Monday, May 31, 2010

Review: Clarins Hydra-Care Tinted Moisturizer

I featured my tiny sample tube of this tinted moisturizer in my last Ins & Outs and not having come across any reviews about it on the blogs I read, I decided to share my thoughts with you.

Hydra-Care Tinted Moisturizer SPF6 claims to hydrate, even out and revive skin while preventing it from UV rays, pollution and free radicals. It contains plant extracts such as Echinacea, Horsetail, Mallow and Sea Fennel and corrector pigments and comes in four shades.

The product comes in a handy tube and has a faint sunscreen smell. I love how it feels when I apply this to my skin after washing: it's soft and comfortable and the product gives a pretty satin finish. However, the coverage is next to none; I received a much too dark shade for my skintone but because the product is so sheer, I can still blend it into my skin and maybe look as if I had a bit of tan going on. For that purpose and as a hydrating base for my mineral foundation, it's love, although I do get quite shiny a bit faster than with my usual moisturizer.

I tried to capture the fresh finish it gives, but I guess my camera isn't good enough for that... I've got Hydra-Care TM all over, concealer on blemishes and under eyes plus a little bit of mineral foundation through the center of my face.

Will I buy the full size? No. The hefty pricetag ($43 for 1.7 fl oz) and limited shade range which doesn't cater for paler skintones are the most important reasons that stop me from getting this. Plus, I'd like a teeny tiny bit more coverage from a tinted moisturizer.

*UPDATE* I think it might be breaking me out. I can't find a full ingredients list for it on Clarins website, which makes me suspicious as to what exactly they put in the product. On one of the sites I've seen, the formulation from 2005 lists cyclomethicone (a silicone) as a second ingredient, and it contains 5 different parabens. I think the sample will have to go.

Have you tried this product? What is your favorite tinted moisturizer?

Speaking of skincare, I've added a "Project Bathroom" tab in the right column to track the progress and motivate myself further for the challenge. It'll be all very well worth it though, because I just learnt today that I won Brilliant Farmgirl's giveaway and will have a Bioelements skincare regime tailored specifically for my skin's needs, yay!!! My skin could definitely use some help, and I'm so happy to have an opportunity to try their products... and blog about the experience for you! So hopefully you'll benefit from it as well :)

Have a fabulous week, darlings! xxx

Sunday, May 30, 2010

NOTD: Barry M Pink Flamingo

Pink Flamingo, an orange pink cream color released by Barry M last summer, may quite possibly be the most difficult shade to capture in photos: none of the swatches I've seen do it justice and nor does mine, but hey, I really tried. At least, the photos below manage to convey its neonness (yes, it is a word) and high shine, but the color itself is much more on the orange side in real life.

I applied 2 to 3 coats on the nails that needed some help and no top coat. The quality of the polish is very satisfactory, but a little more difficult to apply than, say, Barry M Raspberry.

I have to admit that I was very hesitant to paint my nails this blinding color; I had it in my drawer for weeks but had been putting the application off. I guess I'm a bit slow on the bright nails trend, I felt the same uncertainty before applying Barry M Bright Pink for the first time, but in the end, I loved it. Are there any shades that you can't bear on your nails? xxx

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ins and Outs

I'm sorry for my haphazard blogging this month: my poor excuse has to be that the finals, or the exam session as we call it here, has already started for me, and I'm spending more and more time pretending to memorize lectures and do coursework. Anyway...

- My skin looking much better. I can't really pinpoint the reason behind it: be it cleansing routine, diet or hormones. In any case, I'm enjoying clearer and less irritated skin and the only little cloud overshadowing my joy is that I still have some scarring left which isn't fading as fast as I'd like it to. Does anyone have any good tips to share?
- In connection with the above mentioned, tinted moisturizer. As much as I love my Revlon Colorstay, I feel as if it was suffocating my skin a bit and thus only reserve it for special occasions. Because my skin is faring quite well, I've dared into the land of tinted moisturizer and started using my sample of Clarins Hydra-Care. I love how comfortable it feels on, but the pricetag ($43) seems a bit excessive. I'm very tempted to try Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Enhancer as a cheaper alternative.
- Unofficial installment of Project Bathroom. I'm trying to use up as much as I can so I won't have to haul it with me on my travel. I'm especially happy that I still have a significant Lush stash to go through.
- The abundance of spring flowers in the house. This month's been marked by my name day, my mother's name day and Mother's Day, so we have some fresh flowers in the house all the time, not mentioning the blossoming plethora in the garden!

- Isabel Allende's "Eva Luna" and "The Stories of Eva Luna". I picked both up in an English bookstore, dumbily read the latter first, but that doesn't quite matter, they're simply fabulous books I can't put down. I had forgot how much I loved South American literature and I'm glad these two reminded me of it.
- The thought that in a month's time, I'll have been already moved to the States! I can't wait to see my husband and start a new chapter in my life.

