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The Exit Interview Series | Volume #45

As of this month, I have gone on a product purge kind of spree just because I am finding it a little ridiculous to heard copious amounts of all sorts of products when I don't really need them so best thing to do is actually get to using them!

Starting with hair products, I have used up the Joico Smooth Cure Shampoo and Conditioner which my hairdresser recommended since I had my hair keratin treated. The products lasted me for the full three months that the treatment was supposed to last (which it did) and they did a good job at preserving it. As a side note, when you have your hair keratin treated, you need to use specific products to maintain the treatment and they have to be sulfate free as this chemical denatures the chemical bonds in keratin and breaks it down. I do recommend this Joico duo and I shall be repurchasing once I do the keratin treatment again this December.

In a bid to try and have the keratin treatment last a little longer after I have finished the shampoo and conditioner, I resorted to this Keratin Protein mask from Hask which I got from Primark earlier this year. I will be getting more of this mask when I visit London again this December because I like how soft my hair felt after using it. The same can be said of this sample of Tres Emme Keratin Smooth Heat Activated Treatment which helped maintain my hair smooth for a couple more days. However, none of these treatments actually compare to the real keratin treatment.   

The last hair product I have is the Joico Powder Whip Whipped Foam. This was part of an offer at my hairdressers' and I really like the travel sized format as it was very handy for me to carry around for Gozo weekends where I couldn't bother of blow-drying my hair in the summer heat. I just applied some of this mousse to wet hair and it was good to go!

Moving on to body products, I have this limited edition Apple Star Anise Exfoliating Shower Gel from Yves Rocher. This was part of their summer limited edition and I have really enjoyed bath time with this shower gel - it smells good and serves as an exfoliator too! Now if only they make it a part of their permanent range!

Another shower gel I used up is the travel sized Madagascan Vanilla Flower from The Body Shop. Vanilla is my all time favourite scent and I love these mini shower gels for small getaways which I had one too many of this year :) 

Next up are a couple of skin care products starting with the one product that has convinced me to rethink my whole skin care regimen and for which I have only words of praise - Polaa IcePure Arctic Cotton Micellar Water literally saved my skin! It cleanses the skin with very little effort and leaves it feeling oh so fresh and rejuvenated. I have completely switched to micellar water now and I am also keeping the bottle because it is so handy and practical. It does have a price tag alright but it something I am willing to pay for seeing it only has done a huge favour to my skin.

Also from Polaar is this High Protection Sun Cream which has been a very good companion all throughout summer. This was especially a favourite of my boyfriend who loved the non greasy texture and that he never got burnt when he applied this.

Lastly, I have some makeup products. So I have used up the Catrice Prime and Fine Mattifying Powder Waterproof which is by far my favourite setting powder. There were some rumours that this product was going to be discontinued but apparently they were not true. Luckily I still have like two more backups of it excluding the one I am currently using.

The next two products I have are two of Essence Kiss Care Love Lip Balms which I haven't completely used up but were always being thrown at the back of my drawer because they give my lips a frosty kind of sheen that makes me look sick. I have also used up the E.L.F. Studio Lip Exfoliator which luckily I still have backups of since they have stopped shipping to Malta.

To conclude this post I have three mascaras. All of them perform really well but my favourite is the Max Factor one which I shall be repurchasing soon enough. The Catrice Mini Max I believe is discontinued but do get it if you find it. As for the Avon Mega Effects, the gadgety-like packaging intrigued me and the mascara worked fine at first but it clumped my lashes after a few uses so it's time to chuck it out!

That concludes this month's rather lengthy empties post! Let's hope I keep track and use up a few more products ;)  

My Top 5 Eyeshadow Palettes

Today I want to talk about my favourite eyeshadow palettes, my Top 5 to be exact. I think palettes are great for travelling especially when they have everything you could possibly need. Neutral palettes are what I usually reach for but palettes with different colour options are a nice, welcome change too (apart from being pretty to look at). Here are my top five palettes (in no particular order) and why I like them so much.

First up is the KIKO Queen Of Hearts Eyeshadow Palette in 03 Elegant Ebony. Unfortunately this was limited edition so you can't get it anymore but luckily you can find dupes of all four shades in the palette. Why is this one of my favourite palettes? The packaging is one of the reasons of course but also the fact that is comes in a portable format complete with mirror and all four shades in it are very wearable - you get a matte light brown, a matte medium brown, a matte dark brown and a shimmery copper-gold. All of them have exceptional colour payoff and the matte ones can also be used for your brows!

