Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Got spots?

I have combination skin and suffer from sporadic breakouts (timing depends on the frequency of my sugar binges). Since today is Mid-Autumn Festival for the Chinese (Happy holidays for those of you who celebrate!) and is the equivalent of lots and lots of moon cakes, my skin is behaving rather badly.
In the past, I have tried many creams and treatments to reduce the redness. The brand T-Zone Spot Zapping Stick containing tea tree oil and Witch Clear Pore gel comes to mind. I was quite obsessive with them during my high school years, but they had all the potency of a dead fish. Pungent in a nice herbal way, but utterly ineffective for my skin.
In the end,  I resorted to a medicinal anti-bacterial cream that you're supposed to put on cuts. That did the trick. However,  it was green and not practical for university at all. After all, how many girls want their friends to seen them in their green-pimpled glory when calling it a night, but unexpectedly interrupted?
Anyway, during one of my attempts to liven up dull grocery shopping by perusing the Beauty shelves, I came across Neutrogena's Visibly Clear Rapid Clear Treatment. It comes in a 15ml squeezy tube and costs £4.49. This gel promises to visibly reduce both spots and blemishes in just 8 hours, without being harsh on the skin. It has a patented Microclear technology that reduce the size and redness of blemishes, as well as keeping the pores clear.

I really dislike 'patented technology' claims because that's all fancy-talk rubbish. Instead, I scanned the ingredients list:
Salicylic acid = kills bacteria and opens clogged pores
Lactic acid = great for skin rejuvenation. Reason why Queen Cleopatra used to bathe in asses' milk. Allegedly.
Acetic acid astringent
A bunch of other stuff I did not know or recognise, but the three items above was enough to sway me.
I have now used this gel on my spots for almost two months and I can honestly say that it works. The biggest effect I see is if I put it on at night before bed, after my normal skincare routine. When I wake up the next morning, the spots are visbly smaller and less red. During daytime, I find there to be little effect and it gets irritating when you have bits of dried gel peeling off when you apply bronzer. So I'm limiting the use to night-time only.
It is also pleasing to note that this gel isn't that harsh on the skin either. Clinique's Clarifying lotion (No. 2) left me with patches of dry skin after continuous use, but the Rapid Clear Treatment has yet to do that, despite dedicated applications every day.
So there you have it! A good treatment that works.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Love's (Labour's) Lost: Old Discoveries

Face of the Day:
Eyes:  Moonlight Lustre palette (The Body Shop)
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On eye pencil, Zero
Too Faced Lash Injection mascara
Benefit Eye Bright
Lips: No 7 Moisture Drench, Starshell
Cheeks: M.A.C Mineralize Skinfinish, Stereo Rose
I confess that I get caught up in fads more often than not. Topshop just launched a new makeup collection? Great, I’ll race you to the till. Urban Decay’s new Naked palette is now finally avilable? I better drop everything and scramble to the shops. Everything novel boasts appeal, whilst older products languish in the back of a drawer somewhere. I am not even talking about that three year old mascara (which should be tossed into the bin, right now), but the eyeshadow from three months ago or the lipstick soon celebrating its half birthday.  
A rummage in my eyeshadow collection recently, whilst under the pretense of organisation in order to procrastinate on my school work, brought up an interesting find. The palette is the only mineral eyeshadow product that I own and I’ve long forgotten what it was like. It is The Body Shop eye trio in shade 01: Moonlight Lustre. I don’t believe it’s sold in the UK anymore, but like I said previously, it has been a while.
Shade 1: Moonlight Lustre (Front)

I always found the trio of colours here interesting – it is one of those palettes with almost a random choice of colours put together: black, green and pink. There seem to be no harmony on paper or otherwise in real life. I apologise for not swatching the colours but take my word that they are very shimmery and sheer. The photos below are very good representations of the colours when swatched.

Pink on lid, green on edges, black on crease. Simple!


Anyway, the aim of this post today is to encourage everyone to go back and have a little poke around their makeup bag, hopefully discovering a new look from old products that are not expired. As a potential scientist, I cannot emphasise the sanitation reasons to throw away products past their sell by date. Bacteria builds up most easily in cream products, possibly causing infections and breakouts.  BBC News reported on the VAT increase of 2.5% from January 4th 2011 today, so if there’s a time to rediscover lost loves, this might be it!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Lipstick Addiction: 17 Mirror Shine On Lipstick

One of my recent beauty addictions last term has been lipsticks. Previously it was lip glosses, and the term before that, eye shadows. In any case, I probably don't need to mention the fun of shopping for different brands and colours. Nor do I need to emphasise the importance of colour choice - a classic red lipstick on a bare face lends instant glamour, nude transfers the attention to the eyes, shimmer adds vitality and plum conveys sophistication. Wow, what a hard-working beauty product! No wonder lipsticks are recession-proof.

