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.