December 31, 2012

2012 Favorites

This year has been an exciting one, beauty wise. You wouldn't think you can still discover new things when you own so many already, but there are novelties all the time.
The skin issues I had back during the Spring made me revisit my skincare routine as well as my makeup, and with the Pixiwoo course and the shopping in England, I definitely discovered more great makeup products.

However I don't want this favorites list to be hopelessly long, so I am going to limit myself to (sort of) 12 products that really stayed with me all year, and possibly that were discovered this year as well!

Taaj Micellar Water
Although I am still the biggest fan of Bioderma in the world (and have been for SEVEN years, that's quite a commitment), I do enjoy the Taaj micellar water and its fresh smell, particularly in warmer weather. I also love that it doesplum up the skin!

Alpha H Liquid Gold
I certainly can't use this daily, but a couple of times of uses of this each week are great for chemical exfoliation, making the skin baby smooth and keeping little blemishes at bay!

La Roche Posay Cicaplast B5 Balm
Definitely a skincare revolution for me, this cured my Winter dermatitis and I have used it on my face every time it has gotten a bit too irritated for my liking. This is just so efficient, and you can wear it under makeup too.

REN eye contours
Perfect combo of day and night products for me. They help me keeping the area smooth, helped making dehydration lines disappear, and the gel one is just perfect under makeup. REN was definitely a great discovery of 2012 for me and these products have become staples in my daily routine!

Tosowoong cleansing brush
It's really a funny thing, that little brush, nowhere as fancy (or expensive!) as a Clarisonic but extremely effective at keeping pores clean! Can't be without it anymore!

This Works Perfect Look Skin Miracle
Half way through a skincare product and a tinted moisturizer (a very light one, though), this is just perfect for Summer and gives you the perfect glow! I wore it on its own all Summer, sometimes with a bit of foundation just around the nose and chin to help with discoloration, and it made my skin look just perfect. I can't wait to be able to wear it again next Summer. And I love the caramel smell :)

Nars Radiant Tinted Moisturizer
A fantastic launch of this year, this tinted moisturizer evens out the skin very well and makes it look smooth and flawless. It's, in my opinion, more covering than most tinted moisturizers while still being very lightweight. Too bad that all the shades seem to be very yellow so it's not for everyone, but it's a great product that I've been using a lot.

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua
Not a new one, but definitely a much loved one that I actually had to repurchase this year after using up (wooot!) a whole bottle, which never happens to me. My only complai is that it has alcohol in it and I can't wear it when I'm very dehydrated, but I haven't found another foundation that looks as beuatiful on me or that I love as much.

Inglot eyeshadows
This first palette was a gift and since then I have been hooked!  I now have 3 of them. I do think that the quality, pigmentation and texture of these shadows can't be beaten, especially for the price - and the freedom system is just great. Too bad I don't have direct access to it but I definitely want to get more. This has to be my most used brand of eyeshadows this year.

Illamasqua palettes
After my Inglot palettes, the Illamasqua ones are the ones I've used the most. Illamasqua used to lack on the eyshadow front with chalkiness issues, but they haev greatly improved and there's nothing not to love about these palettes. The liquid metals in the 2 palettes released with Generation Q (best collection of the year in my opinion) are also gorgeous bases. I am absolutely in love with these 3 palettes and hope they release more next year!

Illamasqua Naked Rose blush
Most worn blush of the year, and this picture isn't doing it justice: Naked Rose is a pink with a hint of beige that is just so wearable for every skintone. It goes with any makeup. You could practically live with just this one blush and be set for life (I love blushes too much to do that though). If you can purchase one blush from Illamasqua, get this one!

Jemma Kidd cream blush in Paw Paw
Sadly, Jemma Kidd is going out of business so I'll never be able to purchase this again but I wanted to mention it because I've used it so much: the peachy color is beautiful and the cream to powder finish is gorgeous and easy to blend. Really sad about not being able to further discover this range.

That's it for 2012. I'm excited to discover more new things next year. Are you, too? And what were your favorites this year?

