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Overview: SPFs for face

13. 7. 2019

Although I used to be sure that all incentives for applying SPF regularly are merely a marketing strategy (#scepticforever), I changed my perspective in recent years. I slowly began noticing changes in my skin and now I’m most encouraged to take care of it because of all the examples of bad practice you can encounter at the seaside. One can spot people who only apply tanning jams or even spray their skin with sea water so that the sunrays are even more intense at every corner :( I don’t have to emphasise they usually look more red than brown, but no one will change their mind even though their skin looks completely exhausted.

Because I don’t want to be all wrinkly and dried up because of my bad decisions, I apply sunscreen on my face at least twice a day in the summer, or more often at the seaside. Even in the winter I apply it at least in the morning before makeup or more often when there’s a lot of snow that bounces the rays back to my face.

Please note that I’m not a chemistry of pharmacy professional, so my explanations and arguments will be fairly basic. Sunscreens can be mineral or chemical, but often they are a mixture of both. Mineral filters leave a white cast and without additional ingredients, our skin would be completely white. Products by Terra Naturi are one example, I use them only on my hands and shoulders because the white residue is too strong. Similary, the Shiseido Expert Sun Protection Lotion also leaves a white finish, but can be neutralised with BB creams or liquid foundations. However, chemical filters can be problematic for some people – they also irritate my eyes (such as Holika Holika Aloe Soothing Essence SPF 50) – and erode quicker than mineral ones. This is why I prefer something in between, i.e. a combination of chemical and mineral filters, because this is how I make sure that protection against sunrays is nonetheless more long lasting and because their finish simply suits me better. Sunscreens that fall in that category are Australian Gold SPF 50, Vichy Idéalia Soleil SPF 50 and Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk SPF 50.

Which aspects should we consider when choosing an SPF? First of all, your suscreen of choice should provide protection against UVA (skin-ageing) and UVB (skin-burning), have at least SPF 30, although I prefer 50, and a high PA+ rate (PA++++ is the highest, but this rating is only declared on some creams, you can read more here). Most importantly, avoid buying and using home-made sunscreens as (probably) no dermatological testings have been performed on them.

And which sunscreen is my favorite? I bought all the products mentioned myself and have been using them in the last two years. I’ll discuss all of them quickly below:I

  • Australian Gold SPF 50 – my favorite summers sunscreen! My mixed skin likes this one the most because of its extreme mattifying effect – to the point that the skin can feel tight, but I apply foundation on top and they both perform great throughout the day. I truly recommend it if you find other SPFs too oily, but not to those with dry skin. My third tube is almost empty now and I cannot wait for my friend to bring me two more from the US (you get two for the price of one there compared to Slovenia).
  • Vichy Idéalia Soleil SPF 50 – a great summer sunscreen for those with dry or mixed skin. I love it in the autumn, winter and spring, but is slightly too oily for me in the summer. This is probably my fourth tube, that’s how much I like it. I have to really massage it into the skin before applying makeup, otherwise a thin layer stays on top.
  • Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk SPF 50 – a Japanese sunscreen that quickly absorbs into the skin has the most moisturizing effect, if you ask me. My skin was really dry in the winter because of all the retionoids I’d been using and it performed great underneath my makeup. Quickly sinks into the skin without making it too oily. I think it’s best for dry and mixed skin –I haven’t tried it in the summer, so I cannot say it would suit me at the moment.
  • Holika Holika Aloe Soothing Essence SPF 50 – a Korean cream that has the most gel-like texture of them all. Unfortunately, it makes my skin more oily than I would’ve hoped for. This one irritates my eyes, so I only use it at home or if I want to protect my hands properly before leaving the house :P
  • Shiseido Expert Sun Protection Lotion – bought it a couple of weeks ago and set the expectation bar too high. I expected it to be an improved version of Australian Gold as it retails at twice the price! It’s very oily and leaves a visible white cast. Having said that, I won’t use it in the summer, but it will probably come in handy in the autumn and winter when I’ll start introducing retinoids again.

