Thursday, 30 June 2011

I am a little pissed off with my fellow bloggers...

I am quite new to the world of blogging. I started The Science of Beauty about three months ago a bit by accident. I have been a stay at home mum for the last year or so and, whilst I was enjoying this far more than I could ever have imagined, I was missing the mental stimulation of being a research scientist. In my spare time I found that I was forever research beauty products and their ingredients, just out of interest. I figured I may as well put my research down in writing as other people might be interested in what I had found out. And that is how my little blog was born.

Being a scientist, I have gotten a lot of writing experience over the years - my PhD thesis alone was 80,000 odd words. A couple of years ago I did a course on writing for the media and it was there that I learnt that the scientific style of writing was completely different to media writing. You need to be entertaining and engaging when writing in the media and you also need to be quite concise otherwise your audience will quit reading your article. In contrast, in scientific writing you cannot use emotive language and you tend to go into a hell of a lot more detail. So, to get a handle on my new hobby I decided to start reading other blogs to learn the language of blogs. And this is where my issues with my fellow bloggers began.

Firstly, not one blogger warned me just how addictive following blogs can be. My morning routine is now:
  • Get woken by my baby, get up and give him his bottle
  • Check my blog roll to see if any of the bloggers I follow have done a new post
  • Make mine and my baby's breakfast
  • Check my emails
So reading blogs now ranks higher than eating or feeding my son. I find it very rude that no bloggers put a warning in their Profile that reading their blogs will become addictive and may cause readers to neglect essential daily tasks, such as eating. Admittedly, I don't have such warning on my blog, but that is because I copied everything on my blog from my fellow bloggers.

The next big issue I have with my fellow bloggers is that none of them warned me just how expensive following blogs will be. They all write these amazing reviews of products from brands that I had previously never heard of and now cannot live without. In the six months prior to becoming interested in blogs I don't think that I made a single beauty purchase - I was slowly working through my ridiculous stash. In the 3 months since, I have made five orders plus made a visit to the Estee Lauder Corporate Store.

Since no one else is speaking out about the Blogger Mafia (due to fear for their life, I suspect), I am going to put my neck on the line and reveal The Axis of Blogging Evil - the blogs you really need to be wary of, the ones that will steal all your spare time and make you spend all your money. If you don't hear from me after this post you will know that the Blogger Mafia has silenced me...

Blatantly Evil: The Blogs that have forced me to make an order
  • Dempeaux - Sarah had to go on and on about how amazing Shiro cosmetics are, and how reasonable their price is, and especially how cheap international shipping much so that I now have an order making its way to me... 
  • The Lip Print - I have written a few times that fragrance is really important to me and that my favourite fragrance is rose. Did that stop Stefanie from writing one of the most amazing rose perfume reviews? No. So now I have ordered that perfume and about another 10, which I will get for my birthday, though that is not until September.
  • Ritual Eyes - Michelle makes her own eye shadows and does an amazing job duping much more expensive brands. Naturally I have also ordered some of her eye shadows as well...
  • Beauty in the Sky - Megan had to go and write about Fyrinnae eye shadows, in particular the Arcane shadows which shimmer rainbow...rainbow is my favourite could I not order them myself???
  • Little Jo - Jo pretended to be nice...she organised a trial for me with Ajana products, which I then fell in love with so need to purchase more, but that is not the most evil thing she did. No. She gave me a pass to the Estee Lauder Corporate Store, which allowed me to finally discover MAC, and now I want more MAC...
Can you see how EVIL these bloggers are. I can count on two hands the number of times I wear make up in a year, yet I have made 4 separate eyeshadow purchases, plus got some other makeup more perfume.

Psychologically Evil: The blogs that have mentioned a product that I cannot stop thinking about and will no doubt order in the near future
  • Keeping up with me - I have been wanting an Inglot eyeshadow palette for ages as I have heard that they are as good as MAC, pigment-wise but I thought that they were still a little bit on the pricey side...that was until I read Tara's damn Inglot review. Inglot's shadows work out to be less than a third the price of MAC, so quite reasonable. DAMN. I clearly don't need any more eyeshadow but know by years end I will probably own an Inglot palette...and it will probably be the Freedom 20 one. DAMN.
  • The Plastic Diaries - Kimmi explained why Danne Montegue King (DMK) has become her Holy Grail (HG) skincare range, with heaps of before an after photos to actually show the amazing results. Now I am I try DMK - it clearly does work, but then I love trialling beauty products so much - what happens if it also becomes my HG skincare range. The thought of never using another brand again terrifies me but then to have Kimmi's amazing skin excites me...oh the dilemma...
  • My Perfume Diaries - I love reading Su's perfume reviews, but so far she hadn't managed to force me to buy any perfumes...that was until she mentioned that she creates her own perfumes. Crap...I love nothing more than to have a beautiful perfume that I know no one else has...crap, crap, crap...
  • Dempeaux - Sarah has made both the blatantly evil and psychologically evil lists as she also wrote a review on MuLondon Organic White Chocolate Truffle Moisturiser. I don't need any more skincare but this moisturiser sounds amazing. And, with our dollar so good, it only costs about $24, including postage, to be sent from the UK. I will most likely own this by year end as well!

