Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Pamper Night- Ziaja Argan Shower Soap and Ceramides Lipid Hand Cream

I've waxed lyrical about how much I rate Ziaja as a skincare brand. I've also spoken about my love for these products in a youtube video already. After a taxing two days, I decided to make tonight pamper night, hair mask, face mask, luxurious shower and conditioning treatments and I very much enjoyed using two Ziaja products in particular. 

The Ziaja Argan Shower Soap* contains the moisturising goodness and nourishing powers of argan oil. My hair has long time responded favourably to argan oil and it's no surprise my skin has followed suit.  My upper arms in particular are very unforgiving when it comes to certain body products but they have reacted so well to this Shower Soap- I was badly sunburned a few years back (water blisters, the works!) and to this day, my skin on my arms is still incredibly dry. I've noticed it has become markedly softer- dare I say it- even normal since I started using this luxurious shower cream. Argan oil rapidly absorbs into the skin locking in hydration, so it's great for dry skin sufferers like myself. You get a whopping 500ml product for a mere €3.99 and it smells just heavenly- it's the kind of scent that lingers and stays with you even out of the shower. Ladies you will have to lock this stuff away from your men friends because it's just divine! 

When I was out of the shower, I lathered my dry, flaky, sensitive hands with some Ceramides Lipid Concentrate Hand Cream*- and I am going to come right out and say it again- the BEST hand cream I have tried bar none in recent times. This cream feels quite thick when you apply it first but it sinks completely into your skin and is completely non-greasy. My hands have been burning over the last few weeks and they are almost unbearably itchy and sensitive and this hand cream provides me with pretty much instant relief- I can literally feel it soothing my hands as I apply it. If you have ever suffered with any sort of dermatitis, woman to woman I urge you strongly to pick this hand cream up- it has worked wonders. Apparently, that's down to the ceramides contained within which strengthen the skin's protective barrier and restore the natural lipid layer to prevent ongoing dryness. I brought this into the office with me and all the secretaries around me were fangirling at the luscious smell and gorgeous silkiness of their hands after applying this. I applied this tonight liberally and then threw on some Essence cotton gloves that I picked up just to make sure that all those ceramides got a proper chance to restore that lipid layer. And the really great news is that even though this hand cream has an RRP of €2.99 (which is actually like THEFT because this cream is so darn effective), but if you buy the shower soap referred to above from or any pharmacies/department store (Shaws) that stock Ziaja products, you get this hand cream absolutely completely FREE!! That's two quality, luxurious products suitable for the most demanding and sensitive skins for €3.99

Click HERE to be brought straight to the special offer gift set :) You'd actually want to be away with the fairies to not take the kind peeps in Ziaja up on this amazing offer! 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Sephora Wishlist

The second instalment of my Parisian wishlist series is my Sephora wishlist. I have a special affinity with the store on Champs Elysées and you can bet that as soon as my plane lands in Paris, I will be making a beeline for Sephora. If you have never been there, you are missing out. Whilst European Sephoras are not as sexy as US Sephoras, there is something quite charming about the flagship Paris store. Maybe it's the 1,000 litre bottle of Chanel No. 5 that they have to greet you inside the door- who knows. I've been perusing the French Sephora website to get some inspiration and the following are the things that I have mentally wishlisted. 

1. Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette- Hello? It's chocolate shaped and full of brown eyeshadows. Winner. 
2. Sephora Baguette de 3 Pinceaux Yeux- or 3 piece eye brush stick to you and I, this is very interesting to me and reminds me of that colouring pencil I used to have when I was younger. For nostalgia and convenience, I need.
3. Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in 'Boy'- well if you can't buy yourself a new Chanel lippie in Paris, when can you. I've had 'Boy' on my wishlist forever and I can't think of a better excuse to pick it up!
4. Sephora Express Nail Polish Remover- This has gotten more favourable reviews than the Bourjois offering by those who have tried out both so I would like a slice of the pie for myself to see if it lives up to this hype!
5. Formula X Nail Polish- again, these have gotten major hype and I know whynot. They're available in Paris so I'm going to pick up a colour or two to see why the inability to get these on this side of the Atlantic has tormented so many beauty bloggers. 
6. Marc Jacobs Style EyeCon No 7 Palette in 'The Lolita'- not going to lie- this does not look impressive enough to me to justify the €53 odd price tag but I have never seen this in person. This palette is much loved by many of my favourite bloggers and Youtubers alike. It's expensive, but what you buy on holidays doesn't count, right?
7. Narsissist Cheek Palette- This is a Sephora exclusive so the chances of this being available are probably slim to none. If I see one however, I will make it mine. I need it to match my Narsissist Eye Palette and One Night Stand palette. It doesn't matter that I have all of these three colours already- I don't have them all in a matching palette. And the brush is included too!
8. GlamGlow mask- again. ludicrously expensive but is it not worth the investment if I find a product that my skin absolutely loves and that will keep it clear forevermore (#wishfulthinkingmuch).
9. By Terry Ombre Blackstar- I don't own anything by By Terry and this eyeshadow stick has been doing the rounds on Youtube at the minute. I'm interested to swatch a few of these and if I find one I like, I'll make it happen. 

So that's it for my Sephora wishlist. Not too crazy I hope you will agree!! If there is anything else that you think I need to get and I haven't mentioned it, please let me know in the comments below. 

If you missed my French pharmacy wishlist, please click here. I've one more wishlist left in this mini-series- the Duty Free wishlist- so keep your eye out for that, it'll be up on the blog this week :)

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Models Own HyperGel Gel Effect Polish- Collection, Review and Swatches

I'm not hugely into nail polishes, nail art or the likes. I've said before on this blog that my small hands and short nail beds do not lend themselves easily to any sort of nail experiementation. I always have some nail polish on, and I'm fairly ruthless in that as soon it starts chipping, it's taken off straight away and replaced with new fresh polish (pet peeve territory there!). I don't usually form any strong opinions on nail products, and I'm not much of a NOTD person, but every so often, an awesome polish crosses my path and I feel obliged compelled to take some pics and spread the good word. Which is exactly what I am doing today with one of my new favourite nail finds, the Models Own HyperGel Gel Effect Polishes. 

It started off like it always does- trying to pick my elusive third product to avail of the 3 for 2 in Boots and I picked one of these bad boys up- not having the world's highest expectations but nothing unusual there. The first colour that caught my eye was Coral Glaze, and when I applied the polish that evening, some magic happened, and I wanted more. After a record three days of no chippage, it was love and I was ready to make that commitment and I purchased 9/10 shades available in Ireland. 

The packaging is adorable and I am very impressed with the little colour indicators on the tops of the bottles which is indicative of both the colour and the finish of the polishes. The consistency of the polishes is nice- not too thick or too thin- and the brush is quite narrow for a more precise application. These do not take long to dry at all and leave a gel effect finish. One coat is opaque and two thin coats is perfection. These lasted me three days without chipping which is three times longer than nail polishes usually last me! At €6.49 each, these are sinfully bargainous and I have decided that you all need them in your lives. Some larger Boots stores stock Models Own polishes (I definitely know Boots in Stephens Green SC, Dundrum SC and Jervis SC stock these)- so if you're stuck for 3 for 2 inspiration, pick up a summer polish!

(L-R: White Light, Naked Glow, Pink Veneer, Lilac Sheen, Cornflower Cream, Coral Glaze, Turquoise Gloss, Cerise Shine, Red Lustre)

Which colour is your favourite out of the mix? Are you a Models Own polish junkie? 


NARS Haul and Bargain Alert!!

I've only really gotten into Nars makeup products in the last year and I've been building up my collection slowly but surely in that time- picking up a few pieces here and there in Brown Thomas as treats to self for a hard week at work or achieving some other small goal that I set for myself. I wanted to pick a few more things but instead of heading straight back into Brown Thomas, I wanted to do a quick online search to see if I could get a better price. I mean I'm sure you will all agree, every little helps, especially when you are makeup obsessed. I think I got a great deal on the bits that I got and this post is just to flag it for you all and boost your awareness in case you are hoping to do some Nars hauling!

