New in Beauty

new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co
new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co
new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co
new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co

It’s been a little while since I’ve chatted about new in beauty on my blog, so I thought I’d run through some new releases that I’ve been putting to the test recently, in addition to a couple of much-lauded beauty and hair care products that have been on my radar. Starting with the….

Rimmel Magnif’Eyes Eyeshadow Palettes
Of all the products here, this new eyeshadow launch from Rimmel was one of the ones that I was most excited by. These are marked as ‘eye contouring palettes’, and each palette has 12 eyeshadows ranging from light to dark, with a primary focus on shimmers over mattes. Perhaps the thing that excited me most was that the Nude, Blush and Smoke palettes all felt a little like affordable dupes for the Urban Decay NAKED Eyeshadow palettes, which ring in at more than double the price, plus I loved the inclusion of the ‘Colour’ edition palette, which was designed specifically for those with darker skin tones in mind. Above, I’ve swatched the ‘Nude’ Palette, to give a sense of the scope of the colours included, which are pretty broad. Of the four, I’d say this is probably my favourite, as it has all your bases covered if you like a golden or brown toned eye look (my absolute go-to). The darker colours tend to have a bit more pigment over the lighter ones, and they are slightly chalky, although for the price, I’m not complaining. I took a couple of these palettes with me during a recent stay-cation and they were the perfect companion for creating a lovely evening eye look. Definitely worth checking out if one of the NAKED palettes isn’t in your price range.

Rimmel Wonder’Fully Real Mascara
Of all the beauty products I use on a daily basis, a good mascara that doesn’t smudge all over my brow bone is usually pretty tricky. I have a few tried and tested that I usually go back to, but I do love the opportunity to find a new mascara to add into rotation. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect with this mascara; it has a pretty thick synthetic brush, and a very wet formula that initially can my quite clumpy when applying it to your lashes. But, trust me when I say that this is one worth persevering for. It gives really full and thick looking lashes, that don’t smudge.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lightweight Concealer
I don’t tend to use concealer or even foundation for that matter too often, as I generally like to let my skin breathe, but I thought I would give this a go, as Rimmel is usually my go to when it comes to affordable base products. What really got me curious was the unusual sponge applicator – it’s unlike anything I’ve personally come across, and I wanted to get a feel for how this would work. A light to medium coverage concealer, this promises up to 25 hours of wear, and while I haven’t quite made it that long, I did find this to be really long-wearing. But, and this is a pretty big but, I found the application really clumsy. The product was really hard to squeeze out, and when I tried to use the cushion applicator to blend the product out under my eyes, it dispersed more product onto my skin. Essentially, I just found this a little fussy – while in theory, it’s a great idea, I’d probably look to apply this using my finger straight from the tube, and then blend out with a beauty blender.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in ‘Euphoric Light’
Admittedly, I tend to make a point of avoiding powder highlight. My preferred go to beauty routine, whether it’s for day or for evening is always based on amplifying my features, and keeping things as natural as possible – something I don’t think can be achieved with a powder highlight. But, given Hourglass is always hailed as being at the top of the highlighting game (along with Becca), I thought it was worth a go, just to see what all the fuss was about. I opted for the ‘Euphoric’ Strobe Lighting Powder, which is a silvery pink toned highlight, something I thought would work well against my complexion, which tends to sit on the fairer end of the spectrum if I hadn’t had much sun. The product itself is very finely milled, and applies really smoothly, but as with most powder highlights, I do find that while the flecks of glitter pick up the light quite beautifully, they’re also not what I would refer to as subtle. Given this was a bit of beauty splurge, I’ve been trying to make the most of it, by using it to highlight the inner corner of my eye, or on top of a glossy cream highlight, to really make my highlight pop (perfect for our current Maldivian getaway). So, final thoughts? It’s a beautiful highlight but it doesn’t give that same natural glow as a cream highlight.

new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co
new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co

Covergirl Melting Pout Liquid Lipstick
I’m a sucker for a good lipstick, so I was pretty thrilled to get to try the new Melting Pout Gel Lipsticks from Covergirl. I have a small selection from the range, which from left to right, the shades are: 100 Gelebrity, 105 Gel-ful, 110 Evan-gel-ical, 130 – Don’t be Gelly, and 125 – Gell Yes. The product comes in a squeeze tube with a soft slanted sponge applicator, that applies slightly sheer – you need to swipe the product across your lips multiple times to build up the colour. This is something I personally really like, as sometimes all I’m after is a nice wash over my lips, but for the more pigmented red and berry shades, you’ll need to have a bit more precision with your application to ensure the pigment is spread evenly across your lips. These have a comfortable moisturising feel on the lips, and come across as a bit of a lip gloss and liquid lipstick hybrid – they had that slight stickiness that typically goes hand in hand with lip glosses. I did find that this does tend to feather and bleed into the skin around your lips, so it’s definitely one that you’ll want to apply after lining your lips first.

new in beauty rimmel hourglass r+co

Oribe Dry Texturising Spray
This is a product I feel like I’ve heard a lot about from the beauty community, but with a rather steep price tag, it’s taken me until now to snap up a bottle (and a travel size bottle at that!). I don’t tend to do a lot with my hair, I consider it to be relatively low maintenance, so this was a bit of a splurge, but I was so curious to find out if it really did live up to the hype, or if it was just a glorified dry shampoo.

