I mentioned recently that I've happily been given the green light to test and review some of my mum and sister's products while we're camping out at my parents' house before moving into our new place.

Payment has been a bundle of fun stuff for them to play with that I don't need, as well as makeover services and product advice, so it's been a happy trade all round!

Anyhoo. Next up on the list is this Clarins Relax Bath & Shower Concentrate, and I can see why it's been sitting at the back of the bathroom cabinet and not getting used - it's not a great product, nor is it one that either of them would have much use for.

Let's have a look.

Clarins claims/product details:
  • A concentrated cleansing treatment that activates with the heat of a warm bath or shower, releasing the soothing, aromatic virtues of basil, chamomile and petit grain
  • Relaxes tired muscles after a stressful day with a calming blend of St John’s Wort, linden and valerian extracts
  • Lightweight lather is gentle enough for the most sensitive skin
  • Calms both body and mind
  • Very gently cleanses the skin and helps relieve stress and fatigue; also helps relax the body after exercise
  • Neutralises the drying effects of hard water
  • For all skin types
  • Contains 100% pure plant extracts
  • To use: in the bath, pour a cap-full of product under running water; spread foam all over the body and inhale deeply to benefit from the aromatic properties; in the shower, use with a sponge
  • RRP $42 AUD for 200ml, but do shop around


This is totally off-topic, but I mentioned yesterday that I'm planning to get more creative with my photos and have a crack at shooting some interesting beauty flatlays. This will happen, but I do have a bundle of photos sitting in my draft posts, so I will keep using those for now since I don't have much time to dedicate to this blog at the moment (the whole having a baby and moving house thing ; )).

Anyhoo. The product. At first I really didn't like this because I'm not a fan of the smell. It's not horrible, it's just so herbal that it almost smells like cough syrup. It kind of looks like cough syrup too when you pour it out: it's a viscous but runny gel that totally reminds me of medicine in both look and texture.

To start with, when I poured that deep blue gel onto my shower sponge, the look of it almost made me not want to use it on my body. I did try it in the bath too, and I didn't find the smell at all relaxing - more like some potent liquor (Jagermeister-ish?) that I certainly didn't want to fill the bathroom. I would much prefer something that smells gently floral and fresh, but of course, that's all personal opinion and I've seen some reviewers say they love the scent.

The product does lather well and cleans well enough, but I have body products that do a better job so I wouldn't buy this for its cleansing abilities either.

The good news is that it doesn't strip the skin, but it also doesn't leave it feeling soft, supple or hydrated.

On the claims I haven't mentioned yet: I don't find it relaxing or soothing; I do think it's gentle enough for sensitive skin; and I don't find the scent calming either.

All in all, this isn't a great product but I don't hate it. I'm glad I've tested it, but it's not one I would buy - particularly at that price.


railroad, railway, train tracks, transportation

I saw on Facelurk that DOLLY, Cleo and Lust Have It! have joined up to find the most stunning beauty flaylay in Australia (see here for details).

I knew immediately what the term 'flatlay' meant when I saw it, but I hadn't heard it used before - quite possibly because I've had my head in the sand where photography is concerned. (Hey, I'm a writer, forgive me!)

Basically a flatlay is arranging items on a flat surface so they look pretty and interesting. The composition has to be there too.

Since I've never done a beauty flatlay in my life, I thought it was high time to get creative and interesting with my photos. I'm starting at a disadvantage, not only because I have no background in photography and haven't experimented too much with designing photos for this blog, but also because I don't have good equipment or programs to help me.

But let's see what I can do. After all, prizes are involved!

The winner will receive:
  • Beauty goodies worth over $2000 from Lust Have It (oooohhh...)
  • One year’s subscription to Lust Have It
  • A flight and hotel stay in Sydney
  • A DOLLY or Cleo subscription
  • The opportunity to style a beauty flatlay that will be featured in DOLLY or Cleo
Fifty runners up will receive beauty boxes worth over $100 from Lust Have It.

Better get flatlaying then... Wish me luck!

(PS: The photos I've included here aren't flatlays. They're just, you know, flat things laid out in a row - which tends to be the norm where railway tracks and pianos are involved. But I'm guessing you saw where I was going with all that so I probably didn't need to spell it out. Ahem.)

books, reading, colors, art, vintage, pencils, shavings, colours

I've been meaning to do more with littlewhitetruths for some time, and to also start becoming more active again on my author website.

Problem is, I started both when I was pregnant and I now have a little girl, so I definitely have baby brain and any capacity for learning new things has been directed to raising a fast-growing little human being (as of course it should be!).

I won't go on about my author website here, since that's another issue and it may take me a while to feel I can write well again when it comes to novels and short stories.

But there are certainly a number of things I can do with littlewhitetruths to help it grow.