December 29, 2012

Femme Boulevard: Ushering 2013 With Style

Femme Boulevard is a group of beauty bloggers that post monthly themed looks. That's not unlike us Lipstick Bandits. Well guess what: the Femme Boulevard members invited other blogers, among which some of the Lipstick Bandits, to join for a New Year stylish celebration!

The mission: metallic eyes and vampy lips. I was too happy to accept this collaboration and create a dramatic face.

What I used to create this look:
- Nars Sheer Glow in Gobi is my base of choice for special occasions, so of course I picked that one
- The vampy lip was only a question of deciding which color to pick in my large collection. I opted for the very classic Mac Rebel!
- For the metallic effect on the eyes, I used the beautiful Nars Etrusque single eyeshadow, that I applied wet for a more metallic effect. I then blended a  matte brown in the crease to give more depth. Etrusque is also applied in the inner corner and under the lower lashline.
- A blush that I love for dramatic looks is Rouge Bunny Rouge Florita. This is really scary in the pan but is so pretty and subtle when applied. It goes with any vampy lip.

Check out the other beautiful looks created to start the New Year in style!

A Little Bit Of Everything
Beaute Fabuleuse
Bronzer Bunny
Eye Heart It
Messy Wands
Mostly Sunny

December 24, 2012

A Christmas with the Bandits

At Christmas, you exchange gifts with your friends.
Us Lipstick Bandits, as we're spread all over the world, decided we would exchange looks between us, in a kind of Secret Santa Swap way!

So each of us was given the name of another Bandit, and a request for a particular kind of look that is typical of them.
My mission, as I received it, was: "Jenny (from My Funny Valentine) - must do bloodred lips" (someone actually mentioned using real blood but I have chosed to ignore this part)

I was absolutely thrilled because a/ I love Jenny and she's been a blogger friend for a long time, and b/she's the quintessence of dramatic eyes and red lips looks, which I absolutely love. She has something of a modern Marie-Antoinette or of a real-life Jessica Rabbit that I find completely stunning.
Oh and if I may add a little c/we do own quite a lot of the same products and share some makeup favorites.

However, and I'm stating the obvious here, we don't look like each other at all, so those products we share are obviously going to deliver very different results. I was curious as how different they would be, and so I decided to re-create a full look of hers and I picked this one (Jen, I hope you don't mind me borrwing your picture)

Here Jenny used the Illamasqua Neutral palette, which I adore, and Illamasqua Box lipstick - shock horror, I don't own that one! Plus, I had to have bloodred lips, remember? So I went for something glossier and bluer (it's a discontinued Dior lipgloss)...And here's my recreation!

This looks much more dramatic on me due to my paler skin and the cool Winter light, but it looks very nice nevertheless and I got tons of compliments on those eyes!

And of course, Jenny being an optometrist and a fellow glass-wearer, I had to do a specs shot just for her!

Merry Christmas, Lipstick Bandits and everyone!

Now go and discover the other Bandits looks, I can't wait to see who recreated one of mine!

And a new Bandit this round:

December 19, 2012

Dior bits: Nude Compact Powder, and Foundation Brush

I realize there are a couple of Dior purchases I made a little while ago but didn't tell you about, so it's time we rectify this!

1. Diorskin Nude Compact Powder.
You may remember that last Spring, I bought the Clarins Ever Matte powder and that I was liking it a lot.
Well when I started to reach the bottom of the compact in the centre, the whole thing just broke in a thousand pieces. Which means I lost about 50% of the product, and I was a bit upset about that. When I went back to the dept. store, I heard that this compact wasn't refillable, so I decided against repurchasing the Clarins product even though I found it lovely.

I was advised by the SA to go for the new Diorskin Nude compact. This one is refillable, which is a good thing. The less good thing is the price, though: €52. Huge - more than for their liquid foundation. But they'll tell you that you pay for the compact and then next purchase will be cheaper.
In the compact, you have a nice mirror, a sponge that has different textures on each side for different coverage levels, and there's a little flat powder brush in the velvet pouch the compact comes in.
As usual, the palest available shade, #20, is very pink toned. That means I had to go one shade up and get #30.

