(NOT) Another Make-up Tutorial!!!

Nope, this is not a make-up tutorial as I know almost nothing on the subject… I do however want to share with you some amazing newly discovered make-up products as I feel that a bit of a review is always nice. As always, I am doing this review with only praise in mind as I hate the negative energy I get after writing a bad review. On that note… these are the best products I found this autumn! Naturally they are not all newly launched products as I am not a beauty blogger, but they are my most recent finds as I had to overhaul my make-up bag.

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I always like to buy new stuff at the beginning of the season as I feel that both my skin colour and my texture tend to go through some changes – and I do not want to even start on the changes my skin went through during this pregnancy! This post comes after a long period of hits and misses in the make-up department simply because my skin is chaotic these days and finding something that works well with it is rather hard. Most of these products here were tried for at least two weeks just to be sure that they work well with my skin and, to be honest, not being the make-up expert that some people are, it always takes me a while to learn how to apply each one depending on the texture.

Here are this autumn’s heroes:

  1. Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Make-up in shade 5.5
  2. Giorgio Armani Liquid Sheer in shade 2
  3. Chanel Eclat Lumiere in shade 20
  4. Dior Diorblush Light & Contour in shade 002
  5. Benefit They’re Real Mascara in Black
  6. Chanel Rouge Allure Ink in shade 140 Amoureaux
  7. My besties – BeautyBlender The Original and the Micro

How I apply them:

  • First, I would like to clear the air on one thing: I do not use any primer! Yes, I know that is a make-up felony, but I just hate the way most (or at leat the ones I’ve tried) of them feel on my skin. Therefore I just apply my foundation on bare moisturised skin. This Giorgio Armani fluid foundation was a bit tricky at first given that it has a very runny texture and it wasn’t tricky from a skin application point to view but rather because it took me a while to figure out how to get it onto my skin. In my opinion, the best way to go about it is to put small drops of the products on your fingers and pat it in key areas of the face. While I do love my BeutyBlender, this foundation works best for my skin when I apply it wth my fingers – no, a brush did not work as well either!
  • Then it is off to correcting whatever spots and dark areas I have on my face (mostly dark under-eyes). For this I use the Chanel Eclat Lumiere. I have used this product for a few years now and I love the way it seamlessly blend with any foundation. Yes, I know, it is about time to try the YSL Touche Eclat, but somehow I always end up buying this one.I just brush the product in the areas that I feel I need some extra coverage and pat it with my BeautyBlender Micro.
  • Now for a bit of contour. I must confess that mastering this step took me quite a while…And I always needed up looking like I had dark spots, but with the new Dior stick this has become quite easy. No, I am not yet a ‘strobing specialist’ and honestly I have no idea what that is. For this step I just put on my ‘war lines’  – as D calls them – and blend them really well with my BeautyBlender.
  • A bit of highlighting is always much needed after the contour step and I do not use the lighter part of my Dior stick simply because I feel that it contains a bit of glitter as opposed to the pearly texture that captures the light perfectly that I found in Giorgio Armani’s Fluid Sheer. I have tried applying this miracle worker both underneath my foundation as well as mixing it into the foundation, but I feel that it looks best when applied in key ares over the foundation. So I apply it on my upper cheekbones, my upper eyelids and on top of my upper lip.
  • What’s left? A generous layer of jet black mascara. I am currently using They’re Real from Benefit and I have to say that I am quite happy with it. I confess that it is not as good as the G by Guerlain but hey, it is less than half the price and it does the job nicely!
  • As for the newest favourite in my make-up bag, the Chanel Rouge Allure Ink, I only have great things to say! First of all, I am that annoying person that only wears nudes or very light pinks and hates matte lipsticks. I bought this because a good friend that actually nows make-up secrets at a way more advanced level than me recommended it and naturally I bought the lighter shade available (which is darker than what I normally wear). I love everything about it! Yes, even the colour as I feel it perfectly mimics my natural lip colour! The texture is to die for, you do not really feel like you are wearing a matte lip as your lips do not get dehydrated for one minute and it lasts for about 5-6 hours which is amazing! I seriously think this is the best beauty product of this autumn and I feel that it is rather hard to be topped by anyone else when it comes to matte lipsticks.

