{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.

SMASHBOX, You've outdone yourself

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Smashbox is one of those brands that really do just deliver when it comes to unbelievable make up. I have used and loved their products for years, as you know, and continue to get super-excited whenever they launch new products and the below are no exceptions. In fact, these are some of the most ‘up-my-alley’ launches I have seen in a while.

You will have seen me harping on about this on Instagram Stories and Instagram Live but let me unpack each of these launches:

PHOTO FINISH RADIANCE PRIMER – R475

Smashbox are probably the most well-known and trusted brand when it comes to primers. These guys know how to make you look flawless all day long. I have used a number of their primers but, having dry skin, the mattifying or pore minimizing one's aren't exactly what my skin needs. This 'Radiance' primer, however, was exactly what I have been looking for.
The primer is a balm-cream like texture in a light bronze shade that blends into the skin seamlessly leaving a subtle glow and a hydrated canvas for make up application (thanks to the main ingredient being hyaluronic acid) . As mentioned, my make up does tend to stay in place all day but can look a little flat come the afternoon. I love this product as it adds a holiday-skin glow that really is very subtle and doesn’t lead to my skin looking at all shiny. I also love the mild blurring effect it has making you need minimal foundation after this, it helps even out my skin tone which I love. Buy here.

PHOTO FINISH LID PRIMER - R290

They call this ‘foundation for your eyes’ and what makes this unique is that it’s your lid primer but in a number of different shades, so it really can be tailored to your skin. Great news for the darker skinned girls as there will be no white cast on the skin.
I naively have been going along thinking I don’t need a lid primer in my life but, alas, I clearly do. I did a few tests with this – using it on one lid only and then both and then not at all and I definitely noticed less creasing. My lids don’t crease too much but the difference I noticed was that the shadow pigment popped that much more and it lasted really well throughout the day.
Side note - I got the white and the 'dark' formula. The white is the one I am reviewing here, the dark was way too dark and has become my make-shift contouring product - works wonders! (I know, I know). Buy here.

SPOTLIGHT PALETTE X CASEY HOLMES (Light/Medium) - R550

This obviously got me extremely excited – a highlight palette, I mean!!! This collaboration was done with Casey Holmes who is a well-known YouTube sensation. I actually hadn’t heard of her before this, but on doing an online stalk she is super into her make up and loves a good highlighter. Her make up looks aren’t my cup of tea, to be honest (that much make up terrifies me) but she knows how to make a good highlighter.

The three shades in this palette are really pretty but are quite glittery. That may appeal to some, but wanted to highlight that factor (how bad is that pun!) as when I used this on my Mum I thought it was a tad ‘young’ for her more mature skin. For my skin, however, I think it’s beautiful and find myself swirling my brush across all three shades – they are all very wearable. This comes in two shades (light/Medium and Medium Dark), buy here.

COVERSHOT EYE PALETTE (SOFT LIGHT) - R650

This is probably the item I am most excited about. I have been dying to try one of the Covershot palettes for a while and was sent the perfect shade combo for me, the Soft Light one. The Covershot palettes comes in 7 different shade options. These are the Insta-famous palettes with the super-cool packaging that changes as you move it. The palettes are also small and slim so super-nifty for travel (I know this is 100% coming with me on my trip). The shades aren't matte in this palette but are very subtle. Some may find this palette too neutral, but there are 6 other options depending on how intense you like your eye looks to be. For me, this one works perfectly. It's not often I find a palette where every single shade is wearable - this one is great for dull make up folk like me :) Buy here.

ALWAYS-ON GEL EYELINER (FISHNET) - R250

I wanted to review this as I have kind of steered away from eye-liner - it makes me eyes look smaller when I tight-line my upper lash-line and then it transfers to the lower lash line, so I decided to exclude it from my routine. I actually haven't used an eye-liner in years!!! Anyway, in short, this was (by some miracle) actually stay put and makes my upper lash line look amazing - it's full of pigment and pretty much the only eye-liner I will be using from here on out.
Side note: I used this all over my eyes for a dress up the other day (Frida Kahlo) and you can't make mistakes with this stuff - it takes it's job very seriously of 'staying-put'! Buy here.

