13 By Halloween – Update 2


This update is not going to be the best update due to my mental health – I had a complete breakdown halfway through August and makeup and skincare went out the window. Thanks to pharmaceuticals, a great psychologist and amazing friends things are looking better.

I also want to give a shout-out to Bonds of Beauty and Sassy from Birth for their encouragement and support – I am truly blessed to have such wonderful ladies in my life.

On to the update! You can find the intro and first update by clicking the links.

1. Estée Lauder Advanced Night MicroCleansing Foam

Steady progress on this, and hopefully this will be gone by the next update.

2. The Body Shop Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil

This is a real pain to mark. The bottle is coated with a thin layer of oil and it’s gross. I will be so glad when this is gone.

3. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

I like this cleanser, but I’m bored of it. I want to try out some other stuff so I’m really trying to use this up.

4. Monu Skin Hydrating Facial Oil

I’ve finally figured out a use for this as a night cream. I’ve made some progress, but I don’t think I’ll be able to finish it by the end of the project…

5. Elizabeth Arden Visable Difference Hydration Boost Night Mask

I only managed to use this once, and I think there’s maybe 2-3 more applications in here. If I put my mind to it, it will be done.

6. Crabtree and Evelyn Gardener’s Nail and Cuticle Therapy

This is irritating me – I need to use it for just a week and I’ll be done! It’s just such an effort to make myself do it.

7. Unnamed Powder Duo

Top Left – Currently Top Right – before I repressed it

I re-pressed the powder foundation and I think I messed it up a bit by adding too much alcohol and pressing too hard. It’s a real pain to get any product out. I’m going to try once more and if it doesn’t work I’m just calling it done.

As to the pressed powder, I’m happy with my progress so far and now that the other one is almost finished I can use this exclusively and get it done.

8. The Body Shop Eye Pencil in black

I never realised how quickly eyeliner goes if you just use it! I have a soft spot for this liner as being one of the few products I managed to start using when I felt like makeup again. I’m glad that this is almost gone – I have lots of eyeliner that I’d like to make progress on.

9. Catrice Eye Brow Pencil

Again progress! I am still enjoying this and have even considered repurchasing it once this one (and all my other brow stuff) is gone! I don’t think I’ll be done by the next update, but definitely by the end of the project.

10. Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer

There is maybe one use of this left if I squeeze. I really do enjoy this primer but there are so many I’d like to try that I needed to get it out.

11. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

I am so bored of this. I have been using it for months and it does not want to quit. Since I cleaned the wand it’s better than ever and I just want it to be over.

I think that I am done with using this. It’s just too much for me – I have been using it every day for close to 4 months and it’s not going anywhere. I’m going to switch this out because although I want to just throw it away, the waste averse hoarder inside me cannot deal with that right now.

12. Guerlain Lipstick in Beige Mousseline

This is gone! I am super proud of myself for managing this. The only sadness I feel is for the absolutely gorgeous casing that I have no use for. The lipstick itself was lovely, but definitely on the old side and I’m glad it’s out.

13. Avon Lipstick in Black Wine

This was a “gimme” product from the start, and I’m ready to let go. Digging it out with a lip brush is super frustrating and time consuming. I feel like I got my money’s worth and enjoyed this lipstick, and it’s time to move forward.

Onto things I’m subbing in:

14. Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

I enjoy this primer, I even have a backup that I keep in my travel makeup bag, but I want to try more primers. I’m particularly keen on finding more mattifying primers, especially good drugstore options, so if anyone has any recommendations please them below!

It’s currently just over half full but I’m sure I can make a dent in it on two months. Primer is something I use everyday, makeup or not, because it leaves such a soft and blurred appearance to my skin which I like.

15. essence Lipliner pencil in 12 wish me a rose

I have discovered that nude lipliners do very little for me and I want them out. This one matches my essence Lights of the Orient lipstick that’s in my year long project well, and I feel like I can work on that as well as this.

16. Chanel Lipshine in Cancun

All these extremely expensive lipsticks come courtesy of my sister who used to declutter all her stuff to me when I was a broke med student. I’m very grateful, but they’re getting old and I need to use them up. This is very similar to the Guerlain one it’s replacing and I used that up in maybe 10 uses. If I use this and carry it around for touchups I’m sure it will be gone by October.

17. Elizabeth Arden Great Lash Mascara

I love this mascara. It’s one of the few that I will consider repurchasing should I ever use up my 8 unopened mascaras. It has excellent lengthening and defining properties without the spider-lash effect.

Just a note on the pics in here – I am traveling this week and ran out of time to take all of the pics before I left. So I took the pics later that day. Sometimes blogging just has to fit around life.


August Heroes 2018


I haven’t done these monthly favourite posts in ages. These posts used to be the backbone of my blog, and I know I let myself down the first time I decided to just skip it.

I’m going to use this opportunity to say that life is honestly sucking at the moment. I’m hoping to use this blog as a distraction to happiness.

Anyway, here are some products that I enjoyed using in August:

Too Faced Just Peachy Mattes

Matte shadows are not really my favourite. I find them sensible and boring. But there’s something about the colours in this palette that will not be quiet. They are bold and rich and make a statement – exactly what I want from my makeup! I really want to use all the shades and then do a full review on this because it is damn gorgeous.

Oral B Vitality Electric Toothbrush

So, I will admit, I didn’t really believe that electronic toothbrushes were anything special. I really thought they were overpriced and gimmicky. However, my mom got me one on sale, and I decided to pull it out and give it a try.

