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2017 Beauty Favourites


Here it is, the last day of the year! I remember how at this time last year, I was hoping this one to be good and happy but it turned out to be one of the most difficult and sad years for me and my loved ones. In fact, the past couple of years have been very tough, so I think it’s finally time for something more cheerful and happy! And I hope you’re going to welcome 2018 in the best possible way!

I like taking a look back at what beauty bits I’ve been loving throughout the year because as we try a lot of products, sometimes we forget what works best on us. Like I recently mentioned, I don’t have that many favourite products this year. I’ve been struggling with skin issues since July, I’ve never had such problems before and it’s been quite challenging to find what’s best for my skin. At the same time, most of my favourite beauty items have been discovered in the second half of the year. But let’s just take a look at them.
Skincare Products

I’ve been setting aside micellar water quite a bit in 2017. It’s usually my preferred product when it comes to taking off the majority of my makeup, so that I can cleanse better afterwards with one or two cleansers. But as my skin problems started, I was suggested to try using it less. However, there has been one micellar water that I’ve been really liking. Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Water is very affordable and really gentle. It contains Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) which is anti-inflammatory and although I always wash my face after using micellar water, I can see the difference. I know that it is combination of products that make the difference but if I want to use a gentle micellar water, it would be this one. I also like that it doesn’t leave a sticky residue and doesn’t dry out my skin.

Just like last year, there are two cleansers that I’ve been absolutely in love with. I haven’t used the Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel for Face and Body for a couple of months but it has been a true saviour in the summer months right after my problems began. It is soap-free and it feels incredibly calming on my skin. It doesn’t strip my skin, it doesn’t leave it feeling tight or itchy. It contains Monolaurin to reduce excess oil, Zinc Gluconate to calm redness and irritation and Avène Thermal Spring Water to soothe, soften and calm the skin. You can read more about this and one more cleansing gel that really impressed me in the warmer months here.
The second cleanser that I wanted to mention is actually my autumn/winter face wash. First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser is more of a cream cleanser which initially scared me but luckily, it doesn’t clog my pores. It’s fragrance- and sulphate-free and feels very mild on the skin. It’s feels a bit richer than my other favourite cleansers and I think it’s great for this time of the year.

Facial mists have always played a very special role in my skincare routine. There are so many that I love that I’d need a separate post to talk about them (I actually have a refined edit of some here) but I wanted to mention two La Roche-Posay products. I’m not sure how many times Serozinc has been featured on my blog but when you love something, you just can’t hide it. It mattifies the skin without drying it out and still leaves a healthy glow, it heals blemishes and feels really soothing. La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water Spray (not pictured above) and Avène Thermal Spring Water help me a lot when my skin feels a bit more dehydrated and they work well before applying facial oil. Thermal water sprays are a staple for me, as they can also be used on irritations, sunburn, rashes and I basically, have all sizes everywhere around me.

I admit, I collect too many lip balms, I love lip balms and I want to try all of them but I simply adore Dior Lip Glow and I can’t wait to see the new finishes for spring 2018 in January. When they came out with a Berry shade, I was more than happy because it was the shade that was missing. But when they added the Lip Sugar Scrub to the family and it ended up sold out everywhere, it changed my mind about lip scrubs being messy and hard to use. It’s a lip balm and lip scrub in one and it also leaves a beautiful hint of tint. It feels very gentle on the lips but it does exfoliate them and it’s very comfortable to use, it just looks and feels like you’re applying a lip balm. You can read my full review on these two brilliant products here.