I spray this onto my ends after I’ve styled my hair, and I find that it gives it a gritty texture that makes my hair appear ‘piece-y’. While I don’t love the way this this feels in my hair, I do love the way that it looks, and it’s definitely changed up the way that I do my hair every day. Verdict? It lives up to the hype, but given how splurge-worthy this is, I’ll be using it as sparingly as possible.

O&M Frizzy Logic Shine Serum
You might see a little bit of a theme here, but I went on a real hair care binge recently, and this was one of the products that really caught my eye. Being half-Greek, I definitely inherited my mum’s hair, which even at the best of times, can be pretty frizzy so anything that will combat that is gold in my books. This is a really lightweight serum that’s best applied when your hair damp or been towel dried. I run a generous amount through the ends and smooth it across my my roots where my hair tends to be the frizziest.

This definitely isn’t a cure all for my frizz, but I do find that it adds a healthy looking shine to my hair, in addition to smoothing it out a bit – plus it helps that no matter how much serum I apply (to wet or dry hair!) it never looks greasy.

R+Co Soft Wave Spray
This was something that I bought as a bit of an alternative to the Oribe Dry Texturising Spray. It still cost a pretty penny, but I’ve heard so much about R+Co of late, that I wanted to give something from the brand a try. I’ve used this a few times now and honestly, I’m not really sure where it fits into my hair care routine. I don’t like to blow dry my hair as it adds far too much fluffy volume (that I can’t get rid of!), so spraying this onto towel-dried hair is a bit of a no go for me. I tried it – albeit only once – and my hair had a sticky grit to it that I couldn’t shake, and I couldn’t style it at all. Essentially, it was a huge fail. I have sprayed this onto my ends a few times when my hair has been dry, and scrunched it up a little to mimic ‘beach’ waves, and while it doesn’t have the same effect as salty air-dried hair, it’s my preferred way of using this product. Not one I think I’ll be repurchasing.

How to get to fresh, dewy looking skin with makeup

clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review
clinique makeup review

When it comes to summer, I am all about fresh, dewy looking skin – the two just seem to go hand in hand, especially when you have a sun kissed glow (one of my favourite souvenirs of summer). But, sometimes, you have to fake it until you make it, which is where a few key beauty products come in.

Wearing J Crew polka dot top and RUBY earrings (similar here)

I was fortunate enough to be gifted with a very generous selection of staple beauty products from Clinique as part of the launch of their new Even Better Glow Foundation, so I did what any girl would, I applied it all to my face to see what I liked, what I loved, and what I probably won’t be reaching for much at all. I’ve been playing around with these products for a good six weeks now, so I’ve got a pretty good handle on the best way to apply them, and what’s going to work for me long-term. The results are fresh, dewy looking skin that work to enhance your natural beauty rather than conceal it, so read on to find out which products have come out on top.

BASE

I was lucky enough to get to attend a Master Class led by makeup artist Casey Gore, to celebrate the launch of Clinique’s newest foundation, the Even Better Glow Foundation. I was colour matched on site – something I’d highly recommend doing at a Clinique concession – to shade 12 (meringue). I’ve been putting this foundation to the test over the last 4-6 weeks, and not only is it the perfect match for my skin tone, but I’ve also been incredibly impressed with the foundation.

Unlike other foundations that I’ve tried, the Even Better Glow Foundation is loaded with Salicylic Acid and Vitamin C, two ingredients that work to improve the texture and appearance of your skin, and at the Master Class, we were challenged to use the foundation over 30 days, to see the effect that it had on our complexion.

Having sensitive skin by nature, I’m prone to rashes and eczema break outs if I’m not careful with what I’m applying to my face, so most days, I’m happy enough going foundation free, with a little blush or bronzer to add some (often much needed) warmth. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only did this foundation not cause any eczema breakouts, but I found my skin looked more luminous at the end of the 30 days, where usually such prolonged use of a foundation would have a more detrimental impact.

