Organic skincare


I’m loving a few things lately. Constantly wearing them or using them. So I thought I’d show you.

IMG_8583That hot tomali handbag is my recently purchased Rebecca Minkoff Hudson Moto Mini. I’ve been using it since I bought it back in early May. You can’t fit much in the bag so it’s really made me downsize the stuff I was lugging around. I have a very small wallet, my iPhone, one lipstick and keys. That’s it.

Starting from the left:

  • Heritage Store Egyptian Oil. This is a new discovery. I bought it off iHerb and it’s a blend of olive, peanut, sassafras, fir needle, and lanolin oils. You massage into tired muscles or sore joints. It does smell a little bit like Deep Heat but nowhere near as potent. I find it really effective. The product is based on a formula from Edgar Cayce.
  • Alba Botanica. Pretty sure this is an American brand and I discovered it this year, again on iHerb. I’m loving the distinctive yellow, green and brown packaging of the brand. I bought the Drink It Up Coconut Milk Hawaiian Leave-In Conditioning Mist. The mist smells like you’re spraying a tropical garden into your hair and the scent lingers for some time. Hair feels soft too.
  • But the real find from this brand is the Jasmine and Vitamin E Hawaiian Moisture Cream – wow. Beautiful, but subtle jasmine scent, not too heavy on the skin; absorbs quickly and is great under makeup. I think this might be a HG product for me.
  • The Body Shop Early Harvest Raspberry Body Butter. You know I love body butters from TBS. Normally, I buy the Shea Body Butter or the Cocoa Body Butter. Recently, I tried the Olive one and loved it, so thought why not try a totally different scent. I was a bit worried I’d smell like a fruit bowl but nope, the Raspberry Body Butter is very subtle. I liked it so much I bought the Frosted Cranberry variety at Christmas time. I have a couple of body butters to use up before I get to this one. And I am very keen to try out Alba Botanica’s Hawaiian Kukui Nut Body Cream.
  • Now Solutions Moroccan Red Clay Powder. Another iHerb find. Actually, I’m buying most of my stuff off iHerb these days. I saw this product on a YouTube beauty video and thought it would be great to use as a detoxifying masque. It feels slightly warm once on the skin and certainly tightens up the pores and skin. I use it once a week.
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Radiant Bronze Light. I have quite a few bronzers but I keep coming back to this one. It isn’t orangey and gives you a wonderful sun-kissed glow. In the pan, it looks like there’s a lot of shimmer going on but it doesn’t show up on the skin. The texture is silky and smooth and blending is a breeze.
  • Kat von D Shade and Light Eye Contour Palette. I’ve not tried anything from this brand before and this was a very good start. A great matte eyeshadow palette that is very easy to travel with. It’s arranged into three colour quads – neutral, cool, and warm. I mix it all up and I find the eye shadows very velvety with minimal fall out.
  • Jewellery. There are two pieces of jewellery in the photo. One is just above the Hourglass bronzer. I bought it up in the North Island and it’s a cuff filled with sparkly gold beads. A great piece of costume jewellery that I seem to wear a lot.
  • The second piece of jewellery is in the photo below and I bought it a few months ago in Wellington. It was instant love. I walked into a shop in Cuba Mall full of amazing rings and earrings. I was just looking and was in the shop for 5 minutes or so before setting my eyes on the ring.
  • I was so attracted to the light blue colour, which is unusual because green is my favourite colour. I would not have said that I was a fan of blue but, since getting this ring, I’ve noticed that a lot of my clothes are shades of blue. And a favourite handbag is navy.
  • I didn’t know what the stone was and ended up in a long conversation with the shop manager who told me it’s a Larimar. I’ve since found out that Larimar is a fairly recent find from the 1970s and is only found in the Dominican Republic. It’s also known as the Dolphin Stone, Blue Pectolite, Atlantis Stone and Stefilia’s Stone, and is a rare blue variety of the silicate mineral pectolite.
  • When you look at the stone, it’s like seeing the sun dancing on turquoise waters. It’s said to be a crystal of serenity and aids communication. The ring is handmade and I really like the thick shank, which has a hammered effect. I haven’t taken the ring off since I bought it a few months ago. IMG_8741

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I’ve been powering through products. So many, in fact, that I’ll have to try and make this post shorter rather than longer. All products are in the photo below and I’ve tried to categorise them. So let’s get going and ferret through my trash.

