As with all Ecotools brushes I've tried so far, the quality of this is really good. The bristles are softer and nicer on the skin than many high end brushes I've tried. I find the bristles too dense to use with bronzer or blush so I really only use this for mineral powder foundation. This buffs in the powder really well giving a very smooth, flawless look. However, I find the brush too big for use on the face. It doesn't quite get into all the corners of the face around the nose and eyes and the size of the brush head doesn't make buffing a quick job for me. The size of the handle also makes using the brush tiring and not practical to travel with. I also find that I lose a lot of product within the dense bristles. For buffing mineral powder foundation onto the face, I find the Everyday Minerals flat top kabuki a much better brush as it's easier to handle and the flat edges making getting into nooks and crannies much easier.
Primer/ Corrector -MAC - Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50
kimorris 6/16/2012 11:34:00 PM
This is a very thick product - disconcertingly so, but then again, I suppose that's the primer aspect of the product. It feels and spreads thickly although easily, but once dried, it is matte to the touch and the initial slight white cast fades. I used my Laura Mercier mineral powder foundation over this and found that it didn't quite reduce the look of my pores near my nose although I'm not sure if that's an issue with the primer or the foundation. However, I can't rate this very much as a primer as I use this for facial sun protection. I first used this during a 4 week Spanish-Italian summer holiday and it held up really well in the heat and humidity. I never got burnt and it didn't make my melasma worse. Although I perspired, the product never melted off my face so I could always be assured that it was still on and doing its job. I used this quite generously and went though almost two tubes. As a sunscreen, I felt this was quite effective and especially in the heat as it is sweat proof and supposedly waterproof, which isn't surprising since I believe it uses Japanese sunscreen technology. Accordingly, you really need to use an oil-based cleanser to wash this off. I didn't during my holiday and ended up getting lots of little blackheads and pimples despite the double/triple pass washing and exfoliating I did. This is a very effective sunscreen, although I still prefer my Japanese sunscreens which do a similar job on the protection and longevity front, but which are lighter. This is very mattifying which makes it good for those with combo/oily skins. I have dry skin and this is OK for summer use where I'm more willing to put up with any dryness to offset sticky and melting sunscreen, but I find it too drying in winter. My biggest gripe with this product is the packaging which, due to the hard plastic casing and the shape of the tube, makes it very difficult to squeeze product out. Consequently, I find that I have to cut the tube while there is still quite a bit of product left in it as it's the only way to get anything out. I like this product, but not enough that I'd put up with this annoying packaging, particularly as there are better alternatives.
Moisturizers -Unlisted Brand - Antipodes Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream
kimorris 6/6/2012 4:19:00 AM
This cream feels deceptively light on the fingers, but it is actually quite rich and very hydrating. This is very spreadable and leaves a dewy finish to the skin. Anyway, a little really goes a long way which means that the cream actually lasts a while. My skin felt moisturised and hydrated as soon as I applied the cream and my skin was plump and radiant the morning after using this. I'm not too keen on the distinctive pear scent though. It sounds innocuous and I don't know how to describe the scent, but I didn't find it pleasant having that particular smell so close to my face. My boyfriend didn't like the scent either and didn't like kissing me when I wore the cream. In fact, the smell bothered me enough that I ended up using this on my legs instead. The amber glass jar packaging is attractive and as the cream is relatively expensive, I don't mind having it in a jar so that every last bit can be scraped out properly. Overall, if you have dry skin and you're not sensitive to fragrances, then I'd recommend this cream as it's natural, hydrating and effective.
Makeup Brushes -MAC - 224 Tapered Blending (Windshield Wiper) Brush
kimorris 6/2/2012 3:14:00 AM
I mostly use this brush to apply a light dusting of powder over areas where I've used concealer. It does this well enough, but there's not much about its performance that stands out. I find the bristles quite coarse and hard and although the handle of the brush looks high end, I think the quality of the bristles lets this down.
