I'd meant to do a full Project Pan update by the end of March - as I do every month - but since we've just returned from being away and we've all had pesky colds for the last couple of weeks, everything's running a bit behind. Apologies!

What I'll do is follow up this mini update with a full one in the next few days, and then I'll do a second full update at the end of April to make up for the one I missed in March. For now, though, I just wanted to say that I've switched this SweetPea & Fay Liquid Lipstick in Beluga out of circulation. I've stopped using it daily and I have no desire to: it's a pretty colour but it's too pale for me so I would rather pass it on to someone who'll use it while it's still relatively new and in good shape.

The other benefit of removing it from my PP list is of course that my list is now one product shorter: my list has always been too long (I have something like twenty products on there) and I'd rather whittle it down to fifteen.

So I won't be replacing this product with anything for now because I would rather focus on finishing the items on my existing list. The good news is that a few of those products are almost dead, so I expect to have at least three done with by the end of April. Fingers crossed!

That's all from me for now. I'll check back in soon with a full update. 'Till then : )

It's been a huge month of empties for me: this is my fourth empties post of the month, including the two I wrote while we were away, and I even had to hold over some products for April so this post wouldn't be too long!

Granted, I had so many empties when we were in Bali because I took travel-sized products with me (many of which were half-empty already), but I've also managed to get through a bunch of full-sized items while we've been at home. I've no idea why I've finished so much stuff in the same month, but it's a good thing because the stores of back-up products in my cupboard are so low now that I can validly buy a bunch of replacements. Woot woot!

Alpha-H Liquid Gold Rejuvenating Cream and Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily SPF 50+

I'm sure you all know by now just how much I love Alpha-H products, and these two are no exception. Indeed, they're both HG creams of mine and I knew from the first few uses that I couldn't be without them.

The sunscreen is one of those wonderful facial sunscreens that doesn't clog pores, isn't greasy, works beautifully under makeup and offers a huge dose of sun protection. I've reviewed it here.

The rejuvenating cream is so good that I've already bought the full size: it brightens and resurfaces the skin in amazing ways and I've noticed that my skin isn't looking as good after I finished this travel-sized version (I haven't opened the back-up yet - I must!). I've reviewed it here.

So that's a big yes in terms of repurchasing these, although the sunscreen is on the expensive side and since Mecca's To Save Face 50+ is cheaper and very similar, I'm more likely to buy that.

Ivadore Tanning Treatment

I've reviewed this here. It was decent as a facial tanner and I'm pleased to say that the product doesn't contain any nasties, plus Ivadore is an Australian brand and I do like supporting homegrown companies.

While it worked as a facial tanner - no streaks, the smell wasn't overpowering, it didn't clog pores, irritate or break me out - it wasn't wonderful as a stand-alone facial moisturiser so I'm not sure I would buy it. The market's flooded with great products these days so I'm more likely to buy a self-tanner that's wonderfully hydrating and nourishing too. This was a little moisturising, just not enough for my dry skin. Purchase? Probably not.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid

I've talked about this product so many times that you may well be sick of hearing me bang on about it by now! I've reviewed it here.

So I don't bore you, I'll be brief: this is an HG product of mine and I can see myself using it forever. It resurfaces and brightens my skin like nothing else, and no other product I've used has achieved such great results in such a short space of time. Love. Repurchase? Already have.

Ladykin Close Up Decuple Shimmering Primer

Full review here. I received this ages ago from Memebox and I wasn't using it enough, so when I ran out of day cream a few months ago, I decided to use this as a replacement. It's a dupe for MAC's Strobe Cream, although Strobe Cream is the far superior product. This one's ok, but unlike Strobe Cream it's not very hydrating so I'm glad to see the back of it. Purchase? No.

Tonymoly Gold Black Sugar Mask

This is another Memebox product and I quite liked it to start with, but I've recently moved away from using scratchy products like this on my face so it wasn't getting used. I've reviewed it here.

It's deliciously sweet and sugary, and it's kind of like putting brown sticky toffee on your face (but in a good way!). Since I wasn't using it on my face  anymore, I wound up using it on my body and it worked well for that. Not one I'd buy but one I was able to use. Purchase? No.