Makeup Products

This is the category that usually contains the largest number of products but this year and especially, the second half of it, I haven’t been wearing much makeup. I was suggested by a dermatologist to try skipping the foundation step as often as I can (by the way, Dior Forever is still my favourite foundation, so no change there) and I’ve been mostly using mascara, concealer, light powder and lipstick. So, these are basically, my favourite makeup items in 2017.
I spent good 7 months trying to track down the NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer and I’ve been using it only for about two but I already know that it’s amazing. I have really dark circles under my eyes, I’ve always been like this, there’s nothing I can do about it, so that’s why I’m always on the hunt for the best concealer out there. Coverage isn’t the only feature that makes it a brilliant concealer. But there’s something about pot concealers although most of us aren’t the biggest fans of dipping their fingers in the tiny pots. They just seem to have a bit more creamy consistency and higher coverage. What makes NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer stand out is the shade range, the fact that it almost doesn’t crease and feels creamy at the same time, it sets to a matte but not flat finish and it’s really easy to blend, it doesn’t feel drying and the coverage is medium and buildable. I use it on my dark circles or to hide some imperfections around the face and it works great both ways.

Even when I don’t use foundation, I like to apply a bit of powder because I tend to get shiny in the middle of the day but also, powders can have blurring effect. There are powders that don’t just mattify the skin but they also leave a beautiful glow to it and make you look a bit more healthy. This is the case with La Mer Sheer Pressed Powder in Translucent* that I was lucky to receive for reviewing. It is a gorgeous powder, indeed. It is so soft and finely-milled that it’s hard to believe it’s real. I really don’t feel it on my skin when I use it and I have to check in the mirror if it’s there but even then, I see radiant skin. The coverage is quite sheer, it’s not a powder foundation, after all but it just leaves a healthy veil, thanks to the light-reflecting pigments that create a soft blurring effect. The powder also has skincare properties and it’s really noticeable now that we’re in the colder months. Some powders can dry out the skin but this one leaves it nourished and glowing.

Mauve shades are usually supposed to be worn mostly in the autumn/winter but I love them all year round and my blush of choice for the past 5-6 months, has been the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure. I adore my Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in 10 Nude Mauve but I really wanted to try this beautiful shade from Hourglass. After sharing my love for the La Mer product, I have to say this is another soft, finely-milled and simply gorgeous powder. It blends beautifully on the skin and I’ve been using it for so long but it still looks like brand new which is great. I have a full review on this blush here.

Maybe because I’ve been mostly wearing mascaras or maybe there have been just many brilliant ones out there but I feel like 2017 gave us some amazing mascaras. My personal favourites are Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara and MAC Bold & Bad Lash*. The first one was initially sent to me by the brand and I loved it so much that I purchased another one. And I don’t usually get a second tube of mascara with a bristle brush. It’s very easy to work with the big and thick brush, the formula isn’t clumpy, at all, it isn’t too wet or too dry, it’s perfect. I love that it doesn’t smudge or flake and by the end of the day, it still looks amazing. Monsieur Big separates and volumises my lashes, it doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes and I’ve done a full review on the whole Monsieur Big range here.
What can be better than a good mascara? Two good mascaras…in one tube! MAC Bold & Bad Lash*  has two mascara brushes with two different formulas in one packaging and they both do a fantastic job at volumising the lashes but with just the right amount of volume. The small brush makes it very easy to control the amount of product you want to use on your lower lashes and as a person who normally doesn’t like to wear mascara on the bottom lashes, I love this one. Also, the one designed for the upper lashes holds the curl really well and lasts all day without flaking and smudging. In case you’re interested, here’s my review on this mascara.

The hardest part of this post for me was choosing my favourite lipsticks because I simply cannot commit to wearing just one or two. But I managed to pick three. Burt’s Bees lip balms are some of my favourite ones out there, so when the brand launched their 100% natural lipsticks, I couldn’t wait to try them. Sadly, we had to wait pretty long to get them here in Norway but the brand kindly sent over a preview and I’ve been enjoying them since the spring. 530 Lily Lake* is a beautiful mauve pink and there are so many shades to choose from, the packaging is really pretty and is made of 60% recycled material. The colours are very opaque, the texture is creamy and easy to apply and they feel really nice, hydrating and balmy. They’re not the most long-lasting lipsticks but they’re definitely good ones.
Tom Ford lipsticks are finally available outside Oslo and the shade Indian Roseis the perfect pinky rose colour. Obviously, I use the other side of the bullet because I wear it all the time and want to keep the TF for as long as possible. At first, I was surprised by how long-wearing the lipstick was, considering it is quite creamy and non-drying. There’s a slight shimmer running through when you look at the bullet but it doesn’t really show up on the lips, it just makes them look more plump. It’s a beautiful lipstick and I’m really happy to have it in my collection.
Role Play by Marc Jacobs is another lipstick that I really wanted to have, I know they’re all part of the same shade family but I just love such rose pink nude nuances. But texture-wise, this Marc Jacobs lipstick is nothing like my other lipsticks. It’s a gel lipstick and it’s hard for me to explain exactly how it feels, it’s moisturising, it’s not balmy but still glides on the lips easily. It’s quite unique and I really like that it’s a mini, I love mini products in general but also, the chance to use them up at one point rather than just collecting them, is much bigger.


