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



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.


Oops, I did it again…


…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.


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.

Perricone MD Anti-Ageing Protective Trio review: Hypoallergenic Peptide Complex, Face Finishing Moisturiser, High Potency Eye Lift


I got Perricon MD Anti- Ageing Protective Trio in April. Since I’ve used it up, I thought I’d do an updated review.

Here is what the trio includes:

Hypoallergenic Peptide Complex (30 ml – full size): it’s an anti-aging serum for sensitive skin. It’s ‘improves resilience, tone, and texture while minimizing wrinkles’.

Face Finishing Moisturiser (30 ml – full size 60ml): moisturising anti-aging cream. It reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles and improves radiance.

High Potency Eye Lift (5 ml – full size 15ml): and eye cream that lifts, brightens, tones and tightens the eye area.


So does it work?


I’m really disappointed with Perricone MD. I’ve used up all three products and didn’t really notice an improvements. Even though I’m 32, I don’t have wrinkles and use anti-ageing for prevention more than correction. So it’s always difficult to assess the long-term effects of anti-ageing products. However, I can see how it makes my skin look after a couple of weeks.

Some serums, such as my favourite Filogra, make your skin feel smooth and plumped. And they make a good base for your moisturiser and make up. Perricone MD isn’t one of them. The Peptide Complex made my skin feel rough in comparison to other anti-ageing serums. It felt rough and bumpy, tired and my pores appeared larger than before. I didn’t like using this product and for the first time couldn’t wait to finish the bottle so I can get back to Filorga.

The High Potency Eye Lift cream was even worse. It’s the strangest thing: this cream made the area around my eye darker. And I don’t mean the under eye area but the lids as well. I looked like a raccoon! I’ve never seen a cream do that before.

The Face Finishing Moisturiser was quite ok. Nothing to write home about, but it was a good product. The Alpha Lipoic Acid, one of the main ingredients, gives a tingling and ‘stinging’ sensation when you first apply to cream. But at least I had an impression it’s doing something. It’s a nice anti-aging moisturiser.

Overall, I was desperately trying to finish the three products so I could get back to my beloved Filorga. It’s not a good sensation to have when using three products that cost about £100 each. I’m so disappointed with Perricone and don’t think I will be trying their more expensive products anytime soon. It just goes to show, the expensive brands are not always the best.


& Other Stories GIVEAWAY (closed)


*****************GIVEAWAY CLOSED**************************************

In the previous post (here) I wrote about my new favourite store, & Other Stories, and the best body sugar scrub I’ve ever tried. I realise that there are only 7 stores in Europe and that they don’t ship to many countries so I’ve decided to do a small giveaway.

I will be giving away a Fig Fiction Sugar Body Scrub that I reviewed last week and a nail polish from the same brand in Crepon Rose. It’s a light peachy pink colour, very classic and perfect for spring. I have not tried any of their nail polishes before but I thought it would be a good product to include as you can only get it in the store. It’s not sold online.

All you need to do to enter is (you’ll need to do all 3):

1)      Follow/subscribe to my blog

2)      Like my page on facebook (use the button on the right or click here)

3)      Share any of my posts on facebook. (IMPORTANT: share my posts through my facebook page, otherwise I won’t be able to check and your entry won’t count!)

You can enter as many times as you like by sharing more than one of my posts on facebook. Each share is one entry (provided you have already liked my FB page):

So the first entry = be a subscriber, like my facebook page + share one of my posts via my facebook page

Additional/ following entries = share more posts via my facebook page (Please make sure you have already liked my facebook page and are a follower/subscriber of my blog, otherwise you’ll be disqualified).

The giveaway is open for two weeks, until Sunday 19th of May. I will ship internationally. If you’re under 18 you’ll need to ask your parents’ permission.

On the 19th of May I will choose a winner and contact them on facebook.

Good luck everyone!

& Other Stories, Fig Fiction Sugar Scrub Review


& Other Stories is an exciting new store that everyone seems to be talking about.

