3 August 2015

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July Favourites: Jules

July Favourites 2015 | All Dolled Up

Revlon Powder Blush in “Naughty Nude”

I’m fairly addicted to blush so when I saw this one being mentioned a few times on YouTube, it was inevitable that it would find its way into my makeup collection. The shade is a light rosy brown with a subtle golden sheen, so it’s the ideal nude blush and perfect for winter because it’s not too bright. The formula isn’t the best; it’s a little bit chalky and the shimmer tends to emphasize skin texture, but I love the colour so much that I can work with these shortcomings. I think it would be especially pretty on pale skin or even as a highlight on darker skin tones. You can see swatches here.

Topshop Kohl in Sable | All Dolled Up

Topshop Kohl Pencil in “Sable”

Can you tell we’re both huge fans of the Topshop beauty range? I think it has featured in every favourites post and tutorial for the past few months. If you’re looking for a dark brown eyeliner that’s creamy and smooth, highly pigmented and really long lasting, then this one is for you. The colour is intense and chocolatey, it’s easy to blend and sets to a budge-proof finish. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a brown eyeliner and I had forgotten how much more subtle it can look compared to black, especially during the day. It’s obviously quite versatile but I tend to use it with a bit of MAC Groundwork washed over my lids and plenty of mascara for an easy everyday look.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream | All Dolled Up

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

If you watched my recent USA Beauty Haul, you will have spotted this moisturiser that I picked up in Sephora. It’s proven to be an unexpected gem that I’ve used every day since I got back, and have been really impressed by how well it has suited by combo-oily-dehydrated skin. “One size fits all” products like this are invariably too heavy and too greasy for me, but Ultra Repair Cream sinks in beautifully with no residue, leaves skin smooth and hydrated, and also soothes the inflammation on the lower half of my face. Moisturisers that are both hydrating and nourishing without being too rich are a very rare find and I’m officially obsessed. I still think I’ll use Neutrogena Hydro Boost in the summer but this is my new winter favourite for sure. You can buy First Aid Beauty on Feel Unique for delivery to SA.

Favourite brow products | All Dolled Up

Eylure Brow Pencil and Essence Make Me Brow

I had the recent misfortune of running out of my favourite eyebrow pencil; the Soap & Glory one I use every single day and absolutely love. Unfortunately you can’t get it in SA and I didn’t have a backup so I had to look for an alternative (the MUFE Aqua Brow is great but a bit labour intensive for every day) so I thought I’d try one of the new Eylure products that I saw in Dischem. I knew from the first time I used this pencil that it was a hit – the formula is quite hard and strikes the perfect balance between dry and waxy which makes it long lasting and very natural-looking. It also comes with a handy spoolie on the opposite end of the pencil for grooming the brows and brushing away any excess.

The Essence brow gel I’ve been pairing with it is a MUCH cheaper dupe of Benefit’s Gimme Brow and does pretty much the exact same thing. It’s also tinted (comes in two colours; one for blondes, one for brunettes) and also contains tiny fibres that help to build volume and fill gaps in sparse brows. The main difference is that Gimme Brow costs R295 and the Essence one is R45! I actually prefer the Essence brow gel as the brush is slightly different and deposits less product onto the brows, which I prefer as my brow hairs are super fine and thin and can easily get overloaded.

Slim Sonic Toothbrush | All Dolled Up

Slim Sonic Travel Toothbrush

One of my greatest frustrations with travelling is not being able to take my electric toothbrush with me and anyone who uses one will know that a regular one just doesn’t cut it. We were sent this cute, battery-powered version a while ago and I ended up taking it with me to New York in May, which pleased me no end considering the cover was decorated with NYC landmarks! I know it seems like a bit of a random thing to rave about, but I loved it; it’s super convenient and the sonic vibrations move at 22 000 times per minute, leaving you teeth feeling super clean. It has come in really handy over the past few months (we go away for weekends a LOT during winter) and I haven’t even had to change the battery yet. There are loads of different colours and patterns to choose from, it’s small and easy to store, and comes with an extra brush head for added convenience. It’s both stylish and practical, which makes it my new favourite travel essential – check out slimsonic.co.za for more.