Hair stuff. Two cans of the usual Batiste dry shampoo, the Tropical scent and the Blush scent (floral). One can of Pantene Original Fresh dry shampoo. Sorry but this is a crappy product. First of all, the consistency of it seemed to make my hair wet rather than soak up the oils. Secondly, the can refused to keep spraying and I wasn’t even half way through. So tossing it.

Shampoo – I finished up a bottle of Pureology Pure Volume sulfate-free shampoo for fine and colour-treated hair. Really like this lightly-scented shampoo. Didn’t weigh my hair down and I just needed a tiny amount. Certainly will repurchase. Also finished a shampoo by Australian brand, Fudge. I’ve used Fudge products on and off for years. I will say I hated the fussy design on the tube (it’s the one with the pink top in the photo below) but loved the shampoo. It’s the Colour Lock shampoo and I do feel it helped to keep my colour vibrant. Would buy again.

Conditioners. I finished up a huge (382ml) bottle of my new favourite conditioner only to find it’s been discontinued. It’s the Desert Essence Shea Butter Repairing Conditioner with Vanilla Cactus. It’s this ingredient that gives the conditioner its lovely sweet scent. The conditioner itself is buttery and really made my hair soft and manageable. I am hoping it’s being repackaged rather than discontinued.

Also finished up is a 250ml bottle of NZ brand, Evolu, Enriching hair conditioner. It’s a tad expensive I think at NZ $20.00 but is delightful. The smell alone is worth it with avocado pear, citrus, juniper, manuka honey and amaranth giving your hair a lovely lustre. I would consider buying this again.

Texturising spray. Another Fudge product – the sea salt spray – to help give my hair some volume. Yeah, not really wowed by this product but it seemed to do the job.

Soaps. You know I love my soaps and also make my own. Rosana sent me a soap from Croatia called BioBaza Antiseptic soap. Tea tree oil and Immortelle extract provide the antiseptic qualities. The bar is a crisp white easy-to-hold shape with hardly any scent and it produced a creamy lather.

Serene Neem soap from India. Not fussed about this soap. Creamy yes but I didn’t like the smell. Contains extracts of Neem leaf, so it’s great for the skin though.

Naturalus Eastern Spice soap. Picked this up at a local market. Really didn’t like the fragrance at all I’m afraid.

LUSH Willow Bark soap. Second only to Karma soap for me. A brilliantly creamy, moisturising bar scented with rose and lemon. LOVE.

Dr Bronner’s Pure Castille Magic soap. I’ve been through countless bottles of Dr Bronner’s but this was the first time I’ve tried the Peppermint scent. Nah, didn’t like it. Too strong. Will go back to Rose or Almond.

Shower gel. I really enjoyed making my way through a 500ml bottle of La Chinata Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Bath & Shower Gel. This is a Spanish brand enriched with organic olive oil and olive leaf extract. The gel is quite thick and lathers very well. I’m sure there’s a hint of lemon in this gel too. Loved it and would certainly re-buy.

Cleansers. Starting with another packet of Garnier Gentle Makeup Remover wipes. I take these travelling as they are very handy to quickly wipe off eye makeup. The individual wipes stay moist and don’t dry out.

Yes to Carrots Fragrance Free Daily Cream Facial Cleanser. Very large tube that lasted for ages. Not sure why it’s called fragrance free because it has a distinct but mild scent. This cleanser is SLS and paraben-free and very effective. Would certainly repurchase.

The Body Shop Nutriganics Softening Cleansing Oil. Another very effective product. You know I’m partial to all things Body Shop and this cleansing oil is no exception. Gentle and packed with Babassu Oil from Brazil it does not strip or dry out the skin. I like to use this as a second cleanser after taking off my makeup with my current favourite, Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water.

Apicare Manuka Natural Creamy Cleanser. Apicare is a New Zealand brand and this was a deluxe or travel-size tube. I liked it; it did the job; but wasn’t overly fussed.

Wild Ferns Manuka Honey Refreshing Foaming Facial Wash. Wild Ferns is another NZ brand and the foaming facial wash is a great product. The pump delivers just the right amount of luxurious foam. This is another cleanser I use for a second cleanse as it doesn’t take off all the makeup. Lovely scent to this cleanser.

Facial oils & moisturisers. I’m very partial to using a facial oil as I feel the essential oils in them penetrate deeply into the skin to deliver hydration. A great one I’ve discovered is an Italian facial oil by Olivella. Simply called the Moisturizer Oil it is based on 100% virgin olive oil and is paraben-free. The scent is gorgeous with hints of lemon. It absorbs straight into the skin. Already repurchased. LOVE.

