I reviewed Bodyography's Oxyplex pressed powder in Amber last year (see here), and I can't believe how long it's taken me to review these two loose powders!

At a pinch I probably prefer the pressed versions of this powder, but that's mainly because loose products can be messy and I find pressed powders easier to use. Otherwise there's not much in it.

I received Amber in a past Violet Box, and it remains the best product I have ever, ever received in a subscription box. Ever. My golly it went to HG status straight away, and along with my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders and Blushes, is my top makeup pick without question. Honestly, it's so far beyond stand-out that nothing I've ever come across can compare.

These powders are just as good, minus the mess factor, and I can't imagine ever using any other mineral powder.

I bought Wheat as a points purchase in the Violet Box shop so I could mix it with Amber - Amber was a little too dark to use as a foundation but it was too good to use as a bronzer alone - and once Amber ran out, I needed a darker colour to mix with Wheat so that, again, I could use the mixture as a mineral foundation.

I bought Cocoa Tan as that darker colour, and I could probably have gone a shade darker for mixing purposes because it's the right colour for my face for most of the year, and it's only really now - at the tail end of winter - when I need to mix it with a little of Wheat to make the colour paler.

Anyhoo. Let's have a look at the powders.

Above and below, Wheat is on the left and Cocoa Tan on the right. You can see that both are great neutral colours that aren't too pink or yellow based, meaning they're the kind of powders you can apply lightly and they tend to merge with your skin - even if the colour isn't quite right.

This means I can use Wheat as a finishing powder once Cocoa Tan is all gone, and it won't make me look pale if I use a light hand.

Bodyography claims/product details:
  • Breathable formula allows for all-day wear
  • Smooth and silky in texture for easy application
  • Enhanced with anti-aging properties to restore skin's overall health
  • Lightweight and versatile formula layers for desired coverage
  • Enhances complexion of skin with hint of glow and brightness
  • Vitamins A,C, & E provide essential daily nutrients
  • Disguises minor imperfections through light reflecting technology
  • Formula's moisturising properties condition and treat while preventing caking
  • Shelf-life after opening: 36 months
  • RRP $59.95 AUD for 27g, but do shop around

Above I've swatched Wheat lightly on the left and Cocoa Tan lightly on the right (shot taken in natural light). You can see how well they merge with the skin, even though they're not quite the right colour for my wrist.

There's the shot again in direct sunlight:

I've put two thick dots of the colours below (Wheat on the left; Cocoa Tan on the right):

Below I've blended the two colours together:

And for comparison purposes, below I've put a stripe of Wheat on the left, one of Cocoa Tan in the middle, and I've blended them together on the right:

There's my bare face for reference:

There I am wearing a blend of the two (natural light):

And again in direct sunlight:


I'm completely in love with Bodyography Oxyplex complexion powders. With good reason. They provide natural coverage and make you look amazing without making it look like you're wearing makeup.

They're also incredibly lightweight and allow your skin to breathe, so you don't feel like you've got anything on. The tiniest dusting evens out your skintone and covers imperfections. 

Above I've applied the powders very lightly (which is how I would normally wear them), but you can build them to your desired level of coverage and they won't look cakey or dry your skin out. I generally don't wear powder foundations because my skin is dry and most powders exacerbate that problem and give me lines I never knew I had, but these don't.

As for product claims, as far as I'm concerned, these powders meet all of them. Honestly, I can't rave about them enough. And to find face powders that aren't drying - yaysers, waaahhhooo, woot woot etc etc.

Interestingly, I did a makeup class with a MAC rep not so long ago, and when asked what I normally used as a base, I mentioned Bodyography products. She went berserk with praise and told me to stick with them!

They're not the cheapest products on the market (although you can often find them on special, so do shop around), but they're not the most expensive either. On top of that, you get a whopping 27g in each tub and a three-year shelf-life, so they're good value in the end - particularly because you don't need to use truckloads to get a nice, natural finish that delivers that 'my skin but better look'. Which is exactly what I'm after in a base product.

I can't recommend these enough. I've given them an HG tag. Huzzah!

If you read this blog, you'll know that I only started using toners relatively recently. Prior to that I couldn't see the point of them - until I used a good one.

What I love about toners is that they leave your face feeling fresh and tight (in a good way), and they also remove that last bit of makeup and grime - the bit that never seems to get removed, no matter how well you cleanse your skin.

While this toner does remove the gunk well, it's not the best I've used and it certainly doesn't reduce pore size!