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22 July 2015

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Review: Retail Box Secret Box #13

RetailBox Secret Box 13 | All Dolled Up

Let’s be honest; not all surprises are good surprises. So when a little black box landed on our doorstep yesterday, we were intrigued but also a little bit nervous. Luckily the contents of the latest Secret Box from Retail Box is well worth a few moments of anxiety – three full size premium hair care products and at a seriously marked down price. If you want to skip the sense of trepidation completely then read on to find out what’s inside. […]

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20 July 2015

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“Rich Girl” Makeup Tutorial

Sultry smokey eye makeup tutorial

Camilla’s take on “rich girl” makeup; a sultry smokey eye of warm browns with a pop of purple eyeliner. […]

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17 July 2015

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Review: Heavenly Spa, The Westin

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A few weeks ago Jules and I were invited to enjoy a treatment at the Heavenly Spa at the The Westin, followed by a meal in their ON19 restaurant and a night in one of their suites. I don’t think we have ever accepted an invitation so quickly in our lives – as two busy working women, the thought of a pampering night away was positively dreamy.

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Jules and I both selected the Aspire massage, which is a 60 minute treatment (there is also a 90 minutes option) which uses aromatherapy oils specially tailored to how you want to feel. We arranged to have our treatments late on Friday afternoon so that we could have dinner soon after and roll straight into bed (we know how to live). I had a particularly stressful day at work that day and almost had to cancel my treatment as a result, but I am so glad it didn’t come to that because the treatment was exactly the tonic my tired soul needed. I raced into the spa at breakneck speed with about a minute to go until my treatment, quickly changed into my robe and then proceeded to meet the lovely Colleen in my treatment room.

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She sensed how tense I was feeling and immediately set about putting me at ease, and we had a quick consultation where we chose the oils I wanted to use. The Heavenly Spa uses Aromatherapy Associates oils, a firm favourite of both mine and Jules’. There are several options within the range, including Deep Relax, De-Stress, Revive, Support, Nourishing, so there is something suit every need. I am a huge fan of the Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil and used it a lot when I lived in London – until now I hadn’t been able to find it in South Africa so I am thrilled that Heavenly Spa stocks it (it retails for approx R750.00). Colleen mixed together two combinations of oils and asked me to choose the one I liked best – I chose the relaxing option which was enriched with vetivert, camomile and sandalwood. Before the treatment started she encouraged me to take full advantage of this quiet time and to really clear my thoughts and relax – this might sound like an obvious/trivial thing, but it was great because it forced me to forget about work.

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The massage itself was excellent – I would even go so far as to say it might be the best massage I have ever had. Colleen started by placing a bowl of warm water with frankinsense underneath the massage table so I could inhale the fragrant aroma during the treatment. She then placed warm blankets over my feet and my head so that I was extra cosy (this may sound like it was claustrophobic but it wasn’t in the slightest – instead it felt deeply comforting). Her pressure was spot on for me and within minutes I felt all my stress lift away – I even fell asleep at one point (and woke myself up with one of those embarrassing piggy-snores). By the time the treatment was over I was so deeply relaxed I could have fallen asleep right then and there and slept until the next morning. Sadly that wasn’t an option, so instead I shuffled into one of the sleeping rooms to meet Jules – it was there that I discovered a thing so glorious, I could barely believe it existed: a heated water bed.

