September Favourites

(coloured text are links to original reviews)
I just did a review about it in my last post, so I keep it short. It turns out the hype around it is justified. It makes my hair feel quite silky and it's moisturising enough to keep my ends in shape. The bubble gums scent is fantastic as well. It's a great drugstore find, even though the price is too high in this part of Europe compared to what the pay for it in the USA. 

The peach bubble gum scent of this shower gel is just amazing. It's become one of my favourite shower products ever. 

Coconut Oil
The key word is versatility when it comes to oils. The fact it's solid at room temperature is something I consider a plus since it makes it easier to use, at least for me. I use it as a makeup remover, face and body moisturiser, pre-wash treatment for my hair as well as for treating dry ends. And it smells so good. 

Refan n.22 - Imitation of Boss Nuit Pour Femme (Hugo Boss)
Such a lovely everyday scent - grown up and yes, a bit generic (just a typical Hugo Boss fragrance). It starts with a fantastic proper peach bust and then the scent evolves into a more flowery fragrance (white flowers) with some sandalwood. It ends up smelling a bit like fabric softener, but an expensive kind. I'd describe it as the perfect everyday, office scent. Not offensive, doesn't really stand out, but it's really nice. Gaga's Fame and this are my absolute favourite scents right now.
It's a spot on dupe for the original (I checked) as all Refan fragrances I've tried so far. The lasting power is fantastic such a scent with no strong base note like vanilla or amber and it's neither too strong nor too weak, but just right.

Colour-wise it's nothing new in my collection, though the colour is one of my favourites: a beautiful pink-coral. What impressed me most is the formula which is such a pleasure to use. I wish every nail polish were like that.

Autumn is a great time for dark lipstick colours and a deep berry shade like Berry Me Home is just perfect for this time of year. The formula is one of the best in my collection, too bad it was a LE, but I did just purchase Rimmel's matte lipstick in 107, which is in the same colour family. 

Mac Wedge Eyeshadow
I neglect this little gem far too much. It's the perfect what I call an "imitating shadow" colour for contouring. However, I just use all over the lid with Maybelline Color Tatoo in Permanent Taupe underneath and it's the perfect everyday look. I wore this combo on my thesis presentation. By the way, it's a very similar colour to the shade Naked in UD's Naked Palette.

S Budget Tights in Skin 20 Den
Ok, I admit it's a bit random and also odd to put in a post, but I genuinely love them. I finally found the perfect colour of tights for me, they literally completely match my skin (I'm super pale, about NC 15). My mom even though I'm not wearing anything and that my legs just look that good. I don't like wearing darker tights (tan colour) than my natural skintone because it looks weird, so I just wear black ones, but these are perfect. Best part is that they are so cheap, about 1.5€ for two pairs. But the sizes are so hard to find, they only had bigger sizes, but it was still fine, even though I'm super petite. They are sold in Spars and Interspars.

Have a great day!

Worth the Hype? Aussie and Macadamia

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor Deep Conditioner and Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair mask are both highly recommended by so many. As a hair care junkie, I first became familiar with the famous Aussie 3 Minute Miracle through Makeup Alley, where it's been holding an impressive total score for ages. Macadamia became popular in the past couple of years and it's a favourite of many bloggers. After trying both and having them for several months, I can say I've been impressed by one and sadly disappointed by the other. 

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor Deep Conditioner

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle is very popular abroad, particularly USA where it's already sold in a new purple packaging. The first time I used it, I wasn't impressed at all. I even expressed my disappointment in this post, so I put in on a shelf and didn't use it for a while. But I gave it another shot and this time I was quite impressed. It left my hair feeling really soft and nourished, it was a similar result as if using a high-end mask. I don't know why it didn't work the first time, but now I really like it. The packaging is quite awesome, no screw off or flip lids, just squeeze and the product comes out. The scent is amazing and quite strong - it smells like Hubba-Bubba fruit fantasy bubble gum tape. The texture is quite unique as well, medium thickness gel-cream hybrid. Honestly, I find 3 minutes a bit ambitious, so I leave it on for about an hour as any other conditioner/mask before rinsing it off (but that's just me). The scent lasts well even on my hair, the effect of the conditioner lasts a few days and my ends looked surprisingly well for quite a while. I've been using it most out of my conditioners in the past month (and I have a lot of them, so that tells something). I got Aussie a few months ago from Croatia  for 9 €/70 kn, which is expensive compared to how little it costs in the USA.
By the way, still no sign Aussie will be available in Slovenia. I guess they're using the same stupid excuse as for not selling Bourjouis creme blushes. I've been told by my reader they stated that apparently cream blushes "don't sell well in our country".

