Sunday, February 2, 2014

January Favourites

January was about dealing with bad skin, refocusing on a skin care routine centered around one star product, finding an incredibly effective solution to my makeup brush washing woes, revisiting a popular hair treatment after becoming more experimental with my shampoo, finally figuring out how to properly apply a blush I wanted to love, a somewhat underwhelming Australian Open, and lots and lots of Lush bath indulgence. Amid all that, I also managed to sneak in a short beach getaway with friends on the Australia Day long weekend, kicking off the year on a high note.

January 2014 Favourite Products

In the midst of my paranoia about whether my makeup brushes could be causing my skin problems, I started to apply my foundation with clean fingers instead. I picked Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow as my preferred base. I remember when I purchased this foundation at Bloomingdale's during my New York holiday in late 2012, the girl at the Benefit counter mentioned that she'd previously used MAC foundations that constantly broke her out, but once she made the switch to Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow, her skin has thanked her ever since. The silky, fluid formula is kind on slightly dry skin and feels extremely lightweight. It creates a natural, satin finish that subtly brightens and perfects the complexion, and holds up well in terms of oil control.

While I'd normally conceal any spots or areas of redness after with either Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Sand or Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer in Classic Beige (030) using a Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush, I decided to go back to an old favourite in Bourjois Healthy Balance Unifying Powder in 52 Vanille. I've been alternating between much pricier powders in the form of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light and Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder in N°20, but returning to the Bourjois was a revelation. This stuff is seriously good. A light dusting of this over the Benefit foundation, pressed, not blended on with my Too Faced Power Pouf Brush successfully pulled off the illusion of damn good skin, when the truth was anything but. It's very smooth and soft in texture without being powdery, mattifies without looking flat, and provides an extra, finishing boost of coverage.

I've already detailed the routine I stuck with which helped my skin to recover from a bad state, and I attribute Sukin Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil to most of its success. It's reached the point where I'm reluctant to switch things up and use another of my many face oils, lest the good work be undone. I'm super pleased with how this seems to work magically overnight to restore the skin, replenish its suppleness and give back much-needed hydration, and generally balance, nourish and protect the skin. I would say I previously had oily/combination skin, with my T-zone shining like a beacon in many a picture taken with flash, but consistent use of face oils over the past couple of years have definitely helped my skin regulate itself better.

I had the luxury of having the house to myself for a week in January, which meant being granted the space and time to indulge in some self-pampering and try some of the bath bombs from Lush gift sets I'd purchased during the post-Christmas sales. I snapped up some pictures on my Instagram (Fizzbanger and Lord of Misrule Bath Ballistics here, The Christmas Penguin Bubble Bar and Dragon's Egg Bath Ballistic here) of the explosions of colour, froth, confetti, glitter, oils and scents triggered by dunking these into water. Out of the four I tried, Lord of Misrule was my favourite. Dipping into the water felt so silky and moisturising, I enjoyed the green exterior revealing a wine-coloured centre, and the rich, calming, sensuous fragrance lingered in my bathroom the day after.

Speaking of Lush, I've been using their Shower Jellies, bars of Fun and even shower gels to wash my hair over a normal shampoo from the likes of Pantene or L'Oréal. It adds an element of novelty and play to the usually dull, tedious routine of hair washing, and I find it leaves my locks very clean (but not dry or brittle) and stretches out the time between washes as my roots don't become oily as quickly. My ends can become slightly dry however, so I've been regularly reaching for my Morrocanoil Hair Treatment to condition my ends, squirting one pump into my hands, rubbing them together, then working the product into semi-damp hair, concentrating on the lower half of my tresses. It helps hair to dry faster, and leaves it smoother, less frizzy and shinier.

If you're after a brush cleanser that takes the agony out of brush washing, look no further than Daiso Detergent for Puff and Sponge. Using the tip I learned from Michelle, I squeeze a bit of this out into a small measuring container filled about a third of the way with lukewarm water. Immerse the head of the brush into the container so it's touching the base and circulate it around. It takes about 10 seconds for a freshly washed brush to emerge from murky waters. Life changing. I washed 36 brushes in less time than I would have taken for about 10-15 employing my old method of Johnson's Baby Shampoo and my palm.