I was so so wrong.

I love this thing. My teeth feel so clean and it gives me a sense of satisfaction that my dental hygiene is up to standard. I have many, many, negative associations with my teeth and this makes me feel just a little better about them. It’s amazing.

Soap and Glory The Scrub of your Life

I bought this in Dubai, and I’m looking forward to my end of year vacation where I’m hoping to get more soap and glory products. I wasn’t too keen on it originally – I found that it was difficult to get out of the tube and I don’t like plastic beads – but with the weather getting warmer (I live in the southern hemisphere) the gel just flows out and is scrubby and smells great. It dissolves easily and doesn’t leave a mess in my bath. I also love that I can use it in place of soap (as opposed to in addition to) – I’m loving it.

Frank Provost J’aime My… Oléo Suprême

I won this in a Instagram giveaway a while ago, and have been using the full range for a few months. My hair has honestly loved this stuff. When I ran out of the conditioner it made no difference as long as I used this. It smells gorgeous and leaves my hair hydrated, shiny and with significantly reduced frizz (I haven’t yet managed to find a product that leaves my hair totally frizz free…)

Sorbet Salon Skin Even Tone Corrector

I tried this on a whim – it was R60 on sale and I was looking for a vitamin C serum. It’s too soon to really talk about results, but this serum is one of the few things that make me happy in the morning. It has a strong citrus smell that wakes you up but doesn’t linger. The consistency of the serum is thick and slippery, but it absorbs completely with no residue or stickiness. It doesn’t feel like an extra layer on my skin – just a boost of hydration. My skin looks a bit more awake. It hasn’t had an effect on any makeup I put over it, which I appreciate. I feel like I could buy this at full price and use it with pleasure.

Honestly, I’m not sure what’s happening with me at the moment. I feel a bit all over the place, and most of it has to do with work issues. I haven’t been able to bring myself to use much makeup or skincare, but I’m in the process of trying to get better.

It’s just a lot harder that I expected it to be.

Any tips on wellness and mental health would be much appreciated.

Urban Decay XX Vice Ltd Reloaded


Palette reviews are some of my favourite posts to write – probably because eyeshadow palettes are my favourite beauty products. There’s something just inspiring about them.

I bought this palette mostly because it was on sale. I do have some regret about not being able to get any of the original Vice palettes, which factored into the decision to purchase, but mostly I cannot resist a sale.

I absolutely adore the packaging. The packaging is matte black plastic that is sturdy and sleek. I love the UD logo – the faux crystal is bold without being tacky.

My favourite part had to be the opening mechanism – there’s a button on the opening that operates a spring opening. No nicking shadows with your fingernails!

I’m not usually interested in the mirror on a palette – I don’t own a dressing table or vanity, and do my makeup standing in front of a wall mounted mirror – but this one is just amazing. I used it to do my eyeshadow as well as colour products on my face and enjoyed it immensely.

The shadows lean very cool toned with a few warm shades. There are only three true matte shadows (laced, anonymous and suspend) but the majority are satin shades. Personally, I prefer a satin shadow over either a matte or a glitter; I find them more versatile and I do my makeup to emphasise my eyes and I’m not afraid to be extra. That’s not true for a lot of people, and my opinions on this palette need to be viewed in context!

These are finger swatches on a bare arm just to give an idea of the colours. The pigment is definitely there, and they have a sheen, but they’re definitely not glitter by any stretch.

The second two rows have some pretty glittery shades (goldmine is just amazing) but Twice Baked has shimmer that vanishes with minimal blending and is great for deepening the crease.

In terms of usability, I got some amazing purple toned looks with this. The shadows blended easily without losing any intensity.

I’m a total sucker for green eyeshadow and this palette did not disappoint. I managed to get a green toned bronze look that I’ve been trying to create for ages which was particularly gratifying.

To be a truly versatile palette I feel as though you must be able to get a more basic, classic neutral look from a palette. That’s not really my forte, but these looks represent my best efforts. I find Moonflower to be a particularly flattering neutral shade that I enjoyed.

Overall, I absolutely loved this palette. For me, it was fun to use, inspiring and the quality was on point. For the price, I feel like it was a great deal. I don’t think it’s a palette for everyone – if you aren’t a fan of colour and you need your mattes, don’t waste your money – but if you’re looking for something bold this is perfect.

A Scented Collection


I’m not a person that’s affected by scents much – I like certain things (Rose, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, Cinnamon as well as that fresh marine scent that I can only describe as “blue”) and I don’t like others (lavender, chamomile). I usually don’t discriminate based on scents… But there are of course a few exceptions. These products have swayed my opinion because of their scent! In some cases for the better, but often for the worst…

1. Batiste Dry Shampoo in Cherry – I loved the concept of dry shampoo the first time I heard of it (Tressemé foams – awful product) and when every influencer out there mentioned Batiste as a great brand of dry shampoo, I had to try. I started with the brunette version because I thought it would be easier not to have to deal with white powder in my extremely deeply brunette hair, and it was fabulous. I would have continued like that for ages except my local Clicks ran out of brunette and I had to pick another one. I chose the cherry scent, and now I have difficulty going back to brunette! It’s just so amazing! It reminds me of a desert and the scent lingers in my hair. Especially when I use it the morning and then bun up my hair – pulling it down at the end of the day and being enveloped in a cloud of cherry pie is more than enough to help me recover from whatever stressed me out that day.

