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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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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.

Beauty Gift Ideas for Him and Her | Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is about a week away and there are tons of ways to surprise your partner. Actually, love should be celebrated more often. For us, it’s different every year on this day. This year we won’t be even in the same country but I get so spoiled with beauty gifts on a daily basis that I much prefer having an experience that we both could enjoy. Like going to the theatre, for example or to a concert, or maybe a football game, a trip, a weekend getaway…just whatever you fancy (to be fair, I’d love all of the mentioned).

However, I wanted to try to include a few gift ideas here that the men around me and I think you can’t go wrong with if you’ve decided to surprise your partner with a beauty present.

For Her
That’s the easiest, considering all brands are just releasing their spring makeup collections and you can choose from so many limited edition products that will make the whole experience even better.

But I always like to include at least one skincare product that anyone would love and I can’t believe I’ve never mentioned the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Recovery Complex II in such blog post before. This is the 30 ml mini which is still pricey but also a good way to try the serum and I honestly don’t know a lady who doesn’t want to have this one in her skincare stash. The mini is often available in different sets, as well, so you can actually get a better deal and more products for your loved one. The other skincare item I’d like to mention is Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, it’s a classic and it’s lovely because it has a light texture but gives a great amount of moisture and is suitable even for sensitive skin.
If you want to get a lipstick, the NARS Audacious range is the one to go for. There are so many shades to choose from and probably your special one already has a list of at least five desired colours from the series. I love Anita and I think it would look amazing on many skin tones (review and swatches here).
Fragrances are really individual but if your loved one likes a bit more dark and rich scents, the timeless Black Orchid from Tom Ford would be a great choice. If you’re looking for a sweeter perfume, I think the latest release from Guerlain‘s La Petite Robe Noire family would be a nice idea (review here).

For Him
The men around me are not that much into beauty but they like being taken care of just like everyone, so I wanted to feature this No7 Men Energising Face Wash and Energising Moisturiser with SPF15 duo because sun protection is important for all of us, men, women, children and I know men would often skip this step and not think about it. Of course, you can get the products separately, they are suitable for sensitive skin, as well.
Everyone appreciates a good travel set and Clarins Men definitely know how to do a great one. They often have deluxe sizes of their face wash, eye balm, shaving balm and moisturisers in a handy bag and I always wonder how they manage to put so many items in such small bags, it’s amazing.
A shower gel may seem a bit boring but I know many men who love their shower gels and would like to receive one as a gift. I don’t think you can go wrong with this Dior Homme Shower Gel, it has a light texture and the bathroom smells amazing afterwards.
I always try to learn which fragrance a man likes, so that I can get something else from the same range for him that he wouldn’t get for himself. That was the case with this Chanel Bleu de Chanel After Shave Lotion, I knew my brother liked the perfume, so this was a nice accompaniment to  it. The lotion feels refreshing and has a clean and crisp scent, they also have a balm version if you’re looking for something more hydrating.
Speaking of perfumes, this is probably the most difficult part just because all the men around me like different types of scents. Some prefer fresh smells, others want much darker and deeper ones and so on but the majority of them like Dior Sauvage because it’s spicy but fresh at the same time and just noble. My dad always gets compliments when he wears it and everyone around him asks all the time what his fragrance is.

I also wanted to mention a few non-beauty and unisex gifts in a way, simply because me and my boyfriend love getting candles for our flat, for example. When we are choosing a candle together, we often go for deeper scents but in general, my boyfriend has a great taste when it comes to scents, no matter if he is looking for something for a woman, a man or someone’s home, he just has the best taste. I don’t actually have one of our candles here but I love WoodWick candles because of their scents and also, the way they sound like a tiny fireplace is amazing. We also love chocolate, so this selection of Baileys pralines will be demolished in seconds. And finally, something I’ve mentioned a lot but I just can’t miss to share my love for Teapigs tea one more time. I think there is a flavour and type for everyone, the whole family loves them, my friends love them, I adore them.

No matter what you’ll be doing this Valentine’s day, I wish you a lovely one. Be loved and don’t forget to tell your dear people how much you love them as often as possible.

