Monday, February 24, 2014

Merumuya Luxury Facial Wash

I have to be honest, sometimes Merumaya Luxury Facial Wash* makes me feel like a bit of a neglectful boyfriend. There it is sitting on my bathroom shelf waiting on me to come home with the woes of the world, calming, patient, reliable.  And what do I do?  I take it for granted, rely on it heavily and I forget to tell you about it.

I adore the concept behind Merumaya products - the range was created by Maleka Dattu who has worked at the top of her field in the beauty industry for many years, working in all the top beauty houses so it's safe to say she knows beauty like nobody else.  What I love about the brand is its integrated approach which uses the best that science has to offer and also the best that nature has to offer - basically giving us superhero skin products.  Who doesn't want that?

When I am being really good I use the Melting Cleansing Balm to remove my makeup - this is amazing. While I have other solid cleansing balms - which are very good - there is a bit of messing about with them, so much so that I had taken to keeping them beside the couch and rubbing them on before I went to wash my face.  This was grand until himself caught me, scooping, melting, rubbing, when I turned to him with a oily covered face he looked at me at what can only be described as a "I could not find you less attractive than I do right now" look which pretty much put an end to that routine.  No such messing with Merumaya Balm, you squeeze the balm from the tube and apply.  No messing.  It removes makeup and leaves the skin feeling soft. For me it doesn't remove all traces of eye makeup but it is so gentle that you can wipe along the eye with no discomfort. 


When my skin is acting up I love to use the Luxury Facial Wash* (€18.50) - in fact I use this by itself in the mornings along with the manual cleansing brush (which makes you feel like you're frothing up your face for a good old shave).    While I had great skin as a teenager as I get older I am getting more and more spots on my chin, they say oily skin is much better for getting older (less wrinkles) but it sure is a pain in the bum when you have a chin full of spots which of course as we are older take ages to go away.    The product is described as having  AC.Net (Merumaya's trademark discovery) for blemishes and pomegranate enzymes to exfoliate and unclog the skin.  While I can not explain the science in great detail I can tell you that when I use the Luxury Facial Wash my skin clears up - when I dont use it I'm spot city. 

Over Christmas between eating ALL THE SWEETS and staying in my parents with no Merumaya my chin broke out quite badly with spots so I decided 2 weeks ago to give up sugar to see if it would help my skin. My skin has improved so much, no new spots have broken out and the Luxury Facial Wash is really getting rid of the ones that were left behind.  It really goes to show what you put into your body reflects on the outside.

If I had one criticism at Merumaya (and this is really trying to find fault) is its packaging is not fancy, but that is because they put all their money into what is inside the packaging and that is absolutely fine with me. When you buy Merumaya you're buying a premium beauty product (with all the research and expertise of premium beauty) at an affordable price.

Merumaya is available from Arnotts and Arnotts.ie and also from Debenhams.ie (from what I see you might save a few euro if you shop from Debenhams).  You can also pick up Merumaya products from their website merumaya.com.
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Friday, February 21, 2014

Pantene Youth Protect 7 and BB Crème

The other day I was chatting away to someone telling them about how I love a good scare every once in a while (not look at my credit card bill scary... fun scary), like my love of roller coasters. While chatting they asked would there be many old people on them, I barrelled away with my answer not noticing that they were finishing their sentence "Old people like us".  WHAT ?  Old people like WHO? And to think I had been using Pantene Youth Protect Shampoo and Conditioner* thinking it's like a toddler wearing a push up bra (needless and a little funny).  Turns out it's not so need less and not so funny.

So I was a little insulted but the reality is this Peter Pan is getting on a little and while I do have quite strong hair it has started to show signs of abuse easier than it did before.  I don't want my hair to look old, it's one of my better features so using a protective shampoo and conditioner really makes sense.

Pantene Youth Protect 7 helps your hair in 7 ways (funny that) it gives your hair, Strength, Fullness, Shine, Smoothness, Hydration, helps damage repair,  and gives resilient tips.
 