Reed Orange & Poppy Seed Body Scrub

Full review here. This is a great body scrub that smells divine and I liked it so much that I used an LHI discount code to pick up a few more to include in Christmas presents.

It smells exactly like orange and poppyseed cake, and it does a great job of exfoliating the body - great for summer. Plus a little goes a long way so the packet lasted a while. Repurchase? Yes, already have.

Organix (OGX) Argan Oil of Morocco Renewing Conditioner

I've reviewed this product (and the matching shampoo) here. I love the other OGX products I've used, but these blue versions didn't work for my hair: they're not hydrating enough so they left my dry hair under-nourished and in need of TLC. They weren't terrible but I'd recommend the brown versions over these. Purchase? No.

Suki Concentrated Strengthening Toner

I was introduced to Suki via Violet Box and I've used some great products from the brand. I did really like this toner, but not enough to seek it out again since Suki isn't so easy to come by in Australia (at least, not at reasonable prices). I've reviewed it here.

What I love about this product is that it's refreshing, does a good job of removing the last bits of grime from my face, and I feel like it tones and firms well too. My skin just looks brighter and cleaner after using this, and it's one I'm missing now that it's gone. Repurchase? Maybe.

Toni&Guy Cleanse Dry Shampoo

I really hated this product. I've reviewed it here. It's probably the worst dry shampoo I've ever used, which surprises me because Toni&Guy is a decent brand and I was expecting more. Thank god I bought it at half-price!

It's not good at making your hair feel clean and I need to use a tonne of it to get the job done.  Also, it leaves my hair looking dull, powdery and coated, and the product really weighs it down and makes it dry and hard to brush. Just not for me. Repurchase? No.

In sum

Hooray for more empties! The best products in this bunch are the Suki toner, all three Alpha-H products and the Reed body scrub.

Let me know if you've finished anything great this month : )

My monthly favourites were harder to choose than usual this month - purely because we've just returned from holidays so the products that first came to mind were the ones I took with me, rather than the ones I was loving in the weeks before we left.

Happily I remembered how much I was loving the Argo Naturals products I've reviewed recently, so I've included both of those - as well as two of the products I travelled with and also the hand cream that's now sitting on my bedside table, after finishing the hand cream I was using before that.

Anyhoo, let's have a look : )

Argo Naturals Rose Water Tonic

I've reviewed this here. As soon as I used this, I knew I'd found a great thing. I love me a good facial spray but good ones can be hard to find. This is easily one of the best I've used and, to me, it's better than the fabled Mario Badescu version. Big claims but there it is!

What I love about it is that it leaves my skin feeling plumped, hydrated and refreshed, and the sensation lasts for hours. The only bad thing about the product is the spray - it's too forceful and directed - which is why I've decanted my spray into a separate container. Love this one. It's an HG product for me.

Argo Naturals Pure Thanaka Powder

Another great product from Argo Naturals. I've reviewed it here. It's a finely ground bark that's used in Burma for all sorts of things and Argo Naturals now distributes it worldwide. My favourite use for it is to mix it with facial cleansers and masks that don't do much for me on their own: when I add this, it turns bad products into good ones. My skin always looks brighter and feels smoother after using this, and a little goes a long way so the product will last for ages.

Camille Beckman Glycerine Hand Therapy in Tuscan Honey

Full review here. This is a beautifully thick and rich hand cream, and I wasn't using it for ages because I had another one on my bedside table and wanted to finish that first before replacing it with this.

It smells divine and I look forward to using it each night before going to bed, and I wake up with soft and nourished hands. Plus the packaging is fancy so it's a product I'm happy to display, and it looks a lot more expensive than it is. Such a good cream and great for those of us with dry hands.

Stila Stay All Day Sun Bronzer in Dark

I may well have included this in my monthly favourites before since I've been using it religiously throughout the warmer months because it's the perfect colour for when I'm more tanned. I've reviewed it here.

It's unfortunately been discontinued but Stila does have a replacement for it (and one that comes in much prettier packaging), so don't despair. I love that it's matte and has a red undertone: for some reason, bronzers with a red undertone work best on me in the warmer months - and this has been my go-to bronzer ever since I bought it. It also travels well so it's always in my bag when we go away.

