Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Collective Haul

August is one of my favourite months of the year - some might think I'm crazy to say such a statement but it's true! It's probably the only month where I don't feel cold (yeah even in out hot summer, I always carry a cardigan with me on evenings out) and somehow it's the only month where I get to enjoy summer properly.
 
Here's what I have been buying to make this month even more fun :)

Starting with beauty stuff, this month I have added some new nail polishes to my collection and I bought most of them from Gozo...and they are mostly Sally Hansen. They were €4.50 each for the Xtreme Wear ones (l to r: 540 Glitter Gun, 740 Carnival and 510 Strobe Flash) and €7.50 for the Fuzzy Coat in the shade 600 Fuzzy Fantasy. I have also purchased the Pupa Milano Gel Top Coat for €6 and a Montagne Jeunesse Sensitive Skin Masque for €2.31. The lady at the counter was also kind to throw in a sample of Max Factor Face Finity Primer which is my go-to primer in the summer months.
 
 
More Sally Hansen products, this time another nail polish from the Xtreme Wear range which was also €4.50 and the shade is 450 Ice Pop. I also bought this Cuticle Rehab pen which I shall be reviewing soon but for now I will only tell you two words...get it! It's the best €9.95 you will ever spend on your nails! I was looking for a good waterproof mascara as I swear by it in the summer and I decided to give this one by Max Factor a go. It is the False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara and all I can say is that I love it! I use it everyday and it only comes off with makeup remover - no smudging or budging all day! It cost €13.65.
 
Another nail polish which I added to my collection is Orly Rage. I have this in Gel FX form and I love it so much I decided to buy it in polish form for when I'm in a hurry to do my nails. It is a nice rose gold foil that goes with everything and I believe it cost me somewhere around €6 from Ebay.
 
 
More beauty purchases from The Body Shop! I have just used up a body scrub and so I obviously had to get a new one. I settled on the Vineyard Peach (€12.50) variety this time; will see how it performs. I also wanted to try the newly launched Instablur (€14) which is basically a sort of primer that evens out the skin and the likes. Since I had arrived to my fourth stamp on the 'Love Your Body' card, I have had €10 deducted from my bill and only ended up paying €2 for this Coconut Eau de Toilette which has become my favourite everyday fragrance (normal retail price: €12).

 
Sleek MakeUP have launched a new limited edition i-Divine palette, the Arabian Nights Smoke & Shadows (left) and I went ahead and got that along with the Snapshots palette (right). I really like Sleek palettes for their colour pay-off and the clever names they give to their eyeshadows. The palettes cost €9.99 each.
 

 
The last beauty purchases come courtesy of Kiko. I have only just discovered that the brands ships to Malta and I placed a small order to check the brand out as I have heard a lot of good things about it. I only paid €7 shipping as I spent over a certain amount and the order was here in 4 days I think. All was securely packaged and nothing broke on transit. Very impressed!
 
This is what I actually got:

Daring Game Limited Edition Queen of Hearts Eyeshadow Palette 03 Elegant Ebony €14.90
Eyes 207 Brush €9.00
Life in Rio Limited Edition Face Brush Duo €11.80
Brush Cleanser €5.90
Smart Lipsticks in 904 Strawberry Pink, 916 Golden Beige & 911 Watermelon €3.90 each


Whenever I visit Gozo, I always make it a point to visit Pimkie since we do not have one in Malta and I really like their clothes. This time I managed to get my hands on this denim waistcoat which was on sale for €13.99 and I also got this pair of floral jeans from their new collection at €25.99. 
 

From Stradivarius, I got this oversize top and midi skirt which I instantly fell in love with! They are part of the new collection and I really can't wait to wear the skirt but since it's fabric is a little thick, I would have to weather till the weather cools down a little. The top cost €25.95 and the skirt cost €19.95.


From Calliope I scored this creamy yellow scarf for just €2 in the sale section. I really look forward to wearing it as scarves are my favourite winter accessory :)

 
Finally, finally, after years of searching for the perfect pair of silver occasion sandals, Aldo has answered my prayers! I badly needed a pair for weddings (in fact I just wore them for one last Friday) but they either weren't to my liking or they didn't fit. This pair, on the other hand is ace! And best of all, it was on sale for €45!

 
Accessorize really do offer a good sale and for the last few days, they put sale items on 70% off. I treated my self to this cute yellow bag which only cost €10.25 and this pair of daisy print sunglasses which were retailing for just €5.50. I also bought this pair of earrings which are part of their new collection for €9.90.
 

