Thursday, 31 July 2014

July Favourites

I am having serious trouble believing it's the end of July already. It doesn't feel like it should already be 2014 and now it's going to be August tomorrow? How on earth did that happen?! In any case, I thought I'd share some of the things I've been loving this cold and winter-y July. Sorry in advance for the odd lighting and colour in the product photos - I had to take them this morning before the sun came up. (I love winter but I am really looking forward to having sunlit mornings again!)

On the fashion side, my favourite this month has got to be the beanie from Factorie that I'm wearing in the above picture! It's lovely and warm, is soft (nothing worse than itchy knitwear), has a giant pom-pom and who can deny the stylistic appeal of the stars and stripes! It's all I was looking for in a beanie this winter!

Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Sloan's Plum

If you follow me on Instagram you've probably seen this lipstick in more than a couple of selfies. I love how comfortable it is to wear and the plum shade is perfect for winter, so it's become one of my go-to shades for everyday wear. (Bonus - the colour matches my beanie!)

Rain Rooibos and Baobab Body Butter*

I received this body butter at the Rain blogger event in Platbos earlier this year but I've really fallen in love with it now that it's been colder. This body butter is very thick and rich, so it's perfect for winter skin. I also really love the scent - it's so unusual and so pretty - which I can smell on my skin for hours after application.

Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream

My skin was playing up a bit this month (I think winter aggravates the redness) so my usual BB creams weren't cutting it anymore. This CC cream offers medium coverage and is good at disguising redness.


I often wear my hair in a high ponytail for work (need to keep that hair outta your face!) but now that my hair is longer, I was getting a headache at the end of each and every day - not cool! I'd heard lots about the Invisibobble hair ties and I'm excited to report they work! I haven't used a conventional hair tie for a ponytail in the month since I bought these and haven't had a ponytail-induced headache yet! They also don't leave that tell-tale kink in your hair, which is another bonus.

Plus one non-beauty favourite:

Villiage Candle in Warm Apple Pie

Because what's better in winter than a nice dessert-scented candle? This one smells of cinnamon with a touch of apple sweetness and buttery goodness. The only con is that it is very potent and my flat is very tiny, so I can't burn it for long periods of time because the air gets saturated with scent quickly.

Thought for the Day

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Nivea Cellular Anti-Age Facial Day and Night Cream

Nivea Cellular Anti-Age Facial Day and Night Cream - approx R189 each from Clicks

I've been using this day and night cream pair for about three months now and I've loving them! They have very little fragrance (just a hint of the classic Nivea scent) which is always a bonus for sensitive facial skin. Both creams are lovely and moisturising (thanks to hyaluronic acid), sink into the skin very quickly, are non-oily and leave my skin smooth and soft. This range is a little more expensive than the normal Nivea products, but still very budget friendly! (Bonus: A little goes a long way - I've been using these tubs for ages and I'm not even halfway through yet.)

The day cream is very light but still moisturises all my dry spots away. It has an SPF of 15, which isn't very high but I always put on a dedicated sunscreen cream anyway so it's not important to me. 
The night cream is richer and heavier, but never makes the oilier parts of my combination skin flare up. It's a pleasure to wear and has become my favourite part of my evening skincare routine. (An extra heads up - it's even good in the morning. Cleansing with The Body Shop's Cleansing Butter and then moisturising with this night cream is a great way to make morning-after, hungover skin feel back to normal!) (*cough* Not that I at all do this on a semi-regular basis *cough*)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating Shampoo & Conditioner

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating Shampoo* & Conditioner*

After years and years of highlights and bleach, you can imagine what the ends of my hair were like. Every time I washed my hair, it felt like the lengths and ends were being turned into straw. Which meant I piled on the conditioner. Which made my hair greasier quicker. Which meant I washed it more. Cue endless cycle of bad hair days! So I was excited to review this shampoo and conditioner pair from John Frieda, a brand that I'd often seen at Clicks but never tried for myself.
The first thing I of course noticed was the pleasant (but not overpowering) scent. After shampooing my hair, I was delighted to discover that my hair didn't feel stripped at all - just clean and healthy. A small dollop of conditioner to the much-abused ends resulted in smooth, bright and shiny blonde hair.
I won't be repurchasing these products in the near future BUT that is only because, after my last haircut, my ombre has gone away and I am back to my natural brunette. If you have highlighted hair that is in need of some TLC, it's worth giving this shampoo and conditioner from John Frieda a try (they're available from Clicks for around R100 each, but keep an eye out for special deals!). I have already recommended these two products to a friend with highlighted hair, and will be giving the brunette version a go for myself soon.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