First, you may see that I've added a few social media icons to my blog. Yes, it's true - I'm finally on Twitter! I've also added a link to my LinkedIn profile - which I've had for a while but I do need to update - as well as a few other platforms.

I have set up a personal Instagram account, which I have started using but I need to pay more attention to it and I'll need to set up a second account for littlewhitetruths.

Finally, it's high time I learned how to do more interesting photos, don't you think?!?!?! I love seeing beautiful photography, so I would like to develop my skills in that area - and since my daughter isn't down for childcare until she's one year old, I have a few months to dedicate a little time towards learning more about how to take great photos.

What this means for the blog overall, is that I may not be posting at least once a day as I have been, but perhaps every couple of days on this blog and maybe once a week on my author website.

I may also attempt to change the look and feel of my blog, although that will depend on what templates I can find that are free, since we can't afford any extra expenses at the moment.

Wish me luck!


I've mentioned before that we're camping out at Mum and Dad's at the moment because we're waiting to move into our new house, and since they're overseas, it was a happy circumstance that we could avoid paying rent for a bit but also look after their house for them while they're travelling.

Anyhoo. The point of saying all that is: while we're here, I've been given the green light from my mum and sister to have a play with a few of their beauty products so I can review them. Huzzah!

This little body polish is one of those products, and I'm wondering how old it is (!) because I've just seen that it's been discontinued - although it's still available online from some retailers - but the product itself is still ok since I've tried it before while staying here and it still looks and smells the same.

Clarins claims/product details:
  • A gentle, soothing exfoliator that leaves skin satiny smooth
  • Formulated with sugar and sea salt crystals, essential oils and plant extracts
  • Gentle on your skin while being relaxing and promoting a sense of wellbeing
  • Eliminates dead skin cells and impurities while respecting the hydrolipidic film
  • Refines skin texture and leaves skin wonderfully soft
  • To use: apply with light massage movements to damp skin; rinse thoroughly
  • RRP $38 AUD for 250g, but do shop around


I haven't had a lot of luck with Clarins products and this one is no exception. Having said this, if I use the scrub dry (and not in the shower or bath, where water is quickly combined with it), I find that it does a much better job of exfoliation and I quickly grew to like it a lot more than I did on the first couple of uses.

It's a thick product that's more like a balm and a little goes a long way, so that's a plus when it comes to expensive products because they wind up being better value than you might think when you first use them.

Probably the stand-out aspect for me is the strong smell, which I don't like and don't find at all relaxing. I can't pinpoint the scent exactly, but it smells something like sandalwood and patchouli, with something bitter underneath that penetrates my nose quite sharply (aniseed?). Do note, though, that I have a strong sense of smell - so it may be that others don't smell it as sharply as I do.

The other issue I have with this product is that it melts all too quickly when mixed with water, so the scrubby crystals vanish and it's not a good scrub for this reason because it becomes more like a balm that does little in terms of cleansing and exfoliation.

However, if I use this dry, it's a gentle scrub that feels beautiful on the skin and I do like it. In terms of texture, it reminds me of a Natio hand scrub I've used before, and when used on my hands it leaves them feeling soft and supple, and it seems to have a hydrating effect as well because I don't need to slather my hands with cream after use.

I've had a look at some reviews online to see if others found the same issues I did. Interestingly, I saw a couple of reviewers say that it works best if you ignore the usage instructions and use the product dry and not on damp skin, so it looks as though they've come to the same conclusion as me.

I should also note that a lot of people said they love the smell of this product, so of course, it all comes down to personal opinion.

Happily, my sister has said that she doesn't want this particular product and I'm welcome to keep it (yay!), so I may well do so and use it as a dedicated hand scrub, since I have other body scrubs I prefer and nothing to use on my hands.

In sum, this product grew on me and while it's not one I would buy, I'm enjoying using it now and I'll happily use it to keep my hands in good shape.

Worth trying if you like gentle scrubs.

I've done a few mini updates recently, so I thought I'd better kick this one off with the recent movements in my Project Pan 2015 list - that way I won't get too confused about what I have and haven't finished!

