maandag 29 juli 2013

To the Dark Side

When buying makeup I don’t really gravitate toward Chanel. I love the sleek and elegant packaging of their products, but I’ve always considered buying something as an occasional treat to myself. I think a lot of their products are slightly overpriced, but they always come out with innovative colours and products and combined with the way they look (because come on, we all love an aesthetically pleasing product) I think a lot of women (like my mother) get drawn to the Chanel counter.

I decided to pick up some things myself a few weeks ago, as a little treat to myself. I wasn’t really feeling that well at the time so I did some retail therapy and came back home with two products that aren’t really that suitable for this time of the year, but absolutely gorgeous and timeless nonetheless.

The cream eyeshadows, or as Chanel like to call them ‘Illusion d’Ombre’, have always caught my eye. When having a swatching session at the counter I first wanted to go for ‘Emerveillé’, a gorgeous glittery champagne colour which looked lovely on my skin, but after lusting over and trying all the different shades in the range, I settled for ‘Ebloui’. ‘Ebloui’, which means ‘blinded’, is a gorgeous warm-toned burgundy brown. It has tiny, golden shimmer particles which really help to lighten up the eye. The colour is absolutely stunning and I expect this to suit every eye colour.
The texture of these cream eyeshadows is like nothing I have ever tried before. The texture reminds me a little bit of a mousse and feels quite bouncy. I apply it with my fingers then blend out the edges using a fluffy MAC 224 blending brush and it works a treat. This is the sort of eyeshadow you can wear on it’s own but still gives some depth to your eyes; an added smokiness which really makes your eyes stand out a lot. I also absolutely love the shimmer as it gives the eye even more dimension and definition. Without using an eyeshadow primer it lasts all day on me, but by the end of the day it starts creasing just a little- which is perfectly normal. I’m definitely looking into buying more of these as they are literally the best cream eyeshadows I have ever tried and Chanel has some amazing colours.

The nailpolish in ‘Taboo’ stood out to me the most. Not being a fan of the formula of Chanel nail varnishes I still couldn’t resist picking this up, as Chanel always comes out with such amazing colours. ‘Taboo’ is a new release and although it’s not the most summery nailpolish of them all, it’s a really gorgeous and classic shade. I couldn’t stop looking at my nails after application as it’s such a versatile and interesting shade which changes colour in different lighting. The galaxy on your fingertips.
Taboo is described as a “violine with red irredescence”. It’s opaque after only one coat, but I usually apply two purely out of habit and because it makes it last a little bit longer. As I said, the formula is quite poor- Chanel polishes tend to chip on me after only a day of wearing, but it has to be said that nearly all nail varnishes chip really quickly on my nails. I also don’t really like the brush; I prefer the brushes on my nailpolishes tob e a little bit wider, like the Essie diffusion line ones or the Rimmel ones.
‘Taboo’ is such an interesting nail shade to look at and the shimmer in it makes it all the more interesting. Mature but still edgy.

Have you tried the Chanel cream eyeshadows? What do you think of their nail polishes? 

zondag 28 juli 2013

Taking It Off

I’ve always been really thorough with my cleansing routine. Wipes have always been a no-no for me and I always made sure that I was removing my makeup properly. Double cleansing, however, is quite new to me. I ‘discovered’ the benefits of it around this time last year and since starting to incorporate two separate cleansers in my routine my skin has been looking and feeling a lot better.

With double cleansing, you use a first cleanser to remove your makeup and surface impurities, then follow up with a second cleanse to really get into your pores and deeply purify the skin. I used to use my beloved Bioderma as a second cleanse then use a milk/gel/etc. as a double cleanse, but that wasn’t really thorough enough so I decided to start using an oil as my first cleanse, and it has made all the difference.

