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2018 Beauty Favourites


It’s that time of the year again… Looking back at what has happened, what we’ve done, how we can be better and then hoping for a happy and healthy new year. I always have these mixed feelings, sadness and excitement, remorse and hope…
But today I’m thinking about the fun part and doing a recap of the beauty bits that have impressed me the most throughout 2018. I have to admit, it’s probably the shortest list of annual favourites I’ve ever had. I don’t think I’ve fallen out of love with skincare and makeup, actually I’d like to believe that I’m much more conscious about what  I purchase and use nowadays.
I’ve divided the bits into three categories:

Skincare Products
I’ve mentioned quite a few times that cleansing is my favourite part of my skincare routine. Although I don’t usually  wear that much makeup, the feeling of taking it all off  and being left with clean skin, ready for the next steps, is just so satisfying.
I couldn’t choose between my two favourite cleansers for the year, so I’m including both of them here. I like a good simple cleanser in the best possible meaning of the word. It’s important for me to have soap- and fragrance-free cleansers, so that they don’t further dry out my skin (I use prescription retinoid that can be a bit drying sometimes) and don’t irritate it. I found my dream cleansers in the form of Dr. Sam’s Flawless Cleanser and CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser.
I’ve been following Dr. Sam’s advice for a long time and I know I can always trust her because  I always see good results when I follow her tips. Her cleanser is everything you would want  a cleanser to be. It comes in a pump bottle that is really simple and easy to use, the product itself has a jelly texture, feels great on the skin and it’s even soothing. It removes impurities, makeup and sunscreen, doesn’t clog pores and doesn’t leave a residue. I like that it’s a non-foaming cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin and even sensitive and blemish-prone skins can use it. The formula is really elegant and gentle, yet effective and I need to repurchase another bottle of Dr. Sam’s Flawless Cleanser.
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser isn’t that good at taking off mascara and sunscreen but I use both of the mentioned  products after using a dedicated makeup remover because I like to actually cleanse my skin with them and not use them to take my makeup off. Just like Dr. Sam’s Cleanser, CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is gentle  but cleanses thoroughly  while having an absolutely different texture. It feels like a lotion rather than a gel and is packed with ceramides to help the natural barrier function of the skin. It’s also fragrance- and soap-free and it’s really easy to wash it off. It’s great as a morning cleanse or a second cleanse in the evening.
Two mild cleansers that are actually really powerful at removing impurities.

Niacinamide is a fantastic ingredient that not only has anti-blemish and anti-pigmentation benefits but it also helps boosting skin’s natural ceramide supply. So, it’s great for acne-prone skin and it’s even hydrating which makes it perfect for the colder months. I, personally, use products with niacinamide throughout the whole year, it’s one of my favourite ingredients and I just can’t be without it.  My skin is combination with shiny T-zone and visible pores. I also struggle with hyperpigmentation issues after blemishes heal, so I’ve been using The Ordinary  Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% for the past 10 months. It reduces the appearance of spots,  balances the sebum production and brightens the skin. The texture of the serum is a bit gloopy but spreads easily and leaves a slightly sticky residue. I always follow with another product, so this isn’t a concern for me, it doesn’t interfere with the rest of my routine. I’ve been definitely getting less spots (it also soothes active ones) since I started using it and my hyperpigmentation seems to be fading much quicker than usual.  Niacinamide helps my skin a lot, I’ve tried it in moisturisers, cleansers, serums and this one is a great budget option.

And while we’re on the  breakouts topic, I must mention the second ingredient that’s been  helping me a lot when an unexpected guest appears. Here’s the time when I should mention that  the most severe case of clogged pores for me happened about a year and a half ago. In case you don’t know, I was using a new for me sunscreen and had bad reaction that resulted in really badly clogged pores on a very unusual area (under my jaw but over my neck), it was really bad, people kept asking me if I’d burned myself, it looked like a terrible and huge rash. Otherwise, I’d get an occasional breakout, it’s quite often but it’s not too serious, luckily. However, I still want to get rid of blemishes and  sulfur has been a great little helper. My favourite product containing sulfur has to be the Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Mask. It’s also an amazing spot treatment, I’m in love with this face mask because it keeps my face clear and smooth. I use it twice a week even if I don’t have blemishes because it also prevents from getting new ones. It doesn’t dry out my skin but I always apply moistursing products after washing the mask off. Peter Thomas Roth face masks are really popular at the moment but I don’t see many people talking about this one which is a shame, as it’s a very very good one.