Here's the current list, including anything I've finished or added in one of these mini updates:
  • ModelCo Colourbox Eyeshadow in Tahiti 
  • Emite Make Up Precision Eye Pencil in Spir 
  • The Cosmetic Kitchen Macadamia Wax Creme Highlighter 
  • 'Tini Beauty Eyetini Cordial Eyeshadow + Base 
  • OCC Lip Tar in Cha Cha 
  • Bloom Eye Definer Pencil in Dark Brown
  • Dd'ell Stay Forever Gel Eye Pencil 04 in Espresso
  • Emite Make Up BB Highlighting Pen in Coco 
  • theBalm Time Balm Primer 
  • the Balm Bahama Mama Bronzer
  • Benefit Cha Cha Tint 
  • Croquis Alight Pact
  • Croquis Duo Concealer
  • Australis AC ON Tour kit
  • ModelCo BB+ Cream in Medium
  • Royal Nature The Soothing Blemish Balm
  • Lime Crime Lipstick in Geradium
    Eleven Australia Miracle Hair Treatment
  • theBalm Shelter Tinted Moisturiser in Medium and Light/Medium
  • Benefit High Beam 
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Top Coat 
  • Nars Oil-free Primer

That's eighteen products, and I've decided to take the list up to twenty products with two new inclusions:

I decided to include the BB cream because I'm using that almost every day as it is.

Also, I wanted to add a nailpolish to the list and I think this Teeez polish is the oldest one I own.

Here's a little on these two products:

Dr Brandt Flexitone BB Cream

Full review here. I don't love this product, which is why I'm using it every day - I want to get rid of it.

Problem is, it's inconsistent and I never know quite how it's going to look on my skin (greasy or not, natural or not, the right colour or not etc etc), so I've been using it below other bases just to boost my sun protection now that the weather's getting warmer.

It's 30ml in size and I'm around halfway through, so I expect it to last another month or so.

Teeez Chain of Stones Nail Lacquer (Pretty in Pyrite)

Full review here. This isn't the best nailpolish I've used in terms of chip-factor, although it's not the worst either.

I'm not big on shiny or glitter nailpolishes, but I don't mind this one and I'd like to use it more since I've had it for over a year and I've only used about one-fifth of the bottle.

Since it's quite sheer, I could probably layer it with different colours underneath so I don't get sick of it. I expect it to last out the year, unless it starts to go gluggy because it's a little old.

In sum

I hadn't meant to make my PP list any longer than it is, but I was missing a nailpolish and I might as well include the BB cream since it's getting used up anyway. Plus twenty is a nice, round number - so why not add a couple more products to the list?

I'll check back in soon with another PP update : )

This is just a quick note to say that my husband and I are heading to Lorne for a few days: we need the break!

We may not have internet there, which means - shock horror - that I mightn't be able to blog every day as I normally do. What will I do with myself?!

Relax, hopefully ; )

It will also be an opportunity to finally make a start towards my last tax spreadsheet, which I've been dreading doing for ages. I have tried to start it, but with a baby there's always an excuse to do more pressing things (and ones that don't include logging receipts. ARGH).

A very good friend of ours is picking up our dog to look after her for the weekend (she loves him - she probably won't want to come home hehe), so we'll only have one 'daughter' with us instead of two, which will feel rather strange!

Anyhoo. Before I ramble too much about nothing, I'll say a quick farewell and I'll be back on Monday.

Maybe by then I'll have worked out twitter, instagram, pinterest, and whatever other social media platform I should really be branching into for the sake of littlewhitetruths?!


This is one of those products that I'm glad I looked up in terms of usage instructions, because the pressing motion Clarins suggests (see below) is not how I would have used the product.

Having said this, I'm not getting a lot of love from this cleanser no matter how I use it, and if the reviews online are anything to go by, it's a polarising product: you either love it or think it's useless. I'd put it in the latter category!

Clarins claims/product details:
  • A soothing cleansing milk that lifts away makeup and impurities with spa-like efficiency
  • Clarins’ proprietary blend of softening and toning plant extracts (including Alpine herbs, St John’s Wort, sweet almond, marshmallow and linden) helps maintain skin’s perfect moisture balance for optimum comfort and radiance
  • Leaves skin feeling soft, supple and perfectly refreshed
  • To use: warm cleansing milk to skin temperature in the palms of the hands; apply by gently placing the flats of the hands over the face; hold for several seconds without pressing; briskly lift the hands off the face; repeat 5-6 times (the milk will gradually thicken and create a suction effect to lift off makeup and impurities without irritating or pulling the skin); rinse with water or remove with a tissue
  • RRP $44 AUD for 200ml


It's rare that one comes across a product with such detailed and involved usage instructions, and to be honest, I'm not a fan of that. I don't want to follow that many steps when it comes to washing my face: I just want something that gets the job done with a minimum of fuss, and unfortunately this doesn't deliver on either count.

It's a light green cream that smells quite strongly of herbs, so if you don't like scented products, you probably won't like this.

The packaging isn't convenient (I think a tube or dispenser would be better) and the cleanser itself doesn't do a good job of washing my face. I don't love cream cleansers as a general rule but I've certainly found some good ones - and this isn't one of those.

It doesn't remove dirt or makeup well at all, and it also leaves a film on my face. It dissolves a little gunk but not much, and I need to use another cleanser after it to get the job done - plus a really good toner to remove the cleanser itself!

