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The Exit Interview Series: Volume #11

This month, apart from using up products, I have cleared out my skin care stash (read all about it here) and so I threw away products that either don't work for me anymore or else I just didn't use them in a long time.  I am going to start bit by bit as there are quite a few so let's get right into it!

Starting out with a body scrub from Body Gourmet Malta, this scrub is basically sugar based and contains essential oils amongst other ingredients.  I'm glad I made it to the end of this jar as I really didn't like the oiliness it leaves on my skin even after using shower gel. I will not buy this again for sure.

I also finished a White Musk deodorant that my aunt brought me from the States.  I really loved this deodorant as it lasts all day and has a nice but not overly empowering smell. Too bad I can't get it here in Malta :( As I said earlier, I was clearing out my skin care stash the other day and I basically threw away the E.L.F. Tinted Moisturiser in Rosy Beige, E.L.F. Zit Zapper, Witch Anti-Blemish Stick and Jojoba Oil.  Mum kept the Pond's Cold Cream Cleanser as it is more suited to her skin type.

Any products you finished up this month girls? Would you buy them again?

Monthly Favourites: July

Being utterly busy, I barely had time to experiment with make-up or try out new products this month but here is my pick of the products that I reached for over and over.

Starting off with hair products, I have really been enjoying not having to blow-dry my hair ever since I cut it short. Instead I just leave it to air dry and add in some mousse for some volume. My favourite is the Tres Emme 24 Hour Body.  I then use this FarmaVita Defining Gloss to texture my hair and it doesn't feel greasy at all and smells delicious!  Lastly, when I'm at the beach, I always make sure that my hair is protected against the sun's UV rays with this Angel Hair Care sun spray.

I have also been using the Seacret Pure Body Lotion as I love the texture of it and it is fast absorbed and doesn't leave a greasy feeling.  When I hit the beach, I like to carry the E.L.F. Studio Lotion Wipes for a quick hydration fix to my skin. I love the scent of these and the way they leave my skin feeling soft and hydrated. I'm gonna buy them in every single scent once they are available on the UK site!

As for make-up, I only have three favourites this month, namely the Pupa Vamp! Mascara in 300 Deep Night, Essence lipstick in 58 Dazzling Beige and Catrice Ultimate Lipstick in The Nuder The Better.  I love layering these two lip products for a shimmery nude lip and the mascara is the ultimate touch to a nude make-up look to make the eyes speak for themselves.

What were your favourite products this month ladies?

July Collective Haul

My my my how time flies by! July has also come to an end and it is time for the monthly collective haul once again.  This month I have been quite shopping shy as I am saving up for a trip to Paris next October! I really cannot wait for August and September to be over and go celebrate my birthday in my favourite city! Anyways, here is all that I bought this month:

Starting with the main purchase, I bought this Olympus VH-210 digital camera for various reasons but mostly because I needed a new camera.  I chose the pearly white one which has brown accents all around that give it a retro feel.  Love the quality of the pictures and the ease of use.  This was €135.

I haven't shopped much for cosmetics this month, just the basics. I got two back-ups of the Essence Stay Natural Concealer in 01 Soft Beige and I also got a shimmery light gold lipstick called Dazzling Beige (no.58) for €2.20 each.

I bought a copy of Glamour magazine and it had a free Balance Me Cleanser which I will take to the dermatologist to see if it is suitable for my skin type before I use it and I am planning to take it with me to Paris.  I also bought a sisal scrubber for some dry body brushing to help improve circulation in my legs.  The mag was €2.90 and the scrubber was €2.

I needed a new way to store my nail polishes in my home nail salon and I bought this cabinet from Lidl which has four drawers, all of which are deep enough for my China Glazes to fit comfortably.  This cost €39.99.

