Sunday, 30 September 2012

September Empties

Australis Mascara review:

QSilica review:

Weleda Cleanser review:

Lavender facial mist review:

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Review: Mary Kay Botanical Effects Scrub/Mask

I was super excited when the new line of Mary Kay skincare landed on my desk. Mainly because I really needed a new exfoliant and kept forgetting to buy it.. But also, because I do love to try out new things, and my sensitive skin loves more natural products.

My first worry was in regards to MK selling in China, and subsequent animal testing. I promptly emailed them to query this, and I received a very prompt and informative reply:

"Mary Kay is deeply committed to the elimination of animal testing and our actions and our record speak to that.  We have been a longstanding leader on this issue. We do not conduct animal testing on our products or ingredients, nor ask others to do so on our behalf, except when absolutely required by law.  There is only one country where we operate where that is the case and where we are required to submit our products for testing - China.

For more than 20 years, we have been a global leader in the commitment to end animal testing.  We are working very closely with the Chinese government to demonstrate that alternative testing methods ensure safe and effective products.  In fact, Mary Kay is the first founding member of the International Outreach Consortium of the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, Inc. (IIVS), created to promote internationally the principles of non-animal safety testing.

Mary Kay Australia does not receive any products from the China Manufacturing plant, all our products are straight from the US, therefore we are confident that all Mary Kay products sold in Australia have not been tested on Animals."

I'll leave it up to you to decide where you stand on this issue. Anyway, on to the review!

I really enjoy this scrub/mask. It's a thick consistency, I want to say almost clay like, but softer.. does that make sense? It does have "scrubby" particles in it, which I can feel working when I apply and wash off the mask. The instructions advise to leave it on for 10 minutes, them wash off. I typically apply it in the shower first thing, then wash my hair etc etc. 

The packaging is lovely, in a tube designed to stand up, so the thick product is not difficult to squeeze out. The sturdy flip top cap is great, and there is a nice wide opening for the product to come out of. There is no noticeable adverse smell, I can't really describe it other than a neutral smell, which is nice.

I have noticed my skin feels lovely and soft afterwards, and no film or residue is left behind. In addition, this does not flare up my redness at all (if anything it possibly reduces it slightly), and I have had no issues with using it twice per week. 

I would definitely recommend this to anyone with sensitive skin. If you are more oily or dry, there is a range for you! It costs $37 and you can buy it online here or from a Mary Kay Consultant.

Note: this product was provided for consideration for review. All opinions are my own. I am under no obligation to review this product

Friday, 21 September 2012

Things I've Learned In My First Year As A Blogger...

Recently I started thinking, it's been nearly 12 months since I've started blogging. Looking back, as a blogger I've grown a lot, changed my ways of thinking on things and loads more.. So I thought I'd share what I've learned.

1. It's OK to work with brands. It's also OK not to.
This is a big one for me. I used to read blogs and think "Wow, all they blog about is stuff they've been sent, how lame". OK very bitchy comment, I know. As I've grown as a blogger I've discovered how important relationships with brands can be. They can mean you get to try new products you wouldn't have known about, or you can get information quickly, and broaden your horizons, as well as provide your readers with new and interesting stuff. But you know what? Those who choose not to work with brands certainly don't miss out.

2. Don't expect to get sent every product every other blogger gets
OK this wasn't really something I thought that would happen, but a good point to make anyway. You may have a relationship with a brand, but might miss out on a mailout. It just means the brand only had x amount of product, so it went to those with the highest readership, or were the best fit for the product.

3. Comment, comment comment
I've only cottoned on to this in the last 5 months or so. The more you comment (constructively) on other blogs, the more traffic you get. Why? Because the blogger reads your comment, and checks out your blog. And then may keep coming back. Whereas if you're just lingering and reading, how are they to know you exist? Also, it's a great way to get discussions going.

4. Make contact with other bloggers
As above, they don't know you exist unless you say hi! Twitter, Facebook, whatever. I've developed some great friendships over twitter with bloggers, and it also means that you can ask for advice, or bounce ideas of each other.

5. Your photography will get better
My first few months as a blogger... well, my photos sucked. Big time. But it comes with time. I've learned where are better places in my home to take photos, and what products cam be photographed where. This has taken a long time and I'm still learning.

6. Mix it up!
Remember to blog about different categories, and try something new every now and then. Sure, I'm pretty bad at FOTD posts, but I do try to give them a go, and do a good makeup review. Sometimes I find myself in a rut of a certain type of product (usually skincare) so remind yourself - even try a "shop my stash" post. And if you're ever at a loss for what to write about, throw it out on twitter - so many bloggers will give you ideas.