If your skin is super dry and can't stand harsh cleansers, you may have some luck with this but I wouldn't recommend it. Plenty of better gentle cleansers exist on the market and you could find a cheapie in a pharmacy that actually does a good job.

I can't find anything good to say about this product unfortunately. Low marks from me : (

Finally I'm ready to review the last product from this wonderful little kit: the Age Delay Facial Oil.

It's a beautiful oil and my skin loves it, although after trialling it for a few weeks, I've decided to put it aside for the time being because my skin isn't as dry as it is during the winter months and I'd much rather save it for when the weather turns and I need the added hydration. It's too good to waste!

If you're interested in trying a few different products from Alpha-H before committing to buying anything in full size, I do recommend this anti-ageing kit because it contains some of Alpha-H's star products and it's a great introduction to the brand - so much so that I've already put a couple of products on my wishlist for next year : )

Alpha-H claims/product details:
  • A luxurious 100% botanical replenishing treatment that soothes, calms and rehydrates dry, sensitive and reddened skin
  • Contains nine plant oils rich in essential fatty acids, skin preserving vitamins and beta carotene to nourish and soften while repairing the skin’s naturally occurring lipids
  • The innovative outer packaging acts as a kind of thermostat, ensuring that the potent antioxidants are maintained at a constant temperature while being shielded from environmental aggressors
  • The UV coated outer casing also allows the use of fewer preservatives because the formulation is protected from degrading UV rays
  • Repairs dry, mature, stressed and sun damaged skin
  • Repairs cell damage, diminishes signs of ageing, rehydrates stressed, abused skin
  • Great for damaged, chapped, fragile, dehydrated skin
  • Alleviates discomfort and irritation on super-sensitive skin
  • Use during periods of seasonal change because the synergy of oils boosts moisture levels
  • No chemical preservatives, fragrances or binders
  • Ingredients include a variety of oils: carrot, wheatgerm, calendula, patchouli, chamomile, rosehip and soybean
  • For all skin types
  • To use: apply directly onto the skin and perform gentle pressing motions onto the face, neck and décolletage; add two or three drops to your moisturiser for added hydration
  • Shelf-life after opening: 24 months
  • RRP $77.95 AUD for 50ml


This is absolutely divine and I've given it an HG tag because I reckon it's the best facial oil I've ever used.

It's a yellow oil that smells quite strong. I'm smelling the patchouli, which I don't love but I can live with because the scent doesn't linger and the oil is so good.

It absorbs beautifully and my skin drinks it up, even now that my skin is more normal that dry (it's quite dry in winter but doesn't stay that way in the warmer months if my skincare is good), so don't discount this if you're worried about putting oil on your skin.

It does leave my face looking a bit greasy, but the grease factor doesn't last and it's gone after I apply my moisturiser. I do prefer applying it at night though, since I prefer to use heavier products at night and lighter ones during the day.

It's super hydrating and it leaves my skin feeling beautifully soft and looking plump - so it's great for fine lines.

If your skin is dry, you could probably use this all year round, but as mentioned above, I would much rather save this product for when my skin needs extra hydration, so I'll keep it on hand for those times.

On the claims, as far as I'm concerned it meets all of them. It's soothing and great for reddened, stressed-out skin, and is perfect if your skin is dehydrated and needs an extra burst of moisture. It's wonderful for dry, dull skin and it does amazing things for fine lines.

I do think the packaging is handy (and I like that it protects the contents from light), although when I first opened it, the oil somehow travelled up the outside of the dropper and through the opening, so it ended up coming out of the bottle and I kept finding little rings of oil beneath the container whenever I picked it up. Now that I've used more of the product, however, this has stopped happening - so it might just have been an issue when the bottle was full.

You also have to love that Alpha-H is an Australian brand and cruelty free. I must say, I think I've finally found my skincare brand and I can't imagine using anything else!

While the oil is quite expensive, a little goes a long way - so even this little 15ml trial size will last for ages. This means it's good value so I don't mind the price tag and I'm more likely to buy it in a smaller size because I don't think the huge bottle is necessary if you're not going to use it all year round.

Love. Five stars from me.

I've been meaning to review this product for ages, it's just that I had a lot of trouble taking photos of it for some reason - who knows why!

We received it in a recent Violet Box, and while I'm normally far too lazy to bother with lip pencils, I decided to keep this one because it's small enough that I might actually finish it, and it's so creamy that it's very easy to apply and wear. Plus it's almost hydrating enough to be used as a kind of gloss, so it keeps my lips from feeling too dry.

There's the colour above. Below I've let it dry and then run my finger over it: you can see that it doesn't stay put and is quite easy to shift.

