Sunday, 26 February 2012

A skin care miracle: Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm

It's not often I write a blog post about a face wash.  Okay, for the sake of argument, it's a cleanser, but we all know that it's just another word for something which gets stuff off your face.

I've had this little pot for a while now; it came in a Feel Unique box (a loss from the beauty box world that I'm still very sad about) a very long time ago and I stashed it somewhere I'd forget about it until I'd used up my hateful No. 7 Hot Cloth Cleanser.  It's not that the No. 7 cleanser is really truly hateful - it's just that it's not truly good either, and I'm one of those people who likes to keep ticking things along, using stuff up and if I hate it? Well, too bad. I paid money for it. See also: Estée Lauder Doublewear foundation.  (On a side note: using stuff up gives me this small, private sense of achievement, so this little cleanser I'd stashed away was my reward for such a momentous occasion).

This is the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm, which is probably not something you'd be successful at pronouncing if you were drunk.  It is probably the only cleanser I will ever need for my face ever again.  It is the only thing out of every single beauty box I've ever had that I will be buying.

…That's not to say I won't be buying other cleansers, but from the first use, I just knew it was one of those rare, perfect cleansers which leaves your skin soft, not dry or tight and perfectly cleansed.  It contains vitamin E, moringa seed (of course!) and wild sea fennel (I got nothin') among other ingredients to cleanse the skin while leaving it soft and lovely, and also is sans parabens and mineral oil. Yay!

It comes in a pot (not my personal taste, I'm a great believer of the squeezy tube movement), and is a sort of thick yellowish balm, which you mix with a little warm water in the palm of your hand before applying to your face.  It emulsifies and turns into this luxurious, thick cream which you massage into the skin before steaming your face with a warm muslin cloth and rinsing off.  Following Product Pixie's fantastic Clarisonic Mia review, I've also been using it with my (new, birthday gifted) Clarisonic as per her directions, and it just all works in perfect harmony.

I'm not a huge fan of action shots, as one, I hate my hands, and two, this quite frankly looks like I'm displaying you a palm full of manjuice.  I was trying to show the emulsification and how thick and creamy the product becomes!
I can use it over my eyes to rid them of the last remnants of my Benefit's They're Real! mascara without any stinging, and it leaves my skin cleansed and soft.  From the first use I just knew that this was something I'll never get tired of, from the slightly orangey (and many other things I can't put my finger on) smell, to the texture and the feeling of washing your face with the creamiest, most luxurious product known to skin care.  The fact that I actually look forward to the nights cleansing my makeup off with this says it all, really - when the most laborious daily process can be made infinitely better by a single product, then you know it's one you're going to want to hang on to.

What's your wonder skin care product? I think I found mine...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Hype Machine according to GlossyBox - or, why I unsubscribed.

Image credit:

I've been holding out for a miracle for the longest time with GlossyBox.  A few weeks ago, the day of their Valentine's 'special', I finally got tired of waiting and unsubscribed.  I've been a pretty resilient customer, in fact: I didn't unsubscribe during what's known as Batiste-gate, I ploughed through crap boxes even when I gave away all of the contents to someone else and I put up with their defensive customer service, where on a bad box day, they'd retweet all the good tweets and ignore all the bad, refusing to deal with the tides of unhappy customers.

I kind of snapped a few weeks ago, and it wasn't even a bad box that set me off.  Everything was… fine.

That's sort of the problem.  No excitement, no spark of interest, everything was just fine.  Hunky-dory.  Okay, so it was a pink (OMGZZZ PINK!!!!111oneone) box. Cute, but not revolutionary.  And there was a sweetie.  Both of these were obviously a gesture towards forcing the contents of the box, protestingly, to fit in the self-imposed Valentine's template.

Then, enter the creation of hype.  "We've got a special Valentine's box!" they perkily tweeted, and suddenly everyone wanted a piece of it.

Now, call me old-fashioned, but I received some anti-ageing night cream from Clarins in my box.  I don't associate night cream with romance - I associate it with - oh! Skin care.  Because nothing says 'I love you' like being presented with the reminder that you're ageing.

The whole box proceeded in the same way and any tenuous link to St. Valentine began to slip through their grasp: a Murad skin primer thing which made my face look sweaty and orange like I was recovering from a bad case of food poisoning after a sunny holiday, and a blue eyeliner.

A blue eyeliner.

Let's focus on that.  It's Valentine's Day.  I'm getting ready for a hot date with my marvellous beau (please note that Kiwi and I would never do this because we simply don't do V-Day) and making myself look pretty. Who in their right mind would reach for a blue eyeliner? I can just imagine myself now, sweaty orange face glinting in the dim candlelight over dinner, eyes lined in blue kohl and red lipstick smeared over my madly cackling mouth and teeth.

Because that's what I think of when I think of blue eyeliner - and I'm sure there's some people who wear it beautifully, but seriously - blue eyeliner?! For Valentine's Day?!  In combination with an anti-ageing cream, it's pretty difficult to imagine the demographic they tried to cover here.  No, GlossyBox, just no.

The best thing is, that after this month's box reveal from the ambassadors, I'm doubly pleased that I decided to end my long-standing and loyal subscription: a multi-use 'soap', yet more body lotion (and EXACTLY the same lotion as their very first box) and lipgloss I'll never use.

Now, if at this point, you think I've got it in for GlossyBox, I'm going to have to correct you. I was subscribed from the very first box, and my anger and negative feelings towards it, their customer service and policies have been gently puffing their way to full-blown rage like a middle-aged jogging enthusiast since.  I'm no more angry or interested in GlossyBox than I would be with any other business I feel let down by.  The thing about GlossyBox is that they're very good at creating hype… but then there's the down-side: they can't take the backlash when people inevitably feel conned and disappointed by their box and they stick their heads in the sand.  Then people forget, and a month passes, and then oh! Maybe this month will be better! GlossyBox says so!  The GlossyBox hype machine rolls on.