A short post about my fave summer sunscreen suddenly turned into a whole discussion! But then again, I haven’t written about them extensively on the blog before, so it seems reasonable to set the “foundation” for further reviews and debates. If you have your fave sunscreen products, please share them with us in the comments! :) <3

Beauty Favorites

May favorites #2019

10. 6. 2019

This May was slightly different from all the previous years as I spent two weeks in France. This also means that I was limited to a small number of products I took along. Among my other favorite items are those that I’ve been loving since the first minute I got them (highlighting just one this time) and the ones I terribly missed during my trip! :)

I’ll start with one of my favorite palettes, the Urban Decay Naked 2. I bought it last year and although it didn’t seem anything special to me at the beginning, I started to really appreciate it in France because I left it at home! The pigmentation is great as are its longevity and blending ability. Tease was my fave shade for months, but now I really love using Busted and Pistol, too. I’m thinking about buying one of their new palettes, but then again there are so many other brands I want to try out … You get my dilemma :)

Although I didn’t want to write about the items I bought there, I have to mention my new All Day Weightless Foundation by Nars in shade Santa Fe. This is one of their most high-coverage foundations as far as I know, at least regarding the mattifying effect. The name already says that the foundation is liquid (almost serum-like) that surprisingly well covers all imperfections. Around three pumps are needed for the entire face and I still add the Infallible concealer by L’Oréal in shade Vanilla to brighten it slightly. At the end I add some setting powder and it looks perfect until the evening.

I’m so happy that I found a long-lost matte Milani Moisture Matte Lipstick in shade Matte Confident 67. If you ask me, this is one of the most universal red shades out there. Many of my friends tried it out and they all looked gorgeous, regardless of their complexion! It’s also really longlasting and doesn’t dry out like other lipsticks do. It costs less than €7, which is at least twice or three times less than similar products from other brands.

The Superfood Facial Wash by Elemis was also in my travel kit. If you don’t know yet, Elemis is a high-quality brand with wonderful textures. I received this travel-sized version in my Lookfantastic Beauty Box and tried it on several occasions, but this time I used it up. I loved using it as it nicely cleanses the skin and doesn’t dry it out (as some other do). But I’m not entirely sure it’s worth its €35 price point because there are many cheaper but still quality facial cleansers out there.

Last but not least, I have to mention the Nuxe Rêve de Miel I received at the Beauty Blogger Conference last year. The scent of honey is perfect for colder months – what April and May most certainly were! :D It doesn’t foam too much, which I like, and leaves a nice sweet scent on the skin for a few moments. I adore the packaging and €20 for 400ml of a great wash with amazing aromatherapy effect doesn’t seem too much. It can be used on both face and body, but I rather use other products on my face.

These are my five beauty favorites of May and the choice was difficult, but I still have a lot of material to show you :) I wish you all a very nice week! <3

Beauty

March and April favorites #2019

22. 4. 2019

My wish to start writing beauty favorites more often was only partly fulfilled, but much better than last year! I managed to shoot my favorites at the end of March and several weeks later found some time to finish the post. Luckily, nothing changed with regard to my recent holy grails in the month and all five products are still in use every single day. :)

I’ll start in a morning order with Vichy mineral 89, a skin booster with 89% thermal mineral water in combination with hyaluronic acid. This serum is supposed to strengthen the skin and protect it from pollution. Tbh, my face doesn’t feel any stronger with use, but the gel is absorbed in a matter of seconds and beautifully preps it for the next steps, i.e. rich day cream, SPF and liquid foundation. Speaking of SPFs, my recent new favorite is the Japanese Skin Aqua Super Moisture Milk Sunscreen I ordered from Ebay (a different link because my supplier no longer sells it). I was really surprised that the parcel arrived within a week when I usually wait for around a month to receive it. This sunscreen is in form of a runny milk that leaves a slightly oily layer, but it works great with my Vichy foundation, which sorts everything out. Having said that, it doesn’t make my skin any more oily as it normally is. Because of its runny consistency, it will be used quite quickly, but then again at least my face is well protected. :) It’s made of chemical filters and I always reapply it in the office.

It has become clear that the Vichy Dermablend is my all-ime favorite, so I won’t be talking too much about it this time. However, I have to say a few words about the L.O.V. Glow Highlighting Drops in shade Sunlight Glow. This liquid highlighter has a gentle and subtle golden sheen to it. The reason why I’m saying all of this is that I got slightly tired of high-coverage foundations with matt finish. So I’ve been mixing up to two drops of the Sunlight glow with Dermablend or a BB cream because it’s that subtle. Unfortunately, I believe it was part of their limited edition and was unable to find it online, but I’m sure they’ll have a similar product available soon. In Slovenia, we can purchase L.O.V. Cosmetics only through Ličila.si and I really hope they will put it back to drugstores in the future because their products are truly fantastic.