My overall experience with the product.
Well first of all, of course, shade #30 is a bit too dark and *shifty eyes*
I bought in a rush because I needed a powder and I should have looked into this longer, I suppose.
Then I can't determine if this product is really a compact powder, as in finishing powder, or if it's a foundation. The SA told me it was a powder but I keep reading blog posts about people considering this to be a powder foundation. This, in my opinion, influence the powder texture so you might want to double check on that.
I find that the product is not extremely mattifying and that when I apply it on top of my base, as a touch up powder at the end of my long days (which is the only use I have for a compact powder, really), it can easily look cakey. Even on top of tinted moisturiser.

All in all, I'm not too happy with this. I'm going to use it (and it's probably going to take a long while since it's just for touch ups) because I can't accept the loss of 52€ but I won't repurchase. I kind of regret not having gotten another 30€ Clarins powder instead, even at the risk of it breaking again.

2. Dior Backstage Full Coverage Liquid Foundation Brush.

I was attracted by the sleek design of this new brush, released at the same time as the new Nude base range,  and I had been thinking for a long time of getting another flat top dense brush for foundation, as it's the kind I like best. I had thought about the Shiseido one for the longest time but it's not available in my city, and since the Dior one looks a lot like it, I thought I had found a perfect dupe.
This one is definitely expensive at a 51€ mark, good thing I got it with a gift card. It is, however, extremely soft and it applies foundation beautifully. Dior markets this one for a high coverage application, while they have another, regular flat paddle brush, marketed for lighter applications. Regardless of coverage, I prefer this kind of brush with which you can buff the product as much as you want.
I have actually used it with Illamasqua Rich Liquid foundation which is THE hardest foundation to apply EVER - and it worked like a charm. That's kind of the ultimate test for me.
I have to be completely honest and tell you that the Real Techniques Buffing Brush will do as good of a job but if you want to invest in a luxurious foundation brush that does the job perfectly, this one is ace.

December 17, 2012

Winter blues. And pinks.

The real Winter blues hasn't hit me too hard (yet) this year, so that's not what I'm talking about.
I rarely wear pinks because I don't think they suit me, but this time of the year - I mean, December-January- when the light is very cool, I suddenly suit cooler tones better than warm ones. Hence this combination of pink and blues that is very unusual for me!

The pink is a Shiseido Shimmering Cream Shadow called PK214 Pale Shell, which was launched past Spring as a permanent addition to the line.
The blues come from this Clarins palette, another launch from last Spring:

I had passed on it back then, because even though it looked pretty I just didn't want to add yet another quad to my collection. But I recently received this as a gift, so now I can indulge :) I used the top left blue in the crease, very lightly, and the darker bottom left one as a liner and blended up in outer V. That's actually a very good smokey eye technique for hooded eyes.

Base is Nars Sheer Glow in Gobi. Blush is Illamasqua Hussy, another one that doesn't get enough love from me - although it's gorgeous in Summer as well.

I find it really funny that I'm now, at the heart of Winter, wearing things that were ment to be worn for Spring. But hey, that's the beauty of makeup: there's no rules :)

December 12, 2012

Perfume review: Diptyque Volutes

A couple of months ago I was wandering about the Diptyque counter in a French department store where I had gone for makeup shopping - what else - and I was intrigued by the name of their newest release: Volutes. In French, Volute refers to a swirl of smoke. And since I usually like woody smokey leathery scents, I thought I might like this one.
The first sniff was interesting but it wasn't love yet. I only manage to get a few samples of both the eau de toilette and eau de parfum more recently and that's when my love for Volutes developped for real.

The notes for this perfume are quite compelx: iris, honey, tobacco, dried fruit, pink pepper, black pepper, saffron, hay, immortelle, myrrh, storax, opopanax and benzoin.
But the overall result is quite smokey, like cherry tobacco, and on me at least it's very dry and woodsy but the softer notes like the iris and honey are rather lost and I don't get much sweetness at all.