 I landed at the HQ Hair website- the source of the vast majority of my Kerastase collection- and I added a few items to my basket. I used a discount code which was displayed on the website at the time (HQNOV) and I got £20 off for spending more than £100, bringing the total of my order to €154 for seven products. Now that might sound like alot, but check out what I got below- the prices for each individual item are set out in € in the list. 

Now whilst €154 seems like a lot of money for a few makeup products, let's compare the same list as if I was to purchase these items from the Brown Thomas website. I had to substitute the colours of one of the blushes and one of the lip pencils because they did not have those colours in stock but the prices are all the same anyway.

As you can see, the total for the same items on the BT website is €221- almost a full €70 more expensive for the same 7 items!! Now I am all for buying Irish but at a personal cost of €70- that's a bit much! Might I also add that free tracked delivery was included in the price of the HQ Hair order but delivery with Brown Thomas will set you back either €3.50 for standard or €5 for express. HQ Hair ship from the UK so there are no customs issues to contend with either. Delivery usually takes just 5 working days from the UK and you get several email updates along the way- to let you know when it has been picked, despatched and arrived in Ireland. I have used HQ Hair numerous times before for other orders and I have absolutely zero complaints about service/delivery or products.

The offers change on HQ Hair from time to time, so definitely hold out and wait for a good one so you can save some beans. I get discount codes, offers and free gifts with purchase emails delivered straight into my inbox, so sign up to their newsletter if you would like the same. 

What do you think? Have you used HQ Hair before? Are you tempted to make a HQ Hair order now? 


Saturday, 26 April 2014

VIDEO! Huge clothing/accessory haul feat. Penneys/Primark, New Look, Bershka, Vila and Only

I went clothes shopping and am sharing the spoils in this video! Hope you enjoy! :)

French Pharmacy Wishlist

With my little annual trip to Paris just around the corner, I thought I would put together a little wishlist to help me focus when I am struggling for elbow room in the permanently packed Citypharma in the 6eme arrondissement. I've long loved French pharmacy skincare and it was only upon my return to Ireland after living and working in France for months that I realised how lucky I was to have all that goodness on my doorstep. Back them, Bioderma had not been heard of in France, and La Roche Posay was barely available in Ireland. Whilst I cannot be held accountable for my actions or spending once I get to Paris, these are a list of the things that I will definitely be picking up! 

1. La Roche Posay Serozinc- for whatever unknown and bizarre reason, we cannot get our hands on this stuff in Ireland or the UK. I've never tried it before but I am confident after reading a multitude of favourable reviews. I'll probably pick up 5 of them in case I like it!
2. Avibon Pommade- jam packed with retinol and Vitamin A, this has anti aging and skin renewal properties. Apparently it's quite difficult to come across but I will be demander en francais for this beaut.
3. Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentré- probably one of the leading cult French pharmacy products- I had a little one before and I loved it so I will be scouting this down once I arrive.
4. Bioderma Atoderm Mains- I've never tried this either but my severe dry hand issue research has pointed me in this direction many a time so I'll make sure to pick one of these up.
5. La Roche Posay Anthelios XL- I hate the sun and sun damage and I tend to avoid the sun as if I was a vampire without a daylight ring- however, you never know when you will be caught out, and I am going to invest in this LRP sun protection (at a much better price than here in Ireland) and keep my skin safe for the rest of the summer.
6. Biafine- Ok so the packaging is not the sexiest, but this is a staple product in every French home for treating burns/abrasions etc. I've often heard this is used as a face mask also so I might just trial it for that purpose and see how it fares also.
7. Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm- these are only 6€ a pop in France so I'll pick up a few. Love this as a lip conditioning treatment and under lipstick. 
8. Klorane Shampooing Sec- I'm a little bit dubious of all the hype that this product gets because it is just a dry shampoo after all but the only way to test it out for myself is to purchase it innit!
9. Homeoplasmine- I'll be primarily picking this up as an emollient lip treatment but it also has a host of other uses- including treating dry patches of skin and as a healing balm. 
10. Bioderma Sensibo Crealine H2O- my all time favourite French pharmacy product ever- there is no other micellar water like this- not L'Oreal, not Garnier- nada! I don't know what it is about this stuff but I absolutely love it and I think I'm going to buy like 10 giant bottles!
11. Bioderma Hydrabio Masque- I've heard from other dehydrated skinned gals like myself that this is a wonderfully hydrating mask so I'll try it out for myself and see if it quenches my skin's thirst.
12. Caudalie Vinosource SOS Serum- Serum is a step often skipped in my regime, but in an effort to get into the game, I am going to find this magic grape juice and add it into the mix. I've smelt this in Space NK and it smells deee-vine so I await this eagerly.
13. Phyto 7 Hydrating Cream- this is a curious offering really. It's like a moisturiser or day cream for your hair- containing 7 beacons of hair goodness- this is meant to moisturise without weighing your hair down or leaving it feel greasy. I'm curious enough about this to want to purchase it.