Next I have this very girly quad from Catrice Cosmetics in the nuance 100 F'rosen Yoghurt. I mostly like to use this at this time of year with anything plum/burgundy being my favourite during autumn/winter. However the colours are also very wearable in summer too especially the lighter ones. I also really like the all over transparent packaging. Again you get three matte shades and a shimmery one. The pigmentation is not that intense with this palette but I still like it because all the colours buildable.

Sleek i-Divine Palette in Vintage Romance is also another one of my favourites but I mostly like to use for night looks as out of twelve eyeshadows, you only get one matte shade, the rest are all shimmery. I like the colour selection in this palette especially the golds and purples. Not to mention the value for money of these palettes couple with exceptional quality and pigmentation!

Lastly, and this comes to no surprise, are my Naked 3 and Naked Smoky Palettes from Urban Decay. By now you all know how much I love these palettes and they are the ones I reach for the most. In each palette you get twelve shades with different finishes so you really have everything you could possibly need. Each palette also comes with a large mirror and a double ended brush, all encased in pretty packaging!

Those are my top five eyeshadow palettes, what do you think of them? What are your favourite palettes?

How I Swatch & Organize My Nail Polishes

Today I'm back with an exciting post for you guys, one that has been requested a bunch of times and is long overdue! Here is all about how I swatch and organize my nail polishes and swatches!

Over these past five and a half years that I have been blogging, my nail polish collection has grown significantly and what used to fit in a medium-sized square box, now takes up all of three drawers and a corner in my nail room.

Ergo, that called for some re-organization and documentation of the polish swatches. Up to a few months ago, my swatches were all onto nail wheels but with my collection ever growing and me being OCD with having all the colours one after the other by shade, that method of keeping track of polishes has become obsolete. I also used to keep a spreadsheet with all my polishes and their corresponding swatch number as well as collection, name, etc which I used to update every single time I got a new nail polish.

However, I needed a new, more practical and more OCD-satisfying way to organize my nail polishes so I started checking out Youtube for ideas and this method with swatch sticks and rings fit my criteria well. Thus I went on Ebay and started looking for swatch sticks and 79mm binder rings to get the best deal possible. After a couple of weeks, I got all of the supplies I ordered and I started swatching away. The swatch sticks I order come in packs of 50 and the rings came in a pack of 10.

It took me all of four days to go through my entire collection and swatch it as well as give away the polishes I didn't use any more. I always go for two coats for each polish followed by a cheap UV Gel top coat to seal them in and preserve them for longer. Then I just cleanse them with gel polish cleanser to remove the tacky layer of the gel top coat. However, I only use a top coat on regular polishes, never on mattes and textured polishes.

For labels, instead of splurging on a label maker, I type the information I want for each polish in a MS Word document, 'draw' a box around it and try to keep it within the dimensions of the swatch stick. When I have a full page, I then print them on a sheet of sticker paper and cut around the boxes before I stick the label on the swatch stick.

In the meantime, when I get a new polish, I temporarily write the name of the polish with a thin marker on the swatch stick and then take it off with rubbing alcohol when I have the labels ready.

Lastly, I sort my swatches by colour so I put the colours from lightest to darkest and put them on a separate ring for each colour family. I then hang them at the side of my polish cabinet with some cute flower and butterfly shaped wall suckers from Lidl.

On the other hand, I prefer to organize the polishes themselves by brand, so whenever I pick a colour from the swatches, I just look at the name and I know for example that my OPI's are all in the top drawer so I just go straight there and pick the colour I want! 

How do you organize your polishes? Any more organization ideas for displaying swatches and polishes?

Review | Born Pretty Store Holographic Nail Foil #77

We all have to admit that holographic nail polishes are a spectacle to look at so when I was offered the chance to review one of the new holographic nail art foils from Born Pretty Store, I jumped at the opportunity to have a go at something different with a holographic finish.

The nail foil comes in a transparent container and you get a full meter's length of holographic goodness. The foil's width is 4cm. The design I chose resembles stars/laser light and I thought it looked best over a dark coloured polish (I used China Glaze Jungle Queen as my base).

You will need some foil adhesive to apply the foil to your nails. After the polish is completely dry, smoothly apply a fairly thick (not too much!) layer of glue taking care to avoid brush marks if possible. The glue will go white at first but will dry transparent. Wait for it to go tacky (you will know it has reached this stage as it will be clear) and firmly press and smooth the foil onto your nail, foil shiny side up. You can use a cotton disc to help smooth out the foil and then, gently peel to reveal the transferred design. I suggest you work one nail at a time to ensure a smooth application and prevent the glue from drying completely from one nail to the other. Finally finish off with a top coat.

This particular foil transferred effortlessly to my nails and application was fairly smooth. The manicure lasted me for around 5 days before I could see any tip wear and the foil peeling off.

