Friday, 29 June 2012

Is an aspirin mask the same as a beta hydroxy acid treatment?

Aspirin masks are a popular DIY skincare treatment, but can some pills crushed in water be an effective homemade replacement for expensive salicylic acid lotions?

Aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid, which sounds a lot like salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid that's great for exfoliation, with anti-irritant and anti-bacterial properties that make it great for acne-prone skin. The big difference is in the "acetyl". This is what they look like:

The little OH group on the phenyl ring (hexagon) on the salicylic acid has been replaced by a big thing in the aspirin. This is called an acetyl group. That OH was the "hydroxy" bit of the beta hydroxy acid - so aspirin isn't a BHA (it's a beta acetoxy acid).

What does this mean?

The exact mechanism of AHAs and BHAs is unclear, but since they have a very similar effect on exfoliation, the OH is probably quite important.

One common question is: Will the acetyl fall off so you end up with salicylic acid?

Unfortunately, this is unlikely. The acetyl is attached to the rest of the molecule by an ester bond. To hydrolyse an ester (i.e. break the ester bond), you need a very strong acid or base - think sulfuric acid or sodium hydroxide (lye). Even though "hydrolysis" sounds like it'll happen if you just add water, in reality it often takes a lot more effort!

Another way of turning aspirin into salicylic acid is by using an enzyme known as an esterase. This happens when you take an aspirin tablet - esterases in your liver and digestive system metabolise the aspirin and you get salicylic acid. There are esterases in human skin; however, the extent to which aspirin is hydrolysed is unknown (probably not a significant amount, considering how much aspirin is in an average aspirin mask, the lack of carrier chemicals in the mask, and how little time it's left on).

So does that mean an aspirin mask is useless?

Not entirely! The salicylate part of the molecule (i.e. most of it, apart from the purple bit!) has an anti-inflammatory action, and can lessen inflammatory redness from pimples etc. Additionally, the gritty paste-like texture of aspirin masks mean that even if it's not a great chemical exfoliant, it can act as a physical exfoliant - skin softness is a common immediate effect!

However, keep in mind that aspirin masks are not for everybody - some people can find them too rough and they can cause extra redness. Also, the development of Reye's syndrome is a risk for children, so aspirin should be avoided during pregnancy - some aspirin can be absorbed through the skin, so the risk is present even if it's not being taken orally. Of course, if you have a sensitivity to aspirin, it should go without saying that you should be cautious!


C Jewell et al, Specificity of procaine and ester hydrolysis by human, minipig, and rat skin and liver, Drug Metab Dispos 2007, 35, 2015.
F Beissona et al, Use of the tape stripping technique for directly quantifying esterase activities in human stratum corneum, Anal Biochem 2001, 290, 179.
W M Lau, K W Ng, K Sakenyte and C M Heard, Distribution of esterase activity in porcine ear skin, and the effects of freezing and heat separation, Int J Pharmaceutics 2012, 433, 10.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Ombre

I wasn't feeling too creative so I just did a plain blue version of a green ombre I did before, then covered it in flakies... BECAUSE FLAKIES.

Light to dark: ulta3 Spring Shower, TBN unnamed blue, TBN Rain on My Parade, BYS Royal Blue, ulta3 Midnight. Flakies are Australis Speck-tacular (it's a very Australian line-up!)

I like how you can see the effect of the flakies go from subtle to vivid as the base gets darker - it's what I explained in this post, in action!

My previous ombre:

So, as promised, since Sofie left us, we've invited another blogger into the Artsy Wednesday ranks - meet Kaka! She's Welsh, and her blog is here... we're expecting great things from her! (no pressure :P)

Monday, 25 June 2012

Review: Kosmea Skin Clinic Rescue Body Cream

This is another product from Kosmea's Skin Clinic range, which has lots of products that offer intensive treatment for your skin. Skin Clinic Rescue Body Cream contains a bunch of ingredients that frankly sound awesome:
  • Certified organic rose hip butter
  • Certified organic everlasting oil
  • Certified organic shea butter
  • Chamomile essential oil
  • Rosemary leaf extract
  • Certified organic rose hip oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Carrot oil

The cream itself is thick, yellow and buttery - thicker than creams usually sold as "body butter". It comes in a hygienic metal tube, and smells like pine wood.

