Essential Care Organic Rose Moisturiser Review

This is my quiet hero product of the past couple of months.

I first got a sample of this in one of the subscription boxes. I liked it but somehow forgot to buy. Then I got another sample and reminded myself just how good this product is. The packaging isn’t particularly exciting as with many products from this brand. But Essential Care products seem to be really good (I also tried their facial cleanser). As the name says – they’re essentials :).

Organic Rose Moisturiser is a daily moisturiser for all skin types that can also be used as eye cream (although I never would). It’s organic and has no artificial fragrance, colours, parabens, hydrogenated oils, petrochemicals, sulphates and is non-GM. It smells of wild roses and is so nice and gentle on the skin.

wild-rose

It reminds me a lot of my favourite Lush cream, Enzymion, only better cause paraben-free.  It also reminds me a bit of Melvita’s Hydrastim, which is a very light but very moisturising gel-cream.

Essential Care

Essential Care

How it looks

How it looks

My favourite thing about it? It soothes dry, dehydrated or irritated skin. Whenever I overdo it with exfoliants or my skin has a bad reaction to a different product, this cream calms my skin down and hydrates it. My skin also feels softer and more nourished when I use this cream. I can’t use heavy nourishing creams as they break me out. People with oily skin should generally avoid heavy creams but still make sure that their skin is properly hydrated and nourished. So this is perfect for me.

I use this both in the evenings and in the mornings, whenever I feel like my skin needs some extra TLC.

I strongly recommend this as a general, everyday moisturiser to use over your serum or whatever you use. When you’re using a good anti-aging serum there is no point of using an anti-aging cream as well. So my philosophy has always been to focus on the serum and then use a genelte moisturising cream on top.

You can get this for £19 for 50ml from Naturisimo (here).

Coming up

Monday: Glamglow Review

Firday: This Works Sleep Balm Review

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A Perfect Foundation for Oily Skin – Naked Skin by Urban Decay

I must have tested dozens of foundations over the past couple of months! As much as I wanted to stick to tinted moisturisers, I feel like I need a little bit more coverage.

My top 3 choices were:

1)      Urban Decay Naked Skin Liquid Foundation

2)      Givenchy Eclat Matissime Foundation

3)      Trish McEvoy Even Skin Foundation

Naked by UD

Naked by UD

Here how this foundation looks in the evening after all day with no touch ups: natural, not too shinny and almost perfect!

It took me forever to narrow it down but I am now ready to make a choice and write this review. I still haven’t purchased a new foundation but that’s just because I have been trying out different shades (I recently started self-tanning, see here, and am figuring out how dark I want to go).

All three products are ‘second skin’ foundations. They are very light and oil-free. They are all very good products which is why it was so hard to choose the best one.

Coverage

All three products are quite sheer and give a natural finish. The Even Skin foundation has the least coverage of the three. The other two have better coverage to start with and are buildable. They cover my freckles quite well.

Consistency and Application

Although all three products are liquid foundations there are clear differences. Naked Skin is a thick fluid. It applies as you would expect with any light liquid foundation. Eclat Matissime is a bit lighter and more runny in consistency. It applies very easily and feels super light on the skin. Even Skin Foundation has a really strange consistency. When I tried it in the store it looked very watery. However, when I got a sample it separated after a day or two: there is a thick paste at the bottom and water on top. Definitely one of those foundations you need to shake before each use. Still, even when blended it is too watery which makes it really difficult to apply.

 How it Looks When You First Apply it

Naked Skin looks perfect, maybe a tad on the heavier side. It does stick to dry patches on my nose a little bit and makes them look more flaky than they actually are. This happens with almost all foundation so no surprises here. It disappears throughout the day as the skin gets oilier. Still, this foundation gives an instant matte finish and a very ‘put together’ look. Eclat Matissime applies like a dream! It doesn’t stick to dry patches and blends easily. But it gives more dewy finish, far from matte. It’s definitely for people who prefer that ‘just-got-back-from-the-beach’ look. Even Skin is barely visible and leaves a bit of a sticky residue. Not a fan.

