Review: the new & improved Clarins Double Serum is here

Thursday, 21 September 2017

I have used the Clarins Double Serum on and off for a number of years. It’s an incredibly iconic serum that most of us will know very well. I know there are a bunch of you around here that have been very loyal to the serum for years, and for good reason. The product has loads of benefits and gets results. Clarins, however, have decided to take things up a notch and have launched the new and improved Double Serum and, believe me, this one is seriously improved. So much so that I would say it is one of the best skincare products I have used to date (big claim)! It's the same product we all know and love, but with advanced, seriously high-tech innovation to give your skin even more plus.... (drum roll)...NO MINERAL OIL!!!

Benefit - Boi-ing Concealer Collection Review

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

So, this was an exciting review to do for a number of reasons. 1) I get really excited by Benefit products (the products I have used are amazing) 2) their packaging just makes me happy, I know it’s not for everyone, but for me it’s girly and fun, like make-up should be! And 3) well, what’s not to love about a bunch of new, revamped concealers because lord knows I need all the help I can get to hide this nearly-the-end-of-a-long-year dark circles.

This is a combination of a new launch and some newly revamped concealers from Benefit; expanding on their well-known Boi-ing concealer that is super popular. They launched four variants all under the Boi-ing family, so there is pretty much a concealer for every need now.

My spotty skin routine for those hormonal days

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

I have had quite a few questions on what the best options are for those ‘bad skin days’ (when I posted about my spot treatment I use a few weeks back) so thought I would do a quick post on my steps I follow when I get a breakout.

CHANEL’s FIRST FRAGRANCE IN 15 YEARS IS HERE: Introducing GABRIELLE

Monday, 4 September 2017

I got wind of the fact that CHANEL were launching a new fragrance about 8 months ago. I didn’t know the name (it was all incredibly hush hush, as you can imagine)  but what I did know was that it was the first fragrance release from CHANEL in 15 years, and was assured it would become another iconic CHANEL scent for years to come…

Introducing GABRIELLE which launched countrywide on 1st September. As you will probably remember, the last launch from CHANEL in the fragrance category was CHANCE, which I most definitely was a fan of 15 years ago (and have since out-grown) and now it almost feels like CHANEL has grown up with me and delivered a scent that has honestly exceeded my expectations.

THE STORY BEHIND THE NAME

GABRIELLE was Coco Chanel’s birth name. Something you may not know about her is that she was a free woman and one who didn’t let societies conservative expectations of how women should be define her. She rebelled and she made a statement in doing so. She really was an incredible person, starting life out as an orphan and, through her sheer determination and resilience, made her dreams come true. I am telling you this background as the nickname ‘Coco’ only came about in her later years and this is how she was known to close friends and family. Before this, she was merely called her first name, Gabrielle.
This fragrance represents the authenticity of Gabrielle Chanel in her purest form; no frills, no masks, no facades. A rebellious, powerful scent that represents what Gabrielle Chanel stood for.

THE SCENT

This scent was created by CHANEL’s in-house perfumer, Olivier Polge. It was Olivier’s father, Jacques, who was  the previous nose of the CHANCE fragrance family. To me, I spray this scent and I think sophistication. I think feminine. I think timeless and I think iconic. When I first smelt this juice a few months back (in an unlabelled fragrance vial) I knew it was going to be a scent I would opt to wear for years. I am going to go as far as to boldly claim that this is my best scent from CHANEL to date. I absolutely adore it.

THE BOTTLE

Lastly, this bottle is something pretty special and I was told it took 7 years to create. It’s clean and modern. The bottle is made of incredibly thin glass; so much so that the usual thicker base of the perfume bottle, was blown outwards and polished down to form an evenly fine base. The angular walls are said to reflect light with the only branding being the simple label in the centre of the bottle which matches the embossed matte logo on the lid (see below). It’s the simplicity of the bottle that makes me love it so much. Classic, like everything that comes from this brand.

DETAILS:

50ml is R1745 and 100ml is R2565 at selected Woolworths stores and online. Oh and how beautiful is the advert.

Prepping, Priming & Setting – the benefits and where to start

Friday, 1 September 2017

I am all about prepping the skin properly, as without doing that your make up won't sit well on the skin and you won’t get that glow that we are all after. These are a few of my go-to make up products to prime and set my make up so it lasts well, looks natural and glows all day long.

PRIMERS

GLAMGLOW Volcasmic

A new launch from GLAMGLOW, and a very interesting one at that! It's actually the first-of-it's kind that I have every heard of or tried. Wait for it.... A Matte Glow Moisturiser! Essentially a lightweight, creamy moisturizer with essential minerals to help absorb oil while still hydrating skin (and without adding shine). It's labelled as a primer and moisturiser in one that can help the oily skinned girls (or even those of us with combination skins) look glowey yet never super-shiney. GLAMGLOW are onto something here, a really interesting and innovative product launch!

