Mittwoch, 30. Oktober 2013

Empties #1 | Beauty

Hey everyone! When I saw my first 'empties' video on Youtube, I immediately thought how incredibly crazy the idea is. BUT on second thought, empties blogposts, videos, smoke signals... are the most informative and complete review of products there are. This is exactly why I will be posting empties posts probably once a month. The only problem is that I use a lot of Lush products (shampoo, soap, massage bar) all which do not have a container, but I will figure it out.

Body: The Body Shop Body Butter in Strawberry

This little body butter is representative for about 3 I have used up in the last 2 months (Mango, Coconut and Strawberry). I am sure most of you know these. You will probably also know that they smell almost exactly like the fruit they are named after. Delicious! 

These are fantastic and a holy grail for me since they take care of any eczema I might be struggling with. For those of you who haven't read my blog before: I have stress-induced dermatitis which looks and feels awful. If you have dryness or other discomfort issues with your skin I highly recommend these every night. The only con is they take a long time to sink in, so I use them before bed time! I will be stocking up tomorrow since the Body Shop is having their annual sale (holla!). 

Haircare: The Body Shop Rainforest Brilliance Shampoo

 My hair products tend to last a very long time since I wash my hair about 2-3 times a week. This shampoo though lasted me an especially long time! Even my boyfriend is obsessed with this. His hair is quite thin and I have a ton of hair and we both loved it. It made mine shiny and strong and his hair looked thicker and healthier. 

Of course, this shampoo is sulfate and paraben free (expect no less from the Body Shop). For anyone with a dry scalp: Massage this into your scalp and leave it in for a little (I usually shave, wash the rest of me, sing...) before washing it out and it is extremely hydrating and takes care of dandruff. It also removes any dry shampoo residue I have without stripping my hair. A complete win-win product! However, I did not like the conditioner because it is not thick or moisturizing enough for my color treated hair. 

Skin Care: Vichy Normaderm Active Anti-Imperfection Concentrate

I really liked this, but it is nothing to write home about. It did make my blemishes dry out faster and helped with discoloration, but I like my La Roche-Posay Effaclar spot treatment a lot better. 

Caudalie Beauty Elixir

I know this was in my September favorites, but I changed my mind. I was breaking out really badly and attributed it to stress, hormones, poor diet when it was really the alcohol in products I was using. On second look (and sniff) this is loaded with alcohol. I still love the smell, but can't use it as often because my skin is consistently irritated. After this ran out, my skin normalized within days. I won't be repurchasing it because the price tag is too high for something which does in the end break me out.

Mascaras: Laura Mercier Waterproof Mascara

Anyone who knows my make up habits, knows that I am a mascara fiend. Usually I pile on 5 or 6 layers- I love a bold look. This mascara was great for layering with volumizing mascaras and beautiful on its own, creating a very natural look. I got this for my mother too because I absolutely loved it and she is as obsessed as I am. She hasn't worn any mascara in a really long time because she rubs her eyes and this gives her no problems at all- not only smear or crumble!

L'Oréal: Volume Million Lashes Waterproof

This has been a staple in my make up collection since I have been 15. It looks natural with only 1 or 2 coats and bold when layered. Short and sweet: Everyone needs to try this. It is affordable and offers amazing volumizing and lengthening results and does not wear off.

Thanks for reading, I know this was long, but I wanted to give a comprehensive review of everything I tried and finished! Now I can feel like a recovering hoarder and carry this out to the trash. Now I am off to Brussels! 

Have you tried any of these products? Any recommendations what I should try next?

xo, Kate

Sonntag, 27. Oktober 2013

Nars Multiple in Orgasm | Review

Hello everyone! I am sure everyone has heard of this product. This was gifted to me about 2 years ago, I think and it stayed in my 'make up I never use but is too expensive to throw away' box I keep on the top-shelf of my bathroom. Recently, I have been needing a little more of a glow so I busted this baby out.

The concept behind the product: You may have seen people use their lipstick as blush, this is exactly what the multiple is- a lipstick and blush hybrid. 

The multiple I received is in their infamously awkward, yet hyped shade 'orgasm', which suits a variety of skin tones. 

