Lush Halloween. The Enchanter: a bloody bath.

Happy Halloween, Samhain, All Hallows Eve, Día de los Muertos or whatever holiday you are celebrating this week!

I wanted to share a last minute Halloween pampering idea.

The Enchanter is an orange and yellow ballistic (a bath bomb) that looks a bit like Jupiter. It smells of lime, neroli and frankincense. The essential citrus oils in this ballistic have aromatherapy benefits and are supposed to improve the mood and brighten a cold autumn day. According to AromaWeb, lime oil is ‘well known in folklore for its ability to cleanse, purify and renew the spirit and the mind’. Like most Lush products this ballistic has no artificial colours, ingredients, and preservatives.

The Enchanter

The Enchanter

Once you drop it in your bathtub it fizzes and swirls releasing different layers of colour: yellow, orange, and pink. It takes a good couple of minutes for the bomb to dissolve and for the colours to mix. When they do, the effect is very halloweeny – a crimson red, bloody bath (a bit on the orange side). Most of the YouTube demos of this ballistic don’t do it justice. For some reason the water looks really orange in most videos, when in fact it’s a dark organgy red.

First stage: yellow

Orange and red stage

Red!

What’s even more fun is that the pink foam stains your body and bathtub! It looks likes someone slaughtered something in the bath. It’s a strange and a slightly creepy sight. Sounds disgusting and scary? It’s Halloween after all !!!

Lush the enchanter

Bloody stains

Lush the enchanter

Do not worry. It’s NOT PERMANENT. The stains come off easily with a bit of soap and water. Rinse it well and the stains will be gone.

This year Lush came out with only a few Halloween products in the UK. This is probably because they had a number of new releases over the past couple of months. Another Halloween limited edition product is Calacas shower jelly in the shape of a skull. This product is a reference to calaveras, sugar skulls that are traditionally made for the Mexican Day of the Dead on the November 1st. These skulls are beautifully decorated and dedicated to the souls of relatives and friends who come back to live for one day on the Day of the Dead.

This shower jelly smells of lime and jelly bean.

Calacas shower jelly

Calacas skull

Hope this little post put you in the Halloween mood.

The Enchanter is £3.20 each and Calacas is £3.25 for 100g.

Coming up:

This Thursday: Battle of Concealers. Evidence from 10+ years of experiments

Next Monday: Mattifying skincare duo

Next Thursday: The best way to get rid of dark circles without makeup

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NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser vs Dr Jart+ Platinum Beauty Balm Cream

I was going to write a review of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser SPF 30/PA+++. But as it’s not a brand new product I thought it might not be more interesting to compare it with Dr Jart Platinum BB cream.

I’m sure by now everyone is quite familiar with the difference between tinted moisturisers (makeup + moisturiser), BB creams (moisturiser + serum + makeup), and foundations (makeup). I fist discovered BB creams when I was living in Japan. However a lot of BB creams available in Japan were not suitable for my European skin. Nowadays you can get BB creams everywhere. While saving time by applying one multifunctional product instead of 5 different ones will always be something I’m interested in, I’m not convinced that BB creams should replace serums or facial moisturisers. Just as you wouldn’t stop wearing underwear just cause you got a spanking new coat ;). Still these kind of products have the advantage of looking very natural on the skin and I appreciate that.

I try to use tinted moisturisers or BB creams as much as possible. I don’t like the cakey look you get with most foundations. Sure, there are some, referred to as second skin foundations, which are much lighter and look more natural. Still, after a couple of hours and with my oily skin they crease, settle into my pores and generally look too heavy. I think my skin just doesn’t respond well to foundations and I find it really hard to find a good one. As a result I have been looking for a medium cover BB cream or tinted moisturiser for oily skin. I still haven’t found a perfect one.

Here is how my skin looks without any products (scary, I know)

NARS

I’ve been using NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser in the shade Alaska since May and am very happy with it. This product gives a very light coverage. It’s advertised as ‘sheer and translucent’ or a ‘translucent veil of colour’. It gives a very warm, light yellow tint. It doesn’t cover my freckles or imperfections but it gives my skin this ‘sun-kissed’ glow. After applying the product my skin still looks very pale but more yellow than white. This might sound a bit strange but it looks good. NARS Tinted Moisturiser is particularly good for oily skin as it’s an oil-free product. It has a full spectrum of SPF filters. You only need a pea-sized amount to cover your entire face. You can build up the coverage to some extend but it’s still very sheer. On the plus, side it very light and goes on nicely. It’s easy to blend.

