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Monthly Favourites | September

September is gone too and that brings my birthday month closer :D Let's have a look back over the past month through my favourite products, most of which are new to me.

I will start off with hair and body care first and all three products featured are from Yves Rocher. If you are new to the brand, I suggest you read my Brand Spotlight post here to get to know the brand a little better. Back to the products, I have this exfoliating shower gel which smells divinely of yellow peaches and has the actual peach kernels ax exfoliating agents. I like that is has a gel texture as it lathers up nicely and the exfoliating particles are not too harsh, hence the shower gel is mild enough for everyday use. 

Also pictured are the Volume Shampoo and Texturising Spray which are specifically tailored for fine hair and contain Mauve Mellow to enhance volume in your locks and they both smell heavenly! My hair has never looked this good and the spray also keeps fizz at bay! Highly recommended!

From Yves Rocher, I have also been loving the Active Sensitive Redness Relief cream of which I was given some samples. I liked it so much I went ahead and bought the full-sized version! It is quite rich, so it will double up as a moisturizer suitable for the colder months.

My favourite eye looks this month were all courtesy of this limited edition Queen of Hearts eyeshadow quad from KIKO which is versatile enough to be used for day or night looks. Apart from the nice selection of neutrals, I am really fond of the packaging which makes the palette one to covet. The variation I have is 03 Elegant Ebony and is one of the three available combinations.

On my nails, I have been loving the look of Orly GelFX Plum Noir. It is a nice dark plum colour which complements all skin tones and since it is a gel polish, it lasts for two weeks with high gloss shine and stays chip free! Right now I have a thing for dark purple polishes...guess it must be the change of seasons and this one fits the bill!

More from Italian brand KIKO, I have their Brush Cleanser and the Eyes 207 brush. The Brush Cleanser is seriously one to look out for! It cleanses brushes thoroughly and they are ready to be used again within seconds. The brush is something I had been on the look out for for ages and this is seriously the best brush to create cut-crease eye looks with! The tapered end proves to be very precise and is also good for blending colours together.

Lastly, I have lip products. I have been switching between neutral and bolder colours to go with the KIKO quad above. My favourites have been Pupa Milano Fluid Lip Colour 001 Princess Nude, E.L.F. Studio Glossy Gloss Ballet Slippers, Yves Rocher Sheer Botanical Lipstick 41 Iris Mauve, KIKO Lipsticks 916 and 911 and finally, my favourite out of the bunch, Max Factor Lipfinity 370 Always Extravagant.

Which products have made it to your favourites this month ladies?

The Exit Interview Series | Volume #35

Following last month's clear out of my product stash, this month I have been using a lot of sample sized products, most of which were actually hair care products. 

Starting clockwise from top left, there's the Schwarzkopf Gliss Hair Repair Shampoo & Conditioner with Liquid Keratin. This duo made hair look really glossy and I had enough for four uses out of each - very generous for a sample I might say and my hair looked generally good for the usual two days. Next, I tried the Angel en Provence Helichrysum Revitalising Shampoo & Conditioner, which again had enough for quite a few uses. I remember these smelling really good but my hair got back to its oily self after just one day so I personally wouldn't consider buying the full sizes. 

The Finesse shampoo was ok especially for everyday use. It smells good and left my hair very soft, but unfortunately, my hair turned greasy after just one day. Finally, I have the True Keratin Moroccan Miracle Leave-In Creme which I used to apply to the ends of my hair. This worked miracles for my hair especially whenever I used heat styling tools. My hair felt soft and looked really healthy. I would consider giving the full size of this a go.

More samples, this time I have a Shea Butter Hand Cream from Bottega Verde and a sun protection lotion from Hawaiian Tropic. The hand cream is a very nice treat for the hands but being from Bottega Verde, it is bound to be on the slightly more expensive side. Nonetheless, it smells very nice and is absorbed rapidly into the skin and leaves the hands feeling soft and supple.