I’ve been feeling the spring in recent months, which is well reflected in my eyeshadow choices :) My bestie is a huge Colourpop lover and gave me their You Had Me At Hello palette for Christmas. If I didn’t understand the hype around them before, I surely know the reason now! Not to the point where I would buy a bunch of new palettes straight away, because I have enough palettes for my lifetime. But these are really among the best ones because: 1) all eyeshadows are highly pigmented,
2) there’s no fallout on the cheeks, and 3) they are just as longlasting as the eyeshadows by Urban Decay and Chanel – and they may be blending even better than their high-end counterparts!

Every single evening I remove all the layers of SPF and makeup. For several months now I’ve been using the Organic Manuka Honey Micellar water by Dr. Organic that was kindly sent to me by Lepa z naravo. First of all, this micellar water SMELLS INSANE – I adore homemade honey and this water has a gorgeous, slightly exaggerated scent of honey. It removes the mascara and all the makeup without a problem and the skin doesn’t feel tight after use. I can easily compare it to the Garnier ones that are amazing as well, the only difference being that this one is organic and cruelty-free. All in all, a wonderful micellar water I couldn’t recommend more. Just make sure to wash your face after use and proceed with second cleansing and the rest of your routine.

These were five products that were in daily use from the beginning of March. I’m interested to see my skincare routine in May because I’ll be going to Paris and Normandy for 10 days. My current plan is not to take too many beauty products with me, but surely I’ll return with a pile of French skincare items :D If any of you have some recommendations about French skincare that can only be purchased in France, let me know :) Thank you for reading!

Beauty

Spring and Flora Siberica have arrived!

3. 4. 2019

Spring has finally arrived and brought Flora Siberica, a wonderful new line by Natura Siberica. It’s inspired by nature and pleasant blends of Siberian herbs, which nicely encapsulate the philosophy of the brand. This line in particular is special in its own way because every product is made with a specific herb at its core for the best care possible. I received three products a few months ago, i.e. with Arcitc Raspberry, Altai Sea-Buckthorn and Siberian Rowan, but there are several more items to choose from. The entire line has a gorgeous, slightly retro packaging, and there is a considerable amount of product inside, which is just amazing.

Natura Siberica has amazing shower gels and Arctic Raspberry Gel is no exception. It has a lovely natural scent of raspberry that evolves even more in the shower. The skin doesn’t feel dry after use and the scent goes away pretty quickly. I have to point out that the gel foams only slightly, which I like because this means there aren’t that many foaming agents, but a friend of mine told me that this bothers her. And this nicely sums up my belief that we have different wishes and preferences, but also that the products I like might not suit you! :)

My FAVORITE product in this line is the Siberian Rowan Body Scrub with Siberian Pine extract. The sugar scrub effectively removes all the dry skin we’re always trying to get rid of. And scrubbing harder really boosts the skin (that becomes slightly red), which is something I look for with the bikinis on my mind! However, I was shocked by its red color that isn’t an obvious choice :) You get a huge amount of this amazing product and I’ll definitely buy it again.

And the third place goes to the Altai Sea Buckthorn Hydrating Body Lotion, which has a very light texture. Vitamins C, B and antioxidants are supposed to nourish the skin and make it softer. The scent is much sweeter compared to the other two and reminds me of an instant drink Cedevita. It’s pleasant to use and absorbs into the skin quickly, but the scent goes away pretty quick as well.

The Flora Siberica line has two other shower gels available, i.e. with Altai Mint and Kuril Tea. But it would be even more exciting to try the Siberian Cedar Luxurious Night Body Butter, I can scent it thorough its name! By all means, this is a lovely line that tries to bring us closer to the nature with carefully selected scents. Lepa z naravo, thank you for sharing your new Flora Siberica with me!

Beauty

Favorite beauty products of 2018

23. 3. 2019

I spent way too little time talking about my favourite products last year, which is unfortunate because I came across many great ones that deserve more attention on the blog. This time I’ll discuss those that always spark my joy, as Marie Kondo would say :) My first intention was to choose only five products, but then I realised I’d do many of them injustice. So here’s a bunch of skincare products and some makeup, but a lot less than in the previous years. Because there are many items to go through, you should bring yourself a cup of tea or coffee – or simply read those you’re most interested in. Anyway, my intention is to write about my favorites more often this year because I do test a lot of products and it would be a shame not to spread the word!

My most favorite product is without a doubt the Beauty Sleep Power Peel by Alpha H. Beauty Sleep is an overnight treatment with 15% glycolic acid and 0,5% retinol that can be used by itself or applied over a serum. Because I use different active ingredients almost every day, I usually apply it once a week. The price is quite high, around €60, but me and Dunja once found a 1+1 discount and got ourselves one each for the same price. It’s got a wonderful effect on the skin, which makes it much smoother and glowy in the morning while also improving collagen production. If you’re looking for an effective product, I wholeheartedly recommend the Beauty Sleep Power Peel. Although it’s quite expensive, very little goes a long way.

