HOLIDAY PACKING: THE BEAUTY EDIT

I am heading away to the sun for 10 days and as much as I would like to pretend that I can pack lightly the truth is I want everything with me. I have tried to whittle it down as much as possible and pick up smaller sizes of the products I want to bring with me where possible. I don’t like to decant things into travel size bottles because (1) I don’t want to contaminate products I put on my face with any more germs and bacteria than I have probably already got in there and (2) we all know I would just make a mess. Let’s face it, even if there were all travel size I would probably still have too much to put in a zip lock bag, so it will need to go into my checked in bag anyway. I usually put all liquids and lotions in a plastic bag and tie a knot in the bag before I put them into toiletry bags. The plastic bags contain any leaks while the toiletry bags keep things together in a shape that is easier to squeeze in besides clothes and offers a little more cushioning and protection to prevent leaks. So here are the products:

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Skin Care:
Cleanser: La Roche Posay Physiological Gel
Eye Cream: Olay Regenerist Luminous Dark Circle Correcting Swirl – this is the same bottle I told you about in this post, lasting ages so really good value
Serum: L’Oreal Revita Lift Laser Renew
Moisturiser: L’Oreal Revita Lift Magic Blur – this and the serum are new and I will tell you how I got on with them in a few weeks. I choose these because (1) they were on offer and (2) they are aimed at a slightly older age bracket but I figured this could help minimise the damage of spending so much time in the sun during the days and drinking most nights.

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Hair and Body:
Shampoo and Conditioner: Pantene Youth Protect 7
Body wash and lotion: Body Shop Moringa Collection – I’ve had this little set for a while and forgot about it until I spotted it recently and figured it would be perfect for travelling.
Sun Cream: Piz Buin Tan & Protect Tan Intensifying Sun Lotion SPF 15 and SPF 6 I do actually tan but I always use my husband’s SPF 30 on my face and feet, you definitely don’t want sunburn on your feet.

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Makeup – The Basics:
Primer: MAC Prep & Prime
Foundation: Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24 hour
Powder: MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural
Concealer: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
Bronzer: MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural Medium Deep
Brows: MAC Omega
Blush: MAC Peaches

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Makeup: Eyes
Mascara: L’Oreal 4D
Eyeliner: Kiko Sportproof in Metallic Taupe and Smashbox Limitless in Black Violet
Primers: Kiko Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadows in Rose Brown, Light Taupe and Golden Beige, these can be uses as primers and eye shadows on their own
Powder Eye shadows: MAC – Satin Taupe, Beluga, Fireside, Summer Haze and Twilight Falls
Highlighter: Nars Orgasm
So there you have, I know its loads but mostly essentials, really.

MY CURRENT SKINCARE ROUTINE

Skincare Products

I was looking up close in the mirror at the skin on my face when it occurred to me that it is really clear at the moment. The pores, especially the ones on at the sides of my nose, seem smaller than usual. I’m not sure that they are actually smaller because I don’t physically measure them or anything, but they seem to be smaller than I remember. Also the pores on my nose are remarkably clear, not a black head in sight, which is impressive considering I wear so much makeup and lately I’ve gotten into the naughty habit of leaving my makeup on when I work out. I’m not sure which product or products this is all down to, so I figured I would share all the products in my current skincare routine.

First up are the cleansers:

Vichy Purete Thermale 3 iin 1 Micellar Solution La Roche-Posey Physiological Foaming Water Neutrogenta Viably Clean Pink grapefruit Daily Scrub

La Roche-Posey Physiological Foaming Water: This is the cleanser I use at night to remove my makeup. I was using the gel version of this, which I reviewed here. I liked it so much that I went to repurchase it but decided to try the foaming mouse version because I do like a bit of foam or lather when I cleanse. It is basically the same as the gel but I find the foam is a bit irritating to my eyes, which wasn’t an issue with the gel. It’s not a big problem for me but bear it in mind if your eyes are particularly sensitive, the gel would be the better option.

Vichy Purete Thermale 3 in 1 Micellar Solution: I use this in the morning. I’m not a morning person so a quick swipe of this is an easy option to quickly cleanse my face. No effort required. You can read my review of it in full here.

