Replacing Discontinued Beauty #2

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Post by AF Beauty

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Replacing the discontinued – Body Shop Nutriganics Softening Cleansing Gel – Part 2
Hello loves.

My search for my long lost Body Shop cleansing gel has been long but I hope, fruitful. As well as targeting products texturally similar to the gel, I tried a couple of liquid oil cleansers, hopeful that despite the texture difference at the start, the overall cleansing would still be good.

Replacing Discontinued Beauty #2

Mango Seed, Body Shop + Clinique

Mango Seed Oil to Foam

 

The first is a Korean product in a range called Mango Seed product called Oil to Foam. This is a nicely light oil and I anticipated it work by doing the oily thing to clean off the make up and then turn foamy with water. Unfortunately, the oil texture is not long lasting enough for me to properly remove heavier make up. Almost immediately as being dispensed it turns to a foamy soapy texture and then cleans like a regular foam. Positively, it smells lovely, very light and citrusy. I would use this as a second cleanser – I know, extravagant! But sometimes I feel like the first cleanse didn’t capture everything, this would be a good round two.

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil

The second is from Clinique from their Take The Day Off range. I have heard nothing but good things about their Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm – but I had been at Clinique getting the contour stick (that I wrote about a few weeks back) and the SA had used the Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil to clean my face and it felt good, so I thought I’d give the oil a go at home.

So the big negative of this product for me is the smell – of lack of it. As all Clinique products, it is entirely unperfumed. This could be great for anyone sensitive to fragrance – but I’m guessing that’s not this crowd. Unscented in this case means that the product smells of what’s it’s made of – so it smells a bit chemically. Not overpowering but noticeable. But really, that is my only criticism. I really didn’t want to like this product as much as I do but the texture is beautiful – very light and smooth. It dissolves makeup in an instant, turns milky on water and washes away to leave clean skin, lovely. I admit, this one is my favourite and is my default for when I need an easy simple clean.

So, having tested four products as replacements for my Body Shop gel, I think the Clinque has been my favourite in texture, the Korean Mango Seed, my favourite in smell and probably all but the Mango Seed have done excellent work at removing make up. All that said, you could probably try Baby Oil to dissolve makeup, but for me, the milkiness on contact with water ensures I’m not left feeling oily on my skin and potentially clogging pores – and that’s important.

What other products like this have you tried? What oil based cleansers would you recommend?
Ciao ciao, AF x

Replacing Discontinued Beauty #1

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Post by AF Beauty

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Hello loves.

If you’ve been keeping up with me, you’ll recall one of my last posts was about discontinued products – the love of having known them, and the pain of them being gone.

To this end, I have been searching for a replacement of my daily cleanser, the Body Shop cleansing gel. The key for me, was that this gel wasn’t a gel in the traditional sense – it was an oily gel that melted away make up and turned to a milky texture on contact with water leaving the skin feeling perfectly soft and clean – but not stripped and not greasy.

Replacing Discontinued Beauty #1

Body Shop + Soap and Glory

Body Shop CAMOMILE SUMPTUOUS CLEANSING BUTTER

Body Shop

When the SA at the Body Shop staggered me with the announcement of discontinuance she offered me a replacement product, the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter. This is a good product. I’m not overly disappointed. It comes in a flat container the size of a large coaster and the product inside is a solid that looks like a pale candle – and the texture isn’t overly different either. I don’t know what the intention is, in terms of how they expect you to dispense the product, so I’ve innovated and basically use my thumb backwards to scoop out an amount. The problem with this is that it’s best guess – I’ve no idea what amount they actually intend for use.
Once applied it melts down relatively well – probably the only downside is that creating the soft oiliness of an easy cleanser is a little bit difficult, not insurmountable – it does dissolve, it removes make up and cleans off easily, imitating the milky texture of its predecessor. As I like things that smell nice, this is also a positive, the smell is pleasant and light. Once washed off, the feeling on the skin is clean and soft – all in all a decent substitute. The only other thing to note is it says the product is suitable for contact lens wearers. As I don’t wear lenses, I don’t know exactly what that means – but I do know that it stings my eyes a bit and is quite uncomfortable – but really I just need to take more care!

Soap And Glory The Ultimelt Deep Purifying Facial Hot Cloth CleanserAmazon

The second product I’ve tested is from Soap and Glory and is called The Ultimelt. This comes as part of a cleansing “package” as it comes with it’s own muslin cleaning cloth. Although I’ve used it with both muslin and just a regular flannel, the difference isn’t that much to me. The product is not overly dissimilar to the original Body Shop Gel, perhaps thicker and more like a cream than a gel – but it melts down very quickly and has a lovely texture and removes my makeup.

