Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Who wants to win on Wednesdays: Pimp your giveaway

I just love giveaways. I love the excitement of entering them, daydreaming about what I'd do with the prize once I won it, then getting the email to say that I have won (though that doesn't happen as often as I would like)!

I also love hosting giveaways. I have hosted two so far and loved seeing people getting into it. There seems to be mixed opinions as to the success of using giveaways to attract new readers ie some people don't want to gain a lot of new followers who are there purely for the comp, never to be seen again. For each giveaway I held, I have gained at least 20 new followers. Of those, I'd say that at least 5 from each giveaway were genuine followers who became regular readers. So, I personally think that giveaways are a great way to attract new readers and to potentially introduce your readers to products that may not previously have heard of. I figure that if I manage to even hook just one new regular follower, then the giveaway has been a success.

But with so many blogs out there it can be hard to keep track of all the giveaways that are on at the moment. Or as a blogger, as I found with my last giveaway, it can also be hard getting word out that you have a giveaway going. So I thought that I'd set up a blog post where you can pimp your giveaway. The only rule is that your giveaway must be open to Australian residents (so open internationally if you are not from Australia).

All you have to do is click the link below to enter your competition link. Put either the product(s) you are giving away or the title of your post as the title (rather than you blog name).

Good luck everyone!

Have you won many giveaways this year? Do you find giveaways a successful tool for gaining more readers?

Monday, 29 August 2011

An interview with Elessa Jade from pursebuzz.com

Thanks to the Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend (ABBW) and Polkadot PR I was given the opportunity to interview some of the key speakers who will be attending IMATS. My first interview was with Elessa Jade from the blog Pursebuzz.com


Elessa worked in the beauty industry for 10 years before turning her talents to teaching. She started her website, Pursebuzz.com, to provide tips and tutorials on how to apply makeup. Pursebuzz.com now has around 100,000 visitors from around the world. I decided that when I got the opportunity to interview Elessa, as well as asking a few makeup related questions, that I'd also hit her for some blogging tips.


I am relatively new to blogging and so am trying to extract as much info as I can from seasoned Bloggers. What is the best piece of blogging advice that you have been given?

I would say post a lot and often. Interact with your readers and do a lot of giveaways if you can. Do cross promotion with other bloggers from fashion to hair.. doesn't matter just get your name out there. Also, do it cause you love it not for the free products. Readers can tell if it’s from the heart or for the money.


Do you ever get writers (Blogger’s) block and if so, how do you overcome it and get the creative juices flowing again?

Yes, I just take photos and enjoy that part. Then when I am ready to write I'll do it. I focus on my fave parts and just have fun.


This may be an impossible question, but if you were stranded on a desert island, which 5 beauty products would you most wish that you had with you?

Hahaha... Sunblock, Stila Convertible Color(works all over) and Big Hat, face wash and moisturizer. I gotta look good in case I am going back home. :D


What is the biggest makeup crime that you witness women repeatedly committing?

Tugging on the eyes and licking/blowing on their brushes.


If someone only had 2 minutes to get ready, what makeup essentials would you suggest? 

Lipstick and Mascara.

 
If you would love to hear more from Elessa Jade, she will be speaking at IMATS Sydney from 10.00-11.00am on Saturday 24th September or 11.15-12.15 on Sunday 25th September.

Tickets to IMATS are $40 for a one day pass or $65 for both days and can be purchased from here.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

I did my nails! Sportgirl's Nail It in Blue Lagoon

The Crazy Kid usually wakes at around 6.00am. My morning routine is to get him up, give him his milk and breakfast then read the latest blog posts on my iPhone as I wake up. The other day I was reading the Linnaeus Cosmetics - Take Two! post on Don't They Know Who I Am? when I followed a link to her 100 Follower Giveaway. I love competitions so though I'd enter, but when I saw the prize I realised that not only had I entered this comp, I had actually won it a couple of months ago. As I studied the prize I realised that I had completely forgotten about the nail polishes in the prize. I had put them away in my collection and then promptly forgotten all about them. I adore nail polish but it is one thing I struggle to find time to do, these days.

It was hubby's birthday on Thursday and we were due to have a night away from The Crazy Kid on Friday to celebrate; a 3 course dinner, with an overnight stay was booked at Barrenjoey House. But with the two of them being so sick last week, it wasn't until the last minute that we knew whether we'd go ahead with our night out. That meant that I had a very last minute rushed pack on Friday morning. I managed to forget my hair brush, makeup brushes as well as shampoo and conditioner (actually the last two were deliberate - I assumed they'd provide them but they only provided shampoo. So, without conditioner to tame my hair or a brush or comb to neaten it I was rocking some pretty wild hair!). One thing I did remember to throw in was the Sportsgirl Nail It nail polish in Blue Lagoon that I had won in the 100 Follower Giveaway as I knew that, for once, I'd actually have time to do my nails.