Croquis Alight Pact

This is one of the few makeup items I received from Memebox that I really love (or even like, for that matter). I've reviewed it here

It's a fantastic, subtle highlighter that adds a beautiful sheen without a speck of glitter in sight, and it's natural enough that you can use it all over the face as a setting powder to give you a nice glow, or you can build it in targeted areas for a stronger highlight that's never too much. You can also use the four individual colours - pearl, gold, pink and lavender - on their own for highlighting the eye area. I always travel with this because it's so versatile and sturdy, and it's a product I can't imagine being without.

In sum

That's it! I do love choosing my favourites each month and I'm always interested to see other people's favourites as well. Do let me know what you've been loving this month and whether you have any recommendations : )

Hooray hooray, my LHI box showed up yesterday! I always try to get my unboxings up on the day the packages arrive, but unfortunately this one showed up quite late in the day so it wasn't possible.

I must say, I'm not yet sure how I feel about this box and I'll be interested to see what others think of it. It's not a bad box but it's also not Lust Have It's best offering to date. Mind you, I've only heard of one of the brands included before so that's a huge plus because I love receiving things from unknown companies: you never know when you'll find new favourites : )

There's what we received above. The good news is that there's a mix of different products (so it's not too heavy on makeup or skincare) and the two coloured items I received are ones I'll actually wear - a rare thing, in my experience! Plus most items are full-size, so it's good-value in that sense.

Let's have a quick look at each product in turn.

Ruby Eyeshadow Brush Flat (RRP $22.40 AUD; received full size)

You could have received one of four brushes, and I'm happy with the one I got because it's different from the other flat eyeshadow brushes I own - this one's quite soft and not as dense as your standard flat brush, so it may well be good for a few different purposes (and not just packing colour on the eyelid).

Apparently this one is made from 100% natural hair and is designed to apply eyeshadow with precision. I'll be interested to see what I can use it for, since I have nothing else like it. Looking forward to having a play.

Sebamed Liquid Face & Body Wash (RRP $14.95 AUD for 300ml; received 50ml sample)

This is apparently great for normal and sensitive skin, and is adjusted to pH 5.5 - the pH value of healthy skin. It contains a sophisticated complex of vitamins, allantoin and pentavitin to protect the skin from dehydration, and includes a blend of moisturisers to ensure no irritation to the skin.

I've never heard of this brand and it doesn't look like a fancy product, but I won't judge a book by its cover and I'll wait to see how it fares. If I don't like it as a facial cleanser, at least it doubles as a body wash.

Glazel Visage Single Matte Eyeshadow (RRP $15 AUD for 3g; received full size)

According to the card, these are silk-textured, highly pigmented colours. I'm really pleased that I received this neutral brown colour in 'S2', and extra glad that it's matte! I can't remember the last time I received a matte eyeshadow in a wearable colour from a sub box, so I'm super pleased about that. Hopefully it applies and wears well. The pan is also big enough that you could use this kind of colour as a contour shade for the face, so it could be a great multi-purpose product for travel.

Jersey Shore Cosmetics Anti Ageing Whole Body Balm (RRP $20 AUD for 4.25g; received full size)

This is apparently a perfectly balanced, certified organic formula that uses the very best, all-natural ingredients. Premium rich, organic Argan oil, castor oil, jojoba oil and vitamin e are known to have anti-ageing properties and are proven to deeply condition, nourish and hydrate skin and hair. 

My first thought when I saw this was 'gosh it's small', but the instructions on the package say you can use it for chapped skin on cheeks, hands and lips, and you can also use it before bed to remove makeup smudges and nourish the lashes - so looks like you only need a little bit each time. This sounds like something I'll definitely need as the cold weather sets in, and I can't wait to try it.

Be a Bombshell Mechanical Eyeliner (RRP $20 AUD for 0.25g; received full size)

According to the card, this is a twist-up mechanical liner that comes in bold shades for a pop of colour. It's easy to apply, long-lasting and water-resistant.

I received the shade 'Bling Bling' and it looks like a beautiful gold - very happy! I'm hoping I can use this along the lashline and in the inner corners, without the risk of it transferring to my hooded upper eye area (which is a problem I find with most shadows - cream or powder). Fingers crossed!