Starlooks claims/product details:
  • Finally, the perfect lip pencil!
  • Smooth and creamy
  • Long-wear formula
  • Comes in the 'perfect size' (about 70% of the volume of a full-size item)
  • RRP $9.95 AUD

Above are my bare lips for reference, and there's the colour in natural light:

This photo's taken in the shade:

And in direct sunlight:


This is one of the nicest lip pencils I've tried in terms of texture - if not the nicest. I'm used to lip pencils being quite hard and drying, and tugging on the lips when you apply them: this one doesn't do that and I like using it for that reason.

Peony is a soft pinky nude and it's not really my colour, but at least it won't clash with any lipstick in the same colour family (it also works well with oranges and orange-based corals), so it's one I can wear with a lot of products I already own. It's nicely pigmented and applies like a dream.

I like the smaller size and it's a good product to cart around in your handbag for that reason alone. You can also wear it on its own because it is so nourishing, and it pairs well with a gloss if you want to alter the colour or finish.

One thing that's not great about it is the staying power: because it is so creamy, it doesn't hang around as long as many other lip pencils do. I don't mind this so much because it feels so nice on that I don't care, but if you rely on lip pencils to extend the wear of your lipstick, you might have issues with this product. I think it does extend the wear time a little, but certainly not much and if you wear it on its own, it transfers when you eat or drink as creamy products tend to do. 

In sum, this is one of the few lip pencils I've used that I can see myself reaching for often. I mightn't buy it but I'm enjoying using it.

I received this cream as part of a gift pack and I absolutely love it.

It's not the first time I've used this eye cream (and other products from the same range), and I like it just as much the second time around as I did when I first used it.

Lancome claims/product details:
  • Contains a light-reflecting agent that visibly softens small imperfections
  • Extremely gentle, rejuvenating and smoothing complex
  • Combines honey and exfolin to reveal the radiance of the skin
  • Fights the causes of ageing
  • Mexoryl, a high tolerance filter, blocks the most harmful UVA rays
  • Nanocapsules transport pure vitamin e to the skin’s cells: a precious active ingredient and a formidable protector, it combats the formation of free radicals
  • Extract of helianthe neutralises these same free radicals
  • RRP $88 AUD for 15ml, but do shop around


I've had a look at the online reviews of this product and I'm surprised to see that a lot of people don't like it. I personally think it's beautiful!

It's a gorgeously thick, white cream that feels rich and velvety on the eye. My skin loves it and a little goes a long way, so this little sample has lasted a lot longer than other samples might.

What I love about it - other than the texture - is that it has an immediate brightening and plumping effect, and for that reason it makes my eye area look more awake. It also temporarily plumps fine lines and takes a few years off my face, which is what I look for in an eye cream.

As for claims, I do think it softens small imperfections and has a smoothing effect. I also think it makes my eye area look younger and more radiant. Plus it has a cooling effect and for this reason it's soothing to use.

In sum, I'm not sure why people don't love this eye cream, but perhaps it wasn't selling well because I can't find it available online anymore. Foo! It's one I might have moved to the wishlist.

I've long been a fan of Lancome skincare, and this cream is no exception.


I mentioned last month that I thought September would be a huge month in terms of empties, and indeed it has been. So much so that I may well do a third empties post at the end of the month!

The good news is, the more products I get through, the less I'll have to pack up and take with me when we move house in a few weeks, so I'd be quite happy to get through bundles of products before we go.

Anyhoo. Let's have a look at what I've finished so far this month.

Meraki by Design Body Scrub in Strawberry & Coconut

This was a Violet Box inclusion. Full review here. I didn't like the smell of this one - it's far too sweet for me - but otherwise it's a nice scrub. It's rather harsh and grainy so some may find it too rough, but I like harsher scrubs so the texture was fine by me. It's hydrating as well as exfoliating, which sets it apart from other body scrubs, but I find dry scrubs quite messy to use so I wouldn't rush out and buy this. Purchase? No.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Mask

If you read this blog, you'll know that I don't like sheet masks, and this one is no exception. It's fine in that there's plenty of fluid in it, and the mask does have a temporary plumping effect (as would chucking a wet towel on your face for ten minutes), but otherwise it doesn't do much for my skin. I think if you liked sheet masks, you might be happy with this one, but since I don't it's rare that I find one I like. Purchase? No.

L'Oreal Elvive Anti-frizz Shampoo

I've been through a couple of these bottles - along with the matching conditioner - and I'm not sure why I haven't done a full review of them yet because they're quite good. They definitely help with the frizz factor and they leave my hair much more manageable than it would normally be. My only gripe with the products is that I need to wash my hair more frequently when I use them (maybe because they leave my hair a bit coated), but otherwise I really like them. Repurchase? Yes.

