Review: EOS Lip Balm

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These balms are HUGE in the blogesphere, I finally got my hands on one – they’re so super cute in person. I got the Tangerine one. I haven’t seen them in Ireland but they are €5.75 on Beauty Emporium with a flat €2 shipping fee – free shipping for all of June , or Mise beauty has them too;

http://beautyemporium.ie/index.php/catalogsearch/result/?frontend=2b35d618355351cb547bb4dc06d60649&q=eos

http://www.misebeauty.com/brands/eos

Eos lip balm is 95% organic, 100% natural, and paraben and petrolatum free. Antioxidant-rich vitamin E formula, with soothing shea butter and jojoba oil. Gluten-free Paraben-free Petrolatum-free Phthalate-free.

I was so impressed with this lip balm, the moisture really does last, you get a ton of product in the little sphere, application is fun and novel & they’re lovely to carry around in your handbag. Some of them also contain SPF & there are several flavours to choose from. 100% worth it in my opinion.

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Review: Eldora False Lash Fail

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It’s not often I like to write a post completely trashing a product & suggesting it’s of no worth to anyone whatsoever but in this case, I feel justified. I was going out the other night and realized I didn’t have a set of lashes to wear & decided to try the ones from the May Glossy Box – Eldora False Eyelashes – from £3.90.

I’m surprised I wasn’t permanently blinded to be quite honest. After applying them, my first impression was of how heavy they were, they had a particularly thick, rigid seam & were so heavy my eyes kept watering – they were completely distorting my vision. Worst of all was the glue which wasn’t working at all and where I tried to re-stick them a number of times, it left my eyes with sore red patches & sealed up my eye liner so it began flaking off & couldn’t be touched up properly.

In the end I took them off at my friends house as I just couldn’t see & he applied a lovely Ardell set, really thin seam & lovely effect €1.50 from eBay. Just to wrap up; I wouldn’t recommend these lashes to anyone; the glue just doesn’t work and where it gets a build up on skin can leave it very sore and irritated. I’ll put a pic below of the set Eoin put on, I had the joy of having my make-up touched up by an Illamasqua make-up artist after the eyelash debacle so it wasn’t all bad :)

Growing Eyebrows and Eyelashes – Pixiwoo Tip

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Ever since an unfortunate waxing incident of which I was the victim in 2011 my eyebrows are much thinner than before. So the other day one of my friends suggested on the phone I get some “rogain for men” from Boots for €8.99. When I got there it turned out “Regain” for men is €84.99 for a three month supply! Or €35 for one month, both were a bit steep considering I only need a tiny bit of product.

That same day I’d seen the Pixiwoo HD brows video suggesting Castor Oil http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYefRDo5Itc&feature=g-u-u so I opted for that instead – a 100ml bottle was all of €3.42 and the last few nights I’ve been slathering it on my eyebrows & eyelashes. I’ll keep you updated on the progress :)

Review: Retin-A 0.25% / Tretinion

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So…I feel like I’ve been keeping this a secret from you guys; I’ve been using 0.25% Retin-A for a good few months and wanted to do a review on it. When I was a child I had two accidents that left me with two scars on either cheek and above one scar I have some enlarged open pores which really bother me; one of the scars is indented. Covering these with primers, concealers etc has been a mission of mine for years & I’ve also had dermal fillers but wanted to augment the treatment.

You need a doctors perscription for Retin-A and it comes in a large tube mine was about €40 and there are different strengths available – up to 2%. I have no blemishes usually and dry skin, it is frequently prescribed for acne, scarring and ageing. For me it’s had great results with a few slight downsides.The mechanism of Retin-A is to peel your skin basically revealing new skin underneath. Here’s the deal;

  • Apply it at night alone and you’ll have to deal with going to bed with no moisturiser and your skin feeling tight
  • Your skin will peel, go red, be sore, sensitive, burn when you apply products and generally feel very sensitive
  • You need a really high SPF every day
  • You wont be able to touch a stippling brush, NARS sheer glow, or even vigorously rub your skin as your skin will flake off
  • Areas like around your nose will be very sore and peeling
  • It may thin your skin out a little & you’ll gradually get paler

But….This stuff is amazing. It works. I had some expression lines & a slight frown line appearing on my forehead – they’re gone, 100% gone. On the rest of my face it’s improved the tone and texture of my skin, really refining it. On the indented scar I have to say it had a dramatic impact – so much so that I can now really appreciate it after a few months use. It also improved the less visible scar however it did nothing to refine the open pores on my cheek in my opinion.