I’m not currently using Vichy  Minéral 89 but it deserves a mention because I spent many months loving it and I’ll go back to it once the rest of my Hyaluronic Acid products are over. Some call it a moisturiser, others say it’s a serum but the brand describes it as a booster which you use after your toner and before the serum.   The important thing for me is to always use a face cream after applying the booster. The lightweight gel comes in a beautiful glass bottle that feels very luxurious. The product  itself feels cooling and soothing on the skin and absorbs fast. Essentialy, Vichy   Minéral 89  is the brand’s mineralising water rich in mineral elements with added Hyaluronic Acid. My skin feels much softer and plumper when I use this booster, I love the cooling feeling and how it doesn’t leave a sticky residue. What’s important  to know is to always seal it with a heavier moisturiser on top, otherwise Hyaluronic Acid can draw  the moisture out of your skin.

If I have to pick only one favourite beauty item of the year, it would probably be the  following one. When I got introduced to  Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm in Peach, I began using it only as a lip mask at night although I knew it was a multi-purpose moisturiser. Later I found out how good it works on extremely dry and painful patches when nothing else could provide even a mild relief and hydration, on papercuts and on any flaky area on the face or body. My preference to use it at night is  simply because it’s a thick, waxy balm that pretty much can’t be washed off. The one that I have is enriched with Peach Kernel Oil and Vitamin E and comes with a pointy applicator but I always use my finger to get the amount needed just because it’s too thick to be spread with the tip. This is a fantastic skin healer, nothing else saves my painful dry skin when I’m sick, I apply it on every flaky patch on my face and it’s healed overnight. I’m in love with the retro packaging, as well and I really need to try more of their products. If you don’t have a lanolin-related allergy, you should give it a try, especially in the winter months.

Makeup Products
I haven’t been using that much makeup in the past 12 months or I’ve been relying on old favourites but there are a few items that really made a difference for me and I’d like to share them with you.

I wasn’t sure if I should include  Heliocare Color Gelcream SPF 50  in  Light in the skincare or makeup category as it’s tinted but what’s more important is that it’s a brilliant product. Foundation is rarely a part of my makeup menu nowadays but healthy and even complexion are still things I’m trying to achieve most of the days. I’ve always been struggling to find sunscreens that suit my skin type but a tinted sunscreen was something I didn’t even dare to dream of discovering. After a few absolutely terrible experiences, I’d given up on the idea. When I got the Heliocare Color Gelcream SPF 50,  I didn’t expect it to be  a  good colour match and I thought it might be a bit too thick for my combination skin. Luckily, I was wrong and I wish I had gotten more tubes from it. First of all, the texture is so lightweight that I would never think it’s SPF 50! Second of all, it doesn’t feel greasy but keeps the skin hydrated. It has a slightly dewy finish but it isn’t too shiny and there’s a delicate melon scent that’s not overpowering. It’s easy to apply and provides good coverage that gives a healthy look. Heliocare‘s range consists of sunscreens that combine high technology mineral and non-mineral filters with photobiological protectants, featuring Fernblock which is a natural fern extract. Fern has adapted and evolved to protect itself from the harmful UVA and UVB radiation. The extract provides anti-oxidant effects and UV protection. The formula is also enriched with Panthenol and Vitamin E to moisturise and soothe the skin.
Unfortunately, it comes in just two shades, Light and Brown.
For me, this is a very elegant tinted sunscreen, I haven’t found anything like it, it doesn’t break me out and doesn’t make me look too shiny.

I’ve said a  few times that I’m not really an eyeshadow girl, I’m not talented in mixing and blending 6 shades and it doesn’t really suit me. But a sophisticated wash of colour makes me look a bit more awake and put together.  There are two products I’ve been reaching for almost every day and I’m still doing it because I love them.  Surratt‘s Smoky Eye Baton in the shade Etincelle is  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, that’s the side I’m using on a daily basis. 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, it’s really versatile.

The second eyeshadow stick that I like to use for a more defined eye look comes from Laura Mercier and it’s the Caviar Stick in Amethyst. The shade is something between a soft mauve and warm taupe and has kind of a bronze metallic finish, it’s simply stunning and I feel like it would look great on everyone. The formula is creamy and glides on easily, blends like a dream and it’s extremely long-lasting. Usually, I  always have to use a primer because everything creases on my lids but this one doesn’t, it was such a big surprise, it  looks perfect all the time. The colour is very pigmented but flattering and not screaming, it just makes the eyes pop. I use this as an eyeshadow or as a liner, I like smudging it over my bottom lash line, it’s also fantastic for a smokey eye.