I have never used Sportsgirl nail polish before and was pleasantly surprised by the quality. I used two coats to cover my nails. If you look really closely there is the odd streak visible so a perfectionist may prefer to do three coats, but I wasn't going to spend my night off from The Crazy Kid doing my nails when I could be down at the bar having a cocktail!

I love the colour - it is a real true turquoise. With a top coat the nail polish has a patent leather look to it. It also is lasting quite well on my fingernails. I painted my nails on Friday and the photo below was taken on Sunday and as yet, no chips.




In recent times I have become a bit of a nail polish snob and have only really used OPI. But at $19.95 each it means that I can only afford to get a new colour every now and then. The Sportsgirl Nail It nail polishes are $7.95 each - much more affordable, especially as the quality is also very good (well, the quality of Blue Lagoon was very good at any rate!).

What are your budget go to nail polish brands?

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Product review: Burt’s Bees Radiance SPF 15 Day Lotion

I was invited by Burt's Bees to trial the entire Radiance range of products for their Facebook page trial team. I am now going to provide more detailed reviews for each of the products in the Burt’s Bees Radiance range. The hero ingredient of this range is royal jelly, which, according to Burt's Bees is very nourishing, made of nectar, pollen, flower parts, vitamins, minerals, bee hormones and other natural ingredients. It is a very precious, mysterious substance that honeybees produce and feed to only select.

 
From the company: This wonderfully natural day lotion is specially formulated with royal jelly, one of nature’s most nourishing substances, to help renew and enhance skin’s natural radiance. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide provide broad spectrum protection to reflect the sun's harmful UVA/UVB rays, which are associated with premature aging. So you get younger looking skin, naturally.

Ingredients: Active Ingredient: titanium diosice (2.55%), zinc oxide (3.0%)
Inactive Ingredients: water, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, glycerin, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, sucrose distearate, royal jelly, sucrose stearate, acacia senegal gum, calendula officinalis flower extract, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract, hydrastis camadensis (golden seal) extract, xanthan gum, lecithin, citric acid, fragrance, chlorphenesin, phenoxyethanol


My review: This was another product in the range that I really liked. I applied it after the serum in the morning and I found that it absorbed really well and leave my skin beautifully smooth. It was non greasy and didn’t leave my skin looking shiny, though did leave it with a lovely radiant sheen. It contains SPF15 which was ok for incidental sun exposure. I would prefer SPF30; however, if I know that I am going to be outdoors for a significant amount of time I will always apply additional sun protection, so the SPF15 is sufficient to protect me when I am walking to the car or hanging the washing out.

This lotion comes in a 55g pump bottle. The packaging is perfect. I soon worked out that 2 pumps was the perfect amount to do my whole face. I loved that I could control the amount I used this way.
The smell...I have has issues with the smell of a few products in the Radiance range but I had no issues here. This lotion has a fruity florally fragrance. I think it had the fruity perfume the whole range is meant to have, however, in this case it is not being overpowered by underlying ingredients. So, I was very happy with the fragrance of this product.
Would I buy this again? Yes! At $39.95 it is a good price for a moisturiser. The pump pack makes it easy to dispense the right amount of product, it smells great, has sufficient SPF for incidental sun exposure and it delivered on all of the claims. I can’t fault this moisturiser!
Stockists In Australia, Burt's Bees is available from David Jones, Myer, Priceline, pharmacies and health food stores. Or you can buy the range from Amazon.


If you would like some more detailed information on royal jelly, you may be interested in my blog article- The use of royal jelly in skincare

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with any company discussed in this blog and received no remuneration for my comments. These products were provided for consideration by Burt's Bees for their Facebook Trial Team.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Weekend Beauty Blog Hop

The Weekend Beauty Blog Hop is back! If you missed my original post, here's a quick explanation:

What is a blog hop?
A blog hop is a linky list that is SHARED ON MULTIPLE BLOGS.
When several blogs put the same linky list code on their blog, the
exact same list appears on each blog.

Blog visitors can submit their entries on any blog that contains the list.
The entries will appear on each blog where the list resides.

Blog readers see the same list on each blog, and can "HOP" from blog
to blog seeing the same list of links to follow: BLOG HOP!