Neutrogena claims/product details:
  • Visibly reduces the appearance of pores and refines skin to be clear, smooth and more even toned
  • Alpha and Beta Hydroxy formula that's dermatologist tested to deliver visible results
  • Sweeps away dead surface skin and refines rough, uneven patches
  • Penetrates deep into pores so they appear smaller and less visible
  • Skin is left feeling soft, smooth and refreshed
  • Won't overdry skin
  • Non-comedogenic (won't clog pores)
  • Dermatologist tested
  • RRP $14.99 AUD for 250ml, but do shop around


According to Paula's Choice (which gives the toner one star), this product lists alcohol as the second ingredient and also contains witch hazel. Both ingredients can irritate skin, and this toner is apparently even more irritating than usual because it also contains peppermint and eucalyptus. On top of that, Neutrogena tests on animals - which I didn't realise - so I won't be buying any more of the brand's products!

I bought this toner because it was on special and I was low in the toner department, so it seemed like a good deal at the time because I've had a reasonably good experience with Neutrogena's products and I thought I would like it.

I don't hate it, but it certainly doesn't refine my pores and I can tell that it contains irritating ingredients. While I haven't had a bad reaction to it, I've seen that many reviewers have, so I would be careful of this product if you have sensitive skin.

While my skin can be dry and sensitive, it's not too bad at the moment so this product isn't causing problems, but I can imagine that it might if my skin were a bit off, because it does have a tightening effect (not in a good way) and it feels like it strips the skin.

It has an astringent smell that I don't really like but can live with. It's definitely good at removing dirt and makeup from my face, but I feel like it's removing half my face too. For this reason I'm only using it once a day (rather than twice) and am alternating it with another, more gentle toner because I feel like my skin can't handle more frequent use.

On the claims: it doesn't reduce the appearance of my pores; it's drying; and while I do think it sweeps away dead surface skin, I feel like it sweeps away more than that and leaves my skin feeling stripped. It has also stung my face a few times, so when it's done this I've put it aside for a few days until my skin's less sensitive (maybe I shouldn't use it after I've exfoliated - I think that may be reason for the stinging).

In sum, I wouldn't buy this again for a number of reasons - one of those being that Neutrogena isn't cruelty free. I also don't love how this toner makes my face feel, and I think plenty of low-cost toners exist that clean/tone well without stripping the skin.

Low marks from me.

I was given this little hand cream trio for Christmas and I've almost finished the Florence version (reviewed here), so I decided to use the last bits of that tube as a body cream and move the next tube into circulation.

I'm doing this because it's getting to the point where Florence is hard to squeeze out (annoying), so it's time to cut that tube open and use every last drop. Plus I wanted to open something new!

This little set was given to me as a stocking stuffer for Christmas (yes, I asked for it), and I was thrilled to see that Santa had answered the call. It's so beautifully presented that I almost didn't want to open it, but I'm glad I did because the creams are divine.

As you can see, the set includes three creams based on some of Tocca's fragrances: Stella (Italian Blood Orange), Cleopatra (Grapefruit & Cucumber) and Florence (Bergamot & Gardenia).

This review will look at the Cleopatra hand cream, but I'll eventually review each cream in turn and the set as a whole.

Tocca claims/product details:
  • A selection of exquisite hand creams delicately perfumed with TOCCA's best-selling fragrances
  • Enriched with a blend of shea butter, avocado oil and aloe, these luxurious hand creams will soothe and nourish tired, dry hands
  • Delicately scented, the set includes 30ml each of: Cleopatra (a fresh blend of sweet grapefruit and cucumber), Florence (a subtle bergamot and gardenia combination) and Stella (zesty Italian Blood Orange)
  • RRP $22 AUD for the set


I have to say, $22 is a bargain for a set of hand creams like this. It will last me at least a year, and each cream smells divine and they all give me a lift whenever I use them.

Cleopatra is a white cream with a velvety texture that's medium thick and feels lovely on the skin. It smells fresh, complex and light, and while I don't like the Cleopatra fragrance, I do love the scent of this cream.

This little tube is a great purse size, and I wouldn't want anything larger than a 30ml hand cream because I get bored of things all too easily and want to move on to something else.

I've been through a lot of hand cream lately (having a baby will do that), in part because my husband steals mine - I should really start hiding the good ones ; ) This one is beyond divine and I've given it an HG tag because few hand creams give a beautiful scent that lingers for ages, but this one does.

A little goes a long way and it leaves my hands feeling silky but not greasy. The effect lasts a while and I need to use less of this than I do other hand creams - both when it comes to putting it on (you only need a small amount) and also in terms of how many times I need to reapply throughout the day (only twice daily applications of this one).

