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Monday, June 25, 2012

Chanel 'Le Blanc de Chanel' Illuminating Base - Review

I have this problem where my skin is so fair I'm practically translucent. They don't make many foundations for translucent skin and this results in me having a drawer full of foundations that are too dark, too pink or too yellow.

I'd heard of this product by Chanel that lightens up your foundations to make them wearable if they're too dark to begin with. As I deemed this to be the work of a creative god and purchased it immediately.

It turns out that the product is actually great for a variety of things, so here's a full review for your reading pleasure.

Le Blanc de Chanel is a white liquid that blends out into a sheer, illuminating make up base. Chanel states that it can be used either on it own to even out and smooth the skin while leaving a radiant complexion, before foundation to enhance radiance, mixed with foundation to brighten the complexion or dabbed directly over foundation to catch the light on the highest points of the face (cheekbones, bridge of nose, etc).

The first time I used it I acted like it was a foundation primer and it surprisingly worked really well. My foundation lasted all day and my complexion was even and smooth. It acts almost like a blur over your face to minimise all imperfections.

I have also used it as a highlighter on my cheekbones. If you have normal or dry skin then this method would look amazing on you but on my normal/oily skin it just made me look shiny.

I also attempted the 'lightening' technique mentioned above and mixed it with a slightly too dark foundation. It should be noted that Chanel never claims that this product is suitable to lighten foundations but it actually does work pretty well. The downside is that because this is a white-to-sheer product it minimises the coverage of any foundation you're mixing it with which just doesn't work for me.

I do love this product as a primer though, it's really smooth on the skin and definitely has a 'luxury' feel.

The product comes with a little spatula to remove the liquid from the bottle, I dipped the spatula down to the bottom of the bottle and pulled it back out again, this was enough to cover my whole face.

It feels quite thick at first but blends out into a lightweight product. The product is recommended for all skin types but will especially suit normal/oily skin. It's packed with moisturising properties to hydrate and soften the skin, it contains witch hazel to tighten pores and also contains fine silica powders for a softly matte complexion.

Ultimately, I like this product a lot. It's too early on to tell whether I will repurchase it or not but so far, so good!

Animal Testing: Chanel Cosmetics and Perfumes are not tested on animals.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

UPDATE: 6 Beauty Resolutions for 2012

Well well well, we're almost half way through 2012.

I thought now would be a good chance to give you an update on my 6 Beauty Resolutions for 2012 (you can read that post HERE).

I'm going to brush through it pretty quickly but here's what I've managed to achieve so far:

1. Develop a more natural, less chemical, skin care routine.

So far, so good. I've been getting to know my skin a bit better and figuring out just why it likes to be so misbehaved. I've discovered that I don't have acne prone skin, like I previously thought. I now know that I have sensitive skin and have been making a lot of changes to my skin care routine because of it. I have stopped using Proactiv completely which takes out 99% of the hard chemicals I was using. I'm still figuring things out and certainly haven't perfected my routine but my skin is liking me a lot more lately and is learning about manners.

2. Use what I have

My spending so far has reduced and the amount of products I'm buying has also dramatically reduced. I am spending the majority of my 'beauty spending' money on higher end products that I've read great reviews on. I've invested in some amazing products that I have completely fallen in love with and even found a bronzer that is perfect for my skin tone (no one ever thought that would happen). I've moved away from purchasing limited edition items just because it's 'limited edition', I'm making more educated choices by reading blogs and reviews. There's still room for improvement but hey, I've got another 6 months to go.

3. Ruts are okay.

I started out the year forcing myself to use up products but realised that I was doomed by doing that. If there is a product that I really like and know that I will repurchase it then doesn't that just defeat the reason for using up products? Instead I've been trying to find ways to use up products that I don't really like, such as that one pesky shade in an otherwise great eyeshadow quad. But on the 'rut' side of things I've been accepting that I just don't have time to put together a new look every morning and that if certain looks work, then I will work them hard.

