It’s been over 2 months since I’ve shared my new (and sometimes just rekindled) makeup loves, I cannot believe it! Where does the time go? In fact, where has 2017 gone it’s just passed the halfway mark…what!?

Anyway I feel like I’m on a great journey of makeup discovery at the moment, there are a few things that I’ve only discovered in the last couple of weeks which I’ll talk about next time, yes there’s plenty to share into 2 blogs already which my wallet doesn’t thank me for but the world is a great pace for makeup these days it’s hard to resist!

That said, I still feel I’m a lot more conservative than a lot of people when it comes to buying the latest makeup, because I just like what I like, and not much can suck me in unless I 100% know it’s something I will really love.. I’m still not in need of every highlighter palette that comes out, or a million shades of 10 different lipsticks, it’s just not me!

Another classic Gem ramble that could go on as ever so I’ll stop myself there and jump in to makeup I’ve been loving recently!

NARS Sheer-Glow Foundation ($68 AUD 30ml)


Oh my days, where has this been all my life!? I have heard people say it’s great for a while, but as ever, I am late to the party but oh baby..this stuff!

Maybe it was the name that didn’t draw me in, as ‘sheer glow’ sounds gorgeous if you have perfect skin, but I like a full coverage foundation. I find it much more convenient when I’m in a rush to do a thin layer of full coverage rather than build up a sheer. However….

This foundation is far from ‘sheer’, it’s more medium to full coverage and does set kinda matte, but with a healthy glow about it. It just has the perfect finish.

I am shade ‘Fiji’ which is a light yellow based shade. I’ve tried it out with all different types of primers, and even without and it always looks great and always lasts the day. I am in LOVE! I’ve been mainly wearing it during the day as I originally chose it for the hydrating benefits for winter, but it’s also a gorgeous foundation for evenings. A perfect all rounder which I honestly think everyone should try! I know for a fact this will be in my life for a very long time, all year around!

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer ($44 AUD 5g)


Another dreamy NARS product (I am fast becoming a NARS addict, everything I have ever tried has been incredible) that I now cannot live without! I got it in the shade ‘creme brulee’ after the girl working at Mecca’s recommendation to match with the foundation. The shade matches pretty well although I think the shade ‘custard’ might also match well. I have been using this just for covering up marks & blemishes and it does such an incredible job of concealing in such a blurry, soft focus and easy way. It is so weightless and not cakey at all! I use either my finger or a small brush to dot on and then just dab it and my skin looks instantly flawless and not caked whatsoever, it just melds in so naturally.

I’m also thrilled that it’s formulated with skin loving ingredients such as collagen boosting peptides, hyaluronic acid, and vitamins A, C & E. Win!

I also get a bit red around the crease of my nose which is sometimes hard to work with other concealers as they sit in the crease, but this again has such a beautiful natural finish it makes that area look like naturally perfect skin. That’s a huge test to pass!

I have used around my eyes for days where I have just got a bit of foundation on and haven’t wanted to necessarily brighten the eye area and that too, just works wonders and doesn’t crease or cake. I will 100% be buying a lighter shade for under eye brightening/concealing which I currently use the NARS creamy radiance concealer for, so I will have to see which works best as both formulas are fantastic but this might just pip it to the post!

Too Faced Hangover Primer ($46 AUD 40ml)


Another product I had heard positive things about for ages until I felt I just had to try it..

Well, it hasn’t let me down, this is such an amazing primer! I wanted something hydrating to use every day as I hadn’t really found a primer I enjoyed using day to day that was really nourishing my skin. It describes itself as proactive and nourishing, with coconut water and probiotic-based ingredients.

It feels like a slightly tacky moisturiser so the formula is a cream which glides on beautifully and then gets that tacky feel which I love as makeup sticks to it and stays put all day which is exactly what happens here.

It also does have a mild scent of coconut which is the best kind of scent any skincare can have as it feels like such natural, tropical goodness!

So my makeup goes on so well with this, it gives the skin a dewy finish, my makeup lasts all day and my skin feels and looks hydrated and plump. It’s honestly the perfect primer for every day or a full on night look for the glow and stay power purposes. I am OBSESSED!