Neutrogena Visibly Clean Pink Grapefruit Daily Scrub: I keep this in my gym bag and use it to wash all the makeup and sweat away after a workout. The exfoliating bits gently exfoliate everything away without any irritation. The only thing is I really don’t like the smell of it but that hasn’t stopped me from using it, as you can see it’s almost all gone. I don’t think I will repurchase it though, so I’m on the lookout for something new.
All three of these cleansers serve a different purpose at different times.

Serum and Moisturiser:

Nuxe Creme Fraiche Serum Comfort Zone Hydramemory Gel

With the warm and humid weather we have been having I’ve being trying to keep it light. After all, I have combo, oily skin so the last thing I want is to use something too heavy and end up looking like a grease pit.

Nuxe Creme Fraiche Serum: I only recently posted a review of this (here is the link if you missed it) so I won’t say too much about it now. The texture is a light lotion that sinks in quickly and keeps skin hydrated all day but it never makes my face shiny or oily.

Comfort Zone Hydramemory Gel: Here is the link to the review I posted on this a few weeks ago. It says gel but it is actually a light lotion. It feels cool as you apply and this also hydrates skin well and doesn’t cause any oily or greasy shine.

These two are a great combination for the current climate, they keep skin hydrated but don’t produce any extra shine. The Comfort Zone Hydramemory is nearly all gone. I not sure if I should repurchase because it is working so well for me, or if I should try something new for the sake of the blog.
What skincare products are working for you in at the moment?

VICHY PURETE THERMALE 3 IN 1 MICELLAR SOLUTION: REVIEW

Vichy 3 in 1 Micellar Solution

If I’m honest I bought this ages ago, probably before I started the blog and I had no intention of reviewing it as it wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. During the big fashion weeks, blogs were buzzing about micellar solutions and how great they are at removing all traces of makeup. I though perfect, since makeup removal wipes are now public enemy number 1, a micellar solution would fill the gap. There are loads of times when you need/want to be able to remove makeup quickly and easily. Unfortunately that is not what this micellar solution does; in fact it would take nearly the whole bottle and a pack of cotton pads to get all your makeup off with this. Imagine my disappointment when I had keep wiping and wiping and cotton pad after cotton pad were still covered in makeup and no sign of the clear swipe.

Lately I’ve noticed bloggers talking about micellar solutions and how they use them to remove some makeup before cleansing properly. I bought this looking for one quick step, if I wanted to wash my face, I would just wash my face, not turn it into two step process. So with all the makeup removal expectations removed, I gave this a go again with a different purpose.

Recently I’ve needed to be ready earlier in the morning and with building work going on in the house, I had to move into the spare room with no en-suite. This little gem proved very handy for giving my face a quick swipe in the mornings (no sink required) and presto, my face was clean in a matter of seconds. As it is Vichy, it goes without saying that this is gentle, non-drying and unscented, so perfect for those with sensitive skin. It is perfect for a quick morning cleanse. In fact now that the building work is finished and all is back to normal, I’ve continued using the micellar solution for cleansing in the morning because I really like using it, and I only need to use my normal cleanser in the evenings so it’ll last longer.

Have you ever originally been disappointed by a product only to end up really liking it later?

CLARINS DOUBLE SERUM: REVIEW & PICTURES

Clarins new Double Serum launched in Ireland in February. I purchased this serum seven weeks ago now and I have been using it day and night ever since. I wanted to give it a thorough testing before posting my review. Now I know there have already been loads of reviews of this product weeks ago from bloggers who received it to trial before it was available to buy, but I had to wait to buy mine and so having parted with €69.50, I’m going to tell you if I think it was money well spent.

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So what’s the hype? The bottle has two 007-esque chambers housing both an oil based and a water based, high-tech age defying formulas. It has over 20 plant-based active ingredients. It promises younger looking skin by targeting 5 important areas: hydration, nutrition, oxygenation, protection and regeneration. This should all help to make your skin look smoother, firmer, and more even, while improving the appearance for fine lines, and minimising pores.

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The pump dispenses the water and oil separately and you mix them when you rub your hands together to warm the serum as recommended. It is also recommended that instead of rubbing the serum in, you pat it in all over. Even though there is oil in it and I have oily skin, it does not make my skin feel or look greasy at all. It sinks in quickly and feels light on. But does it work?