This product is a step towards BB cream. It is suppose to help to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots in just four weeks. It has many beneficial ingredients that should help the skin stay hydrated and healthy. I can’t really say that I’ve noticed any results but this might be because I have been wearing it over MAC Prep and Prime Face Protector SPF50. This is a silicon based primer so the active ingredients of the tinted moisturiser were not able to penetrate my skin.

NARS Tinted Moisturiser

NARS

NARS tinted moisturiser

NARS

Dr Jart

Dr Jart is a Korean specialised skincare brand designed by a dermatologist and based on dermatological research as well as Korean natural medicine and diet. I particularly like their slogan ‘Doctor makes a difference’ (little PhD joke). Their BB creams are quite famous. I use Platinum BB cream with SPF 45/PA+++. I tried a couple of Dr Jart BB creams. Surprisingly this one works better on my skin than the water infused one which was designed especially to control oil production. Platinum BB cream is ideal for skin with first signs of aging and is rich in antioxidants and berry extracts to help prevent wrinkles. It is advertised as having high coverage and a light application. It comes in only one shade and it’s very pale. It has a ‘whitening’ effect. This is quite typical for Asian make up as, especially in Japan, girls dream of having whiter skin. After applying this product my skin looks really washed out but after I blend it in and set with powder it looks more natural.

Dr Jart BB Cream

Dr Jart BB Cream

Dr Jart BB Cream

Dr Jart BB Cream

Comparison

Coverage

Both of them give a very natural look and are not heavy so they don’t cover imperfections. Dr Jart gives somewhat more coverage. It looks more like a foundation.

Colour

Dr Jart whitens out my skin. I think if it had a different shade it would be a clear winner. NARS is available in 9 shades. The one I have is the lightest yet still looks quite dark on my skin. And very, very yellow. Both products look almost unnatural at first but once blended they look more subtle. It just depends whether you’re looking for a more perfect, put together porcelain look or a holiday glow.

Oil-control and finish

Dr Jart has a more matte finish while NARS has a more dewy finish. They both do not offer much in terms of oil control. I have to use powder and touch-up my makeup often.

Staying power

They are both pretty good. I do set both of them with a setting spray and a powder. As both products require frequent touch-ups, towards the end of the day my skin looks a bit powdery. NARS tends to look more natural but this is offset by lower coverage.

Skincare benefits

As Dr Jart is primarily a skin care company I am more likely to believe in the beneficial properties of their product. Saying that, as I use both products over a primer it doesn’t really make that much of a difference.

Price

NARS costs £27 for 50 ml. Dr Jart is £22 for 50 ml.

Final ruling

Both products are good. Both are amongst the best tinted moisturisers/BB creams I’ve seen so far. I’ve been using NARS for many months and am very happy with it. I think it’s a great product for spring and summer when the skin looks good without much help. At the moment however, my skin is transitioning into winter skin. It’s getting dryer, there is redness around the chin and nose and I feel like in a couple of weeks l will need more coverage. I’m determined to stay away from foundations this year and focus on brightening skincare and self tanning. I think I will stick with Dr Jart and come back to NARS in the spring. In the end both of these products are worth trying.

UPDATE:

Since posting this last week I have been using NARS tinted moisturiser straight after my morning serum. No moisturiser, no primer. It works really well and looks super natural. I haven’t tried the same with Dr Jart yet. But my general advice would be to use try each product both ways and see what works best.

Coming up next week:

Monday: A Lush Halloween

Thursday: The Battle of Concealers – evidence from 10+ years of trials

Let the Good Times Roll – a Facial Cleanser for an HD Ready Skin

Before I being, I’d like to point out that I’m not in any way sponsored by Lush. I love their products and buy them with my own money.

I woke up today to a cold, gray, wet morning. It was one of those days when it seems like the morning never really comes and it is just dawn all day round: it was gray and dark. The fact that it was Monday didn’t help. On days like this I like to have something nice waiting for me. Either have something delicious for breakfast or a pampering morning routine.

Luckily, I had the new Lush facial cleanser in my bathroom.

Properties and ingredients

Let the Good Times Roll smells of buttery popcorn, caramel, cinnamon, and cookie dough. Words cannot express just how good this smells! Its colour is equally delicious: light caramel brown. In consistency it resembles cookie dough with a little bit of sand added to the mix. The ‘sand’ is polenta – a natural cornmeal. Other ingredients include maize flour, glycerine, talc, corn oil, organic cinnamon powder, Gardenia extract, and wait for it… actual popcorn! You can see bits of it inside the pot in my photos below. It doesn’t have any artificial ingredients or preservatives. It’s completely natural (expires within four months). As a result, Let the Good Time Roll is one of those Lush products that you’re tempted to taste.