Awesome. I can't wait to try the Stella version, particularly because I own that fragrance and love it.

I mentioned in my post earlier today that I've run out of products to review at the moment because I've run out of photos and the weather hasn't been good enough for me to take more.

What this means is that I'm resorting to writing posts that I wasn't sure I was going to write for various reasons, and this is one of those.

The reason why I wasn't sure about writing this post is because this little lip gloss was a gift with purchase when Santa bought me a Mecca gift card last year, and I'm not sure that it's Mecca's normal gloss because it doesn't look the same and I can't find the product online.

This means I can't write my normal post that includes research and product claims/details (since I can't find those), so this review will be limited to my opinion of the product and a quick swatch. Hopefully it will end up being useful to someone if the gloss appears again, but in any event I think it's helpful to review Mecca brand products because it's useful to know whether the in-house range is worth looking at.

I personally think it is, based not only on this gloss but also other products I have sampled from the brand over the past couple of years.

Anyhoo. The review!

As you can see, the gloss is a strawberry-pink colour and it's housed in a sturdy little glass jar. I love the jar and it's one I will keep after I've finished the gloss.

I've swatched it below. You can see that it's sheer and offers only the smallest touch of colour. It doesn't show up on my lips but it might add some colour if you're a paler lass than I am.


This is a decent little gloss and I'm glad I received it.

It's always nice to receive a gift with purchase, and especially nice when the gift is good.

This product is a thick gloss that's quite velvety and feels smooth on the lips. It has a light, fruity/sherbety scent that's inoffensive, if a little on the sweet side.

The gloss is hydrating but I wouldn't rely on it as a lip conditioner in winter if your lips are chapped, since it's not really a conditioning product but more of an aesthetic one that adds a bit of moisture when you need it.

I'm using this as my night lip product since it doesn't add colour and I generally prefer glosses that do. I have used it over lipstick to add some hydration if the lipstick is drying, but it does tend to pick up/shift the lipstick when I do this, and I have glosses I prefer for that purpose.

While I do like the tub, I don't like needing to dip my finger in each time I use it - it's messy. I suppose I could use a brush, but I can't be bothered with all that since I spend half my life applying gloss to my dry lips and don't fancy any extra, unnecessary steps when it comes to that process.

The other thing I'll say about it is that I seem to be getting through the little tub remarkably quickly, even though I've only been using it once a day, if that. This means it's not great value because I'll get through it quickly, but I don't mind that in this instance because I didn't pay for it and I have other glosses in stock that I'm looking forward to opening.

In sum, this is a good product but it's not one I would buy. Having said this, the quality is there and it's made me more interested in Mecca branded products.


I've run out of photos since the weather hasn't been great and I don't have good photography equipment so I need sun, which means I'm running out of products to review!

If I had half a brain at the moment, I would be posting on other things - especially because this blog was never meant to be a beauty-only blog - but with a baby who's at the tail end of a sleep regression (we hope!), it's been hard to write and I've mainly stuck to beauty reviews because I know what I'm doing with those and don't have to think too hard, since all I need to do is some testing and research, and then give an opinion.

When my brain starts coming back (if it ever does), I hope to not only write more varied posts, but also to get my head around Twitter and Pintrest etc - but for now I'll keep plugging away at product reviews since doing any kind of writing each day helps keep me sane.

Anyhoo. That's a round-a-bout way of saying that I wasn't sure whether I was going to review this product since I can't find any information about it online. I have found a website of a brand called Aromabliss that makes body oils etc, but I'm not sure it's the same company because the packaging is different and this product (or anything like it) is nowhere to be seen.

What this means is that I can't do my usual spiel on the product claims/details: all I can do is let you know what I think of it. Maybe in future the company will appear online, so this review will be useful for anyone thinking of making a purchase from the brand's range.


Unfortunately I don't love this product, but it will certainly get used because I go through body creams unbelievably quickly (I'm pretty sure my husband helps himself to them, to be honest), so a cream like this will never go astray.

I got it as part of a gift pack while I was in hospital giving birth to our daughter, and it was certainly well-received at the time because I'd managed to forget handcream in my hospital bag and my husband and I both use it.

It was extra well-received due to the pump top, which means you can dispense product without unscrewing the cap. Excellent for when you have babies because you often only have one available hand (or elbow or foot) to use to dispense product.

It's a bone-coloured cream that smells quite sweet - I smell the vanilla but neither the fig nor the cranberry. It's reasonably thick and it applies and absorbs well, and it's lasted longer than a lot of creams because a little goes a long way and I don't need too much on each application.