The texture of this is great, it is blendable, buildable, long-wear and pigmented. However, it is far too dry for the lips. Over a gloss or moisturizing product it could work, but on its own it will highlight every little crack or flake of skin! 

By applying some of this to my finger and then dabbing it onto my eyelids, it creates a nice subtle shimmer, even over other eyeshadow colors. The blush color only comes off onto the skin if you rub it on.

The cons of this product are definitely the packaging. As with most NARS products, the contents of your make up bag gravitate towards the surface of this and are impossibly hard to remove. 

In the picture below you can see how large the glitter is. For a night time look this is fine, but during the day I personally end up looking like a glittery mess. The rest of my face needs to be extremely matte in order for this to work. By dabbing the stick onto the top of my cheek bones I can get a nice highlighting effect though.

Overall, this isn't really a multi-purpose product since it is SO GLITTERY. The shade is lovely, but the blush may be a better pick for me personally. I would not repurchase this even though I do love the formula.

What have your experiences with multi-purpose products been? What do you recommend?

Talk soon!
xo, Kate

Donnerstag, 24. Oktober 2013

La Roche-Posay: Effaclar | Skin Care

For anyone who has break outs, no matter if you are 13 or 30, it is a pain! Personally, I have struggled with skin issues my whole life. From dermatitis, to acne to weird allergic reactions- I have had it all!

When I first started getting acne, I got the Shiseido Pureness line which worked well since my skin was extremely oily. Almost 7 years later, my skin has most definitely changed. This is a huge lesson I have learned: Your body changes! With that being said, one should reevaluate one's skincare routine when something isn't working. For example, after 2 years of clear skin I got break outs again! Of course, it can be hormonal or external influences, but you may have outgrown your skin care products.

When dealing with acne, it is important to be kind to your skin. Over exfoliation will only worsen the problem (sad but true: it could be your cleansing brush!). Alcohol is also an ingredient to avoid. I can not stress this enough! It is a main ingredient in many acne treatments, but can worsen the problem because it brings your skin out of balance. Especially if your skin is sensitive, try to avoid this because it really strips it and dries it out. A little natural oil is good!

My last big tip is experiment! Keep an eye on the ingredients. While salicylic acid works for some people, it worsens the problem for others, the same goes for alcohol. Something all natural with certain oils or herbs may be much more helpful to you personally.

Recently, although I still get break outs, I have changed my skin care. La Roche-Posay has helped me with a lot of my dermatitis problems, so why shouldn't it help with acne too? I was completely right! It is gentle, but still gets the job done. On to the actual products I have been using.
Deep Cleaning Foaming Cream: This is wonderful. It feels thick and luxurious and does not strip my skin. While it might feel good to really deep clean your skin to the point where it is squeaky clean- this is not the best plan because your body often produces more oil to recreate its former balance. While my skin isn't stripped, it feels refreshed, especially when combined with my Clarisonic Mia 2. I highly recommend this!

Effaclar Toner Astringent Lotion: I was naughty and did not read the ingredients on this and it is full of alcohol. When I put this on a cotton ball it stung my eyes because it smelled so strongly of alcohol, I might as well save some money and rub Vodka on my face. Needless to say I will not be letting this anywhere near my face. I would definitely not recommend, use or repurchase this since toners with lots of alcohol only irritate my break out and dry out the rest of my skin.

Targeted Breakout Corrector: This is the best product of the three which I reviewed. I have never had a cream which I applied to a break out and saw results almost immediately. Usually I apply this before bed and when I wake up my skin is less irritated and my break out is reduced. It has a creamy texture, which sinks into my skin quickly. It doesn't make pimples vanish, but within 2 days there is only a bit of discoloration (usually my break outs stay a good week). Huge recommend!

What are your favorite skin care products at the moment?

Montag, 21. Oktober 2013

Lush Holiday Collection | Beauty

Since Lush arrived in Germany, I have been head over heels! Finally a store in which I don't feel guilty about animal testing, harmful chemicals or irritating my sensitive skin. Since being back in Berlin from Brussels (it has been a good year now), I had not set foot in a store because I overdosed a little the previous few years. I also had a lot of skin issues, so I stayed away from any creams which I hadn't run by my doctor first.

