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Monthly Favourites | March & April

Since I was too caught up between things and didn't manage to publish last month's favourites post, I am combining them with April's favourites as most of the products are essentially the same. So without further ado, let's get right into it!

March was more geared towards skin care and consequently, I have a lot skin care of products to feature in this post. First up are two Swiss brands which were still new to me at the time I attended the respective events - Juvena and Declare. 

I was given some deluxe samples from both brands to try out and the speaker at the events, with her passionate descriptions of the products, managed to convinced me so much that I tried them as soon as I got home. I have used all of these products several times but have resorted back to using my old skin care products so that once I use them up, I can fully switch to these brands.

So, the products are Juvena Miracle Boost Essence which is literally a skin saviour for dehydrated skins - the boyfriend even loves to use it after he shaves but don't tell him I told you shhh ;) Juvena have a brush which fits inside the cap of this product so that you can pick up the product and distribute it over your face with the super soft brush for an extra pampering experience.

From Declare, I have three products, my favourite of which is the Anti-Irritation Serum which provides a nice treat to my skin after a day's work. In the morning I wake up with very little redness and my skin feels nice and looks much more radiant. Next are the Detox Night Cream and the Cleansing Milk. I intend to purchase both of these products in their full size soon because they are specifically tailored for my skin type and I could see results after just a couple of applications.

With skin care out of the way, let's have a look at the makeup products I have been using more frequently during these last two month. First up is the MAC Studio Waterweight SPF30 Foundation. I'm in NC15 and I think this is the first time ever that I have found a foundation shade that it exactly the same tone as my skin so that is definitely a plus! What makes me a big fan of this foundation is the light weight texture that doesn't feel like you have anything on your face and still covers up really well. I'm going to stop there as I will be reviewing this foundation soon though. Another light weight product I have been enjoying these past weeks is the Pupa Milano Professionals BB Cream + Primer for Combination to Oily Skin. I like this for days when my skin on its best behaviour and doesn't need a lot of coverage.

Sometimes, however, light coverage foundation doesn't cut it and I need something that offers higher coverage. For such days, I turn to Vichy Dermablend [3D Correction] which has just been launched and I have had the opportunity to try. Dermablend is hands down the best foundation for covering up all sorts of skin conditions yet still look natural and for this reason, this has been a winner with me this month when I experienced a little breakout on my chin.

The last face product I want to talk about is this Clinique Airbrush Concealer in the shade 04 Neutral Fair. It has a brush applicator which really makes it easy to apply the product and it is a great all rounder in the sense that it covers up both under eye circles and blemishes effectively. Definitely a thumbs up!

Next I have the MAC Cosmetics Studio Sculpt Lash Mascara in Sculpted Black. Now this is all you need to get those lashes separated without any clumps. You can use it alone or in combination with your favourite mascara to achieve that perfect look.

Also from MAC is my current favourite lip combination - Soar lipliner and Mehr lipstick which is a matte. The colours complement each other really well and they make up for an ultra long-lasting combination!

For my eyes, I was mostly opting for neutral looks using these three eyeshadows: MAC Fly by Twilight for some sparkle, MAC Mulch for an all over the lid colour and Essence 15 Hazel Me Not as a transitional crease colour.

The last product I want to show you is the mini Victoria's Secret Scandalous perfume. I have been using this quite a lot and always get compliments whenever I wear it. It does have an overpowering scent but I like it so much I even use it during day time sometimes. I think I'll have to get the bigger version soon!

That's all for this post! What products did you enjoy this month?

Review | Pupa Milano Professionals BB Cream + Primer Combination to Oily Skin 001 Nude

BB Creams are continuing to gain popularity and more brands are coming out with their versions. A few weeks ago, I was sent the Pupa Professionals BB Cream + Primer for Combination to Oily Skin to try.

If I had to be completely honest, I had given up on finding a good BB cream that won't make me look even more like a ghost as the Korean ones I tried in the past all had a greyish tinge that accentuated my pale complexion and their finish was somewhat cakey.