I was in London for a short weekend break recently and forgot to pack a lipstick in my general haze of outfit plans. So I popped into a small, but convenient Boots store. There weren’t too many brands or choices available, so I opted for the Boots-own brand 17. I have never tried their lipsticks before and the phrase ‘mirror shine’ caught my eye. Plus it was only £4.49.

A nice flurescnt pink with a hint of coral. Plus the packaging's pretty cute!

 There are a total of 10 colours available and online, the description says ‘Get ultra glam, slick colour that creates the illusion of fuller, luscious lips’.

 My lips are naturally pigmented and pale colours does not suit – the palest I own is Mac’s Viva Glam Gaga and even then, I slather on a darker shade lip gloss to make it look natural. Therefore, I chose Peace.

 I was initially skeptical about the quality of the formula as the lipstick was broken in the tester tube, but the one in my possession have yet to snap. On my hands, it is possible to see the colour is sheer and glossy.

Without flash.

With flash.

On my lips, it does indeed have that ‘mirror shine’ effect and quite moisturizing. I enjoy it to a certain extent: it’s a nice combination of lipstick and lip gloss, there’s no sticky or gloopy-ness and I like the colour.

However, it isn’t long lasting and I need constant re-touchups. Plus there is a hint of that lipstick taste which I detest and that for me is a deal-breaker.

So for the girl who is always on the move, like the combination of gloss over lipstick and not too fussy with the scent, it’s perfect.       

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Virgin Post: Monoi Miracle Oil for hair.

Hi all, this is my first time writing a blog, now isn't this exciting? Probably not so much for you, as for me. I have fallen head-over-heels into the whole YouTube and Blog world of makeup, tutorials, hauls, reviews and all that jazz a while back. Now I want to branch out a bit...Hopefully there is a lone audience of one out there somewhere.

For my first post, I decided to go ahead with a review on a hair and body oil I've started using recently. Quick warning: no photos today, only images from the Internet because the lighting in my room is very yellow (even with flash).

So, I've heard about Moroccan Oil awhile back. It's supposedly a miracle treatment for hair, leaving it soft and silky. It's around £30 online for 100ml and I really cannot decide if it's reasonable or not. As a third year university student well into her overdraft, £30 sounds a tad much. However, my powers of justification has never deserted me yet.

Anyway, I did a little research. The beauty of this oil comes from its main ingredient: Argan oil, which acts as a rich moisturizer for the hair. So oil is good for the hair. Simple. But surely then there are cheaper versions out there?

 During one of my intense browsing events at The Body Shop in Manchester, I came across The Body Shop Monoi Miracle Oil, part of their Spa Wisdom, Polynesia line.

This little baby costs only £10 for 150ml, but let's not forget the rewards card which gives you 10% off all purchases. So it's actually £9. The product label describes it as: 'Sumptuous softening for skin and hair, enriched with Community Trade organic virgin coconut oil.'

It certainly contains enough goodies to brand it as a 'miracle oil': sweet almond oil, virgin coconut oil, sesame seed oil, and gardenia flower extract. It has a light, summery, sweet fragrance that I simply cannot get enough of and is simply fab for my hair.

Both the SA and product information online recommend using this oil as a deep conditioner that you rinse out. However, after reading the ingredients, I decided to use it like Moroccan Oil since hair absorbs coconut oil. 

For two weeks now, after towel-drying, I have rubbed a 10p amount of this oil into the ends of my hair, followed by blow-dry. The result was uber-soft, silky strands that smelt fantastic and not weighed down at all. Now I have to warn you that my hair is in pretty good conditions in general - I had a massive chop in June from chest length to long bob. I'd be happy to include pictures if requested. However, after using this product, I really did notice a difference. It was as if I've cocooned my hair in a deep-intensive mask for overnight, or something equally time-consuming.

Perhaps this first post has been a tad long, but I'd love feedback, so please comment below! Has anyone tried both the Moroccan Oil and this Miracle Oil? I'd love to know if I've found a dupe.

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