17 September 2014

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Review: Schwarzkopf BC Hairtherapy

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Schwarzkopf recently relaunched their BC Hairtherapy range, which now includes seven hair care lines, each with specific formulas and ingredients specially selected for the hair care needs of different hair types. The secret to the new BC Hairtherapy range is Cell Perfector Technology, which replenishes the surface of the hair and rebuilds the hair structure, leaving you with the healthiest, happiest head of hair you’ve ever experienced. I’m not going to go into the exact details of how the ingredients work – it’s all very scientific and a bit confusing, but if you do want more details, let me know and I will do a follow up post. In the meantime, let’s have a little look see at the products we were sent to try…

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15 September 2014

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Beauty Battle: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant vs Indeed Labs Facial Powdered Exfoliator

Beauty Battle: Powdered Exfoliators

By know I’m sure you will know that I’m a huge fan of the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant for its instant smoothing properties, but the R850 price tag really, really hurts. Until recently, there hasn’t been an alternative on the market, let alone an affordable one, so I just forked out the cash with my eyes closed. Then Indeed Labs (makers of Hydraluron, among others) launched this, their Facial Powdered Exfoliator and I knew I had to give it a try. Here’s the lowdown:

Points of similarity

Both are water-activated micro-powders
Both are gentle enough to use every day (although I only use them about once a week)
Both contain fruit enzymes (papain in DM, bromelain in FPE)
Both contain rice bran powder as the exfoliating agent
Both containers hold 75g of product

Beauty Battle: Powdered Exfoliators

Points of difference

The exfoliating particles in FPE aren’t consistent in size – some grains are larger than others. In DM, the powder is fine and consistently milled.
FPE forms a foaming paste when you add water; DM doesn’t foam at all.
Active ingredients in FPE are: Bamboo extract, red algae and hyaluronic acid
Active ingredients in DM are: Salicylic acid, rice enzymes, green tea, ginkgo and colloidal oatmeal
DM leaves my skin feeling really smooth and polished. PFE doesn’t quite have the same effect.
FPE costs £18.99 and DM costs £41.30*

Verdict

As much as it makes my wallet want to weep, I think Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant wins this one. I think it is a superior product overall; the formulation suits me better (I can’t get enough salicylic acid, plus the consistency of the granules is perfect) and the results speak for themselves. If however your budget doesn’t stretch to Dermalogica (and honestly, this is the only product I buy from them on a regular basis because everything is SO pricey!) then the Indeed Labs version is certainly a good alternative.

*I’ve use GBP for the cost comparison because FPE isn’t available in SA.

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12 September 2014

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Say It Ain’t So: A Cellulite Cream That Actually Works

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Regular readers will know that Jules and I are both huge Mio Skincare fans, so when we were recently given a bottle of Shrink To Fit, my usual anti-cellulite cream cynicism went out the window and I committed myself to using it for a solid month to test its effectiveness (fear not, I won’t scar you with before and after pictures). I think we all share the same sentiments, by and large, when it comes to lotions and potions claiming to have ability to banish cellulite – they don’t work. However, if ever there was going to be brand to create one that did work, it was going to be Mio.

The instructions are that you must take 20 seconds in the morning or evening to vigorously massage Shrink To Fit into your problem areas (mine is my bottom). Massage is obviously a fantastic way to stimulate circulation, help flush out toxins and reduce water retention, so technically if you massage any cellulite-ridden area with enough enthusiasm on a regular basis you should see an improvement without the need for an anti-cellulite lotion. However, if you add Shrink To Fit to the equation (which you should), you will see an even greater improvement as it delivers a huge dose of moisture to your skin, leaving it looking flatter, smoother and less dimpled.

