25 August, 2014

Essie: Sand Tropez

Sand Tropez - It's beige, it's bone, it's cream, it's sand...
I don't think I've run out of ways to describe this neutral have I?  Or have I? So how does Essie describe Sand Tropez? They refer to it as a "soft sandy beige" so I've definitely covered it.  In terms of application this cream pastel polish is a fiddly one because it's thick and almost too creamy so it's prone to leaving an uneven finish on the nail.  Here I've used two coats plus top coat which helped to smooth it all out.  Despite the tricky application I do love the colour and, yes, it's brought on a craving for summer!

All pictures taken in indirect daylight:

Until next time!

20 August, 2014

REVIEW: ECO.Body - Women's Personal Body Wash (plus a 20% discount offer!)

Oh, hello! Here I am talking about another Australian natural skin care brand that's new to me...

 This time it's a brand called ECO. If you read my NAT.Body review post you might see some similarities with packaging and naming - you know, 'same but different' and that's because ECO. and NAT. stem from the same parent company (the Natalie Group in Queensland).  Like NAT., ECO. also specialises in aromatherapy-based products -

"We wanted to provide a quality natural skincare and aromatherapy brand that was results-driven while still being affordable. We value the history of aromatherapy and have incorporated this age-old therapy into every ECO. product due to its wide range of benefits for body and mind..."

"We understand that skincare and aromatherapy can be confusing at times and our aim is to show you that it doesn't have to be so serious! We can still use quality products that provide excellent skin and health benefits and have fun at the same time. So our products have been created with this simple philosophy in mind: daily rituals for modern living."

So to put it simply ECO. are saying they want to make skincare and aromatherapy simple, fun and affordable...

Okay, so keeping it simple let's come clean about ECO. Women's Personal Body Wash!
ECO. says their Women's Personal Body Wash is "a natural, soothing body cleanser which never strips skin of its natural oils."  The formula contains 100% essential oils including Lavender and Tea Tree Oils "to heal, cleanse and hygienically purify the skin" and is gentle enough "to be used on all areas of the body".   

My impressions:
Firstly, what do I want from an everyday body wash? I want it to cleanse and deodorise my skin obviously, I want it to smell appealing (that's because I'm a Taurean and ALL about the senses!), I want it to be non-irritating, and non-drying for my winter-sensitized skin, and finally I don't want to be paying megabucks for something that - literally - goes down the drain.  Pretty simple needs really.
The first impression for me is always the fragrance and this smells predominantly of tea tree oil which personally makes me think of the Australian bush! It's quite a clean, invigorating and natural scent - and I have to say it again - a very Australian scent. The clear gel is low foaming so using it with my loofah didn't coat me in a thick, velvety lather (which I admit I do love so that's something I miss) but it does refresh my skin and rinses off easily.  It's not at all drying and it's gentle and non-irritating to my seasonally itchy skin so I've been using it every day - sometimes twice a day when I've done a workout - with no issues at all.  At $13AUD for a 100ml bottle I think this is quite affordable too for a natural therapy based product.

Water, cocamidopropyl betaine, ammonium laureth sulphate, decyl glucoside, glycerin lactamide MEA, acetamide MEA, peg 60 almond glycerides, melaleuca alternifonia (tea tree) oil, lavandula angustifolia ( lavender ) oil, peg 120 methyl glucose dioleate , panthenol, chamomillia recutita ( matricaria ) extract, diazolidinyl urea, propyl hydroxbenzoate, methy hydroxy benzoate, propylene gylcol, polysorbate 80.
RRP:  $13.00AUD for 100ml

20% discount offer:
While I think the regular $13 price is very reasonable for an aromatherapy body care product ECO. is currently offering a 20% discount to all readers if you're interested in purchasing ECO. Women's Personal Body Wash to try.
Just place your order online at the ECO. site below and enter the discount code:  MFMY20 at the checkout. 
This offer is available until 15 October 2014.
(This product was provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)

19 August, 2014

OPI: Vodka & Caviar

Because I'm not doing quite as many nail polish posts these days I'm trying to mix it up so you don't just get the same shades over and over - like purple and more purple if I had my way...
Not true! I do get different colour cravings and I decided last week was a red week so I went hunting for one of the few classic red creams I have in my collection.  Vodka & Caviar is one of those classic OPI reds from their Russian Collection released years ago and it's a slightly translucent jelly so the finish is something a little special.  The formula was the perfect consistency to maintain control without any flooding or streaking so two coats applied super smoothly and the precision cut brush always helps too. Unfortunately I've found out this particular red has been discontinued - I know I'll be hanging onto it now!

