Saturday, March 1, 2014

February Favourites

I've been MIA from the blog for the past couple of months, with things to do and people to meet but I've still got a few stand-out products and recovering from breakouts has kept the makeup-wearing ball rolling. China proved to be a good trip and we saw some gorgeous scenery, especially on our short stay at a tea plantation mountain. I'm still loving products that I posted about at the end of November, like the Alpha-H Liquid Gold Rejuvenating Cream and Dove Summer Glow. December, January and February proceeded to demonstrate how difficult my skin can be, but I'm slowly pinpointing the causes for unhappy skin and seeking to remedy it.

Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in Lush Nectarine
This blush is my go-to for summer days. Usually applied with a fluffy brush like the Ecotools or Real Techniques Blush Brushes, it strikes a good balance of peach, pink and barely-noticeable golden shimmer.

Holika Holika Jewel-Light Waterproof Eyeliner in 01 Black
I think I've found a HG eyeliner in this pencil because it's the only pencil liner I've tried that doesn't need a primer. It's dark and inky and long lasting and the only point of contention I can find with it is the ridiculous plastic material from which it's made. I don't know how I'm going to sharpen it.

Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright
I rarely have breakouts that don't leave a scar behind, which is why I've been using this underneath my usual La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo to combat scarring. Alone, Effaclar Duo doesn't do much to help hyperpigmentation (though the company did just release a boosted version that's meant to help with that) but Pepta-Bright does seem to have been alleviating the darkness left behind by some of the newer blemishes in the few weeks I've been using it.

Etude House Proof 10 eye primer

I retired the Australis eyeshadow primer and swapped it out of my collection for this Korean one bought from eBay, which has proven to have great priming power and overbearing packaging. The length of the handle is ridiculous and the packaging could do with a revamp but it's a good basic primer. It doesn't help already-long-wearing eyeliners like the Holika Holika but it improves the wear time and intensity of eyeshadows, which is absolutely necessary on me and my smudge-prone skin.

Stella McCartney Stella EDP
Stella is the favourite of my current perfumes- it's floral and rosy- and has a certain complexity that sets it apart from the waves of white florals and sweet 'n' fruity spritzes. I've been loving Lush's Lust solid perfume because it's a gorgeous white floral as well, but Stella is a star that's really been shining these past few weeks.

Ben Nye Final Seal Matte Makeup Spray (featured here)

This is the first makeup-setting spray I've tried and I haven't been disappointed. The polymer-bonding powers would be more effective with a finer, mistier spray nozzle but it still works fantastically and keeps makeup in place for 14-hour days, even without face primer. I bought it from a tiny Hub Makeup store tucked away in the lesser-known Adelaide Street Arcade, and I strongly suggest checking it out if you're in Brisbane because industry brands like Lime Crime, Ben Nye, Temptu and Gorgeous Cosmetics aren't easily found in local shops.

The skincare front has been quite the testing ground for genuinely helpful products. I've been using a combination of clarifying face masks, cleansers and resorting to a teen-acne solution to combat my sleep-deprivation- and unbalanced-diet-caused breakouts.

Benzac AC 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide acne gel
Not even my teenage self resorted to benzoyl peroxide acne gel but I bought it last year and it's come in handy to clear up small bumps that crop up inexplicably. It may be worth upping the dosage to 5% or 10% if my skin doesn't clear up but for now this lower concentration is doing just fine.

REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser
I've used this cleanser for the past 2.5 months and it's been helpful at healing acne but hasn't done much to prevent it. I've taken to using it in conjunction with the Dove cleanser as the first step, because while it clarifies the skin, it does little else. REN recommends massaging it into the skin for 2 minutes, which is longer than I'm used to but has become somewhat therapeutic. Together the neutralising clay cleanser and pH neutral Dove cleanser help to balance out my skin and give it a proper cleanse each night.

Dove Cleanser & Toner in One
This is an oldie but a goodie- featuring many times on the blog in the previous year. Dove has since discontinued and reformulated their cleansers but this used to be readily available for a measly $6.50 and works remarkably well as a pH neutral cleanser that can also remove makeup.


  1. I've been meaning to purchase the Laura Mercier blush in Lush Nectarine for a while now because it is just so beautiful! It's quite pricey though which is why I've been holding off the purchase for so long. I'm certain I will crack some day though. xx
    Celina | The Celution | Bloglovin’

    1. I think it was limited edition a couple of years ago but it's absolutely gorgeous- a little bit like MAC Peaches but so much nicer. I prefer it to Peaches! It's so worth the money for a great quality blush because the formula is so soft and easy to work with.

  2. Does that mean the Cleanser and Toner in One is discontinued? *horrorface* Say it isn't true. I've been relying on it for years and years, it's such a skin care staple for me that I can't imagine anything working as well and being as accessible/affordable. The Ben Nye setting spray sounds intriguing my foundation normally has melted off by the end of the day so I should probably venture into products that make my makeup last longer.

    1. I hate to break it to you but I can't find it anymore. I see a 'Deep Pore Cleanser- Cleanser and Toner in One' or something along those lines, repackaged and restyled but see below for Michelle's experience. I don't know what I'll turn to now. Maybe I'll go back to Antipodes Juliet but I'm not sure. Ben Nye is surprisingly affordable- a standard sized container of the Banana Powder is only $12 and the Final Seal was only $12 too.

  3. I literally searched at least 4 - 5 Woolworths for that Dove cleanser before succumbing to the fact that it is discontinued and I will probably never find it again. :/ I tried one of their new cleansers a while ago and was not a fan - left my face feeling dry and tight (I believe it was one for normal skin). I've had a similar poor experience with an old Dove cleanser before, so I guess the Dove Cleanser and Toner in One truly was a gem. I'm onto Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish now though, and I think I prefer it over the good Dove one. You'd hope so too, given the price difference.

    I'm very tempted to purchase that Holika Holika eyeliner, I haven't yet come across a pencil eyeliner I trust to stay put where I've applied it. I purchased the Lioele brow pencil under your recommendation which turned out to be an awesome buy, so I'm sure the Holika Holika one will be too!

    1. Oh, I might invest in trying a bottle of C&P! Caroline Hirons was very persuasive in her recent Beauty Myths post so I might try products aimed at normal skin to see if my skin's moved past teenage acne by now. I'm SO glad you tried the Lioele brow pencil and it proved itself worthy! Hurrah! The Holika Holika eyeliner is pretty awesome for a black pencil liner. I'll see if it sharpens alright before declaring it HG though.

  4. I've been MIA on my blog too, life just gets in the way, how dare it! Wow I've never dared using an eyeliner with primer before, regardless of how smudgeproof it claims to be. I despise plastic coated eyeliners too, I have an Essence eyeliner which is a bitch to sharpen! I love creamy eyeliners though, and Revlon do a nice one in their Grow Luscious range which glides on beautifully, albeit quite pricey at full price.

  5. i Really love the stella perfume! it was one of my first perfume loves!
    A Beautiful Zen