BECCA Backlight Priming Filter

I bought this on my recent trip to Italy (not available in South Africa) and it truly is something special. The product is a super-glowey creamy liquid and one pump covers the whole face. It blurs out imperfections and makes my skin look even and radiant instantly. It is pricey, but is most certainly a product I would purchase again. I am not so sure it necessarily makes your make-up last that much longer like some of the below, but that isn’t really my concern as my make-up tends to last well. If this is an issue for you, then perhaps read on for some other options.

Urban Decay Urban Defense Complexion Primer spf 30

Urban Decay launched a bunch of priming products a few months back. The brand is well-known for their setting sprays to make your make up last all day (I’ll get to these a bit later), but they didn’t really have products in the primer category, until this launch. The Urban Defense one stood out to me and has been a constant in my routine ever-since I got it. It glides onto the skin like silk and the main benefit is that it blurs out all your enlarged pores and adds a spf of 30. It does dry down to quite a matte finish which I thought I wouldn’t like (as I have dry-ish skin), but it creates a great foundation for your base - reducing unwanted shine and making everything appear smooth and even. This stuff is great for longevity and would work well for all skin types (perhaps test it if you have a darker skin as I would be weary of a white cast being left on the skin). 

Smashbox Photo Finish Primerizer (NEW)

This is a brand-spanking-new launch from Smashbox (the queen of primers), so I had high-hopes. This one also got me particularly excited as, for us dry-skin-gals, the idea of a primer and moisturiser in one is HEAVEN! It’s packed with Hyaluronic Acid for maximum plumping and hydration and aims to extend your make up longevity. I love that you can apply this before your foundation or mix it into your foundation for a light, glowey finish. It doesn’t feel waxy on the skin, but rather light-weight and refreshing with a cooling effect too. I have only used this for about a month, but it’s already a firm favourite and so up my alley in terms of how I like my make up finish to be; light, dewy and fresh.

Smashbox Photo Finish Iconic Primer Stick

This is also a newbie from Smashbox and a product that I know will do very well in South Africa. The Primer Stick is essentially the much-loved original Photo Finish primer in a solid, stick format. Win for travel! This can be applied under or over your make up to keep things in place and matte. I have been loving this for my handbag and pop a few streaks over my t-zone when I’m looking a tad oily. For you ladies who, come mid-day, look super shiny (in the wrong way), this may be your new lifesaver.  The aforementioned primer is definitely more suited to my needs, but wanted to give this one a mention as know a lot of people struggle with oily skins and their make up not lasting. 

GLAMGLOW GLOWSTARTER

I have spoken about this a lot already, but I wanted to mention it again in this post. This isn’t a primer, as such, but a great way to prep your skin if you want to ramp up that glow (which is basically my aim every day). For those of you with oily skins, this won’t be for you, but for those of you with drier skins you will feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven. I slather this all over my face (!!!) (you can be more subtle and just put it on areas like cheekbones and bridge of the nose). It comes in three shades (I use the middle shade, Nude Glow) and has little pearlescent particles in it to keep you glowey and looking fresh faced all day. It also smells like a candy store.

Urban Decay B6 Vitamin Prep Spray

This stuff is fab, and one that fits really well into my routine. This product is perfect for those of you who don’t do a heavy face of make up each day, but just want to quickly prep your skin so it looks fresher and younger. The fact that this comes in a spray bottle makes it super quick (no excuses here with time). This spray will help soothe your skin, give a douse of hydration and reduce shine by mattifying excess oiliness. Spritz it on; apply your foundation or tinted moisturiser and you're good to go!

SETTING

This is by far my BEST step of my make-up routine. I never, ever go without a good douse of setting spray. When I get asked what I have on my skin to get that glow, I always mention my setting spray. It ensures I never look cakey, plus leaves a beautiful glowey film over my skin that keeps things in place. If you aren’t doing this step in your make up routine, listen up!

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray

I am not going to harp on about this as you already know that I never really shut up about this product. I have gone through countless bottles and used it long before the brand launched in SA. It’s absolute gold in a bottle and fab for all skin types. I wouldn’t say that it’s particularly focused on glow really, but this stuff is ALL about longevity (hence the name). Your make up won’t budge, honestly! In terms of products to make your make-up last – you don’t get better than this.


GLAMGLOW GLOWSETTER

Again, you have heard me bang on about this one too. I am nearly done with my bottle, so that’s saying a lot! This stuff smells heavenly and does a multitude of things; from hydrating your skin and adding an all-over glow to setting your make up and refreshing dull skin. It’s the kind of mist you can spritz on whenever your skin needs that 'pick me up'. I have also been loving spraying this onto my damp Beauty Blender to blend in concealer and foundation. Longevity wise, it's not really this products focus, but glow and hydration wise, it's a good one to look into. 

