I'm torn. I slapped a layer of good old natural fat-free Greek Yoghurt onto a clean face and left it for about 20 minutes. During that time I experienced no discomfort whatsoever, not even a tingle. However, when I washed it off with a cotton pad and water, my face was COVERED in what can only be described as acid burns. Across one cheek there was a scarlet, linear streak that looked as though somebody had held a needle to a flame and dragged it all the way across my skin. On my temples were strange, bluish marks that looked incredibly like bruises. And my entire forehead just looked badly sunburnt. What somehow made the whole débacle more disconcerting was that I wasn't in any pain at all, aside from a very, very slightly warm sensation that was basically barely detectable, my skin felt as it always did. And yet I looked, in direct light, as though I'd smeared dilute hydrochloric acid over my face, and in shadow I looked as though I'd been in a nasty punch-up! Considering I had a fashion show to walk a few days later, needless to say, I was pretty alarmed! I immediately applied some Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic from my sample bottle and after that, I slathered on a HUGE layer of my beloved MooGoo MSM Soothing Cream (literally enough to break out an entire football team). Incredibly, not only did I not break out the following day, but within two hours of application, all the angry burns and marks had completely disappeared. The relief! (The MooGoo cream is truly miraculous, by the way. Huge recommendation!) The reason why I'm torn is that in the days since I tried this, my skin has, as reviews I read suggested might happen, been incredibly soft, even and clear-looking. I used a gentle, adequate-but-nothing-too-amazing old scrub a day or two later and the gunk just flew straight out of my pores - they're still empty! I want to give it minus lipsticks in one sense, but I have to concede that for those it doesn't bring out in hideous burns, it must be pretty damn effective. On that basis I certainly won't be first in line to actively put people off trying it, but I would never risk using it again myself, and would definitely suggest that people proceed with caution. I hope this was a helpful review!
Somewhere around the January 2010 mark (I was about 18 and a half, anyway) I bought this stuff in a brown-black colour with a view to - you guessed it - dying my hair. By some miracle, I decided to break from tradition and actually perform the allergy test, which youthful recklessness and assumptions of immortality had always prevented me from carrying out hitherto. I put the stuff on my inner arm and for a short while, didn't give it a second thought. I never actually got to apply the dye, because within hours, I was not only covered in dermatitis from head to toe, but all my lymph node zones (inner breasts, groin, back of neck on both sides, etc.) had broken out in repulsive, cavernous sores. I honestly looked like I had the plague. The really strange part was that even when left completely alone, some of these sores actually scarred (and normally I heal at a positively creepy rate, I actually got a 2nd-3rd borderline degree burn from boiling water that healed WITH NO SCAR in a fortnight). My skin has honestly never been the same since. I wouldn't say it was exactly 'tough' before - I am, after all, still a spring chicken really - but it was never what I would describe as especially sensitive, other than to the sun. Now, almost anything breaks me out in eczema - a condition that I stopped suffering from at 2 years old. Before you use this, or any other commercial dark or dark red dye, please do some reading up on the chemical PPD, which as far as I'm concerned is so evil that it's probably the 8th horcrux of Lord Voldemort. What so surprised me is that the concentration of the chemical in this product is so high, when it's a semi-permanent colourant! Normally, PPD levels in semi-permanent dyes are negligable in comparison and in some more natural brands (even natural brands are generally forced to use tiny amounts of PPD in the black dyes for them to work), there is no PPD at all in the semi-permanent dyes. There is absolutely no need to have this sheer concentration of toxic crap in a semi-permanent hair colourant. Even if it produced a positively godly result on the hair, it wouldn't be worth it. I've been left with a lifelong sensitivity purely by TESTING a product on my wrist that contains a chemical to which I wasn't even allergic previously! I really would like to feel I've at least made an attempt to put people off taking this kind of gamble. It's easy to assume that because you're one of the lucky majority who can use it with no instantly visible ill effects, that no harm's been done and the project is 'gentle'. Not so - in researching the dangers of PPD, the medical profession has actually found a topic (for once!) that they all unanimously agree on - this stuff is poison, end of. I know that there are carcinogens and allergens and all sorts of other rubbish in 75% of the products out there, but the problems that PPD causes are not only very serious, but frequently immediate (see: all the cases of people's heads swelling up like the elephant man suddenly when they've used the same product umpteen times before), and solidly documented by medical research. It's not worth it, guys.