For application, I prefer to use either my fingers or a damp beauty sponge, as I find that these two methods result in natural looking skin, whereas applying the foundation with a brush can look a little ‘cakey’ – at least in my experience. The foundation provides sheer to medium coverage, and can be layered for a more flawless looking appearance, and with a fresh and dewy finish. Aside from the fact that this also has a bit of SPF in it – something that’s a great addition to any foundation – I love the glow that this gives me, and that feeling of being ‘lit from within’. The one thing worth noting though, is that you really need to ensure that you have your skin prepped before applying this – if you have dry skin, the foundation will pick that up over the course of the day, and cling to any dry patches – but it’s nothing a healthy dose of moisturiser can’t fix.

BRONZE, BLUSH & HIGHLIGHT

I’ve been a big fan of Clinique’s Chubby Sticks from way back; for many years the lip balms formed the base of my beauty stash, so it’s safe to say I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for them. But, I hadn’t really experimented when it came to the other Chubby Sticks on offer, namely the Cheek Colour Balm, the Sculpting Contour, and the Sculpting Highlight, though as I love a good cream beauty product, I was pretty excited to put these to the test. The premise of these is pretty simple, it’s a twist up tube style packaging that you can either apply directly to you skin, with your fingers, or with a brush.

So, let’s start with the Cheek Colour Balm, which I have in the shade 01 Amp’d Up Apple. This is oil-free, and feels really light on the skin. The colour is a very natural looking pink, that applies quite opaque on the skin but once blended out leaves a sheer wash of colour that adds a healthy looking glow to the cheeks. I’ve been applying three small dashes of this onto the apples of my cheeks and then blending up and towards my cheekbones with a stippling brush. It’s pretty subtle, though I think if you wanted a bit more colour you can really layer this up.

Next up is the Sculpting Contour, which I have in the shade 01 Curvy Contour. I will admit, when I first saw this, I was pretty intimidated by the colour. I’ve been using the Shade & Illuminate Duo from Tom Ford for years, but this is several notches darker, which can look a little intense when you first apply it to the skin. This doesn’t blend out quite as smoothly as the Cheek Colour Balm, as the product has a lot more pigment to it, so you do have to work at it with a fluffy brush to get a natural looking effect. Personally, I find that this is a little too warm to use as a contour, so instead I apply it like a cream bronzer, of which I adore the effect. It’s incredibly creamy, which makes it a dream to apply to the skin (I draw a line around my temples and at the tops of my cheekbones).

Perhaps the product I was most disappointed with (of the bunch, to be fair), is the Sculpting Highlight, which I have in the shade 02 Super Starlight. This is a champagne-toned highlight, which should suit most skin tones, and has that same creamy texture as the Sculpting Contour, whereas the Cheek Chubby Stick is a little more balmy. Where this falls short for me is the glitter; I’ve never been a fan of glittery highlights, so naturally this isn’t a product I’d gravitate towards since I prefer something that looks glossy on the cheekbones.

EYES & BROWS

Since I didn’t have an eyeshadow on hand, I applied some of the Sculpting Contour to my eyes for a wash of colour on the lids. Then I dove in with what’s actually become one of my current favourite products, the Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen. This has a really fine point which is perfect for creating a really sharp wing, and it also doesn’t budge or smudge at all over the course of the day – pretty much all the things I look for in a liquid eyeliner.

For my lashes, I applied the Lash Power Flutter-to-Full Mascara in 01 Black Onyx. This is a mascara that really surprised me. I’ve owned a few mascaras from Clinique in the past and I’ve always liked them, but this one really takes the cake. It coats the lashes with an almost fibrous substance, which makes them appear thicker and longer, and it’s seriously smudge proof. This has a twist up dial that you can adjust depending on how much you want to go ‘all out’ with your lashes. This is definitely worth picking up.

My brows have been getting a lot of attention this year, so the Superfine Liner for Brows (which I have in the shade Soft Brown), was right up my street. At the Master Class, Casey talked about how for natural looking brows, you really need to go with something that’s a little softer, and it’s advice I really took on board. I might have really dark brow hairs, but I don’t think I’d go any darker than Soft Brown in the product to get those fluffy, “my brows but better”. The nib on the twist up pencil is incredibly fine which makes it easy to draw fine hairs into any areas where your brows are looking a little sparse. I then use a spooly to soften the appearance of the product. Another thumbs up from me.

LIPS

Now I wouldn’t usually opt for a three step approach to my lips – a swipe of my favourite lip colour is usually enough – but with a lip liner, a lipstick and a gloss up my sleeve, I figured… why not?

I started with the Quickliner for Lips Intense in the shade 07 Intense Blush, which is a mid-toned pink with brown undertones. This is really creamy and incredibly easy to apply, and I think it’d look nice worn on the lips by itself as unlike the other two lip products, it has a more matte finish to it.