International Evil: The Blog's that shouldn't have tempted me, as they are from overseas, but they meanly pointed out that international shipping was available
  • Moxie Reviews - Moxie has written two fantastic reviews on the beauty books Can You Get Hooked on Lip Balm? and No More Dirty Looks The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean good were the reviews that these books have now been ordered (it's OK though, I ordered them on behalf of my baby to give to me for my birthday, as he forgot it last year!).
  • Ms Reds Beauty Blog - Ms Red reviewed Haus of Gloi Bubbling Scrub ...I had never heard of Haus of Gloi or even a bubbling scrub before...I have now investigated, found out that they make about 30 different bubbling scrubs and I think that I want 28 of them. It is going to be very, very tough to resist.
You are probably feeling quite disheartened by my revelations of the Axis of Blogging Evil and feel that there are no bloggers out there that you can trust not to enable you to spend all of your money or steal all of your precious time. Well, don't worry. I have come across a few blogs that can be somewhat trusted. These blogs are still evil time thief's; however, they have let me win stuff off their blog thereby preventing me from they are only half evil!

Half Evil Bloggers - the ones that let me win stuff!
  • The Things I Love - Lilpil writes about all the things that she loves, and more often than not the turn into the things I love as well. Thankfully she love the Natio's Pure Mineral Correctors Range and now I love it too as I won the entire range! 
  • Makeup and Macaroons - Lilit loves make up...and so do I...and she loves macaroons...and snap again - so do I (actually I love macaroons more than makeup!)...and thanks to a competition she ran I am now the proud owner of a massive box of hair care products!
  • Indulgent Reviews - Nadia reviews beauty products that are at the more indulgent end of the spectrum...funnily enough that's the end of the spectrum that I most like to hang out in! To celebrate her 100th blog post she gave away a box full of indulgent beauty products (including a Dior eyeshadow palette!), which I won. Hooray!
So, that brings about the end of my community service announcement revealing the Axis of Blogging Evil. Are there any bloggers out there that you are pissed off with? Ones that have seduced you with their amazing reviews and virtually forced you to rush out and buy a product? Post the link to the blog article in question so that these evil bloggers can be brought to attention - I am sure that there are many out there that I have missed!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Penhaligon's Series: Ellenisia Review

I discovered Penhaligon's Perfumes by accident. It was a brand that I had never heard of until one day when I purchased a DJ's tote bag (you know the ones - spend over $50 and buy a tote bag filled with samples worth $200 for $19.95...or something along those lines), and in it was a 2ml sample of Penhaligon's Ellenisia. I was slightly intrigued, although distracted by all the other new goodies I now had to play with, so the perfume got put aside. A few days later, as I was heading out, I grabbed the sample. The second the fragrance touched my wrist, and the intoxicating aroma hit my nose, I was smitten. It was love at first sniff. This was the most beautiful, heady, intensely feminine fragrance I had encountered. To breathe it in made me feel euphoric. This was unlike any fragrance I had ever experienced.

According to Penhaligon's, Ellenisia is an 'extravagant floral with armfuls of heady white blooms wrapped in swathes of sweet plum and vanilla. As the green shock of the violet and mandarin settle you can close your eyes and just picture the bouquets of gardenia, jasmine and tuberose; a tumble of scented petals. Then the slow simmering sugared plums appear, whipped through with sweet and creamy vanilla. Elegant and utterly magical'.

Ellenisia has head notes of mandarin zest and violet leaf, though I personally couldn't detect the mandarin zest. To my nose, there is no hint of citrus but this is not a bad thing as I am not a huge fan of citruses. The middle notes are gardenia, rose, tuberose and jasmine. These notes can be detected within about five minutes of spraying the perfume and are what I love so much about it. It really is a bouquet of white flowers. Finally, the base notes are plum nectar and vanilla. While the perfume never loses its floral notes it does settle down into a delicious, sweet, creamy floral.

This perfume is incredibly versatile. I find that it works equally as well as a day or night fragrance and surprisingly I crave it in both summer and winter. I think that in summer I am attracted to the fresh florals whilst in winter it is the creamy vanilla dry down that I love so much. I am a massive floral fan and this is one of my favourite perfumes of all time. Within days of testing this sample I had purchased a full bottle and I hope that it never gets discontinued as I can't imagine my life without Ellenisia in it.

Do you have a perfume that you can't live without?

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with Penhaligon's. I purchased this perfume with my own money. 

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Losing my MAC virginity

RuPaul - the first face of Mac
I love bright eyeshadow. For me it is either bright or nothing - if I want to look natural then I don't wear makeup. I first noticed MAC back in the 1990's when RuPaul became, not only the first face of MAC, but also the first Drag Queen supermodel. I remember at the time thinking that never has there been a more appropriate brand ambassador - RuPaul was as bright and flamboyant as the MAC brand is. MAC has continued to push the boundaries with their brand ambassadors, steering away from the tradition supermodel to select people who make a statement - think Dame Edna or more recently Lady Gaga.

Following the trend of unexpected
 brand ambassadors Dame Edna also
 becomes a face of Mac
Even though MAC's eye shadows clearly fit the bill in regards to bright colours, I never got around to trying any. I don't know whether it was because my local Myer didn't stock MAC so I was protected from impulse purchases or whether it was because I assumed that they were much the same as Napoleon Perdis shadows and chose to support the Aussie brand instead. Whatever the reason, 15 years later I still hadn't lost my MAC virginity.