Now that I am back on the Lush-wagon, I could not be more excited about their holiday collection! Even though I was a huge Lush-y, I had never tried their bath bombs because for a while I only had a shower (the horror!). 
The Christmas Penguin (5.45 €) is not only adorable, but also smells fresh. Under the infamous 'Lush' smell lies a refreshing orange undertone. The sales girl compared it to their 'The Olive Branch' shower gels. This would also be a great cute present for any guys in your life. The smell is not sickeningly sweet and easily unisex... and let's be honest, what guy doesn't like taking a bath with a cute penguin bath bomb (I know my Mr. Man is a big fan!).

Melting Snowman bath bomb (3,95 €): Honestly, this is my favorite bath bomb I got. It is an oil bath and smells exactly like a cinnamon christmas cookie! With cinnamon oil, cloves and lime, this is the ideal mix of fresh and spicy (also a very unisex smell!). Perfect for a snowy day! Plus, who can resist that carrot nose?

Tisty Tosty (5.75): While this is not part of the holiday collection, I decided to include it. For me roses are more of a heavy smell, which I associate with winter. Not only is this bath bomb beautiful with dried rose buds in it, it smells delicious too. It smells 100% like roses and not one bit artificial. The bath bomb itself smells a bit powdery, but I will let you know if that smell holds in the actual bath. Just imagine how romantic and serene the rose buds will look in the tub.

Santa's Lip Scrub (9.95 €): Now I have never been someone who used a lip scrub, but this time of year with an added cold definitely calls for it. I was hard-pressed wether to try this or the Popcorn flavor, but then opted for this because I had not seen it reviewed yet and was curious. The first thing which sucked me in is the color! It is the most gorgeous, wintery deep blood red. If that doesn't put me (or at least my lips) in a christmas mood, I don't know what will! 

It supposedly tastes like Cola- I am definitely not tasting it (thank goodness). While there is a slight undertone, it tastes and smells like a cross between buttered kettle corn and cream soda. I love sugary smells (and tastes), but would not use a lotion which smelled like it because that would be sugar-overload. This is why a Popcorn or Cola-flavored lip scrub is perfect, as it is just confined to your lips!

Have you tried any products from the Lush holiday collection?

Samstag, 19. Oktober 2013

Current Obsession: Rain Boots | Style

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It is no secret that when it comes to dressing in any type of weather that isn't between 25 and 30° C, I turn into a major diva. I hate sweating, being cold or (especially) being wet.

It rains a lot in Germany especially in the fall and spring. The degree I am currently working on also requires a plethora of working outside, with animals, in the dirt (the professors have no sympathy when you are standing on an open field when it is 0° C with horizontal wind. If they stay, you stay). What this has taught me is that there is nothing like good outerwear.

If there is one clothing item which can be fun and completely out of your comfort zone it is rubber boots! There is nothing like a pair of cute animal themed or brightly colored boots when the weather is dreary. However, make sure they are good quality. There is no point protecting your feet from the rain, but ending up with wet sweaty feet anyway.

Of course, if you are going to work or somewhere and are going to be outside, (I used to keep my office shoes at the office and arrive in my wellies- it rains all the time in Brussels), you can get some more work-appropriate looking shoes. The Calvin Klein biker inspired boots (5) you can even wear when its not raining. I love these!

The Ilsa Jacobsen long rubber boots in camel (4) are my favorites (along with the bunny printed ones, obvi), I have never seen wellies like these and I love them! They are fun and no one would ever guess that you are wearing rain boots- definitely more versatile than the owl print ones I picked.

I skipped the lower rain cut boots because most hit people's calves at their thickest point, creating the illusion of heavier legs. Also, for anyone who has been in a city when its raining, people tend to splash you when they walk or ride their bikes by you unintentionally. In higher rain boots there is less of a chance that your legs or feet get wet that way.

What are your favorite style of rain boots?

Mittwoch, 16. Oktober 2013

What are Micellar Solutions? (Bioderma, L'oréal, Caudalie) | Beauty

What are micellar solutions/waters? 
They are make up removers and facial cleansers- combining what are usually two seperate steps into one. The micelles in the solutions are surfactants, which means they decrease the surface tension between the make up remover and the make-up on your face. In short, the dirt, oil and make-up 
 is emulsified by the micelles and then brought to the center of the micelle which is hydrophobic (It likes fats!). This way, even usually insoluble substances can be removed from your skin, cleaning your skin more thoroughly and gently than a normal make up remover followed by a cleanser would. Micelles are also found in your body to absorb fat- soluable vitamins!

