Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Hylamide High-Efficiency Face Cleaner

Seeing as I have just spent far too much money on the Deciem Black Friday sale, I thought it was high time I reviewed something I have been using from their range before I receive my whole new bunch of goodies. Deciem was founded in 2013 in Canada and currently owns 10 brands spanning skincare, haircare, health supplements, makeup, and more. Their focus is to provide products of the highest quality whilst not being defined by price or distribution channels, which has definitely shaken up the norm in the beauty industry. Hylamide is a middle of the range brand from Deciem, falling in between NIOD and The Ordinary in terms of price, focusing on skincare and makeup enhancing products. The High-Efficiency Face Cleanser is the first product that I have tried from the Hylamide range.

The High-Efficiency Face Cleaner promises to cleanse the skin and remove makeup. It also promises to balance the skin, purify pores, and provide surface hydration.

I apply this cleanser to a dry face as a first cleanse to remove makeup. It is a liquid consistency that is very runny and much less viscous than comparable oil cleansers that I have used. It is clear and slightly oily with no discernible scent and feels very close to water on the skin. A five cent piece sized amount is more than sufficient and very easily dissolves all makeup (although I don't wear waterproof mascara so have not tested it on that). It does not leave the skin uncomfortable or dry, and although I always apply a moisturiser after cleansing this cleanser doesn't make me race to rehydrate my skin.

I have never used an oil cleanser that dissolves makeup so easily and quickly! Other balm and oil cleansers that I have used have been a bit thicker and required massage to remove makeup, whereas a quick swipe of this cleanser over the face seems to dissolve makeup instantly. I don't love the feel of this on my skin when I use it, possibly because it dissolves makeup so quickly that my face immediately feels dirty. For this reason, I use this cleanser exclusively to remove makeup and not as a second cleanse on bare skin. I always remove my cleansers with a flannel, however the beauty of this cleanser is that you can remove with water only so it would be great for travelling. I'm guessing someone who loves micellar water to remove makeup would probably enjoy this cleanser because it has a similar feel to a micellar water to me.

This is packaged in a plastic bottle with a screw top nozzle. I like the plastic packaging, mainly because I've knocked one too many cleansers off my bathroom counter with disastrous results. The screw top nozzle I can take or leave. Because this cleanser is so liquid, you have to transfer the product straight to your face otherwise you'll end up with it dripping down your arm, and so more often than not the lid is left open which is not ideal. Some sort of pump packaging would be easier.

The formula is water-, alcohol-, and silicone-free. The full ingredients list includes cetyl ethylhexanoate, peg-20 glyceryl triisostearate, bisabolol, bataua palm oil, Brazil nut oil, Inca nut oil, crambe seed oil, jojoba oil, tomato fruit extract, karanja seed oil, squalane, ethylhexyl stearate, tocopherol, phenoxyethanol, and chlorphenesin.

Price: $29.95 (Deciem website) [$0.25/mL]
Rate: efficacy, no fragrance, plastic packaging
Hate: screw top nozzle packaging, feel on skin
Verdict: I've enjoyed other oil and balm cleansers more than this so probably not a repurchase for me despite how effective it is

Friday, 13 October 2017

Alpha-H Essential Hydration Cream

Alpha-H is an Australian brand founded in 2000 on the Gold Coast. They are best known for their cult product Liquid Gold, a glycolic acid toner that is one of my favourite exfoliating toners to use, which sells 123 bottles every day in Australia! Alpha-H build their products around highly active ingredients to target skin conditions including acne, pigmentation, and premature ageing. I have tried a couple of sample size products from Alpha-H before and always enjoyed them, and now the lovely people at RY very kindly sent me some products to have a play with, including the Essential Hydration Cream.

The Essential Hydration Cream promises to rehydrate, soothe, and balance the skin and is suitable for all skin types, but especially dry, dehydrated, and sensitive skin.

