Thursday, March 29, 2018

My Dermalogica skincare routine!

**Sponsored content - Brought to you by Dermalogica**

As you might have realised by now, I love switching up my skincare regime to keep things interesting, both for my face and for the blog.  Sometimes that can cause things to go pear shaped in the skinular department, but most times, it's grand.  With a brand like Dermalogica though, I called in the big guns to help me figure out what products to test out, because when you're talking about products with active ingredients, a consultation with an expert therapist is a good place to start and I wanted to only try out products that were targeted to my skin and what I wanted to fix on my skin.  I met with Margaret from Nu Essence who I met millions of years ago when I first started the blog and if it's possible, she knows even more about skincare than she did then and looks even younger, which made me very excited to get stuck in.

We did a detailed Face Map where Margaret went through my skin concerns and recommended products suited to tackle 'em.  Now, it's fierce high tech these days and they email you the list of products to use along with when to use them and how often.  See?  And see that photo of me?  That was taken by me on the tablet and I couldn't figure out which end had the camera and I kept turning it off.  Yes.  That's supposed to be a photo of my face for the before shot...

I've had to refer to this a few times over the last month while getting to grips with it all but this is what I've been using!  I know... This kind of routine is a proper commitment and I've loved getting to grips with everything.  For the record, I'm 41, my skin is in decent shape and I've an oily t-zone.  I want brighter, firmer, healthier skin.  These products mightn't be what your skin needs, but I'll run through them anyway and if you're unsure as to what products you should try, your best bet is to meet with a therapist who can go through the products for your own skin type.

I've been using two cleansers.  Notions or what?  But both do different things, so hear me out.  The Dermalogica Age Smart Skin Resurfacing Cleanser is an exfoliating cleanser containing lactic acid which helps slough off dead skin cells, leaving you with smooth, resurfaced skin.  I use this three times a week at night and after every use, I can't get over how smooth my skin feels.  I love it!

I use the Dermalogica Essential Cleansing Solution in the morning as it both cleanses and conditions my skin before the war paint goes on.  I like a more gentle cleanser in the morning but also want something slightly rich so that my skin isn't stripped before my day has begun.  Ain't nobody got time for that.

The Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery with SPF50 is one of my favourite moisturisers containing sun protection that I've ever tried.  I've tried some in the past that haven't quite hit the moisture mark for me, but this gives hydration that lasts all day and sinks into my skin quickly too.  And SPF50?  Thanks very much altogether.  If you're someone who tends to forget to wear an SPF daily, then something like this is most definitely worth checking out and investing in.

Now if you're happy out with your current moisturiser, but want something that gives your skin a bit of a glow, that will smooth fine lines, will help keep your makeup in place all day and has SPF30 to boot, look no further than the Dermalogica Skin Perfect Primer SPF30.  This feels so lightweight on my skin and does a great job at evening out my blotchy complexion!

Before I hit the sack in the evenings, I've been using the Dermalogica Phyto Replenish Oil.  Ooh I love me some oils, especially at night and when used either on its own or mixed in with moisturiser, it helps to reinforce the skin's protective barrier.  I find that applying the oil on its own directly to my skin is a bit too much for every night, so twice a week I do that.  The rest of the time I mix a couple of drops into my moisturiser and that does the job perfectly.

You'll know I'm partial to a facial mist and the Dermalogica Antioxidant Hydramist is gorgeous.  It can be used under and over makeup, helping to repair any UV damage you might have, but shouldn't have if you've been using your SPF am I right!  I love how fine the mist is because there's nothing worse than getting ready for a soft mist of hydration and preparing yourself for that moment, only for a bottle to spit at you!  This is beautiful and I'm going to keep it in my fridge in the summer for days where I want a nice cool treat for my face.