This also turns milky on contact with water and washes off well. Probably my only criticism is the strength of the lavender that is contained in the product – it is a lovely smell but it is very strong, probably a little stronger than I’d choose. But the product is a good replacement for my Body Shop original, albeit a little more difficult to source in Australia.

These two were the nearest to the Body Shop Gel that I could find, but in searching for a replacement I’ve also tested two oil cleansers – I’ll review these in the next post – so keep an eye out – and if you’re interested in an oil based cleanser, hold off before heading out to purchase!

Until next time, AF x

 

Keratin Hair Straightening: *Hair*way to Heaven

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Post by AF Beauty

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Beauty, as you all know is not just about the goo that you apply to your face and body. It covers everything from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. In this post I’m going north to my locks.

Like most people, I wish for the hair I’ve not got. I am lucky in some respects, I have a full head of hair on my head that isn’t in too bad condition. (a particularly impressive outcome since I’ve been dying my hair since about 1988) BUT, it is neither curly nor straight. I have a forehead that could display widescreen movies. I am, underneath many layers of dye, grey, revealing my age to anyone (un)lucky enough to see a grey hair, or million, reflecting in the sunlight.

Keratin Hair Straightening

*Hair*way to Heaven

I am probably my hairdresser’s worst customer. He diligently and reliably colours and cuts my hair every couple of months or so. I leave looking like wonder woman (in the hair department at least), until I turn the corner from his street and tie my hair up, out of sight, where he won’t see his beautiful blow dry wasted! This is where it stays, save washing, until I walk back into the hairdresser 8 weeks later. In an effort to persuade me to let my locks loose, he has been talking up keratin treatments at the cost of a small mortgage, promising easy to care for, smooth, quick drying hair that would be easy to manage and I could wear loose. Also known as Brazilian Blow Dry, Permanent Blow Dry and Keratin Hair Straightening.
Eventually, after reading a random beauty article which mentioned “permanent blow dry” and how evangelical this person was about it, a big call when celebs could easily call out botox or fillers as their best beauty treatment. I gave in and called the hairdresser to get the treatment.

YouTube

YouTube

The keratin treatment process is: Wash Hair, Apply Keratin Product, Apply Clingwrap, leave for period of time, remove Clingwrap, dry hair (with product still on), straighten hair with extra hot hair straighteners to embed product, part with small fortune, wait three days without tying back hair or washing it, straighten twice a day, wash after 72 hours and reveal smoothed and gorgeous hair.

PixabayPixabay

Broadly, this is how it happened for me. The 72 hours of having claggy dirty (with product, not dirt) hair for three days that I couldn’t tie back was my own special hell. That first wash was heaven. Now, having had the treatment in for two weeks I can tell you, it is smoother than it used to be. And I do think it dries slightly quicker, but I’ve never been the type of person to religiously dry my hair, so the benefit (to me) is small.

Is it worth the small fortune I paid…? Right now, probably not. Being wavy curly, keratin did not straighten my hair – and I did know that in advance, but when blow dried, it is straighter than usual, and less frizzy, which is good.

FlickrFlickr

The treatment is due to last between 3-6 months depending on washing frequency and aftercare – I have to avoid certain activities (swimming in salty water) and must use certain (sulphate free) shampoo products. I will update you more in a few months time.

Discontinued Products (or how I hate beauty companies)

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Post by AF Beauty

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If you live in Australia, you will be used to products appearing in your life and then disappearing, never to be seen again. Mostly though, this happens at the supermarket, yes I’m looking at you Coles and Woolworths. Woolworths recently got me with a double whammy discontinuing both my favourite yoghurt AND my favourite granola within a week of one another. HEARTLESS!!

But for me, the real pain is the discontinuance of beauty products. Chances are, a beauty product will last you weeks or months and you’ll not know a product has been discontinued until you go to repurchase only to find the racks bare and a SA offering you a poor substitute. Woe.
The following products are some that have been discontinued to my dismay – if you see these – BUY IMMEDIATELY because they are amazing ☺

Discontinued Products

(or how I hate beauty companies)

NUTRIGANICS™ SOFTENING CLEANSING GEL Body shop

The first, Body Shop Nutriganics Softening Cleansing Gel

This was a beautiful soft gel that softened to an oil, which on contact with water became milky and rinsed away leaving only soft skin. Lovely. I went to buy a few weeks back only to find it gone. I’m sort of heartened that they still have it on the website, if only to say it’s not available – perhaps they will bring it back?