I couldn't have been more wrong about this Pupa BB cream, but let have a look at the packaging first. The Pupa Milano Professionals BB Cream + Primer Combination to Oily Skin comes in a cute pink box, the same colour as the actual product tube. The product has a rather watery consistency so do be careful how much you squeeze the tube for the product to come out, plus, a little really does go a long way.

The shade I have, 001 Nude is the lightest of the two shades available on the market and I found it to be a very good match for my skin. One word of warning though, this product does have an almost floral scent that reminds me of baby wipes (I personally don't mind it) which can react with sensitive skins and it does state on the box that the product has a low allergy risk.

Pupa Milano Professionals BB Cream + Primer Combination to Oily Skin claims to:
  • moisturise, smooth and protect
  • mattify the skin with an anti-shine effect
  • minimize pores and imperfections
  • even out and enhance the complexion
  • increase makeup hold
  • protects against UV rays with SPF20
I have been using this product every day for the past two, almost three weeks and so far I haven't had any breakouts and have been enjoying the benefits of sun protection and smooth, even, moisturised skin with just one product. This has proved to be indispensable on those mornings when I am in a rush to go to work and run errands. I have only used the product alone not under makeup and I like that it stays matte for a very long time, even at work where my skin tends to get oilier as time goes by. The only claim from the above that I cannot attest to, is the pore minimisation as for someone having oily skin, I really don't have enlarged pores (I thank God for that mind you).

The light, natural finish of this BB cream is perfect for days when my skin is behaving and I don't need a lot of coverage and I also like that is enhances my skin's radiance. I would give this product a good 9/10, with the only downside to it being the fragrance with respect to skin sensitivity.

yours truly wearing Pupa Milano Professionals BB Cream + Primer for Combination to Oily Skin 001 Nude

Pupa Milano Professionals BB Cream + Primer Combination to Oily Skin retails for €15.95 for 50ml of product and can be bought from authorised retailers. Contact Pupa Milano in Malta on Facebook to find your nearest stockist.

PR Sample

Introducing SkinCeuticals New Products for 2016

SkinCeuticals, the authoritative brand in anti-oxidant skin care, has just recently launched its new products for 2016 and a few weeks ago, I was invited to attend the launch event where special guest speaker Ms. Jennifer Bedran, SkinCeuticals’ Skin Education Expert, introduced the said new products.

Product samples
(photos taken by me)
Ms. Jennifer Bedran

SkinCeuticals is not new to this blog and if you have been following for some time, you would know that the brand combines powerful state-of-the-art medical procedures with premium products, to make sure patients achieve optimal skin health and anti-aging benefits from all treatments. During the event we were introduced to three new products and an innovative 'lunch-break' rejuvenating Gel Peel treatment, of which we had a live demonstration by Ms. Bedran herself.

Let's have a look at the new anti-aging innovations from SkinCeuticals, starting with Metacell Renewal B3. Metacell Renewal B3 utilizes a patent-pending aqueous emulsion to deliver a high concentration of vitamin B3 to address early signs of photo-aging (aging due to sunlight). While signs of sun damage appear at different intensities according to skin biology, lifestyle, sun protection behaviour, and skincare regimen, they have a multiplicative effect, creating a prematurely-aged appearance. This comprehensive daily emulsion visibly improves these early signs of photo-aging by increasing cell turnover to resurface skin, help re-clarify and even out the skin tone, and improve the appearance of wrinkles and surface elasticity.

Next is Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2. Aging skin is significantly more susceptible to lipid depletion: the loss of natural compounds in skin’s surface, present in the form of ceramides, natural cholesterol, and fatty acids. This lipid loss compromises the skin’s natural protective barrier, resulting in visible signs of accelerated aging, as skin loses its ability to effectively self-repair.

Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 is an anti-aging cream formulated with a maximized concentration of lipids. This unique anti-aging lipid correction cream contains the first 2:4:2 cholesterol-dominant ratio to help restore skin's external barrier while potently nourishing aging skin for improvement in signs of accelerated aging, such as dry and rough skin, laxity and loss of fullness.