Evolu Facial Serum. I think this is my third bottle and I love it as a daytime facial oil. One whiff and you are sent off into a Rose Absolute and Neroli essential oil heaven. I find it a very calming product to use and will always repurchase.

Melvita Avocado Oil. I picked this up from a Melvita store in Hong Kong. Love the rich green colour of the oil. Melvita is a French brand that is renowned for its quality products. This oil is recommended for the eye and neck area. I did find it a tad greasy but extremely hydrating. I prefer the Olivella oil frankly but I did enjoy this product.

Antipodes Apostle Skin-Brightening Serum. Antipodes is yet another great NZ skincare brand and I particularly like their Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream. Apostle is a water-based serum to help target pigmentation, brighten your skin and restore even tone. I liked the serum but can’t say I noticed any difference so wouldn’t repurchase.

Afrodita Hydra Thermal Natural Mineral Water Hydra Active Koncentrat. Sent to me by Rosana from Croatia this is a light-weight lotion that absorbed very well into the skin and was a great makeup base.

Eye care. Evolu Eye & Lip Line Serum. Get the impression I like Evolu products?! This serum contains tigernut extract, marine wakame algae and shea butter. I like this as a daytime serum; it’s not rich enough or heavy enough for my liking as a night-time treatment. I think this was my second bottle but don’t think I’ll repurchase because I prefer a richer consistency.

Garnier eye roller. To be honest, I’m not sure of the exact name of this product as all the writing had rubbed off. I think it was a treatment concealer. I liked the coolness of the roller ball but not fussed about this product. Meh.

Hand cream. Yet another Evolu product. The Nourishing Hand & Cuticle Cream in a 125ml travel-friendly tube. I really need to use more hand cream; I tend to forget to apply. This hand cream was a delight to use and contains New Zealand’s native harakeke, kiwifruit, carrot seed oil and pure vitamin E. Creamy yet easily absorbed.

Toothpaste. My favourite NZ brand, Red Seal. Two tubes: baking soda and natural. These toothpastes are free from sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), parabens, artificial sweeteners and added fluoride.

Makeup. Finally, made my way through a whole bronzer. In this case, Dr Hauschka bronzing powder. I’ve had this for years and made a concerted effort to finish it. A lovely silky bronzer that is great for my NC15 skin. I would repurchase but I have other favourites at the moment.

Essence I Love Extreme Volume mascara. I think this is my third tube. It’s a wonderful ultra-black mascara that delivers volume. I like the chunky tube and fat brush. LOVE.

An old Rimmel concealer in a tube. No idea of the name but it had a green centre, which I think was designed to soothe blemishes. I kept this in my makeup bag inside my handbag. Had it for years. Nothing special but it worked as a concealer.

The Body Shop Concealer Pencil. Wow, love this concealer. My HG used to be MAC Studio Finish concealer in NC15 but, last year, I discovered TBS pencil concealer in 01. It took me a whole year to get through this pencil and I used it every day. Always remained creamy even during the NZ Winter. Already repurchased.

The Body Shop Organic Cotton rounds – another packet of 100 rounds down. These cotton rounds never fall apart nor do pieces of cotton fluff waft off them.

Finally, my all-time favourite perfume – Fracas by Robert Piguet – which was first formulated in 1948. This is a strong, spicy perfume that is not for the shrinking violet. It contains all my favoured scents: tuberose, iris, jasmine, gardenia, lily of the valley, orange, rose and neroli. I have another bottle ready to go. You can read my review of Fracas here.

 

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I’m enjoying making my own skincare these days. I am pretty satisfied with my base moisturiser formula so I’m now tweaking it a bit. Last time, I infused lavender flowers (from my own garden) and used Lavender essential oil. For my latest batch, I used lavender flowers but tried Rose de Mai essential oil.

The consistency of the moisturiser is a little hard to settle on. I quite like it whipped to a mousse-like consistency but people who tested it said they preferred it more lotion-like. So this batch is less whipped and, aside from Rose de Mai, I used some beautiful rosewater from India (as is the essential oil).

A month or so ago, I came up with a formula for eye cream and decided to give it a go. Lots of nourishing oils in this – wheatgerm, sweet almond and apricot. I’m just not sure about the consistency so I will be the crash test dummy, along with El Hubs.

Since making my own skincare, I have noticed that my skin is less red and less prone to breakouts. I know exactly what goes into the lotions and potions, so I don’t have to worry about nasty chemicals.

Next up, I’m going to try and recreate the old-fashioned cold cream of yesteryear to use as a cleanser. Also a shampoo, rich conditioner and a body butter.

Problem is: I don’t get a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Zeph and Zsa Zsa are always wanting to play or go on long walks!