It's recommended for irritated skin (hence "rescue"). It's also recommended for dry, itchy, flaky and sensitive skin, sun or wind-burnt skin, cracked heels and elbows, and reducing the appearance of stretch marks.

I have pretty bad rough skin on my thighs from my pole-dancing hobby. The problem is, well-moisturised skin helps you stick, but if you moisturise with occlusives the night before a class, you slip and it's very dangerous when you're hanging on by the back of a knee, upside down on the ceiling. So you want something super effective for the days that you do get to moisturise. Rescue Body Cream is pretty much perfect for this - it's full of occlusives and emollients to soften and moisturise. It's the most intensely moisturising cream I can ever remember using. It's a great handcream as well, I've squeezed some into a little lip balm container to take around with me. I have man hands from said pole addiction, dry from grip aids and covered in callouses. Rescue Body Cream amazingly gets them soft in a day or two.

Unfortunately, it's quite pricey to use as a daily moisturiser. I'm going save it for desperate situations, like the name suggests.

Full Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Rosa Eglentaria (certified organic Rose Hip) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (certified organic Shea Butter), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Cetyl Esters, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Helichrysum Odoratissimum (certified organic Everlasting) Extract, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Beta Carotene, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Farnesol.

(Product provided for honest review. For more details, refer to disclosure policy. Kosmea Skin Clinic Rescue Body Cream is available in selected pharmacies and David Jones, or from their website or other e-tailers. RRP AU$29.95 for 125 mL.)  

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Why do flakies look different over different bases?

A few people have asked me why, when you apply a flakie topcoat over different colours, can they take on different sheens? Luckily, there's a moderately simple explanation!

Light and colour

When light hits an object, some gets absorbed and some is reflected. The light that's reflected hits your eye and tells you what colour it is. For example, when you see a red apple, the apple is actually reflecting red light into your eye, while absorbing all the other colours.

When an object reflects all colours of light, we see it as white, whereas when an object absorbs all colours of light, we see it as black. This is why black things get hotter in the sun, why lighter coloured cars are cooler in summer, and why you need sunglasses in the snow!


Flakies are transparent particles which reflect certain colours at certain angles. With any flakie topcoat, it'll stand out more over a black or dark base, since the colour reflected by the flakies isn't lost amongst all the other colours, like it would be on a white or light base (this is Australis Speck-tacular):

Massive difference!

This is what's going on - the orange thing is the flakie, the white/black box is the nail, the arrows represent light and the terrible monster in the corner is my terrible drawing of an eye (really should've labelled it, sorry!):

The flakie colours are lost in amongst all the white! Additionally, since flakies are clear, there's some white light bouncing through the flakie as well, making the flakies themselves look lighter in colour.

A multicoloured flakie topcoat like Speck-tacular will look different over coloured different bases because different colours will stand out. This is a colour wheel:

Colours opposite each other are called complementary colours. When placed next to each other, they stand out and make each other look brighter.

Here are Speck-tacular swatches over different bases:

Over orange, you can see the subtle blue flakes; over green, everything pretty much stands out, although the orange-red is probably the first thing you see; over red, the green-yellow is obvious, and over blue, an orange sheen is the most obvious.Of course, the amount of each colour flakie in your multi-coloured flakie polish also makes a difference.

The bottom line: If you want a more subtle effect, pick a colour of flakie that's near your base colour on the colour wheel, and use a lighter coloured base; if you want your flakies to really pop, use a dark base and pick flakies opposite it on the colour wheel.

Hope you liked that explanation!

