Monday, 22 April 2013

Priceline selling grey market fragrances

Today I was sent a press release from Priceline which included a gift guide for Mother's Day. Ordinarily, I quite like these press releases as it gives me some good ideas about what to write about. Amongst other beauty items, the press release contained four perfumes - from Lancome, Estee Lauder, Juicy Couture and Marc Jacobs. You might have seen my little rant yesterday about how I was pissed off that Priceline sold grey market Orly polishes. In light of this, I decided that I would contact the PR's from each of these brands to find out whether Priceline was an authorised stockist for the perfumes. This is what I found out from the PRs:

Priceline is NOT an authorised stockist of Lancome.

Priceline is NOT an authorised stockist of Estee Lauder.

Priceline is NOT an authorised stockist of Juicy Couture.

Priceline is NOT an authorised stockist of Marc Jacobs.

This means that Priceline are also selling fragrances sourced from the grey market.

What is so bad about grey market fragrances?

I have gone into the whole issue of grey market cosmetics in much more detail here, but basically grey market fragrances are fragrances sourced from a non-authorised seller. This means that the authenticity of the fragrance cannot be guaranteed. So, you might be buying a cheaply made fake perfume or a genuine perfume that has been diluted to make it go further, or a genuine perfume that has been sitting in a warehouse for the last 10 years. This is bad, not only for the consumer who might end up purchasing a fake perfume made with dodgy ingredients that could cause a reaction, but also for the brands. If someone buys a perfume that they believe is genuine and it smells terrible, or has really poor staying power (due to being diluted), or worse case scenario they have a severe reaction to the dodgy ingredients, then they will never buy that perfume again. They will also most likely complain to their friends, or complain online.

StrawberryNet are probably the most well know seller of grey market cosmetics. I don't think that any brand would authorise them to resell their stock. However, when you purchase from them most people do so knowing that they are taking a risk that they may end up with a sub-par product. The problem with Priceline selling grey market cosmetics and fragrances is that the majority of people would believe that they are buying genuine products from an authorised reseller. Now, I am not saying that Priceline are selling fakes. I don't know know whether the fragrances they sell are fake or genuine - but that there is the problem - I don't know if they are fake but then I also don't know if they are genuine as they have not been sourced from an authorised distributor.

I am not trying to bad mouth Priceline here as I have happily shopped there for years. However, I do believe that we have the right to know whether we are buying genuine stock or not. As long as you are educated and are happy to take the risk of buying grey market cosmetics and fragrances, then go for it. But, I would hate for people to end up disappointed with their purchases and not know why it was not as good as they were expecting. Not all the fragrances in the press release I was sent were cheap. One was selling for $140, which is a lot of money to spend on something that cannot be guaranteed to be genuine. Up until yesterday I had no idea that Priceline sold grey market sourced goods, so I suspect that many other people would be similarly blinded to this fact.

Anyway, I am not saying don't shop at Priceline. Just trying to educate. If you are looking to purchase genuine fragrances, your best bet is Myer and David Jones. Or, if you are in doubt, go to the website for the brand of fragrance you are purchasing and it will either provide a list of authorised stockists or a customer service number that you can call.

Has this changed your opinion of Priceline at all? What are your thoughts on the grey market? Do you prefer to steer clear and spend your hard earned cash on genuine products or do you prefer to hunt down a bargain?

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Why detoxes are a waste of your time and money

I repeatedly see people asking advice on forums as to which is the best detox to do. Whenever I see this question I want to scream at the person 'no, don't do it. It is a waste of your time and money'...but I don't. I don't want to cause a scene, or start a barrage of backlash from people claiming that it worked for them. Instead, I will present the facts and let you decide for yourself if it is worth doing.

Before I start, I just want to clarify that when I am referring to detox I mean the ones that you buy where you have to take a million various tablets a day and stick to a very restricted diet. If you are going to 'detox' by simply eating healthily then all power to you. That will most definitely do wonders for your body. These detox kits won't. They will produce results; however, the results will be temporary.

Why detoxes don't work

Firstly, the companies who are marketing the detoxes talk about removing toxins that have built up in the body. So, what are these toxins? They don't say. They remain vague and just leave you to let your imagination run wild. Do they mean chemicals, waste products from digestion, bacteria? I guess I imagined it as the waste products from digestion but it would be interesting to hear what other people perceive as the 'toxins' in their bodies.

I read an interesting article on British Beauty Blogger about how Veet gave Chinese women a problem they never had. Chinese women naturally have very little body hair so hair removal products have always been poor sellers. Therefore, Reckitt Benckiser (who own Veet) devised  a marketing campaign to convince Chinese that any body hair is unsightly and released ads equating hair free skin with health, confidence and "shining glory" (the full marketing concept can be read here). I feel that this is the same as what is happening in regards to detoxes. The marketers of the products have convinced us that our bodies are full of these so called 'toxins', from our unhealthy lifestyles, that need to be removed with a detox.

Toxins don't build up in your body. We have a liver and kidneys to filter out waste products. That is their job. If toxins were to build up in your system you would be incredibly sick, and most likely on dialysis. It would be a sign that you are in end stage kidney failure. You would not simply feel sluggish or have dull skin.

EDIT: one of my readers has correctly pointed out that there are certain cases where toxic chemicals can build up in your system. She gave the example she gave is a condition called MTHFR where the body lacks an enzyme making it unable to break down B vitamins. Another example is that some people are unable to break down iron and so it builds up in their livers. Also, exposure to heavy metals can lead to heavy metal poisoning. These are all very serious cases with serious implications (my reader had 5 miscarriages before her toxic condition was discovered), but are easily diagnosed with a simple blood test. If you suspect that toxic chemicals are building up in your body, don't go on a detox. Seek medical advice as you will most likely medical intervention to treat your problem.


The marketers will claim that you will lose weight after doing a detox. That is true. In fact, I  guarantee that you will lose weight. I also guarantee that you will put the weight straight back on.

Why do you lose weight? Two reasons: firstly, the the detox will likely have a laxative as one of the tablets that you have to take. Our intestines contain a few kilos of fecal matter, water and food in various stages of digestion. A laxative speeds that out of your system so, essentially, your intestine are empty. In addition, the detox will often be liquid based so you are not refilling the intestines with food to digest. This will also give you a nice flat stomach. However, the second you resume eating solids and quit taking laxatives your intestines will refill (as they are meant to) and hence, your weight will go up. Late last year, thanks to The Crazy Kid, I got a nasty case of gastro. I spent 12 hours being violently ill from both ends followed by another two days of being very fragile and unable to eat much at all. After three days of this I had the flattest stomach and looked like I had lost a tonne of weight (we don't have scales that work). I have to admit that I was a bit excited that I had finally shifted the last of the baby weight who was carrying. Well, my new post detox gastro body lasted all of a week. Thanks to the gastro, my intestines had been totally emptied of all of their contents giving me a flat stomach. As soon as I resumed normal eating, out popped the tummy and I realised that I hadn't actually lost any weight - well not any fat, anyway.