I think I horrified poor Margaret when I told her I don't use eye cream regularly.... I know... But I've been using the Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Firm day and night and my fine lines and wrinkles don't know what to be doing with themselves!  The cream itself has a light silicon feel which helps almost fill in the fine lines and it has vitamins A, C and E helps speed up the skin's natural repair process and strengthens elasticity.  I need all of the strengthening because I spend loads of time laughing and I'm not planning on stopping anytime soon.

Finally we have the Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque.  Margaret recommended I use it three times weekly and that's what I've been doing.  I'd love to be that organised to use a mask in the morning, but no, that's never going to happen.  So in the evenings after I've cleansed, I apply a layer of this and have a scroll through Instagram as I let it do its work.  The ingredients help repair the skin's barrier while promoting healthy tissue regeneration and once I rinse it off, my skin feels plump and ready for my oil and moisturiser.  Happy days!

And that's what I've been doing to my skin for the last five weeks!  I've loved starting a whole new regime and am going to continue with everything because my skin is looking and feeling fabulous and that's only a few weeks into it.  I want even better results!

Have you tried any Dermalogica products?  What's your favourite one?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Things you should know about Jennifer Rock AKA The Skin Nerd

One of my favourite things about my whole blogging journey is the people I meet and I've met some truly amazing and inspirational women over the years.  I've learned so much from them and always feel empowered and motivated after having the chats.  So I thought I'd try something a bit different here on the blog and introduce you to some deadly bridies in my life.

I wanted to kick off this series with my friend Jennifer Rock.  Or Jen Rock.  Or J Rock as I like to call her.  Or The Skin Nerd.  She has a lorra lorra names and will answer to any and all.   Now, as I'm doing this introduction after writing the piece below, I'm going to warn you now.  It's gushy.  Not on purpose.  I just wrote what came into my head but there's gushing.  I'm changing the name of the blog to Lovely Gushy Bits.  Oh wait no.  That sounds weird.  And rude.  Ok bye.

This is Jen.  You mightn't recognise her without her onesie and trademark glasses but it's her.  Promise.  She's posing on our good side.  We have the same good side hence why we never take selfies when we're together!

Things you should know about Jen.

She is everywhere.
In the past year or so, every single actual physical time I apply a product on the back of my hand and rub it in, I smell it.  And as my hand gets closer to my nose for the smelling of the stuff, Jen teleports from wherever she is and appears beside me.  She knows I'm smelling the product.  She actually knows and says to me in my earholes "Karen, smells don't change cells" and I know Jen, I know.  And yet I cannot stop the smell of the things.  It's instinct!  And while I now know about the smells and the cells, the smells sometimes encourage me to use a product as it feels like a bit of a treat.  But it's ingrained in my head Jen.  When I write about a product and say it smells lovely, you appear as a hologram and smack me upside the head.

She wants us to feed the skin from within.
Now this is something I struggle with as de temps en temps (I'm feeling French a ce moment), my skin likes to be fed with chocolate and BBQ Hoola Hoops.  What can I say, the skin wants what the skin wants and sometimes a Wispa will only do.  But when I eat well and drink my water (I'm so bad at this right now lads, not gonna lie), I really do see and feel the difference in my skin.  She gave me skin supplements to try out and so I'm getting my act together and I'm going to properly feed the skin from within.

She's gotten me spritzing.
Spritz o'clock is a proper thing now thanks to Jen and while I thought I was only great doing my morning and afternoon routine, little did I know that all day spritzing can help give my skin a little extra somethin' somethin'.  I have a few on the go and love giving myself a spritz (or a soak, depending on how scaldy my skin is) and it gives me an excuse to step away from the computer screen for a bit.  I did a post on the ones I'm loving right now but am always on the hunt for new ones, so let me know what I should try next.

She has no notions.  Not even one.
I just love people who are self deprecating and don't have notions 11 and many a night, Jen and I will chat about which one of us is the biggest dirty looking eejit and I think we're on pretty level pegging right now.  Despite her life changing dramatically from being on her tobler a year ago and now she has a full team working with her and is a boss, she doesn't take it for granted and is always trying to make things better.  Better for the team, better for the clients, better for those who follow her online.  I don't know, it's just really refreshing to meet someone who eats, sleeps and properly breathes what she does, has laser focus and is just a deadly human hooman.