4. Project 10 Pan.

Yeah.. haven't started this one..

5. Nail-Polish Schmail-Polish.

My nail-of-the-days were going strong for the first 3 months of the year but they've dulled out since then. The main reason is that I just have too many nail polishes that I don't like and over the past few months I've hated anything glittery on my nails, opting for cream polishes. So I've been rotating the same six or seven polishes that I like and have been forgetting about the rest. That being said, I have so far only purchased two nail polishes this year, yep, TWO! So that side of the resolution is going strong.

6. Blog

I've done pretty well here, there have been two breaks where not many posts have gone up but I've still averaged three posts a week throughout the past six months. This is all set to go higher over the next few weeks when I'll be attempting 1-2 posts per day.

All in all, I'm giving myself a solid B+ for effort. There's still 6 months left of the year so I'll work on improving the resolutions that I've been not so good at.

How about you? Did you make any beauty resolutions?
Let me know how you're going with them in the comments section below :)

Rebecca :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Why I think Australian Retail Prices are fair.

I know, who do I think I am? Well, I'm someone who worked through high school and tertiary education in retail positions. I'm also someone who spends a lot of money on cosmetics in both Australia and overseas. I also have friends in the US and UK who work at cosmetics counters or in retail trade. I also think that as Australians, we're pretty lucky for the opportunities and advantages that we have.

The primary reason that I think our prices are reasonable even though they're priced about 50% higher is our economy and standard of living.

Take, Sarah for example. Sarah works at my local MAC Counter in Adelaide, Australia, as a Make Up Artist and Sales Consultant. She's 24, has worked at MAC full time for 3 years after completing a 2 year Make Up course and earns $43,000 per year which is an average wage in Australia.

Then look at Toni. Toni works at a MAC Store in Chicago, USA, in the same position as Sarah. She's 25, has worked at MAC full time for 2 years and Bobbi Brown for 2 years before that. She is a qualified Make Up Artist and earns $21,000 per year which is an average wage in America.

When I talk about average wages I don't just mean in the cosmetics trade. Retail wages in Australia and the US sit right on the average wage line (about $45,000 per year in Australia and $22,000 per year in the US).

Now lets do a little maths:

Sarah's weekly wage is $827
A MAC lipstick costs $36
That's 4.4% of her weekly wage.

Toni's weekly wage is $403
A MAC lipstick costs $15.95*
That's 4% of her weekly wage. 

That's less than half a percent of her wage more that Sarah is paying when compared to Toni. When you take import tax, shipping fees and General Service Tax into consideration when buying your product in Australia our prices are incredibly even.

The moral of my story is that I have been to the United Stated, I know how cheap everything is and how it seems unfair but would you really want our retail goods to drop in price by 50% if that meant that your wage would drop by 50% also?

Our prices are higher because we are higher paid, the person selling you your lipstick earns $22 per hour, you need to help pay for that. In the US that same person earns $11 per hour, the cost of products are less because the person behind the counter earns less.

It all evens out. 

By no means am I suggesting you only shop in Australia (we all know I am a sucker for huge hauls and overseas purchasing) but I also think it is important to contribute to the retail trade of your own country and also understand why our prices are much higher.

So there's some food for thought for you.

Happy shopping! (in which ever country you choose)

*A MAC lipstick in the US costs $14.50 plus tax, average tax is 10%. $14.50+10%=$15.95

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Herbal Essences 'Body Envy' Shampoo + Conditioner (Review)

It's no secret that when it comes to hair care I certainly don't shy away from a high end product. I have long, colour treated and heavily heat styled hair. That's a giant 'ka-pow!' into the damaged hair department so I do try and choose products that will nourish my hair as well as allow me to style it in whichever way I choose.

I decided to try a lower cost shampoo and conditioner just to mix it up a bit. Using the same products all the time gets boring, trying new products is exciting.

