Image Slider

First Impressions | MAC Cosmetics Snowball Limited Edition Christmas 2017

MAC's most hyped Snowball Collection has finally hit their 3 local stores last Friday and it is almost sold out! Luckily I managed to get what I wanted out of the collection so here's a first impressions post.

Right off the bat, you can tell that MAC has really made an effort with the packaging - everything is so pretty with the shattered gold tubes, pots and compacts and let me tell you, this collection is very photogenic!

photo courtesy of The Beauty Club Malta Facebook page

None of the kits and eyeshadow palettes seen online are available locally which I admit is a bummer, but, this is what is available locally (until stocks last that is):
- Crystal Adornments for Face & Body
- Lash 36 Gold & Lash 64 Silver
- 5 Extra Dimension Eyeshadows: Starry Starry Night, Delicate Drift, It's Snowing, Stylishly Merry, Frostwinked
- 6 Lipsticks: Shimmer & Spice (Frost), Holiday Crush (Frost), I'm Glistening (Frost), Warm Ice (Frost), Rouge En Snow (Matte), Elle Belle (Amplified)
- 2 Impalpable Glare Powder: Here Comes Joy, Happy Go Dazzingly

I got two lipsticks and an eyeshadow. The lipsticks I picked out are Shimmer & Spice and Holiday Crush and the eyeshadow is It's Snowing. Again, how gorgeous is the packaging? 😍 I'm loving the transparent boxes they come in too! The printed gold snowflakes makes them even more Christmassy!

Shimmer & Spice has the most beautiful duochromatic shift from burgundy to gold with a frost finish while Holiday Crush is a muted nude with a frost finish. I have only worn Shimmer & Spice for now and there's nothing bad to say about it - the colour doesn't go on patchy, has excellent colour payoff and although you will need retouching, it still lasts long enough. The lipsticks cost €19.50 each.

The eyeshadow is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and it's such a pity to use - my heart almost stopped when I had to swatch it for the first time because I really don't want to ruin the snowflake design. Again, colour payoff is always amazing with MAC so there are no issues with this product either. Price is €22.50.

The prices for the products in this collection are a little more expensive than the core products but I didn't mind that as I'm still getting a great quality product that looks pretty too!

The MAC Snowball Collection is available at MAC Valletta, MAC Sliema and MAC Tigne Point.

MINT Health & Wellness - Keeping us in MINT Condition!

Last Monday I was invited to this 'do by Mint Health & Wellness through their marketing strategists Switch. The event took place at their offices in the vicinity of Maghtab which to me translates to 'middle of nowhere' therefore I made my way to the event a little ahead of time to make sure I'm not late in case I got lost. That didn't happen thanks to Google maps and I was on time to the event which I have to say was something totally different to other events I've been to.

We were shown the way to Mint's offices' kitchen which was beautifully set-up while Debbie from Barefoot & Curious was busy preparing a whole load of healthy nibbles for us to enjoy. I was glad to see some familiar faces and got to catch up with my blogger friends and even got to meet new people in the industry over a glass of prosecco.

Here is a brief insight onto the products carried by MINT and what the concept is about. MINT is committed to taking care of our bodies from the tender age of 6 months onwards with the brands they distribute. MINT is run by a team of 9 pharmacists so they know a thing or two about what our body needs to function in the right way. Their brand portfolio includes:
Organii Skin Care
Jack n' Jill - a personal hygiene range for kids aged 6 months up
CurlyEllie - hair care for children and adults with very curly hair
Shine Mixes - superfood powder mixes
Aquaint - natural sanitising water
Vit2Go - powdered vitamins and minerals sachets

The Shine mixes have really piqued my interest and I was happy to find them in my gift box which I was given at the end of the event. As the team behind MINT jokingly call them, the Shine mixes are basically 'superfoods for dummies' and each mix aims at providing that extra kick to our foods to make them more wholesome and nutritious. Each mix targets a different area and the superfoods in it are of course beneficial to that cause. You can incorporate the Shine mixes into your cereal, yoghurt, smoothies and even other foods! I will definitely be using them in my cooking and why not, share some ideas with you as well! Emma from Honest Foods Malta has shared some of her favourite recipes with the Shine Mixes which I sadly missed as I had to leave early.