Lastly, clothes and accessories.  As much as I wanted to go sale shopping, I was really busy this month and barely had time.  I managed to sneak into Terranova though for some basics and I got two plain racer back tops in black and white (€3.99 each), one blue racer back top with a corsage and frill trim (€4.99) and two mini skirts in beige and blue for €12.99 each.

From ebay, I bought this neon spike bracelet and turquoise earrings for €2.50 and €1.49 respectively.  I got the Chanel logo earrings as a promotional gift from the website

And I am going to leave the best for last... In June I had accumulated enough points by interacting on the 202 Jewellery facebook page to earn myself a Spinning Ring worth €19.95.  I chose this one with a cute pearl dangle that goes with a ton of outfits:

What did you buy this month ladies? Did you manage to find any sale bargains?

Review: Born Pretty Store Soak Off Gel Polish in #BC01

Soak-Off Gel Polish is the latest product to take the nail industry by storm and I like the concept of a polish that lasts three weeks without chipping especially when you have busy days ahead and you have no time to touch up or go with a new manicure.

I was sent one of the Soak-Off Gel Polishes from Born Pretty Store to try out and review for you guys.  I chose the shade BC01 which is a glittery gold number with flecks of red glitter thrown in.  The polish is supplied in a cardboard box and the polish itself comes in a brown glass bottle which is painted white (due to UV light sensitivity).

The brush is just the perfect size to work with as it covers all of the nail in just one swipe and only two coats are needed for maximum opaqueness.

Since this is a gel polish, you will need a UV lamp to cure it otherwise it won't dry. Nail preparation is a little different in that you have to buff the whole surface your nails prior to applying the polish to remove oils from your nail bed that will otherwise prevent the gel polish to adhere to the nail. Remember to push back your cuticles as well.  Then, you apply one coat and cure it under the lamp for 3 minutes and repeat for the second coat.

One coat of gel polish
Two coats
An important point here is not to apply any base coat on your nails as it will cause the gel polish to peel off after a couple of days.  When it comes to top coat, you can apply anyone if you so desire but there is no need as this gel polish is not sticky when dry (unlike colour gels used by gel nail technicians) and the glitter does not feel gritty.

Now for lastingness of this gel-polish. Born Pretty Store claim that this polish will last for three weeks. I say that on me, it lasted for one and a half/two weeks as I use latex gloves in my profession and apparently it is not a good combination as the polish peeled off.  I think it would be great if Born Pretty Store stocked soak-off gel base coats and top coats as I'm sure it would help the manicure to last for the whole three weeks.

The polish can either be removed by soaking the nails in acetone polish remover (acetone-free remover will do nothing) and scraping it off with some aluminium foil or else, you can gently buff it away.

I will consider getting more soak-off polishes from Born Pretty Store if they included the base and top coats to the range.  Other than that, this is a good product that I would recommend to anyone leading a busy lifestyle as it is a long-lasting product.  The only requirement is a UV lamp and the whole procedure shouldn't take you more than 20 minutes!

Soak off gels are available in an extensive colour range and you can get yours for 10% off when quoting the code EBABK31 at checkout (normal retail price $10.10).  You can also use this code site wide for all your nail art and cosmetic needs; and remember, shipping is free worldwide with no minimum spend!

PR Sample

Review: Pupa Milano Vamp! Mascara in 300 Deep Night

A few days back I posted on this blog's facebook page that I have received an unexpected package, and as soon as I opened it and found two tubes of the Pupa Milano Vamp! Mascara in 300 Deep Night, I was over the moon as I have been wanting to try a good blue mascara for quite some time, so a huge thank you to Pupa Milano!

I was even more excited because Pupa Milano mascaras have an excellent reputation in terms of long lastingness and performance.  In fact this mascara didn't let me down at all! On the contrary, I loved it from the first application!

So, as always, let's have a look at the packaging...