The sun block lotion is another nice smelling product - I have yet to try a product from Hawaiian Tropic that doesn't! The sachet had enough sunblock for me and my boyfriend for two applications each. It is quite runny and it is rapidly absorbed into the skin without leaving any greasy residue.

The last product in the picture is the Essence Stay Natural Concealer which you know I keep repurchasing over and over again.

Next are some body products. I have used up the Pupa Milano Anti-Cellulite cream and I can vouch that this product is truly one of the best products available on the market to help fight the appearance of cellulite. It has lasted me for quite some time so you're getting good value for money, and more importantly, it delivers good results. For the moment I won't be repurchasing this though as I have some other similar products to go through. The Impulse deodorants are also a common appearance in these posts as they are practically the only deodorants I like.

Moving on to nail products, I have used up two top coats, a tip painter and an unusual kind of polish remover. The Rimmel Base Coat Top Coat Pro was actually a gift from the US and it is a good product which I would repurchase if it ever becomes available locally. With the Essence Glitter Top Coat, it's another takes multiple coats for the glitter to show up and once the polish reaches the middle of the bottle, it goes all goopy, so definitely not repurchasing.

The same happened with the Essence Tip Painter but I have to admit that the brush is actually excellent for detailed nail art work and painting tips. The next product is the BK Nail Gel from Born Pretty Store. This is actually a gel type of nail polish remover which you spread over your polished nails, wait for a few minutes and wipe the nails clean with a cotton disc. It can be a little messy which is why I won't be repurchasing but it has proven to be a good alternative method of removing glitter polish. 

Next I have some skin care products which I won't be repurchasing any of simply because I have switched brands. Both Michael Todd products are very good but the scrub no longer seems to agree with my skin as it has caused me some breakouts while the toner is nice but I'd rather stick to rose water. As for the Polaar Micellar Water, I have purchased the full size version of this and I have kept this small bottle to refill it and take it to work to use whenever I feel the need to refresh my face.

I have also used up a sachet of energising eye patches from Polaar which seriously work after just one application! I love how bright the are under my eyes looked right after I removed them and I am seriously considering getting a whole box. Then, I had two samples of Yves Rocher Active Sensitive Redness Relief which I seriously love as it works instantly! I will be buying the full sized version soon.

Also from Yves Rocher, I have this perfume sample of their fragrance Comme Une Evidence which is a very floral fragrance and right up my street! I have enjoyed wearing this fragrance and I was very pleased with the longevity of the scent and I do recommend this perfume if you love floral fragrances. I have also finished some more perfume samples from Dior (Miss Dior), Paco Rabanne (Black XS) and Valentino (Valentina).

Lastly, I have this Nivea Harmony Time Shower Cream which I used to use at work whenever I was going out after. It has a pleasant fragrance and offers good value for money so I bought another variation of it to switch things a little and I like how it lathers nicely to a soft foam.

What products have you used up this month?

Review | Yves Rocher Sheer Botanical Lipstick with 100% Cherry Oil #41 Iris Mauve

From my latest posts, you would know that I have recently been introduced to the French botanical skin care brand Yves Rocher and I was kindly given a few products to try out and ultimately share my thoughts with you, my readers.

The first product I am going to start with is this Sheer Botanical Lipstick in the shade #41 Iris Mauve as currently, this new line of lipsticks is being offered at 30% off in all three Yves Rocher shops.

The packaging is made out of cherry red plastic which instantly draws attention to the fact that these lipsticks are made out of 100% cherry oil. You also get a sticker with the shade name in a colour similar to that of the lipstick on the bottom of the tube. Even though the packaging is made out of plastic, it still feels very sturdy and closes with a nice click.

Out of the 12 available shades, I chose shade #41 Iris Mauve and I would describe it as a medium mauve-y pink however, you can tell from the name of these lipsticks that pigmentation is quite sheer and you will need a few swipes to get a deeper colour to show up.