Lastly for new products, we have Phloretin CF Gel. Phloretin CF Gel is a new, powerful serum-in-a-gel antioxidant featuring a patented combination of 2% Phloretin, 10% pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic Acid), and 0.5% Ferulic Acid to neutralize free radicals induced by environmental stressors such as UVA/UVB and pollution which may lead to visible signs of accelerated skin aging. Phloretin CF Gel diminishes hyperpigmentation, accelerates cell-renewal and retexturizes skin. Its comforting gel base makes it ideal for normal to combination skin and non-serum users. I have a few samples of the Phloretin CF anti-oxidant concentrate myself and my skin loves it whenever I treat it to the product so expect excellent results with its new counterpart as well.

Following the new products presentation, we assisted to a live demonstration of a new rejuvenating gel peeling which is being dubbed as the 'lunch break' peeling as it literally does not take more than 30 minutes to complete. The skin is instantly brightened following this treatment and the best part of it all is that contrary to other peeling treatments, there is no redness on the skin whatsoever!

Ms. Jennifer Bedran applying the 'lunch-break' peel on her model for the night
(photos taken by me)

The new SkinCeuticals products and the Gel Peel are now available exclusively from Persona in Ta’ Xbiex, where expert staff await you to help you  tailor your own personalized skincare regimen.

All photos courtesy of Persona Med-Aesthetic Clinic unless otherwise stated.

Pampering Time with Declare & Juvena at Roseberry

Following the Declare and Juvena seminars I attended a while back, the lovely people at Roseberry offered me the chance to try the products out for myself with a tailored facial at their premises in Valletta.

The appointment was fixed for Monday last week and believe me, it couldn't have come at a better time! I made way to Roseberry where I met my therapist for the day - Brenda, who led me to an upstairs treatment room which made me immediately forget the hustle and bustle of the capital city below.

With relaxing music playing softly in the background, we discussed my skin type and its needs (based on the full skin analysis which I had done during the Declare seminar) and we settled on a facial that addressed my skin's requirements.

To cleanse my skin, Declare Cleansing Milk was used followed by Juvena Refining Peeling for a more intense cleanse. Then came the most relaxing part of the facial - Juvena Moisture Plus Mask and while it was on my face, Brenda performed a facial massage with crystal balls. To take care of my eyes, Declare Firming Eye Cream was delicately applied and to finish off, Juvena Moisture Boost Serum, Declare Hydro Boost Duo Care Fluid and Declare BB Cream were used to maintain my skin's moisture levels.

I was so relaxed I almost fell asleep during my treatment and I really enjoyed the crystal balls massage as it is a natural way of stimulating the skin as opposed to electrical methods which I am not really a fan of.

I couldn't have had a better start to my week and I look forward to booking my next facial at Roseberry!

Roseberry is located on Republic Street in Valletta and are the main stockists of Juvena and Declare. Like their Facebook page to keep up to date with their products and services.

MFWA 2016 | Preparing for your best experience yet!

The most awaited week in the local fashion calendar is fast approaching - the 6th edition of the Malta Fashion Week and Fashion Awards was launched a couple of weeks ago at the exceptionally artistic Cavalieri Art Hotel and the 'theme' for this year has been presented as Fashion Fortress for the vast majority of the events will take place at the newly restored Fort St. Angelo in the city of Vittoriosa (Birgu for the locals). This year's edition is now less than a month away and the excitement is really building up!

You can have a look at the promo video below for an idea of what is in store this year:

Fashion week brings with it a lot of preparation for us bloggers and those attending the shows - mainly what to wear and on which day. The aim of this post is to provide a more clear picture of how you can prepare for fashion week and make the experience a breeze! This will be my third year in attendance and I can guarantee all those joining us for the first time, it will be an experience you will look back on with a smile. If on the other hand you will not be attending the events, make sure to follow me on social media for live updates ;)

Plan ahead 

Planning ahead is key especially when it comes to outfits. I like to dedicate a Saturday morning to look at my wardrobe and carefully plan and try on outfits for specific events. I then type everything into an Excel sheet so I don't need to remember everything - and make sure I don't forget anything! Having everything on a computer means I can move the outfit plans with ease accordingly. Accessories complete an outfit so always make sure to include them in your try on day and jot them down too. Also, make sure you know the event start times and familiarise yourself with the venues so you know where you're heading to if you're running a little late! You can view the calendar of events here.

