Friday, December 27, 2013

A brief end of the year hiatus.

Hello to all you Belles!
I'm sorry I haven't posted for awhile, it's been a very busy month and I haven't had the chance to sit down at my laptop or pull out my camera to make posts!  I've certainly been having blogging withdrawals these past few weeks but I'm super excited to get straight back into it right after NYE! I've got lots to share with you so thank you for your patience and support! Please keep visiting and reading substance for Belle in 2014!  I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year and may 2014 continue to bring endless joy, love and success to all of you. xx 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Product Review | Nivea In-Shower Rich Body Lotion Skin Conditioner

While I enjoy having and maintaining soft and smooth skin, I can't say that moisturising everyday from head to toe makes the top of my favourite things to do list. So when I first saw the commercial for the Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion about a month ago, there was no denying that I got a little bit excited, genius idea! Beneath that excitement though, I admit that I quickly became rather skeptical about the product. Why? Well, despite being a brilliant time saving idea, I figured that if it were that simple or that good, someone in the beauty/skincare world would have thought of it a long time ago and many skincare brands would have perhaps already attempted to create their own versions (maybe they have, I'm not sure?), and body lotions/moisturisers would've become a thing of the past. At least I think so anyway. 

Anyway, I went and purchased a bottle a few days after seeing the commercial and needless to say I jumped right into the shower when I got home and put it to the test. There are two options available just like in their range of body lotions: normal to dry skin & very dry skin. I picked up the "very dry skin - with almond oil" one (hoping that if it worked, that it would be highly more moisturising than the normal to dry skin version). I wanted to use the product for a while and give it the best chance to perform before I did a review - I have been using the product every single day from November 4 2013 and I think I have only about one shower use left. So I've basically used up the entire product before doing this review.

What the Nivea In-Shower Rich Body Lotion Skin Conditioner claims to do -

"A new and more convenient way to moisturise."
The caring formula optimally works with your wet skin and is quickly absorbed, Result: A silky, soft skin feeling when stepping out o the shower. There is no need to apply a normal body lotion afterwards.

I really wanted this product to be great, but unfortunately it is not something that I will be repurchasing. While it is an innovative idea in skincare, I think that the formula needs to be reworked so that it has a much more moisturising/conditioning power. I say this only because I didn't find that it conditioned MY skin at all. I honestly felt that I was just wasting product every time I used it. It was like taking a bottle of normal moisturising lotion into the shower, rubbing it in and then washing it off and down it went into the drain. There were days that I would stand in the shower for longer to give it a few extra minutes to really "absorb" into my skin, but even then after rinsing it off and coming out of the shower, I didn't feel like my skin was soft or smooth, not like a normal cream/lotion would make my skin feel. In fact, I would say that the product is more or less like a body wash, except that it doesn't lather on application. The product comes out almost like a normal cream lotion but slightly more diluted and watery. It has taken me about a month to use up the entire 400ml bottle, and at times I did use it quite sparingly. So it doesn't last very long, particularly if you're using it everyday to moisturise your whole body from head to toe (I had to squeeze out about a golf ball size of product each use to feel like I was covering all of my skin).

I didn't use this product with super high expectations at all, as I said I was already quite skeptical in the beginning, but I am disappointed because it would've definitely come in handy and reduce the time it takes me to get ready. Ah, the convenience. 

Having said that, it is certainly not a terrible product. If you try it, you may find that it works for you. Personally, having dry skin I would prefer the traditional cream/lotion that I can feel has really softened, smoothed and absorbed into my skin. What I do enjoy about this product is that it leaves a lovely fresh scent on your skin even after you've towel dried, basically the same as their body lotions. I would not be against trying another brand or version of an in-shower skin conditioner/moisturiser. If there are any out there that you know of, please let me know!

