2013 Beauty Favourites. Part 1: Skincare, Body and Hair Care

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Since we are now officially in 2014 it’s time for 2013 beauty favourites. 2013 was a good year for discovering new amazing products. Here are a couple of my absolute favourites from last year. These are my staple products: products I have repurchased and will continue to buy in the future.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar K 30ml

The Effaclar range has been raved about in 2013. While most beauty gurus and bloggers recommend Effaclar Duo I have been using Effaclar K – for combination to oily skin. This amazing moisturiser/treatment exfoliates your skin helping to prevent breakouts and imperfections. Although it’s designed to be a treatment and, in theory, you should not use it as your daily moisturiser, I have used it every day between March-November of 2013. My favourite thing about it is that it provides a great base for makeup and mattifies my skin. It’s also paraben-free.

 MAC Cleanse Off Oil

This is my second full size bottle of this product. It’s perfect for removing eye makeup without having to rub your eyes or use cotton pads. It’s very gentle and doesn’t irritate my eyes. I’m a big fan of cleansing oils and also use the DHC Cleansing Oil. However, the MAC one is much better at getting rid of eyeliner, concealer and mascara.

Antipodes Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream 60ml

I got a sample of this cream last year during an anti-aging beauty show and fell in love. This makes my skin so soft. I will be posting a full review of it soon. It’s paraben-free.

KMS California, Free Shape 200ml

I have used two bottles of this product already – this is my third. I was given a sample over a year ago and have been using this blow drying lotion ever since. I wrote about Free Shape in my April 2013 haul post (here). It conditions my hair, doesn’t weigh them down and shortens drying time. I have tried a fair number of similar products and this is the only one I liked. I will be posting a review of some of them in 2014.

Lush Cynthia Sylvia Stout Shampoo 250ml

I love Lush and love this shampoo. I got this after my first Yuko when a hair stylist told me my hair is very damaged and dry. I decided to start using a gentler shampoo and found this one. It has stout, cognac, lemon juice, sea salt, yeasts and balsamic vinegar in it. It smells divine, lathers well and really conditions my hair. This is my second large bottle and I will continue to use this product for a very long time.

Blend Collective Sandalwood, Frankincense, Cedarwood and Neroli hand cream 75ml

I am completely obsessed with this Blend Collective hand cream. It has won a number of awards and is now available at Wholefoods as well as online. Blend Collective is a relatively unknown brand but their hand creams are amazing. The best thing about this one is the scent. Sandalwood and frankincense are two of my favourite fragrances and this product combines them really well.

Laboratories Filorga Paris Optim-Eyes 15ml

I have been raving about Filorga for a while. It is my absolute favourite anti-aging brand with years of expertise in aesthetic medicine and fantastic products. It’s no surprise that Optim Eyes is my favourite eye cream. You can read a full review here.

Kielh’s Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Masque 142g

It’s a white clay and oatmeal purifying and pore cleansing mask which in my opinion is as good as or better than Glam Glow products. It leaves the skin really clean and reduces the appearance of pores. It helps to eliminate surface impurities and toxins from the skin. It’s paraben- and nasty chemicals-free.

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Oops, I did it again…

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…I bought another Glamglow facial mask. I got the first one a year ago and didn’t like it much (review here). But then I saw a youtube video where a girl said that Glamglow Youthmud is for people with dry skin and that Supermud is much better. Since it was someone I like and her recommendations are usually good I decided to give the other Glamglow product a try.

(By the way -I’m sorry for the generic photo. My laptop is fried so I can’t access my photos. I will upload a proper photo as soon as I can. )

Supermud is a detoxifying mud mask, much like Youthmud. It’s a clearing treatment. In fact, it resembles Youthmud a lot: the same ridiculously oversized packaging, same tacky marketing and completely random phrases written all over it, such as “Hollywood California” and “very gorgeous”. It’s also resembles Youthmud in consistency only runnier and without green tea leaves in it.It promises super sexy, super radiant skin by working on enlarged pores, problem skin, blemishes, pimples, breakouts, spots (is it me or are all of these one and the same), black and white heads, razor burns, and in-grown hair.

Does it work?

It certainly clears the skin nicely and without drying it out. My face feels and looks fresh. Many reviews mentioned a tingling sensation but I did not feel it. I usually apply a very thin layer of the product on my face and wait for it to dry. It dries quite quickly leaving the face almost unable to move.

I have two issues with this product.

1) I’m not convinced that it’s better than other clay/mud masks? For example, Kiehl’s Rare Earth Pore Cleansing white clay mask is an excellent product. As for blemishes, I certainly had the worst blemishes ever while using this mask.

2) It’s ridiculously overpriced for what it is and its size. I seriously believe that half of the reason this product exists is that people tell themselves that it must be good since it’s that expensive.

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Just as with the original Youthmud, I think Supermud is good but not nearly as good as people say it is. It’s a very over-hyped product. I might buy this product again, since after the initial disappointment I’ve fallen for the same marketing tick, but only if it’s on sale.