It is a thick, white cream that still retains a gel-like feel so doesn't come across too heavy on the skin and spreads very easily. It is packaged in my favourite type of packaging where you push down on the top after taking off the lid and the perfect amount is dispensed into the well-like top of the tub. You can apply day or night, and I regularly do both. It is fantastic under makeup as it absorbs really quickly and doesn't leave your skin feeling tacky yet it is still sufficiently moisturised. I love that this cream is really gentle and free from any intense actives, so it is a great moisturiser to use after you've hit your skin with a heavy duty serum or mask. I particularly like to use this after any AHAs at night time as it is really soothing and cooling, and I can see this being particularly great in a routine following Alpha-H's Liquid Gold.

This has a really calming, fresh, aromatic scent that I have completely fallen in love with. It is also rated 10/10 on the boyfriend 'you smell good' scale, so definitely one to check out if you are a fan of products that have a beautiful scent. It is mostly peppermint but has a really lovely aromatic warmth to it. For that reason, I really like using this as a night cream because I find the scent really relaxing and it helps me to wind down for bed.

My skin is really sensitive and very prone to redness. Even just cleansing my face will leave my skin hot and pink for some time afterwards, but I love using this moisturiser to help calm it down. I find that it takes a lot of the heat out of my skin and helps to calm the redness down more quickly, so I think it would be great for anyone with sensitive skin. The moisturising factor is also fantastic and despite it being light and easily absorbed, my skin is happy with just this even if I don't apply a serum or oil underneath. It is definitely one of my favourite moisturisers that I have used recently - probably one of my favourite products I have used recently full stop!

The Essential Hydration Cream has a base of water and the second highest ingredient on the list is actually silicon, which my skin has been known to have issues with in the past. Fortunately no problems with this cream though! It also includes hydrating ingredients propylene glycol, glycerin, algae extract, jojoba oil, macadamia seed oil, evening primrose oil, glyceryl stearate, cetearyl alcohol, ethylhexyl palmitate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, isomerised linoleic acid, wheat germ oil, Solomon's Seal plant extract, and palmitic acid to help plump up the skin. It includes carbomer to give the product a gel feel, phenoxyethanol as a preservative, and potassium hydroxide to moderate the pH. Vitamin E is included in the form of tocopheryl acetate and tocopherol, vitamin B in the form of panthenol, and vitamin C in the form of ascorbyl palmitate. Comfrey extract is included to assist with soothing, aluminium/magnesium hydroxide to whiten the formula, ginseng root extract for its healing and anti-ageing properties, caprylyl glycol as a preservative, ylang ylang extract, peppermint extract, wolfsbane extract and cypress seed extract for fragrance, triolein to assist with absorption, barley extract (an antioxidant), palmitoyl tripeptide-5 to assist with skin firmness, propyl gallate as a preservative, citric acid to moderate the pH, and beta-sitosterol which acts like salicylic acid to resurface the skin.

Price: $51.95 [$1.04/mL]
Rate: scent, calming and soothing, efficacy, packaging
Hate: I don't love how silicone-heavy the formula is but, in saying that, it hasn't bothered my skin at all so far
Verdict: I would 100% repurchase this as it is so perfect for using after strong serums - that I am a big fan of - so I have used this up really quickly and I also adore the packaging

This product was received as a sample for review from All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

asap Super C Serum

asap is a pretty new brand in my world. Although I have seen it around plenty, it was only recently when my sister became pregnant and gifted me with the super C serum (as she was wary of using it whilst pregnant and also found it too hydrating - or something - on her oily skin) that I have actually used any products from the brand. And now I want to try everything! asap is an Australian cosmeceutical skincare range launched in 2000 that focuses on using active ingredients, such as AHAs and antioxidants, to provide great, fast-acting results. They are cruelty free and their products contain no artificial fragrances or parabens.

The super C serum promises to reduce the visible signs of premature ageing caused by the sun and other environmental damage. With daily use, it promises to promote skin radiance and clarity.

The serum is a thick yellowish cream that has a silicone feel to it when spread over the skin. The packaging is awesome, in one of those vacuum tubes that pushes the product up as you pump it so that you can use every last speck and is also super hygienic. It has a tangy, acidic scent and, because of the high vitamin C content at 20%, can tingle a little on application - especially if you have not used vitamin C before. Oh, and definitely do NOT apply this to any broken skin or open breakouts. OUCH.