Available at Priceline, Chemist Warehouse ($6.69AUD), Big W, Kmart, Target, Myer, Supermarkets & selected Pharmacies $7.99 AUD.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Favourite Celebrity Looks | 2013 American Music Awards

The red carpet looks at this year's American Music Awards were quite an overall disappointment. There were definitely more unflattering and boring choices than there were beautiful and glamorous this year. Thankfully though, there were some standouts for me with gorgeous Nicole Richie looking sophisticated and sexy in a white cut out floor length dress, and a slightly classier midriff baring Rihanna making my top picks. Christina Aguilera also looked lovely in white channeling an old school glamour Marilyn Monroe look, showing off her svelte new figure. Top pick for hair & makeup also goes to Nicole Richie.
I can't say that any of the male talent caught my eyes - all donning an edgier, leather punk rock look. If I had to pick, the best dressed would go to Liam Payne & Harry Styles from the One Direction Boys. 


Source: & JustJared

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Face of the Night | A bit of This & That

A quickly put together look last night using a mixture of old and new products. It was a long and busy day out yesterday with a face of makeup already on during the day, so when I got home later in the afternoon I had to wash the morning face off and paint on a new one for the night. I hadn't planned what I was going to wear yet so I needed to do a look that was fairly neutral and would match whatever outfit I chose. I ended up with a subtle smokey eye with gold shimmer and a hint of khaki. I kept the rest of my face quite natural with an illuminating flush across the cheeks.

Products Used:
In order of application

- Simple Hydrating Light Moisturiser (not pictured)
- Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum gel Foundation (#53)
- Rimmel Wake Me Up Anti-fatigue Effect & radiant Glow Concealer (#030 classic beige)
- Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Darkspot Eraser Treatment Corrector  (#225 light/medium)
- Bourjois Bronzing Primer (universal shade)
- The Body Shop All-in-One Cheek Colour (mashmallow)
- Bourjois Universal Illuminating Java Rice Powder 
- Guerlain Meteorites Perles Illuminating Powder (#01 teint rose)

- Illamasqua Eye Brow Cake (thunder)
- Australis 'Tint my Brow' Brow Tint (light brown)
- Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion (not pictured)
- Rimmel Traffic Stopping Shadow (#005 speeding)
- MAC Eye Shadow (woodwinked)
- MAC Eye Shadow (satin taupe)
- MAC Iridescent Powder (silver dusk)
- Estee Lauder Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara (#01 black)
- Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara (#01 Black)

- Lacura Beauty Colour Stick (nude)

L-R: The Body Shop Cheek Colour - marshmallow, MAC Iridescent Powder- silver dusk, MAC Woodwinked, MAC Satin Taupe, Rimmel Traffic Stopping Shadow - highlight colour & outer corner colour, Lacura Colour Stick - nude.

Nails of the Week | 'Perfect Penny'

It's been sooo long since I last painted my nails, but they're back! My nails haven't been in the best shape over the last few weeks - splitting and peeling, so I wanted to give them a break and time to grow. I came across this Covergirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss colour in 'Perfect Penny' while shopping at Priceline's 40% off Cosmetics day. (I didn't realise that nail polishes were part of the 40% off cosmetics until I looked at my reciept - so great!) I've been on the look out for a nice rose gold nail polish and I'm very pleased to have found this one! It's very pigmented and requires only 1-2 coats to achieve the perfect opaqueness. I love the metallic sheen finish, especially when it catches the light.

Products used:
- Essence Studio Nails Ultra Strong Nail Hardener $3.50 AUD
- Essence Studio Nails 24/7 Nail Base $2.95 AUD
- Covergirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in #225 'Perfect Penny' $6.95 AUD
- Essence Quick Dry Topcoat $2.95

I couldn't imagine enjoying painting my nails without the Essence Studio Nails Line - they've made such a positive difference to my nails and also made the nail painting process thoroughly more pleasant. Even though the products are so affordable, the quality of Essence products is fantastic.

You can find Essence Cosmetics from Priceline and Selected Target Stores.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Goodies Haul & Swatches | Priceline 40% off Cosmetic Sale

It doesn't come around often, but when it does you just can't say no (well I can't anyway). I'm talking about the Priceline 40% off all cosmetics 2 day sale! With a never ending, year round list of beauty products to try and buy, I succumbed to my weakness that is, cosmetics and sale promotions, and headed to Priceline today to indulge in makeup heaven. Overwhelmed, sweating and $78.33 later... I emerged from the horde of makeup hungry women, with a handful and slightly more of new goodies. Hoo-rah! 