 Lush Let the Good Times Roll

Lush Let the Good Times Roll

I don’t normally post pics that aren’t mine but I love this one from Lush’s webpage and decided to reblog.

How it works

Let the Good Time Roll is suppose to give you an HD read skin. When I bought it a girl from Lush Inverness (yes, I bought it on holidays) said it made her pores look smaller. I didn’t really believe her and bought it for the scent. However, this stuff really works!!! It’s not a dramatic difference – it is a cleanser not dermabrasion after all – but it does work. Here are some photos of my clean skin before and after using Let the Good Times Roll.

Lush Let the Good Times Roll

Before

Lush Let the Good Times Roll

After

The skin definitely feels softer and smoother after using this product. To be honest, I wouldn’t care if it didn’t. I would still use it just for the fun of it! This product is a mix between a cleanser and a daily scrub. It won’t remove makeup or deeply cleanse your skin. Hence, I use a makeup remover and a different cleanser before this.

One thing worth pointing out – it’s a very gentle product. I was quite sceptical at first as I use a lot of exfoliating products such as Alpha-H Liquid Gold, products with retinol, AHAs and BHA, as well as a prescription treatment for acne. I was worried that this product might be too harsh for my skin. For example, Lush Ocean Salt scrub is way too abrasive for me. The chunks of salt in it are just too coarse. Let the Good Times Roll doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin.

Final ruling

I have tried every single facial cleanser from Lush and have never actually managed to get through an entire pot before they expired. I bought this cleanser two weeks ago and I’ve already used a good 1/3 of it. Why? Because it just feels so nice to cover my face in it, close my eyes and let the scent wash over me. It is just such a fantastic experience. For me it’s one of Lush’s best products, which is saying a lot given that I absolutely adore Lush. It’s a luxurious, pampering facial cleanser.

Let the Good Time Roll is now a part of Lush’s permanent collection. Available in stores and online for £5.95 per pot (100g). As with any Lush product in black plastic pot, REMEMBER to keep your empty pots! You can bring back 5 clean Lush pots and get a Fresh Face Mask free.

Coming up this Thursday: NARS Tinted Moisturiser review

China Glaze Make a Spectacle

China Glaze Halloween 2012 Wicked collection is out!

Actually, it’s been out since September but I only managed to get my hands on it in October. Halloween, or rather Samhain, is my absolutely favourite holiday of the year and I love when brands release Halloween-themed collections. Plus China Glaze nail polishes are my favourite polishes. They are simply amazing. As this is an American company their collections arrive in the UK with some delays and are not widely available. For that reason I usually only pick one or two items from each collection.

This time I picked Make a Spectacle. It’s one of China Glaze amazing glitters and it’s just perfect. I’ve been waiting for one like this for a while. China Glaze does glitters like no one else. Make a Spectacle has a clear base, tiny bits of holographic white-silver glitter, and large hexagonal chunks of glitter. While the majority of holographic glitter nail polishes are multicoloured this one has a snow-white silver tone to it. Under artificial light however it has warm golden reflections. Multicoloured glitter can look very nice but personally I’m not a big fan. Particularly for everyday wear and for work I prefer something more elegant, understated and professional. Make a Spectacle give a polished shiny finish without looking like you just came back from a disco or like you allowed your ten years old niece to do your nails with her favourite polish ;). Which is why I really hoped they will come out with something like this for a while.

China Glaze has released a number of polishes with a clear base and holographic glitter but none of that resembles Make a Spectacle. Snow Globe was a mid-size hexagonal glitter with rainbow coloured reflections. Luxe and Lush was similar but the glitter had irregular shape and was much larger. Fairy Dust had tiny bits of silver glitter. Techno is probably closest to Make a Spectacle: it also has both micro and large hexagonal bits of glitter. Still it is a multicoloured glitter and has more of a silvery tone to it.

I really love the effect this polish gives. Photos hardly do it justice. Here it is: two coats with a clear top coat.

China Glaze Make a Spectacle

China Glaze Make a Spectacle

China Glaze Make a Spectacle

China Glaze Make a Spectacle

China Glaze Make a Spectacle

China Glaze Make a Spectacle

China Glaze Make a Spectacle

Recent MAC favourites: Office Hours and Marilyn Monroe collections

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with MAC’s limited edition collections. They are a bit of a hit and miss for me. There are times when I want to buy the entire collection and then several months pass by and I don’t see anything exciting. The last one I really enjoyed was the Hello Sailor collection. I love the pro longware bronzers from this collection. I wear Sun Dipped every day. I feel it lasts longer than other bronzers. It really stays on all day. That is why I got very excited when I heard that MAC is bringing out pro longwear blushes in the Office Hours collection. 