7. Enjoy yourself
As a blogger, unless it's your full time job (lucky you!), you don't have to blog. Remember why you started blogging - for me, I started as somewhere to put my thoughts. I blog for me, not for anyone else. Keep your reasons in mind, and if you're not enjoying it, take a break.

Of course, this is just the beginning of my blogging journey and I am sure that this time next year I will have even more things to add to this list.

Do you blog? What have your learned since you began blogging?

Monday, 17 September 2012

Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month...

What's a better way to support the National Breast Cancer Foundation than to buy products you love? This is a cause I love supporting, and I love that so many companies get behind it. Here's an idea of what's on offer this October:

OPI Pink of Hearts collection - You Glitter Be Good To Me and I Think in Pink! I think these colours are so cute, and I do love OPI polishes - perfect for summer! 100% of profits go to NBCF, and a steal at $24.95. From David Jones and selected spas from 16th September.

Palmer's products - both their Cocoa Butter Formula and Olive Butter Formula. My pick is the Natural Bronze - $8.95 - so nourishing with the cocoa butter formula, and creates a beautiful natural colour that builds, which makes it a perfect everyday moisturiser for summer! And, 30c from every pink ribbon branded product goes straight to NBCF!

GHD Pink Cherry Blossom styler - if you're in the market for a new straightener, I highly recommend GHD. I use one often, and I've had it for 3 or more years. They are such a great styler, and this one is so stylish! It even comes with a travel case (something I wish mine had!). $20 from the sale of each styler goes to the NBCF. You can pick one up for $289 from selected retailers or GHD online.

Clinique Chubby Stick - this is a limited edition colour - Plumped Up Pink - especially for NBCF. It also comes with a cute carry case, is the perfect colour for summer, and $5 from the sale of every chubby stick (limited edition colour) will go to NBCF. $35 from Myer and David Jones, available from 30th September.

Estee Lauder Perfectionist - This is a new product from Estee Lauder, and is designed as a wrinkle lifting and firming serum. It comes with a limited edition keychain, and $20 from the sale of each bottle will be donated to NBCF. $168 from Myer and David Jones

Bobbi Brown - this year Bobbi has brought out a limited edition set, featuring a Pink Peony illuminating bronze/blush and mini face blender brush. A really fun pink! $14 from the sale of each set goes to NBCF. $70 from Myer and David Jones, available from 30 September.

Want more? There are so many more brands supporting breast cancer awareness month, including Makita who have a limited edition pink drill! Now there's a good excuse to buy yourself something useful :) Find out more at the NBCF website:

Friday, 14 September 2012

Review: Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser

When I ran out of night cream I thought I'd try something new, so trawled the chemist and found Sukin. It was well priced and the night cream came with a free bottle of cleanser. 

Sukin is an Australian brand, focusing on organic skin care with as few chemicals as possible. Their products are also cruelty free.

Brand image

When I saw this cleanser I thought I'd give it a go, but had no high expectations as it was a foaming cleanser and my skin prefers cream cleansers. I typically will use a foaming cleanser to remove makeup, so that's what I did with this one. Boy, was I impressed! 

For starters, it smells lovely. Like lemon and poppyseed cake - I checked the ingredients and it has mandarin, tangerine and vanilla in it, amongst other lovely things such as lavender, evening primrose, aloe vera and witch hazel. This cleanser lightly foams, not too much, and is easy to wash off. What really impressed me is how well it removed makeup - it just melted away my Revlon ColorStay Foundation (review to come) - I haven't yet discovered a cleanser that will do that without being stripping. 

I'd have to say this is my new favourite makeup remover. I feel it is a little drying for my dry/sensitive skin, however it'd be great for anyone with normal/oily skin!

Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser retails for $9.99 for 125mL at chemists and Priceline.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

LUSH Henna - Caca Brun

As you may know, I have ventured into the world of at-home hair dye. My beautiful BFF is a hairdresser and will come to my house, but basically, I'm trying to save money. Sabine from Echolife (yes, I know, I mention her all the time ha ha!) suggested Lush henna, as it is much kinder to your hair than chemical dyes, so while I was in Canberra a few months ago I picked up a block of the Caca Brun. Lush henna comes in four shades - brown, red, maroon and black. I chose basic brown as I wasn't sure how red the reds would go, and just wanted to dip my toes in!

Henna, for those who don't know, is a natural dye, not just for hair. Find out more here, but the idea is that once it grabs hold of your hair, that's it, it won't come out (not even with bleach), so it's a pretty big step. I hear hair dressers can strip it out, but that's a pretty drastic move! The best thing about Lush henna is that it contains a lot of cocoa butter, which will moisturise your hair while you dye.