In sum

I'm happy with this box. It mightn't be the best box I've received, but the huge plus for me is that I'll use everything and I wound up with colours I'll actually use! The RRP value of the contents is around $80 AUD, so it's not a bad value box overall.

Did you receive this box? Let me know what you think of it if so : )
*Image courtesy of BeautyHeaven.com.au

This is just a short note to let you know (if you don't already) that, yesterday, BeautyHeaven announced the 2016 winners in its annual Glosscar Awards.

These awards take place every year and, like many beauty lovers, I'm always interested in submitting my vote and also seeing which products topped each list. 

Here are the individual categories (all pictures courtesy of BeautyHeaven.com.au), and I've linked the above and below photos to the relevant pages for each.

Over the next week or so, I'll have another look at the individual categories and let you know if I've tried any products in each - and if so, what I think of them.

If I haven't tried enough products in each separate category, I'll just do an overall post as I did for the Glosscar Awards 2015.

Until then! Let me know if you voted and agree with the winners picked : )

At the beginning of our trip away I wrote a short post on some of the fun new things I was playing with we're away (see that post here) and it's now time to update that post with some mini reviews, since I've used everything and know what's grabbed me and what hasn't.

Note that I'll likely write separate, more detailed posts on the Jane Iredale Primer and the Ren BB Cream, so do stay tuned for those if you're interested in either product.

Ren V-Cense Youth Vitality Day Cream

This is apparently a multi-active day moisturiser that prevents and minimises the signs of premature ageing. It hydrates, protects against free radical damage and smooths fine lines and wrinkles while boosting skin energy and elasticity. 

I've liked this from the first use and it's one I would consider buying. It's beautifully rich and hydrating - interestingly, more so than the corresponding night cream (below) - so I would pick this over that one if you have dry skin like mine. Some might find it to be a little heavy for day use, but I like it for both day and night.

Ren Satin Perfection BB Cream

I received this in one of my Mecca Beauty Loop boxes, and it's meant to be a multi-functional cream that provides flawless coverage, banishes imperfections, and gives skin SPF 30+ and antioxidant protection. It's also designed to tone, firm and boost radiance, and is suitable for all skin types.

I must say, I wasn't sure about this one. I have an application or two left so I'm planning to do a separate first impressions post with swatches, but my feelings on it are that it's not the right colour for me (too pale), I don't like the finish (I prefer more dew) and it's not hydrating enough for me. I'd love to hear what others think of this so let me know if you've tried it.

Ren V-Cense Revitalising Night Cream

This one aims to recharge, revitalise and intensively hydrate the skin overnight, and visibly smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also combats uneven texture and tone and is packed with antioxidants, leaving skin looking brighter and more refreshed and supple by the morning.

I did like this and it melted like butter into my skin, feeling wonderful at the same time. But I've used better night creams and I'm not sold on this one - I do however love the day cream so I can see myself using that one for both day and night since I found it more hydrating than this one.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

I received this as a GWP and was super excited because it's SK-II's signature product and it ain't cheap, so it's not something I can afford to buy. It contains over 90% Pitera™ (apparently a 'miracle' ingredient) and in fourteen days I should notice a reduction in the appearance of age spots and wrinkles, and improvements in skin texture, firmness and radiance.

This just didn't work for me, although I only used it for around a week (twice-daily), so it's hard to say how it would have performed in the long run. I found that it didn't do much - it didn't even feel nice against the skin or refreshing to use - so I can't see how it would work, particularly given my lack of luck in the past with products containing pitera. Hoh well.

Asap Daily Facial Cleanser

This one is apparently a gentle foaming cleanser that removes makeup (including eye makeup). I haven't had the best luck with Asap skincare in the past, and after using this for over a week, I can safely say that I don't like this product either. It just doesn't seem to clean that well and my skin doesn't feel refreshed after use. I'd go as far as to say that it doesn't do anything at all. Just not for me.

Estée Lauder New Dimension Shape + Fill Expert Serum 

This is apparently an award-winning serum that uses breakthrough shaping technology combined with pro-collagen complex, and is meant to smooth and plump the skin with proven results in two weeks.

I've been using it for almost that long and I haven't noticed any major results, but I do like it and my skin looks brighter and firmer after using it. I'm not sure it's worth the huge pricetag because I've tried better serums, but it's one I've been happy to play with while we're away. Decent, but not a winner.

Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer & Brightener

This is described as having anti-ageing properties that even skintone, minimise the appearance of pores and increase luminosity. I've seen that it's for oily skin (my skin is dry) so hopefully it works for me and doesn't dry me out.

I do find this one a little silicone-y and drying, so I reckon it would be much better for oily skin (as it's designed for) and I don't feel that it's for me. Having said this, it does feel nice and smoothing, and I've got quite a bit to play with in the sample so my feelings may change now that I'm home and can test it with different bases. I'll report back with a full review, but my first impressions are that this is like many other pore-plugging primers I've tried and it hasn't grabbed me for any particular reason. Jury's still out, though.

In sum

Some good little products in this lot and some not so good ones. The best in the bunch are the Estée Lauder serum and the Ren day cream, and I liked the day cream so much that I may well buy it in future.

Let me know if you've tried any of the above and what you think if so : )

I've just posted on the first round of products I finished while we're away, and I'm sneaking in another post now before we head for the airport to fly home. 

It always feels good to lighten your load a little each day while you're away, which is why I've been reserving half-empty products and sachets for the last few months: it's meant that I've been able to finish enough things for two empties posts within the space of a week (!).

In no particular order...

Reed Coffee Face Polish

I did like this little product but preferred it as a body scrub (as opposed to a face one) because I've recently moved away from using harsher scrubs like this on my face. Full review here.

What I love about this scrub is that the scrubby matter is more refined than it is for the Reed body scrubs I've used, which means that I need less per application because it spreads more readily and it also works just as well as the products with larger grains. I also love the smell of this product. Yes it smells like coffee but in a gentle way and there's something complex about it that really appeals. Repurchase? Yes.

Banana Boat Baby Very High Protection Sunscreen SPF 50+

I don't often review baby products on this blog but I wanted to give a nod to this one because it's been so handy - not only for my daughter, but also for my husband and myself. We've had it for absolutely ages (so it's a good-value product, because it gets used almost every day but doesn't vanish quickly) and it's kept us all protected from the sun. Plus it's compact and travels well, and I find roll-on products easier to use on young 'uns than I do eg normal creams. Repurchase? Yes.

Jing Ai Velvet Shine Lip Jewel Lip Crayon in Pink-a-boo

Full review here. This is a 'cheat' product because I didn't actually finish it, but I used it a lot for the time we were here and decided to throw it out a couple of days ago because my lips were starting to get dry. 

If I were at home I might have kept it to see if anyone wanted it, but it didn't seem worth the extra (albeit small) space in my backpack. It's not my colour so that's part of the problem, but it's also not one I would recommend using every day: while it feels hydrating and nourishing to start with, it dried my lips out after consistent use on a daily basis. Purchase? No.

Dr Lewinn's Multi Moisture Balm

Full review here. This is one of those products that I liked from when I first used it, and it then grew on me more and more over time. It's quite an odd one though: it's a bright orange balm that feels more oily and looks transparent once you start to rub it in. It has a sweet, fruity scent that isn't unpleasant, but it is quite strong so do test this first if you don't like scented products.

This product reminds me of Elizabeth Arden's 8 Hour Cream, but I do prefer this one because I feel it absorbs better and I have more uses for it. My favourite use for it is as an overnight cream, and it's helped me more than once when my dry skin has started flaking and has needed some TLC overnight. Purchase? Yes.

Shizen Salve All Over Balm

This is one of those products that really surprised me: I wasn't expecting much from it but it's ended up being a god-send for so many reasons. I've reviewed it here.

I was using it on my feet to start with (very hydrating), then when my daughter got some nappy rash that wasn't shifting, I tried it for that and couldn't believe it when the rash cleared up overnight! So I've kept it handy for any irritations, and when we came away, it's been good to soothe her heat rash and any insect bites too. I've also used it on myself when I burned my finger on a candle. Wonder product! Recommended. Purchase? Yes.

John Frieda Ocean Waves Sea Salt Spray

Full review here. I haven't tried any salt sprays before so I can't compare this product to others, but I can say that this one works well and does exactly what it says it will do. What I love about it is that it tames my frizzy, wavy hair better than many other dedicated hair-taming products have managed to do, and it does this without weighing it down and decreasing the time between washes. 

