Things have been a bit slow around here lately, but as a self-professed slow blogger, that’s just how it goes sometimes. Even if it’s a month or more between posts, I’d still rather post here when I’ve put together something I’m proud of, instead of putting up content for content’s sake. I’ve never been able to blog that way, so for anyone who is still checking in and reading, thank you! Here are some beauty products I’ve been enjoying lately.
After hearing people (mostly The Anna Edit) rave about the It Cosmetics CC+ Cream for several years, I finally gave in when I spotted a mini tube in my shade (Fair) at Sephora, and it has really impressed me. Despite all the recommendations, I didn’t think this foundation would be for me because of my oily skin. I assumed it wouldn’t last the day and therefore wasn’t worth my time, but I was wrong. It actually lasts quite well for me (coupled with powder and the right kind of primer), and it has a beautiful finish too. I do look shiny by the end of the day, but as long as my foundation isn’t melting off my face then it still passes my test. The coverage is higher than I was expecting too. I’d say it offers a solid medium coverage but it still manages to feel lightweight and look a lot like skin. I love that they offer it in a mini size because it’s great for travel, and there’s less product to get through (only a problem if you own more than a couple of foundations though). I was skeptical, but this one is worth the hype.
Another product that has been kicking around for a long time that I finally tried is MAC’s Strobe Cream in Pink Glow. This is probably the OG glowy primer, it’s been around for years and years and I think it holds up. This shade is a very sheer pinky-champange that ends up being mostly translucent on my skin. There’s no noticeable shimmer, it just leaves a nice juicy glow, so I love using it around my face (while avoiding my t-zone). It has a fairly hydrating formula so I think if you have dry skin you’d probably enjoy this too. I’ve got this in the 30ml size which is $25 at Mecca, however they also sell it in a 50ml which is $56, so the smaller one is much better value.
Mascara doesn’t get much airtime on my blog because I’m not super fussy, as long as it’s not clumpy and doesn’t flake all over my face I don’t tend to complain. I’d heard a lot about the Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara and ended up getting it in the waterproof formula via a Sephora favourites set I picked up in Canada. I don’t generally go for waterproof formulas as they can be harder to remove, but I find the Heimish Cleansing Balm (which I’m on my second tub of) makes short work of it. So with that factor taken care of, I really like how this mascara makes my eyelashes look. It’s really lengthening, doesn’t clump and never flakes. Basically, it’s perfect and although I don’t know that I would pay the full $47 this costs in Australia, if you’re happy to spend the money on high end mascaras this is a really good one.
I mentioned not too long ago that I’m working on finishing up the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask. Since I’ve been using it regularly I’ve really fallen in love with it. It has a very thick, nourishing formula and a lovely sweet taste and smell. My lips have been in great condition too, in fact I’ve barely needed a lip scrub at all. There’s something about the size of the packaging and the look of the product that’s made me suuuuper keen on the Bite Beauty Agave Night Time formula, so once I’ve finished this tube I’ll be buying that version instead, which in my eyes still basically counts as repurchasing it. If anyone has tried both, please let me know I won’t be making a mistake by switching to the pot version!
A fairly recent skincare favourite is the Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid Moisturising Toner (not pictured). I’m a big fan of their Cicapair Serum and moisturisers, I find they really help soothe irritated skin like nothing else, so I’m pretty trusting of the brand based on that alone. After trying a mini of the Ceramidin Cream a while ago I’ve been curious about that line as well. Ceramides are a fairly hot ingredient at the moment, they are naturally occurring lipids that make up about 50% of your skin barrier, which, when strong, stops bacteria from getting in, and water from going out. So skincare products containing ceramides not only help strengthen your skin barrier (always helpful), they are great for hydration as well. They should probably get as much hype as hyaluronic acid, in my opinion.
The Ceramidin line offers quite a few different formulations, so when I spotted this set I thought it would be a great way to try out a few things and find the best ones. Not to mention that it’s cheaper than buying the Liquid its own from Sephora. I’ve not tried the rest of the products in the set yet, but the the Liquid formulation is really unique, which is why I was so curious to try it. It’s something of a serum / toner / essence hybrid – it has a thick watery texture, and I find I only need a few drops to cover my face and neck. Because hydration isn’t my main concern, and because I don’t want this to block the absorption of my serums, even though it’s called a toner I apply this over the top of any other serums I’m using, and follow up with moisturiser (and SPF if it’s in the morning). I find the extra layer of hydration really plumps up my skin and I’ve noticed a difference since working this into my routine. If you aren’t desperately concerned with hydration or don’t currently use a hydrating serum this could probably work in place of one. If you can get away with that, then the Liquid is great value as it’s a 150ml bottle while most serums are 30ml. If you have drier skin I don’t know if this would suffice on its own, but it certainly doesn’t hurt as an additional step, so if you’re looking for an extra boost of hydration I really recommend this.