If you’re curious about the best massage technique, Mio suggests using short, deep strokes starting with your calves and working up to your lower back, always rubbing in an upward motion to stimulate lymphatic drainage and circulation. If you want an added boost, incorporate some skin rolling and skin brushing to your routine. Skin rolling is used to help elasticise the support structure of your skin so it looks smoother and more even. It also increases circulation in exactly the right place. As you massage upwards, try to grab a roll of your thigh (or which ever area you are massaging) between your fingers and thumb and work that roll upwards, pinching and releasing as you go – it feels unpleasant but apparently it helps enormously to restore the skin’s structural support. Tighten up that spongey skin, ladies!

As mentioned earlier, my problem area is my bottom – it is covered in very un-adorable dimples which are the bane of my existence. Shrink To Fit purposefully doesn’t have a lot of slip so you have to apply some real elbow grease to work it in. I think I initially took the ‘vigorous’ massage instructions a little too literally as for the first two weeks my bum was covered in little bruises – whoops! For the following two weeks I adopted a slightly gentler, yet firm, approach and that I think I found the right balance. I didn’t follow the Mio massage technique to the letter, I just worked the lotion into my skin using upwards and circular motions with my fists. I have to say the thing I enjoy most about this product is the way that it feels on my skin – it has a cooling effect which feels very pleasant! Every time I sit down my bum feels, well, chilled and refreshed (that was probably the most bizarre sentence I have ever written). I started seeing results after about two to three weeks, and by the end of the month, my skin was noticeably smoother, firmer and less dimpled. My worst cellulite spot used to be right in the middle of my right bum cheek, and the indent was about the size of a R2 coin. It’s still there (Shrink to Fit won’t rid you of cellulite completely – you need the triple threat of diet, exercise and Shrink To Fit to accomplish that), but it is definitely less noticeable and the indent doesn’t seem to be as pronounced as normal. Additionally, the skin in that area appears to be much smoother and firmer overall. I am delighted!

If you’re looking for something to help minimise the appearance of your orange peel, then I would highly suggest that you give this offering from Mio a try. It retails for R780.00 and is available from selected salons country wide.

*PR Sample

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8 September 2014

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Review: REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial

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We love a good face mask over at All Dolled Up, so when this landed on my desk I had to resist the urge to go home immediately so I could try it. It’s no secret that REN’s Glycolcatic Radiance Renewal Mask will go down in history as one of both mine and Jules’ all-time favourite face masks, so I knew this latest offering from REN wouldn’t disappoint. Let me talk you through what it does and how it works.

This mask promises to transform your complexion in 60 seconds – which a definite upside for us time-pressed gals, especially considering that most masks require between 10 to 20 minutes of face-time in order to be effective. Now, I love lounging around with a face mask on as much as the next girl, but sometimes you want a nice quick boost, and this mask does just that. It revitalizes and visibly rejuvenates the skin using Vitamin C – an ingredient which is known to brighten the complexion, even out skin tone and has an instant firming, toning and lifting effect.

It works like this: the mask takes the form of a gel that contains boswellic acid (to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles), magnesium (to energise and boost radiance) and stabilized 10% Vitamin C. Something to note about Vitamin C: although it has numerous skin benefits, it oxidizes very quickly (especially when exposed to air), and this makes it unstable. Once it becomes unstable, it can no longer perform optimally, meaning that you get the full benefit of what it has to offer. So when Vitamin C is ‘stablized’, it means that it oxidizes less quickly, meaning it packs more of a skincare punch, so to speak. REN have stablized the Vitamin C by suspending it in a silica/glyceride matrix (fancy) which avoids activation and oxidation before use. You apply the gel onto your face and massage it in for a few seconds before adding water (damp fingertips are best). The water then activates the gel to deliver an intense shot of fresh, active and potent Vitamin C to the skin. After about a minute, simply rinse of as usual and you will be left with a fresh, glowing complexion.