Once you stop using it and your skin can recover a bit you can really see the difference, when my skin was at breaking point I stopped using it and went & re-purchased a bottle of Trilogy Oil & the much loved Oilatum Natural Face Repair cream made famous by the Pixiwoo sisters and after even a week of using both; the moisture level had dramatically improved. Some final tips;

  • If you have to wear make-up use a silicon primer to give you a smooth base as there will be peeling & flaky skin
  • Avoid foundations that cling to dry patches
  • Use a balm on your skin if you have one to help it heal, especially around the nose
  • Don’t use an enzyme cleanser or any kind of peeling masks, products or facials at the same time – it will be far too much for your skin
  • Avoid products with alcohol in them as this will sting and hurt
  • Be patient – it works but give it some time & take breaks & then start over
  • The winter time is best to use this as we’re naturally paler then & trust me you don’t want to be dealing with Retin-A and fake tan
  • Really plain moisturisers like Oilatum & E-45 will be your best friend
  • If you suffer from Keratosis Pilaris on your upper arms, whack on some of the Retin-A & it’ll do wonders for it
  • DO NOT consider using a Clarisonic while on Retin-A trust me on that one

Since I don’t have acne prone skin this is from the perspective of someone with dry skin using it to reduce scarring & the suggestions may not be applicable to you. I’ve never used it on my eyes so can’t comment on that either, but I know some who do & have had great results with fine lines.

Indented Scars / Line Scars treated with Dermal Fillers – Arasys Cork

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I have two scars on my cheeks from childhood, one is indented & the other is a line scar. As they occur just under my eyes, I’m very self conscious of them and always feel like they cause me to look overly tired & give the appearance of 2 lines extending down my cheeks.

I have tried probably every primer on the market and concealer available to cover them & last year I decided to try some dermal fillers – I went to the Arasys Clinic in Cork. They offer beauty & aesthetic treatments; including microdermabrasion, peels, laser treatments, dermal fillers, botox, derma frac etc. I booked a free consultation with their doctor Michael Flynn who is there weekly for a fillers & botox clinic. I haven’t come across anywhere else in Cork that provides a free consultation, most are €50 or €30 for the consultation alone.

After an initial chat and examination of my face to see if the scars were suitable for treatment with fillers Michael suggested with go with some Restylene & Radiesse over a period of two sessions one in October & one in December to see how they would respond. Restylene is a gel filler that stimulates your own natural collagen production so it would increase the likelihood that my skin would start some natural regeneration while also plumping out the scarred area. After the discussion with Michael the manager Lorraine (who is lovely) came in to discuss the price and suggested a price of €185 per session giving me a discount as I’m still a student – so €370 in total instead of €400. Michael was also kind enough to put in some Restylene Vital into my cheeks as bonus on the top layer for a natural look.

The initial time I had no idea what to expect so I’ll list some tips below. It’s actually very quick & painless, it’s similar to an eyebrow wax in a sense where you might get a tear or two but it’s over very quickly. With the Restylene there’s no need for any numbing cream as it doesn’t really hurt & the needles are extremely fine, however if you’re worried you can ask for it. I bruise quite easily so I had a little bruising and swelling for a few days. The second time however I had no bruising at all as I used Arnica beforehand.

I was thrilled with my results – it made a natural looking but clear improvement in my opinion and added some volume to my cheeks which really helped with the tired look that I think the scars cause. I feel for the price it was a great result especially as fillers have a reputation for being expensive. The Restylene lasted a good six months for me; I visited Arasys again today & this time I opted for the Filler Sculptra to see if that would make a further improvement – I’ll post a few of this with before & after pictures soon. Some tips;

  • Don’t wear any make-up to your consultation
  • Start taking Arnica supplements about a week before your treatment if you’re worried about or are prone to bruising
  • Take Arnica cream with you & apply it straight after the treatment & periodically over the day as required
  • Don’t take any aspirin or paracetamol prior to your treatment as this increases the likelihood of bruising
  • Bring a large pair of sunglasses for when you’re leaving
  • If you have scarring which you want treated with dermal filler look into other options to help such as; laser treatments or Retin-A to help refine the scars (the Retin-A combined with the filler I think has made a huge difference & I’ve a review coming soon on it) treatments like micro-needling, glycolic peels can also help

Link to Arasys website: http://www.arasys.ie/index.php – 021 427 8722

Review: Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil

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  • 450ml for £56 / about €68 in Ireland & I’ve gotten it for much less on holiday / I’ve also seen it on Strawberrynet for about €60
  • This is a lovely oil which can remove the heaviest make-up, I break it out for waterproof mascara especially 
  • It does contain a lot of mineral oil so if you’re worried about that this cleanser isn’t for you
  • The bottle lasts for ages
  • Different formulas in the range for different skin types
  • Shu counters are pretty good about samples so ask for one if you’re unsure or new to oil cleansing 
  • A cheaper alternative is; Sephora’s Supreme Cleansing oil
It nearly broke my heart when I got to the end of this recently; I love this product. Even though I don’t love mineral oil, this gentle cleanser packs a serious punch when it comes to taking off heavy make-up, it cuts through everything while still being very easy on my dry skin. Although it’s priced extortionately in Ireland, if you’re in the UK or abroad it’s definitely worth picking up if you have dry skin & you’re included toward an oil cleanser.