So, please join in. The only rule is that your blog must have some beauty content. That's it! Once you have joined, why don't you check out the other blogs in the list - you may discover a new gem to follow - I know I have discovered quite a few new blogs the last couple of weeks. Please Tweet or share a link to your Facebook account as the more blogs we can get to on the list, the better the Weekend Beauty Blog Hop will be! If you would like to do a post about this on your blog, by all means grab the code below. Feel free to lift any content from this post, all I ask is that you link where you got it from.

This link will be open from 5.00pm on Friday 19th August until 11.59 on Sunday 21st August (Australian Eastern Standard time).

I'd love some feedback as well. Should I run the blog hop each weekend or is everyone getting sick of it already? If so, how often should I run it?

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

I was shattered but now have been restored

Before I start this post I need to mention that this is not a review of shatter nail polishes but a recount of the week I have had. Didn't want to mislead you!

This last week has been one of the toughest I have had in a long while. It started on Thursday when The Crazy Kid wasn't himself. Usually he has an annoying amount of energy - to the extent that one weekend I let him guide me on a walk. I had nothing else on so thought I'd let him choose his own adventure. Big mistake! Apart from 10 minutes spent train watching, The Crazy Kid walked non stop for 2.5 hours. For an 18 month old that's a lot of walking! So, I knew something wasn't right with him last Thursday when all he wanted to do was sit on the couch and watch TV with me. He never watches TV. He just doesn't have the concentration span for it. I was hoping he was just tired but when I checked on him when I went to bed I found he'd been sick all over his cot. He was fast asleep, so I left him to sleep figuring I'd change him and the sheets when he woke up during the night. Surprisingly, he still slept through though I didn't get a wink of sleep as I was too worried about the little guy.

That night started four days of absolute hell for me. The Crazy Kid just doesn't get sick. He has had three colds since he was born and, apart from the fact that he became a snot faced monster, he showed no signs of being unwell. This time was different. He had a nasty case of gastro and was so listless and miserable it broke my heart. He didn't eat a thing for four days and lost a kilo, which is a lot when you are only 12kgs to start off with.
Over the weekend I did 11 loads of washing (no exaggeration) and changed 300 nappies (slight exaggeration). Just as things were starting look better and The Crazy Kid appeared to be on the mend, his dad caught the bug. We had gone to bed at 10.30 on Sunday night and at midnight The Big Man sat up in bed and announced that he was sick. I listened to him moan for two hours before deciding I'd be better off on the couch so abandoned the poor fella. The Crazy Kid then woke up at 4.00am so I was back up looking after him.

Though The Big Man was really sick I all but ignored him dealing with The Crazy Kid and all the washing he had created. I made sure that I checked on him every couple of hours to replenish his water and jam another Imodium down his throat but that was the extent of my nursing.

Yesterday it all caught up with me and I felt rotten. My bones and joints ached like I had never felt before. I was terrified that it was the start of the bug for me. Add to that, I had not had a chance to shower since Saturday so I really felt disgusting. At 6.15 pm I was virtually dead on my feet so I decided to have a bath. That's right, I was so exhausted that I forgo watching my beloved Neighbours to have a bath.

Earlier in the year I had won a pack of Aromatherapy Associates bath oils in a competition run by My Spa Guide. I have to admit that when they first arrived I was a tiny bit disappointed. As you can see from the pictures below, the bottles are tiny (7.5ml). I had expected them to be at least 50mls each. Turns out that these are not oils diluted in a carrier oil like most bath oils, but pure essential oils. You add just 2 capfuls to your bath. Each bottle contains enough for at least 5 baths.





The scent of these oils is quite interesting. They are all quite earthy and woody. Had I smelt them in shop I would never have considered buying them. Turns out they are absolutely magic. There are three varieties - Relax, De-stress, Revive and they all do exactly that. They provided me with the most relaxing bathing experience I have ever had. According to Aromatherapy Associates, the blend descriptions are:

  • Comforting, grounding Relax is perfect when you need a good night's sleep.

  • Fortifying De-Stress helps clear your mind and focus your thoughts.

  • Invigorating Revive lifts the spirits and energises mind and body.


  • Last night I added one cap of Relax (that is my favourite one though has now run out) and one cap of Revive and I lay just there for 45 minutes reading my book. I was too drained to do any other beauty treatment so I just read.

    When I got out the aches had all but gone though I was still dog tired. The Big Man assured me he was feeling better so I moved back in off the couch and went to bed. I was another person when I woke up today. I was restored. Still tired (The Crazy Kid did start our day at 5.50am!) but a million times better than the day before.
    I don't know how I avoided this bug. Not only did it take out the Big Man and The Crazy Kid, it also hit his grandmother (who was the sickest out of the lot of us, poor thing), my cousin, both her kids and her mother in law. The bug really had a field day on our family. Lets hope that we have now seen the end of it!