The second reason you lose weight is that the detoxes often put you on a low carb diet. When carbs are stored in you body to be used as energy at a later time, they are also store water with them. Therefore, when you go on the low carb diet, you will use up your stored carbs and release the water that is stored with them and, voila, more weight loss. You will probably notice that you need to urinate often whilst on the detox. This is partly due to the stored water being released. But, again, once you resume eating carbs your body will exactly what it is programmed to do and will store them to use as an energy source and when it does it will also store water with them; hence, the weight will come straight back. 

Another claim you will hear associated with detoxes is that it will make your skin glow. Again, I can pretty much guarantee this will happen but it isn't really due to the detox but more to the amount of fluid you consume. You will often have to drink litres of fluids whilst on a detox and that is always going to do wonders for your skin. The best my skin has ever looked was just after having The Crazy Kid. In hospital, the nurses were forcing me to drink a 500ml bottle every hour or so and when I got home I just continued doing this. My skin looked amazing. It glowed like it never had before and was so plumped out and fresh looking. When I had Kiki I wasn't as diligent at drinking so much water and I never ended up having the same amazing glowing skin. 

Another claim marketing angle often used with detoxes is to give your liver/kidneys a break from processing toxins. This is ridiculous. You would never say to yourself, I must lie in bed for 3 days and avoid exercising to give my heart a break from pumping; or, go on oxygen to give your lungs a break. Obviously, if you are abusing your body by consuming excess alcohol or other poisons then yes you should cut back but the detox kits are unnecessary.

You won't do yourself any harm being on a detox (as long as you are not on it long term), and I guess if you want a flat stomach quickly for a special event it is a way to do it; however, you have to be aware that you will be cranky as all hell as you would not have been consuming enough kilojules; you will most likely be headachy and you probably won't be feeling great at all. Plus, in a few days time you will go straight back to how you were before the detox. I guess you have to weight up whether it is worth it (if you are planning on doing this before your wedding then I would STRONGLY advise against it - your wedding will be the happiest day of your life but also one of the most full on days and you need to have a good energy reserve to get through it. The last thing that you want on your wedding day is to have a rip roaring head ache or be woozy due to lack of energy). 

If you feel you need to ‘detox’ then, rather than spend your money on one of these kits, you are better off eating as clean as possible. Eat foods as close to their natural state as possible and rather than do this for a couple of days make it part of your life style (easy for me to say whilst I munch on an Easter Egg as I type this!).

The majority of the info in this article I learnt at uni. I did try searching the internet for facts to back up what I was saying and was bombarded with website after website offering dodgy detox ‘facts’. A few sites claim that there is such thing as ‘mucoid plaques’ which are faecal deposits on the linings of the intestines that could be from food you ate years and years ago. They claim that if you do their detox you will release these plaques into the toilet (they provide pictures that are quite disgusting – long snakes of poo). There is no such thing as a mucoid plaque. The long poo snakes come from the bulking agents, such as psyllium husks, in the detox. It is very tough navigating the internet to find trust worthy information that.

What are your thoughts on detoxes? Worth the pain and discomfort or a load of crap?

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Need some pampering? Win a 60 minute facial of your choice at SpaQ QT Hotel

The other day, I experienced what was perhaps the most amazing facial that I have ever had, at SpaQ QT Sydney. I am pretty sure that I floated out of the spa! If you missed my review then you can check it out here.

I have some great news! Thanks to SpaQ QT one lucky reader will win a 60 minute facial of their choice at the SpaQ at either the Sydney, Gold Coast or Port Douglas QT Hotels. You can check out the various facials they offer here and start day dreaming about which one you would choose. Will you keep the facial for yourself or give it to Mum for Mothers Day? (Sorry Mum, but I would keep it for myself!).

For this giveaway I have decided to use Rafflecopter to make it a bit easier ( I hope). There are six different ways in which you can enter (and you can enter as many or a few ways as you like), plus you can tweet about the giveaway each day to gain bonus entries.

The giveaway will run until midnight AEST on 21/4/13. The giveaway is open to anyone but you have to be able to make it to the SpaQ in either Sydney, Gold Coast or Port Douglas. The winner will be randomly drawn.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 8 April 2013

Jen D'Arcy's Archibald Prize portrait of Julia Morris painted using only OPI lacquers

As a brand, OPI seems to me like it has a good sense of humour: the colour names are usually amusing, the colour range is extensive and pushes the limit and stars are lining up to collaborate and create their own lines. It is a fun brand. So, it was perfectly fitting that artist Jen D'Arcy would choose OPI as her paint medium to do a portrait of comedian Julia Morris. Jen D'Arcy consumed over 1071 bottles of OPI (16 litres of nail lacquer), painting directly from individual OPI bottles, to complete the portrait. OPI offers over 300 different shades, so there was never a concern in terms of providing the right colour palettes.

Commenting on behalf of OPI, Bill McKendrick Managing Director of OPI Australia said “We were thrilled to be part of such as quirky, creative and innovative project. OPI is all about colour, being creative and innovative, so this project spoke volumes in terms of what OPI offers as a brand.”

Obviously, as a comedian, Julia Morris has a wonderful sense of humour. “I am a massive fan of Jen D’Arcy's. work, so when she approached me with her genius idea of using nail lacquer to paint my portrait, it really appealed to my sense of humour. In fact, as young people would say; it made me LOL!"

When I head about the idea of this portrait I imagined it to be quite small, but it is massive - larger than life size. No wonder it took over 1071 bottles of OPI (16 litres of nail lacquer) to complete.

If you have ever wondered why OPI needed so many different shades of red, you now have your answer!

It is phenomenal to think that Jen D'Arcy painted the entire artwork directly from the bottle using the OPI brushes. I guess, if she made a mistake then a dab of nail polish remover would fix it right up! 

The finished product

FYI: The Archibald Prize is one of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious art prizes. It’s awarded to the best portrait painting, preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics. The Archibald Prize was first awarded in 1921. In establishing the prize, JF Archibald’s aim was to foster portraiture as well as support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians. Over the years some of Australia’s most prominent artists have entered and the subjects have been equally celebrated in their fields. The Archibald Prize winner will be announced: 22 March 2013, whilst the People’s Choice winner will be announced on 16th May 2013. The Archibald Prize 2013 exhibition will be shown from 23rd March until 2nd June 2013.