I'm sorry I've been a bit MIA - I've been super busy with uni work and have so many blogs to catch up on! My final PhD seminar is next Monday and I'm woefully underprepared, and I have 469 first year chemistry questions left to mark... argh!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Maidenhair fern nails (inspired by nature)

I had so much fun sticking stuff to my nails last week, I decided to continue this week:

The theme is "inspired by nature", so I snipped a frond of my mum's maidenhair fern (don't tell her!) and stuck them onto a base of creamy OPI Skull & Glossbones.


1. Paint nails with base, let dry

2. Cut a piece the size you want

3. Paint a nail with regular clear polish or topcoat

4. Squish the fern on - if you're feeling posh use an orangewood stick, but I just used my finger, hoping that Seche Vite would smooth it out later, which it did. I think a stick might actually make more noticeable dents in the base if you aren't careful.

5. Cover with Seche Vite or other thick topcoat.

6. Enjoy!

Maidenhair ferns are delicate creatures and wither quickly, so you want to cut your fern just before you use it or it gets hard to handle. They also darken a lot when they touch topcoat, so keep that in mind when choosing a base.

A bittersweet Artsy Wednesday announcement: Sofie of Swaafie is going on an overseas adventure which means she can't polish her nails as regularly anymore. Watch the space below for a new Artsy Wednesday member!

More pastoral on nails:

Pretty Purple Polish - Hooked! - Maria's Nail Art - Polished Genius - Nails by Ms. Lizard -
Unnaked Nails - Nail & Polish (out this week for exams) - Beauty Gnome - [I'm talking about this space!]

Monday, 18 June 2012

NOTD: Essence - Where Is the Party?

Essence Where Is the Party? is an amazing multichrome shimmer in the bottle. I read on a few other blogs that they couldn't get the multichrome to show on the nail so I didn't try it for ages, but I plucked up the courage and it turned out to be JAWDROPPINGLY GORGEOUS. This is 2 coats over black.

At different angles, it reflects different colours. In most lights it's green-purple:

Straight on, it's purple...

...which shifts to a brassy grey...

...which turns into green...

...then finally, a bold teal. It took me a few goes to work out how to capture the colours - the best conditions were in the bathroom under the heat light so, er, welcome to my bathroom!

In the bottle it goes a little further into royal blue in the right light, but that just didn't work for me on the nail.

I'm a massive sucker for duo/multichromes - I just stare at my nails slack-jawed when I'm wearing them (probably get a few weird looks)... Where Is the Party? has probably been the best bargain for me so far, at $2.55 a bottle, but I bought two backups, so a bit less of a bargain at $7.65. (Don't judge me.) So I guess my $4 bottle of the mythical discontinued Rimmel Zeitgeist stays my best value slathering-idiot polish!

What's your best value-for-money polish?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Skincare 101: Exfoliation basics

Why do I need to exfoliate?

Your skin cells are constantly renewing themselves - your entire
epidermis (outer skin layers) is replaced every 50 days. Millions of dead skin cells
are shed each day from the topmost layer (the stratum corneum) in a natural process called desquamation.

However, many things can interfere with this process, such as ageing, hormonal fluctuations, dietary deficiencies and environmental changes - this can then lead to acne, clogged pores, rough patches, wrinkles, ingrown hairs, and dull, uneven skin. Helping the process along by exfoliating can restore clear, smooth, soft skin.

What exfoliants are available?

Exfoliants can be divided into two types: physical and chemical. Many exfoliants can be bought from the supermarket or department store; additionally, stronger exfoliating treatments can be performed by beauticians and dermatologists.

Physical or mechanical

Anything that is hard and basically scrapes dead skin off: polystyrene beads, plastic grains, crushed apricot kernels, rice bran, oatmeal, facecloths, loofahs, body brushs, razors, face brushes, even clothing. Microdermabrasion is an example of a physical exfoliation technique which can only be performed by a trained professional.

