Beauty Product Reviews

$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). Mascaras like Xlash can literally change your life, just saying.

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.

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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!

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Beauties and Foodies – Affordable Christmas present ideas

Not quite organised for Christmas yet?  Stuck for affordable Christmas present ideas? Keep reading!

Up until we sung Christmas carols at work yesterday I was totally in denial that it’s Christmas time (we don’t even have our decorations up yet at home!).  As a bit of a ‘last minute Charlie’ I’ve behaved slighly contra-personality this year and I finished the bulk of my Christmas present shopping by the end of November (go Lou, you polish that halo!). However, I’m starting to panic with the last few presents I need to buy as I’m totes stuck for (affordable) ideas (Note, If money were no object I’d be taking everyone on a holiday to a tropical island).  Unfortunately the people I have left to get pressies for aren’t into beauty or food  – and I’m stumped!  Anyhow, pondering this made me realise that I’ve got a bunch of good ideas for folk that ARE into beauty and food! (Disclaimer… I think they are good ideas)… So, if you are rushing around going “Oh shit, I need to do some Christmas shopping” and muttering swear words under your breath about what to buy, here’s a blog post that might help with shopping for any folk that are mad for all things beauty, or foodie.

I’ve put this blog post together based on gifts I’ve received that I’ve loved, or things I’m secretly lusting after!  Most things you should be able to buy locally, or online (if you get cracking, stat) and they won’t break the bank.  On the topic of price I’m getting endlessly frustrated at all the Christmas marketing suggesting you should remortgage your house and buy Dad a new 55″ TV, a $1000 food processor for Mum, or your best friend a $200 perfume. It’s the thought that counts, not the pricetag and I reckon the below options are both super thoughtful and not conducive to having your bum pucker at the cost.

Camembert Baker 

christmas present ideas

Cheese is, hands down, my favourite food.  I could give up all other dairy except cheese.  This Camembert Baking Pot therefore, was a perfect gift for me from Milly (my mother-in-law).  All you do is place a camembert in the pot, stab it slightly, put whatever seasonings (i.e. herbs) on it that you like and bake it for about 15 minutes (the pot comes with some recipes).  Hell,  keep it simple, add nothing and let the cheese speak for itself!   The result is hot, gooey, delicious cheesy goodness that’s the perfect accompaniment to crackers/fresh bread – and it’ll wow any visitors.  You can get these from specialist foodie shops (Hawke’s Bay folk get into TFE in Napier,  Rotorua folk Food Equipment on Hinemoa Street have these!). I have also spotted these in Spotlight.  Can’t get into the shops?  Buy online, there’s heaps of stockists,  just Google camembert baker NZ.  Price: NZ$30.

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector

christmas present ideas

I’ve bought this product so many times the Clarins’ lady at Farmers now asks me if I’m buying for myself or “is this another present?”. I’ve raved about this product here and here, so I’ll keep this short: It’ll be a winner. I got this for my bestie Rhonda for her birthday. She was pumped.  This is a winning product for a young lady (bit of luxe, spoil ’em), your sister/cousin/aunt, Mum, or Nana.  NZ$35 (don’t quote me!).  I like the colour 01  as I find it suits everyone, but there’s a bunch of other gorgeous colours, I just dare not deviate from what works!  Available at Farmers or your local Clarins stockist. (more…)

Keagan’s Pineapple Heads Review

My little guy, Keagan, is as much of a fan of the beauty aisle at the supermarket as I am. We spend ages sniffing shower gels and moisturisers to make sure we get just the right one and he loves trying out new products in the bathroom (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, eh?!).

So, when an email popped into my inbox from Pineapple Heads, offering my little guy the opportunity to try out some of their all natural skincare and haircare products for kids, I was in like Flynn. I’d been eyeing up Pineapple Head’s products for a while now and I was thinking about getting him some! So I knew Keagan would be all over this and, sure enough, when the package arrived he shot off to the bathroom to have a shower to give everything a good test run. 

Later, after a decent period of ‘testing’, I sat him down to get the download of the Pineapple Heads range so I could write up my blog post. But, nope, turns out we weren’t just doing a blog post, he wanted us to do a “proper review” to go on You Tube! He was so excited he even tidied his desk to be the backdrop for the clip.  So, I relented and I’m really proud of him:  I think he did a great job!  So, here it goes, over to you Keagan for your product reviewing debut!

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Flash eyelash serum – Review

Flash before and after
Flash eyelash serum. Yeah, it works.

I’ve been faffing around with eyelash extensions in recent months. I totally loved the dramatic eyelash effect, along with the time the extensions saved me in the morning (no more curling and applying mascara). But, there’s a downside: Repeated extensions played havoc with my eyelashes, which were left brittle, snapped and sparse.  Dammit.

