Asian Skincare haul

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

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After coming across the Korean skincare section at Refinery29, I've had my fire for Asian skincare relit. I had vague interests before, but I found it hard to work out what I should be looking for, what products to get and which brands to trust, let alone the difficulty in getting any in the UK. During my gap year, I visited Japan and Taiwan, so I did have easy access, but I admit, I wasn't as interested in skincare back then as I am now, something which I completely regret now! I admit I did try looking, but I was a little inundated, and not being fluent in the languages, had a hard time and gave up.

Nowadays, with the internet and beauty blogging, I have a better idea of which brands I want to try out. Asian skincare is getting a tiny bit easier to buy in the UK now, with brands like Mizon and DHC available, but there are still so many Korean and Japanese brands that are extremely popular in their home countries which are practically impossible to find over here, and which I think would do amazingly here.

Some sellers have realised that there is a gap in the market, and cleverly decided to fill it through eBay. While I tend to avoid buying cosmetics and beauty through eBay for Western brands, I find that with Asian skincare you tend to be quite safe. With that in mind, I had a bit of a haul and thought I'd show it here. Reviews to follow.

Products I bought: Cure Natural Aqua Gel, LHJ Tea Tree Essence 90, Scinic Night Repair Ampoule. I was also given some Mizon samples which I'm very excited about using.

Also, I thought it would be nice to show some products I bought late last year/earlier this year. As you can see, I had a bit of a lash-y moment! asian beauty 2 775 Products shown here: Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence, Scandal Queen Fairy Drops Waterproof Mascara, Heroine Make Long and Curl Waterproof Mascara, Heroine Make Volume and Curl Waterproof Mascara, KOJI Dolly Wink Pure Little False Eyelashes. I actually bought the Fairy Drops mascara from Beauty Mart UK.

Missing from this photo is the KOJI Curving Eyelash Curler, which I want to talk about in a separate post.

Two eBay buyers I have found reliable are SpicyGoods, and sing-sing-girl.

Drugstore blush worth the hype

Monday, 27 April 2015

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I'm sure you've seen it in Boots and Superdrugs by now, and I'm certain you've seen it pop up on practically all the beauty blogs out there, but I felt that I really wanted to throw my opinion on the Max Factor Crème Puff Blush into the pool.

Now I have to confess, while I adore blushes and would never dream of going out without some hint of colour on my cheek, I've never ever bought drugstore blushes before. Ever. Not even once. I've wandered around the aisles of Boots and picked them up, ummed and ahhed over a few, before putting them back down and walking away.

Not so when I saw the Crème Puff Blushes. I'd seen some reviews, looked at the swatches, and knew straight away I had to get at the very least one. I originally picked up the shades Lovely Pink and Nude Mauve, liked them so much, and went back to get Seductive Pink. I would have bought another shade if I could, but my local Boots only stocked four colours, so I am making do with these three for now.

The major cause of fuss over these blushes is the fact they are so similar to the Hourglass Ambient Blushes, which I have tried but never gotten round to buying. The Hourglass ones are gorgeous, and look beautiful in the pan, but I never feel like I want to fork out £28 for a blush, no matter how much I like it. This doesn't mean I won't in the future if I feel extremely spendy, but when the Max Factor version look as good (aside from the difference in packaging), some shades are extremely similar, and you can buy 3 of the Crème Puffs for less than the Hourglass, there wasn't even a decision.

tiled puff blush Of the three shades I have, Nude Mauve is my favourite. Subtle, with the mix of contour, colour and highlight in one, it is very similar to my beloved Nars Douceur. The colour pay off for all three is very nice, and easily buildable. The packaging looks cheap compared to the Hourglass, but for some reason I actually rather enjoy the compact feel of them, and think I would find it easy to pop into my handbag for touch-ups (I'm lazy, I don't actually like carrying around that much makeup to touch things up unless I'm going out for the evening).

I'm trying to think of some negatives about these blushes, and at the moment, I honestly can't think of one at all which I am so surprised about. Given that I am enjoying the colours I have and am using them on a daily basis right now, I think I may have been converted to drugstore blushes. Now I just need to get the rest of the set.

P.S. Every time I write 'Crème Puff' or think it, I start thinking about cream puff rolls. Drool.

Clay masks: expensive or cheap and cheerful?

Friday, 24 April 2015

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Clay masks. Great things to have. So simple but so effective. I put one on at least once a week, and always feel so much calmer mentally doing so. I have to take off my glasses when I have one on, so for me, it's a bit like having an enforced ten minute break or so away from technology or anything, and just using that time to relax and enjoy the indulgence of a mask, as well as a little chill out time. Then there's also the skin benefits: detoxifying, purifying, brightening and calming, the list could go on, especially as different companies put different things in for effect. The thing is, clay masks are mostly just clay. Yes, I don't doubt someone will swear by one and someone else the other, but in all honesty, the highest end clay mask isn't really all that different from the cheapest one out there. Or even one that you could try make yourself (I haven't yet, but I'm very much thinking about doing so).
 
And that's the point of this post. As you can see from this post's picture, I've tried the high end (an eye-watering £57 for the Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask), to the £10 offering from Body Shop, which also doubles as a scrub of sorts. Yes the Omorovicza did come in a lovely glass pot, compared to the plastic containers from the Body Shop, and even Kiehls. Yes it did look slightly more interesting than the standard pale green Kiehls clay mask. But, I don't feel that the overall results from the overly expensive mask were really that far different from cheap clay masks. I may well give into the samples and buy the Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque some day, and finally get round to trying the Origins one, neither of which are budget, but if there's anything I've learnt from comparing clay masks, it's this: save your pounds, you can use it to buy some new lippie instead.