Brand image

I followed the instructions given to me in store - basically I needed three "bricks" of henna, soak overnight in boiling water, then heat it over a saucepan until it melts and becomes a double-cream consistency.

Yeah, it looks pretty gross, I know.

While it's warm (bearably hot) you apply it to your hair. I got Mum to help me, and we did it outside. As it dries bits do fall off your hair (dye, not your actual hair) so it's a good idea to apply outside and wrap your hair in a turban or glad wrap. I started underneath my hair and worked my way to the top. You will need to use a hair dye brush for this.

Then, the waiting game begins. Lush say you can leave it on anywhere between 1-6 hours. I did 2 hours, and I was pretty pleased. If you are trying to go quite dark or do a drastic change I would say you need to leave it on longer, but ask the team instore as they are really helpful!

Then it's time to wash it out. I'd suggest if you are attached to your shower, then do a first rinse in the laundry tub. It's pretty gross - a murky green colour, and it gets EVERYWHERE. I ended up with it all over the shower walls. Rinse for a long time, shampoo twice, then condition. Caca brun contains ground coffee, so you will find coffee all through your shower. Never fear, all the henna does wash away, it won't stain your shower.

Once it's dry, admire the softness of your hair. And shine! I have received many compliments on how healthy my hair looks, and how soft it is. I am very impressed. Also, something to mention, the henna colour does darken a little after a few days, so if you are disappointed in the colour leave it a week before making the decision to colour again :) I apologise for the following photos, they were taken on an extremely windy day.

You can find LUSH Henna from LUSH stores, or online for $24.50 for 6 bricks.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Pantene/LGFB Beautiful Lengths Campaign

If you are a regular reader you may have noticed I don't often blog about beauty campaigns. Mostly they don't interest me or other bloggers have covered it, however this one I really wanted to help spread the word about.

What is Beautiful Lengths?
Beautiful Lengths started in North America in 2006 as a way of collecting ponytails from women to create real hair wigs for women who are undergoing cancer treatment.

Who is LGFB?
LGFB - Look Good...Feel Better, is a charity for women undergoing cancer treatment. The idea is to give women makeovers, to make them feel more beautiful during their treatment and to boost their self esteem. This helps women to feel more in control of their treatment, and of course feel beautiful!

What are we doing?
Beautiful Lengths has partnered with Pantene and LGFB this year to encourage women to donate their ponytails for wigs. They're encouraging women to grow their ponytail to 20cm or longer, and cut it off during the donation week, beginning 12th November. If you've got a 20cm or longer ponytail, that's no more than 5% grey and untreated (no colouring, perming etc) then you may just be the candidate they're looking for! Your ponytail will be made into a high quality wig and given to an Australian woman living with cancer.

Who is involved?
Every campaign needs an ambassador! The beautiful Naomi Watts is the face of the campaign, along with Zoe Foster (beauty editor and author), and Barney Martin (hairstylist).

Want to find out more?
Check out the Beautiful Lengths website:

Also, keep an eye out for the Pantene Aqua Light and Pantene Moisture Renewal products in store, which will have the Beautiful Lengths branding on it - Pantene suggests these are the best products to use if you're looking to donate.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Review: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm/Stain - Sweetheart

Revlon is fast becoming one of my favourite brands. I feel it's a high-end feel with a drugstore price tag. Okay, so high-end drugstore, but still, on special you can get some great deals.

In my recent swap I received a Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm/Stain, which I was super excited about. I love the Clinique Chubby Sticks, so the idea of a balm/stain in the same form was love at first sight, and it has not disappointed!

I received the colour Sweetheart. It's a fun bright pink, perfect coming in to summer! I loved this product the moment I first swiped it on my lips - the colour was so intense, no need for too much to be applied. And I must say, wear is AMAZING. I get a good 5-6 hours of intense colour, then it fades slightly but nothing much to worry about. It does not come off on coffee cups, food, etc, nor does it simply wear away.

Yeah, so I suck at taking lip swatch photos, but you get the idea. I think the only thing that disappoints is that these are not very moisturising, however it's easy to apply a balm over the top without taking any colour away.

Unfortunately, these are not yet available here in AUS (BOOOOOOOOO!) but you can pick them up on eBay for around $10, or if you have an American friend, they're $8.99 in drugstores. My guess is they will come out for Christmas, at around the $20 mark.

EDIT: These are now available in Australia, for approximately $19 from Priceline and variety stores.


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