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March Favourites

Spring is upon us and although it’s still quite cold outside, sunshine finally shows up and puts a smile on my face. March has been filled with good and bad surprises but I’m trying to think of our trip to Lisbon. I felt so calm and relaxed there and I’d be really happy to go back one day.

Speaking of Portugal, I did quite a bit of unplanned beauty shopping but unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to try most of the new items yet. In case you haven’t seen the haul post, it’s here.

My favourite beauty products of the month are a mix of some skincare, fragrance and a makeup product. Most of them are minis because they’re really easy to take when you’re travelling, so I’ve been mainly using travel size products.

Starting off with a skincare item that I was very curious about but didn’t have any expectations. I’ve heard so many different opinions on the Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner, from people sharing how it had dried out their skin to others saying how the texture of their skin had been transformed into a beautiful and smooth, glowy and poreless canvas, that I didn’t know what to expect. My experience is a little bit different. I don’t have poreless skin and I never will, my skin hasn’t been dried out and luckily, the toner didn’t break me out but indeed, it made the texture of my skin a bit smoother. Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner has a scent, similar to rose water but the type of rose water you’d get from a pharmacy, if that makes sense. It feels very gentle on my skin and doesn’t leave a sticky residue. I noticed a difference in my skin after a couple of weeks of using the toner, it’s now more radiant, soft and clear. I’m pretty happy with this toner and I’m now trying to find the mini sizes they’ve just launched.

I’m new to essences, as I’ve tried only two, so far but I have to say, I like them both. Today I’m talking about the one I’ve been using for longer and I’m not usually a fan of piling on dozens of skincare products but this extra step has made a significant change to my skin condition. Belif have several types of essences and I purchased a travel size set from the brand as an introduction to their range. The set contains one of their essences. Belif Hungarian Water Essence is a really lightweight serum that feels hydrating after being instantly absorbed by the skin. I use it after my toner and before my moisturiser, morning and evening. I love the way it feels on the skin, it’s almost like water and I can see that it moisturises my skin without leaving it greasy. This has been my favourite texture since I discovered Water Drop by Dr. Jart + last summer and my skin seems to love it, as well. Belif Hungarian Water Essence contains a blend of apothecary herbs, such as rosemary and lavender, that are both, hydrating and antioxidant. If you’re having oily/combination skin that is prone to breakouts, that’s the type of moisturiser you need to try. I think it would be amazing in the summer on its own. I’m yet to try the brand’s Aqua Bomb cream but this essence has been fantastic on my skin, so far.

I’ve mentioned the Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream a few times on my blog already and I had to include it in a favourites post mainly because it surprised me. If you think about the Belif essence and its texture, the Drunk Elephant Cream is exactly the opposite. It’s rich and thick and I felt a bit unsure at the beginning, that’s why I’m mainly using it at night. But it surprised me because it doesn’t feel heavy although it takes a bit longer to absorb and doesn’t clog my pores. My skin feels soft and moisturised, it’s not irritated and I’m starting to love more and more Drunk Elephant. I still think that this cream would be too rich for my skin in the summer but I’ve been loving it in the winter months.

It’s surprising I haven’t talked about Surratt‘s Smoky Eye Baton in the shade Etincelle until now. I got it in the Liberty Advent Calendar and I’ve been wearing it ever since, especially the pencil side. It’s basically a double-sided pencil with a creamy liner on one side and an eyeshadow on the other. The brand describes the shade as copper but on me it is more of a smoky bronze and makes the eyes look quite sultry. I love the pencil side, it’s creamy, easy to use and smudge and you get a gorgeous eye look in just a minute. The eyeshadow side has a tapered sponge and the shade is quite pigmented and really pretty. Sometimes I’d apply it only on my top lid or I’d use it to smudge the pencil even more. I don’t use the shadow side that often, as it’s sadly, not the most long-wearing one and creases even if I wear a primer but the colours are absolutely gorgeoous and perfect for every day or for a night out.