All pictures taken in indirect daylight

This actually reminds me of toffee apples :)
Until next time!

18 August, 2014

REVIEW: NAT.Body - Cuticle Treatment Serum and Hand Cream (plus 20% discount offer!)

I've been very fortunate to review a few Australian skincare and beauty brands this year and NAT. is another Australian brand I'm pleased to have been introduced to in 2014.  Let's have an intro to the brand before I get into my reviews:

As the name suggests NAT. is all about natural skin and body care.  NAT. emphasises aromatherapy at its heart in all its ranges - NAT.Face, NAT.Body and NAT.Aroma because "...nature provides us with potent properties from flowers, herbs and plants that heal and nurture, so we have taken the goodness from these active botanical essences and fused it with advanced technology to produce natural products that work effectively within skin and body".  In keeping with their philosophy of creating the "...perfect blend of nature’s timeless healing properties with the best of technology and science"  all products have been manufactured in a TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) licensed and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) approved manufacturing facility (in Queensland), are not tested on animals and are cruelty-free.

I've chosen to review some products from the NAT.Body range because I'm more than a little obsessed with hand creams and treatments and in winter it seems as though I am forever reaching for them!

NAT.Body Cuticle Treatment Serum

NAT says: "NAT.BODY cuticle treatment serum contains high levels of vitamin A from carrot oil, known for its healing properties as well as other active ingredients of calendula oil to help treat skin inflammation and rapid cell repair, jojoba oil for its moisturising properties and lavender oil to soothe."  By applying only one drop of serum - that's one drop per hand - and massaging it into all five cuticles the combination of natural moisturising ingredients acts to nourish and soften the cuticles. 

My impressions:
One pump of the nozzle (above) delivers a rather generous "drop" of  golden tinged serum oil to the base of my cuticles. While I've been using the recommended single drop per hand lately, originally (because I misread the instructions) I was using a single drop for both hands and found even that small amount was enough to spread across and massage in to all of my cuticles.  Just saying - this oil goes a long way.
NAT.Body Cuticle Treatment Serum is made from 100% plant and natural oils so it goes to work immediately, and after massaging it in I can gently push back my cuticles.  I've been using the serum as a nightly bedtime treatment and have noticed a difference.  My cuticles are definitely softer and I no longer have to deal with icky dry bits of cuticle, which used to catch and tear so my hands have a generally neater appearance which is good for all of the manicure pictures I post. 
Also, if you want to use the serum more than once throughout the day the handy little 15ml bottle is easy to carry around in your bag. 
Calendula officinalis ( calendula ) oil, tocopheryl acetate ( Natural Vitamin E ) oil, simmondsia chinensis ( jojoba ) oil, lavendula angustifolia ( lavender ) oil, daucus carota ( carrot ) oil.
RRP: $20.00AUD for 15ml.

After using the NAT.Body Cuticle Treatment Serum I immediately follow it with...