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More stuff finished up. VERY satisfying. So let’s go through my trash shall we?!

Hair stuff. The usual Batiste dry shampoo. Nothing different. I went through the Blush floral scent and the Tropical one.

Schwarzkopf Extra Care Ultimate Repair, Repair & Gloss Treatment – this is a leave-in spray treatment and I usually travel with it because it’s easier to lug than a conditioner. Just spray and go. I like it but not wedded to it. Currently, trying out a Carol’s Daughter leave-in spray conditioner.

Cleansers. Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser. Sukin is an Australian brand and I had a small size cleanser. It’s sulphate and paraben-free with a really delightful, refreshing scent. Doesn’t dry the skin and contains chamomile, aloe vera, witch hazel and green tea with macadamia and evening primrose oils. Really liked it and am considering buying the large version.

Collistar Balancing Cleansing Gel. An Italian brand and I bought this cleanser during my last visit to Italy. It’s for combination skin and had a lovely citrus scent. I did find it a tad drying on the skin though. I’d certainly consider trying more from the Collistar range.

Natura Siberica Cleansing Foaming Mousse. This cleanser was sent to me by a blogging colleague in Russia and Natura Siberica is a Russian brand I’d LOVE to try more of. Really impressed with this cleanser and was sorry to use it up. One pump works up into a rich lather that wiped off makeup and left my skin feeling soft. Contains the soothing properties of Sophora Japonica and Camomilla Recutita.

Facial toner. I went through another spray bottle of the Evolu Facial Toner. I’m a great fan of this New Zealand brand, which I’ve been using on and off for six years now. I actually use this as a makeup setting spray because I make my own toner these days (with lemongrass essential oil).

Makeup removers. When I travel, I usually take a tub of the Almay eye makeup remover pads – the Soothing and De-puffing ones in the pink tub. I find these don’t sting my eyes and I only need one pad for both eyes.

Garnier Clean & Soft Cleansing Wipes. These are oil and alcohol-free and I take them with me when travelling. Very gentle on the skin, no stinging and the wipes remain moist. Will certainly re-buy.

Soaps. Yet another 32oz bottle of Dr Bronner’s Magic liquid soap, this time in Rose. You can use this soap in so many ways – shampoo, body wash, hand soap, face wash, dog shampoo and dishwashing liquid. LOVED the delicate Rose scent, which was not that Nana rose smell. I’m currently trying the Peppermint liquid soap and, sad to say, don’t like it.

Sabun Olive Oil soap. This soap is from Syria and made via traditional methods. It’s oh-so gentle and this was the Rose variety. It’s quite a clunky bar to hold as it’s basically a big square. I keep buying these soaps though because they are very creamy and mild.

Bathox Hand Wash in Milk and Honey. This 600ml bottle seemed to last for an eternity. Nothing special. Would not rush out to rebuy.

Shower gel. LUSH Twilight. This was the big 500g bottle and I think I bought it last Christmas. The Twilight shower gel is Limited Edition. I decided to try it despite being obsessed with the Rose Jam scent. Twilight is a calming, lavender scent with tonka thrown in to give it a slight vanilla whiff. Liked it a lot but not as much as Rose Jam, which I’ll stick with.

Makeup remover rounds. Yet another packet of The Body Shop’s organic cotton rounds. You get 100 rounds for $NZ 8.75. I’ve tried cheaper versions but always go back to The Body Shop because they are soft and don’t leave bits of cotton fluff all over your face. I use them to take off eye makeup.

Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips. I occasionally get around to using pore strips to get rid of deep down dirt. I always turn to Biore strips as they just seem to work.

Moreish. That’s the round tub with the Moroccan pattern on it. No idea what it is called because the name of the product rubbed off long ago. It was an all-purpose salve or balm that I quite liked. I’m not sure what happened to Moreish, which is an NZ brand, as I read they had discontinued but…they seem to be back with new packaging.

Facial Oil. Made my way through the very fabulous Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I’ve already bought a second bottle. Slap some of this oil on at night, sleep the night away and wake up next morning with luscious skin. Evening primrose, along with lavender oil and squalene, help to soothe and repair. A very effective facial treatment oil with no parabens or mineral oil.

Moisturisers. Himalaya Herbals Anti-Wrinkle Cream. I bought this in Bhutan as Himalaya Herbals is an Indian brand (pretty sure it is). Very popular in Bhutan and I bought a few products, including this cream. Contains aloe vera, grapes and tomato to soften and brighten skin. Certainly would repurchase.