MAC Fix+

I can’t speak about setting sprays and forget Fix+. I’ve used this for years and will always have it in my collection. I mainly love it for the glow it gives my skin and the way it makes my makeup look more natural when I’ve been a tad heavy-handed. This is your all-rounder spray that makes skin look hydrated, fresh and rested.

Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Hydrating Mist
This isn't a setting spray, but a great touch up mist for days where you need extra hydration, skin protection and an added glow. This stuff is great to ensure your make up looks more seamless (less 'sitting' on the skin) and that your skin feels more supple and hydrated. R350

That’s it – my summary of my fave prepping and setting products. Doing these two steps will make all the difference to your skin and make up! 

The Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette Review

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

This is definitely the make up launch I have been most excited about so far this year, seriously! You would have seen me speaking about this online when it first got released in the US (and how excited I was to get my hands on it). Anyway, our turn has finally arrived - it's here in South Africa! I got so flustered and excited when this arrived on my desk that I dropped the box in my rush to open it (thankfully the palette and shadows are all still in tact. Whew!). Anyway, let's get into this beauty...

For those who don't basically eat, sleep and breathe everything make up and beauty like I do, then let me fill you in.. Urban Decay have their famous Naked eye-shadow palettes which have gained a cult following over the years (they have a few different versions) and this is their most recent launch; the Naked Heat. Now, I generally wouldn't actually be that excited for another eye-shadow palette because lord knows I need to add more to my collection, but this palette is different. It's a very warm palette with shades all within the coppery/reddy/orange realm. Something I don't really have in my collection (well, I guess I do but I want more).

I am so into these warmer toned shades; I think they look amazing on pretty much every eye colour. The palette comprises of 12 shades in total; 5 shimmers and 7 mattes. This is the first palette I have used in ages where I can genuinely see myself using 90% of the shades. They are truly beautiful with fantastic pigment (which Urban Decay always nails). There is even one shade which I though looked a tad 'bleh' in the pan, but after trying it, it's now become my best in the entire palette (Chaser).

I have played around with the palette every day since I got it and, even though I am not the most adventurous make-up wearer out, these shades all look incredible on their own, or by simply blending two together. Below are swatches of each of the shades in the palette - all buttery, blend-able and highly pigmented (as mentioned already). I honestly see myself using this non-stop for the next few months - it's a beauty!


Lastly (if you needed any more convincing), I think the price point is really amazing value for money - it's R850 for 12 shades. I know a few of you agreed with me on this, but there were the odd few who thought it was really expensive. I just think that when you break it down to one eye-shadow at a place like MAC being R220 for 1.5g, yet the UD Palette is 12 x 1.3g which works out at R70 a shadow, then it is pretty good!

The palette launched on Saturday last week at V&A in Cape Town and has already launched at the Menlyn store in JHB. I have had a few queries around an online launch which I will Tweet about as soon as I have further info about.

Skincare Saviours when my skin is feeling run-down

Monday, 14 August 2017

My skin has been through quite an intensive period of doing retinol day and night for 10 days consecutively pre-holiday plus a few long haul flights. The results have meant very red, flakey and dry skin during the 10 days and now I am reaping the rewards with skin that looks smoother and more glowey than ever. I have, however, had a few breakouts with my skin just feeling a bit 'out of whack' - I assume this is gross flights plus a lot of suncreen use on holiday and work stress on my return. In my first few weeks back I wanted to use products to inject as much hydration and soothing ingredients into my skin as possible, just to get things balanced again. These products have been my saving grace during this period, and one's I often reach for when my skin is feeling like it needs some TLC:

Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Masque Skinceuticals products have fast-become one of my top recommended brands to my readers if you really want to see results - they are brilliant. I was sent this mask with a couple of the Skinceuticals serums - the whole concept was the 'Art of Mixology' where I could adapt the mask to my skins needs at that moment by adding a few drops of whatever serum I felt apt. I have never really had properly inflamed skin that needed calming - that was until I introduced retinol into my routine and, goodness, I reached for this mask religiously! My favourite combo became a few drops of the B5 serum with this mask, you can also leave it on for hours and you cannot believe the calming and soothing effect this has on the skin! The ingredients are 9% Pure Active Botanicals (cucumber, thyme, and olive extracts), calming dipeptide (helps reduce inflamed skin) and hyaluronic acid (a natural humectant capable of holding 1,000 times its own weight in water and the body’s natural hydrator). You can buy it online here and browse the serums here.

Lamelle Serra Restore Cream

I have been using this cream for about three years now and have mentioned it a few times. It's a life saver and a cream that everyone should own and use. I initially got told about it from a friend of mine who is really into her skincare, and I always trust recommendations from my friends. I don't use this cream as my daily moisturiser but tend to use it when I can see my skin needs to be balanced (you could definitely use it as a daily moisturiser though). The aim of this cream is to restore your skins barrier which, once damaged, causes all sorts of issues like dry patches, oily bumps and breakouts. Damaging your skins barrier is also really easy, so we could all do with some repair here. I also use this as a spot treatment on problematic areas as I have battled with a dry patch on the corner of my mouth for a few months - this product has single handedly restored the skin. It's amazing and hands down one of my top, tops!

Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules 

There was much excitement, as you saw on my Instagram stories, around the revamped Daily Youth Restoring Serum capsules from Arden. I find little capsules of potent actives like this really handy in my routine. They are what I reach for on evenings when my skin just needs that extra bit of TLC and these really do the job well. Essentially, these would be your serum in your routine, they are just packaged in capsules and very concentrated. I also love this for travel reasons as you can throw 2 or 3 in your toiletry bag (I used a pill container to keep them safe). They don't weigh a thing! Personally, these haven't replaced my usual serum but are my go-to 'pamper night in' product as they really do nourish the skin beautifully. The little capsules are deceivingly generous so you can lather your face, neck and chest in it or share it over 2 nights. 90 caps: R995 & 60 caps: R825.

Kiehl's Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream 


Before trying this product, I wasn't actually sure I could go the natural route with my facial routine as I want results and want product that are able to be absorbed into my skin (natural products often have molecules that are too large for the skin to absorb), however, I decided to give this a proper shot as 1) it's Kiehl's and I really trust what they do and 2) the formula sounded very promising (plus felt fabulous when I tested out the texture).

The ingredients are Manuka Honey (this was what made my ears prick up as I love the Antipodes Manuka Honey Mask, it's an old fave) and Red Ginseng. The cream is quite a thick and balmy texture which I really like and, best of all, it absorbs beautifully into the skin. Like amazingly! I really love this texture. I am nearly done with my tub now and have loved including this in my routine - it promises to boost radiance and help with fine lines and wrinkles. I am really happy with my skin at the moment in terms of hydration as oftentimes in winter my skin feels really tight and make up can look bleh on me.

Side note: I have still been using my other normal routine with this as my moisturiser and it works incredibly well with other oils and serums. I never want it to finish. The cream retails for R895.

La Mer Revitalizing Hydrating Serum

I took this serum on holiday with me and hadn't tested it prior, but knew a La Mer serum would be an absolute treat to use and I wasn't disappointed. As with all La Mer products, the marine based actives are what make this product so special. Brown, Green and Red algae help with hydrating the skin combined with La Mer's 'Miracle Broth' to soothe, repair and hydrate! I loved the light texture of this product for use in th extreme heat of Italian summer and often found that there was no need for a moisturiser on top. Make up applied really well over it and the product penetrated my skin beautifully. My skin looked one of the best it has ever looked with the combo of Vitamin D and loads of hydration.
I am also so chuffed I took this on holiday as it smells unreal and when I reached for it this morning (with my post-holiday blues and all) it took me right back to lazy, long beach days in Positano. Win!

Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant

In short, this is the Microfoliant that we all know and love, but the 'super' version of this and targeted at those of us who want that little bit extra in terms of targeting ageing. This version is a black powder as it has Activated Binchotan Charcoal which purifies the skin and helps to adsorb environmental toxins - so gives the pores a real deep cleanse. I have been using this everyday after my usual cleanse and find my skin is super polished afterwards, yet never feels stripped or looks aggravated. In fact, this is probably the sole reason I love it as it really does make my skin feel very calm, yet I know I have got rid of the dead skin cells. It is pricey at R1180, but the Microfoliant isn't far behind at R1020 so may be a nice step up for those concerned with ageing.

Lamelle Dermaheal Foaming Cleanser

This is a new launch from Lamelle and I love it for how simple it is; I say simple in the best way possible. It’s a foaming cleanser that removes all make up in one quick wash and doesn’t strip the skin. It doesn’t alter the skins natural pH and a little goes a long way. It’s lightly scented and has a good amount of foam to it which feels really silky and fluffy on the skin. The fact that it is so gentle eliminates the need for a toner and would imagine that this product would be great for sensitive skins. As mentioned, Lamelle is a brand I really trust for well-researched products and great quality ingredients. It retails for R240 which is a great price considering how little product you need.

GLAMGLOW Super Mud Clearing Treatment

This is a new mask in my collection and so far, so darn good! This is the Clearing Treatment mask so is great for detoxing the skin. You can use this all over your face, or on spotty areas. It tingles beautifully and dries out any spots quickly. I also love using this on the nose area for blackheads. It dries down, leaving a pot-hole-type effect on the blackheads which just feels so satisfying. I have used this a number of times and tried it on Marc too, his results were amazing. It retails for R850.

Sisley Radiant Glow Express Mask

An old fave to calm, soothe and inject a ton of hydration into the skin. I love Sisley masks and, yes, they do come at a super high price tag, but if you are a Sisley user, then you will be able to justify this. This is a great pre-night-out mask as it can be left on for 10 minutes, and the results are firmer, glowier and more rested skin in an instant.

