I mentioned in my last post that it feels like spring came a little early this year because the last week in August has been beautifully warm and sunny. 

Indeed, this past week brought that 'winter is over' moment for me - as I'm sure it did for a lot of people - and this has really helped lift the old spirits.

Anyhoo. That's a round-a-bout way of introducing this post. As the biting weather has started to leave us and I'm not walking into the icebox that's been the living room each morning, I've begun turning my mind to what I'd like to see happen before this year comes to a close.

Sound familiar? I guess the term 'spring cleaning' didn't come about for no reason. Something about the warm sun just makes you look forward and think about what you'd like to achieve now that the winter cobwebs have lifted. So I thought I'd share my spring goals, just in case anyone can relate : )

You guessed it: clean

This is a boring and rather obvious one, so let's get it out of the way. While it's not as though our home looks like it's been hit by the proverbial bomb (at least, not today), when you have young kids you tend to focus on clearing the surface mess at the end of each day and the other stuff falls to the wayside.

What I'd really like to do now - before we have a newborn and get lost in the wonders and terrors of that - is go through all the cupboards and work out what I can get rid of or re-purpose. I need to trawl through my daughter's clothes and toys in particular and decide what can be thrown out or donated, or what we want to set aside for the new bub. It's not going to be a massive task because we're not overloaded with things, but it's one I've been putting off anyway.

I did make a start on the garden as well this week, but there's plenty more weeding and trimming to be done now that the weather has turned for the better. It will be a slow process with this somewhat 'un-streamlined' ; ) pregnant body of mine, but I want to do it anyway. Wish me luck!

Get the lighting sorted

If you read this blog, you'll know that I meant to get some blog lighting for my birthday, but various other expenses got in the way so we only ordered it last night. It wasn't super expensive, but money's been tight and we've really been watching the pennies for the past year.

Once the lighting kit arrives, I'll have to turn my mind to working out how to use it! I'm not a technical person so I may well run into issues, but I'm determined. Plus I'm hoping it will save time in the end because I won't be deleting so many fuzzy shots, nor will I need to re-shoot things quite so often. Fingers crossed...

Get out more

Like many I've been hibernating a little this winter. While I do get out to the park for an hour each day because we have a dog, that's often been my one outing - aside from the many appointments I've had due to the pregnancy and all the random colds that's brought with it. So it's time to get out of the house for some better outings!

We do live in a nice area with civilisation nearby, and I'd love to spend more time exploring the local cafes and shops. That won't be easy with a toddler who's come to hate her pram (she just wants to run around), but it will be good for us. Plus it should make those long 'primary carer' days pass a little faster ; )

Work through my beauty stores

This is always a goal of mine, but it's worth mentioning anyway because I know I'm not the only one who wants to do this! While it's been a great year in terms of getting through old products via eg Project Pan and making the stash in the cupboard look a little smaller, there's plenty more work to be done and I'm really looking forward to it.

In particular I need to use up the body products I have open because I've got some nice stuff waiting for me once I've finished a few more items. I hadn't invested in some 'special' body products for ages, so I took advantage of a discount code and made a Rituals order around my birthday, and I can't wait to make a start on my goodies. 

While I may well save them for after childbirth (when applying products to my own body will be a damn sight easier - gosh it's hard to reach my legs these days without toppling over ; ) ), I'd still like to work through what I have to make room for them.

Start thinking about Project Pan 2017

I saw a conversation on Instagram the other day: one of the panners I follow had started jotting down her potential list of Project Pan products for the new year, and quite a few people had commented that they wrote their own lists but thought no one else did so. Turns out they do!

While I don't think I've ever written my list down, it does start forming itself in my head at around this time every year, and I have been looking at my collection lately with fresh eyes and working out what I'd like to finish.

For a while I've felt that 2017 should be the year of the creams (blushes, eyeshadows etc) because those things tend to turn faster than powders and I have a few cream products that have been open for a year or more now, so it's definitely time to get through them. Some of those I may even introduce before the new year, so watch this space : )

Revamp Project Pan 2016

While we're on the Project Pan topic, I've been keen to change up my list for a while now because it's starting to feel old and tired. I don't necessarily mean that I want to kick off any of the products I have on the go, but more that I want to include different kinds of products when places open up for them.