    Has a beauty product ever restored you from near death to human again?

    Monday, 22 August 2011

    International Makeup Artist Trade Show (IMATS): what, where, when, how?

    I had heard a bit about the International Makeup Artist Trade Show (IMATS) on beauty forums but, to be perfectly honest, had paid little attention to it as I had assumed that it was only open to makeup artists. It wasn't until I found out that it was part of the itinerary for the Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend (ABBW, a beauty blogging conference I am going to - more about that later), did I stop and take notice.

    Since I was now going, I decided to research the event a little bit more. I kind of imagined that it was just like a giant makeup store with a million different brands, but have since found out that it is so much more. It is not just about your typical beauty/wedding type makeup (although there is that), it also encompasses stage/theatrical makeup and special effects. You can see what I mean from the photos posted below. IMATS is actually an international event (you might have already worked that out from the 'International' in the title!). There are shows in London, Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and, of course, Sydney. Each of the photos below have been collected from the  IMATS website, and are an excellent representation of what to expect at the show.

    London

    Vancouver

    Toronto

    New York

    Los Angeles

    Sydney

    There will be plenty to see at IMATS. Each year there is a student competition and the looks these students create really are works of art. Have a look at the gallery of last years winners to see what I mean. In addition, there are master classes and key note addresses you can attend, in particular is an address by Napoleon Perdis, which I am hoping to attend.

    Now, you are probably wondering whether you can buy anything at IMATS? Absolutely! I am not entirely sure whether the prices will be discounted, I have heard in places that they are but then others say that the discount is not that much. I think it is more the convenience of having every makeup brand imaginable under one roof. The full list of exhibitors can be found here; however, brands I am particularly excited to check out are:
    • Inglot
    • Make Up For Ever
    • MAC
    • Napoleon Perdis  
    Though, as the day draws nearer, and I start studying other people's shopping lists, I'm sure the list of brands that I want to see will explode.

    So, what am I going to get? I am not entirely sure. I am going to Hawaii in February so am planning on going on a little (or not so little!) shopping spree there so don't know whether to get anything or not at IMATS. I think my plan will be to take $100 spending money and if I can get any of these for around that then I probably will. My shopping list, thus far:

    Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner RRP $35
    I probably don't need one of these liners but they look so pretty. I might have a play and see if I can resist!

    Inglot Freedom palette
    Inglot do Freedom palette's in a variety of sizes, ranging from two shades up to 40 (though I haven't seen the Freedom 40 in Australia). You buy the palette for a certain price then select whatever colour eye shadows, blushes or lip colours to fill the palette. I have heard absolute rave reviews about Inglot eye shadows, in regards to pigment, texture and staying power, so want to get the biggest palette I can, though that might not be realistic!

    Yaby World of Pearl Palette RRP $149
    I desperately want to get this palette. I have heard so many good things about it. But I am not prepared to pay $149. I am not entirely sure whether Yaby will be at IMATS Sydney. I have seen that Yaby exhibited at some of the other IMATS but can't find their listing at the Sydney show. My temptation may be removed! Another brand that I am not sure whether will be exhibiting but I would love check out is Sleek Make Up. How cool does this Sleek Acid palette below look!

    IMATS Details:

    LOCATION:Sydney Convention Centre
    Darling Drive
    Sydney, NSW Australia

    Date:
    Saturaday, September 24th
    Sunday, September 25th

    HOURS:
    Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

    IMATS is open to the public. No make-up artist credentials are required to get you in the door.

    Ticket Prices:
    1 day pass: $40.00
    2 day pass: $65.00

    Tickets can be pre-purchased here or at the door unless sold out prior (if you are keen to go, I'd pre-purchase to avoid disappointment.
    So, who will be going to IMATS Sydney this year? I will be attending on the Saturday. Is anyone else going then? If you are going, have you compiled a shopping list yet? If you have then please spill because I know I am going to be totally overwhelmed and bamboozled once I walk through the doors!

    Sunday, 21 August 2011

    Collagen in skincare and a review of LAC Taut Collagen infused mask

    The dermis, comprised of collagen and elastin, maintains the structure, strength, flexibility and elasticity of the skin. As we age (or damage the skin by smoking or with sun exposure), collagen is lost causing the skin to sag and wrinkles to appear. There are a myriad of products on the market which contain collagen and claim firm the skin and reduce wrinkles. Unfortunately, I do not think that it is possible for collagen to penetrate the epidermis of the skin to reach the dermis, where it is needed.