You can buy Smashbox online at Woolworths and Red Square

My Journey with ZO Skin Health thus far

Monday, 5 June 2017

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have gathered that I have been trying out a new skincare line – ZO® Skin Health. I have to let you know upfront that this was NOT paid for – I was merely interested in exploring a line like this and had 3 readers in particular who had asked me about it. This line is not just any ordinary skincare line, but the most potent on the market and one that has a philosophy that differs from any other line I have come across to date.
Skin after 8 weeks of use - clear, texture drastically improved and pigmentation has lightened

I was quite weary about trying them out initially as ZO® Skin Health does go against quite a few ‘norms’ that exist in the skincare industry, such as exfoliating daily with a physical exfoliator (with very abrasive beads), but when I did my research and saw that this was Dr Zein Obagi’s latest venture, I knew I was in trusted hands. You may have seen that I tried out Obagi skincare a few months back. Dr Zein Obagi bought to market the original NuDerm™ system which he then went on to sell (it’s obviously still named after him, but he is not involved there at all). When he sold this line, he created ZO® Skin Health and I really like the philosophy behind the range.
From Left: my day serum, my night serum, my retinol, the pure Vita C concentrate, Exfoliator (pot), cleanser (above pot) and spf

I must say, the journey I have had to go on with ZO® Skin Health has been an interesting one (which they warned me about) and it did mean a few weeks of very unsettled skin – which I didn’t enjoy, but am finally now reaping the rewards of. It does take a bit of patience and perseverance before your skin kicks into gear, but it is well worth it when you start seeing the long-term results.
 
3 weeks into the routine - skin breaking out and texture uneven which is all a part of the process

What is ZO® Skin Health about?

The range is essentially about cutting the clutter and getting to the skins core of making it work in the most natural, efficient way possible. The interesting part about ZO®’s theory is that there is no real excuse for having a sensitive skin or a skin with rosacea – as, if the skin is working like it should, then these concerns can be combatted. The initial 6 week programme is all about kicking the skin into gear and prepping in to start the proper ‘active’ products – so my 6 week period was to prep my skin for retinol. It’s amazing how they focus on this, as the skin is the biggest organ and needs preparation to be working efficiently and to react well to the product we apply.

My routine:

As mentioned, I only introduced retinol last week (which I have explained a number of times on my Instagram stories). This is my current routine:

Morning:
Cleanse: Exfoliating Cleanser
Exfoliate: Exfoliating Polish
Tone: TE Pads Acne Pore Treatment
Serum: C Bright 10% Vita C serum followed by Brightalive Non-Retinol Skin Brightener
SPF

Evening:
Cleanse: Exfoliating Cleanser
Tone: TE Pads Acne Pore Treatment
Serum: Daily Power Defence
Retinol: Advanced Radical Night Repair (1.7% retinol which translates to 1% on the skin). Massage into the skin.

My results:

As mentioned, my first 6 weeks were very tough on my skin. I was warned that I may want to throw in the towel (which crossed my mind a few times) but the fact that I could chat to the girls at ZO® Skin Health and be reassured that my reactions were all normal and a part of the process. I have to highlight here that I am probably exaggerating with my reaction, but my skin is very problem-free normally so I wasn’t used to having the odd (deep) breakout and seeing my texture looking out-of-sorts. I would say that this pretty much lasted from week 2 to week 6. I wish I had tweaked it earlier, but when I was advised to slow down on the exfoliating, then my skin started looking amazing (I was over-stimulating it).


Since starting the routine I have gone for a facial every few weeks at Janine’s Skin Care Clinic in Hout Bay (a stockist for those in the area). The ZO® facial is really lovely and you leave with your skin literally radiating glow. I went for a coffee with friends after my last facial and since then, two friends have gone for consultations with ZO® stockists.


It’s all been quite interesting to me as I thought my skin was pretty good. I am pedantic (as you can imagine) about my skincare routine and, having studied beauty, I know how to spot issues and combat them at home. This line, however, has encouraged my skin to start working in the most functional, efficient way possible – not just by layering product after product on top. I have also become aware of my pigmentation (not a big issue, but I guess I am 3 months away from turning 30 and everything is looking that much more accentuated). ZO® Skin health has made a noticeable difference to do with the dark spots. I am still trying to get rid of the odd red spot from my breakouts in the first few weeks, but here some pics to give you an idea. I will be doing another post to update you on my retinol reactions and how I’ve found that.
 
