My First Sephora Experience

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About a year ago, I noticed bloggers from other countries talking about this place called “Sephora”. I didn’t get it… I even asked one blogger to explain what it was. Sephora is a (high end) beauty shop – like the cosmetics part of the department store… minus the department store.

Sephora apparently tried opening in Britain, but didn’t do so well for some reason (well, with Boots and Superdrug around I guess everyone is sorted on the beauty front…) so I’d never seen one before. I knew they had stores in Paris so I was SO excited to go check it out!

As I entered, there were two rows of staff welcoming me. I found in general the staff are pretty annoying there; I can’t take 2 steps without them asking if I need help. I just wanted to look around for a while and take it all in – I had no idea what I wanted to buy. And there was a LOT to take in…

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Look at all those lipsticks!! That’s only Sephora’s own brand ones, as well!

I saw some brands I’d not come across in the flesh before, like Bumble & Bumble haircare, so I splashed out on a hairspray from them. I was really shocked at how expensive their stuff is – 25 euros just for a shampoo? And the same again for a matching conditioner?! I know it’s a common rant of mine but I have no idea how the beauty blogger girls do it – that’s just way too much!

I also ended up treating myself to the Urban Decay Naked Palate as well, as a little Christmas present to myself.

All in all I was a little disappointed with Sephora… the staff’s constant questions made it hard for me to just relax and look around, but the things there were all really high end stuff… It would have been nice if they had a wider range of things, and some cheaper brands too. I think I’ll stick with my favourite Douglas!

Empties Nov/Dec 2012

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Confession – this isn’t even all the empty things I have! I think everything just came to an end this month. I’ll save some of the others for next month.

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Bastiste Dry Shampoo for Brown Hair was pretty good. It didn’t have the white powder effect that the normal stuff has so that was pretty good. I liked the smell, too. I don’t think I’ll buy it again, however, because I’m using a different brand right now which I much prefer.

I really thought I’d blogged before about Nude Magique BB Cream from L’Oreal but it seems I didn’t. I bought this after using the sample which I fell in love with instantly. It comes out as a white cream but blends to your skin tone as you rub the slightly gritty cream in. I really liked this, but I think I got the wrong shade as I had a few comments that this was too dark for me from a few people. I’ll have to get some in England this time and check that I have the right kind. I’d buy it again for sure – it gives a great coverage and doesn’t make my skin greasy at all.

You can check out my review of Bourjois Magic Nail Varnish Remover here, but towards the end it got a bit yucky… the black foam inside kind of broke away when I used it. I probably would buy it again, though.

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I don’t like Benefit that much, but I did like their Get Even face powder. It was long lasting and pretty pigmented. Though I’m not sure it was worth the price tag… I don’t think I’d buy it again.

I got Taaj Eau Micellaire de l’Himalaya in a beauty box a while back. It’s a nice make up removing water which smells lovely. If I could describe it in one adjective, I would say that it smells exotic. Like some kind of eastern themed spa. I’ve never seen this brand before, but if I saw it in a shop, I would buy it again. The thing with these beauty box things is that often I want to buy them again, but I don’t want to go chasing them down on the internet to get them. I want them to be available to me in shops so I can just pick it up again.

The Marvis classic strong toothpaste was also from a beauty box. A bit of a strange thing to put in one, but let’s just roll with it. It’s pretty expensive if you buy it for real, and since it wasn’t anything special at all and no different to any other toothpaste, I won’t buy it again.

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SAMPLE TASTIC!

I’ve always wondered about Kerastase products, so when my salon gave me some samples, I was pretty happy. But I didn’t really think much of this anti-frizz mask as it didn’t really do much… I used it with the oil shampoo (which I’m still using up) which really is bad for my hair so maybe if I’d have used this with another shampoo it would have been better. But as it stands, I’m not compelled to buy it.

This Jane Iredale BB cream was really thick. It made me break out. You only need a tiny bit, so maybe if I’d had known that I wouldn’t have any problems with it. But it’s pretty expensive to buy, so I think I’ll stick to L’Oreal’s BB cream instead. I also have my eye on the Body Shop BB cream too. Something to think about ready for when the weather starts to warm up again, as I’m all about foundation right now.

Estee Lauder’s Double Wear foundation was really nice. The coverage was really good and it didn’t make my skin feel yucky. I would buy it for real, but not just yet as I have a few to use up first.

I’ve already bought and blogged about Lancome’s Teint Miracle but in all these different face make up samples it really did bring back home to me how food this foundation is. I said before that it wasn’t miraculous but I think that now I’ve used some other things I can see just how good it is, and I think I would buy it again. But still, when I’m particularly rich.