Plus it helps flatten those annoying frizzy bits around my hairline that normally thwart other products. I'm not sure I would buy it because I prefer a glossy finish (rather than a matte one), but it is a decent product and I recommend it. Purchase? Maybe.

Estée Lauder Take it Away Makeup Remover Lotion

I haven't had a lot of luck with makeup removers because I struggle to find ones that successfully remove eye makeup with little effort, but this one did the job better than most. I've reviewed it here.

It's a white cream with a faint scent - I smell men's cologne, not citrus as claimed - and I like the light, thin consistency. As claimed, it's not oily and it doesn't leave a greasy residue. You apply it to dry skin, and it quickly dissolves your makeup with very little effort. It feels like makeup just melts off your face with only a small amount of rubbing from you. Winner! Purchase? Maybe (not at full price).

Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser

Full review here. If you read this blog, you'll know that this was the product that made me fall in love with Suki as a brand: I love it to death and can't recommend it enough.

It smells so lemony divine and feels wonderful against the skin. Plus it exfoliates and cleanses gently, leaving my skin clean and glowing but never stripped. Amazing. Repurchase? Yes, a thousand times.

Bioderma Sensibio Light Soothing Cream

Full review here. I wound up with two of these via Lust Have It, and while I didn't love the product as a moisturiser because it left me with a slightly sticky face, I found that it worked really well when applied over makeup. This is probably because one of the main ingredients is glycerine (as it is for eg MAC Fix+), which means that it leaves you with a plumped-looking face and seems to help your makeup merge together beautifully. It's not one I would buy but I did enjoy using it. Purchase? No.

In sum

This isn't a bad bunch of empties and my favourites in this lot are the products from Suki, Estée Lauder, Shizen and Dr Lewinn's.

Let me know if you've finished anything great this month : )

I brought so many half-empty products (many of them travel-sized) with me on our trip, that I've managed to finish enough for two separate empties posts - woot woot! 

That's a fair amount of empties, and it means there's a nice chunk of space in my backpack for the journey home. Looks like I could have gone shopping ; )

I'll try to get through both empties posts today but I mightn't have time before we need to get to the airport, so I'll do this one for now and see how I go.

In no particular order...

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 03, Nude Shimmer

Full review here. I do like these lip glosses but I must admit I was expecting to be blown away when I first tried them, given the hype about them online. It's a medium thick gloss that's not sticky and has a sweet, sugary scent that isn't too strong. It has a touch of shimmer that lifts the face but isn't too much, and the colour is barely there. It's hydrating and nourishing and for this reason I do think these are decent glosses, but I wouldn't rush out and buy them because I reckon you can find something that's just as good for a fraction of the price. Purchase? No.

Swisse Deep Sea Hydrating Mist Toner

I really didn't like this product so I'm glad to see the back of it. I've reviewed it here. It feels like water droplets sitting on top of my face, and I had to pat it in after each use because it didn't want to absorb. This could partly be because the pump didn't spray a fine-enough mist, but I also think that the product itself didn't absorb and hydrate as well as other sprays I've used. It left my skin screaming out for hydration and I usually needed to apply a cream over the top to get the job done. Purchase? No.

Mario Badescu Glycolic Eye Cream

Full review here. This became one of my HG eye creams almost from the first use, not only because it's so beautifully rich and hydrating, but also because it doesn't cost much at all. It's quite a thick cream and it does leave a greasy residue, so it won't be for everyone and I wouldn't use it during the day, but I loved applying it at night and waking up with soft, hydrated eyes. Love this one. Repurchase? Yes.

Trilogy Make Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm

I remember not liking this when I first used it, so I saved the last third of the container for our holiday and for some reason I thought I might suddenly like it (maybe because there's a lot of hype surrounding Trilogy right now). Not so! I've reviewed it here.

It does remove 'easy' makeup like powders but it does nothing towards dissolving the heavy stuff like eyeliner or mascara, and I reckon plenty of much better cleansing balms exist so it's not worth the pricetag for me. Purchase? No.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

I decided not to write a full review of this product because I only got a week or so's worth of twice-daily use from it, and I don't think that's enough time to make a decision on a product like this one.