The retinol flaking begins...
DM or email me with any questions and I can send you lots more info!

Snapshot reviews: Some new beauty products

Friday, 2 June 2017

Sorry I have been a bit quiet on here over the past week, but my day job takes preference and I know most of you follow me over on Instagram where I am constantly chatting beauty; products I don't think are worth the hype, what I'm loving etc, so hop on over there if you aren't already :)

I wanted to do a snapshot post as I'm sure a lot of you, like me, actually don't have time to sit and read essays on peoples blogs. I am going to try be as brief as possible and let you know about products I think are fab.

Ps - I have also started a weekly series on Instagram where I will talk about my top products of each week on Insta-stories. To all of you that message me and ask questions, I love it! So thank you, keep them coming :)

Clinique Take The day Off Cleansing Balm - R295

This stuff is magic. It removes every trace of make up in an instant and that's pretty much all I can ask for from a cleansing balm. The waxy balm melts when you dissolve it in your palms and turns into an oily texture that dissolves eye make up and foundation in seconds. It is unscented so would assume it would be great for sensitive skins. This product is a best-seller for good reason. Please note it is ONLY available online with Clinique - not in stores (also, the price is brilliant!)


BABOR Multi Active Vitamin Fluid - R740

These little concentrates from BABOR are my go-to when my skin needs a proper boost. They are basically a mini-facial in a bottle! I love these for a pick-me-up when my skin is dull and dehydrated - I will definitely be taking these on holiday with me as they are a dream to use post a long-haul flight. The reason I love them is that they work for all skin types, honestly BABOR really do nail skincare in my opinion. Buy online here.


By Terry Sun Designer Palette in Savannah Love - R1200 (shade 4)

This isn't available here, it was a prezzie from my darling Mum who was in London, but I wanted to tell you about it as I know there are a bunch of you who travel and shop beauty online. By Terry is one of the most aspirational beauty brands for me, everything Terry De Gunzburg (the founder) touches pretty much turns to gold (or should I say roses?). This palette is gorgeous.
The idea is that swiping a combination of these shades will give you the perfect summer glow. The palette is really versatile too as it has everything from blush and bronzers to highlight and eye shadow (double up as bronzers) so it pretty much can be used all over the face. Does it justify the steepp price tag, probably not, but a feel special when I use it if that counts?


Clinique Chubby Plump & Shine - R290

The latest lip launch from Clinique are a part of the Chubby stick family. The formula is more a glossy balm as opposed to a crayon. I absolutely love the shade selection here - my best is 01 Normous Nude and 06 Jumbo Jem (there are 8 shades in total). They feel very hydrating on the lips and definitely make my lips feel plumper - a great daily look for a sheer, glossy hint of colour. The only negative is the applicator. I guess the plastic applicator is pretty hygienic but I would love it if it were a spongy doe-foot applicator.


Urban Decay After Dark Palette - R850

This palette is just sensational. I am so chuffed to have it in my collection. I don't use all the shades but I (surprisingly) have used most of them and obviously adore the pigment and blend-ability. The top row is definitely more suited to the kind of looks I wear. I have work a few of the shades on their own, and a light swipe of this over the lid is really beautiful. Also, the pearlescent purple casing makes my heart very happy. Available at Sandton stand-alone and Foschini Eastgate.

Which Nail System is best for you? Shellac vs. Gelish vs. Gelish dip vs. Vinylux

Thursday, 18 May 2017

There are loads of different options on the market when it comes to nail applications and it can all be quite overwhelming. I had a request to do this post comparing all the different applications and weighing up what I feel your best bet is, so I hope this answers some of your questions.

I have been getting my nails done every second week for years. It’s indulgent, sure, but it’s one of the few beauty treatments I opt to spend my money on. My hair requires close to zero maintenance and, even though I do go for facials, I tend to do most of these at home myself.