She knows her shit.
Sometimes when I'm watching her snaps or Instastories, I feel like I need to do a FAS course on life because her knowledge is incredible.  Her brain is like a sponge while mine is just spongey.  But what inspires me about her is that she has this need and want to learn all the time.  I always feel so lazy just reading a press release and have been trying to learn more about the things and the stuff, which leads me on to my final point...

She's writing a book!
Precisely seven months ago (I remember this because it was the night Matthew was born) Jen and I went for dinner for proper chats visage a visage and while the chatting and the eating (and the spilling of the food) was happening, I asked her when she was going to write a book.  See, while I do not have my shit together, I love thinking of things that others can do, but she was ahead of me and said it was in the works.  FYI Jen if you're reading this, I have more plans for you, not that you need any guidance or anything but as I am older and wiser, you have to listen to me.  You can preorder her book here and I've gotten mine in the hopes of becoming America's Next Top Skin Nerd Who Isn't Allowed To Talk About Smells Ok Bye.

She's got whopper things in the pipeline and the best part is, she's taking us along for the ride!

Ok, the gushing is over.  I have no gush left in me.  All I have left to say is that if you want a personalised online skin consultation with Jen and her Nerdettes, go to her website and your scaldy face will thank you later.  And then it can thank me for telling you to go there.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Review! Real Techniques Brush Crush Collection!

When is a brush almost too beautiful to use?  When it's one of the Real Techniques Brush Crush brushes!  These are very possibly the most gorgeous brushes ever to come through my door and while they're totally Instagrammable, sometimes products can be all glam and no action am I right?  So how did these fare?  Let me fill you in!

There are five brushes in the Brush Crush collecsh (that totally rolls off the tongue doesn't it?), each fluffier and more glittery than the last.  These are me in brush form... Birra gold to go with the pink and purple... Not able!

Right, lets look at them in detail shall we?  In the photo below, I'm going to work from left to right, starting with the Brush Crush Foundation Brush.  I love a really big brush to buff my foundation in and this one is stellar.  It's got tonnes of bristles, is densely packed at the base but there's lots of movement at the top of the brush, allowing the bristles to work the product into my skin quickly and evenly.  I've been reaching for this over my regular round topped kabuki brush and it was my instant favourite of the five.

Second from the left is the Brush Crush Powder Brush which is beautifully soft, has lots of movement in it and makes applying powder a doddle.  I find it both applies and blends in my bronzer quickly and I think that's a common theme with me and brushes.  Do the job well and do it quickly ok bye!

The middle brush is the Brush Crush Blush Brush (I can't even type that without getting tongue tied) and this was the surprise of the bunch for me.  I usually love a bigger blush brush, but this applies the product perfectly to my cheeks without feeling like I have to work at it more because it's a smaller brush.  I feel like Karima McKimmie when I use this and so far, I've not reached for my aul regular blush brushes.  I love it!

Next on the list is the Brush Crush Contour Brush and this is brilliant for carving out those cheekbones.  I have slight cheekbones myself, sometimes they just need a little encouragement to show themselves and that's where this comes in.  The bristles allow me to place the contour product where I want it and also allow me to buff it in too.  I can be precise with it and also diffuse the product out evenly.  This saves time and effort and that's what I need first thing in the morning - cheekbones and to leave the house on time thanks very much.

The final brush is the Brush Crush Fan Brush.  If you're someone who can go overboard with the highlight, then this might be a good addition to your collection because it doesn't pick up too much product at all.  If you're someone who likes a load of highlight, you'll want to give this a miss for the same reason.  I haven't been reaching for this one much at all and I've actually been using the blush brush for highlight over this.