The lipstick I reached for is the Clinique Lip Colour & Primer in the shade 01 Nude Pop. I actually wore a lipstick from Clinique on my wedding day from this particular range, so I already knew I was a fan of the formula. It’s rich and creamy, applies smoothly to the lips without dragging, and wears off evenly – which for a nude or pink hued lipstick, isn’t really of much consequence plus it’s really easy to re-apply. Nude Pop has slightly mauve-y undertones whereas the shade I wore on my wedding day – Beige Pop – is slightly more of a true blush pink. All in all, it’s a nice lipstick with a velvet finish that is comfortable and moisturising on the lips.

Finally, the last product in this round up is the Chubby Plump & Shine Liquid Lip Plumping Gloss in 01 ‘Normous Nude. Now, quick caveat, I’ve mostly avoided gloss since I was an early teen, which if you grew up in Wellington like I did, it’ll be pretty obvious why (wind + gloss don’t mix). Additionaly, I don’t love having sticky feeling lips, yet consequently that’s something that comes hand in hand with lip gloss products in general. The applicator on this is a little unusual, it’s the same ‘Chubby Stick’ appearance, but it has a plastic applicator that disperses the product by twisting it out. I don’t love this method, and I found it was pretty difficult to judge how much product to disperse. The gloss itself has a milky-type appearance to it, and it adds a shine to the lips. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t right for me.

What is your secret to fresh, dewy looking skin? Is there anything else from Clinique that you would recommend I try?

hop & cotton: the customised skincare brand you need to know about

hop and cotton skincare review mademoiselle
hop and cotton skincare review mademoiselle
hop and cotton skincare review mademoiselle
hop and cotton skincare review mademoiselle
hop and cotton skincare review mademoiselle

Skincare; it’s one of the few facets of our lives that doesn’t have a ‘one size fits all approach’. What works for my skin, won’t necessarily work for yours, and vice versa. So, when I had the opportunity to learn about the recently launched fully customisable skincare brand*, hop & cotton, I jumped at the chance.

As someone who loves to try out new beauty products as much as the next girl, I have to tackle most additions to my skincare and beauty regime with caution – the wrong serum can have me breaking out in areas I’ve never had acne before, and a new lipstick that doesn’t agree with me is enough to flare up dermatitis on my face.

ABOUT HOP & COTTON

So, let’s talk a little bit about the brand, before I delve into the actual products I’ve incorporated into my skincare regime over the last month. At its very core, hop & cotton doesn’t compromise; it’s a brand that aims to deliver a fully customised skincare routine that is going to be just right for your skin – it’s a little bit of a Goldilocks approach. Founder Ee Ting is a molecular biologist, whose obsession with finding the perfect skincare products for her skin eventually led her to develop her own products which gave her the results that she had been chasing for years from traditional beauty brands.

Each product from hop & cotton is made to order, based on the results of a relatively quick online skin test, where you detail things such as your age, skin type (and any sensitivities) and texture preferences, which allows Ee Ting to formulate the most suitable products for you. It’s also worth noting that the entire range is free from ingredients such as sulphates, paragons, alcohol and artificial colours – many of which act as irritants for those with more sensitive skin. Also, while you can have natural fragrances such as jasmine added to your products, Ee Ting recommends a fragrance-free option, which is exactly what I chose for my customised regimen.

THE FOAM PARTY FACE CLEANSER

The immaculate cream-to-foam wash (RRP $58)
Key function: Cleanse, clarify and hydrate

This is a very gentle cream-to-foam face wash that is soap-free, fragrance-free, pH-balanced and non-drying (wow, that is a mouthful!). As much as I love a good balm cleanser, it always feels like a foam cleanser is doing more work, and the foam party cleanser from hop & cotton has proven to be a hard worker, without stripping the natural oils from my complexion. While I previously used to double cleanse, I find that this works a charm at removing all makeup residue from my face, including my signature cat-eye flick. I’ve been using this both morning and night as the first step in my skincare routine.

THE SMOOTH OPERATOR FACE EXFOLIANT

The indispensable skin retexturiser and perfector (RRP $88)
Key function: Renew, retexturise and refine

I’m a huge fan of toners, or facial exfoliants, as I feel that they tend to have the biggest impact on my skin. Now full disclosure, in the lead up to trying out these products from hop & cotton, I’d been road testing a few things from The Ordinary, many of which didn’t exactly agree with my skin, so it was in huge need of some TLC. The ‘smooth operator’ is essentially an exfoliating acid, similar to products like the Pixi Glow or BHA Skin Perfecting Acid from Paula’s Choice (both of which I love), so I was pretty sure from the get go that this was going to be something that got on well with my skin. It essentially works to alleviate blocked pores and retexture your complexion, and after using this three times a week since receiving it, I’ve noticed that my skin looks fresher, and the breakout I was experiencing across my cheeks is completely gone. My personal formula includes a mix of glycolic acid and salicylic acid (among others) – two ingredients that I’ve personally found have worked wonders on my skin. Another thing to note? The product is dispensed using a really neat push down pump which definitely comes in handy and means that you don’t waste a drop.

