Beauty Resolutions for 2018

2018, March 2018


I’m actually very big on new years resolutions. I think I must have been jotting down my resolutions every year since I was in my teens. It’s less of a list of must dos and more of general idea of where and how I see myself growing in the new year.

For the first time I decided to do a bit of a beauty themed list of resolutions. Having to pack all my belongings a few months ago to move across the world has really made me think a lot about my buying habits. I really had to weed my collection when I was preparing for the move. There was no way I could lug all those bottles and potions with me. And more importantly – there really was no need for it either. I think I am now at a point where I know myself well enough to accurately judge what suits me and what doesn’t and what works for me and what doesn’t. It’s also the sheer wastefulness – I must have thrown out close to half of my collection to prepare for the move. Most of them were things I really had no use for. If anything I’m glad they’re gone because all I felt when I looked at them was the guilt of time, money and space I was wasting.

I want to be strict with new purchases, but at the same time I don’t want to loose out on the enjoyment that beauty gives me. I’m not saying there will be no exceptions but I really want to think about my new purchases. I want to make less impulse buys and do a lot more research before taking the plunge. Putting things on a wish-list that I review every now and then (I use Pinterest), checking my current stash to see whether I already own something very similar (I own so many lipsticks that are essentially all the same shade) and referring to the list of product categories that haven’t worked for me in the past (read more HERE) has been doing the trick so far (it’s very early days, though). I also keep a track of what I use up (again I use Pinterest) to get a realistic picture of how many beauty products I actually need.

With that comes the natural step of prioritising quality over quantity. I really would rather own that one special item than ten meh ones. Given my current lifestyle (a new-ish mum) I have been gravitating a lot towards the skincare because it’s really all I have time for. So quality shouldn’t be hard to achieve – there are so many superstar products out there.

Another topic that has become increasingly important to me is testing beauty products on animals. By no means I’m planning to achieve a 100% cruelty free collection by the end of the year, it will take much longer to transition, but I want to make conscious choice not to buy from brands that test on animals. There are actually quite a few cruelty free high end brands to choose from – I’ve lately been particularly obsessed with Too Faced, but there’s also Hourglass, Smashbox, Urban Decay and Molton Brown to name a few. Plenty to choose from. I use Cruelty-Free and Bunny Free Apps for a quick reference when I’m out shopping.

I’ll update you in a few months time to let you guys know how I’ve been getting on with my resolutions.

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Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Lips in Pin Up Pink

March 2018

I started drafting this post a few months back so it’s probably a little less relevant now, however, I decided to still go ahead and post it. Even though I never really warmed up to the idea of matte liquid lipsticks I was very excited about this launch because I pretty much adore every single product I have tried from the Charlotte Tilbury range. If I had to limit myself to buying only one make-up brand for the rest of my life I would be more than happy for that brand to be Charlotte Tilbury.


A word of warning on these – you should only buy after trying the shades in person. For some reason they look nothing like the photos on the website (and you will notice it is a common trend in the reviews) so I ended up with a completely different shade than the one I went in to buy initially. The shades are also extremely similar to one another with just slight variations in undertones that can really only be detected in person. The shade I went for in the end – Pin Up Pink, for example, is described as ‘shimmery coral pink’ and the picture on the website looks pretty darn pink. In real life it’s more of a dusky muted red. It also looks much darker on the lips than it does in the tube.

Shade issues aside the formula itself is quite unique as far as liquid mattes go – creamy is definitely the first thing that comes to mind. Think a much more pigmented NXY Soft Matte Cream. It’s also set and matte pretty much from the get go so there is no waiting around for it to dry (which can sometimes come with an annoying shade change). It still feels like a lipstick once applied but just a bit more powdery if that makes sense. Unlike other matte liquid lipsticks I’ve tried this one doesn’t completely zap the moisture out of your lips but there is still some slight dryness. The staying power is what you would expected from a liquid matte – quite a few hours before you need to touch up (and that’s with meals in between).

All in all I’m glad I picked it up but it’s unlikely I will go back for another shade. As comfortable as it is I still think Charlotte’s Revolution Matte lipstick formula is far more superior. Hollywood Lips come in a total of 11 shades and they are AUD 49.00/£24.00 each.