Shampoo -The Body Shop - Banana Nourishing Shampoo
ArretezCharlotte 5/30/2011 8:26:00 AM
I think the crux of this shampoo is that the 'nourishing' in its name (of which I was admittedly unaware until finding the product on the database to review) is a serious stretch. Almost an economy of truth, in fact. One of the first ingredients on the list is sodium laureth sulfate, which is certainly less widely irritating than its harsher (but considerably less toxic) cousin sodium lauryl sulfate... but it's still irritating. It's a detergent, after all. And for those of us with parched, dermatitis-prone, uber-sensitive scalps, that really isn't something you want in your shampoo. Pros are that the smell is pleasant, the price is low, availability is good, and the matching silicone-free conditioner is nice (is that last one really a pro if it relates to a different item? I'm being very generous here!). Cons are that, far from being nourishing (nourishing my Aunt Fanny) it's drying as hell, hugely exacerbates itchiness and flaking of the scalp, and fades hair tint. If your shampoo fades your dye, you know it's too vigorous to maintain a healthy scalp. Don't get me wrong, this stuff is liveable-with. If I found myself - as I so frequently do - in the bathroom, with every bottle of superior shampoo empty and only this one with a usable amount left, I would use it without shedding a tear. It doesn't leave me with raging, weeping sores, it just makes my scalp drier than the Atacama desert... so, of course, my hair follows suit. I have curly hair, but when I fry my hair and scalp with SLS washes, the curls tend to flatten out into a strange, dry, puffy/formless wave. It's why I lean towards conditioner only washing, but realistically this always results in build-up, and a wash with a gentle but effective SLS-free shampoo every 2 or 3 washes is sensible. By definition, The Body Shop's Banana Shampoo is not a good candidate. It's just your average hair detergent, superior to the likes of Pantene only in its lack of gross chemical pong and the appealing-but-probably-fundamentally-pointless inclusion of mashed up banana.
Treatments -Olay - Regenerist Thermal Skin Polisher
ArretezCharlotte 5/30/2011 7:52:00 AM
Since I have yet to give a 5 (I'm reserving it for any future holy grails that are so amazing that I can use them time after time and still be blown away by their flawlessness - will I ever uncover such a product? Only Father Time will tell!), l ought to clarify that for me, 4 lipsticks is great, 3 is anywhere from OK to pretty damn good. This, for what it is, is probably bang-on between OK and pretty damn good. It's a lot more chemically than I would like, the 'thermal' effect (which admittedly isn't really a priority of mine) is a bit of a piss-take and lasts a maximum of 3 seconds after application, and no, this stuff doesn't work miracles. I can't comment on whether or not regular use gives the effect of a mini-peel since I've never had a mini-peel - if this claim is accurate, I doubt a mini-peel is worth the bother and expenditure. What this stuff does do is a decent, reliable job at gently-but-effectively buffing the muck and flakes off my skin without making it red or patchy or irritated, which in my case is no mean feat. It even does a pretty good job of premenstrual spotfest damage limitation (when used in conjunction with a decent makeup remover and moisturiser). I apply it to a dampened face, then scrub firmly for usually a little over a minute before rinsing off, patting dry and applying my face cream. I'm on a quest to discover a truly impressive, more natural facial scrub, and as such this product is definitely not end game for me. Make no bones about it, this is basically a higher-end supermarket product and I'm sure Olay would be the first to admit that they haven't exactly put 'lack of chemicals' at the very helm of their priority list. I don't aim to use this indefinitely, no. But if I were ever in a pinch or ran out of scrub and couldn't be bothered to trawl the net researching an all-round showstopper of a replacement scrub, I'd be happy to pop into Boots and pick this stuff up to tide me over meanwhile. It's nothing transformational, it just keeps things in check. My one practical criticism is that the packaging tends to result in the scrub gooily accumulating on the inside surface of the lid, which is messy and a bit of a waste. But again, for the money, it's hardly the most grievous of flaws.