THE BRILLIANT ADVANCED FACE MOISTURISER

The fabulous face brightener (RRP $168)
Key function: Brighten, strengthen and prevent the first signs of aging

Finally, the ‘brilliant moisturiser’; the third and final step in the routine. I love the fact that this is an all encompassing product, acting not only as a moisturiser, but also as an eye cream and serum, though truth be told, I do still find myself reaching for my HG serums on the daily, even if purely out of habit. Perhaps the only gripe I have is that it doesn’t contain SPF, and living in a country where ensuring that you apply SPF to your face daily to protect against sun damage is a must, I generally like to use moisturisers with SPF in them. In saying that, this does protect against environment damage and works to prevent the first signs of aging, and depending on your personal formulation, can include niacinamide, a multi-tasking vitamin that improves skin tone, sallowness and the skin’s capacity to absorb moisture (unfortunately as chance would have it, it’s an irritant for my skin!).

THE CUSTOMISED SKINCARE APPROACH

As someone who has seen their own skin become more and more sensitised over the years, I’ve spent countless hours trying to self-diagnose my own skin concerns, and track down products that I think will resolve them. While I can never be entirely sure, it’s possible that some of these ‘off-the-shelf’ products I’ve introduced into my beauty routine over the years have done more harm than good.

One size doesn’t fit all, and being able to tailor my skincare to my complexion’s unique concerns has proven to be a huge asset. And while I love a good cult beauty product as much as the next girl, a little bit of customisation can be the difference between good skin and great skin.

The Ordinary by Deciem Skincare Review

the ordinary by deciem skincare review
the ordinary by deciem skincare review
the ordinary by deciem skincare review
the ordinary by deciem skincare review
the ordinary by deciem skincare review

With this year inching me ever so much closer to the big ‘3-0’, perhaps my biggest focus when it comes to beauty has been finding incredible – yet affordable – skincare that can not only give me a bright and fresh looking complexion, but help to combat those initial signs of aging. So when a girlfriend gave me the heads up about The Ordinary, I was pretty intrigued. Hardworking and concentrated skincare at a fraction of the price of their counterparts? Sign me up.

With each product ranging between $8.80-$24.90, it was a little too easy to go overboard. There aren’t many brands out there like The Ordinary that offer such targeted skincare at such accessible price points, and there’s no denying that Deciem have really hit the nail on the head when it comes to developing this fuss-free and affordable skincare range.

After putting what feels like the bulk of their products on rotation (ten in total), I wanted to share how they’ve fared, and if The Ordinary is really worth the hype.

Unlike most other skincare brands, The Ordinary has a much more stripped back approach. Each product is named solely for ingredients it contains, without much explanation for what it will do for your skin – so unless you’re a real science nerd or aren’t willing to put the research in, then this probably isn’t the skincare range for you. With each product in the line containing one or two key ingredients, this is well suited towards those who like to take a customized approach to their skincare regime.

The packaging is equally as minimal as the products themselves. Each serum comes in a 30ml dropper (except for the Salicylic Acid which comes in a 15ml dropper), in frosted bottles with clean, simple labeling. Personally, I prefer a dropper over a pump dispenser for products like this as it gives me greater control over how much product is dispensed, though it’s worth noting that if you’re not careful, the serums can drop down the sides and cake up (especially around the opening of the bottle). Conversely the toner comes in a large clear plastic bottle with a twist top – again allowing you to control how much you use with each application, and the moisturiser comes in a handy squeeze tube.

THE GREAT

Caffeine Solution 5% + ECGC

What is it? a caffeine-based serum that reduces the appears of dark circles and puffiness in the eye contour. This has two simple ingredients; caffeine, which firms, tightens and brightens, and a antioxidant ingredient found in green tea leaves called ECGC or ‘Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside’ (imagine trying to say that ten times fast).

How do I use it? This serum can be applied morning and night, as part of your evening skincare routine following toner but before moisturiser. Drop a small amount onto your fingertips and sweep across the eye contour.

My thoughts? Of all the products I tried, this – surprisingly – turned out to be one of my favourites. I’ve never suffered too badly from darkness underneath my eyes but I have more recently noticed a slight purple tinge in my inner eye area, and a puffiness on the outer edges of my eye contour, which I attribute to a combination of aging and lack of sleep. I have been applying this religiously both morning and night and noticed a visible difference; my under eye area appears brighter and puffiness is far less pronounced. Basically I look a lot less tired than I did a month ago.

Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

What is it? Salicylic Acid is a beta-hydroxy acid which penetrates the skin to fight against clogged pores and clear congestion. Basically it’s an exfoliating serum that works well for those who have acne or blemish-prone skin.

How do I use it? Depending on your skincare needs this can be applied topically to any blemishes, or on areas that are prone to breakouts. You can use this morning and night, but it’s best not to apply if you have sensitive or peeling skin. I tend to use this for both purposes; if my skin feels like it’s breaking out, I will apply this generally across my cheeks, nose, and the outer edges of my face, alternatively I’ve also reached for this as a bit of a spot treatment to help calm down any visible blemishes.

My thoughts? Again, this is another really strong product, and one that not only I, but my husband have both enjoyed using. It’s a lot more concentrated that any cleansers with salicylic acid as an ingredient, and from my experience I’ve found it to be quite effective, particularly when used in combination with a glycolic toner to clear up any break outs. Unlike the other serums I picked up, the Salicylic Acid comes in a 15ml dropper, so this isn’t something that’s going to be hanging around on your beauty shelf for too long. Thankfully The Ordinary is reasonably priced – a replacement bottle will set you back less than the price of two morning coffees. Safe to say I already have a back up bottle stashed away in my cupboard…

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

What is it? Hyaluronic Acid is an incredibl molecule that can attract up to 1000 times its weight in water. Essentially, it acts as a conduit to amplify the hydration of your skin, replenishing moisture and plumping your complexion.

How do I use it? You can either apply this directly to your skin (before all serums and moisturisers), or add a few drops into your moisturiser as a final step, both morning and night.

My thoughts? Again this is another really strong product in the lineup, and one that I surprisingly really fell in love with. I’ve always found my complexion to be on the conbination/oily side, however during winter, I tend to ramp up my skincare to incorporate some added hydration – it’s something that my skin drinks right up. This was a really great addition to that routine, which I primarly used in combination with the Face Hero from Go-To Skincare. After a week, my skin looked fresher, plumper, and more hydrated than it had in months. Safe to say this one will be a regular in my skincare lineup.

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

What is it? A Glycol Acid based toner which gently exfoliates the surface of the skin. The Tasmanian Pepperberry reduces the irritation that use of acids such as this can cause, and the addition of Aloe Vera and Ginseng have soothing properties.

How do I use it? Use this only in the evening, after cleansing your skin – the alpha hydroxy acid can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so it’s best to avoid this in the morning, and even better, make sure you’re wearing sunscreen during the day. Saturate a cotton pad and then sweep this across your face (I also like to bring it down my neck where I occasionally have breakouts); while it goes without saying, don’t use this around your eye area.

My thoughts? As a toner, I really have enjoyed using this. It’s no Pixi Glow Tonic (which always seems so horrendously difficult to track down!), but it’s a really strong contender and even though it contains Glycolic Acid, I’ve found this to work harmoniously with my sensitive skin. Not to mention the huge amount of product that you get, and the excellent nozzle closure, which not only means that you can use up every last drop of this product, but that you can very easily control the amount that you disperse onto a cotton pad.

Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

What is it? Despite it’s much more technical name, this is essentially a lightweight and non-greasy moisturiser. This has the added benefit of Hyaluronic Acid, which helps to boost your skin’s ability to absorb and retain moisture.

How do I use it? This one is pretty straightforward… all over your face morning and night.

My thoughts? Even though I have combination skin, I absolutely love this moisturiser. Given how intensely hydrating this is both due to the natural factors and hyaluronic acid, it’s surprisingly lightweight, and has a non-greasy texture, leaving my complexion feeling soft (and hydrated!). Living in a city which typically tends to become quite humid in the summer months, I feel like this would be a great option as once applied, it literally feels like there is nothing on your skin. It absorbs very quickly. A little does go a long way – and I suspect that this would be great for those who suffer from dry skin, but prefer not to use anything to heavy to take in that moisture.

THE BAD (FOR MY SKIN TYPE)

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

What is it? A water-based serum that promises to reduce the appearance of blemishes, redness, enlarged pores and oily skin. The active ingredient, Niacinamide, is a vitamin that actively reducing congestion and is has blemish-fighting properties.

How do I use it? This is best used morning and night before all other skin treatments and serums, however it’s advised that you should avoid using this at the same time as any products containing vitamin C (ie retinoids and products with asorbic acid).