I've done a detailed review on Macadamia mask months ago (here) and even then I expressed my dissatisfaction with it. Yet, I kept trying to like it and used it every now and then to see if it finally works for me. But last week, when I used it again, the state it left my hair in was the last drop. My ends were ridiculous dry and straw like, so I'm done with it. I gave it to my other family members to use it, maybe one of them will like it. I'm quite angry because it's not exactly cheap (I got 250 ml size for about 22€). It might just be my hair, since it's odd that so many people would rave about it for no reason, but in my opinion it's not worth the hype. The Healing oil from this brand is great, though.

Have a great day!

Coral Nail Polishes

Something for the nail polish lovers today - a comparison of three coral shades: Bourjois 10 Days in 25, Essie Cute as a Button and Catrice 20 Meet me at Coral Island. Cute as a Button was on my wishlist for ages, but I felt reluctant paying 10€ for a nail polish in a local drugstore (and there is a nail polish shipping ban for airmail). I was told these three were dupes, so I first picked up Bourjois 25 and later because I wasn't impressed by the formula, I bought Meet me at Coral Island. Since none of the two's formulas knocked my socks off, I finally took the plunge and bought Essie. Honestly, I should have just gone for it first.

Colour: Compared to Cute as a Button, Bourjois 25 is close, but pinker and less vibrant. Meet me at Coral Island is more coral.
This is the best representation of all shades, at least on my Samsung screen. I had such difficulties taking this picture, they all looked the same in most pictures and it took a while to find the right lighting:

However, unless you look closely, you won't see much difference, especially between Cute as a Button and 25 when indoors, while Catrice is a more orange coral and therefore my least favourite.

Formula: Essie wins hands down. It's such a pleasure use, one coat is almost enough for full coverage, no streaks and it has the best brush. Bourjois and Catrice both have a more annoying formula to work with, need two coats because of the gaps and streaks and I dislike the brush of Bourjois.

Here are Essie Cute as a Button and Catrice 20 Meet me at Coral Island individually:

You obviously don't need all three unless you really like corals. In my experience Essie is best, with best formula and brush, so don't be sorry to spend a bit more because it is a pleasure to use. All three are close, but not quite dupes in my opinion, especially Meet me at Coral Island.
Catrice Meet me at Coral Island 2.69 €, Bourjois 10 Days 25 6.49 €, Essie Cute as a Button 9.95 €.

Hope this was helpful and have a great day!

Cleansers Comparison: Balance Me, Clarins, L'Occitane, Liz Earle and Dove

It's all about cleansers today. I have a selection of five that I've been using/testing in the past months, so this post was long in the making. You can find a review of another lovely cleanser that didn't include because the post would be too long here -> L'Oreal Skin Perfection 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil

Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel

Texture: Pure Melt has such a unique texture that starts off as a thick gel which when massaged into the skin turns into a thick oil and when water is added it emulsifies. You can see all three steps on the picture. The concept is a bit similar to the L'Oreal's Skin Perfection 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil, but Clarins Pure Melt is much, much thicker.

Performance: It does the best job at removing make up, especially when it comes to waterproof mascara (it is an oil based cleanser after all). There is a slight filter left when just rinsed off with water, so I prefer using a washcloth to completely remove it. As most oil-based cleansers it makes my vision very cloudy.

Scent: A nice pharmacy type of scent and very pleasant.

Price: My 50 ml tube was 12€ on eBay. The price of full size (125 ml) on Clarins' website is 33$ (24€).

Verdict: I like it because it removes makeup very well and has a unique texture, however, my skin didn't look as good as when I used other cleansers and my forehead became bumpy again. The cloudy vision bothers me a bit as well.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
Texture: A rich, thick cream that is easy to massage into the skin.

Performance: It removes most of the makeup, even waterproof mascara, but only if I'm not wearing a lot of it. Thicker coats of mascara just pose to much of a challenge for it. The muslin cloth that comes with it is a much better quality than the one with Balance Me cleansers, but I still prefer washcloths.