Herbal Essences was screaming my name with their curvy bottles and bright colours. I don't typically use a volumising shampoo and conditioner (because they never work) but the bottle is orange to match my loofa so obviously the decision was already made.

First off, let me just say how divine these products smell! The scent is White Nectarine & Pink Coral Flower and ohh my goodness it's amazing. Moving on..

For a volumising product, I can't really say that this provides (but like I said earlier, none of them do). I have very fine and limp hair that likes to battle a teasing comb before holding any volume so I can't really say that I'm surprised.

It does make my hair incredibly soft and shiny though and I feel like it is more 'weightless' and volumised in the lengths, just not at the roots where you'd like it. It leaves my hair flowing and silky which leaves me very happy.

The shampoo is very cleansing and could almost be classed as a clarifying shampoo when left on the hair for a few minutes (clarifying shampoos deeply cleanse the scalp and remove all product build up).

The conditioner is soft and easy to run through the hair. Because it's primary ingredient is water (like most drugstore conditioners) I recommend using almost double the amount that you would with a more expensive conditioner and leaving it in the hair for 3-5 minutes for the best result.

All in all, I really liked this cute little orange pair and would recommend it to anyone buying drugstore hair care products.

Personally, I won't repurchase the product. My main reason is that the shampoo contains sulfates and I try to go sulfate-free where possible. Also, while the conditioner left my hair super shiny and silky, this is due to the high amount of silicon oil in the product and while I am not against silicons in hair products, I personally prefer to find them a bit lower on the ingredients list. 

I found these two for $6.99 each at Coles.

Animal Testing: Herbal Essences is owned by Procter & Gamble who claim to not test any finished product on animals however they do test individual ingredients on animals - this still classes them as a comany that does test on animals. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel - Review

I don't have excessively dry skin or excessively oily skin. My skin sits somewhere on the oily side of normal so moisturiser has never been something that I have really experimented with.

Don't get me wrong, moisturiser has always been an important part of my skincare routine, it just hasn't been at the top of my priority list for 'finding the best one' like other products are. If it works, it works.

I have been using the Biore Oil Free Moisturiser with SPF 15 for about three years now but I decided that I couldn't call myself a beauty know-it-all without at least testing out a few others.

The first on my list to try was the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel. This is the third step in the Clinique 3-Step skin care routine for oily skin. If you have normal/dry skin then they have a lotion version just for you.

Since discovering that my skin is actually quite sensitive (you can read more about that revelation HERE) I chose to dive into something that is hypoallergenic and fragrance free. Dramatically Different Gel ticks both of those boxes.

But what really drew me to this product was it's claim to double as both a day and a night cream. You may remember that I have written about why you need a separate day and night cream before (you can read that post HERE) but I thought 'Hey, happy to admit I was wrong' if a product can prove just that.

As a product reviewer it's difficult to say that something is just 'okay'. I don't like writing a review without being able to point out the exact reasons why you should or shouldn't buy the item I'm talking about but this product is just that, it's okay.

It moisturises well and keeps skin hydrated throughout the day, it soaks into skin quickly which some people like but I personally prefer the moisturiser to stay wet for a little longer to help blend in my foundation.

The gel turns into an almost water-like consistency when applied to the skin which makes it easy blend without pulling at your face. It's 100% oil and fragrance free.

I didn't experience any irritation or break outs from the moisturiser.

The problem I have though is that this 125ml bottle costs $75. And for what? A basic run of the mill moisturiser? Yes, it is a good product, yes it does live up to it's hypoallergenic claims and yes, it's a decent product but for $75 it's just not worth it.

Some could argue that the bottle is bigger than a standard moisturiser, which is true, but I also found that I had to use almost double the amount of product to get a decent result. It soaked into skin far too quickly and if I only used one pump my skin would feel tight again within minutes.

This is the amount that one pump gives:

I use 3-4 pumps each morning.

So this is a tricky one. I do like the product, it works quite well but I wouldn't recommend or repurchase it.