And there we have it - the Blush Blush Blush Blush collection!  Ok that's what I call the collection in my mind because I keep getting tongue tied but it's a beautiful collection and with the exception of the fan brush, I've been using them solidly for the last few weeks.  It's the type of collection I'd like two of everything, one set for looking pretty on my desk and one set to use and get grubby!  Speaking of which, they've all washed well and I know I'm only a few weeks into using them but I've had no issues with losing bristles so far.

The Brush Crush collection is limited edition so if you see them and like the sound of them, pick 'em up.  I just had a google and so far I can see them on the Sam McCauley's website, four of them are on the McCabes website.  Happy shopping!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Pixi Eye Reflections Shadow Palette & Pixi Liquid Fairy Lights!

Last month I met up with the team from Pixi to see what's new for spring 2018 and while spring itself is NOWHERE to be seen, we have makeup to console us with.  They gave me some bit to play with and play with them I have!  I've been tormenting you with my chats of the Pixi LipLift Max in Peony Bloom in my last two videos on Youtube and I still love it so much.  It's a staple in my handbag and it's such an easy colour to wear.  It comes in five shades and I have two more on my list to try... Spending ban?  What spending ban!

The Pixi Eye Reflections Eyeshadow palette was made for fans of shimmers.  I love throwing a matte shade into my crease and then layering a couple of metallics onto the lids for an easy to wear daytime look and then for night time, a bit of liner, loads of mascara and I'm ready for my close up!

The palette houses 12 shades, and for my swatches below, I used my finger and found them to be buttery soft with minimal fall out.  When applying them with a brush though, the pigment didn't adhere to my brushes as much as I'd like so I've had to dampen my brushes or just use my fingers when applying them to get an even coverage.  Either way, that's not a dealbreaker for me because the shades are beautiful on, but it's worth noting.  And that's why I'll never buy a palette based on swatches with a finger and will never review a product based on back of the hand swatches!  You'll see the shadows in action below.  It's available from Marks and Spencer and Asos for around the €33 mark and if you love shimmers, you're going to love this.

I know this palette is meant to be full of shimmers, and it is, but I'd love for it to have had a couple of matte transition shades so I wouldn't have to reach for another palette.  I'm being picky, I know!  But it's a gorgeous palette and once I use my finger to apply the shadows, it's perfection.

They also gave me three of their Pixi Liquid Fairy Lights which are glittertastic!  I have the shades Crystalline (top), Passionlight (middle), and Barebrilliance (bottom) and at €20, they're great value.  They're packed full of shimmer and glitter and with the semi opaque base, I've been layering them on top of shadows rather than wearing them on their own because I don't like seeing skin under products like these.  They feel cool on the skin when first applied and I've been patting them into place with my finger and blending out the edges with a brush.  So far they've stayed in place on me but I want to test them on a night out and see how they fare!

For the look I did in my video, I applied my bronzer into my crease and then I used the gold shade, second row on the left, on the inner half of the lid, then used the shade under it, third row on the left, on the outer half of the lid.  I used the burgundy shade under the lower lashes and then applied Barebrilliance on the outer half of the lid for a bit of extra somethin' somethin'!  I used a black liner to add a bit more drama and lashed on a bit of mascara to complete the look.

I've loved trying out new makeup bits from Pixi after using their Glow Tonic for millions of years now!  I've been trying out some of their new skincare products recently and will report back on them soon, but for now, if you're thinking about trying Pixi makeup, go for it!

**The links in this post are affiliate links.  They don't affect how much you pay for a product and if you don't want to use them, no worries at all!  Just have a Google for the products yourself**

Friday, March 16, 2018

Incoming! L'Occitane Aqua Reotier range!

This morning, I had a very lovely start to my day in the form of meeting up with L'Occitane, one of my favourite brands for years now, to hear about their new skincare line, Aqua Reotier.  As it'll take me a while to trial this out, I thought an introductory post was in order to show you what's in the range, so you what you're looking for when you visit L'Occitane.