Oasis Beauty Beauty Sleep. This is a New Zealand brand that I’ve used on and off for a few years. I didn’t mind this night cream but I wouldn’t say it was a great product. I also wasn’t fussed with the smell of it and didn’t see it make any difference to my skin. Wouldn’t repurchase.

Lipsticks. Revlon Colorburst Berry Smoothie Lip Butter. I have several lip butters but this is the first I’ve finished up. Loved its soft berry colour with a hint of sparkle. These lip butters glide on so smoothly but heck, a tube doesn’t seem to last long. I’d certainly buy this shade again though.

Maybelline lipstick. So old I can’t even tell you what it was but it sure smelt funky. Tossed.

Toothpastes. My usual favourites: NZ brand, Red Seal, and Aussie brand, Grants. Both SLS-free.

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Yeehah people! I’m FINALLY getting around to doing what I’ve been intending to do for years – making my own soaps and skincare. We moved to NZ nearly five years ago (where has time gone???) and I promptly went off to work in Italy for awhile and then Bhutan. I’ve also been busy raising Zeph and Zsa Zsa from wee pups and collecting horses along the way.

This year looks as though it will be quieter, although I’m in line for two consulting jobs in the United States and Hong Kong. We’ll see where that leads.

Meanwhile, I attended a soap-making course and am now whipping up my own recipes. Below you’ll see a photo of my Honey Bee soap, my lemongrass toner and facial oils (with Roman Chamomile, Geranium and Lavender essential oils and sweet almond as a carrier oil).

The lemongrass toner is spectacular if I do say so! Whilst working in Bhutan, I bought some lemongrass soap at a local market. I loved it so much that I tracked down the supplier of the lemongrass essential oil – a farmer’s cooperative. Last year, I went into agreement with them to supply me (or my new company I should say) with the soaps and bottles of lemongrass essential oil.

So I used the oil to whip up my toner and wow. Just wow. I’m now working on the website and hope to have this ready sometime in April. The name of the company? I’ll let you know that (and the story behind it) when I launch the website.

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These Honey Bee soaps will cure for at least 12 weeks. I need to bevel the edges. Next batch will be Coconut and Lime soaps.

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I’ve yet to design the product labels but…I made up lemongrass toners for me and El Hubs, plus two facial oils. Basically, we are doing the product testing along with friends. No testing on animals thanks.

I haven’t done an empties post for a couple of months. It’s so very satisfying to finish up stuff. So let’s ferret through my trash shall we?

Cleansers and toners. I have found my HG of cleansers and made my way through a bottle of it without deviating. It’s The Body Shop’s Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil. OMG. Love at first sniff. I’ve read that some people don’t like the rather strong camomile scent but I love the lemony floralness of it. And what an effective cleanser. Slap it onto dry skin and work it in to dissolve makeup and impurities. Wash off and you have silky smooth skin. It’s a very effective cleanser and I don’t need to double cleanse. I’ve already bought another bottle but have to finish up a couple more cleansers before I get stuck into it.

The second cleanser I sort of gave up on. Didn’t really like it, meh. It’s New Zealand brand, Skin Food, Cleans All. Nothing really wrong with it. I just didn’t find it a joy to use and I didn’t see any impact on my skin.

The toner is a bottle of rosewater. I don’t use conventional toners; I always use rosewater and preferably rosewater with glycerin. I finished up a 200ml bottle of NZ brand, Home Essentials, rosewater. In the photo below, you’ll see the older style bottle. I really wanted to like this product but I found the ethanol (aka alcohol) way too overpowering. I didn’t see it contained alcohol when I bought the bottle (smack to head). I decided to stubbornly make my way through the rosewater and couldn’t get through it fast enough. Meh.

Dry shampoo. Yep. More Batiste. The leopard print can is the Wild oriental scent and the pink can is the Blush floral scent. I have gone back to No Drought dry shampoo by LUSH because it’s very easy to fluff some of the lemony-scented powder through my hair. No Drought also gives me more volume than Batiste but I still like the Batiste dry shampoos.

Body Butters. I only use The Body Shop body butters. I’ve used them for YEARS. My fav is probably the Shea body butter and I finished up a jumbo-sized one as well as a Coconut body butter. I’m not so keen on the coconut one actually. I don’t really fancy smelling like a tropical island as it interferes with whatever perfume I’m wearing. Next in line to finish up are the Olive, Cocoa Butter and limited edition Raspberry body butters. I love the thick creaminess of TBS body butters; you really can’t get any better.