That’s it! That is my autumn no-make-up make-up routine! I hope it has been helpful, not from a make-up point of view necessarily, but rather from a review standpoint. Keep in mind that these are all products that work very well for my pregnant skin, but I have a feeling they are great for any skin. Again, I would like to add that all the products here are bought by me, so this is not a promotional post!

L.

Skin Issues…

Here we are again…a new beauty post! This is not actually a beauty post as my skin right now is anything but beautiful but these miracle products help keep it under control, and being the honest bunny that I am, I wanted to keep you updated on the downsides of my pregnancy. I do agree that ‘downsides’ is a big word taking into consideration that I’ve been feeling great so far, but there is no other way of describing my not-so-cool face right now.

I am not among those lucky ones that get glowing, magnificent clear skin during pregnancy, quite on the opposite end, actually, meaning that my face is either oily and my chin is filled with zits – nightmare for my foundation, either it develops extremely (really!) dry patches around my mouth and nose and still has a few zits here and there to brag about – again, nightmare for my foundation. This did not really occur during the first trimester of the pregnancy, only maybe mildly, but it has gone wild the moment I started my forth month – right about the time I was trying to enjoy myself at Untold festival. Needless to say that I was in denial as I really loved my former beauty routine (read about it here) and I could not accept the fact that those beloved products that have done an ocean of good for my face are now making my skin so horrible. As a matter of fact, the hormones were the big contributors to horrible skin.

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Current skin heroes: La Roche Posay : Effaclar Cleansing Gel; Effaclar Micellar Water; Effaclar H Face Cream; Uriage : Hyseak K Face Cream; Bio Oil; Clarisonic Mia 2 Face Brush

The situation got so bad that my face actually felt like it was terribly sunburnt, itching and hurting and all… Luckily for me, a very good friend of mine is a great dermatologist and the moment we got back to Bucharest I asked for her opinion on the matter at hand. The downside with this period is the fact that I can’t really treat my skin with chemical-infused treatments, but rather have to go with over-the-counter dermatological products. Which got me in the current situation where, to D‘s surprise, my entire beauty routine doesn’t reach the cost of one of my three formerly used serums. Not that I am complaining, I am actually glad that by the end of the pregnancy, I will probably put away enough money solely form this beauty change to buy a new pair of Louboutins. Who knows, I might not change my beauty routine ever…

On to the products… The facial cleansing gel is lovely, both in texture and smell! Dare I say that I love it more than my usual Chanel foaming cream? The jury is still out on that verdict! I love the pump bottle as it gives you just the perfect amount of product to throughly cleanse your entire face and neck. The foam is soft and delicate and leaves your face feeling fresh as a cucumber! I use it morning and evening with my Clarisonic brush set to level 2 (the stronger vibrations). You can find this La Roche Posay Effaclar cleansing gel in any pharmacy, but I have to warn you that finding the pump bottle is a real struggle as most pharmacies tend to sell the tube version.

La Roche Posay –  Effaclar Cleansing Gel

Not that my face needs much cleansing after the gel, but I like the fresh feeling on my skin that a tonic water or a micellar water (in this case) leaves behind. For some reason, no mater how good my cleanser is, ever since I can remember, I’ve always used some kind of tonic water. Right now I opted for this very gentle micellar water from La Roche Posay because, at the moment I switched products my skin was extremely dry and irritated and I do not think it could’ve handled anything harsher. This just feels so amazing both while using it as well as afterwards, your skin just feels squeaky clean and ready for whatever cream comes next. I also use this product morning and evening using a cotton pad to distribute it evenly.