Shop your stash... and the shops

Going to fashion week doesn't mean you have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe specifically for that week, though if you feel like it, by all means do so. What I personally like to do is to check out the latest trends and have a look at my own wardrobe first, then I proceed to buying a few key, interesting pieces to revamp my outfit and since it's fashion week, give it a bit of a more daring edge. Having said that, make sure you will continue to wear said pieces and that you feel comfortable in them.

Pay tribute to designers

Fashion week gives the opportunity to both local and international designers, new and established ones alike, the opportunity to showcase their current collection. Some of the established ones, even have their own show and if you already own something from the respective designer, it is nice to wear it to their show. The same goes for the sponsors* of Malta Fashion Week and Awards; all of this would not be possible without their help so it's good to shop from them for fashion week shows as well.

Prepare your outfits the night before

During fashion week itself, I like to lay out the outfit I will be wearing on the next day, the night before and see if anything needs to be ironed etc. I also like to keep little post-its stuck against my wardrobe with the date and outfit pieces written on them so I make sure to have a backup plan if my computer is down, mobile is dead etc and I don't have immediate access to the Excel sheet I mentioned earlier.

Make time for makeup & hair

If you need to, schedule appointments at your hairdresser/makeup artist/nail technician well in advance. If on the other hand you are doing your own, make a list of the products you are going to be using and lay them out with your outfit as well. Shop for the things you need and make sure to practice looks before if you are trying them for the first time. For nails, I suggest going for a gel manicure that is going to last you for the whole week and you have one less thing to worry about ;)

Awards Night

The culmination of Malta Fashion Week is the uber glamorous awards night - again plan ahead for beauty appointments and if you need to have a dress made from scratch, make sure you meet your seamstress well in advance.

Blogging Equipment

Us bloggers need to carry a lot of equipment with us to fashion week shows such as cameras, smart phones and all the works. Make sure your equipment is fully charged and have a (charged!) power bank with you as well. Oh and don't forget your media pass ;) 

So that is all I have to say for this post! Is there anything you would like to add? Have you found this post helpful?

The 6th Edition of the Malta Fashion Week & Fashion Awards will be held between the 14th and the 21st of May. Keep updated by liking their page on Facebook. *The Malta Fashion Week and Fashion Awards are sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, Aldo Shoes, Tresemme, Chamilia at 202 Jewellery.

March Collective Haul

I know I am late with what I usually post at the end of each month but for the March haul post, I have pretty good excuse reason why I am late. I was waiting on a few online orders to arrive (and still have some more for which I am patiently waiting to make their way home). I also wanted to share with you what I got from various PR events I attended during the last few weeks.

So without further ado, let's get the fashion stuff out of the way. Of course a shopping post is not complete without a pair of two of shoes ;) I got these heeled brogues from Asos for €49 and these white laser cut loafers from River Island for €37. I am really getting into the smart flats trend lately and I think both of these shoes are a little out of the ordinary for me and they add interest to any outfit!

Also from River Island is this navy and white longish crop top. I'm already planning my outfits for our next trip in May and this crop top will definitely find it's way into my luggage. I think this was €25.

Up next are my favourite pair of sunnies that I got from Marks & Spencer for €30 the other day and I can't stop wearing them. I rarely wear sunnies because of my prescription glasses but lately I was wearing lenses quite often so I could wear my new sunnies. Their light pink colour and gold accents really blend in well with most of my outfits - just look at what a perfect match they are to the pink Stradivarius smart trousers (€25.95) next to them! The bright coral shorts are also from Stradivarius and cost €22.95 while the striped linen pair is from Marks & Spencer and it costs €35.