Yves Rocher Sheer Botanical Lipstick #41 Iris Mauve {one swipe}
Yves Rocher Sheer Botanical Lipstick #41 Iris Mauve {several swipes}

Having said that, the product is highly moisturising and glides easily on the lips. Being made out of 100% cherry oil, this makes the lipstick smell so good you can actually eat it and it offers excellent nourishing properties to your lips.

Being sheer in coverage, you will definitely need to reapply during the day and who wouldn't want to show off such a nice looking lipstick case and have lips smelling like cherries with a glossy look all day?! To give you an idea, I'd say the lipstick lasts for around 2 hours.

Yves Rocher Sheer Botanical Lipsticks with 100% Cherry Oil retail for €15.80 but with the current 30% off offer, they come to €11.20 which is a good price in my opinion! In fact, I will go buy another shade myself as soon as I get the chance!

photo courtesy of Yves Rocher Malta

Yves Rocher have a total of three stores in Malta in the following locations:

11, Bisazza street, SLIEMA (Next to Sorbino and Ice watch)
219, Merchants street, VALLETTA (Next to Pumpkins Patch and in front of Caruana or the Electro store)
76, Antoine de Paule square, PAOLA (Next to Gauda)

For more information, check out their Facebook page here.

PR Sample

Review | Catrice Sun Glow Shimmering Bronzing Powder for Medium Skin 010 Shimmering Bronze

Summer might be coming to an end but doesn't mean we cannot make our tans last longer! The easiest way to do it? Catrice Sun Glow Shimmering Bronzing Powder of course!
I have had this bronzer for a few good months now and I have been reaching for it quite often these days, mainly to pair with neutral makeup looks for that sun-kissed look. 

The packaging is quite sturdy and closes with a satisfying click. You also get a good amount of product - 9g so are guaranteed to enjoy a lot of uses out of this bronzer. I really like the weaved pattern of the bronzer as I think it adds interest to the product.

As the name implies, the bronzer is a shimmery one but in my opinion, it's not that shimmery on the skin and personally, I think it's a good one wants excess shimmer on their face when trying to look natural! After all, the sun doesn't give us a shimmery tan!

The bronzer has three different shades which can be sued alone of blended together for a more natural finish. I personally prefer to use all three shades when I'm tanned and the light shade when I start to lose my tan.

L to R: light, medium, dark, all three shades blended together
I'd say this bronzer has a good lasting power and it has become one of my favourite products. 

Catrice products are available from different pharmacies across Malta & Gozo. To find your nearest stockist, check out Catrice Malta on Facebook.

PR Sample

My Experience at the Yves Rocher Botanical Spa

As some of you may know, last Saturday I was kindly invited for a botanical facial at the Yves Rocher Botanical Spa in Paola and I thought of sharing my experience there with you.

As soon as I got to the little earth garden that the place looks like (read more about it here), I was greeted by one of the sales girls and offered a nice cup of tea (I chose Vanilla Tea which was delicious by the way!) and I was shown to the waiting area where I later met my therapist for the day, Antonella.

She guided me to a nicely set-up little room and as soon as she closed the door, the hustle and bustle of the street that is just a few meters away was gone...all i could hear was the relaxing music playing in the background.

After asking me what my skin type is, we agreed on a facial for sensitive skin and it was such a delight! The facial consisted of a superficial cleanse, a deep cleanse, a massage, scrub, mask and ultimately makeup application which is a first for me and I like the concept of walking out of the spa fresh faced in a good, non-ghostly way! All this lasted just over an hour and I can safely say it was the best hour during a very hectic week - definitely a very welcome treat!

One point worth mentioning is that the products used are exclusively for professional use by the trained therapists and are not available for purchase. Of course you can always buy the corresponding product line that is suitable for your skin type from their shop. Moreover, the products come in one-time use sachets and for me that is always a plus!