My last favourite for this month is theBalm FratBoy blush, which I was determined to make work after seeing it pop up repeatedly on some of my favourite blogs. Despite initially not loving the shade on me and finding it much too similar to Australis Paparazzi Perfect High Definition blush in Screen Siren for my liking, I persevered and it finally paid off. The best way I've found to apply this blush is to use a soft, fluffy brush like Real Techniques Multi-Task Brush or Ecotools Blush Brush (from the Alicia Silverstone 5 Piece Brush Set), lightly dab the brush into the pan, take off most of the colour on the underside of the wrist, then sweep from the centre of your cheek that aligns with your pupil, along the cheekbones, to the top part of your ear (an amazing tip from Lisa Gregory). The result is so much better than the ruddy mess that happened each time I was applying the blush straight from the pan and struggling with the placement. It peps up the face and imparts a very springtime-appropriate, warm peachy-pink flush with a touch of coral.

39 comments:

  1. great post! I love The balm cosmetics
    xx
    http://www.lipsticksandlavender.blogspot.co.uk/

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  2. I definitely need to give the Benefit foundation a go, still looking for the perfect base! x

    actuallyash.blogspot.com

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  3. I'm glad you managed to make Frat Boy work for you, I've heard such good things about The Balm x

    http://anna-blush.blogspot.com

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  4. All of your favorites are amazing! I fell in love with the benefit foundation before I realized I was allergic to it :( I've been dying to get my hands on the Frat Boy blush! x


    Daphne | subgenre of a dream | bloglovin | youtube

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  5. I use that Bourjois powder too, it's quite nice isn't it. I think I needed the next shade down it though as my shade is a little too dark for my skin tone I think.
    Amy x | A Little Boat Sailing

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  6. Everyone seems to love Frat boy, I must try it :) I love Moroccan Oil, it's great! Thanks for the post

    Ellie

    http://elsie-bells.blogspot.co.uk/

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  7. great post, i have to buy this bourjois powder too :))

    http://prettypurple92.weebly.com/

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  8. So many amazing favourites! ( I haven't work on taking photographs of my favourites yet).
    I really want to try out TheBalm's blushes. I'll probably work on getting them by the end of the year (I'm planning on investing more on South Korean and Japanese products during the year, starting with this month). I haven't been too curious about benefit's foundation because I was told that it wasn't really good with people that suffer from oily skin.
    I really loved your post! Take care*

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  9. I included a couple of those in my favourites too!
    Everytime I swatch a powder product from theBalm I swoon a little bit inside- so buttery and soft- but I don't need anything new. The Daiso brush cleanser is so good! Sometimes a swish doesn't quite do it, especially for it foundation brushes, but it definitely cuts down brush-washing time by A LOT.

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  10. Great picks! I love Moroccan Oil and the Benefit foundation too, both are brilliant products.

    Kimberley x

    www.kimberleysbeautyblog.com

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  11. That Daiso cleanser really is something special. I swear by it! x

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  12. Frat boy is a pretty blush I have the balm highlighter but I want to give one of there blushes a try.
    Great list of favorites for Jan :)

    Kayla
    Sheer Beauty Blog

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  13. Heard so much about how great Frat Boy blush is and I am surprised I still haven't tried out any gorgeous blushes from the Balm. I love Lush products and I, too, have the whole house to myself this week and I'm planning to do Lush bubble baths a lot. I haven't tried using the shower jelly on my hair. Maybe I should try that too.

