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Empties #16

I’ve used up some beauty products again and I thought I’d share with you a bit more on them.

Skincare and Makeup Products

L’Oréal Micellar Water for Sensitive and Dry Skin – I got a big bottle of this one, hoping it would be very good, especially considering it’s meant to be suitable even for sensitive skin. Unfortunately, it stings my eyes, it’s tough to remove mascara (although I try not to use micellar water around my eyes) and it leaves some residue on the skin. I always wash my face after taking my makeup off but it’s just not a pleasant feeling;
Clarins Anti-Pollution Cleansing Milk – This, on the other hand, is really mild yet effective and simply lovely to use. It has a beautiful and delicate scent, it doesn’t irritate my eyes, feels soft on the skin and the mini was great for travelling;
Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel – One of my favourite cleansing gels at the moment. It’s soap-free, it’s suitable for blemish-prone skin, it can be used on both, face and body and you can read more details on my experience with the product here;
Avène Thermal Spring Water – This summer has been so hot and I really like it but it’s been a bit too much for my skin. This thermal water is not only cooling but also soothing and refreshing. I’ve used up more than 4 bottles of it in the past few months and now I’m halfway through a huge one that would probably be the last one for the season. I just don’t seem to reach for thermal water sprays in the colder months or at least not so often;
La Roche-Posay Serozinc – Another mist but this time specially designed to help healing blemishes and mattifying the skin. I’ve mentioned so many times that I love this product, it’s been featured on my blog multiple times and I will keep repurchasing it;
Balea Active Charcoal Sheet Mask – This is my favourite affordable sheet mask for days when I need ingredients like Salicylic Acid and Zinc. It’s lovely to use, it helps reducing the redness caused by blemishes, it also heals them a lot quicker and I always try to have a few of this sheet mask in my skincare stash;
Origins Flower Fusion Raspberry Sheet Mask – The Flower Fusion Sheet Masks are still not mentioned much in the community but in case you’re curious about them, I shared my opinion and experience here. The Raspberry one is probably my favourite of all because it’s perfect for my combination skin, it’s really refreshing and contains vitamins and antioxidants;
Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Serum – This is one of my favourite budget-friendly hydrating serums although there’s another one I like just a little bit more. This is my second bottle of it, I think I purchased about 5 when I was in London simply because I can find it only in the UK. My skin is hydrated, plump and radiant when I’m using this little gem;
Eucerin DermoPURIFYER Day Cream – I haven’t talked about this cream in a long time but it still must be the one that holds the record for being in Empties posts the most. I can use it in the summer or winter and it will still be effective. It’s soothing, hydrating without being greasy, absorbs quickly, regulates sebum production and I’d recommend checking it out if you have oily/combination and blemish-prone skin;
Estée Lauder Revitalising Supreme + – This is just a beautiful product. The mini of 15 ml is great for travelling but it actually lasts a really long time. The cream visibly makes the skin look smoother, more radiant and firm. Sometimes it can be a bit too rich for my skin but mum has dry skin and she absolutely loves it;
Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra Comforting Night Cream – Another product that is actually mum’s but I occasionally steal and use when my skin is very dry and dehydrated. The texture is rich, so I don’t use a lot on my combination skin but it’s still enough to make me look more fresh on the next day. It feels nourishing and leaves the skin plump and soft, I also love the scent because it’s nice but not too overpowering;
Vichy Dermablend Corrective Resurfacing Active Foundation 16HR and Fluid Corrective Foundation 16HR – Both of these are great for covering acne or scarring, redness, blemishes. I’m happy I had the chance to try both although the first one is too thick for me, it’s just heavy and difficult to work with on my skin, it feels more like a mousse and the shades look a bit too dark. The fluid one is a foundation I’m thinking about getting full size of because it’s really easy to use, it has great coverage although I don’t usually wear such high coverage bases and it just hides everything I would want to hide when I have bad skin days;
Dior Forever Cushion – I love Dior Forever range, the Forever fluid foundation is my all-time favourite foundation, it’s brilliant and I can talk about it for days. Its cushion for came in handy during my travels, it has different texture but it’s still long-lasting. You can read more here but the only thing I didn’t like is the fact that it didn’t last very long. It’s quite pricey and I like that you can purchase a refill but I wish it lasted longer;
Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara – I think this is a second tube of this mascara I’ve used up although it’s not my favourite one. And that is simply because the formula is too wet for my taste. I don’t hate it, I quite like it because it makes my lashes fluttery but there’s just something missing;
Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara Ultra BlackBourjois have amazing mascaras and this is great one, it gives me volume, separation, length and it’s super black;