Born Pretty Store have a whole range of holographic nail foils with beautiful designs all throughout. This one I have retails for $3.07 and you can get it at 10% off if you quote the code EBABK31 at checkout.

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Persona Med-Aesthetic Clinic

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this year, Persona Med-Aesthetic Centre is inviting women to visit for a free breast screening consultation in their recently opened Breast Clinic. Free consultations with their Consultant Breast Surgeon are available throughout October.

“Breast cancer awareness month is a great time to remind women about the importance of regular screenings, self-breast examination and knowledge of your familial history of cancer,” says Kate Demanuele, General Manager at Persona Med-Aesthetic Centre. ”By offering free screenings in October, we hope to raise awareness and contribute to prevention and early detection – when the chance of successful treatment is best and the survival rate is highest.”

Breast cancer is the most common type of non-skin cancer in women, accounting for 14 percent of all new cases. However, deaths from breast cancer are declining every year for the past several years. In a recent study, the five-year survival rate for those diagnosed with breast cancer was 84 percent.

Routine medical care is important for staying healthy. Many women can survive breast cancer if it’s detected and treated early. Breast screening consultations, self-examination and a mammogram can help find breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat.

To book your free breast screening consultation, contact Persona Med-Aesthetic Centre on 21 340 366 or Appointments are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

Review | Born Pretty Store 2mm Striping Tape #5

Earlier last week I received a package from Born Pretty Store with some nail art products to review for you guys and the first thing that I really wanted to try was the 2mm rose gold striping tape. Currently I'm obsessed with everything rose gold - jewellery, nails, shoes, makeup, everything under the sun really! I just think it is such a versatile and luxe metal that goes with everything! I'm also really fond of this tape because of it's copper under-tones.

I used the tape in this skittle manicure to create a sort of geometric design on my ring fingernails and I really like how striking it looks against the other colours. To maximize the wear time of the striping tape, always make sure to trim the tape a little less than your nail length/width.

On me, the tape lasted for 4 days before the corners started to peel off after helping my boyfriend with painting some walls, house chores, doing dishes and work in general. I would also like to point out that the colour does fade a little on application of a top coat.

The 2mm striping tape range is available in 2 colours for just $0.99 a roll! I really like the holographic ones for the coming holiday season too. Which ones would you pick?

To get 10% off your order, quote the code EBABK31 at checkout.

The rings I am wearing in the above picture are also from Born Pretty Store and qualify for a 10% discount too.

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Monthly Favourites | September

September didn't bring too many new favourites my way and I only have five products to share with you guys.

The first one is quite a bargain actually, it is this £2 Angelica Nail Polish that I got from Primark last March. This particular one is the shade Tantrum which has Autumn written all over its duochromatic burgundy hue. I love the metallic finish and the colour shifts from burgundy to gold with green reflects - it is truly a unique shade. I was really impressed with the quality of the polish and this is what compelled me to include it in this month's favourites. The polish applies well and it lasted for a full seven days before I noticed a small chip on one of my fingernails! Seven days, one chip! Incredible for a £2 polish right?! Definitely grab this if you come across it!

Another nail product I have to share with you this month is Max Factor Glossfinity 05 Top Coat. I originally bought this just so that I can wear a glossy clear polish on my nails if I want to but while I was at it, I figured no harm would be done if I used it as a top coat for my manicures too. I wasn't wrong as this gem makes manicures last really long and stays glossy all throughout.

Next I have this Essence XXXL Nude Lipgloss in 03 Taste The Sweets. Nudes are always favourites of mine, be it lip products, eyeshadows, nail polishes, you name it! I really like this one in particular because of the smell, it is not sticky and the colour goes with everything and complements my complexion very well; and well, this month saw me reach for it more often.

The last two products are both mascaras. Now I have gone through my stash this month and got rid of bad smelling mascaras and started using new ones. My favourite so far is the Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara. I love the packaging of it and the wand does a very good job at volumising my lashes. I am really keen on trying the new false lash effect version of this mascara which I have but haven't opened yet.

And of course, to turn this mascara into a waterproof version, all I need is the Kiko False Lashes Concentrate Waterproof Mascara Top Coat!

Event | Cosmetic Surgery Techniques & Botox Live Demonstrations by People & Skin in collaboration with Linda Briggs

Botox and cosmetic surgery is not something I am considering for the near future. Nonetheless, I am always intrigued to keep on top of things and learn about other techniques in the beauty industry. Thus when an invite from the newly opened People & Skin Medical Aesthetics Clinic popped into my inbox, I made sure to attend the event.