    There are four different routes molecules can take to penetrate the skin: through sweat glands, down hair follicles, it can squeeze though narrow junctions between cells and it can also enter bit micro lesions in the skin (ie flaking due to dryness or scratches on the skin). It is believed that the largest sized molecule that can penetrate the skin is about 500 Dalton's*. The molecular size of collagen is 300 kilo Dalton's. So, this is the equivalent of trying to stuff a beach ball that is 3 metres in diameter down a hole that is 5 centimeters in diameter. Yes, molecules can elongate and stretch themselves to squeeze through gaps in the cell junctions but the sheer size of collagen makes this impossible. Therefore, in your skincare you don't actually want collagen to be an ingredient. Instead, what you need is a growth factor that can penetrate the skin and then promote collagen production. Pro-collagen is one example or another is epidermal growth factor (EGF) which I have previously written about here.

    I received a sample of the LAC Taut Collagen infused mask at the The Sydney International Spa & Beauty Expo. I have to confess that, for the reasons mentioned above, I was not expecting much from this mask but as I love to try beauty products, I still thought that I'd give it a go. According to GNC, the LAC Taut® Collagen Infusion Mask:

      is a facial mask that slips luxuriously onto your face to infuse concentrated premium collagen-enriched essence to firm, hydrate and brighten your complexion in just 7-10 minutes.

    • This intensive treatment mask smooths deep and fine lines, infuses skin with precious moisture and lightens stubborn skin discolorations and dull skin.

    • Its antioxidant ingredients target dark spots and wrinkles caused by ageing and environmental pollution
    .

    Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Soluble Collagen, Hydrolyzed collagen, Betain, Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Magnesium Ascorbly Phosphate, Squalene, Triethylhexanoin, Phytosteryl/Behenyl/Octyldodesyl/Lauroyl Glutamate, Tocopherol, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleate, Phenoxy-ethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben








    My review
    The mask itself was easy enough to apply. I find that I can never get cloth masks complete smooth but I guess it probably doesn't matter because the product still comes in contact with the skin. Initially, it felt quite cool and refreshing on though it soon warmed up with my skin temperature.

    The directions said to apply it for 7-10 minutes. Usually, I would put a mask like this on for around 30 minutes, whilst I had a bath. These days my bath times are limited so instead I applied it whilst I supervised The Crazy Kid having his bath. Unfortunately, the poor little tyke is quite sick at the moment so he didn't last long in his bath at all (usually I have to drag him out after 45 minutes when the water is stone cold and I am bored silly!). I think I had the mask on for a maximum of 10 minutes, though it was probably closer to 5. When The Crazy Kid started to cry to be let out, I quickly pulled the mask off and wiped the excess around my face, neck and decolletage then completely forgot about it whilst I dealt with the little guy.

    About an hour or two later, I was relaxing on the couch when I ran my hand over my face - I was shocked how soft and firm my skin felt. It had been feeling a little bit tight, but in a good way; however, this was the first time I noticed just how soft it was. Naturally I did what every narcissistic beauty lover would do and ran to the bathroom to have a bit of a perv. My skin looked so hydrated. It was really plumped and refreshed looking. This was particularly impressive as I had been looking after my sick little boy for 3 days now and was quite exhausted (I may have even broken a world record for the most nappy changes in one day - though you didn't want to know that!). The following morning, my skin still felt soft and plump - though it had lost the tight feeling of the previous night.

    So, if the collagen can't penetrate the skin, then how did the mask work? I think that it is actually due to some of the other ingredients. Butylene Glycol is a humectant, commonly used in skincare, that is rapidly absorbed by the skin. A humectant is a substance that helps a product retain moisture - so in skincare it helps the skin stay moisturised. Glycerin is also  humectant. So your first three ingredients in the mask are water plus two humectants - very moisturising. Betain is a substance that protects against the effects of dehydration - it prevents water from leaving the cells (an osmotic protector). I am not going to go through any more of the ingredients because you can already see that this is a super moisturising mask that not only attracts water to the skin but also prevents water from leaving it.



    Would I use it again? Yes, I probably would. However, I would be using it for the moisturising effect that it had on my skin, as opposed to any proclaimed effects of the collagen. You can buy 5 of these masks for $39.60 from GNC so it is not too badly priced. I'd use it as a mask to plump and moisturise my skin before a special night out.

    I have to admit that this is only the second cloth mask that I have used, after the SKII Facial Treatment Mask. The SKII mask retails for about $25 per mask so $8 per mask seems much more reasonable to me. I'd love to hear if you have found a cheaper one out there that is effective.