Scent: Minty and very similar to Airways bubble gums. Not particularly strong, but noticeable.

Price: 100 ml starter kit 17.75€ on Liz Earle site (plus delivery for Europe 7.25€, rest of the world a whooping 22€. Seriously, why? Though, I hear they have excellent service, include generous samples and super pretty bags).

Verdict: This is my second favourite so far. It feels luxurious and removes makeup nicely (I still use a separate eye makeup remover), however, my skin doesn't look as nice as when I use Balance Me. I love the mint green packaging.

L'Occitane Brightening Cleansing Foam
Texture: I generally dislike foams, because they feel so watery and leave my skin dry, but this one was a pleasant surprise. It's so soft and almost creamy, quite a luxury to use. Ingredients here.

Performance: It's quite a gentle and comfortable cleanser. It doesn't take off all of the makeup, but I find it nice for the morning cleanse. It leaves my skin nice and fresh without getting tight after a few minutes.

Scent: Strong floral, like wildflowers. I'm not a massive fan of it, but it's not unpleasant.

Price: 50 ml 9.20€, full size 150 ml about 20€, eco refill 300ml 28.50€

Verdict: Nice for mornings (or nights after you've removed the makeup), but the scent is too strong and even after months I haven't got used to it. Still, it is my favourite foam cleanser and I would consider repurchasing it to continue using it as a morning cleanser.

Dove Pure & Sensitive Beauty Cream Bar 
Texture: The same creamy bar feel of the regular Dove soap. These are my favourite bar soaps.

Performance: This is pretty hyped up on MUA, so when I saw this version in DM I didn't hesitate to buy it. It's so easy to use, gentle, doesn't irritate my eyes and doesn't leave my skin too stripped, however, the next day I noticed a dry patch on my nose. I used it a few more times, but then stopped, because it turned out to be too drying for my skin. I also noticed my skin started getting oilier.

Scent: Unscented, but if I really put my nose to it an almost non-existent typical Dove scent

Price: 1-2€

Verdict: Really easy to use, but too drying for my skin. I like that it's unscented and really cheap. I'll use it for the rest of my body where my skin doesn't tend to get dry.

Balance Me Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm
Full review here.
Texture: A liquidy balm with small oatmeal scrub particles. It's meant to be applied on dry skin, massaging it for 30 seconds, then water is added with makes it smoother, but it doesn't emulsify. The scrub particles aren't abrasive at all. It comes with a muslin cloth, which is absolute rubbish and I use a washcloth to remove it.

Performance: It's similar in performance to the Liz Earle one. It removes most of the makeup, except heavy layers of waterproof mascara. It doesn't sting my eyes and doesn't make my vision cloudy.

Scent: Sweet, similar to Kiki candy. The smell of childhood.

Price: 22-23€ on Look Fantastic and Naturisimo.

Verdict: My favourite cleanser so far. My skin looks and behaves best when I use it.

So Balance Me wins in my books (my skin looks really good since I started using it) and I like the L'Occitane foam for mornings, but I'll still test a few more cleansers. There are still some on my list to try and I already have Nubian Heritage African Black Soap coming my way.

I hope this was helpful and have a great day!

Wishlist #5

 1. Lush Honey I Washed the Kids
So many people rave about the HIWTK soap, particularly about its caramel-honey scent, so I might buy a bar next time I'm near Lush, though I never actually smelled it (because the shop itself has such a strong fragrance, you can't really smell anything and I rarely go there because I genuinely dislike the pushy service).

2. The Body Shop Honeymania
My heart skipped a beat when I heard the news of Body Shop launching a honey scented collection. There will be a lot of products in this LE line, but I'm mostly interested in the body butter and fragrance. First reviews describe the scent as a mix of floral notes and honey. If only we had the Body Shop in Slovenia! I'll try to find this collection on eBay or if that fails go to Gradz. It hasn't launched (in all countries) yet, but I hear it should sometime this month.
 Ever since I saw the Honeymania collection, I've had this craving for honey scented products. I've tested a few in the shops, but liked none of them (yay for testers! But seriously Burt's Bees scents were such a disappointment). The only one I ever really liked is from L'Occitane, which had such an amazing honey line, but it's discontinued/was LE. I have high hopes for this collection and Lush HIWTK soap.