The mascara originally comes in a signature Pupa Milano red cardboard box with the Vamp! graphic on the front, the actual tube shot on the back and the mascara colour on top; while the tube itself is a very luxurious-feeling silver metallized tube with the Vamp! graphic on the front and the mascara colour and shade number on top.  The cap is slightly wider than the rest of the tube which makes up for an ergonomic and comfortable grip.

Image from Pupa Vamp! presentation

What I like most about this mascara is the sinuous or hourglass shape of the wand which together with the special blend of natural, synthetic and vegetable waxes lends this mascara a very creamy texture that is easy to work with yet it dries to a smudge-proof texture.  Furthermore, the wand shapes accounts for the coating of all lashes, including the shortest ones.  I would describe this particular shade as a purple-based electric blue.

Lashes are volumised with just one stroke and the more strokes you apply, the easier it is to achieve a false lash effect, movie star style! In fact, this mascara is described as being 'A revolutionary mascara for exaggerated eyelashes with an oversize volume'.  

Moreover, this mascara contains Vamp!Full Polymer which is a film-forming agent that promotes smooth, flexible, un-clumped lashes and a prolonged hold. In fact, on me, this mascara lasts until I take it off easily without any tugging with an eye make-up remover.

Here are a few looks I created with this mascara:

The French Look, involves using a black mascara to coat all of your lashes
and a coloured mascara on the tips.  Here I paired the mascara with a light grey
eyeshadow and a metallic silver gel liner

Vibrant greens & blues | Browns and blue 

Purple and blue... a match made in eye make-up heaven!

The shade 300 Deep Night is perfect for blue, hazel and green eyes and as you can tell from the photos, it is perfectly easy to use with both natural everyday looks and more striking party looks.

Pupa Milano Vamp! mascara is available in 6 spectacular shades and retails for €13.85 (in Malta, the available shades are 100 Extra Black, 300 Deep Night, and 400 Amethyst Violet). Now I just want that Emerald Green to be available asap!

Pupa Vamp! Mascara shades
(image from official Pupa Vamp! presentation)

It is hypoallergenic, opthalmologically tested and it is suitable for contact lens wearers and people with sensitive eyes.

PR Sample

Tips to help keep skin clear

Following from an earlier post on which skin care products I'm sticking to and which I'm getting rid of, here are some little changes that made a difference in how my skin looks and feels and also some other tips which you can use too to reduce the formation of pimples on your face. I have also booked an appointment at the dermatologist to see if I need any special medications so stay tuned for updates in that regard. Enjoy! :)

1. I noticed that my breakouts were getting worse and more frequent ever since I started work and thanks to the ongoing air conditioning and not being able to open a window for some fresh air (coupled with the inevitable stress that work brings with it), my skin has suffered.  So, what I do is I take my cleanser and moisturizer with me to work and I wash my face if my skin feels oily and then I just cover up the imperfections with concealer.

2. Hydration is of utmost important to help the skin get rid of toxins and not over-produce sebum.  The secret potion here is water! Just make sure to keep a handy small size bottle near you throughout the day to make it easier to reach for it and hydrate our skin from within.

3. Reserve make-up for weekends and go light during the day. This will let your skin breathe and free it from clogged pores.  For example, the items that go on my face for work are concealer, blush and some kohl eye pencil!

4. Having oily hair doesn't help my skin much but ever since I cut it shorter, I wash it more often and breakouts at the sides of my face have diminished drastically.  

5. Another way by which I diminished breakouts at the sides is by cleaning my mobile phone with hand sanitizer or alcohol wipes at the end of the day to kill bacteria.

6. This is hard but I try not to touch my face too often as bacteria can easily be transferred from the hands to the face and cause spots. Also, ever since I quit popping zits, I get less breakouts.  Popping zits will cause the infection to spread to other areas and also deeper in the skin tissue causing bigger and redder spots.  However, if pop you must, make sure your hands are squeaky clean and wrap a tissue around your fingers to wipe the pus straight away and avoid marking your face with your fingernails. 