I am going to cover a short blurb on what the application is, how it’s applied and the pros and cons but shout if you have any questions. I must also just note that even though all of the products on the market claim to do no damage, they certainly aren’t particularly good for your nails. As I say, I have been doing this for YEARS and my nails are in pretty good nick strength wise. It is good, however, to take a break every now and again. There is no single product that is that much better for your nails than the next.

Lastly, there are LOADS of cheap salons that use knock off nail systems and call them ‘Gellish’ or ‘Shellac’. If your mani is ridiculously cheap it’s probably because they are using knock off products and these will lift and chip. Also, a lot of how good the product is is down to the application so you may have a poorly trained therapist (I have had one too many) who applies the product terrible and not in the correct way which will always cause chipping and lifting. You have to go to a salon with top quality therapists!

CND Shellac

Shellac is a 14 day wear polish that is very similar to Gelish in many ways. It is painted onto the nail from the bottle and is cured under UV lamps. This is my go-to after trying everything under-the-sun for all the reasons detailed below.

Pros:

  • Longevity – it lasts 14 days (as it promises). I get next to no chips with Shellac.
  • Shine – Shellac maintains its shine better than any other product I have tried and this is pretty important to me
  • Removal – I find Shellac less damaging on my nails. No buffing is required during the removal
  • The white and black – this sounds odd but, as mentioned, I am quite fanatical when it comes to my nails and have tried and tested them all. The White and Black shades from Shellac are the best. Their black is solid and so shiny and their white is also so crisp and the perfect shade of white.
  • Zero dry time


Cons:

  • Colour selection – the colour selection is not as wide as Gelish – Gelish have way more ‘fun’ colours
  • Time – the ‘setting’ time from the UV lamps is around 90 seconds, where Gelish is only around 5/10
  • Salons – it’s pretty hard to find a salon that offers Shellac. Gelish is much more readily available




Gelish

Gelish is probably the most popular nail system on the market and the one that is most well know. Gelish is applied in the same way as Shellac with a much shorter ‘setting’ time under the UV lights. I have had Gelish many times and have often loved it and know it’s a brilliant product. The unfortunate thing is that many salons with poorly trained therapists have been the one’s applying this which has resulted in a super-thick application or a mani that chips on day 3 which has kind of steered me away from this.

Pros:

  • Colours – as mentioned above, the colour options with Gelish are fab. They are so on-trend and pretty much have every colour under the sun.
  • Application time – a Gelish mani is super quick
  • Longevity – when applied correctly, it lasts 14 days but I do seem to get lifting and chipping more with Gelish than with Shellac
  • Zero dry time


Cons:

  • Shine – personally Gelish shine doesn’t last as long as Shellac
  • Removal - there is buffing on the nail to remove the product before the product is soaked off. This shouldn't damage the nail, but I have had poor therapists buff too aggressively causing nail plate damage.

Gelish Dip

Gelish dip is a new system on the market which I know lots of you saw me speaking about a while ago. This is for ladies who have used Acrylic as it is an acrylic based product so for those of you with paper-thin nails, this will be a life-saver! I guess it is best described as a hybrid of Gelish and Acrylic. It’s a much ‘harder’ and more sturdy product and will see you through the 14 days totally chip free – maybe even longer! You may experience some nail sensitivity when getting Acrylic dip, you will know what I’m talking about if you’ve had Acrylic before, but this wears off after a day or so.

Pros:

  • No lights – there are no lights used in this application, better for the hands as no exposure to UV rays which are harmful.
  • Time – it’s a quick treatment which is phenomenal for Acrylic as this is renowned for taking some time (with the old-school application)
  • The dip system – as the name suggests, you literally dip your nail in a pot (see below) so this means the product covers the entire nail plate perfectly
  • Colour selection – fab colours that mirror the Gelish offering
  • Zero dry time


Cons:

  • Very few cons here as it’s a great system but is not meant for everyone. I would personally not do it as I don’t have thin nails but for those who do then this is for you! Also great for a holiday when you want your colour to stay put for an extended period of time, rest assured that there will be no chipping.

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Vinylux 

Vinylux is a normal nail polish with extra staying power. No lights are used here and this can be removed at home like you would remove normal nail polish.