Body and Hair Products

This is a tiny category but I wanted to mention a few products that I really love. First of all, the Rituals Foaming Shower Gels are some of the best-smelling and luxurious body products I’ve seen. When you dispense the product into your hand, it looks like gel but water transforms it into a rich and creamy foam. They’re such a pleasure to use and me and my boyfriend always have a few bottles at home.
Unfortunately, I don’t have my favourite body oil with me at the moment but I just can’t miss the opportunity to say a few words about it. I have a full review on the gorgeous Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Body Oil here and it was actually, my summer body moisturiser, mainly because of the scent but regardless, it is a beautiful body oil. It’s silky and luxurious, it feels amazing on the body, it’s nourishing and the scent is divine, warm and sultry.
Last but not least, there’s only one product pictured above but the entire Kérastase Aura Botanica range (I have a detailed review on each product here) is a dream. I was initially sent the whole line but since then, I’ve repurchased most of the products several times and I need to stock up on them again. Even if I’m on a place with hard water, these products help me get shiny and beautiful hair, they smell lovely and they are silicone-, sulphate- and paraben-free.

That’s it for my beauty favourites of the year! I wish you safe and happy celebrations tonight and a wonderful 2018, be good and do good!

*PR Samples

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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

MAC Bold & Bad Lash

You win some, you lose some… When I got my sun allergy/bad reaction to a face cream a couple of months ago, I was suggested to try using less makeup and skincare products. Unfortunately, dermatologists haven’t found out how to bring my skin back to its normal condition yet. That’s why my foundations, powders, bronzers are still away from my eyes if it’s not really necessary for me to use them. As a beauty lover, this isn’t something I enjoy but on the other hand, I got the chance to try a lot of eye products. Suddenly, the girl that almost never wore eyeshadows became the one that loves playing around with different shades.

I’ve discovered amazing mascaras, as well and today I’m sharing with you one of them. I had really high hopes for the new MAC Bold & Bad Lash* when I received it because I’ve been using several MAC mascaras lately and I love them but also, just take a look at it. First of all, the packaging is eye-catching, it’s a silver tube with red and black caps. The letters are in graffiti style and feel velvety soft, it’s quite unusual and I really like it. The most significant feature is the dual-chamber container because you basically get a two-in-one product. Two mascara wands, two different formulas in one tube.
Of course, this isn’t the first dual MAC mascara but it is the first from them to have both, different brushes and formulas.

The larger brush is designed to volumise and lengthen the upper lashes while the smaller brush for the lower lashes makes the application precise, thanks to the tiny bristles and the smudge-proof formula.
I don’t usually wear mascara on my bottom lashes because I look like I’ve been crying and it somehow makes my dark circles even more visible. But I have to say, with this tiny wand everything looks different and my lashes get the right amount of volume and separation.  Both formulas are clump-free and long-wearing, I’d had the mascara on for over 10 hours on a hot day and I was pleasantly surprised to see that at the end of the day, it still looked perfect. It holds the curl really well and sometimes, I don’t even use my eyelash curlers. You can make the lashes appear quite natural or create a bold look with this mascara, it’s really versatile.
I have sensitive eyes and I’m a contact lens wearer but I haven’t faced any irritations or other bad reactions.