Sunday, 7 April 2013


I was invited to try a freshly picked treatment of my choice at SpaQ at the QT Hotel in Sydney. I'm a sucker for facials so thought that the choice would be easy...until I studied their extensive treatment menu. I was tossing up between their Signature Caviar Facial (because it intrigued me); a Mastery Massage (as I have been having issues with my back thanks to lugging The Crazy Kid and Kiki around); or the Coffee and Sea Kelp Contour Wrap (mostly because I have never had a wrap before and would love to try it but also because the skin on my stomach is still loose from pregnancy so I'd love to firm it up). I finally decided to go with their signature caviar facial (told you I was a sucker for facials!). Now, the only reason I chose the caviar facial was because it sounded so unique and I wanted to review an experience that you couldn't get at another salon. I imagined them pouring a jar of caviar on my face and popping the little pearls - I was partially intrigued and partially concerned that I would walk out smelling all fishy. I needn't have worried, though, as I was advised that the caviar facial is for mature skin types and that the Advance Repair Correcting Facial would be more suitable for my skin concerns. I decided to heed the expert advice and went with this facial. Also, in case you are wondering whether you do have a jar of caviar poured on your face during the caviar facial - it turns out you don't. The facial is actually performed using Kerstin Florian products that are infused with caviar!

When you have a treatment at SpaQ you are entitled to use their Turkish Hammam inspired steam room prior to your treatment. It is advised that you arrive 45 minutes before your scheduled treatment to take advantage of it. I highly recommend that you do as I left the steam room feeling so deeply relaxed, it felt as if my muscles had liquefied  It is a unisex steam room so make sure that you take your swimmers along. It gets very warm in there but it never got unbearably hot (like it can in a sauna). The steam becomes so thick that can't see in front of you and I did find it a little hard to breathe - the high humidity made me want to cough. However, it was never bad enough that I wanted to get out. Within minutes, water was dripping off me. I thought it might have been sweat dripping off so I licked my arm to check (as you do!) and it wasn't salty, so water it was! Another lady joined me in there after I had been in there for about 15 minutes and we then spent the next 30 minutes nattering away and the time just flew. You can see in the photo below what the steam room looks like. I would like to pretend that this is me in the photo, but in reality my boobs now point south and my tummy would need a lot of photoshopping (or sit ups, but that ain't going to happen!) to look like that. 

I couldn't take photos due to the steam so got this image from their
 Facebook Page

When it was time for our treatments we were collected from the steam room and led to cosy waiting room where we were offered water or herbal tea. Minutes later my therapist arrived to take me up to my treatment room. You can see just how comfortable the treatment rooms are.

Another photo from their Facebook Page

Now, I am going to try and describe the facial as best as I can but I have a feeling that I lost consciousness during the procedure. I could feel myself drifting away but was sure that I stayed awake the whole time. That was until I tried to go through in my head everything that occurred in preparation for writing this review. There are a few black spots in my memory so I must have drifted off. Whilst the mask was on I was told there would be an intensive scalp massage but I just can't recollect it at all. Yet, my hair was a mess and there was product all through my hair, so clearly it did happen I just bloody well slept through it. I hope I didn't talk in my sleep, or snore, or fart....! I think I was just already so damn relaxed from the steam room that it wasn't going to take much at all to send me to the land of the nods!

I originally requested the caviar facial as I wanted a unique experience. Then, when I found out that I wasn't going to be having the caviar facial, I expected that it would be your stock standard facial. I can't tell you how wrong I was. Although this facial followed the usual steps of cleanse, exfoliate, mask then moisturise, massage and acupressure played a major part of the process. This took the facial to a whole other level. Not only was my skin being treated, I was being pampered and nurtured. Once it was over, I honestly don't think that I have ever felt so relaxed in my whole life. It felt like I floated out of the salon! This is how SpaQ describe the Advance Repair Correcting Facial

Age really is just a number. This 21st century treatment leaves you looking eternally fresh faced whatever your age. It is customised to your skin, whether your focus is hyperpigmentation, congestion, fine lines or premature ageing. Intense multi acid or enzymatic peeling renews the skin on the face, neck, décolleté and hands, while hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and glycolic acid, brightens the skin’s surface. Relaxation comes in the form of a circulation boosting massage and a balancing nourishing mask, which delivers skin back to its former glory.

The therapist put some lavender oil on her hands and held them over my face and asked me to inhale deeply three times. Once I had done that she ran her hands over my chest, up my neck and cheeks before massaging my temples then she ran her hands through my hair. The facial then started, as all facials do, with a cleanse. I think I might have had two cleanses, a cream cleanse followed by a foam cleanse. As mentioned above, the products weren't simply applied to the face but they were massaged in and the massage was quite firm, but heavenly. The facial covered my chest and face (of course!) and after each step a hot towel was placed on my chest then it was wrapped around my face and the product was wiped off. The therapist then rolled up the towel and pulled it across my neck in a kind of sawing motion. This is a terrible description but I can think how else to describe it but damn it felt good. I have just gotten all tingly thinking about it!

Next I had an enzyme peel. I was warned that this step does tingle and was told that if it becomes unbearable to let her know and she would remove it for me. It did seriously tingle/sting but was never unbearable. Once the enzyme was on, my therapist asked where it was tingling most (interestingly, it was my eyebrows) and brushed over that area with the brush she used to apply the enzyme. The brushing action soothed the stinging sensation and was what stopped it from becoming unbearable. She continued brushing all over my face until it was time to remove the enzyme with the hot towel. 

Here is where things start to get a little bit hazy in my memory and where I suspect that I fell asleep. I remember having the most divine facial massage but can't remember if this was done with the mask or with oils. What I think happened was a clay mask was applied and this was allowed to dry on my face and whilst it was drying I had the intense scalp massage. Whilst I can't remember the scalp massage I do remember having my hands and arms massaged as well and that was seriously relaxing. I think the clay mask was then removed with the hot towel and then my face was massaged with oil. It was a very firm massage and one that they a famous for. It is the massage that is key to the youthful appearance you are left with afterwards. Every single drop of tension is firmly massaged out of your face until you are left pretty much slack jawed you are in such a relaxed state.

The final step of the facial was the application of moisturiser. Then an eye-pack was placed across my eyes and slippers were put on my feet for me. I can't tell you how nice it feels to have someone put slippers on your feet for you! 