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I KNOW. It’s like lying on a hot water bottle, surrounded by fluffy pillows and snuggly blankets, all while overlooking the bustling evening traffic below (the spa is located on the 19th floor, so the views are spectacular). If that’s not your idea of heaven then I don’t know what is. After spending about half an hour trying to have a conversation with one another and failing miserably, we floated to our rooms to drop our bags before dinner. I am proud to tell you we were finished with our meal by 8pm, in our PJ’s by 8:05pm and asleep by 9pm – we were both so blissed out after our massages that we couldn’t think of anything better than an early night.

The next morning, refreshed and revitalized, we got up early to explore the spa a bit more before breakfast. This spa is actually geared towards guests who prioritise fitness – there were people in the gym and in the pool at first light, basically. It was great to see the facilities actually bring used, as opposed to being more ornamental, as they might be in other hotels. The views were equally as breathtaking in the morning light –

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We then went and enjoyed a delicious breakfast, said our goodbyes and went home feeling very lucky indeed.

If you feel like pampering yourself, or someone you love, I can highly highly recommend the Aspire massage at the Heavenly Spa (followed OF COURSE by a cat nap in the sleeping room). A big thank you to Positive Dialogue for arranging the evening for us, we absolutely loved it.

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8 July 2015

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Winter Bathtime Cocktail of Dreams

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I am obsessed with bathing: always have been and always will be – come winter, summer, rain or shine: if there is an option for me to soak in a tub, I will take it. I have dabbled with various oils, milks, salts and bubbles over the years and I have recently stumbled onto a bath concoction that is so good, I felt it my duty to share it with you.

First Ingredient: Epsom Salts

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I must admit I knew very little about the virtues of epsom salts until I read about Liv Tyler’s bath time routine on Into The Gloss (How to Bathe like a Detox Princess from She’s In The Glow is also very informative). These magical salts are comprised of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen, and are said to soothe sore muscles, alleviate aches and pains, and generally detoxify the skin (I work out never, so can’t confirm if it alleviates of sore muscles, but I can tell you I always sleep incredibly well after my bath, so it must be doing something!). PS these are incredibly cheap – I think R13.00/500g.

Second Ingredient: Himalayan Salt

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I have been stalking the Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts on Cult Beauty for years, however I cannot bring myself to drop ±R700 on bath salts when I am fairly certain I recreate a similar effect at home at a fraction of the price. You can find Himalayan salt online or in-store at Wellness Warehouse (amongst other places I’m sure), and they’re a whole lot cheaper than the Therapie offering! You can choose between the finely milled version and a more coarse version, and the benefits are similar to epsom salts, so expect lots of detoxifying, soothing and cleansing. 

Third Ingredient: Oil

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My current favourite is the utterly delicious Uplifting Coconut Bath Oil from SOiL – it combines coconut oil, grapefruit and lemongrass to soothe the skin and uplift the senses. You can, of course, also use regular coconut oil and it will do wonders for your skin, but the scent of this SOiL oil has me hooked!

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I like to mix the salts and crystals together beforehand and store them in a tub next to my bath (500g epsom salts + 250g crystal salts). When bath time rolls around I don’t hold back – I would say I add 2-3 generous scoops of the mixture and a nice big glug of oil into the piping hot water and swirl it around until it’s dissolved. I then light a few candles, line up some beauty videos and unwind for about half an hour (don’t forget to take a big glass of water with you – all the salt/heat makes me incredibly thirsty). When I emerge I feel calmer, more relaxed, and I sleep like the dead afterwards!

Do you have any secret bathing combinations you’d like to share? Please let me know!

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6 July 2015

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Winter Beauty Update

Winter face masks | All Dolled Up

Masks

My collection of face masks is getting a little out of control but I really do love them! My combination skin gets particularly dehydrated in winter, which can leave my face uncomfortably tight and even stinging in places from lack of water. The Clarins Hydra-Quench Cream Mask is packed with hyaluronic acid (obvs), and other happy skin ingredients like katafray bark and vitamin E that help to prevent moisture loss. Similarly, the Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask uses nature’s most powerful moisturiser to draw water to the skin. Both work beautifully as overnight treatments too.