How it Looks After 8h

This is where Naked Skin really separates itself from the crowd. It really does stay matte. I hardly need to powder my face throughout the day. Although the product description mentions demi-matte finish, I find that this foundation controls shine like no other. It’s not a miracle product but there is a clear difference between this one and the other two. Eclat Matissime requires several touch ups and has the tendency to settle in the pores and lines. Even Skin seems to evaporate after a couple of hours.

Colour Selection

Again, with 18 shades Naked Skin is a clear winner. Eclat Matissime has 6 shades. Shade 4 is the closest to my skin colour. The only thing is that it has a very strong beige or gray undertone. It makes my skin look ashy and a bit tired. Even Skin has only three shades. Although this product is so sheer that it almost doesn’t matter what colour you use.

Parabens?

Urban Decay is the only popular, high street brand that consistently does not use parabens in their products. I don’t feel this brand gets the love it deserves. It is really difficult to find paraben-free, pigmented and long-lasting make up. Eclat Matissime is supposedly a paraben-free foundation. There are no parabens on the ingredients list but it also doesn’t say it’s paraben-free. In the UK, and probably in other countries, companies are not required by law to list all ingredients. If an ingredient constitutes less than 1 or 2 percent, it doesn’t need to be listed. Therefore I’m not convinced. Even Skin has parabens.

Here is my comparison

Final ruling

If Eclat Matissime came in more shades it would have been more difficult to choose. I still think I would prefer Naked Skin just because of the matte finish. For me this is a fantastic foundation. It is light, gives great coverage, is long-lasting, paraben-free, and stays matte throughout the day. It’s a dream come true for someone with oily skin. And with 18 shades you can’t go wrong. I am really impressed. I always knew Urban Decay has great eye shadows, setting sprays and eye primers but I didn’t know their complexion products were good too!

In addition, it’s only £27 for 30ml (£5.50 less than Eclat Matissime and £18 less than Even Skin!)

Coming up:

Friday: Essential Care Organic Rose Moisturiser Review

Monday: Glamglow Mud Mask Review

Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow Review

About two months ago I wrote a post comparing Benefit Creaseless Cream shadows and MAC Paintpots (here). I talked about how much I liked the fact that Benefit shadows do not crease even after 16 h. However, I did mention that the colour selection was rather poor. Recently I got Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow in Quartz. It’s a pale shimmery pink-champagne shadow. It’s quite a light shadow. It’s gives a hint of colour with a lot of shimmer. But it looks very nice on the eyelids and it’s a perfect shadow to wear every day.

Quartz

Quartz swatch

Over the past couple of weeks my go-to look was this cream shadow with a bit of MAC’s Era in the crease and with MAC’s Duck Powerpoint Eye Pencil. It’s a delicate and wearable look.

I used Benefit cream shadow and Mac Paintpot as primers. Mainly because they were not the kind of shadows I could use on their own. This Smashbox product is 2-in-1 for me. I use it as a primer under other shadows. Because it’s so shimmer it doesn’t work well under matte colours but it’s perfect for a sparkly evening look. It also looks good just by itself without anything over it and without a primer. I was surprised but this shadow does stay on for 15h. Even on my oily skin. I do not need any touch ups during the day.

After a very long day – no creasing

Again, after about 15h. Still looking good

This product got really bad reviews on makeupalley. And I really don’t know why. I’m very picky when it comes to cream eyeshadows as most products slide off my eyelids after couple of hours. I wear this shadow without a primer and it works awesome. It stays on all day. After about 10h it creases a little bit but as it’s a shimmery shadow it’s not that visible. The only downside is that it’s not strongly pigmented. Again, for me it’s perfect. It’s easy to use. I just put it on with my finger in no time.

I strongly recommend this product. It saves me so much time in the morning.

In the UK you can get Samshbox products at Boots. This comes in a 5g pot and costs £15.