Retinol: the ingredient that will transform your skin

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

This is a post I have been promising a few of you for quite some time, so here it finally is. I wanted to speak about retinol; the single ingredient that has transformed my skin.
Red, angry skin after a week of consecutive use of retinol

Retinol is nothing new in the beauty industry, its a derivative of Vitamin A and has been used in anti-ageing products for years. There are many different varieties on the market and, importantly, many different strengths and delivery systems. This can make it very daunting and, with the results being as active as some of them can be, a lot of people tend to shy away from including it in their routine. I wanted to shed light on how I’ve started using this in my routine as it is, hands down, the best ingredient to see actual change in your skin and truly has transformed the way my skin looks.
Retinol stimulates the metabolism of your skin cells and encourages collagen production – vital in reversing the signs of ageing. It can be absorbed into the skin but has to be delivered in the correct system and with the right combination of ingredients to get to work. As mentioned, the ingredient comes in different strengths in different products – essentially the stronger the retinol strength, the more ‘medical’ the product becomes and the more expensive it becomes. Naturally, however, the stronger the strength, the better results you are going to get (this should generally be recommended by a skincare expert)
This is part of the Retinol reaction with flaking skin all over my face - look closely, that's my foundation peeling off!

Using a well-formulated retinol product will visibly reduce pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, drastically improve skin texture (larger pores and rough skin) and give you an over-all more even-toned, smoother, younger looking complexion. This does take dedication though and also means you need to go through a period of being quite patient while your skin reacts to the ingredient (this reaction phase is vital in order to get to reap the rewards of beautiful skin).

I swear by the ZO® Skin Health retinol offering. I have spoken about my journeywith this brand (and it really is a skin journey). What I love so much about their approach to introducing the high-dose of retinol that they use (highest concentration on the market – they don’t mess around!!) is to prep the skin properly so it gets to a place where it’s ready to take on retinol. This is a 6-8 week period that is monitored carefully by highly qualified professionals. When they feel your skin is at a phase that is ready for the ‘next step’ they then advise you through the process.

ZO® Skin Health always speak of the #RetinolReaction which is not necessarily a pleasant period, but they give you a heads up about this and, trust me, the end result is worth every bit of the slight discomfort and angry looking skin!


Liezl, my skin advisor from ZO® Skin Health, is super well-informed and highly qualified. She has been with me every step of the way through my journey with using the range and has put my mind at ease when I’ve been very close to throwing in the towel (red, flakey, angry skin will do this to you!).

Below she has answered some of the frequently asked questions I have got from you guys through Instagram:

How does ZO® Skin Health’s approach to retinol differ?
ZO is not afraid of a retinol reaction, in fact, we welcome it. If the skin does not present itself with redness, sensitivity and flaking then you have not stimulated enough repair to make big textural changes.Our product is also in a retinol form, not vitamin A, and comes in the right delivery system, in the right concentration and in an active form.

What is the benefit of using the whole ZO range in conjunction with their retinol?
All the products are made to work together as they are pH specific and is supposed to be applied in a specific order to give you the best penetration and results. The range is made to work on speeding up cell turnover, reducing inflammation and balancing the skin barrier. Once that has been achieved the retinol will be able to do it's job properly and safely.

What benefits can you expect to see when using the ZO range (including the retinol)?
The first changes you see is in the skin texture and tone, this gives you a youthful appearance. Adding the retinol will balance out any ageing and discoloration concerns.

The price is high, so how does this product differ to other options on the market?
This is the newest technology in skin care with the best scientist working on giving the the safest method to get results fast. They use the highest amount of active ingredients they are allowed to and the sole focus is results, hence they don't try and keep the product cheaper by putting in less active ingredients. They are constantly updating the technology an promise to never stagnate.

What is the #RetinolEffect that I will have to endure before I reap the rewards of glowing, beautiful skin?
The most common effects is: redness, itching, stinging, flaking. This will go away as your skin gets use to the active ingredients. From there it is only bigger and better with your results. It is a small price to pay for a healthy glowing skin
The ZO Skin Health stockists can be found here. If you are interested in the range, I highly recommend going in for a consultation where they can look at your skin and advise you properly. It truly is, hands-down, the most effective skin range I have used to-date.

NEW LAUNCH: Skinceuticals H.A. Intensifier

Friday, 4 August 2017

It’s a new launch and it’s from SkinCeuticals – you can only imagine my excitement. You all know how often I give recommendations from this brand, as I truly have seen remarkable results through including their products in my routine. These products are jam-packed with actives that will result in actual change in your skin, which is what we are all after (especially in my case, as I’ve just turned 30).
Their latest launch is aimed at intensive hydration which is exactly what my skin needs, being on the dehydrated end of the spectrum – it’s their H.A. Intensifier which, broken down into layman’s terms, is a really concentrated serum made up of Hyaluronic Acid (that’s the H.A part of the name), Proxylane and purple rice extract (I’ll break down what these all do for our skin a bit later).

