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Monday, May 26

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Review

Houglass Ambient Lighting Powder in 'Luminous Light'
Last Christmas I sold my soul life savings away for this gorgeous looking face powder. When I walked out of Mecca Maxima with this in hand and a gaping hole in my wallet I had a little internal meltdown. What have I done? Who spends $60 on a shimmery face powder? Well, I did, and so do a lot of other people, but for me it’s a rare occurrence. But as soon as I got home and unwrapped it all my regrets flew out the window.

I had been craving an Hourglass product for a while now. I love the look of their products, and this powder is no exception. The packaging is divine. The powder looks as soft as a pillow in its casing, and the product itself is quite smooth and picks up easily. The shimmer is very fine and, as the beautician at Mecca Maxima mentioned to me, it can be used all over the face for a natural glow. I've been treating this like a highlighter, so I've been concentrating this product over my cheekbones and t-zone, and I think it gives a really nice glow on top of my regular foundation.

Have you tried any hourglass products before? Have any on your wishlist?

Tuesday, May 20

Benton Snail Bee & Aloe Skincare Line Review

Benton has been a pretty hyped up brand in the Korean-skincare blogosphere this last year, and finally after months of testing and deliberating I can finally present this review. Seriously, it took me five months. It took me so long that Benton have already released a whole new range of products to their line! Before I go into the individual reviews, so I don't repeat myself too much, I just wanted to note some key ingredients that are present in all these products, unless otherwise stated of course:

Aloe Leaf Water
Instead of purified water Benton have used aloe leaf water instead. Aloe is an anti-inflammatory and is great for soothing and treating damaged and acne prone skin. It’s very hydrating, and contains natural anti-aging properties to help delay fine lines and wrinkles.

Snail Secretion Filtrate
Researches have found that, structurally, snail skin is very similar to human skin, and contains compounds (glyconconjugates) which are packed with proteins, peptides, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories to help repair damaged skin. Some of these properties include: Allantoin, which stimulates cell regeneration, sooth irritated skin and moisturises. Collagen and Elastin, which gives the skin 'bounce'. Loss of collagen means a reduction in moisture and elasticity, which basically means 'hello wrinkles'. Collagen production slows down a lot faster in women than men, and this is another factor as to why we age faster than they do (damn them).

*None of these products contain parabens, alcohol or artificial fragrances or colourings, and just like most South Korean brands, Benton do not test on animals.

Aloe BHA Skin Toner
This is probably the nicest toner I have ever used. But there's nothing 'toner'ish about it. It doesn't strip or tighten the skin, its main purpose is to soothe and moisturise which is exactly what it does. My skin feels so soft after using this. Aside from the two key ingredients, aloe leaf water and snail secretion, this toner also has some sasylic acid in it to help fight blemishes. I definitely noticed any spots I had reduced greatly while using this toner. The only negative thing about this is the 'spritz'. It’s more of a squirt than a spray, so I've resolved to use the palms of my hands to pat this on my face.

Snail Bee High Content Essence
This essence can be used after the BHA toner, or in place of it. It comes out as a gel, and absorbs into the skin almost instantly. It's not very moisturising, as the packaging suggests, but it makes the skin feel super soft and supple. This essence contains a more concentrated form of snail secretion to help fight acne and aging as well. I don’t know about the aging part, but I feel my skin has a lot more elasticity or ‘bounce’ after I use this.

Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel
This is the third step in the benton range and look, it's another gel! This one can be used as a moisturiser, and it definitely lives up to its claims for providing sufficient moisture. I actually found this gel too moisturising for my face, and ended up using it to soothe my sensitive legs after shaving, so I guess you could say it's a multi-purpose product.

Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream
Finally we've come to the final product and it's a steam cream! I've never tried a steam cream before, and for anyone who doesn't know, don't expect a dramatic poof of steam when you first open it, it's just the process in which the formula is emulsified. The cream itself looks quite light and watery but it's extremely moisturising, and can feel somewhat thick and sticky on the skin for a while afterwards. Oily skin, steer clear! This is a moisturiser for dryer skin types. I had a lot of problems with this cream in summer when my skin was oozing gallons of oil every minute, it was just too heavy and I suffered a lot of breakouts, but in the cooler seasons (when my skin can get quite dry) this works amazingly! Not only does it keep the dryness away but it also fights acne and makes my skin feel incredibly soft and bouncy. However, the heavy after feeling may be a drawback for some people. Another problem I found, just like the toner, is the packaging. I've found the bottom of my tub has shattered. It hasn't broken apart yet, but I have to be extremely careful with how I handle it. Has anyone else had this problem? I guess it doesn’t really matter anymore because Benton have already fixed the problem by switching the tub for a tube, which I prefer in my opinion, it's a lot more hygienic.