Many scrubs available on the market can be too coarse to be used on most people's faces and end up causing more harm than good - Apricot Scrub is an example. Rounded synthetic beads are a much safer option - however, it's possible that they end up disrupting marine life since polyethylene is generally not biodegradable and beads found in scrubs are too small to be filtered out, but only a very small amount is used. Scrubbing particles which are both environmentally friendly and skin-safe can be found in your kitchen - sugar, salt or baking soda (if your skin is resilient enough).

Scrubs are generally not recommended as the main exfoliating treatment for people with sensitive or irritated skin, and it's very easy to overexfoliate with physical exfoliants simply by scrubbing too hard or too long.


Usually a liquid, doesn't require rubbing to work, contains chemicals which dissolve the "mortar" between the cellular "bricks" and encourage dead skin to lift off. They also sometimes break down the individual dead skin cells. The milder formulations often work best if left on, rather than used in scrubs or cleansers.

AHAs - lactic acid (mild), glycolic acid. Exfoliates surface of skin, may increase turnover/production of new cells. Good for dry and sun damaged skin, since they also have a humectant action.

BHAs - salicylic acid, very similar to AHAs but dissolves oily sebum plugs well, particularly good for acne-prone skin. Also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties

Read more about the differences between AHAs and BHAs here.

Enzymes - certain enzymes have exfoliating properties, including papain (from papaya), bromelain (from pineapple) and keratinase (from bacteria). These have not been the subject of as much research.

Chemical peels - very strong chemicals peels are available from trained professionals. These may give excellent results, but also require recovery time; however, exfoliation is usually not the main desired effect. Some examples are TCA and phenol peels.

How often should I exfoliate?

Exfoliation is great, but it's possible to exfoliate too much! It's different for each person with each different product, so some experimentation is needed - if you overdo it, your skin will let you know, but usually not right away. One of the more common ways people tend to overexfoliate is by using a variety of products at once, then waking up the next day with a red, flaky and itchy face! Some dryness and irritation is common post-exfoliation - make sure you moisturise.

Some medications (e.g. acne medications) make your skin more prone to irritation, so it's important to be cautious when starting a new exfoliating treatment. This goes for anything else that gives you irritated skin, like shaving or sunburn - you don't want to exacerbate the damage!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Review and Giveaway: Pedi-sox!

I've been putting off repainting my toes even though they've been chipping off for 3 weeks, because my uggs are just sooooo warm. But someone in dance class finally commented on them, so D-Day came. Luckily some Pedi-sox arrived in the mail for me, so I didn't have to freeze my feet off, yay!

To make the pampering experience complete, I moisturised my feet right after a warm shower, then popped on the Pedi-sox and uggs. Pre-warming the Pedi-sox.... smart! The Pedi-sox also keep the moisture and cream in, so your feet absorb moisturisers better. I painted my toes with Skinfood Red Stone, which looks like a darker China Glaze Ruby Pumps.

Looks like this on my nails:

They were also super handy when, five minutes after I painted my toes, I decided I needed a cup of tea - my house is weirdly COLD (I think it has something to do with how it essentially sits in a sunken hole), and I usually refuse to go in the kitchen without uggs on in winter, but I managed in the Pedi-sox. It was also nice not to have to worry about getting fat moisturiser footprints all over the clean tiles! I felt rather posh waddling around with my leopard print feet and shiny toes. I'm sure I looked ridiculous, but at least my feet were warm! And Pedi-sox are machine-washable for reuse, so environmentally friendly and hassle-free too.

Another great thing about these is that you can tuck the bottoms of your pants into the Pedi-sox, thus avoiding the annoying moment when the bottoms swipe over your toes and you ruin your pedi AND your pants at the same time. They come in a massive range of colours and patterns!

Now for the giveaway!