Moisturisers. Two knocked off. The first one is The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Boost and it smells of oranges. Lovely smooth texture and it contains Amazonian camu camu berry. I found my skin looked brighter after use, especially when I applied it over The Body Shop Nutriganics Drops of Youth serum. The Vitamin C skin boost works exceptionally well as a primer. Will certainly be repurchasing.

Shower gels and soaps. Another large 32oz bottle of Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps was used up. This time the Almond liquid castile soap, which has a subtle almond scent. I adore Dr Bronner’s soap as it has so many uses: shampoo, body wash, hand soap, fash wash, dog shampoo and dishwashing liquid.

You’ll also see yet another Nivea Natural Oil – I bought two bottles in Stockholm in 2012 and only just got round to using one of them. A very delicate, pleasant scent but heck, you go through it quickly. Took me just one week to finish up the 200ml bottle.

Sad to finish up a fav shower gel – Greek brand, Korres,Vanilla Cinnamon shower gel. I’ve used this scent for years and years. I love the warm, spicy creamy lather.

I also knocked off two bar soaps – one by Himalaya Herbals, which I bought in Bhutan and the other by an Australian company, Thurlby Herb Farm. The Himalaya Herbal soap was Almond Rose and what a delight to use. Super creamy, delicately-scented and just the right size. Dang, I should have bought more to bring back with me! The Thurlby Herb Farm soap was the Orange Blossom Olive Oil soap. Whilst it was creamy and certainly reminded me of orange blossoms, I found the bar was just too big and flat.

Eye cream. Australian brand, Rosehip Plus, has an interesting concept: a roll-on skin boost serum. You can use it around the eyes, which is what I bought it for. But…..the roller ball stopped working after a few uses so it’s getting tossed. Meh.

Hair. I finished up the L’Oréal Paris Elvital Volume Collagen Root Lifting Spray. I bought this to replace my HG volumising spray, David Babaii for Wild Aid Bohemian Beach Spray, which has been discontinued. Initially, I didn’t like it but it grew on me. So much so that I’ve bought a second bottle. Does a good job of giving my fine hair some volume and is light-weight.

Eyes. I finished up a concealer, eye shadow primer, two mascaras and an eyeshadow. Yeehah! The concealer is Maybelline’s Fit Me in Fair. A lot of hype around this concealer. It’s good. It’s creamy. It does a good job of concealing under the eyes. But…is not as good as Rimmel’s Wake Me Up or Almay’s Line Smoothing Under-Eye concealer .

I knocked off another tube of Too Faced Shadow Insurance. I think this is my third tube and most likely the last. I doubt I’d buy it again. Not since I discovered Bare Minerals 5 in 1 BB cream eyeshadow in Barely Nude. This is just the BEST eyeshadow primer and doubles as a creamy eyeshadow. The Shadow Insurance is good but I find it too liquidy.

Two mascaras gone. Maybelline’s Lash Stiletto in Very Black. I think this now comes in a black and red tube. I went through a couple of tubes and then gave it a rest. Going back to this mascara, I don’t like it as much as I used to. I think because I’ve now discovered Essence mascaras, which are seriously good. The second mascara I picked up in Hong Kong earlier this year: Maybelline The Rocket mascara. What a great mascara – doesn’t clump or smear. Glides on.

And I knocked off an eyeshadow by Too Faced. It’s called Nude Scene. When I lived in Australia, I went through many pans of this eyeshadow. Just love its neutral, soft peachy tone. I’m not sure if this shade has been discontinued as I can’t find it on the Too Faced website.

Lips. Labello care gloss and shine. Every time we visit the relatives in South Africa, I pick up many of these little tubes because they really hydrate the lips. My HG lip care treatment is the Nivea Lip Butters, with my fav being Caramel Cream. I think I’m correct in saying that Nivea is known as Labello in South Africa or maybe it’s certain products. I’ll be picking up more Labello tubes when we visit Johannesburg in 2015.

Clarisonic. Yet another brush done and dusted. I think it was a deep pore cleansing brush. I use the Clarisonic about three times a week.

Toothpaste. Yet another of the NZ brand toothpaste, Red Seal, used up. This one is the Natural SLS free tube. Minty with a hint of licorice. Love.

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It’s been awhile since I showed you all the products I’ve used up. I must say that I love watching YouTube videos of product empties and the little mini-reviews people give on each product. I’ve discovered a number of good products this way.

I’ve finished up quite a bit since my last empties post, so let’s check out the trash shall we?