Finally, if you're tempted to try anything that MINT has to offer, head to their newly launched webstore and use code LARASBEAUTYBIBLE5 for 5% off your first order!

Thank you MINT for having me, I am looking forward to a healthier me! 

Vichy Normaderm Skin Care Routine for Oily, Acne Prone Skin feat. Normaderm 3-in-1 Scrub + Cleanser + Mask

In Malta, most skin types fall into the oily skin category and consequently, there are a lot of individuals who have had to deal with acne at one point or another in their life. I guess I was one of the lucky few who never got acne despite my oily skin but I still get the odd inflamed pimple(s) every now and then which is when I switch up my skin care routine specifically to tackle them.

My latest discovery in the quest for clear skin, comes in the form of a 3-in-1 Scrub + Cleanser + Mask courtesy of the lovely people at Vichy who have kindly sent over the product along with some samples of the Normaderm Deep Cleansing Gel and Corrective Anti Acne Treatment. I have used the products for the past month as I usually like to do with skin care products before I can share my opinions about them. 

The Vichy Normaderm range is specially formulated for treating frequent acne breakouts, blackheads, enlarged pores, pimples and excess shine. The three products in this post are only a small part of an extensive range of products within the Normaderm range.

I'm going to start with the Normaderm 3-in-1 Scrub + Cleanser + Mask which has recently been re-formulated. The product comes in a 125ml tube and as name implies can be used as a scrub, cleanser and mask. In each case, it ensures a deep clean to unclog pores, minimize their appearance and mattify the skin for up to 3 days. If you have very oily skin, the mattifying effect may last less. To use as a cleanser/scrub, all I do is just lather some of the cleanser onto damp skin and rinse it off with plenty of water. To use as a mask, I apply a thick layer and leave it on for 5 minutes before rinsing off thoroughly with warm water. I usually apply the product as a mask once a week and seeing it only takes 5 minutes, it's perfect for busy lifestyles. It is recommended to use this product once or twice a week whereas for the rest of the week, the use of a gentle cleanser is advised.

I usually prefer gel cleansers so I found Normaderm 3-in-1 Scrub + Cleanser + Mask to be a little too rich for me to use as a cleanser. As a mask, however, this works brilliant! I can still reap the benefits of the product as a scrub while rinsing it off. The product contains 25% Kaolin clay, Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Zinc, pumice and 5% Mineralizing Thermal Water to make the formula an effective one. I notice that after using this product, my skin stays matte for longer and skin looks much brighter and smoother.

I have also tried the Deep Cleansing Gel and Corrective Anti Acne Treatment to get rid of my pimples and I am happy to say that the routine works well. The spots were gone in less than a week after using this routine. I really like the Deep Cleaning Gel for it cleanses my skin thoroughly without drying it while the Corrective Anti Acne Treatment ensured that no pimple marks are left on my skin! Oh and one last thing, the Normaderm Deep Cleansing Gel is excellent for taking off Vichy Dermablend and Dermablend 3D Correct foundations so it doubles up as a makeup remover as well!

Picture courtesy of Vichy Facebook page

Vichy Normaderm can be found in all pharmacies around Malta & Gozo.

PR Samples

Wonder Gaze Look with Rimmel London

The eyes are the window to the soul and thanks to Rimmel London, everyone can now achieve a wondrous gaze worthy of a stare or two! I was lucky enough to be sent some newly launched products from the brand and needless to say, I was curious to see how they performed right away!

Rimmel London is a staple brand in many makeup collections because despite their affordable price tag, the brand doesn't compromise on the quality of the products. Speaking of great quality products, did you know that 'rimmel' translates to 'mascara' in many a Mediterranean language thanks to the brand's highly successful mascara created by the founder Eugene Rimmel himself?