    Finally, I would just like to say that the opinions stated here on the efficacy of collagen are my own. If you believe that they are wrong then I would love to hear as I am always eager to learn more. I know that there are other delivery methods that allow larger molecules to penetrate the skin but could not find any information on this product.

    What is your favourite cloth mask? Do you use any beauty products which contain collagen?

    All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with LAC Taut or GNC and received no remuneration for my comments. This mask was a free sample that I got from the Sydney International Spa & Beauty Expo.

    *Reference: Deliver system handbook for personal care and cosmetic products by Meyer R. Rosen (pg 104)

    Saturday, 20 August 2011

    Product review: Burt’s Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser

    Earlier in the year, I was invited by Burt's Bees to trial the entire Radiance range of products for their Facebook page trial team. I am now going to provide more detailed reviews for each of the products in the Burt’s Bees Radiance range. The hero ingredient of this range is royal jelly, which, according to Burt's Bees is very nourishing, made of nectar, pollen, flower parts, vitamins, minerals, bee hormones and other natural ingredients. It is a very precious, mysterious substance that honeybees produce and feed to only select.
    From the company: This light lotion cleanser removes dirt, oil and make-up, revealing a smooth and radiant complexion. A gentle plant-based cleansing complex plus jojoba beads and a fruit acid complex help encourage normal skin cell turnover. While royal jelly, one of nature’s most nutritious substances, helps enhance skin’s natural radiance. Your skin appears brighter and younger-looking, naturally.

    Ingredients: water, decyl glucoside, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oleosomes, sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, glycerin, royal jelly, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, hydrogenated jojoba oil, vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) extract, saccharum officinarm (sugar cane) extract, acer saccharinum (sugar maple) extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, citrus medica limonum (lemon) extract, fragrance, glucose, xanthan gum, citric acid, sodium chloride, lactoperoxidase, glucose oxidase.


    My review: This was a very nice cleanser – it did an excellent job cleansing, yet it did not dry out my skin at all. I used it in the shower each morning, then at the sink each evening before bed. My skin never felt tight afterwards.

    The consistency of the cleanser reminds me of custard – it looks creamy and thick but it is actually a foaming cleanser rather than a cream cleanser. I had been using it for about a week when I re-read the product information that came with it and it said that it contains jojoba beads for exfoliation. Well, I did not notice the beads at all. I suspect that they melted before the cleanser even made it to my face as I rubbed it between my hands before applying it to get it to foam up. So, whilst this is a gorgeous cleanser, don’t expect to get much exfoliation from it.
    I loved the packaging that the cleanser comes in. It is in a 175ml bottle with a pump pack lid. The pump pack makes it so easy to get the right amount of cleanser out. Initially I was using two pumps to do my face but this was way too much cleanser – one pump is more than enough to effectively cleanse my face.
    One issue I had with this product was the smell. I wasn’t overly keen on it. It seems to have a fruity fragrance, which I had no problem with, but there was some other aroma coming through that I didn’t like. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, or even how to describe it. However, as I thought that the cleanser did such a great job, and especially the fact that it is non-drying, the fragrance won’t stop me from repurchasing it. Fragrance in skincare is very important to me as I get so much pleasure from it, but as I only use a cleanser for less than a minute a day, I don’t mind so much if it doesn’t smell as great as some of my other products.
    All in all I thought that this was an excellent cleanser, fragrance aside, and can definitely see myself using it again in the future. At $24.95 it is an affordable option for most people, and for the size and the quality of the product the price really is quite a bargain.

    Stockists In Australia, Burt's Bees is available from David Jones, Myer, Priceline, pharmacies and health food stores. Or you can buy the range from Amazon.


    If you would like some more detailed information on royal jelly, you may be interested in my blog article- The use of royal jelly in skincare

    All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with any company discussed in this blog and received no remuneration for my comments. These products were provided for consideration by Burt's Bees for their Facebook Trial Team.

    Friday, 19 August 2011

    The Weekend Beauty Blog Hop

    The Weekend Beauty Blog Hop is back! If you missed my post last weekend, here's a quick explanation:

    What is a blog hop?
    A blog hop is a linky list that is SHARED ON MULTIPLE BLOGS.
    When several blogs put the same linky list code on their blog, the
    exact same list appears on each blog.

    Blog visitors can submit their entries on any blog that contains the list.
    The entries will appear on each blog where the list resides.

    Blog readers see the same list on each blog, and can "HOP" from blog
    to blog seeing the same list of links to follow: BLOG HOP!


    I discovered the concept of a Blog Hop on another blog and thought that it was brilliant, but most of the links posted in the list weren't of interest to me ie they weren't beauty blogs! I hunted around for a specific Beauty Blog Hop but couldn't find one so made my own!

