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November Favourites

Just before the festive season officially begins, here’s what I’ve been loving in the month of November.

I haven’t been wearing makeup that often in November, I’ve been travelling quite a bit and with the skin issues that I already had, I really wanted to give my skin a break.

There’s been a new cleanser in my skincare routine and I didn’t expect to love it so much. Mainly because it’s a cream cleanser and the texture is quite thick. At the moment, anything that is too creamy or balmy, makes me think it might clog my pores even more. But the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser is so gentle and feels so lovely on the skin that my initial fear was instantly gone. I have to mention that I don’t use it to remove makeup, so I can’t say if it works or not. This face wash doesn’t break me out, it doesn’t dry out my skin, it’s fragrance- and sulphate-free, mild and simply beautiful even on sensitive skin. It lathers up quite a bit but it’s not stripping my skin, at all, I’ve been using it twice a day in the past 3-4 weeks and I can see my skin is a lot calmer although I went from a place with hard water to one with soft water and that always makes a difference. However, now that I’m using Differin and this cleanser works so well with it, I’m happy I need just a tiny amount of it because it’s not that easy to order it from where I am. All credit goes to my amazing boyfriend who purchased it for me!

Hydrating my skin with lightweight products is very important for me at the moment. I need them to feel light on my face but as the weather gets colder and colder, they still need to be really moisturising. So, I went  back to what I’ve loved and used and I remembered how much I liked using the Lancôme Énergie De Vie The Liquid Care last year (I have a full review here). I purchased a new bottle of it and I’m happy I did because it’s been feeling really calming and soothing on my face. I used to use it as a moisturiser last year but now I apply it at the serum stage of my routine. I usually do my evening skincare routine 30 minutes after I’ve washed my face and applied the Differin Gel that feels quite drying and tight. Lancôme Énergie De Vie The Liquid Care is the first step after Differin and it’s really calming and hydrating.

If I’m wearing makeup now, it’s usually just mascara, concealer, powder and lipstick. The lipstick I’ve been reaching for the most is this mini Role Play by Marc Jacobs. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this shade for so long that I can’t stop using it now. It’s a rose pink nude that isn’t too dark or too light, it’s the perfect pink for me. The texture is quite interesting, it’s not like a traditional lipstick but isn’t too balmy either. It’s a gel lipstick that is pretty opaque but really easy to apply. It feels moisturising and I’m simply in love with it.

Another beauty item I’ve been trying to find for months, has been the NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer, as I’m always on the hunt for the best concealer. Now that I finally have it, I’m pleased to say it’s totally worth the hype! It has a soft texture that is not too creamy but it’s definitely not drying or thick. It’s very easy to blend it with my fingers and I love how I  can use it under my eyes or around the face. It doesn’t crease that easily and it doesn’t sit cakey or heavy. It’s matte but not too matte or flat on the skin, coverage is medium to full and buildable. Colour selection is great but the most popular shades are always out of stock and I had difficulties finding the right one for me. At first, I thought Crème Brulee would be too pink or dark on me but it actually works great at the moment. In fact, I like this concealer more than my favourite Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer and although it’s pricey, I know I have one more (temporary) solution for my really dark circles.

Like I mentioned, I don’t use base products at the moment, unless I really need covering up my skin issues but my skin still remains combination and quite shiny around the T-zone. Even if I don’t apply foundation, I’d lightly dust over a bit of powder for blurring and mattifying effect. When I got sent the new La Mer Sheer Pressed Powder in Translucent*, I was smitten. It’s so beautiful that I spent several days just looking at it, without using it.
It’s soft and velvety to the touch, it’s so finely-milled and lightweight. I use it over foundation (it really extends the wear of my makeup) or on its own because it gives me a matte but glowy and healthy look at the same time. When I use it on its own, I can see it has sheer coverage but it somehow makes me look more fresh and evens out my skin tone. The light-reflecting pigments create a soft blurring effect that is never flat or heavy-looking. It’s a pricey item but as a La Mer product, it’s formulated with their Miracle Broth to heal and nourish the skin, so it’s not just a makeup item, it also has skincare properties. I know we’re in the autumn/winter season and that’s one of the reasons why my skin isn’t so shiny but so far, I haven’t felt the need to powder more than once a day with this powder. Usually, I need to blot a few times a day but it would be interesting to test out the wear of the powder in the summer, as well.
I love how slim and elegant the compact is and if I wasn’t that scared to destroy it if I took it out of home, I’d always have it in my handbag.