Coming up

Monday: New Foundation Favourite

Safe Self-tanning: Lavera Self-tanning Lotion Review

I stopped sun-tanning after living in Japan. Seeing the Japanese girls wear sun-protecting gloves and carrying white umbrellas on a sunny day made me think that I might have been too lax when it comes to sun-damage protection. Even the way Japanese girls talk about tanning reflects how cautious they are about exposing their skin to UVA/UVB rays. I’ve actually heard a friend say that she doesn’t want to go outside cause she ‘doesn’t want to get the sun’. As if it were a disease! On the other hand, I’m very pale and have dark brown hair so without a tan in the winter I get a Corpse Bride look. So I’ve decided to give self-tanners a go.

 I tried Jane Irendale Tantasia (which although advertised as a self-tanner gives only an instant tan) and MONUspa Golden Glow. The second one was quite good but I was looking for a paraben-free product. And then I started reading about self-tanners…  It turns out that parabens should be the least of my worries when it comes to self-tanners.

Dihydroxyacetone, DHA is the main ingredient of most of self-tanners. It’s an active ingredient responsible for the ‘tanning’ of your skin. DHA is considered to be ‘safe’ by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But then so are parabens.

I won’t attempt to summarise the entire DHA debate here – you can always read up on it. The point is that according to several studies DHA can be harmful. It can increase the chances of getting cancer and it can seriously damage your skin. Here is how. According to a research conducted by Gematria Test Laboratory in Germany, DHA increases the amount of free radicals in your skin after sun exposure by 180 percent. Having spent a lot of money on various serums and creams that protect my skin from free radicals I don’t want to use a product that reverses the effects. It’s counterproductive.

Lavera Self-tanning Lotion

I looked for a paraben and DHA free self-tanning lotion and found one that I can really recommend. It’s contains 100 percent pure and natural active ingredients derived from plants. It’s also vegan. It’s an award winning product (Best Sunless Tan 2008 award by GorgeouslyGreen.com Beauty Awards, Winner of the Special Innovation Prize 2002 by Oekto-Test Magazine, product of the year 2003). Ecco Verde, a European natural beauty online retailer, has this to say about Lavera’s product: ‘Comparative tests have always resulted in best marks for the lavera self-tanner’. The brand itself beat (first place) Dr Hauschka and many other brands in 2008 OEKO-TEST review of Greenest Beauty Brands. So it has some credibility.

I’ve used this self-tanner for 3 weeks now and can say I really like it.

Scent: Smells nice and citrusy. Only a hint of the terrible self-tanner scent.

Application: Applies easily and evenly. It doesn’t absorb straight away so you have some time to blend the product out and make sure it’s evenly distributed.

Colour: The product itself is white. There is not instant ‘bronzed’ effect. Once developed the colour is nice and brown. Not orange. You’ll need to apply it twice (two days in a row) to get a really deep tan. I actually think that’s a good thing. The application is simple and hustle-free and as I don’t have that much experience with self-tanners I think it’s safer to start with a product that doesn’t give drastic results.

Staying power: It lasts for a couple of days. Below are some photos of how my skin looks after two applications and two days without it (so that’s day 4: applied the product for 2 consecutive days and then left it to fade for another two days). The next photo shows the result of one ‘refreshing’ application (day 5). Photos don’t do it justice. It’s a subtle difference and doesn’t show up so well on camera.

Lavera

Day 3: after 2 applications

Lavera

Day 5: after 1 additional application

Practicality and availability: This product is suitable for both face and body. I use it only on my face so I think it will last me for a looong time. It’s £13.50 from Naturisimo with free worldwide delivery (here).

Final Ruling

I really like this product. It gives a very natural tan while posing no risk to your health and helping to maintain your skin looking young. No negatives.

Coming up:

Friday: New Smashbox Favourite

Monday: New Favourite Foundation  

OPI Skyfall The Living Daylights Review

This nail polish is from the OPI Skyfall collection. It’s the only glitter in the collection and it’s quite unique.  It has a clear base and large hexagonal pieces of silver, copper, gold, and turquoise glitter.

The Living Daylights

The Living Daylights polish

The base in this polish is quite thin. What I mean by that is that it’s almost invisible. Some glitter nail polishes, such as for example China Glaze make a Spectacle, have a very thick almost gel-like base. It looks like a clear polish with bits of glitter in it. They have a shiny finish even without a top coat. This one, once dry, looks like pieces of glitter glued to the nail. The base dries out and is barely there (see photos below to see how it looks on its own and with a top coat). It leaves the nails looking matte and lacking in shine. To get a glossy finish you need to use a top coat. It’s still a great product. It’s just a bit different to what I’m used to.