So this shampoo doesn't just promise one thing it promises 7 things, does it deliver?  I would have to say HELL yes.  My hair is quite strong and full so I wouldn't necessarily notice or need my hair to be stronger or fuller but my hair looks so shiny, smooth and soft (can't stop touching it smooth and soft).  While we know that a shampoo and conditioner can not repair split ends, because Youth Protect smooths the hair, split ends are less noticeable.  


A new product in the youth protect range is a BB Cream for hair.  I don't know about you but I am so over the term BB anything but basically it's a leave in treatment for your hair promising to help your hair in the same 7 ways the Youth Protect Shampoo and Conditioner do.  Honestly after I use the Youth Protect Shampoo and Conditioner I don't feel like I need a serum or leave in treatment but if you had very dehydrated or damaged hair it might be worth your while trying the BB Cream.


I like to rotate my shampoos, I find my hair gets used to a shampoo and I get the best from both the product and my hair if I used a different product every other shampoo. The main question is would I repurchase?  I will definitely repurchase Youth Protect Shampoo and Conditioner.  I have really enjoyed using this shampoo, it leaves my hair looking and feeling fantastic, 7 promises could be hard to live up to but this combo does a great job.

X Mags
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Stila Sweet Treats Bronzing Powder


Stila are just so darn cute. They are almost as cute as my nephew playing with a puppy (actually my nephew chasing a puppy around a table is quite exhausting - cute but exhausting) and Stila are right up there in my affections (another cute image is my nephew picking out a Stila lipstick as a present for me - freaking adorable).  As part of their cuteness they like to release a little something for Valentine's Day and this year they released Sweet Treat Bronzing Powder



While this made a very cute Valentine's present, it's a perfect bronze for Spring.  This little brick features a trio of matt and shimmery bronze colours along with a browny peach which mix together to create a natural and pretty bronze look.  You can also use the colours separately on your eyes (the peach is very pretty on the lids).

This sweet little bronzer gives soft natural looking colour which is perfect for this time of year (and very pretty on lighter skin).  It's a happy little treat costing £12.00 or €15.50. 


Believe it or not I haven't had my makeup done at Stila since they came back, something I will be rectifying in the next couple of weeks when the Spring Collections hits the counter. 


You can buy Stila from their site www.stila.co.uk and from their counters in Harvey Nicks Dublin, Cara Pharmacy and a limited selection of products from Brown Thomas.
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Monday, February 10, 2014

New Cocoa Brown Tan Products & a Giveaway!

Along with the entire female population of Ireland (or so it seems!), we're big fans of Cocoa Brown Tan. It's an Irish brand, with great, inexpensive products. What's not to like? The powerhouse that is Cocoa Brown's creator Marissa Carter and her team are adding to Cocoa Brown's product line this spring with a range of new stuff that we can't wait to try. 

Cocoa Brown Lovely Legs sounds like it could be a rival for Sally Hansen's brilliant Airbrush Legs, but at almost half the price. Cocoa Brown's original 1 Hour Tan is a light tan, which I think is great for most Irish skin tones but if you do prefer your tan to be darker, you'll soon be able to get your hands on Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Dark. Perhaps the new product I'm most excited about is Gentle Bronze gradual tan. I much prefer to use gradual tanners during the summer and if this has the original Cocoa Brown scent, sign me up for a vat of the stuff! 



To celebrate Cocoa Brown's new launches, we have a little giveaway. To win a Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Travel Size, simply follow the instructions below and we'll pick a winner at the end of the week. As far as I'm aware, the only place you can buy the travel size version at the moment is on board on Aer Lingus flights, so this is a good opportunity to get your hands on one! Good Luck! 



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Friday, February 7, 2014

Clarins Opalesence Spring 2014 Collection

It's spring, or so say Clarins with their bright and fresh Opalesence Spring 2014 Collection*.  I don't know about you but I am very ready for spring and brighter makeup. Let's look at what Clarins has on offer.  

First up Clarins have one of their powder blush (€37). I don't have a picture of this to show you but if you're looking for a very pretty finishing powder this bad boy will tickle your fancy - although if you already have a powder blush/finishing powder from another collection you could give this a miss. 

Next up we have the very pretty mineral eye shadow quad (€41) - Clarins mineral eye shadows can be used wet or dry which means you can get two different intensities from each shade.