Oh and as for it doubling as a night cream.. definitely not!
It's light weight for day time use but is definitely not a night cream to rely on unless you're using a really great serum and eye cream as well.

Animal Testing: Clinique does not test on animals.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Yes To Cucumbers Facial Wipes for Sensitive Skin - Review

I first tried the 'Yes to' skincare line about two years ago and wasn't a fan. It was right when my skin started misbehaving and I broke out on a crazy acne-fest when using the products. I didn't know then that I had actually developed Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (you can read more about it HERE) and that the products actually had nothing to do with my current skin nightmare.

I was shopping for a friends young daughter and wanted to buy her products that were gentle on her young teenage skin. These Yes to Cucumbers Facial Wipes were on sale for $5 so I grabbed a pack, read the back, loved what I saw and purchased them.

On the way home I had a thought that I should go back and get myself a packet to review since it's been a while since I've tried a new facial wipe and plus, they were on sale.

It took me four days to fall in love with these wipes and COMPLETELY revitalise my skin care routing because of them. I'm still perfecting my current routine so I won't go into too much detail but here's a quick rundown of how it went.

Day 1: 
Removed my make up with the wipes, enjoyed them.
My skin wasn't stinging like it does with my regular facial wipes.
Continued with my very harsh cleanse/tone/repair/moisturise routine.

Day 2:
Removed my make up with the wipes, enjoyed them again.
Grabbed another wipe and thought 'I could skip the cleanser if I make sure every trace of make up is gone.
Got giddy over my non-irritated skin and continued with my harsh tone/repair/moisturise routine.

Day 3:
Arrived home incredibly late and did one of the worst things I could ever do for my skin (so I thought).
Grabbed a face wipe, removed all my make up, grabbed another one, cleansed the skin. Lay down in bed for just to have a quick rest before washing my face properly - fell asleep...

Day 4: 
Woke up, realised what I had done and my heart sank at what I might see in the mirror that morning. With thoughts running through my head on just how bad it could be I touched my skin.. felt nothing..
Figured I must still be dreaming, stood up, went to the mirror.
Nothing. No red marks, nothing starting to rise under the skin, no irritation. Could this be what perfect skin looks like?

From then on I have had stars in my eyes and love in my heart for this product. 

For the past two years, even when I haven't had any active acne, I've had red marks or general dull skin without make up on. I've been constantly worried about what the next day might hold for my skin and what would happen if I skipped a night of cleansing/toning/repairing/moisturising.

It turns out that my skin isn't acne prone after all, it's just sensitive. It took two years to figure that one out.

The Yes to Cucumbers Facial Wipes are Alcohol-Free, Oil-Free, Hypoallergenic, Non-Comedogenic and suitable for sensitive skin. They're made with organic fruits and vegetables and are 98.7% natural. 

The wipes are biodegradable and FSC Certified so not only are you helping your skin, you're basically saving the world when you use them.

The wipes contain the worlds greatest vegetable garden: 

Aloe Vera which naturally heals, moisturises, soothes and refreshes with skin.

Green Tea which has antioxidant properties and fights off break outs while protecting skin cells from further damage.

Cucumbers to soothe, reduce inflammation and lightly tone the skin. Cucumber also gently dissolves all dead skin cells to leave your skin new and glowing.

I should note that 'Fragrance' is on the list of ingredients at the very bottom. I assume that it is a natural fragrance but if your skin is sensitive I would test them on a small patch of skin first.

They remove all traces of dirt, sweat and make up and leave the skin fresh and glowing. I use one to remove all make up and dirt, then another to cleanse the skin.

I am now on my third packet and am two months in to changing the way I treat my skin. If you have acne prone or sensitive skin I highly recommend giving these a try.

They're about $7 for 30 wipes (one packet lasts me about 3 weeks)

Animal Testing: Yes To (Including Yes To Cucumbers) does not test on animals.