I was drawn to this one as a Fracas fanatic wanting to explore other tuberose possibilities. Rather than the decadent creaminess of Fracas, Ellenisia seems to me a lush green take on white flowers. I get a tuberose that is made dewy and transparent (by the violet and mandarin?), rather than the rich, carnal, 'after dark' tuberose of Fracas. In the drydown I smell pears, but with any potential fruity sharp edges rounded off by vanilla (without the scent becoming sugary). I see Ellenisia as a lighter, easier, for-all-occasions take on tuberose.
Lipstick -L'Oreal - Colour Juice Stick in Cherry Freeze
zoomusicgrrrl 12/18/2009 4:06:00 PM
Pretty, cool-toned red with a creamy texture and a smell like chocolate. Weirdly, it's not really sheer on me - it's quite a 'wow' shade, which is fine, but unexpected. Don't like the fact that it transfers so easily, rather than just fading evenly over time. Also, I found the slant tip quite tricky to apply evenly without a lip brush, and worn without liner it bled a little. That said, the shade is lovely, the finish is shiny but not sticky, and it's reasonably priced. UPDATE: Incredibly drying on me - like all the L'oreal lipsticks I've ever tried. When will I learn?
I bought an Identity lipstick in 'Strawberry fields'. It's a warm-toned red; kind of cherry-ish (red but with the slightest hint of orange on me.) I like the fact that Identity creates quite a shiny finish and has spf 12. The texture was creamier than I'd expected - rather than a transparent sheer. But that could be because it's an old one I've just never got round to using - and it's a year past its expiry date (conveniently printed on the base of the box)!! The shade doesn't really suit me, as I prefer blue based lipsticks, but I wouldn't mind trying out other shades from the range should they spring up on ebay.
I wanted a subtle colour for work - but this looks far too pale on my PPP skin. It's almost like Tippex - in shade and texture! I found that it lasted only one day, too - peeling off in whole nail-sized sheets, despite my wearing a base and topcoat. I've given marks, though, for the user-friendly bottle (with rubberised cap) and for the fact that it applies fairly evenly.
Forget expensive creams and balms - humble peanut (aka groundnut) oil is far superior to most I've tried (and I've tried a lot!) when it comes to makeup removal. It is not glamorous or sexy - but it gets the job done. I noticed that it is a key ingredient in some popular natural-ish brands (such as Ultrabland by Lush). But, unlike Ultrabland, generic peanut oil is free from parabens and a fraction of the price. Peanut is a fairly thick, clear oil. It contains omega oils and vitamin A, and is recommended for cleansing/moisturising skin suffering from acne, blackheads or sunburn. I have been massaging a dab into skin, then removing with an organic muslin cloth (or flannel/face cloth - whatever's handy!) soaked (then wrung out) in hot water. Full makeup - including red lipstick, mascara and foundation (industrial-strength EL Doublewear!!) - melts away easily. Plus, the oil leaves my skin smooth, but without a residue. Because I'm removing it with a cloth, I'm getting a daily exfoliation, too - so, as well as the peanut oil being cheap in its own right, I'm saving more money as I no longer need to buy an exfoliator. I love products that can multi-task! For reference, my T-zone skin is on the oily side. But as oils apparently dissolve oils, my skin feels balanced. (I suppose I'm providing my skin with something it produces its own version of anyway ie oil, unlike the 'alien' and potentially clogging ingredients of some creams and lotions!) Peanut oil leaves my skin feeling velvety smooth and keeps breakouts at bay. Being preservative free - because bacteria can't breed in oil - it is also less likely to irritate sensitive skin. I find peanut oil to be the most effective oil for cleansing that I've tried so far. Other oils I've experimented with are sweet almond, castor, peach kernel, grapeseed and jojoba. These have varied in their efficacy as makeup removers: some have been heavy and filmy, some have been too thin and runny (very messy!). One oil (castor) was so thick and sticky that removal was a real chore. I highly recommend trying peanut oil if your skin is normal-oily or combination and you want a completely natural, no-frills, easy-to-use, gentle, cheap makeup remover.