Winter skincare essentials | All Dolled Up

Skin

Serums and oils are a great way to combat winter’s usual suspects – dryness, dullness and inflammation. My favourite facial oils – Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil* and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate – are wonderfully nourishing and leave my skin extremely soft and moisturised. I use them regularly in summer too and they’re great at helping to balance an oily t-zone. Juliette Armand Elements 05 Vitamins Complex Serum* is a good antioxidant to layer under your moisturiser as it helps to fight free radicals and keep your skin healthy under tough environmental conditions.

Jo Malone and Mio winter bath products | All Dolled Up

Bath

I can’t take baths in summer; I just get completely over-heated and find it very unpleasant and, well, all rather sweaty. As soon as the weather gets a little chillier though, I head for the tub with some of my favourite pamper products. Mio Liquid Yoga* is a longtime love of mine, not least of all because it has the most amazing scent. Essential oils of spearmint, cypress, lavender, mandarin and chamomile are blended with liquid Epsom salts and Arnica to be super soothing for mind and body. Jo Malone’s luxurious bath oils are also an absolute treat and English Pear and Freesia is particularly gorgeous. The star ingredients are combined with amber, patchouli and woods, and enriched with sweet almond, jojoba seed and avocado oils to be wonderfully fragrant and nourishing.

Winter fragrance - Tom Ford and Giorgio Armani | All Dolled Up

Fragrance

I’m usually a fan of quite bright, fresh scents but in cooler weather I am drawn to something a bit richer and warmer. Tom Ford is the king of sexy fragrances and Violet Blonde is no exception. It’s extremely glamorous and filled with heady florals like Tuscan iris and Sambac jasmine, and an undertone of moody cedar, suede and musk. It’s the perfect sophisticated scent for a night out on the town. Giorgio Armani Si EDT* is a little lighter but still seductive and feminine. Pear, freesia and amber wood are the main components but it has a powdery edge that makes it perfect for winter.

Winter skincare - Clarins and The Body Shop | All Dolled Up

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A little golden glow can make all the difference to sun-starved skin; brightening up the complexion, naturally contouring the face and just making you feel better on a gloomy day. Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning delivers extremely natural, streak-free results in just a few hours, without the tell-tale fragrance. It’s easy to apply and can be built up over a few days without turning you into Donatella Versace. Another essential extra for healthy winter skin is a body exfoliator and The Body Shop Coconut Body Scrub is a real goodie. A regular buffing over dry limbs will remove dead skin cells and prevent scaly skin, plus the smell reminds me of summer.

*PR sample

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2 July 2015

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Current Favourite Combinations

Whilst I am very happy with how all of my make-up items perform on their own, sometimes combining two (or even three) of them really amps up the effect and creates something you can’t get enough of. These are my current favourite combinations:

Face: Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base in ‘Champagne’ + Bourjois Happy Light Foundation

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I can’t take credit for this one – I got the idea from Harriet from Harry Makes It Up. She used the Clarins Instant Light Boosting Complexion Base as a primer in her Flawless Skin Makeup Tutorial, and it made her skin look so luminous! I decided to adopt the same approach, and buffed some of my new favourite foundation, Bourjois Happy Light, on top. The result is stunning, even if I do say so myself: skin is left looking dewy, fresh and radiant, and the combination wears really well too, so you won’t be left with a patchy complexion half way through the day.

Cheeks: Stila Convertible Color in ‘Peony Pink’ + Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in ‘Lavish Mauve’

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My love from Stila Convertible Color has been well documented. The colour ‘Peony Pink’ is particularly flattering and creates the perfect subtle glow on the cheeks. The wear time is good (certainly better than other cream blushers that I’ve tried), but I have found that by setting it with a light dusting of the Max Factor Crème Puff Blush in ‘Lavish Mauve’, it lasts all day and retains the colour and glow.