Physicians Formula Super BB All -in-1 Beauty Balm Cream (Light/Medium) $25.95 RRP

I first saw this product while I was browsing through last week and wondered if our Aussie shelves had stocked them yet, and indeed we have! It looks like a very promising BB cream and I look forward to testing it out on my skin. Unfortunately the cream only comes in two limited shades - light/medium and medium/deep. I chose the light/medium shade after a quick test in store, so I'm really hoping it blends in well. The medium/deep was way too dark and had a more pinky undertone (I have yellow skin undertone). So far, after doing a swatch on my wrist the formula seems quite nice and smooth. I'm not sure about the coverage it gives yet, but it blends into the skin nicely leaving a subtle dewy glow. Not sure about any SPF as the packaging doesn't say. Love the clean white and holographic packaging!

What the product claims to do:

  • 10+ beauty Benefits. 
  • Our high-tech multi-tasking formula combines brightening antioxidants, moisturising and firming botanicals, and perfecting optical diffusers for super-powerful skincare & makeup benefits. 
  • Ultra-blendable and lightweight cream effortlessly glides on, instantly infusing moisture, refining skin's surface and providing protection from the environment. 
  • Ultra-versatile beauty balm simplifies your morning beauty routine by delivering the benefits of moisturiser and foundation in one easy to use product.

Revlon Nearly Naked Makeup 30ml (160 Fresh Beige) $25.95 RRP

Have wanted to try this foundation since its release! I'm hoping its as "naked" as it claims to be; perfect for those days that I don't want to be wearing very much makeup, especially foundation, and just want that bare skin look and feeling. The foundation seems to be a light, easily blendable, fast absorbing formula with a subtle sheen finish. Ultimately I hope that this foundation will offer a lightweight coverage that will even out my skin tone.

What the product claims to do:

  • Available in 12 "true-to-tone" shades
  • Makeup, so light, it melts right in, working in harmony with your skin's unique tone and texture for an even, fresh finish. Vitamin and antioxidant-packed to pump up your natural glow and nearly naked look that's absolutely perfect.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Anti-Fatigue Effect & Radiant Glow Concealer 7ml (030 Classic Beige) $14.95 RRP

I've heard great reviews for this concealer so I wanted to try it out for myself. I'm already a big fan of the Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation so I can imagine how lovely this concealer will be. I went for a lighter shade so that I can use it to brighten my under eyes. Love the packaging! From what I've seen in several Priceline stores, there are only 3 shades available in Australia - classic beige, ivory and soft beige.

What the product claims to do:

  • Our first full coverage concealer that visibly reawakens and illuminates under the eyes.Completely conceals spots and other blemishes. Instant anti-fatigue effect. With Peptides and a Vitamin Moisturising Complex.

Bourjois Volume Fast & Perfect Rotating Mascara 9ml (51 Starting Black) $26.00 RRP

This is a repurchase and favourite mascara of mine. I first bought it at the start of the year after seeing it used by Sam from Pixiwoo and really enjoyed the quality of the mascara and how it made my lashes look. It definitely thickens and lengthens my lashes, making them look super bold and black. It's not waterproof so you may find that towards the end of the day some colour may have transferred underneath your eyes. (I use a setting powder right underneath my bottom lash line to try and prevent any potential mascara melting down) The mascara has a battery powered rotating wand, which I find helps coat the lashes, but I do actually prefer to use it without the rotation. The wand is a standard straight brush with thick and short bristles. 

(I didn't want to open and remove the wand to take a photo because once you open a mascara it has about a 3 month life expectancy  before it starts to dry out and I don't want to use it straight away just yet!)

What the product claims to do:

  • The new auto rotating brush instantly and evenly wraps around each lash for a false lash volume effect in 30 seconds flat. the brush rotates 360ยบ  and coats lashes from root to tip with no overloading guaranteed. 

Australis Extender Lash & Brow Mascara 8ml (clear) $10.95 RRP

Just another clear brow mascara to add to the collection! I love how sleek and clear the packaging is! Just waiting on my current E.L.F clear brow gel to get all gunky before I can throw it out and use this one. I use clear brow gels to set the powder I use to fill in my brows and keep the hairs in place throughout the day. This can also be used as a mascara to enhance your lashes for a natural eye look.