My hands have been really dry lately, I wash them too many times a day and I don’t always wear gloves when I’m outside. It’s not so easy to hydrate my hands during the day when there’s always something to be done but I’ve been keeping the Origins Ginger Hand Lotion on my desk, so that I can apply it whenever I sit in front of my laptop. And I have to say, my hands looked and felt much better just after a couple of uses. The pump bottle is really convenient, the consistency is quite milky and lightweight, the lotion absorbs quickly and leaves a nourishing film without being sticky or greasy. I think it’s a perfect daytime hand moisturiser and I wouldn’t use it at night, as I’d like something richer but if you don’t like the feel of traditional hand creams, try this one out. It’s really nice for work, home or to have even in the car in the winter, as you get the hydrating properties of a cream minus the heavy texture and feel.

Last but not least is something a bit more summery but I’ve been loving it in the past couple of weeks. Rituals Express Your Soul Body & Bed Mist is quite citrusy, thanks to the Verbena and Petitgrain in it and I use it on our bed sheets every night although you’re supposed to spritz more calming scents at this time of the day. It’s alcohol-free and safe to use on all textiles, I don’t use it on my body, I just like how fresh it smells in the night when I’m turning sometimes. It’s not too overpowering and smells even better a few hours later. It’s a limited edition scent from the brand but I’m still seeing it online and in stores.

Can’t believe that it’s almost December already and although I can’t feel the Christmas spirit yet, I’m really excited to start opening my advent calendars… and hopefully, to feature some of the products inside in my next beauty favourites post!

*PR Sample

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October Favourites

Autumn has been amazing, so far this year! I’m lucky to be spending some weeks at home and each year the season gets more and more beautiful in my city.

However, I haven’t been that fortunate when it comes to my skin. If you’re not aware of my troubles, I’ve been suffering with a bad reaction after using a sunscreen in the summer, I’ve contacted several dermatologists but sadly, with no result. The latest thing I was prescribed was Differin Gel and if you’re familiar with this medication you probably know that the first couple of weeks are the hardest. Right now, my skin is peeling, it’s burning and feels painful even though I’m not applying the gel every night.

So, I’ve been trying to hydrate and calm the skin. The three products that are helping me the most at the moment are this Vichy Mineralising Thermal Water, the Zoya Organic Bulgarian Rosehip Oil and the Dr. Jart+ Water Drop Hydrating Moisturiser. And I use them in this exact order but on an evening when I apply the Differin, I’d use the medication first, then I’d wait around 30 minutes and continue with these three products. The thermal water spray feels very soothing, it’s infused with antioxidants, it calms my skin and the oil applies much easier while the face is still damp. The rosehip oil doesn’t give me a stinging sensation (at the moment many products feel irritating) and not only moisturises my skin but it’s almost like it’s healing it, as well. Since I’ve started using the rosehip oil, my skin feels much less stripped, dry and painful. At first, the Water Drop Hydrating Moisturiser wasn’t helping me much as it was burning a bit but now that my skin is a lot more soothed, I can enjoy the lightweight yet hydrating feeling of it. I need a tiny amount of the product, it looks like a gel but applies almost like water and smells quite nice. If you have dry skin, this wouldn’t be enough for you on its own in the winter but I think it’s lovely if you want to give your regular moisturiser a boost, for example. I have a mini of 30 ml but it’s lasting me a really long time.

I’ve been loving two mascara in the past couple of months. They’re totally different in terms of formulas and brushes but they both give me amazing results, they’re long-wearing and smudge-proof. Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara* was mentioned here when I reviewed the entire Monsieur Big collection from the brand and since then it’s been my go-to mascara for days when I want full and separated lashes. For me, it’s totally worth the hype and I can already see it as an annual favourite of mine.
This cool dual-chamber packaging of MAC Bold & Bad Lash* actually contains two brushes and two different formulas (full review here) in one tube. With this mascara I can create a really natural everyday-appropriate look or go for a bold effect if I want. The tiny wand for the lower lashes is very precise and even though I don’t usually wear mascara on my bottom lashes, this one made me change that.

The Tom Ford Lipstick in Indian Rose* looks brand new but that’s just because I use the other side of the bullet to apply this beautiful pinky rose shade. This is the perfect lipstick, the colour looks stunning no matter if I’m wearing it in the summer or winter. The texture is quite creamy and I would have never expected such a creamy lipstick to be that long-wearing but it really is. There’s a subtle shimmer running through but surprisingly for me, it makes the lipstick colour even more beautiful. In fact, the shimmer doesn’t show up on my lips, it just makes them look more plump and not flat. I simply adore this lipstick!