Treatments -Unlisted Brand - Antipodes Hosanna Intense Hydrating Serum
kimorris 5/27/2012 2:30:00 AM
The serum is a light, oil-free, slightly pinkish, opaque liquid with a pleasant enough rose scent. I was somewhat underwhelmed when I first used this as I'm used to intensive moisturisers which have richer textures and tend to leave my skin feeling dewier. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find that this moisturised and plumped up my skin upon contact. It is has a somewhat "sticky" texture initially, but absorbs almost completely, leaving only a very slight tackiness which doesn't interfere with any products applied afterwards. I tested this on only one side of my face and could see a definite difference in the plumpness of my skin. Because it absorbs well, it tightens my skin and provides a bit of a firming effect as well as a bit of radiance that doesn't entail leaving a veil of oil behind. I prefer serums like this that sink in very fast and very well as it allows me to move onto the next step in my routine without having to wait around or feeling as if it's going to be rubbed away by the next product I put on. I have dry skin and always use something extra on top, but I'd imagine that due to its good absorption, I think this would work for oily or combo skin types as well. This is on the expensive side, but I like what it does and I wouldn't have a problem buying it again.
I love the naturalness of this product, the price point and the attractive packaging. This is a good cleanser for dry skin as it doesn't strip skin of any moisture as well as leaving a film of 'moisture' behind on the skin. I don't find this to be an effective enough moisturiser in the summer when my skin needs more thorough cleansing as it can't remove my budgeproof Japanese sunscreens, and the film of moisture left behind makes me feel as if the cleanser is not doing as effective a job as it should. However, now that it's colder, my skin is drier and I'm using lighter sunscreens, I'm quite enjoying this. I will still do a second pass with another cleanser or exfoliating product if I'm wearing foundation, but if there's not much going on on my face other than a light moisturiser/sunscreen and some powders, then this works quite well.
Like the regular Bourjois Volume Glamour, this is a really good, natural, everyday mascara. It provides discernable although natural levels of volume and length, and provides particularly good definition. It doesn't clump, smudge or flake and even though it isn't waterproof, it's not prone to smudging even when I was wearing it in summer. It doesn't uncurl my just-curled lashes, but neither does it add to the curl either. It's simply a matter of preference, but I think I prefer the regular Volume Glamour with the straight wand over this although I would have no issues repurchasing this again.
I have this in Suntan Matte. It's a really nice matte bronzer that doesn't look flat on my NC25 yellow undertones. Just a word of reassurance to those concerned about cosmetics which claim to be matte, but which actually aren't. I avoid anything shimmery or glittery like the plague and when I first applied this on my hand in-store, I was worried as I could see minute specks of shimmer. However, once applied, the shimmer can't be detected at all, in both indoor and outdoor light or at any angle, so it truly is matte on the skin. Even for matte bronzers, I suppose the benefit of having the tiniest of tiny specks of shimmer is that it stops skin from appearing completely flat and one-dimensional (as I find is the case with Benefit's Hoola). I also like the fact that this provides a subtle application and is very buildable as I find that it is very easy to overdo it with many bronzers (even though I use a MAC 187 and apply quite lightly). The packaging could be improved as it currently looks a bit cheap, and considering that it doesn't have much staying power, a mirror would be nice for touch ups.
Lip Treatments -Unlisted Brand - Lucas' Papaw Ointment
kimorris 5/6/2012 12:34:00 AM
I'm kind of surprised by the cult status this product has acquired despite the fact that it is a petroleum-based product which in effect means it's just glorified Vaseline. For whatever reason, the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia only requires active ingredients for this to be listed which is why many people don't seem to realise this contains petroleum. Anyway, as with any petroleum-based product, it doesn't actually provide any real hydrating benefits, but because it seals in moisture and creates a barrier for the lips, it deceives people into thinking their lips are being moisturised and therefore protected. I really liked the thickish texture of this ointment which meant it wasn't too slick on my lips. It seemed to do an OK job once applied, but I found that it didn't provide any lasting moisturisation and didn't seem to do anything for my lips. It made sense when I found it was a petroleum product. This isn't as bad as Vaseline due to the presence of paw paw, but it's not as good as a natural alternative either. The best natural alternative to this which also had a higher paw paw content and similar thickish consistency was a product called Simmons Paw Paw Salve which came in a yellow and green label, but is currently no longer in production. I've also tried several other natural paw paw balms/ointments to try and replace Simmons' but they are either not thick enough or don't have enough paw paw in them although they might work for some. The search for a Simmons replacement continues.
