye makeup. Having said that, I still prefer to use this as a second cleanse but do enjoy using this on little to no makeup days as it will remove impurities. 

When it comes to packaging, the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser cannot be faulted. This cleanser comes in an airtight bottle with a pump mechanism. To dispense the cleanser, all that is required is a few shakes and pump to reveal the beautiful airy foam. The mechanism is not only hygienic, it also makes it so easy to travel with and to use. It is completely fuss-free and perfect for someone who is on the run or just likes things to be kept simple yet effective. In terms of scent, the whole entire Dr Barbara Sturm line is fragrance-free, the Cleanser included. For those with quite sensitive skins or those who are sensitive to scent, the Barbara Sturm Cleanser is something to look into and definitely consider. The cost of the Barbara Sturm Cleanser definitely puts it in the more luxurious price range, however, I find that a little goes a long way with this and that the 150ml cleanser does last some time. 

Overall, I have really enjoyed using the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser due to its gentle, purifying capabilities that help to keep my skin feeling calm and balanced. It is a fantastic foaming cleanser and is definitely one of the better ones I have come across due to the fact it does cleanse the skin quite thoroughly without stripping the skin of its natural oils. 

Repurchase YAY or NAY:

I would definitely repurchase the Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser again. It really has been a fantastic morning and second cleanser and I absolutely enjoy using this - not only for how it leaves my skin looking and feeling but also just because it's so easy. It really is a testament to Dr Sturm's skincare philosophy - scientifically backed products that are simple and easy to use. This cleanser is exactly that. 

The Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser comes in a 150ml foaming pump dispenser can be purchased from Beautylish for USD$70, Cultbeauty for GBP£40 and Mecca Cosmetica for AUD$81. 

Have you tried anything from the Dr Barbara Sturm line? What did try and what were your thoughts? I would love to hear in the comments section below. 

 

 

 

 

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