So Aqua Reotier, I'm not entirely sure how to pronounce Reotier, but as I butcher it, I like to think I sound very continental and French.  The Reotier spring contains magnesium and is said to be ten times richer in calcium than other French thermal waters.  Calcium helps maintain the skin's barrier and helps it retain its natural moisture.  Now I need all the calcium I can get because this cold weather is playing havoc on my poor scaldy face!

The range has a really good price point and is a great entry to L'Occitane if you're new to the brand.  I know that the cost of their skincare can be a bit eye watering, but this is a good place to start.  Especially if your skin is lacking in moisture and hydration!

The Water Gel Cleanser (€19) transforms from a gel to a lather, promising to leave skin squeaky clean without drying it out.  I'm a big fan of L'Occitane cleansers anyway so this is one I'll be testing out very soon and comparing it to the other ones in my stash.

The range has two moisturisers, the Ultra Thirst-Quenching Gel and Ultra Thirst-Quenching Cream, both €29.  The gel is aimed at those with normal to combination skin, and the cream gives normal to dry skin that extra bit of hydration.  Now I'll be using the gel in the mornings as I tend to go for a lighter moisturiser for day time but like something a bit richer at night.  That's when I'll use the cream.  They contain hyaluronic acid, glycerine and of course the calcium-rich Reotier water, all working together to give our skin all the moisture.  All of it!

Now, if you want to add an extra step to your skincare routine, then the Moisture Prep Essence (€24) is worth checking out.  Essences have become a proper "thing" over the last couple of years and they're a step between cleansing and moisturising, promising to prep the skin and make your moisturiser work even better.

And finally, what skincare range containing thermal spring water would be complete without a mist!  The Fresh Moisturising Mist €14 mixes the Reotier water with hyaluronic acid meaning you can lash it on throughout the day and give your skin a bit of a hydration boost when needed.  I love an aul mist  and can't wait to add this one to the collection!

The range launches in April and by then I'll have tested it out properly.  But for now, this was to whet your appetite and show you what's coming from L'Occitane soon!  Are you intrigued?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Penneys PS... Nudes 28 shade eyeshadow palette review & two looks!

Last month Penneys launched their Nude collection and I'm not going to lie, the collection was made for Instagram in all its pinky goodness, and I've finally gotten to play with some of the bits!  Now I got my hands on some of the products after the EPIC event and I'm lucky because every time I've gone into Penneys, the majority of the collection has been sold out.  The piece that spoke to me as only a makeup product can to a makeup lover, was the Nudes 28 shade eyeshadow palette, priced at a tres reasonable €10.

With a mix of warm and cool tones, mattes, satins and shimmers, it has a really good selection of shades for such a massive palette.  Like with most palettes I use, I tend to favour certain shades, generally the warm mattes and shimmers, and the richer more jewel tones, so those are the shadows I've been testing out.  I haven't had use for the lighter shades yet, but I'm going to go outside of my comfort zone and see what I can create with it.

I haven't done an aul step by step tutorial in a while so thought I'd show you the palette in action so you could see what kind of looks you can do yourself.  As I always say, I'm no makeup artist and just do things my way, creating easy wearable looks but by all means go wild with your shadows!

I didn't use a primer with these just so I could see how they applied directly to the skin and how they blended.  There was a bit of fall out when I dabbed my blending brushes into the mattes, but nothing too messy.  I've had way more expensive palettes kick up more of a storm.  Speaking of the mattes, I was honestly so impressed with them.  The shades I tried had no patchiness, blended easily and had great colour payoff.  With the shimmers, I found that the best way to apply them was with my finger.  With brushes, the pigment didn't apply as opaquely as I'd like and while it looked like my brush had a load of product on it, it didn't transfer to my lids.  But if I dampened the brush, that definitely helped.  For handiness though, a finger did the job perfectly.  It's the same with the gold shade in my Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita palette.  Fingers all the way!

