Beauty Product Reviews

The Skin Wardrobe Must Haves

My must-haves from The Skin Wardrobe? Good question!

It’s no secret that I have fallen, hook line and sinker, in love with The Skin Wardrobe, a Kiwi-owned business that imports Scandi Beauty.

To think this all started when The Skin Wardrobe Catherine got chatting to a mutual friend, Melissa at the school gates (thank for the intro Melissa!). Catherine subsequently reached out via Insta to say hi and ask if I’d like to try a blush brush! The rest is history. Fast forward, I own a substantial amount of the range (some gifted, some purchased myself). I reach for The Skin Wardrobe products on the daily.

Here’s my The Skin Wardrobe Must Haves…

Side note, I tried to pick my top 5 products, but couldn’t… So here are my top 11 instead.

the skin wardrobe must haves

MaketheMake Vitamin B Flawless Filter Foundation – Scrumdiddliumptious for normal, combo and oil skinned peeps, this medium to full coverage foundation applies with a matte finish. By God, it lasts all day.

How to apply? I reckon it’s best applied with the MaketheMake Sheer foundation brush (also a fave, keep reading) OR, a beauty blender.

Three tips: Take your time blending it in, this isn’t a foundation you can apply in 30 secs. Secondly, don’t judge how it looks straight off – this looks its best after a few mins: It settles magically into the skin. Thirdly, dry skin girls, drop some foundation onto the back of your hand and mix in one or two drops of facial oil – voila – perfection, you’ll get a lovey slightly dewy glow.

Another top tip, because I’m that excited about this foundation, on days when you just want a little bit of coverage, use a reduced amount of this foundation, add a drop of moisturizer, and mix: There’s your tinted moisturizer. You are welcome.   

For colour reference, I’m the colour N3 in summer and when I use fake tan in winter. Otherwise, my no tan, winter colour, is 2.5.

Edit: September 2021: I still love this foundation – but I’m now wearing The Omega Stick Foundation on the daily – it’s heavenly. 

the skin wardrobe must haves

MaketheMake Capric Face Palette (apricot)… Long story short, I can’t remember when I last used a different blush or highlighter. This is a multi-palette with three different shades and functions: Blurring or finishing powder, blush, and highlighter. For the blurring powder, use this after your foundation to set it in place. It has a slight glow to it – I love using this at night (I find that it doesn’t quite ‘lock’ my foundation in place for all-day wear, but she’s fab at night). The blush is divine. If you’ve watched my Insta in the last few months, it’s all I’ve worn. Note, I’ve tried the Berry palette, I much preferred the tone of the Apricot palette.

the skin wardrobe must haves

MaketheMake Capric Golden Bronzing Palette – I was gifted this, full disclaimer. It is stunning and rivals the Hourglass spendy (but gorg) bronzing palettes. I use the matt bronzer to contour and the one in the middle to bronze my cheekbones and on my forehead where I’d usually tan for a sun-kissed glow. This whole palette, incidentally, is stunning as an eyeshadow palette in its own right: Use the matt shade through your eye socket and blend the shit out of it. Then, run the glowy (middle) bronze colour all over your eyelid and pop some of the highlighter on the centre of your eyelid and on your brow bone. A bit of eyeliner, a lick of mascara, good to go!

Top tip: This palette will bring you back to life if you are hungover, so get it before Xmas and New Year. I have the shade deep, though I think I could equally have got the light one.

Lernberger Stafsing Toner Mist – This the second time I’ve purchased this bottle of glorious-ness. Oily skinned girls GET IN: I credit the niacinamide ingredient in helping me, finally, get on top of my oily skin! $60 well spent, which is a big claim, as this is at the upper end of what I like to spend on skincare.

This toner is so good, I bought a bottle for my teenage son to help get 14-year-old breakouts under control. I need to buy bottle number three shortly. Tip: You can also use this to set your makeup, or freshen-it up during the day.  

the skin wardrobe must haves
These look a bit manky. Just keepin’ it real with not-so-spotless makeup! LOL!

MaketheMake Niacinamide Soft Focus Primer – Disclaimer, this isn’t the best at helping keep my foundation on (I’m an oily skin girl that’s always battled with makeup sliding off). What I do love about this, however, is that it both blurs the pores slightly (I’ve got big ones, so I’m a good test) and it adds glow – which is fantastic on makeup clients with dry skin.