That's my French pharmacy wishlist so far but as you can probably imagine, it is a constantly growing beast. Is there anything else you would recommend me to pick up whilst I am over there? Have you tried any of these products and had a good or bad experience? Please let me know below! 


Friday, 25 April 2014

VIDEO: Collective Makeup Haul 2014

Because of how lovely you all were re my first video, I've recorded another. I've spent most of my wages on makeup this month and in this video, I'm showing and telling the bits and bobs that I picked up! Thanks as always for your support and encouragement, it means the world! Hope you enjoy :)

The Unsung Hero: MAC Blushbaby

I'm more of a pinks and peaches kinda gal and I have been reluctant to embrace more neutral blushes until recent months. My new favourite MAC blush has to be Blushbaby. A gorgeous cool neutral blush, leaning towards a gentle dusky pink, is an absolute must have blush in my mind, and one that I am so happy to have in my collection. It's incredibly flattering- not so neutral that you can't even see it- but just enough pigmentation to make a subtle statement- and enough pink to ensure it does not look muddy on my pale skin- I don't apply this to the apples of my cheeks but use it as more of a 'contourblush' to define and shape my face, my preferred tool of application being an angled kabuki brush. This is one of MACs Sheertone blushes- entirely matte but completely buildable- and it has excellent staying power (approx 6-8 hours). It is almost impossible to go overboard or apply too much of this blush. Not cheap ar €26 but there is just something about this blush that just sets it apart from any other blushes I own or have swatched. It might not look the sexiest in the pan- in fact, it looks positively boring- but it is a gorgeous colour on. Give this a chance and I am fairly confident you will be impressed!


Thursday, 24 April 2014

VIDEO! 2014 Favourites (so far!)

I know I know I swore I would never record a vid'jo but something came over me and I gave it a shot. Everyone has been very lovely and supportive and encouraging that I decided to bite the bullet and post it on ze blog. I'm just running through some of my favourite products and finds of 2014 so far. Hope you enjoy x


Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet- Frambourjoise, Peach Club and Ole Flamingo- Review and Swatches

Well Bourjois have been knocking it out of the park for me in the last year or so with their lip releases, so I had high hopes coming up to the release of their Rouge Edition Velvet Lip Lacquers. Essentially matte liquid lipsticks, the pictures of these taunted me so much that I was stalking Boots stores just waiting for them to land. There are 6 colours available altogether- 2 "nudes", 2 pinks and 2 reds. I picked up three in Boots (€13.49 each FYI) and the colours I picked were (from top to bottom) 04 Peach Club, 02 Frambourjoise and 05 Ole Flamingo. 

The packaging on these is quite simple and I love that the entire packaging is colour co-ordinated and that the lids are indicative of the colour of the product inside- don't ask me why this charms me but charmed I am! The products apply with a neat little doe foot applicator which is also perfectly acceptable in my mind. You get 6.7 ml of product in each. The formula is quite thin and light even though it is matte- so in my experience, a few swatches are needed to build up colour opacity to the full whammy. It's also not powdery matte and still has a sheen- but the colour opacity is definitely worthy of matte status. I was expecting the formula to be alot thicker in all honesty but the thin formula is comfortable to wear (albeit drying on the kissmakers).