La Roche PosayMicellar Water

As opposed to a few months ago, when this was the moment for the serum in my beauty routine, nowadays it is time for the face cream. I use two different face creams one in the evening and one in the morning. Despite the fact that they are not specifically made for the two different times of day, they each address a different problem and help me look rather normal under the circumstances – read – my foundation can make me look normal! For day I use the Effaclar H from La Roche Posay witch helps my skin maintain normal levels of moisture while protecting it from unwanted zits. This one feels amazing on my skin, seriously, I think it feels better than my Chanel cream. It’s delicate, it hydrates without leaving a greasy after-feel, it protects it from getting dry-pats and smells divine, I think it smells like tulips. The nigh cream is a bit more hardcore and this is actually the one that fights zits and needs a more moisturising partner during the day. It is the Hyseac K from Uriage and I honestly have to give this one credit for being able to not wear foundation from time to time and not scare D away! You can really see the difference in the appearance of your skin from the first two uses, it diminishes pimples, helps you get a better skin texture and, as much as a cream can, keeps new zits at bay. It had a divine light texture, that is not really drying and smells like fresh-cut grass. To be honest, I can’t wait to put it on every single night.

La Roche PosayEffaclar H Face Cream

UriageHyseac K

That’s it! That is my entire beauty routine for my face. I think it has diminished in time by about 5 minutes and where the cash is concerned, the difference is colossal. I am really happy with these face products and I waited an entire month before I shared them with you simply because I really wanted to give you my true and honest opinion and see if they really work on the long term. They do! You can seriously trust these products as they will change your perception on cosmetics! I can’t promise you that I will not go back to my expensive creams after the pregnancy, but I can promise you that before I do that I will try the pharmacy sold wrinkle solutions as I have a feeling I will be impressed by those as well – I will keep you updated on that!

I’m sure you are wondering by now what is the bottle of Bio Oil doing in the photos… Well, this is yet another product that I am currently using for my skin – my body skin, that is – that I love and want to share with you. I have been using Bio Oil for a while now, even before I got pregnant and loved it a lot. The thing about using it before I got pregnant means that I used it during my first two months of pregnancy as well because I wasn’t paying attention to the finely written instructions on the back, apparently it is ok to use it after the first trimester. Thankfully, and I really want to put this out there, nothing bad happened and I came to the conclusion that most of the stuff is not really tested on pregnant women and therefore you have no way of actually knowing if it is good for the baby or not. I have used it during the first two months and nothing bad happened, so there you have it, Bio Oil is safe! I did switch to coconut oil once I read that Bio Oil might not be good and had a terrible experience with it. Well, not dramatic, but I did develop some sort of allergy to it, which did not happen before (I used coconut oil numerous time during my life and loved it), meaning that my skin was itching a lot even though there weren’t any actual irritation on the skin. I also noticed that it sank into my skin a lot slower than before and overall I hated it. Once my first three months ended I happily went back to my beloved Bio Oil that in my opinion is a miracle worker for skin: it does not feel greasy, it hydrates wonderfully, it diminishes spots and scars, it smells amazing and it is yet to be decided if it prevents stretch marks – currently I do not have any new ones, but I will keep you updated. I apply this twice per day, in the morning and in the evening and my skin feels and looks amazing. I am very meticulous about applying this oil twice daily as I have a really big tattoo on my right ribs and I really hope that it will not get ruined during pregnancy.

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This is it! This is my entire beauty routine during pregnancy! Nothing more! I can say that I’ve switched Sephora for my local Pharmacy and that my bank account is rather happy about the change right now! My skin seems to dig the changes also therefore I am one happy mama-to-be! I will keep you updated in case any changes appear!

L. 

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Face brush battle – Philips vs Clarisonic

Getting down to the nitty gritty… I’ve decided to review the two most popular face brushes on the market:

I’ve been using a face brush for the last three years and, when my first brush (Philips VisaPure) stopped working without any warning, I decided to try and cleanse my face without one, just to remind myself of the difference. The result was that the next day, during my lunch break I was off to get the other ‘best face brush’ contender on the market : Clarisonic Mia2. It’s not that I wasn’t happy with my Philips, on the contrary, I loved it, but I’m not the type to actually buy the same beauty gizmo twice, especially since I’ve had my VisaPure for more than two and a half years. I just needed a change and I really wanted to see which one was better.