My oil cleanser of choice is the Origins Clean Energy gentle cleansing oil (€21 for 200ml). I bought this somewhere last week (see this post) and I’ve been absolutely loving it. It contains a lot of beneficial ingredients like olive, sunflower, sesame and safflower oil which help to remove dirt, pollutants and makeup really well. It also contains a lot of protecting ingredients like macadamia and kukui nut as well as vitamin E.
I usually use one pump for my face and one pump for my eyes as you really only need the tiniest amount of this. I do tend to use a little bit too much though since I just simply adore the feeling of massaging an oil into your skin; it makes me feel so relaxed. The scent of this is absolutely unreal. After massaging it in for a while I add a little bit of water, which transorms the oil in a beautiful milk which helps remove the last traces of makeup.
Origins claims it smells like grapefruit, orange and lemon but I find that it smells a lot more like lavender and sandal wood, which are my two absolute favourite scents ever. I always look forward to using this at night and I will definitely repurchase this when it runs out. It breaks down the makeup and leaves me with a clean face ready for a second cleanse.
People with oily skin might be a little bit hesitant about using oil on their face whether it’s a cleanser or just a facial oil, but instead of just adding more oil to the face, facial oils dissolve the bulk of the natural sebum on your face thus being really beneficial. I have oily skin myself and I find that my skin has benefited a lot from using oils on my skin. I don’t really recommend Origins products if you’ve got really, really acne prone and sensitive skin because they do contain quite a lot of essential oils, which can be possible irritants.
I love Origins packaging, which might be slightly irrelevant but it always draws me in. It is slightly unconvenient that it doesn’t have a pump and you need to buy a separate one, but I really recommend buying one since otherwise you might be using too much product.

INGREDIENTS: Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, PEG-25 Glyceryl Trioleate, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Sweet Orange) Peel Oil, Lavandula Hybrida (Lavandin) Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Bark Oil, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Fusanus Spicatus (Australian Sandalwood) Wood Oil, Amyris Balsamifera (Sandalwood) Bark Oil, Linalool, Limonene, Sorbitan Trioleate, Tocopheryl Acetate

For my second cleanse I’ve been using the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser (€17 for 150ml). I bought the cleanser, toner and moisturiser about a month ago (a review is in the making!) and so far, I’m really impressed. This is a gel cleanser which does also contain vitamin E as well as avocado oil and other beneficial ingredients. You’re supposed to massage it on to wet skin in upward circular motions, avoiding the eye area.
I tried using this on dry skin because I don’t really believe in applying products on wet skin, but it just doesn’t work. This gel cleanser needs a little bit of water to lather up and really work. I usually dampen my skin a little, then add a few drops of water to the cleanser and apply it to my skin. My second cleanse is where I try to do a little bit of facial massage, since it’s really beneficial to the skin and one of the best things you can do to achieve healthy, glowy looking skin. It improves circulation and muscle strength and therefore delays wrinkles, and don’t we all want that?
I really, really like this cleanser- it makes my skin feel really clean without stripping it too much. Sometimes my skin does feel a little bit dry after using it, but then I just use a heavier moisturiser.
I don’t really know if I’m going to repurchase this, though; it does contain parabens and sulfates, which are quite nasty ingredients and possible irritants to the skin. I don’t really mind, because after all it’s a cleanser and and you wash it off your face, but I prefer more natural ingredients in my skincare.

INGREDIENTS: Aqua / Water / Eau, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Acrylates Copolymer, Peg-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, Lauryl Glucoside, Sodium Chloride, Pentylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Distearyl Ether, Behenyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Laureth-2, Propylparaben, Sodium Methylparaben, Squalane, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil / Sweet Almond Oil, Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil / Apricot Kernel Oil, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Persea Gratissima Oil / Avocado Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid

So after using these two products, my skin feels clean and ready for my evening skincare routine. I'm trying to make my reviews etc. a little bit more in depth and to add ingredients as much as I can since I'm quite big on ingredients myself, and I like to know what I'm using.

Have you tried any of these cleansers? What products do you use to double cleanse?

donderdag 25 juli 2013

Review: the Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I find writing book reviews one of the most difficult tasks ever, just because so many other people have already explained their feelings and thoughts about a book extremely well. Since this is such a popular and much raved about book, so many people have discussed this book so much better than I ever can, but I still wanted to share my own thoughts and feelings about this book.

The Fault in Our Stars’ is John Green’s fifth book. Like ‘Looking for Alaska’, this is another super-hyped book which is really popular on tumblr and amongst a lot of young adults, but now that I’ve read it I can totally see why. Reading ‘Looking for Alaska’ about three years ago made me really eager to read more of John Green’s work; I think he’s a literary genius.
John is part of thevlogbrothers on YouTube, and if you haven’t checked them out, make sure you do. I’ve been following them for quite a while and I really, really enjoy their videos. Their subjects are just really appealing to me and the humour is just plain fantastic. If you’re looking for more channels that aren’t beauty related, definitely check them out. There’s also a video on there in which Johnreads the first chapter of The Fault in Our Stars, and I definitely recommend checking that out. If you’ve known and been following the vlogbrothers for a while you can even hear John’s voice whilst reading all of his books, which might be a little bit weird considering this book tells the story of a 16-year old girl but amusing nonetheless.