I did two looks, a warm neutral and a bit of a smokey eye, both took minutes and I love how they turned out!  For the neutral look, I remembered to take photos of which shadows I used.  For the smokey look, I totally forget.  I got caught up in it all! Let's have a look shall we?

For the smokey look, I was dying to play with the bronze shimmer shade in the middle of the bottom row, but when I applied it, I just wanted a bit more oomph and I took a notion to apply the shimmery burgundy shade on top of it.  I just love how green my eyes look when I wear shades like that.  Again, I used my finger to apply it for an even layer.

For a tenner, this is a pretty nifty eyeshadow palette and I'm looking forward to seeing if I manage to create any other looks with it apart from these two.  What can I say, I'm not that creative and like to stick to what I know and what I can do!

The Nudes collection is in Penneys now and if you see this palette and like the look of it, then pick it up because I keep seeing posts from people online saying they can't find it.  I'm going to try out the other bits from the Nudes collection and shall report back tout suite!  Have you tried anything from the Nudes range?  What should I try next?

Monday, March 12, 2018

YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Luxurious Mascara - a deadly high end mascara!

Mascaras, they're my favourite things to blog about month after month and in my 7 plus years of writing about them, I've only ever had a handful of high end ones that have really knocked my socks off.  See I'm a budget mascara lover and have found some truly amazing ones over the years.  Amazing enough to stop me from being tempted to shell out the big bucks, but sometimes... Sometimes the stars align and I find an absolute gem that sweeps me off my feet and makes me want to buy a backup even after only using it for a couple of weeks!  The very long named YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Luxurious Mascara was a gift from the YSL team before Christmas and I found it when doing a clear out a few weeks ago.

Now, I've been telling everyone on social media that it's the Faux Cils mascara but this is a different variation.  As far as I can understand, the regular Faux Cils mascara has a black logo on the front of the tube whereas this one has a gold and silver one, so if you're thinking about getting it, make sure you get this one!  I've not tried the original Faux Cils so I don't know if it's any good.  This one however, speaks for itself.  Lookit.

Are you even able?  The answer is no.  No I am not able.  That's with one coat and it's literally everything I love about a mascara.  The formula has four sensuous oils in it and sure who doesn't want sensuous lashes of a Monday?  It doesn't feel crispy or heavy on the lashes and coats them easily.  It gives lift, volume, definition, separation and it's been my go to mascara of choice and will be until it dries out.  It doesn't smudge or flake on me and comes off easily with a micellar water or cleanser.

As I'm 'scustin, I've had the need to apply a second coat when heading out after work and can confirm that the second coat goes on very easily, a good ten hours after applying the first coat!

Now, the price.  It's €31.20 on Feel Unique (affiliate link) or €32.50 on Debenhams (affiliate link).  I know, that's fierce spendy, but I honestly think it's worth the price.  I'll 100% be repurchasing it when I use this up and remember, keep an eye on the logo so you get this one and not the original!


Monday, March 5, 2018

e.l.f. Skincare launches in Penneys Ireland today! #sp

Last year, e.l.f. launched their makeup range here in Ireland and the beauty obsessives among us (mainly me), rejoiced!  Until then, we had to try and order things online, unswatched and untested but we made do and since then. e.l.f. makeup has been going from strength to strength.  But now....  Now they've only gone and launched their hydration skincare range which hits Penneys stands from today!  I'll keep you posted if they get more stockists and I'll list the Penneys stores that are kicking off the range at the bottom of the post.

I've been testing out the range for the last few weeks and this post is for those who might be standing at the e.l.f. stand in a Penneys, wondering which product to buy!  I'll start off by saying that all e.l.f. products are vegan and cruelty free and the e.l.f. skincare products are free from parabens, sulfates and phthalates and the prices range from €5.75 to €17.25, so budget friendly all round.