The top row has a light lavender shade, beside that a glittery frosted opal white. The bottom row has a beautiful multi dimensional purple and a taupe/gray shade.

The lavender shade is quite light and perfect for a wash of colour, in fact this whole palette creates almost a watercolor effect on the eye lids.  The glittery frosted white is quite chunky so beware of fallout, I tend to use this shade sparingly to brighten up the inner eye.  I suppose you could say it's like a crushed opal.  You will get fallout with this shade so be gentle.  It is more of a "fun" type of shadow but to be honest it's my least favourite from the quad and I am not a fan of the formula.  

The bottom row for me has the best shades - the beautiful multi dimensional purple and a very pretty taupe shade.  You can use these shades for colour on the eyes although they can be blended out for a more neutral look.  My favourite shade is definitely the purple.


The palette can create very pretty looks for everyday and as I said a more "watercolor" type effect.  If you're into bold eye colours this is not the quad for you.


If I had to choose between the eye shadow quad and this new addition to Clarins Mineral Eye Shadow range I would save my money and head straight for Smokey Plum (€19).  As I previously mentioned Clarins mineral eye shadows can be used wet or dry (so you could use the shade dry as a shadow and wet as a liner creating two shades on the eye from the one shadow). Smokey Plum is a stunner. When I first clapped eyes on it myself and Artdonatella simultaneously let out quite a loud OOOOOOO and then an AHHHHH.  Then we swatched it and just looked at each other with pure makeup lovers knowledge that this is a very special eye shadow. 


Smokey Plum is a Purple/Taupe/Grey/Brown colour of perfection, it looks stunning, it blends beautifully. What I love about this shadow is (a) it's beautiful but more importantly (b) when you wear it your eyes look better - it'snot a case of your eye make up looks nice, your eye balls look nicer.  It's a simple uncomplicated shade to wear and I have fallen more than a little in love with it.
         

Simples and pretty- sure what more do you want?


Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Bases (€30) smoothes and evens the skins tone - it comes in 3 shades and I have 03 Peach.  I haven't really played around with this a lot, honestly it's because my skin is in bits since Christmas.  I think that Peach would be a better shade if you had a slight tan, whereas the other shades 01 Rose and 02 Champagne might be better for most Irish skin tones. 

I love Clarins lipsticks, they feel flipping AMAZING on the lips, they smell FANTASTIC. Unfortunately they have never really had shades that I was interested in UNTIL NOW.  Clarins Joli Rouge Brilliant Sheer Shine Lipstick (€21) come in three new shades for spring Tropical Pink, Coral Tulip, Pink Orchid.  We have Coral Tulip and Pink Orchid below.  I have been loving Coral Tulip and although I normally go for a bright and bold lipstick these lipsticks cover your lips with a gentle colour and shine, instead of "your lips but better" they give a "your lips but prettier" effect.  They are a pleasure to wear on your lips and make the lips feel hydrated (and I have mentioned they smell fantastic, like fantastic sweets). 

Coral Tulip and Pink Orchid




Of course if you prefer a lip gloss Clarins have you covered with their Gloss Prodige Intense Shine (€21) the two shades for spring are a clear gloss and Coral Tulip to match the lipstick. 




Top is Coral Tulip, middle is Coral Tulip Gloss and bottom is the Lipstick with the gloss on top. 


Next up is one of my favourite products from the collection the Multi Blush Cream (€22) there are four shades 01 Peach, 02 Candy, 03 Grenadine and 04 Rosewood.  We have 02 Candy and 04 Rosewood to show you. 


Candy is a bright happy pink but lets talk about Rosewood for a second.  A long time ago I was chatting to the stunning Artdonatella now she has amazing cheekbones anyway but she was wearing a blush that was like something I had never seen before - she informed me it was a cream blush from Clarins that was discontinued.  DAMN.  Not that I could ever have cheekbones like the lovely Artdonatella but that blush would help (isn't that how we all think).  Fast forward to now and Artdonatella informs me that Rosewood is pretty much the same as her famous cheek bone enhancing blush.  For my cheeks I normally go for a hot pink like Candy - or during the summer a peach, or coral I never think to go for a dusky rose almost wine colour.