These are my favourite beauty items for the month of October and I already have a full box of different products to try in November which makes me really excited. Holiday season is just around the corner, as well, so I’m curious to see all the gift sets and other limited edition releases.

*PR Samples

The Bigger the Better | Lancôme Monsieur Big Collection


Lancôme
have been treating us to amazing launches and just when I thought there couldn’t be anything else to be surprised with, they proved me wrong!
You may have noticed that I like to wait for the hype to pass, so that I can try out and talk about something just because it can be a bit too overwhelming. The products that I’m showing you today are still new but the time that has passed gave us a chance to really appreciate what they are.

Lancôme Monsieur Big Collection consists of mascara (probably the most popular item out of all), liquid eyeliner in the form of a marker, brow pencil and brow highlighter. I’m really happy that I had the chance to test them all out and to share with you my experience with the products.

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I struggle with bristle mascara brushes although I’ve found brilliant mascaras with bristle brushes in the past couple of years. When I saw the brush of Monsieur Big Mascara*, I understood where the name of the collection came from. It’s pretty thick and big which made me think it would be quite difficult to apply without being left with mascara all over the face. But I was so amazed by the effect of this mascara and how easy it was to work with it that my initial fear instantly vanished. The mascara made my lashes super voluminous but separated at the same time. The formula is not too wet which is brilliant because I often find it hard to work with new mascaras. What surprised me the most was that it wasn’t clumpy at all and that’s what worries when it comes to bristle brushes. I love volumised lashes but bristle brushes tend to create clumps on me and I want my lashes to be well-separated without looking spidery. This brush has such soft bristles that it almost feels like they hug every single hair. I usually don’t apply mascara on my bottom lashes because I always look as if I’ve been crying but for the purposes of this review I did try it and it was a bit difficult for me, so I’d use a smaller brush.
What’s important to say is that Monsieur Big Mascara* didn’t smudge on me even after 12+ hours of wearing it in the heat, not even a bit. And it is not a waterproof mascara. I also haven’t faced any irritations, considering I’m a contact lens wearer with sensitive eyes. For me, it’s definitely worth the hype and I’m adding Monsieur Big Mascara* to the list of mascaras with bristle brushes that are actually amazing.

Monsieur Big Marker* was the one product I didn’t think I could work with. I adore a cat eye but I’m terrible at applying liquid liner. I always go for a delicate look and I end up with this bold eyeliner that just doesn’t quite suit me. You can see the tip of the liner looks like a proper marker and indeed, it’s great if you’re brave and want to create a daring cat flick. But here comes the surprise, the very tip of the marker is ideal for drawing a really thin line while the pigmented formula makes the application incredibly easy. It’s made of smooth foam material and the tip is soft but doesn’t move too much. I was stunned! The first time I tried it, I needed only 4 minutes to achieve a cat eye and I can honestly say that this is impossible for me normally. I can’t believe I’ve been using it almost every day in the past few weeks. Monsieur Big Marker* is the biggest surprise for me from the entire collection and I can finally say I’m not so scared of cat flicks anymore. In addition to that, I have to say the liner is pretty long-wearing, it does smudge a bit at the end of the day but I’m really impressed by the staying power.

Brow crayons are definitely new to me and the shade I’ve got from the Monsieur Big Brow is 02 Chestnut* which looked a bit too light in the pen but turned out to be a good match for my brows. The texture is quite soft and creamy and you may think it would be too intense once it’s applied but it can look quite natural if you use a light hand. At first, it may seem a bit tricky but now I use it when I don’t have time to do my makeup and just need a bit of an oomph to my brows. It blends really well and looks like powder but the soft texture turns this crayon into the perfect tool for achieving bold brows. It’s great for those of you who like big sculpted brows.
This pencil is double-ended and on one side we’ve got the crayon while there’s a blending brush on the other. The brush gives me the possibility to achieve more of a soft finish, as I like my brows natural-looking. The crayon glides on smoothly and it’s quite pigmented, so I can fill in my brows really quickly. The formula contains film forming polymers, waxes and powder pigments. Monsieur Big Brow comes in 4 shades and a Highlighter*. It’s meant to be used as a brow bone highlighter but as I’m usually going for a natural and simple look, I found another way of using it. It’s actually my favourite handbag highlighter now because I tend to reach for it when I look more tired in the afternoon. I’ll just pop a bit in the inner corners of my eyes and even in my waterline. Fresh look in just a few seconds!