Office Hours

I heard a lot of people complaining about the Office Hours collection. Apparently people thought it wasn’t pigmented enough, especially the blushes. I can see why they would say that but I would argue that that’s not necessarily a bad thing for a blush. MAC’s pro longwear blushes have a different consistency than the ones in the permanent collection. They’re softer and creamier. They have almost a cream to powder finish.

I got Stay By Me. It’s a perfect light peachy coral. It looks so natural on the skin: delicate and refreshing without looking like you have too much makeup on. Because it’s not strongly pigmented it’s seriously not possible to apply too much of this blush. So even when you’re in a hurry you won’t overdo it. It goes well with everything as the colour is quite natural. It’s absolutely perfect if, like me, you have a very fair skin but with yellow undertones. It’s also a matte blush which I absolutely adore. I do find that it lasts longer than other blushes although it’s not as good as the Sun Dipped bronzer. I have tried wearing it alone and as a base for other blushes, for example MAC Style which is a warm orange-gold shimmery blush.

The good news is that pro longwear blushes from the Office Hours collection will be added to the permanent collection. They come in standard size – 6g and are available for £19.

MAC Forever Marilyn, MAC Stay By Me

Swatches

MAC's Style, Stay By Me, and Forever Marilyn

MAC’s Style, Stay By Me, and Forever Marilyn

MAC Style, Stay By Me, Forever Marilyn

MAC’s Style (depotted), Stay By Me (bottom right), and Forever Marilyn (top left)

MAC's Stay By Me (top right), and Forever Marilyn (bottom left)

MAC’s Stay By Me (top right), and Forever Marilyn (bottom left)

Marilyn Monroe

My second favourite is a product from the Marilyn Monroe collection – a beauty powder called Forever Marilyn. I love the packaging of this collection, by the way. It’s a very pale peachy pink powder. It’s almost matte with just a tiny bit of shimmer. I’ve been using MAC’s Lightscapade mineralised skinfinish (Reel Sexy collection) as a highlighter. It’s a beige-gold shimmery powder with lilac coloured veins. As it has a lot of shimmer you can’t really use it under your eyes or to highlight the centre of your forehead or your nose. Forever Marilyn is quite a different product. As it is matte you can use it to highlight your cheekbones as well as the under-eye area. It’s a good way to brighten up this area if you’ve got dark under-eye circles and also to set your concealer. It’s also good for an easy ‘Kim Kardashian’ cheekbone contouring look.

It’s available for £23.50 for 10g while the collection is out.

She Said Beauty

 The best beauty box so far?

I love subscription beauty boxes! I think it’s a fantastic idea and a great way to discover new products and brands. I love the feeling you get when you come home after a long day and see a brand new box. You get this rush of excitement when you open it up to see what amazing new products it contains.

So much has been said on subscription boxes that I wasn’t planning to add my own opinion to the mix. But I discovered this box and thought I’d write about it as I haven’t seen many reviews of this particular box and I’m absolutely in love with it. For some reason it’s not really well known.

I subscribed to Glossybox and Joliebox last winter. I got annoyed with Glossybox and cancelled in June. Despite claiming that they offer tailored products I kept getting boxes full of things I couldn’t use: e.g. eyeshadows for blondes when I’m a brunette, shampoos for thin hair when mine are thik etc. I’m still subscribed to Joliebox and have gone to a couple of their events. I like the fact that they sometimes have French brands and natural products. Still, the last two boxes were really disappointing! With DIY hair accessories and cheap soap… If the next one if equally uninspiring I will definitely unsubscribe. Last month I subscribed to Amarya and She Said Beauty. While I’m still waiting for my first Amarya box, She Said Beauty blew me away.

The box

It has a pretty turquoise colour with a delicate floral motif and discrete logo. It’s perfect for what all my empty subscription boxes end up as – gift packaging. It’s elegant although perhaps doesn’t have the same luxury feel as Glossybox. It’s also quite unique as it has a fold back lid. I quite like that.

She Said Beauty Box

She Said Beauty Box

Content

Now this is where this box really stands out for me!

It had 7 samples of 6 different products which is more than any other box. In my opinion, this is exactly what a beauty box should be – a box of samples. There is this strange trend whereby subscription boxes strive to include a full size product. Perhaps this somehow makes people feel like they got good value for their money. But the full size products are usually of very poor quality. Joliebox bragged about having two full-sized products in their August box. Glossybox had a full-size eyeshadow palette that looked like something you would purchase when you were 5 and this was your first play-makeup item. It went straight to the garbage bin. The shadows were really sheer, powdery and not pigmented.  It was impossible to use them. The packaging was appalling. It definitely made me feel like I wasted my money. I much rather have several samples of different products. That way there is more of a chance you’ll discover something that’s right for you.