Since we spent some time in Lisbon and the weather there was really nice, I started thinking more of spring/summer scents. On a sunny day like today, I’d use Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia on its own and when it’s a bit colder, I’d mix it with something deeper, like Pomegranate Noir. It’s a beautiful combination, still fresh but a bit deeper. The brand describes English Pear & Freesia as an autumn scent that is floral and fruity but for me, it’s a wonderful spring scent that is not too floral, nor too fruity, it’s juicy but delicate, crispy and fresh, clean, polished and elegant. It’s beautiful!

These are my most loved products for the month of March. Hope you’re having a sunny day!

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First Impressions | Drunk Elephant & Sunday Riley


There’s something rather attractive about brands and products that you simply can’t get hold of. It’s so difficult to find them that you want to try them even more. Until the day your boyfriend and a real-life Santa (even when it’s not Christmas) brings you a box of goodies. He always seems to know what I’m curious about even when I don’t talk about it and he’s been really helpful since I started fighting with my skin problems last summer.

After a bit long introduction to the subject, I should state that I’ve been using the following products for a couple of weeks now and I still haven’t formed my opinion on them but the results I’ve seen, so far, make me want to try more from these brands.

I’ve known about Sunday Riley for a while but I wasn’t sure how I felt about it simply because of the high price tag. And yes, there are many expensive products out there but Sunday Riley‘s seemed a bit outrageous to me. I got a set from them and I still can’t say if it lives up to its claims because I’ve tried only one of the items, so far. Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask is a medicated 10 % sulfur treatment that fights different forms of acne (like blocked pores, for example, which has been my skin issue for over 7 months) while preventing future breakouts. It also has 4% niacinamide, a skin-restoring ingredient that I love, Zinc PCA and Bentonite Clay to clear impurities and reduce excess oil without drying the skin out. I also noticed Tea Tree Oil and Manuka Oil in the ingredients list, all amazing ingredients. It sounded too good to be true, so I applied it immediately after I got it. I must say I haven’t used this product as a mask on my entire face yet. I really hope it does prevent future spots and I’m about to test this out but for now, I’ve used it as a spot treatment on a few blemishes around my forehead (sometimes I can’t resist chocolate). It’s suggested to cleanse and dry the skin, apply the treatment and leave it on for about 20-30 minutes or overnight. I’ve tried it both ways and I was happy to see that my skin wasn’t dried out or flaky afterwards. When I’m applying the mask, I feel a slight stinging sensation for a few seconds but it’s not burning. On the following day, my spots looked less angry and calmer, they weren’t as itchy/painful as earlier but they were still there. The same happened when I tried it on different blemishes and different days. Usually, the major difference can be noticed a couple of days later. I can say that the spots heal a bit quicker when I’m using Saturn and I can’t wait to try the U.F.O. Face Oil, it’s suggested to use it after the mask. I’m still not sure how it would feel if I use the treatment on my whole face or only on my T-zone, considering the percentage of sulfur in the formula. I know that my skin is now used to topical retinoids and stronger acids but I don’t have any experience with sulfur, so it’s going to be interesting.

When I first came across Drunk Elephant, it appealed to me because of the idea behind the name, the packaging and the aim not to include ”the suspicious 6” in their products (silicones, chemical screens, sensitising perfumes/colourants, SLS, essential oils and drying alcohols). Essential oils break me out and I’m still struggling with bad reaction after the use of a chemical sunscreen in the summer, so this brand seemed even more fascinating to me.
But what should I try? I really wasn’t sure and I felt like The Littles set was the best in order to try as many products as I could. Too bad they don’t have a mini of their T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial though, I really want to try it out.
But anyway, today I’m sharing more about a hydrating duo that can be used both, day and/or night. B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel is a Vitamin B5 gel that also contains Pineapple Ceramide to help boost luminosity and Watermelon Rind/Apple/Lentil Complex to provide long-lasting moisture. It can be used on its own or mixed with serum, cream or oil for a boost of hydration. I use it as my morning serum before applying a moisturiser or I’d mix a drop of it with my cream in the evening and I love how quickly it absorbs, there’s nothing left on the skin, no residue, no sticky feeling but at the same time, my skin is radiant and hydrated. In the past few weeks, I’ve been moisturising my face with Lala Retro Whipped Cream that contains a blend of six African oils to lock in the moisture. I use it at night or on days when I’m not wearing makeup because it takes a bit longer to absorb but luckily, doesn’t leave me looking shiny. At first, it feels quite thick and I need the tiniest amount, I feel like this tiny 15 ml jar is going to last me about 3 months but then it goes on smoothly and doesn’t feel sticky or heavy. The texture is really nice on the skin and I’m happy that it doesn’t break me out, so far. I think it might be a bit too rich for me in the summer but it’s great in the Norwegian winter.