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To be honest, after a lot of online research, I concluded that both products promise more or less the same things:

  1. Deeper, better cleansing of the face
  2. Better control of clogged pores
  3. Less zits
  4. Fine lines reduction
  5. Beauty products are supposed to work better on perfectly cleansed skin
  6. An overall better appearance of the skin

After more than two years of being addicted to my VisaPure, I can tell you that it ticks most of the above mentioned benefits. I say most, because I haven’t really seen any improvement of my fine lines, at least not thanks to the face brush – I’ve got Chanel to praise in that department. Maybe that was what actually convinced me to switch to the Clarisonic. I really wanted to believe that the much appraised sonic vibrations will be able to make me switch to a cheaper face cream, cos Chanel ain’t cheap, my friends. So here I was, back home, excited about my new acquisition. I waited patiently for what seemed like forever for my new Mia2 to charge and I started jotting down my first impressions of the new gizmo.

Upon unpacking and comparing the two, I have to say that none of the companies missed a single detail where quality of craftsmanship is concerned. Both products feel very nice and sturdy, and in my opinion, the VisaPure charger looks a bit better and is a bit more comfortable than the Mia2 charger. But, again, that’s my opinion only. The Mia2 charger is magnetic and quite easy to carry around when you go away on vacation, but the one from Philips looks way better. Another aspect about the battery-life that I’ve noticed in the past few months (this is why I’ve postponed this review so much) is that the VisaPure battery lasts a bit longer and charges a bit faster than the Mia2.

When it comes to the quality of the cleansing I think that both brushes score equally even though the two brushes use completely different motions and timers. What I mean by that is that motion wise, the Mia2 offers a sonic vibration of the bristles, without any rotation at all, therefore you have to do the rotating part by hand, while the VisaPure offers a rotating motion as well as a bit of a vibration but that’s very different from the VisaPure. Timer wise, the Mia2 divides one minute into two 20 second parts, each for your nose and chin and another for your forehead, and two 10 second parts for each cheek. The VisaPure divides one minute into three equal 20 second parts, one for the T-area and two for each cheek. For my needs, the Mia2 is better, simply because my problem area is my T-zone and therefore it needs better and deeper cleaning. That aspect is entirely up to the user and her needs.

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There is a very obvious difference where the two brushes are concerned. The Mia2 offers a bigger brush head than the VisaPure and that again, is an aspect that is up to the user. Some may argue that a smaller brush reaches more spots o the face – not true in my experience as both brushes reach every single inch of my face, while others might argue that a bigger brush covers a larger area. This again is a matter of preference because there is virtually no difference in the texture of both brushes. I was happy with my VisaPure and I am just as happy with my Mia2 brush.

I’ve said something earlier about the VisaPure not delivering where fine lines are concerned, and after two moths of using the Mia2, I can honestly say that this one doesn’t deliver either. The only viable solution to fine lines is either a good face cream – but that doesn’t necessarily stop them, it maybe postpones them, or fillers. These brushes will not be as efficient as fillers, so do not get your hopes up. The good thing about them is that it actually helps face creams work a bit better because your face is cleaner than ever. So yeah, if you are an optimist, you could say that they help, but there is no real difference between the two.

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Price wise, these two products cost basically the same, the brushes cost basically the same and you need to change them every three months for both of the products. To reach a conclusion, I’d say that choosing between the two is simply a matter of brand and design preference and nothing else. But I do have to say that ever since I’ve started using a face brush I’ve become an addict and can’t really stand cleansing my face without one, so be careful as they are addictive!

L. 

 

Inky Ink! Part 1

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Yes, we have tattoos and we are proud of them! Yesterday morning I woke up anxious because D was getting his third tattoo. While that number may seem small, I have to tell you that my man goes all the way where tattoos are concerned and only gets huge ones. This one is going to be a half sleeve for now, but maybe in a few years he’ll do a full one. We both get very excited when one of us gets new ink, therefore we both were up and full of energy at 4 a.m. Unfortunately I had to go to work so I couldn’t assist him from the beginning but he made sure I was updated regularly via Whatsapp.

We each have very different views when it comes to tattoos. While for me it’s more important the meaning and the moment I’m getting my new ink, for D the appearance of the work of art is very important, that’s not to say that his tatts are meaningless as they do have a lot of meaning. The difference is that I basically view my skin as my own personal diary which means that all my tatts (six) mark a special event in my life, while his are more timeless and refer more to him and the people in his life (me included, but more on our un-matching tats later). Neither of us follows any trend when it comes to permanently ink something on us simply because trends come and go, and really, I don’t think anyone should follow the trend.