I have been loving Rosewood. It's the perfect shade and while my cheekbones haven't gotten any sharper, it's such a pretty look.  You can use these cream blushes on their own and they are long lasting (especially for a cream product) and easy to use.  You can also layer powder blush for a intense look.   Rosewood adds soft warmth to your face, the formula means it doesn't look too dry or too dewy.




So my top pick from Clarins Opalesence Collection? Definitely pick up the Mineral Eye Shadow in Smokey Plum.

Clarins Opalesence Collection hit shelves on the 20th of January. 


X Mags
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Monday, February 3, 2014

Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream & CC Eye Cream - move aside Marc Jacobs foundation, Bourjois is Kicking your ass

I think it's fair to say that Bourjois create the best "drugstore" or chemist foundations, if you're looking for an affordable foundation  you can head to Bourjois and they will sort you out fairly quickly.  Their newest base product is their new 123 Perfect CC Cream*.  I am just going to come right out and say it - I really hate the whole BB cream thing, I haven't really found one that I like and I think it's kinda a beauty fad so it's safe to say I rolled my eyes a little when CC Creams started to pop up their little heads.  

I was very skeptical when I first eyed Bourjois 123 Perfect - with regard to the CC cream part in the name - although Bourjois don't really go wrong when it comes to foundations or bases. The cream, which is really a light foundation, has three different colour pigments in it to correct skin discoloration. 

Apricot - for Anti Fatigue
Green - Anti Redness
White - Anti Dark Spots

Ok so first thing my mind immediately thinks "there is green in there I am going to look like an alien" but the refreshing thing about 123 Perfect is it's actually skin colour - no grey or green tinge.  It's a light foundation (yeah I am ignoring CC Cream and just calling it what it is - a foundation) which gives beautiful coverage.  I have applied it using my fingers, a brush and a sponge and it works well with all three.  It's quite a liquid foundation and a small amount blends easily over the face.  

I have been absolutely loving 123 Perfect and reaching for it every day - considering I reach past my Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Foundation to get to it.  Yep that's right I prefer 123 Perfect to Marc Jacobs foundation which is possibly the standout product from the Marc Jacobs beauty range.  I love that it has light coverage, feels great on your skin, covers all the skins nasties but your skin still looks like skin.  I find that it lasts well through the day (definitely lasts longer than Marc Jacobs Genius Gel) keeping redness at bay, my spotty chin does begin to show through in the late afternoon.  123 Perfect also has an SPF15, what I am worrying about SPF for when we are in constant darkness you ask?  Well I am trying to get rid of those dark spots caused by the sun and you need to use an SPF with treatments.  

The downside to 123 Perfect is it only comes in 3 colours - below I have the lightest shade No 31 Ivory and No 31 Beige Clair to show you.  I have been using 32 Beige Clair which is a smidge too dark but matches my skin well - so it might be difficult for you to get a shade to suit you. 



no 32 Beige Clair and  No 31. Ivory


This is more of a before and during picture, as you can see on the left I have red blotchy skin with dark circles and dark spots (a bit of a mess really) on the right you can see me half way through the blending process.  With a quick smooth around my skin tone has become even but it still looks very much like skin. You can see from the un-blended parts that its possible to build this foundation, but a light layer really corrects the skin's tone.  123 Perfect costs €13.99 and has been available since 23rd January.  

To go along with 123 Perfect Foundation (there I said it again FOUNDATION) there is a CC Eye Cream. CC Eye Cream has a silicon applicator which smooths out the under eye area and tames those bold eye bags first thing in the morning.  (Interestingly the Marc Jacobs concealer uses a similar delivery system except the applicator is metal).  You only need a tiny amount of this liquid concealer to cover both eyes.  It's quick and easy to use.  The applicator is supposed to smooth wrinkles and puffiness and I think it does work - they are not magically gone but I definitively look less scary after application.  The CC Eye Cream costs €10.49.



While I sometimes forget about the eye cream and use a different concealer the 123 Perfect has been on my face every day. The simple proof of how much I like 123 Perfect is I reach for it over Marc Jacobs Genius Gel  (which was quite a spendy foundation).  I love the natural look it gives to the skin while covering up life's booboos.
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