It's one of the most raved-about products in the beauty world but I honestly noticed no effect from using it. It didn't make for a good toning product and I didn't see or feel any difference in my skin after using it - it didn't even feel refreshing. So I don't think this product is worth the huge pricetag for me (a good thing!) but I can't say this for sure because I reckon you need to use something like this for longer if you're going to see any effect. Purchase? No.

Origins Super Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel

Full review here. This earned a spot in my 'disappointing products' post for 2015, and bringing the last bit away with me reminded me of why. It smells off, feels sticky and often stings when I use it, plus I don't think it does anything towards removing blemishes or reducing their frequency. Indeed, it may even have the reverse effect on my skin! Many people rave about this product but just as many don't like it, and I'm definitely in the latter category. In any event, do test this one before buying it because it mightn't be for you either. Purchase? No.

Urban Skincare Co Infuse Body Balm

You've probably seen a couple of empties of this product before because we scored a few of them when we stayed in a hotel last year. Full review here.

It smells good - rich and gingery - and is super hydrating and nourishing without leaving a greasy residue. It also absorbs and spreads well, so a little goes a long way and this 35ml sample didn't vanish in a few uses, as some body creams tend to do. It's definitely one I would use again. Purchase? Yes.

The Body Shop Italian Summer Fig EDT

The Body Shop says that it picks its figs at the height of summer when their aroma is the richest, to create this succulent green scent. 

This is indeed a very green scent and while I don't mind it, it's a little too heavy on the green factor for me and it's not complex and balanced enough for my personal tastes. Plus the lasting power of this fragrance isn't amazing so it's not one I would buy. Purchase? No.

Bare Minerals Marvellous Moxie Lipstick in Make Your Move

This is a beautifully hydrating formula and my lips really loved it. I received the sample in one of my Mecca Beauty Loop Boxes and it's made me want to go and check out the whole range. Full review here.

The good news is, these aren't the most expensive lipsticks on the market so they won't break the bank and I reckon they're worth the money because they're so nourishing and wear really well. I didn't love this colour on me (it wasn't quite right) but I could still get away with it and I loved the product overall. Purchase? Yes, in another colour.

In sum

Hurrah to having more space in my backpack! The stand-out items here are the Bare Minerals Lipstick, the Urban Skincare Co Body Balm and the Mario Badescu Eye Cream: I would buy all of them.

Let me know if you've finished any products this month - good or bad ones : )

For the last couple of weeks I've been meaning to write a post on some beauty tips for travelling, but time and life have gotten the better of me so I'm only sitting down to do it now. 

I haven't quite worked out what I'm going to say yet but it's all floating around in my head so hopefully it will come out in some kind of order that makes sense ; )

What I did want to say though is that travelling can be a very personal thing, so what works for me mightn't work for someone else. I'm the kind of person who likes to keep my pack light, but not everyone cares about this and some people prefer to have the most stuff with them that they can. If that's you, a few of these tips mightn't interest you but hopefully the other tips will.

Hoard your samples and sachets

If you know you're going away, it's not a bad idea to start collecting any sachets and sample-sized products that you receive. This isn't essential of course because there are other ways to cut down on space (more on that below), but what's good about it is that you'll end up with so many testers of different products that you're unlikely to get bored while you're away.

I did that for the trip we're on now and I've had so many fun new products to play with that never once have I missed anything from back home, nor have I felt the need to go shopping for something new. The other good thing about doing this is, you can throw things out as you finish them so your pack will be a touch lighter on the way home.

Collect empty containers and decant your products into those

This is an obvious one but it's worth mentioning anyway. Keep any travel or sample-sized jars and bottles and wash them out, so when it comes to travelling you've got a ready-made set of small containers to decant your products into. This of course works best for liquids and creams, but nothing's stopping you from transferring some of your loose powders into little sample tubs too.

Besides cutting down on space (and meaning you can bring more things because each item is so small), this also means that your full-sized products won't be exposed to temperature extremes or knocked around because you've left them at home. Keeping your empties also means that you won't need to buy empty travel bottles, and you also won't feel bad about throwing them out when they're finished because you didn't pay for them and, if you're anything like me, you've collected so many that throwing a few out while you're away won't matter.

