Beauty

Lou’s faves – August

I’ve had to work really hard to cull this list down to ‘just five’ products for Lou’s Faves – August. It’s been months since I did one of these posts (on account of my blogging holiday which was crucial to allow me to ‘defrag’). Subsequently there’s a bunch of stuff I’m itching to share with you – so restraint was required! Here’s what made the cull.

 Radiant Vivid Shimmer Brick – Makeup Revolution

Radiant Vivid Shimmer Brick - Makeup Revolution

Spoiler alert… This is headed for my Favourite products of 2016 blog post!

This shimmer brick was an impulse purchase back in June, while I was watching the Brexit drama unfold on the telly. After half a bottle of red to drown my sorrows (I’m first generation Kiwi, both my parents are Brits) I realised the value of the pound was falling plummeting against other currencies. This made it an opportune time to go shopping. Bloody ASOS had crashed, so I had a mini spend up (NZ$60) on Makeup Revolution’s website. Little did I know Beauty Bliss, here in En-zed, is a stockist. Opps.

I’ve often eyed up Bobbi Brown’s shimmer brick but the NZ$66 price tag makes my bum pucker, particularly as I don’t really need it. When I spotted Makeup Revolution’s  shimmer brick version, I thought it looked like a good dupe and, for $5.40 I was willing to give it a crack.

Oh. I’m so glad I got it.  I’ve worn the shimmer brick most days since it arrived and it’s seen my much loved MAC Soft & Gentle highlighter be banished to the back of my cupboard.  How do you wear it? There’s a few options. I generally sweep a small blush brush through all five shades on the compact and dust it lightly on my cheekbone, where the light usually hits the face. The result is a gorgeous glow and I look more alive (as opposed to knackered after six hours sleep which is all I get far too often). I also wear it just as a blush and, get this, as an eyeshadow. Yup, I pack the colour (a mix, or sometimes just one shade) all over my eyelids, on top of an eye primer. Next, I sweep a matt brown colour through my crease: Good to go!  Sorry, no picture of me wearing it, I can’t get a photo that does it justice. You’ll have to trust me! 

Tip:  If you have laughter lines/crows feet/wrinkles like me, make sure you pop this just on the cheekbones, not too high up under your eyes. Light sparkly products attract light – and attention…  I dunno about you: But I don’t want to be drawing extra attention to ‘dem lines.

I’ve got my eyes on this palette next from Makeup Revolution. (more…)

The Best Beauty Box Ever

Best beauty box ever reviewWhen I got an email from The Best Beauty Box Ever to ask me if I’d like to receive a complementary beauty box to review, I tried to play it cool, I really did…. Fail:  I was jumping with excitement and my email reply had a number of OTT exclamation marks. I actually said YES PLEASE!!!! in capital letters. I’m so uncool.  

I’ve had my Best Ever Beauty Box for nearly three weeks now and I’ve had the chance to give all of the products a jolly good test drive, Here’s my thoughts which are, as usual, honest and unbiased, albeit a bit too wordy. Sigh. 

Wait:  What the hell is a Beauty Box?

Ordinarily the concept with beauty boxes is that you sign up and, for a set fee each month, you receive a package of beauty products (which might be samples, or full sized products).  Usually you end up getting a bunch of products at a much lower cost than if you buy the products individually which can amount to a significant saving. I’ve been chomping at the bit to to try a beauty box. However I’ve been reluctant to commit on more than a one-off basis.  My reluctance also was because, often, you don’t know what products you are going to get.  But wait: The Best Beauty Box Ever is different! How so? (more…)

Lou’s Loves – Faves April

Lou Loves April Faves

Cough. April finished up a wee while ago…  Sorry about that!  Better late than never with my April faves blog post though, right?

Trilogy Age-Proof Nutrient Plus Firming Serum

trilogy age proof nutrient plus firming serum

Trilogy’s Age-Proof Nutrient Plus Firming Serum was an impulse purchase during Farmers Beauty Week. Usual story: My self-restraint sucks… The discount was too good to pass up.  Standing at the Trilogy stand I vaguely recalled my friend Kellie had been waxing lyrical about a product from Trilogy’s Age-Proof range, only I couldn’t remember which one. So, I got this one.   I’d heard nothing about this product, so I truly was flying blind.  

