Beauty Buys – Garnier, Crabtree & Evelyn, Redkens & Body Shop

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I think I’ve been buying more new beauty products lately than I have clothes! I’ve been hearing a lot about BB creams lately (short for blemish balm or beauty balm) and I decided I had to try one and see what the fuss is about. According to the ever-accurate Wikipedia, BB cream was designed for people post laser who needed a kind of healing moisturizer that gave some coverage – basically a combo of benefits for the skin (moisturises, protects from sun, fights blemishes and boost brightness of skin). I went for Garnier’s version of BB cream, the Miracle Skin Perfector, because it’s stocked in many places like chemists, supermarkets etc. Price varies depending where you go – $14 at Big W vs $9 at Discount Drug Store – but it’s roughly around the $10AUD mark.

As far as I know (or have been able to find out), there’s only two colours. I have a feeling there’s probably more but most places only have light or medium. Don’t let the medium description fool you as it’s pretty dark and I found it a little on the red skin tone side. After making this mistake I bought the light and even that is kind of dark (it blends with my skin perfectly and I have a yellow medium skin tone).

Apparently L’Oreal has a BB cream called Nude Magique but I haven’t come across it yet (I haven’t been looking very hard however) and other brands like Bobbi Brown and Body Shop are releasing versions. I’m interested in trying Bobbi Brown’s because it’s designed for combo/oily skin, whereas I feel Garnier’s is more suited to normal skin. However, I solve this by simply popping my Body Shop Seaweed lotion underneath. I’d also like to try Body Shop’s if Australia gets it.

Garnier’s version is quite lovely. Coverage that manly evens out the skin tone but doesn’t hide freckles like most foundations. It’s got a lovely smell and it is quite a thick cream but I guess that’s the point. I do like it for days off, and for uni I simply brush a tiny bit of my Clinique Almost Mineral Powder on top. So although I plan to buy and try other BB creams I will keep using Garnier’s on my days off.

Another recent buy of mine is Crabtree & Evelyn’s Wisteria perfume. It’s a beautiful fragrance wi notes of nashi pear, ylang ylang, and airy musk (I’ve been trying to find out if the musk is animal, plant, synthetic or simply a word to describe a scent in it, but alas no answer yet). I’ve also got Crabtree’s Rosewater fragrance in my collection – which smells like perfection when I wear it with Body Shop’s Spa Polynesia Lotus & Frangipani body purée (lotion) – but I’m yet to find a body moisturizer that mixes well with Wisteria. Regardless, I adore the smell and wear it when I’m not feeling girly enough for Rosewater.

A friend told me recently that I should alternate my supermarket brand shampoo and conditioner wi a good quality one to get the most out of my hair and stop product build up. So I asked my hairdresser what she recommended and $60 later came home with Redken’s All Soft shampoo and conditioner. Despite the price (Tony & Guy is usually around $15 for a shampoo and conditioner pack) it does make my hair feel softer and like the BB cream it has a delightful scent. Downside: I can’t stop stroking my hair after I use it.

I did also get The Body Shop’s Ginger Shampoo as a kind of deep cleanser. The shampoo helps to get rid of product build up and get rid of dandruff. My boyfriend has started pinching it for himself to get rid of dirt after rugby games and claims it’s the only shampoo that’s ever effectively gotten rid of his dandruff. For a good cleansing shampoo with a nice ginger scent I definitely recommend Body Shops Ginger Shampoo.

Purple lipstick perfection

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Ever since I was in Brisbane’s David Jones and saw a lovely pale girl working in Willow with a dark brown bob with fringe, dark draped clothes and striking purple lips I’ve been obsessed with finding my own purple lipstick. Finally, I have one.

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Illamasqua’s Diablo is simply amazing. The loveliest shade of purple, it’s strong and goes on the same colour as in the tube. I’ve worn it here with a Sage #5 eyeshadow disc from The Body Shop and my TBS makeup base etc. I love the green and the purple together; it feels so mysterious and in a way, slightly magical. I can’t wait for the next event to wear it to!

Skin Care Regime

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So I finally have a new skin care regime and so far I’m liking it. In the past I’ve always used an entire skin care range for blemish-prone/oily skin but it’s always been a little strong for me. However, working with skin care has taught me I don’t need to stick to a whole range (especially a whole range of strong blemish fighting treatments) and than in fact, most people will benefit from using products in different ranges to address their needs.

So because my skin tends to be a tad dull I’m now using The Body Shop’s Vitamin C facial polish, with their Seaweed mattifying moisture lotion for oil control, with a nice gentle Kiehl’s cucumber herbal toner – I use this twice a day. I’ve been using the cleanser and moisturiser about a month or two now and my skin has been looking and feeling great. More radiant thanks to the cleanser and less oily thanks to the moisturiser. Clearly I did not need as much oily control as I thought and I think I may have been stripping too much oil away, causing my glands to over-produce. The toner is nice but I won’t see the real result until my skin has gone through its full 28 day skin cell renewal process.