It’s an unusual polish also because the pieces of glitter are so large. I quite like that and think that it gives an interesting effect. Especially if you put one or two coats of this polish over another colour. I think it works as the glitter in this polish is not holographic.

Here are some photos. The Living Daylights without a top coat. Next, The Living Daylights with a Sally Hansen top coat. Finally, The Living Daylights (1 coat) over Orly Jealous Much? (2 coats) with a Sally Hansen top coat.

The Living Daylights

The Living Daylights without a top coat. You can see what I mean – the base is almost invisible

The Living Daylights

Another one with no top coat.

The Living Daylights

The Living Daylights with a top coat – shiny, glossy finish

the Living Daylights

Another one with a top coat

The Living Daylights

The Living Daylights over Jealous, Much? by Orly

The Living Daylights

The Living Daylights over Jealous, Much? by Orly

The Living Daylights

The Living Daylights over Jealous, Much? by Orly

The Living Daylights

The Living Daylights over Jealous, Much? by Orly

Final ruling

This polish is impossible to remove! It is worse than any other glitter I had. The only way to get it off is by using the foil method. I used so much polish remover trying to get it off that my nails got really flaky and dry. On the plus side it lasts longer and chips less than China Glaze glitters.

I like this polish and think it’s really unique. I especially like it over a delicate pastel colour as it makes the manicure look rather elaborate. Almost like nail jewellery.

I got this from Amazon for about £8

Coming up:

Monday: A Safe Self-tanner? Natural DHA and Paraben Free Self Tanner

Friday: New Smashbox favourite

Filorga Meso + Absolute Anti-aging Serum Review

This is one of my absolutely favourite nighttime anti-aging serums. I love it because it really works and at the same time it’s not too exfoliating and doesn’t dry out the skin. Personally, I consider Filorga to be one of the best brands out there. Here is why.

Filorga is a French brand that combines the best of two worlds: cosmetics and aesthetic medicine. All their products are backed up by years of extensive scientific research. Laboratories Filorga Paris are a certified manufacturer of three medical products (mesotherapy, glycolic peels and injectable dermal fillers) and they offer professional aesthetic medicine services in their beauty clinics.  They use the experience obtained in aesthetic medicine to produce high, performing top-of-the-range anti-aging products. Filorga uses the same active ingredients and techniques in medical products and its beauty products. Their expertise in natural cell renewal processes and anti-aging solutions is unparalleled. It is truly a superior type of skincare.

Meso + Serum: How it Works

Meso + serum is part of Filorga’s dermo-cosmetic range inspired by aesthetic medicine. It has three main effects: 1) it moisturises the skin, 2) it helps the skin heal, and 3) it renews and re-plumps the skin and provides long lasting anti-aging protection. The serum has four active ingredients.

First, hyaluronic acid which, as you might know, is naturally present in the body and is the main ingredient of semi-permanent dermal fillers such as Juvederm. It plumps the tissue and fills in wrinkles and fine lines. The one used by Filorga products is designed to be easily absorbed by the skin.

The second is NCTF which is normally injected during mesotherapy. It contains a blend of vitamins, amino acids, coenzymes, minerals and antioxidants.

The third active ingredient are DNA fragments which help to protect the skin against free radicals.

The fourth active ingredient is retinol which is scientifically proven to have strong anti-aging properties. It helps to stimulate cell renewal and prevents wrinkles from forming. Retinol is extremely sensitive to light and air – this means that it loses its properties when exposed to these elements. As a result products containing retinol have to be stored in airtight and light-protective containers in order to remain effective. This is one more reason why Meso + serum works well. The packaging keeps it nice and fresh and protects active ingredients from losing their beneficial properties.