Over the past few months there has been quite a hype over these solutions. I have picked 3 to test, a lower priced one and two middle priced solutions.

Caudalie Cleansing Micellar Water (15.85€)

The big plus-point for the Caudalíe Micellar Solution is the smell. It has a very fresh, but not too overwhelming scent, which always makes me feel extra clean! As always, Caudalie does not disappoint. It cleansed my skin thoroughly and left it feeling fresh. 

What I love about Micellar waters is that they do not dry out or irritate my skin. Personally, I have extremely sensitive skin, so on nights when I feel like my skin can't handle my Clarisonic or is having a hissy fit for whatever other reason I turn to my micellar solutions, more to my routine at the end!

L'oréal Hydra Active 3 Micellar Solution (3.95€)

L'oréal only recently released this affordable micellar solution and I must admit- I am by no means a huge fan of it. I wanted to love this since it is a great bargain, the packaging is expensive looking and L'oréal usually does not disappoint. Sadly, I can't say that about this. My skin feels grimy afterwards still, I always go in afterwards with another cleanser. 

It does not have a decisive smell, but there is a hint of something in this which does not suit my nose at all. The consistency is also too fluid for it to feel like it has a cleansing effect (the other ones are very fluid as well, but this feels thinner and more liquid for some reason). However, it did not irritate my skin or break me out. If you are on a budget, I recommend skipping this and saving up for either Bioderma or Caudalie. Even the small bottles last a very long time.
Bioderma (19.95€ for 500ml)

To be honest, I thought the hype about this was completely over the top about the 'mother' of micellar cleansing waters  (there have been a few of those hyped products where I just didn't understand what the fuss was about- hello cleansing balms!). Until about 2 months ago I hadn't even tried it. The pharmacy was out of my Caudalie micellar water (cue the violins), so I decided to give this a go. This has lived up to the hype! 

Although I miss the fresh smell of the Caudalie micellar water (this has absolutely no scent), this really deep cleans my skin and my skin has been loving it! I have started to wipe my face with this (as stated on the directions) in the morning and at night (to get off all my make up). At night I also use a deep cleansing foam with my Clarisonic (usually every second night), unless my skin is irritated. I have seen a huge difference in how much oil my face produces since using these gentle cleansers. While my skin would still be 'combination', it is more balanced than previously.

I will admit that I had to get used to not using a deep cleansing foam twice a day and having that squeaky clean feeling, but after time (like most things) it got a lot easier and felt better.

Keep in mind: A lot of break outs are caused by over exfoliation, sensitive skin not being treated right or leaving on make-up overnight. Micellar solutions are the easiest and most gentle way to give your skin the cleanse it needs, without irritating it.

I still have a lot left of my Bioderma, but when it does run out I will be hard-pressed to decide between  Bioderma and Caudalie solutions. 

Have you tried micellar waters? Which is your favorite?

Montag, 14. Oktober 2013

Fossil Key-Per | Beauty

Hello ladies! Friday I went to the outlet 'village' near Berlin and picked up some amazing deals. I only buy work out gear at the Nike Factory Outlet because it is so much cheaper than in stores, I think in total I saved 250 Euros and got a ridiculous amount of workout clothes and shoes. Since I am not someone who cares which year's model of clothes or accessories I own, outlet shopping is the way to go.

At Fossil my mother surprised me with a new make up bag (and watch! Thank you mom!). My old one was falling apart and looking pretty ragged, so this was a much appreciated treat. Personally, I love their styles. Especially this little bag. The keys are adorable and the vintage style clasp is a perfect fit.

As you can see, the shape is extremely practical. When you open it everything sits nicely so you have a complete overview and a mirror. This way you have your make up sitting in front of you with a mirror right there to do it. 

These are the things I carry around with me during the day, so the mirror is perfect for little touch ups. The contents of my make up bag do not shift around during the day, but stay exactly the way I put them.

The details on this bag are so perfect! From the keys, clap, mirror and blue and purple interior. A day-time make up bag should be fun, practical (hello mirror which stays up on its own!) and not hold your entire make up collection.