These are my thoughts on the Lancôme Monsieur Big Collection, the two must-haves for me are definitely the mascara and the eyeliner. I think they’ve done a great job with these products and I can’t wait to see what the brand has in mind for the following months. 

*PR Samples

Empties #15


It feels quite strange to do a post with empty products for a second time this month. But here’s a tiny portion…most of them pretty useful if you’re travelling.

Origins Flower Fusion Sheet Masks – I have an entire blog post dedicated to these face masks, so here’s a link to it in case you’d want a bit more information on each of them but I love them all and I’ve already repurchased a few;
Sally’s Box Loverecipe Paprika Sheet Mask & Peach Sheet Mask – The paprika one is for smoother skin texture and the serum was more like a gel, while the peach mask is firming and looked quite creamy. I enjoyed using both of them because my skin felt refreshed and soft after using the masks. It was also a bit cooling which is great for the summer months;
Balea Vital Sheet Mask – This sheet mask is usually supposed to be good for mature skin but I was curious to try it because of the Hyaluronic Acid and Argan Oil in it. Balea have some lovely budget sheet masks and this was no exception;
Balea Soft & Clear Nose Strips – I know these are not so good to use but I just can’t stop trying different ones. They are formulated with Salicylic Acid and Tea Tree Oil and were recommended to me by a friend. So far, these are the best drugstore ones I’ve tried, sadly there are only 3 inside the packet but they’re very good;
Balea Clear-Up Strips – Love the Lotus Flower Extract range but these strips are not as good as the ones mentioned above;
Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner – This is an alcohol-free, soothing and hydrating toner. I really like it and I’m thinking about purchasing a full size, it’s good for any skin type but especially for those with combination and blemish-prone skin;
L’Occitane Essential Water – I’ve heard many good things about this floral water and I love the brand but this product stings my eyes and broke me out. The scent is very strong and I don’t have particularly sensitive skin but it just doesn’t agree with this toner, sadly;
Balea Eye Cream with Lotus Extract – There was another empty tube of my favourite drugstore eye cream about 3 weeks ago but this is the one I had in my travel bag and there was just a tiny bit left. I’ve talked about it so many times, it’s fragrance-free, feels soothing and hydrating and I will keep repurchasing it;
La Roche-Posay SPF 50+ Anthelios XL – This mini was so good for travelling. It’s a relatively lightweight cream although all sunscreens are a bit heavy on me but it was quite nice underneath makeup. The formula is paraben-free and water-resistant;
Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil in 02 Raspberry – One of my favourite lip products! Can’t believe I’ve used it up and need to get a new one. When I first got it, I didn’t expect it to be so nice on the lips but also, so moisturising. I’ve even used it as an overnight treatment during travels and it just leaves my lips incredibly soft and nourished;
Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in 10 Nude Mauve – I still don’t understand how people never talk about these blushers and especially this particular shade. The powder is finely-milled, it has a beautiful sheen, applies like a dream and this one is something between a bronzer and a blusher. Simply gorgeous;
Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer – A lovely brightening concealer with decent amount of coverage. I don’t talk about it a lot which is a shame because it’s a really nice product and I actually already have another tube of it;
Lancôme Hypnôse Volume-à-porter Mascara – This mini was great for my travel makeup bag. It doesn’t irritate my eyes and gives volume to the lashes, makes them look fluttery and the only downside is that it’s pretty tough to remove at the end of the day;
Lavera Deo Roll-On with Bio Aloe Vera & Bio Calendula – This is a vegan deodorant with subtle scent and lovely ingredients list. Most deodorants don’t really keep me sweat-free anyway, so I prefer to use such that are more “clean” and Lavera do really nice ones;
Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub – I love the brand’s body scrubs but this mini wasn’t that exfolaiting and I’m not sure if it was a problem with the one I had. However, I really like the scent;
Alverde Leave-In Conditioner Spray Aloe Vera Hibiscus – I believe it now has a new packaging and they often reformulate it but it’s always a nice budget-friendly product. It makes my hair shiny and smooth.

As it seems, I’ve used up quite a few products in the past couple of weeks and I’m already thinking about project pan. I have a lot of products that are half-used and I’m not the biggest fan of throwing something in the bin because I forgot about it and it has expired.

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!