Regener8 Skin Regenerator: Vitamins for Your Hair and Skin

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Back in October I starting using Regener8 Skin Regenerator, a natural food supplement formulated by pharmacists and nutritionists to help repair and heal the skin from within. In my first impressions review I wrote that it works for scars, stretch marks, ageing and dehydrated skin and that it has a unique blend of hydrolysed collagen, seaweed, vitamins, minerals and botanicals. I received this product from Chemist Direct – a UK-based website that sells a variety of beauty and skincare products, health supplements, perfumes, toiletries and electrical items (link here).

I’ve used the entire pack and think it’s a really good product. With something like supplements it’s always difficult to see the effects. Products like this are designed to work over a long period of time. Which is why you will never see immediate effects after starting to take supplements. However, after over a month I noticed my skin and hair was looking much better. I really like how natural this product is and the fact that you can see all the ingredients thanks to a see through packaging. It’s very different from all other vitamins or food supplements I’ve tried so far. I also think it’s a good idea to take supplements that have many ingredients as vitamins or minerals often work better when taken with something else. What I didn’t like was the fact that I couldn’t find a list of ingredients or any specific information on what is inside. Also at £39.99 it’s quite expensive.

However, at the moment Chemist Direct are selling this product for £9.99 which means you save £30! (here) It’s a great bargain and if you are in the market for a new supplement this might be a good option.

Bio Effect EGF Serum Updated Review: Botox in a Bottle

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I reviewed this serum back in March (here). At the time I bought a sample size of the product and haven’t used it for long. I’ve now gone through about 3 of those sample size bottles and wanted to write a quick update.

This stuff is really expensive – £125 for a 15ml bottle (half the size of a normal serum bottle!). That’s twice as expensive as an average Perricone MD serum. For that reason I continue to buy the sample size and use it only under my eyes. That said, having used it since February last year I must admit that this thing is like Botox in a bottle. When I use the serum the skin under my eyes is perfect. All the lines and little wrinkles disappear. The skin is tight and looks healthy. The serum really improves the overall appearance of my under-eye area. However, just as with actual Botox, as soon as you stop using it the results disappear. After finishing each bottle all the lines and wrinkles were back within a week.

As a result, while it’s still a great product, I don’t think I will be purchasing the full size version. I feel like, if I’m about to spend that much money I’d like to know that the product will have some long-term benefits. I’m amazed by just how strong this thing is. It’s really a revolutionary serum. It gives great results while being completely natural – I just wish the results would be permanent.

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Sample size next to a 30ml bottle

Hero Product: MUFE HD Foundation

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If all my makeup disappeared and I had only £100 to buy new products – this foundation would be the first thing I buy. This is my holy grail product, the best foundation I have ever used.

About a year ago I wrote a review of Urban Decay’s Naked Foundation and said it was my favourite foundation (here). A couple months later I travelled to mainland Europe and visited Sephora. I have always wanted to try Make Up For Ever foundations. Tiffany from MakeupByTiffanyD mentioned Matt Velvet + so many times in her videos.

I tried the HD Foundation in shade N120 and have fallen in love. I have been using this foundation since January 2013 and even though I continue to test new foundation this one is by far the best. I still think Urban Decay’s Naked Foundation is a great product but it pales in comparison.

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What’s so amazing about this foundation?

It really is HD. It’s almost invisible on my skin while providing good coverage. I don’t like it when you can see that a person is wearing foundation. Good makeup should be invisible and this foundation is really light on the skin and looks natural all day.

It gives good coverage. It covers all my dark spots and redness very well and evens out my skin tone. I would say it’s medium to full coverage (buildable).

It works very well on oily and combo skin. I started using it last winter when I had dry patches on my cheeks and the rest of my face was oily as usual. This foundation seemed to cover my dry patches and moisturise them. At the same time it stayed matt all day on my oily skin and didn’t require many touch ups.

It’s super long-lasting. It doesn’t oxidise and stays fresh all day. It’s one of these products I can rely on.

I can use it without a primer. When I started using it back in January, I noticed that I was able to get better results than with the Naked Foundation but without using my MAC prep and prime primer. That was great as it allowed me to save some time in the morning.

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The only small problem I have with this product is that it doesn’t have SPF in it. So I had to start using MAC Prep and Prime again to prevent skin damage.

I’m on my second bottle of this foundation and it’s the only foundation I have ever repurchased. I don’t think this product gets the recognition and love it deserves although lately I’ve heard some bloggers and youtubers mention it in their favourites.

As there is no MUFE store in the UK it’s a bit difficult to buy it here. But it is definitely worth the effort!

Update:

When I wrote this post I was asked where I buy this foundation from in the UK and how much it costs. I usually buy it when I’m abroad but after posting I realised that I was running out of it and I simply cannot live without this product. So I decided to order from Precious About Makeup, a London-based store that sells a lot of brands you can’t normally buy here. I was planning on going there in person but realised that their delivery charge is cheaper than tube fare.