The colours themselves are beautiful and perfectly summer appropriate. Frambourjoise is my favourite out of the three- a beautiful raspberry pinkish red- I wear this colour sheer by day and opaque by night and it's like having 2 different lip products. Peach Club is more coral than peach but it is perfectly summer appropriate and will get plenty of use over the summer months. Lastly, Ole Flamingo is a hot pink that looks absolutely striking on the lips when applied- the combination of the matte texture and vivid colour is very flattering. 

I like these lip products, but I don't *love* them in all honesty. They are drying and not only do they dry your lips out, they also expose any fine lines and any dry skin on your lips. Also, at €13.49 I think they are too expensive for what they are and I never say that about any other Bourjois lip products. My biggest peeve with these is lasting power however. Not only do they not last terribly long- circa 3 hours not eating/drinking etc., but they also fade horribly off the lips in patches and I just find they are too high maintenance for my personal preference. They don't particularly stain the lips so fading is an issue. So whilst the colours are striking and they are comfortable to wear on the lips, they just haven't swung me enough to purchase any others. It's not a lip fail but these are definitely not my favourite Bourjois offerings.

Have you tried these? What did you think of them?

Max Factor Facefinity All Day Flawless 3 in 1 Foundation- Review and Swatches (Light Ivory/ Warm Almond)

Way back in January when I was in the midst of watching a host of 2013 Favourites videos, I noticed that alot of North American beauty bloggers and vloggers were lauding praise on the Cover Girl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation, and I made a mental note that I would have to pick that up on my next trip over the pond. Little did I realise back then that the European version of Cover Girl, Max Factor, were selling that very same foundation under the moniker 'Facefinity All Day Flawless Foundation' and I couldn't hotfoot it to Boots quickly enough to get my hands on it. A few weeks later and I am still obsessed impressed with this foundation.

Firstly, in case you are wondering what that elusive 3 in 1 promise means- Max Factor claim that they have bottled a primer, concealer and foundation all in one. Pretty significant claim to make. The bottles themselves are glass with sturdy secure pump and they feel more expensive than they are. Speaking of expense- this foundation at €16.99 in Boots is at the higher end of the price spectrum but IMO this opinion could rival many of my high-end foundations. I have two colours- Light Ivory and Warm Almond- one for my pale untanned skin and one for my slightly more tanned self- THAT'S how much I love this foundation. As you can see from the swatches below, Light Ivory is very cool and pink toned, whereas Warm Almond is still quite pale but yellow toned. As far as I am aware, these are the two palest foundations available in Ireland.

The question on everybody's lips- is it really a 3 in 1? Does it live up to the hype? Well, let me assure you the answer is yes and yes. This foundation, a drugstore offering no less, is a perfect three in one. I don't use primer much anyway but I always apply and still apply day cream under my foundation each day. I don't feel the need to use concealer with this foundation because the coverage is excellent without bordering on the cakey line. This foundation is oil free (even across my oily T-zone), stays in place all day without slipping or fading, provides  excellent coverage but is still somehow lightweight and fresh feeling. Also this does not oxidise on my skin- the colour in the bottle tends to be the colour in my face. Another USP for this foundation is that it is a liquid foundation with a powder finish- not dewy but not completely matte either- some sort of matt-in (matte and satin) finish. I tend to avoid the glowing and the luminous so the finish of this foundation pleases me no end.

This performs like a high end, premium foundation but you can get this in your local pharmacy. If you have not yet put this on your 3 for 2 Boots wishlist, I strongly encourage you to do so now. Have you tried this foundation yet? Are you tempted/discouraged by the 3 in 1 promise?


