Skincare Overhaul: Being an Adult is Hard.

Specifically, being an acne-having adult is hard!

Lately, I’ve been going through a real upheaval with my skin. When I moved to the USA, it was really cold (for me, anyway) and my skin dried out and broke out. For some reason that happens. I don’t know. Anyway, I got that under control with some Tarte Maracuja oil and the Hada Labo skin plumping gel creme and things settled for awhile, at least to the “normal” level which for me is 1-2 active pimples at all times, and during hormonal times I get some huge, cystic, painful ones. That’s kind of my “norm”. Every night I’d get a little dab of my trusty Malin + Goetz or Kate Somerville acne treatment out and hope by the morning they’d be gone. Sometimes they were (or reduced anyway), sometimes they weren’t.

Here’s the thing though. I had a relatively complex routine, full of products that were probably doing too much to my skin. I wasn’t scrubbing at it but I was probably still overexfoliating, meaning that my skin wasn’t getting a chance to repair its own barrier. Here’s what I was doing:

Morning:
Yes to Grapefruit “brightening” face wipes (what was I THINKING?!)
REN ClariMatte Clarifying Toner
Sunday Riley Good Genes treatment
REN ClariMatte gel-cream moisturiser
[primer, makeup if wearing]

Night:
Nude Skincare Perfect Skin Cleansing Jelly (to remove makeup, removed with a washcloth)
Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip cleanser to remove remnants of above
Paula’s Choice BHA liquid
Sunday Riley Artemis Oil
REN Bio-retinoid Anti-Ageing cream
Kate Somerville Acne Treatment (dotted onto active blemishes)

I’ve definitely seen more complex routines of course, but the problem here was that I was doing all these things every day. Something had to change.

The turning point (albeit a slow turn, I mean this was like a frickin’ aircraft carrier trying to do a 180 I’m telling you guys) came when I started taking Biotin a few weeks ago. I heard it could do amazing things for my hair, skin and nails so I gave it a go, at a fairly low dose. I broke out basically immediately, which I knew was a risk. The breakout was awful! Painful cystic pimples and quite a lot of them – at the worst point I had 5. They wouldn’t go away, even after I stopped taking it (though they did stop appearing in such a bad form at that point).

I redoubled my efforts to get rid of the pimples. Of course, that just made them worse. My face was sore and everything was terrible. It lasted for quite a long time.

I had a huge whinge online to some of my like-minded (makeup/beauty obsessed friends) and they made some excellent suggestions. The first was about a service called PocketDerm which is available in the USA. Basically it’s an online dermatologist for acne sufferers (and anti-ageing needs), you pay $20 a month, upload some photographs and information about your skin needs and a dermatologist creates a special cream with active prescription ingredients based on your needs. You also get an online “consult” with the derm (like emails) and the $20 includes shipping the product every 90 days.

To be honest, it seemed a little too good to be true. All the testimonials on the site were, of course, glowing, so I did my own research. I was at first put off by how many people seemed to have referral codes (and therefore perhaps had less than trustworthy opinions) but I then realised that if you sign up, no matter who you are, you get a code to refer people. They get a free month, and you get $10 off. Sweet! There were pros and cons, the reviews seemed objective and fair but still mostly very positive. I also discovered that there appears to be a very low number of people who DON’T continue the service after their one free month. This was encouraging! I signed up after discussing it with my husband (turns out we can use his HSA towards it!) and within about 14 hours (ie, early the next morning) the doctor had made up my prescription and sent me a very personalized, informative email about my prescription and my skin. It was AWESOME. It was shipped out a few hours later. Unbelievably fast turnaround. My doctor also called in a prescription for spironolactone, which is an anti-androgen hormone drug that is used to lower blood pressure (it’s a mild diuretic) but is also wonderful for acne treatment – he described it as ‘turning off the tap’ of oil production. I picked it up from CVS that day and started taking it immediately.