Cleansers -Avalon Organics Botanicals - Vitamin C Facial Cleanser
zoomusicgrrrl 12/11/2009 2:16:00 PM
Didn't expect to like this - I'd normally run a mile from citrussy face products. And this one comes in a bright orange plastic container (definitely something 'radioactive' about its appearance) - which just screams HARSH!!!! But...I'm glad I bought it because it turns out to be just the opposite. For under a fiver in the UK, you get 250ml of product in a pump top bottle. It is billed as being 'refreshing' and aimed at normal-oily skin. Now, usually my skin is exactly that, but when I bought the Vit C, I was suffering from some cheek dryness (due to a little over-zealous exfoliating!) However, the formula (WITHOUT artificial colours/fragrances or parabens/sulfates, but WITH vit c, lemon bioflavonoids and organic white tea - and with organic lavender extract as its top-billed ingredient) was super gentle. It has a thinnish gel texture which foams really well and is effective at cleansing and, yes, refreshing the skin, without leaving it feeling stripped. Despite containing essential oils (including orange - hence the citrus smell), it didn't irritate my sensitive eyes. (I haven't used it as a makeup remover, though, only as a face wash. But the label said it 'gently removes impurities', and makes no claims about it being a makeup remover as such, anyway.) I love the fact that it doesn't break me out. In fact it clears (and keeps away) those irritating hormonal chin spots - without tipping the balance into dryness/flakiness. I'm not sure about its claim to protect the skin from free radical damage caused by sun exposure. I know vitamin c itself has antioxidant properties, but the cleanser surely doesn't stay on the skin long enough to really create a significant uv barrier?? Whatever, I'm pleased I took a chance on this one. If you are keen to use natural products on your face (without spending much) and have normal/oily/combination skin, it's definitely worth a try. UPDATE: I've gone through quite a few bottles of this, but it's starting to feel drying. I'm taking a break from it in favour of more moisturing/balancing products. Still recommended if you suffer from oily skin.
Lotions/ Creams -Unlisted Brand - A'kin - Hand Nail & Cuticle Creme
zoomusicgrrrl 12/11/2009 1:41:00 PM
I've got the unscented 'for sensitive, allergy prone and fragile skin'. The skin around my nails has been quite dry this winter, and the cream does a decent job of hydrating. I love the fact that it is free from sulfates and parabens, and that it contains moisturising natural ingredients like shea butter and jojoba oil (without feeling oily at all.) I hate putting on handcream and having to keep my hands out of action while it absorbs, so this is great because it's light. No residue, no tackiness. I'd buy this brand again, but probably not the unscented because it actually smells of plasticine!
I so want to love this brand - I've worked my way through almost their entire SOS range and their Rosa Fina one, too. But I'm finding that, much as I love their natural, ethically-sourced ingredients, their products don't really deliver. This bath oil contains bran oil, borage oil, jojoba, evening primrose, orange blossom, chamomile, French lavender and Himalayan cedarwood. It comes in a no-frills plastic bottle with a screw top. The oil transforms in the bath to milk, and is billed as being suitable for eczema and psoriasis sufferers. Well, the slightly citrussy milkiness is pleasant enough, but I just didn't find the oil to be moisturising at all - and I don't suffer from any dry skin conditions. The instructions say to pour in a capful (the cap is tiny!), and I've experimented with pouring in heaps more, but to no avail. (Plus, that works out pretty expensive.) Overall, a mediocre product that I won't repurchase.
Masks -Unlisted Brand - Barefoot Botanicals Rosa Fina Rejuvenating Mask
zoomusicgrrrl 12/6/2009 4:16:00 PM
I like experimenting with products containing rosehip oil, so thought I'd give this mask a try. It claims to contain 100% ethically sourced plant-derived ingredients - "firming rosa mosqueta and jojoba oils are blended with moisturising mowrah, kokum butters and purifying pink clay to create this intensive detoxifying masque. Enjoy the fresh green scent of frankincense and vetivert, while impurities are gently drawn from your skin." Well, I don't know what mowrah and kokum butters are, but it sounds impressive. Anyway, the masque is a light-textured, white cream, it has a pleasant fresh 'green' smell, it applies and removes easily. My problem is that my skin reacts to it - going red and taut. Even when the redness goes down, my pores look huge. Big disappointment as I like the range's moisturising lotion and have not reacted to any of their other rosehip products.