- The weather. We had so much rain this month that the south of Poland has been flooded and the whole country is suffering the consequences. We've been quite lucky here but still, I'm so over rain and cold, we had maybe a just a couple of sunny days so far. I want to wear my summer dresses!

- Mosquitos. Pretty much self-explanatory.
- Constant headaches and fatigue. Once again, the weather's a culprit here. I've had a slight migraine for three consecutive days now.
- Trying to buy a new perfume for hubs as a gift. I really liked Kenzo Eau d'Indigo until I realized it reminded me of hot refreshing cloths used by KLM on their transatlantic flights. I just can't make up my mind. What do you like on your men, girls?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pastel eyeshadow for everyday

In denial of the everpresent rain, I rocked a fun pastel eye make-up for three consecutive days, only varying the colors. I was inspired by one of Tanya's everyday looks where she sported MAC Bitter eyeshadow heavily smudged on her lower lashline. It strikes just the right balance between colors and neutrals, plus it's so versatile!

The key here is to keep the upper lid very neutral. I didn't use any eyeliner at the lashes, but I found that using a light pencil (Benefit Eye Bright here) on the lower waterline added a lot of freshness to the look and made it all come together.

For the purple look, I just used a matte pastel blue-toned purple from my CS palette and Covergirl Tapestry Taupe shadow on the lid. Cheeks are most probably contoured with Benefit Hoola and some NYX Angel on the apples, and on the lips we have NYX Tea Rose lippy and some Rimmel Mirrorshine lipgloss in East End Snob.

For the lime green look, I used Inglot Matrix shadow no. 401 with a pearl finish and Inglot no. 397 on the lid (champagne color). Cheeks might have some Benefit CORALista on, and for the lips I just dabbed on some Maybelline lipgloss in Pink Whisper which I'm trying to use up.

For the baby blue look, I used two shades of matte pastel blue from the CS palette again and a golden sparkly Inglot shadow no. 111 on the lid, plus CS Dare blusher (a raspberry shade with golden shimmer) on the cheeks and NYX Tea Rose with clear gloss on top on the lips.

This look was a nice change from my usual routine and I'll be definitely doing it more often now for spring and summer. I'd say the purple was my favorite, although the shadow faded very quickly; oh well, I just need a better one, don't you think? Which pastel color is your favorite? xxx

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday lunch: Vegetable tarte

This week's been all rainy and gloomy here, but we did get some sunshine last weekend. I was reading voraciously Peter Mayle's "One Year in Provence" then (loved it!) and after drooling over the French cuisine in the book, I decided to prepare something delicious and summery for myself :) Here's the vegetable tarte I came up with:

Here's how to make it:

150 grams flour
100 grams unsalted butter
a bit of cold water
400 grams assorted vegetables (I used carrots, cauliflower and broccoli)
1 egg
1/2 cup cream
herbs and spices

Mix flour, butter, a pinch of salt and (if needed) a tad of cold water together and put the finished dough in the fridge for 30 mins. Once cooled, spread it on the bottom of a baking tin, make little marks with a fork to prevent it from rising, and pop it into oven preheated to 200 celsius until it becomes golden. In the meanwhile, steam the veggies and prepare the sauce by whisking an egg with cream and adding your favorite spices (I added some oregano, powdered garlic, salt and pepper).

When the tarte is ready, put the vegetables on top, pour the sauce over them and pop into oven for additional 20-30 minutes; the sauce should become solid and golden on top and the veggies cook a bit more. A table!

I love all sorts of tartes, both with fruit for dessert and with veg for lunch. Give them a whirl, they're almost fool-proof and sooo tasty! What's your favorite recipe at the moment? xxx

Friday, May 14, 2010

Natural body moisturizers

Recently, I've been turning to natural alternatives in my skincare and I think there's been a noticeable improvement in how my skin looks and feels. Today's post is all about 3 natural body moisturizers I'm currently using, particularly their benefits and drawbacks. Let the battle begin!

1. The Body Shop Wild Cherry Body Butter for normal to dry skin
Key ingredients: cherry oil, organic soya oil, organic olive oil from Italy, Vitamin E. On The Body Shop website, there's also a mention of shea butter, Brazil nut oil and sesame oil, but they're not to be found on the ingredients' list. Naughty TBS! There's some artificial coloring and fragrance added to the product as well.

Body butters are one of the classic and most popular products from The Body Shop and they come in 18 different scents. While I'm not very fond of this version, which smells like cherry yoghurt, there are some lovely ones in the collection to choose from. The texture is quite thick and very creamy, it spreads quite easily on the skin and absorbs well, although after bedtime application you can still feel a bit of a slip to your skin in the shower on the following morning. It provides a reasonable level of moisturization.

Would I repurchase? No, not really. The product isn't all that natural and I think it's not very cost efficient for what it is. Don't get me wrong, it does a good job at moisturizing my skin, but it doesn't blow me away either, especially considering the price ($20 for 6.8 fl oz.).