Whilst it is recommended to use this during the day to assist with the efficacy of the vitamin C via exposure to sunlight, I actually prefer to use this at night. I find silicone to sometimes be quite drying on my skin, so this is better for overnight use for me when I can use a heavy duty night cream over the top. I have also noticed that this affects the longevity of makeup, in that my foundation is much more broken up by the end of the day at work when I have used this on my skin in the morning. So, this is generally a night time treatment for me, except on lazy weekend days when I am just around the house and not wearing a full face of makeup.

This serum has had pretty amazing effects on my skin. When I use this consistently, it has helped significantly with clearing up the regular breakouts along my jawline and chin. My skin is plumper and looks fresher, brighter. The silicone has not had its usual drying effect on my skin, although there has been one dry patch on my forehead, which I think was caused by overuse of a gritty exfoliating cleanser rather than this serum. I am so happy to have found a vitamin C serum that has had benefits for my skin, after having a bit of a fail with the 100% Pure Vitamin C Serum which contained too small a concentration of vitamin C to help my skin much. I would definitely recommend the asap serum to help with brightening and freshening up your skin, as it has had some great effects on my dry, breakout-prone skin.

The super C serum has a silicone base and includes isopropyl myristate (an emollient for hydration purposes), vitamin C as ascorbic acid (20%), hydroxydecyl ubiquinone i.e. CoQ10 (a powerful antioxidant), pine bark extract (antioxidant), vitamin E as tocopherol, glycerin (an humectant for hydration), soybean oil, beta-carotene, grapefruit peel oil, orange peel oil, bergamot oil, lime oil, vanilla extract, cedar bark oil, silica heliotropine (silicone), cyclopentasiloxane (more silicone), stearic acid (a fatty acid), and rapeseed (canola) oil.

Price: $89.00 (Adore Beauty website) [$2.97/mL]
Rate: efficacy, packaging, formula, Australian company, cruelty free
Hate: price (but shop around because you can usually find it for around $20.00 off the RRP)
Verdict: this is a definite repurchase for me and, after having it on my wishlist, I actually bought the asap Platinum Collection recently, which includes this in 15mL size, to try out more of the asap range

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Almost Peggy Face Honey

Almost Peggy is the brainchild of two sisters from Melbourne, Lucy and Clare, and Face Honey is currently their only product. It is a natural exfoliating daily face wash aiming to solve many common skin problems by natural means and using their hero ingredient, honey (obviously!). I was fortunate to win a packet of the gooey stuff in an Instagram giveaway by Wellness by Kels and have been giving it a good test out since.

Face Honey promises to nourish and gently exfoliate the skin. It also promises to promote clear skin and balance oils.

Face Honey is a dark golden, slightly sticky paste packaged in one of those resealable envelope packets that are all the rage for body scrubs. Not going to lie, I hate the packaging. Fortunately, Face Honey's semi-solid state allows you to easily scoop out a chunk to apply to your face. It is recommended that you wet your face before applying so that it is easier to spread the product out (trust me, do not try to apply it to a dry face) so this means that some of the water ends up in the packaging and trying to reseal it with wet hands...nightmare. Actually, trying to reseal these envelopes full stop I struggle - anyone else? I think it would be slightly better in a jar because at least you wouldn't be reaching all the way in for some product and ending up with sticky hands and wrists too. Sadly, the product is way too thick to be packaged in pump-style packaging.

I have been using Face Honey as a second cleanse after removing makeup in the evenings and occasionally as a first cleanse first thing in the morning. It is much easier than I was expecting to spread the product over your face given the stickiness of the honey and the thickness of the formula. It has a slightly gritty texture from the bicarbonate soda included to help with exfoliation. I normally do not enjoy exfoliating scrubs as I prefer acid exfoliation, however I found this gentle enough on my skin to use a couple of times a week. My skin is very soft and smooth after use and the antibiotic properties of the honey have helped to clear up and heal some of my breakouts faster than normal.

To me, Face Honey smells exactly like honeycomb and I really enjoy opening this up just because of the smell alone! Given the first two ingredients are honey and organic bicarbonate soda, this makes a lot of sense. The rest of the ingredients include grapeseed oil, organic agar agar, and essential oils of sweet orange, cedarwood, lime, bergamot, frankincense, ylang ylang, and geranium. It is a really simple, natural formula that relies on the natural preservative effects of the honey but does need to be used up within four to six weeks of opening.