I'm glad I escaped, because I feel like unless GlossyBox steps up their game, deals with complaints and constructive criticism, and doesn't constantly change their policies endlessly regarding collecting their famed GlossyDots AND stops creating unnecessary hype by appending unnecessary holidays* to their boxes as a way of driving sales (because seriously - not one of those products would EVER be suitable for any kind of Valentine's Day), then their days must surely be numbered.  Their continual failure to implement any kind of beauty preference or requirement when other beauty boxes can and HAVE implemented it with the sending of a simple email, let alone filling in the GlossyBox profile, means that they simply cannot be bothered to interact with their customers, listen or even care what they want.  Goodbye, GlossyBox. It was nice knowing you (NOT)*.

*on a side-note, I would be willing to see a Pancake Day-themed box.
* Clearly a Wayne's World reference ;)
* please note that if you'd like to see my previous rant on something else (Eyeko) then feel free to click over here.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

NARS Spring: Pretty, pretty chaos.

Something about the mismatched chaos of the new NARS Spring collection spoke to me, and I'm not really sure why.  The collection seemed so incoherent and nothing seemed to flow, really. A berry-toned lipstick, a bright pink blush, a taupe eyeshadow… Those aren't the colours of Spring.

Maybe that was the point, and maybe that's why I liked it.

Lhasa eyeshadow, Valparaiso Pure Matte lipstick and Gaiety blush.

I've never been a fan of pastels, really.  Saccharine-sweet pinks and baby blues belong on the walls of a nursery, not on my face, and spring greens? In a stir-fry.

The atypicality of the whole collection was perfect for me, a girl who loves Winter and wasn't quite ready for the crocuses to begin blooming and the whole world to wake up again.  It does have its gleeful moments though - it's not all stormy taupes and wintery berry tones - there's pinks and blues and purples and the kind of variety I want in any collection, whatever the time of year.

I kind of wanted all of it, I felt that swell of sheer WANT.  I restrained myself and removed a sole item from my basket before clicking BUYBUYBUY!

Gaiety blush:

Shown here: Gaiety blush and Valparaiso Pure Matte lipstick.
This was a no-brainer for me, but now I have it in my hands, it's not the star for me.  In fact it's my third favourite - out of 3.  I still love it, but.  That's all I can say, it's just not as lovely as the other things.  It's a lovely candy-pop pink, or a bubblegum kind of colour, with a matte-but-sort-of-not kind of feel, and gives a sweet pop of pink onto the cheeks.  It's not really similar to any pink I own, but still, something is amiss for me.

Valparaiso Pure Matte lipstick:

The outcast of the collection, a beautiful berry tone in one of my very favourite lipstick formulas since I knew they existed, the humble Pure Matte.  These wear amazingly on me, they look amazing, the packaging is sleek and slim and they are so easy to apply when you're on a juddery train without a seat in the morning.  I just love this and have reached for it constantly over the course of the week, it makes me feel 'done', even though I'm only wearing mascara and foundation for the rest of my makeup. It lasts, it's gorgeous and if you're a lover of deep hues, this is perfect.

Lhasa eyeshadow:

Lhasa eyeshadow, I love you.
If ever there was a purpley greyish taupe colour that were more perfect than this… Well, there isn't, because this is it.  Let me take a moment to catch my breath, I can't type for all the swooning.  This is a love story in taupe.  It is soft, easy to wear with an even texture and might even be better than MAC's Copperplate.  It is unlike any other colour I have ever owned, and let me tell you that you need it.  Do not pass go on this one.

So how would I sum up NARS Spring? A beautiful, perfect confusion.  It suits me perfectly.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Blush Horizon de Chanel. Because it's beautiful.

It was always going to be my reward for completing a full 10,000 words of my thesis, because it launched the day after I was handing my work in. I think a Blush Horizon de Chanel for an eighth of my thesis completed, and a week of my house being a slob-hovel*, is a fair trade.

I was a bit worried I wouldn't love it as much as I wanted to. Or that I wouldn't be able to bring myself to use it and mess up the little stripes. Fears aside, however, you'd better believe that I went straight out on launch day and snapped it up. The sales lady gave me a knowing smile as I made away with my purchases, as though we had a tacit understanding, one blush addict to another. Oh, if only she knew the contents of my blush box…

Using it for the first time was sort of terrifying, because I can't just go on autopilot and swirl my brush around unconcernedly. This blush needs to be stroked, not swirled, which sounds ever so slightly rude, but there's no room for prudishness here.

The finished result is something I completely adore. It sort of reminds me of MAC's Marine Life from a year or so ago, but with more chic stripes and fewer tacky gold seahorses. The wear on this is lovely, the pigmentation is beautiful and smooth and it satisfies my increasing craving since the end of December for a little way out of all the deep pink and plum hues.  Oh, but isn't the brush kind of... CRAP? Oh Chanel, you are such a game of two halves.

It's a sunny pinky peach, bright and happy and maybe it's not the most unique colour in the world, but when Chanel do something already done millions of times before, by golly do they do it prettier, with more finesse, and most importantly, better.

Did any Spring collections this year take your fancy? Oh, the stories I have to tell you about my little run-in with NARS...

*The term 'slob-hovel' is now coming to an Urban Dictionary near you.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

In the spirit of sharing:

I've now decided to stake a claim to my blog on Bloglovin! This might help some of you who are losing your Google Friend Connect connectivity soon! Sorry for the complete non-post, but apparently Bloglovin require me to post some silly little piece of HTML code to even stake a claim to my blog on there, so here we go! Follow my blog with Bloglovin


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