Hair stuff. I knocked off two more Batiste dry shampoo cans – one in Cherry and the other in XXL Volume. The Cherry can is supposed to have a rich fruity (i.e. cherry) scent. Ah, not really and I thought it was a bit meh. I was hoping the XXL Volume version would boof up my hair and give it some texture. Nah. In fact, neither of these two Batiste dry shampoos wowed me so I’m going to stick with the Wild version and the Blush scent. The smaller cans only seem to last about 10 days, so I recently bought a large can of Blush.

The other dry shampoo I finished off is by LUSH and is called No Drought. It’s in a 100g bottle and is, frankly, better value for money than Batiste. You just need to dust a bit of powder onto the roots and work through. I think when I finish up the large Batiste, I’ll go back to No Drought. It also doesn’t seem to make my hair feel quite so dry and I like the slight citrus smell.

Also finished up is Joico Silk Result Thermal Smoother Styling Spray. What a mouthful. I’m not sure but I think this product has been discontinued. I’m not even sure why I bought it because it’s for coarse, curly or frizzy hair types – and I’m none of these. Probably my hairdresser suggested it for some reason. I quite liked it. It did seem to make my hair silkier. But nothing fantastic. I’m now using TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer spray.

Skincare. I tried out the Yes To Blueberries Age Refresh range. The Blueberries range is for old goats hahaha. I finished up the Intensive Skin Repair Serum; Eye Firming Treatment; and the Deep Wrinkle Nightcream. The whole range is petroleum, SLS, paraben and cruelty free. I quite liked the serum and the other products worked well on my sensitive skin. I think the serum was the standout with blackcurrant and essential fatty acids to nourish and soothe, along with apple to refresh and brighten the skin surface. I really feel it did brighten the skin and will pick up another bottle of the serum. The other two? I didn’t see any difference so won’t repurchase at this stage.

Makeup stuff. Finished up a couple of foundations. The first one is by Innoxa and is the Line Defying Makeup with SPF20 in the shade Linen. This is my second bottle and I love this silky smooth foundation. In fact, the whole Innoxa range is really good. It used to be popular in Australia as I was growing up and my mother always wore a lipstick in the shade Seashell Pink. Innoxa is reasonably popular in NZ thank goodness. A medium to full coverage foundation that glided on easily and wore well all day. Will repurchase.

The second foundation I enjoyed and is by another brand I like a lot – Almay – and it’s the Smart Shade foundation in 100 Light. Yep, really liked this foundation particularly how it adapts to the colour of your skin. It goes on white but then adjusts to your skin tone pretty quickly. It’s a sheer, natural finish but doesn’t really give you full coverage so a concealer is needed for any imperfections. I’ve already bought another tube. LOVE.

I’m tossing out the Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Primer. This was to cancel out the redness in my skin but heck, what a horrid product. Sorry. I LOVE the Smashbox Full Exposure palette and the brand in general but not this primer. It sat like an oil slick on my skin, was too thin in consistency and didn’t cover much at all. It seemed to slide off my skin, so out it goes. I’m now using the Rachel K CC Cream and am very happy with this.

The Za Shimmer Glimmer bottle finally came to an end. Basically, it’s a liquid highlighter with a soft pearl gleam. When I bought this, I used it obsessively – top of the cheeks, browbone, Cupid’s Bow etc. Then I kind of lost track of it and tend to use powder highlighters like MAC’s Mineralize Skin Finish in Soft and Gentle. I would consider buying the Za product again as it was very easy to apply and imparts a soft glimmer.

Mascaras. Two used up and one is being tossed. I finished up the Revlon Lash Potion mascara in black and it gives such great volume and length. Also love the retro-looking, colourful tube. Will certainly repurchase. The next mascara finished up was a second tube of Planters Perfect Eyes in black, which I brought back with me from Italy. It’s a wet mascara compared to Revlon but covers the lashes beautifully. No smudging; no panda eyes. Sad to have finished it up.

I’m tossing another Italian mascara though and I’m surprised it is so awful. When working in Rome, I picked up a great bronzer from the Dr Taffi range so I thought a mascara from this brand would be lovely. Ah no. Did nothing for my lashes and hardly coated them. Not to mention during the day, I’d end up with panda eyes.

Beauty tools. My E.L.F. eyelash curler finally bit the dust. I think I’ve had it about three years. One of the handles cracked and then, whilst using it, the curler basically disintegrated in my hands. I’m tossing up whether to bother getting another one. My current mascara (Essence) is doing a good job of plumping up the lashes. If I buy another one, it will probably be from Shiseido or The Body Shop as I hear they both have great eyelash curlers.