Pedi-sox kindly provided me with a few extra pairs to share with my readers. Glow and Glamour have also given me two foot exfoliation packs that make your feet baby soft to give away (check out a review on Lather Rinse Repeat here), and I'm throwing a few baggies of orange-blue duochrome franken powder into the mix!

So for your chance to win a pair of Pedi-sox, a foot exfoliating treatment and a bag of franken powder, for the softest, prettiest, most pampered feet ever, fill in the SHORT Rafflecopter form below (it's short, I promise!)... it's open internationally and ends July 14th. There will be TWO winners! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Ninja nails! (3D nail art)

This week with Artsy Wednesday we're sticking stuff to our nails! I had lots of ideas, but ended up with this:

What it's supposed to look like is ninja stars (shuriken) embedded in my nails, which are dripping with blood. A tad macabre, I guess, but that's just me all over! :P

The base is China Glaze Stone Cold, one of my new favourites (charcoal matte, cannot say no!). The "blood" is a really old thick, gluggy bottle of ulta3 Sizzling Red (it took me a good five minutes to get the lid open). I trimmed the sequin stars down with scissors, put the "blood" on, then held the star there until it stuck. This is definitely not a work-friendly look!

From the side:

I was really happy with this - I racked my brain for weeks for ideas, but none of them really seemed all that appealing to me before I came up with this! This is partially inspired by how these star sequins love to poke me painfully if they're attached to any clothing.

What do you think?

More 3D excitement:

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Review: Tweezerman Slant Tweezers

I've always been sceptical of the advantages a $20 pair of tweezers could offer over a cheap $5 supermarket pair. I don't know if supermarket tweezers are the same all over the world, but the tweezers from Woolworths are pretty good here!

Well, it turns out that the main pro of a fresh pair of Tweezermans is that, if you can see the hair, you can pluck it. My supermarket pair, while handy with most hairs, just can't quite grip the tiny ones that give me the darkened-skin look under my eyebrows.

With the slightly larger hairs, or the super-short stubbly ones, I sometimes have to try a few times to get a good grip and pluck them out with the cheapies - with the Tweezermans, it's a one-grab job. Since this is a problem that often makes me give up altogether on the whole plucking process (pluck you hair, pluck you!), Tweezermans have been a bit of a godsend.

So if this is also a problem for you, Tweezermans might be a good investment. Although pricier, you can send them back to Tweezerman to get them sharpened for free (you need to pay the cost of postage though), although if they need extra repair (such as after being dropped), you can buy a new pair for half price. If you're only interested in plucking big fat nasty hairs, supermarket tweezers would be sufficient.

For me, as a butterfingered recovering compulsive hair puller, I'm keeping a pair of Tweezermans on my desk next to the light-up mirror... and five pairs of cheapies in the bathroom.

(Product provided for honest review. For more details, refer to disclosure policy.)

Monday, 11 June 2012

Upcoming OPI collections!

We always get things a tad later than other countries, but I guess we get them eventually... :) These are both coming out for retail (David Jones etc.) in August 2012 in Australia:

The Minnie Mouse collection will be available earlier in some salons. I'm quite excited about the Germany collection, less so about the Minnie Mouse (pink is a sometimes polish for me). Lots of slightly muted bold hues - bold but somewhat utility chic is right up my alley! But it's so difficult to work out what the colour will actually look like from mocked-up bottle shots. I'm eyeing off the purples and the mustard... although the mustard really should've been named after currywurst I think, you can't walk a hundred metres in Berlin without hitting a currywurst cart!

What is coenzyme Q10 and why is it in my face cream?

You can't throw a body brush 3 feet in the skincare section of your local beauty store these days without hitting a cream containing coenzyme Q10. What is it, and why is it everywhere? I had no idea last week, so I put on my researching arm warmers (the correct equipment is vital in research!) and did some digging around...