What I don't like about it is that it leaves a bit of a residue behind and it's not the most hydrating cream I own. I have dry skin so I prefer heavier creams, but my husband is the opposite and he quite likes this one because it's not too full on. So as usual it all comes down to personal preference.

In sum, I wouldn't buy this but I was certainly happy to receive it, and it will get used. Watch this space in terms of Aromabliss as a company: if I see the brand pop up online, I'll update this review and flesh it out a little with more details on the product and brand.


I had one of those crap, now what?! moments this morning when I realised that I didn't actually have anything to review today. I thought I did, but looks like my camera has wiped a bunch of photos and all my draft posts contain photos of products that I'm not quite ready to review yet, so turns out I don't.


Anyhoo. I've had this post sitting in my drafts for a while, so I thought I may as well write it. Beauty junkie-ism is a topic close to my heart, so I have plenty to say on the subject.

If you're a beauty junkie too, hopefully this post will make you feel more normal (because you're not alone!) and give you a smile or two : )

Never-ending products annoy you

Ah, I remember the day. Before I was a beauty junkie, if I had eg a foundation that had lasted me a year and was still going strong, this was a good thing because it meant the product was great value - plus I didn't have to buy more.

This is a normal person's attitude.

Now, however, products that seem to last forever ANNOY THE CRAP out of me because I want to hurry up and finish them so I can buy something new! I don't want products to last forever. I want them to last until I get bored of them so I can rush out to Mecca and find something else to play with. My golly! What happened?!

You have enough 'back ups' in stock that anyone would think you're preparing for war

Bahaha I had to go on a spending ban because of this one. I'd stocked up on my favourite products or ones I'd been wanting to try every time I saw them on sale because I was getting 'a good deal' and therefore 'saving money in the long run'.

The result? I had enough unopened skincare and makeup to last a good few years. AND, goddammit, I had a bunch of those never-ending products open (see above) and wouldn't allow myself to open anything new until I'd finished those. I felt so overwhelmed that I didn't quite know what to do with it all and had to put an embargo on beauty spending. Never again!

You spend half your life reading beauty blogs

I used to read books. Now I read beauty blogs. So cerebral.

But when I get into bed after a long day with our six-month-old daughter, I don't want to read amazing literature - I'm too damn tired. So I read trashy detective stories and beauty blogs. That's it.

If I didn't read so many posts on beauty products, I wouldn't want to buy ninety per cent of the stuff on my wishlist. Do the math. Seems I can't.

You conceal how much you buy from others

Man am I guilty of this one. Not these days because I'm on maternity leave and no longer have my own income to flesh out my account (so therefore I can't hide my purchases because I'm relying on our joint account), but in the past I've had to hide parcels in my cupboard so my husband wouldn't see them.

I mean, the sheer volume of all those deliveries was getting ridiculous: I started wishing that companies wouldn't put small things in large boxes so I had somewhere to keep everything (the recycling bin was always too full so I couldn't put the boxes in there). The solution of course would have been to stop buying things. But did I? No!

Forget coffee, clothes and shoes - your disposable income is marked for beauty

I actually think to myself 'let's not go out for dinner - that's the cost of a Kevyn Aucoin eyeshadow'.

Yep. How bad's that? I need another eyeshadow like I need a hole in the head, but beauty has become my currency and that's how I think.

I've even given up my daily soy latte so I can have a $50 per month beauty budget, and I'm a total coffee addict. That shows the sheer strength of my beauty addiction. Oh dear.

You re-organise your collection many times a year

I do this a lot. I've never been a particularly neat person, but my beauty collection is arranged in soldier-straight rows on the shelves I use as my dressing table. And about once a month, I'll decide that I could make things look better so I'll reorganise them, just so it all looks perfect.

I can't bear to think of the hours wasted doing this, especially now that I have a baby and am even more time-poor than I was, so perhaps I shouldn't think about it...


In sum

I could go on and on about this stuff, but I think that's enough for now.

Are you a beauty junkie, and do you have any quirky behaviours to add to the above list? Do share.

Yesterday I wrote a post on Project Pan and set down a few tips for anyone thinking of doing it, and today I thought I would go back over my old PP posts and have a look at what I've finished so far.

I'm doing this for my own motivation, and also because it will be interesting to see how many products I've knocked off over the past eight months. I'll likely do another one of these posts once the 2015 year is done, but I'm at a place in Project Pan now where I'm not finishing a lot of stuff - so I think it will help to see just what I've finished, to remind myself that the whole exercise has been working!