Body Products

Lancôme La Vie Est Belle Shower Gel and Body Lotion Travel Duo – I love the fragrance, I have several of its variations and this mini duo was part of a set along with the perfume. The whole bathroom remained fragranced with this beautiful scent every time I used the two products and I really enjoyed the experience;
KICKS Lemongrass Sugar Scrub with Argan Oil – One of my favourite body scrubs. In case you want to read more about it, take a look at this blog post;
Yves Rocher Cranberry and Almond Body Lotion – This body lotion was part of the brand’s Christmas collection last year and it took me a long time to use it up because I always seemed to find myself applying other body moisturisers. Not that I didn’t like this one but it can be a bit too light sometimes when my skin is more dry and dehydrated;
Clinique Mineral Sunscreen Body Lotion SPF 30 – This is my second bottle of this sunscreen, I loved using it every summer morning when I had to go out in the garden and take care of the kitties we adopt. Most of them have health issues and summer is the best time to enjoy some outdoor activities with the little cuties. This sunscreen is physical, so I don’t need to wait for it to work after 20 or more minutes. I just apply it and I’m good to go. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it stains my clothes a bit;
Alverde Calendula Hand Cream – I picked up this hand cream randomly one day because my hands felt really dry and I was passing by a drugstore. It ended up being pretty nice, I love calendula products because they are very soothing and also antiseptic. The tube is quite small, so it’s also great for the handbag;
L’Occitane Pivoine Flora Hand Cream – Another miniature hand cream. I love L’Occitane hand creams and Peony scent is my favourite along with their Cherry Blossom one because they are delicate and feminine. The texture of their creams is lightweight but nourishing and absorbs quickly while the fragrance lingers around the whole room around you.

These are my recent empties and I hope you’re having a beautiful Sunday!

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August Favourites

This is probably my first monthly favourites post that includes only skincare products! Ok, one of them can be seen as both, skincare and makeup item but as I’m still trying to find a way to bring back my skin to its normal condition, I haven’t been using that much makeup lately.

When you’re not really sure what’s going on with your skin and feel like crying, the key word must be “calming”. I’ve mentioned in my previous blog posts that I had a bad reaction to sunscreen and in addition to that, the high temperatures caused me blocked pores, so I’m dealing with something like a rash/sun allergy and still can’t seem to be able to tackle that. Not even the topical antibiotics have helped, so far.

My skincare has been quite minimal these past few weeks. I don’t want my skin to get even more stressed out and as much as I’d like to use acids a few times a week, the only two I’ve been reaching for are Salicylic Acid and Lactic Acid. To gently exfoliate my skin, I’ve been relying mostly on this budget-friendly Zdrave Acne Stop Enzyme Peeling Mask. Enzymes provide a bit softer and lighter exfoliation but still unclog pores, even out the complexion and remove dead skin cells.  Enzyme exfoliants have anti-inflammatory properties and are suitable even for sensitive skin (not always, sadly but that needs a bit more time to be discussed). This mask contains Papaya and Pineapple Enzymes and soothing ingredients such as D-Panthenol and Vitamin PP. I use it a couple of times a week, it’s very easy, I cleanse my skin and then apply a thin layer of the mask all over my face and neck, avoiding the eye area, leave it on for about 5-10 minutes and then simply wash it off with lukewarm water. My skin feels fresh, soft and smooth afterwards.

In this blog post I shared with you my current favourite soap-free cleansing gels which are both affordable, as well. I love the Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel for Face and Body (this is a new bottle, I’ve used up a couple already) because it calms my skin, doesn’t leave it feeling tight and I love it as my morning cleanse. It contains Zinc Gluconate to calm the irritation and Avène Thermal Spring Water to soothe my troubled skin. If you have oily/combination and blemish-prone skin, I’d highly recommend giving this one a go.