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  14. I love your picks, I was gifted that same shade of foundation in a mini size and I haven't tried it yet but think I really need to soon! That diaso brush cleaner is also a HG cleaner, it cleans creams and gels off brushes amazingly easily too. Also I loved that powder from Bourjois when I had one too, I think I really need to repurchase, my skin has gotten really fair and my normal powders with beige tones are showing up a bit too orangey on me! I

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  15. I tested the Benefit foundation out and really liked it :) I really want to try the Moroccan Oil! Looks like you have some great products here :)

    Katie xx | Katies World

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  16. Oh the daiso brush cleanser sounds very good! i have heard a lot of people loving it to death. We don't have daiso anywhere near here.. But I always clean my brushes using a bar soap called 'Kernseife' , it is famous for all purpose cleaning here in Germany and it works very well to clean brushes and beauty blender..
    this post reminds me to use my benefit hello flawless foundation again.. I have abandoned it for too long I guess.. ^^

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  17. I have never tried anything from The Balm - FratBoy sounds like a lovely blush
    http://www.letstalkbeauty.co.uk/

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  18. I have been meaning to try the Benefit foundation, but I've heard a lot of mixed reviews on it and no place by me likes to give samples. The Balm blushes are definitely on my wishlist! Right after Mary Louminizer!

    https://realitygreene.blogspot.com/

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  19. Frat Boy is one of my preferred blushes! It's so natural and gorgeous. Great picks! :)

    A new gal in town

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  20. This reminds me to wash my brushes and maybe start talking my my Real Techniques brushes.
    I usually use Johnson's baby head to toe body wash for routine cleaning and any Japanese super foamy drugstore cleanser (like Kanebo Naive). It works very well for me and seems to keep my brushes pristine. I just need to do this more often! ;)

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  21. I've been wanting to try out that benefit foundation for ages… I'm glad to hear it has your stamp of approval!! Also, that brush cleaner sounds INCREDIBLE. Seriously. Must have. I'm off to order it now :)

    ♥Cassie
    thriftthick.blogspot.com

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  22. I love the way you write! And I really need to try that Daiso cleaner but we don't have it here :(
    And I so know how you feel. Before, I was breaking out constantly and I had no idea what it was and was so worried it was something I was using for a long time and was now betraying me.

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  23. I really love the balm's frat boy blush! The color is so pretty, and I love the texture! I've seen so many good reviews on that benefit foundation- I really need to try it. I've had it on my sephora wishlist for almost a year now!

    shadowlinergirl.blogspot.com

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  24. I've always wanted to try out the Benefit foundation and Moroccan oil, maybe I'll add it to my wishlist for 2014 c;

    www.lacy-rose.com

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  25. I love the Daiso detergent! My favourite :) I wanna try out the Benefit foundation!

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  26. I'm thinking of getting that RHO once I finish my current one.
    xxx Kat @ Katness

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  27. That's so funny, I've heard a majority of people dislike the Benefit foundation! Says it broke them out! Ironic! Haha! LOVE Morrocan Oil. Classic favourites!

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  28. Your posts are always so well put together. I really want to try hello flawless! x

    lamourjosie.com

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  30. I have heard so many people rave about the Frat Boy blush...must...try !!!

    Madeline | Its a Mads Mads World

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  31. I pretty much want to try everything you've mentioned here! I keep hearing frat boy blush being mentioned here and there, I'll have to look into it even though I definitely don't need any more blush!

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com

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  32. I want to try the Bourjous powder now, I love the foundation so much so as to why I haven't tried the powder is beyond me. I am glad to see you enjoying the Sukin Oil, I personally am revolted by the smell and had to give my bottle away!

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  33. I have been using the Daiso brush cleaner differently, I will have to give your method a try.

    Laura | Breton & Blush

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  34. I really need to get my hands on the Daiso cleaner, a lot of people seem to be raving about it! I dread the brush cleaning process (probably because of my ever expanding brush collection), but your method seems quick and simple, got to try it out!

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  35. I think I'll be making an exclusive trip to Daiso just for the blush cleanser. Cleaning the brushes are always such a tedious and most boring part about makeup. Also, I think I am about to cave in for the moroccanoil for my hair and the Balm frat boy blush. XD

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  36. Today I went out and bought the Daiso cleanser after reading this post... Oh my god. Best brush cleaner ever! I was so impressed!

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  37. I've recently rediscovered the benefit foundation. Really liking it! Frat boy is one of my favourite blushes :)

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