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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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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

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.