The H.A. Intensifier (R1550 for 30ml) is a corrective serum and comes packaged in a deep purple glass bottle with a dropper – the actual serum is a deep purple liquid which feels really lovely to use and sinks into the skin beautifully. I have been using this day and night and, like all SkinCeuticals products, there are different ways in which you can tweak this product to suit your skin and give you exactly what you need (I love this concept!).

The serum can be used on its own (for intense hydration) or mixed in with one of your Skinceuticals Anti-oxidants from the Corrective range to tackle multiple concerns at a time. I have been doing a few drops of the H.A. Intensifier with my beloved SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic (for an added boost of Vitamin C) during the day, finished off with a light layer of moisturizer and SPF. In the evening I use it on its own, followed by my usual night cream. This product genuinely works really well for my skin as the ingredients list is simple (so great for sensitive skins too) yet potent. I was actually applying this the other evening and thought to myself "I will 100% be repurchasing this". Side note: I tried this on Marc’s skin (more sensitive than mine) and he even commented on ‘how nice his skin felt’. 


1.3% HYALURONIC ACID
This is what is going to give you that douse of hydration that your skin needs! The serum improves the HA levels in your skin by more than 30%! Read more on the basics of HA below. 

2% LICORICE ROOT AND 0.2% PURPLE RICE EXTRACT
These natural preservatives help keep the HA content in the skin at a good level.

10% PROXYLANE
This supports the skins hyaluronic acid and improves the skins firmness by more than 11%

The overall results will improve the skins appearance through boosted hydration levels; +23% improvement in skins plumpness and +17% improvement in skins texture.

Lastly, I wanted to touch on why hyaloronic acid is so important in your skincare regime as, even though magazines and bloggers touch on it fairly often, all these scientific sounding ingredients can be slightly overwhelming (even I get confused). So here is the HA 101:

What is Hyaloronic Acid?

In a nutshell, it’s a large-chain polysaccharide found throughout our bodies. It plays the important role of maintaining the skins biochemical properties and is a natural humectant which helps maintain the moisture levels in our skin.  Sadly, with age, the HA levels in our skin decline, therefore it is vital to include this ingredient into our routine to prevent saggy, dehydrated, dull-looking skin.
Note: this is a very top-level view on what this ingredient does; this article on Paula’s Choice is very insightful if you want more info.

In short, the H.A. Intensifier is your purest form of Hyaloronic Acid to include in your routine and is something that is vital for every skin type to slow down the signs of ageing and keep your skin looking fresh, plump and youthful.

GIVEAWAY

You will be happy to hear that you can stand a chance of winning your very own full-size H.A. Intensifier with Skinceuticals and Dermastore every Monday at 9am (until 21 Aug). Details below:

Find a hidden element of HA Intensifier on Dermastore.  The first to find, and complete checkout with this hidden element wins an HA Intensifier – it’s that simple!

Terms: One prize available each Monday from the 17th of July to 21st of August. Hidden element will display as out of stock if a winner has been successful – choose the EFT payment option and complete the null value order, to claim your prize. 


This post was done in collaboration with Skinceuticals.

{WIN} Three Gelish Mani's Up for Grabs

Monday, 17 July 2017

Cape Town gals, this one's for you! 

The lovely ladies at Sorbet Nails Gardens Centre are giving three lucky Kiss, Blush & Tell readers a Gelish mani and entering could not be simpler!

I visited Sorbet Nails Gardens Centre before my recent holiday to get my nails done and was so chuffed with the result. We all know that a manicure is pretty much 100% dependent on the therapist you get, and these ladies at this particular branch are really jacked up and know how to give a good mani that lasts ages! The part that got me the most excited was their Gelish shade selection - they have over 200 options to choose from. You can only imagine how long I took to make my decision :)

I ended up going with 'My Favourite Mai Tai' on my hands - a really beautiful, bright orangey/coral - and a Taupe on my toes (I've forgotten the shade name). My mani lasted a good 15 days, which is amazing seen as my days were spent on the beach.

To win:

1) Follow @Sorbetgardens_nails on Instagram
2) Leave a comment on their Vote & Win image telling us your best Gelish shade (the shade options are all here)

Done!
This competition is open to Cape Town residents. You are welcome to enter and give the gift to your Mum or friend who lives close to this branch. This voucher is only available for use at the Sorbet Nails Gardens Centre (not transferable). T's & C's apply. Competition closes on Friday 21 July 2017.

My LVL Lash Lift Review {The Urban Beauty Lounge}

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

I visited The Urban Beauty Lounge for another lash lift this last week (as yous saw on Instagram Stories) and got quite a few questions, so thought I would explain the procedure and share my thoughts on it. Spoiler alert: I LOVE it.