The final result was that I was left in such an intense state of relaxation it felt like I was floating. I literally have never felt like that before. I kind of wished I was staying at the hotel (QT Sydney) so that I could have gone back to my room, sunggled under the doona and slept for a few hours. Actually, over the Easter long weekend, the spa was open for 24 hours each day so you could have had a late night treatment then gone straight to bed to have, what I would assume would be the greatest sleep of your life.

SpaQ can be found on level M of the QT Sydney hotel. The hotel is located at 49 Market St, Sydney. It can be a little tricky to spot as it is just a little entrance way right next to the State Theatre. I had a little panic when I was walking up Market street as I couldn't see the hotel anywhere and suddenly thought that maybe I was meant to be elsewhere in the city but then saw the funky QT logo hanging from the roof and new I was in the right place.

As soon as you enter the entrance way to the hotel the decor is pure class. I know a spa shouldn't be judged on the hallway you walk down, but that is exactly what I did and I knew that I was going to be in for a wonderful treat.

After my treatment, I was shown the Kerstin Florian products that were used on me and had the opportunity to buy them (though no pressure was placed on me to do so). The sell the enzyme peel on pre-soaked pads that can be used at home. I would have been quite tempted by those but unfortunately they were sold out.

I will definitely return to SpaQ for another treatment, I loved my facial so much. Next time I think that I will give the Coffee and Sea Kelp Contour Wrap a go. I would have put a request to get this for Mothers Day but will actually be in Thailand at that time so I guess I will just have to wait until my birthday. Hubby and I haven't had a weekend away from the kids so perhaps this will be the perfect opportunity - not only could we get a treatment but then follow it up with a glorious full nights sleep!

There are three QT Hotels, each with their own SpaQ - Sydney, Gold Coast and Port Douglas.

What has been your best facial experience and what made it so special?

All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. This treatment was provided for consideration.

How To Repair Sun Damaged Skin

I have another guest post for you today. This one comes from Selina from Beautystorm. Beautystorm are proudly the cheapest stockists of Dermalogica products in Australia and provide online skin consultations with their in house Skincare Therapists. Selina will be giving us advice on how to repair sun damaged skin. Whilst we are blessed to be living in such a sun drenched country, here in Australia, as a consequence the majority of us will have sun damaged skin. Here are Selina's tips to repair some of the damage:

The severe, Australian suncauses a multitude of cases of serious skin damage every year. However, there are ways, to repair rough, dry, wrinkled skin that may also suffer from redness and brown spots.

The very first step to reverse some of that skin damage is some gentle cleansing. Never wash the face with an ordinary bar of soap. This will make the situation worse and cause severe dry skin.

In order to wash the sun-damaged skin effectively without causing further injury, use a gentle exfoliating facial cleanser. This will remove, not only dirt and oil, but also the top layer of dead skin cells, providing a nice glow. This will reveal fresh skin cells ready for treatment.

After cleansing the skin, follow with a mud mask or a facial mask made specifically for skin that’s been damaged by the sun. The purpose of a mask is to draw out impurities in the skin while adding key ingredients like moisturisers and minerals back into the skin.

After gently rinsing the purifying mask, a lotion, cream or serum containing key ingredients should be applied to the skin. The difference between the three is that a lotion is best for daytime use, worn under makeup or for those prone to breakouts. Creams are considered heavier and best used at night or for those with dry skin. Serums are usually highly concentrated formulas that can be used day or night, but a little goes a long way. Those with the most severe sun damaged skin should use them.

Any formulation, whether it is a lotion, cream or serum will work best if it contains a retinoid, CoQ10, vitamin C or collagen. Those with sensitive skin should stay away from high concentrations of both vitamin C or a retinoid. They may see better results with a collagen-based cream, serum or lotion.

What are all these formulations? A retinoid is actually a form of vitamin A. It prompts the skin cells to turn over rapidly, revealing fresh new cells. Vitamin C helps boost the production of something already in the body: collagen. Using synthetic collagen helps the body use more of what it needs for nice, firm, elastic skin. CoQ10 prevents oxidation of the cells, which leads to free radicals, which is toxic to our skin.

To supplement these steps to repair sun-damaged skin from the inside out should be a diet loaded with antioxidants from fruits and vegetables and full hydration with water to also help reverse the sun damage.
For more information on how to repair sun damaged skin and beauty products online, visit

Thanks Selina, the only thing that I would add to this article is to get your hands on either a serum or mask that contains hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid can attract 100 times it weight in water. It is a humectant - this means it draws and retains moisture. So, when it used in a mask or serum it draws moisture to your skin. Dermalogica actually have one of the best hyaluronic serums on the market in their Skin Hydration Booster. A product like this will produce instant hydration but needs to be used regularly to maintain this hydration.

Monday, 1 April 2013

WIN: Aphelia Cosmetology Skincare Pack

I have now brought you three reviews of the Aphelia Cosmetology acne products from three different guest reviewers. Here is: Andrea's review (age 33)Jenny's review (age 20) and Nalini's review (age 30).

The Aphelia Cosmetology herbal skincare range is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Rather than rely on one 'hero herb' in an otherwise basic formulation, Aphelia Cosmetology uses a precise prescription of herbs to create a formulation that heals and nurtures your skin.
The acne range from Aphelia Cosmetology is truly unique - it is the world’s only acne solution with no Benzoyl Peroxide & Salicylic Acid that has been proven with independent in vitro (this means in a petri dish or in a test tube) tests to inhibit acne bacterium for 6 hours at 99.96% (I have a copy of these studies which I will go through in more detail in another post). This means that the acne range from Aphelia Cosmetology won't produce the side effects that Benzoyl Peroxide & Salicylic Acid may cause such as drying and irritating you skin.

If you think that this might be something that you would like to try then you are in luck - I have a pack of the Aphelia Cosmetology skincare to give away.

What your pack will include: Oasis Acne Solution, Classic Skin Purifier Cleansing Beauty Oil and the Master Cleanse.

To win, all you have to do is follow me by either GFC, Facebook or email and then comment with the answer the following question:

What is your worst pimple/acne experience?

The winner will be drawn randomly (so don't worry if your story isn't too horrific!).