3. Bourjois Cream Blush
These intrigued me ever since I saw the first post about them. So many people love them and speak highly of its formula, but I'm losing hope that these blushes will ever reach our drugstores. So I'll have to get them from Asos, but I'm not sure about the shade. I would really like to see them in person before buying.

4. Urban Decay Naked Basics palette
I'm not much of an eyeshadow person, but recently I've put more of an effort into wearing some. I prefer matte shades, yet I don't have many in my collection. Maja's review convinced me that this might be a nice palette for me. It's got a nice selection of skin-toned shades that I wear most and I really like that taupe shade. Basically it's a compact version of all the shades I normally wear.

5. Maybelline Fit Me foundation
They started selling these on Fragrance Direct and they stock the lightest shade (110), which is supposedly very pale. I also heard the formula is quite light with a skin-like finish and I'd love to try it.

6. The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil and Sumptuous Cleansing Butter
Another novelty by the Body Shop. I would love to try the cleansing butter, it's probably the cheapest such product, but the oil sounds nice as well. I already found the oil on eBay, but not the butter.

7. L'Occitane Angelica Hydration Cream
I have been using very generous samples of this cream for a couple of months now and I absolutely love it. I've already done a short review in one of my favourites, but in short: it's the best base for make up and currently my absolute favourite face moisturiser. 

I have ordered a few things on iHerb and I'm waiting for the package to arrive. I hope it arrives safely and soon, but I expect it will take a couple of weeks. I bought the following four things.
1. Queen Helene The Original Mint Julep Masque
Just a basic clay mask with a mint scent. Apparently it's a cult favourite and it has a ton of positive reviews on MUA plus Maja loves it as well. It is super cheap, less than 3€ for 226g.

2. Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Rose
I got it because it's so pretty, I'm shallow like that. Price: 8.6€

3. Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Bar
Again another product that has a lot of positive reviews on MUA. People use it as face wash and I intend to use it in the mornings when I can't be bothered with balms/oils/and the likes. Though I suspect it might be too drying for me, I'm willing to give it a go, but if that happens I'll just use it in some other way. Priced 2.5 € for 141g

4. Badger Cuticle Care
I asked Jana for recommendations what to get from iHerb (if anyone knows, it's her) and she mentioned the Badger brand, which looked so damn cute. I never owned a cuticle cream/balm, because I just don't care about how they look, but they feel a bit painfully dry at the moment and I don't want to keep using my chapstick to moisturise them. 4€ for 21g

Just a few more things. Balea frequently posts on their facebook page about new products and these are the ones that caught my attention recently:

1. Balea Bodybutter Kakao
I'm not sure, but it could just be a repackaged old version of it. The pot looks pretty.
2. Balea Dusch Sorbet Sunny Peach
Peaches! Yum.
3. Balea Beauty Öl
A more affordable approximate of Garnier Ultimate Beauty Oil maybe? But the ingredients differ a lot.
Badezauber frische Orange, exotische Vanille and tropische Früchte
I've only seen the orange version in our DM's and it's quite a big bottle. I'm hoping all of these bath products will be sold here.

Have a great day!

Product of the Week #14

It seems that Balea has a knack for making delicious smelling shower gels. On my recent trip to DM, after weeks of searching, I finally came across Balea Dusche & Creme Cocos & Nectarine shower gel and let me tell you, it smells divine. Remember those Hubba Bubba peach favoured chewing gums (which I believe are unfortunately discontinued, but they were my favourite when I was a kid)? This smells exactly like it - like a very sweet peach bubble gum.  I adore it. I don't get any coconut, just the juicy bubble gum note. If you are a fan of such scents, have a sniff of it when you're in DM. The price is the usual 0.85€ and I believe it's permanent. 

I also have the deodorant Cocos & Nectarine, but unfortunately it doesn't smell anything like it. That one is a soapy version of creamy coconut and nectarine scent. 

Have a great day!