Misc Beauty Tools -Unlisted Brand - Salux Nylon Japanese Bath Towel
kimorris 5/5/2012 11:39:00 PM
The best exfoliating cloth out there. Even beats my beloved Body Shop exfoliating gloves for exfoliating power. I was initially shocked by how abrasive this was when I first used it (although I'm used to it now), but I suppose it's the abrasiveness which makes it so good at exfoliating. I use it all over, even on my face (although I'm very careful to rub very softly) and it has helped with the KP on my arms although it has not eliminated it completely. The long cloth is useful for cleaning hard to reach places such as the back. My only complaint about this is that it doesn't come in a glove version. I find the cloth quite difficult to use everywhere except on my back because the cloth doesn't allow for a great deal of grip and manoeuvrability. For this reason, I find that I don't use it as much as I'd like and tend to use the less effective Body Shop gloves which - although not as good at exfoliating - are at least more convenient and easier to use. Despite this, I think I'll always have the Salux on hand.
This is a very effective and mild exfoliant that's great for daily use. I use this after cleansing in the shower. I just pour a little bit into one not-so-wet hand while I wet the other one thoroughly. I then make contact with the two and then rub the watery/foamy mixture on my face which I leave on for about 1-2 minutes. This makes my skin soft, even and smooth without having to use harsh abrasives and doesn't leave it dry afterwards. A little definitely goes a long way. I've had the full size since Sept/Oct last year and there's still loads in the bottle despite pretty much using it every day. My only complaint is that I wish the bottle came in a more compact size that actually fitted the contents as it's too large and is inconvenient to travel with, although it looks great in the bathroom. Definite repurchase.
Tinted Moisturizer -Clinique - Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF15
kimorris 5/5/2012 10:36:00 PM
I'm NC25ish and was matched to shade 03. The coverage for me could pass for a light foundation. Light and easy to wear which would make it a good summer base. I have dry skin and this left it looking nice and moisturised. Very attractive and portable packaging although you don't get a lot of product for the price. There's a limited shade colour range and unfortunately, despite the shade being the best match for me, it's actually a bit too pink so I've had to give it away.
Skincare - Body -The Body Shop - Exfoliating Gloves
kimorris 5/5/2012 10:12:00 PM
I've bought various versions of exfoliating gloves from supermarkets, discount stores, beauty stores, etc, thinking how different can all these gloves really be for the Body Shop to charge more? Well, there really is a difference. The BS's version is more abrasive so I feel like I'm actually giving myself a proper exfoliation. The elasticity in the BS version is superior so that it fits my hand better and has better traction/grip on my body so that when I'm rubbing back and forth, the glove doesn't feel like it's losing grip on my skin with the glove going one way and my hand the other. I also find the glove lathers up really nicely; obviously not to extremes like the pouff, but I don't need that amount of lather. The BS glove also maintains its shape and lasts way longer than cheaper gloves on the market. I like the nice touch with the hooks on the gloves so that they can be hung in the shower. I also really like that these are gloves rather than pouffs, loofahs, cloths, etc as anything in glove/hand form is going to be easier to use as it'll enable better grip and maneouvreability. In terms of exfoliating power/abrasiveness, there's only the Salux cloth that beats the BS gloves for exfoliation, but unfortunately, the Salux only comes in a cloth and not as gloves, which makes it quite hard to use and which means I'll always have the BS gloves in my shower.
I bought this due to all the rave reviews, but unfortunately this didn't work for me. I get bad skin every now and then, but they're mostly confined to specific areas like around my mouth and chin. My skin is otherwise not bad and can be classed as dry. I enjoyed the nice tingling sensation it gave, but it didn't do much for my spotty areas, and was drying on the rest of my face. It was also somewhat inconvenient to use as it took a long time to wash it all off which put me off using it.
Lotions/ Creams -Desert Essence - Pumpkin Hand Repair Cream
kimorris 4/24/2012 8:10:00 PM
This cream has quite a light consistency, but is nonetheless moisturising although not as intensively as I'd like. I find I have to apply this quite frequently and if I've washed my hands, then it washes all off, leaving no lasting benefit. It has a fair amount of slip and is not as thick as many other hand creams so I sometimes find myself applying too much and then having to rub my hands longer so that the product can absorb - so a little goes a long way. The best thing about the cream is that it absorbs very, very well - very quickly and completely. Unfortunately, this won't be a repurchase as the scent is overwhelmingly sickly and cloyingly sweet.