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Beauty Favourites of 2017

2018, January

It’s that time of the year again. I’m so excited to tell you about my favourite beauty discoveries of 2017. I no particular order this is what I have been obsessed with:


Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder (£33.00/8g) – Why oh why did I wait so long to try this? It’s the best powder I’ve ever tried and one that I hope will never be discontinued. It’s so light and undetectable yet it takes away the shine instantly and is long lasting. It doesn’t come with a brush or sponge which is actually a massive positive in my books – they have kept the packaging very sleek and light and you’re free to use your preferred tools to apply (Kiko powder brush for me).

Le Labo Bergamote 22 (AUD 264.00/50ml) – I tend to stay very safe when it comes to perfumes. Every time I’ve gathered a courage to try a niche perfume I’ve ended up feeling dizzy and nauseous from all the ouds and musks. Le Labo offers a very handy trial set of their most popular fragrances that you can take home and try as you like. This is actually how I discovered their Bergamot fragrance. It’s such a happy, fresh, green and citrusy scent. Think a much more refined version of Dolce&Gabbana’s Light Blue. Probably best for spring and summer which is when it really comes to life.

Surrat Relevee Lash Curler (£28.00) – I used to think that my Shu Emura eyelash curler is the bees knees and I was convinced it couldn’t get any better so it took me while to bite the bullet. It really reminds me of the time when I used to think that Tangle Teazer was absolutely brilliant. And then I finally gave in and tried the Wet Brush. I haven’t touched my Tangle Teazer since. Surrat Eyelash curler get’s all your eyelashes in in one quick go. Even if you only have time for one gentle squeeze it will make the biggest difference.

Lancome Grandiose Extreme Mascara (AUD 54.00/10ml) – Another great mascara find from Lancome. I don’t care much about the curved wand handle. Because of the way I apply mascara it really makes no difference to me at all, but the wand itself is an absolute wonder-worker. It has varied length (mostly short) hard rubber bristles. It’s super black and one decent coat is all you need to separate and lengthen without any flaking even by the end of a very long day.

Hourgalss Ambient Lighting Bronzer (AUD 72.00/11g) – A shimmery bronzer that is so much nicer than any of the shimmer bronzers I’ve seen. It’s the Hourglass powder magic mixed with a beautiful gentle bronzer. It’s absolutely fool-proof. I often use it instead of a blush, it really does look that natural.

By Terry Baume de Rose (£39.00/10g) – This softens my lips instantly. It’s fairly thick but super soft. My only gripe with this is that you have to be apply with a finger, but this balm feels so nice and luxurious that I’m happy let that one go. A very special indulgence and it really works like nothing else to soothe dry and sensitive lips.


Pether Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (£55.50/150ml) – I mentioned it HERE. Still an absolute must have. This will wipe away everything you’re not happy with an will leave your skin feeling smooth and soft.

Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist (£25.00/50ml) – A staple in my morning skincare routine. For more details click HERE.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer (AUD 79.00/30ml) – I talked about it HERE. I still use it and still adore it.

Tata Harper Restorative Eye Creme (£86.00/15ml) – Undoubtedly one of the best discoveries of 2017! Read more HERE.

And a very honourable mention goes to the MAC x Fleur de Force lipstick –  hands down the best lipstick of 2017! It was a limited edition, however, so there’s not much point in me raving about it again (read my full review HERE).

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Charlotte Tilbury City Exclusives Lipsticks


Charlotte Tilbury new-ish lipstick line-up has three shades – English Beauty, Shanghai Nights (Matte Revolution formula) and American Sweetheart (K.I.S.S.I.N.G formula) (AUD 49/each). Interestingly I noticed the Shanghai Nights first but then decided against it since I’m not a massive bold lip lover. I do, however, feel very comfortable wearing nudes so I did end up getting the other two lipsticks from the collection.


American Sweetheart is slightly red-ish peachy nude. The formula is very pigmented and creamy. It has a nice juicy shine and is so comfortable on the lips. An absolute joy to wear, it’s a perfect everyday shade.


L-R: American Sweetheart, English Beauty

I picked up the English Beauty mostly for sentimental reasons but it turned out to be an excellent choice shade wise. It’s a very pretty natural shade, brighter than your average nude with just the right amount of peach hues. As it was starting to wear off I noticed some golden shimmer particles, which must be why the colour looks so vibrant and not flat as most mattes do. The Matte Revolution formula is impeccable – it’s buttery soft and just glides on the lips almost like a balm would, yet the pigmentation is very strong. It’s one of my favourite formulas out there. I absolutely adore this lipstick!