ProYouS Pore Control Foam Deep Cleanser

This was a Memebox inclusion and it's one of the few products I received from Memebox that I really liked. Full review here. It's lasted for ages since you only need to use a little each time, and I normally get sick of cleansers by the end of the bottle but I didn't with this one. It's a green gel that self-foams on contact with skin, and it cleans well and leaves my face feeling fresh and tight (in a good way). I only wish it were easier to come by in Australia! Purchase? Maybe, if I could get it easily in Oz.

ProYou Magic Silky Skiny Skin Essence

This was one of those products that I never thought I would get through - I guess because its consistency is like water and you only use a little each time, so months can go past and it's still going strong. Full review here. This was another Memebox inclusion and one that I really liked, so I'm sad to see the back of it but also glad that I can finally move on to another product. I used it as a serum beneath my moisturiser and my skin really liked it: it has a brightening and hydrating effect and leaves my skin feeling supple. Purchase? Maybe, if I could get it easily in Oz.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Top Coat

Full review here. I used this product as a brow gel and I didn't like it at all. I did test it as a top coat for my mascara and noticed no difference in the look or wear-time of my mascara: all I noticed was that my mascara was impossible to wash off. As a lash primer, it was also difficult to remove and it left my lashes looking gluey and grey. What happens is that any coloured product you use (eg black mascara) starts to dye the gel, meaning it looks cloudy and you can see it. It got sent to the brow section and, while it did keep my brows in place, it made them feel gluey and rubbery. In sum, I didn't like this at all - thankfully it was a Bellabox inclusion and I didn't pay for it. Purchase? No.

Project Pan products

I've already talked a lot about both of these products so I won't say much here, other than to note that I like the Sally Hansen Diamond Flash fast-dry top coat, and it definitely does what the name suggests. The Nars oil-free primer was also a lovely product and I'm sad to see the back of it, but I prefer other primers so I wouldn't buy it. Purchase? No.

Etat Libre D'Orange EDP

This was a Violet Box inclusion and I didn't love it. It's quite heady and strong and a much better perfume for night. I prefer lighter fragrances that smell fresh so this one isn't for me. Purchase? No.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold Smoothing & Perfecting Mask with Lavender

Full review here. I've been using a lot of Alpha-H products recently, and this is one of the few that my skin really doesn't like. I found that it did little but dry my skin out, and it certainly didn't live up to its claims in terms of brightening and resurfacing the skin. Having said this, a lot of people love this mask so it could just be that it doesn't agree with my skin - so don't discount it. Repurchase? No.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, Synchronised Recovery Complex II

This is a great product and I can see why so many people rave about it. Full review here. Having said this, I've been through two of these trial sizes in the original version and two in the updated version, and I liked it better when I first used it. This may be because I've since found a number of great serums (so this one doesn't stand out as much), and it could also be that the original version - which I tried first - agrees more with my skin. Purchase? Maybe.

In sum

Hooray for empties! The best products in this bunch are the two ProYou products and the Estée Lauder serum. I'll check back in at the end of the month with more empties - it's definitely been a big month in terms of finished products : )

I ummmed and ahhhed about whether or not to do this post - I mean, who wants to commit to using the same eyeshadow EVERY DAY - but in the end I decided I would.

The reason being, this little eyeshadow also doubles as a highlighter, so I don't have to use it the same way all the time - meaning I'm less likely to get thoroughly bored of it.

Also, I LOVE this product (it's an HG product of mine - I've reviewed it here) and I managed to grab a back-up via Violet Box's build-a-box, so I can happily enjoy using it every day and know that I have another one in store.

I also chose this product because it's sheer, so I'll have more chance of getting through it and won't be tearing my hair out as the months pass and there's barely a dent in it.

I learned via Project Pan that dark/pigmented shadows last for centuries (I'm talking about the ModelCo eyeshadow that's been on my list all year and has barely a dent in it), so they don't make good test products for this reason.

Similarly, very pale shadows that need to be packed on to achieve colour would last a lot less than normal shadows, so I picked this because it's somewhere in between.

A few things to note:
  • Just touching on what I said above, I've picked this product because it's somewhere in the middle in terms of how much I use on each application, so if your shadow is dark/pigmented then it will last longer, and if your shadow is super pale and you need to use heaps of it, it won't last as long.
  • I don't use a lot of eyeshadow because I have hooded eyes (and too much can make them look worse/more puffy), so if you're able to pack on shadow without looking terrible, your shadows probably won't last as long as this one does.
  • I will use this once a day, whether as an inner corner/lashline highlight, a browbone and/or cheekbone highlight, or to highlight my collarbones. I will try to use the same amount each time, as I would use a normal shadow.
  • This pan contains 1.6g of product, so you will need to adapt the results depending on the size of the shadows you own.
  • I had already tested this for a week prior to using it again this morning, so we can add that week to the final total.