In the meantime as I waited for my prescription cream, I overhauled my skincare collection, again on the advice of my dollies. I started going through my collection and checking products on CosDNA for irritants and comedogenics (pore blockers basically) and I was absolutely astounded at what I found. Lots of products from “trusted” brands (turns out that more $ doesn’t necessarily mean better for my skin! Who knew!) had ingredients in them that, while helpful for others, were not a good idea for me. So I put those aside in a box marked “irritants”. I am not going to tell you that my skin sorted itself out overnight. But things did start to calm themselves down. A little.

I got rid of the towel-material cloths I’d been using to remove my makeup and had my lovely mother-in-law make me up some muslin cloth wipes. Muslin cloth here isn’t so much cheesecloth as it is a very soft, unbleached loose-weave brushed cotton. They’re so nice. My MIL sewed them into a double layer and stitched diagonal lines to keep the sides together. They’re perfect. I also had her make me up some super luxe 4-thickness ones!

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I stopped using Good Genes every day. The good news about this is that it’ll make this exorbitantly priced product last a little longer. I don’t feel that my skin is worse off without it – in fact it’s probably better off, every day was too much I feel. I am now just using it when I feel like I need it.

I switched the BHA out for an AHA – just to see what would happen. AHAs are meant to be better for dry skin, BHAs for oily/combo skin but wouldn’t you know it, the AHA felt really nice on my skin and definitely calmed down some redness.

About this time, my prescription arrived.

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By this time, the spironolactone was really doing its job and I felt MUCH less oily by the end of each day. It was kind of miraculous. The cream came in a really nice pump package and it smells very “normal” – no strong scent at all, and it spreads easily. 2 pumps is plenty for my whole face. It’s very comfortable, though when it sinks in it does need a little bit more moisturizing. I got a sample of the Sunday Riley Luna Oil so I’ve been using that, but I really dislike the smell and didn’t find it to be anything phenomenal in terms of changes in my skin so I won’t be purchasing that at this exact point in time.

I’m going to try adding the Artemis back in in its place, and see if I react to that. Even though it’s meant to be good for oily/combo skin, it’s possible that it was one of the things I was reacting to. I hope not, it was expensive!

As for the results? My skin looks and feels astonishingly better. I have NO, I repeat, NO, ZERO, ZILCH active pimples currently. The ones that I had are still red marks but the cream is helping with that I feel.

Who knows how much each change I made has contributed to the current state of my skin? Alls I know is, my skin is better right now, after 2 weeks of change, than it has been in a long time.

I don’t want to post progress pictures at the moment. It’s only been a couple of weeks. I’ve taken them, don’t get me wrong, but I just don’t want to post them right now.

That time will come. I promise!

So my current routine at the moment is thus:

Morning:
SR Ceramic Slip cleanser
Moisturizer (trialling a couple at the moment – a Peter Thomas Roth one and a First Aid Beauty one)

Night:
Nude Skincare Perfect Skin Cleansing Jelly (removed with a warm, soft muslin cloth)
Origins Checks & Balances Frothy Face Wash (trialling, low-irritant ingredients, seems nice!)
Paula’s Choice AHA 8% Gel
PocketDerm Prescription Cream
SR Luna Oil

Stick with me here. I’m gonna keep you guys up to date don’t you worry. Whether you like it or not!Thanks for reading.

Love+++
F&V

Beauty: April Favorites

Well as you all know by now, I moved to the USA in April so I have a LOT to get through this week. I mean, check this out:

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Just a small selection!

I’m going to transfer over, slowly, from linking both USA and Australian links to just the US links, but I’ll try to at least figure out whether things are available in Australia for you lovely people. I’m also trying very hard to switch over to American spelling though I assume that will take some time to happen automatically, forgive me if this is a mixture of both!

Let’s get on with it.

Sigma F88 Flat Angled Kabuki Brush

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I got this in my Sigma brush order and honestly it’s the only one I’ve given a red hot go for right now, I’ve been living out of a small amount of makeup brushes so as not to have to clean a lot of brushes all the time. And can I tell you, it is frickin amazing. It feels like a kitten’s paw. It’s so soft but very, very dense. It just seems to smooth on and blend out foundations and BB creams so fast and efficiently. I love it. I probably would not use this for sheer applications of a base – it’s better for medium to full coverage. You can get Sigma brushes from a bunch of different places (including online in Australia), I shopped straight from sigmabeauty.com and this was $28. Well worth it, IMO!