Cleanser & Exfoliators

The Daily Face Cleanser (€5.75) is lovely and gentle on my skin and while it can be used to remove makeup along with dirt and impurities, I've been using it to double cleanse.  I don't use it on my eyes, but for the rest of my face, two rounds with this both gets rid of the war paint and cleanses my skin leaving it soft and spotless!  It's got a really thick consistency, so make sure to loosen it up with lots of water to get it going, or else it'll just slide off your face.

The Exfoliating Scrub (€6.90) has been quite a surprise for me!  I don't use physical exfoliants that often as they can be too harsh on my skin, but I've been using this once a week when I want to feel like my skin has had a good clean but without stripping it.  This is infused with purified water and vitamin E and even my Mam used it the other day and asked me to feel how soft her skin was!  Lovely Mammy Bits approved!

Now, if exfoliating scrubs aren't your thing, how does the Gentle Peeling Exfoliant sound?  It's €12.65 and I've never come across anything like it so far.  This goes on to dry skin and as I massage it into my face, ingredients in the gel mixes with the oils on my skin causing the product to ball up which then helps remove dead skin cells.  The first time I tried it, I did not know this and thought all my skin was coming off!  But no, it's much more gentle than that and while you don't necessarily peel the product off your skin, it's more of a physical scrub, but less abrasive.  I love it!

Masks & tools

There are three masks in the range along with the Pore Refining Brush and Mask Tool (€6.90).  For years I've been using flat foundation brushes to apply my masks as there's a bit less waste that way and now this tool makes life even easier because there's less mess, even less waste and less cleaning up after I use it.  The flat silicon end applies the product and the other end works the product into the pores, the nooks and crannies of the face.  I'm all about gadgets and this one is fab.

The Hydrating Bubble Mask is the most expensive product in the range at €17.25 and the most craic to use!  It goes on as a gel and then the bubbles start to appear which remove excess dirt and cleanse the pores.  I usually leave it on for 10 minutes or so, trying to resist the urge to scratch my face as the bubbles tickle, before massaging the mask into my skin and then rinsing it off.  I love bubble masks like this where the bubbles themselves are directly on your skin rather than having a sheet mask which has the bubbles on the mask and not your face.  This is very satisfying to watch as your face becomes fluffy and white as the minutes pass and because products that foam like this tend to dry out my skin a bit, I immediately follow this with a moisturiser - more on that later.

The Hydrating Gel Mask (€14.95) is a beautiful cooling mask that leaves my skin baby soft after I use it.  This is infused with purified water, aloe, coconut and chia seed and while it's got a thicker, more balmy texture, it melts onto the skin easily and my face drinks this stuff up.  I usually apply a thin enough layer with the tool above, go about my business for a little while and let the magic happen.

Finally, the most intriguing mask of them all, the Moisturising Sleeping Mask (€13.80)!  I'm obsessed with this and I love the idea of this doing all the hard work while I'm conked out for the night!  Again, this is infused with purified water, aloe, vitamin E and jojoba and I've already decided I want to bring this on holidays with me to help soothe and nourish my skin after being out in the sun.  It has a lightweight texture that sinks into my skin quickly, so I can conk out when my head hits the pillow and let this do its job!

Now, the Prep & Hydrate Balm (€10.35) is one of those handy, travel friendly products and I've not tried anything like it before.  Usually my primers come in a tube or a bottle, but stick form is great for keeping in your makeup bag.  This little guy is infused with shea butter, cocoa, aloe and grape to hydrate the skin and because I've got an oily t-zone, I've been mainly using it on my cheeks because my nose and forehead doesn't need any extra hydration.  I spend my time trying to keep them matte!  So if your skin is on the oilier side, this might not be for you.  Those with dryer skins though might like a bit of extra hydration in a primer.  But don't feel like you have to lash it on all over your face and because you can't see where you've applied it, I'd advise to apply a few strokes onto your face, then pat it in and then add more if need be rather than adding too much.  Keep it to the bits that you think need a bit of extra something something.