There’s one product that dominated the Slovenian beauty scene, and that’s the White Cleansing Butter by Natura Siberica. There are two different versions available, a black one with charcoal and a white one that I have and am really impressed with. Because I hate creating mess around the bathroom sink, my method is slightly different. I massage the product into my skin, but then wipe everything off with a cotton pad instead of rinsing with water. As the second cleansing step I use a gel cleanser, such as the one by Annemarie Borlind or Dr. Organic active charcoal gel, and then finish off with a toner to remove any remaining makeup. This cleansing butter is very gentle to the skin, which is very soft and much less dry after use compared to micellar waters.

As for the moisturizers, I loved using the Toleraine Ultra Fluide by La Roche Posay. Toleraine is not that fluidy as one would imagine, but looks more like a runny cream. It’s mostly suitable for oily and mixed skin and due to its neurosenine content, it can be used on skin prone to allergies, too. It worked great in the morning before applying the foundation. As you can see from the photo, the bottle is completely empty and I’ll surely buy it again. What can I say, the French definitely know what they’re doing!

Last year I kept myself from testing new foundations. When I struggle with skin problems, my first goal is to find products that suit me and I don’t change them for quite some time. The thing is, last January I stopped taking the pill after 10 years; I  started taking them in high school due to acne. Last April or May, my skin problems returned in even an harsher form, which really shook me to the core. Most of the problems luckily went away, but I stayed true to my favorite Vichy Dermablend. Their color selection isn’t the best (at least in Slovenia), but the shade 25 blends with my skin surprisingly well. The foundation stays put throughout the entire day, has a beautiful finish and a great coverage. And concealer is completely optional, which really speeds up my makeup routine. However, there is an even more long-lasting and mattifying version available, i.e. the Vichy Dermablend 3D, aimed at oily and acne-prone skin. I’ve had it once, it has an amazing coverage, but is slightly too drying for my taste. But if you really struggle with oily skin, ask for a sample at the drugstore, but beware that the shade numbers of the two foundations don’t match.

There are also three eye makeup items that have become an essential part of my daily look. I always come back to the L’Oréal Paradise Extatic mascara, which beautifully extends the eyelashes and gives them volume. But it becomes quite messy on the top of the packaging and needs to be wiped off from time to time. Because I’m one of those lucky gals who have hooded eyes, this means that my eyeliner normally smudges in a matter of hours. But everything changed when I received the Eyeko Eye Do Liquid Eyeliner in the Lookfantastic Beauty Box. It doesn’t smudge and the felt tip creates a beautiful flick that I never managed to do with a brush :) And because brows are the frame of the face, I have to point out the Bobbi Brown brow pencil. I bought it “by mistake” when my colleague needed a new one, so off we went to the Bobbi Brown counter and both chose the same product! This pencil is wider than usual, which also means that the brows are finished much quicker. It’s actually quite stiff to the touch, but applies normally when it comes into contact with the warmth of the skin. I also love the spoolie brush on the other end; but this pencil is quite expensive as it retails at around € 40.

I won’t go into specific facial masks, but I have to mention the Eye Therapy under eye mask by Beauty Pro. This is by far the best eye mask I’ve ever tried. It contains collagen and green tea, which make the skin glowy as hell and the pores become almost invisible! I’m surprised by its effect every single time. Sometimes I leave it on the skin over an hour to achieve the best result.

Rêve de miel by Nuxe was saving my lips for the entire year – this is my second pot and a tiny bit goes a really long way. But I have to admit that I prefer the previous version, this formulation seems more waxy. The scent is different as well, but I still love it and it keeps me company on the bedside table every night.

The last item I have to tell you about is the Kérastase Elixir Ultime, the hero that hydrated my dry ends since the spring. It’s aimed at coloured hair and although I only have balayage, I chose this one for several reasons. The reviews stated that the original (golden) oil was changed and became less effective as it used to be, and the scent of the rose version was supposed to be nicer, too. I’m over the moon with this hair oil, my hair is incredibly shiny after use and it also gives them some weight (sort of an anti frizz effect). I didn’t use it sparingly, which is why the content of the bottle is slowly coming to the end. It costs around € 35 and if you have shorter hair, you’ll definitely have it for quite a while!