I guess great Rimmel mascaras have stood the test of time and one of the latest to join the family is the Wonder'FULLY Real keratin and argan oil mascara. I love this mascara and it is my current go-to one. It is very black which is always a plus and it doesn't smudge or flake off. The only issue I have with it is that it is a very wet mascara and the wand picks up a lot of product so I have to remove the excess before applying it; but other than that, I would recommend this mascara especially because it lengthens lashes like there's no tomorrow!

Next we have the Wonder Wing eyeliner. This is something like I have never seen before - it's got a stamp applicator which helps you achieve the perfect cat eye in no time while the pointed tip helps to line the rest of your eyes to perfection. I was most curious about this eyeliner from the products I received so I had to try it right away. I'm not going to lie - it is one of the easiest products to use! I swear by gel eyeliner and it's still my favourite but whenever I am in a hurry, I'll just grab this Wonder Wing Eyeliner and I'm good to go!

I still struggle with brows. Fact. But, The Rimmel London Brow This Way Pencil Pomade Fix & Fill makes things sooooo much easier! I have given up using pot pomades to fill my brows and just use this instead - in just one step my brows are filled and fixed so it's a great time saver. I got the shade Dark which suits my natural brow colour perfectly and I like that you can sharpen the tip to ensure a precise application every time. The pencil pomade stays on all day without fading or smudging.

Lastly, I got the Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in 003 Brown. This couldn't have been a better choice, for brown complements my eye colour and it's a great alternative to black especially for daytime looks. I am not new to Scandal Eyes as I have some other colours from the range which I reach for very often. Staying power is great though you may need to reapply throughout the day.

Thank you Rimmel London Malta for giving me the opportunity to try out these fabulous products! Find them yourselves at various outlets across Malta & Gozo.

PR Samples

Forbidden Voices - An event hosted by Maria Cutajar in aid of domestic violence victims

Domestic violence now ranks the second most frequent crime in Malta after theft, and it is no longer confined to being a domestic problem but rather as a problem that should be addressed and acted upon by society in general. Domestic violence is defined by the vast majority of people as physical abuse towards a woman where she is beaten black and blue mainly because of the perception that women are the weaker sex. Although that is the most common type of domestic violence, there are other aspects to this crime of which men and children can also be victims.

In this post, I am interviewing local fashion designer Maria Cutajar ahead of her upcoming event Forbidden Voices in aid of Kummissjoni Ejjew Għandi which helps rehabilitate victims of domestic violence. We will be focusing more on the local scenario rather than a European level as the proceeds from the event will be going towards a local organisation.

What do you classify as domestic violence?

For me, domestic violence is any type of violence that is verbally and physically hurting a person in the home environment.

What do you think is the most common form of domestic violence locally and what is in your opinion the underlying cause for the offender to commit the crime? Do you think that people coming from a low socio-economic background are more susceptible to domestic violence?

I think that the first kind of domestic violence that comes to mind is when a woman gets beaten up by her husband; and yes we have a lot of these cases in Malta. But as Mediterranean people, we have a lot of sense of humor which can lead us to being verbally abusive sometimes without knowing. Being violent can be the result of different causes and factors, such as drug and alcohol addiction, having a rough childhood or being neglected and unloved. I can never forgive any offender but I can I understand that maybe their situation has led them to hurt others through violence. Coming from a low socio-economic status doesn't make a difference - it's all about the upbringing of a person and life situations where pain that never healed manifests itself as aggression towards others.

A 2010 study on ‘The Prevalence of Domestic Violence Against Women’ conducted by The Commission on Domestic Violence shows that a quarter of the women interviewed, have been abused in one way or another. What do you make of this?