I have, however, noticed a difference between the EDT and EDP. While lots of people have said that the EDT was drier, for me it is really the opposite: the EDT has a creamier softer quality to it, that can become a bit soapy musky on me just like Lutens Chergui did. Actually, there are some similarities between both fragrances, as they have a lot of notes in common. I think it's the iris and immortelle that are giving it its creamier softer edge. The tobacco background is still very much there, though.
The EDP, however, is very dry on me, a bit harsh and masculine but I find that infinitely warm and sexy, and so when I decided to purchase a bottle, I went for the EDP (which has a black label). I totally have this image in mind when smelling this perfume:

Where There Is Smoke, There Is Fire - illustration by Russel Patterson
No, this doesn't smell like an ashtray at all, but it has something of a mix of feminine perfume and warm smoke that goes so well with this flapper imagery, at least in my mind!

Diptyque being a luxe niche brand, it's not cheap - but in my opinion their perfumes are so well composed and so high quality that they are absolutely worth their price.
100ml Eau de Toilette (82 €), 50ml Eau de Toilette (62 €), and 75ml Eau de Parfum (95 €) .

December 3, 2012

Glowy nude skin, pink lips FOTD

That is it, we have entered the depressing part of the year. I know, I know, there's Christmas, but that's just one day.  I'm talking about humid weather, icy roads, and the lack of light that makes it impossible for me to take a picture of my face even at high noon. Today, I was able to see the letters on my keyboard from 11AM to 3PM that's pretty much it - even though I'm sitting by the window.

So, this is not a recent look, but I found it back on my camera and realized I had never shared it. Pictures were taken at the end of October, where you could still hope for a bit of sunlight once in a while.

Keys to this look: Nars radant tinted moisturizer for its lovely flow, Jemma Kidd dewy glow higlighter for extra glowy cheeks, and Makeup Geek Delightful lipstick, which is an intense pink with a creamy moisturizing formula.
To contour and give shape to the cheeks (and a little bit to the eyes), I used Illamasqua Skin Base in Au, which is a bronze color infused with gold - lovely for a bronzed look, but I love it on the high point of the face just to give definition even on my pale skin.

So, let's face it: it probably will be March before I can wear that kind of face again, uh?

November 30, 2012

November favorites

I didn't make a favorite posts last month, because a/ I didn't really have the time to write one and b/ to be perfectly honest I didn't know what to put in it. I was going to either repeat what I had told the month before, or go blanck because nothing really stood up in October.

November wasn't great either but that's more because I'm in a rut. I'm getting bored of my own makeup because I feel that, in the morning rush, I do the same thing again and again. It's probably high time I shop my collection and challenge myself to use different things.
But at least, it makes it quite easy to pick favorites, because I've been using the same stuff all month.

Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum and Hydrance Light.
Still a very good combination for dehydrated skin. I have, however, noticed that it was a bit too much for my T-zone, which isn't as dehydrated, and so my makeup was sliding around in the afternoon. So I actually use these two on the cheeks only, now, and favor a lighter moisturizer for the T zone during the day.
LRP Cicaplast B5 Balm.
Best balm ever to soothe irritations, dry patches, eczema, dermatitis etc... I've had to use it a couple of times this past months and it's still working its magic. A must have for the Winter!

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary palette.
When I've been wearing a bit of color, I've been using this, as you have seen it featured in my recent purple look. Great selection of colors and great texture. 

Inglot matte eyeshadows
Pictured here is my first palette, but in the meantime I got two more, one of shimmery shadows and another containing mostly mattes. However this one is the one I've been using the most, these colors are just so perfect for smokeys that on any unispired days I've been safely turning to it.

Illamasqua Empower palette.
Another palette I have been using a lot, at least once a week (wich is a lot, for me) and actually I'm wearing it as I'm writing this. Definitely one of the prettiest palettes of this year!

Addiction Dewy Glow.
I only had a sample of this but I wore it for half of the month until it ran out. Feels like air, looks fabulously glowy and perfect amount of coverage guaranteed. 