A blush that doesn’t get enough attention is definitely  Lumene Nordic Chic Natural Glow Blush in the shade Tulip Blossoms. At first, it looks really bright in the pan but on the face, it just gives the most natural healthy and radiant pop of colour that you barely notice. It simply looks like you have it naturally and it’s incredibly easy to apply and blend it over the apples of the cheeks. It’s a powder blush but the texture is silky soft and it makes it feel almost like a cream blush. I’m in love with it, brilliant colour and texture. For such a natural-looking blush, it’s really long-lasting and at the end of the day, it still looks pretty. I’m happy to see more people talking about this Nordic brand but they still have lovely products that are incredibly underrated.

I don’t know if  you can include a product you’ve been using for just 3 weeks in an annual favourites post but I had to mention the Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb in Fu$$y because it has probably the best lip gloss formula out there. If you normally don’t like lip glosses, you might actually love this one. It gives a slight pink tint that looks really pretty, goes on smoothly without being sticky or gloopy and feels very comfortable on the lips while leaving them nourished, thanks to the Shea Butter added to the formula. So happy that my curiosity prevailed when I saw this gloss and I decided to get it, it’s a fantastic lip product.

Fragrance
I wanted to mention a couple of fragrances that absolutely rock my world but I was a bit unsure about the first one. I mean, I was a bit unsure if I should mention it because I really want to keep it just for myself.
Everyone talks about Santal 33 from Le Labo but the star for me is Thé Noir 29. I don’t think I can describe with words how beautiful this perfume is. It’s addictive, it’s deep but fresh, it’s leafy and dry. We all know that fragrances feel different on different skin, on me, Thé Noir 29 is like a cup of black tea with fig and bay leaves present, it’s a bit smokey and woody, rich and bitter. It’s not difficult for me to fall in love with this fragrance, considering how much I adore fig scents but the fig here is different. It’s dry and dark, rather than juicy and fruity. I can feel  Thé Noir 29 even at the end of the day, after I take a shower, it’s still there in my hair even after it’s washed, on my pillow, at night and the morning after, it’s beautiful…

My second scent favourite is actually more  winter-appropriate, as well. Jo Malone  English Oak & Redcurrant Cologne presents contrast between fruity and woody notes which makes it divine. It feels warmer and earthy, then the heart notes of rose make it really feminine and elegant but the rose isn’t that detectable. It’s also more woody than fruity. For me, it is a very cosy autumn/winter scent, it’s like dew over the autumn leaves at dawn, like damp branches of our big walnut tree at home… I heard many people say it’s too heavy for them but for me, it’s just perfect… on its own or paired with other Jo Malone colognes but I prefer to wear it on its own and feel the whole composition.

Well, that’s it from me this year. A bit of everything. Let’s hope that 2019 will be a good one, a happy and healthy one. Have fun and be safe!

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January Favourites

It’s the last day of the first month of 2018! Time really flies!
And although the flowers above are making it seem like it’s already spring, it feels like winter has absolutely no intentions to leave, not just yet.

But I have to say this winter has been quite mild although my skin is still a bit dehydrated. I just recently did a review on the Votary Rose Geranium & Apricot Cleansing Oil here, so I will try not to repeat myself but I’d like to say that cleansing oils usually break me out and this one was such a joy to find and to start using. It’s great on my combination but dehydrated skin, it cleanses it really gently yet effectively and it makes me look forward to my evening skincare routine every day.

After I was suggested by a dermatologist to try wearing less makeup, now I’d just go for concealer, powder, mascara and lip balm. I’m not an eyeshadow person, I’ve said that before but somehow I like it when my eyes look a bit more defined. I prefer a soft wash of colour that looks elegant and makes the eyes pop. There have been a few options that I’ve been reaching for a lot but today, I’d like to share with you this mini of the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst. The shade is something between a soft mauve and warm taupe and has kind of a bronze metallic finish, it’s simply stunning and I feel like it would look great on everyone. The formula is creamy and glides on easily, blends like a dream and it’s extremely long-lasting. I always have to use a primer because everything creases on my lids except for this one! I forgot to use a primer a few times before applying Amethyst and whenever I looked in the mirror, it stayed perfect. The colour is very pigmented but flattering and not screaming. I use this as an eyeshadow or as a liner, I like smudging it over my bottom lash line, it’s also fantastic for a smokey eye.

My hands are very dry at the moment, it always happens at this time of the year, I wash them too often and I don’t apply hand creams regularly. The one that’s been giving me quick results though comes from Burt’s Bees and it’s their Ultimate Care Hand Cream for extremely dry skin. It seems like it’s possible that packaging is slightly different now or it’s just because I have minis but I found two in my stash and I’ve been keeping one at home and one in my handbag. This hand cream has been a true saviour, thanks to the Coconut Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Watermelon Seed Oil and a natural fruit acid complex to gently exfoliate the skin. It’s 98.9% natural, it’s has a rich, thick consistency but it’s not too heavy or greasy. It has a light scent that is quite natural. Although my hands are still dry and nothing can really cure them right now, this hand cream makes such a difference to them whenever I apply it, it instantly hydrates and nourishes while keeping the effect for a few hours. I like to apply it at night and wake up to smooth and soft hands which doesn’t happen very often in the winter.