Do you carry around a make up bag for touchups? Or do you trust that your make up will stay all day on its own?

Mittwoch, 9. Oktober 2013

Sugarhill Boutique Stag Sweater | Style

Everyone goes through different phases in life, and apparently this is my 'stag sweater phase'. I got this  Sugarhill Boutique Stag Cardigan along with another stag-themed sweater (post coming soon) the other day when I was feeling cold. Same principle as "don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry"- don't go shopping when you're cold, I guess. I got this 2 sizes larger than I usually go for and oh my word- there is no other way to describe this other than cozy tosy! 

I opted for the white lace shirt since it is quite girly, a perfect contrast to the chunky sweater. The dark cami under the white shirt mutes it a little, which doesn't make it stand out too much. The sweater still steals the show!
The soft pants and plateau shoes make for an extremely comfortable and basic outfit for which the details of the sweater and blouse make up for. A little jewelry never hurt anyone either.
Do you prefer fitted or chunky sweaters in winter? Hope everyone is doing well!

Dienstag, 8. Oktober 2013

L'oréal EverPure Shampoo & Conditioner | Review

As you may have noticed, I am recently obsessed with haircare. After cutting my hair to a short choppy bob 3 years ago, it has been a process growing out my hair and it has suffered much heat, sun and bleach along the way. Hence, I decided to chop almost 15 cm off and start on a different foot.

Since the plan was to cut anything slightly damaged off, and let it grow again, I am being extra careful with it and giving it lots of TLC. After my 'Curl Conscious' fail (which you can read about here), we can all exhale in relief- I, indeed, have found a new shampoo and conditioner combination which works and smells, well, delish. 

Part of my plan to keep my hair hydrated, especially in winter, was to invest in a really great hair care series. Since my super-duper high-end mission bombed- I opted for the L'Oréal EverPure line. All I can say is: love, love, love! 

My hair is soft and hydrated, but not weighed down and smells herbal (not in the 'I wash my hair with mud' kind of way, but in the 'I was at the spa, nbd' way). The conditioner smells more herbal, while the shampoo smells a little bit like a cleaner of some sort, but the scent does not cling to my hair at all, while the conditioner's scent lingers.

I like the combination of the volumizing shampoo and hydrating conditioner. If I use too many hydrating products my hair ends up stringy and gross since I have a ton of fine hair. Due to my hair type it is very prone to breakage. I have not noticed any new damage since using this combination along with my usual haircare. My hair is so smooth, I do not even need to use any tools. 

Another wonderful attribute to this line is that its products are tailored to a variety of hair types. There is no longer the 'one shampoo fits all color treated hair' philosophy. Every person's hair has different needs and there something for every hair type.

Last night I was telling my hairdresser friend about this post and she told me that anything other than L'oréal is a complete waste of money when you are buying at the drugstore, just a tip!

I will definitely be purchasing more hair care products from this line. The price is completely reasonable at 7€ a bottle and the results are amazing! Huge recommend!

Have you tried the EverRiche or EverPure lines?

Sonntag, 6. Oktober 2013

Foundation Routine for Combination Skin in Winter | Beauty

All of us who have combination skin know the problem: When winter comes around your skin goes crazy! At least for me. I end up getting dry patches, then broken out from moisturizing my dry spots too much, and then it all starts over again. Recently, I have been perfecting my skin with just 4 products. It may seem like a lot, but to me it is worth not having either caked on make-up or crazy skin.

First, cleanse and tone your face (per usual, I recommend Shiseido Pureness face wash). Now I prime my oily areas with my MAC Prep + Prime Refined Zone. The trick to this step is letting your primer soak in before applying the rest of your make up, I will usually apply my eye cream during this time (Loving Shiseido Benefiance and Lancome!).

Instead of using a heavy cream, I apply my Estee Lauder DayWear BB Cream all over my face (SPF is important, even if it may not seem like it in colder weather!). I really like this. It works well on my sensitive skin and smells of cucumber. While it is most definitely not full-coverage it gives enough coverage to even out small problem areas. It does not leave you feeling greasy or over moisturized and gives me a healthy glow (at least I like to think it does).