 

Lastly, from River Island, I bought this wallet as I needed a new one and I love the flowers and stripes print on them. They have a nice selection of good quality wallets and  paid €22 for this one and it has enough space for all my cards and the bits and bobs I usually carry in my wallet. I also bought this wine crop top as it was on sale for €14.
 
 
So, as I sadly wave goodbye to August, that is all I bought this month!
 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Exit Interview Series | Volume #34

So, about two weeks ago, I decided to sort through my makeup and bath products for good and chucked out any products I have never used/ have no intention of using but bought them anyways/ simply stopped using them because I found better alternatives so this post will include these products as well apart from the actual empties.
 
I'll go with the empties first...
 
 
All the products in the first picture are favourites of mine. The Body Shop Early Harvest Raspberry scrub smells so good you can easily mistake it for the real thing! The Passionberry lip balm is also very good to taste but I hate lip balms in tins so I won't be repurchasing. Then there's the Neutro Roberts roll on deodorant which smells very fresh and lasts all day; repurchase already secured! Lastly, there's two samples of Guerlain Shalimar and Paco Rabanne Black XS perfumes, both of which are firm favourites of mine.
 
Next, I have some random makeup products. First up is the green Corrective Primer from Wjcon. It does a good job with covering redness and all but I am not really a fan of the fluid texture so I won't be repurchasing. Moreover, a good foundation and concealer can hide redness equally good so I am sticking to the silicon transparent primers which actually seem to make makup last longer. I have also used up the Covergirl Eye Enhancers Trio which has been part of my makeup collection for ages. It had nice shades of brown and beige which luckily I found dupes of. Another product which I won't be repurchasing is the E.L.F. Studio Daily Brush Cleaner; while it is a good product, I am gutted that the brand have reduced the size of it and kept the same price. Lastly, I have LRP Effaclar Mat moisturiser. I won't be repurchasing this one for now because I have quite a lot of products to go through but I still recommend it hands down to anyone looking for a nice, light moisturiser that beats oil build up.

 
Amongst other makeup products, mascara is quite abundant in my stash. I have finished two this month, both by Essence but my favourite is actually limited edition from the Marble Mania collection. The other two are also limited edition but I have barely used them and they dried up.
 
 
Moving on to products that I'm officially done with, I have a selection of cream eyeshadows first. The Catrice Made To Stay ones are very pigmented and they really do last long; however, whenever I used them, they made my eyes go puffy and irritated so I quit using them altogether. The same can be said for the Essence Stay All Day ones, except they didn't give me puffy or irritated eyes but sadly, they dried up. Could it be because they come in plastic jars? The Essence Ticket To Paradise cream eyeshadow is a beautiful shade of mint but it just doesn't show up on the skin and for this reason, I never bothered to use it again.


 
Then there's the NYX Concealer in a Jar CJ12 Green which does an excellent job at concealing redness on the skin but I have quit using it after trying out the Catrice Camouflage Cream which does an excellent job at hiding anything. The Estee Lauder brown eye pencil is another product which I have stopped using a long time ago. While I love the deep brown shade, it just doesn't last on my eyes and it fades away all too quickly. I have found better alternatives to it and consequently I totally forgot about it.
 
Next are some products that have gone bad. First up is the LRP Lipikar Lait which is a soothing body milk that I used to use as an after sun lotion to soothe my skin. Luckily, I only had very little left at the time of throwing it away due to it reaching it's expiry date. It is a good product that I highly recommend. I also have this eye contour gel that has been in my skin care drawer for ages and right from the beginning, whenever I used it, my eyes felt stinging so I gave up on it. Another skin care product is the Volcanic Clay blackhead remover whish is actually a sort of mask that you apply on your nose to remove blackheads. It is a good product but the last time I went to use it, I found it separated so I had to throw it away. The same thing happened with the E.L.F. Glitter Primer. I was really gutted for this one because I only used it a couple of times; needless to say, I won't be repurchasing it. Another E.L.F. product which has gone bad after I have only used it a few times is the cream eyeliner - it just dried out and I think it is also due to its plastic pot. Sad because it is such a pretty colour. Lastly, the Revlon lash glue. This is my favourite lash glue but once it reaches the bottom, it just goes goopy and you can't use it.

 
 
The last products I have here are actually ones I have used just once and didn't like them or I have found better alternatives to them. First off, Catrice Prime & Fine Anti-Red Base. While I like the concept of a corrective primer, as I said earlier on, I am now sticking to a regular primer base and a good foundation and concealer so it's no use keeping this in my stash. However, what I didn't like about this primer is the fact that it leaves a sort of shimmer on the skin. I have only used it once and I never bothered to use it again for that reason.
 