I’d seen a few promo pics on Facebook for eyelash serums like Revitalash and LiLash but my bum, frankly, was puckering at their NZ$120+ price tag. Then, purely by chance, I spotted Flash Eyelash Serum at Rotorua’s Life Pharmacy and, this time, the $59 price made me smile. I was super hesitant and skeptical that the serum would really work, but curiosity, urged on being troubled by my short and snapped eyelashes, I thought “stuff it” and dubiously handed over my hard earned cash.  Note, I hadn’t even heard of Flash at this point, I was buying ‘cold’. I had read a few Nexter guides all about eyelash serums and the do’s and don’ts so I was ready when the product did arrive! (more…)

Art Deco High Performance Eyeshadow Stylo – Easy, Quick, Gorgeous

Art Deco High Performance Stylo reviewI thought about popping this Art Deco eyeshadow crayon in my upcoming September favourites blogpost, but, frankly, it’s so good, I know I won’t be able to keep it short enough for a favourites mention: So it gets it’s own blogpost. Yeah, it’s that good.

Whenever I’m in Farmers I feel a magnetic pull to the Art Deco stand, which, sadly, is usually tucked away somewhere out of the way. I say, sadly, as everything I’ve bought from Art Deco makes both my cheque account and I happy (there’s bargains galore) and yearning for more.

I spied this NZ$22 new release eyeshadow crayon in Wellington’s Cuba Street Farmers and promptly tried out all six colours on my arm. I thought “oooh these are pretty, but I don’t need one” until I asked the sales assistant for a tissue to remove my sparkly art work.  Holy crap: I couldn’t remove said art work and that’s when I had a change of heart. Simply, I realised, I needed one of these. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll be sick of hearing me bang on about my oily eyelids and the necessity for me to wear a decent eyeprimer. Well, these Art Deco High Performance Eyeshadow Stylos (crikey that’s a long name! I’m going to call it ‘the crayon’ from here) are the first eye product I’ve chanced upon that do not budge and, better still, do not require an eyeprimer as a base! This bad boy, applies super pigmented, sticks like concrete and doesn’t crease even after all day wear. What a winner!  I’ve got a feeling this product will come into it’s own in summer, I’m predicting it might stand up to swimming with my head under.

I have one grumble though – not all Farmers’ Art Deco stands are stocked with this goodness.  Rotorua Farmers, for example, doesn’t have them. I’m a bit dark about that.  Rest assured: They are worth trying to hunt down.

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For the love of: Zoeva Cocoa Blend eyeshadow palette

Palette Contains:  Bitter Start - Palest matte nude. Sweeter End - Shimmering duo chrome nougat. Warm Notes - Glittering cranberry purple. Subtle Blend - Metallic deep bronze. Beans Are White - Deep cocoa brown matte. Pure Ganache - Pure and luxurious metallic gold. Substitute For Love - Toffee brown with subtle shimmer. Freshly Toasted - Rich mahogany brown. Infusion - Matte dark brown infused with golden glitter. Delicate Acidity - Berry toned brown shimmer.
Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette It’s as good as it looks…

Let’s cut to the chase: A photo of the most gorgeous eyeshadow palette that I’ve ever seen, Zoeva’s newly released Cocoa Blend, popped up in my Facebook newsfeed, on Beauty Bay’s Facie page. So dazzled I was, that I inhaled, sharply, and my stomach did a lurch. “Sod it”, I thought.  “I’ve got to have it”. So, for the absolute bargain price of AUD$33.20 (NZ$36.90), thanks to Beauty Bay, this bad boy from German cosmetics company Zoeva, was mine within two weeks (free international shipping).  I had a feeling I needed to act FAST, this palette is a thing of such beauty I knew it would sell out fast. I’m right – it did: I’m feeling slightly smug at my trend-spotting abilities.  

Sadly, as I write this blog post it’s still out of stock on Beauty Bay, but keep checking lovelies, it’ll be back.  I want to get another one too as this eyeshadow palette is as every bit as good as I hoped. In fact, I’m hoping it comes back in stock soon as I want to get one for a friend’s ‘zero birthday’ that is looming.  Note: You can buy this online from Zoeva directly, but you’ll get whacked with EUR16.00 shipping fee (NZ$26). Ouch. Beauty Bay seems to be the way to go.

Luxurious is the first word that springs to mind when I look at this. Oh, and good enough to eat. In fact, when I’ve showed it off to friends they’ve thought it’s a bar of chocolate as it’s about the same size as a bar of chocolate from Whittaker’s new Artisan range, actually, the packaging ain’t that dissimilar either.  When you open it up, the word ‘chocolate’ is the next word that’ll pop into your head: The colours range from chocolate tones, to rose gold shades. (more…)