 NAT.Body Hand Cream
"NAT. BODY hand cream is a beautifully nourishing hand cream with a rich blend of nut oils, calendula and essential oils of lavender, ylang ylang and geranium. It absorbs into the skin with no sticky residue and leaves hands feeling soft and hydrated."
The key ingredients are: 
  • Nut oils (macadamia, almond and sesame) to help "skin to balance the loss and absorption of moisture"
  • Lavender essential oil for cell renewal
  • Vitamin A for "stimulating the production of more epidermal protein and increasing skin elasticity and reducing the depth of fine lines/wrinkles."
  • Vitamin B5 to "soften and help to balance the skin natural PH. Helps skin to retain moisture levels and [work as] a powerful anti-oxidant"
  • Natural Vitamin E extracted from vegetable oils for its ability to "boost the production of collagen. Helps repair the top layer of skin. Antioxidant properties and helps maintain cell integrity."
My impressions:
As you can see above the cream is the consistency of thin cream or thick lotion depending on how you like to describe it!  I find two pumps from the 100ml dispenser bottle gives me enough product to moisturise my hands so I think this is going to last me a long time.
Instinctively - and from past experience - I always think a lotion isn't going to do the job of moisturising my papery hands but NAT.Body Hand Cream does it quite well.  Because it's a lotion it spreads and penetrates more quickly and easily than a cream and there's no greasy feel afterward so my hands simply feel softer. 
My eczema-afflicted hands can sometimes erupt in reaction to scented hand creams but the soft added fragrance in this one doesn't upset them at all so from my experience this would be safe for sensitive skin.  For those who don't like heavily perfumed products the fragrance is quite subtle and natural so it won't distract or get in the way of other scents either.
The sturdy pump bottle is best suited to sit on the bedside table (where I keep mine to use as an overnight hand treatment), office desk or bathroom basin.   
Purified water, caprylic capric triglycerife ( vegetable derived ), stearic acid ( vegetable derived ), cetearyl alcohol, tricaprylin, glycerin, lactamide MEA, acetate MEA, sesamum indicum ( sesame ) seed oil, macadamia integrifolia seed oil, prunus amygdalus dulcis ( sweet almond )
oil, calendula officinalis flower extract, tocopheryl acetate ( Natural Vitamin E ), tocopherol,retinyl palmitate ( Vitamin A ), cholecalciferol, panthenol ( Vitamin B ), disodium EDTA, carbomer, dimethicone, ceteareth 20, triethanolamine, methyparaben, propylparaben,
ethylparaben, butylparaben, iso-butylparaben, phenoxyethanol, fragance.
RRP:  $24.00AUD for 100ml
20% discount offer:
My first impressions with NAT.Body natural hand and nail care products have been very positive so I'm pretty excited to let you know NAT. Skincare are currently offering a 20% discount to all readers if you're interested in purchasing NAT.Body Cuticle Treatment Serum and/or Hand Cream to try for yourself!
Simply place your order online at the NAT. Skin Care site below and enter the discount code:  MFMY20 at the checkout. 
This offer is available until 15 October 2014.
Happy shopping!
(Products were provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)

14 August, 2014

Covergirl Outlast: Midnight Magic

I have a complex little nail polish shade from Covergirl this time which I'll struggle to adequately describe...
I bought Midnight Magic several months ago, then put it away and did the old "out of sight, out of mind" thing and forgot about it.  Well honestly that was a silly thing to do because once I finally got this onto my nails I was mesmerized! Now how do I describe this? Up close there's the multi-faceted detail of individual specks of blue, gold and green as you can see in the pictures (the first one is most colour accurate) and yet from a distance it's as though I've coated my nails with graphite...

All pictures taken in indirect daylight

It's always exciting to find a hidden gem from the drugstore.
Until next time! 

12 August, 2014

REVIEW: Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush Intense Colour Balm

So the time has finally come for Rimmel to launch their own version of balm crayons as part of the new Rita Ora Colour Rush collection...
I love jumbo lip crayons because of the 'fun' factor and the convenience of a lipstick/liner/balm in one and because just about every makeup brand have launched their own jumbo crayons I have quite a few - to the point of feeling a little jumbo crayon fatigued.  I was still curious to try these because, you know, it's Rimmel and they are my go-to for drugstore lipstick. 