Essence Long Lasting Lipsticks

It took a while, but Essence finally released a regular lipstick range. So far they only had lipsticks that are more of a hybrid between a lip balm and a lipstick. However, they had a few proper lipsticks in their trend editions, like the two shades in Home, Sweet Home TE which were fantastic quality. So I was excited to see a whole range and I must admit the shades are really nice.
Just a heads up, there is a ton of pictures following. Also if you want to see pictures of lipsticks taken outside, I did a preview post here

Starting with the formula, it is different than the Home, Sweet Home LE's lipsticks. It is very creamy, feels very lightweight and doesn't tug on the lips during application, however, it is not completely opaque. I wouldn't say it's moisturising due to the lightness of the formula, but it doesn't dry out the lips nor does it cling to dry patches. I'd say it's decent for the price. The lipsticks have a very faint typical chemical lipstick scent. Actually, I can't really smell it unless I really put my nose to the lipstick. Honestly, I hoped they'd have that lovely fruity scent the LE versions had, but it's fine. 

The packaging is much better made than their previous lipsticks and they finally fit in the tube - well done for that Essence! With previous versions I have to be so careful how I put the lid on, otherwise I'd smash the top of the lipstick, especially when they're new. I like the uniform matte black packaging with the coloured middle part. It's a design I wouldn't be embarrassed to show around, unlike their previous ones that look like little girl's toys. The twist up mechanism works fine and the lid stays firmly shut.

Let's focus on individual shades:

01 Coral Calling

Coral Calling is a light-medium nude coral. I have a feeling it'll be a very popular colour because it's a very wearable shade that goes with everything. For a light shade the pigmentation is great. Staying power is decent, about 3 hours. A lot of the colour wears off in the first hour hours or so, but there is a slight stain left. All shades fade evenly.

 02 All You Need is Red

All You Need is Red is an orange based red. I find it least pigmented out of the three which is odd, since it's the darkest. You can see from the swatch it's not super pigmented and I compared it to MUA 13, which costs 1£, and it's a lot more pigmented. 13 is completely opaque with 1 swipe, while I had to do at least three swipes to get a nice level of colour going with 02. Staying power is best out of the three. It stayed on my lips for about 4 hours, but again as with Coral Calling a lot of the colour wears off gradually in the first few hours, but this shades stains the lips more than the other two and you're left with slightly reddish lips for several hours (actually the stain is quite hard to get off without a remover).

08 Colour Crush

Colour Crush is a bright medium bubblegum pink. I didn't expect it to look so cool toned on me and it might look more neutral on someone else. I have no dupes, nor similar shades in my collection, hence why no comparison swatches. I experienced the least amount of staying power with this shade, about an hour or two. Most of the colour wears of quickly, but the lips stay tinted rosy for a few hours.

And a few comparisons:
02 is closest to MUA 13, but a lot less pigmented. As I mentioned above, here is one swipe of MUA 13 and three of All You Need is Red. Almost Famous is a red from their other line of lipsticks and is a lot more transparent. Berry Me Home is more opaque, but closest in pigmentation to 02. Mac Lady Danger is more orange.
Colour-wise 02 is between Floral Glam and Silky Red. Obviously, lip creams are a lot more pigmented.

Dating Coral and 53M are both very close to Coral Calling, the difference is more in textures. L'Oreal's is a transparent shade and Manhattan is a richly pigmented lip cream.

They are nice lipsticks for the price, however, there are more pigmented lipsticks on the market that are even cheaper. Essence delivered a nice shade range with nice nudes, reds, pinks and a coral, however, none of the shades are my favourites. Staying power is average, but much, much better than their previous line of lipsticks. It's a nice line of lipsticks for those who wish to start using lipsticks or want to experiment with colour, but I am a bit disappointed that the formula is not the same as of Berry me Home. Essence long lasting lipsticks cost 2.49€.

Have a great day!

Please, forgive the half face photos. I hope you don't mind them, but I looked so desperately sad on every photo I took and I just couldn't bring myself to post them. It's a compromise and better than nothing, I guess. 

Preview: Essence Long Lasting Lipsticks

Just a quick preview of the long lasting lipsticks that were launched this week here. I got them today and I've only taken basic pictures with no swatches yet, but I'll try to post a full review soon. I still need to test them thoroughly, but I did try the red one today and it's not too shabby for 2.49€. I have three shades:
01 Coral Calling - a light-medium nude coral
02 All You Need is Red - an orange based red
08 Colour Crush - a bright medium bubblegum pink
Update: Review here.

Have a great day!