Review: Karora Instant Tan Wash Off

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125ml for €14.99 – this is an instant tan that washes off and has a very slight luminescent shimmer to it – as you can see from the picture above my natural colour is extremely light and when I want an instant colour this product is fantastic and so quick.

Even though it’s a cream it has a liquid-y consistency so it’s very easy to spread and blend and you actually need much less than you think. It can be used on the face and body and is transfer resistant but I’ve found it washes off quite well with shower gel. Don’t be scared by the initial colour, once you blend it, it gives a lovely healthy golden glow to the skin and can be built up.

When I was getting my Karora spray tan at Lulu Belle, Louise the salon owner was telling me a bit about the brand – their mission is to provide pure, natural alternative to traditional chemical-laden products. The environment is really important to Karora and all their products are made using are made using organic, natural extracts and contain no parabens, artificial fragrances, synthetic colours or harsh chemical ingredients. All the packaging is recyclable and no animal testing is ever done for any of the Karora products.

I’ve also tried the Karora Enzyme peel for the body – amazing! And the Tanning Mist – it’s a light spray that develops into a golden glow in about six hours and is really good for extending the life of your spray tan. I think these products are great for Irish skin tones as they’re not as dark or as orange toned as some tans and if you do want to go darker they can be built up.

Review: Sleep In Rollers

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When I was at Lulu Belle Beauty I saw they had some of the Sleep In Rollers which are beloved of the cast of TOWIE & Scouse Wives, I’d seen a Youtube video of them already so I had to try them. If you’re not in Waterford, you can order them on the phone and pay via Paypal – postage is €2.80 here’s the link to their Facebook http://www.facebook.com/LuluBelleBeautyWaterford

They retail at €22 for 20 rollers and they come in their own really cute pink bag which is perfect for travelling and storing them in. I’ve used a lot of rollers before and feel like they often pull out my hair and they’re impossible to sleep in. The sleep in rollers are filled with foam so it’s like sleeping with an extra pillow.

They are very easy to use and as you can see from the picture I just put them in quickly before bed, however if you want to be more precise you can section the hair out and do them much tighter. I use bobby pins to secure the ones at the front but they stay in very well over night. A blast of the hair dryer can also really amplify the effect of the rollers.

Since I’ve had my blonde low lights put in I’ve been really careful about not heat styling my hair too much so these are a fantastic alternative to long blow drys or curling irons which is much healthier for your hair in the long run. In particular if you put these in while your hair is still a tiny bit damp they really hold the curl well. They create excellent volume, which is my absolute favourite aspect about them, I get some serious volume when used in conjunction with my Milk_Shake Volume Styling Solution.

And the result….! Amazing volume with some loose curls. An alternative to the full head each night is to put in about ten rollers around the crown and that also give a lovely bouncy finish.


Review: Milk_Shake Hair Products

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A friend recently started raving to me about Milk_Shake products so I knew I had to  try some. I ordered 2 shampoos, a conditioner & a volume styling product from BeautyBay.com

Milk_Shake is an all natural salon brand – which is actually very rare that a salon brand is all natural and inspired by nature, often salon brands are heavy on chemicals. Milk_Shake is made with milk proteins which is essentially protein rich food for your hair. The full range contains; shampoo, conditioner, intensive hair treatments and hair styling products. For a salon brand I found the price point very reasonable. Here’s what I got from Beautybay ;

  • Intensive conditioning shampoo – this is amazing literally amazing €11.70 for 300ml
  • Daily frequent shampoo – clear formula more clarifying I found; good if you have some product build up €11.70 for 300ml
  • Intensive Conditioning Foam €12 for 350ml
  • Volume Styling Solution €14 for 175ml

Right, so the first thing you notice is the AMAZING smell, let me say it again the AMAZING smell, it’s so lovely, like a real milkshake and it leaves your hair smelling beautiful for the rest of the day. The intensive conditioning shampoo is my favourite, it’s such a gentle moisturising formula, the daily frequent shampoo is great if you’re hair is overloaded with product and needs a good clean, for me I only use it about once a week but if you had oily or normal hair you could use this daily.

The conditioning foam is so cool, you leave it on your hair for about three minutes and it seriously repairs my damaged ends – I’ve got some low lights & the bleach is really hard on my hair so it’s been fantastic at bringing it back to health. I find the combination together leaves my hair so shiny and really soft. I also love the packaging and I love the smell of all the products soooo much.

I’ve had a look around and you can get it from Gainforts Waterford & Wexford in Ireland or online from http://www.beautybay.com – they also have an argan shampoo in the range which sounds fab. I’ve been completely converted to this brand from what I was using before which was; Aveda, Tigi and Liz Earl.