I’ve been using this bad boy morning and night (after toning and before moisturising) all over my face, neck and decolletage for about six weeks and I adore it.  Packed full of natural ingredients this is a lightweight serum that’s a nourishing pick-me-up for skin.  What ingredients? There’s natural skin brighteners like green tea, licorice and mulberry. These extracts help to even skin tone so your complexion appears more radiant.  You’ll also find  hyaluronic acid, known as nature’s ‘moisture magnet’, which is deeply moisturising and plumps the skin.  Trilogy, by the way, uses hyaluronic acid derived from a process involving the fermentation of wheat (that’s all getting a bit beyond me…).

The packaging alleges the serum will soften fine lines and wrinkles and I reckon it does just that. My face definitely looks plumper and softer when I’m wearing this, like it’s had a bit of an energy boost.  Usually when I look at my face in the mirror, stripped bare, I think “dear God”. Lately I’ve been looking in the mirror when my face is all nudie thinking that I look a little better.  Given I’m not using any new products in my beauty regime, it seems fair that this serum could be the culprit.   Importantly for me, as I wear this serum under my makeup during the day, it’s non-greasy and absorbs well. My makeup sits ‘sweet as’ on top of it.

A repeat purchase? You bettcha.  If you want a list of ingredients and the full product description, click here. 
Price: NZ$48.90 (I got it for less as it was on sale).   (more…)

$6.30?! Essence I love extreme volume mascara review – Hit or miss?

Essence i love extreme volume mascara reviewSo, there I am, at Easter, in Welly, at Farmers Cuba Street, having a debate with myself over the purchase of a $6.30 mascara.

“You don’t need it. You have several new tubes of mascara already” screamed penny-pinching Lou.  This is ‘new Lou’ who is keeping a steady eye on her ASB bank balance after commencing a new part-time job (a lifestyle ‘adjustment’ is currently underway).

“But it’s $6.30 you EGG!” yelled bargain-loving Lou. “You can’t buy it in Rotorua and you’ll regret it!” cautioned pragmatic, live-in-the-moment Lou.  Bargain-live-in-the-moment Lou won. I departed with a new mascara. 

So, a $6.30 mascara, hit or miss?  It must be said: I had low hopes.  I mean, seriously, I’m a mascara addict and I’ve been known to fork out close to $58 for a mascara (Lancome…. contented sigh) and declare “it’s worth every cent”. I’m a tough mascara customer. So, here’s my thoughts on the $6.30 jobbie…

Let’s back up the bus.

What mascara?  What’s the brand?  

The budget mascara in question is ‘I love Extreme Volume’ from European beauty giant Essence Cosmetics.  As a brand, Essence is a relative newcomer to NZ’s beauty shores.

Back to my mascara selection. There was lots of mascaras on the Essence stand. After some deliberation I narrowed my selection down to the waterproof formulas. I did an ‘eeny meeny miny moe’ to aid my selection.  

Why waterproof mascara?

I only ever wear waterproof mascara on account of two reasons.  Firstly, I have VERY oily eyelids and I can’t abide all the smudging that used to happen with non-waterproof mascara. Secondly, being an eyelash curling addict, normal mascara straightens out my eyelashes, whilst waterproof keeps the curl in place allllll day (learning this was a game changer).

My first impressions

My first impressions of this mascara was “Holy shit! That’s a big mascara wand”.  No joke, this has the biggest brush of any mascara I’ve ever used. Hence there’s a word of caution: If you have small eyes or are prone to getting mascara on your nose, in your hair, in your brows, or on your teeth (I’ve seen it all), stop reading. This probably isn’t the mascara for you.  If you have intermediate level-ninja mascara application skills, or are confident you are on the cusp of securing ninja status mascara skills, keep reading. (more…)

Essano Rosehip Cleanser and Body Lotion Review

Rosehip Essano reviewI’m a sucker for a new beauty range, noting that NZ made Essano’s Rosehip range isn’t that new, I’m just slow to the bandwagon! On a recent trip to Napier I did my usual: Visit the local supermarket and, damn: It was New World Beauty Week. Sigh. Clearly I was destined to purchase some beauty products. Deciding this was destiny, I puchased Essano Rosehip Cleanser and Body Lotion to see what all the fuss was about.