2016 Beauty Favourites

20161230_115800postHappy New Year! I really hope 2017 will be much much better, happier and healthier than 2016! Wish all of you and your families a wonderful year filled with joy and love!

It is now time to start talking about some annual beauty favourites. This year, I decided to form only two categories: skincare and makeup.

20161230_120420postSkincare Products

There are two cleansers I’ve been really loving, both were released in the second half of the year, one is my morning cleanser and then the one that I like using in the evening. Bioderma Sensibio Gel Moussant is a really gentle face wash suitable even for sensitive skin. It feels refreshing and soothing at the same time. You can read my full review on it here. This is a mini of my Estée Lauder Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Foam and you can see what the original size looks like here. I wouldn’t say it’s a foam, it’s more of a cleansing cream that has milky texture once it’s in contact with the skin. I love the calming scent and how delicate it feels on my skin, it’s just so moisturising but purifying at the same time.
My love for toners and face mists is no secret and it was really hard for me to choose which one to include here, so I decided to mention two of my favourite mists. I’ve already used up a few bottles of the REN Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist (review here) because it’s refreshing and can be used before or after putting makeup but also, it protects against environmental aggressors with Zinc and Manganese Amino Acids to track down free radicals and protect skin from oxidative stress. La Roche-Posay Serozinc is my choice when it comes to taking care of my combination skin. It mattifies it without being drying and heals blemishes quicker than usual. I always stock up on this mist whenever I’m in London.
The Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask is still my number 1 hydrating mask, it’s just the best!
L’Oréal Pure-Clay Masks* are my absolute favourites when it comes to purifying face masks. Not only they are easy to get because you can find them at the drugstore but they are incredibly good. You can read all about my experience here because I just can’t pick one to talk about.
Another great find from the drugstore is this Balea Aqua Hydrating Serum. It’s my second bottle of it, it comes with a pump, the formula contains hydrating and soothing ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E and leaves my skin moisturised without feeling sticky or greasy.
My morning and evening moisturising duo must be from Clinique. I’m sure everybody knows about their Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief* but I don’t see many people talking about the Clinique Superdefense Night Recovery Moisturiser (review here). This is my second pot of the cream after I was sent one when it launched at the beginning of the year and I can’t recommend it enough. I remember how dry and irritated my skin was in the winter in Norway and this moisturiser completely transformed it.
I had to mention La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] Unifiant which I reviewed here because it has the same properties like Duo [+] but with a tint and provides pretty good coverage that evens out my complexion and makes me look a bit more healthy.
Last but not least in this skincare category is my favourite multi-purpose moisturiser. Weleda Skin Food is a gem and the whole family loves it. It’s soothing, it’s moisturising, the formula contains plant oils and extracts, it smells clean and it’s simply lovely.