Above is my first lot of Project Pan products. I never did finish that pink lip and cheek palette (I've saved that for my daughter to use as a paint tray), and I got halfway through Coralista before passing it on (I'm calling that finished). The ModelCo eyeshadow will last out this century, but otherwise everything here is done.

So the tally is:
  • Base products (BB/CC creams, foundations etc): two down
  • Face powders: one down
  • Brow gels/mascaras: one down
  • Lip products: one down
  • Blushes: one down
  • Eyeliners/brow pencils: one down
  • Eyeshadows: two down

By post number two, I'd managed to get through the above three products and I've seen from that post that I introduced three more.
  • Base products (BB/CC creams, foundations etc): two down
  • Primers: one down
  • Face powders: one down
  • Brow gels/mascaras: one down
  • Lip products: two down
  • Blushes: one down
  • Eyeliners/brow pencils: one down
  • Eyeshadows: two down
  • Nailpolishes: one down

By post three at the end of February, I brought in some products that I forgot I even included.
  • Base products (BB/CC creams, foundations etc): three down
  • Primers: two down
  • Face powders: one down
  • Brow gels/mascaras: one down
  • Lip products: three down
  • Blushes: one down
  • Eyeliners/brow pencils: four down
  • Eyeshadows: two down
  • Nailpolishes: one down

It looks like post four was when I started introducing products that would take me far too long to get through (I'm looking at those theBalm tints and the OCC lip tar in particular). Those products have been going strong since March and I'm only getting somewhere with theBalm tints now - indeed, those two products may be the next ones to go. The OCC lip tar is like the ModelCo eyeshadow: impossible to finish. I probably shouldn't have included it!

The tally now looks like this:
  • Base products (BB/CC creams, foundations etc): three down
  • Primers: two down
  • Face powders: three down
  • Brow gels/mascaras: one down
  • Lip products: three down
  • Blushes: one down
  • Eyeliners/brow pencils: four down
  • Eyeshadows: two down
  • Nailpolishes: two down
  • Illuminators/highlighters: one down
  • Concealers: one down

Looks like April was a pretty good month. I'd honestly forgotten half of what I included on the list! I've mentioned previously on this blog that I wasn't sure I would do Project Pan again next year, but looking over old posts is starting to make me feel like I should...
  • Base products (BB/CC creams, foundations etc): three down
  • Primers: two down
  • Face powders: three down
  • Brow gels/mascaras: one down
  • Lip products: three down
  • Blushes: one down
  • Eyeliners/brow pencils: four down
  • Eyeshadows: two down
  • Nailpolishes: two down
  • Illuminators/highlighters: two down
  • Concealers: one down
  • Bronzers: one down

Over the next few posts I only finished off a base product and primer (so let's add one each there); and I then added in some Benefit minis that I hoped to get through very quickly (add on one more primer).

So as it stands, here's what I've gotten through so far over the Project Pan year:
  • Base products (BB/CC creams, foundations etc): four
  • Primers: four
  • Face powders: three 
  • Brow gels/mascaras: one 
  • Lip products: three 
  • Blushes: one
  • Eyeliners/brow pencils: four
  • Eyeshadows: two 
  • Nailpolishes: two
  • Illuminators/highlighters: two
  • Concealers: one
  • Bronzers: one 

That's a total of twenty-eight products. Not bad! I hope I get through forty by Christmas, but we'll see.

Have you done or are you doing Project Pan? I'd love to hear.

I've been meaning to jot down a few notes on my experience of Project Pan for a while, just in case anyone's considering doing it for themselves.

For those who don't know, Project Pan - also known as Project 10 Pan and Project Hit Pan - is a 'movement' that's gaining momentum in cyberspace and seems to be particularly popular with beauty junkies who've managed to wind up with too much stuff and don't quite know what to do with it all.

Basically you're meant to pick 10 of your beauty products to use every day, and you're not allowed to buy any new ones until they're all gone. If a product is finished, you select a replacement from your existing stash. People seem to make their own rules (eg some pick only five products; some are just trying to finish things and aren't buying any more for the moment etc), but the general idea is the same: use what you have and finish old products.

There are plenty of other reasons why a person might do it (eg some bloggers want to train themselves to really experience a product and finish it before they review it), but that seems to be the overall idea.

I started PP at the beginning of this year because I've been busily trying to streamline my collection for a couple of years now - which has included going on a spending ban and then a low-buy - and when I heard about Project Pan, I thought it was definitely for me.