Lancôme Grandôise Eyeliner ($55 AUD 1.4ml)


Ok so you’re probably having a heart attack at the price right now, like I did when I first saw, but, liquid eyeliners are typically around 0.5ml which makes this actually good value if you ask me as you get 3 times as much for around $18 per third. Panic over? That and the fact that this is such a great quality eyeliner. I have tried and loved many cheap eyeliners over the years but thought sod it I will treat myself to an eyeliner I know I can use and use without it running out as quick and with slightly better quality and this has been just that!

It has a super precise felt nib, which I personally prefer over brushes. Which creates many looks I love to do with such ease.

The most important thing about this is the fact it doesn’t budge, it stays perfect all damn day!

So it also has a handle that you can click bend to a 35 degree angle which I did think was a bit gimmicky, but although I mainly use it straight, has definitely come in handy a few times so I am getting more into that aspect of it the more I use it.

Would I buy it again? Yes I would. It’s lasted me a couple of months so far and is still going, the formula works beautifully, the nib is perfect for me and the packaging is also stunning which is also a bonus when you have to look at something for a longer period than normal eyeliners!

 

I hope you enjoyed having a peek at these bits I just had to rave about!

 

G x

 

 

** Disclaimer – These products were bought by myself, and all opinions are honest and my own. Nothing is ever sponsored or gifted unless I have clearly stated. **

 

 

 

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So I’m guessing a few of you may be thinking what on earth is this Frxxxtion stick? It’s basically a 3-in-1 exfoliating cleanser in the form of a twist up stick, kind of like those glue sticks you used to use in school! It’s 3-in-1 because it is an exfoliator, cleanser and face mask in 1.

It is quite a peculiar product, and I for one haven’t seen anything like this before but after hearing good things about it I was very intrigued and had to give it a try!


It’s black in colour because it contains charcoal powder. Other ingredients include kaolin clay and the micro-exfoliant diatomaceous earth which is basically fossilised sea algae and is great for detoxing the skin and obviously acting as a safe and natural exfoliant.

How to use –

It’s pretty easy and fuss free to use, you basically twist the stick up to expand the product, and draw all over dampened skin. (Although this claims to be a cleanser I personally wouldn’t use this over makeup, I use this as a second step cleanse or as an exfoliator after cleansing.) Once it’s applied you’ll have a face covered in a black/grey film! Now you can either leave this on for 10 minutes as a face mask and then rinse, or you can work it around straight away as an exfoliator by gently rubbing it around in circular motions, then rinse.

My experience – 

I have been using this as an exfoliant 2/3 times a week for a couple of weeks now and I have really loved using it! From the very first use I was blown away by how soft my skin felt. I have used it as a face mask once, and yeah my skin felt nice and soft and clean afterwards but no different to using it as an exfoliating cleanser. I love how easy and fuss free it is to use, I find the application really fun and I love the way it emulsifies into a silky grey formula as you massage it around.

A little representation of the product applied to damp skin (leftish) and when rubbed around (rightish)

Price –

I bought this from Sephora AU for $36 AUD for the 30g stick which I think is a fair price for a skincare product that works well and will probably last me a while as it hasn’t gone down very much as yet.

Would I repurchase? –

100% yes! It’s a fantastic micro-exfoliant which is SO easy to use so has therefore become my go-to when I’m feeling lazy but want a great but gentle exfoliation. Very effective!

 

I hope you enjoyed this little product review.. Catch up soon!

G x

 

**Disclaimer – This product was purchased by myself and all thoughts are honest, and my own**

 

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It is now winter here in Australia and will be until the end of August! (If you’re from the other side of the world which a lot of you are, then it’s obviously summer with you now so my apologies, but everything I talk about is still wonderful to use any time of year and you can also have a look at a post I wrote back in our summer I wrote called the “4 facial products I won’t be without this summer”.

So here I just want to share with you some of my favourite products that have kept my skin, body and hair feeling hydrated, rejuvenated and at optimum health during these colder months, because it is SO easy to let yourself get dehydrated and dull when you’re hidden under the layers and fleecy blankets or the generally effects from the cold outdoors.