She Said Beauty inside

Content

Products

She Said Beauty Products

Products

Herbacin, Wuta Kamille Glycerine Handcream: A really lovely handcream. Smells great. I won’t be buying it as it contains parabens but I enjoy using it for now. Perfect size for a handbag.

Cellnique Advanced Bio Renewal Masque: Used it all up. Nice and worked well.

B.liv Off With Those Heads: Gel for blackheads and whiteheads. Have not tried it yet.

Biao Beauty Rejuvenating Night Crème: Really nice but unfortunately I don’t think you can purchase this in the UK.

KeraStraight Moisture and Protein Masks: Oh my god! This thing is amazing and I will definitely buy the full size.

Myvitiamins Total Acai Berry: Perfect for a health freak like me. Just what I needed for autumn.

What I really liked was the variety of products. If you have been subscribed to different beauty boxes for a while the chances are you have tones of lip balms and generic facial moisturisers and shampoos. I loved that She Said Beauty sent me a food supplement in their box! I loved that they had facial products, body and haircare items. I also liked the fact that the samples were from brands I didn’t know. Beauty boxes for me are all about discoveries.

The box is available form She Said Beauty web site (here). It’s £ 9 plus £ 2.95 p&p. You can cancel your subscription at any time. I really liked this box and am very happy to have discovered a new excellent service. I’m very excited to see what they have next month. I would highly recommend this box to anyone who is in the market for a new beauty subscription.

Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15 Review

Murad Oil-Control Mattifier is one of the highly-hyped products that I kept hearing about for months. Youtube’s Lisasz09 recommended it to me a couple of months ago and it kept popping-up in other people’s videos and blogs. Still, I wasn’t convinced enough to spend £ 40. Similarly to Jurlique, Murad is one of the brands I wanted to try for a long time. Their products are paraben-free and highly specialised and targeted. The company itself was founded by a dermatologist. It has the same ‘science meets beauty’ aspect as Filorga and I’m a complete sucker for high-tech and innovative skincare.

Murad Oil-Control

I finally caved in and bought this moisturiser in July and have used it almost every day since. I like the consistency of this product: it’s a rich, think cream. It’s quite nice as a lot of mattifying or oil-free moisturisers I used so far were really light and had water-like consistency. When it’s cold outside (in the UK that’s about 10 months per year) I often feel like my skin needs something thicker and more nourishing to survive harsh weather conditions. Oil-Control Mattifier is on the other end of the spectrum: it’s so think it takes effort to work in into your face. Once it’s on it is absorbed fairly quickly.

Holy Grail for oily skin?

Not really.

I like this product. It’s a good daytime facial cream. It moisturises well and feels nice on the skin.  So why am I not wowed? Because it doesn’t do what it says. It doesn’t mattify or control sebum production. I’ve practically given up on the whole idea of an oil-controlling product Apart from Smashbox’s Anti-Shine I’ve never came across one that truly worked.

Enzymion Lush

Enzymion Lush

Murad Oil-Control

Oil-Control Murad

Here are some pics: I’ve tried Murad Oil-Control oil control on one half of my face and Lush Enzymion on the other. Both pics are taken after 8h. Enzymion is a very light, oil-free moisturising cream that I discovered last winter and that quickly became my go-to moisturiser. It smells like papayas, has enzymic fresh fruit extracts, avocado and organic aloe vera. It moisturises without leaving the skin feeling oily, it reduces my dry patches and is light enough to wear under makeup. I’ve used it as a nighttime and daytime moisturiser and absolutely love it. So it comes as no surprise that I compare other cream with it.

Both creams worked well in terms of moisturising and oil control. The thing is, Enzymion is not an oil controlling product! It’s just a light moisturiser. If there is no difference, if the Oil-Control doesn’t give better results, what’s the point? There is a significant difference in price: Murad is £ 35 -40 for 50 ml (depending on where you buy it) and Enzymion retails at £13.75 for 45g.

Lush

Enzymion

Final ruling

Overall, it’s a nice product. It’s rare to find such a thick oil-controlling cream. Still, it just doesn’t do what it says on the package and is definitely not worth all the hype. I might repurchase it again but it didn’t revolutionise my routine or solve my ongoing shine problem. I’ll be interested to try other Murad products. There is a Murad counter in one of the department stores in Oxford Street where you can get more info and speak to a consultant.

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