It’s difficult to choose just one. If I absolutely had to I might lean slightly more towards the American Sweetheart because I do appreciate the shine. But really they are both so nice!

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Cult Beauty x Caroline Hirons Box

2017, September

So great news – Cult Beauty delivery doesn’t take that long – about a week which for Australia is definitely on the fast-ish side. I won’t go into too much detail as to why but I really didn’t have that much sleep in the last few weeks leading up to the Christmas. However, thanks to the amazing selection of skincare in the Caroline Hirons’ box (£220) my skin still looked amazing. The box included:


Omorovicza Moor Cream Cleanser (£49.00/150ml) – Great size, so should last me for ages. It’s more cream than mud, not drying at all. It’s definitely gentle enough to take over your eyes but might not be the best for a deep cleanse so more of a morning or no-makeup day cleanser. It has a slight spa-like scent but nothing too intrusive.

Leahlani Champagne Serum (£34.00/30ml) – One of the lightest oil based serums I have ever used. It’s fine to use under make-up especially if you’re on the dry side.

Niod Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate (£43.00/15ml) – It’s quite liquidy so application can be a bit tricky but it does absorb very quickly once applied. Perfect for daytime since it dries completely and doesn’t mess with products you might be putting on top.


DCL Multi-Action Penta Peel (£58.00/50 pads) – Even the top pads are nicely soaked so you don’t have to worry about product distribution over time. There is a slight sting which is not unusual when it comes to acids. It’s a bit annoying that you have to rinse afterwards, but other than that pre-soaked pads like these are the easiest way to apply acids.

Oskia Renaissance Mask (£51.00/50ml) – I have a bit of disclaimer with this one – I never really got on with the Renaissance Cleanser in the first place and the mask too doesn’t seem to be that impressive. It might be that this line is just not for me but I really didn’t see any noticeable difference after I had used the mask. Definitely the weakest product of the box.

May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon Beauty Balm (£174.00/50ml) – The biggest mystery and definitely the most anticipated product of the lot. I really tried to find a better description than the official beauty balm. But I’m afraid I can’t be of much help – it really is very difficult to explain. I use it instead of a moisturiser in the evenings but it’s so much more than that. The texture is that of a solid oil but it melts instantly in your hands and it’s not as greasy as traditional oils, it turn’s into more of a serum if anything. I was very worried about the scent due to my experience with May Lindstrom skincare in the past (if you have ever smelt the Pendulum Potion you’ll know what I mean), but this is more of a very refined spa scent, it’s quite gentle actually. For me this is an absolute standout – eyewateringly expensive but so worth it! It’s a pleasure to apply and it really sorted my skin overnight. I could not believe how fresh and bright my face was the next morning. It also works wonders on sunburns.

Check out Caroline’s video on the complete routine. At the time this post goes live the box is still available for sale HERE – grab one if you haven’t already!

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Skincare Update – December 2017

2017, December

So I’m back! There have been some big changes in the last few weeks. I am no longer a proud Londoner. I am now Melbourne based. It comes with certain cons and pros as far as my beauty journey goes. Main perk is probably the fact that I now live only 15 minutes from a Sephora store! Don’t get too excited! It’s not the magical all-beauty-brands-you-can-imagine wonderland that is US Sephora, but it’s pretty good. I’m already stalking the Mecca Beauty website pretty much on daily basis (I suspect this will be of a great help to fill my Space NK void and then some). And if I really can’t satisfy all my beauty shopping needs locally there is always the good old Cult Beauty which shops internationally.

This post is long overdue and is a bit of a last minute affair because the newest Cult Beauty x Caroline Hirons Box of Dreams went on sale only a few hours ago. I so stayed up way past my bedtime to get my order in!!! I used to think people were crazy for doing that. Turns out it’s not that crazy at all. So there will be some newcomers joining my skincare shelf very shortly and depending on how long the delivery takes I’m hoping to get a review up very soon. For now, though, these are the stars of the show (three of which are actually from previous CBxCH boxes!):


Tata Harper Restorative Eye Crème (£86.00/15ml) –  a real game changer! I mean – forget the painkillers, this is what you should be given when you leave hospital after having a baby. I am on my second bottle and I always keep a back-up handy because I just never want to be without it. I got it in CBxCH box earlier this year so it was somewhat easier to bite the bullet but even at full price this is worth every penny. It got rid of all the tiny and not so tiny dehydration lines around my eyes pretty much instantly. It has also helped to brighten my under eyes which I had started to think was a lost cause (so now I can really pretend the last 30 years never happened. Yay!). The texture is a cream gel and it absorbs quite quickly (it will sting, if it gets in your eyes, however). It’s housed in a beautiful glass bottle with a handy pump that delivers quite a generous amount of product.