Australis 'Tint My Brow' Brow Tint (Light Brown) $9.95 RRP

I was very excited when Australis introduced their brow tinting product. I know that many high end brands make brow tinting gel mascaras but I didn't know of any 'drug store' brands that made any so it was great to see an affordable Australian brand testing the waters. I'm really looking forward to trying this out and I hope it works well. My only concern is the colour options. I purchased the Light Brown tint after seeing that the dark brown tint was too dark and had a deep eggplant purple tone to it (also available in Blonde tint). The product comes in quite a small tube, but I think it'll last a decent amount of time with the strong colour pay off and very good staying power (as tested on my hand).

Rimmel Traffic Stopping Shadow Trio (005 Speeding) $13.95 RRP

Fell in love with the khaki colours and loved the baked mineral dome look and packaging! I've never noticed these on the shelves before but I'm glad I finally did because they look beautiful. They come in a gorgeous selection of 6 different pearlised trio shades. The three colours in each eyeshadow trio offer a highlighter colour, a lid colour and an outer corner colour. The shadows can be used wet or dry. 

Pigmentation upon first swatch wasn't the best to be honest, I think an eye base/primer needs to be used before applying these eyeshadows just to ensure more colour intensity. Perhaps when used wet the colours will be much more vivid. I'll keep you posted once I've tried and tested! I still love the colours though so I'm hoping to make them work.

Essence Studio Nails XXL Nail Thickener 8ml $2.95 RRP

I've posted about Essence's Studio Nails line before talking about their fantastic 24/7 nail base and today I purchased two more products from this line. 

The XXL Nail Thickener has the same colour and formula consistency as the 24/7 nail base - a semi opaque thick cream polish that will dry clear. I'm hoping that this product will help with my brittle and cracking nails.

What the product claims to do:

- Instantly thickens & strengthens thin & brittle nails
- Resistant against chipping & cracking for long growing nails
- Fast drying

Essence Studio Nails Ultra Strong Nail Hardener 8ml RRP $3.50 RRP

This Ultra Strong Nail Hardener is just a clear polish. I will be comparing the results from using this against the results of the XXL Nail Thickener. I'm just looking to maintain the health and appearance of my nails.

What the product claims to do:

- Strengthens and builds up soft and brittle nails 

Covergirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss 11ml (225 Perfect Penny) $6.95 RRP

I've been after a rose gold nail polish and I came across this polish today that I thought was a pretty good match. I'm excited to see how the colour looks on my nails, stay tuned they'll be painted this weekend!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lip Goss | The New Lip "Sticks"

Colour Stick, Balm Stain, Lip Crayon, Colour Balm, whatever you call it, they're the latest lip product trend. With most makeup brands now introducing their own versions of (and made popular by) the Clinique Chubby Stick, it seems that these "sticks" are quickly becoming a favored alternative to the traditional lipstick and lip balm. 

A modern take on a traditional lip balm; they are essentially a 2 in 1 product that has the moisturising properties of a lip balm while providing a lightweight tint of a lipstick. Generally marketed for their unique twist up packaging and long wearing hydration and colour, these trendy lip "sticks" really are worth trying. 

There are a range of these twist up balm crayons on the market now, and they generally all have the same qualities and effect on the lip. You will find one that may be more glossier than another, or one that is more pigmented than the other. Depending on your taste in colour, or your desire for intense moisturisation or lasting power, there will obviously be brands that will suit your needs more than another. The most obvious difference that I have noticed from the ones that I own is the waxy texture. The Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain for example, has a drier consistency in comparison to the Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon which has a smooth and glossier feel.

The first drugstore version of the "chubby stick" I tried (in store on my hands) was the Face of Australia Sheer Gloss Lip Crayon after hearing about them from some Australian beauty YouTubers. Unfortunately, I wasn't blown away by them at the time. My first purchase of this type or product was actually the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain last year and I was pleasantly surprised by how it felt and looked on my lips. I have since become a fan, and have tried and purchased other brands. 

(Pictured L-R: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain #050 Precious and Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Colour Stick #10 Juicy Peach)

Despite having a pretty decent collection of lipsticks, I'm actually not a big lipstick wearer. My lips are prone to getting dry every day of the year so I often avoid wearing lipstick and opt for a lip balm instead.