For those familiar with the local med-aesthetic industry, People & Skin is the new clinic run by Dr. Joanna Delia who has 10 years experience in the field. The event was held within the artistic setting of the Lily Agius Art Gallery in Sliema and during the presentation, I couldn't think of a more suitable venue as what all the participating med-aesthetic doctors do is really another form of art!

Attendees were given presentations about Liposuction, Body Sculpting and Breast Reduction/Enhancement Surgery (by Dr. Foued Hamza), Implant and Restorative Dentistry (by Dr. Joseph Xuereb) and we were also shown live demonstrations of botox application and dermal fillers by Dr. Joanna Delia herself on a model and on Ms. Linda Briggs. Ms. Briggs is responsible for personal cosmetic and surgical advice and services in the UK and abroad, with Malta being one of her operating centres as well, boasting the largest company of the sort in all of Europe.

Ms. Linda Briggs

Dr. Foued Hamza

Dr. Joseph Xuereb

Dr. Joanna Delia performing live demonstrations of Botox (above) and Dermal Fillers (below)

Most of these cosmeticians have different work bases (mainly, Malta, London and Paris) and they co-ordinate all the necessary arrangements for patients to come to Malta from abroad to have their consultations and operations or else they come to Malta themselves to perform the procedures locally. 

Advances in the field can be seen first hand with the minimal incisions involved and the instant results which patients ultimately always crave.

All in all I really enjoyed the event and the delicious refreshments and canapes from Manuel's Kitchen.

For more information about such treatments, please visit the companies' Facebook pages and websites which I have linked throughout the post.

Products Worth The Hype | Part 2 - Drugstore

Following the High End version of Products Worth The Hype, here is the drugstore edition. Sometimes, we are so caught up in the hype surrounding high end products that we forget that there cheaper and just as good options out there. Here are my picks :)

L'Oreal Elnett Hairspray | Cost: around €7

This iconic hairspray has risen to such a status following lots of celebrities claiming that it is their go-to hairspray. I like the variety of hold strengths and finishes this comes in and that it doesn't leave any residue on the hair and can be brushed away easily.

E.L.F. Studio Powder Brush | Cost: €4/£4.50

This brush has been in my stash for ages now and I still keep using it! If there is one thing you should get from E.L.F. it is this brush! Seriously, it does a wonderful job at buffing out foundation and setting in with powder and since it has a flat top, you can easily adapt it for use as a contour brush!

NYX HD Photogenic Foundation | Cost: around €16/£14.50

By far my HG foundation! It applies beautifully, has a flawless finish, doesn't irritate my sensitive skin and photographs nicely. Definitely my go-to foundation and I always make sure I have a backup.

NYX HD Concealer | Cost: around €10/£6

Seeing the foundation is so good, it is no surprise that this concealer makes the cut too. It has all the foundation's qualities and it doesn't crease under the eyes and provides exceptional coverage despite the light texture.

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils | Cost: €9/£5

Another entry from NYX are the Jumbo Eye Pencils. Perhaps the most famous of them is Milk which is an excellent eyeshadow base especially for muted eyeshadows and mattes to make them pop. The super creamy blendable formula makes them exceptionally good bases for smoky eye looks too. My favourite for that is Slate, a gunmetal sort of dark grey.

Sleek iDivine Palettes | Cost: €10.49/£7.99

The hype surrounding these palettes every time a new one is about to be launched is insane...and with good reason! The colours are exceptionally well chosen to complement each other and the pigmentation is out of this world! These palettes really do up the game of drugstore eyeshadows and you get 12 very good quality eyeshadows for a mere price!

Vichy Dermablend Foundation | Cost: €17.90

Whenever my skin is behaving badly, I thank the Vichy gods for coming out with this foundation. A little goes a long way and it does a very good job at covering all my imperfections most of the time eliminating the need for concealer. The range also comprises other products and foundations that cover up tattoos as well.

Essence Lip Liners | Cost: around €2

There is no need to fork out a lot of money on lip liner when there are the Essence ones! They perform just as good as the higher end ones and from the comprehensible colour range, it is easy to find the one that matches your favourite lipstick!

Milani Baked Blushers | Cost: €8.12/£6

Milani make some pretty looking blushes which are always met with high expectations. The baked blush I have is the shade 05 Berry Amore which is excellent at this time of year to give a nice berry colour to the cheeks without being too overstated.

Makeup Revolution Ultra Contour Palette | Cost: €10.82/£8

Who says contouring is dead? Not with the Makeup Revolution Ultra Contour Palette! The palette contains everything you can possibly need for contouring and highlighting your face like a pro at a fraction of the price. My favourite is the second bronzer from the left and I use it practically everyday! I like that the bronzers are matte becasue I think that way the make up looks more natural as opposed to using a shimmery bronzer.