Pros:

  • Time – this is quick to apply (like a normal polish)
  • Perfect for pedis – I love this for pedicures as it lasts so well! I used to get Shellac on my toes which caused damage. This is all you need and your pedi will last a good 5-6 weeks or longer!
  • Nail damage – because of the removal this is the least damaging of the products I’ve mentioned
  • Price – it’s cheaper than the above-mentioned systems (but also totally different)


Cons:

  • The finished look – it’s not as flawless looking as Shellac or Gelish simply because it is a polish and a thinner layer
  • Shine – it doesn’t maintain its shine like Gelish or Shellac would
  • It doesn't dry instantly
  • Longevity – it lasts about 10 days, but as I say, it’s a different product and more of a normal nail polish with a better lasting power
My nails with Vinylux on day 5


I hope this has helped you in some way - shout if there any questions!

If I could offer you only one tip for the future... Sunscreen would be it

Friday, 12 May 2017

I mean it - it is honestly my go-to tip for most skin concerns, wear suncream! It's so incredibly important to include a good suncream in your skincare routine, especially for us South Africans. To be honest, this was something that I used to neglect quite a bit, unless I was having an outdoorsy beach day, I would feel I could forego sunblock as I was going to be in the office and 'protected' - man, how wrong I was! I know I am writing about this when we are heading into winter, but that doesn't change the fact that we should be wearing sunblock daily. Yes, even in winter!

A good sunblock is honestly the single most important thing to include in your routine every.single.day - it's vital to protect the skin from the harsh rays and it's because this is ignored that skin cancer and pigmentation are such real issues for so many. I can't emphasise enough how, unless you are doing this religiously, you can forget about every super active anti-aging, pigmentation or high intensity laser treatment/peel you are spending your hard-earned cash on. Without suncream you will constantly be reversing any good you are doing to your skin.

The main reason I used to leave this step out of my routine was that I never found a sunblock that sat well with my make up; they all felt too greasy, left a white cast over my face and stung my eyes. I always felt like they were blocking my pores and giving me blackheads whilst making my make up slide off my face virtually straight after application.

So I am here to tell you about Heliocare sunblock, I discovered this range about 18 months ago. Guys, this is coming from someone who has honestly tried pretty much every suncream on the market. This product is going to be your life-saver and you won't look back afterwards. I am not being paid for this post and have no obligation to write solely about Heliocare - I just truly think that the product is that life-changing.

I personally use the 'Oil-Free Gel spf 50' on a daily basis, but their entire range is unbelievable. I have recommended this product to countless people of all ages and have only ever got feedback as positive as my own experience. Men and women alike.

What I love about Heliocare:

The texture: this sunblock is oil-free, as it states, so there is no slimy feeling here. It feels lovely to apply and feels like it sinks into the skin. The only way I can describe this is that it feels like normal skincare that glides on and sinks into the skin leaving a dewy glow that I feel makes my skin look amazing. I have a dry skin and oil-free works for me so don't be put off by this description.
The scent: it's got such a lovely scent which is pleasant to apply yet very unobtrusive
The price: it's not dirt cheap, sure, but for R340 it's totally affordable and once you've tried it you will agree how well priced it is for what you get. It also lasts for ages.
How it sits with make up: this doesn't disrupt my make up application in the slightest. I can't feel it on my skin once applying it and it disturbs nothing.

I somehow doubt you need more persuading here and my main point of this post isn't necessarily to persuade you to buy Heliocare products, but rather to emphasise how important it is to include sunblock in your routine. I wanted to tell you about Heliocare as not having a sunblock I truly loved was the reason I was so slack about application, so if you are in the same boat as me then, trust me, this will help you!

Side note: if you are really slack about sun block or perhaps you have kids who refuse to apply it then I see Heliocare also have internals. I haven't tried them myself, but I do trust this brand so it may be worth investigating.

You can buy Heliocare from most Dermatologists (they generally punt this range when it comes to suncare) or online at Dermastore - full range here.