I was persuaded in store to buy this alternative, which I am presently using and will review among a bunch of other cleansing balms and oils. (but suffice to say, it’s not my softening cleansing gel ☹)

MAC Cosmetics Raquel Welch Icon Collection

Next, from MAC, a face powder. MAC are truly evil in this regard because they specifically do Limited Editions JUST TO MESS WITH YOUR HEAD. I found this powder when it came out years back – it was in the Raquel Welch limited edition and was a light powder called Peaceful. It’s the powder in the very bottom left corner of the picture above.

This was a beautifully light even powder – I was lucky enough to find a store which had one left when I went back to repurchase, but it’s never been seen since unfortunately. And I search in vain for a near match. This Rimmel one isn’t too bad, but Peaceful was lighter and peachier, the Rimmel is too much of a bronzer – but I get that it’s intended to be a bronzer so….

Poison Tendre Christian Dior FragranticaFragrantica

My last product discontinued is one you guys will likely be most familiar with – Dior’s Tendre Poison. I’m prepared to admit, this might be nostalgia rather than true longing, it has been that long since I even smelled this perfume. I wore this for about 4 years straight in my early 20’s only to find it discontinued one day I went to buy more. From what I’ve learned about perfume, this turnover of fragrances is increasingly common and normal – I honestly don’t know how you guys cope.

What favourites of yours have been discontinued? Did you manage to stock up before they vanished for good, or were you caught surprised and then saddened?

Beauty = Contouring: AAARGGHHH!

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Post by AF Beauty

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If you go anywhere near Pinterest it is easy to get caught up in make up trends which, of course, look pathetically easy. They show a few before and after pictures, nothing looks that difficult and quite probably you’ll find yourself in the nearest beauty store looking for the next gizmo that you’ve seen in an effort to replicate this easy fix on your face.

Cue contouring.

Contouring. Scared and Hopeless? (i.e. me)

CONTOURING HIGHLIGHTING YouTubeYouTube

I had seen this on Pinterest, the before and after pictures were impressive, it was just a little bit of powder here and there; et voila!

Australis AC ON TOUR Kit 21g PricelinePriceline

I had originally only seen this done with powder and this Australis palette was one of the ones recommended in the Australian market. I bought a slanted contouring brush, cracked open the palette, dipped and swiped across my face. THE HORROR!!! I’d completely underestimated how pigmented the powder is and I looked like I’d swiped my face in dirt!! No question though, this is my (lack of) skill, not the palette!

Dutifully, I went back to Pinterest, tried to give it another go, several times and then eventually just gave up and accepted my complete ineptitude.

Fast forward 12 months – maybe more. A group I belong to on Facebook and there’s a thread about contouring. I always read these things in a vague hope of finding some miracle answer. This one has a video, I often can’t be bothered to watch the videos, but I did, and I’m so glad I did!! Here’s the link for anyone interested – else skip to my experience…

Illamasqua Shadow ContourIllamasqua

The video recommends a Illamasqua Shadow Contour and a MAC highlight. I can’t find the exact colour on the MAC website, sorry.

MAC Cream Color Base in Pearl MakeUpAlleyMakeUpAlley

I dutifully toddled off to Myer to look at both products but the Illamasqua contour didn’t appeal, so I went off to find an alternative. I knew by then I wanted a cream rather than a powder – I was already looking at MAC, for the highlighter but they had no obvious contour product. Wandering around the store I went and tried the Clinique and tried the Sculpting Contour Stick which actually worked surprisingly well. So I bought the Clinique stick and the MAC highlighter and skipped home to try the daytime contouring look. I basically followed the instructions in the video and….. IT WORKED!!!

I have to admit, I am still working on the different locations of shadow and highlighter and trying different combos. It is easy to start applying and think that your face just looks like a dirty mess – but persist!!! Don’t get caught up in the small detail on your face, it’s the bigger picture, how your whole face looks that’s important.

I used a foundation brush to apply the bronzer the first time but since travelling I’ve continued with just some fingers to guide the application for both bronzer and highlighter.

I have to say, I’ve really converted to this look and now feel a little ‘underdone’ when not applied some contour to my face. It has been a real turnaround.

Have any of you tried contouring? How have you gotten on? What about other make up disasters? Any that have come good eventually?

Beauty Surprises: Finding The Good Shit!

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Post by AF Beauty

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Beauty Surprises

Almond Shower Oil  LOccitaneL’Occitane

I had been reading online about the shower oil from L’Occitane, so on my recent shopping trip I popped in store and had a look at the oil with a plan to purchase. When I arrived and checked out the oil, first there was a sharp intake of breath at the price and then a furrowed brow at the packaging.