Be warned this is a lengthy post so grab yourself a cuppa and bare with the many products I chat about!

Last winter I got caught out with really dry skin from head to toe and was determined that would not happen again this year! I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a lot less oily than I used to be when I was younger, or that Perth which has been my home for just over 2 years is a lot dryer than I’m used to? Either way I was caught by surprise so have embraced anything extra hydrating leading up to winter. These are all the things that I have embraced into my routine whole heartedly to avoid that happening again, and so far are working a treat!

SKINCARE

Hydrating Cleansers


There are many great hydrating cleansers out there that help balance and retain moisture as opposed to the ones that strip your skin! A great hydrating cleanser I’ve been loving in the morning is the Tarte Rainforest Of The Sea Deep Dive Cleansing Gel as it contains hydrating and brightening elements such as marine extracts, provitamin B5, vitamin C and lavender oil and is designed to maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance. In the evening I have been loving the Pixi and Caroline Hirons double cleanse as it’s both an oil and cream cleanser again containing hydrating vitamins and oils, and the Grown Alchemist hydra-restore cream cleanser which is a really rich, creamy organic cleanser with hydrating botanicals and oils.

Hydrating ‘Layering’ Facial Products

I layer a few different products every morning and evening all throughout the year, but it’s especially important in the winter to get those layers locked down on top of each other to retain and add moisture to the skin. Here are a few things I swear by.. (Anything with hyaluronic acid or glycolic acid will literally be your best friend during the winter!)


Toners – The NARS multi-action hydrating toner is still my current go-to hydrating toner for the mornings which you can read about here. It leaves me feeling hydrated before I even begin applying anything else. In the evenings I use a resurfacing glycolic acid toner as this exfoliates dead skin revealing fresh skin in the morning, without drying. I’ve raved about glycolic toners a lot and I will forever swear by them to stop me from ever looking dull! I currently alternate between the Alpha-H Liquid Gold and the Instytutum Resurfacing Glow Toner.


Serums – My holy grail hydrating serum this winter is The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid which I mainly use in the morning after toner and before moisturiser but I do sometimes use it at night as it’s great for both! I also sometimes use the Philosophy Time In a Bottle serum which is full of vitamin C, a great brightener for skin during these dulling times in the mornings but I use that mainly in the evening. A serum I only use in the evenings is The Ordinary vitamin C suspension 23% + HA spheres 2% (the grey bottle on the left, yes it’s back to front, oops) which is great because it is quite a potent vitamin C for brightening and anti aging, plus hyaluronic acid for extra hydration. I only use that at night though because of it high potency plus it’s quite gritty therefore definitely doesn’t sit well with makeup! Also be warned that the tingling sensation from The Ordinary’s vitamin C serum can be quite intense because of the high percentage but it works a treat.


Moisturiser – The moisturiser I have moved on to especially for winter and have been using day and night and is the Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cream. This stuff is AMAZING! It’s formulated for severely dry, sensitive, winter battling skin and contains hyaluronic acid, almond oil, aloe, arctic berries and peptides. It’s a really unusual formula as it’s literally like a fluffy bouncy cloud! Mousse-like really. Very lightweight but extremely hydrating. I like that fact it’s not thick or heavy but moisturises beautifully.


Hydrating Face Masks

My go-to hydrating face masks are the Josie Maran Whipped Mud Mask for when my skin needs a detox but also moisture from the argan oil that’s also in it, and the Frank Body Glow Mask ($20 AUD). The glow mask has absolutely blown me away and is one of my biggest musts this winter! It’s a really thick, gloopy mask that actually smells and feels like butter icing when applying (yes!) and is a 10 minute quick fix to really pump moisture into your face and make it glow instantly! It contains shea, cocoa butter, coffee oil, and raspberry and cranberry seed oils which are full of vitamins E, A and all the omegas! It truly is amazing stuff. As for sheet masks I have tried a couple and I know they work really well I just haven’t yet found a HG.