7. Diet is also a very important factor in maintaining healthy-looking skin. Cut down on fatty and greasy foods and you will see a difference almost immediately!

8. Use products that are specific to your skin type. There is no need to buy every single thing that you think might work. Stick to the products that you know will give you the results you want.  More importantly, take time to cleanse your skin as much as you take time in applying make-up.

9. Lastly, going to the beach and rinsing my face with sea water has helped improve my skin greatly.  I am lucky to live on an island with many beautiful beaches and whenever I can, I will try and go to the beach even in Winter to help my skin all year round.

So, that rounds up a few little tweaks that I did to help my skin get better and hope that you find some of these tips useful if you have the same problems as me :)

OOTN: Last Friday Night

How's Sunday going for everyone? I just woke up from a power nap after heading straight to the beach following my night duty.  Here is what I wore last Friday for a stroll by the promenade along a rocky beach in the south of the island (Xghajra):

Top, local boutique
Denim hot-pants, Peacocks
Bag, Peacocks
Shoes, local shoe store
Eiffel Tower earrings, gift from Paris
Chamilia bangle & Spinning Rings, 202 Jewellery
Faux diamond charms and silver bracelet, Orsay

And here is a closer look at the make-up:

Essence Stay Natural Concealer in 01 Soft Beige
Rimmel Powder Blush in 004 Pink Rose

E.L.F. Eyelid Primer
light grey eyeshadow from E.L.F. 32 Piece Eyeshadow Palette (Everyday Brights)
Essence Gel Eyeliner in Miami's Ink
Essence Multi Action False Lashes Effect Mascara
Pupa Vamp! Mascara in 300 Deep Night (on the tips of the lashes)
Technic Kohl pencil in Black
Essence Brow & Lash Mascara

Chanel Rouge Allure in 66 Confidentielle

Skin Care Products... What I'm Keeping & What I'm Trashing

Over the last two/three months, I have experienced several horrible breakouts on my facial skin and my initial thought was that I was using products that were not suited for my skin type. However, I know that my cleanser and moisturizer are perfectly suited for my sensitive/oily skin as they are specifically targeted for such a skin type so I stopped using certain 'in between' products and this together with other little lifestyle changes have helped me restore my skin slowly. 

This is going to be quite a lengthy post, as I will be dealing with skin care products (I will be doing a separate post about the other changes). 

So, let me introduce you to my skin care stash first...

To some, this may be very little, to some it may seem just right, to others it may come across as too much. I'm with the latter group. Therefore, I decided to be ruthless and pick out the products which I use mostly and more importantly, the ones which deliver results over the others that are just taking up space in my drawers or they simply do not cut it for me any more.

I will be starting with the ones I constantly repurchasing first.

I use the Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel twice a day, namely, in the morning as soon as I wake up and before I go to bed.  I like this cleanses because I only need a small amount and it foams up into a soft lather that is gentle enough to cleanse my skin and remove excess sebum without drying out my skin and it is also very effective at removing make-up.  Now that I have restricted the products I use on my face, I can tell for sure that this cleanser doesn't break me out.  Another product from La Roche Posay that I use twice daily is the Effaclar Mat Sebo-Regulating Moisturizer (formerly Effaclar M).  I like the new format of this moisturizer for travel purposes but otherwise the formula hasn't changed apart from the fact that it can be used as a make-up base.  This moisturizer does an excellent job at keeping excess sebum production at bay and my make-up doesn't melt away in the heat. As for pricing, I don't think these products are expensive especially at how long they last and their performance (€9.90 for the cleanser, 200ml & €12.14 for the moisturizer, 40ml).  The only issue I have with LRP is that it is not a cruelty-free brand yet but it is the only one that has a range specifically targeted for my skin type.