MaketheMake Hyaluronic Light Diffusing Highlighter – Turns out this has won a shit-tonne of awards. I can see why. It’s got fine light-reflecting (pearl, apparently) pigments, which leave a natural glowy finish. Dry skinned girls: Mix this in with your foundation, sit back and watch the magic happen! I apply this at the end of my makeup along the top of my cheekbones and in the inner corner of my eye, using my index finger to pat it in and blend.

Oh, I do love me a cream highlighter and this is, particularly if you have aging skin, a delight: Cream products are less harsh (long story short, I could write a whole new blog post on that topic!).

This Hyaluronic Light Diffusing Highlighter is every bit as good as my other fave highlighter, MAC Hush Cream Colour Base. Now, all that said, I don’t use this as much as I used to, coz… Read above.

Maria Akerberg Dual Cosmetic Pencil Sharpener – Best sharpener I’ve ever used. Sorry MAC. It’s got two holes – one for big pencils, one for your regular sized skinny numbers. It’s got German precision blades. Flash. This would be an outstanding Christmas stocking filler for a beauty lover who thinks they’ve got all the Beauty Things. Also, it’s only ten buckers.

MaketheMake Brushes: I’ve raved about these before: The Sheer Foundation Brush, Bronzing Brush and Sheer Blush Brush. They are my most reached for brushes: As a makeup artist and makeup junkie – I own a lot of makeup brushes, so this is quite the endorsement!

Maria Akerberg Hand Cream Beautiful – OMG. I’m an old lady writing a blog post that includes hand cream. This is simply wonderful.

the skin wardrobe must haves

MaketheMake Squalane Melting Foundation – Quite probably the most random beauty product, but a stunner. This is a versatile, buildable foundation that comes in a powder, but then melts into a silky cream on your skin for a natural, luminous finish. I use this to set my foundation on days when I want super full coverage, like a night out. I love that you can use it as a foundation – OR as a powder. In all honesty, I haven’t quite worked out how it works: But I love it. I’m the shade N3 (same as my foundation).

the skin wardrobe must haves

MaketheMake Vitamin C Soft Compact Bronzer – This is a foolproof, stunning bronzer. If you are new to makeup and think your skin could do with a bit of waking up – get this one. It’s golden, but not Trumpy orange. The result is an ‘alive’ sunkissed finish. Not sparkly,  it has more of a matte finish. I recommend this product to so many people. Why? Because it works for everyone. When I travel, I take this, I love the gigantic mirror: I can see my whole face. I apply this with the bronzing brush mentioned in number 6 above. You can also use a blush brush. I’m the colour SB2 as a point of reference.

I’d like to say “and that’s it”, but in all honesty, there are so many more products from The Skin Wardrobe that I think are must haves. So, this is just your starter list team! Sorry, not sorry. A notable mention, I think, is the Xlash Cosmetics eyelash serum. I’m three weeks in and think Magic Things are starting to happen, but I want to reserve judgment for six weeks: Which is usually when lash serum takes its full effect (Edit – September 2021, have patience with this, it takes a while, but it does happen).

Groan… I just realized I didn’t include the MaketheMake Concealer brush. Dammit, Janet.

See the problem with this range? It’s all epic!  There are just so many The Skin Wardrobe Must-Haves. What are your must haves from The Skin Wardrobe? Let me know!

Lastly, don’t forget I have a discount code you can use for The Skin Wardrobe purchases – Lou5 will hook you up with 5% discount. It all counts, right?

PS Here’s a photo of me wearing: The Flawless Filter Foundation, Golden Bronzing Palette, Capri apricot palette, and… a whole heap of other products!

the beauty foodie


My Mini Sephora USA Haul

Sephora mini haulWalking into Sephora at Houston’s at Galleria Mall a few weeks back took me back to being a Kiwi Kid in the late 1970s.  Remember when you scored $2 and you got to go to the dairy? All those lollies that were one and two cents? Remember the excitement? Well that’s the same feeling as I had at Sephora in Houston. Only now I’m an adult and am in ownership of a credit card. 