I could definitely see the benefits of the facial as my skin looked really calmed down from the redness and not a single drop of foundation has gone near my face since Saturday!

The Yves Rocher Botanical Spa offers a wide range of facials suitable for every skin type; for example, they have facials for aging skin, for oily skin, normal skin and so on and they also offer other services such as makeup application and waxing. 

I would like to thank the staff at the Yves Rocher Paola outlet for having me over for I really enjoyed my time at the Botanical Spa and I would definitely encourage you to try it out for yourselves! You won't be disappointed! 

The Yves Rocher Botanical Spa is located at Antoine de Paule Square in Paola and they also have another two shops, one in Bisazza Street, Sliema and the other in Merchants Street, Valletta. For more information, you can follow Yves Rocher Malta on Facebook.

Event | ProNails Sopolish Protect & Peel Launch

The nail industry is currently undergoing a major overhaul when it comes to innovative products and the introduction of new ways to enhance a client's nail care experience with more beneficial treatments that are executed in a shorter time span.
Furthermore, considering that according to statistics 80% of women opt to either wear classic nail polish or gel polish to protect their natural nails from excessive filing that gel and acrylic enhancements cause the nails to undergo, more solutions that cater to these needs are being developed.
Classic nail polish looks good for just a few days and gel polish seemed to be the answer to a prolonged wear with a shiny finish that lasts all throughout. However, women were becoming concerned of having to soak their nails in acetone to remove it. The answer to that? Sopolish Protect & Peel by ProNails!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the launch of this innovative product and now I'm here to share all the hype with you! I'm sure you've all heard of the traditional Sopolish from ProNails which is their own line of semi-permanent gel polish. Now they have improved on it and while the 'older' version will still be available, there is this new version which is ideal for those clients who only wish to have polished nails for a short time and are concerned with the health of their natural nails as far as acetone soaking goes.

Sopolish Protect & Peel was developed after the brand's CEO Paul Parein got the idea from the Compeed blister patches he used to treat blisters on his feet from running. He translated this to fingernails and hence, Sopolish Vital Nail Skin was born!

What's all this about I hear you ask? Vital Nail Skin is actually a sticker kind of base for your Sopolish colour which acts as a protective barrier for your natural nail and prolongs the wear of Sopolish colours. It is innovative not only because of its format, but also because it doesn't require any soaking in acetone - you just peel it off! Hence it is ideal for those clients who don't want to return to the salon to have their gel polish removed! Moreover, both application and removal are very easy, thus resulting in a quicker application of the product.

All this was explained to us in a presentation followed by a demonstration by Ruth, the ProNails educator in Malta and the event took place at the Liberty Business Culture premises in Mosta as they are the official distributors of the brand. Afterwards, we were treated to some delicious canapés and nibbles as well as wine, soft drinks and water :) Also in attendance, was fellow blogger Elaine from Beauty She Wrote and we were each given a 30% off gift voucher on any ProNails treatment at their Premium Nail Bar at The Point Shopping Centre in Sliema. I'm thinking of booking an appointment for my birthday and have my nails done the Protect & Peel way so that I can report back on its performance ;)
So, once again, thanks to Liberty Business Culture for inviting us over as well Ruth for delivering a very well informed presentation!

Stay up to date with tips, tricks and product updates by following ProNails Malta on Facebook.

Review | Polaar Icy Magic Instant Eye Contour Multi Energiser & Multi Energising Eye Patch

My latest skin care brand obsession is all for Polaar Skin Care. I have completely switched to this brand which I have been hooked upon after attending an event they hosted for some of us bloggers last June.

I have already reviewed the Ice Pure and Ice Source Skin Care range which I use and I have found it to be very effective at caring for my skin. You can read all about it here.

Today, I will be reviewing another two products from Polaar. This time, both products are from the Icy Magic range which is specifically targeted for the sensitive skin around the eyes. The Icy Magic range boasts of three products that help combat puffiness and dark circles from under the eyes, hence giving us a more youthful appearance.