Back to Tuesday… By lunchtime (that’s the moment he actually got to the studio) I was as restless as a caged animal, but unfortunately I still had a couple more hours of work left. As a result, I started nagging him about not forgetting to take some pics of the whole process, until I got there at least. 

While I found it harder and harder to concentrate at work, D kept sending me sketches, basically distracting me from work. At some point we will have a post exclusively about our tats and their meaning. Meanwhile, I managed to finish work and started my journey through Bucharest traffic towards D. Of course that all the snail-drivers decided to be on my route, which drives me nuts on a normal day, but today they literally got on my nerves! I was getting more and more excited with each traffic light and…I was finally there! The inking had started for about one hour and there was a long way to go plus another session next week, but the design and placement looked fantastic. I can’t tell you at this point which one of us is more excited to see it done, me or D. As for the pain factor usually involved with getting a tat, since D had his entire foot and ankle done last year, the upper arm seemed relaxing by comparison.

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We always get our tatts done at Radical Ink in Bucharest mainly because, after a lot of research, we’ve concluded that the best artists in Bucharest are here. I usually get my ink done by Andrei Chirita (check him out!) and D’s artist of choice is John Maxx. The reason I haven’t got a piece done by him is because when I decide on new ink I want it done yesterday and John’s waiting list is about one year-long. D made his appointment last September…

We’ll post the completed tatt next week and, as I said, we’ll probably have a post on all of our tatts.

L.

Moisture maniac…

Remember when I told you about my stupid skin? And the fact that this winter it seemed to me that it was really putting an effort to annoy me? Well, in the battle of me vs my face I’ve found the perfect ally to get me a sure victory! I’m talking about Glam Glow’s Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment. Because when times get desperate, you gotta call in the big boys! I’ve always been keeping steer of intensive hydrating masks as I always used to get pimples from them. But this year, my skin was horribly flaky, as much so that I couldn’t even put on a tinted moisturiser to even out my freckles- yes, most of this winter’s selfies on Instagram are without any sort of foundation or tinted moisturiser.

One night I was desperate so I started looking for a solution in my samples box (yes, I have such a thing) and found three samples of this self-proclaimed miracle worker. I decided to give it a try, thinking what the hell, I can deal with any type of pimples, but I can’t deal with flaky skin anymore. At first, I discovered that you don’t really need to put a lot of product on, therefore, a sample lasted me for about two applications. It says on the package and online that you can sleep with it on, so being desperate, I did that. The next morning, when I woke up, aside from the fact that a little bit of product smeared on my pillow (I tend to sleep on my left side), my skin was definitely in a better condition and there seemed to be no zits in sight. I did this every night for about one week (until I ran out of samples), and I have to tell you, I was truly amazed at how good my skin looked and felt. I’d even go and say that a few of my superficial wrinkles looked better (and by that I mean they were no longer noticeable), however, as it’s not an anti-wrinkle treatment, it had no effect on all the others. 

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I’m not really into trying to bore you with any info you can find on the official site. Just give this link a click and let’s move along.

After that week of nightly use, as I said there were no flakes and no pimples anywhere on my face and I was extremely happy about that. So I decided I needed to incorporate this mask in my beauty routine asap, therefore I bought it full-sized from SEPHORA (you can also find there a travel-sized version). For the small quantity you get in the full-sized version, I’d say it’s on the pricey side, but since you don’t need to apply a lot of product, it will last you a long time. 

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On week two, I slept with it on every other night and even though the temp outside was freezing my skin kept its great appearance. Nowadays I use it once per week, and I’ve kinda mastered the art of sleeping on my back when I have it on. This product is a great one to try out, no matter what you skin type is. Apparently when it comes to Glam Glow products you can really trust all the positive reviews you see o line, unlike other products I’ve tried (talking from my own experience).

Ooooooo, I forgot to tell you about the smell (as you can see the texture from the photos)! It smells divine… Coconuts on the beach! It’s a treat especially after a hard day at work.

L.

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