Beauty essential: Pixi Glow Tonic

Saturday, 18 April 2015

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When I started my skincare overhaul, one of the very first things I bought was the Pixi Glow Tonic. I read about it on Caroline Hirons' blog and kept checking back into the store for a few months until it popped back into stock on my birthday (win!). I bought two bottles there and then, just to make sure I wouldn't have to go through the waiting again, and since then it's been pretty much a mainstay in my beauty regime.

The fact that the Pixi Glow Tonic is gentle, effective and very affordable. What's really significant is that it works so well on my skin, getting rid of any dead skin cells with its exfoliating properties, all the while smoothing and brightening my complexion. I find it really good with spots, helping them to go down a little faster. Also, I find that after using it, any products I put on after absorb better. I was initially a bit scared about using acids on my face, but the Pixi Glow is so gentle, it's become a step in my cleansing routine that I actually look forward to oddly enough.

As you can see, I started using the Glow Tonic back when it was in its no-frills basic packaging, and have recently had to purchase the updated version after seeing how I would do without it for a month (obviously I found myself unable to do without it). The original was more yellow-see-through looking and less floral smelling. It's now a very bright orange colour, and definitely feels a bit more heavily scented to me, but the change hasn't affected the effectiveness of this product, and obviously, I'm still religiously using it, and now can't stand not using an acid toner in my daily routine.

The originals cost £16.50, but has now gone up in price to £18, which is still a complete bargain for such an amazing product in my opinion. You can buy it from Pixi themselves, and it is also now stocked in Liberty's.

Cleansing au naturel

Monday, 6 April 2015

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My beauty regime is a mix of chemical and natural. Sometimes you need a bit of help from the chemical to get things looking their best. In some cases however, natural works just as well if not better.

One cleanser that I use on a regular basis is the balance Me Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm. I picked this up after reading it in this post on Caroline Hirons blog. At only £20, I think it's a great introductory balm cleanser if you have never used one before. It is definitely more of an oily balm, and stays as an oil on the face once you've massaged it in. The odd thing I found at first was the addition of oatmeal grains to the balm, but I think it's a great addition. You get to cleanse and exfoliate gently at the same time. The oatmeal itself is very soft, so don't worry if you're not keen on scrubs (I'm not), then you should still be able to get on with this balm.

Although the ingredients list states it has shea butter and beeswax, I don't think it's the cause for any breakouts on me. In fact, I like using this as my morning cleanser during autumn and winter, and feel that it helps soothe blemishes a bit. I expect this is from the sweet almond oil which is the first listed ingredient in its list.

The fact that it is a) a lovely balm cleanser, b) extremely affordable, c) can remove makeup and d) comes in a squeezy tube (yes!) means that I like having one in my cupboard at all times. Its oiliness does mean I tend not to be very regular with it during summer, where the oil seems to sit on my face a bit more than I'd like, but it's a great cleanser for the rest of the year. This is a definite recommendation.

You can buy this at John Lewis, Debenhams, and lookfantastic.com

This is not a perfume. No, seriously...

Friday, 3 April 2015

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This is not a perfume. No, honestly, it's not. This gorgeous bottle actually contains...hair oil. Yes, that's right. Inside this beautiful bottle with its gold top and faceted exterior, really is a hair oil. Sold as a luxury product, it definitely looks the part, and would look just right on any dressing table.

Produced by SHOW Beauty, this is the Pure Treatment Oil, which contains argan oil, jojoba oil and apricot seed oil. I picked it up in one of those 'bad-for-your-bank-balance' moments when you are wandering around, looking to buy something but unsure of what. Dangerous. While the instructions recommend you use this after you've washed your hair, the sales assistant took a little out and smoothed it through my dry frizz-prone hair, and voila! Smooth hair that felt conditioned and shone without looking greasy. Instant magic, instant sale.

Now, I know it's just an oil, and yes it is marketed as luxury, and therefore comes with a 'luxury' price tag of £50, but this stuff seems to do wonders to my hair. I have coarse hair that is prone to frizz and sticking out at weird angles, and I have tried different variations from drugstore hair aisles, to natural ones, and the Moroccan Oil that seemed to start the whole argan craze off, and none of those compared to this. It just works, and considering how little you need at a time, I expect this bottle to last me some time. Also, though I said it wasn't a perfume, it does actually smell amaaazing, sweet but not overly so, and that's saying something, for someone who really dislikes sickly-sweet scents.

If I do have just one complaint, it's the actual way of distributing the oil. Taking off the pretty cap, you are presented with a pipette of all things. The problem is, the pipette is trying to dispense an oil that is actually rather runny. Squeezing the pipette to suck oil in and trying to reach your hand before it drips on the bottle is extremely hard. It just runs before you can even draw it into the pipette anyway, let alone keep it there for you to dispense.



Much as I would like them to improve the dispensing method, in the grander scheme of things, the oil is that good, I'm willing to overlook this and keep with it. Time to pop off and put some magic into my hair.

SHOW Pure Treatment Oil is available at Selfridges, House of Fraser and lookfantastic.com for £50.