Want to hear mine? It happened when I was about 14 and is a classic why you should not squeeze pimples story. I woke up one Saturday with a smallish pimple right on the tip of my nose. I had a party to go to later that night so wanted it gone. It had a white head on it so I thought that I could squeeze it but when I did nothing came out. So, I tried again. Still nothing. So I popped it with a pin. A little bit of gunk came out but it still looked like more was there but it just wasn't coming so I gave up and put some toner on it (that seemed the right thing to do in my 14 year old wisdom). Clearly it wasn't. An hour later it had tripled in size and was now yellow, so clearly infected. So, of course I squeezed it again but only water pus came out. For the rest of the day, each time it was allowed it scab over, within minutes it would be full of yellow pus again. It was hideous and now the surrounding skin was also bright red and swollen. In fact, it was so swollen the tip of my nose was now in my line of vision which just further irritated me and reminded me it was there. I spent the entire day putting a dab of every product I own on it every 5 minutes. In hindsight, none of these products were antiseptics so were never going to clear the infection - I think they just further inflamed it. By the time time the party rocked around, I had managed to get rid of the yellow infection but now had a rather large scab on the end of my nose plus my entire nose was very much Rudolf like. To say that it was noticeable is an understatement. The redness was actually so bad that my nose looked sunburned; however, it was the middle of winter so that was not possible. I remember people asking what happened to my nose at the party. For some reason, I recall being really embarrassed to admit that I had a pimple so made some lie up about hurting my nose. I have no idea why I was so embarrassed to have a pimple since, as the party was full of 14 year olds, I would say that every single person there would have had one on their face at that time! As a 32 year old looking back at my 14 year old self, I no longer feel that situation was embarrassing and am surprised how strongly I felt shame about that pimple. Teenagers are a funny species - one that we will never fully understand, even having had once been one!

Anyway, this competition will run until 8.00pm (AEST)on Sunday April 14th and the winner will be contacted by email. I have two methods of commenting below - if you use Intense Debate (the bottom comment section) there is no need to provide an email address as it gets sent to me with your comment. However, if you comment with Nuffnang X Conversations can you please leave your email address so I can contact you. This competition is open Australia Wide. 

Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Acne Series: Guest Review 3 of Aphelia Cosmetology

I was lucky enough to get three acne skincare packs from Aphelia Cosmetology for guest reviewers with acne to trial for me. I think that this is important because the treatment of acne is such a personalised journey that it is good to hear about the results of the skincare from a variety of people.

In the third review of this series, Nalini from The Made Up Maiden has reviewed this acne set for me. Nalini is 30 and has troublesome skin. She has tried many products to fix it without a lot of luck.

Here is Nalini's review:

I've always thought the journey to clear skin can be quite a complicated one. There are just so many things that affect the condition of your skin; genetics, skincare, diet, hormones, weather, stress...the list is endless.

In my case, both parents had acne when they were younger, and I had hopes that my acne would fade once I left my teens. My skin isn't completely horrendous, but I do have some minimal scarring on my cheeks (which goes away after a little while), and the odd large pimple on my chin during those hormonal times, which goes away after a while but is still really frustrating when it happens! I'm 30 years old, so it looks like these problems are here to stay. I have contemplated taking hormonal pills or medication aimed at reducing acne, but decided that the possible side effects haven't really been worth the benefit.

As a result, I was really keen to explore the Aphelia Cosmetology range and see if it lives up to the promise of helping with acne troubled skin. I would classify my skin as combination, the t-zone gets a little oily towards midday, while the rest of my skin is pretty much classified as 'normal'. I received the following items.

Master Cleanse Deep Cleanse Fluid:

This was the foaming cleanser that I used morning and night. It's packaged in a slimline silver tube that you pump to get the cleanser out. Like all foaming cleansers, you only need a tiny amount for your entire face. All you need to do is dispense into wet hands, rub together, and gently apply in circular motions. I felt that it was quite good at cleaning my face and my skin didn't feel dry or tight afterwards. It's also unscented, which is good because certain scents can really put me off using a product.

Classic Skin Purifier Cleansing Oil:

This is the cleansing oil that is packaged with the treatment essence. I didn't mind this product too much, it's basically unscented and you apply it by dispensing a couple of pumps into your hands, apply all over your face, then damped your hands and massage to emulsify. I felt that this did a fair job of cleansing my makeup off, but I did feel that it didn't quite work as well as my much beloved Shu Uemura cleansing oil. I ordinarily double cleanse at night, once using the cleansing oil, and then follow up using the deep cleanse foaming fluid. Using this left my skin feeling quite supple and clean. What I liked most about this is it's packaged in a clear tube, which is very handy at estimating how much you have left before you need to repurchase.

Acne treatment 12+5 essence:

This is basically the star item in the range, as it's supposed to target the blemishes. I was initially a little put off by this. It's packaged in a pump-action, slimline tube, with the essence being a yellow, clear liquid with a very strong scent. I'm hard pressed to define it but I would say that it's quite herbal. It does fade a little while after application but it did take me a while to get accustomed to the scent. You're supposed to put this on after you've cleansed and dried your face, concentrating on blemishes before spreading the remaining product over the rest of your face.

Overall, I must say that I did notice a change in my skin. It's much clearer than it used to be and I don't get breakouts as often as I did. However, as I mentioned in my introduction, there are many factors that could have contributed to this, so I'm not really sure if it's because of regular use of these products.

I do like the range though and I would probably repurchase the deep cleanse fluid and the essence, the only downside is I find the essence a little expensive at $49 a bottle. It does come packaged in a set with the cleansing oil, which retails at $49.95 (making it much more affordable to get the set), but I happen to like the foaming cleanser more than I like the oil. This leads to me to believe that paying $49 for just the essence alone isn't quite justified.

Thanks for your detailed review, Nalini.

If you missed the two other reviews in this series, you can find them here and here.

If you would like to try Aphelia Cosmetology to see if it can fix your acne then you are in luck. I am giving away an entire set of the products that you have seen reviewed here. I will have the link to that giveaway up this afternoon.

What has been your acne Holy Grail products?

All opinions are my own or Nalini's own and we received no remuneration for this post. The products were provided to Nalini for her consideration.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Get Pampered at Gallo Hair

Gallo Hair, East Sydney (image source)

It has been about 18 months since I last had a haircut. Way. Too. Long. Though, it has been pretty cool having long hair, for once, as I usually keep it quite short. When I was a povo student I used to get my hair cut once or twice a year. I would grow it and grow it then one day snap and get it all chopped off. Once I started working full time, I decided it was time to get regular haircuts and actually maintain a hair style. The look that I was going for was the curly pob (below is my favourite photo of this haircut as well as a cute pic of The Crazy Kid at 3 weeks of age). For three years I got my hair cut every 8-10 weeks and it was in the best condition ever. And then I had kids...

After The Crazy Kid came along I dropped back to twice yearly haircuts, then when Kiki joined our family I gave up getting my haircut.