Liquid -Estee Lauder - Double Wear LIGHT Foundation SPF10
ArretezCharlotte 5/21/2011 3:34:00 AM
For reference, I'm on the cusp of my 20s with dry, flake-prone skin that also has a propensity for redness and the occasional annoying-but-manageable breakout, usually just prior to shark week.
I couldn't get on with this at all. Before I launch into why the gunk itself was so impossible to make work, I have to mention the shittiness of the colour range. I am admittedly very pale indeed (particularly for somebody 1/4 non-white) but I'm not mistakable for an albino. It's unusual, but there are people paler than me. The palest shade of this foundation leaves me with a glaring, musty orange-brown tidemark around my chin. BOO.
I think arguably this stuff's ONLY positive is that is has a nice smell, although that's no doubt down to the use of copious chemical-y masking perfumes. I mean God, this foundation! Even its one and only silver lining is actually just another cloud - what does that say?
When trying to identify the adjective that best described the look and texture of Double Wear Light, I kept coming back to chalky and then abandoning it. Chalky suggests a certain unctuousness, a thickness if your prefer, and this - hence its name - is by no means thick. In the end, I finally was able to pounce on the adjective I'd been hunting for. Dusty. This is an incredibly dusty foundation. It was dry to the touch, and sufficiently thin that the coverage was simply uneven rather than mask-like. Its thinness and general lack of coverage meant that it was not much good at hiding up redness, and also meant that, rather than catching upon and HUGELY exaggerating perhaps the three or four most dry patches on one's face but being relatively smooth over the rest of it (as thicker too-dry foundations tend to), it simply clung everywhere it was put. To a much less aesthetically offensive degree, but because it clung everywhere it seemed to create small, shallow dry patches literally all over my face, where I didn't even know there were any. Even in soft-focus reflective surfaces that didn't pick up on the dusty patchiness of the finish, DWL's lack of oomph was clear. The finish was just dull. It was matte, but not in an 'I don't have a shiny face' way, in an 'I've had a veil of some kind of very finely-milled grain brushed all over my face' way. There is no radiance to it at all - in fact it made my rather dewy skin look completely flat, almost sandy.
Worst of all, the very first time I wore it, I had applied a moderate amount and proceeded to cleanse it off perhaps 6 or 7 hours later, absolute maximum. All my pores, which had just shrunk enormously from the recent discovery of holy grail skincare products, were suddenly knobbly with what looked like across between a blackhead and a whitehead (clearly a blackhead so 'full' in the pore that it had started to spill out and thus slightly resemble a whitehead). I valiantly tested it out a number of times after this, and the result was exactly the same.
Thumbs down from me. If it were a cheapo product it might be forgivable (although I still certainly wouldn't buy it again) but at that price, they've got some serious nerve providing such a lame product.
Fragrance and me is a very strange area. I'm a carrier of cystic fibrosis, and whilst it is widely said to be asymptomatic, there are a number of small symptoms associated with carrying the disease (as opposed to suffering from it, thankfully I was born having dodged the 1 in 4 chance of this). One such symptom is higher levels of salt in the sweat, which makes it prone to tanginess. And this tanginess means that all fragrances sweeten considerably on me. Virtually ANY sweet/fruity fragrance (it needn't even be overbearingly, sickeningly, noxiously Miss-Dior-Cherie sweet) will be transformed into a spectacularly revolting candyfloss explosion the moment it settles on my skin. Since 95% of women's cologne is sweet to some degree, this doesn't make it a great option. Luckily for me, I don't care for sweet, fruity fragrances anyway. Which makes my penchant for men's cologne doubly ideal!
It's very difficult to review a perfume, since smell is as powerfully subjective as aesthetic and scents rely so strongly on the individual's specific body chemistry. But as far as I'm concerned, this one is a showstopper. It really is gorgeous. The foil sample sachet I'm currently peering at describes Play as being 'woody fresh', and lists the following notes: Bergamot, Bitter Orange, Grapefruit, Coffee Flower Accord, Amyris Wood and Vetiver.