I am thoroughly enjoying using this mask, I have to say – and it arrived just in the nick of time! I hadn’t gotten around to replacing my Glycolcatic Radiance Renewal Mask and had been noticing how the lack of exfoliation was effecting my skin. I conned myself into thinking that using a face cloth to wash my face every night was doing a good enough job, but after using this mask I realised just how wrong I was! It really does slough away any dull, grey skin, leaving you looking immeasurably better – and my skin feels so soft after I use it. Honestly, so soft. The instructions say that the mask is suitable for all skin types except those prone to sensitivity, but my skin is very sensitive and I haven’t had any kind of reaction, so don’t let that put you off. REN recommends using this mask every three days to see optimal results, and because it’s so quick and easy to use, slotting into your current skincare routine couldn’t be simpler. So if you’re hunkering after healthy, radiant-looking skin, I suggest you treat yourself to Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial – I know you’ll be as thrilled with the results as I am.

This mask retails for R470 and is available from selected Woolworths stores from 1 September 2014, and from selected Foschini stores from 1 October 2014.

*PR sample. 

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5 September 2014

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Holiday Hauls: Greek Pharmacy

Greek beauty brands really are some of the best in the world. There is an astonishing array of natural and organic ranges, many of which use amazing local ingredients like honey, yoghurt, chamomile and pomegranate to treat various skin and hair concerns. Two of the most well-known pharmacy brands are Korres (now available at selected Edgars) and Apivita, which specialises in using bee products and Greek herbs to create effective skincare and cosmetics. Both brands are easily available throughout Greece, so one quick trip to a nearby “pharmakeia” resulted in the following purchases:

Holiday Hauls: Greek Pharmacy

Korres After-Sun Face Cream with Yoghurt

I bought the bodycare version of this last year when I was here and loved it, so when I spotted this little tube it was an easy decision to add it to my shopping basket. Yoghurt is an age-old cure for sunburn, as it increases the water content of the top layers of the skin, instantly relieving UV-induced redness. I keep it in the fridge for an extra boost of coolness and slather it on every evening after cleansing. It sinks in quickly, leaving no residue behind, and is extremely soothing after a long day in the sun.

Korres Coconut Milk Body Milk

Beach holidays should only smell like one thing, and that’s coconut. This moisturiser does the trick with a little added floral by the way of a vanilla hit that adds warmth but isn’t too sickly. It makes for a light but effective body lotion that offers long-lasting hydration and skin suppleness. Ingredients like almond oil, aloe, provitamin B5 and shea butter nourish the skin while the scent will make me think of being on a hot, sunny island long after I’m back in rainy Cape Town.

Apivita Men’s Care Moisturising Cream Gel

It turns out that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – but not in the way you might expect! Apparently my dad is secretly a beauty product junkie (and avid reader of ADU!) and practically cleaned out the men’s care section of the pharmacy. He’s a big fan of this light but moisturising face cream, made with cedar and propolis for their toning and antibacterial properties. He also picked up the Chamomile and Olive Body Milk, with almond and olive oils that hydrate, nourish and help preserve the skins elasticity. I could quite happily own the whole range from this brand, including all the Men’s Care!

Apivita Moisturising Face Mask with Aloe

I’m a total sucker for a hydrating face mask and this one is no exception. Aloe is a real power ingredient – it has rich moisturising and healing qualities, as well as anti-inflammatory properties that sooth and prevent irritations. This mask is a great alternative to after sun and a green tea infusion rather than water to enhance the antioxidant action of the products. Next on my dehydrated skin hit list is their Natural Serum with aloe and hyaluronic acid which I’m hoping to get before I leave the country… Any excuse to visit another Greek pharmacy!

P.S. They also kindly gave me some samples of the Apivita Propolis and Suncare ranges, further fuelling my love for these gorgeous beauty products.

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3 September 2014

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Camilla: August Favourites

August Favourites

You guys. It’s September. I can’t even.

August was a really great beauty month for me – I rediscovered some old favourites, did a bit of shopping (as always…) and was given a lip balm that is so good, I fear it’s ruined me for life. Let’s get started, shall we?

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29 August 2014

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Thanks, Back to MAC!

Vegas Volt

I’m sure that Jules and I have mentioned the Back to MAC Program before, but for those who don’t know, it’s an initiative by MAC  to encourage the recycling  of their empty products. So, if you take 6 empty MAC products to any MAC counter or MAC Cosmetics online, you’ll receive a free MAC lipstick of your choice. Sweet deal or what?! 