Rimmel says: "Indulge your lips with hi-voltage shades of rich, feel-good colour for an all-day super charged stand out lip look [with]... a stay-put colour balm offering all-day comfort without ever feeling sticky."
There are six colours in the range and I've been testing 100 - Give Me A Cuddle (peachy pink) and 200 - Keep Mauving (deep mauve ): 
My impressions:
Okay so these crayons obviously look the same as others out there, with the same colour matched packaging and same twist up mechanism.  When it comes to scent or 'taste', rather than the minty scented varieties I'm used to these have a soft creamy vanilla scent so that's an initial point of difference worth noting if you're not partial to mint, or are a fan of vanilla. Me? I'm partial to both.
The Colour Rush Intense Colour Balms are definitely well pigmented, with a creamier finish than some other brands so they don't take too many swipes to build up the colour - I'd describe these as more lipstick-y than balm-y in that department. I'm going to pretty much agree with the "all-day comfort" claim too because they're not drying at all and feel perpetually moisturising every time I press my lips together.  They don't necessarily last all day - they will fade with eating and drinking - but will last from breakfast to lunch before the need for a touch up so the staying power is very good.  The best thing from my perspective is how such a moisturising lip colour clings to the lips with zero bleeding - that's a big plus for me.  If I have one criticism it's that these will stain the lips after several hours of wear, but that's a similar criticism of most lip crayons.
 Swatched L to R:
100 Give Me A Cuddle, 200 Keep Mauving

  100 - Give Me A Cuddle
 200 - Keep Mauving

At $12.95AUD these are probably the best priced crayons out there too so are well worth trying if you've yet to jump on the bandwagon!

The Colour Rush Collection by Rita Ora is now available from Priceline, Priceline Pharmacy, Target, Kmart, BIG W, selected pharmacies and selected Coles and Woolworths stores.

(This product was provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)

10 August, 2014

Maybelline Brocades: Knitted Gold

Time for a bit o' glitter!
When Maybelline brought out their limited edition Brocades collection a few months ago I went a little crazy and bought 4 shades from the range.  Glitter is clearly still a weakness of mine isn't it!  The first shade I'm posting, Knitted Gold, is a flamboyant mix of large rose gold hex glitter pieces floating in a dense sea of yellow gold glitters.  As I'm still loving the textured look I didn't seal this polish with any top coat and that may have been a mistake because...after 3 days the polish started chipping off in chunks, and I mean CHUNKS!
Oh well, it did look blingy for a couple of days.
Until next time

09 August, 2014

July's farewelled products (and beauty diet update)