Lip Care

A great lip balm is obviously a MUST during winter! Every night I religiously apply the Philosophy Kiss Me Tonight Lip Therapy which is the best lip balm I have ever used, I wake up with perfectly plump hydrated lips every morning! In the day before applying my lipstick I use the Josie Maran argan sting plumping butter as it’s moisturising, plumping but isn’t thick like the Philosophy night treatment meaning lip products go on with no interruptions.

BODYCARE

Again, it’s all about keeping that moisture pumped in but before that, it’s so important to resurface the skin and remove dead skin cells as aint nothing gonna work unless you’re nicely exfoliated!


Exfoliate!

So as I just mentioned, your skin needs to be exfoliated to look and feel fresher before there’s any point in applying moisturising products. I am a fan of both physical and chemical exfoliation all over my face and body. My favourite physical is dry body brushing, along with any kind of sugar/coffee/salt scrub, I’m currently using Cheekee coconut oil coffee scrub which is Perth based brand! Ok so then there is good old glycolic acid for the body…


Glycolic Body Products

So glycolic is a chemical exfoliator and is widely used in facial products, but is also found in body products. This makes keeping dull winter skin at bay so well as the glycolic gets to work and gets rid of the dead skin cells in obviously the same way it does your face! I find this makes life so much easier rather than only having to scrub away at your skin. Two products I love for this is the Nip+Fab glycolic fix body cream ($17.99 AUD 200ml) and the Alpha-H liquid gold body wipes which is the exact formula I use on my face but soaked in really great, handy large body wipes! They are around $30 AUD and are perfect for removing rough, dead skin or the last traces of stubborn fake tan.


Body Moisturiser

Everyone knows a great body butter or lotion is key for a soft moisturised body! My favourites are the Lush dream cream (which I was kindly gifted at the Bloggers United Australia birthday event) apply at night and for really dry skin, nothing beats Weleda Skin Food (which I was also kindly introduced to thanks to BUA!).

**A top tip is to bathe or shower at night as you’re more likely to go to the effort of doing an all over moisturise. In the mornings we are usually too cold and too tired to bother, and day after day of doing this really takes its toll! Also, as tempting as it is, try avoid having the temperature of your bath/shower really hot, as this really strips moisture away from your skin.**

Body Wash

My favourite moisturising body wash is L’Occitane almond shower oil. It’s an oil that foams up slightly and leaves your skin feeling moisturised  and treated before even applying anything else.


Body Conditioner 

Yep just like a hair conditioner but for your body. This has been a personal life saver for me and it’s the Lush Ro’s argan body conditioner that I was also kindly gifted at the Bloggers United Australia’s second birthday event. It’s the ultimate lazy girl’s guide to body moisture! So it gets slathered all over freshly washed skin while you’re still wet in the shower then gets rinsed off after a minute or two, leaving a silky film over the skin. I would go as far as to say this is my top saviour this winter so far! Might I add that it smells AMAZING!


Hands

I have many hand creams! Aren’t they just the thing that you never buy but the collection just builds!? I honestly do not know where they come from! Christmas & birthday prezzies? I don’t know! Anyway… the only one I have always sworn by and always will for when my hands are super dry is The Body Shop Hemp hand protector. It is thick, soaks in well and is an instant fix. Every one needs a tube of this!

 

Guys I hope you enjoyed this lengthy post and more importantly find it helpful (let me know if you made it to the end! If so, thank you and congratulations!!) thankfully it’s a post that only needs to be done once a year but skincare is super important during the extra cold and extra hot months but in two completely different ways and I love sharing what’s working well for me!