There a couple of mists that I’m using at the moment as toners but also as facial sprays during the day. The Serozinc from La Roche-Posay is an old favourite of mine, I use it to heal blemishes quicker and to mattify my skin without drying it out. It’s once again soothing and calming and I’m incredibly happy I can now find it in my home country. My love for floral waters is no secret by now but a couple of months ago, I tried the Damascena Juniper Water for the first time in my life. It has a delicate natural scent, it feels very soft on the skin and it tones oily skin, prone to imperfections. I love how refreshing, calming and still purifying it feels. The only downside is the actual spray but these waters seem to always have such harsh sprays, so most of the time, I’d saturate a cotton pad and swipe it all over my face.

I received this miniature Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturising Lip Colour Balm in Super Strawberry as a complimentary gift with a purchase, it’s a very popular product from the brand and I’ve been carrying it around with me all the time. The rosy colour brightens up my face without being too obvious, it’s sheer and has subtle sheen that looks very pretty. The formula is fragrance-free and contains Mango Butter and Shea Butter, it’s really nourishing and soft on the lips. I love Clinique and their lip products and skincare, this is a combination of both and it’s simply amazing.

Simple and soothing, these are the words to describe my August favourites and I’m hoping for better luck with my skin in September. Hope yours is doing muuch better than mine!

Two Soap-Free Cleansing Gels for Oily/Combination Skin That Won’t Break the Bank

We might be approaching fall but those of us with oily/combination skin that is prone to imperfections know that it still reacts to the summer temperatures.

Everyone has individual preferences but when it comes to face washes, I try to use gentle ones that will calm my skin while purifying it. I use different types of cleansers and cleansing gels are some of my favourites in the summer because they feel lightweight and can be used as a morning cleanse or as a refreshing step in the evening routine. I never use them to take my makeup off because I leave this to creams and oils after I remove most of it with micellar water.

I’ve been loving the Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel for Face and Body and Zdrave Acne Stop Cleansing Gel (Здраве Акне Стоп in Bulgarian) for the past few months, they’re both suitable for face and body and sometimes when I’m away for just a couple of days, I’d use them as body washes, as well.
These cleansing gels are designed for oily/combination and blemish-prone skin, they’re affordable, non-drying and they have some features in common but there are also differences.

Sadly, Zdrave Acne Stop Cleansing Gel is not available in many countries and when I got it, I didn’t have any expectations. I was even a bit sceptical but the ingredients list is great for such an affordable product. It contains Zinc PCA to moisturise the skin while regulating the sebum production, Niacinamide to improve the skin barrier performance and to minimise redness and hyperpigmentation, Salicylic Acid and Lactic Acid. Both of these acids are great for my skin, so that was the main reason why I picked up this cleanser and I don’t regret it even for a second. It doesn’t foam, it just slightly lathers, it feels gentle on the skin and leaves it purified without being stripped. The only downside I find is that the gel has fragrance and I wish it was fragrance-free although it doesn’t irritate my skin. The formula is paraben-free and I find that this product mattifies my skin a bit. I wouldn’t say this would be a real saviour if you suffer from severe acne but it’s a brilliant face wash for blemish-prone skin during those hot summer days.

I usually purchase about 5-6 of these 100 ml Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel bottles, as they’re travel-friendly and I always get a huge discount when I order them. This is another face wash that calms my skin and doesn’t leave it feeling tight. Unfortunately, this is not a fragrance-free one either.
The key ingredients are Monolaurin that reduces excess oil, Zinc Gluconate that calms redness and irritation and Avène Thermal Spring Water to soothe, soften and calm the skin.
Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel feels very refreshing, I love using it in the morning and works great paired with the brand’s thermal water spray.

Both of these cleansers are fantastic for my troubled skin at the moment, you may have noticed my pessimistic thoughts in some of my recent posts and I’m really glad I found these two cleansing gels. They don’t leave my skin squeaky clean, it’s cleansed but not dry, itchy or flaky. Both are soap-free but both have one downside, as well – they are not fragrance-free. For me, personally, it is not the biggest problem but if you have really sensitive skin, you should have that in mind.
I’d highly recommend checking these cleansers out if you have oily/combination skin and if you can find them. Avène should also have samples in case you don’t want to buy the full size straight away.