IT Cosmetics Tightline Mascara

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When I was at Ulta Beauty in Keene, NH this month I overheard one of the makeup salespeople gushing about this mascara to another customer. I thought it sounded really interesting so when I saw a sample size at the counter I had to grab it and try it out (you know how I feel about full size/price high end mascaras). I was not disappointed, this is actually REALLY cool. The brush is teeny tiny, the bristles are barely there. But this enables you to get right up to the root of the lashes and it does indeed create a “tightline” effect (ie, it makes you look like you have lined your inner, upper lashline which is a thing that really sucks to do if you’re not well practiced!). I sometimes go over the top of this with another coat of something a little more volumizing but as a basic, everyday mascara I think this is absolutely great and will probably buy the full size.  I can’t see that it’s available in Australia but if you’re in the USA you can grab it at Ulta Beauty for $24.

Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks

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As you can see, I like these a lot. I want all of them, they are great. They last forever and don’t go chunky on the lips. I think they are wonderful! I got Berlin, Outlaw and Bachelorette, in that order from left:

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Not the best picture ever, sigh. Berlin is a kind of watermelon pinky-red, Outlaw is a scarlet, bright red and Bachelorette is a bright, deep pink-red. I find them incredibly easy to apply, they dry really fast to a very matte finish and they stay put. They just do. I ate a burger wearing Outlaw. I ate wings wearing Bachelorette. I’m not joking. Here’s a couple of pictures of it on (left is Berlin, right is Outlaw – sorry I don’t have one of Bachelorette on!):

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I don’t know what else to say. I love these. I think I’ll buy the very orange-red one next time, but it’s SUPER orange so I haven’t yet got the balls. SOON. Sidenote: I also tried a sample of the KvD Lock-It Tattoo Foundation and it owns, coverage is fantastic but not cakey, it will be my next foundation purchase. You can get these lipsticks from Sephora in Australia if you have a mate in Sydney, otherwise you’re SOL. But in the USA they’re obviously available from Sephora in-store and online, and are $20.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

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This is like lip balm on steroids. It was an absolute lifesaver for me when I got to the USA. The sudden change from hot humidity to cold dry weather was hell on my skin and this stuff really saved my lips from cracking. I smeared it on obsessively. I think it’s meant to be an overnight thing but I just treated it like lip balm.

One thing that annoys me about this product is that it’s kinda hard to squeeze out of the tube, and doesn’t come with an applicator tip it’s just a plain tube opening. No biggie it’s still worth it. It smells and tastes delicious and is an all-round all-star product that I think will be joining my holy grail collection. It’s another Sephora Australia product or you can get it for nearly $32 at ry.com.au but in the USA it’s $26 from Sephora.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer

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This. Stuff. ROCKS. It’s super creamy, super blendable and comes in a decent, though not extensive, range of shades. It has great coverage (I’d call it on the high side of medium to full) and has a handy doe-foot applicator. It is totally matte so doesn’t have a brightening effect like the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, but otherwise I would call them quite comparable. I love Urban Decay so I was excited to try this product and it really did not disappoint. Even without the brightening effect I still wear this under my eyes and I think it does a great job of evening out the tone in that area. I find that highlighting concealers can draw attention to blemishes so it doesn’t bother me so much that this one doesn’t have that, since blemishes are more of a concern to me than dark under-eye circles. Errybody got those u know?! Anyway you can get it at Mecca (Maxima) now in Australia or from Sephora or Ulta in the USA for $28.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

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Guys, it does what it says on the box. It dries SO FAST, to such a hard, glossy finish. I will probably never use another top coat ever again. I am constantly surprised, every time I use this (and I’ve done my nails A LOT this month) at how fast it dries and how unbreakable the finish is, for quite a few days. It’s like having hard glass on top of your nails, it’s bloody fabulous I don’t know what else to tell you. You can get it at Crush Cosmetics in Australia for about $15 or in the USA you can get it at CVS and probably other drugstores, or even on Amazon for like $8 it’s great. You won’t be disappointed with this product, I promise!