There is a definite citrussy smell in the first few seconds post-spritz (presumably the Bitter Orange and/or Grapefruit mentioned above). It's a very green opening, and since green perfumes aren't my favourite, I wasn't 100% sure to begin with. But ye GODS, when this stuff settles down a bit and warms up, it really is a marvel. I can barely even describe it - partly due to its sheer magnificence and partly due to the fact that my knowledge of the intricacies of perfume is shabby at best. There's definitely a coffee element in there, and a warm, clean, woody smell, a touch of smoke, and just a tiiiny little dash of a floral fruitiness to round it off. The combination of these fragrances doesn't result in a perfume in which each note is very detectable (I always find this quality very clashing and unsatisfying in scents) - everything melds beautifully into an overall waft of 'nice'. And not frilly, non-descript nice. The kind of nice that evokes somebody who is a veritable demon in bed and makes you pant with rabid lust from a mere glance in your direction, but also likes nothing better than to curl up on the sofa with his sisters in front of a weepy and gave a chunk of his savings last month to a baby donkey charity, or something. It is the only fragrance I have ever found that somehow simultaneously screams dirty and clean. Badass and cosy. If it were a person, it would be the stealthily sexy man (or perhaps woman) with the feline swagger, but a 24-carat heart and no shame at all in their sensitive side. The person that exudes filth and oozes snarling, unconventional sexuality from their every pore, but that your mother still coos over and friends all heartily approve of. I am increasingly aware of how much this is descending into 'bargain bucket romance novel' territory, so as far as evocations are concerned I'll try and wrap it up stat. Suffice it to say that when I wear this, people are all over me. It's a flat-out, shameless seducer of a perfume that will peel off your clothes, hurl them at the wall and f%#$ you senseless, but cuddle and console you all morning when your phone goes off on the bedside table and you answer it to learn that your favourite grandmother's had a brain aneurysm. My younger sisters like it (very rare) and grab me the entire time to sniff me, my parents like it (somewhat rare, they consider themselves to be perfume connoiseurs and have very different tastes, but my choices rarely make the cut for either of them), my boyfriend likes it (seems to spend longer nuzzling into my neck than ever when we have sex), my friends like it.... the list goes on. Most importantly, I like it. If people knew how attractive I found myself when I wore this stuff, I'd probably have no friends left.
There is only one downside to this magic concoction. I wish it were not so, but sadly, its lasting power can only be described as crap. If I put a small-to-moderate amount on first thing in the morning, it's all but imperceptible (to me) by about 11am, and by 2 or 3pm-ish it's pretty much imperceptible to everybody else, too. This is a flaw I can more than live with in light of how perfect this product is for me - I will be forever grateful to the outrageously handsome Jamie from Boots Tunbridge Wells for recommending it to me and supplying me with my own weight in sample sachets entirely free of charge - but it is undeniably a flaw.
With all that said, if you're a guy, or, like me, a girl who just gets on better with blokes' perfumes, I definitely recommend giving this stuff a whirl. It's certainly changed my life for the better, albeit in a kind of small-time, trivial sort of way. It is a shame about the lasting power, but hey... if you ask me, the icing on the cake of most truly beautiful things (and people) in the world is the quirky charm that lies in their flaws. Nobody gets hot for the Perfect Penelopes, after all.
Moisturizers -Neutrogena - Visibly Clear Oil-Free Moisturiser
ArretezCharlotte 1/17/2011 6:43:00 AM
I haven't actually bought this yet, this review is based on the experiences of the product that I gained from stealing some every other day or so from one of my little sisters. She hates the stuff, so she hasn't used it nearly enough to notice that the tube is now empty. Fingers crossed she never will, or several metric tonnes of shit will hit an industrial-sized fan.
First of all, my skin is evil. It doesn't look too bad, and it feels soft enough, but the flakes on my forehead and on/around my nose are indestructible. I can't see or feel them until I put makeup on, and then even the very smoothest of foundations end up catching in all the dry patches. I took a high strength body scrub to my face the other day (I know, I know), slathered myself in lotion, and I still had flaky bits when I applied my foundation ten minutes later. Since this is a matte, anti-spot moisturiser, I didn't hold out much hope. I only stole it because I'd run out of my own stuff on the opening night of a play I was in, which of course involved being caked in thick stage base, and I needed some moisturiser stat. I assumed it would be rubbish. But I was wrong! This is great stuff, really. And as a sensitive-skinned soul prone to both the odd pimple and eczema outbreaks, that's quite an accolade. I still have dry patches post-foundation application if I don't sandpaper my face after cleansing, but this is one of the first moisturisers I've found that keeps my skin sufficiently smooth that I can go out and not have people 'helpfully' pointing out that my foundation has caked all over my T-zone ('you've got a white line on your face', my boyfriend generally says).