My thoughts? This is one of the products I was most excited about. Since moving to Australia, I’ve noticed that my skin tone is no longer even, and as a sufferer of dermatitis, I’d hoped that this might help to combat some redness I’d been experiencing around the centre of my face. Unfortunately, this one of the of products that broke me out. Terribly. After a lot of research, I came to the conclusion that this wasn’t ‘purging’ (if that is really a thing), but more my skin adversely reacting to the product. The break outs were focused predominantly across the centre of my face, across my cheeks and a little on my forehead. As someone who has never had acne on her cheeks – aside from the minor blemish – this just didn’t seem right to me. And I don’t think I’m the only one – a number of only forums and reviews all pointed towards the same result, so this is one product I know I’ll be steering clear of, and would advise using with caution. This is clearly a care of this not being right for my skin type, as I’ve also read many reviews which hail praises to the efficacy of this serum (I just wish it had worked for me!).

Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%

What is it? This is a hyper-concentrated acid which acts to improve skin tone and texture. The key ingredient, Alpha Lipoic Acid, is an antioxidant which renews the appearance of your complexion and also has anti-aging properties.

How do I use it? Given how concentrated this one is, it’s recommended that you use this up to two times per week. Apply this after toning, by dispersing a couple drops to your skin and sweeping the product across your face (avoiding the eye contour).

My thoughts? The warnings suggest that this shouldn’t be used on irritated or sensitive skin should have been a pretty strong indicator that this wasn’t going to be one for me. Unlike many of the other products, I only tried this a couple times; I suffer from eczema on my face and tend to have more sensitive skin, which typically makes me wary against using products which contain very strong active ingredients. I found that this had a burning sensation which took a considerable amount of time to dissipate. In terms of its effect, I didn’t notice any change in my complexion but clearly I haven’t tested this long enough to be able to share my feedback on its efficacy.

Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%

What is it? Simply speaking, this is a chemical exfoliator. Lactic Acid is a alpha-hydroxy acid which is meant to be less irritating than glycolic acid, and a great option for those prone to hyper pigmentation. The active ingredients resurface the skin and promote the renewal of new cells, for a brighter, and more even complexion.

How do I use it? Use this one at night before applying oils and moisturisers; pop a couple drops onto your fingertips and sweep across your face. This takes a few minutes to absorb so let it work its magic before continuing with your skincare routine.

My thoughts? Clearly, I went pretty hard on the exfoliating acids with this order, and surprisingly, I found that this had an adverse effect on my skin. Lactic Acid is generally milder than Glycolic Acids, however similarly to the Niacinamide, this broke me out. Not one I would repurchase, but clearly, I don’t have the right skin type for it.

THE ORDINARY

100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

What is it? A natural moisturising and non-greasy facial oil, which has properties that can reduce the signs of sun damage and restore skin ton.

How do I use it? Typically, oils are best used at night. Apply this after toner and either before or as a replacement for moisturiser.

My thoughts? Loaded with beneficial fatty acids, Rosehip oil is great for those with dry, and sensitive skin. Given my skin is on the oily side, I find this can be a little bit rich for my complexion (and the scent isn’t my favourite…) but it definitely does the job. This is on par with many other cold-pressed Rosehip Oils on the market, and at a reasonable price point so a good option if you want to try incorporating this into your skincare routine, and want a more affordable option.

High Spreadability Fluid Primer

What is it? A silicone-based primer which promises to help makeup spread evenly, while also acting as a surface hydrator for your skin.

How do I use it? After applying moisturiser but before applying makeup. This acts as a base for all your beauty products.

My thoughts? This reminds me a lot of silicone-based primers from brands like Benefit and Smashbox. The texture is very silky and smooth, however I did find that it can be a little tricky to apply; the formula is very runny and often drips off the dropper, and once smoothed across your skin, that slippy texture takes hold on your fingertips (making it nearly impossible to open any makeup products!). This is a take it or leave it kind of product for me – I don’t wear primer often, but if you do for longevity or just to enhance your makeup application, then this is a good option, not only due to the price. One thing worth mentioning is that this primer does need time to set. If you apply product too quickly over the top, it will ball up leaving an undesireable texture on your skin.

FINAL THOUGHTS

As you can see, I’ve had a lot more *hits* than misses, and overall, I’m really impressed with The Ordinary. While this probably goes without saying, I’d never expect every product from a skincare brand to work magic on my skin – we all have different needs, and one of the things that I’ve loved about trying out their products, is how this gave me so much flexibility and freedom to take a more customised approach to my skincare routine. I’m yet to see any other brands on the market which offer such effective products for even close to the same price, and its accessibility makes it worth trying out a couple of products for curiosity’s sake (which might even become skincare staples on regular use). All products in their line up are vegan and cruelty free, which in itself are reason enough to give The Ordinary a second look.

Simply put, The Ordinary is skincare that is far from ordinary, and while a few products won’t be making their way back in my beauty cabinet, there’s a few heroes from the bunch that have cemented themselves in my daily skincare routine.