The book tells the story of Hazel. Hazel has terminal cancer for so long that she doesn’t even remember not being terminal. Upon going to a Cancer Kid Support Group, she meets the gorgeous and smart Augustus Waters, who will change her life- for the better, but alsof or the worse. The book ‘An Imperial Affliction’ plays a huge role in the book, bot hmetaphorical and literal. The book is the foundation of all of Hazel’s and Augustus’ opiions, even though they don’t always agree with each other. Eventually, the book carves out the path they’re going. I’m not going to tell you every detail about what happens in the book; I think that line was enough, since it’s not about how it ends but about what happens. It’s that what’s the most important in this book.

First off, it’s a cancer book. Not a cliché one. A quirky, philosophical and unbelievably well written but still heartbreaking cancer book. Because yes, it’s a modern tragedy, but a really funny one.
What strikes me the most about this book is that it has some really deep thoughts, but they aren’t too difficult to understand. This is quite hard to explain so I think you’ll need to see for yourself, but I think that’s what makes it so appealing to young adults. It’s so touching, but not cliché and it doesn’t romanticize cancer at all. In fact, there are quite a lot of funny bits.
This book is about understanding life, but most of all about understanding death. Hazel has accepted that she’s going to die eventually, but that doesn’t mean she’s not scared.
What I really, really like about this book is that John isn’t afraid to clash some stereotupes. He’s not afraid to laugh with cancer and terminal diseases (ofcourse he doesn’t do it in a tasteless way, but more in a refreshing, quirky kind of way). For example, Hazel, the antagonist, doesn’t like tob e called a hero. She’s also not one of those cliché teenage girls; she loves her parents, doesn’t try to be though or a hero. This is the first time John has ever used a female antagonist and he’s done such a great job, considering he’s a thirty-something male.
The book is all about the characters and he has really thought them out so well. Hazel and Augustus are really smart fort heir age. I’m going to end this review with a quote written on the back of this book: ‘A novel of life and death and the people caught in between’.

I think the fact that I’ve read this in less than 24 hours says it all, I think. If you can’t make sense of this severe case of word vomit (which I can totally understand), I suggest you read this review on theGuardian. Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

woensdag 24 juli 2013

Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque

I’ve always, always been a huge lover of facemask. Ever since I was about 12/13, I used to buy those €1 satchel masks you find in almost every drugstore, and I still love treating my skin once a week. I’ve always been more drawn in to cleansing masks because I suffered from bad acne and oily skin, and I still get some blemishes every no wand then so it’s essential for me to just get rid of all the bad stuff that’s clogging my pores (gross, I know).  So last month, I made a little Kiehl’s order and got this clay mask along with some other products. I had never really tried Kiehl’s skincare before, so I was really curious to how the products, and especially this face mask would perform.

The Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Masque claims to help eliminate surface impurities and toxins you get exposed to during the day from the skin, making your skin looking fresh and clear and minimizing the appearance of pores. It contains amazonian white clay which helps to purify the skin and it also contains oatmeal and aloe vera, which are two ingredients that help to calm the skin down and prevent redness.
The mask smells really fresh and ‘clay-y’, but it doesn’t have a really noticable or predominant scent to it. It’s white, which is unusual to me because most of the clay masks I’ve tried out are either black or green.
Upon application, the mask feels really cooling on the skin. You only really need the tiniest amount, and seeing as the tub is really, really big it’s great value for money as it will last you a long time. It feels really light on the skin, much lighter than for example the Origins Clear Improvement clay mask which feels really heavy on the skin and can feel quite stingy. The Kiehl’s mask doesn’t feel stingy at all, in fact it actually feels really soothing. It takes about 5 minutes to dry up, but it doesn’t really get ‘hard’, if you know what I mean. A lot of face masks give that tight, craquelé-ish feeling to the skin which can make you feel quite uncomfortable and unable to smile without feeling like you just injected botox in your entire face- this one doesn’t.
After about 15 minutes I rinse it off using tapid water. Since it doesn’t dry up really hard I find it really easy to remove and it doesn’t really stick to the skin. After use, I find that my skin looks so much brighter and clearer and my pores really do look minimised. It might just be placebo-effect, but I do really think that this face mask lives up to what it claims to do and I’ve been reaching for it every time I want to give my skin a little bit of a detox.
It’s not as ‘hardcore’ as some other face masks I’ve tried like the aforementioned Origins Clear Improvement mask. The ingredients aren’t as hars hand I do find that the Origins one gives my face a deeper cleanse, but on sensitive skin days or days where I just want to cleanse my skin without being really harsh, I use this one.