As I say, this isn't a rich product and in order to keep my dermatitis-prone skin nice and quenched in the long term, I shall be keeping my eye out for a good nightime moisturiser. But for day moisture, this is A+ shit. I've just put some on and my face is as soft as the proverbial baby's arse. It's fantastic makeup base, and I don't think I've ever said that about face cream before. The chilly minty sensation is nice even on wintry days and lasts long after you've slapped on all your makeup. It's about £4.99 in Boots and a lot of the time they have it on BOGOF (well, 2 for a fiver, which amounts to the same thing). It's full of parabens and all that crap, but isn't everything? What can you do? It could be worse. This may not be for everyone - my sister finds it hopelessly drying and weirdly her skin is far far oilier and more acne-prone than mine, bless her 17 year old socks - but at this price I think it's definitely worth a punt. I'll be buying my own tube imminently and will return to update if I end up breaking out in cystic pustules or something, but based on my experience thus far, I'm sure it'll go just swimmingly.
This is one of many products that has me wishing that it were possible to appoint half-lipsticks on MUA. This is worth more than the 3 that I've given it, I think, but it's not quite worth a 4. I became madly infatuated with this stuff about a year ago after spritzing some on a sample card in my local department store. I thought it was incredibly sexy - it was, strangely, green and fresh on first spritz, then became fruity without being shockingly sweet and had more than hint of a warm, almost unisex, 'slightly too subtle to be oriental but virtually there' muskiness that I've always (save that terrible period of my teenhood in which I somehow found myself addicted to the revolting Miss Dior Cherie) found so appealing. Please excuse my vague and unprofessional scent descriptions, I know absolutely fuck all about this subject. Anyway, with us being far too broke to warrant a pricey perfume purchase, I clung onto this sample for dear life - brandished it wantonly under the noses of my exasperated family, sniffed it like a girl possessed and rubbed it furiously (and probably fruitlessly) on my wrists. A couple of months later I persuaded my parents to buy it for me when we were in Boots. The truth is, it was never as lovely on me as it was on the sample card. You would think that a perfume would manifest itself as fruitier and sharper on a piece of paper and muskier on the human body but it seems that Addict does the exact opposite, as far as my (arguably) human body's concerned, anyway. For the first few months I didn't notice this, but I've been wearing it intermittently for the best part of a year now and undeniably, this is too much of an overpowering fruitfest on me to be a holy grail. 'You're meant to spritz perfume, not marinate in it', my father grumbled at me in the car, shortly after I'd used ONE SPRITZ of this on my neck. 'Ugh, all I can smell upstairs is your tarty perfume!' - this courtesy of one of my little sisters. The tanginess of Addict on me could be because carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene who don't suffer from the disease themselves - of which I am one - have high levels of salt in their sweat, and thus my sweat is a lot tangier than your average Jane Doe. Perhaps this is irrelevant, I don't know. I've also found more recently that this fades to a non-descript sugar on me. If my perfumes are going to gas my nearest and dearest then I'd at least like to experience them myself, but increasingly this wafts into barely detectable candy floss aroma that could be the remnants of any perfume on Earth. If this were a lot less fruity and a lot more musky, I'd buy it again. Since it isn't, I won't. I still like it (I'm wearing it right now, there's still plenty left despite frequent use) and can't make head nor tail of the claims that I smell like someone who's been trafficked from a former Soviet Union country for carnal usage, but I do get that it's a bit, erm, nasally provocative. I think it's worth a try if you like strong, warm, fruit-musk fragrances (I wasn't lying when I said that I know fuck all about perfume) but I suspect it might be better for evening wear. Oh, and it's far too expensive. I search on.
