Monday, 22 July 2013

New beauty round up: the good and the bad

The Good

Clinique Take The Day Off Balm

 This is a very very recent purchase, but it is a brilliant one! Caroline Hirons put this into her Hall of Fame the other day, prompting me to finally go out and buy it. My only reticence had been in the lack of obvious INCI list (it doesn't come in a box and the label is one of those irritating 'peel here' things that is taped down in the shop, nor could I find one online), so when Caroline posted her review of it (glowing) and the INCI list, I was sold. And I am not disappointed. I love this stuff. I especially like that it washes off with just water, no need for hot cloths (not that I am skipping that step) which means if I travel and forget my flannels I could still use it.

Clarins Doux Exfoliant

This exfoliating toner is gentle but thorough and my skin loves it. It has really helped clear up the scars from my last year of horrendous acne (combined with some Hyaluronic Acid gel), and helped keep my skin smooth and breakouts to a minimum. Unfortunately no airport seems to stock this, which is annoying as a nice duty free discount would be good!

Aveda Exfoliant
Also a new purchase, this does the same job as the Clarins, but Caroline Hirons recommends switching it up, so 2 is better than 1! I originally ordered from the UK, but I have now found a retail location in Vienna, where I'm also going to go and try out their hair salon and have a facial at some point.

Tautropfen Hyaluron Gel
I bought this when I first started using Hyaluron because Hydraluron is not available in Austria. It is a light gel with a host of ingredients in it, including Carageenan, Hyaluronic acid and aloe vera. It is light, absorbs without feeling sticky or heavy. I noticed a difference in my skin almost immediately, most notably with the way my make up sat and lasted. When I ran out I switched to Hydraluron, which you will see later was a massive mistake!

Totes Meer Salbe
I bought this because a) it isn't expensive and the ingredients looked good and b) I know how good salt is for acne. I haven't really used it that much up until now, but a couple of weeks ago a make up artist friend recommended it for my skin. I tend to use it as a night moisturiser, and it really does help with spots. I also use it as a moisturiser for after plucking the dark hairs on my upper lip, which would normally cause horrible spots. After using this there are none.

Lush Breath of Fresh Air
This was a repurchase of something I used a long time ago (I think I was still working at Lush when they brought this out), and I love it. For me it has the perfect combination of salt water, seaweed, and aloe vera that my skin really really needs.

Diorskin Nude Glowing Make Up
I love this foundation. I bought it on a whim when scouting around for a new base, because the sales assistant (whose English was about as good as my German) recommended it to me, and her make up looked really nice. I am so glad I did, because it is an awesome foundation. I have tested others and compared them since, but nothing holds a torch to this stuff. Cheap it is not, but worth every penny it most certainly is. And it lasts for ages. I think my bottle is nearly 6 months old and still has some left in it, I have just bought a replacement because a) it is hard to see how much is left and b) I was passing through an airport and the discount on RRP was nearly 25%. Why do I love it? It smooths out my skin without looking heavy or obvious. On good skin days I can get away with a mere touch of concealer on some stubborn patches, but even on bad skin days my need for concealer is lessened. It is light reflective so never looks flat, and the pigment is just light as a feather - some compare it to MAC Matchmaster, another foundation I have. The difference is clearly the pigment; the MAC pigments are not as subtle as the Dior ones and tend to end up a little chalky. The palest shade is also a good match for my skin, and is slightly on the pink side of neutral without being more brown, which I have found with MAC. 

Dior Addict 333 Nude and Dior Addict Extreme 316 Incognito

Oh my has Dior make up captured my heart! I was on the lookout for the perfect nude lipsticks and found these babies, which although both quite different, together make up the perfect set of nudes for all occasions for me.

Dior Addict 333 Nude is a more brown/pink/coral colour which complements my natural lip colour perfectly and goes really well with eyemake up that demands something a little less pink. I find a lot of nude shades too beige and concealer like, even though I'm really pale. This has a gel texture and runs that little bit more natural.

Dior Addict Extreme 316 Incognito is slightly more pink and slightly paler, but still blends with my natural lip shade really well. It makes the perfect nude for a more obvious lip, the perfect nude for wearing with darker shades that need a cooler finish.

Clinique City Block Sheer SPF25
Another airport purchase made after I'd read about it on Caroline Hirons' blog. I used to use this a lot when I was younger, and I'm not entirely sure why I stopped. I love that it is oil free, and it really feels to me like a BB, but this predates the current trend by many many years. The colour is very light, very sheer (I can't remember if there is a darker version?) and on me actually does a good job of evening out things. I sometimes wear this with just some concealer and a spot of powder over the top if I can't be bothered with the full foundation shebang. Plus, its sun screen. I don't find this irritates my acne as long as I wash it off well, which doesn't feel that hard, so that is a good thing for me! My only negative is that I don't particularly like it under make up, but I don't like primers of any description. If you do, then this would be great. 

The OK

Korres Gel Fluid Cleanser
I was a little disappointed to find, after buying this, that it is a frothy cleanser. However, it is soap free and pH neutral, and does contain lactic acid, so it isn't all that horrible. I like this as my second cleanse a couple of times a week. However, I don't think it is anything particularly special. Some reviews I've read claim its excellence for acne prone skins, but I don't think it makes that much difference. I most like to use this when I've been wearing sun screen, as I always feel like I need a good clean after that.


Lush Ultrabalm
Ultrabland's thicker cousin, this balm removes make up pretty well, but for me it just isn't amazing. I think it is the wax in it, I just feel like I haven't been able to clean it off properly. I do like it for a pampering day, and as it is a multi purpose balm I can use it on my feet and cuticles.

Clarins Extra Comfort Toner

I wish this was in the Good category. I really really like it as a toner, it is soothing and lovely BUT.... it contains a single ingredient (Methylisothiazolinone) that I think I am allergic to. The same ingredient is found in the Nivea Pure and Natural range which I loved until I started suffering really bad eczema on my eyelids. This lotion does the same to me, so I have to be really really careful how I use it. Which is why it only gets an OK.

The Bad

This so called wonder product, as raved about by many was on my hit list of things to buy in the UK. And buy I did. My trip coincided with my bottle of Hyaluron Gel running out, so it was perfect and serendipitous. Alas, with a few weeks use my skin became full of big spots, the likes of which hadn't been seen since the advent of my new skincare regime if not earlier. I googled and found a review by Charlie of Lady of the Lane, who said pretty much the same thing. Sadly I think the red algae that they combine the hyaluronic acid with is just too clogging on my skin - it is regarded as highly comedogenic and my experience tends to agree with that. It is such a shame, as I really wanted to get on with it, but the Tautropfen gel I bought here in Austria is much better on my skin. I'm not sure what to do with the 2 unopen tubes I have, for now the open tube is being utilised in wound repair!

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