2. Morocconoil Intense Hydrating Mask – hair masks are something that I find essential to attempt to manage my extremely uncooperative hair. This one by Morrocanoil is actually really great – it detangles and strengthens quite significantly. Two things keep me from buying a full size – it must be used at every wash, and the smell! Argan oil is listed as the third ingredient in here – after water and alcohol – and the scent is definitely there. They’ve also added some parfum to it and the combination is just awful. It doesn’t linger in my hair (thankfully) but hanging around in the shower for 7 minutes in a cloud of it is just not worth it.

3. theBalm Meet Matte Hughes Liquid Lipstick in Chivalrous – I bought this at 70% off, and I have absolutely no idea why I chose this shade. It is super pink and blue toned – not ideal for medium skin with properly yellow undertones! But the smell of mint chocolate ice cream that reminds me of being 10 and walking home from school is just irresistible. So I use a deep purple lip pencil to help deepen the shade and keep it.

4. Estée Lauder Pure Colour Lipstick in Black Wine – this is so super old I should probably just throw it out, but I also took it to Paris because the shade for me just screams Parisian winter, and now it has sentimental value. It’s a gorgeous colour, but the sweet floral perfume-y smell is disgusting, lingers, and gives me a headache. So I keep it, and swatch it, and try it on, and use it once before hating it and trying to throw it out. It’s just a part of my life now.

5. Tarte Pro Glow To Go – this palette smells of chocolate. I know that there are ranges specifically marketed to do so, but this is not one of them and came as a complete surprise to me! The highlighters are beautiful, I don’t have a lot of experience with bronzing or contour powders to really evaluate this one (besides that it’s a nice shade for me) but I love this palette because of the smell.

6. Monu Skin Warming Ginger Bath and Body Oil – the top notes in here are definitely ginger and spice and all things nice, but as soon as I poured this into my bath the overwhelming oudor of Lemongrass took over my entire bathroom and I hated it. It took days and scented candles to get it out. Totally ruined the experience for me, because I love body oils and I love hot baths and this felt like it would be a perfect combo, but alas.

7. Omirovicza Balancing Moisturizer – this is the product that inspired this post. It’s damn expensive, and the ingredients don’t seem to justify the price. It’s a nice cream, but I wouldn’t have even considered spending money on it except that it smells of a spa resort and water park I went to on vacation many times as a child, and every time I use I’m transported back to some of the happiest moments of my childhood. Scent is truly powerful, and in this instance, it truly overwhelms reason.

Do you have products you would buy – or never buy – for the scent alone? Let me know!

Thirteen By Halloween – Update 1


I realized while taking pictures for this project that the products I picked are not particularly photogenic – they’re mostly opaque and even shining a light is no help. That’s great for me (photography is the part of blogging I hate most) but not so great for actually seeing progress. You’re just going to have to trust my imprecise descriptions of how much product there may or not be left…

1. Estée Lauder Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

This is empty! I’m super glad it’s out of my collection and out of my life. Will not be purchasing.

2. Estée Lauder Advanced Night MicroCleansing Foam

I can’t actually see through this, but it feels a little more than a third full. I’ve been using this pretty regularly and I can definitively say it’s not as drying as some foam cleansers, but that doesn’t make it good. I’ll really be glad when this is gone.

3. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Again, no way to definitely know how much is in here. It needs a moment after I flip it over to start coming out, but the bottle design does not stand up to upsidedown storage. I’ve been using this and the Estée Lauder cleanser on alternative days and I find this superior in every respect. To be fair, I have used a cream cleanser from Estée Lauder that I much prefer, but honestly, I’d rather spend the money on Cetaphil.

4. The Pink Collection Hydrating Facial Oil

So… This had an unfortunate demise when it fell out of my bathroom cabinet, hit the sink and shattered. Clean-up was easy, but it’s quite sad.

5. Elizabeth Arden Visable Difference Peel and Reveal Revitalising Mask

Empty! I got to this just in time – there were some dried bits and I’m sure if I left it it would have all dried out soon. I am keeping the container to use for mixing my clay masks as it’s a great size and if I mix too much it’s easy to store. As to the product – it was nice, but not life changing.

6. Crabtree and Evelyn Gardener’s Nail and Cuticle Therapy

While I have managed to get a look inside of this with a light, the product is really all over the place and too difficult to try and mark. I’ve used it about weekly and there’s very little effect. There are two problems with this – you need so little cuticle cream that it’s hard to make a dent in it, and I’m lazy. If I can sort out the latter problem, I’m sure the former is not insurmountable, but that requires discipline I’m not yet willing to exert…

7. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

This was giving me inconsistent results which is usually a precursor to a mascara being empty, butI cleaned the wand and it started working perfectly again. The formula is significantly dryer than when I started it however, so I do have confidence that I’ll be able to get it out soon.

8. Catrice Eye Brow Pencil

I’ve been using this every day and sharpening it every 2-3 uses, and progress looks slow. I cleaned off the spoolie and there was so much product in it that I’m sure combing it through my brows applied at least as much product as I usually apply with the pencil! It was actually somewhat disgusting and I really think that I should start using disposable mascara wands as spoolies and just toss them every month or so. Not environmentally friendly, but these things hold on to so much dirt that cleaning them is truly awful.

9. The Body Shop Eye Pencil

The amount of tightlining I have done in the past month is probably equal to the amount of tightlining I had done all year before this project, and I love it. It’s a makeup step I am extremely lazy to do and yet it has such a gorgeous effect! As the pencil gets shorter it’s a bit difficult to get an even sharpening which leads to some irritation and I have no doubt that will lead to me stopping using this within the next sharpening or two.

10. Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer

I finished this and I didn’t really enjoy it – there’s just too much glitter emphasizing my pores. I’d like to try other variations of this though; I enjoy Smashbox products a lot.

11. Powder Duo

More visible progress! Compact powders are honestly my favourite products to try to pan become they are so satisfying!

The powder foundation on the left that I re-pressed is going quickly, but my repressing skills being decidedly sub par, it does tend to crumble. I’ve been saving the pieces and I will be trying again soon.

The pressed powder on the right is slow going, but also tending to crumble a bit. It’s usually minimal, but I think I’ll have to repress that as well.

12. Guerlain Lipstick

When I looked at this picture, I was actually shocked. I’ve used this lipstick less than I wanted to, and yet there’s progress! I think that’s part of the magic of project panning – seeing that if you try, you can use up stuff!

13. Avon Lipstick

One of the most special things about where I work is the relationship I have with nursing staff – any health professional will tell you that the relationship between doctors and nurses is permanently set at “it’s complicated”. However, in my little department, we have a really great understanding, and when I mentioned I was looking for someone who sells Avon, I immediately got the required information. I’m looking forward to hunting out a replacement for this lipstick when it’s gone because it’s just fabulous. I’m at the stage where I have to dig it out with a lip brush, and it’s totally worth it.

I have 3 (+ 1 for the broken facial oil) pans so far. Not too bad I think. I’m so keen to see the other ladies videos soon! However, when the oil broke, my instinct was to replace it with another oil, and include that in. So I think I’m going to make this a rolling project Pan where I add products as I finish them. To give myself a reasonable chance, I’ll only add products at this and the next update. And to make it a real challenge, I’m going to substitute like for like – if I finish a cleanser another one subs in, provided I have another one (I only have one eyebrow pencil in my collection…).

So here are the products I’m adding in :

14. The Body Shop Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil (in place of the Estée Lauder makeup remover)

I’ve been using this for about 6 months and there’s about 1/4 of the bottle left. I have marked it on the actual bottle, but it’s so messy and gross that it’s difficult to photograph well. It’s a cleansing oil that does the job, but I don’t like that it doesn’t emulsify well, that it’s chamomile scented, and that the packaging is leaking over everything. Nevertheless, if you like cleansing oil and are looking for an affordable option, this is excellent.

15. Monu Skin Hydrating Facial Oil (in place of Pink Cosmetics hydrating oil)

Although I substituted this in fairly early in the project, it’s not been easy. Using facial oil is just difficult for me. I’ve been trying to use it instead of a moisturizer at night; I hope that actually helps.

16. Elizabeth Arden Visable Difference Hydration Boost Night Mask (in place of the peel and reveal mask)

I use this for multi masking, and I’m hoping to get it out of my collection – it does leave my skin refreshed, but I prefer a sleeping mask.

17. Elizabeth Arden Flawless Start Instant Perfecting Primer (in place of the Smashbox Radiance Primer)

I love and adore this primer – it was the first one I bought, and I have every intention of repurchasing it when I have used up my collection of unopened primers. I’m choosing it in this project because I enjoy using it, and I want to enjoy it before it goes bad.

If you’re project panning, I’d love to know! Leave a link in the comments!

Thirteen by Halloween – Project Pan


This project is being done on YouTube as a collaboration between a few of my favourite influencers. I really enjoyed watching the videos last year and I really want to participate this year.

There’s 3 and a half months to go and the rules are simple – pick 13 products and see what progress you can make. Updates are to be posted monthly.

I really thought about the products I want to use in this project – 13 is a LOT especially when I consider that I only picked 2 more than that for an annual project! Initially, I wanted to go with things that were almost all gone and make it super easy, but I switched out some stuff to make it a bit more challenging.

I’ve picked 5 skincare items, 7 makeup items and 1 hand care item to try and use up.

1. Estée Lauder Gentle Eye Makeup Remover – this is not gentle, and does not remove my mascara. I had it in a travel bag and it was super frustrating. I want this gone. There’s about a third of this sample left. Should not be a problem.

2. Estée Lauder Advanced Night MicroCleansing Foam – not bad, except that it dries out my skin horribly. I use the tiniest amount, so even though I opened it at the same time as the makeup remover, and used it twice a day, it’s still more than half full. Another product I want gone, but maybe a little more challenging.

3. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser – I love this. It’s super moisturising and so gentle – the complete opposite of the Estée Lauder! I have been using this bottle for months and it feels almost empty, but I haven’t had any struggles in getting the product out. I feel like it’s a good second cleanse, and I am considering repurchasing should I finish it.

4. The Pink Collection Hydrating Facial Oil – this bottle is tiny. I can definitely use it up.

5. Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Peel and Reveal Revitalising Mask – I like this, but it’s too expensive for what it does. There’s maybe 2 uses left and I would prefer to have the shelf space.

6. Crabtree and Evelyn Gardner’s Nail and Cuticle Therapy – if you have raggedy cuticles, there is nothing better. It’s pricy, but it’s worth it. I’ve had overnight miracles with this stuff. A few weeks ago, I thought it was all gone… Then I turned it over and it’s full again. I’d like to get into the habit of using this preventatively and I think putting it in a timed project may help.

7. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara – ideally, this should be gone before the end of the project. I am super conscious of the fact that my last mascara in my annual project is practically untouched, and I need time to work on it. I’m giving serious consideration to becoming a person who tosses mascara four months after opening just for safety – but I don’t know if I could bring myself to actually do it… This may become the tester item!