Lastly, I was given a sample of L’Occitane Serum Fabuleux which I did find to be pretty fabulous. It made my skin feel fresher and more awake. And I used it on a snow day and my skin stayed nice all day, without it drying out or becoming yucky in any way.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve used any of the products mentioned!

Product of the Month/Not the Product of the Month Oct 2012

I would really, really like to be one of these gorgeous girls who do beauty blogs, and get sent cool products and have people pay them 20 euros a month to advertise on their blogs. But blogging about beauty stuff is SUCH a faff. Not only do you have to make sure the products look cool, but you also should do swatches and find the info about them… writing about life and general stuff is so much easier. BUT I still want to blog about beauty stuff.

So, I thought I’d condense everything down to a monthly post about one product I really like, and one product I don’t like as much. Simples! I think I’ll try and do the empties as well, since that’s kind of fun.

My product of the month for October was this awesome shower gel I got for my birthday from the gorgeous Nicole. It’s the Rituals Zensation shower gel – she gave me one more but I’ve not tried it yet. The first time I used it, I wasn’t expecting it to… squirt… so strongly across the room. So it left my bathroom looking like… well… someone had sprayed white stuff all over it. But since then I know how to control it so it doesn’t spray everywhere!

The smell is gorgeous. And it lasts, too. I get wiffs of scent up until lunchtime at work. The thickness of the gel is awesome – so bubbly and foamy. It makes a great shaving aid.

I’d never used any Rituals stuff before but I’m definitely an addict now! I’ll be stocking up on more once these are used up, for sure!

 

My product that ISN’T the product of the month is this Iroisie BB cream. It came with my JolieBox last month and I was pretty excited to try it since I like BB creams.

It’s very thick – I tried using as little as possible but my face still felt like it was caked in makeup. It clung to my pores (despite me preparing my skin the way I usually do to hide my pores) and it also made me break out so much. I wore it for one day last week and I’m still getting rid of the spots I acquired from my day wearing this.

What’s more than that – I looked it up online and it’s almost 3o pounds to buy!!! On your bike, Iroisie! I’d rather spend the money on a high class foundation that won’t make me break out!

If you’ve tried either of these products, do let me know in the comments!

What to do when your Face Looks Like a Strawberry

Now, I don’t do a lot of these kinds of posts… the type where I say how to do this and how to look like that. The reason is because I’ve not got many things to do with beauty sorted MYSELF yet and so I am in no position to go and give advice. Even though I’d jump at the chance to be the next Michelle Phan (who wouldn’t…)

But this is something that I had a problem with, and I sorted out. So, I think I’d like to give some advice.

You know that part in Mean Girls when the girls are stood in front of the mirror complaining about the way they look, and Regina George says “my pores are really huge it’s disgusting”? When I first saw that I felt like I had a friend in the world who shared my woe. Around my nose my pores were HUGE. Up close, it looked like I had strawberry skin.

I guess Japanese girls don’t have this problem a lot because in Japan I didn’t really see any products to fix this. I thought it was just a thing and I had to deal with it. But then when I came back to Europe, I started buying things to work. Here I’m going to list the things that I’ve tried and tell you how they can help you.

1. Artemis Toner

Other toners are available because this one is REALLY expensive. It works well though. But the point is that to start this you really need to think about your skincare routine. I used to buy 3 euro face washes and then wonder why my skin cried every day. Now I use a combination of Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, a Clearasil face mask and this Artemis toner to really make sure my skin stays fresh and clean. I also use grease papers at around 3pm each day to clean the oil from my skin. If you have money to spend on these things, I’d recommend the toner, and although I think that Liz Earle’s stuff doesn’t work well enough to justify the whole internet exploding in our faces about her, her face soap is pretty nice and I guess I’d recommend that too.

2. Dr Hauschka Light Rose Moisturiser

I don’t know what it is about rose but it really calms my face. It takes the redness away and just makes my skin happy. I’ve been using Dr Hauschka’s light moisturiser for a few months now and although it made me break out at first, it’s really evened my skin tone and calmed my face. Even though its light, it’s still pretty heavy so I don’t think I’m going to switch to the heavier one now winter is coming closer.

The brand is growing globally so I recommend it if you see it on sale near you – it’s good for the skin and lasts ages too. If you live in Frankfurt I do of course recommend going to my friend Doreen’s shop because she gives amazing advice.

3. Benefit’s Pore Fessional

This was the first thing I bought to combat my strawberry skin. It’s a super silky and light layer to put over the skin that really smooths over the pores without clogging them. The only problem with this is that it really doesn’t last long on the skin. I actually stopped using this a little while ago for this reason.