    So, please join in. The only rule is that your blog must have some beauty content. That's it! Once you have joined, why don't you check out the other blogs in the list - you may discover a new gem to follow! Please Tweet or share a link to your Facebook account as the more blogs we can get to on the list, the better the Weekend Beauty Blog Hop will be! If you would like to do a post about this on your blog, by all means grab the code below. Feel free to lift any content from this post, all I ask is that you link where you got it from.

    This link will be open from 5.00pm on Friday 19th August until 11.59 on Sunday 21st August (Australian Eastern Standard time).

    So, what are you waiting for! Hop on and enjoy the ride!

    Thursday, 18 August 2011

    If you had a gun held to your head and were made to spend $1000 on beauty products, what would you choose?

    I LOVE doing hypotheticals and anyone who knows me has probably been hit with one (or many) hypothetical situations. My poor husband cops the brunt of my medical hypotheticals. Having studied a medical based degree, I know way too much about diseases and so have quizzed him on what he would do if I got just about every disease under the sun (his standard response is 'I don't know, Sar'...that doesn't stop me though!). Carlie, my friend from mothers group, gets hit with all my parenting hypotheticals (you will be please to know that if The Crazy Kid does become a bad boy when he grows up, Carlie will still let her son be friends with him!). So now, my beauty loving friends, I am going to hit you with a beauty hypothetical:
    If a crazy person held a gun to your head and said that you had to spend $1000, then and there, on beauty products, what would you get?

    I like to be prepared for all situations so have compiled a list that I am going to keep in my wallet just in case I ever do encounter this crazy person. Obviously this crazy person is a fellow beauty lover so they understand that I will be doing a lot of my shopping online and from overseas!

    So, here is my list:

    Product
    Price
    Chanel nail polishes in Peridot, Graphite and Quartz
    $117.00
    Yaby World of Pearl Paints 40 Eye Shadow Palette
    $149.00
    Philosophy Amazing Grace Parfum 30ml
    $28.00
    Philosophy Amazing Grace Perfumed deodorant stick
    $10.50
    MuLondon Organic Rose Moisturiser
    $30.00
    MuLondon Organic Rose Face Moisturiser
    $20.00
    MOR Marshmallow Eau De Parfum
    $55.95
    MOR Marshmallow Sugar Crystal Body Scrub
    $31.95
    Philosophy bananas foster ice cream shower gel 946ml
    $25.00
    Philosophy creme brulee shower gel (474ml)
    $16.00
    Philosophy amazing grace shower gel (946ml)
    $34.50
    Philosophy baby grace shower gel (946ml)
    $34.50
    Philosophy sweet dreams shower gel (474ml)
    $20.00
    BIOeffect EGF serum
    $180.00
    MAC Angel Lipstick
    $35.00
    Rodial Glamoxy snake serum
    $160.00
    Rodial A-List Cleanser
    $59.00
    Total
    $1006.40


    My hypothetical list in all it's pictorial glory:


    I actually only want Peridot and Graphic but think that it would be cruel to separate siblings so will also take Quartz.


    I regularly stalk this product online...oh how beautiful she looks. Sigh.

    I have actually never smelt this but have only read rave reviews...me wanty.


    De-stink and smell good. Win!


    I love the scent of rose like you wouldn't believe and only imagine how gorgeous this would be.


    After reading Dempeaux's review I knew that one day I would own this baby!


    I tried the sugar scrub (below) and it was AMAZING. I now NEED the perfume.


    I bought a tub of this years ago and loved it, but then promptly forgot about it. Recently, I read about it again and have been craving it ever since.


    I will only include one picture of the Philosophy shower gels because there is A LOT that I want (there is another half dozen I didn't list!). Of all, the Banana foster ice cream is the one I want the most.


    I literally only have a couple of days left in my sample of this so it will need replacing. Also, the stress of having a hypothetical gun held to my head is going to create wrinkles...what better to remove them!


    I don't tend to wear lipstick during the day but have been told that this one is perfect. This I need to see!


    I have tried the Rodial Glamoxy Snake mask and now want to experience the serum - it is meant to be out of this world!


    The Rodial A-list cleanser sounds divine, but there is only one way to find out if it is worth the hype!


    Well, that's my list. Do you have a list ready for such hypothetical situation? If so, I'd love to hear it!
    