Back to Sephora: Where to look first? Here’s my thought process “Holy crap, they’ve got Anastasia Beverly Hills makeup. I can see Charlotte Tilbury. Is that Tarte? Is that a Dyson Hairdryer? Where’s the basket? Do they have Pillow Talk? Shit a brick. I’m going to need to prioritise”. I kid you not: My heart rate quickened.  But that’s OK: I was always going to do a mini haul. I’d SAVED for this.

So, after a lot of anticipation (and hours of research), I bought some goodies – arguably, not as many as you’d expect! I was adamant: I was only buying product we can’t get easily here in NZ. Besides, saving some dimes was mission critical so my savings would stretch to my new Madewell Medium Transport Tote and Michael Kors watch.

So, what did my mini Sephora haul look like? More importantly, after three solid weeks of research product usage, how am I feeling about the products? Stand by caller, keep reading. (more…)

Maybelline Burgundy Bar Palette Review

I caved in… I got a new eyeshadow palette.   This Burgundy Bar Palette from Maybelline is an exceptionally pretty looking eyeshadow palette. What can I say in defense? I’m an eyeshadow palette magpie and the autumnal hues spoke to me.

I hasten to add I certainly didn’t need Burgundy Bar, but you know, it passed the 72 hour test.

Side note: I got home and realised the palette has similar hues to my Urban Decay Naked Heat palette and I have several MAC and Makeup Geek eyeshadows that, on balance, are near enough dupes. Sigh.

Maybelline the burgundy bar review

Anyhoo, I now own Maybelline’s Burgundy Bar palette so, best I play around with it and share my thinking in an unbiased, non-sponsored review. Side rant, there aren’t enough of these unsponsored beauty posts doing the rounds at the moment. For clarity – I paid for this palette myself. It cost me NZ$33. (more…)

Bubble Fabulous Mouth Spa Review

Bubble Fabulous. It’s not a mouthwash. It’s a spa for your mouth.

Have I got your attention?! I hope so, as this new Kiwi product is going to be a sensation and I’m dying to tell you all about it.

Bubble Fabulous Mouth Spa Review

I love me a Kiwi made product and I get extraordinarily enthusiastic when a beauty or foodie Kiwi-made product comes my way accompanied with my favourite six words: “Would you like to try some?”

This is what happened late last year when I was contacted by Laura, fellow Kiwi girl and founder of Bubble Fabulous Mouth Spa. Wait up. Bubble say what? This is a spa for your mouth – note, NOT a mouth wash! Well, given I switched to black coffee last year and I’m paranoid about having stinky breath: I replied at lightning speed to Laura’s kind offer and said “Yes please!”

Let’s get my impressions out of the way quick smart: Bubble Fabulous rocks, literally: Because you can feel the mouth wash working because it bubbles on your tongue like pop rocks! Hubby and I have been using this system twice daily for three weeks: We are big fans and we’ll be purchasing this for sure when my current stash runs out! No more Listerine for us: We were users, though that said, the amount of chemicals in there makes me slightly anxious.

Before I get into the ‘how to’ deets, the backstory to Bubble Fabulous is a rather neat one, so let me indulge you. Usual story: Someone in the market spots a glaring gap in the market and, shock horror, does something about it (that’s why I’m not an entrepreneur: I lack follow through). Bubble Fabulous founder Laura is a registered oral health therapist (dental hygienist) with a background in design. She was disillusioned with traditional mouth washes, which work like mints: Masking the problem rather than getting to the root cause of it. Bubble Fabulous actually gets the nasty stuff (bacteria) out of your mouth, particularly the tongue. With that said, using this product does not in any way act as a substitute for a half-yearly (or yearly) thorough dental check up at your trusted dental offices in Colorado Springs (or at your place of residence), but it may just have your dentist marveling at your stellar oral hygiene routine! (more…)

Little Honey Self-Tan – Review

Little Honey self tan review

Little Honey self-tan. Heard of it? You should have. If not: You are missing out. How’s that for an intro?

First up – I have a positive beauty review. Yes, something nice to say! Loyal readers, don’t die of shock.

Background: Fake tan. It’s been a bit of an uphill journey to find one that works for me. Expanding on that a little, I do love a rather well known self-tanning mousse*, but I was keen to try something new, not least as the afore mentioned mousse has a list of chemicals that makes me slightly nervous. In the beauty sphere, in general, if there’s a plant based alternative that’s just as good AND IS PRICED RIGHT: I’ll use it.
Anyhoo, after the last self-tanning review I did (here) the lovely peeps at Little Honey sent me some of their goodness suggesting “It was about time I tried this”.  Yes, I agree, it was.