Choose carefully when it comes to cabin luggage

I don't know about you, but if I let my skin get dehydrated and dry while I'm flying to my destination, I'll spend the rest of the trip trying to undo the damage done. This is partly because my skin is dry and dehydrated already, but I know that others with different skin-types swear by using certain products during their flights too.

So think carefully about your cabin allowance and what products you want to bring with you on the flight. You'll have plenty of time in the air to use them so you may as well pack a few trusty favourites to play with along the way. You may also prefer to apply your makeup towards the end of the flight, if you find that makeup can dry out your skin. Not only will this help pass the time, but it will mean that your skin can breathe for most of the journey and that your skincare will be able to work to its best ability because you're applying it to a clean canvas, rather than one that's already done up.

Stay hydrated and rest

This applies no matter how long your flight is, no matter your skin-type and no matter whether you're going to a warm destination or a cold one. Travelling can drain the moisture from us all and it's worth managing this not only from the outside but also from within.

Drink water throughout the journey and steer clear of too much caffeine, too many salty foods or anything else that might dry out your skin or puff you up. Use the journey as an opportunity to drink plenty of fluids and rest your eyes. Even if you can't sleep on planes (few can!), it's worth closing your eyes whenever you can so that you're well-rested for the trip ahead.

Do you need to pack your best stuff?

When it comes to skincare and some makeup like loose powders, as mentioned above you can put your products in smaller containers so you're not exposing the full-sizes to the perils of travelling. But other products like high-end blushes and eyeshadows aren't so easily compacted, and it's worth asking yourself if you really need to bring them at all. Travel can expose your goods to humidity, knocking around (risking breakage and 'bruising') and other terrors (like lost luggage), so can you bear being without a few favourites while you're away? You may find that you can.

If we're going away for an event like an overseas wedding in a moderate climate, I may well decide to take along my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette because I couldn't imagine being without it, but otherwise I'm leaving that one at home. It cost me too much and I care about it too much to take it away with me on a stock-standard family holiday and risk having it damaged or lost. Which leads me to my next point...

Pick things that travel well

If I look at the full-sized makeup items I've brought with me on this trip, they're all things that come in sleek, sturdy packaging and didn't cost the earth, so they don't take up a lot of room and there's nothing here that I would rush out to replace if it got broken. Eg I've brought my Hot Mama Blush and Bahama Mama Bronzer from theBalm - decent products in slim cardboard packaging - and ones that wouldn't break the bank if I had to replace them. And indeed I've managed to drop them both during this trip, and that cardboard packaging has softened the blow when they've fallen on the marble tiles in the bathroom so they haven't shattered. Phew!

You may even have a collection that includes plenty of items in travel size. If so, lucky you! Make use of these things while you're away: it's a good time to take along stuff that you don't use enough at home because, even though you like them, they're not your favourites so you won't be lost if something happens to them along the way.

Bring something that has a great mirror

This might be an obvious one but it took me a while to work out (!). I have a Coastal Scents Eyeshadow Palette (in Cairo) and I never use it when I'm at home because I have so many shadows I prefer, but I always take it with me when travelling now because it has such a great mirror in the lid and I'm always pleased to have it with me. On top of that, it's better than bringing a separate, stand-alone mirror because it contains twelve eyeshadows that can be used for different things (eg not just as shadows, but also for my brows), so I've saved myself some space by bringing it.

Bring multi-purpose products

While we're on the space-saving topic, it's worth bringing products that can be used for more than one purpose. So the Bahama Mama Bronzer from theBalm that I've mentioned above works not only as a bronzer, but also as a contour product because it's neutral in colour and it's matte. This also means that it makes a great shadow for my puffy upper eye area (since matte colours can retract those a little), and I've also been known to use it on my brows and to set the brown eyeliner I use on my waterline. Handy!

Other good multi-purpose items include lip/cheek tints and creams, and blushes that work well as eyeshadows. You can also cut down on skincare by bringing eg a hydrating primer that doubles as a moisturiser, or a tinted moisturiser that doubles as a facial sunscreen. Make your products work as hard as they can : )

In sum

Them's my tips! I hope you've found at least a couple of useful tips in here for travelling with your makeup and skincare.

You may well have some great tips of your own that I haven't thought of (likely!): if so, I'd love to hear them : )
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