Price: $26.95 (Almost Peggy website) [$0.135/g]
Rate: ingredients, scent, efficacy, Australian-made and owned, cruelty free
Hate: packaging (really)
Verdict: I wouldn't repurchase this, despite enjoying it as a change from acid exfoliation, simply because the packaging is way too fussy, messy and irritating

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Antipodes Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream

Antipodes is a New Zealand brand focused on natural and organic skincare with scientific backing, to provide a product based in nature with great results. I have tried several products from Antipodes before and have really enjoyed them, in particular the Anti-Ageing Minis (made even better if you can nab them on sale!). I love that they are a natural skincare brand that feels really luxurious and does provide great results on my skin. The Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream is my current day and night eye cream and has lasted me a helluva long time.

The Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream promises to help moisturise and soften fine lines as well as soothing and cooling the eye area.

Eye creams are one skincare item that I religiously apply both morning and night. Despite that they
are sometimes a thicker cream that might not sit so well under makeup - something that I wish I did not have to wear every day, but, working in an office environment demands it - the area around my eyes always seems to lap it up. The Antipodes Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream is a great eye cream for the day time, as it is a light lotion texture, so will be perfect for those who do not have quite such a thirsty eye area and it absorbs really well. This tiny little jar is lasting me forever and I have probably been using this for at least a year now, so it is definitely value for money.

I was really hoping this one would smell like fruity kiwi. Does anyone else pick up a skincare item purely based on how they hope it will smell? It is actually more of an herbal, woody scent and perfectly fine, just not what I was hoping for because how good would a kiwi fruit cream smell!

In terms of efficacy, this is great at keeping the eye area hydrated and smooth. I am 25 this year so I do not have too many fine lines to worry about just yet but of course, being obsessed with skincare as I am, I do notice the few that are beginning to appear. I do not find this eye cream to quite as good as one of my favourites Adavanced Night Repair Eye from Estee Lauder in diminishing fines lines however it certainly plays its role in hydrating the area to prevent more appearing, as it promises to do. I have also found this to be a bit of a lifesaver recently, as my eyelids really dried out in a bad reaction to a concealer and this helped to bring them back on track to being smooth and flake free.

This eye cream has a water base and includes some really beautiful ingredients comprising avocado oil, glycerin, cetearyl alcohol (derived from coconut), cetearyl glycosides (derived from wheat straw), glyceryl stearate (an emulsifier which, in combination with the previous two ingredients, prevents the water and oil in the formula from separating), Vitamin E in the form of tocopherol acetate, carrot seed oil, kiwifruit seed oil (obviously), borage oil, gluconolactone (a polyhydroxy acid (PHA), basically a milder acid than an AHA that is better for sensitive skin), sodium benzoate (a salt preservative derived from fruit), and finally grapefruit seed extract (the Antipodes core brand ingredient Vinanza grape seed extract).

Price: $52.99 (Priceline website) [$1.77/mL]
Rate: easily absorbed, vegetarian, hydration benefits
Hate: packaging (I still rate the Kosmea eye cream packaging as one of the best around!)
Verdict: not a repurchase for me at this stage as I have found other eye creams that work better for me, but I would highly recommend if you are after a simple, light eye cream

What is your favourite eye cream that I should try?

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Lush Bath Bombs I

In our move from Perth to Bunbury, one of the things that I was really excited to have in our new rental was a bath! I have not lived in a house with a bath since I was still living at home during school, so I have relished the opportunity to relax and have a bath after a stressful day. This has also meant that I have been able to further indulge my love of Lush and finally experience their famous bath bombs and bubble bars. This is the first wrap up (of many) of the bath bombs I have used lately and features a few bath bombs from the 2017 Valentine's Day range.

Cupid Bath Bomb

Cupid features lime oil, bergamot oil, violet leaf absolute, and fresh raspberry juice. It turns the water the palest, pastel pink colour and has a really delicate, sweet scent. The raspberry is probably the strongest scent and the combination with the lime made this feel almost summery and fruity. I can't say that this is my favourite bath bomb I have tried - it is very simple and sweet and did not feel overly indulgent. If I am going to spend half an hour plus in the bath, I personally want it to be a richer experience. No real bath art to speak of from this one either.