2. LUSH Dream Cream Hand & Body Cream
Key ingredients: oat milk, rose water, olive oil, Fair Trade cocoa butter, rose absolue, camomile, lavender and tea tree oils. Unfortunately, it's not all that perfect, it contains parabens and added fragrance! Ouch!

Dream Cream is also a classic Lush product and has a great number of fans. I can completely understand why: it has a fresh herbal scent somehow reminding me of oats, which I love, a medium thick, non-sticky consistency which sinks into the skin right away, leaving it smooth and moisturized. I just love to slap it on dry hands after washing, it makes them feel so comfortable! It claims to have a calming effect and to put this to test I used it on my undereye area a couple of times. This actually worked better than some of the eye creams I've tried, and unlike them, didn't break me out!

Would I repurchase? I'd like to try some other Lush's Hand & Body Creams first, such as Coco Lotion or Sympathy for the Skin, but I'm definitely enjoying using this one! It ticks all the boxes, I just wish it was paraben-free as well... and maybe a tad less expensive ($24.95 for 8.4 fl oz.)

3. LUSH Mange Tout Massage Bar
Key ingredients: Fair Trade cocoa butter, shea butter, mango butter, white chocolate, fresh bananas, honey, peppermint oil, vanilla absolute, sweet orange oil. No parabens this time, but still added fragrance. What can I say, it does smell delicious!

Interestingly, I got mine in Canada and it's called Mange Tout (French for 'Eat all') there, while in the US it exists as a Mange Too massage bar. Anyway... Yes, it smells like a mouthwatering dessert. This can be a good thing or a bad thing: my husband loved it, my brother hated it, but most importantly, I love it. If you're not familiar with Lush massage bars, they're solid bars of moisturizer melting on the contact with your skin, therefore very well suited for a relaxing massage. They're quite oily and take a good while to absorb, which is why I mostly use them before bed. While leaving a bit of residue on the skin, they also give it a lovely sheen, perfect for the summer weather.

Would I repurchase? Yes, please! I already have another massage bar waiting to be used, Therapy this time (depicted), and have enjoyed using Soft Coeur in the past. I find them very moisturizing and luxurious, plus the scents are to die for. Not the best option though if you're looking for something non-sticky that sinks right in. I guess it's one of those love/hate products! Reasonably priced at $9.95 for 3.5 oz, you don't need much at all so it's going to last you a good while.

I don't have a clear winner here as you can see, I think I just like different products for different purposes. Have you tried any of these? What is your favorite natural body moisturizer? xxx

Friday, May 7, 2010

Summer wishlist

I'm on a self-inflicted shopping ban at the moment, which doesn't have that much to do with my account's balance, but more with the fact that, as some of you may know, I'll be moving continents towards the end of June and settling permanently (or as permanently as it can be for me) in the evergreen state of Washington. I'm looking forward to the move, but not so much to packing my stuff into two suitcases! Hence the ban and, of course, a growing wishlist I'd like to share with you today.

Interestingly enough, most of those products are unavailable here, but easily accessible in the States... In all honesty that might be the first reason I haven't got them yet.

1. LUSH Fresh Farmacy facial cleansing bar: I'm very much enjoying using my Sebamed facial bar, so I thought of trying a more natural version next. Thanks to calamine, chamomile, rose and tea tree oil it has a soothing and gently cleansing effect. It's supposed to smell like Dream Cream, which I've grown very fond of.

2. LUSH Tea Tree Water: I wanted to get it last time when I visited the other side of the pond, but finally decided against, and regretted it ever since. Contains tea tree, grapefruit and juniperberry water, whatever it is.

3. Jergens Glow Healthy Complexion Daily Facial Moisturizer: What a mouthful! This oil-free gradual self-tanner with SPF 20 seems to be a perfect 3 in 1 product: moisturizer, sunscreen and sunless tan.

4. China Glaze nail polishes: I'd love a nice, creamy pastel yellow shade like Happy Go Lucky, as well as some nice, bright corals and pinks for summer. Any recommendations?

5. The Body Shop bronzer in Shade 01: I've heard great things about this matte bronzing powder, it's described as a non orange, warm shade, and I think might compliment my skintone a bit better than Hoola, which at times I feel is a bit too yellow.

6. L'Oreal HIP cream liner in Midnight Blue: Love this color, I defo have a soft spot for navy blue eyeliners!

7. NYX powder blushers in Peach and Pinky: I use their Angel shade every other day, and this two colors really appeal to me, I'm especially curious to try Pinky, a super bright, cool toned fuschia pink, supposedly a dupe for NARS Desire or MAC Tippy from the Hello Kitty collection.

8. MAC Viva Glam Cyndi lipstick: I don't care for Gaga, but Cyndi, a reddish, buildable coral shade, screams my name.

9. Revlon Super Lustrous lipglosses in Coral Reef and Firecracker: I've neglected my lipgloss collection a bit in favor of lipsticks, and these two would be a very welcomed addition judging from the swatches I've seen.

What's on your summer wishlist? xxx