 I spend a lot of time reading reading beauty blogs and forums and MAC is a brand that seems to really polarise people. To some it is the ultimate brand, the pinnacle of perfection; whilst others don't rate it saying that it is not worth the price. This contrast alone had me intrigued. I had a pass to go to the Estee Lauder Corporate Store so thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to finally experience MAC.
One product that I was really interested in trying was the Paint Pots, in particular Bare Study. According to MAC Paint Pots are 'a highly pigmented eye colour that goes on creamy but dries to an intense, vibrant finish. Long-wearing, colourfast. Creates seamless coverage without weight or caking. Blends smoothly over the lids'. There are hundreds of blogs and review sites recommending that Bare Study can be used as an eyeshadow primer, or alone as an eyeshadow. Apparently it creates the perfect canvass for applying eyeshadow and really helps it last all day.

When you go to the Estee Lauder Corporate Store you can't guarantee what products will be available. When I went, there were 5 different Pain Pots available but none of them were Bare Study. There was one, Vintage Selection, that looked like it might be similar so I had a quick check on the iPhone and came across the images below on the MAC site. They looked quite similar to me so I decided to give Vintage Selection a try.

Bare study - champagne with gold and white pearl
Image courtesy of MAC

Vintage Selection - frosted dirty pearl
Image courtesy of MAC

MAC Paint Pot in Vintage Selection

I love Vintage Selection. In the pic above you can see that it looks quite different when it is applied thickly (left) or lightly (right). I think the image to the right is closest to what you would get on the eyelids. Vintage Selection didn't get very good reviews online but most people were complaining about the glitter in it. I personally LOVE the glitter. I have now used it as a shadow on its own and find that it is very flattering, although quite subtle. When used as a primer, my eyeshadow didn't crease and was as bright when I got home (about 5 hours later) as when I had first applied it. I am very happy with this purchase.

I also picked up a couple of small MAC palettes: the 6 Mystic Cool Eye shadows palette and the Fashion Patch Mineralize Eyeshadow Palette.
6 Mystic Cool Eye shadows

6 Mystic Cool Eye Shadows Swatches L to R: Cool Incantation,
Blue Enchantment, Deep Secret, Shhh Don’t Tell, Rose Potion, Violet Vow

I found this to be a very versatile palette. The only colour I don't see me wearing is Violet Vow as I don't tend to wear browns. The colours are super pigmented, which I love; are very soft and easy to apply but did not have too much fall out; and they are super shimmery which I love love love in an eye shadow (Shhh Don't Tell and Violet Vow are matte). I can see me using the first 3 colours (Cool Incantation, Blue Enchantment & Deep Secret) to death. I won't get as much use out of Shhh Don’t Tell & Rose Potion but can see me turning to these colours to match an outfit.

MAC Fashion Patch Mineralized Eyeshadow

MAC Fashion Patch Mineralized Eyeshadow swatches

The MAC Fashion Patch Mineralized Eyeshadow quad has four really usable colours - a white gold, pale pink and sky blue that are all super shimmery plus a black that is more matte with sparkly glitter particles in it. The shadows are really soft so it was easy to pick up a lot of colour but then there was a fair amount of fall out onto the other colours and onto my face (though maybe this was due to my limited make up skills rather than the actual shadow). This colours are again highly pigmented which I loved, though they do turn out a fair bit paler than the appear in the palette.

Now, I know that I am well behind the eight ball in reviewing these MAC shadows as they were all released a couple of years ago, but the purpose of this blog post was more to document me losing my MAC virginity! So, how did I find the experience? Well, I have walked away more than unlike anything I have tried before. I can see myself purchasing more Paint Pots in the future.

Are you are MAC fan or are they overrated to you? If you are a MAC fan then what is your favourite product? And if you aren't a fan then what bright eye shadows do you use instead?

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Rodial Glamoxy Snake Mask Review: unlike any mask I have ever tried

I had never heard of the brand Rodial until I won the Rodial Glamoxy Snake Mask on Beauty Heaven. This is because it has literally only hit Australian shores in the last couple of months. Rodial is a UK skin care company that creates scientifically based, clinically tested products to treat skin concerns such as ageing and loss of firmness. Their best selling product is the Rodial glamoxy snake serum which, according to Rodial, is a revolutionary oxygenated, viper-inspired serum contains syn-ake, a neuropeptide that mimics the effects of the Temple Viper’s potent venom and a double dose of dipeptides, to instantly lift the face, freeze muscles and plump fine lines and wrinkles. It has been dubbed 'Botox in a bottle'.

Rodial describe the glamoxy snake mask, which is the follow up to the snake serum, as an innovative black ‘peel off’ formula that visibly improves skin radiance and texture. Amino acids and liquorice brighten skin tone while enriched minerals deep cleanse and purify pores to remove excess oil, dirt and impurities.

This was honestly one of the most unique masks that I have ever used. I have always thought that peel off masks were kind of crap. Sure, they are a lot of fun - as kids, my sis and I would steal Mum's Avon Cucumber Peel Off Mask and put it on our hands so that we could pretend to peel our skin off, but other than the novelty factor I have never achieved any notable results from one - not like I do with clay masks. This mask is different. It is much thicker than any peel off mask that I have tried, and because of this you have to work quickly to apply it as it becomes tacky quite fast. You then leave it on for 15-20 minutes to dry, then peel off to reveal brighter skin.

Usually I am fairly 'wordy' in my posts (fine, I waffle on a LOT!), but since this was such a unique mask and it came from a brand that is very new to Australia, I thought I would do a pic heavy post instead.

The mask comes in sexy jet black packaging

The mask itself is as black as the packaging
it comes in.

This colour really suits me - doesn't it make
my eyes pop!

Now to the fun part - the peeling begins...

The peeling continues - can I get it all off in
one go?

The 'snake skin' I shed.