Okay, I'm getting straight into it this time.  Ready, set, go!
Skin care
69) La Clinica White Brilliant Intensive Correction Serum Stage 1 (10ml/0.35 fl.oz. sample size)* - I'm currently using the entire White Brilliant range so when I ran out of the full sized bottle last month I found this sample tube to keep up the routine.  Read my thoughts from last month's empties here.
70) Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes (25 wipes)* - I received these in an Autumn/Winter care pack from Palmer's Australia and being the wipes fiend that I am, I got into them pretty much straight away.  They're alcohol free, enriched with cocoa butter and chamomile so they don't leave the skin feeling tight after cleansing but gently moisturised and are softly scented with white lily.
Hand and body care
71) Crabtree & Evelyn Pomegranate Argan & Grapeseed Hand Therapy (100g/3.5 oz.) - C & E hand creams are strongly scented yet they don't irritate my sensitive skin and they're super rich and moisturising so I enjoy using them.  The pomegranate scent actually smells like candy so my son loved it every time I put it on! I have several of the smaller tubes of C & E hand creams to get through so expect to see quite a few more over the coming months.
72) OPI Expert Touch Lacquer Remover (120ml/4 fl.oz) - And this appears for the sixth time in my empties posts this year.
73) Natio Natural Antibacterial Hand Wash (300ml/10.1 fl.oz) - This clear gel hand wash was freshly scented and gently effective without drying out my hands.  I bought it at a Natio warehouse sale last year and unfortunately haven't seen any since otherwise I would definitely repurchase it.
 Now for this month's beauty diet update. I've had a very restrained month as I haven't bought anything to reward myself for the latest 4 empties although I am teetering very close to the edge of treating myself to an Hourglass lipstick! Sophie, Anissa, Norlin  are still in on it too.
74) Maybelline Dream Matte Powder (Medium) - Maybe I expected too much of this widely loved drugstore powder?  It wasn't the dreamy matte finish I'd imagined and it seemed like I was constantly re-powdering my shiny t-zone.
75) Rimmel Sexy Curves Mascara (black) - I'm pretty sure this has been discontinued.  I didn't particularly love or hate this one. 
76) Za Perfect Fit Concealer (01) - One of the best concealers I've tried. The coverage is amazing and a little bit goes a very long way! This rich and creamy concealer is brightening and very opaque without creasing.  I will definitely be hunting this baby down when I go back to Japan next month.
77) Essence Glossy Lip Balm (Strawberry) - This gloss was strongly scented like strawberry candy and made my lips look super shiny with a slight pearly tint.  Honestly I only wore it around the house when my lips felt dry so I wouldn't repurchase it.
78) Victoria's Secret Amber Romance EDT (30ml) - A very cozy and warming creamy amber.  Had I known that I'd enjoy this scent so much I would have bought the range of body products too.  I will definitely repurchase from this range!  The fragrance notes are:  black cherry, crème anglaise, vanilla and sandalwood.
79) Tom Ford Champaca Absolute EDP (4ml sample) - Me and my Tom Ford samples, eh?  It's because the perfumes are so expensive that I indulge vicariously via the samples! This one's another heady unisex fragrance although it leans more toward the feminine end of the spectrum for me with its floral undertones - it reminds me a little of the one full sized bottle of Tom Ford I do own:  Black Orchid. Top notes are cognac, bergamot and dyer’s greenweed; middle notes are champaca, orchid, violet and jasmine; base notes are vanilla, amber, sandalwood and marron glace.
80) Plum Japonais EDP (.05 fl.oz/1.5ml) - I wish I owned a bottle of this slightly fruity, spicy stuff! It's certainly more uplifting than a lot of TF samples I've tried and the spicy plum scent evokes memories of childhood when my mother used to boil down autumn ripe plums into a rich spicy syrup. The notes are:  japanese plum, saffron, cinnamon, immortelle, plum blossom, camellia, agarwood (oud), amber, benzoin, fir and vanilla.
That's it for another month...
(Products marked * were provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)

07 August, 2014

Revlon Parfumerie: Autumn Spice

I bought this polish for the interesting colour but I ended up falling for the scent!
Autumn Spice is from Revlon's still available (phew!) Parfumerie range of scented polishes.  The colour is perfect all in itself - a rich warm red-brown with golden flecks which play in the light so I'm loving it.  Now for the scent:  this one smells just like spice cookies or my old aunt's homemade gingerbread.  I found it literally craving inducing so my own little joke is this particular scented polish should come with a warning cos it's not suitable for those on a diet! Okay enough silly musings and down to the nuts and bolts.  Application was non-problematic and considering I chose to go without top coat because I preferred the slightly textured finish the polish didn't take forever to dry and wore well for most of the week.  Onto the all important pics:
What's your favourite scent from this range?

06 August, 2014

REVIEW: Unico Intensive Shampoo & Conditioner

My poor hair has put up with a lot of experiments and abuse over the years (bleaching, colouring and OMG even perming it back in prehistoric times!) and considering all THAT(!) I was never one to think too much about what I used for my daily hair care.  I unquestioningly (and ignorantly) used the same old drugstore brand for years and years and...well you get what I'm talking about!
Happily I have quite resilient and forgiving hair and even more happily I've become a just a little fussier about what hair care products I use these days.  I prefer my shampoo to be less about detergent and more about caring for my hair - and the less harmful chemicals to apply to my scalp and wash down the drain the better too.  As you know I'm regularly colouring my hair - and I'm in a gradual transition stage at the moment - so I really don't want to do anything to risk my salon colour either.
Okay - with my wordy prelude out of the way let's talk about Unico Hair.  Unico is an Australian boutique hair company which has been established for 15 years, with 3 salons in Melbourne and their own range of natural hair care products.  Unico's philosophy is to "...create a product that is near enough to natural as possible, being completely chemical free and not harmful to hair." 