I also finished another Deep Pore Cleansing brush that I use with my Clarisonic. Been using the Clarisonic for three years now; about four times a week. Whilst in Hong Kong recently, I picked up a year’s worth of Sensitive Skin brushes.

Soaps. You know I love my soaps. One of my favourite organic liquid soaps is by Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps and I’ve been through many 32oz bottles. All the soaps are certified Fair Trade and the bottles are brightly-coloured and text heavy. When you look closely, the text on the label is full of quotes and instructions for cleansing your “mind-body-soul-spirit instantly.” My fav soap is the Almond Castile Liquid Soap but the one you see in the photo below is the Citrus Orange Castile Liquid Soap. There are so many ways to use this soap – body and face wash; shampoo; dishwashing liquid; dog shampoo. You can read about how to use Dr Bronner’s here.

I also finished up another LUSH soap (of course!). I’m not quite sure of its name because the label is too faint. It’s either the Willow Bark or Willow Pattern soap. This creamy soap contained rose oil, Silican lemon oil and rosewood oil and was a delight to use as is any LUSH soap. Certainly would buy it again but I continue to be obsessed with Karma soap.

In Bhutan, I bought a honey and almond oil glycerine soap by Santoor, which is an Indian brand. I enjoyed using a number of Indian products whilst in Bhutan and this soap was creamy and luxurious. It was softly scented and easy to hold.

Skincare. In Hong Kong, I discovered a new brand, Melvita. Well, I’ve heard of Melvita and I know it’s a French certified organic beauty brand. So I was delighted to see a Melvita store in one of the shopping centres and rushed in. I came away with a few things, which I’ll show you soon. But I was given three samples of the Naturalift Youthful Skin Complex for Lips and Eyes. One sachet lasted me about a week and the cream is packed with ingredients such as raspberry and shea butters, and honey and stevia leaf. REALLY liked the way this product performed. I’m quite convinced it softened wrinkles and it’s multi-tasking because you can use it around the lip area too.

Cleanser and toner. Gone is another small sample bottle of NZ brand Oasis Beauty Chamomile Cleanser. I had three or four of these little bottles and they are very handy for travel. Sadly, just as I was about to purchase a full-size Chamomile Cleanser, I find out that it’s been discontinued. It seems that the three separate cleansers for different skin types (Chamomile, Rose and Lavender) have been dispensed with in favour of two cleansers (Cream and Milk Cleanser). I might try one of these down the track but not anytime soon as I have a few cleansers to knock off. I also don’t think the Chamomile Cleanser removed all my makeup. I liked the smell of the cleanser though and its consistency.

I finished up a deluxe-size sample of Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective White Clarity-Activating Toner (another mouthful!). This is the matching toner for the sample cleanser I finished in February. I liked both products a lot, particularly the subtle lavender smell. This range from Kiehl’s promises a lot – brighten the complexion and visibly diminish discoloration and dark spots. Because they were samples, I don’t think I had enough time to really assess whether the cleanser and toner live up to the claims. I am considering a purchase of the full-size products though.

Sleeping aid. From time to time, I have trouble sleeping. Nothing major but I can lie awake for a couple of hours. Counting sheep gets pretty boring let me tell you. I rely on a particular herbal remedy to send me into dreamland – A.Vogel Dormeasan. It’s a liquid herbal tincture based mainly on Valerian. I can’t say it’s a great taste but I scoff it fast.

Perfumes. Readers of another blog I used to have know that I am a perfume addict. My favourite perfume is Fracas by Robert Piguet and I have worn this perfume ever since I can remember. It was created in 1948 and, if you’re interested, you can read my full review of Fracas on my other blog (under the heading Golden Rule #4). I will say it’s not a perfume for the faint-hearted; it’s a strong scent based on tuberose. I have one more bottle that I bought in Rome and once this is finished – I’ll be hitting the panic button as I don’t know where I’ll find it.

I also finished up a tiny sample of Dior’s J’adore. This was a perfume I was obsessed with when it was first released in 1999. I got caught up in the floral scent when florals became popular during the 1990s. I thought it was sophisticated and modern but then became sick of the whole floral perfume thing and went back to Fracas. A sales assistant at a chemist in Christchurch popped the little sample into my bag and I wore it in Queenstown recently. I’m afraid I found it too clinging and sweet.

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Lots of empties.

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Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap and A.Vogel Dormeasan.

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Hair stuff in the background.

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Yes to Blueberries.

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Melvita samples I picked up in Hong Kong.

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LUSH wrapper and Santoor soap.

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Foundations and mascaras.

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Santoor Honey & Almond Glycerine soap.

 

 

 

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