I recently saved up enough empties to cash in and get a free lipstick, and I decided on ‘Vegas Volt’, a brightened orange-coral with a creamy, opaque finish (it’s an amplified creme formulation). It immediately went onto my lust list after seeing it in Alix from I Covet Thee’s June Favourites video: 

It’s a very rich, intense color that definitely brightens the complexion. Although it can be worn opaque, I like to dial it down a notch my mixing it with some lip balm for more of a sheer finish, and it looks stunning. This is my new spring/summer lippie for sure (although as I type this, the sky is black and it’s pouring with rain, so who knows when that’ll be)!

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27 August 2014

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Holiday Hauls: Travel Minis

Kalimera! Greetings from Greece! The past week has been super relaxing (eat, swim, sleep, and repeat) and now that I’m feeling refreshed I thought I would share a few holiday purchases with you. This haul is from a quick stopover in London where I picked up some travel minis from Boots (don’t you just LOVE minis?!):

Holiday Hauls: Travel Minis

Soap & Glory Hand Maid and Hand Food

As you have know doubt picked up from frequent mentions on this site, I’m a die-hard S&G fan and can’t resist their pocket-sized versions of classic products. Both Hand Maid anti-bac waterless cleanser and Hand Food hydrating hand cream have the brand’s signature “Original Pink” fragrance and are an essential for looking after your hands when traveling, especially in London.

Batiste Dry Shampoo

No brainer.

Aussie Miracle Moist Conditioner

I had packed a half-full travel-size conditioner but I knew it would run out during the course of my holiday so I needed a back-up. I also knew that my hair would probably be fried from the sun after a few weeks on the beach so I chose the Aussie Miracle Moist Conditioner to help inject some much-needed hydration into the lengths.

Toni&Guy Casual Sea Salt Texturising Spray

I was thrilled to spot a little 75ml bottle of Toni&Guy Casual Sea Salt Texturising Spray in the travel aisle at Boots. I’ve raved about this product before – it gives your hair great texture and movement but without making it crunchy or sticky. In hindsight, it was probably slightly redundant given that I now have real-life beach hair on a daily basis, but it’s a good mini to have in your stash nonetheless.

Boots Moisturising Nail Polish Remover Pads

I hate taking nail polish remover with me when I go away because the idea of it leaking in my bag and spilling all over my clothes gives me cold chills. These little pre-soaked wipes give me peace of mind and take up very little space so they’re perfect for manicures on-the-go. They’re definitely a bit more fiddly and annoying to use than regular nail polish remover but I’ll put up with it for the sake of convenience.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant

This little gem was the result of a panicked last-minute visit to Duty Free when I thought I had forgotten to pack my beloved Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm (I hadn’t). This tiny little tin of the best-selling multi-purpose formula (R85) kept my lips conditioned on two consecutive long-haul flights and has made an extremely useful addition to my handbag ever since. I can’t seem to find it online so it must be a duty free exclusive – check it out the next time you fly!

Original Source Mint and Tea Tree Shower Gel

The Original Source range of shower gels has always intrigued me with their zesty scents like lime, pink grapefruit and orange & ginger. They had a few variants in miniature form so I decided to try Mint & Tea Tree (you know how I love a bit of tea tree!); a combination that sounded fresh and invigorating. It didn’t disappoint, and the tingly fragrance reminded me a lot of the Mio QuickStart Shower Gel but at a fraction of the price!

Nivea Refreshing Facial Cleansing Wipes

I don’t generally approve of face wipes but they do sometimes serve a function and none more so than on a long-haul flight. I usually use Bioderma Sensibio H2O on a cotton pad to keep my face clean when I’m flying but it can be a bit of a mission to remember to pack the cotton pads and decant the micellar solution into a smaller bottle. This little pack of seven cleansing face wipes do the trick just as well and with much less effort.

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