Ren Guérande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm.
Heaven knows I'm really bad at taking care of my body skin. But when I can be bothered and I use this, my skin feels fabulous. It's more than just a scrub, it's a balm, and it leaves your skin feeling moisturized and soft. Love it.

What were your favorites this month?

November 26, 2012

Purple Mood

Chanel Le Crayon Yeux Waterproof in Grenat (Spring 2012)
Estee Lauder eyeshadow pencil in Rose Chrome (discontinued)
Illamasqua Complement Palette (Autumn 2012)
Illamasqua nailpolish in Faux Pas (rubber finish)
Mac Rebel lipstick
Mac Cyber lipstick
Makeup Geek Unexpected, Twilight and Burlesque eyeshadows

I don't know what it is with Autumn, but it makes me want purple shades. Even though they're usually not my favorite. Even though they don't always suit me so well, so I get tons of them and then don't use them often because I think I don't look too good in them.

But at least, they're pretty to look at. And sometimes, if I am lucky, I can make them work.

Look created with Urban Decay Omen and Half Truth from the 15th anniversary palette.

November 23, 2012

Foundation Review #37 : Addiction Dewy Glow

Note: this picture was shamelessly stolen from my friend Kate The Driveller. Considering she also provided the product for me to try, I thought it was justified to use the rest of her material :)

Always being in a quest for light-but-covering, dewy, skin like, beautifying foundations that look like you have nothing on, I felt I had to gave the Japanese high end brands a try, especially as they have been big on the radiant skin look this past year. Since I am reading a lot of raves on Addiction products on the web, and since a foundation called Dewy Glow sounds like everything I want, I was really tempted by this one.
It is, however, a product that you have to order from Japan and that is very expensive (up to 60€ depending where you order from), and so my friend Kate offered to send me some of hers so I could try and decide if I wanted to buy.
Funny fact, she wears the lightest color called Waffle, and we thought it would be too light for me. Actually, this matches my neck pretty well. And since her sample was quite generous, I was able to wear this for 10 days, which means I can really tell you everything about it now.

What the brand says about this product:
I haven't found any ifnromation that wasn't in Japanese so I have to go with what Kate said in her own blog post on this product : this has SPF20 PA++ and contains rose centifolia extract and rosehip oil to keep your skin hydrated. It's unscented, which is always a bonus for me.
As you can see the packaging is a frozen glass bottle (30 ml) that looks very elegant but has no pump and is probably heavy to carry. It looks beautiful, though.

There are only 5 shades available: Wafers, Crèpe, Biscuit, Madeleine and Cookie. I kind of want this product because of those names! But obviously not everyone will find a match, it will mostly suit the yellow toned skin with fair to medium color - which you can expect from a Japanese product.

My experience with the product:
Imagine that Nars Sheer Glow, Nars Radiant Tinted Moisturizer and Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua had a love child: it would be Addiction Dewy Glow. (And given the expensive parents, that might explain its price).

The formula is very liquid and runny, and honestly, the first time I used it I felt like it was way too watery to really cover anything, so I was very surpised to see how well it evened out my skin and even cancelled out most of the redness. My face is chronically pinkier and darker than my neck, and this shade matches my neck, well it really succeeds at making my face and neck totally even. Definitely a good point. However this is not a high coverage at all and I have used concealer for blemishes and undereye circles, I rather have it this way than wearing a heavy coverage all over when I don't need it everywhere.

The finish is extremely luminous, and you will have to powder your t-zone if that bothers you. This feels like nothing on the skin, excepted a slight plastic-y feeling when you touch it, but you don't feel the product's weight on your face like you do with some foundations. No cakeyness going on, but I must say I used this on top of very well moisturized skin because a/ I'm dehydrated at the moment and b/ I have a feeling this formula could be a little bit drying. Not in a suck-the-moisture-out-of-of-your-skin way but more in a combat-oilies-for-long way. That makes this foundation quite long lasting on me, I'd say 7-8 hours of wear with no touch up. Although it doesn't really disappear at all on a longer day, but it will let the oil show through at some point. Good cleanser required to remove it, anyway.