I think it has been useful, but I've also learned to be careful of which products I'm picking to use every day, particularly when I'm using them at the expense of other products. It's all well and good to finish off eg a bronzer that you don't like that much and want to get some use from, but not when you've got a high-end bronzer you love sitting around and slowly getting old as the months pass.

So, after having done Project Pan for almost eight months now, here's what I would say to anyone thinking of giving it a go:

Pick products that you have some hope of finishing, otherwise you won't stay motivated

I'm SO guilty of this one. Eg I have a dark-coloured single eyeshadow that I included on my opening PP list, and the damn thing is not only still going after eight months of daily use, but there's barely a dent in it. ARGH.

I've decided to keep using it because at least it can double as a brow powder and I don't really care what I put on my brows so I'm not likely to get bored of it (whereas I would get bored if I used the same colour eyeshadow each day), but I won't make the mistake of including something like this again. 

If it were a pale or sheer colour I might have made more headway, but as it is, it's just been this product that's sat there annoying me and taken up space on my PP list.

Choose products that can serve more than one purpose

If like me you get bored of using the same lipstick or blush each day, then choose PP products that can be used for more than one thing. Eg I have a lip and cheek tint that I'm trying to finish at the moment, so I can change this up a bit and wear it on my lips one day and my cheeks another. Plus it serves as a good base for other colours, so I can wear it and chuck something else over the top, which means I won't get bored of the colour. I'll have to keep choosing products like this because I'm more likely to use them.

Move your older products into circulation

I did try putting a few newer products onto the list so that I've actually got things I'm using every day that I love, but I won't be getting through those any time soon either because they're brand new.

The best way to keep Project Pan rolling is to make sure you've got old products on the list that don't have too much left and need to be used up because they're getting old. Finishing things before they go rancid is one of the points of Project Pan, after all.

Work out what you have too many of, and use those

Eg I have far too many BB/CC creams and primers, so I've made sure that I've always got a couple of those on my PP list. If I'm having trouble committing to using the same base every day, I put two different ones in circulation so at least I can change things up a bit. Yes that means I won't get through any single item as quickly, but it also means I won't get too bored and I'll be able to keep going.

Use your good stuff

Don't use up old blushes that you don't like if you've got some beautiful high-end blushes sitting around gathering dust - otherwise those high-end products might deteriorate over time while you're too busy using up the stuff you shouldn't have bought from the clearance bin at Priceline.

If you really don't like a product, donate it or find an alternative use for it (that's if, like me, you can't bear to just throw things away). The only thing worse than seeing a bad product going to waste is seeing a good one going to waste!

Work out what you can handle using every day

I can't use the same blush or eyeshadow each day (unless it's a base colour that's going to be covered by other products), but I can use the same bronzer each day because, well, brown is brown and they tend to look similar on the skin (unless it's an Hourglass bronzer, but that's another story) - especially if you pick products that are right for your skintone.

If you can't handle wearing the same eyeshadow duo each day, then don't - you'll start hating the whole Project Pan thing pretty quickly.

In sum

I think that's enough from me for the moment! I'll do another one of these posts in future once I've finished the Project Pan year, and if I decide to do it again next year, I'll certainly come to it with a better idea of how to go about it than I did this time around.

Are you doing Project Pan or have you considered doing it? I'd love to hear others' experiences of it.

I received this plumping lip gloss in Memebox Special #61 Volume Up! (reviewed here). This box was easily one of the worst - if not the worst - boxes I received from Memebox, but at least this gloss is something I'll use.

It's not a great product but it's fine, and it's always good to have a clear gloss to use over drying lipsticks since it won't impact the colour but will just add a nice sheen.

Tony Moly claims/product details:
  • Plumps up and smooths your lips
  • Contains vitamin E acetate, argan oil and MAXI-LIP complex (which comprises marine collagen and olive peptide)
  • Aims to fill in fine lines, moisturise and add extra gloss and shine
  • For a kissable, cherry-like pout
  • RRP $8 AUD for 4.6ml

There's a swatch:

My bare lips for reference:

Wearing the gloss (shot taken in direct sunlight):

And another shot in the shade:


I've never owned a dedicated lip plumper so I was happy to receive this and give it a go. Mind you, many glosses I own have a plumping effect and I'm happy with those - so this doesn't really add anything different.

Having said this, it's nice to have something without colour so it doesn't interfere with any lipstick or stain I'm wearing beneath it.

While it's clear, it does contain a bit of shimmer so it's not always suitable for eg wearing to the office. It has a cooling sensation when worn and I'm not sure how I feel about that - it's a bit weird to start with but thankfully settles down after a while - and I'd prefer it without the cooling thing, although of course that's all personal preference.