The last fashion items I wanted to show you in this post are this navy blue belt from Orsay which came down to €5.99 with my VIP discount and my this pair of Michael Kors stud earrings which feature tortoise shell on half of them and pink quartz on the other half. They set me back €89 but they go so well with my new sunglasses!

So now on to the beauty purchases. First up are these two brow pomades from Freedom Makeup. I got the shades Chocolate and Medium Brown as I wasn't sure which would suit me. I like to use a little bit of both to achieve the best possible match and so far they seem to be working. Finally I got my hands on MAC Mehr after a ton of recommendations and I'm loving it! Actually it's thanks to my boyfriend that I now own it :) Moving on, I have purchased a Sleek Matte Me Lip Cream in the shade Birthday Suit and an Eye and Cheek Palette in A Midsummer's Dream from the Melita Health & Beauty Event held in honour of Women's Day. I think these came round to €20 something with a discount that was offered on the night.

My Urban Decay Naked palette collection just got a little sister - the Naked Basics palette that I got from feelunique. They sent me a £5 off voucher and I decided to use it on this palette which came down to €28 something, shipping included. The last beauty purchase of this month is this fundation brush from ebay which was like €1.35. I haven't used it yet but I am well curious as to how it will apply foundation. I have already washed it though and no hairs have shed yet.

So, if you have been following my posts, last month was very busy for me in terms of events related to blogging. I had the pleasure of discovering new skin care brands, having my makeup done and also discovering some new products along the way. The organizers of each event were generous enough to offer some nice goodie bags at the end of each event and I wanted to share with you what I got from these events so you have an idea of what is coming your way on this space - you can also request specific posts in the comments section if you like :)

First up is the Vichy Dermablend [3D Correction] foundation which I have attended the launch of earlier in March. The organizers were kind enough to give me a full sized product of the foundation in my chosen shade as well as a thermal water which is the latest in skin care trends.

One of the best experiences I have had so far in blogging is having my makeup done by MAC's senior international makeup artists Michele Magnani and Roberta Betti. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and picked up a few things along the way and they were also generous enough to gift me all of the items shown above. The eyelashes are number 34, the eyeshadow is in the shade Mulch and the Dazzleglass is called Money, Honey.

Last month was mostly about discovering new skin care brands and I attended two seminars for Declare and Juvena, both Swiss brands that I fell in love with and Avene Eau Thermale which is a new brand to hit our shores. I was impressed with all three gift bags and I am really enjoying Declare and Juvena right now, especially the Declare products. I was also treated to a facial using both brands, but more on that in another post :) As for Avene, I really like the samples selection which I am saving for when I am travelling and the sunscreen looks promising too :)

Lastly, I was sent some goodies from Pupa Milano and I'm really excited to use them in a makeup look soon! I have a very good feeling about the BB Cream and look forward to trying that out soon! 

And that concludes my post! Any favourite items or is there something you want me to review? Feel free to comment below!

Review | Vichy Dermablend [3D Correction] Foundation

Vichy's Dermablend line has already established as the makeup line of choice with people who want to cover up acne and certain skin conditions yet still be able to achieve that perfect, natural look. Recently, the same Dermablend range has expanded a little more with the launch of a revolutionary foundation.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend the launch of the new Dermablend foundation, the [3D Correction]. After witnessing with my own eyes, what this foundation is capable of doing, I really couldn't wait to try it out myself. I had already tried the Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation but this new whipped cream texture of Dermablend 3D really got me curious to try it.

Vichy Dermablend 3D comes in a black box that matches the 30ml tube the product is supplied in. I really like the matte, satin finish of the tube for it really conveys the smooth application of the product. (As a side note, Vichy is changing the Dermablend range packaging to black so all the products will now be supplied in black tubes instead of white).

The Dermablend [3D Correction] foundation comes out of the tapered end of the tube and I have to admit I really like this way of dispensing the product as you have complete control over how much product comes out. 

The whipped cream texture of this foundation is what makes it so revolutionary and unique - it aims to level and cover indented scars and acne bumps in 1 layer. Now, personally I do get the occasional hormonal breakout but I don't get anything serious and I have no scars and bumps but I still wanted to see how it will cover up these occasional breakouts.