8. Catrice Cosmetics Eye Brow Pencil (020 – Date with Ash-ton) – eye brows products are becoming extremely confusing for me because no matter what I use, I get the same effect. It may be my skills, or my preferred brow look, but I really need to find something I like and just stick with it. I can’t buy anything new until the old is gone though, so I want to try and use this up.

9. The Body Shop Eye Pencil in black(?) – I like using this to tightline as it does not irritate my eyes and is super black and creamy. It does have a tendency to collect and transfer but not so much that I can’t use it. I would like to try and find a pencil that doesn’t do those things though, and so this need to be gone.

10. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer in Radiance – this little baby sample came in an Ipsy bag, and had lasted months longer than expected. It has pore – enhancing glitter and the tint makes me look strangely bronzed in sunlight, so I reserve it for night shift. It’s almost gone and I’d like for it to be over.

11. A powder foundation by…uhm…no idea… The labelling on this has rubbed off totally. My mom got me this from a sale somewhere and I recently found it. It’s not a bad powder except that it keeps sealing off. I repressed it to no avail. I should just toss it but it’s not in my nature, and it does give quite a nice finish.

Underneath the foundation is a presses powder that I have been using to set concealer on the days that I use it. It’s really a lovely powder, and I’m super gutted the name is gone because I really would have liked to repurchase it.

12. Guerlain Lipstick in Beige Mousseline – this is so old, it’s been discontinued, and yet it is so hydrating and so gorgeous. I’ll use it until it becomes uncomfortable and call it done.

13. Finally, the product that can be considered blatent cheating*, as it is technically already gone. This is an Avon lipstick in the shade Classic Berry and if I could only wear one lipstick ever again, it would probably be this one. I have every intention of digging it all out and using up every smear possible, but I know it will just linger in my lipstick bag if I don’t force myself to use up the last dregs and enjoy it.

Do check out Lisa Stevens’ intro as well as Too Much Tash. They’re really fun to watch and I’m looking forward to this project!

*I’m still doing 13 products, even if you don’t count this one. There are two face powders in the compact.

Makeup Use up Update and Hiatus


I had planned on doing 4 month updates for my annual project, but honestly, I’m sick of most of these things and I need a break. So I’m doing an update now and then putting most of the products away until October.

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes was gone on my last update, and LORAC Pro+Fiber is finished as well. It was a really great mascara and if it was easier to get a hold of, and I didn’t have *EIGHT* unopened mascaras, I would consider repurchasing.

I’m currently using Maybelline Great Lash – love the formula, strongly mixed feelings on the wand. I’ve held on to the LORAC wand to use and it’s working well enough.

Top – current situation. Bottom Left – first update, Bottom Right start of project

I’ve enjoyed using the essence Lights of the Orient lipstick – it has a nice formula and it’s an easy to use nude. However, I have other nudes I also want to make some progress on.

Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer was gone on my first update, and the Estée Lauder DayWear is gone now. I’m glad – it was not my favourite moisturizer. I’ve also finished up Lancer The Method – Polish and I find myself missing it. It really did a great job of exfoliating my skin. I may buy a full size…

As for the Freeman Dead Sea Minerals Anti Stress mask – it’s irritating. It’s not easy to get out, but there’s still a lot in there. Too much for me to justify tossing it. So yeah.

The Nimue and L.A. Girl sprays were gone after my first update, and I have progress on the Smashbox Liquid Halo foundation. I’m really proud of myself with this because I don’t use foundation often.

As you can see, I’ve used half of it up! There’s also lots of scrapes on the sides of the bottle that are very encouraging. It’s a really great foundation for dry skin with a medium coverage. I’m glad I’m getting some use out of it.

So Clinique cheek pop is going quite well. The flower petals are not as distinct, but there is not much more to say. I’m really bored of this blush though.

Left – current. Right – last update

I promise that there’s more progress on this than is showing up on the pictures. I’ve had to get super creative with this palette to try new get some use out of it, which I like and see as one of the purposes of project panning, but I also really just want to use something else.

And finally, what I’m most proud of – pan on a highlighter! I’ve been using this quite heavily and yet it still looks quite nice. I’m super happy to have gotten to this point, but again, I want to use something different.

So what I’m I doing going forward? I’m keeping the foundation in, as well as the mascara. I’ll try with the mask, but I’m not really into it. Everything else is being packed away. I’m giving myself 3 months of using whatever I feel like, and then I’ll pull these out on October 1.

Sunday Skincare Sample Summaries


(I love alliteration. I also know it’s bad.)

Let’s get the elephant on the blog out the way – I’m not a regular poster. I’m sorry. Currently, I’m contracted to work 240 hours a month, 2/3 of that happens at night, and it makes me equally miserable and happy. I’ve also decided that this is unsustainable and I need to get out, and so I’ll be studying for even more exams. Which means the blog gets sidelined and Instagram is out totally (has been for a few weeks already).

The past few months have left me more anxious than I’ve ever been before. It’s a terrible feeling, and I’m super grateful to have amazing people in my life that have helped me through these tough times – and are still helping me. I say this to my patients all the time and I’ll say it here as well – there are people who will help you, you just need to ask. So ask! Use your words!

Now that’s out, let’s jump in! The samples I’m talking about I’ve mostly gotten from Look Fantastic, but there are some from Sephora purchases and Pink Cosmetics as well. You can get all of it online easily.