There are two hair products that really helped me keep my locks nourished and shiny during the windy and rainy winter days. When I first got the ESPA Pink Hair and Scalp Mud in my Liberty Advent Calendar, I thought it would be just an extra step that wouldn’t do much of a difference. But oh, was I wrong… Essentially, it’s a pre-shampoo treatment that you spread all over damp hair (I concentrate on my scalp) and leave it on for at least 20 minutes or overnight. I’ve never used it as an overnight mask, I just can’t imagine going to bed with damp hair and clay that dries out on my head. I’d leave it on for 30-60 minutes, then rinse it off and then continue with my usual shampoo. This treatment would be suitable for any hair type, considering how my roots get greasy quite easily and this product doesn’t do that. The first time I used it, I couldn’t believe how soft (but not frizzy), shiny and simply wonderful my hair looked.
ESPA Pink Hair and Scalp Mud contains Vitamin C-rich Watercress and Red Clay to soothe and nourish the scalp, Castor Oil and Apricot Kernel Oil for strong and healthy-looking hair and even Rose Flower Extract. The brand suggests that the product can be used on dry skin on the body, as well. After applying it on my scalp and hair, I usually massage what’s left on my hands and it feels really nice, especially now that they’re so dry.
This treatment would be great for those of you who suffer from flaky scalp in the colder months, it’s very soothing and replenishing.
I haven’t tried other products from ESPA but I might need to… or at least get a full size of their pink mud.

Once a week I like to deep cleanse my hair. I often feature purifying shampoos on my blog, I try different ones all the time and it was quite surprising for me that I hadn’t used the following cult classic before. Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo* is a product everybody knows about but somehow it was never available around me.
Before I continue, I’d like to mention that this product is supposed to be used as a daily shampoo or as a pre-cleanse treatment once a week before a regular shampoo.
The Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo* has paraben- and silicone-free formula and is made with Onsen (Japanese hot spring) inspired ferment that are known in Japan for their purifying qualities. It keeps scalp’s balance while gently cleanses the hair. The texture is quite lightweight and easy to work with, it lathers nicely and makes my hair clean and soft.
I wouldn’t say it keeps it cleaner for longer than other shampoos but I wash my hair every other day, I always wash it twice and that’s pretty often, so, for me, it’s more important that this product doesn’t irritate and dry out my scalp. It draws out impurities and buildup while keeping the moisture and volume and leaving a nice delicate scent.

It’s been quite rainy in the past couple of weeks here which tends to make me more tired and in a dismal mood. So, I’ve been looking forward to every evening when I can just shut the bathroom door, take a hot shower and do my skincare routine. Such simple rituals make me feel relaxed and there’s been one body product that makes the whole experience even more enjoyable. I got the Decléor 100 Grain Body Exfoliator in their advent calendar and to be honest, I didn’t think I would like it. I rarely like body scrubs because they’re either too harsh or dissolve much before I manage to exfoliate my skin. However, Decléor 100 Grain Body Exfoliator might be the best body exfoliant I’ve ever used. It’s suggested to use on dry skin and to make the application easier, to apply an oil before that. I’ve tried using on damp skin, as well and I still love it. The formula is enriched with Grapefruit Essential Oil, Pear Sugar, Argan Shell, Orange Peel and Fruit Acids such as Grape, Pineapple and Passion Fruit. The gel turns into an oil when you start massaging it into the skin and then it gets milky in contact with water which makes it really easy to rinse off. It leaves my skin so soft and smooth, as if I’ve applied a body oil, hydrated and nourished. And the scent… I can’t describe it but it’s gorgeous and if you’ve tried anything from the brand, you probably know what I mean.

Last but certainly not least, one of my all-time favourite scents, Thé Noir 29 by Le Labo. I don’t think I can describe with words how beautiful this perfume is. It’s addictive, it’s deep but fresh, it’s leafy and dry. We all know that fragrances feel different on different skin, on me, Thé Noir 29 is like a cup of black tea with fig and bay leaves present, it’s a bit smokey and woody, rich and bitter. It’s not difficult for me to fall in love with this fragrance, considering how much I adore fig scents. But the fig here is different, it’s dry and dark, rather than juicy and fruity. I can feel Thé Noir 29 even at the end of the day, after I take a shower, it’s still there, on my pillow, at night and the morning after, it’s amazing…

And while I’m still lost in this gorgeous creation and the idea of it, it’s time to say goodbye to January and to welcome February.

*PR Sample