Coenzyme Q10 (aka ubiquinone, CoQ10) is actually found in almost every tissue in your body! Your body produces a lot of it, and its main roles are as an antioxidant (goes around mopping up reactive free radicals before they can muck up your cells) and in aerobic cellular respiration (the way your body produces 95% of its energy, not just for walking and exercising, but for all the little processes that go on inside that you don't notice). It was discovered in 1957 and since then has been researched extensively in the areas of cancer and heart disease.

While that's very useful and important, we're vain here, so the functions of CoQ10 we're concerned about are its effects in the skin!

The main function CoQ10 has in the skin is its antioxidant effect. CoQ10 is believed to be involved in preventing both chronological aging (loss of firmness in skin as you get older) and photoaging (wrinkling and drying of skin from sun exposure). As you get older, the levels of CoQ10 in your body decreases, with peak levels occuring in your early 20s.

Like other antioxidants, CoQ10 helps prevent the inflammation and wrinkling caused by the radicals formed in your skin from sun exposure.

Now, there's 10 times as much CoQ10 in the surface layers of skin (epidermis) than the deeper layers (dermis), so slapping it on the skin seems to be the obvious way of making up for low levels! Taking CoQ10 supplements will also increase levels in the epidermis.

Some studies confirm the effectiveness of using CoQ10. Cells treated with CoQ10 suffered 60-70% less DNA damage when exposed to UVA light. CoQ10 also reduced the production of an enzyme which destroys collagen, the chemical in your skin that gives it its firm, youthful bounciness.When CoQ10 cream was applied to crow's feet, the depth of the wrinkles was reduced by 27%.

So if you're concerned about sun damage, wrinkles and skin aging, CoQ10 can be a useful additive to your skincare routine!

U. Hoppe et al. Coenzyme Q10, a cutaneous antioxidant and energizer. BioFactors 1999, 9, 371.
A Chiu and A B Kimball. Topical vitamins, minerals and botanical ingredients as modulators of environmental and chronological skin damage. Brit J Dermatol 2003, 149, 681.
Z-R Huang, Y-K Lin and J-Y Fang. Biological and pharmacological activities of squalene and related compounds: potential uses in cosmetic dermatology. Molecules 2009, 14, 540.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

ulta3 Magnetic: Spellbound

Cheap-but-awesome Australian brand ulta3 have just released a range of magnetic polishes! There are 6 polishes - 3 are neutrals, and three are in the pink/red/purple family. Alanna found them in the city on Thursday, so I picked 3 up that evening. They're $5 each, and each bottle comes with a diagonal magnet. 4 additional magnets are available - star, narrow vertical stripes, chevron and another diagonal one that looks very similar to the first one to me. The extra magnets are $3 each. I was super excited since they're the cheapest magnetics I've found either in stores or online - if you assume the magnet costs $3, that makes each polish only $2! But as the same magnet comes with each polish, you end up with a bunch of exactly the same magnet, which isn't very useful.

I've only had time to try one on so far - Spellbound, which is charcoal grey in the bottle, but turns black and silver after you stick a magnet over it. This is what it looks like on the nail, using a magnet from eBay:

Here are some nail wheel swatches using a bunch of different magnets:

L to R: ulta3 star, ulta3 diagonal (comes with polish), eBay diagonal, eBay star but accidentally off-centre (looks like this, although I bought it from another seller)

Unfortunately the ulta3 star magnet looks kind of squashed together, like someone chopped out the middle portion.

The main complaint I have is that even the slightest topcoat drag messes up the pattern, which I think is probably an issue with all magnetics. It tends to thicken too quickly on the brush, which makes it difficult to apply thinly and evenly. Also, the colour range is pretty limited - the pink/purple/red all are pretty similar, and there isn't a blue/green option.

Hopefully I'll have the swatches of the other two I bought soon!

What do you think? Are magnetics over? Or are they still awesome?

Friday, 8 June 2012

Review: Kosmea Replenishing Moisture Cream

I've always had a problem finding a good facial moisturiser. Overall my skin is oily, so in summer just rose hip oil is enough, but in winter my cheeks develop dry spots, and somehow my T-zone is both oily AND dry. So blackheads, greasiness, and flaky bits... the worst of both worlds!