The brand was created in H&M’s studios in Paris and Stockholm and is a part of the H&M group. It opened its first seven stores in Europe in 2013. One of them in London. While their clothes don’t really suit me (but would look great on someone with no boobs and no hips), their beauty and accessories departments are fantastic.

First of all, it’s the only place I know of in the UK that sells American brand theBalm. Their blushes and luminizers are very famous and I wanted to try them for a long time. & Other Stories own makeup and beauty lines are also worth checking out. With a wide selection of eyeshadows, affordable makeup brushes and a fantastic bath & body line it’s a really great place for all beauty lovers.

And did I mention their accessories? I got a lovely rose gold box chain bracelet and necklace. But they have so many other amazing pieces.


Photo from their web page

Coming back to the bath & body line, I bought a sugar body scrub. I must say it’s the best body scrub I’ve ever tried. It’s so luxurious and pampering. You know how sometimes you buy a body scrub and it’s more of a shower gel with just a few scrubbing bits in it? This one isn’t like this. It’s rich and thick and smoothing but not too abrasive. It doesn’t irritate the soft skin on your décolletage as most scrubs do. It’s truly a lovely product. It polishes skin to a silken texture and leaves it lusciously scented. It’s also PARABEN-FREE !


And then there is the scent… I chose Fig Fiction which is described as

‘Musky, green fig leaves swaying in the warm evening air…’

It’s a musky, exotic scent that makes me think of warm evenings in Greece and sunsets in the summertime. It also comes in six other great scents: Shinjuku Bloom, Morrocan Tea, Couture Carnival, Lemon Daydream, Rose Revival, and Punk Bouquet.

At £7 for 250ml, you just can’t go wrong with this scrub. If you don’t live anywhere near a store you can purchase & Other Stories’ products online although there is a shipping fee of £5.


Perricone MD Anti-Ageing Protective Trio Haul/First Review


Perricone MD… one of the most amazing, premium brands of all time. In my review of their younger, more affordable brand SUPER (here) I wrote that I’ve always wanted to try Perricone MD products. And now, I finally have :).



Anti-Ageing Protective Trio

Perricone MD is a premium brand, however even more so here in the UK. The prices on Perricone MD’s US and UK online stores are more or less the same. Given the exchange rate Perricone MD in the UK (possibly Europe in general) is significantly more expensive. So although I had my eye on some of their products for a while I’ve always ended up buying something else instead. This trio is worth £130 and looked like a great way to try a selection of products from the brand. So I was very excited when I found it on salonskincare.co.uk reduced to £45.

The set has three anti-aging products. Each from a different line.

Hypoallergenic Peptide Complex (30 ml – full size): it’s an anti-aging serum for sensitive skin. It ‘improves resilience, tone, and texture while minimizing wrinkles’.

Face Finishing Moisturiser (30 ml – full size 60ml): moisturising anti-aging cream. It reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles and improves radiance.

High Potency Eye Lift (5 ml – full size 15ml): and eye cream that lifts, brightens, tones and tightens the eye area.

I’m happy with these products. I’ve been using them for a week and a half now. I use them twice a day apart from the moisturiser which I only use at night as it is too heavy and moisturising to wear under makeup (for my oily skin). Almost immediately I have noticed that my skin was much smoother and softer. It feels like baby skin. So far I haven’t noticed any improvements in terms of texture or firmness but it has only been a week. I will do a more in depth review after I finish using all three products. I’m curious to see if the serum is as effective as Filorga’s Messo + !

All Perricone MD products are non-comedogenic, free of fragrance, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil, petroleum, and synthetic dyes.

Eye Cream. Thank you Perricone MD

So one of the products I purchased from salonskincare was a 5 ml tube of the High Potency Eye Lift cream. When I opened it I realised something wasn’t right. The cream must have gone bad and separated even though it was not past its expiration date. What came out of the tube was basically water: a very runny liquid with bits of white substance.