For someone who cares a lot about aesthetics, I love the minimalist design and even though the bottles are plastic they do look very sophisticated. The pump bottles are very handy, hygienic and disperse the perfect amount of product, minus the toner, which just seems to go everywhere. I really enjoyed this range, there was a little bit of disappointment with the Aloe Gel & Steam Cream but overall I had really good results, but it definitely took a while for me to see the benefits. So if you are thinking of purchasing these products, don’t expect to see life changing results overnight.

Friday, May 16

The Dry Shampoo Smack-Down

There's something incredibly tedious about washing your hair everyday. If you don't have fine, oily hair, please take this time to be grateful, because it really does feel like a curse sometimes. Thankfully, we live in a time where this magical product called 'dry shampoo' exists. Sometimes I just can't be bothered washing my hair everyday, and this is why I turned to dry shampoo. Here's a quick overview of some of the ones I've tried, the good and the bad.

No 1. Lee Stafford (for dark, oily hair) - $15 AUD
This is the most recent one I've purchased and at the moment I'm really impressed with it. It smells amazing, brings volume to my roots, and the tint doesn't stain my skin or go all over the place. It is on the pricier side, especially for 150mls, it goes quickly but I find it very effective at keeping my hair grease-free for most of the day.

No 2. Klorane (with oat milk) - $13
This is my favourite of them all. Klorane gives the most lift to my roots, and has a very light scent that doesn't make your head hurt. The only downside is that it leaves a very white cast. Better for light hair but not dark.

No 3. Klorane (with nettle, for oily hair)- $15
This is another favourite of mine, great oil absorption, lifts roots for volume, and keeps my hair looking fresh all day long. Great for oily hair, but like it's predecessor, it does make you look like you’re going grey. I avoid sun and spotlights like the plague when I use this.

No 4. Toni & Guy Cleanse DS - $16
I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated with this one. It comes in a large bottle, which seemed great to me considering the price, but all the bottles picked up felt half empty. It didn't seem to do much for my hair either. It did nothing for my oily roots except make them feel a little crispy, and there was no volume at all. It smells like every other Toni & Guy product, and it's nice enough, but it does linger, and I found myself getting sick of it really quickly.

No 5. Batiste - $10
This is another great drugstore dry shampoo, its cheap, it does the job and comes in a variety of scents and shades, the most from any brand available here in Australia. The standard formulas can look a little grey on dark hair though, so I make sure to use it in moderation.

No 6. Polished London - $3
You get what you pay for, I guess. This did nothing. If anything, it made my hair greasier. It smells nice, the nicest smelling dry shampoo I've tried, and it is tinted for darker hair, but alas, that's the extent of its virtues.  To use it up I've been using a little on top of the more 'whiter' ones. I would definitely recommend not wearing white while using this because the tint goes everywhere. You can see how messy it is through the orange cap.

No 7. Cedel (for dark hair) - $8
This cedel tint is okay, just okay. It keeps my hair slick free all day but it doesn’t give much oomph to my roots and the tint tends to end up all over my wrists instead of my head.

There's a lot of dry shampoos on the market at the moment, and it can get a little overwhelming, so I hope this post helps. Until next time!

Wednesday, May 14

Moving Sucks.

I thought I would give a little update on what’s going on in my life at the moment, and also take this time to apologise for the lack of updates these last few weeks. I blame my lack of organisation on a (not-so) lovely thing called moving. Earlier this year we found out that the owner of the house we were renting was moving back in, and last Monday we finally made the transition into our new home! It’s been a week, and there are still a few boxes lying around, but it's okay, because we finally have our internet back. This may sound really sad, but I have never been so relieved in my life to come home to an internet connection. It’s a glorious feeling. I may have a serious problem... Anyway, you can expect a few more reviews this month, although I have a butt load of assignments coming up, I am very determined to keep to my weekly schedule. Only time will tell however. I will admit, I might need my Kiki K planners to help get me through these next few weeks.

Monday, May 5

Urban Decay Eyeshadows: Roach & Rockstar

Urban Decay Eyeshadows: Rockstar (left) & Roach (right)
I don't wear much eye shadow but after browsing various makeup blogs I felt inspired to start my own palette. I bought the Urban Decay Basics last year and was really impressed by their shadows, but I wanted to expand my colour palette beyond mattes and neutral browns, so I went for something I could use for special occasions. To start off my collection I went with Roach, a shimmery, golden brown and Rockstar a deep purple with hints of brown and gold in it. Both shadows are very pigmented, they have a huge colour payoff, and look even better with a primer underneath. They both have a velvety smooth texture that makes them very easy to blend as well. Unfortunately, I am a bit of a noob when it comes to applying eyeshadow, but you know what they say, practice makes perfect, and I will definitely be doing some serious practice with these. I can't wear matte browns all the time. Right?

I purchased these from Beauty on sale for $22 AUD each. They are currently priced at $29 so if you're interested I would definitely recommend holding out until they have a sale. They also offer free shipping on all orders within Australia. Can't complain about that!