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

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I had heard good things about the masks from PTR so I grabbed the little three-pack from the beauty to go section of Sephora. It’s kind of a rip because the box looks like the products will be bigger than they are – they have a corner section of the box, so the products themselves are pretty tiny (see above). The Rose Stem Cell and Cucumber of these, I could take or leave. Maybe it’s just my skin type but I didn’t think they did much for me really. The Pumpkin one though, holy CRAP you guys it’s PHENOMENAL. Honestly, after I took it off (you only need 3-7 minutes for this baby, depending on your sensitivity) I exclaimed out loud and made Ray look at and touch my newly glowing, soft, smooth, bright skin. I can’t even tell you guys how impressed I am with this product.

A small flaw: I did find that it stung a little bit for the first say 30-45 seconds of wear then it went away. It has some pretty potent stuff in it so I was prepared but if you do try it, don’t be alarmed. It stops, and as said above you don’t have to have it on for very long anyway. As with all the things I recommend though, be sure to make decisions based on your own skin type and patch test if you are worried. Sephora will give you a sample for no cost so you could try that first if you wanted.

Unfortunately this one is not available in Australia. Booo! Any Aussies want to try it, you can PayPal me and I’ll send it over to you (in fact this goes for any of these things, anything that helps me add to my VIB points or Ulta rewards is ok with me!). In the USA you can get the full size from Sephora for $58 or the Mini Mask Set for $20.

Matrix Biolage ExquisiteOil Range

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I got this on recommendation from the ladies at the JCPenney salon when I described the damaged, dry condition of my hair. It was 3 for the price of 2 so I thought why not? I’ve had good luck with Matrix Biolage products before. And let me tell you, this range has been a revelation. Even Ray has commented on how much healthier, shinier and “less crunchy” my hair has been since I started using it. I do love a hair oil and the Moringa oil in this range really does the job. I’m super impressed and recommend it to anyone who’s looking to give their damaged, treated, dry hair some love for awhile. I got the shampoo, conditioner and the leave-in oil. They said I could use the oil either before or after drying my hair. I often put it in before, and then use a little bit of my beloved Kevin.Murphy Immortelle Oil just before straightening. Americans can get this fantastic range at a bunch of places and salons including Ulta for $17 per bottle and Aussies can get it from their Matrix Biolage carrying salon or from myhaircare.com.au for pretty dece prices actually! Hairhouse Warehouse also has the 1L bottles for 50% off right now, if you’re already a fan.

Phew! That was a huge amount of stuff to get through. I even cut some things out! There are some things I’ve purchased that I want to give a bit more of a go before I call them favorites, or don’t.

As I mentioned, I’m happy to be a re-shipper for my Aussie friends if needs be. I’m going to be starting work next week but only part time and any perks I can get like points / rewards are well worth it to me. Hook me up with some PayPal dough and I’ll help you out as speedily as possible.

Let me know what you guys think if you’ve tried these products, or what your April Favourites are – I’d love to hear! Also I would love to know if you guys think there’s a way I can improve these posts and make them more helpful/useful to you.

Next month might have quite a lot of non-makeup in it as I am moving this weekend, Ray and I are finally moving into our very own apartment and we’re going to IKEA tomorrow to do some furniture shopping!

Love+++

Beauty: February Favourites – Better Late than Never?!