First of all, what is it that those of you who say that the amusingly named Caca Noir had no effect whatsoever have been putting on your hair? Surely it cannot be this stuff! I hennad and then indigoed my dark golden blonde hair, hoping to achieve a rich, neither warm nor cool, chocolate brown . Result - very warm, gingery light to medium brown hair and me very pissed off. Bought some Caca Noir a few days later, whacked it on for 5 hours with low expectations and suffice it to say that my hair is now not only dark brown, but so dark it is virtually black, admittedly after an unfortunate 'settling in' 48 hour period of it being coal black with moss green tints under artificial light. But useless it certainly ain't. Indigoing your hair is one of the most horrificially messy processes known to humanity. Henna is more unpleasant, because it solidifies without drying into a sort of toffee-like cement, and your neck aches like a bitch after 10 minutes, but it fastens itself to your hair and so doesn't tend to drip. Indigo on the other hand clumps and pills into evil clusters, little and large, that tumble all over you and your floors and your furniture and your family members. A fortnight later and the dead skin I scrub off my neck in the bath is still jeans blue, and I am still finding little dried pebbles of the bloody indigo all over my house. They're not lying when they admit that it stains everything, either. Since Caca Noir is mainly indigo, all this applies to it as well to the powdered indigo that I used prior to it. I grated mine, which took forever but saved me from having to stir it for centuries. I'd heard that boiling water can ruin indigo, so used hot water from the tap. I've deduced that it's very important to achieve the recommended yoghurty consistency - if it's too thick, you'll miss big patches of your head and end up with spotty hair and embarrassment and people laughing at you. I've also deduced that it's vital to let the colour settle for a few days before you decide that it's a disaster. Mine was a fetching shade of dark green for the first 24 hours and jet black with algae-coloured highlights for the following 24. Less than a day later it was deep, dark brown and the highlights were red, presumably from my previous henna session. It takes forever to rinse, you have been warned. My hair comes halfway down my arms, and 35 minutes after I begun the rinsing stage I was still standing hunched over with my head under the tap, pulling hunks out of my hair like a complete and utter twat. Even when you think it's all done and dusted, you will probably find the water is slightly tinted when you next wash your hair. And you'll need to be wearing clothes that you don't mind ruining forever, and you'll need to scrub the skin on your hairline, ears, neck and shoulders so hard that it nearly comes off. But it will in the end. When my colour needs a top up, I'll definitely repurchase. The process itself was so messy and exhausting that I surely came within inches of death, but the end result was, is, worth it. I never believed the stories of henna products bettering the condition of hair but after a round of henna, a round of indigo and a round of Caca Noir, my hair is in better condition than it has been since I was 9 or 10 years old. Click continued for pictures. Natural colour: After henna and indigo, blowdried straight. It didn't look it in this picture, but it was still very light and gingery, only slightly darker than my natural colour. After Caca Noir. In natural light it's a little less black and a little more brown. It's a lot darker than I wanted it but I'm getting used to it, slowly.
This is a funny one - very hit and miss. The hits are glorious and the misses are fucking awful. Yesterday I was wearing some and would happily have given it minus lipsticks, whereas the other week the results were so stunningly beautiful that there weren't enough lipsticks for it on the entire MakeupAlley database. It's a comb mascara, rather than a brush one. The gloop itself is rich and thick but quite liquid and this combined with the lack of bristles on the application tool means it's very easy, particularly if you're a butter-fingered moron like me, to get it all over your eyelids. So I'd recommend a steady hand. The volume it provides on a good day is ideal, not unnaturally thick but definitely not 'barely there' either. On a bad day, this stuff clumps like clay cat litter and turns your eyes into a pooey, spidery mess almost hideous to behold. The only thing that has yet to let me down about Telescopic is the length. The length is quite perfect and if applied just right, is spectacular. Although not my favourite mascara it's the only one I've worn that has attracted comments like "Those CANNOT be your real eyelashes! They've got to be false!", followed of course by various bitter comments about how I must have been at the front of the queue "when the Good Lord handed out eyelashes" and things like that. And the sound of my smug laughter, disguised as bashfully modest chuckles. Pretty decent at holding a curl, though perhaps not as good in this respect as a couple of other mascaras I've dabbled with. Also, my eyelash curl is 'au naturel', so those who curl their lashes with curlers may well fare better or as I suspect is unfortunately more likely, worse. It's difficult to tell whether the days it's so shitty I want to tear out my lashes in a flush-faced rage outweigh the days it's so marvellous I would practically have sex with my eyes, or vice versa. And of course £10 is a lot of dough. But I'd buy it again, just for the good times.