Before I went for my first ever lash lift (about a year ago) I did my usual crazy Googling to get every review and bit of info I could find, however, I found it really hard to get a proper understanding of 1) what the procedure involved and 2) the finer detail like how well it lasted, aftercare etc, so I wanted to do this post to inform you in case you are keen on looking into this. In short, this really is the ultimate pre-holiday beauty treatment which is why I got it. Having dark, curled lashes all holiday long is a DREAM. Side note: I am not back from 3 weeks of holiday and my lashes are still fully curled and look amazing. 

What is a LVL Lash Lift?

Simply put, a lash lift is like a perm for your natural lashes. So it's not extensions or anything like that, it's merely putting a perming solution onto your lashes so they hold a beautiful curl until they grow out (it lasts around 6 - 8 weeks!). (no lash curlers needed before mascara each morning - yay!)

What does the procedure involved?

The worst part for me (as I am just generally bad at sitting still) is that the procedure takes 1hr10 minutes of lying with your eyes closed - I'm being dramatic in saying that and I know some people love the peace and quiet of lying still for over an hour (and often fall asleep) - I, on the other hand, just get antsy, but it's hardly anything to complain about!
There is zero discomfort other than the fact that the chemicals may feel slightly tingly on your eye area - again, nothing vaguely notable though.

The process

The treatment starts with the therapist assessing your lash length and deciding which 'curl' to go for - so there is essentially small, medium & large options. I have only ever done the small, which means that my lashes are quite short so the curl needs to be tighter. 
BEFORE

The therapist then curls each lash backwards over the dome (which has a silicone-like glue on it) - this part is probably the most time consuming part as she has to make sure each lash is not crossing over the other. The perming solution is placed on afterwards so the lashes are 'set' like this, hence it being important that it's done carefully and that each lash is straight. 
LASHES CURLED BACK WITH SILICONE GLUE
The perming solution is then left on the lashes for about 10 minutes to set the curl in place. I opted to have a lash tint afterwards to further enhance my lashes and would definitely recommend this, unless you have super dark lashes (although mine are really dark and the tint still helps me). 
PERMING SOLUTION IS APPLIED

My thoughts?

I actually forgot how much I love this treatment. It makes for the most low maintenance make up ever. I am quite happy not wearing foundation, but when I don't curl my lashes or wear mascara I do look like a bit of a mole, so this treatment works wonders for me. I got it this time around as I am off on a summer holiday to Italy, so know I will be in and out of the sea and too hot for make up most of the time - so this treatment (plus my tint) basically looks like I am wearing mascara all the time! Seriously, such a win.

Damage wise, this is incomparable to extensions and, much like getting Gelish or Shellac on your nails, I would advise taking a break here and there if you were to start doing a treatment like this. That's just my personal opinion as naturally the perming lotion will dehydrate your lashes a bit. It won't cause any lashes to fall out and may not be noticeable at all, but I like the idea of having a break after 3 or so treatments. 

The fab part is that it lasts 6 - 8 weeks, so doesn't need to be done often. based on my previous experiences, it is quite addictive as when your lashes start straightening out and going back to normal, your eyes just look that much less 'awake' and big. you'd be surprised at how much it opens up your eye area!

Aftercare-wise it's pretty simple, which also works for me as I am so bad at being too OCD and careful like you have to be with lash extensions. The only aftercare is to not wet the lashes for 12 hours post-treatment. thereafter you can carry on as normal - you can wear mascara as normal and use whatever eye-make up remover etc, no concerns here which I love!

Other details:

Cost wise the lash lift is R480 and the tint is R70 - not bad considering how long it lasts for. Lastly, probably a strange thing to add but a huge bonus for me, when booking at The Urban Beauty Lounge you can simply send them a Whatsapp and they respond immediately. I love that - so convenient when at work and also no need for a phone call - win! They also send you a reminder SMS before your app. 

The Urban Beauty Lounge is based in Wembley Square behind the Vida. Parking is super easy and always available. you can Whatsapp them on 076 386 4793 for bookings (the therapist I saw was Yvette). 

What’s New in my make-up routine?

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Quick note: I am on holiday for 18 days from today, you can keep updated on my Instagram :)


These are some new finds that I've integrated into my make up routine and am really enjoying them. Two are extortionately expensive (sadly), but I still wanted to tell you about them, however, on the whole these products have found a place in my daily routine, booted out some old favourites and I definitely foresee myself repurchasing each and every one of these going forward!