Given the choice of what to review I went back to basics and selected Unico's Intensive Shampoo and Intensive Conditioner because they're "... great for hair that has been chemically treated [that's me]. Particularly good with straight hair [that's definitely me] and also works well with grey providing it is not too coarse. With an added UV protection it helps protect the hair from fading, ensuring colours remain bright and vibrant [Yep, that's me too]."  Sounds like pretty much everything I need in my hair care then!

Unico Intensive Shampoo

What Unico says: 
"Lavender, Rosemary and Cypress pure essential oils [are] combined with plant derived ingredients to produce a mild formula designed to cleanse without stripping colour or natural oils. Containing 5 vitamins, Vitamins B5 this helps in preventing grey hair and hair loss, Vitamin E which helps improve scalp circulation, which means the end result is Healthy, Sparkling Locks!
4 vitamins to keep hair moisturised, UVfilters, Revitalises and moisturises after chemical services"
My impressions:
The first thing is the invigorating and rather unisex essential oil scent.  The fresh green aroma is completely different from anything I've ever tried before but a scent like this is my idea of "clean" and I liked it at first sniff. 
As my hair is medium-short at the moment I don't need any more than say a 10 cent piece sized squirt of shampoo to be able to work it all the way through my hair which means the 250ml bottle should last a long time - if my husband doesn't get into it!  The colourless gel-like shampoo produces a medium lather and a single application is enough to thoroughly cleanse my fine hair - I wash my hair every day and I'm happy with how it's looking. The formula certainly hasn't stripped away my hair colour or dried out my hair at all so I'm going to continue using this until the last drop.
Unico Intensive Conditioner
What Unico says:
 "Intensive conditioner is specially formulated for colour treated hair without being too heavy, the hair is left revitalised and moisturised after being chemically treated. Containing essential oils, Lavender, Rosemary and Cypress which are great for helping hair loss, dandruff, oily hair and coloured hair. Containing vitamin B5 this helps prevent greying hair and hair loss, Vitamin E which helps improve scalp circulation, the result is naturally soft, shiny and healthy hair.

4 vitamins to keep hair moisturised, UV filters, Revitalises and moisturises after chemical services"
My impressions:
The creamy white conditioner has the same wonderfully refreshing essential oil fragrance as the shampoo. Again I only need a small amount to condition my hair from the mid-length to the ends and it rinses out easily. It's nice to see me actually using my shampoo and conditioner at the rate of 1:1 for a change so I won't be left with a half full shampoo bottle and no conditioner this time!
The conditioner leaves my hair easy to detangle and comb through when wet and my hair has good body and shine when dry so it's looking pretty healthy for middle-aged, colour treated hair.  Also, I find I don't need a ton of thickening spray to get my hair looking less *ahem* fine either so it's definitely not weighed down.
Unico products are Australian made from pure plant ingredients, vitamins and essential oils.  The shampoo and conditioner are $22AUD each which is reasonable for a salon quality product.


Where to buy online:
Adore Beauty
Bellabox Australia
(Products were provided for my consideration.  All comments and opinions are my own.)

03 August, 2014

Inglot O2M Breathable Nail Enamel: 694

Being the purple-holic that I am once I saw this Inglot polish there was no question and I bought it on the spot!  694 you were always going to be coming home with me...

694 is a very deep yet vivid shimmery violet and almost blue - very regal looking and very much a winter colour too.  I've never used Inglot nail polish before so I've done a little bit of research and discovered the O2M formula is literally breathable as it allows water and oxygen to pass through (as long as you don't wear base or top coat from another brand of course) apparently to keep your nails in tip top condition.  The formula is also 5 Free and doesn't contain toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) or camphor. So as for the application?  The brush is very thin but because the formula isn't too watery I didn't have any issues and this is a standard two-coater.


Have you tried Inglot nail polish?
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