I think we can all admit to being sexually harassed at one point or another.  Typical scenario is walking or running in the morning trying to work out and minding our own businesses, but of course, we all had drivers passing by and cat calling us "aw koxxa", "aw sbejha" and believe me those are the more decent ones; we all heard worse. Of course this is not limited to Malta mind you, it happens all over the world. Well, men have to understand that it's not funny or sexy, and we have had enough of them! Another scenario of sexual harassment towards women is when it happens at the workplace, which I think is worse still because more often than not, we may not be in a position to do something about it. I have experienced it myself of having lower pay and also that I didn't always had the right to speak because I am a woman. These are simple cases of abuse of daily life and they are irritating and hurtful so you can all imagine how more hurtful it is when it is violence all out.

In a more recent statistical study published by the N.S.O. on the 7th March 2013, to mark the year’s dedication to end violence against women, it is stated that 77% of domestic violence victims were women. Do you reckon men can also be victims of domestic violence? What about children?

Well, this is another big issue. I think that awareness in general is quite low, and unfortunately, it is worse for men. Of course, men can be victims of domestic violence, especially of the verbal type which could be mentally and physically killing him. In my opinion, verbal violence can be much worse to because it affects a person for a long time. Unfortunately, a woman already finds it hard to speak up because she doesn't want anyone to know that she is weak, let alone a man. My suggestion is to offer a helping hand when you can and lend and ear to help victims speak up and never leave pride get in the way.

What do you think is the reason behind men refraining from reporting abuse?

Well, like I said before, I think pride is the main factor hindering men from admitting they are being domestically abused. 

Between 2009 and 2013, a total of 4102 cases have been reported. Do you think this is because there has been an increase in domestic violence or is it because victims are now plucking up the courage to report abuse?

I think more people are speaking up nowadays but also, one big question remains; how many of the reported cases were actually taken seriously and acted upon? My guess is that most of them are shockingly ignored!! For example, I think that the government should offer therapy sessions when a report is filed as a start, maybe it can be of help for a couple and maybe also the kids that find themselves in such a situation.

Do you think there is enough awareness on domestic violence? If not, what can be done to better the current situation?

I don't think there can ever be enough awareness on such a delicate matter but still, I think we are far from being fully aware of domestic violence, so I would say no, level of awareness is till very low. I have always believed in events for good causes and I for one, have done a lot of voluntary work. I think that I have finally found the cause which is most dear to me and that is of course, Domestic Violence. I plan to organize more events of the sort and will do my best to bring both my passions together - fashion and helping others,  to support Maltese associations Such as Kummissjoni Ejjew Għandi, that help people with domestic violence. Through 'Forbidden Voices', I want to bring the topic of domestic violence to light and maybe who knows, potential and existing offenders can seek therapy and ask for help. I really believe that all people can change and we all deserve second chances.

What services are offered locally to help the victims through the ordeal?

I'm not really sure as I have only been back in Malta for a few months but I intend to find out in time for another event in December.

Lastly, Forbidden Voices. What is the idea behind the event and what are the people attending to expect out of it?

Forbidden Voices is the first event of the sort for me, and my aim is to raise awareness about the topic of domestic violence first and foremost. Of course, part of the proceeds from the event will go towards Kummissjoni Ejjew Ghandi. Everyone is invited to join, Let your presence be the voice for the voiceless!

Eye Care Cosmetics & other eye care devices at Optika Opticians

We usually visit our opticians for our eye prescription needs. Following on from my post about the different types of lenses and their care, today I have another post about Eye Care Cosmetics, an eye makeup brand stocked at all Optika outlets.

Eye Care Cosmetics is a French skincare and eye care brand committed to caring for sensitive skin and eyes. Products available at Optika include three different makeup removers - an emulsion, a lotion and a bi-phasic one to suit different needs. The 2-in-1 makeup remover is your best bet to remove waterproof makeup, the emulsion is specially targeted for contact lens wearers while the lotion boasts an ultra gentle formula and is optimal for the most sensitive of eyes. The range also consists of coloured eye pencils, eyeshadow, mascara as well as eye creams to treat dark circles and puffiness around the delicate eye area for example. Sometimes, people with sensitive eyes have to be really careful in choosing the right products for them so as not to irritate their eyes and Eye Care Cosmetics is there to help!