It took me a while, but I found a great cream for my cheeks - Olay Active Hydrating Cream. But it only works on my cheeks... the moment it wanders into my T-zone, it explodes with whiteheads. Even if it just grazes my undereye area, bam! Milia! So I've largely left my T-zone alone to its flaky, shiny devices. But I think I might've finally found a lotion that works... Kosmea's Replenishing Moisture Cream. Somehow, it magically both moisturises AND mattifies my T-zone. Don't ask me how. (Well, probably by being occlusive-light and emollient/humectant-heavy.)

As well as lots of their amazing rose hip oil (a skin all-rounder par excellence, see my raves here and here), this moisturiser contains:

- green tea extract - full of radical-quenching antioxidants

- carrot oil - emollient that's very similar to the natural moisturisers in skin; also has antioxidants

- horsetail extract - antioxidant

- nettle extract - anti-inflammatory

This cream is my favourite of the Kosmea products I've tried. It's lightweight and sinks in quickly. Not too oily, not too dry, like peanut buttaaahhhh... plus, it smells like roses! I love how plump it makes my face feel (possibly from the glycerin content - as I've said before, my skin loves glycerin).

I'm really becoming a fan of Kosmea products! They're an Australian owned and run company, and they use natural ingredients that actually work.

Full Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Rosa Eglentaria (Rose Hip) Seed Oil, Cetyl Esters, Stearic Acid, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Water, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Hypericum Perforatum (St. John’s Wort) Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea),Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Tocopherol, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Beta-Carotene, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Root Extract, Maltodextrin, Silica, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Linalool, Geraniol, Citronellol, Benzyl Benzoate, d-Limonene, Eugenol.

(Product provided by PR for consideration, which did not affect my opinion of it etc. Kosmea Replenishing Moisture Cram is available in selected pharmacies and David Jones, or from their website or other e-tailers. RRP AU$44.95 for 50 mL, AU$19.95 for 20 mL.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Artsy Wednesday: Inspired by your favourite colour

This week the theme is inspired by your favourite colour. I went for a subtle/lazy look - this is China Glaze Ruby Pumps with stripes of matte (Rimmel Matte Pro) and gloss (clear topcoat):

I think the look of the glitter under matte is really interesting, and the glossy glitter is just... wow.

Hopefully some of the other AW girls were more imaginative than me!

Monday, 4 June 2012

5 must-have polishes for summer

If you're a follower of Polish or Perish, you'll know that we've been sharing swatches of our favourite shades in 5 "must-have" categories. All the other PoP ladies are in the northern hemisphere, where summer's just started, so the categories are very summer-themed. Starting later this week I'll be posting my winter favourites, but for now, here were my summer choices:

Red - Red is the black of the nail world. Sophisticated or sexy, everyday or special occasion, red really does it all! My pick for summer is ulta3 English Rose, a delicious bright red jelly full of gold microglitter.

Glitter - Everyone's favourite fashionable bling! It doesn't seem to be going old, does it? I picked a relatively muted charcoal glitter with little holo particles, China Glaze Some Like It Haute.

Nude - When bare skin comes out from under winter wraps, pretty nude nails feel like the perfect complement. My favourite is OPI Malaysian Mist, a yellow-toned peach - read all about my Good-Nude-Hunting saga here.

Holo - There's nothing like seeing rainbows on a linear holo dancing in full sun! I picked the only holo I have a sunny swatch of - salmony China Glaze TMI.

Neon - The quintessential summer polish would have to be a neon. Neon just makes you think of bikinis on a beach, sipping on a fruity cocktail covered in tacky umbrellas. My pick is... every coral I own :P Here are 4 of them (L to R): Max Factor Diva Coral, Hello Kitty Kawai Coral, ulta3 Sunset Coral, and Kim Miami Coral. My favourite is Sunset Coral.