I really, really love this Kiehl’s face mask and I would love to try more of their skincare products. As I said, I also purchased their Ultra Facial range which I’ve been really loving as well so I’m planning on reviewing those products after I’ve been trying them out for a little bit longer. Have you tried this face mask? Have you tried any other Kiehl’s products, any suggestions for me?

zondag 21 juli 2013

On Quitting University

Overdramatic title much! I’ve never really been that kind of person who has their entire future lined up in front of them. Being a child, I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was something different everyday: teacher, nurse, author, psychologist. To be honest, nothing has changed. I still don’t know what I want to do with mu future. When we had to decide what to study at university last year, I first wanted to do a teaching course. Then it changed to social work, then to midwife (yes, really). In the end I decided to go for psychology as I was (and stil lam) really interested in the subject. I was so excited for the course to start, but last December/January I decided to quit. It just didn’t feel right and I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I thought I would, and I just couldn’t picture myself doing something Psychology-related as my job. So I quit, went back home to live with my parents again and got a job.
This was a really hard time for me. I felt like such a disappointment to both myself and my parents and I hated that I didn’t know what to do with my future, contrary tos ome of my friends. I felt (and still feel a little bit) like a loser. Even though I worked, I was in a constant battle with myself and I got really, really down about not doing something productive with my life. I’m somebody who really has to evolve and move forward and I could never see myself doing a dead-end job for the rest of my life. I need goals to work for, and even though you might not be able to tell, I’m quite an ambitious person and am willing to work really hard for something I really want. But that was the problem; I still don’t really know what I want.

This was also a time when I felt very, very lonely. I felt like all my friends were moving forward and I was just in the same place, not really doing anything. In that time, I really wanted to do a journalism course, but I think that was just because I love writing and didn’t really knew anything else to do. As you may know, I’m a big feelings person, and something about that choice just didn’t feel right. I thought it were just nerves, but when I went to my old uni and read about a course I didn’t really know anything about, I immediately knew I wanted to do that course and not Journalism. I’m know registered fort hat course and just got an email that my introduction day is August 26, and I’m so so nervous for that. I’m not that good with people and making friends so it’s definitely a challenge for me.
I still don’t know if this course is what I want to do with my life and I’m absolutely scared to death that the same thing will happen and it just isn’t for me. But then again, I need to let go. I’m now starting to realise that this might not have been such a bad school year at all. Okay, I might have quit university and I lost quite a few really important people in my life, including my lovely aunt, who died of cancer on the 3rd of October last year. I’m still feeling really bad about that and I do have my weak moments sometimes, but I’ve learnt how to deal with it and am slowly starting to feel a little bit more positive. After all, I got my license this year (which wouldn’t have happened if I had continued with university) and as per next week, I’ll (hopefully) be a qualified beautician. I’ve earned money this year, more than I have ever earned, and have been able to treat myself a lot whilst still saving quite a lot of money. And I’m thankful. Thankful that the tuition fees aren’t that high in Belgium or Holland (where I studied and plan on studying in September) and me or my family doesn’t have any debts.

This was such a rambly post and it feels really chaotic, but my mind can be quite disorganised sometimes.  I was hesitating whether I would post this or not since I know quite a few people who read this blog, but after all this is my own little space on the internet. Writing just makes me feel so much better about things and also helps to put things in perspective. A lot.
In retrospect, this year hasn’t been that bad at all. I might have felt like a total disappointment, but my confidence grew and I learned to be thankful for so much things in my life. I’ve grown as a person.

Since I don’t have any pictures to accompany this post and I don’t like having posts that don’t have a picture, I just put in some Instagram snaps of this week. Nothing much ahs happened, except that I went out for dinner three (!) times. Once with my grandma and twice with my parents and little brother. I went shopping (which had been long overdue!), worked and passed the first part of my beauty therapy course (including the much-dreaded theory part!), and I’m so proud of myself for doing so! I also picked up Marc Jacobs’ new Honey perfume last week and I’ve been wearing it ever since. I do know own almost every Marc Jacobs perfume and I’m not even sorry.
Sorry for such a rambly and long post! What have you been up to this week?