Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer SPF 20 with Dermaxyl™ Complex

I received this from Beauty Bulletin in July as part of my second Product Review Club and few things could make me happier.

The Superficial

First impression: you need more than a pea-size for your whole face. Or maybe I just have a big face?

Turns out, a pea-sized amount (not mini-Astro-sized) is really ALL you need per application. But DON'T expect state-of-the-art SPF 20 sun-protection from that amount of product. Y'all know I'm the Sunscreen Drill Sergeant (SDS sounds like a disease), so do I really need to complete this sentence differently? Do I? DO I?

I used this every day for just over a week when I first received it, and (most importantly to me) I had no negative reactions. Two months down the line, still no negative reaction. I only whip it out for special occasions, though. Having a "semi-sensitive, reactive skin type" this is always my first concern.

This primer appears translucent and peachy, and I got excited that it may have a brightening effect (however slight), but it applies diaphanously. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer SPF 20 with Dermaxyl™ Complex is a semi-matte primer. It gives a very "soft" finish and is not mattifying to the point of looking dry, but not "glowy" enough to be considered "radiant". It is hydrating, but if you're specifically looking for hydration, perhaps you should try something else. Since Smashbox have a primer for everything (except your walls), you could try their Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer, or you could address your hydration needs with skin care products.

I've used this on it's own and with makeup; there isn't a noticeable difference in the appearance of my skin (in the mirror) after application, but photos say otherwise - pores and fine lines are vaguely blurred and softened. When applying makeup, I only needed about half the amount of BB cream I usually apply, for more or less the same coverage. My makeup definitely lasted longer with less touch-ups needed. It is gentle and effective around the eye area as well as on lips. I applied this before MAC Brave Red lipstick, with no other lip product, and I got at least an hour extra out of it. I'll admit to eating a bit more carefully, but that's not unusual of me - I do it whenever I wear red lipstick. You know, that all-teeth eating style? Where it looks like you're avoiding touching the fork with any part of your mouth, due to the possibility of electrocution... Because forks are evil. Common knowledge, this.

I'm enjoying this product and have added it to my every day "essentials" makeup bag, where it'll happily stay. I look forward to trying the Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control Primer - it contains salicylic acid which is one of my favourite ingredient superstars and extremely beneficial for all skin types. Avoid if you're allergic to aspirin, though.

The Deep

WTF is Dermaxyl™ Complex?

**Dermaxyl™ Complex is an anti-aging complex formulated to repair damage related to skin aging. This makes sense since it's a blend of amino acids which help normalize skin cell function by stimulating cell-communication. It may repair skin damage related to aging by stimulation of collagen and hyaluronic acid production. This will also contribute to the strengthening of the skin's natural barrier function. Clinicare.com says, "Daily use of products formulated with Dermaxyl produce results similar to retinoic acid and retinol, and, very importantly, does so without the irritation these products and alpha hydroxy (fruit/glycolic) acid-based formulations often cause." You can read more about the clinical study results here.

Ingredients (as it appears on packaging):
Polysilicone- 11
Dimethicone Crosspolymer
Ethylhexyl Salicylate
C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate
Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane
Tocopherol Acetate
Cola Acuminata (Kola) Seed Extract
Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract
Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil
Polyglycerol-4 Isostearate
Cetyl PEG/PPG- 10/1 Dimethicone
Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate
Ceramide 2
PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol
Palmitoyl Oligopeptide**
Acetyl Hexapeptide-8
Phenyl Trimethicone
Hexyl Laurate
VP/Hexadecene Copolymer
Caprylyl Glycol
Hexylene Glycol
Hydrogenated Polydecene
Potassium Sorbate
Iron Oxides (CI 77491)

You can also check out my video review for Beauty Bulletin, if you so wish:

Miss B

*prices are correct according to www.redsquare.co.za at the time of publishing

Monday, 7 July 2014

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel


I received this product from Beauty Bulletin about 3 weeks ago and was super excited to be selected as part of the Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel Review Club. First time as a part of a BB Review Club. I've used Clinique skin care products before, and although there are very few that I like (The City Block Sheer Oil-Free Daily Face Protector SPF 25 can stay!), I'd totally spend a little extra on their makeup.