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Cocoa Brown Gentle Bronze and the 'Cocoa Brown effect'

I used to be a complete utter tanphobe. I actually resented the peer pressure of having to fake tan whilst I was in college, simply because the Oompa Loompa look was never one that I was happy to sport. Years of  special occasions and nights out looking tangoed a la L'Oreal Sublime Bronze (yeah- the one with the glitter tint so you can see where you'r2 applying it) took its toll on my patience. When I first tried Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan in December 2012, I was highly skeptical that we would get on- a tanning mousse on my dry, alabaster skin- to say I wasn't overly enthusiastic would be an understatement extraordinaire. 

Which in hindsight now, is really quite ironic, because that first Cocoa Brown tanning experience was single handedly the biggest beauty revelation that I have encountered in my years on this planet. I HATED fake tanning and then this one product arrived and completely won me over, almost unbeknownst to myself. And for the last 18 odd months, I've quite simply been obsessed with Cocoa Brown- so from going to tan-phobia to rocking a regular fake tan user has been my journey so far. Since trying out the tan, I am definitely getting through a bottle a month- I probably apply it on a twice weekly basis- and I keep at least four back ups in my bathroom at all times, which is NUTS when you consider how much I despised the stuff for the last ten odd years. It has become an essential step, knocking the grey tone out of my incredibly pale skin and making me look golden (not orange) and feeling much healthier and in better spirits. Ah yes, the good vibrations and psychology of being gently tanned and healthy looking has infiltrated my brain. I'm a fake tan convert and I don't care who knows it. This is what I call the Cocoa Brown effect.

I've never gotten on with gradual tanners before- I've tried the Johnsons one, the Dove one, the Garnier one and even the St. Tropez offering- and none of them set off any fireworks. When I first spied on the Cocoa Brown Facebook page that Marissa Carter and co were launching three new products- one of which was a gradual bronzer 'Gentle Bronze', I was intrigued, and honestly probably not that excited- again I was going on my past experience, and when I FINALLY found something that worked so well for me, I didn't want to rock the boat. Well what I know now that I didn't know then is that the Cocoa Brown effect has taken hold again and I have a new favourite gradual tanner. 

On paper, it's simples. It promises a silky body moisturiser that will hydrate skin whilst giving you a gentle bronzed glow. In person, it looks like Chocolate Whip, smells like Chocolate Whip, moisturises your skin like Chocolate Whip, and leaves a not-too-gentle bronze on your skin even from first use. The moisturiser feels quite thick once you start rubbing it into your skin first and as you rub, the cream looks like it turns from the chocolate brown colour to a milky white, before quickly sinking into your skin, leaving you with silky soft skin and absolutely no residue whatsoever. It smells like Tahitian Gardenia- which now and forever will be the Cocoa Brown scent- and it's rather pleasant, but over time the smell changes a smidge to the same colour as Cocoa Brown when it develops (as a sensitive nosed person, this is not offensive). It leaves gorgeously bronzed skin behind, and I am getting serious kicks about applying this in the evening after my shower and waking up sunkissed in the morning. Even though it is not expressly recommended or otherwise, I also apply a smidge of this to my face and it has not caused me any freaky facial issues. The colour payoff was more than I expected- but to be fair, it leaves a lovely golden glow, a bronze that's gentle and not *cough* Sublime (still traumatised). One coat of this leaves a decent glow, 2 coats is the equivalent of a full on Cocoa Brown session in my mind, and anything after that is just colour maintenance in my experience. 

So when Cocoa Brown Original 1 Hour Tan is working so dandy for you, why veer away to Gentle Bronze? For me, it's a quick and easy timesaver- 2 steps become one. I appreciate that the good folks at Cocoa Brown appreciate that I am a busy gal and I don't often have them to moisturise and then apply my fake tan on top. If everything that Midas touched turned to gold, everything that Marissa touches turns to bronze (in pink packaging!). Will this replace my love the the original stuff in the pink bottles- no sirree bob. This is just going to supplement my Cocoa Brown ritual. And if that's not the Cocoa Brown effect, I don't know what is!!

This delight will set you back a mere €5.99 and is available in Boots/ Penneys/ Superdrug and pharmacies nationwide, as well as Cloud 10 Beauty on the interwebs.

Have you tried out the Gentle Bronze yet? How do you think it fares in comparison to the original Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan? Was anybody else bitten by the Cocoa Brown effect bug?