The last few days, nay, weeks, have been pretty hectic, I apologise for the radio silence. But I am back with a favourites post! Look to be honest, my skin’s in a bit of a mood at the moment so I’m only going to do a short one. I am also moving to the USA at the end of March so March will hopefully be a little early, or just won’t happen at all! Shit is CRAZY okay, I’m telling you. Ok let’s get this show on the road. Nude “Perfect Cleanse” Omega Cleansing Jelly This might just be one of the best things I have ever purchased. I frickin’ love it. It’s an oil-based cleanser, which is the best for removing makeup hands-down, so I was already interested. The description on the site reads: “Ideal for all skin types, this natural cleanser safely removes face and eye makeup leaving skin clean, smooth, and toned.” And you know what? It just does. It’s wonderful stuff. You squidge a bit of it out into your hands, rub it all over your face including your eye area if that’s your jam (it is def my jam, and it gets even waterproof mascara off brilliantly), give it a good massage* and then wet your hands with some warm water and rub that in. This turns the product into a kind of light milky texture, making it very easy to remove. I use a muslin cloth (my favourites are the Clean Slate Cleansing Cloths from Mecca Cosmetica but you can get plain muslin cloth from Spotlight for $2.50 a metre) and just smooth it all over my face until all traces are gone. I then follow up with a second, light cleanse with my normal cleanser. This stuff is so good that I sometimes forget to do that. It’s important though, if you have oily skin. If your skin is dry you may like the extra moisturising it leaves. It’s brilliant stuff. USA readers can get it from Sephora, in Australia it’s available from Mecca Cosmetica for $54. Worth every penny, though I will admit I find it doesn’t last very long.. That’s kind of a bummer. But I still love it SO MUCH I’ll definitely repurchase. *Facial massage is great for your skin. It boosts circulation and works the product in, and it feels really nice. Do it. Lisa Eldridge has a good facial massage video, linky. Rimmel Idol Eyes by Kate Moss Mascara I picked this up because I needed new mascara and I don’t buy expensive mascara. It was $10, introductory price. It’s gone up to $16.95 now. Ok I’ll admit it – the brush is weird. It’s like a wave shape. But you guys – I LOVE this mascara. It is so volumising and really lengthens the lashes. It’s more of a night time than a day time but it’s so great, I love it, it’s interesting and different and you should definitely buy it. Priceline has a great deal where you spend $20 and you get a gift with purchase with the Rimmel range so what’s not to love? Head in-store or grab it here. Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment Ok it’s finally time for me to talk about this product. It’s an expensive one, so I’ve given it a really good trial. And let me tell you guys, that trial was successful. Even the packaging is beautiful. Check it out! It’s lovely. The blurb on the product page says: “This hydrating treatment is formulated with key ingredients that plump the look of fine lines to reveal brighter, renewed skin, and support natural circulation to create a smooth, vibrant complexion.” Accurate, again. The fine lines thing I can’t strictly comment on, because I don’t have a lot of them, really. But the combination of gently exfoliating acids in this product plus the other skin-feeding ingredients like liquorice, arnica and lemongrass help to really brighten the complexion and improve skin texture. It’s the one thing from the Sunday Riley range (a few of which I am trying so far) that I am absolutely 100% sold on so far. The others are good, I just feel that they need a bit more time. This one was really instantly effective for me. It’s super firming, and has reduced the appearance of my pores. I put it on every morning before my moisturiser, giving I a few minutes to soak in before I put moisturiser over the top. You can also use it in conjunction with the Ceramic Slip cleanser as a treatment but to be honest they say to use 3 pumps and I’m just not keen on using that much of it at once. I’ve used about a 1/4 of it and I only got it at the beginning of February so it’s another one that isn’t amazing VALUE, however I will be buying again because it just works so darn well. I even feel like it has improved the appearance of my acne scars but I might be imagining things, who knows. It’s $125 from Mecca Cosmetica, also available from Sephora obviously. Jo Malone “Wood Sage & Sea Salt” Cologne This is a tough one to describe as I am bad at scents. But trust me, it owns. If you like fresh, spicy/herbaceous, slightly woody scents then you are going to love this one. Here’s a good description from Fragrantica: “Composition of the new fragrance, just like its name suggests, is composed of ambrette seed, sea salt and sage, along with red algae and grapefruit. ‘This fragrance is different for me’ – says Christine Nagel, perfumer of the composition. She adds: ‘Sea air is mixed with salty and mineral texture of sand and stones. As the scent of driftwood it has natural and fresh sophistication. A complex combination of wood and sea is in its essence. It provides the feeling of freedom and natural spirit.’” That’s a bit wanky but I do agree, it reminds me of the sea but it’s also quite citrusy in a non-sickly sweet way. There’s absolutely no sweetness to this one at all so if you tend towards sweet perfumes I would seer well clear. Jo Malone is the queen of fragrance and this is just another jewel in the crown. I also tried “Earl Grey and Cucumber” and it was lovely. I bought the travel size of this one from David Jones for $90 but it’s a decent size, and the 100mL sizes are double the price for double the volume. MAKES SENSE. I’m gonna buy a full size when I get to the USA because I wear this every single day – it’s a perfect daytime scent. It’s not really cheaper over there with the dollar conversion but it’s a pretty hefty bottle and it’s just more crap to cart, you know? 2 sprays of it is enough for each day so it does last quite awhile. Head on down to your local DJs and see if you can have a sniff of the Jo Malone range. You won’t regret it. NARS Audacious Lipstick in “Anita” Brief mention to this one because I have already raved about this range in general in my first lipstick manifesto post but I recently picked up this colour and I really love it. It’s a perfect “MLBB” (My Lips But Better) shade for me, it has quite a pink tone to it and that always tends to suit me best. It’s neutral but still provides warmth and colour, and I love the way it makes my skin look – a bit brighter, a bit warmed up, not too stark. It’s just “there”, in a lovely way. I swatched it, please observe my disgusting scaled claw (I ran out of my favourite hand cream, okay?!). It’s really nice. Grab it from Mecca for $44. SO ENDETH THIS POST Thanks for all the love and the patience while I was on cyclone / husband hiatus. You guys rule. Love+++