Eg I don't think I've ever included a fragrance, but I'd quite like to because that will add a breath of fresh air to my somewhat tired old list. I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets in a PP 'rut' and just includes the same kinds of products over and over, so I'd like to change that going forward just to keep things more interesting.

Change up the weekly cooking...

Does anyone else revert to tried and tested dishes when they've got too much on? I certainly do, and for the last few months - more, to be honest - I've been cooking the same kinds of things, day in, day out.

I partly do this because my husband has certain things he likes taking to work, but I also do it because we buy the same sorts of things from the supermarket on a weekly basis so there's nothing happening in the pantry that's particularly inspiring.

So I'm going to use the new season as an excuse to get a little more inventive - and that starts with the grocery shopping. Plus I do really love cooking so I want to make a point of cooking for pleasure again, rather than just cooking whatever because we need to eat.

...and the daily uniform

This one makes me laugh, and it would make my husband laugh even more. I work from home and I'm also a primary carer, so I tend to have the same clothes on rotation - week after week. Tracksuit pants are also the pregnant woman's best friend, as are runners and baggy cardigans. And they've certainly been great friends of mine this year ; )

This also means that I'm washing and folding the same clothes over and again, and quite frankly, I'm sick of looking at them!

So even though my belly's large (and still expanding), when I do go through my cupboards as part of the said spring clean, I plan to pull out some different stuff so I'm not wearing, washing and folding the same pair of tracksuit pants every week.

Change is as good as a holiday, as they say ; )

In sum

Them's my spring goals! Hopefully you found something to relate to in there, and at least had a smile or two ; )

Let me know if you have any goals for the new season - ideas are always welcome!

Speak soon x

I started this five good things series back in June, and I'll have to write a note to myself because I did manage to forget July's post (ooops) and I only just remembered August's one this morning.

Probably not surprising, given that I'm well into my second pregnancy now and there's been a lot going on, but I'm glad I remembered because the sun is rising, it's no longer biting cold in the mornings and it's the first day of spring. What better day to write a list of positives for the month?!

So in no particular order...

It's been a warm week

Has it ever. Spring arrived early this week - in Melbourne at least - and we've had some gorgeous sunshine and balmy air to boot. You know how there's always that one brief period in any year where the sun arrives for more than a day or two and you suddenly realise that winter is over? This past week of August has been that one, and man are we ready for it!

I picked my daughter up from childcare yesterday and all the doors and windows were open at the centre, and for the first time all the children were outside when I came in. Smiles all round and the carers looked super relaxed - no one could talk about anything but the weather. I had one of those 'yes, winter is gone' moments then. Sublime.

My daughter randomly started dancing

This was hysterical. Last weekend my eighteen-month-old toddler was playing with a musical toy she has, and she suddenly started dancing right before our very eyes. It was absolutely hysterical, the way she was bobbing up and down and waving her arms, attempting to tap-dance. My husband and I spent a good deal of that weekend playing music for her so she'd do it again!

She must have learned that one at childcare, since neither myself nor my husband launch into dance on any given day ; ), and it was one of the funniest and sweetest (and clumsiest!) things I've ever seen.

Here's to spontaneous dancing. Reckon we all need to do more of that.

I haven't been sick for the past week

You wouldn't quite believe it, but I've been sick non-stop since mid March. Honestly, not a day has gone by when I haven't been ill with something and I spent the entire of my second trimester on back-to-back antibiotics for different ailments.

I've been lucky enough to have been blessed with a good immune system, but when you're pregnant you're immunosuppressed, which means that all those bugs your child brings home during her first childcare winter are coming straight for you. And while my daughter has gotten over the bugs within a day or two, it has taken my body a fortnight at least to recover from each. 

It hasn't been easy, that's for sure, but let's hope this warmer weather heralds the end of illness for now.