As a person who struggles with lower lashes, I think MAC Bold & Bad Lash* is groundbreaking because you don’t need two separate mascara tubes to make sure the application will be precise and there will be no smudging. I get doll eyes in just a few strokes, I don’t look like I’ve been crying or like my dark circles are even more prominent and I don’t have to worry about flaking even after 10 hours of wear. I know every person likes different mascara types and it is individual when it comes to finding the right one but I’m really impressed by MAC Bold & Bad Lash* and can’t say enough good words about it.

*PR Sample

July Favourites

July is usually never an exciting month for me when it comes to beauty discoveries. It all seems to be paused, everyone’s on holiday and my routines are quite minimal.

But this year, I had the chance to try many products while I was away in Italy and hopefully, I’ll be sharing more about them in the next few weeks. In this monthly favourites post I’m featuring a couple of these products because I fell in love with them straight away.

One of them is the Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser. I was surprised by the texture of this cleanser, as I was expecting it to be thick and even a bit drying. However, it feels light, at first it looks a bit like a clay mask or some sort of paste but it almost transforms into an oil when in contact with water. It’s purifying but also hydrating and my face feels really smooth and soft afterwards. At the beginning, I was a bit concerned because the formula contains 5% Glycolic Acid and my skin isn’t the biggest fan of this acid but it also has Hyaluronic Acid, Chamomile Extract and Avocado Oil, so the combination of these really seems to work for me at the moment. I’ve been using this mini as a morning cleanse or a second cleanse in the evening. Now I’m thinking about purchasing the full size because it’s not drying at all, feels amazing on the skin and leaves it fresh, clean and nourished.

It is not a secret that I adore floral waters and rose water was the first and only skincare product that I used when I was younger, even before my teenage years. The Alteya Organics Organic Bulgarian White Rose Water made me very curious because I’d never tried white rose water before. Rosa Alba is one of the rearest oil-bearing roses. Compared to rose water from the traditional Rosa Damascena, this one has lighter and a bit more delicate aroma but still has amazing soothing and calming properties, it’s softening and moisturising and rose water will forever be one of my favourite skin treats. It’s very gentle on the skin, it’s suitable for all skin types and can be used as a toner after cleansing, to refresh the skin during the day or after sun exposure, I also love using it when I travel and feel a bit dehydrated. They have different sizes and types of bottles, this is a huge 500 ml one but the little 100 ml spray version is really handy to have in a travel bag.

Origins Flower Fusion Sheet Masks are now some of my favourite sheet masks. There are six types and the ones I keep repurchasing most of the time are the Raspberry (it feels refreshing in a hot summer day) and Lavender (very soothing and calming before bed) ones. Here’s a link to my review on the five I’ve tried, so far.

The only base product I’ve been using in the past weeks has been the Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45. I’ve mentioned in my Simple Summer Makeup blog post that it would be too dark for me in the rest of the year but the shade is great at the moment because I’m tanned. I like that it’s a lightweight BB cream but provides medium coverage, it’s quick and easy to apply and stays on all day.

I reach for This MAC x Steve J & Yoni P Touch Me Baby* eyeshadow duo whenever I don’t have much time or just want a wash of colour that can make me look more fresh and presentable. I love how small and compact the packaging is while still being stable and having magnetic closure. The eyeshadow on the right is the popular Soba that is a wonderful golden brown everyday shade but the frosted light pink Keep on Twinkling (on the left side) is really beautiful for a touch of sparkle. They may not seem compatible when you first look at them in the pan but you’d be surprised what a great pair they actually are.

Leave-in conditioners are my thing and when they’re in a spray form and it’s summer, I can use them all the time. Kérastase Aura Botanica Essence d’Éclat* is a beautiful hair mist that I use on damp hair after washing it or on dry hair to make it look more shiny and soft. It smells lovely and the formula is bi-phased, containing Jojoba, Avocado, Coconut and Argan Oils. I’ve done a blog post on the whole Aura Botanica range and in case you haven’t seen it, here’s a link to it.

There’s a bit of all, skincare, haircare and makeup, in my July beauty favourites, so maybe there will be something for you, as well.