The reason why I think this is a mix between the 3 foundations I mentioned above - which are my top 3 favorites, by the way- is because I think you get the radiance of the Nars TM, the skin texture of the Chanel VA, and a coverage that doesn't fall far from Nars Sheer Glow. Quite an interesting combination in my book!

My global impression about the product.
I haven't decided if I am going to buy this now because of its price and because I have bottles of Sheer Glow and VA going strong (I think this is never going to replace a TM on easy days) but I might well get it as a replacement for one of those two, or maybe even both. Slight issue though: Sheer Glow photographs beautifully but the SPF in Dewy Glow makes it a no-no for flash, so it's not a perfect replacement.
I am, however, very impressed with the look of this product and how soft-focused and perfect my cheeks still looked after 11 hours of wearing it. I am a little bit unsure of the shade I should pick, if I need to stick with Wafer or rather go to Madeleine, as I only have online swatches as a reference and I don't want to make a pricey mistake.

In short: if you are travelling in Asia or like to order from Asian websites, definitely check this out. For me it's a perfect everyday foundation for those who want to look polished and have SPF, without having a ton of cakey product on their face. Lovers of the dewy look, this is for you too.

Addiction, you may have tricked me into your exact name thing here.

November 19, 2012

Vampy Bandits

I am going to be brutally honest: there are a lot of things about Autumn/Fall that I don't like - most probably because it's a rainy, windy and generally gloomy time of the year where I live.
But I must admit there are a few wonderful things to it too, especially crisp sunny days in the park to admire the colorful leaves, and of course vampy lipstick.

I am not one to think that a particular color should be reserved for a particular time of the year, however it is very true that Autumn always bring me back to vampy colors.
I tend to love them with a smokey eye, but then they can look a bit goth in some people's opinion, so for this episode of the Bandit Adventures, I thought I'd venture into something I rarely do : a glowy skin, nude eyes, and the vampy lip as the focus point.

And, in the vampy register, let me introduce you:
Chanel Rouge Allure in Rouge Noir.

Ah, I love Rouge Noir as a color. It was my first Chanel nailpolish back in the 90's (yes I am that old) it was chic, elegant and a bit edgy and not it is still exactly that but on the lips.
Of course, you can wear it full on, as I often do, but on the pictures I am wearing it patted with a finger on the lips (and no lipliner on), which I think will be more comfortable for many women.

It is paired with Addiction Dewy Glow foundation, a lick of YSL Faux Cils mascara, and Rouge Bunny Rouge Florita blush on the cheeks - blush is mandatory with such a strong color, especially when you are as pale as me, or it will wash you out.
As a result, a simple but pretty look that is not dramatic at all despite the scary bullet color of this lipstick. And, see, it works as well if you want to sport the "librarian" look ;-)

See the other Bandits' picks:

November 15, 2012

Avene Hydrating Serum and Hydrance Light Moisturizer

I told you post French pharmacie haul that I had found a new miracle skincare combo for dehydrated skins, so let me review that for you today.

Soothing Hydrating Serum.

What the brand says: 

A unique serum contains high concentration of Avène Thermal Spring Water to provide long-lasting hydration and enhance effectiveness of products used directly afterwards.
  • All skin types
  • Tired, dull, lackluster skin
  • Sensitive, irritated skin (redness, tightness, sunburn)
  • Avène Thermal spring water to calm, soothe and soften the skin
  • Helps minimize redness and inflammation
  • Enhances effectiveness of any moisturizer or treatment product used after Thermal spring water soothing serum
  • Oil-free, paraben-free
  • Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic
My experience with the product.