NOTD - Winter Wonderland

Winter has finally come to South Africa and it's been icy cold for the last month or so. We've also had quite a bit of snowfall all around the country (although around home it's all limited to the mountains) so I thought a snowy mani was in order. I drew simple snowflakes over a dark navy background using a toothpick. This photo was snapped after three days of wear.

Base colour: Tip Top "In The Navy" 
Snowflakes: Sinful Colours "Snow Me White" 

Friday, 11 July 2014

Clinique Anti Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel

Clinque Anti Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel - R350 for 30ml*

Luckily, I no longer have the absolutely awful breakouts and acne I had as a teenager, but I still get the odd blemish or breakout as a result of stress and hormonal fluctuations, so I was excited to see if this product could help.

The first thing you will notice when applying this product is it contains A LOT of alcohol. It evaporates quite quickly, so you have to apply the product in sections to work it in before it dries. Obviously, because of the alcohol, it will dry your skin out (which, if you have pimples, you want it to do) so it's important to follow up with a good non-oily moisturiser afterwards. (If you have dry skin with a few isolated blemishes, I would recommend spot-treating rather than applying a thin film over your face.) (And, unfortunately, if you have sensitive skin, I don't think this product is for you.)

In the month I've been using this product, the number of breakouts I've had has been less than normal. Breakouts have also been less severe, and heal a lot quicker. When a pimple does sneak through (curse you, hormones!), applying this gel to it twice a day stopped it from getting big and minimized post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. I also noticed that the small under-the-skin bumps I usually have on my forehead are less obvious.
Overall, I would recommend giving this product a try if you are having a problem with blemishes or breakouts.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

NOTD - Stars and Stripes

Yes, I'm finally back! Apologies for the longer-than-intended hiatus - I'd planned on just taking a week off for #RealTimeChem week to focus on the sciency side of my social media presence (including starting a new blog, Whimsical Science). And then I got sick and winter hit real bad, and I was just feeling - unmotivated - so a bit of a break from blogging was needed. But fear not, I am now back and ready to get back into the swing of things!

Last Friday, the 4th of July, was Independence Day in the USA. Now, I'm by no means American but I can't deny the stylish appeal of the Stars And Stripes. So, I thought I would share in my US friends' celebrations.

I painted a more intricate design on my left hand and had something simpler on my right because (a) my left hand is not so good with a paintbrush and (b) my right hand normally chips earlier than my left so I'm less inclined to put extra effort into it. So let's focus in on that left hand!

I first painted my nails white using 2 coats of Sinful Colors "Snow Me White". When that was properly dry, I used striping tape to mark off the sections I wanted to paint red. I painted the red stripes using Essence Colour & Go in "Fame Fatal" and removed the striping tape immediately. When the red pain was once again properly dry, I used striping tape and Essence Colour & Go in "Boy Next Door" (first edition) to paint the tips blue. I then covered my design in Sally Hansen Insta Dri topcoat. When my nails were touch dry, I added the "stars" to the tips using "Snow Me White" and the smaller side of the Essence Dotting Tool. (I added the detail after a layer of top coat so that, if I made a mistake, I could quickly remove it without removing the underlying blue polish.) I added a star-shaped stud from Essence to my thumb. I finished off with another layer of top coat.

My right hand features the same polishes, just alternating design elements over my fingers. I used the larger end of the Essence Dotting Tool to do the dots on my thumb.

Here's a close-up of my left hand. Clearly I need more practice with the striping tape (you can see that the red sections on my index finger were the first ones I did!), and I missed a few spots during clean-up, but overall I'm quite pleased with how it came out! Maybe next year I'll have improved my skills enough to do real stars!