 

Hair & Body Bits | Summer 2017

We often talk about skincare and makeup products we use during the summer but it seems that body and hair ones can be a bit neglected sometimes. Summer’s still here and my intentions are to keep enjoying it before the lack of sun comes upon us. The products I’m featuring today are great for the hot days because they combine the joy of pampering yourself and the care we need in the summer. Of course, I use some of them in the rest of the months, as well but I really love them for the season now.

Starting off with a face mist that I’m actually using on my body. Sun protection is very important all year round and especially in the summer. I’ve been away from Norway this year and I’ve been lucky to have a proper summer with over 38°C which can be very dangerous, too. Pixi Sun Mist SPF 30 is actually meant to be used on the face. It’s a very lightweight milky mist that I tried to use once on my face but it just sits a bit too shiny on my combination skin. Instead, I’ve been loving topping up the sunscreen on my arms when I’m out and about in the city. I don’t usually expose myself in the sun much but I love having this spray bottle in my handbag to be able to reapply the mist a few times a day. It’s only 80 ml, so it’s great for travelling, as well, it lasts a really long time, it’s very easy to apply and doesn’t feel sticky or unpleasant. The sun mist is formulated with Chamomile and Bamboo Extracts, has a lovely subtle scent and I love that it doesn’t leave streaks even on my black clothes.

And while we’re on the mists topic, I’d like to mention the Avène Thermal Spring Water. I have all sizes of it in every room and handbag, I use it on my face and body all the time. It’s very soothing and cooling, I also love spritzing it before applying my facial and body oils so that they can spread more evenly.
One of these oils is the Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Body Oil which I shared with you last month in this post. It’s a special gift from my better half while we were on holiday and it’s a great way to moisturise your body even if you don’t like doing it in the summer. This body oil is a treat and it’s a great pleasure to use, the texture is beautiful, the scent is warm and sultry, it’s simply divine.

I’ve been trying many new hair products in the past few months but there are a couple that are my absolute favourites. I’m thinking about preapring a separate blog post on this Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Shampoo because there’s a lot I can say about it. I didn’t know I could find Living Proof products around me but one day I went into a lovely store, noticed the brand and picked up this shampoo, they also had the cutest Living Proof minis. This shampoo gives my hair amazing shine and body, tames the frizz and my scalp loves it. It’s really gentle because it’s sulphate-free but lathers up quite well, so you don’t end up feeling like you haven’t washed your hair. It actually cleanses my hair thoroughly but without stripping it. I noticed that many people hate the smell, I really like it, it reminds me of Aura Botanica by Kérastase but it’s a personal preference, so go give it a sniff first in case you’re interested.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I coloured my hair for the first time this year and I was lucky to be able to test out a product that is now one of my favourite ones out there. Kérastase Soleil Aqua Seal* is a fluid cream for sun-exposed, sensitised, colour-treated hair. It comes with a pump which makes it really easy to dispense the right amount of product, it’s very lighweight and doesn’t leave my hair sticky, it also smells incredible. I use the CC Cream from the range, as well but I’d like to think that Aqua Seal* is my hair serum because it makes my hair very strong, shiny, soft, smooth and nourished. In the summer my hair tends to get ginger/red tones because of the sun but this year, it looks totally different and I wish I knew about this product before.

I love all of these products and I feel like I’ve found the perfect summer bits this year. I’m curious to know more about your summer body and hair essentials.

*PR Sample

June Favourites

Waking up in Rome on a special date for me and my family, feeling incredibly tired and excited at the same time, makes me wonder if some days are indeed real.
But when it comes to beauty, I can’t wait for Sephora, KIKO and all the charming little shops they have around here. I’m looking forward to trying new products in July, especially skincare because summer is the time to find items that keep the shine away from my T-zone but without drying out my skin.

However, it’s still June and this is what I’ve been loving the most in the past few weeks.
Last month, I shared with you how much I love spritzing the La Roche-Posay thermal water before applying Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I’ve used up the mini of the water I had and went back to an old favourite, Avène Thermal Spring Water. I have several at home and one in my handbag, it’s a must-have in the summer for me. It’s very gentle and feels incredibly soothing, I love how cooling it is after sun exposure and how hydrated my skin feels afterwards. The mist is so fine and a true pleasure to use. The thermal water can be used on irritations, rashes, sunburn and it’s great to have a bottle of it. I don’t use it as a toner but just to freshen up and hydrate the skin throughout the day or before applying facial oils so that they spread evenly and work their magic even better.