The texture is nice - light and easily absorbed, and the packaging is simple and "clean", but not ideal for preservation of the product. The bottle is a firm/hard plastic and unless you can squeeze some out and close it while holding that squeeze without letting more product out, air will get in, and render the product less effective over time. Common problem, that. 

I'm not sure if I'm more disappointed in this product or myself. When I got the news that I'd be receiving it, I Googled my ass off in search of ingredients. Think page 5 of Google search results...where English seemed scarce. No luck, so I had to wait until I had it in my hands. I was very excited about the inclusion of salicylic acid and a few other beneficial ingredients, but this is overshadowed by the use of alcohol and witch hazel which are known skin irritants. Alcohol makes up most of this product and it is very apparent upon opening the product. My heart sank when I saw that alcohol was the first ingredient. Sigh. But neither that nor the addition of witch hazel stopped me from putting it on my face. And I totally regret it.

These pics are not edited in any way, and I clearly haven't mastered all this selfie bs.

I had a mild breakout with one very noticeable blemish below my nose when I started using this. Although the most noticeable blemish was somewhat diminished the next day, I had more noticeable blemishes than before I started using the Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel, including that little monster on my cheek (top right pic). After using this on my entire face, twice a day, for 2 days with much discomfort, I tried using it as a spot treatment for the next 5 days, with no improvement. Using this product had senstitized my skin and I had to deal with breakouts, redness and flakiness. I stopped using the Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel after 7 days of use, and 5 days after that my skin was almost clear, except for that little bugger (top right on image). The mark is still visible, but I haven't been able to feel it since about 4 days after ceasing to use the Anti-Blemish gel.

Needless to say, I won't be recommending this product. I've had more success with Tea Tree oil. The Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel retails at R230 for 15ml, and R350 for 30ml.*

Ingredients (as it appears on packaging):
Alcohol Denat.
Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer
Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel)
Salicylic Acid
Laminaria Saccharina Extract
Sea Whip Extract
Butylene Glycol
Benzalkonium Chloride

Miss B

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*prices are correct according to clinique.co.za at the time of publishing

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

#BeautyTipTuesday: #DabitDontDragit

source: polished.tv

Taking care of our lips may be one of the simplest things in our beauty routines. Applying lip products is habitual for most of us, whether it's in the form of a balm, stain, tint, lipstick or gloss. And it's so quick and easy to do, that it's seldom inconvenient. I do this as I'm locking the door, while I'm putting on my jacket, or sitting in the car waiting for the gate to open/close. Sometimes, I even apply it as I'm walking into wherever I need to be.

Although applying lip products has become second-nature to most, we're all lip-care sinners. The application of lipstick is so glamourous in ads, movies and music videos. I especially love the lipstick slow-mo. It's so seductive and beautiful. Except the part where SHE'S DOING IT WRONG! Okay, that's a tad dramatic.


Our lips are delicate and we need a little restraint. We should be patting and dabbing on our lip products, instead of dragging lip products carelessly across our beautiful faces. The stratum corneum that covers the lips is super thin, we have no sebaceous glands to lubricate our lips naturally, and water loss on the lips is a whopping 3-10 times higher than the rest of the body The natural colour of your lips is a result of the underlying blood-vessels, and (again) the super thin skin covering it, allowing the red and pink (and blue, in winter) tones to shine through. I think that's pretty cool, but I digress. We need to treat the lips with the same gentle care as we do our eye areas. You don't need much pressure applying good lip products. By dabbing instead of dragging, there's less "stress" and stretching on the very thin skin covering on your lips, and it's less likely to be chapped as a direct result of your application method. I've done this, it ain't cool. And neither was that lipstick.

YES, you can get the same, intense colour without dragging your lippies. Just keep dabbing, and use a lip brush. I do this with red lipstick. I dab it until it's as intense as I like it, and then I dab my lip brush in the same colour and fill the bits and pieces closest to my lip line. I also define the vermillion border with a lip brush or soft lip pencil and VOILA! Same-same. And obvs you can use your lipgloss applicator in the same way. I love the soft brush of Bourjois's Rose Exclusif Lipgloss and the sponge-tip applicator of Essence's XXXL Nudes lipgloss.

So dab-dab-dab, pat-pat-pat, dab-dab-dab. And dab some more.


Have you mastered applying lip products without dragging? Any tips and tricks?