Monday, 14 April 2014

MAC Cool Neutral Eyeshadow Palette- Review and Swatches

When I first heard that MAC were bringing out pre-filled 15 pan palettes, I barely cared. When I heard that these palettes were going to be neutral palettes, my interest was piqued. When I found out that these were going to be £65/€75/$100, I grew curious. When I saw these in store and swatched them, I knew they had to be mine (and unfortunately, they were both out of stock that day!). Today I am showing and telling the new 15 pan MAC palette in 'Cool Neutral'. 

This palette contains 15 full size MAC cool neutral eyeshadows in a range of different finishes- matte, frost, veluxe pearl, lustre and velvet. The colour spectrum is impressive- from the matte pinkish white Flounce to the velvet Black Tied, the colour spectrum is impressive, and contrary to my original opinion when I first saw pictures of this palette- it's not too grey. The pigmentation of the shadows is largely dependent on the formula used in each shadow- as is always the case with MAC eyeshadows, the matte, veluxe pearl and velvet all have decent to excellent pigmentation, whereas the lustre offerings are generally poor and powdery, and some of the frost shadows lie somewhere in the middle (Sun Tweaked and Deception I am looking at you). Out of the 15 colours, I highly rate the pigmentation of 12- which is pretty decent. As you can see from the swatches below, the pigmentation of two of them was only average and the pigmentation of the only (official...cough) lustre shadow was woeful. The wear time on these is what you would expect of MAC eyeshadows- I've worn these for upwards of 10 hours on top of a MAC Paint Pot base and they held up nicely.

 Unlike the regular MAC palettes, you cannot select your own colours- the palettes come pre-prepared so swapping and changing is a no-go. That said, only a handful of colours are in the permanent line up, so chances are you probably won't have these colours already. The real beauty, however, is in the maths. In Ireland, a single MAC eyeshadow pan is €12.50. Multiply that by 15 and you get €187.50. If I recall correctly, the palette itself is €16, and the eyeshadow insert is €8.50, so you're looking somewhere in the region of €212 for a complete palette. This makes the €75 price tag here in Ireland that bit sweeter. In simple terms, you're paying a fiver for each eyeshadow and getting a free palette thrown in. 

Do I think that it's worth it? Hells to the yes. The only problem is trying to get your hands on them because these bad boys are selling quicker than chocolate at Easter. I'm still waiting for the Warm Neutrals one to come back in stock and when it does, it will be mine. The good news is that I have it on authority from official MAC sources that these palettes are part of the permanent collection and will be around for a while yet.

What do you think of this palette? Will you be rushing out to get your hands on one?


Ziaja Sensitive Skin Range- budget beauty heroes for skin with anger issues?

I've said it before- I have sensitive skin with anger issues. I search high and low for skincare products that will not aggravate or provoke my skin into an angry eruption. I don't and never have had acne- but my skin reacts quite viciously to many masks and creams that I use- so much so that they just get banished to the back of my skincare drawer never to see the light of day again. When I was asked to review some items from the new Ziaja SenSitiVe Skincare Line, I did not have to think twice. 

I'm a long time fan of Ziaja and I've reviewed some hero products on the blog before. For the small price tag, I am blown away by the quality of the products offered. I've tried makeup removers, creams, lotions, potions- and never been disappointed with anything I have tried thus far. Of course, a glowing track record means one thing- permanently ridiculously high expectations- and I was an exceptionally tough critic to please. They say it takes your skin 28 days to get used to a new skincare regime so I have been trying these out for the last month and now I can let you know what I think of them.

I received three products from the SenSitiVe range to try out- the Micellar Water, the Soothing Day Cream and the Enzyme Peeling mask. There is also a Firming Night Cream and a Creamy Face and Body Wash Gel in the range. Everything is this range is hypoallergenic, paraben and fragrance free, and free from silicones and mineral oil, so you can take comfort that the nasties have been removed even before you put the goods near your face. The products are not scented either- something which pleases me greatly- I don't really like putting anything too scented near my face because it nauseates me over time. Now you're probably thinking all this goodness will cost you a pretty penny but the price range is €4.49 - €6.99. 