4. Clarin’s Pore Minimizing Serum

I bought this recently, when I went back to London. I LOVE the department stores on Oxford Street. The girls are so helpful there and I would have spent so much on stuff at Clarins in Debenhams because the girl was just so lovely and she made my skin so nice. I didn’t have the money for all that she used on me, so I asked her what the one top product would be for her to recommend to me, and she said this. It is SO good. So smooth and you only need a tiny bit to really calm down your pores. Unlike the Pore Fessional, it doesn’t feel like another layer that you’re adding to your face. The best thing is that even though I use one tiny squirt each time, it’s so good that I only have to use it about once every other day. If you wanted to buy just one product to help combat your strawberry skin, I would say that this is what you should buy, without a doubt.

So, I hope that helped people out there! If you have any tips on this topic, I’d love to know them!

OPI’s “Germany” Collection

I know a lot of my readers are not from the beauty-blog world, so it’s probably news to you that (expensive, high class) nail varnish company OPI have released a collection of colours that are German themed. I have received two of these in GlossyBoxes – Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine! and Unfor-greta-bly Blue. I am loving the cringe worthy names, and the two colours, despite being really dark, are actually pretty nice.

Recently I was explaining the difference between different Western girls to my Japanese friend. He said that we “all look the same” but I pointed out that there are actually subtle differences between Western girls. American girls tend to dress plainer, but in clothes that are often designer. They wear less makeup and are more naturally beautiful. British girls dress wilder, with shorter skirts and bolder prints. Western girl with brightly coloured tights? Probably British. Example -

The tattoo on the left hand girl, her rock ponytail, the bright red hair of the girl on the right… >sigh< British style. Love it.

SO what about German girls? Well, look at the OPI collection. I think we can learn a lot about German style from the colours there.  At first glance, it’s dull, boring, dark. Not many are colours that you’d look at and say “wow, THAT is a gorgeous colour”. The same can be said of German fashion. I came here thinking that girls here are boring and dress safely. Like American girls, they are naturally beautiful, so they don’t have to try hard like us Brit girls.

Despite my initial disgust at the colours sent to me by GlossyBox, when I applied the two colours, they were actually really nice. A little bit of detail with gold and they made a really lovely look. In the same way, German fashion is really growing on me. Preppy coloured jeans, smart shirt-style tops, well kept hair and a clean face – and don’t forget the scarf!! Especially as we head towards Autumn, this is slowly becoming my go-to look.

This is just something I’ve been pondering about over the past few weeks. If anyone has any input on this, I’d love to hear it!

GlossyBox September 2012 (Germany)

I received this month’s GlossyBox yesterday and I’d heard heard that it was Oktoberfest themed so I was pretty excited!

I had said that if this month’s box isn’t good, I’ll cancel my subscription. Here is what the box contained -

C:EHKO High Shine Shampoo

Deja vu… We had this 2 boxes ago! See my review here.  It’s a good shampoo… but I’ve already had it!

Ducray Gentle Cleansing Cream

This is a pretty nice sized sample. It’s probably the only item that I’m actually looking forward to using.

Glossybox Lipstick in Glossy Pink

This is a pretty nice shade, actually. Not like the super dark stuff they usually send me.

Kryolan Contour Pencil

For lips, apparently. I don’t use lip pencils. I rarely wear lipstick. Let’s see how it is as an eye pencil ;)

OPI Nail Polish – Germany Range

Again, we had this a few boxes ago! And again it’s a dark colour – navy blue. Maybe I can get it to work some how.

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I just went on the GlossyBox website and unsubscribed to their service. There’s another box I’ve got my eye on but I think I’ll just try to use up all my current things first and then subscribe to that. In my eyes, this is a sample box – I get it to try new things. So having a box with not one but TWO repeats – that’s not good enough. Also, their judge of what makes a good product is often way off the mark (factor 6 sun oil, anyone?)

So… that was that! I wonder how long it’ll take me to use up all my current products…

Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover

 

I saw this being blogged about before I went to London – the Bourjois 1 Second Magic Nail Polish Remover. I paint my nails a lot, so I was really interested in a way to take off my nailvarnish without too much faff. And I find that especially when I layer my nails with cracking varnish, or glitter or whatnot, it is SUCH a pain to get off. Life is so hard.

I found it in Boots when I was back home and had to buy it – it may be available in Germany too. I’ve not checked yet…

The “magic” of it is that inside the tub is a big sponge with a hole in it. You stick your finger in it, spin it around once and then when you bring your finger back out, it’s polish free!