The Eucerin DermoPURIFYER Active Concentrate is not a new product for me and I’ve featured it several times in favourites posts. I’ve gone through so many bottles of it and I will keep repurchasing. If there is one product that can keep my combination skin blemish-free in the summer, leaving it hydrated, soft and luminous, it must be this lightweight milky serum. It absorbs almost instantly and you don’t really feel it but you start seeing results a few days later. I don’t hear people talking about it but it’s worth having a look at it if you have similar skin type.

The last few weeks have been time for trying to find a good face or face and body sunscreen in a spray form. But they’re just too oily for my face. Bioderma MAX SPF 50+ aerosol spray is supposed to be completely transparent and without the need to be applied with hands and patted onto the skin. First of all, the spray has visible yellow tint and second, you can’t just spray it on the skin and leave it there, you need to spread it evenly using hands. I don’t really think these are negatives, just the promises aren’t true to what the product is.
The spray can be used on face and body, I’m not so brave to apply it on my face because the product is very oily but my mum likes to top up her SPF when she is in the garden and applies Bioderma MAX SPF 50+ on her face and arms and her skin looks amazing with it. I use it mostly on my arms because I don’t sunbathe anyway but need the protection when I’m at home where we have proper summer and the yellow tint I mentioned makes my skin look so glowy and kind of tanned. I’m adding this product to my favourites because it’s easy to use throughout the day when you have to reapply your sunscreen, it makes the skin look very pretty and I have to say, mum’s skin looks better and better each day after using it. I still don’t think I’d try it on my face but the results on her make me consider doing it.

One of the most popular products from the drugstore brand Catrice is their Camouflage Cream Concealer in a pot. I’ve been meaning to try their Liquid Camouflage for so long but whenever I’m near a Catrice counter, it’s sold out. I have very dark circles under my eyes and I’m always on the hunt for the best concealer that can hide them. The Liquid Camouflage has great coverage, in fact, much better than many of the highend concealers, it stays on for hours, it’s creamy and dries to a matte finish.
The downside is definitely the shade range, I often find myself mixing the shades. Also, the applicator picks up a lot of product and in my opinion, it’s better to apply thin layers of this concealer, as it can look heavy, cakey and even dry.
But I haven’t used another concealer since I got this one and I really like it, I’d recommend it to anyone, not only if you’re on a budget, it’s just a great concealer and the secret is to find the best way for yourself to apply it.

Recently, I dear friend of mine sent to me amazing goodies that I’ve been using ever since. Lumene is one of the most popular Finnish brands and their Nordic Chic range is meant to have all the staples you’d need to put in your makeup bag. I love the classic look of this Moisturising Lipstick and the shade 3 Spring Beauty is the perfect everyday colour but with a twist. I’m not sure what the finish of the rest of the lipsticks is but this one has a slight metallic sheen to it, it’s not too out there, it’s definitely visible but not too metallic and looks quite interesting but still wearable at the same time. I really like it, I don’t have anything like this in my collection and I’ve been using it almost every day since I got it. The formula contains Argan Oil, so the lipstick feels moisturising indeed and smells almost like a MAC lipstick.
Another great beauty item that came from my lovely friend is this Colourpop Super Shock Shadow in Sunset Blvd. This satin golden bronze beauty is fantastic for the summer months and as you probably already know, the texture is a dream to work with. Although I don’t wear eyeshadows on a daily basis, now I feel like I need all the Colourpop eyeshadows.

The fragrance I always seem to be repurchasing is definitely Lancôme La Vie Est Belle. It reminds me of a special trip with my better half and because of this memory, I keep getting the EDT version. But a few weeks ago, I decided to pick up the EDP and the scent took me back to wonderful days. This one is slightly more intense and longwearing on me and although I still prefer the EDT version a bit more, I’m simply in love with this sweet, feminine, powdery scent. It’s beautiful and lovely to use in the summer.

These are my favourite beauty bits for the month of June and I can’t wait for skincare and makeup shopping in July!