Beauty: January Favourites!

Quick one from me today because as much as I did buy things in January, a lot of it was things I haven’t had enough time to really try to see if they’re actual favourites. As for these, well they were instant wins, in my book.

KEVIN.MURPHY Young.Again Immortelle Infused Treatment Oil

GOOD GOD. Okay so, for my wedding, I went blonde. Super white, icy platinum blonde. I went blonde from bright red. No matter how slowly we did it, my hair suffered. Badly. It was fried by the end. I’m still rehabbing it, even though I went dark for awhile (have gone back to red now, see later in post). It’ll take some time, but it’s getting there.

I bought this on the recommendation of a few people in a makeup thread I frequent, and I have not looked back.

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Shiny purple bottle of goodness!

Like all KM products, you don’t get much for your buck. That is my only complaint about this brand. However, I will say with this one that you only need a little tiny bit. Half a pump is plenty for my hair, PLENTY.

After I wash and towel dry my hair, I squeeze some of this into my palm then rub my palms together and run it through my hair, concentrating on the last third. It smells lovely and feels really nice. I then comb my hair and either let it air dry or dry it with the hair dryer. The oil just really softens everything so much, and eliminates that crunchy feeling that dry, damaged hair can have.

I also use a smidge of this through my dry hair before I straighten it, just to give it a bit of a coating before I apply heat. It’s great stuff, I’d highly recommend it.

Pros: Smells amazing, makes my hair feel great. A little goes a long way. Can be used dry or wet.

Cons: Expensive. Smallish bottle for the price.

You can get it from Adore Beauty for $49.95.

Malin + Goetz Acne Treatment

I have talked about this before but oh my god, my skin. It’s a jerk. It hates me. I spend so much money on it and do all kinds of nice things to it but it continues to rebel against me at every turn. It is a horrible naughty teenager and I don’t know what I did to deserve this. I really don’t. But it has gotten better lately, I guess every jerk teenager has to grow up sometime huh?

Regardless, I still get the odd pimple. More than the odd pimple. Hormonally I get them pretty regularly, otherwise I can get them for the most random reasons. Who knows. Anyway, I find this stuff to be rather fabulous.

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MAGICAL POTION ??????

It is a spot treatment that you leave on overnight. It is an overnight treatment because it looks like you have little spots of plaster on your face. Nobody wants to walk around like that. And you can’t wear it under makeup. So, the product description on the Mecca page is thus:

“This treatment for problem skin synthesizes salicylic acid with active sulfur to effectively target breakouts.”