Other instances, it's not just sensitive eyes that need to be taken care of and for these different conditions, Optika stock different eye compresses that can either be used hot or cold depending on the condition at hand. For example the Cold Eye Compress can be used to alleviate symptoms of hayfever, allergies, swelling, puffy eyes and sinus headaches to name a few while the Hot Eye Compress is recommended for Dry Eye Disease, Blepharitis (inflammation of eyelids) and general eye irritations. There is also another version of the Hot Eye Compress which can be heated in both a microwave or an oven while the former can only be heated in a microwave. The eye compresses are produced in the UK by the renowned company The Body Doctor and are to be used upon recommendation by a professional.

The same company also produced the Eyelid Wipes which are aimed at maintaining eyelid and eyelash hygiene for babies and adults alike. Each wipe is individually wrapped and pre-soaked with a preservative-free and detergent-free physiological solution to gently clean the eyelids, lashes and surrounding area. The wipes can also be used to revive tired eyes.

So there you have it! Optika really have everything you need for your eyes to be taken care of all around! Head to one of their outlets located in Sliema, Rabat and St.Julian's to find out more.

Photography by Neil Psaila

Dresscode :: The Untold Science of a Fashion Show

Last Sunday afternoon me and my better half found something different to do; something that would interest both of us - we attended Dresscode :: The Untold Science of a Fashion Show which combined our passions, I.T. for him and fashion for me.

After lunch, we made our way to the Microsoft Innovation Centre at Sky Parks where we had our picture taken and then we went to our seats.

The event kicked off with a brief address by three MissInTech members - Bernine Caruana, Vanessa Vella and Maria Abela Scicluna. MissInTech promotes the inclusion of women within the male-dominated I.T. sector. Next, Hon. Rosianne Cutajar delivered a speech highlighting the importance of women in the work force with special emphasis on the I.T. industry and lastly, it was time for Mr. Kevin Schembri from Microsoft Malta to deliver his speech.

MissInTech members, Hon. Rosianne Cutajar and Mr. Kevin Schembri delivering their messages

The first show for the night came courtesy of three MCAST students - Elise Galea, Lourdes Giordmaina and Simona Gambacorta where they showcased a sustainable raincoat they created from discarded electronic waste materials as embellishments. They gave a thorough presentation of the making process - the dismantling of electronics from thrown away items from the Mosta Local Council waste bins, painting wiring and assembling a belt from them using the macramé technique and sewing on of fragmented CD's and keyboard keys. This project was supported by the Malta Chamber of Fashion, whose Academic Division encourages sustainable fashion thereby reducing waste from landfills.

Next we were treated to three mini fashion shows from established local fashion designers RoseMarie Abela, Maria Cutajar and Couture by Gaetano. I was happy to see Gaetano delve into men's fashion with two blazers that would be perfect for New Year's Eve or a special occasion. As for RoseMarie Abela, her La Cupola collection never ceases to amaze me and I was happy to see Maria Cutajar's latest creations which as she later explained to me, had them made without drawing any patterns but rather by fashioning the fabric in a square form and sewing it in pleats on mannequins for example.

Rose Marie Abela's Fashion Show

Maria Cutajar's Fashion Show

Gaetano's Fashion Show

The shows were then followed by a discussion about the inclusion of women in I.T. and small workshops aimed at the younger attendees such as bath bomb making by MCAST Beauty School. Macramé making by Elise, Lourdes and Simona who showed us how they did the macramé belt on the raincoat and Maria Cutajar explained how she uses Photoshop to help her in designing her work.

MCAST Students at work

Maria Cutajar at work

I think this was a fun afternoon and something different to what we usually do. I command MissInTech's initiative and look forward to seeing more events like this.