Fuss, you ask? I’ve read a lot of rave reviews, but I’m a sceptic: Beauty editors in magazines get sent freebies and subsequently rarely post anything less than rave reviews. Also, I’d read a lot of ravings from beauty bloggers and, upon closer investigation, I’d noted many of them had received a sample PR pack… This makes me a little suss and thus, I was a little reluctant to try Essano.

Having given Essano’s body lotion and facial cleanser a good ‘going over’ in the last three weeks, here’s the punchline:

I should have tried Essano sooner.

(more…)

Lou Loves – Faves February

That monthly blog post where I witter on about beauty and foodie goodness, i.e. Lou’s faves – for the month of February. On that note: HOLY CRAP! Where did February go?  I can’t decide if I’m rapt that with 1 March NZ has landed upon the start of autumn (rapt because I’m sick of hot and sticky sleepless nights) or sad that summer BBQs and wines on the deck with my friends will soon be coming to an end… Might as well roll with it I guess… There’s nothing I can do about it!

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara (waterproof)

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara review

You might recall I bought this Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara at the start of summer. I took a pic of me ‘wearing it’ (you know what I mean), whacked it on Facebook, used it a couple of times and decided it was, frankly, alright,  but nothing worth waxing lyrical about. I wasn’t enamored with the brush, it seemed to be designed so it wasn’t conducive to combing the lashes, mine ended up clumpy, in part because the product was so wet when first applied.  I detest a ‘super wet’ mascara.  So, with a sigh, I biffed the tube to the back of the third drawer down in my makeup trolley (LOL).  Later I read a few negative reviews about the product and was comforted that I wasn’t alone in deciding that this mascara didn’t stack up (for me, especially so, compared to my beloved, albeit pricey, Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes Mascara). Or so I thought.

Fast forward to early February and, dammit, my Doll Eyes mascara ran out.  I decided I couldn’t justify parting with $60 at the Lancome counter when there was a full brand new tube of Lash Sensational right under my nose. So, in a way, I was forced into giving it a decent test run. This is bloody fortunate as I’ve done a U-turn on my initial thoughts – I really like it! However, this comes with a caution: I’ve had a play around to make it work for me…

lash sensational mascara review

Remember I said the mascara applies wet on the lashes?  Well, I’ve helped the tube dry out slightly by wiping the excess product off on some tissue prior to use (wasteful, I know!). Good news: This has been the trick to not having the wand too wet and, consequently, the tube has slightly dried out. Why is this good? Now that it’s dried out a tad, Maybelline Lash Sensational delivers long spidery and thick looking lashes (at a sharp price).  No flaking, no smudging. Whoop.  Here’s a pic of it on my mug:

Maybelline Lash Sensational (and if you are wondering on my lips is a mix of two MAC lippies: Heroine and Up the Amp).
Maybelline Lash Sensational (and if you are wondering on my lips is a mix of two MAC lippies: Heroine and Up the Amp)

If, like me, you are an eyelash curling junkie, you’ll be pleased to hear that the waterproof formula keeps the curl in place (for this reason I only ever use waterproof mascara:  I know it’s a bastard to get off, but this job is EASY PEASY with coconut oil or Clinique Take the Day Off Balm!) .  

Executive Summary: I stand by previous declarations that Maybelline is the queen of inexpensive mascaras. Watch this space to see if I head back to the Lancome counter…  

Where to buy: Farmers, Kmart, pharmacies stocking Maybelline. Price: NZ$26.99.

(more…)

Lipidol Cleansing Face Oil Review

 If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know I’m obsessed with my nightly pre-cleansing routine. Pre-cleansing that is, to get rid of all ‘my face’, before embarking up on my regular skincare routine. I use either coconut oil or Clinique’s Take the Day Off Balm as my pre-cleanser before I launch into regular face cleansing (usually double cleansing!).