Filorga Time Filler Absolute Wrinkles Correction Cream (Look Fantastic Beauty Box November 2017)

This is a very expensive, very thick and rich cream. Even with my dry skin, I cannot imagine using this in the day. I got maybe 4 uses out of the tube which is not enough to assess anything except a general “feel” – nice, but I’m not spending money on a full size.

Erno Laszlo White Marble Essence Lotion (Look Fantastic Beauty Box January 2018)

I’m sceptical about toners and essences in general, because I don’t have a good understanding of what they’re meant to do, and in general, they tend to burn in an unpleasant way and dry out my skin (probably the alcohol in them…). This one was extremely gentle and I used it interspaced with my AHA toner. It was really nice to apply, and lasted a while. My skin is much brighter, but it hasn’t done much for my blemishes. I’m still on the fence about purchasing this – it’s super expensive and I’m not sure about spending so much money…

Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream (Look Fantastic Beauty Box February 2018)

This does not agree with my skin. That’s extremely surprising because I have really inert skin. The only things that irritate it are sunlight (I burn, and badly) and waxing (I have these little spots that come up on my upper lip and between my eyebrows whenever I wax and they go away fairly quickly and without much effort). While using this, I got spots on my chin and forehead that took over a week to stop being gross and then left scars that have still not fully faded. I used the last bits as a neck cream, but I don’t know what was in there that caused this. It smelt nice and had a lovely texture but not for me.

Balance Me Congested Skin Serum (Look Fantastic Beauty Box January 2018)

I was super excited for this, because of the type of product – I don’t have spot busting products! I tend to let them get better with my usual skincare, so this was something new and something that had a real place in my routine and collection.

The off-putting thing was the “99% natural” branding – I don’t buy that natural is better than chemical, and I would love to know what people believe chemists make chemicals out of. Everything starts of natural and I really don’t feel like supporting brands that add on to the chemo phobia out there.

When I tried this out, it did nothing. I kept going, especially because the Elemis induced breakout was still strong, and I wanted some relief. Nothing. I then looked at the ingredients – it’s got all manner of essential oils but no salicylic acid at all! How is it supposed to do anything except soothe irritation? Maybe I understood the purpose differently, but is “clearing congestion” meant to be something other than acne?

Anyway, I’m using this after I use more concentrated acids to soothe the redness, but I have no intention of ever buying it.

REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic (GWP – Sephora)

This stuff on the other hand I will 100% be purchasing! It’s a lactic acid blend that has been absolutely fabulous in dealing with my skin texture. It tingles slightly, and can be uncomfortable, but some moisturizer takes that away completely. I’ve been using it every 3rd day, and my skin has been smooth and even. Highlighter glides on – even the glitteriest and chunkiest formulas look good. I am hoping REN brings this to SA soon, and it usually is a bit cheaper to buy from Woolworths or Clicks than Look Fantastic, but even if they don’t, I will definitely be making this a part of my life.

I credit this product for instilling in me a genuine curiosity about skin acids and how they work. I’d read blog posts and watched YouTube videos, but actually using it and seeing the difference has made me extremely keen to make them a long term part of my routine.

Pink Cosmetics Hydrating Facial Oil (Part of a Masking Collection)

Ah, Facial Oil. How I want to love you. How you annoy me.

The thing about smearing oil all over my face is that I can only do it at night – I buy sunscreen based on price rather than formulation and so tend to use greasy ones. I’ve developed a routine that works with that and facial oil just does not fit.

But at night I want to use my Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, and acids and masks, and facial oils are just too much on top of that as well. I feel like everything is just being absorbed by my pillow rather than my face.

So I use them when I’m post night shift, after removing my makeup. And they work fine – my face starts out super shiny, and I wake up to soft and supple skin. But the pillow issue is still in my mind.

I enjoy this particular oil mostly because of the scent – I’m having a moment with Ylang Ylang and cannot get enough ( I have a handwash, hand cream, linen spray, soy melts, a bottle of essential oil that I just sniff at odd times….)

But I don’t know if this is better than the Monu one I reviewed last year, or my Squalene from the Ordinary. It’s all mostly… the same. Which makes me wonder if I need it, or if I should rather instead purchase a serum to use when they’re all gone. Something with ingredients that have more value.

It’s not a bad oil if you’re into them, it’s just not blowing my mind.

Diving into Subculture

Until around a year ago, I believed there were people who loved makeup and those who didn’t. I believed that those who loved makeup had their own reasons why they enjoyed it, but that they were content to use what they liked and leave what they didn’t.

I was so wrong. The palette that showed me how wrong was Subculture.

It feels like this palette has never been uncontroversial. It started with the leaked photos, moved on to the formula problems, escalated to the brand bashing and it feels like only since Soft Glam has come out that people are forgiving Anastasia Beverly Hills.

My own take on all the drama is that Subculture was doomed to fail by Modern Renaissance. That palette was just so good that to better it would require massive innovation and bold moves. That’s what Norvina and the team went for, and unfortunately it seems like they went to far.

I’ll admit that it caught my eye almost as soon as I saw that first leaked grainy picture. It was so different to brown and pink. It had a range of super deep shades in the most unusual colours. I was enthralled.

But I also was afraid to spend the money. I didn’t own any ABH products and if they were not to my taste it would be a huge disappointment. I took the plunge with Modern Renaissance and when I loved that, I knew that I would love Subculture as well.

Too bad no one else seemed to agree.

I remember watching video after video of YouTube influencers talking about all the flaws in the palette – the excessive kickback, the terrible blending, the oxidisation. I was stunned. It was utterly disappointing that such a unique and inspiring palette could be so bad.