I apply the balm directly to the skin from the stick and allow it to sink in before applying my makeup.  It starts off feeling wet and it doesn't drag or tug as I apply and after a couple of minutes, it starts to dry and go a bit tacky on my skin, perfect for makeup application.  I've tried it with a couple of my foundations and they've applied evenly over the top.

I always forget to use eye creams and have been making a concerted effort to apply the Illuminating Eye Cream (€13.25) every day and night.  It feels really cooling on application, sinks into the skin quickly and with the cucumber, jojoba and vitamin E, it's been doing a great job of nourishing and hydrating my delicate and scaldy eyes these days.  I don't need much of it as a little goes a long way, but I do apply a little extra at night, just because!

Finally we have the Daily Hydration Moisturiser (€10.35) which I absolutely love and so does my skin!  A couple of pumps of this non greasy moisturiser with SPF 15 leaves my skin feeling soft and plump, it absorbs quickly meaning I don't have to wait for ages to lash on my foundation.  It's enriched with vitamin E, grape and citrus fruit extract and really does do a stellar job of locking in moisture on my skin.  This was the first product I tried in the range and the one that impressed me immediately!

If you're looking to start a new skincare routine, you don't want to break the bank, and hydration is a must have for your skin, there are some really fantastic products in the e.l.f. range.  Right now it's exclusive to the following Penneys stores but as I said earlier, I'll update you if they add more stockists!

Dublin - Penneys Dundrum, Blanchardstown, Mary Street, O'Connell Street
Cork - Penneys Patrick Street, Wilton Shopping Centre
Waterford - Penneys Waterford City
Limerick - Penneys O'Connell Street

Friday, March 2, 2018

L'Occitane One Minute Hand Scrub review!

I'm pretty good at using hand creams and when L'Occitane sent me (Mam) the Intensive Hand Balm last year, I (Mam) have been using it regularly.  Ok, she took ownership of it and keeps it on the arm of the couch so in the evenings when she's watching her programmes, she can slather it on.  They sent me (just me) another one a few weeks ago and I've been slathering like a good thing.

I don't really wear gloves in the cold weather.  I know.  I forget to put them on while I'm legging it out the door and it's only when I get to the train and have to hold on to the poles that I realise gloves would've been a good idea.  So most days in the freezing weather, my scaldy hands are hidden by the sleeves of my jacket.  And that's why for the past few weeks, I've been making a conscious effort to look after them properly, amping up the hand care big time with these two products.

Now, of all the beauty products I've tried over the years, I've never tried a hand scrub.  The L'Occitane One Minute Hand Scrub has 10% shea butter, apricot oil to help soften the skin and is infused with crushed husks from shea nuts.  It's got the balance of creaminess and scrubbiness and when I apply it to dry hands, I take a minute or two to really work it into my skin and at this point it usually feels really dry.  After the little hand massage I give myself, I loosen up the product with a bit of water and scrub my hands a bit more before rinsing them off and towel drying them.  It's at that point where I usually take a second to comment to myself like a weirdo, just how soft my hands are.  And then I lash on some of the Intensive Hand Balm and sit like the Queen of Sheba while it dries in.  That usually takes a couple of minutes and my hands are left feeling soft, nourished and smelling gorgeous.

Now, both of these can be left on a bit longer as a mask, so if you're feeling like a proper pamper session is in order, leave the One Minute Hand Scrub on for 3 minutes and then exfoliate your hands. The Intensive Hand Balm can be applied in a thick layer for 10 minutes before massaging in the excess.  That sounds like the perfect excuse to relax and not be able to do anything due to all the things on the hands!

L'Occitane's One Minute Hand Scrub is €19 and the Shea Intensive Hand Balm is €26.  I think this is a pretty good gift idea for Mother's Day!  

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