Online Shopping with Pink Cosmetics (Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette, Charlotte Tilbury and More}

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

You all know how much I love a good online store - this is the field I work in, and I shop online religiously! Also, half the time I feel like I am getting a complete surprise present when my delivery arrives. It's so exciting to see how fast the South African market is adapting to the growing appetite for online shopping here. Cue sites like Pink Cosmetics - an online beauty store with a wide array of international brands that you can't get in normal SA retailers, as well as their own branded product.
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I did an online haul where I picked up the below items: the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette, Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara plus a few of the Pink Cosmetics products - some of their newly launched bath bombs as well as their solid make up brush cleanser.

The site offers a wide array of brands (see some of the many below, just to wet your appetite) and my delivery arrived beautifully packaged and within 48 hrs (for CT orders)! I can also tell you that their branded products are 100% legit with no fakes here - Janet buys the products herself and puts a small mark up on them - much less than you would pay if you ordered internationally and paid customs! The service really was great and, even though the site only has a handful of products from each brand, Janet clearly knows her stuff and only sells the real cult favourites. I am sure if there are out of stocks that you could mail Pink Cosmetics to ask for a certain item - she has a list of products to get hold of and lets customers know when they are arriving.

Here's a mini review on each of the items I chose. My next order will definitely have some Zoeva as well as some Morphe products! So great how easily accessible these brands have become for us.

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

Can you believe that this is the first ever Too Faced product I have tried - shameful, I know! It is, however, the one product I have had my eye on for ages (this and the Hangover Primer). The palette is made up of 16 shades that are all honestly SO wearable - like I foresee myself using every single shade at some stage and that's quite something coming from such a 'play-it-safe' make up gal like me.
The actual shades are similar to Urban Decay with the incredible pigment, probably even more buttery and very blendable. I adore it and it's already snuck it's way into my top 3 fave palettes, ever. I am SO chuffed that it's now in my collection. Only issue is I want to get my hands on so many more Too faced products after trying this one. R1200 off Pink Cosmetics.

Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara

I have been keen to try some of Charlotte's mascaras (I say that like she's my mate). This mascara is the first one I have tried in a while that truly does add notable volume - I do need to curl my lashes to get the full effects out of this (as with any mascara) but adore the results - no flakiness or smudging and jet-black full lashes. Adore it! It's great in the sense that it's very build-able, yet never gets clumpy. It's not particularly lengthening, but definitely adds enough oomph and really is one of the best I have tried. R550 off Pink Cosmetics.

Pink Cosmetics Bath Bombs

The bath bombs are a newer addition to the site and well-priced compared to what I usually pay for my bath bombs. These one's are slightly smaller than the Lush ballistics but are packed with fragrance. They also come with a variety of gift set-type offers and, again, come in a pretty package! The fragrance really was strong (in a good way) and all the bombs made for beautiful baths!

Pink Cosmetics Solid Brush Cleaner

Oh, you guys, I am so chuffed with this! I HATE cleaning my brushes, so avoid this by having a shed ton of brushes, that takes me a while to get through, but I do have my favourites and dread cleaning time! This solid brush cleaner is heaven sent - you wet the brush, swirl it in the pot a few times. Lather it up a bit in your hand and rinse! Voila. This cleaner has cleaned brushes better than I've ever been able to clean them before and in half the amount of time - ummm, what's not to love! R150 - online here.

Hope this post has inspired some purchases - happy shopping! Shipping locally in Cape Town is R50 and anywhere else in SA is between R85 and R100 depending.

Also, a note I wanted to add in re fake products in the SA market:
Fake products are 98% of the market at the moment, there are only about 6 to 10 of us that import originals. The price is normally the easiest way to tell as they are so cheap. And anything sold in bulk. Also good to check suppliers websites and you can see the products don't exist.  Naked 6 and naked 7 are all fakes. Huda and Kylie lipsticks sold at china town, all fakes too. They sell fake Kylie foundations which don't even exist . I do also go to the UK and USA to buy and see the latest trends

Getting #FreshPressed with Clinique

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Clinique’s latest launch is one that really appealed to me as I used to use (and love) the Dr Sebagh Pure Vitamin C powder in my routine when I lived overseas. This had to be culled from my routine when it got so inaccessible (and so pricey – R2100 from Metropolitan Cosmetics), but I absolutely loved the results I got from incorporating this ingredient, in such a pure form, into my routine. I have since used a number of products that have Vitamin C in them, however, have never got the results I used to get beforehand and actually love the ritual of knowing I am adding an ingredient in its purest form to my skin.