And there it is, these were the products that left a mark on my beauty year. Do you find some of your favorites in my selection? :)

Beauty

My tips for healthy and shiny hair

10. 2. 2019


This time around I’ll share a few thoughts about hair care. I’m lucky enough to have naturally thick and strong hair, but I still have to work on achieving that wonderful shine. Because of balayage, my ends are dry and split. This is why I like using conditioners and oils in particular, which are crucial if you ask me. I also suffered from irritated scalp, so I developed my own techniques to keep it healthy while keeping my hair in good condition. Below you will find some tips that may be useful to some of you – but keep in mind that I’m not an expert and these products may not suit you. Unfortunately, genetics play an important role and hair is also affected by your general health, so it’s sometimes best to seek a doctor’s advice.

1. If you have an irritated scalp or dandruff, I wholeheartedly advise you to invest into a high-quality shampoo you’ll only use on your scalp. I struggled with dandruff in younger years and although Head&Shoulders worked for the dandruff, my hair just didn’t agree with it. And this happened a lot, whenever I changed the shampoo, my scalp got oily and irritated. For this reason, I always use two separate products. In the last year, my staple shampoo has been the thickening Densi-Solutions shampoo by Vichy. Although it’s aimed at thinning hair, it completely calmed my scalp and I didn’t have any problems even in the summer, which is the season I most struggle in. I usually purchase it at Leposana or at a pharmacy.

2. Invest into a high quality hair oil. I’ve been using the Kérastase Elixir Ultime for colored hair for the last year and without a doubt this is the best investment ever. I apply the oil after washing my hair and continue by combing through with a detangling hair brush. Unlike some other products, this dry oil does not make hair oily (when my ends are really dry, I apply up to 2–3 pumps). I tried products from many different brands and prefer Kérastase over  Aussie or L’Occitane (although they both have a nice scent), but I have yet to test out the famous Moroccanoil. Nevertheless, this one adds some weight to the hair so they look much smoother – and if I further straighten my hair, it looks like I’ve just come out of a hair salon. It costs around EUR 40, which is not a small amount, but I’ve had this bottle for over a year and there’s still a quarter left.

3. Use of quality shampoos, conditioners and masks will not go unnoticed. Although I firmly believe that you don’t need to invest a lot of money into these items, the hair is nevertheless more smooth and shiny compared to cheaper products. For the past few months I’ve been using the shampoo and conditioner by Maria Nila, which were kindly sent to me by a Slovenian oniline store Star Beauty. This Swedish company has a sustainable approach to producing high quality hair products. Both items are part of the Heal line, have a nice fruity scent (which is why they are such a pleasure to use!) and leave my hair very sleek. Combined with the Kérastase oil, the final look of my hair is excellent! Their effect is similar to the luxurious Alterna products, which are slightly more expensive.

4. If you blow dry, straighten or curl your hair, use heat protectants. Heat really damages your hair and if you color them often, you’ll end up with split ends sooner than later (which doesn’t look good or healty). I don’t like complicating with heat protectants and just believe they get the job done. But nicely scented products surely have priority, because some smell really bad and remind me of acid. I currently use the Maria Nila Cream Heat Spray, which I received alongside the shampoo and conditioner. Not only does the spray smell like candy, it protects my hair from UV rays and further damage. I spray it on wet hair before blow dry and proceed with the Kérastase oil a few minutes later.

Do you use any other products/have any tips that may help others? You’re kindly invited to join the discussion below :)

Beauty

Makeup Revolution Reloaded Palette – Authority

28. 1. 2019


This time I’ll discuss the Re-Loaded Palette (Authority) by Makeup Revolution, which was part of the 2018 Advent Calendar.  I opened the calendar every single morning, even if I almost forgot about that before leaving for work at 6.15 am! :) The Re-Loaded Palette has a nice combination of matt and shiny eyeshadows. The shades are mainly neutral, from matt earthy to glittery orange and pink undertones. What is also important is that the palette has a black eyeshadow, which is great for adding extra dimension to the outer corner of the eyelid. I usually apply one of the brown shades all over my eyes. Then I add a shiny eyeshadow from the center outwards, and blend a tiny bit of black or dark brown in the outer corner.

As for the quality of these eyeshadows, they’re all quite powdery. This is very true for the lighter shades with glitter, which don’t stick to the skin well (particularly if I apply a matt shade beforehand). I probably should’ve sprayed the brush a little bit, but truth be told, I’m not keen to experimenting with my eye makeup 10 minutes before I leave the house :) However, I feel that they would apply well using fingertips – I think this is a very underrated technique!

All in all, I can say that this palette is really nice and you can make a number of different looks. Because they aren’t highly pigmented, these shades are very appropriate for beginners as a mistake here and there will not cause that many troubles!