That's it! How long do you reckon it will last? Maybe a year? I honestly have no idea how long eyeshadows last, so I'm glad I've decided to do this. What I'll do is check back in occasionally with updates so you can see how much is gone as the months pass. I'll also pop this on my Project Pan list once I've finished something else off, since it's going to get used every day anyway.


Well, this eyeshadow ended up lasting me 18 months of daily use. That's a lot for a single eyeshadow that wasn't super pigmented to start with - and one that I could use on my face as a highlighter as well.

My apologies that I don't have a photo showing you the final product: I did once, but I must have managed to delete it so I can't find it.

Now that I've been a panner for years now (both through Project Pan and, later, Pan that Palette), I can say that an eyeshadow will last anything from four months to two years, depending on how much you have to start with (eg 1g or 2g or more), how pigmented it is, and whether you can only use it on the eyes or whether it's the kind of colour you can use for something else (eg as a blush or a contour).

That's a long time...

I'd started accruing sachets again so it was definitely time for another one of these posts.

I didn't want to interfere with my current skincare routine, however, so I made sure to pick things that I could slot in briefly without changing my basic routine, and it's also taken me over a fortnight to trial everything because I introduced one item at a time.

It wasn't a great bundle of sachets this month, but I did find a couple of things I loved that I hadn't tried before.

Garnier Fructis Full & Luscious Shampoo & Conditioner

I could tell as soon as I used these products in the shower that my hair didn't like them. The shampoo seemed to strip it and the conditioner did nothing in terms of hydration.

Now that my hair is dry, I can confirm these things: my hair feels dry, frizzy, stripped and in need of TLC. Needless to say, I won't be using these again. I've had to put heaps of oil on my hair to deliver some much-needed replenishment after using these sachets. Argh.

Goldfaden MD Doctor's Scrub

This is a ruby crystal microderm exfoliator that removes dead skin cells to reveal brighter skin. You can apparently use it more than regular exfoliators - at least two/three times per week - but I found it was way too harsh for me so I can use it once a week at most.

On the first use I felt it was quite scratchy and it left my skin feeling stripped and red raw. After that I was a lot more careful with it, adding water to it and only rubbing very gently. It felt better on subsequent uses and it did leave my skin feeling super smooth, but it's too full-on for me and not something I would buy.

Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face Superscreen SPF 50

My most-trusted Mecca staff member gave me this sample and recommended it for use under makeup, and I did really like it. It's an amped-up version of the best-selling Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face 30+, and is described as a lightweight, non-greasy, ultra hydrating formula that works well as a primer under makeup. I did really like this and I think those claims are true - it doesn't feel heavy like some sunscreens can and it didn't seem to clog pores. It's one I may buy in future.

Kate Somerville HydraClear Hydrating Acne Gel

OMG I love this! It's the most amazing gel I've tried - it's so rich, velvety and hydrating, even though it's so light. Argh. Why does it have to cost $86?!

It's apparently a lightweight, multipurpose acne treatment and moisturiser that tackles breakouts, soothes irritation and controls oil. I can't say whether it helps with breakouts because the sample isn't big enough for any real work to happen there, but it's definitely moisturising and it does soothe irritation. I'll have to sample this again - it's divine.

Kate Somerville Quench Oil-free Hydrating Face Serum

This is apparently designed to pull moisture in deep and lock it in, while helping to balance sebum production. It's a light serum that feels gorgeous on the skin, and it absorbs and spreads well. It doesn't feel that hydrating however, so I definitely need to apply a moisturiser over the top.

This product and the one above (I already loved ExfoliKate, below) have made me more interested in the Kate Somerville brand and I'll have to try some of the other products that are more geared towards my skin (which is normal/dry).

Then again, maybe I should steer clear of it - it ain't cheap ; )

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate

I've reviewed sachets of this before and I absolutely love it - so much so that I finally cracked and bought the travel-sized tube in Mecca Maxima. It's an exfoliating treatment that does a great job of resurfacing the skin without being too harsh. I really see the difference in my face when I've used this, and I can see myself buying it again and again - although I'll definitely be rationing my little tube, since it is pricey!

Love. If you haven't tried this, I urge you to pick up a sample.

Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream

This is a beautiful cream and it reminds me of Eslor's Collagen Day Cream, which I finished last month. It's wonderfully hydrating and plumping, and it definitely has a smoothing effect so the cream is well-named.

The hydration lasts nicely through the day and overnight, so you get bang for your buck with this product. For this reason it makes a great base for makeup, and I apply less of my BB cream when I use this because my skin is so smooth. It's on the list of potential purchases!

Aesop Anti Blemish Mask

This mask feels beautiful on the face, I just don't like the smell - and when plenty of decent masks exist on the market, you can afford to turn something away because you don't like its scent.