My noticeably brighter new skin

The Results
The mask was really easy to peel off. It forms a really strong, tough 'skin' and I was actually able to remove it all in one go (well apart from the bits that got stuck in my eyebrows - why the hell did I think that my eyebrows needed the mask on them??). I was honestly quite shocked at how good my skin looked after I removed the mask. There was still redness and pigmentation present; however, my skin had a real luminosity about it - the mask definitely had a brightening effect. I have only used it the once, so it is possible that the pigmentation may improve with subsequent uses.

The mask smells gorgeous - I can't quite put my finger on the fragrance but I think it might be orange blossom. The scent lingered subtly on my skin for hours afterwards. I didn't moisturise afterwards and my skin never felt like it need moisturiser ie it never felt tight or dry. It also really did remove impurities from my skin. Because the mask is so thick and tough it yanked out my blackheads a bit like a pore strip would.

The Verdict
I loved this mask and was honestly shocked at the difference it made to my skin, especially after only one use. It really did seem to brighten it. It is recommended on the packaging that this mask be used 1-2 times per week; however, it is quite expensive at $85, so I plan on using it on special occasions as a skin brightener before I go out. My go to mask for such occasions used to be the SK-II Whitening Source Intensive Mask, but at $25 each they really were a luxury item for really special occasions. I estimate that you would get between 10-20 uses per tube, depending on how thick you spread it, making this a much more reasonable option for a special occasion mask. If you want immediate brighter skin, I recommend you give this a try.

Rodial products are available at Myers or online from The Facial Company.

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with Rodial. I was lucky enough to win the Rodial Glamoxy Snake Mask in a competition on Beauty Heaven.  

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Liebster strikes again!

You might recall back in May that I wrote how I had been nominated for a Liebster Blog Award by  Su, from My Perfume Diaries. Well, it seems that Mr Liebster has made another visit  back to my little blog and this time he was sent by Julie from Me, My Best and I. If you haven't yet discovered Me, My Best and I, I urge you to have a look. It is jam packed with heaps of beauty reviews and, as Julie is a qualified Beauty Therapist, she actually knows what she is talking about!

So, just to remind you, the Liebster is a award for those who have less than 300 Google followers but deserves more recognition and following than this. It is a way of getting the fantastic little blogs out there the publicity that they deserve.

If you receive the award you link back to the blogger that nominated you and nominate 3 more blogs. Below are 3 blogs that I love seeing new posts from and that I would would like to pass on the Liebster Blog Award to. They also deserve your following and support so have a look!

Dempeaux - Check this blog out at your own risk. She writes amazing reviews of products I have never heard but suddenly must have - two notables are Shiro Cosmetics and MuLondon skincare.

Things I Love - Brilliantly honest reviews of all her favorite honest that they suddenly become my favourite things as well! Two posts I particularly liked were Review: Shu Uemura Fresh Cleansing Oil and Make Your Own Solid Perfume.

Skin Scrubs - This is a lovely UK blog I recently discovered that, as well as reviewing various skin scrubs, as the title would suggest, such as in the R.I.P. my beauties post, also contains really thought provoking articles like Will beauty blogs be the death of the magazine? 

Are their any brilliant little blogs out there that you have discovered that deserve to be Leiebsterised?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Huge Warehouse Sale: Priori, Bare Escentuals, True Solutions and more!!

Have you ever wanted to try Priori but have been scared off by the price? What about Bare Escentuals Mineral Makeup? Or even JW Organics? Well, if you are in Sydney, now is your chance to try these great brands at a fraction of the price. This Thursday (23rd June), Friday and Saturday there is a massive warehouse sale with prices being reduced by between 70-90%. Check it out:

So, who will be going to this sale?

Ajana Mocha Madness Scrub Review

I was thrilled to recently be invited to trial the Ajana Mocha Madness Body Scrub. According to Ajana, The Mocha Madness body scrub is 'an invigorating body scrub like a shot of strong coffee to wake you up and wash away yesterday's tired skin leaving you and your skin invigorated and smelling sweetly of chocolate and coffee'. To me, coffee is one of those teasing aromas that smell a hell of a lot better than they actually taste (BBQ'd onions are another). So, to be able to smother myself in the delicious aroma of coffee, without having to be put through its horrible bitter taste was just delightful!

 Ajana suggests that this scrub is perfect for use over the whole body but especially on the knees an elbows in which the skin can be quite dry and rough but I actually think that this scrub could be an excellent cellulite treatment.

As I explained in my Coffee and Caffeine in Skin Care article, caffeine can improve the appearance of cellulite in at least 3 ways - caffeine is a diuretic so can dehydrate fat cells, reducing their size; caffeine encourages fat to be broken down by blocking phosphodiesterase activity, which is an enzyme that stops fat from breaking down; and, caffeine is bronchodilator (relaxes muscles in the lungs) so it is thought that it might also be able to relax the fibres that anchor the skin to the underlying muscle as it is these fibres that cause the dimpled effect of cellulite.

In addition, this delicious scrub contains ground cocoa. According to MoneyWatch website, cocoa contains theobromine, an alkaloid that penetrates the skin to the subcutaneous fat layer and may help stimulate the release of stored fat. So this scrub contains ingredients that attack cellulite on two different fronts!

The scrub also contains fresh coffee grounds which makes the scrub stimulating yet gentle. When I spoke with the creator of Ajana, Jana, she said that she prefers to use freshly brewed coffee grounds, as it is much more hygienic than using waste coffee grounds from coffee shops and she has found that fresh coffee grounds are far more aromatic. Well I can certainly voucher for the aromatic factor - my bathroom smelt like Gloria Jeans for hours after I use the scrub!