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Makeup Products

This category has to start with my favourite foundation, Dior DIORSKIN Forever Perfect Skin-Perfecting Foundation SPF 35 (review here). It has great coverage but looks natural, it mattifies my skin but also makes it radiant, it lasts all day and I haven’t found a better foundation since I first tried it.
The best concealer I found in 2016 is a drugstore one. It’s from Aura and it’s called Correct Me! Concealer. I use it under the eyes and around the face because it’s pigmented and creamy, the shade range is really good for an affordable brand but the downside is, it can’t be found in many countries.
The new Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel* is my favourite brow product for last year although I’ve been using for just about a month. It creates full and natural-looking brows, fills in the sparse areas and lasts all day.
Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in the shade 10 Nude Mauve is a lovely blush that can be used as a bronzer, as well or just to add this healthy pop of colour to the complexion that we always need. It’s luminous and finely-milled, it’s simply beautiful.
My favourite highlighter for 2016 is without a doubt the Urban Decay Afterglow 8-hour Powder Highlighter in the shade Sin* from their summer collection. It’s a gorgeous champagne shade, you can see it swatched here and it’s quite a strong one but the texture is so creamy that you can control the intensity.
There are three palettes I’ve been loving in 2016: an eyeshadow palette, a face palette and a lip one. The We Care Icon I Love Tigers Nude Palette is from a Finnish brand and it’s my most-used one maybe because I don’t wear that much eye makeup in my everyday life but these eyeshadows just add a little something to the whole look. You can read my post on the palette here.
I know that this Estée Lauder Summer Glow Multi-Palette* (review and swatches here) was a limited edition for the summer season but it’s still available on some places, so it’s not impossible to find it. The texture of all three products is soft and fine, the shades look natural on the skin and I loved using the palette in the summer on my face but also, on my eyes.
Travel-friendly products are something I always appreciate and that’s one of the reasons why I love L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche La Palette Lips in Nudeso much. It’s elegant, it has a mirror, the shade selection is brilliant and I often end up mixing shades to create a custom one.
Speaking of lip products, I knew they would take the biggest part of my makeup favourites but I couldn’t help it. Dior Addict Lip Glow in 005 Lilac (review here) has been the one colour I really wanted and they finally launched it at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, it was a limited edition but I see they will be soon releasing a Berry shade!
The Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector family welcomed two new members in the spring, 07 Toffee Pink Shimmer, a beautiful dusky rose colour and 08 Plum Shimmer, a muted berry shade. I’ve mentioned multiple times how much I love these balms and the new shades are just perfect to have in your handbag.
I remember how excited I was when I learned about the Lancôme Juicy Shakers. I love the brand’s products, I adore Lisa Eldridge and I wasn’t disappointed by these tinted lip oils. I have a whole post dedicated to them here.
NARS Audacious Lipstick in Anita (review here) is the most beautiful vintage rose shade I’ve ever seen. It’s flattering, it’s sophisticated, feels comfortable on the lips and will always remind me of the most wonderful holiday in Rome me and my boyfriend had.
There are some amazing shades in the Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Lip Colour range. I love that the colour is buildable and you can control how intense you want it to be, the formula is lightweight and luminous and the scent is beautiful.
One of the latest and best lipstick releases in 2016 came from MAC and their Liptensity* range. The colours are bold, saturated and unique, the formula is creamy and long-lasting and I love how the packaging is colour-coded.
I also wanted to mention the cute L’Occitane Cherry Blossom Solid Perfume that I always have in my handbag even if it’s winter because it makes me think of sunny days, the scent is beautiful and it’s easy to top up your fragrance with it.

These are most of my favourite products for last year but before I leave, I would like to wish you to be safe, happy, loved and may the new year bring us all amazing days!

*PR Samples

February Favourites

DSC_0865postFebruary has been such a cold and snowy month in Norway that I’m really looking forward to spring and sunshine!

I’ll have to start my monthly favourites with a lip balm because it has been a real saviour for my lips in the past few weeks. Kaufmanns cream is a relatively thick multi-purpose baby cream that works wonders applied on my lips. Thanks to this little tube, there’s no sign of the cracked and bleeding lips caused by the fierce wind in Norway.

Another skincare item that I’ve been loving is the Dermalogica Clear Start Overnight Treatment. It reduces the redness and the size of spots without drying out my skin and after a couple of applications, the blemishes are significantly diminished.

Dior has always been an impressive brand for me but in the past few months, their products really won my heart. That’s why I have two Dior items in my February favourites. Dior Addict Lip Glow in 005 Lilac (review here) has been on my lips for almost two months now and each day, I love it more and more. This lip product looks different on everyone, as it gives the lips a natural flush of colour that suits the skin tone of the woman who is wearing it. The formula of the balm is enriched with Wild Mango and Luffa Cylindrica to protect and moisturise throughout the day. It looks really flattering while conditioning the lips.
The ‘hardest to get right’ make-up item for me is foundation because I have combination skin but I also want to achieve a natural look with good coverage. The new Dior DIORSKIN Forever Perfect Skin-Perfecting Foundation SPF 35 (review here) is everything I want from a base to be! It’s lightweight and long-lasting, it’s matte but luminous, it’s buildable, looks natural and it’s just good skin in a bottle.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Anita (review here) is the lipstick I reach for whenever I want an opaque and sophisticated vintage rose shade that feels comfortable on the lips and lasts a really long time. It has an incredibly special sentimental value for me and it’s one of my most-worn lipsticks in the month of February.

What have you been loving during the shortest month of the year?