 

Until next time…

G x

 

**Disclaimer – All products unless stated, were all purchased by my skincare obsessed self! All tips given are things that work for me and won’t necessarily work for you.**

 

 

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I absolutely love a glycolic resurfacing toner! In fact I would even go as far as to say glycolic acid has changed my life. It’s kept breakouts to practically zero, and has given my skin such a fresh, glowing quality it always lacked before. The brand I have been using is the Alpha-H liquid gold which I obviously love and you can read about here, but when I was approached by Instytutum, a Swiss skin care brand to see if I would like to trial their resurfacing toner I thought yes please! As it’s a little different to the one I had been using because of the other added ingredients. These include –

  • Glycolic acid (as I just mentioned)
  • Camomile extract (to soothe and moisturise)
  • Saccharide isomerate (retains moisture, reduces dryness)
  • Provitamin B5 (protects, restores, soothes)
  • Allantoin (an anti-irritant, improves healing)
  • Botanical soothing protector (a synergic combination of 3 plants used in traditional Chinese medicine to help the skin’s defence system, protects against stress and prevents premature skin aging)
  • Vitamin B3 (improves hydration, helps skin appear more even toned and rejuvenated)
  • Vitamin E (prevents premature ageing, enhances firmness and overall glow)
  • Vitamin A (improves firmness, smoothness, aids in moisture protection and anti aging)

A pretty impressive list of ingredients so I was really excited to try this!

About the brand, as quoted from their website –

“The INSTYTUTUM Aesthetic Health was inspired by Natalia Derkach, M.D., a truly visionary woman. Top-level executive of a successful pharmaceutical corporation renowned for manufacturing innovative medical solutions, trusted by over 100,000 doctors worldwide. With an impressive track record in the pharmaceutical industry, she was inspired by her father at a young age as he created infusion solutions that changed the medical world. To make her dream of creating her own skin care brand come true, pursue her passion for beauty and offer something truly effective, luxurious and unique, she has teamed up with the most prestigious Swiss laboratory and scientists with 30 years of experience in the skin care industry and a reputation for outstanding quality, anti-aging breakthroughs and performance-driven actives. Together they created INSTYTUTUM skin care and made her vision come alive. INSTYTUTUM skin care is a perfect union between the latest science and technology and nature-derived actives, advanced chemistry and specially formulated five-step filtrated purest water. Producing highly effective and innovative skincare products is our #1 concern. Flawless skin and giving back to the community through our Clean water initiative, that’s what we stand for. Make an impact on your skin and the world.”

What the brand claims this toner does – An effective, gentle toner that removes dead skin cells to reveal a visibly younger complexion. Refines, soothes and moisturises. Reduces pores and spots.

My First Impressions – After first use it felt a lot gentler than the Alpha-H so knew already that it was a totally different product. There was no tingling and the smell is a lot more subtle. I used it at night just as I have done since, and woke up with soft, calm skin.

The packaging – I really like the packaging. It’s very clean and fresh looking as you can see. The bottle is quite chunky and luxe.

The price – $59 for 130ml. At the moment they do 15% off and free complimentary shipping for you first order!

Formula description – It’s a clear liquid, with a gentle, botanical, neutral scent.

How to use – Use after cleansing and before serum. Using a cotton pad, sweep over entire face, neck and décolletage.

How I use it – I use acid toners at night, if you use them in the day you must wear a high SPF. For me I just like to let them get to work while I sleep and wake up with fresh new skin. Now I have not wanted to give up my liquid gold which I use every second night, but because of the gentle nature of this product I’ve incorporated it into the nights I don’t use my liquid gold. I use it underneath my vitamin C treatment which I do every other night and its worked really well.

My over all thoughts and results – I have been using this for around 3 weeks now. I’ve loved incorporating this into my nightly skincare routine as I found I was waking up on the mornings I hadn’t used an acid toner not feeling as bright and glowy. Even though I wouldn’t want to use the much more potent liquid gold every night, this has been a perfect, more gentle version to use on those nights! It’s kept the glow every single day and  with all the other wonderful ingredients it feels like I’m getting so much out of it. My skin feels in perfect balance right now and it’s very much thanks to this along with my other favourite products in my current routine.

If you like the sound of this then you can buy it here.

Thank you to Instytutum for allowing me to try this wonderful product!

I hope you guys enjoyed reading all about this truly lovely product! Speak soon…

G x

 

**Disclaimer – This product was gifted to me upon request of Instytutum themselves. I have been using it for 3 weeks now and all opinions written in this blog post are honest and my own.**

 

 

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