Incidentally, I’d read a number of rave reviews about Little Honey all over social media this time last year. I never tried it: To be honest I felt the price tag ($45 for their bronzing mist or $55 for the bronzing mist + application mitt) was a bit steep. You see, I get sick of  forking out for pricey-ish products that don’t deliver. Besides, I was put off that Little Honey was so frequently mentioned in my social media newsfeeds last year. You see, I’m such a cynic that my school of thought is when it looks too good to be true: It usually is. As an aside, I also dislike hype.  I still haven’t read 50 Shades.

Side note: I was SO keen to try Little Honey that, on 16 December last year I messaged them, cheekily, and asked if they’d like to send me some (I’ve never done that). They politely declined. Funny how things work out, LOL.

Anyway, with Little Honey’s Flawless Bronzing Kit finally in my hot little hands a few weeks back: I got excited.  I received a Bronzing Kit containing their Flawless Bronzing Mist  and a flawless blending glove. The latter claimed to deliver a streak free finish. Yeah, excited I was.

little honey self tan review
The Flawless Bronzing Kit. Nicked this photo from Little Honey’s website. Thanks Little Honey.


And I’m still excited. You see: This bronzing mist stuff is the SCHIZZ. That’s the executive summary. You need this stuff. It’s the best self-tan I’ve used.   At this point, I must extend my sincere apologies to all those influencers whose reviews of Little Honey I was so dubious about last year: You did know what you were talking about. Opps. (more…)

St Tropez Review Self Tanning Products Review

St Tropez Self Tanning Products ReviewSo, I’m right into fake tan, all tanning products for that matter. I’m a pale and pasty English/Irish girl  (albeit with some throwback French and Eastern European presenting itself) and, whilst  I’m fairly olive and tan up beautifully – I don’t ordinarily attempt to naturally tan: The sun scares the shit out of me (hello melanoma). So, I’ve taken it upon myself to frequently partake in stocking up my bathroom cupboards with tanning lotion goodies so I can do a DIY tan job. When St Tropez contacted me recently to ask if I’d like to try out some of their (newish) self tanning products to review, I was all over that like a rash. “I’m your girl”, I replied with gusto.

I got sent:

* St Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Tanning Lotion 200ml (Medium)
* St Tropez Gradual Tan Body Lotion Tinted 200ml
* St Tropez Instant Tan Face & Body Lotion Medium/Dark 100ml

I gave all of these self tanning products a good bash for a week and a half before penning (aka filming) my, erm, rather unfavourable thoughts. Here goes. Sigh. I hate being a Negative Nellie!  I’m really  (truly) grateful to be sent these self tanning products to review… I just didn’t think they worked – and I think there’s better products out there (for me at least).  

In the event (unlikely event, that is) that you are utterly inspired to try out these products after watching this… Head to Beauty Lounge, Farmers, Pharmacies and the like.   I’m not a newbie to St Tropez, a few summers back I used one of their self tanning products. Whilst I can’t remember what it was called, I do recall it was awesome, so it seems these three products I were went sent are a bit out of the box! Note, this is my opinion, I’m sure there are people out there who love these products. Simply… They didn’t work for me.

Oh, here’s the instant tan on my face – the before and after. Barely a difference, eh?

St Tropez Instant Tan

Primal Earth – Manly Skincare Review

primal earth skincare review
Shhh: I snuck into my neighbours’ garden to take this pic

I had high hopes about hubby reviewing these manly skincare products that he was (kindly) sent from Primal Earth

Yes, I had thoughts about us becoming #thebloggingdreamteam. You know, he could become a become a regular, manly blogging influence/contributor,  testing stuff then informing me with quality intel so we could write regular reviews of manly skincare.  You see, I reckon I spotted a gap in the market. Which NZ blogger is blogging about manly skincare?  Exactly. Nobody (or is there?).  Besides. The Boy’s ‘skincare’ video review of Pineapple Heads went down well, didn’t it?. Why not expand our options to have a wife/hubby duo this time? It’d be like a dream! I had lofty ambitions, dreams of seeing him review a number of products, from lotions and moisturizers to private label skin care products, and all else in between. It would have been perfect!

Alas, this is what happened…  (more…)