Now I apply concealer where I need it, recently I have been loving Benefit's fake-up concealer, especially for my crazy under eye circles (thank you uni!). 

After this step is done, I will apply my Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse make up only to my nose, chin and the middle of my forehead making sure to blend it out nicely with my fingers. This foundation is fabulous if you have very oily skin and it lasts all day. If you have dry patches definitely stay away from this as it clings to no end- this is why I only apply it on my most oily parts of my face.

Another reason I don't use it all over my face is that it does give a bit of a mask-like effect as it is extremely high coverage. Great for days where your skin is not cooperating and you have time to bronze, contour, blush and highlight. So probably not your best bet early in the morning rushing out the door.

After these steps I do not need to powder once during the day and I have no problems with dryness or irritated skin. My face is hydrated, radiant and shine free. Who said having combination skin had to be hard? Now I complete my make-up and I am out the door without the extra weight of an extra compact in my purse.

Do you change up your foundation routine for winter? Do you like BB creams or foundations better?

Donnerstag, 3. Oktober 2013

September Skin Care Favorites | Beauty

Today's post if all about the products I have been loving in September. I tend to change up my products seasonally and by the way my skin feels. This month has been exam time (when is it ever not exam time?) and I have been eating terribly, so my skin was pretty broken out. These are my top picks and most used products!

Caudalie Elixir de Beauté: Before now, I don't think I understood this product. It didn't have a 'purpose'. But that is exactly what makes it so wonderful, it has no exact purpose other than to be luxurious and make you feel like you are at a spa getting a fantastic facial instead of standing in your cold bathroom at 6 AM wishing you were back in bed. Now that I get it, I can't live without it.

Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser: So far, I really like this! I am not sure if I would repurchase it as it retails for 23 € (and I would rather get my beloved Shiseido Pureness cleanser), but it smells of citrus and leaves my skin feeling extra fresh and clean.

Shiseido Purifying Mask: I have been loving Shiseido for years. If you have problematic oily or acne prone skin you must try their 'Pureness' line. I had horrible skin as a teenager, which likes to come out to play when I am stressed or eating badly and this mask has been a life-saver. It only takes 5 minutes and the results are great! 

Clarisonic Mia 2: I got this brush just this month and the hype is so worth it. I actually don't think it's hyped enough. This little brush has completely transformed my skin and it is so soft, my cream soaks in quicker, my pores are cleaner. My 6 year long skepticism is erased- apparently I really like to consider my options before purchasing). This is a holy grail!

Lancome Regénerie Yeux: This has been a staple of mine for a while now, I don't think I will repurchase it as I can no longer dish out 70€ for an eye-cream. That being said, it is worth every cent. It is creamy, rich and luxurious. The concealer on top blends perfectly, conceals and brightens. Highly recommended!

What products are you currently loving?

Mittwoch, 2. Oktober 2013

Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious | Review

This is, sadly, another high-end fail. Before reading on, take my opinion with a grain of salt. I believe that if I am going to spend a lot of money on a product, it should blow me away.  Most definitely I will not give an "ok" product a good review because it simply did the job.  If a drugstore shampoo cleanses your hair- its doing the job for only a couple of euros, dollars, pounds, yen, whatever- we all rejoice. No one is expecting anything great from a drugstore shampoo other than clean hair.

When buying a high-end product you want to make sure you are buying something worth every cent. The whole experience counts: from buying it at a nicely designed counter, to the packaging, to the smell and above all the results. Other than the first two, these products are, in my opinion, absolutely horrible. 

I have never been so disappointed by a high-end product in my life. They smell sickeningly like play-doh and instead of helping my natural curl, they flatten my hair. (I have fine wavy to curly hair- and lots of it! Volume has never been a problem.) I will admit that they are moisturizing, but not the way the Macadamia Natural Oil products are. 

The sales woman raved about these and she herself had beautiful curly hair. So unless she was really just selling me something horrible, clearly it works on other people

Overall, I do not recommend either. Both of them smelled bad (especially the conditioner- yuck!) Not the complete 'experience' I was going for. There are much cheaper alternatives which produce amazing results and smell delicious

What are some of your favorite hair care lines? I would love suggestions!

Disclaimer: This is not meant to offend anyone!  This is just my opinion based on the experience I had with these products on my own hair.