I’m looking forward to trying more from these two brands and I’m curious to know if you’ve had any experience with them.

Tackling Skin Issues | Winter Skincare Update


Even though winter hasn’t officially arrived yet, temperatures have significantly dropped and we often switch up our skincare routine. We tend to use more hydrating creams and oils, to reach for richer ones and to layer more and more products on top of each other. But this year, I’m aiming to reduce the number of products applied on my face, while still trying to protect it.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been dealing with clogged pores since July this year. My skin didn’t like the then new to me face suncare product and as a result, I got severely blocked pores. I had consultations with several dermatologists, all of them said that it looked quite unusual, especially considering “You can tell you’re really taking good care of your skin” but the situation didn’t change. A couple of months ago, I was suggested to go to another dermatologist who said I probably needed Differin Gel and warned me that everything would look worse in the following weeks. Indeed, it got terrible. It’s the first time I’m facing something like this and now I understand everyone who thinks of giving up at some point but patience is the key word here. Two months later, I’m definitely seeing a progress although I still have a long way to go in order to have my good skin back.
I’m writing this post as a person who wants to share their experience, I’m not a specialist and we all have individual problems. I don’t even have the absolute right solution for my own issues, yet alone to try giving advice to someone else. Unfortunately, nowadays, we tend to overload on skincare products, to strip our skin and dry it out too much or to pile on heavy moisturisers that aren’t exactly the right ones for us. We need to find a balance and we need to find out what’s best for our skin in the exact moment.

In the past couple of months, the skincare routine I’ve been following can be described as simple. It may not seem like this on the photos but these are products that are on rotation, I don’t use them all at once. I’m trying to wear less makeup and to do it only a couple of times a week, I reach for mild, sulphate-free cleansers and I don’t layer too many products.
I’ve been suggested to do my evening routine 30 minutes after cleansing and applying Differin, so that the rest of the products don’t interfere with the retinoid.

Cleansing
My cleanser of choice in the last month has been the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser. It’s both, my morning and evening cleanser, it’s my second cleanse, I don’t use it to take makeup off with. It’s gentle, creamy (but doesn’t clog my pores), non-stripping and great for this time of the year.

Exfoliating and toning
Acid toners have been part of my skincare routine for years but because Differin is a topical retinoid, I’m trying to be a bit more careful with them now. At the beginning, my skin got really dry, it was peeling quite badly, it was painful and now that it’s finally better, I’m incorporating acids and enzyme peels slowly into my routine. I’ve used Vitamin C in the morning for the past few weeks (first, Clinique Fresh Pressed System and now Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum) and I’ve noticed great results, actually. My skin looks brighter and a bit smoother. I’m also using Pixi Peel & Polish twice a week in the morning, it contains Lactic Acid and fruit enzymes which makes it a mild exfoliant and I’ve been quite pleased with it, so far.
Mists and sprays are something I never skip because they feel refreshing and hydrating. La Roche-Posay Serozinc is great for combination and problematic skin while floral sprays like the L’Occitane Peony Perfecting Mist  give a bit of a glow, as well. Pure rose water has always been an essential for me and having a bottle or two of it in my cabinet is a must. Also, Maya Water Facial Mist with Organic Acai is really soothing and full of antioxidants, it’s the one I often spray before applying a facial oil.