The sulfur sediment sits at the bottom of the jar, you are instructed never to shake the bottle. The first ingredient is isopropyl alcohol which is usually a red flag for me, it indicates that something will be very drying, but since what you’re trying to do with products like these is dry out your spots then it’s not so bad. Also, the alcohol is just the solution that the sediment sits in if that makes sense – if you look closely at the above picture you can see that there’s a layer of clear liquid above the white stuff. It keeps the sediment solution nice and hygienic which, as we know, is very important for skin like ours.

So you just do your night routine, then dip your cotton bud / q-tip into the sediment and dot it on, right onto your pimple, let it dry and go to bed. If you don’t let it dry first, it will smear on your pillow so you do want to give it a few mins.

The first time I used this stuff I was so happy! The next day my red, angry pimple had largely gone away. That trend continues. Some are more stubborn than others and I SERIOUSLY need to stop squeezing them, ugh, but I think this is a wonderful product and I really recommend it for those of us who get the odd spot. Would I recommend it to someone who has a full face of acne? No. It’s not cost effective and it’s not really the kind of thing you want all over your face.

Pros: Works like a dream. You only need a tiny bit. I can’t imagine ever running out of this though I am sure it will happen at some point. Reasonably priced.

Cons: Smells very strong, it’s not bad as such, but it is a strong medicinal / sulfury type smell. Makes you look weird. Your husband will make jokes. Because he is mean.

Grab it at Mecca Cosmetica for $29.

REN T-Zone Balancing Day Fluid

Oh my god. I just realised this isn’t available on the Mecca website. So I won’t talk too long about it!

I am CONSTANTLY on the hunt for a daily moisturiser that won’t make me an oil slick by 11am. And this is a total winner. My skin feels soft and moisturised, not that horrible tight-dry feeling that some of the more gel moisturisers can leave one with. My lovely mum sent me a HUGE PACKAGE of skincare, some requested and some she and her partner Dann (Mumma 2) chose themselves. One of those was a cute little travel / sample set of a mask, moisturiser and cleanser. I’ve started using the cleanser and it seems really nice, needs more time to make a full decision. The mask I haven’t given a go yet because I’m still polishing off a sample of the Chantecaille clay mask.

But THIS. Oh my word, this:

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Hello, beautiful.

It’s just lovely! A light texture, you only need a little bit and it spreads over the face so nicely. It sinks in super fast and doesn’t leave the face feeling greasy at all.

I really like REN and am looking forward to using more of their products as that made up the bulk of what mum sent me. You can get this one online at a few places, though nowhere in Australia. However, she also sent me the REN Clarimatte T-Zone Balancing gel-cream and that one is certainly available at Mecca. I won’t bother with pros and cons because you can’t get it here anyway. Sorry team!

Bourjois Healthy Balance Pressed Powder

I have been using a translucent powder for a few years now. Specifically the Make Up For Ever Translucent HD powder. It’s really nice. But sometimes you just want a bit of colour and extra coverage in your setting powder, right? Right.

This little baby is just perfect for the job. It’s still super light, it’s very finely milled and pressed.

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Bonus roof reflection. You’re welcome!

It’s super slim, in sturdy packaging and just gets the job done. It’s soft enough that your brush picks up enough powder but not too soft so it cakes on the brush. Not much more to say about it really. I use it to set my makeup when I want just a bit more coverage and colour. For a drugstore type product, I find it pretty damn impressive!

Pros: Very finely milled powder, a little goes a long way. Not too soft. Brush picks up just the right amount. Comes in 4 shades (I have the lightest). Packaging is sturdy, price is right.

Cons: I honestly can’t think of any. It’s just a basic powder, it’s hard to think of what could go wrong?

You can grab this nifty little number for $20 from Priceline.

That’s it from me for today, tomorrow is my birthday and I’m taking the day off work for the first time ever! I am going to the pub at 9am to watch the Super Bowl – my team is playing (the New England Patriots obviously). I hope you all have a magical week!

Love+++