Go-To Skincare by Zoe Foster-Blake Review

go-to skincare review zoe foster-blake
go-to skincare review zoe foster-blake
go-to skincare review zoe foster-blake
go-to skincare review zoe foster-blake

If there’s one thing I’ve really been paying attention to this year, it’s been looking after my skin, and with that, finding the perfect morning and evening skincare routine that addresses all my complexions needs. So when I discovered Go-To Skincare, I was immediately taken with their approach to looking after our skin: pure ingredients, free of nasty chemicals, and safe for acne-prone and sensitive skin. Founded by former beauty editor Zoe Foster-Blake, you won’t find chemicals like palm oil, petrochemicals, PEGs, mineral oils, parabens, sulfates, silicones, GMOs, synthetic colours or fragrance in their products, and they’re committed to being cruelty free – absolutely no testing on animals. Safe to say that this all had me pretty intrigued.

I’m always a little hesitant about trying new skincare products. As someone who suffers from dermatitis and eczema on my face, I have to really take care of what I’m applying to my skin – a huge reason why I’ve scaled back my daily makeup routine, but more on that another time. So I’ve started off small with the four products from Go-To Skincare that you see above; the Pinkey-Nudey Lips!, the Super Handy Hand Cream, the Very Useful Face Cream, and the Face Hero.

Aside from the fact that each item is packaging #goals (a total peach dream that I wouldn’t blame you for buying solely for the packaging alone…), I was really curious to see if they would live up to the hype – and the extremely positive customer reviews featured on the site.

First, let’s start off with the Pinkey-Nudey Lips! I suffer from extremely dry lips, and it’s always more severe during the colder months of the year. There aren’t too many lip balms out there which I find actually hydrating (most tend to be waxy or balmy and sit on top of my lips), but this is nourishing, has a slightly wet slippy feel for a considerable amount of time following application, and I love the subtle peachy pink tint, which adds some much-needed colour to my lips. I also love that this has SPF 15, which makes it a good contender for the summer when I try to be as sun smart as I possibly can. This has been alternating between sitting on my night stand, and next to my keyboard for those times when I’m working in my study – which is a pretty good indicator that the Pinkey-Nudey Lips! is finding itself a home as one of my go-to beauty pick-me-ups!

Next up is the Super Handy hand cream; I have to say I was pretty quick to judge this product. I tried it a few times and couldn’t get past how rich and thick this hand moisturiser actually is. It promises a formula that is non-greasy, and while on initial application you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s not going to live up to this promise, this sinks in so quickly that within less than 60 seconds you have smooth, dry hands. For the longest time I’ve had this hand cream from L’Occitane on heavy rotation, but after using the Super Handy hand cream for the last six weeks, it’s safe to say I have a new favourite – it’s definitely a product that lives up to the hype. I feel like this would also work wonders on those with incredibly dry hands, as with frequent use it’s only a matter of time before your hands will be softer than the hands of an Aesop Sales Assistant.

My skin tends to get pretty dry during winter (I typically have combination/oily skin) so I was pretty excited to try the Very Useful Face Cream, though this turned out to be a little different to what I was expecting. It’s an incredibly rich and heavy moisturiser, that takes about ten minutes or so to sink into the skin, so I’ve taken to using this once every few days as an intensive moisturising treatment (if this is even a thing!). It contains shea butter and beeswax – two slightly more unusual ingredients for a facial moisturiser – which is what I would put that rich thickness down to, which also has the tendency to initially leave your face looking and feeling a little greasy. I feel like this is a product which is more suited to those with dry skin, as it’s certainly a little too much for someone with my skin type to be reaching for on a daily basis (and I wouldn’t consider using this during the day!). This does also smell absolutely amazing, and I love that it’s a squeezy tube style moisturiser – makes it easier to get to all the product inside!

The hero of the bunch has hands down been the Face Hero, which admittedly was the one product I was most apprehensive about trying. Mostly down to that age old myth that applying an oil to my face will cause breakouts, though that definitely isn’t the case with this facial oil. I use the popette to pop three to four drops on my finger tips, which I’ve then been massaging into my cheeks, across my nose and my forehead, morning and night. Before I made this part of my daily routine, my skin felt slightly rough and always like it was craving a bit of moisture. After less than a week of using Go-To Skincare’s Face Hero, my complexion felt noticeably softer, and it no longer looked dehydrated. Safe to say this has been a total game changer, and a product I’m going to be repurchasing to keep tucked away in my beauty stash.

Overall, I’ve been really pleased with these new additions to my skincare stash, and it’s really only left me even more interested in trying out the rest of the products in the Go-To Skincare range, specifically the Properly Clean Foaming Cleanser and the Exfoliating Swipeys. Have you tried anything from Go-To Skincare? And what did you think? x