Next I’m going to get Body Shop’s Seaweed mask and night cream, the Vitamin C microdermabrasion exfoliator and possibly a serum – in other words: when I have enough money. In case you were wondering, a serum hydrates the skin deeper than your normal moisturiser which effects the top skin layers, therefore a serum is what helps keep your skin looking young and healthy.

The other great thing about the range I’m now using: cheaper than Clinique’s Anti-Blemish Solutions. Not by a huge amount, only about $30 (for a full cleanse, tone, moisturise set), however any much more cheaper and I must admit I’d be skeptical about the ingredient quality.

Don’t get me wrong, Clinique is an amazing wonderful brand, but my skin doesn’t like their skin care range. And I’ve tried most of it. Their make-up however is still superior to everything I’ve tried (Chanel is next on my list of things to try) and it would take something amazing to pull me away from my Perfectly Real Liquid Foundation and my Almost Mineral Powder – they’re a perfect colour match. Their line-smoothing concealer is still my number one for days I’m doing proper make-up and need full under eye coverage, while Body Shop’s flawless concealer is fantastic for no-make-up/minimal-make-up days – but if we were to get into concealers for everywhere but the eyes, the two brands are evenly matched.

If you’re having skin problems and don’t have a very large budget for skincare products, go visit the Body Shop because I’m quite impressed by the quality of their skin care and I’m hard to convince about quality unless I experience it myself. Plus all the girls at TBS go through quite a detailed skincare consultation course where they learn how to determine what’s good for what skin. My training taught me all about aquaporoms, skin cell renewal, sensitivities and more! Also facial brushes are amazing. Even if you have a skincare regime that’s working well for you, go get a facial brush. I couldn’t even get my mascara off with make-up remover before I discovered them. And finally, if you’re still having problems with your skin re-evaluate your choice in make-up. It might not be the right type for your skin and if you’re wearing it nearly everyday like me it’s important to get it right.

Looks like chocolate, smells like chocolate, tastes like chocolate…

Need an alternative to kick your chocolate craving in the butt? Chocolate lip butter would be your solution. The Body Shop’s latest range Chocomania smell amazing. You will literally smell edible after using it. Unfortunately, it tastes bad… Or so a customer said who somehow accidentally tasted the Chocomania body butter that was on her arm.
However! Fear not! The Chocomania lip butter actually has a subtle chocolate taste to it. Fortunately not too much or my lip chewing habit would probably get a bit out of hand. It’s a nice little little balm and it’s quite moisturizing too. Definitely a good alternative to copious amounts of chocolate… Or you could just have both. That works too!

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All That Glitters

When a friend of mine posted a pic on instagram of her new clear polish with glitter bits in it the other day I knew I had to get myself some. And I did.

Sportsgirl’s Nail It nail polishes are always pretty decent and their ‘all that glitters’ polish is rocking. Did I mention it’s only $7.95? Bargain!

The great thing about it is it can jazz up plain or French manicured nails, or add some fun to black or any other colour really.

My first application was over the top of OPI’s black onxy polish and it looks awesome. Next up, purple with glitter, red with glitter and French manicure with glitter. So many options!

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The miracle of the nail polishing block

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Top: pre-buffing matte dullness
Bottom: post-buffing shine

I’m learning lots of interesting things in my new job at The Body Shop. It’s really great learning such interesting little tricks to primping and preening the body and mind.

A most amazing discovery, in my opinion, that I came across the other day is the nail polishing block. Apparently chemists sell them but Body Shop has this fantastic four sides rectangle that features a nail file side, ridge/abductor smoothing side, another finer smoothing side, and a polishing side.

I tried using them on myself quickly one day but apparently didn’t out enough heart into it to work out the benefit of using it. Then a full-timer from Brisbane showed me how to use it properly. He started on side 2 and rubbed the ridge/abductor smoother rigorously (but not to the point that it hurt) on the nail for about a minute or two, making sure he smoothed as close to the quick and side of the nail as possible. He then repeated the process using the other two sides.

The result, a super smooth, shiny nail that looked like I had painted a couple of layers of polish onto. It looked amazing. I’ve always had nails that catch and peal very easily but my super buffed nails have been perfect since Tuesday. I swear even the colour looks better. For $7 odd dollars a nail buffer is a worthy investment!

P.s. it’s my 21st birthday! YAY! 😉

Lessons in Beauty

I’m currently convinced that by the time I’m 30 or maybe 35 max, I’ll have awesome fashion, make-up and hair down pat. At the moment, I’m learning new things everyday; currently, that involves make-up. My new job at The Body Shop is teaching me lots of things I never knew before. For example, today I got over my fear of bronzer.

How I looked the first time I used bronzer. Personally I find this too much bronzer to look naturally tanned. It doesn't help that it appears patchy in some places.