Like what you're hearing so far? Keep reading.

The first product I tried was the SenSitiVe Soothing Day Cream (€6.99 for 50ml). Day creams are something I go through on a ridiculously quick basis as I tend to favour a day cream under my makeup instead of primer. Even on days where I don't want to wear makeup, I always wear a day cream, and this Ziaja cream has an inbuilt SPF 20 which is more generous than most of the other day creams that I have tried. The cream comes in a tube, is a nice consistency, spreads well and sinks into the skin fully after 2-3 minutes. This is a fantastic makeup base- I used to have problems with my foundation getting flaky on my forehead and cheeks which are the driest part of my combination complexion, but not since I started using this day cream. This cream has performed equally as well, if not better, than some of my favourite French pharmacy skincare offerings. I will most definitely repurchase. 

I was also delighted to receive the Ziaja SenSitiVe Micellar Water to try out because I am a manic obsessive micellar junkie. This one does the job nicely, removing makeup gently and effectively- I prefer to use this first thing in the morning- swirl a bit over my cotton pad and give my face a gentle pre-cleanse before applying the Soothing Day Cream- and it's fantastic. This micellar is packed with provitamin B5 and contains microscopic oil spheres that makes it ideal for sensitive and stressed complexions. 

I've saved the best 'til last and boy- this last offering is a beaut. This has been my skincare FIND of 2014 so far. The SenSitiVe Enzyme Peeling mask costs just €4.99 and even if you are highly skeptical- you just need to try this once- and I promise you will love the effect. Apply a layer of this to your face, sit back and catch up on a few of your fave blogs, then wash this off with warm water and a muslin cloth and you will see how it has gently peeled away the dead skin cells from the surface of your skin and how it reveals bright, smooth, soft skin underneath. My skin has been loving this stuff and I have been using it twice or three times weekly since I got it. It is comparable (but better in my opinion) to the Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask which is is seven times the price might I add. The Ziaja offering is gentle but effective- it gently tingles my face when it is on and you can feel it work but it's not the usual burning, tightening sensation that I get when I try many other masks. I will repurchase this to the death over and over again, I absolutely love it, and whether you have sensitive skin or not, I strongly recommend you part with a fiver to give this a try.

If you, like me, are one of the 60% of Irish women who experience stinging or redness from using certain skincare products- I definitely recommend you try out this SenSitiVe range. If you are looking for a gentle treatment that will soothe your angry skin, get yourself to the Original Beauty website (by clicking here) or alternatively, check out your nearest pharmacy to see if they stock the range. 

Are you tempted to try these SenSitiVe skin saviours? What Ziaja products do you love?

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Jewellery Haul from PinkSugar Sparkle Online Store

I've mentioned it before on this blog- I am simply weak for a statement necklace. I can think of no easier or more effective way of instantly jazzing up an outfit than accessorising with some bling. Last month, blogger extraordinaire and hair fairy Lisa set up her Pinksugar Online Store on Facebook selling jewellery, hair accessories and other sparkly essentials. I have long admired Lisa's style in bling so I knew that she would have pieces that would tempt me and my inclinations were right. I made my first order last weekend and it arrived by Tuesday (gift wrapped in adorable pastel pink and yellow paper with adorable stickers and name tags to boot) and I ordered two pieces. 
The first piece is unlike anything else I have but I am drawn towards roses (random fact: Rose is my middle name after my granny) and something about this vintage gold rose collar just called on me. I teamed it with a royal blue peplum top for work and the compliments came thick and fast all day long. 
The second piece is a trio of clusters with emerald green and grey resin detail. This is a stunning piece and is really quite sturdy and weighty. I couldn't help but wear this to work during the week and when paired against a black top, it stole the show. 
If you are drawn towards jewellery and you would like to see what else Lisa has in her Pinksugar Sparkle Online Store, click here for the link which will take you there. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for new arrivals so expect to see more bling on this blog in the not too distant future!
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