Lotions/ Creams -Burt's Bees - Milk & Honey Body Lotion
zoomusicgrrrl 12/5/2009 4:14:00 PM
I have a habit of slathering on too much lotion, then having to wait an age for it to sink in. Not great for a person with my level of impatience. But with this lotion it doesn't matter - I can be slap-happy because the consistency is light enough to avoid making my skin an oil slick. Yet, even though the texture is fairly runny, it leaves my skin feeling really moisturised, velvety and smooth. And, unlike with other body lotions/creams/oils/butters I've tried, the feeling lasts for a couple of days! I love the fact, too, that it is 98.3% natural, with lots of oils (sunflower, coconut, soybean, canola and vegetable), natural waxes, aloe vera juice, and, of course, milk powder and honey. About the smell: on me it's sweet and milky, with a hint of coconut and, weirdly, a slight mintiness. I've scored it 4/5 because I'd prefer a different smell -something a bit less cloying.
Lips -Unlisted Brand - Dr Organic - Vitamin E lip balm
zoomusicgrrrl 12/5/2009 11:37:00 AM
I prefer the Manuka Honey version. This is described as being moisturising, soothing and hydrating. It is certified 100% organic, 'tocopherol rich', with shea butter and SPF 15. It is £2.99 (as are the other balms in this range) from Holland and Barrett in the UK. This one has many of the same ingredients as the Manuka Honey, but for some reason I find it harder to apply. I would re-purchase because (with a bit of applied pocket heat!) it does its job, but I'm looking forward to trying the Pomegranate version next.
Well, I've only tried it once so far, so may need to update. Anyway, I found this quite difficult to apply. It felt quite thick and cloggy (maybe it's a bad batch, because other reviewers have hailed it the anti-clump!?!) My lashes are very long but sparse and PP thickened them up, but it also added downward-pointing tips to some ends! After brushing away these tip-clumps, the look was dramatic, though a bit spiky - but I'm not a fan of the natural lash anyway. I'm going to persevere with this one. UPDATE: PP is a grower! After a few practices I've learnt to apply this quite evenly. (Wiping the excess off the brush is a must!) Love the fact that this mascara really boosts volume and it seems to curl my lashes, too. Great for a doll-lash effect. I'm not yet convinced I've found my HG, but this is a pretty good contender.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Juliette has a Gun - Lady Vengeance
zoomusicgrrrl 12/5/2009 11:15:00 AM
Seduced by the fun and feisty-sounding name, if I'm honest - a nod to Korean director Park Chan-wook's 'Vengeance Trilogy'. LV is my favourite Juliette fragrance so far (have also tried Citizen Queen - enjoyed the leather, but find the fragrance overall to be a little headache-inducing, even hairspray-esque!?! - and Miss Charming - summery and sugary and girlishly cloying, and so not me!!) LV is a decadent, dark-ish, musky rose that, although maybe derivative, draws lots of compliments.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Juliette Has a Gun - Miss Charming
zoomusicgrrrl 12/5/2009 11:03:00 AM
Inoffensive juicy, fruity rose. Pleasant enough (for cheery, summery types=), but I need my roses darker.
I'm on my second tube of this - in 'smoulder', a beautiful neutral wearable red. I love the fact that the shade is vibrant, but not garish or clowny. It has a slippery texture which my often-dry lips seem to approve of. (I'd recommend wearing a liner, though, because it can bleed a bit.) The finish is quite sheer (but on my lightly pigmented lips the colour is still clearly visible) and very shiny. Even on highly pigmented lips you're going to get a lovely glossy effect without the stickiness or sometimes difficult-to-apply-evenly drawbacks of using an actual lipgloss. I'd like more than just 6 shades to choose from and for a slimmer tube to make application easier, but I'll definitely be repurchasing. UPDATE: Just bought the shade 'Tempt' - a striking raspberry pink shade on me, made really wearable by the gorgeous glossy finish. My favourite daytime lipsticks at the moment.