With 77% water an it and no oil, this is exactly the kind of product I was looking for. My skin gets dehydrated and flakey due to the central heating but if I use too rich products, I will get clogged pores and whiteheads. So this is the perfect product as it brings lots of hydration withouth bringing oil when you don't need it.
The glass bottle contains 30ml and comes with a pump, so it's a very solid packaging that is also hygienic.
I use two pumps for the whole face, the texture is siliconey so this spreads easily and evenly and penetrates quite fast. There is a very light frangrance to it but it's barely noticeable and Avene says it's formulated for sensitive skins.
I would not use this serum on its own, as I definitely feel I need a moisturizer on top to get enough hydration, but I can definitely say this has been giving my face a great hydration boost.
You can use this twice a day but I use it in the morning only, under moisturizer and makeup.

Ingredient list for the science nerds:

Now let's have a look at the moisturizer I am using in top of this serum:

Hydrance Optimale Légère - Light Hydrating Cream.

This product actually exists in 4 different versions: light or rich (for very dry skin), with or without SPF.
I got the light one without SPF.

What the brand says:

Light-weight moisturizer provides long-lasting hydration and absorbs excess oil for a shine-free finish.
Normal to combination skin
  • Dull, lackluster skin - Uneven texture - Fine, dry surface skin lines
  • Patented technology maintains and restores skin’s hydration
  • Restores skin’s barrier and prevents moisture loss
  • Gentle, light texture penetrates quickly
  • Absorbs excess oil, leaving skin with a matte finish
  • Avène Thermal Spring Water to soothe and soften skin
  • Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic

My experience with the product:

I have been using this as a morning only moisturizer, on top of the serum and under my makeup.
The packaging is a 40ml tube with a screw cap - no pump here, which is slightly less hygienic. It is, however, practical and light if you need to take it along with you somewhere.
The product has a cream texture but is very easy to spread, not feeling greasy at all, and it does feel very moisturizing despite the light texture.

It sinks in quite fast, I don't really wait between serum and this, but then I wait 5 mins before applying my makeup base. I find my skin isn't tacky by then and I have no problem applying a foundation or TM.

This doesn't make me feel greasy through the day, or maybe just a little in the afternoon on the T-zone only, however it does make my skin look plump and hydrated and radiant right after application and for the whole day. My skin feels very comfortable when I am using those two products, and they have definitely helped with irritation and redness that were due to dehydration.

If your skin is very dry or temporarily extremely dehydrated, Avene recommends switching to the Rich version, but if you have more normal/oily skin, it's recommended that you don't use it for too long, maybe just a week in emergency situations, and then that you switch back to the light version.

Ingredient list for the science nerds:
Avene Thermal Spring Water - Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride - Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil - Cyclomethicone - Sucrose Stearate - Glycerin - Butylene Glycol - Sucrose Distearate - Polymethyl Methacrylate - Benzoic Acid - Beta Sitosterol - BHT ? Carbomer - Chlorphenesin - Disodium EDTA - Fragrance - Glycine Soja (Soybean) Extract - Hydrogenated Coco Glycerides - Lecithin - Phenoxyethanol - Poloxamer 188 - Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate - Sodium Hydroxide

Overall conclusion.
A fabulous duo, extremely efficient and very suitable for sensitive skins.
This is available pretty much worldwide, but the prices can greatly vary, therefore you need to do a bit of research. In France these products are around the 15€ mark for the serum and 10€ for the cream, so this is really affordable for a product of great quality.

November 12, 2012

Galenic Aquapulpe Masque Réhydratant Express - a Sisley Express Flower Gel dupe?

Galénic is a brand that never gets talked about in the beauty blogosphere, enven though it is distributed outside of France. And to be honest, I wouldn't know about it myself if I had not worked years ago in the pharmacy business and hadn't had a bit of training around that range.
Galénic is owned by the same laboratories that own Avène, so you can imagine that the products have high quality standards. However, this brand is marketed as a pleasure brand: the formulations are more luxurious, often scented, they're not aimed at problematic skins like Avene is.

The Aquapulpe range, of which this product is part, is their moisturizing range. It contains wild berries extracts and loads of water.
I was recommended this mask by a pharmacist during my last shopping trip to France. I was telling her about my skin being quite dehydrated in Winter and she said this product is very nice, because it absorbs in 2 mins and so you can really use it at any time for a quick hydration boost. So I decided to give it a try.