Just wanted to give a shout-out to Precious About Makeup store. I called them cause they didn’t have my shade on the website (turned out they did but I didn’t see it). The lady that picked up was super helpful and really nice. She must have sent it straight away as well cause it arrived the next day! The foundation was £32 and P&P about £3.5. I was very impressed with the service and will definitely need to visit them in the New Year to check out other products. You can find them here!

4 Cream Eye Shadows

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I’ve been loving cream eye shadows lately. Since I now get up at 6 am and travel all the time, I have very little time to get my makeup done in the morning. Living out of a suitcase also means that I can’t take much makeup with me. As a result, cream eye shadows have replaced powders and palettes in my makeup bag.

About a year ago I wrote a comparison of Mac Paint Pots and Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadows (here) and concluded that Benefit’s shadows were my favourite. Unfortunately, they have changed the formula and packaging and the new ones CREASE a lot.

So I’ve been trying other brands. I wanted to share my thought with you.

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The first one is Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadows in Quartz. It’s a really shimmery pink shadow that blends really nicely and brightens up the eye area. I really like this product. It does crease after a couple of hours but other than that it’s really easy to apply and blend. The only problem is that they don’t come in many shades (10 in the UK). They are £15.

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The next one is Aqua Cream from Make Up For Ever shade 15. As you can’t get MUFE in the UK, I got a friend to bring it back from the US. I heard so much about these shadows so was really disappointed when I tried them. These things are so difficult to work with – they don’t blend and dry out in a second so you have to be really quick when you apply them. I also find it quite difficult to apply them evenly and they crease. I would not repurchase them. I think it was around £15.

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Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadows were recommended to me by a girl at a MAC counter. She said they were the only cream shadows that don’t crease. I spend hours trying to choose a colour and finally decided on Velvet Plum. It’s a really strange shade – it has some glitter in it but is really subtle on the eye. I really love this product. It comes in a really small pot but I’ve been using it for several months and I still have over half of it left. It blends really well and DOESN’T CREASE. It’s very easy to apply and you can build it up to go from a day time to a night time look. They are £18.50 and come in many shades.

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Finally, I got Autograph’s cream shadow in Russet. As I mentioned in my haul post, I got this after watching A Model Recommends video and I have to say it’s brilliant. It does crease a bit after a couple of hours but it’s so easy to blend and the colour is so beautiful. As first I thought it might be weird to wear red eye shadows but with a brown eye liner they look really nice. The best thing about this product is its texture – it’s a soft bouncy mousse. Yes, I know it sounds strange but just try it and you’ll understand. Unfortunately they only come in 3 shades: gold, silver and this one. On the plus side they are only £7.5.

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Bobbi Brown and Autograph’s cream shadows are my favourite. They have been my staple products for the past couple of months. 

NARS Killing Me Softly Palette Review

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I’m probably the last person to jump on the NARS blush bandwagon. I’ve heard so many people rave about NARS blushes over the years but never bought one. It’s probably because the two most popular shades – Deep Throat and Orgasm, in addition to having the most ridiculous names ever, have a lot of glitter in them. Every time I tried to swatch them on my hand they looked too sparkly. I didn’t think I would be able to wear them.

Killing Me Softly palette came out back in September and I thought it would be a good way to try a couple of NARS blushes. It was only £30 and you get 4 colours and 10g of product. I say ‘only’ cause NARS product are usually quite pricy. From the top right corner in a clock-wise direction: Albatross, Orgasm, Outlaw, and Gilda. Albatross is a pearl highlighter. Orgasm and Outlaw have some glitter in it and Gilda is a matte coral- peach colour.

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In artificial light

I have to say I’m completely converted and in love with NARS blushes. They are so pigmented and so long-lasting. I usually wear Gilda with Orgasm on top – it gives the most amazing wash of colour and a healthy glow. It’s the first time I’m wearing a blush with so much glitter in it but for some reason it doesn’t look to sparkly once you have it on. It just gives this amazing healthy look to your skin. I finally understand why they called it Orgasm: it does look like afterglow :D. Nonetheless, Deep Throat is still a ridiculous name for a blush. Unless it makes you look like…

I think it’s a very good palette with a blush for every occasion. Adding a highlighter makes it even more practical: you can easily transform your daytime look into a glamorous evening look.

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Orgasm, Outlaw, Gilda and Albatross

If you prefer something with warmer colours there is a second version of this palette called Adult Content: it contains Zen, Miss Liberty, Desire, and Deep Throat. Desire is a very pale pink with blue undertones that I don’t think would go well with my skin tone (yellow undertones). Zen is a natural looking blush that can double as a bronzer and Miss Liberty is another highlighter. It’s a very versatile palette but I prefer the coral and peachy tones of Gilda and Orgasm.

UPDATE:

I tried wearing Outlaw today and I was surprised how lovely it looked. I’ve never used such a dark blush. I guess I was just worried that it will make me look really weird and would wash me out. But it turns out it doesn’t look scary at all. It’s actually a nice, wearable colour.

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