Well, in the interests of market research I’ve branched out to try some new  products.  On a trip to Farmers a wee while back, I stumbled across a rather modest looking stand from Lipidol.   I paused, intrigued, largely at the lack of prominent in-your-face signage and promptly discovered, thanks to some research on my phone, uncovered that the range is from Union Swisse, the makers of Bio-oil. Everything on the stand was $9.95: You know what a bargain hunter I am!   

lipidol cleansing face oil stand

There were six products to choose from:  Sunscreen Oil; Overnight Facial Oil, Cleansing Body Oil, Cleansing Facial Oil, After Shave Oil and After Shower Oil. $9.95? I wanted a piece of the action!

(more…)

Lou Loves – January Favourites

January 2016.  It’s been and GONE people!  Here’s a round up of good stuff that lit my internal happy fire last month. Not one to depart from my usual random style, here’s a scrummy squeaky cheese, a swoon inducing lipstick, a crash hot chick-lit read, a recipe that I’m super proud of (with a mini review chucked in) and a Facebook page that nearly causes me to wet my undies with the giggles (my bladder ain’t what it used to be after childbirth, sniff).

Waimata Haloumi cheese

Waimata Haloumi review nz

I can’t get enough of haloumi, aka ‘squeaky cheese’ and I’m careful to make sure there’s always a block in the fridge. I reckon it’s a transformational ingredient that can take something stock standard, like a leafy green salad, or an otherwise bland couscous salad, to a whole new culinary stratosphere.

Now simple, original haloumi is already the schizzle, so imagine my delight when I discovered Waimata had flavoured haloumi – three different kinds! There’s their usual traditional flavour, along with mint, chilli and cracked pepper. I’ve scoffed loads of all of them, except the cracked pepper, that’s potentially too gourmet for Rotorua, I can’t find it anywhere! My favourite is the chilli, or maybe the mint. Or maybe the chilli. Hell, they are both to die for.

Haloumi is great for frying or grilling, I adore the contrast of the squeaky crust and the smooth, creamy deliciousness inside. Haloumi is outstanding on any kind of salad (check out this beetroot quinoa dish with haloumi), however we are enjoying it best currently in this recipe.  I also used Waimata mint haloumi at our neighbourhood degustation in November as the first course (there were eight courses, I had a food coma for 48 hours afterwards and a hangover that lasted until Wednesday). Here I fried off the haloumi and piled it high with a olive/herb/sun-dried tomato concoction (yell out if you want the recipe, I’ll blog it). Heavenly delish and it looks flash – and it’s easy to chuck together, which is my kind of entertaining food.  Best of all, Waimata haloumi is affordable foodie fare, NZ$7 for 190g block.  I get mine at Countdown.

haloumi with herbs and olives
Waimata mint haloumi with a sun-dried tomato, cherry tomato, olive and herb topping. AMAZING!

That Day in June – By Martina Reilly

That day in June Martina Reilly reviewAh holidays. Here, I turn into an introvert, bury my nose in a book and it’s hard to get much dialogue out of me. Of all the great reads I devoured over my Christmas and New Year holiday, That Day in June, by Martina Reilly, is my standout top read. The plot centres around Max, a high-flying PR exec and Sandy, a runaway who lives on the streets. Every day Max brings Sandy a coffee, an act she looks forward to. Then one morning Max doesn’t show up, so Sandy sets out to find out what has happened to him. When she finds him, she discovers that he’s a broken man who has lost everything and, suddenly, the two of them have a lot more in common than they could ever have imagined.

This heart-warming and unusual love tale reeled me in right from the start and, being the nosey bugger that I am, I was hanging on the edge of my seat with curiousity to find out exactly what drove Sandy to leave home as a teenager, resulting in a life on the streets.  This read is best described as a slightly quirky chick lit. I enjoyed the alternating narrative: The story is told from both Max and Sandy’s point of view. Five stars. Get your tissues at the ready: I got the eye sweats (again, a newish development since I became a Mum!). (more…)