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I do love the serum but probably not for the right reasons. I love the scent. Clarins are known for their heavily perfumed cosmetics, which I’m not normally too fond of, but the smell of this is just gorgeous. I would love a diffuser in this scent. I also find it to be a great moisturiser, but in reality there are plenty of great moisturisers out there for a lot less than €69.50.

I think it has made my pores a bit smaller but it definitely has not helped reduce the pigmentation marks on the tops of my cheeks. I was really hoping it would. The dirty scould-ey frown mark between my eyebrows is every bit as noticeable as always and the crescent moon creeping across my forehead is still creeping. There is an immediate plumping of fine lines but unfortunately this is temporaty. After seven weeks I porbably have about two weeks left in the bottle, so not too shabby value wise.  I am still tempted to repurchase it, but I’m going to hold off as I have a sample size of Lancôme’s Visionnaire serum. If I like the sample I may buy the full size and see if that fares any better at easing the ravishes of time.

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All in all it wasn’t a waste of money but it isn’t a holy grail status skincare product either. I’m still looking for the miracle in a bottle.

L’Oreal Paris Nude Magique CC Cream in Apricot (or is that Tangerine): Review and Pictures

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When I spotted this little sample in my copy of U Magazine I was quite excited for two reasons. One I love free samples, especially of new products, and two I have no idea where my MAC primer is at the moment because we are having some building work done in the house and every room is up in a heap. We have had to move out of our bedroom and I only kept out the makeup I use the most and put the rest away (somewhere safe as they say, meaning I don’t know where). I was mistaken in thinking L’Oreal’s new Nude Magique CC (colour correcting) Creams were like their Nude Magigue BB Cream in that it would work well as a primer.

Saturday morning I got up early and went out for a bit of a hike. I knew I would be heading out Saturday night so when I got home and showered I wanted to do my makeup in a way that would last through for the night out. I was hoping to do a perfect long lasting base so that when it was time to get ready to head out all I had to do was slap on some eye makeup and lippy and I was good to go: thus being ready in a jiffy and making himself happy because I wasn’t running late, as per usual. It would seem that the Apricot CC Cream, which promises to instantly revive the look of tired skin, was meant to be considering my early and active morning.

I thought the fatigue correcting effect would be subtle and barely noticable. I was hoping for the “you look well?” effect. You know what I mean, it’s when people say “you look well” but you can tell they are thinking “what have you used and where can I get it?”. The reality, however, was something entirely different . I put a small pea size amount of the cream on my hand and rubbed in. Despite being fairly runny it was quite quick drying making it difficult to blend but I thought I had blended it well until I looked up close and saw that it was a bit clumped around my hairline. I should have known when I tried to wash my hands that things were not quite as they should be. My hands were orange and it took three lathered pumps of soap to remove all the product.

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My face was tangoed and I was ready to join the cast of Tallafornia. No amount of blending was going to make it work. I don’t think I have ever come across a L’Oreal product that I didn’t like so I kept the faith and continued on, assuming it would adapt, oxidise or settle or something to come right. I applied my foundation over it, thinking that all would be well but alas a good scrub was the only thing for it, and a scrubbing it took to get it off.

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What can I say; I found a L’Oreal product that I hate. I didn’t take a photo of the sample before I opened it, but in my defence I assumed I would like it and purchase it in the full size and then review and use photos of the full size. That definitely won’t be happening and I felt compelled to write this post so that readers will know that the Apricot CC Cream is not essentially just like L’Oreal’s Nude Magique BB Cream. I thought they would be the same  but the CC Cream would have some subtle colour correcting magic pigment capsules. I hate to be negative and put people off buying something but I can’t recommend this, maybe it’ll suit other people and they will love it but unfortunately it was an epic fail for me.