Chanel HEALTHY GLOW LUMINOUS COLOUR - R900

I have not shut up about this on Instagram Stories, so there isn’t much more to say here other than that this is pretty much the most beautiful bronzer I have ever used; from the packaging and the scent to the buttery texture and the pigment. It’s all unreal. I have the Medium shade and it’s the perfect amount of cool / warm tone to not look muddy or orange, yet still look bronzed and contoured. Adore it! Please make this a permanent product, CHANEL. On counters now (limited edition)

Clinique Lash Power Flutter to Full Mascara - R345

I have also spoken about this loads on social media. I have been using this solidly for 3 weeks now. The mascara has three different options for how dramatic you want your lashes to be. I have only been using the most dramatic, obviously. It coats the lashes beautifully with the narrow brush, which makes it easy to get to the lashes on the corner of the eyes. I must say, Clinique have really been impressing me of late! Loving there latest launches! Buy here

GLAMGLOW Make Up Setting Spray - R400

A setting spray always makes my heart very happy, never mind a setting spray from GLAMGLOW. I don’t think I’ve ever unboxed at item as quickly as this one! The brand that became famous for their beautiful masks, is new to the setting spray game but they have nailed it, in my opinion. The spray makes my make-up look glowey, without looking too oily (I’m looking at you Tatcha Radiant Skin Mist!). The spray is packed with a blend of three antioxidant teas—green, red, and white—to soothe skin and combat redness. It’s also packed with caffeine to instantly refresh dull, tired and puffy skin. Literally the perfect travel companion. The mist is also super-fine. What’s not to love?! Buy here

Urban Decay Vice Liquid Lipstick (Crimson) - R290

This is a brand new launch from UD and, jeepers, this brand know how to create great make up! The liquid lipsticks come in 30 shades (matte and metallic) - the metallic won't be my cup of tea, but I am ALL about the mattes. I got two fantastic shades that are so up my alley (thank you, Urban Decay) - the first is a deep, wine red called Crimson. It's a shade of red I actually don't have in my collection (shock horror). A few of you asked about it on my Instagram stories and commented on what a beautiful shade it is - it's truly gorgeous and the ultimate winter red. The other shade I got was WSM which is a rosey-pink (again, such a me colour) - I have only worn this once but plan on taking it on my summer holiday where I will wear it all the time.

The formula goes on as a wet liquid and dries down to a very comfortable matte - nothing too drying, just make sure your lips are hydrated as you normally would pre-application. There is a dry-down period where it does feel slightly sticky, so best to let it set properly. I didn't touch mine up once through the entire day, and that's saying something when wearing such a deep red. Buy on Foschini Beauty later this month.
Crimson top, WSM bottom

Lancôme Matte Shakers – R315

Now, to be honest, the original Juicy Shakers did nothing for me. They were just another sheer lip product that didn’t justify the price. These, however, are very different to the originals. The Matte Shakers are packed with pigment and come in 7 shades – all the shades are pretty punchy and dramatic with few nude shades (which I would love to see more of). I tried shades Pink Power (387) and Kiss Me Cherie (374) and have really been enjoying them. You would have seen the Pink Power on my Instagram Stories – I’m not usually a pink lipstick kinda gal, but this shade just works. My favourite has to be the Kiss Me Cherie - a punchy cherry red. The Matte Shakers have the same applicator which feels lovely on the lips (I hear this one is a little firmer and pointier for a more precise application). The product also doesn’t dry down to a complete matte which I like, it’s more a semi-matte but the pro here is it doesn’t dry the lips out at all. In short, these have found a definite place in my make-up bag (unlike their predecessor). A side note is these are a lip stain like no other - just be warned they are tough to remove, which may be a pro in some cases but not so much when I end up going to yoga with a full-on red lip! Buy here.

Sisley DOUBLE TENSEUR INSTANT & LONG-TERM - R1750

First things first, I know we are in a recession so you absolutely do not need this product but if you a die-hard Sisley fanatic like me, well then maybe you do! This is a new launch of theirs that has got outstanding reviews for good reason! It’s an odd product as quite multi-functional – many people have referred to it as Sisley’s new primer, but it is so much more than that. The brand describes it as a ‘powerful moisturising lifting skin care product with botanical extracts that not only works instantly but over the long term too.’ I basically never want to have to apply make up without this stuff as my base – it makes my skin look taught, plump, fresh and so hydrated. It’s a gem and no other primer will ever make me feel as happy as this one does (Sisley, you have ruined everything for me!). In store now. 

LUSH PIGMENT (PASSIONATE) – R195

This was an expected discovery for me - as you might have seen me reviewing on Instagram. I am such a die-hard Lush fan, especially their bath and body products, but hadn’t ever really tried their colour items. The team kindly sent me three colour pigments and the Passionate one has fast become by go-to for a touch of cheek colour (Believe is also amazing). It’s so easy to use and can be used on the lips too (I prefer cheeks). The pigment really is full-on so you literally need a touch on each cheek (less is more here) and I have been using a foundation-type brush to blend this in. It makes my skin look amazing and super natural. I also love how easy it is to pop in your handbag for on-the-go touch ups! Also, with the amount you need, this will literally last forever!


It comes with a doe-foot applicator and the actual pigment is quite a dry-powdery-liquid (hard to describe), but this is why I love it as it doesn't disturb my foundation and makes my skin look very dewy. Buy here.