The only positive review I found was Stephanie Nicole. She enjoyed using the palette, but did mention that it required a very specific technique and was quite time consuming. More negatives – and damning ones. I may be a fan, but I’m very much an amateur. New techniques? No thank you. I spend 1/3 of my life at work and I’m not willing to sacrifice extra time on my eyeshadow just to make it work.

That should have been the end of it, but then I watched Lisa Stevens review. Without a doubt, she is one of the influencers I trust the most. She has not yet given a recommendation that has failed me. And she liked it! I noticed that both she and Stephanie Nicole (Nicole Renee Cutter also had a positive review under the same conditions) had used the palette for a few weeks before giving their reviews, while most of the bad ones came from first impressions. I started to wonder.

All of that meant nothing however when I first saw the palette. I walked into Sephora and it just drew me in. The vivid brights, the deep darks and the gorgeous duochromes were just too much. I took a moment to swatch a shade and then bought it. It was absolutely irresistible.

The first look I did with it, I prepared myself for disaster. I did my eyes before my face (unusual for me), I used my softest brushes, and I gave myself plenty of time to take it off, cry and start again. Turns out, I needed none of that. The look was light and beautiful and just effortless. I was in love.

I then made two mistakes – I didn’t swatch everything, and I decided this was going to be easy.

The next look I tried to do was meant to be a green with bronze accents. I used destiny, mercury and axis and ended up with a mess. It was unsalvageable. It was awful. I had to remove it and start again. Just disastrous.

So when I went for a third look, I was cautious again. And it came out quite well. It was a lovely purple toned look that was quintessentially me. I’m a huge fan of the smoky eye and this one was just great.

I have super hooded eyes and generally take pictures at the end of day. These are not the best.

I used the shadows for a full two weeks and had a very mixed experience. Every time I used the lighter shades or shimmers, I enjoyed it. Whenever I ventured into the darker half of the palette it just became a mess, no matter what I did. So I pulled in the other ABH palettes to try and help. I got quite a decent green look out of it with some shades forom both Prism and Modern Renaissance, but it was not the most inspiring combination.

So what’s the problem? Is it the formula? Perhaps.

These swatches of the top row are done with my fingers without primer. The colours are beautiful, but they are not true to what’s in the pan. They are more saturated.

The swatches in the bottom row show the other problem. The effect looks similar to a smear of cheap watercolor paint drying. Very deep centrally but in a halo of dull. And this translates to the eyes.

The colours blend away without remaining true to the shade. For the lighter colours that’s fine. It makes them forgiving and buildable. For the darker colours, it leaves shadows all over. It doesn’t play well with various shades. The smallest variation in shade from pan to eye is disastrous because the effect will be a mess. You cannot blend it out. You cannot add a lighter colour to soften because they don’t hold. It makes tiny mistakes far more serious.

So do I regret buying it? I’m still not sure. I’ve swopped it out without reattempting the green-bronze look that I was so keen on. Even though I know mercury would make for a gorgeous purple eye, I was too nervous to use it again. Which means I have essentially been creating looks I could have done with most of my other palettes.

And yet, I still see the potential in there. I still see the amazing looks that would be so unique.

I cannot in all honesty recommend anyone other than a truly passionate makeup lover buy this palette. It requires patience and a real desire to push your boundaries. But I’ve honestly not seen anything on the market that’s as inspired and different. It’s absolutely unique.

Massive Dubai Haul!


At the end of March, my mom and I took a trip to Dubai. My mom runs a little boutique and she likes to source some things from there, and I just went along for fun. And also because they have a Sephora.

I’ve been in the cosmetics section of many department stores. I’ve visited countless drug stores. And of course I have experienced the standalone brand store. But Sephora was a whole different experience. There was so much to experience! I literally did not know where to start!

Unfortunately, Dubai does not receive things as and when they happen, so I missed out on some things I really wanted to see (Urban Decay’s Backtalk and Too Faced’s Just Peachy Mattes and White Peach palettes come to mind.) However that was absolutely minor.

I also visited a few drugstores that were absolutely amazing in terms of the sheer scope of brands and ranges – I was super surprised to find Dermalogica in Boots (!) alongside staples such as essence and L’Oréal. All I can say is – I’ve been missing out.

My no-buy was ammended to a low-buy which eventually became a buy-everything. Especially when I got the duty free. Self control was an absolute myth. But I figure that pictures of new makeup make for good blog posts so why not?

Starting off with a tool, this is a face brush from a convenience store that I bought because it was cheap. I’m a huge fan of discounted makeup brushes and this one really emphasizes why – it’s super soft, disperses product really evenly and washes well.

Yes, despite the less than favourable reviews, despite the brand patronisation and despite the fact that I like to be done with eyeshadow in 10 minutes or less, I was drawn to this. I walked past a display and had to stop and touch and admire and just buy it. From the moment I saw the leaked photos of this, I wanted it. The colour scheme is just me. It’s absolutely beautiful, and I am glad I took the plunge.

Huda Beauty Electric Obsessions – can we just talk about how much this looks like a dancefloor? I’ve swatched the Rose Gold palette before and was just not impressed, but these colours were vibrant and alive. I absolutely love the look of this and am looking forward to using it!

I only own a few eyeshadow palettes from Urban Decay, and yet if you ask me to pick a favourite brand, this would be it. I do not know what it is about the brand but I really feel as though they are always challenging what makeup should be. But you can’t have a favourite brand without a lipstick from them. I bought the shade Hex. It’s wonderfully smooth, evenly pigmented and super comfortable which is all I want in a lipstick.