Miss B

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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

#BeautyTipTuesday Post-wax lotion - Home care

If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I'm crazy in love with waxing. I did the waxing series almost two years ago and have updated it as I've learnt new things via research and experience. They're the most popular posts on my blog (see right). Thanks, pervs.

One thing I battle with is post-wax home care. There's only so much I can advise my clients, and there's always a chance they're not going to follow my advice. They may have a hot shower and use a heavily fragranced body lotion as soon as they get home, because of habit, routine and lack of suitable products.

It's best to use a fragrance-free, colourant-free, irritant-free, alcohol-free, soothing lotion on the waxed area. And it's hard to find such products. Trust me, I sat on the floor in clicks reading labels, in search of the perfect body lotion and best sunscreen. I nearly laid down in the middle of the parking lot afterwards, it was so depressing to leave with nothing. An after-wax lotion was also one of the last things I decided on, when starting The Wax Room. I focus on skin care when waxing, and it was hard to find a fragrance-free, alcohol-free post-wax lotion. I don't use a pre-wax spray or lotion for this reason: it all contains alcohol. And if no alcohol is present, it contains other skin-irritants like witch hazel, and then says it's "ultra-calming." *bangs head on keyboard* 

You could buy post-wax lotion. Some suppliers are open to the public (very few), but you could simply ask your therapist about options, or ask her to order the one s/he uses on you, if you've never had a negative reaction to it. You could also use an after-sun product. Whether it be a lotion, milk or gel, it's probably better than that perfumed body lotion you have. You know, the one that came in a set with your fragrance. The MATCHING one. Do people still do this kind of layering of perfume? Seriously, I'm curious. Many after-sun's are great in that they have a light texture and are packed with soothing and moisturizing ingredients.  Avoid any after-sun products that are heavily fragranced, though. My favourite anti-irritant, soothing ingredients are aloe vera, allantoin and chamomile. Many health, natural and/or homeopathic stores have aloe vera gel and chamomile creams that could be perfect. Again, be mindful of the ingredients and fragrance components. All fragrance is bad for skin. Even natural fragrance.

What products do you use after waxing? Have you ever been advised to use something specific?

  Miss B

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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

'Sup homies

Hey hey hey

It's been a while...

I've been working on so many things at once, and every time I sat down with the intention to write here, I was distracted by other pressing issues. Prioritizing is hard work sometimes, yo.

So much for #BeautyTipTuesday...

Let's pick it up from next week. I've got so many "drafts" with tips to share, and I have doubts about scheduling, but will give that another chance. And check my timezone settings this time. *facepalm* Adoy.

As always, your comments, questions and suggestions are welcome. Hit me up.

Miss B

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Dark Circles: Think about it...

"Hundreds of eye creams are being sold, all making claims they get rid of dark circles among other problems around the eye area, and yet we have never received feedback from anyone saying their dark circles went away from the products they were using. Even the cosmetics companies don’t believe their own claims about the eye creams they sell or they wouldn’t launch new ones year after year after year. If the last ones worked as claimed, what are the new ones for?" - Paula Begoun. 

Makes sense, right?

Miss B

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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

#BeautyTipTuesday: Eye Makeup

Do your eye makeup first.

Yeah, son, I don't waste time.

Prime your face, and then concentrate on your eye makeup only. Apply foundation and concealer to your eye area, and then continue as you would with your eyeshadow, liner, mascara and/or whatever other eye makeup products you use. 

When you do your eye makeup first, it's easier to clean up any fallen shadow, smudged lines and mistakes you've made. Er, mistake you've made with makeup, obvs. Sure, you could pat powder under your eyes, but I find that often the powder sticks and I end up with more powder than I wanted. I don't wear powder under my eyes, usually, so even a little is too much for me. I'm still on a mission to find the perfect powder that doesn't crease and cake and make my skin look drier and more tired than it is. Urgh. 

When I apply mascara to the lower lashes, especially when I'm in a rush, I often touch the skin beneath the lashes. If I had patted some powder onto that area, after foundation and concealer to the entire face, I'd most likely smudge the mascara when dusting the excess powder away. If this happens before I apply foundation and concealer to the rest of my face, it's much simpler to just swoop in with my foundation brush. The same applies if you're using eyeshadow to line the lower lids. You may have applied more to one eye than the other and when it looks uneven, it's harder to correct once all your other makeup is applied. You'll have to go in with your foundation, and then it may not match the rest of the already-concealed and set area, and then you'll have to re-do that. 