Anyway, that long winded background story explains my excitement when I saw the latest release from Clinique. You would have seen a few updates on my Instagram Stories about this but I know a few of you were confused as to 1) how to incorporate this into your routine (HOW CAN I POSSIBLY NEED YET ANOTHER PRODUCT!!!) and 2) confused about what the benefits of Vitamin C actually are. I’m going to break it down pretty simply for you and explain my experience thus far. The Fresh Pressed range from Clinique is comprised of two products; a Renewing Powder Cleanser and Pure Vitamin C Daily Booster. I will be reviewing the latter.

Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%

In order for Vitamin C to remain stable it needs to be packaged in an air-tight vial and only activated when you are ready to use it. The Clinique Booster kit comes with 4 air-tight vials that are easily activated when ready for use. Each ampoule lasts about 7 days (sometimes longer), therefore the pack will last you a month. To activate the ampoule you leave the lid on and remove the foil film. You then firmly press the orange ‘button’ twice which will release the Vita C powder into the emulsion (so essentially mix the two). Shake the ampoule to ensure these mix properly and, voila, it’s ready for use. Clinique advise that you mix two drops into your usual moisturiser each AM and PM. This is the part I really like, as it doesn’t require you switching up any other products that are in your routine, but rather an additional ‘booster’ to your everyday products. I have often just applied the Vitamin C alone as a serum and followed with my usual moisturiser once it sinks in. 

You may now be wondering what benefits Vitamin C actually has and for me, the stand out benefit, is that it lightens and brightens. This stands out to me as so many ladies, especially us South Africans, suffer with pigmentation and this is your ingredient (in its purest form) that will assist you in tackling this issue. There are also other benefits such as helping with your skins texture and assisting with signs of ageing (so firmer, plumper and more radiant skin - yes please).

My thoughts:
Firstly, I am chuffed that there is a product on the market of this potency that is more affordable. I know it’s still pricey at R855, especially as this is a monthly purchase, but if you do have concerns that would benefit from this ingredient then I wouldn’t mess around with moisturisers that contain Vita C, but rather go for the purest form. I paused the skincare routine I was using (more on that later) to try this out as my skin has been freaking out of late, I honestly haven’t had dehydration and breakout like this since high school, and have seen noticeable differences through using this. I am only on week 3 but my skins texture is looking a lot smoother and I compared a photo I took of my skin a few weeks back to what it looks like now, and I’m really chuffed with the results.

I also love the little ritual of incorporating this in my routine. It’s quick and easy to use, but also quite therapeutic cracking open my new ampoule each week (I need to get out more). The only downfall here would be the price for some, but I feel it is money well spent and the results are worth it. I have also found the little ampoules super handy when it comes to travel, as they are so light and small, so you can just pop one or two (depending how long you are away for) into your toiletry bag, so easy!

You can buy these in Edgars stores or online with Clinique

The Fragrances that will be seeing me through winter

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

I always love this time of year for the fragrance launches as my taste in fragrances is way more the wintery/autmnal type scents rather than the light and sweet one's. I have so many new scents in my collection - some gifts to myself, some PR gifts and some old favourites which have resurfaced:

Diptyque L'Ombre Dans L'eau

This is my new 'favourite child' of my scent collection. I got this off the online store, My Perfume Shop. I hadn't actually heard about them before, but they sell a wide array of amazing fragrance brands in the 'tester' format (which is totally legal. Don't worry, I did my research).

Buying a tester basically means you get the exact fragrance and bottle as you usually would, but just don't get the box (you get a plain white box) and this saves you up to 40% off the normal retail price. It's a no brainer! The box always ends up going in the bin anyway, and it saves you so much money. Plus the service is super-slick! I really encourage you to go and have a look at their offering.