The gloss smells quite strongly of mint and the scent is a bit toothpasty for me, although I can live with it. It gives a wet look that I quite like, but products like that tend to transfer really easily - and this one does.

Two lip plumpers were contained in this box and I prefer the other one (full review coming soon). This one's fine, it just doesn't plump as well and transfers more easily. 

On the claims: it's not that plumping to be honest and I have other glosses that do a better job of this; it does smooth your lips; and it does fill in lines and add extra gloss and shine.

All in all, it's an ok product and I'll definitely use it, it's just not something I would buy.


I wouldn't normally write a full review of a small sample like this, but 3ml is a reasonable amount for an eye product and the tube should last me a few weeks - plus I only needed two days' use of this product to know that it wasn't for me.

Prior to this gel, I was using an eye gel from Alpha-H, and I couldn't work out what the Alpha-H product was doing so I decided to try this one for a while and then go back to the other product.

My eye area looked worse within 24 hours of changing products, so at least I can say that the Alpha-H product works much better for me than this one does, and I now have a good idea of what I do and don't like about each product because I've been able to compare them.

Anyhoo. More on all that below.

Ren claims/product details:
  • A light and cooling gel to treat, revive and brighten the delicate eye area
  • Can be applied under or over makeup
  • Reduces the appearance of puffiness and dark circles
  • Helps the eye area to look smoother and firmer
  • RRP $39 AUD for 15ml


This is quite a thick gel so it's easy to apply too much of it - for me at least - but if you do that it won't absorb and you'll be left with excess product.

If you use the right amount (about a grain of rice per eye), it absorbs quickly and well and my eye area drinks it up. It wants to keep drinking, however, because this product isn't hydrating enough for me and it needs something with more punch. I felt the same about the Alpha-H product mentioned above, but that one is definitely better than this product, so at least I now know that it's doing more than I first thought.

You may have heard me mention before that I have a big wrinkle that appears over my right eye if the eye cream I'm using isn't good enough. After I switched from using the Alpha-H product to using this one, that wrinkle showed up after 24 hours - so I know this isn't doing much in terms of hydration or plumping out fine lines.

Indeed, I can see just from applying it that this gel has little effect on fine lines and I think it's probably better-suited to skin that's younger and less dry than mine. I think if you're in your 20s and don't need a heavy eye cream, you might really like this product because it does feel nice to use - it's soothing and the texture and feel are beautiful - it just doesn't do enough for me.

I haven't noticed any effect on dark circles or puffiness, but then again, I rarely do so that could just be an issue with my eye area because I've seen others say that this product does help with puffiness in particular.

All in all, this product is nice - and it's not super expensive, which is a huge plus because eye creams can cost the earth - but it's just not for me.

If you haven't heard of Estée Lauder's Advanced Night Repair, you may well have been living under the proverbial beauty rock.

I remember trying this when it first came out, and I've since been through two or three 7ml trial sizes of the original version, and this is my second trial size of the new version.

I have to say, I don't notice much - if any - difference between the two versions, and if you have a look at what Paula's Choice has to say, there isn't a big difference between them anyway in terms of ingredients, so that's probably why.

Estée Lauder claims/product details:
  • Reveal a smoother, more radiant, younger look
  • Wake up to more beautiful skin every day
  • Tested and proven: Advanced Night Repair dramatically reduces the look of all key signs of ageing
  • It maximises the power of skin's natural nighttime renewal with our exclusive ChronoluxCB™ Technology
  • Lines and wrinkles look significantly reduced
  • Skin feels smoother, hydrated, stronger
  • Skin looks younger, radiant, more even toned
  • In just four weeks: more than 75% of women felt their skin looked more youthful; 82% felt their skin was immediately hydrated; and 83% felt their skin looked healthier, fresher, more rested 
  • 25+ Patents and Patents Pending Worldwide
  • To use: apply on clean skin before your moisturiser; use several drops; smooth in gently all over face and throat
  • RRP $95 AUD for 30ml


I do like this product, but I liked the first bottle I tried much more, so it may be that I've been lucky enough to try better products in the interim, and therefore this has faded into the background a bit.

It's quite a thick serum with a yellow/brown colour and it smells like raisins. It absorbs well and feels nice on the skin, and I find that I do need to use more of this than I do other serums to get any kind of effect happening, which may just come down to the fact that it's thicker than the average serum so it doesn't spread as well.

While that's not a major issue, it does mean that I get through this product more quickly than I do others, and it's not cheap to start with so that just adds to the overall expense.