Another reason I find this method great is that I spend the most time on my eyes, and I need a steady hand and lots of light. Once that's done, and I've run out of time, I can do everything else in the car. You don't need a super steady hand or perfect precision to spread/blend/apply foundation, powder, bronzer, blush and even highligher. Even if you don't have time for all that, your eyes will be perfect and all you'll need is some lip colour, if that. 

Eyes on the prize.

Miss B

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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

#BeautyTipTuesday: Flyaways

Flyaways. Pssh. I honestly don't know a life without these little buggers. I've had them FOREVER! "Them" as if they're beings. For the most part they don't bother me because I hardly wear such sophisticated and perfect updos that require flyaways be done away with. But sometimes, they drive me nuts, and I wish them away.

I took this a while back when I was checking the frame before recording a beautorial for rubybox...in my pyjamas, my outfit of choice. Also, I had just moisturized and LOVE the finish of Environ's Original Mild Night. It's beautifully soft and semi-matte, as you can see. 
You can see some of the flyaways in the pic above, but it's fairly tamed compared to when I pull my hair all back, and look like I have devil horns made of hair, with a killer Widow's peak.

The best way to tame them, I've found, is to use a disposable mascara brush with some hairspray, as I've done in the sock bun tutorial video. You can see plenty flyaways in the vid, too, that I failed to tame. You don't want flyaways with a sock bun.

I sprayed directly onto my hair and then went over it with a disposable mascara brush, but that takes forever, and not ALL my hair needed/needs to be tamed with a mascara brush, so now I spray directly onto the mascara brush and go over only the flyaways. The best way is to go over the flyaways softly as to not cause a "ripple" or bump where you stop with the brush, possibly upsetting your entire 'do, or creating unevenness. There's no need to press down on your hair with the mascara brush as if you're trying to brush out knots. You can go over the area with your fingers or hand immediately after using the mascara brush, but depending on the hairspray, I try to avoid it. Some strong hold hairsprays can make the hair stick together slightly, like when you use gel, and I don't like that. I don't like gel, and I don't like the sticky, flat, dull look it usually gives.

The Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray is particularly good if shine is super important to you. It's very light and has a glossy finish. The staying power (hold), however, is debatable and is more flexible than it is strong. The Kerastase Laque Couture provides more of a hold, by comparison.

Some people use a toothbrush to tame flyaways, but some toothbrushes have rubbery bits in them, and that could pull on your hair, and I have enough broken hair, thanks. Also, I use toothbrushes to clean around taps and plug-holes and drains, and I'd HATE to confuse which toothbrush was used for what and end up using a toothbrush in my hair that was once used to scrub a drain. If you prefer a toothbrush, and can afford to buy an extra one just for your hair, or use an old one (gross), that's all on you, son. Disposable mascara brushes are a great tool to have, and they'll fit perfectly into your sleek clutch. You could also keep mascara brushes from the mascara that you purchase, just be sure to clean it thoroughly when it's time to toss the tube/bottle.

Have any tips on taming flyaways? Share below in the comments. :-)

Miss B

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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

#BeautyTipTuesday: Nose Peeling - Prevent and Heal

I suffer from hay fever, sinusitis, a handful of other allergies and I currently have a cold. Sniff. On a great day, I don't touch my nose at all except when I'm doing my usual beauty routine. On a bad day, I go through and entire box of tissues and/or a toilet roll and my *sneeze* sentences *sneeze* go something *sneeze* like *sneeze* this.*sneeze* *tears* Damn, I knew I shouldn't have thrown away all those rolled up tissues before I took a picture for you guys. If I put it all into a pillow case, I'm sure my Cocker Spaniel would have a comfortable pillow-bed.

This fading cold doesn't help much. Because of all the nose-blowing and nose-rubbing, my skin goes through a lot of friction and irritation. And boy does she express herself and let me have it. The skin around my nose dries out and peels, I breakout in the perioral area, my lips become dry and sometimes, my skin even starts flaking from my nose to my chin. This makes any skin care product application uncomfortable and makeup can emphasize all that is wrong, and sometimes burns.