I also found that this mask left my skin feeling super dry and thirsty, and it sucked up a ridiculous amount of my (rather expensive) serum after I used it: that's how dry it was. This definitely isn't for me. You might like it if you have oily skin.

Jurlique Nutri-Define Rejuvenating Overnight Cream

Overnight masks and creams seem to be all the rage at the moment, and I'm glad I've tried this one because it's gorgeous. It's super rich and nourishing, and I can feel the difference in my skin the next day - more so than with any other overnight treatment I've tried before. My face looks more plump and feels more hydrated the next day, plus it feels really soft.

I just looked it up and unfortunately this costs $130 for the full size. Foo! There's no way I can afford to spend that much on a single product at the moment, so looks like I'll have to admire this one from afar for now.

In sum

Obviously I like ExfoliKate the most in this bunch because I've gone out and bought it, but I also really liked the Jurlique and Dermalogica products, so I might see if I can grab more samples of those and work out whether they're going on the wishlist.

I do have quite a few more sachets hanging around, so I might do another one of these posts next month, just to get through them all.

'Till then : )

I picked up three of these from strawberrynet because they were on sale for $6 each.

It's the second strawberrynet order I've ever made and I reckon it will be my last one: I'm a bit suss and I think they stock some really really old products (that's why they're so cheap).

I've ordered from other international retailers before - eg beautybay - and I've never felt that I was given old stock, so I won't order from strawberrynet again and will stick to those companies I trust.

Anyhoo. The first shade of my three that I decided to open was Olesya, a colour that looks quite brown and nude but happily warms up a little and looks richer when applied to the lips.

I was immediately struck by the packaging of these tints - it's gorgeous, practical and classy. It's a sturdy silver bullet that twists to close, so there's no chance of the lid coming loose and falling off in your handbag. I love it. It's almost worth spending $6 for the packaging alone!

I like the Becca lettering printed on the lid. A nice touch.

Indeed, I like the packaging so much that it may be my favourite of all the lip products I own! I'll definitely be displaying these on my dresser and keeping the empty tubes once each tint is finished.

Becca claims/product details:
  • A collection of sheer, hydrating lipsticks with subtle shine 
  • Each contains a cocktail of emollients and antioxidants such as shea butter, cocoa butter, honey and vitamin E
  • Moisturises and protects the lips while providing a smooth, even application of creamy colour
  • Comes in a sleek metal case with a lid that twists and locks to the base for no-fuss travel and toting in your purse
  • Deliciously scented with a natural light vanilla/caramel scent
  • Delivers a sheer wash of colour with a soft, creamy shine
  • Nourishing and non-drying
  • Paraben free
  • Sheer colours enhance the lip's natural tones
  • Makes lips look healthy, moist and full
  • Anti-feathering and anti-bleeding
  • RRP $48 AUD for 3g, but do shop around (I got mine for $6!)

 There's the colour:

My bare lips for reference:

Wearing just one swipe on each lip (it's pigmented!), photo taken in the shade:

And in direct sunlight:

One more for good measure:


Before buying these, I saw that they had been discontinued - although they're still available from quite a few online retailers (not just strawberrynet) so I decided to take a punt and get them anyway, hoping they weren't too old.

I haven't tried the other shades yet, but the reason I think this one might be old is the smell. They're meant to smell like toffee (and a few reviewers have commented on this), but mine doesn't: it smells like lipstick.

There's no indication that there might be anything wrong with the product, however, and my lips love it - so I'll keep wearing it for now. I've seen quite a few people say that these go rancid faster than normal lipsticks (and indeed, the shelf-life is only six months), so I'll keep an eye out for that.

Otherwise, this has to be one of the best lip formulas I've tried. It's so rich and creamy, and even though they're called 'sheer', they're definitely not that and they offer a punch of colour - but somehow your natural lip colour does alter the shade, which means it's more likely to suit you and not look too in-your-face.

Olesya doesn't look like much to start with (and I was worried when I swatched it), but once on it develops into this wonderfully rich caramel colour with a hint of orange and rose. I love it! If I apply a little, it's a great 'my lips but better' shade, and if I apply it more thickly, it turns into a statement colour that still looks quite natural and interesting.

The formula is super moisturising and a dream to wear. There's something luxurious about it and I love how it feels on the lips. 

It also stays put much longer than you might expect, given how creamy it is. I can see myself getting a lot of use from this, so despite my concerns about how old it is, I reckon it's $6 well-spent.

I love the packaging too, and I do think these live up to their claims. If they hadn't been discontinued, I would certainly be buying more.

I won't give it an HG tag - only because these are old products - but otherwise I would be.

Love. Huge ticks from me.

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