Originally I had never tried it because I have never felt the need to be more tanned considering I’m naturally blessed with olive skin. It didn’t help my case that the one time I tried bronzer, it was applied by someone else and they applied way to much of it; so much so that I looked like I had a bad fake face tan and when I accidentally scratched my face during the day, I left a huge white line running down my cheek.

This is about the amount of bronzer I used today. Just enough to give a healthy glow without looking obvious.

Today, however, I walked past a mirror and to my horror, looked pale for the first time in quite a while. So I figured, it can’t hurt to give bronzer another shot. I put the smallest amount on my powder brush and applied it along my jaw line and gently across my forehead and cheeks, like I’ve seen done in the past. It wasn’t much but it was enough to stop me looking like a vampire and it gave me a nice glow. Clearly, the secret is to make sure you don’t apply too much to avoid looking like you belong on Jersey Shore.

The Body Shop baked bronzers

Eyeshadow: I’ve always been fairly straight-forward with my shadow; 2 colours max, usually some form of brown or browny-purple, light on the inside half and dark on the outside half of the eyelid. Like my original fear of red lipstick, I think my fear of OTT eyeshadow stems from my early dancing days when they would apply copious amounts of blue eyeshadow on you.

A simple brown eyeshadow look

I’m now using 2-3 different colours and have started playing with different techniques. Once I’ve got a system down pat I will share it, for now however I recommend using dark colours on the outside bottom corner of the lid, a pale cream/white on the inside bottom corner and a medium tone the rest of the lid. Or you can use a dark colour from the lash-line to the middle of the lid and a pale colour to the crease of the eyelid – one of the more foolproof ways of applying eyeshadow.

Try darker colours closer to the lash-line and a lighter colour around the crease area

For those also scared of eyeshadow, start by playing with different shades of brown and once you’ve worked out an effective system for applying it start dabbling into shades such as blue, black and purple. Check out the below image for some inspiration!

Eye-spiration

If you’re working with dark colours I suggest folding a tissue in half and placing it under the bottom eyelashes towards the outside corner. This will give you a straight line to follow and will help prevent colour falling onto your cheek which can sometimes be rather hard to remove.

Latest make-up purchase: Napoleon Perdis prismatic eye quad 5

Other make-up lessons I’ve learnt:

Don’t be afraid to mix and match brands, your look will benefit from it – trust me. Don’t freak out and think “maybe their foundation is meant to be worn with their powder”. Yes, it may suit the foundation well, however, it may not be what suits you best. For example, I’ve been using Clinique for ages now. City Block, Perfectly Real Makeup, Almost Mineral Powder, Line Smoothing Concealer, and Anti-blemish Solutions Clearing Concealer.

After joining The Body Shop and trying out their concealers, I’ve decided that the Flawless Concealer is just as good as the Line Smoothing Concealer – if not a better colour match. I understand that the yellow colour of the Clinique concealer is to hide the dark circles and help get rid of any redness; but there are days when I just want to wear tinted moisturiser and still need concealer to hide my genetic dark circles. On these days as well as days when I only put on a small amount of powder, it’s more than likely I will wear my Body Shop concealer so that my under-eye area doesn’t look so yellow.

I’ve also discovered the Body Shop Concealer Pencil. Easy to apply and a great colour match, it’s good for hiding unwanted freckles etc. The downside is that it has no blemish fighting ingredients in it like the Anti-Blemish Solutions concealer does; however, it doesn’t cake. Basically, they each have a similar amount of benefits and downsides and it’s simply a matter of mixing and matching which I’d prefer at the time. More likely than not, Clinique will be used for everyday concealing of blemishes, and Body Shop will be used for when I’m heading out somewhere nice and need a smoother concealer.

Powder-wise, the Clinique Almost Mineral Powder gives a better coverage than the Body Shop All In One Base, and is slightly closer to my skin colour. However, if I want a lighter coverage, or a more tanned look I would choose the latter. See, there’s nothing wrong cheating on your usual beauty brand. Chanel’s powder blush is still my go-to blush of choice, however, I don’t mind Body Shop’s baked blush which is a slightly pinker colour.

As for eyeshadows: cheat like there’s no tomorrow. Every different brand gives a different coverage and colour. It’s simply a matter of what you want. I have a few fool-proof Clinique eyeshadows I love, however, I have some Il Makiage blues, Napoleon Perdis purples that I enjoy. Similarly for lipstick, you’ll find multiple brands you enjoy and will swap between for colours. Chanel do an amazing moisture-rich red that stays on really well, however, other brands like The Body Shop do some great natural lip colours. The make-up world is your oyster.

Nonetheless, if I had to choose only one of each (like if my bank account sucks and I’ve run out of make-up), I would take Clinique’s foundation and powder, The Body Shop’s concealers and liquid eyeliner, Lancome primer and mascara, Chanel’s blush and lipstick and Il Makiage eyeshadows. And yes, in case you were wondering, that was basically the entire contents of my make-up bag.

So go forth my pretties and play in the world of make-up. As a former tomboy, if I can get over my fear of certain types of make-up, you can to!