There is a simple solution, really: Apply a layer of balmy moisturizer onto the skin around your nose BEFORE blowing it. This way, there's a layer between the tissue/toilet paper and your skin, and there's less friction and direct irritation and rubbing of your skin. You can use any petroleum jelly-based product, or a rich, emollient cream. Here's the deal, though, it can't contain alcohol and/or fragrance. These are two known skin irritants (and we should cut it out of our routines, completely, in my opinion). It doesn't matter how little of it there is in the product. Your skin's already going through a lot, why put it under additional stress and prolong the healing process, especially if the skin's already dry and peeling?

I use (and LOVE):
1) Eucerin's Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm

source: longevitylive.com
It smells like nothing, and feels pretty much like petroleum-jelly. It enhances your skin's natural healing process and forms a protective barrier. It contains 41% petrolatum (active ingredient), mineral oil, panthenol, glycerin and a few other ingredients. Nothing "special", right? Back to basics, yo. I bought this specifically for my nose, but now use it on my lips, cuticles, hands and feet. And have gladly shared it with The Man, for his feet. I remember to use this before blowing most of the time, but when I forget and my skin's already peeling, I apply it to the dry skin anyway, and I've seen a great improvement in the healing time and appearance of my skin. It also makes a big difference when applied to peeling skin before makeup application, but remember to rub it (or press it) in gently before makeup application.

2) Balm Balm Face Balm, fragrance-free

source: balmbalm.com Currently available on rubybox for R149,95*
Balm Balm's Fragrance-free Face Balm contains shea butter, sunflower oil, beeswax, calendula oil and jojoba oil. It's super moisturizing. I only use this when my nose is blocked and I can't smell a thing. I don't know what it is, but I really battle with the smell. It reminds me of the smell of old, used oil that my grandmother used to pour into a bottle from the pot because she didn't want to throw it down the kitchen sink drain. I just can't deal. I feel like I'm Jim Carrey in Liar Liar doing "The Claw" on myself when I apply this when my nose is not blocked. Other than that, it's good, and a great option for those who don't like that "vaseline" texture. Although this is a balm, it melts onto your skin, and feels pretty much like an oil-based serum. This kind of texture is better for pre-makeup-application use once the skin is already peeling. It melts onto the skin and "glues" down the dry flaky bits so it looks like nothing was ever wrong. Remember to conceal the redness, though. And like Eucerin's Aquaphor, this balm can be used a multitude of ways. I actually prefer this one for my cuticles.

You could also use petroleum jelly if you want. PLEASE DO NOT USE Vicks VapoRub, or any other other menthol-y products (incl. Zambuk and Cuticura). It will burn, and all that camphor, menthol and eucalyptus is not great for your skin: known skin irritants. Camphor can cause dermatitis with long-term use. All these irritants are counter-irritants, producing one kind of inflammation to replace another and impairs your skin's healing response, which is what you want at it's best when your skin's peeling, or recovering from any other injury. Remember that just because you're not feeling or seeing the irritation, doesn't mean it isn't happening and damaging your skin over time. By all means, get some eucalyptus/peppermint oil and use it for aromatherapy purposes and to help clear a stuffy nose, just don't apply it directly to the skin.

What do you use when the skin around your nose is peeling and sensitive?

Miss B
*At the time of publishing

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Friday, 21 February 2014

Sock Bun Tutorial

Hey hey hey!

Happy Friday. :-)

I made another hair tutorial for rubybox. Yay! This time it's a sock bun...with a twist. The lazy-girl-guide, even. Not because I'm super lazy, but because after trying to do the traditional sock bun with all the wrapping and rolling for a few days (and still didn't get it right), the hair breakage became too much for me to handle, and my hair was everywhere. EVERYWHERE! My hair was as visible as my dogs' hair. I have 3 dogs, one of which is a Golden Retriever.

In the video I used the Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray and rubybox Hair Pearl & Satin Alice Band Duo as well as their Flower Alice Band. The one I have is more like a head band (elasticated), not that I used it that way, anyway.

Products I used on my hair:

Kerastase Dermo-Calm Shampoo
Kerastase Cristalliste Conditioner
ghd Heat Protect Spray
PARLUX Eco-Friendly 3800 Ceramic Ionic hair dryer
Some extra-large barrel brush my mom gave me. She doesn't remember the details.
Kerastase Elixir Ultime

Hope you have a great weekend. Try this easy-peasy sock bun and let me know how much you love it or hate it. I love pics, too. Of your hair and sock buns ONLY, please.

Miss B

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