*PR Samples

Simple Everyday Makeup | Summer 2017

I’ve been lucky to be able to enjoy a beautiful and pretty hot summer this year. There have been days when the temperatures rised up to 40 degrees Celsius which has been a big challenge for all of us but for our skin, too.

In the summer, I tend to use less than 5 makeup products on my face, mainly because of my shiny T-zone but also, I like it to feel as light as possible.
There are a few new products I’ve incorporated into my daily makeup routine in the  past few weeks and I decided to share my experience with you.

This mini of the Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45 was part of a set I got from Sephora while I was in Rome. There is no shade name on the packaging, I believe the product comes in two shades and this one is great for me now that I’m tanned but would be too dark for the rest of the year. I love that it has SPF 45 and that I can really notice skincare benefits the more I wear this BB cream. At first, the texture looks quite thick but it spreads easily and evens out the skin tone. It has medium coverage and hides redness really well. I’d say it would be best for normal to dry skin, as I need to blot a lot more in the days when I’m wearing it but I really like this product. I don’t need a brush or a sponge to apply it, it’s quick and easy to use and it’s actually lasting me a long time although it’s only 15 ml.

The concealer I’ve been reaching for lately comes from Catrice and it’s their Liquid Camouflage Concealer. It has great coverage, it’s brightening, creamy and budget-friendly.

Another Catrice product I’ve been loving in the past few weeks is their Sun Glow Matt Bronzing Powder in the shade 030 Medium Bronze. The texture is buttery, smooth, velvety soft, the powder is finely-milled, looks beautiful on the skin and it’s everyday-appropriate. Depending on the skin tone, it can be even used as a light contour without looking too harsh. Most of the days, I’d skip other cheek products but sometimes a highlighter and a blusher just add the finishing touches to a certain look. I’m in love with the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Spotlight in Opal. It’s another mini I got in a set with the matching powder highlight but I think this one looks better on my skin in the summer. Probably many of you think that Mood Exposure from Hourglass would be more appropriate in the autumn but I love this mauve shade so much that I could wear it all the time. This Ambient Lighting Blush gives radiance and a touch of colour to my face, makes me look more healthy and awake and blends really well with the bronzer.

I’ve just started using this Essence Mattifying Compact Powder, so I can’t say much about it at the moment but it feels lightweight and natural-looking.

Clarins Eyebrow Pencil is an old favourite of mine, this is probably my third one, it’s perfect for those days when I don’t want to spend hours doing my brows. If you like more precise pencils, this isn’t the one for you probably but I love it for quickly filling my brows and defining them a bit.

When I first saw the MAC Fruity Juicy Eyeshadow Palette in Fruit A La La*, I fell in love with the packaging. The print is gorgeous, the case is compact but sturdy at the same time. However, I wasn’t sure if I could get good use out of it, considering I’m into simple eye looks. And oh, was I wrong… This palette is so tiny, yet it has the perfect shades for neutral or more fun look. It is also great for creating this sultry sunset eye we see a lot in the summer. You can create so many looks with it and I can’t stop using it now.

I finally purchased the Dior Pump’N’Volume Mascara, it’s been on my wishlist since it first came out because I’m a Dior lover and because the tube is a bit unusual. The mascara is really volumising, it doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes and doesn’t smudge. I’ll be sharing more once I’ve used it for a bit longer.

Most of the days, I’d just exfoliate my lips with the Dior Addict Sugar Scrub and the rosy tint added to the balmy feeling would be enough for me on the lips. But Tom Ford lip products finally launched in more boutiques around Norway and I’ve been in love with the packaging, the formula and this shade called Indian Rose*. It’s sophisticated, elegant but still fresh and pretty for every day.

There are a few scents that form my summer fragrance wardrobe at the moment but the one I use mostly is Moschino Fresh EDT. As the name would suggest, it’s fresh, joyful, juicy. The floral notes are not so prominent, so it feels more citrusy and fruity, rather than floral. I really like this fragrance for the summer.

This is my current makeup menu and I’d be curious to know more about your summer makeup loves.

*PR Samples