It is my opinion that this scrub would make an excellent cellulite treatment, for the reasons mentioned above. Ajana, doesn't actually market it as a cellulite scrub, and, unfortunately, I actually started using the scrub a few times before doing my research. Had I done my research first, like a good little scientist, I would have realised the potential of the scrub as a cellulite treatment and would have taken photos and monitored whether I thought it was effective (though I can't guarantee that I would have published said photos!). Instead, I rushed in like a bull in a china shop, and used up most of my pot before I could evaluate its efficacy as a cellulite treatment. I plan to repeat the trial later in the year, probably when summer is getting closer and I can no longer hide in my trackie daks! So this review will be based on how I liked the scrub.

On first application of the scrub I was actually quite worried that it would stain my skin, like a dodgy fake tan. As you can see from the picture to the left, it is quite dark on application. However, it rinsed off completely and not even stray coffee grounds remained.

The scent is intensely coffee. It is actually quite delicious. But as gorgeous as the scent is, I don't want it to linger on my skin and have to spend the day fending off coffee addicts trying to get a caffeine hit by licking my arm. Thankfully, this was not a problem as the aroma on my skin faded very quickly. Interestingly though, it lasted for hours in my bathroom so I would get a bit of a shock each time I went in there to find it still smelling like a cafe.

The scrub is packed with oils so it left my skin feeling silky soft afterwards, without the need to moisturise. It also was a fantastic pick me up in the mornings. I don't know whether it was the caffeine or simply the act of having a shower, or the stimulation of the scrub massage but throughout the period of the trial my baby was going through a horror sleeping phase, waking multiple times a night. I found this really helped me feel somewhat human again.

The way I used this scrub was to step into the shower and rinse myself, then I turned the water off, rubbed the scrub over my damp skin for a few minutes on each area that I was treating, then I resumed my shower and rinsed it off. Having damp skin meant that the scrub was effective, but not too harsh. For a really intense scrubby experience you could apply it straight onto dry skin. It is quite messy to use so I'd recommend that you used it int eh shower or the bath, though the great thing is that since it is made up of sugar particles, all the mess in your shower dissolves away so you don't need to worry about cleaning your shower after using it.

I was really impressed with this scrub and will definitely be using it again. coming into summer, to see if it works as a cellulite treatment. Jana mentioned that some of her other testers have also found that it is really effective on backne (back acne). This isn't a problem for me, so I can't comment there but this might be a product to keep in mind if backne is a problem for you.

Ajana products are available for order through their Facebook page or from their Etsy store.

If you would like a chance to win one of Ajana's gorgeous scrubs, check out Little Jo's blog as she will be running an amazing competition running to win one!

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with Ajana and received no remuneration for my comments. This product was provided for consideration.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Product review: Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Pre Foundation Primer versus Face of Australia Face Base Primer

I recently wrote a blog describing how makeup primers work and thought that I'd review a few primers that I have used. I read on the Vogue Forum that the Face of Australia Face Base and the Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Pre Foundation Primer were actually exactly the same. As Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Pre Foundation Primer is about four times the price of the Face of Australia Face Base I thought that I would investigate further to see if they really could be the same product.

About Each Product

Face of Australia Face Base RRP $11.95
Face of Australia state on their website that the Face Base Primer is specially formulated to apply under your foundation to improve your complexion and assist make-up last longer. Face Base Primer contains Vitamin E to nourish and hydrate skin and chamomile to smooth your complexion, leaving it fresher and brighter, ready for foundation application. The Face Base Primer fills fine lines for a more balanced surface, so that your foundation applies evenly and stays on longer for all-day flawless skin.

Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Pre Foundation Primer RRP $49.50
The following description was offered of Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Pre Foundation Primer on their website: “Not to Prime is a Crime!”. Makeup has never had a smoother landing. Get (even more) gorgeous with this gentle, pre-makeup base. Scientifically formulated to allow your makeup to “automatically” glide over the skin, Auto Pilot helps to prime and soothe the complexion for that flawless finish and helps makeup last even longer. Chamomile, Yarrow extract and Vitamin E deliver complexion perfection and instant hydration for all skin types.

The Comparison
I started with the obvious and examined the ingredients for each primer, as listed on the backs of the tubes, side by side.

Face of Australia Face Base
Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Primer
Water (Aqua)
Water (Aqua)
Isopropyl Palmitate
Isopropyl Palmitate
Propylene Grycol
Propylene Grycol
Stearic Acid
Stearic Acid
Glyceryl Stearate
Glyceryl Stearate
Tocopheryl Acetate
Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate)
Achillea Millefolium Extract
Yarrow Extract (Achillea Millefolium)
Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract
Chamomile Extract (Chamomilla Recutita Flower)
Fragrance (Parfum)
Fragrance (Parfum)
Imidazolidinyl Urea
Imidazolidinyl Urea
Tetrasodium EDTA
Tetrasodium EDTA

As you can see, they are exactly the same. As they are listed in exactly the same order, it is more than likely that the concentrations of each ingredient are the same in both products.

I honestly couldn't see or feel any real difference in the consistency of these two primers. Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Primer may have been slightly runnier coming out of the tube but I did not feel a difference applying either of the primers to my face.

Even the fragrance of the two is very similar - a very stock standard lotion type smell. The Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Primer is the more pleasant of the two, it is a bit more subtle. The Face of Australia Face Base has a slightly cheap plasticy smell to it - though this may have come from the packaging. The smell of both primers fades very soon after application and is not noticeable on the skin.