What I like about it is that it has an immediate brightening and plumping effect, and it pairs well with any night cream I've used so it does add something to my skincare routine - at least temporarily.

When I first used this I remember noticing a difference in my skin the morning after using it, but I don't notice that anymore and I'm not sure whether it's because the original version worked better for my skin, or whether it just doesn't work as well for me now that I'm a bit older and my skin needs heavier duty products to combat dryness and fine lines.

On the product claims: I do think this temporarily makes my skin look more radiant; it does hydrate well; and I think it has an effect on fine lines too. I haven't noticed any cumulative effect over time - even when using back-to-back trial sizes - so while I do like this product, I think better products exist for my skin.

All in all, this is a good serum but it's no longer one that works wonders for my skin, and therefore it's not one I would buy. It may be that, as with all products, it works better for some and less well for others. I would recommend testing this before committing to the full size.

When I went into Mecca just after Christmas last year - armed with a fresh gift card and much excitement because I was on a spending ban at the time - I expected to be given lots of options and to enjoy lots of testing fun when I announced to the sales assistant:

'I would like a matte bronzer please. No shimmer.'

But alas, this turned out to be a difficult task. Everything in the Nars range was overlooked due to the glitter factor (damn you Nars and your obsession with sparkles), and we quickly marked off the offerings from other brands for exactly the same reason.

Why oh why? Matte bronzers really shouldn't be that hard to find, but turns out they are. Grumble grumble.

Anyhoo. I wound up at the Stila counter (a place I would often be sent to in future when asking for matte products) and this bronzer was the only product that matched my one, 'no glitter please' requirement.

From the looks of things, it has now been discontinued - which would make me sad except that the product has been replaced with another matte bronzer that comes in much prettier packaging.

Damn. I want that one.

Kidding. Sort of. I do love this product and while the packaging isn't ugly - in fact, it's nice enough and very practical - I'll definitely be happy to replace this with the newer, prettier packaging once I've finished this one (if I ever do).

Stila claims/product details:
  • Capture the radiant glow of the sun without ever catching a ray
  • Dust this light formula on the nose, cheeks, forehead, even the décolleté whenever you want to feel like you've been blessed by the sun
  • Shelf-life after opening: 24 months
  • RRP $38 AUD for 9g, but do shop around - I've seen these going much more cheaply now that the product has been discontinued

It's quite a warm, reddish colour, which might not suit everyone. I had to choose between this one in Dark and the Medium shade, and went for this one because it's a good summer colour and I have my more muted/ashy Bahama Mama Bronzer from theBalm for the cooler months.

Above I've swatched it lightly: an unblended stripe on the left and a blended blob on the right.

Above I've swatched it more heavily: again, an unblended stripe on the left and a blended patch on the right.

The above shot is taken in direct sunlight and below I've taken the shot again in natural light.

There we are on my face, under my cheekbone:


This is a great product. I have checked the new bronzer from Stila, and happily the quality seems just as good - if not better - so I'm pleased that I don't need to ration this one to delay the search for a decent matte bronzer and can pick up a replacement easily enough.

It's a soft, finely milled powder that's super pigmented but somehow applies quite sheerly, which makes me happy because this means I'm less likely to make mistakes. Pigmented products and I aren't great friends, and I'd much rather something like this that I can build and blend easily.

It applies well and I don't have any issues with patchy application, nor does it cling to dry spots on my face. I also don't have any issue with fading out any harsh edges, and it almost seems to apply and diffuse itself. I'm far too lazy to spend ages blending my powders, so products like this are the ones I use the most because I don't need to think when I apply them.

I liked both the Medium and Dark shades and could have gone with either on my medium skin, but as mentioned above, I already had a bronzer for the cooler months and decided to go with the darker one because it's better for summer - although I can definitely wear it all year round if I use a light hand.

This works best when applied with a big powder brush, and you can also use it as an eyeshadow if you want to (I've had to do this on the go when I've needed a matte crease colour and have found myself without one).

It lasts well throughout the day, and its lasting power is noticeably better than that of other powder cheek products I own.

It's quite red/orange toned so not everyone will like it, but on my colouring this happily translates to a nice warmth, rather than anything in the oompa loompa department.

The packaging is light and sturdy, and there's a mirror in the top of the compact for application on the go. It's not the prettiest product I own, but it's not ugly either and I can travel with it and not worry that it might get damaged.

I'm ok with the $38 AUD price tag - particularly because it was the cheapest option from Mecca, as well as the only matte one - and I know you can find it more cheaply online if you shop around.

All in all, a great product and one I get lots of use from, particularly in the warmer months.

Big ticks from me.

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