Just before Christmas, I was invited to experience a treatment and blow dry and treatment at Gallo Hair in East Sydney and I snapped up the opportunity. Gallo Hair is situated in a renovated town house on the trendy Crown Street in East Sydney. I nearly missed it walking past. Once you are inside, it is such a stunning and classy looking salon. Unlike one that I have been in before. It is ultra modern with plenty of glass and mirrors and they had gorgeous touch of vases of fresh flowers everywhere. Unfortunately I was too shy to take any photos once I was inside. There were other clients there and I just felt weir taking happy snaps so I have lifted a couple from the internet so that you can see what I am talking about.

Gallo Hair from the outside. Apologies for the dodgy photo - it was bright and I
got some serious reflection.

The ultra modern interior Image source

Upon arrival, I was offered a glass of bubbly but Kiki was still on the boob so I declined and went with water instead.

Before my treatment and blow dry 

My hair was washed and then I discussed with my hair dresser which treatment would be best for my hair. I confessed that it had been well over a year since I last got my haircut so she suggested a protein treatment to repair damage. My hair was washed then the treatment applied and whilst it was on I had the most heavenly 10 minute head massage ever. I'm pretty sure that I lost consciousness there for a moment!

After the treatment it was time for the blow dry. I was dying to find out just how long my hair was. Having curly hair, you loose about 1/3 of the length to curl and bounce. Another thing I was looking forward to was having swishy hair. Curly hair doesn't swish so it is such a novelty having straight hair that you can swish!

I was stoked with the results. My hair looked fantastic. It looked so healthy, even though it hadn't been cut in so long. The effects of the treatment lasted for a good few weeks. I noticed my curls were neater and more well defined, and my hair felt soft and had lost the dryness it had prior to the treatment. I had a wedding later that day and the bride actually commented to me how good my hair looked (she had never seen me with straight hair so it was a big change!).

Gallo Hair has been around for 10 years and is highly respected both in Sydney and Australia wide. The salon has created looks for Channel 7 News and A Current Affairs shows for the likes of Samantha Armytage, Chris Bath, Monique Wright & Talitha Cummins plus many more at 7. Other celebrity clients include Jacki Weaver, Catherine Martin & Baz Lurhman.

Gallo Hair is located at 132 Crown St East Sydney.

Do you get regular haircuts or can years pass between snips? How good are head massages! Are they your favourite part of the hairdresser experience?

All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. This service was provided for consideration.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Urban Spa Urban Indulgence

I love going to the spa. Honestly, who doesn't. These days, unfortunately, my spa trips are few and far between. I blame the damn kids for that one! So, as you can imagine, I was pretty damn excited when the in-laws presented me with an Urban Spa voucher for the Urban Indulgence package: one hour hot stone Lomi Lomi massage followed by a Heavenly Spa Facial - two hours on indulgent bliss, for Christmas.

I had never had a hot stone massage before so was very much looking forward to this, if nothing else out of curiosity about what is involved. Whenever you see pictures advertising a hot stone massage, the beautiful model always has a bunch of largish stones on her back so I wasn't sure whether it was more an acupressure experience where they left the stones strategically placed on the back to work their magic or whether it was an actual massage.  Turns out that it is an actual massage. I requested a firm massage as my back has really been giving me issues. Carrying 15kgs of Crazy Kid or 9kgs of Kiki (or 26kgs of double babies) really isn't too good for the back so it had been causing me problems for a couple of months. My therapist (the lovely Kristy) gave me an expertly firm massage and used a small, smooth hot stone, along with her hands, to perform the massage. It was quite a unique experience as one minute I could sense that she was using her hands to do the massage then then next I'd get a sweep of hotness as the stone was run over me. It really was a delightful sensory experience. As my back was a problem area, Kristy spent 30 minutes just on that then the other 30 minutes was spent on the rest of my body. I could feel myself drifting in and out of consciousness throughout the massage. One really special thing about this massage was that the massage table was heated. Such a small touch, but one that was greatly appreciated (although it was a great contributor to my lack of consciousness!).

All too soon, the massage was over and it was time for the facial. I actually requested to get my brows waxed whilst I was there as I take no care of them at all so it's nice to have them looking neat, for once!

Kristy asked what my skin concerns were. I usually have fairly decent skin but recently I have been super slack in taking care of it as I have just been too damn tired. I was expecting it to be a little congested (actually, I knew it was - I have a bountiful blackhead farm on my nose!) and possibly a little dehydrated. Kristy then looked at closely with a special light and came to the same conclusions as me. There was a lot of congestion on the nose, forehead and chin, with above average oil flow in these areas and the cheeks and eye areas were dehydrated. She then devised a personalised facial to tackle these issues. The facial consisted of a cleanse, exfoliation, deep cleanse/pore treatment, oxygen plumping and a personalised mask. For the exfoliation, a masked was applied then buffed off with a brush that felt absolutely a hairy animal was gently crawling over my face. This brush didn't oscillate as fast as the Clarisonic does and I actually found myself preferring the slower speed. This brush was used after every step and it was such a delightful inclusion in facial.

Whilst the exfoliating mask was on, I was able to choose between having a 5 minute scalp, hand or foot massage - I went with scalp massage and it was divine...I could have laid there all day having my scalp massaged! For the personalised mask, I had a rose mask to rehydrate my skin. Again, while that was on I got another massage, this time of my neck and shoulders. Heaven!

The two hours of pampering left me feeling so blissed out, almost like I was walking on air. My skin was plump and clear, and a week on it is still looking hydrated. My mother-in-law looked after The Crazy Kid and Kiki whilst I was pampered and I have to confess that I didn't really want to go back to them once I was finished. I wanted to go home to sleep and embrace my blissed out state for a bit longer!

It was the little things that put this treatment above treatments that I have had in the past. I love that my therapist didn't leave the room whilst my masks were on but instead added some extra pampering with the massages. I hate it when the therapist walks outs and leaves me whilst a mask is on...makes me feel a little ripped off, so the massages were very much appreciated. I loved the heated massage table. It kept me nice and toasty during the treatments and added to my relaxation. And I loved the brush used after every step in the facial.

This was definitely one of the better spa experiences I have had and one that left me feeling so relaxed afterwards. A week on I still have no pain in my back and my skin still looks beautifully hydrated (although the blackhead farm is already producing another crop ready for harvest!). If you or anyone you know needs some serious pampering, I'd definitely recommend the Urban Indulgence package.

I went to the salon in Avalon; however, there are spas all over the place. Have a look here to find one near you.

What has been your best spa experience? Have you ever had a terrible experience at a spa?