Lips: MAC Lip Pencil in ‘Subculture’ + NYX Butter Gloss in ‘Tiramisu’

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I am not ashamed to say I would like bigger lips, but I am certainly not about to go to the extremes that the one whose name we do not mention went to. Enter, lip pencil! ‘Subculture’ is a muted nude-pink, and is perfect for subtly creating the impression of a fuller pout. I like to fill my lips in completely, and then trace along the outer edge of my lip line to ensure I have a solid block of colour all over. I then slick some ‘Tiramisu’ on top and I am left with a glossy, juicy pout that looks a little fuller than normal.

Brows: Stila Stay All Day Precision Glide Brow Pencil in ‘Medium Brown’ and Soap & Glory Archery 2-in-1 Brow Filling Pencil in ‘Hot Chocolate’

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When I use either of these pencils on their own, I’m a bit ‘meh’, but when I use them together: jackpot! The Soap & Glory pencil is cool-toned, while the Stila pencil is slightly warmer, and when combined they create a colour match that is spot on for my brows. Both pencils have a good consistency and last well throughout the day and leave the brows looking defined, yet natural.

You will see most of these combinations in an upcoming tutorial, so be sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel to make sure you don’t miss it!

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30 June 2015

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Favourite Five: Conditioners for Very Dry Hair

Best Conditioners for Very Dry Hair | All Dolled Up

“Crispy” and “deep fried” are both words that I love when they are used to describe some of my favourite foods but unfortunately they apply all to often to the state of my hair. Although my roots are very oily, the lengths and ends can sometimes resemble straw, having been treated to years of abuse from chemicals, hot tools and styling products. You can avoid a lifetime of split ends with the right maintenance however, and this starts with a good conditioner. I leave mine in for about 10 minutes whenever I wash my hair (which is most days) so it has plenty of time to work its magic – these are my faves:

Pureology Hydrate Conditioner | All Dolled Up

Pureology Hydrate Conditioner

You’ll notice a trend towards rich but weightless conditioners in this post and that’s because my hair is fine and thin and doesn’t like to be weighed down. This minty-smelling wonder is especially good for colour-treated hair because the “AntiFadeComplex” protects and moisturises dyed strands. Pureology is also sulfate- and cruelty-free so you can feel extra angelic in the shower.

Terenzo Moisture Rush Conditioner | All Dolled Up

Terenzo Moisture Rush Conditioner

The new kid on the block is this wonderfully nourishing conditioner from award-winning local salon Terenzo, and part of their brand new range of home haircare. This conditioner rehydrates and strengthens dry hair with its vitamin-enriched formula and it leaves my hair super soft and shiny.

Moroccanoil Weightless Hydration Mask | All Dolled Up

Moroccanoil Weightless Hydration Mask

I’m a longtime fan of this super lightweight conditioning mask because it’s specially designed for fine hair like mine. It’s enriched with nourishing Argan oil which helps to improve hair’s texture, elasticity, shine and manageability. It has the added bonus of smelling utterly delicious.

Korres Almond and Linseed Nourishing Hair Mask | All Dolled Up

Korres Almond and Linseed Nourishing Hair Mask

Speaking of deliciously-scented things, this hair mask smells positively heavenly. Nut oils and shea butter help the hair retain moisture while increasing its resistance against breakage and split ends. The mask has been developed to also help control static and prevent frizzy hair. Korres is a wonderful natural Greek brand that is available at selected Edgars stores.

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle | All Dolled Up

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle

No one does maximum hydration for dry hair at the drugstore quite like Aussie. There are a few variations within the 3 Minute Miracle range too, like the Reconstructor Deep Conditioner, Frizz Remedy and this one for long hair. They all do a similar thing though and they really do it well – your hair is guaranteed to be tangle-free, mega moisturised and soft as silk after use. It’s a unique formula with Australian Balm Mint which smoothes rough cuticles and penetrates to reconstruct damaged hair inside and out.

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