I complained to salonskincare and they forwarded my complaint to Perricone MD who agreed to send me a replacement product. However, to my surprise and delight they sent me a full size 15 ml product instead of the 5 ml travel size. I thought that was a lovely gesture and am really happy with their customer care.


Honey for Beauty: an Amazing New Natural Brand.


An all natural anti-aging product that actually works and costs less than £10? Sounds too good to be true? Not necessarily.

Back in March I went to a beauty bloggers meet up in London where I met the lovely Monica: a creator and owner of Honey for Beauty, a new natural British brand (website here). She gave me three of her products to test and review. I’ve been using them for over a month and wanted to let you know what I thought of them.


First of all, they come in super cute packaging. It has this old apothecary feel to it: glass jars, old-fashioned labels with ribbons, and rose petals in the boxes. Very stylish. You also get the feeling that these products are home-made. In the best possible sense: they are not manufactured but created with love and care. All ingredients are listed on the labels. There are no nasty chemicals or preservatives. The only chemical ingredient is Polysorbate 80 (emulsifier in the facial cleanser): an ingredient that is considered safe enough to be used in the food industry.

I tried three out of the four products currently on their website (I’m dying to try the fourth one as it looks divine). Here is what I thought of them:




All Natural Rejuvenating Serum with Royal Jelly and Jasmine Oil (£8.99)

Description: It’s an anti-aging serum with royal jelly ‘one of nature’s most nourishing and healing substances’. It has vitamin E oil, avocado oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, hazelnut oil, royal jelly, jasmine essential oil, and rosewood oil.

Review: It’s an interesting product. On one hand, it smells horribly. I have to breathe through my mouth when I apply it (luckily, the scent doesn’t linger). On the other hand, the horrible scent is more than offset by the fact that this serum really works! I use it at night with a cream from the same line (below) and when I wake up in the morning my skin is noticeably brighter and more radiant. It looks healthy and the pores are less visible. Basically, every time I used this combination of products I have a good skin day. It’s an effective, all natural anti-aging serum for less than £10! So who cares if it smells a bit weird.


All Natural Moisturiser with Honey, Royal Jelly and Champagne (£8.99).

Description: It’s an anti-aging cream with anti-oxidants, vitamins, and enzymes. It helps to reduce wrinkles, detoxify the skin and tighten pores.

Review: This product, on the other hand, smells lovely. I’m guessing it’s the champagne. It’s a light but moisturising cream, not too greasy and absorbs really quickly. I noticed that it leaves a bit of white residue on my face but this disappears quickly. As I mentioned above, I’ve only ever used this product with the serum and the results were amazing. My pores were less noticable and my skin looked well-rested.


All Natural Oil Cleanser with Propolis and Melissa Oil (£6.99)

Description: It’s a facial cleansing oil with grape seed oil, melissa oil, and lavender oil. It contains propolis which not only helps to clear acne but also enhances collagen and elastin formation.

Review: I think this might be a fantastic product for people with dry skin. Personally, I found it really difficult to use and passed it on to another blogger. It left my skin oily. I mean REALLY oily: the kind of oily that leaves your hands greasy for hours, no matter how much you rinse. It also didn’t lather much and didn’t remove make up. It just wasn’t for me.

Final Ruling

Overall, I would strongly recommend the first two products, especially in a combo. I’m not convinced by the third product but if you’ve got dry skin give it a try.

I love natural products and am always looking to try new natural brands. However, finding a natural product that visibly helps to reduce the signs of aging is really difficult. Sure, there is Perricone MD, NuBo and so on but these products cost £100 on average, not £10. That’s why I think that Honey for Beauty is an incredible new brand and one to watch. I was really surprised but it actually works. Sure, I don’t like all of the products but to be honest that’s the case with most of the brands. And sure, the cleanser might be too oily for oily skin and the serum might smell horribly but the bottom line is: it’s effective and it’s really affordable. Most of all, it’s created by a lovely, positive person and not a faceless corporation and that, for me, matters a lot.

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