All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. This package was a Christmas gift from the in-laws.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Winners of the Burt's Bees Giveaway

Apologies that it has taken me so long to get around to drawing this comp. We have been having a really rough time getting The Crazy Kid to bed of an evening. It's taking me a minimum of 30 minutes, sometimes more than an hour to get him down. I am not allowed to the leave the room  until he is asleep otherwise he screams the house. Hubby is not allowed to put him to bed otherwise he screams the house down. He will then wake up throughout the night and notice that I am not in his room any more and scream the house down so just about every night I end up sleeping in his bed with him. It is driving us crazy and we are at a loss what to do. He was always such an awesome sleeper, would pretty much put himself to bed then not make a sound all night. Now bedtimes are a total nightmare. As cool as his car bed is, I would still prefer to wake up beside my husband in my own bed and not next to my 3 year old in his car bed. He started preschool this year so we suspect that is behind his issues, we just don't know how to fix them. Any tips would be very much welcome.

Anyway, back to the real reason for this post - to draw the winners of my Burt's Bees comp. Thank you so much for your support in this giveaway. I got a massive 117 entries which I was stoked about. Lets start with the winner of the Sweet Kisses giftpack.

The winner is Alicia (aliciaraul)!

Now to the Treats for your Sweet gift pack:

And the winner is Kate (katwasmi)!

I will now contact the winners.

Just a heads up that I will be overseas for most of May and don't see me preparing any scheduled posts so I am going to put a massive giveaway instead. I hope you pop by regularly but if not, at least make sure that you stop by in May!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Winner of the $50 Groupon gift voucher

A huge thank you to everyone for entering my giveaway of a $50 Groupon Voucher. I ended up with a massive 86 entries.

The 31st entry was from Michelle Gray. Congrats!

Michelle, I will be contacting you via email and Twitter.

Don't worry if you didn't win this giveaway, I am just about to draw the Burt's Bees comp and then I will be hosting another giveaway tomorrow so please come back and check it out ( is for a $100 voucher somewhere awesome!).

Monday, 4 March 2013

OPI Euro Centrale: You're Such a BudaPest swatch

Another swatch - this one is from OPI's Euro Centrale range. This range is super varied and there is a colour in it to suit everyone. When I get my butt into gear I will do a post showcasing the whole range, but for now here is You're Such a BudaPest.

I would say this is a blue but The Crazy Kid insists that it is a purple. Either way, the formulation is beautiful. You can just about get away with one coat though there is the tiniest amount of streakiness. Two coats and it is perfection.

So, who is right - me or The Crazy Kid? Is this a blue or a purple?

All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. This polish was provided for consideration.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

OPI Modern Family She's Lily Something

Here is the next swatch I have for you from the Nicole by OPI Modern Family Collection - She's Lily Something. This is described by OPI as a fantasy land filled with glittery pick, confetti and stars.

Ordinarily, I would say that OPI are the glitter pro's. Their formulations are usually flawless. However, I had issues with this one. All of my stars sunk to the bottom of the bottle and it took ages to shake them back into the formulation and, even then, it was very difficult to pick them up with the brush. I initially did one thin top coat on each nail and half of my nails did not end up with even a single star on them. I then went back and did a second coat and this time made an effort to keep dipping the brush back in the bottle until it pick up a star. I then had to dab the polish on kind of thickly to get the stars to stay.

The final look is quite effective and funky but I am not sure if it is worth the effort. I love the random stars and the glitter is awesome. It is very fine and a mixture of pink and hologram. There is plenty of it and it gives the nail a reflective sheen.

 I did have one other issue with the stars. The corners of the stars lifted up easily which made the nails kind of sharp and scratchy. Maybe I should have applied another top coat over them to really seal them in. As cool as the stars look once applied, I don't think that they were worth all the effort.

The below swatches of She's Lily Something have been applied over butter LONDON Molly-coddled (swatched here).

If you missed my swatch of Luke of the Draw from the same collection here it is.

What are your thoughts on the stars - worth the effort or give it a miss?

All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. She's Lily Something was provided for consideration.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Butter London Molly Coddled Swatch - a cure for my end of Summer blues

The First of March is my most hated day of the year. Every year, without fail, I feel a little bit depressed on the First of March. I absolutely love summer. I love the hot weather, the skimpy clothes, the summer fruits and the party seasons. I only have good memories of summer - Christmas time, six weeks holidays when in school then three months off whilst at uni. In my eyes, there is not one bad thing about summer. That is why I hate the First of March. Yes, it is still hot. Yes, my summer fruits are still in season and I can still wear my skimpy clothes, but, in my mind, it means that winter is near. The weather is only going to get colder and my favourite time of the year is official over.

In an attempt to lift my end of Summer blues I decided to give myself a bright, cheerful manicure. The colour I choose was a luscious purple cream from butter LONDON called Molly-Coddled. It was just about opaque after one coat, just ever so slightly streaky. Two coats, completely opaque and streak free.

If you haven't previously heard of butter LONDON, it is a nail polish brand with a massive range of high fashion colours and it's products are formulated without the use of the harmful ingredients like Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP or Parabens. butter LONDON was the first company to sell 3 Free nail lacquer in the United States. Formaldehyde is one of the biggest nasties that I make a real effort to avoid. I did my PhD in Forensics and spent a lot of time watching autopsies. Once the body parts have been harvested, they are stored in Formaldehyde to be preserved. The Formaldehyde alters the proteins in the tissue to stop them breaking down - fine for the dead, not something I want to use whilst I am alive. It is nasty, nasty stuff.

(apologies for this photo - it looked in focus
on my phone. I have put a glitter top coat on so
can't re-photograph)

butter LONDON polishes can be purchased from Beautiful Life Industries for $20.00 with free delivery. Below is a sample of some of the other colours in their range.

Have you tried butter LONDON before? Are you a summer lover or a winter fan?

All opinions are my own and I received no remuneration for this post. Molly-coddled was provided for consideration.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Do you know you're shit from your shit?

I started reading beauty blogs rather than magazines because I loved their honesty. With magazines, I was always a little suspicious that the review wasn't true, that it was more an advertorial than an honest article. Blogs seemed more honest - I never distrusted the review. Plus they went into so much more depth than magazines ever did. I think that the day I discovered beauty blogs was probably also the day my magazine addiction came to an end.

BUT, there is one issue that I do have with blogs and that is editing, or grammar to be more precise. Now, don't get me wrong, it is not all blogs that I have this issue with. In fact, the majority of blogs I do read are very well written. But, I still come across a few that don't know the difference between your & you're; where, we're & were; and their, there & they're and this is a massive pet hate of mine. The odd typo doesn't bother me. We all make them. I know I do as I usually only proof read once but repeatedly writing there instead of their or where instead of were drives me mental. I just want to bust out a red pen and edit the post.