A lot of people have been saying that it’s not taking all of their varnish off, but I have to say that it’s worked 100% for me every time I’ve used it so far. It has almond oil in it as well to keep your nails healthy – though it’s a tad greasy at first, it melts into your skin to make your fingers so lovely and soft!

I’ve used a lot of nail varnish wipes before and hate the smell, the texture and the greasy feeling afterwards. This has none of that. There is absolutely nothing I dislike about this product and I think not only will I buy it again, but I will keep this as my go-to nail varnish remover from now on!

You can find this in Boots or Superdrug (and so on…) in the UK and I will get back to you on whether it is available in Germany!

Figs & Rouge Balm Review

 

I was given this in my July GlossyBox - it’s a Figs & Rouge peppermint & tea tree balm.

Out of a pretty terrible beauty box (if the next one is also crap, I’m unsubscribing), this was the product that caught my eye the most. I threw it into my handbag and took it on the road.

Around the time I started using it, it was still pretty hot here. Putting my finger to the product, my finger just sank into the greasy mess of balm. The texture is a little like light cream with chunks of sugar in – when spread onto lips/skin the ‘sugar’ melts away to nothing, though.

When applied, it is pretty thin, unlike balms that last on your lips for hours. I do actually prefer lip products that you can still feel on your lips an hour or so afterwards, so I find myself reapplying this every 30 minutes or so.

But this is so much more than a lip balm. It says it can be used on dry skin too. I used some on my hands and it did feel pretty moisturised afterwards. However, with the minty scent, I’d rather keep it to my lips than use it on my body.

As a product, I like it. I think it’s a nice thing to put on my lips – not like the greasy stuff that I prefer, but suspect is bad for my skin. Figs & Rouge products are made from all natural ingredients so there are no nasty things in this at all, which is also awesome. One major drawback to this, though, is that it is so damned hard to get into the tin! You really have to wiggle it a lot before the lid will come off. It’s such a pain…

Would I buy this? Probably not. I think I should… but I probably wouldn’t. I do enjoy using it now I have it, though.

If you’ve used any Figs & Rouge products, let me know!

Max Factor Eye Brightening Mascara

 

I have a new header and blog button now thanks to my awesome friend Masako, who is a wonderful artist. To thank her, I went skipping round DM buying lots of German cosmetics for her… I love buying stuff like this for other people. On the way round, I spotted this mascara which was being promoted – Max Factor Eye Brightening Mascara. I decided to treat myself!

There are 3 kinds of this – one for blue eyes, one for hazel and one for green. 

The peeps down at Max Factor say:

The formula contains light reflective particles to add a subtle brightening effect, and gem-toned colour beads which customise the reflected light to enrich eye colour. The eye-enhancing formula has a black mascara base that wraps around each lash, working with the legendary Masterpiece ifX brush to give even, clump-free volume and definition.

Yeah, it sounds like a load of nonsense to me, too.

I know a lot of people on the net who are really against plastic mascara brushes but I don’t mind them so much. I realised that plastic brushes (well at least the Rimmel Sexy Curves mascara) works really well on Asian eyes – I did the makeup of my flatmate and it worked really well on her.

I’m not sure if my eyes looked extra bright with this… but I LOVE this mascara! It makes my eyes look like doll’s eyes! It is easily to layer, and I don’t even need that much eye liner on under it as it looks sufficiently pretty without it. It’s not clumpy at all… almost looks like I’m wearing fake lashes. And because it’s not exactly black, it looks a lot more natural, too.

 

See? It’s pretty awesome isn’t it!

I think I’m in mascara love!

Barry M Wink Marker Eyeliner

When I was back home a few months ago, I went to Superdrug and just ran round there like it was Supermarket Sweep. One of the things I grabbed was this Barry M Wink Marker Eyeliner.

Now, here’s the thing. I suck at makeup, but in particular I suck at eyeliner. I just can’t ever get it right. I can’t get the thickness right, or the angle at which to hold the eyeliner.

Until I bought this. This changed everything.

This is what “they” say about this product -

“Barry M’s Wink is a liquid eyeliner pen that is set to revolutionise your makeup routine. The thick felt tip nib enables you to achieve varying thickness by adjusting the pressure and the angle of the pen, giving you a professional look”.

I completely agree with all of the above. This is the eyeliner for people who are crap at using eyeliners – ME! It’s so chunky that it’s not totally fiddly or anything, and it’s build-able too, so it’s easy to layer for a more striking look.

I bought this a few months ago and it’s just coming to the end of its life now. Luckily, I’m back in London on business the week after next so I can pick up another one!

Barry M was just starting up when I left for Japan, so I don’t really know many of the company’s products, except for the pots of loose powder. Can anyone recommend anything else I need to pick up from the brand?