Onto the scent - I'm not going to bore you with the obvious, which is what a die-hard Diptyque fan I am, but this is my 5th scent of theirs and probably my favourite of them all. It's sophisticated, quite androgynous and just exudes luxury. The actual juice also lasts really well and 2 sprays is all you need. I will continue to repurchase this when it runs out as it really is just my perfect scent! R1500 on My Perfume Shop.

Sisley Izia

This is a brand new scent from Sisley which you have seen me raving about on my Instagram Stories already. I hadn't actually tried a fragrance from Sisley before but, given how I feel about this one, I don't think I ever have to stray. Now this one is really hard for me to describe as it's sophisticated yet not overly mature (I hate old lady scents).It is essentially a rose based scent but this doesn't stand out to me as the combination of the musk, cedar and amber notes makes it beautifully feminine whilst never being too floral nor sweet. I cannot get enough of it and am so delighted to have discovered this gem. Do yourself a favour and go and spritz it on when you next in stores! You will also have seen I am planning a summer holiday for next month - this is going to be my scent of choice for the trip :) R1245 - R2710 available at Edgars.

Alaia Blanche

The original Alaia fragrance, and their first one at that, was launched in 2015 and I fell in love instantly. I have since recommended it to so many of you who have mailed or messaged for fragrance recommendations as you simply cannot go wrong with it. Blanche is their latest launch and the perfumer describes it (comparing it to the original), "In this new adventure… I aimed for a white, milky florality, a bit more solar, adding a powdery element, as well as the wealth of vanilla and a musky addition, in a timeless creation." I had high expectations and I really was not disappointed. The bottle is simply beautiful and the juice is different to the original; more musky, less heavy and I would call it a more 'day time scent' with the original being a sultry, sexy evening scent. It's light, fresh and floral without being sweet and is most definitely still unique, which is what I love so much about Alaia's scents. R845 - R1835 (link).

CHANEL Coco Mademoiselle

This is by no means a new scent but is new in my collection and I adore it. I feel so classically classy when I wear this one from CHANEL. Mademoiselle is their best seller and I can totally see why. I get so many compliments when I wear this! I know this scent has been around for a while but growing up I was more of a CHANEL Chance gal and, whilst I love those scents, I feel Mademoiselle is so much more 'me' now - guess that shows I'm growing up, right?! R1600 - R2270 (link)

Narciso Rodriguez Fleur Musc

This bottle caught my eye straight away. Fair enough, I always love Narciso scents (and their classic bottles) but I just adore this bold pink bottle, still in their classic, minimalist shape. I really fell for the NARCISO by Narciso Rodriguez that launched a year or so ago. This version is very different to that one, but still has the musk notes and I guess that's a pattern when it comes to scents I warm to. The notes you will find here are pink peppercorn, rose, peony, musk, patchouli and amber. R1400 - R1960 (link)

Elie Saab Nuit Noor

On my recent holiday I decided to take this scent with me as I thought it would be perfect for snowey, wintery conditions, and it definitely was! I got sent it in the travel size mini version (pictured below) so it was very handy! I hadn't really used the scent before the trip and, my word, this juice is something seriously special. There is nothing 'light' about this fragrance in the sense that it may not be for everyone, especially those who like a light, girly easy-to-wear scent. This one is intense, it's dark and it's seriously opulent. It's inspired by Beirut in the Middle East with notes of heady rose, dark accord of spicy woods, ylang-ylang from Madagascar, Indonesian Patchouli, Black Pepper and Incense which all add to the feminine yet spicy mysterious edge.
This is a definite evening scent - it's incredibly sexy and very concentrated so a little goes a long way. Please just do yourself a favour and give it a sniff. I now need the full size! R2880 for 90ml (link).


YSL Black Opium Floral Shock

This is the 4th addition to the Black Opium collection from YSL. This version was introduced as a fresher version with more floral and green aromas and the first one to possess the “iced coffee” accord (the original had black coffee accords). This juice opens with zesty lemon, hawhite floral character in the heart with gardenia and iced coffee and white musk at the base. It's quite a different scent for me but I really love it for daily wear and love it for winter as it still has the oriental appeal that the Black Opium scents originally won me over with. R1245 - R1630 (link).


Side note: My Perfume Shop have a competition running where you can win perfume for a whole year - see details here.