Serums and oils
Now, this is a step that I sometimes skip when I feel that my skin gets enough hydration from the rest of the products or I’m simply trying to avoid certain ingredients that day.
I used to use Lancôme Énergie De Vie The Liquid Care as a moisturiser but it is now my morning hydrating serum. It contains powerful antioxidants, it’s lightweight and works well with the rest of the products.
If my skin feels very dry in the morning, I’d use the Dr. Hauschka Day Clarifying Oil. It’s specially designed for oily/combination and blemish-prone skin and I sometimes add a couple of drops to my moisturiser.
One item that has really helped me in this battle is pure rosehip oil. I use it only at night and it saved my skin during the first few weeks with Differin Gel. If you’re not used to retinoids and your skin peels like mine did, pure rosehip oil is really soothing and calming and I can’t recommend it enough. I love my Clarins Blue Orchid OiI, as it has always been really nice on my skin but in situations like this, pure oils still would be the best choice.

Hydration
I find that gels are working really well for the area around my eyes at the moment. Alverde Aqua Gel is lightweight, cooling but still hydrating and soothing. It’s also very affordable and contains great ingredients.
Synchroline Aknicare Cream is more for maintaining what’s already achieved, so far and for protecting the skin barrier function which is very important. It also has great hydrating properties without being heavy and at the moment, that’s the only product in my routine with Salicylic Acid which has been missing in the last few weeks. It’s still a bit new to me, so I’ll share more on this cream in a future post.

Sun protection
Although it’s winter and there isn’t particularly any sunshine in Norway, I’m still using my La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50 (I probably need SPF 30 now, though). It’s so milky and lightweight that I don’t mind it, especially when I have to protect my skin.

Face masks
Face masks are even more important for me now. I tend to use clay masks at least twice a week because they’re purifying and they balance out my combination skin. The two masks I reach for most of the time are Clinique City Block Purifying Charcoal Clay Mask + Scrub and this is a second tube from it and the other one is L’Oréal Pure-Clay Anti-Blemish Mask* which was launched in the summer and it’s one of my favourite masks in the range, as it leaves my skin feeling soft and clean without drying it out.
When it comes to hydrating face masks, I sometimes use up to five per week, especially when they’re sheet masks like the Bamboo Shot Mask from Erborian.

The most important thing for me now is to keep my skin calm and to remain patient in this fight. I have to say that water in Norway is quite soft and my skin always feels a bit better in Norway than in my home country or anywhere else in Europe, for example. So, I need to take advantage of this now.

Remember to never give up, it takes ages but hopefully, we’re on the right way to having healthy skin again. I still have days when I think I would never have good skin again and I feel like crying. Luckily, my boyfriend and my family always manage to say something specific (that my skin looks less red on that day or it seems a bit smoother, for example) to make me feel better and to believe that it’s going to change.
If you’re dealing with skin issues, I sincerely wish you good luck and if not, protect your skin and take good care of it!

*PR Sample 

Sephora Haul | November 2017

I’ve just got back from Milan and it was lovely although it didn’t stop raining even for a day. It was good to visit again the city that made me fall in love with Italy for the first time many years ago.

Of course, there was no Sephora in Milan back then, so it was only natural for me to visit a few of their stores this time. Part of the products I’m showing you today are from my trip to Milan but there are also a few that were ordered by my boyfriend from the US Sephora. I’ve been curious about some items that are not so widely available in Europe, so it was a great surprise when he showed me the box that came in the mail. I also decided to throw in a couple of purchases from Germany because they happened to be available only there at that moment.