What I like about these balm sticks is how comfortable they feel on my lips - 
  • They maintain a very moisturising feel on the lips which is what I want in a product that is marketed for its conditioning 'balm' qualities
  • Its smooth, light and non-sticky - gliding easily over the lips
  • They leave a lovely sheen on the lips, which makes your lips look very hydrated while still having that transparent bare lips sensation. They can often look quite glossy too which is a bonus if you're a shiny lipgloss kind of girl.
  • Most contain Shea Butter (for moisturising)
  • It's fast absorbing while maintaining its sheen
  • With its thick pencil applicator, you get more precision when applying the product even without a mirror. 
  • They are generally available in a selection of light to dark colours, depending on brand. The quality of pigmentation as well as it's staying power (unless it is a stain) also depends on the brand. Personally, I am happy to reapply the product as often as I need to.
  • The product doesn't need to be sharpened - simply twist up the tube for more product.

Aldi Supermarket recently released (as part of their "special buys") similar colour sticks from their exclusive Lacura Beauty range. I picked up both sets that were available, and much to my delight they were very good. They're super smooth to apply and have the same moisturising and sheen quality. My only criticism with these is that that they smell like a wax candle. While the smell doesn't linger or leave a taste on the lips at all, if you sniff it from the tube it definitely has a strong waxy scent (this doesn't bother me).

Check out your local Aldi store to see if they are still available.

L-R: Bordeaux, Cherry, Pink, Nude
L-R in the light: Bordeaux, Cherry, Pink, Nude
L-R in the shade: Bordeaux, Cherry, Pink, Nude
Swatch on the lips: Cherry

Products mentioned & products I would recommend:
- Lacura Beauty Colour Stick 
  [$6.99 for a 2pck exclusive to Aldi Stores, available in 4 shades]
- Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon 
  [$15.00 AUD at Priceline, Target and selected pharmacies or $14.77 AUD from ASOS,
  available in 4 shades]
- Covergirl Lip perfection Jumbo Gloss Balm
  [$12.95 available in 10 shades]
- Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain 
  [$17.95 AUD available in 12 shades, has a cooling peppermint scent] 
- Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Colour Stick 
  [I purchased this in the U.S. - sadly Neutrogena cosmetics are not available in Australia]
- Face of Australia Sheer Gloss Lip Crayon 
  [$7.95 AUD available in 3 shades]
- Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturising Lip Colour Balm
  [$35.00 AUD]
- Maybelline Baby Lips Loves Colour SPF 16
  [$3.95 at Priceline available in 4 shades or $3.39 at Chemist Warehouse]

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Face of the Day | A Touch of Pink

Last night we went out for a family dinner at Tokyo Teppanyaki to celebrate my brother's birthday.
It's been a miserable, cold, wet and wintery Spring here in Melbourne and my skin has really suffered from it, becoming quite dry and dull. The makeup that I wore last night was simple and refreshing. I wanted to use products that made my skin feel hydrated and look radiant.

Products Used:
In order of application

- Simple Hydrating Light Moisturiser
- Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup with SPF 20 (no. 40 Nude)
- Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Darkspot Eraser (no. 225 Light/Medium)
- Bourjois Healthy Mix Correcting Concealer (no. 52)
- Bourjois Bronzing Primer 
- The Body Shop All-In-One Cheek Colour (Marshmallow)
- Rimmel Stay Matte Long Lasting Pressed Powder (no.001 Transparent)
- Bourjois Universal Illuminating Powder 

- Avene Eau Thermale Thermal Spring Water

- Illamasqua Eye Brow Cake (Thunder)
- E.L.F Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear Mascara
- Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel Creamliner for Brown Eyes (Natural Espresso)
- Bourjois Volume Fast and Perfect Mascara (Black)
- Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara  (Black)

- eos Honeysuckle Honeydew Lip Balm
- Lacura Colour Stick (Cherry)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dreaming Of... | Seed Heritage

Over the past two years Seed • Heritage • has quickly become one of my favourite retail stores to shop. I love their simple but high quality and on trend designs across apparel, footwear and accessories. Their stores always look so visually appealing and fun to come into throughout the year and I often find myself writing a list of all the things that I want! 
Here are some of the many products that I'm currently lusting for.

All products shown currently available in-store & online.