Eve Lom Gel Balm Cleanser ($84.00/100ml) – this is everything I hoped Oskia’s Renaissance Cleansing Gel (£31.00/100ml) to be. It’s a bit sticky and honey-like in texture to start with, but it very quickly thins out in to a beautiful oil cleanser. It wipes away all traces of makeup but still feels nice and gentle on the skin. Best part, though, – it actually emulsifies so there is no need to use a cloth to remove it, which certainly saves some time. Packaging is very clean, simple and great for traveling. The smell is not overly strong, maybe a bit juniper-like, but even that does not linger for long.

Zelens 3t Complex Essential Anti-Aging Cream (£95.00/50ml) – this is lovely to use and I really can’t find any faults with this product (other than price, of course). It’s just a very straight forward and simple texture (no funny stickiness or greasiness), gentle fragrance and no fuss packaging. I’m not really in the market for anti ageing products so I can’t testify as to it’s anti-ageing properties, but it definitely works well for my dehydrated skin and doesn’t mess with any of the products I put on top (makeup, sunscreen). I would happily repurchase.

Zelens Provitamin D Treatment Drops (£110.00/30ml) – so I’m bit on the fence with this one. Given the price I was expecting to see a bit more. It’s one of those non greasy face oil type products (still a bit greasy for me to use under makeup, so I only use it for my nigh-time routine). It’s not bad and I really can’t report any major skincare concerns so it might be that it’s just a bit wasted on me because it is supposed to be a real skincare powerhouse. At this stage, however, I’m unlikely to repurchase and I’m definitely a bit cautious to recommend.

Hope this was helpful. I will try to keep the posts more regular from now on.

P.S. I would really appreciate tips from any Australian based followers on the best places to shop for beauty products.

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Dzintars Future Formula Black Caviar Face Serum


It’s time for the second review of my local brands mini-series.

So this is a very interesting product not least because it’s something completely different and new for the brand but also because the Future Formula is the last lifeline for the Dzintars brand facing a very real bankruptcy threat.

Future Formula skincare products are split in three different lines based on the main ingredients – apple stem cells, snail extract and black caviar. Apple Stem Cell line is designed to combat more advanced signs of ageing, Black Caviar line is for less visible wrinkles and dryer skin types, whereas the Snail Extract line will take care of the very first signs of ageing. All lines include a complete skincare routine and consist of a day cream, a night cream, a serum and an eye concentrate with prices ranging from €40.00 – €75.00.

I went for the serum from the Black Caviar line (€50.00/30ml) because even though I wouldn’t say that ageing is a particular skin concern of mine my skin does tend to get a bit dry. I’m also still on the hunt for that perfect facial serum so it was a good product for me to try. The texture of this is very different as far as serums go – it’s more like a moisturiser rather than the watery and wet serums I am used to. Not saying it’s a bad thing though. It absorbs well and it’s definitely not heavy on the skin so you will still need to apply a moisturiser. It smells fresh and a tad floral, very pleasant actually. Packaging is beautiful, definitely a massive upgrade from what we’re used to seeing from Dzintars in the past. As far as the claims go I can never really tell with serums, it seems to be the same catch as with the eye creams – you only notice a difference once you stop using the product. So far, though, I’m happy with the serum and I’ll definitely keep using it.

Availability of Future Formula products seems to be much better than I was expecting – apparently Dzintars delivers to quite a few countries, but I have never used their online services so I can’t comment on delivery times/charges/restrictions etc.

Are the products good enough to save the brand? They might as well be but for products that retail for up to €75.00 a pop the marketing is a massive let-down. These products are claiming to be equal with some very established global players who have very solid superstar endorsed campaigns. Dzintars’ marketing team has a lot of work to do to catch up with it’s competitors.

Have you tried any of the new Future Formula products?

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Mossa Matt Coverage Tinted BB Cream

2017, August

I’m back visiting my hometown Riga this month and one of my favourite things to do when I’m here is to raid the local shops and pick up some products that can’t be bought anywhere else. So far I’ve picked up four so there will be four mini-reviews popping up on the blog over the next few days.