The oil was in a container with a press lid, that looks like this. I wasn’t impressed, so much so that I didn’t make the purchase. These sorts of lids make product dispensing almost impossible and if I dropped the bottle in the shower it would surely spill oil everywhere and I would likely slip and die, only to be eaten by the cat. Death in mind, I moved on.

Finding The Good Shit!

Shea Fabulous Oil LOccitaneL’Occitane

However, I had the idea of oil in my head, so I carried on looking around and found this body oil, aptly named Shea Fabulous Oil. Here, breath intake was even sharper for this costs an eye watering $45. But for me, so far, it is worth every cent. The oil is designed for use on hair and body, I’ve not used it on my hair, but my body has had a good lathering. My usually flakey and scaley legs have been transformed. For the first time in a long time, I have legs that look like they belong on my body and aren’t some lost limbs of an aged dinosaur.

Garnier Ulimate Beauty Oil  PricelinePriceline

I have been raving about this oil, mostly to myself, for the last couple of weeks, but I wasn’t necessarily convinced that *this* particular oil was that special, (hi, my name is AF Beauty and I’m a cynic.) so I went off and found a cheaper option and found this Garnier Ultimate Beauty Oil costing $12. At face value, this oil isn’t too bad. It promises to be a dry oil, not affect your clothes and to moisturise the skin. I used this after the gym for the first time and it was good. It is light and my skin did feel smooth after using it. As I’ve been using the Shea oil for a few weeks already, I can’t say at this point whether it would have had the same long term effect – I will have to wait until the Shea is all used to answer that. *BUT* I did notice, that despite saying it was a dry oil, the Garnier oil did linger on the skin a bit too much, to the point where I couldn’t cross my legs without them feeling very greasy – a feeling I don’t get from the shea oil and it’s a horrible feeling.

I really can’t recommend the L’Occitane Shea Fabulous Oil enough, it is truly a surprise find for me that has been well worth the cost. One of my favourite things about beauty products is finding that one that surprises and delivers more than you ever expected, it is an unusual treat.

What products have you found that have surprised and delighted?

Not All Wrinkles Are Bad

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Post by AF Beauty

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These few weeks I have been traveling, you will be pleased, I hope, to discover I have filled my suitcase with enough goodies to start my own shop, but hopefully it’s not so much that will incur the $300 excess baggage charges….

I have a few items I’m looking forward to reviewing – but this week I’m not writing a review.

Not All Wrinkles Are Bad

Wrinkles London Unsplash PixabayPixabay

I have been here in the mother country with the people I grew up with. Some, quite literally, others I’ve known since Uni. Being here, spending time with them, it is an interesting challenge. I love many of them as though they were my family. We laugh until we cry; we talk of this that happened twenty and thirty years ago. We make plans for the next ten years and predict our futures. At the same time, we mourn deaths of the people in our lives, reminded by the loss of famous stars, already this year David Bowie and Alan Rickman and we are reminded life is short.

But while I’m here with these people, I have left behind my other family in Australia. Not my blood but my choice, people I laugh with until I cry, we talk of what happened, five and ten years ago and fill in the blanks of the other years to twenty and thirty. While I’m away, there have been laughs, deaths and changes that I’ve missed and I feel bereft that I wasn’t there for them in person. There is no substitute for a hand or hug that says more than words over email, text or Skype.

When it comes to beauty and my face, I often wish for the skin and face and condition of my youth. I teeter on the edge of aging, fighting time with a few of my favourite products but I look at furrowed forehead lines and wish for times where I never noticed it. I look at the lines at my cheeks and wonder how my years of laughter as a child has manifested in this?!

Portrait of a man, Delhi IndiaWikiMedia

But I am also thankful. Those lines tell the story of my personal stresses and pain and that of my friends and family. If they could talk, they would tell stories of poorly constructed and unfunny jokes, made funny by being unfunny. They reflect the years of emotion I’ve felt. But in honesty, while I would sometimes with for smooth skin, I would not trade any of those lines for any of my tears or laughter. Each one contributes towards the face I see in the mirror as much as the person behind that.

It used to be more that we would see a life lived in a face wrinkled with time, whereas now we see only age. Isn’t it time we started to see again that not all wrinkles are bad?

Wrinkles discutivo daniel craig omega-da-man FlickrFlickr

Some of the people I admire the most are not fresh faced teenagers but men and women who’s faces tell their story, think Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench, Dawn French, Daniel Craig and George Cloony. I wonder if they have taken Botox over tears?!!

How do you feel about your wrinkles? Would you sign up for Botox and fillers, or are you prepared to show them as evidence of your life lived?