The first product that I will be reviewing is the Icy Magic Instant Eye Contour Multi Energiser. It is a roll on type of product that you apply around the eye contour starting from the nose and going outward towards to outer corner of the eye.

You can apply the product as often as you like and the 5ml tube makes it ideal to carry the product around in your bag. The cool roller ball instantly helps reduce any puffiness from the eyes and in conjunction with Siberian Ginseng, the active ingredient of the product, leaves the eye area energised and toned. Moreover, tetrapeptides visibly reduce the appearance of dark circles.

Personally, I tend to have dark circles quite often and I swear by this product to help fade them away. As for puffiness, I don't really get puffy eyes often except after the occasional tiresome night duty at work and this has fast become my holy grail product to care for such a sensitive area as the eyes.

I have never had issues with this product irritating my eyes or causing stinging and I definitely recommend you introducing this product in your skin care regime!

Next up are the Icy Magic Multi Energising Eye Patches. The aim of these patches is to use them as a weekly treatment over the course of one month to reduce puffiness and dark circles. I cannot give a full review because I only had one sachet to try.

The patches come in a plastic pouch and they have a clear protective backing which you remove prior to applying the patches. Basically you just apply the patches to the underside of your eyes and leave them on for 15 minutes to work their magic.  Like the Icy Magic roll on, they contain Siberian Ginseng and tetrapeptides to exert their action effectively.

After just one application, I could already see a difference in how much brighter my eyes looked so I will definitely buy more of these patches. Again, the patches never irritated my eyes in any way.  

When used together, the Icy Magic Eye Contour Multi Energiser and the Multi Energising Eye Patch, provide better and faster results so I would consider getting enough patches for a month and couple them with the roll on to see if there is any difference but nonetheless, I still recommend both products if you have any issues with dark circles or puffiness under your eyes.

Polaar Skin Care is available at leading pharmacies in Malta & Gozo, more information on which can be found on the local Facebook page.

PR Samples

Brand Spotlight | Yves Rocher

This morning saw a very excited me getting ready to head out the door for a meeting with Yves Rocher Malta Marketing Manager, Pierre. 

I was invited over at their newly opened shop in Paola which also houses the trademark Botanical Spa that Yves Rocher is acclaimed for worldwide, but more on that in another post ;) In the meantime, keep reading to find out more about the brand and feast your eyes on the pictures I managed to take of the Paola outlet.

A selection of bath and body care products

Introductions first, here is a little information about the brand!

The French skin care brand Yves Rocher dates back to 1959, when founder Yves Rocher(!) created the botanical beauty brand on the basis of offering good quality, natural products at affordable prices. His expertise in the botanical field was essential in establishing the key foundations of the brand. Mr. Rocher started producing plant-extract-based ointments and later on cosmetics which he sold through mail orders. After three years, he went on to open his first shop and he never looked back. Today, the brand is available in over 80 different countries and it is the number 1 skin care brand in France and 4th worldwide among a staggering 600 brands!

Being a botanical brand, Yves Rocher produces skin care, perfumes and cosmetic products that are plant based and paraben free. They do not test on animals and have their own labs in the Bretagne region in the north-west of France where the phytochemists discover ways of implementing the most active of plant molecules in their products for the ultimate benefit of the consumers. New active ingredients means new products and in fact, Yves Rocher introduces a 100 new products per year!

The brand philosophy is that in order to  'protect it [our skin], repair it and stimulate it, it is best to offer it active botanical ingredients that are easily and naturally assimilated.' Their belief is that both our skin and plants are alive, hence plant based skin care works in harmony with our skin.

What is really fascinating about Yves Rocher as a brand is that the company is also harvester, botanist, manufacturer and distributor of all its products, meaning they have control over the whole development process, hence the consumer knows they are getting a genuine product and ultimately, benefit from affordable price tags!