Next I have two MUA Lip Booms in the shades LMK and It's A Situation. I love the colours but I don't like their poor lasting power and when they fade, they leave your lips with an outline, pretty much looking like you only have lipliner on. Furthermore, the glitter in the lipgloss part is too chunky. I did like the sweet scent though.
 
Lastly, two E.L.F. products that I barely used because I didn't like the lack of pigmentation and short wear time. I have found better alternatives to both the eyeliner and the Studio Eyeliner and Shadow stick almost immediately, hence it's no use keeping these.


How often do you have a makeup clear-out ladies?


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BalbCare Waterless Manicures & Pedicures Workshop

Have you ever considered having a manicure or pedicure done without water? The answer is probably no, as was mine up to last Monday. I had the pleasure of attending a workshop at Beautica nail salon in Paola, where, as part of a group of 10 professionals in the beauty industry, mainly nail technicians and beauty therapists, we were introduced to the innovative BalbCare Waterless Manicure & Pedicure Kits.
 
 
 
I was intrigued to attend the workshop as soon as it showed up on my Facebook news feed as it truly is something innovative, and I don't regret being a part of it at all! Read on to find out what this is all about and how you can upgrade your hand care experience at Nailara for just an additional €5!
 
First of all, BalbCare kits have been developed by BalbPharm Institute which is based in Brazil. The company is not only concerned with offering high quality products, but also with the health of customers and promoting an environmentally sustainable range of products for the care of hands, feet and ultimately nails.
 
image courtesy of BalbCare Malta on Facebook
 
Statistics show that every minute, more than 100 BalbCare kits are used around the world, so this has to be something good that clients enjoy. First of all, BalbCare eliminates the use of water, hence reducing the risk of contamination and fungal/bacterial nail infections (we all know that fungi and bacteria thrive in moist environments). It also eliminates the use of cuticle removers and oil, creams, scrubs and paraffin as well as the use of towels and soaking bowls. Thereby, the treatment is much less time consuming.
 
What makes BalbCare so effective and innovative? Well, the answer is simple, really! Basically, the system provides disposable kits which contain gloves or socks, an emery board and a cuticle pusher - all sterile. The magic is all in the gloves/socks where they contain 26g/30g of emulsion respectively which provides 6 benefits to the client:
- The emulsion is a professional-grade base emollient
- Anti-Germ Protection System
- Contains Haemostatic Powder which helps to seal damaged skin tissue
- Calcium enriched formula to promote strong, healthy nails
- Keratin Nutritional Complex which also promotes strong nails
- Exclusive Polymer Holder which promotes better adhesion of nail polish, gel polish and nail enhancements to the natural nails  
 
Moreover, BalbCare kits contain naturally derived active ingredients such as Tea Tree together with its essential oil and Allantoin which are known for their antiseptic, antifugal and anti-inflammatory properties; as well as Calcium Pantothenate (to strengthen the natural nails and provide nutrition for the same nails) and the exclusively developed 3 R236 Polymer which adapts the nail surface for further product application.
 
All these factors make BalbCare especially good for people who suffer from Eczema and Psoriasis as the ingredients in the emulsion will help ease dryness and soothe the skin. Other advantages that this system offers are protection against fungal and bacterial infections, healthier nails, reduced treatment time and treatment innovation with highest hygiene standards.
 
After a very detailed presentation and demonstration delivered by Karolina, the salon owner herself, we were each given the opportunity to try BalbCare ourselves on each other. I really enjoyed being pampered for 5 minutes by fellow blogger and nail technician Lorraine from Lola Loves Sparkles and then I had the opportunity to return the favour!
 
 
 
Us with Karolina
 
 
Results are seen and felt from the very first application and I am really looking forward to offering this service to my clients! BalbCare manicures can be done on their own or in conjunction with gel manicures (more info on my page will be published soon).
 
image taken by me
image taken by me
image taken by me
For more information about this innovative way to do manicures and pedicures, check out the BalbCare Malta Facebook Page and their website at www.balbcare.com.mt.

At the end of the workshop, we were each given an official certificate of attendance which I shall proudly hang in my nail room :)

Photos were all taken by  photographer Raymond Muscat (unless otherwise stated). He can be contacted by email on muscray@gmail.com.
 

Monthly Favourites | August

August was all about having fun in the sun for me :) Starting the month right off with a weekend in Gozo and every weekend that followed was pretty much characterised by lazy days at the beach when I was not working. All along, I have been enjoying the following products throughout the month.
 