I like the feeling of clean skin that only exfoliation can give you so I make sure to exfoliate at night (after I cleanse) every single day! I use Nivea Visage Young Smooth It! Mild Exfoliating Scrub which is suitable for everyday use thanks to it's fine granules (it also serves me as a double cleanse to make sure that all traces of make-up are gone and it also helps keep clogged pores at bay).  It leaves my skin peachy soft and has never broken me out. I am very loyal to this scrub and I think this is my 100th bottle! Yepp that is how much I like it! Always make sure to use a mild scrub if you want it specifically for everyday use as over-exfoliation can lead to more sebum being produced, hence more spots.  Also, rinse a scrub off with cold water to close the pores.

The last product that I use on a daily basis is Rose Water as a facial toner/skin refresher.  This has been a skin saviour for me as it hydrates and tones the skin in one swipe. I use the one by Roberts and I always make sure to have some with me in a spray bottle especially during the hot summer months to refresh my skin on the go.

Lastly, for the products that my skin can't go without are the twice-weekly-treats known as deep cleansing face masks.  My favourite all over face masks are from Montagne Jeunesse and I always have a fair stash of them so that I can pick out whichever I feel like using. Currently, I am enjoying this Very Berry one which leaves my skin smelling and feeling refreshed and clean.  For my nose, I like using a peel-off clay mask from The Face Shop and I like how it gently peels away black-heads and unclogs pores for a brighter complexion.

So, with the keepers out of the way, here are the products which I will not be repurchasing and am trying to finish:

From Nivea I have this Refreshing Cleansing Lotion and Toner. I use the cleanser to remove any traces of eye make-up and the toner to soothe my upper lip after I wax.  As for make-up remover, I will be resorting to all natural olive oil which also conditions my lashes and once this toner is finished I will use Rose Water instead.  The same goes for the Witch Hazel skin toner as it seems to be drying out my skin too much.  

I bought the Bioderma Sebium H20 because of all the hype surrounding it in the blogsphere but I don't like non-rinse formulas so since I still have to cleanse my face just the same, I might as well skip buying it again.  The same thing applies for these make-up remover & exfoliating pads.

Now, on to the product which I will be throwing away for good.

Starting with Jojoba oil.  I had bought this as Jojoba oil is a common ingredient known to diminish blemish scars and it is also an astringent.  However, I don't like the smell of it and the oiliness of it.  Also, after a few uses I didn't see a difference in my skin any more so in the trash can it goes.

The e.l.f. Zit Zapper and the Witch Blemish Stick will follow suit because I don't think the packaging is at all sanitary.  While I like the Witch Blemish Stick a thousand times more for smell and results, I still think that the way these products are presented accounts for more spots to develop.  What I mean is that rubbing a roller ball applicator over a zit will cause bacteria to accumulate on the applicator and spread the infection to other areas; not to mention contamination of the product.  The same goes for the stick format of the Witch product.  You can always apply such products with a clean q-tip but why would you want to carry q-tips with you when these products were designed for on-the-go use?

And that brings an end to my skin care products stash purge.  Do you use any of these products?

NOTW: Antique Gold

A few months back I bought some gold foil nuggets from and I immediately knew what I was going to use them for as I had seen a nail tutorial on some magazine a few weeks ago.  Basically, it involves laying the gold foil onto the nail and then going over it with nail polish remover to make it look aged and give it an antique look... however, since it is summer, I opted to go for a mint green base instead of the dark navy blue that was portrayed in the magazine's nail tutorial.  Here are the pictures and a step by step tutorial:

1. Prep nails with a base coat and when dry apply two coats of a mint green polish. I used China Glaze For Audrey here. While this dries, cut up the foil in pieces that fit your nails.

2. Apply a thin coat of clear polish over the nails and pick up a piece of the gold foil with a damp q-tip.  Make sure your hands are clean while handling gold foil as it is very delicate and fragile.

3. Go over the foil with a q-tip dipped in some nail polish remover until it starts to crack and wear away a little.

4. When satisfied with the result, seal everything with a glossy top coat.