Final ruling

I just finished the first bottle of this serum. I’ve been using it for the past 4 months and absolutely love it! It’s an amazing product. Filorga never falls short of my expectations and this product is no exception. The skin feels so smooth and fresh after using this product. The active ingredients gently exfoliate the skin but also moisturise it at the same time. As a result you’re not risking drying out your skin. I’ve also noticed that I didn’t have almost any blemishes while using this product. It might be due to other things as well, but I think that this serum helped to keep my skin healthy and clear.

The serum is very light and absorbs easily. It doesn’t leave the skin greasy or sticky – it has a smooth and velvet-like finish. I only used it at night but you can easily use it under makeup. It has no smell and it dermatologically tested so it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin.

It’s always hard to assess the effects of using a serum as they don’t appear overnight. I also don’t have wrinkles so it’s more of a preventive treatment. But I really liked how my skin looked and felt when I was using this product and I will definitely be repurchasing it. If you’re worried about premature aging and want to stop lines and wrinkles from appearing or deepening this is the right product for you. I would recommend it for all women over 28. In my opinion Filorga is really the best thing you can do for your skin. The only down side is that this product contains parabens. But it’s so good it kind of makes up for it.

At £54 per 30ml this serum is a bit on the pricey side. But it’s worth every penny.

TIP: If you’re planning to travel to France I would recommend buying it there. Filorga products tend to be much cheaper in France.

Coming up:

Friday: OPI Skyfall The Living Daylights Review

Monday: A Safe Self-tanner? Natural DHA and Paraben Free Self -tanner.

How to get rid of under-eye dark circles without makeup?

A week ago I wrote a post about concealers I use to cover dark circles (here). Today I’d like to share a tip for reducing or even eliminating dark circles without makeup. This is something I’ve tested myself and know that it works from personal experience! I am a huge health freak. I spend hours reading about natural ways of preventing diseases and it was while reading on this subject that I discovered this method.

You might have heard about using vitamin K to prevent dark circles, either as a food supplement or in skincare products. There are two forms of vitamin K: K1 and K2. K1 can be obtained from many natural food sources. K2 is much more difficult to find. Natto, a Japanese delicacy (if you have ever tried natto you’ll know that delicacy is a term use loosely here) is the best natural source of K2. You can also find it in yellow cheeses, eggs and fermented whole milk products, as well as some meats and fish (e.g. salmon, chicken). Although much more common, K1 is far less effective than K2.

Natto – fermented beans, a good source of K2

So what does K2 do? Well, it has many beneficial properties. According to recent research published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (here) it lowers the risk of developing cancer. K1 was not found to have the same effect. According to other sources we are all at risk of developing K2 deficiency. K2 helps prevent cardiovascular diseases and helps to maintain healthy bones, brain and skin. It is also a powerful anti-oxidant.

Cheese – good source of K2

Vitamin K2 can help reduce dark circles as it takes part in the blood clot formation process. Research conducted by Tsuyoshi Mitsuishi and others (here) published in the Journal of cosmetic Dermatology demonstrated that using a gel containing K2 around the eye area helps to reduce dark circles.

I first tried taking K2 vitamin supplements last winter when my dark circles got really bad. I don’t know if it’s the cold or just me being less tanned but in the wintertime my dark circles get really dark. I noticed a significant improvement after about a week or two. After reading more about K2’s impact on lowering the risk of developing cancer I decided to take it regularly.

I can honestly say – K2 helps to minimise dark circles and puffiness. It makes them less visible and easier to cover up. It’s not going to work overnight – it’s not makeup. Vitamins and supplements work over a period of time but the results are more permanent. Give it a week or two and you should see first signs.

There are many different K2 vitamins available both in stores and online. Holland and Barrett have one for £12.99 (30 capsules). I’m currently using the one from Myvitamins. You can find many more on Amazon.

Myvitamins K2

K2 from Myvitamins

SAFTY NOTE: Although vitamin K2 is not dangerous and it’s difficult to overdose it you still need to be careful and make sure you don’t consume more than your guideline daily amount (GDA). You can find information on online as well as on the back of most K2 vitamin packages. Make sure you read the label. As with everything else you want to use it in a safe way.

Coming up:

Next Monday: Best Anti-aging Serum

Next Thursday: OPI Skyfall The Living Daylights nail poilsh

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