The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Oatmeal Mask is another product I bought in a set from Sephora (Canada) around Christmas time. I’m a big fan of their Ultra Repair Cream and have generally had pretty good experiences with the brand. There are some products I love and some that are just okay, but I’ve never hated anything. I’ve started using this mask recently and have found it to be very effective. After having a reaction to a very popular and hyped up hydrating mask, I decided to turn to this and was very grateful for the fact that it didn’t burn my face like the other one. I’m working on a disappointing products post so I’ll go into more detail about that mask then. The First Aid Beauty one contains colloidal oatmeal which is a great soothing ingredient for irritated or compromised skin, as well as fatty acids and glycerin for hydration. It doesn’t have any bells and whistles, but if you have sensitive skin (and increasingly lately I’m finding my skin more easily irritated than in the past) then this is a great option.
Something I didn’t expect to like is the CosRX Pimple Patches (not pictured). Obviously I bought them, albeit with low expectations, but they’ve really surprised me and have become an essential for me now. They don’t have any pimple-fighting ingredients, so if you’ve got something brewing under the surface these are useless. What they’re great for, however, is after you’ve popped a pimple (I knowwww you’re not meant to, but I’m only human!) If I’m going to pop a pimple, I’ll do it while cleansing with warm water and a washcloth as I find this softens the skin and helps the process go a lot more smoothly. After I’ve washed everything away, I’ll put a sticker on overnight and (soz for being graphic) it soaks up all the gunk and allows the pimple to heal much more smoothly, so you’re not left with a dry, crusty mound on your face for the next few days. This means makeup applies much more smoothly over the top the next morning, so the remnants of the pimple are easier to conceal. I’ll always use a salicylic acid based spot treatment as that’s what I find works best for me in terms of reducing the size/getting rid of my pimples, but these definitely have their place too and I’m so glad I tried them out. I’ve just bought my second pack as I’ve nearly finished my first.
I’ve recently started using the Kristen Ess Reconstructive Moisture Hair Mask for a few reasons. Firstly because I spotted it in Priceline as they have now started stocking the line. Secondly because I’d heard Kate La Vie rave about a bunch of products from the brand, and thirdly because the packaging is beautiful. Who can resist a hair mask that looks like this? Fortunately the product itself is worth writing about as well. I’m not madly into my haircare, and although I do dye my hair, it’s in pretty good condition. In fact, the last time I went to a professional hairdresser she asked if my hair was virgin hair (as in, it’s never been dyed) so I feel pretty smug about that (lol). I have waist-length, fine hair that gets knotty and oily at the roots, but ultimately because I don’t bleach it, it’s not particularly dry. I find even with my long hair I only need to use a small amount, and it helps detangle, smooth and hydrate my hair without making it feel weighed down at all. If you have dry, damaged or coarse hair that needs a lot of hydration this probably won’t be enough for you, but if your hair is anything like mine then you may love this like I do. I’ve since picked up a few more bits from the line when they went on sale, but the mask is a real standout so far.
Back when I bought a set of three mini IGK dry shampoos (sadly not available in Aus, although you can buy IGK from Sephora) I said I would mention them again once I’d given them a try, and as much as I don’t want to love expensive high end dry shampoos, these are beautiful. They don’t weigh my hair down, make my scalp itchy, or leave a white cast in my dark hair. They have three different strengths, and considering I wash my hair every 3-4 days, that actually works really well as each consecutive day I can ramp up the strength. I still adore the Kloraine one and continue to use it for everyday, but for a special treat these work really well and I love having them.
One last hair product I’ve been enjoying is the Living Proof Prime Style Extender. Their Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment is my favourite hair styling product ever. I’m very much an air-drying kind of girl (aka lazy), so typically I’ll apply all my products on towel-dried hair, and when my hair is about 70% dry I’ll braid it and sleep on it. The 5-in-1 helps my hair to form natural waves and keep frizz to a minimum, while the Prime Style Extender does what it says on the tin. It helps my hair keep that wave for a little longer, so I really like the combination of these two together.
A huge favourite for me at the moment is unfortunately not pictured in this post because I keep it on my desk at work, but the Le Labo Hinoki Hand Lotion is so beautiful. It has a glorious woody, slightly-sweet scent that reminds me a bit of incense. I would wear this if they sold it as a fragrance, it’s that good. A friend of mine in Toronto had this in her bathroom and I fell in love with the scent, so when I got my job I decided I’d buy myself a nice hand cream to use at work. Of course, value comes down to your perspective, but at $49 I don’t consider this to be an extortionately priced hand cream, considering the bottle is 250ml and it will probably last me more than a year. I really like how this hand cream performs as well, it sinks in easily but I find it really does hydrate my hands. Some very fragranced hand creams can actually feel more drying than anything, but this has a beautiful scent that really lingers, and it makes my hands feel lovely and soft. FYI I’m still in love with the Aesop Ressurection Hand Cream as well, but I keep that one by my bedside.
One last favourite is a new fragrance. I’ve just got the mini spray as I don’t exactly run through my perfumes quickly, so I didn’t feel the need to buy the full size just yet, but I really enjoy the 100Bon Labdanum & Pur Patchouli Perfume. I’d never heard of the brand before, but I spotted it in Mecca and loved it immediately. It’s smokey and sweet, which is exactly what I like in my fragrances. Patchouli is definitely one of my favourite notes, and it contains cedar and santal as well. If you like the same sort of fragrances as me, I’d recommend giving this one a try if you can find it