My experience with the product.
This comes in a tube, and the formula is a light pink gel that is slightly secented of berries - but nothing strong.
It applies easily and leaves a refreshing, slightly cool feeling onto the skin.
It starts drying pretty easily and after 3 minutes, you can only just feel a little tackiness on the surface, but after 10 mins it's completely absorbed and you don't feel anything but a soft veil on the skin.

I was very surprised at how much this product feels like the Sisley Express Flower Gel MaskI don't have the Sisley ingredients list to compare but to me, from a user's point of view, there's hardly any difference between the two products. The texture is similar, the feeling on the skin is similar, and the result is similar: a nice hydrating pick-me up but in my opinion nothing that will cure a very dehydrated flakey skin. 
However, given this is about 25% of the price of the Sisley and so similar to it, I would definitely recommend this Galénic mask as a nice treat or for in-flights skin hydration (something for which the Sisley mask is very popular).
Not a miracle product, but a winner in terms of quality for the price.

Galénic Aquapulpe Masque Réhydratant Express - 50ml, 14€
Visit Galénic's website here.

Ingredient list for the science nerds:
Water (Aqua), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Betaine, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Dimethicone,Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer, Chlorphenesin,Disodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum), Menthol, Propylene Glycol, Red 33 (CI 17200), Ribes Rubrum (Currant) Fruit Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extrat, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Triethanolamine, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract.

November 8, 2012

The mother of all skincare hauls

Sorry for the rather long absence, guys, it is due to a mix of being too busy and having internet issues. Hopefully these are fixed for good now.

Last week I did a little trip to France to visit a friend and go pharmacie-skincare shopping. Most of the time I can find these products where I live, but the prices are marked up ridiculously, sometimes more than the double. So not only do I stock up in France, I also know where the cheapest pharmacies are so I really get the best deals, and I can go a wee bit happy with the shopping.

Here's what I got:

  • Phyto Phytojoba shampoo: I had told you I liked it but it was too expensive at 16€. Turns out it's 7€ in France so I caved and got a new bottle.
  • Bioderma Crealine H2O: no need to present this one, and at 8.45€ a bottle (instead of 18.50€ here), I always stock up for a few months. Also, they now have a formula for very dry sensitive skin.
  • La Roche Posay Lotion Physiologique: this is a toner that I use in the morning to rinse off the night, followed by a spritz of Avene Thermal Spring Water (which I forgot to buy a back-up, of, silly me!). Also great for lotion masks with the japanese sheet masks, it's a moisturizing alcohol-free product.
  • Taj Micellar Lotion: after being unimpressed by this when trying it last Summer, I grew quite found of it, of its fresh smell and of the plump effect it gives to my skin. I'm glad we're reunited and there was a mini offered, which is great for travelling.
  • Avene Hydrance Légère moisturizer and Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum: my new star duo to fight dehydrated skin. I will review them soon!
  • La Roche Posay Hydraphase Intense Mask: OMG IT IS BACK. I think you've heard me moaning for two years about this product being discontinued, because it was the best mask I had ever found to soothe dehydrated skin. Well it's now back in a paraben-free version that has fragemnted hyaluronic acid in it. I haven't compared the new ingredient list with the old one, but the texture and smell are unchanged and my skin still loves it, so I am really happy about that. I actually bought 2 tubes of this one, the other was already in my bathroom when I took the pic :)
  • Galenic AquaPulpe mask for dehydrated skin: I was convinced to try this by the pharmacist. Galenic is made by the same pharmaceutical company as Avene, but this brand is more luxurious and cosmetic, products are scented etc... Apparently this mask is more of a water formula, which means that it absorbs really fast, and you can use it in the morning in just 3 mins before applying your moisturizer and makeup. So I thought it would be nice to try it, and I will of course report.

I am very please with all these lovely products, it's crazy how much a pharmacy skincare haul can be satisfying. Actually, I didn't even buy makeup at all on that afternoon, despite all the temptations around!