My favourite summer scent is Coconut, more specifically, the one that The Body Shop products have. Now I can carry this scent for a longer time thanks to their Coconut Eau de Toilette :D I got this for free the last time I went shopping there with the Love Your Body Card and I have been using it everyday since! It's got a nice scent that's not overpowering yet it still lasts all day :)

 
Another favourite smell that reminds me of summer is Mango and I have indulged in these travel sized shower gel, body scrub and body butter while in Gozo. They are all from The Body Shop as well and I really do recommend getting your favourite products in this format to save on space. They smell so good, you almost mistake them for the real thing! The same can be said for the Mango Sobet body lotion of which I have a sample and have been loving lately. It's definitely going in my wishlist!
 
The last The Body Shop product is their newly launched InstaBlur. It is basically a primer that can be used alone or under foundation. I love how the product melts into your skin and evens out the skin tone and provides an excellent base for any makeup, even in this heat!

 
Using sunscreen everyday is a must, more so in the hot summer days. I always make sure to protect my face with a high SPF factor so a little help to look tanned is always welcome. This year, my favourite bronzer is the Catrice Sun Glow Shimmering Bronzing Powder for Medium Skin in 010 Shimmering Bronze. I'm super pale skinned but this bronzer doesn't look dark on me. I like to use the light part for a subtle sun-kissed glow.
 
If you live in a place with a humid climate, you know it's an everyday struggle to keep makeup from sliding off your face. For my eyes, I favour waterproof mascaras during the summer and my favourite one is actually a new discovery for me...the Max Factor False Lash Effect Waterproof Mascara. It has an insanely black colour and it lasts all day without budging and it can only be taken off with waterproof makeup remover!

 
I have also been enjoying the Sleek MakeUP Arabian Nights Smoke & Shadows Limited Edition Palette. There are 12 beautiful smoky shades that I have been playing around with a lot lately and I love the different ways they can be combined together for unconventional smoky eye looks.

For lips, I have three Pupa Milano products that I have been wearing all the time. The Shiny Lip Fluid 001 Princess Nude is my favourite nude lipgloss and I wear this mostly during the day. For brighter alternatives I favoured the Navy Chic matt lipstick 001 Chic Pink and I'M Lipstick 206 Coral Dream.
 

Lastly, I have a few nail products. The Pupa Milano Gel Top Coat has concluded my search for the perfect top coat...I just love this one! It has a glossy finish, dries fast and makes manicure last longer. Next I have a selection of glitter polishes from Sally Hansen which I have enjoyed wearing alone or as toppers over other polishes. The shades are 510 Strobe Flash, 540 Glitter Gun and 740 Carnival. The last product is also by Sally Hansen and it is their Cuticle Rehab. This has been a cuticle saviour for me as it helps keep them moisturised and my nails feel as strong as ever with this new addition to my nail care routine!

 
The last favourite I have to share for this month is this manicure where I have used decals from Born Pretty Store. I like how it turned out to be and the results were totally worth the time!
 
 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review | Sleek MakeUP i-Divine Snapshots Palette

A while back, I blogged about Sleek MakeUP's latest limited edition i-Divine palette, the Arabian Nights Smoke & Shadows. Today, I have the Snapshots i-Divine palette, which for me, with its rich, bright collection of shades is the perfect eyeshadow palette for summer.
 

By now, you all now how the i-Divine palettes are packaged in a carton box and how sturdy yet light-weigh the actual palettes are. The large mirror is also compulsory and so is the clear plastic film bearing the names of the eyeshadows and the dual ended sponge applicator.
 
The colour pay-off of the shades in this palette is exceptional especially the frosty shades. The matte shades seem to be less pigmented and the lighter ones are in fact not as pigmented as I would have liked them to be, but nothing a good primer base can't fix. Lasting power is also very good for both finishes (the frosted shades have proved to be equally long wearing even without a primer). 

Now, let's get to the fun part and have a closer look at the shades in the Snapshots palette:


Summer Breeze ~ light minty-green with a matte finish

Martini ~ frosty nude beige

Sand Walker ~ medium matte beige

Washed Ashore ~ orange based beige with a matte finish


Kiwi Flower ~ a super pigmented kiwi green with a frosty finish

Lotus Flower ~ another richly pigmented frost eyeshadow, in a dark lilac colour

Sunset ~ deep rust with red undertones and a frosty/shimmery finish

Green Iguana ~ blue-based green with excellent pigmentation and a shimmery finish


Humming Bird ~ shimmering teal with gold frost throughout
 
Tequila Sunrise ~ burnt orange with a frosty finish
 
Purple Haze ~ matte deep purple
 
Magenta Madness ~ matte magenta
 
 
I would really recommend this palette to anyone who isn't afraid of playing with colour on their eyes 
and at €9.99 it makes a lovely gift too! Get yours now on the Sleek MakeUP website!