First up – Mossa Matt Coverage Tinted BB Cream (€14.99/50 ml). It’s only available in one universal “soft beige” shade that will suit most fair to light medium skin tones. The product is very sheer, though, so you can definitely get away with this not being a perfect shade match as it really blends out to not much coverage at all. It claims the added benefits of antioxidants and hyaluronic acid so it doubles as a bit of a skincare too. On the skin it feels extremely light, a perfect holiday base product for me. The finish is quite natural so you can definitely apply some powder on top for a slightly heavier and/or matte coverage. It also won’t cover any redness or blemishes so you might want to use something to spot-conceal if you need more coverage. I really like this BB cream because it seems to be one of the very few base products that doesn’t cling to dry patches on my skin and it’s so easy and quick to blend.The packaging is very light and clean, it won’t weight down your make-up bag if you wanted to carry it with you.

The availability is Ok-ish – it’s available online from a few lesser known websites depending where you’re located. They’re also available to purchase in stores but only in selected European countries. It’s a shame really because they’ve got some great and very affordable products. They’ve got a very decent selection of skincare and some amazing body-care products so if you happen to be traveling or live in one of the countries where Mossa is available definitely have a look, I’m sure you will find something that interests you.

What are your favourite local brands?

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L’Oreal Paris Paradise Mascara

2017, August

I was so excited for the Paradise Mascara (£9.99/6.4ml) to finally make it across the pond. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews from the US ladies. I snapped the Paradise mascara up as soon as it launched online and I’ve now had a few good weeks to test it. The brush is medium size with traditional type of bristles (as opposed to plastic or rubber bristles) which is my preferred type of mascara wand.


When it comes to mascaras I have worked out a very strict three stage testing process. First of all I it has to be easy and quick to apply. I’ve got no time for mascaras that require several coats to look half decent. I like mascaras that can give me an instant impact – pigment, volume and length, please. In this category the Paradise mascara scores quite well. It won’t give you super dramatic look but for something stronger than natural look it works just fine. The formula sits somewhere in the middle, not too dry, not too wet. It coats lashes well, gives some volume and length but not much curl so more of an everyday mascara for me.

Next I watch how the mascara performs throughout the day – is there any flaking or smudging. I noticed a very minimal flaking with the Paradise mascara. I suspect, however, that it might be due to the fact that I spend the majority of my days with my baby daughter who I am convinced is the most adorable baby in the world so I smile a lot. If you don’t spend your days squinting the flaking shouldn’t be an issue.

Finally – I like mascaras that are easy to remove. The Paradise mascara performed well with all different types of cleansers and make-up removers (I tried micellar water, cream and oil cleansers). Nothing to complain here.

So to sum up – it’s a solid everyday option but then there are so many mascaras that can do the exact same thing. I’d say walk don’t run. It’s a good one to try if you’re up for something new, but I don’t see it as a game-changer.

Have you tried the Paradise mascara?

Real Techniques PowderBleu Brushes

2017, July

When the original Real Techniques brushes hit the shelves it was a bit of a makeup revolution. Great quality, affordable brushes became accessible to everyone. The range has seen some very useful additions and limited addition sets over the years. I own a fair few of the Real Techniques brushes and use them regularly. I know that for me they completely changed the makeup application game.

The new PowderBleu line caught my eye almost instantly. I much prefer powder products to creams so brushes that have been created specifically for application of powders sounded right up my street. I also can’t deny that it was a visual thing for me – I think the combination of the black and the dark blue just looks so luxe.


But do they work? Yes, yes and yes!!! I picked up the Soft Complexion Brush (£22.00) to use for blush and the Soft Finishing Brush (£22.00) to apply highlighter. Both brushes are absolutely fantastic – they pick up powder products so well and they distribute the product on the face very seamlessly. Bristles of the Complexion brush are more densely packed so it’s also great for buffing and blending. I don’t really wear mineral foundation but if I did this would be the brush I would want to use to apply it.

The Finishing brush is the perfect size – not too big and not too small so it applies just the right amount of highlighter. It’s also great for applying powder on-to the under-eye area. I really don’t have anything bad to say about these. I’ve been so impressed that I’m planning on picking up the Soft Powder Brush (£22.00) and the Plush Powder Puff (£12.00) as well.

The line also includes the Soft Shadow Brush (£15.00) and the Soft Kabuki Brush (£25.00) and if they’re anything like the other two brushes that I’ve tried they’ll be amazing.

Have you tried any of the PowderBleu Brushes? What did you think?

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