Since my reviews tend to be pretty long and rambly, the basics are: very nice quality mascara, doesn't clump easily, coats all the lashes nicely, and lasts adequately well into the day. It also holds a curl perfectly, although I have to admit to having naturally curly lashes, so I've no idea whether or not this stuff holds an artificial curl. I've tried the black one and the brown/black one, both equally good. The result, as mascaras go, is very "tidy" in that it does produce a vaguely false-lashy fan shape, rather than loads of spindly stray lashes bumping and tangling into one another in their haphazard journey off into the atmosphere. Does that make sense? Possibly not, but I cling to the hope that a few other lunatics will know what I'm talking about.
Volume, spot on. Length, not exceptional but reasonably impressive nonetheless. The only downside that I can think of, other than the frankly revolting price, is that if you're wearing this stuff and you get very hot, or sweaty, or rub your eyes, or fall asleep, then it will smudge and flake into unsightly little pieces of sooty debris beneath your eyes. Which is obviously a pain in the arse, but not worthy of another lipstick deduction because I've never in all my life come across a mascara resistant to the above activities.
I would definitely buy this again, having done so several times already, despite it being so expensive for a drugstore mascara that it makes the urge to shoplift almost irresistable. So if you're the right side of payday, give this a go.
Moisturizers -Nuxe - Creme Fraiche de Beaute Suractivee (for normal skin)
ArretezCharlotte 12/3/2009 11:35:00 AM
Very difficult to rate. Sometimes I want to give it a 5, others a 2, so I decided that a 3 was the fairest option. More a 3.5 but don't think it's quite worthy of a 4.
I have temperamental skin. It can look very nice, it can look utterly vile. All in all it's probably no worse than most average teenage skin. It's moderately sensitive, oily and a bit acne prone around the nose, in the middle of the forehead, around the hairline and on the inner cheeks. It also has a tendency to get very dry and when it flakes, which it very often does, the flakes are indestructible. I have to work at the flakey patches with scrub for minutes and minutes, then slather them with oily emollients. Frequently makeup will still catch in the bloody things, no matter how hard I try to avoid it. On top of this, I have these weird, red, slightly sore-looking patches on the area of my cheeks closest to my nose. I've no idea what they are, they cropped up a couple of years ago out of the blue. They're not dry or oily, they get blackheads on them frequently but can dry up as well. They can be covered with makeup but nothing seems to actually get rid of them, this moisturizer included, but that's no reflection on the product. I'm beginning to think nothing short of some kind of laser treatment will get rid of them so have pretty much given up in that respect.
Now, onto the moisturizer if you're still reading, which most of you probably aren't. I've tried the version for dry/very dry skin and for normal skin, and find the former to be a lot less sticky and filmy than the latter, although both do leave a bit of a film behind I'm afraid to say. Hopeless under makeup, it's far too sticky and patchy and coaty for that so don't bother layering concealer and foundation over this stuff unless you want it to collect in charming little clumps all over your t-zone. It does ease redness, quench dry patches, impart a nice irridescent glow for an hour or two after it's applied and keep your skin generally in check. It's not a miracle worker, and I don't buy that it's improved the condition of my stupid skin long term because its effects are very temporary, but it's a good product (perhaps not quite good enough to warrant the price), smells nice and herbal, doesn't irritate and leaves your skin soft as a baby's arse if you apply it before you go to bed.
Over-application will result in gooey pilling and a layer of the stuff around the edges of your face that can be a, seen, and b, scraped off. You have been warned. Again, not a product so amazing that it feels as though it's been bestowed by the gods, but a decent enough high end face cream and worth a punt if you can afford it.