    Wednesday, 17 August 2011

    Introducing DermaQuest

    The launch: Yesterday I attended the launch of DermaQuest's Stem Cell 3D Complex. The launch was held in the Penthouse at The Ivy in Sydney. I had never been to The Ivy before and let me tell you, it is one swish venue. I spent the first 30 minutes of the launch formulating a plan on how I was going to hide in one of the personal coat lockers so that I could live in there forever. Then I started to learn more about DermaQuest and my plan was all but forgotten. I became so involved with discussing the science behind the brand that I became a little manic with excitement about the prospect of writing another scientific review.



    About the company: DermaQuest was founded in 1999 by Sam Dhatt, one of the world's most successful cosmetic chemists. Sam has been responsible for the formulation of products from over 700 different companies, some of them the biggest names in the industry. In fact, one of the products he formulated for a company has now sold over one billion units. So, there is an excellent chance that you will have already tried a Sam Dhatt formulated product.

    The DermaQuest difference: You are probably wondering, then, how the DermaQuest range is different from other products if Sam is formulating for what seems like every company on the market. Well, firstly, DermaQuest is Sam's baby and the formulations for the brand are proprietary - he reserves them specifically for DermaQuest. Secondly, when companies come to him to formulate a product they come with a budget. So Sam includes only the quantities of active ingredients that can fit within the budget. I suspect that this may be one of the major differences between more expensive and budget brands - the quantities of active ingredients versus fillers in their products. Yes, premium brands will have larger advertising budgets and the cost of these is recouped in the product price but it is also likely that they will have a higher concentration of the active ingredient*. DermaQuest formulations only contain pure, concentrated active ingredients. There are no fillers in their products.

    DermaQuest have 3 main philosophies (from their website) –
    1. to work with the highest percentage of an active ingredient;
    2. to prescribe as many different active ingredients simultaneously to achieve a desired result (they call this their DQRS - the DermaQuest Result Strategy).
    3. to make you fall in love! We achieve this by formulating each product to make the texture truly gorgeous and the smell – irresistible.
    I especially appreciate the third philosophy. The first two I would expect from such a scientifically advanced brand, but I love that they also keep the joy in skincare. For me, skincare needs to be a pleasurable experience. I want it to feel lovely when I apply it and to smell amazing. If it doesn't, then skincare becomes a chore - like brushing my teeth, and I find myself getting lazy and skipping steps. So I love that pleasure is as an important philosophy to the brand as efficacy is. In addition, their products are paraben-free and they do not test their products on animals.

    The DermaQuest range: DermaQuest has a variety of both salon and home care products to treat a range of skincare concerns. Their Masters range is the creme de la creme of their products, and the Stem Cell 3D Complex falls within this range. The also have age management, acne management and therapeutic ranges as well as a professional treatment line and a range of makeup. The therapeutic range is for people without specific skincare concerns who want to maintain the condition of their skin.

    The event was held to launch the DermaQuest Stem Cell 3D Complex. I will be writing a follow up article explaining the research that has been conducted on the cream and the science behind the active ingredients. We were also provided with a jar of this cream so, in the coming months once I have had a chance to trial it sufficiently, I will review the product.

    Acknowledgements: I would like to credit two people for the information in this article. Firstly, Karen Bowen. Karen is a Dermal Therapist and is Australia's leading supplier of DermaQuest. I spent over an hour talking to Karen, trying to extract as much information out of her brilliant mind as I could. The second person whom I'd like to credit is Colleen Shimamoto. Colleen is the head US educator for DermaQuest and gave us the most informative presentation. She said that she was going to go light on the science but I thought she packed a tonne of information into her 15 minute presentation. I now wish I could hear what going heavy on the science would be like. I think I would be in total nerd heaven! Unfortunately, I can't remember which pieces of information came from which brilliant lady. I have walked away from this launch with a head full of info but it is a blur where it came from. So, thank you ladies got teaching me so much at the launch.

    Had you heard of DermaQuest prior to today?

    All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with DermaQuest and received no remuneration for my comments. I was provided with a jar of the DermaQuest Stem Cell 3D Complex at the launch.

    *To find out how much active ingredient your product contains, have a look where it is listed on the product label. Ingredients ate listed in order of concentration so if the active ingredient is listed near the end, there is likely to be very little of it in the product at all.

    Monday, 15 August 2011

    Did you win a bottle of BIOeffect EGF Serum?

    Thanks everyone for entering my BIOeffect EGF Serum competition. I really appreciate you going to the effort of reading my scientific article and commenting.


    So, who won? Using random.org the first number drawn was:

    21: jadegrrrl

    Congratulations jadegrrrl, you have won a full sized bottle of BIOeffect EGF serum.

    There were also two runners up prizes of a sample sized bottle of the serum. The winners are:

    15: jasmine1485

    8: ling

    Congratulations everyone. I will now email the winners.