What would your 5 picks be? And what polish categories would be essential in your winter mani collection?

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Review: Laneige Strawberry Yoghurt Peeling Gel

I don't know why it's taken so long for me to review this, since it's on high rotation in my facial cleanser carousel (I have 9 different face cleansers in my shower at the moment, and uses whatever my skin feels like that day... yeah, I probably have a problem). As you can see from the worn-off label, I'm a big fan of this one:

Laneige Strawberry Yoghurt Peeling Gel is a cellulose-based peeling gel. Laneige is a Korean brand, and from what I can gather, it's a cellulose-filled gel with an exfoliating enzyme in the soft red beads. Other than that, I can't find any specific info in a language I can read on what's in it.

To use it, you spread a good dollop over dry or damp skin (smooshing up the red bits), then wait about 30 seconds. Next comes the fun part - you rub the gel over your face and it all bunches up into white stringy clumps, kind of like eraser bits or what happens when you rub a wet tissue between your hands and it falls apart (or the white clumps whether you extract DNA from fruit - some geekery for you all! :P). This acts as a gentle physical exfoliant and your dead skin gets caught up in the fibres.

Freshly squeezed dollop (about 1/3 of how much I usually use for my whole face) - you can see the dark pink bead in the middle:

Spread out:

Rubbing it makes it bunch up:

I also sometimes use it on flaky skin in the shower, such as around my nose in winter - this somehow gets rid of all the dry white flakes, way better than any other exfoliating scrub!

It's very gentle, but very effective. It seems to exfoliate my skin more evenly than grainy scrubs, leaving me with a post-exfoliation "glow", and it leaves my skin unbelievably soft, "can't stop touching, probably giving myself pimples", counterproductively soft. Plus it smells delicious, like a strawberry milkshake.

There are a few similar products, which seem to be very popular in Korea (e.g. Cure Aqua Natural Gel, Skin79 Crystal Peeling Gel, The Face Shop Smart Peeling Water in Pomegranate, Missha Super Aqua Detoxifying Peeling Gel, Skinfood Pineapple Peeling Gel), but since my tube has lasted me ages, I haven't had a chance to try them yet. But since it's been discontinued (why, Laneige, why??!) I'll be checking those out soon.

Have you tried a peeling gel before? What's your favourite?

Friday, 1 June 2012

DIY: Easiest lip scrub ever for the Lazy Girl

If you're anything like me, you have a hundred unused lip balms lying around that you used once, then passed up when you got a shiny new one that smelled nicer, but you're not throwing it out because the container's such a useful size, and you're definitely going to use it up some day, yeah!

Every morning when you put on your lip colour, you realise how chapped your lips look in the cold light of day, and you swear you're going to do a lip scrub tonight, yes, and then when you get to the bathroom you can't be bothered going to the kitchen for sugar and olive oil, and you forgot to buy honey anyway, and your lips don't look too bad in the fluorescent light. (This sequence repeats every day for a few months.)

Life is hard for Lazy Girls. So here's a DIY recipe dedicated to us.

Easiest Lip Scrub Ever (for the Lazy Girl

What you need: lip balm, sugar
  1. Slap on a generous amount of lip balm on your lips
  2. Pick up some sugar with your sticky finger
  3. Rub sugary finger on lips in a small circles. Do this over a sink, the sugar drops all over the place.
  4. Wipe off excess with water and a tissue
  5. Finish with a coat of your regular lip balm
Ultimate Lazy Girl variation: Take a stick-style lip balm, dip in sugar, rub on lips. (Use one you're not planning to use again... there will be bits of sugar stuck in it.)

Lazy Girl tip: Grab some little packets of sugar from the coffee shop/fast food restaurant to keep in the bathroom - saves the trip to the kitchen!

Hope this is useful for you! What other super-lazy cheats have you discovered for your beauty regimen?

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