The carton below, which is floating around Facebook at the moment, was my inspiration for writing this post as it really highlights how, by making the slightest grammatical error, the entire meaning of the sentence changes.

I suspect that, if you are a similar grammar fanatic, you are sitting here, nodding your head, thinking 'man, that drives me crazy, too!'. If you are not a grammar fanatic then you might be thinking 'hey, what are you whinging about - it is only a couple of letters out of order'. This is why it annoys me so much - I read a sentence but it doesn't quite make sense, so I have to go back and read it again to get an understanding. As soon as I start doing that, I am no longer reading the content of the post but am instead trying to decipher what is being written. As soon as I have stumbled over a few sentences I give up and stop reading.

Remember, when it comes to blogs, we are being immediately judged on what we have written (as well as the quality of images used). The judgement I make when reading an article with numerous grammatical errors is that if you haven't gone to the effort of proof reading your post then why should I go to the effort of reading it. If you want to come across as professional, make an effort to ensure that your grammar is correct.

Here are some grammar tips:

Your and you're

  • Your - opposite of my: I really love your eye shadow
  • You're - short for you are: You're going to love the new OPI range coming out.
A really good tip to work out if you are using the correct your/you're is to replace it with 'my' in the sentence. If the sentence still makes sense with 'my' in it then you should be using 'your'. If it doesn't make sense then you should be using 'you're'.

There, their and they're
  • There - refers to a location: the lipstick is on the table over there
  • Their - refers to possession: Estee Lauder is my favourite brand. I love their lipsticks
  • They're - is short for they are: Have you heard about the new lip butters? They're going to be the hottest beauty trend of the season.
Where, were, we're
  • Where - means place: Where do you store your makeup?
  • Were - past tense: I thought you were going to wear you new perfume. 
  • We're - short for we are: We're going to Myers this afternoon to check out the sales.
Know, no and now
This one gets abused a bit although I suspect that it is more out of laziness rather than not knowing the rule
  • Know - refers to thought: I know purple eye shadow makes my green eyes pop.
  • No - opposite of yes: No, you cannot borrow my mascara.
  • Now - present time: I stink. I need to put deodorant on now.

I hope that these tips have been useful and that I haven't come across as arrogant.  

What are your thoughts on grammar? Do grammatical errors drive you crazy or are you oblivious to them?

Kérastase Paris and the new Cristalliste available online for the first time

In Australia, Kérastase Paris has previously been unavailable online - you have had to go into salons to stock up. For a limited time, that is about to change. Adore Beauty is hosting a pop up online store stocking the Cristalliste range as it is launched in Australia. 

The Cristalliste Collection:
Cristalliste Bain Cristal Fins - Luminous Perfecting Shampoo - Fine Hair - $38
Cristalliste Bain Cristal Epais - Luminous Perfecting Shampoo - Thick Hair - $38
Cristalliste Lait Cristal - Luminous Perfecting Conditioner - $44.50
Cristalliste Lumiére Liquide - Luminous Perfecting Essence - $44 

From the 1st of March you will be able to buy the entire Cristalliste Collection online at Adore Beauty. The Cristalliste Collection is perfect for long hair as it leaves it smooth and shiny without weighing it down. Have a look here for more detailed information on the range

Do you use Kerastase products? Do you prefer to buy your hair products in a salon or online (or at the supermarket)?

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Schwarzkopf Ultimate Colour Home Hair Colouring Launch

This week I attended the launch of Schwarzkopf's Ultimate Colour Home Hair Coluring. I haven't attended many product launches since Kiki was born. I just found it too hard organising baby sitters for her and the Crazy Kid. I have to confess that I went to this launch for the wrong reasons. As soon as I soon as I saw on the invitation that menu being served at the launch had been prepared by two hatted chef Christine Mansfield I accepted immediately. It may have been the wrong reason for going to a launch but thank God that I did because I actually walked away from the launch more excited about the new product that I had just leant about, rather than the food eaten (and the food was bloody fantastic so that says a lot about the product!).

Ultimate Colour is a world first innovation in home hair colour. It is a foam colour that is re-usable. With every other home hair colour on the market, you have to mix the colourant with the developer before applying the dye. This means that if there is any left over it cannot be saved and reused. The difference with Ultimate Colour is that the developer and colourant are housed in different compartments within the bottle and when you press to release the colouring foam, an equal amount of both the colourant and developer squirt out leaving you with a pile of white developer foam and coloured foam on your hand. You can then mix the two together on your hand, or if you are particularly lazy, apply it straight to your hair and mix it on your head. Any left over dye can then be saved for up to 3 years for the next application. If you have longer hair it will be enough for a root touch up but if you have short hair (as in a typical man's length hair) you can potentially get 3 or more applications out of a bottle.

Back in my DINK days (double income no kids), I would always pay someone to colour my hair. Once the Crazy Kid, and then his sister came along I had neither the time nor the disposable cash to get my hair regularly coloured at a hairdresser. So, I returned to my stingy student days and resumed colouring my own hair at home. I had thought that the best thing to happen to home hair colouring was the introduction of the foam dyes. I absolutely love them and find that the results really are salon worthy. I make no mess when I use them, have no drips and never end up with missed patches in my hair. My favourite, to date, has been the John Frieda Precision Foam Colour and I have returned to this one about 4 or 5 times. But the one thing the really annoyed me was that I would always have a third of a bottle of the dye left that I would end up having to chuck. Then, a couple of months down the track, the colour would still be looking rich; however, my bloody grey hairs would be rearing their ugly heads again meaning that I would have to buy a new packet of dye just to hide the handful of greys that were annoying the crap out of me! (I did try plucking them for a while but unfortunately am loosing that battle and, if you have ever wondered whether the rumour is true that if you pull a grey hair out then seven grow back, it isn't - see here).

I haven't had the opportunity to trial Ultimate Colour just yet as the stock had just arrived in the country at the time of the launch, but hope to do so in the coming weeks. At the moment they have 9 colours in the range, which you can see below. The colours that I plan on testing are 465 Dark Chocolate Brown and possibly 668 Hazelnut (though I am not sure whether my naturally dark brown hair would be too dark for this shade) and then, come winter, I like to put a red shade through my hair so will take 388 Dark Red Brown for a test drive.

At this stage I am not sure of an exact release date or price for the Schwarzkopf Ultimate Colour but will have that information on hand when I review the product so will update then.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited? Which colour in the range would you go for?