Both primers come in nearly identical 50ml squeeze tubes. The only notable difference, other than the branding, is that the Face of Australia Face Base comes in a tube with a flip top lid whilst the Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Primer has a screw top lid. The flip top lid is more convenient as you don't have to juggle a lid along with the tube when you have the primer on your hand.

If I had been blinded to the products, ie if I had transferred them to unmarked containers, to do the trial then I honestly don't think that I would have been able to tell which one was which. I had never used either primer before this test so it was a new experience for both. I trialled the Face of Australia Face Base first. I applied it to my freshly cleansed skin, without applying any moisturiser. I left it to dry for a few minutes whilst I did my eye makeup, before applying foundation on top. I don't often wear foundation and ended up being a tad disappointed with the Face of Australia Face Base primer but I think that perhaps my expectations were too high. In terms of helping my foundation last longer, it was fantastic. My skin tends to be a little bit oily and I find my foundation slides off in patches, especially on and around my nose but this didn't happen when I used the Face of Australia Face Base. Where I was disappointed was its ability to create a smooth canvas. One thing I don't like about foundation is that I find that it accentuates the wrinkles around my eyes. I was hoping that a primer would fix this problem and fill in the wrinkles, but it didn't. However, when I used the Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Primer the same thing happened. So, it seems that the wrinkles around the eyes might be too big a task for a primer to fix, especially as it is a high movement area. I found that when I used the Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Primer m foundation also lasted all day and didn't pool or slide off my nose.
I honestly could find no difference between the Face of Australia Face Base and the Napoleon PerdisPerdis Auto Pilot Primer) the only real difference is the price of these two products - with the Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Primer being FOUR times more expensive than the Face of Australia Face Base. For this reason I would choose the Face of Australia Face Base over the  Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Primer; however, believe that if price is not an issue then you would be equally happy with each primer.

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with either Face of Australia or Napolean Perdis. I purchased the Face of Australia Face Base with my own money and was lucky enough to win the Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Pre Foundation Primer in a competition on

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Join the FITE with Dermalogica

Last night I attended a Dermalogica Bloggers Event and I have to say that it was such an informative evening and that I learnt so much. The formulations behind Dermalogica's products are so much more scientific than I ever imagined and the staff are so knowledgeable. They were dropping some hardcore scientific terms to me, concepts that I struggle to get my mind around, and this blew me away. But I will get to all of this in another post. The real purpose of last nights event was to discuss FITE.

FITE (Financial Independance Through Enterpreneurship) is an organisation that aims provide women entrepreneurs in developing countries access to small loans that will help them start or grow a business. FITE works with which is the nonprofit leader in microfinance. So basically, women borrow small amounts - between $200-$1200, to help them get a business off the ground. The money is not donated to them but loaned to them with the intention that they pay back the loan as their business grows. The beauty of this system is that once the loan has been repaid, the money then becomes available to be lent to another woman, to start another business. So one donation may empower many many women. The amazing thing is that the one loan doesn't just benefit one woman but it has a flow on effect throughout her whole village. Once this woman is able to get her business off the ground, she can then afford to pay her child's school fees; therefore, money becomes available to hire a new teacher, she may soon be able to afford a proper house meaning that builders are employed, and so on. Microfinance really does have the power to break the poverty cycle. We were told at the Dermalogica Event that over 97% of these loans have been repaid. So the system is working. In addition, FITE makes sure that these women are given every opportunity to succeed. They are not just given the money and left to find for themselves, they are also given assistance in getting their business up and running as that is so important. For every business that succeeds, a loan is repaid, therefore funding then available to help another woman.

This all sounds fantastic but you are probably wondering what it has to do with Dermalogica. Well, Dermalogica is the founding partner for FITE, and has invested all the research and development to make FITE possible. Dermalogica realised that they have helped more than 25,000 skin treatment centers – employing upwards of 75,000 skin therapists – run successful businesses, and that they have the power to help thousands more women in the developing world. So, not only are they investing heavily in this amazing program, they are also spreading the word to raise awareness of how we can make a huge difference in another woman's life.

By now you are probably wondering how you can help. Well, there are two ways:

Firstly, you can make a microloan yourself. If you go to the FITE website  you will see that there is a link to make a microloan ( When you click on it you will be given a list of women and their business plans ie what they want to do with their loans. You can then select a woman whom you wish to loan money to. Heather, from Dermalogica, told us that at the start of the year she decided to make a microloan to a woman, who I believe is in Peru. Well, this woman has already paid back 75% of her loan, so Heather decided to reinvest that money in someone else, and that person has already paid back 85% of her loan so Heather has reinvested this into a third woman's business. Heather said that each month she gets an email detailing how the woman she has supported is going both in her business and in repaying her loan. I find this absolutely incredible. For years now I have done monthly donations to various charities but whenever I hit financial hardships I have to cancel these donations. I find it incredible that, if you can afford to make just one donation, it can continue to have an impact on many recipients.