Different skin care regimes for different skin types

Yves Rocher is a very eco-friendly brand and this has led them to establish the Fondation Yves Rocher which plans to plant 50 million trees by 2015. Customers can help them reach their target by purchasing products marked 'I Love My Planet' or 'Culture Bio' as for every product sold, the company will have a tree planted.

The brand's eco-friendly conscience is also reflected in their packaging which is made of recycled plastic and they also include a note on some of their products to remind people to sort their trash and recycle where possible. Moreover, some of their products even come in refill format to reduce the amount of plastics used!

Now, a few lines about the Paola shop! The location is quite central, in Antoine de Paule Square and once you step foot in there, it feels like you have just entered a mini garden of Eden - an immaculately clean space adorned with light wooden shelves and elements of green which truly evoke the brand's botanical background.

Fragrance selection

Men's range and more fragrances for her

Makeup stand

Summer 2014 Limited Edition Collection

Testers are available for the absolute majority of the products and the layout is very customer friendly. The sales girls are fully trained and apart from being very friendly, they are very knowledgeable about the products and the main ingredients. They take their time to recommend the best products that cater for the individual's needs and they look very presentable in their impeccable uniforms.

The shop houses an extensive range of skin care, body care, hair care, fragrances and makeup products and they even have a line dedicated for men. The skin care products cater for the needs of all types of skin, even aging skin!

Anti-aging product selection

In Malta, Yves Rocher have another two stores, one at Bisazza Street in Sliema and one in Merchants Street, Valletta. The Botanical Spa is only found at the Paola outlet where a wide range of beauty services such as facials, waxing and makeup application are offered at very competitive prices.

That's it for this post, but stay tuned for Yves Rocher product reviews and my own experience at the Botanical Spa! In the meantime, why don't you go and check out one of the stores for yourselves?! I guarantee you're in for a treat!

To keep up to date with special offers and product information, you can check out the local Facebook page and the Yves Rocher website.

Review | KIKO Milano Daring Game Limited Edition Fall/Winter 2014 | Queen Of Hearts Eyeshadow Palette 03 Elegant Ebony

For the upcoming Fall/Winter season, KIKO Milano have released a Limited Edition collection inspired by the casino and card games - the Daring Game Collection.

The collection consists of a large array of products such as bronzer and highlighter duos, blush duos, eye pencils, lip pencils and matching lipsticks, eyeshadow quads as well as a duo face brush aimed to be used with the duo products. You can view all the products that make up the collection here.

Since I was only trying the brand for the first time, I limited myself to just one of the Queen Of Hearts eyeshadow quads and I settled on the variation 03 Elegant Ebony.

The packaging deserves a few lines of its own...the outer box looks like a pack of cards with embossed damask designs all over and ingredients at the back. The actual palette is a stunner in itself. The case is pearl white in colour with a red damask heart motif embossed on the front. It feels very sturdy and quite heavy compared to other palettes I own. It is well structured and clicks when closed.

On the inside, there is a large mirror on one side and on the other, there are 4 eyeshadow pans and a double ended sponge applicator. In my opinion it looks very luxurious.
The eyeshadows, although there is nowhere written that they are baked, can be utilised both wet and dry depending on how intense you want them to be. Personally, I have only used them dry and I was positively impressed with the pigmentation and longevity of wear. You do need a few good swipes with the first two colours though. 
The shades in the palette are all on the neutral side and all have a brownish element to them. I would describe them in the following manner:
- light beige brown with a matte finish
- medium brown with a matte finish
- very dark brown with a matte finish
- light gold with a shimmer finish

All four shades complement each other very well and are versatile enough to be used for day and night looks. They are very blendable and you can always build up the colour if you so desire. All four shades are ophthalmologically tested, hypoallergenic and paraben free.
The palette retails for €14.90 and is available for sale from the KIKO Cosmetics website for a limited time only.