I picked up a few skincare sets, they’re great for travelling but I actually wanted to get to know the brands. The only thing I’ve tried from Herborist was an overnight face mask that I really liked and I even used it as a day cream for a deeper hydration. This Discovery Kit contains T’ai Chi Masks (a black and a white mask that you’re supposed to use one after another), SILKY All-day Moisturising Facial Fluid and SILKY All-day Moisturising Eye Gel. I’m incredibly excited to try the Laneige Hydrating Trial Kit because I’ve heard only positive reviews on the brand’s products. The set contains a Moisturising Foam Cleanser, Essential Power Skin Toner, Water Bank Essence, Water Bank Moisture Cream and probably their most popular product, the Water Sleeping Mask.
I’ve never tried anything from KORA Organics and I’m a bit unsure how I feel about the essential oils that some of their products contain but this little Daily Ritual set for oily/combination skin sounds interesting, so I’ll report back once I’ve tried the items. Inside the box you find a Foaming Cleanser (not sure why so many cleansers are supposed to be “foaming”), Energising Citrus Mist and Purifying Moisturiser.
Another brand that I’m really curious about is Drunk Elephant. I’m hearing so many people raving about their products that seeing this cute The Littles set made me scream a bit. It’s quite a generous gift from my boyfriend because he knows about the struggles I’ve been having after the bad reaction to a sunscreen and apparently, these products work well on many people. Hopefully, they’re going to help me, as well. The set contains Pekee Bar and Juju Bar which are their solid cleansers, C-Firma Day Serum, T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, B-Hydration Gel, Lala Retro Whipped Cream, Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil and Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30.
The Dr. Jart+ K-Beauty A BB C’s sets are actually a repurchase because I really liked the trio the first time I tried it, it’s great for travelling, some of my friends wanted to try it, as well and sadly, it’s not so easy to get hold of it at the moment.

Blackhead Steam Balm from TONYMOLY has been on my wishlist for such a long time but no matter where I tried to get it from, it was always sold out and the only thing that remained on the shelves was the tester. I hope it’s as good as they say.

I decided not to go crazy with the sheet masks, so I purchased just a few. I haven’t tried Sephora‘s lip and foot masks yet, so I picked up their Rose Lip Mask and Almond and Lavender Foot Masks. The TONYMOLY I’m Real Tomato Mask Sheet Radiance was supposed to be tested during our trip but I ended up forgetting about it. When I was picking up the masks, I turned around and saw this Dr. Jart+ Bright Lover Rubber Mask in my shopping basket. My boyfriend put it there simply because he has a lot of fun when he sees me with strange masks on.
Clay masks in pots dry out so quickly and that was the only reason why I didn’t want to get the Sephora Mud Mask Purifying & Mattifying one when I first heard about it. Luckily, now they have miniature size of it (or maybe they always had it but I never saw it) and I can’t wait to try it.

I’m a huge lip balm lover, I also adore peach-scented products, so when I saw the Lanolips Peach 101 Ointment Multi-Balm, I had to have it. Plus, multi-purpose moisturisers are great to have in your handbag, especially in the winter.

Hype isn’t something I often buy into but all the different opinions on the Sol de Janeiro‘s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream made me want to try this body moisturiser so bad. But now I’m scared to open the mini jar and to actually use the product. Yes, I realise how ridiculous it sounds.

The only tool I picked up was the pink Beautyblender just because I  need a new one.

As you can see my haul mostly consists of skincare items and I guess that’s because of my skin issues. And although the makeup products are not many this time, they’re absolutely amazing. This Marc Jacobs The Nude(ist) set is so beautiful! I love everything about it and I can’t wait to add it to my handbag.
Some of you may know how much I wanted the NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer but I never had luck with finding it. They didn’t have all the shades in Milan and most of them looked either too pale or too pink/orange for me. So, I picked up the shade Creme Brulee and I hope I didn’t make the wrong decision.
Last but not least, something that I wasn’t that curious about but now that I have it, I really like it. It’s the Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter Duo in Mean Money/Hu$tla Baby. I don’t usually go for peachy shades but these ones are quite sheer, soft and blendable.

These are all my recent Sephora purchases and I’m looking forward to finding out more about each of the products. I have big hopes for the skincare sets and I’d be happy if you share your experience in case you’ve already tried some of them.