The second way you can help is to purchase certain Dermalogica products with the FITE packaging and then to redeem the code and Dermalogica will donate $1 to FITE. Dermalogica has chosen to link 5 of their most popular products,ones that everyone can use, with the FITE program. The products are:
  • Daily Microfoliant
  • Precleanse
  • Skin Hydrating Booster
  • Total Eye Care
  • Intensive Eye Repair
Buying the products alone is not enough for the $1 donation to be made. These products all come with a FITE cardboard sleeve - remove the sleeve and open it up and inside will be your special code and instructions on how to redeem it. I did this earlier in the year with my Daily Microfoliant. The beauty is that you get to choose what kind of business you want to support and where - so I chose to support a food business in Thailand and hope that the next time I am in Thailand I will eat at this restaurant!
So, I hope you have learnt a bit more about FITE from this post and that you go and check out their website for more info - If you are in the market for some new Dermalogica products, look out for the ones with the green FITE packaging, and if you are looking for a new charity to support I urge you to check out FITE

Sunday, 12 June 2011

What a stingy free sample frenzy!

I love a freebie - who doesn't! But I often find myself a little bit embaressed to go and claim free samples from the Myers or DJs cosmetics counters. Its silly, I know, but I hate the judging look some of the sales assistants give me. Don't get me wrong - there are some fantastic sales assistants out their who are so passionate about their brand and are just dying to share their knolwledge and allow you to try a sample in the hope that you fall as head over heels with the product as they are. But then there are the sales assistants who, when they look at you, have 'what a stingy bugger' written all over their faces. Those are the ones that I am scared of!

However, I had recently won a competition from Instyle Magazine that required me to go to the Shiseido counter at Myers to pick up the prize - a personally designed Jayson Brunsdon cosmetic bag with a Shiseido lipstick and lip liner (see pic to the left) - so I thought that I may as well check out Joy's blog (BeautyBargainQueen) to see what other freebies I could pick up whilst I was at it. The Shiseido prize was quite nice. The make up bag is really a small purse, about the size of a CD, so good for keeping a few essentials in your handbag. The lipstick was gorgeously cream - it spread on so easily; however, it is probably a bit bright for me so I passed it on to mum. Though, I swatched it before giving it away and now looking at my swatch I am thinking that I might have made a mistake giving it away - it is actually quite a gorgeous colour and not as bright as it seemed when I was wearing it. I usually wear tinted lip gloss so perhaps that is why it felt so bright.

Shiseido Perfect Rouge Lipstick swatch

I had heard that the Limited Edition BENEFIT b.right! Radiant Skincare Trio was a really cool sample to get so headed to the Benefit counter after I had picked up my prize from Shiseido. It certainly was a great freebie. If you have a look at the pic below, it is the box to the right. In it was a 10ml sample of the new Triple Performing Facial Emulsion moisturiser, 10ml Foamingly Clean Facial Wash and a 3ml sample of the It's Potent Eye Cream. The Benefit sales assistant also did a demo of the products on my hand. The smell amazing and did leave my hand feeling lovely. I have not yet tried the b.right range as I am trialling some other products at the moment but will put a review up once I have taken them for a test drive.

I then hit the Estee Lauder counter to see if I could get a sample of their Pure Colour Long Lasting Lipstick that I had seen advertised on Facebook. I was in luck! I received a card (top right in the photo below) that contained samples of four of the new shades. I have swatched the shades below. I must say that i was ver impressed with this sample. Each little square of lipstick would give you at least five wears of the lipstick - more than enough time to fall in love with a shade!

I had also downloaded a couple of Biotherm vouchers from BeautyBargainQueen for a fragrance and a blemish balm but at 10.00am there were still no staff at the Biotherm counter so I gave up and went home. Below is my haul from my free sample frenzy. I now have a bunch of new products to play with, without having spent a cent! Totally worth the 'what a stingy bugger' stares I got from one the sales assistants!

My super stingy haul!

Swatches from the Estee Lauder Pure Colour Long Lasting Lipstick sample card.

Swatches of each of the colours on my hand
L to R: Lilac Lover, Crystal Coral, Blushing and Scarlet Siren

I also decided to do some lip swatches. Before I go on I need to apologise. It was not until I started photographing myself did I realise just what a lopsided smile I have. I had previously noticed it in photos but hadn't paid much attention. It wasn't until now, when I wanted a nice symetrical smile did I realise just how impossible that is for me. When I was a kid, maybe three or four years of age, I remember asking mum how do you smile. Even now, 27 years later, I still remember her reaction. She looked at me as if I was a bit special and told me that you just lift the conrner of your lips up and smile. Ok, so maybe I don't ctually remember her reaction after all this time but I definitely remember asking that question and that is how I would react if a kid of mine asked a weird question like that! So, for a few years until I really worked it out, I have the most stupid smile in photos - its not actually a smile - I was just showing my teeth. It has defintiely improved over the years, though I guess it is still a little unique. Please don't let it distract you too much from the lip stick colours!

Scarlet Siren (Creme) - a very bright red. Too bright for me.
Estee Lauder Scarlet Siren (71) Creme Pure Colour Long
Lasting Lipstick

Blushing (Creme) - this was my favourite. I love it and can see myself wearing it quite often. It is a very natural and flattering pink.
Estee Lauder Blushing (55) Creme Pure Colour Long Lasting

Crystal Coral (Creme) - this came out nearly clear - it had next to no colour on my and defintiely no hints of coral. If anything it added a slight pinkish hue to my lips, but I wouldn't have described it as coral.
Estee Lauder Crystal Coral (11) Creme Pure Colour Long
 Lasting Lipstick

Lilac Lover (shimmer) - on the card I though that this would be my favourite, but it is actually quite sheer. I didn't mind it, and could definitely see myself wearing this as a day time colour but the colour was a lot more sheer than I was expecting. It is a very natural sweet pink.
Estee Lauder Lilac Lover (34) Shimmer Pure Colour Long
Lasting Lipstick

Friday, 10 June 2011

Lust Have It! Revealed: What Samples to Expect in Your First Box! Updated 12/07/11!