Neal’s Yard Frankincense Nourishing Cream: Review and Pictures

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I first stumbled upon this cream during the big freeze of Christmas 2009/2010. The word nourishing is what caught my attention back then and nourishing it is. During this recent cold spell there has been a bitter wind that has left my face feeling sore and dry; almost chapped. This has not been helped by my stubborn insistence on getting out and going for a hike on dry Saturdays regardless of the brisk breeze. I really need an indoor hobby. With my poor face in tatters I somehow remembered the Frankincense Nourishing Cream. Amazing, considering I have the memory of a goldfish. I purchased it for €27.25 in a local chemist, which is part of the beauty of it. Sometimes it’s just not convenient to have to take a trip to one of the bigger department stores to shell out a wad of cash for skincare and when you want somthing NOW, waiting for the postman is torture. The price is all the more reasonable when you consider how long a pot is likely to last as you only need a small amount.

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Neal’ Yard is one of the world’s pioneering aromatherapy beauty companies. The Frankincense Nourishing Cream is an essential oil based rich cream containing the nourishing essential oils of frankincense and myrrh along with wheatgerm, jojoba, almond, and apricot kernel, which are all renowned for their moisturising and regenerating properties(and sound super fancy). The consistency is thick so a little goes a long way, but it is so soothing on the skin. There is an instant feeling of ahhh. My dehydration lines are a distant memory. Fear not about the thickness of this because I have combo to oily skin and usually heavy or thick products would cause my face to break out with little red bumpy spots, but that doesn’t happen with this moisturiser and I don’t look like an oil slick by lunch. I leave it a bit longer to sink in before I apply my makeup and I think it is a great base for foundation; it’s like s smooth veil over your skin. Ok so the scent is a bit like one of those new age shops that sell healing crystals, but I don’t mind the scent and it doesn’t last long anyway, so it’s not a problem for me, but may put some off.

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My skin has gone from being haggard tight and dry to soft and radiant. I’m only sorry I didn’t remember it sooner as it could have been my moisturiser for the whole winter. That being said I will continue to use it as the weather gets milder and I’ll only switch if I find that it’s too heavy when it actually gets warm out.

Lancôme Teint Visionnaire: Review & Pics

I finally got my grubby mitts on a sample of Lancôme Teint Visionnaire. Actually all I had to do was walk up to a Lancôme counter and ask. They handed over this cute little sample pack with both the foundation and concealer.

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Unfortunately they only had colour number 2, which is a bit dark for me, but at least I get to try out the foundation and concealer. The sales assistant also gave me a tinchy bottle of the foundation alone in the perfect colour match for me which is 010.

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Teint Visionnaire, if the name doesn’t give it away is Lancôme’s newest foundation containing their very popular Visionnaire serum and it also houses a concealer in the lid. The star ingredient in the serum is LR 2412, which is marketed as being a technological advancement in skincare that activates the skin’s defences and healing process. Lancôme claim that it refines the surface texture of the skin; smoothes wrinkles and fades irregular pigmentation. The serum contains a 4% concentration of this ingredient, while the foundation contains  2% . The price of the serum is €70, while the foundation and concealer duo is €45.

So how did I get on with the foundation?

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Both Pics above are foundation alone with flash

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Both Pics above are foundation alone without flash

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Both Pics of foundation set with powder, blush, and eyebrows filled in

While I like it, I won’t be switching from Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24hour, which if you have read that review you know that I lurves it. Teint Visionnaire is also a medium coverage foundation with a satin finish; however it’s far more satin than the Teint Idole Ultra 24 hour. It gives a radiant appearance to the skin; in fact it’s too radiant for my oily skin, but I would guess someone with dryer or more mature skin would love it. What about wear time, you ask? I get a good eight hours before it’s time to powder my nose, which is good considering my oily skin.

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As for the concealer, I was not looking forward to trying it at all because it’s a paste, which I find usually settle into fine lines (not that I’m admitting to having any) and make me look haggard dehydrated. Surprisingly that hasn’t happened with this concealer: the texture is quite silky when applying. It has stayed put and stayed smooth, score!

I can’t say anything about the skincare benefits of the foundation, because I’ve only used it a few times and I won’t buying it in full size. However, all in all I think it is a great foundation but it’s just not right for me, as I said, I think someone with dryer or more mature skin will love it. I would however,  be tempted to buy the concealer on its own if it ever became available. Have you tried it yet? Are you thinking about asking at your local counter for a sample?