Having always used fluid foundations, I have to admit I found it a little difficult to work with this whipped cream texture at first. Taking out just a little bit of foundation on a palette and building coverage as I go is what I found to work best for me. Also, a flat foundation brush is your best bet when working with this foundation. Denser brushes don't really work well with this foundation as it will otherwise cake on. One layer of foundation is enough for me and I was positively surprised at how natural it looks - you can barely tell I am wearing makeup! It dries to an ultra matte finish which is what I look for in a foundation.

left: no makeup; right: wearing Vichy Dermablend [3D Correction] foundation

Another definite plus to this foundation is the staying power. On my oily skin, it lasted for more than 9 hours (it is supposed to last a total of 16 hours but I didn't wear it that long), thus it is perfect for workdays as it will see you flawlessly throughout the day. Vichy claim that Dermablend [3D Correction] treats acne and gives a more uniform complexion with each use but I cannot really attest to that as my breakouts go down within a couple of days.

Vichy Dermablend [3D Correction] is available in 4 shades:

Vichy Dermablend [3D Corrrection] Foundation swatches - first swatch: 15 Opal; third swatch: 35 Sand
Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation swatches - second swatch: 25 Nude; last swatch: 45 Gold
{top in natural light; bottom with flash}

Vichy Dermablend [3D Correction] is oil-free, non comedogenic, dermatologically and ophtalmologically tested and it is non-acnegenic. It is also suitable for sensitive skin and contains no parabens and has an SPF of 25.

Due to the thicker nature of this foundation, I prefer to use it when my skin really needs help to look its absolute best but since the finished look is still very natural, I wouldn't mind using it everyday. I would especially recommend the Dermablend [3D Correction] for people with oily skin types.

Here is a little swatch comparison between both formulas of the Dermablend Foundations in shade 15 Opal:

Vichy Dermablend [3D Correction] foundation swatch (left) vs Vichy Dermablend Fluid Corrective Foundation (right)
{left photo in natural light; right photo with flash}

The Fluid Corrective Foundation looks a little lighter in the pictures but in reality, both shades are identical when applied on the face.

I have said it multiple times before and I will say it again now, Vichy Dermablend foundations are hands down the best on the market and best of all, they retail for only 18 euros each. The full Vichy Dermablend range can be found at various pharmacies around Malta and Gozo. Like their Facebook page to stay updated with upcoming products and competitions!

PR Sample

Event | Avène Eau Thermale Launch

Sundays call for light reading and today I wanted to introduce you to Avène Eau Thermale. I was cordially invited to the exclusive launch event which took place at Villa Arrigo in Naxxar last week.

We were briefed on the product range by one of the brand managers for Malta over some prosecco just before the event officially commenced by an address delivered by Her Excellency the French Ambassador for Malta. Her introduction was followed by another two presentation during which we got to learn about the Avène Hydrotherapy Center and the dermatological services it offers, as well as the full product range offered by Avène Eau Thermale.

photo courtesy of the Avene Eau Thermale Facebook page

It all started in 1736 with the discovery of the thermal spring, the same one where the Avène Hydrotherapy Center stands today, and nowadays, the brand has established itself as one of the leaders as far as treatment for sensitive skin is concerned.

All Avène products are manufactured at the site itself under strict, sterile conditions, thus making them optimal to care for the needs of sensitive skin. Avène Eau Thermale or Thermal Spring Water, which is the product the launch mostly focused on, is suitable for a lot of uses in both dermatological treatments and daily skin care. A few examples are to ease sensations of discomfort and soothe redness on the skin as well as after hair and makeup removal and after shaving. It is also fit to use on babies when they get diaper rash and it provides some much needed moisture after exercising and while travelling.

The comprehensive Avène Eau Thermale range tackles all stages of skin - from the younger ones to the more mature ones and there is also a sun care range, all of which have the needs of sensitive skin at heart.

Have you ever tried Avène? What are your thoughts on it?

Avène is distributed in Malta by PharmaMT.