I have just received news that there is now a fourth monthly sample box company launching - Lust Have It! and you can sign up for it here. Unlike the other sample box companies I mentioned last week, Lust Have It! are not still in the beta mode but are in fact launching in a couple of weeks. That’s right – from July you can subscribe to this company and your first box of premium samples will arrive in August.  This means that Lust Have It! will be the first sample box company to be sending out boxes in Australia.
When researching the different companies for my previous article I found it very difficult to find much information. The companies couldn’t release the list of brands that they had on board, or they told me that they were still in beta mode and would get back to me once as soon as they had more information. This is not the case with Lust Have It!. I think I spoke on the phone with Nicci, the founder of Lust Have It!, for about 30 minutes today and she answered every single one of my questions, including spilling what the contents of the first box will be! But before I get to that I’ll tell you a bit more about Nicci and Lust Have It!.
Nicci has been in the beauty industry for 20 years, working as a beauty therapist. She got the idea for Lust Have It! when she realised that there are a whole range of brilliant beauty products out there that are only available in salons and that these products really work, yet most people don’t get the opportunity to try them. So, Lust Have It! will provide samples of these salon brands, plus other high end brands, in your monthly beauty boxes. You will not receive samples of supermarket beauty products.
Each month, if you subscribe to Lust Have It! you will receive 5 to 6 premium samples. The service costs $14.95 and this includes postage and handling. You can either pay for each month that you would like to receive the box or you can subscribe for 12 months. I asked Nicci just what a premium sample is. I mean, you don’t want to pay $14.95 to get a single sachet of product. She said that the majority of samples will be deluxe in size – think travel or GWP size. Some products in your box will even be full sized. There will be occasions where the brand included in your box only has samples available in sachets so in these cases you will be provided with multiple sachets to really get a feel for the products.
For each box you purchase, or if you get a yearly subscription, you earn points. Lust Have It! will have an online store attached to it so if you love the sample you have just trialled you can then buy the full sized product in their online store. You can redeem the points you have earned for discounts on the full sized products. You are probably busting to know exactly what brands are already on board, well keep reading. All will be revealed soon!
One final thing that I want to tell you about Lust Have It!, before I spill what you will be getting in your first box, is that there is no wait list to be invited. You don’t have to invite 500 friends to be accepted, or wait until an opening becomes available. You can subscribe when you want to, on your terms.
Now, what you have all been waiting for – the contents of the first box! I can reveal that the first box will contain a premium sample of Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (13g), a sample of a Lancôme product so new that it has not even hit the shelves yet, plus 4 more premium samples that could come from any of the following brands: Burt’s Bees, Mirenesse, Naked Tan, Pure Fiji, Kerastase, L’Oreal, Redken, Purelogy, Essie, Thalgo or Urban Rituelle. Sorry, you didn’t think that I was going to give away all of the contents, did you? Surely you must want some surprises in your first box! That’s the beauty of these sample boxes, you just don’t know what is going to turn up on your doorstep each month! One thing that you do know is that it is going to be awesome! The value of the two samples I have mentioned is already over $20 and there are still four more samples in your first box. I honestly do not think that you will be disappointed.

UPDATE 12/7/11: I can now reveal that the first Lust Have It! sample box will also include a sample of the amazing BIOeffect EGF Serum. If you have not heard of this serum then you need to check out my blog post on it. It is honestly one of the most amazing beauty products that I have read about. This sample alone is worth $40, bringing the total of your first box to an incredible $60...and I haven't even revealed half of the samples.
In addition to the brands listed above, Lust Have It! are in negotiations with some pretty exciting brands. I have been sworn to secrecy until these negotiations are finalised but I’ll give you some hints – think of a really well known high quality make up brand and a gorgeous natural Australian skin care brand. Each month, new brands will be added!
Unfortunately, Nicci didn’t tell me what will be in any of the subsequent boxes, though she did say that the contents of the next four boxes have been finalised...and she may have let slip that in one of the boxes you will receive a full sized nail polish worth $19.95 – so you already getting more value than your $14.95 subscription fee and that is just on one product. At this stage everyone will be getting the same contents for their boxes, but there are plans to personalise the boxes in the near future. And don’t worry, in the initial boxes you will not receive products that are aimed at specific ages or skin concerns. All products provided will be suitable for any age or skin type.
The website for Lust Have It! Is due to go live any day now, and to celebrate they are giving away the ultimate beauty prize pack worth $500 to one lucky person who registers to their mailing list!
The cut off to be included for the first box mail out in August is the last week of July but just a word of warning – there are only a limited number of boxes available for the August shipment. Whilst there is no waiting list to be invited to Lust Have It!, once they have sold the allotted number of boxes for August then that’s it, I’m afraid. So, if you think you might be interested I would get your name on this list ASAP.
I mentioned in my previous post that I can’t choose which sample box company I am going to sign up for. Obviously, we won’t know until the first couple of boxes from each company have been sent out, which company is likely to be the best value, but from my research Lust Have It! are appearing to be the most professional. So far they are the only ones that have answered any of my questions and they have provided me with so much more information than the other companies.
Do you have any further questions about Lust Have It!? I drilled Nicci with every question that I could think of but if there is anything you still want to know, post it here and I will see whether I can get Nicci to answer it for you. 

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with Lust Have It! and received no remuneration for my comments.