Lovestruck Bubble Bar

Lovestruck contains lime oil, geranium oil, and petitgrain oil. It turns the bath a rather unsettling bright yellow but does produce a lot of bubbles! I used the whole bar in my bath but probably could have only used half and had the same experience (noted for next time), even though it is on the smaller side of Lush bubble bars. This was overwhelmingly citrusy and sweet, a very bright and happy bath. The bar did give the water a slippery feel and was moisturising on the skin. Bonus points for the super cute emoji shape!

Rose Bombshell Bath Bomb

Rose Bombshell features sea salt, yellow rose petals, rose absolute, geranium oil, rose oil, and lemon oil. The bath water starts out with a neon pink tinge but ends dark pink, almost red, with dried rose petals floating on top. It has a very strong floral, jammy scent which lingers on the skin for a good time after the bath, making this bath bomb feel very indulgent. I really enjoyed relaxing with this one and it left my skin feeling nicely moisturised. Something about the rose scent made this feel really romantic, very fitting for a Valentine's Day product, although I didn't really love trying to clean up the leftover rose petals.

What is your favourite Lush bath product?

Sunday, 28 May 2017

ModelCo Replenishing Rose Mist Facial Mist

Prior to purchasing this hydrating toner from ModelCo, I had never tried any products from the brand. I am not a fan of fake tan and this is primarily what I associated with ModelCo, however they actually have quite a broad range of skincare spanning from exfoliating scrubs and cleansers to serums and SPF for face and body that launched back in 2014. Being a major fan of toners, of course this is the first product that I decided to try from the range.

The Replenishing Rose Mist promises to tone, replenish and refresh the skin to eliminate shine, excess oil and minimise the appearance of pores. It is vegan and cruelty-free.

The key role for a toner like this in my skincare routine is to add moisture back to my skin after cleansing, especially, and acid toning. I am not too fussed on the idea of minimising my pores or reducing oil production and more concerned with adding another layer of hydration to prevent dry skin. I definitely don't use a toner like this in the hopes of removing any leftover makeup after cleansing - that's what the double cleanse is for! This is a relatively heavy mist and I think it does the job well of eliminating the tight skin feeling after cleansing and exfoliating. It is not the kind of fine 'setting spray' toner that I would use over the top of makeup, as it is much too heavy and wet (for want of a better word!).

I use three sprays of this to cover forehead and each cheek. Because it is not a fine mist, three sprays leaves your face feeling pretty soaked but I pat it in and it absorbs relatively quickly. Damp skin also seems to absorb the succeeding skincare layers better so I don't mind this too much. My one real issue is that inevitably some of the mist ends up on your lips and ugh, does it taste awful! I have taken to applying a lip balm before spraying this on and sucking my lips in to try to avoid any overspray. I have never experienced such an awful taste with a mist - I mean, it's not made for drinking obviously, but yuck!

In contrast to the taste, this has a lovely rose scent that is actually quite refreshing for rose. It is not a heavy 'grandmother' rose but light and not overpowering or lingering. I have to admit, the tan coloured packaging is not my favourite. I would almost decant it into a nice glass spray bottle to look better on my dressing table (but I know I am just being fussy!).

The base of this mist is water with lots of hydrating ingredients added for good measure, including polysorbate (an emulsifier for hydration), glycerin (an humectant, again for hydration), rose damascena (scent and soothing), plus açai and pomegranate extracts (antioxidant properties). Dehydroacetic acid and benzyl alcohol act as preservatives, and that is the sum total of ingredients. A nice, simple toner to refresh and rehydrate the skin.

Price: $20.00 (ModelCo website) [$0.16/mL]
Rate: hydrating, scent
Hate: packaging, heaviness of mist, taste
Verdict: would not repurchase, simply because I can't stand the taste when there is overspray on to my lips and there are other toners that do the same job without tasting awful (Kosmea Hydrating Rosewater Mist being a fantastic example in the same price range and 100% Pure Jasmine Green Tea Tonique a great one currently part of my daily routine)