Lipstick is something I really feel you cannot have enough of. There are so many variations in shades, finishes, and formulas that no two are the same. And the difference translates to the lips – even if it’s only a feeling. So of course, I didn’t stop with just Urban Decay.

My first ever Kat Von D product is this Studded Kiss lipstick in Homegirl. Honestly the packaging is even more beautiful in real life. I love how elegant and yet edgy it is. Truly masterful design.

I also picked up a No. 7 lipstick in the shade Deep Rust. Since I tried a Bella Pierre lipstick that had an orange tone and received a world of complements I have been trying to add some coral to my makeup collection. This shade was perfect – orange enough to be scary, but nude enough to give me the confidence to try.

I also bought makeup from theBalm. This is another brand I really enjoy. Again, I couldn’t get something new that I really wanted (the Meet MattShmaker palette) but I did get a buy two get one free offer!

The first thing I saw that pulled mein was the Balm Jovi palette. I love the musical references in this palette and I can just imagine how great it would be to put your makeup to a playlist based on the shades. Of course, the variety of colours and the fact that everything swatched beautifully really helped.

I’m been wanting a contour palette for ages. Not because I know how to contour properly, but because I would like to learn. I liked this one because you can almost do a complete face with it (it’s missing a matte setting powder) and the shades work well with a medium skin tone.

I got the Appétit palette for buying the other two. It’s not a palette I would necessarily have picked up, but when I took a look I found myself liking the shades quite a bit. I’ve read that the pigment is lacking, but I’ll use it before I decide…

I bought this essence palette on a whim – I liked the colours, I wasn’t sure we would get it in South Africa (we did – I found it when I came back) and by then I had spent so much I figured a little more couldn’t hurt.

I bought a lip liner from Mikyajy which I think is a local brand, mostly because I needed a lip liner in a deeper plum shade.

The last makeup item was a Cheeky Stowaways set from Benefit. I had wanted to try stuff from them for ages but couldn’t get myself to pay what they’re asking (I think they’re terribly overpriced.) This set however contains full sizes of Hoola and Rockateur, both of which are on my wishlist as well as a coral blush which I also wanted (not this one specifically, but a general orange-y blush.) The travel size mascara is always welcome (I’m close to 10 unopened mascaras at this stage) and I’ll confess to not believing that the push up gel liners are as bad as everyone says. I remember that this was so shockingly affordable that the lady at the checkout called a friend over so they could grab one each, but unfortunately I don’t remember the exact price (read – I refuse to look at my credit card statements.)

Moving on to haircare, I got lucky with Clicks and won a set of Frank Provost products to try. I’ve been embarking on a haircare mission that involves buying the most expensive products (rather than something that’s reasonably priced and works well) to try to see if I can get my frizzy mane to stay under control. Spoilers – I’m sorry to say that it’s working.

I also picked up a leave-in conditioner from H&M: we don’t get their beauty products in SA and my beloved Toni &Guy version seems to have been discontinued. So I’m looking for a replacement. I want a cream version (the sprays are NOT helpful) so if you know any, let me know! As I mentioned, price is not a consideration at this stage (😉).

Not pictured (because I used it up) is a hair mask from 7th Heaven. That stuff was AMAZING and I really wanted to go back and get more but there was no room in my bag. It was tragic.

Moving on to skincare, the consultant at Sephora gently convinced me that I could do with more masks (I literally have a boxful of unopened ones) and some makeup removal wipes (which I hate using as a rule). But I fully agreed with him in the moment. Le sigh.

At the drugstore, I picked up a Sleep Mask from Oh K! which I had first seen on ShopHush, but didn’t buy because I didn’t want to pay for shipping. I bought a Garnier sheet mask because I wanted to try it and it was on sale (even with the currency conversion it was cheaper than SA). And my skin was so dry and dehydrated in Dubai that I needed some sort of facial mist to prevent having to use 7 layers of moisturizer; hence the Too Cool For School (loved it.)

Having recently discovered the magic that is glycolic acid I’ve been searching for a reasonable one. The REN one that I am currently using is about half gone, and I find it slightly too expensive to keep buying it. The Ordinary’s Glycolic acid Toner is never in stock anywhere that ships to me. And I really don’t want to buy it from Dermalogica if I can get a cheaper version.

So I went browsing in a drugstore and again got suckered into the purchase of this Germaine de Cappuchini version. It was super expensive but at least it’s a huge bottle. If it causes me skin problems it will just be further proof that I do not deserve to be allowed into a store with salespeople ever again.

Lastly, some body care. I bought an eye mask from Sephora because my friend the Sales guy told me my circles looked awful. I bought a footmask for my mom who promptly said she doesn’t want it, so I’ll be using it after my next bad call when my feet are twice their normal size and feel like lead weights. I bought the gel gloves from Dischem almost as soon as I was off the plane because my hands took a beating with all the luggage and flights, and I didn’t think there was enough hand cream in the world to fix it.

At the airport, I realised I hadn’t bought anything from Soap and Glory, which is brand that’s been on my must try list for ages. I wanted to buy a Sexy MotherPucker gloss, but I convinced myself that I have way too much lipgloss and no body scrub other than what’s in my bathroom right now. So that’s what I picked up.

And because my impulse control is truly non existent, when I saw a marked down eyelash serum from a brand I don’t recognize, I took that too. I used it for a week before I lost it. I think I need to hand in my credit card and just move forward from there.