After splashing £25 on an Avène moisturiser, an Avène scrub and these, I find it very ironic that the £2 of that sum that went towards the two little bottles of this stuff (Boots had them on BOGOF) was the best spent money of the Avène spree by some margin. It's clearly not a miracle worker and while I'm sure the use of spring water instead of, for example, filtered tap water, does have its benefits, I'm not convinced they're quite as numerous as the brand would probably have us believe. But this stuff does exactly what it claims it will. It's beautifully refreshing. It soothes dry, red, itchy skin. It revives tired skin and makes it look all dewy and fresh. It 'de-mask-ifies' foundation and helps it to set a little (although this must be done from a distance or it will just run into a splodgy giraffelike mess - and I don't suppose it would do much to a cheap foundation other than melt it). Above all it's just fun to use and great for people like me who can't keep their extremities still for more than about 45 seconds. As much as my poor Law teacher is probably driven nuts by my constant whipping out of this stuff to mist it noisily on my face/forearms/chest/best friends' faces or backs... I'm sure he prefers it to the alternative which is constant hair-brushing, thinking aloud at length, the chewing of gum and (his) pens, or scribbling fruity messages on the tables. I suppose when you think about it, paying that much for a little aerosol of water that will last no more than a fortnight at most if used regularly isn't all that frugal, or sensible, but I think I'm just about still un-old enough to warrant the waste. I'll put off being sensible until I leave full time education.
Similar story to the Avène purifying scrub which I also reviewed. It's not unpleasant to use and didn't do any actual damage, but didn't do any good to speak of either. I don't think this cream was quite as ineffective as the scrub, it did keep my skin nice and smooth for the short time that it lasted, but I'd be a liar if I said it made any significant difference to my skin. Just like the scrub, it would be a brilliant product if it were in a big fat container on a supermarket shelf for about a fiver but I was far from delighted about paying nearly £13 for a little glass jar from a supposedly quite swish French pharmacy brand, only to find the product inside it distinctly average. In truth, I only lusted after it in the first place because Hana Soukupova - y'know, Hana Soukupova, the stunning supermodel with the flawless complexion - claimed it was her holy grail. Fuck you, Hana Soukupova, and fuck you too, suckerish naïvety.
It's a thick cream, quite solid, and I use a dollop about the size of a 10p coin (maybe a bit more) to cover my whole face. It takes two or three minutes to sink in and once it does it makes a decent enough makeup base, but however good my foundation it's always caked a bit by the end of the day. Because I don't have the money nor energy to purchase night creams, I always use the same cream morning and evening. This stuff is OK used overnight and keeps my skin adequately quenched but I hate waiting for the oily feeling to subside, and my skin is still a tad flakey unless I scrub between cleansing and moisturising. I don't particularly want to be sandpapering my skin everyday, so this isn't ideal.
This also does a pretty decent job of keeping the %$£&!* blackheads on my nose irritatingly visible. That isn't ideal either. I know blackheads are an almost unavoidable grey cloud of youth, but I have used face creams that have done an OK job at keeping them to a minimum. I don't think this one enlarges them as such but there are days when I do feel as though it may have done, so it certainly doesn't help them.
In and of itself, this product's OK. It's not good, but it's not crap. When you factor in the price, on the other hand, it really is very disappointing. I still quiver at night thinking of that precious £13 and the woefully average product I got in exchange for it. And I have yet to forgive Hana Soukupova. The jar is very pretty though, I might keep that.
Not my thing. It's definitely gentle, so gentle in fact that if I apply moisturiser directly after using it and then foundation on top, the foundation still collects in little cakey dry deposits - most unappealing! I can scrub like my life depends on it, rinse well and pat gently dry and I'll still see flakes on my nose and forehead. My skin's a bit flakey, yeah, but not badly so. It smells pretty, it's reasonably easy to wash off although could be easier, it doesn't scratch or irritate my skin (which is fairly sensitive) and doesn't leave a film that I can detect but as a supposed flake buster and skin smoother it really doesn't cut it. At all. If it were sold by some bargain brand in a nice big tub for three quid I'd say 'good work' to whoever dreamt it up, but nearly £10 for a tiny little bottle of mediocre scrub? Pull the other one Avène, it's got bells on!