I've been able to open new products, and there's more yet to come

Fellow beauty lovers will understand this: you know how sometimes your products just seem never-ending, so any new products you want to open and try are left sitting around, waiting for a spot in daily rotation? 

My skincare has been like that for most of winter, but over the past few weeks, I've started to finally finish some older things - meaning I've been able to dust off some new stuff from my stores. Hooray! 

So spring is definitely bringing some fun new products along with it, and I can see more new spots opening up shortly because a few of my bottles are on their last legs. Thank god for that : )

My husband has promised to buy me that new Hourglass Surreal Light Palette

I couldn't not mention this one! If you read this blog, you'll know I'm a sucker for Hourglass - and you may have seen that the brand is releasing a 2016 holiday palette containing five new powders for us junkies to get our hands on.

It won't be cheap, that's for sure, so I've bargained with him and promised I won't slip in any budget lipstick buys etc until it's released. While we really can't afford 'unnecessary' purchases these days (if you can ever call Hourglass unnecessary ; ) ), if I tighten the purse strings for now and sacrifice a dinner or two, we'll be able to do it. Woot woot!

In sum

That's my five positives for August! It may have been a tough year with the pregnancy and everything else we've had on our plates - particularly over the past few months - but the sun has been out this week and we're on the countdown now so this belly may well come to fruition in early October.

Do let me know what positives you've had this month - I'm always pleased to hear some good news : )

I always look forward to choosing my favourites for the month, and this month is no exception. I usually try to limit my list to five things just to keep things short and sweet, and also because I get a little lost in long lists of favourites myself, so I'd prefer to keep things smaller.

Do let me know if you're happy with a shorter list, or whether you'd prefer to see more products : )

In no particular order...

Ren Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser

Full review here. Indeed, I only posted on this today so it's front of mind! I absolutely love this cleanser and it's one I've been enjoying almost every day for the past couple of months.

It's a beautifully smooth, silky clay that feels so wonderfully creamy and cooling against the skin that I'd almost recommend it for the texture alone. It also smells sweetly of almond meal and I love everything about the experience of using it. Plus it's gentle but effective enough for a morning cleanse, and it doesn't dry out my dry skin - even though it's more geared towards oily or blemish-prone skin.

Just gorgeous. Better still, the huge bottle is reasonably priced.

Banana Boat Soothing Aloe Mist After Sun Spray

If I haven't included this in a favourites before, I definitely should have - it would have to be my best budget find of the year to date. Full review here.

I use this as a facial spray throughout the day over makeup, and it's wonderfully cooling. My skin always looks more hydrated and feels more refreshed after using this, which is all I'm after and it works a lot better for this purpose than many other facial sprays I've used. Even better, it's the cheapest one I've used!

I also feel that it helps my makeup 'merge' together so it looks more blended and natural, and it plumps my skin so I look a touch less wrinkly because it's so hydrating. Huzzah!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Dim Infusion

This might just be my favourite Hourglass blush. While I do have the palette and also love Mood Exposure and Incandescent Electra, this is the one I reach for the most because it just works with my colouring. Full review here.

If you haven't tried these, you must. They make my cheeks look like they've been kissed by angels (ha) and they're my favourite blushes on the market - with Becca and Kevyn Aucoin's offerings coming a close second.

While they don't come cheap, it's worth going in-store to have one applied to your face, just to see the magic. Then you can always save up for your favourite if you love these as much as I do : )

Jersey Shore Cosmetics Whole Body Balm

This came in a sub box and while you can use it for many things, my preferred use is to apply it just before I go to bed, to help condition my lashes and hydrate my eye area. I've reviewed it here.

This has been one of those products that slotted beautifully into my routine, and now that I'm almost at the end of the little tube, I'm wondering what I'll do without it! Might have to find a similar replacement.

What I love about this is that it adds an extra burst of hydration to my dry, tired eyes (I apply it a good few hours after my nightly eye cream), which means I've been able to use up lesser eye creams at night because I know this will pick up any slack (no pun intended ; ) ).

Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss in Love

This came in one of my Mecca Beauty Loop Boxes, and while I personally wouldn't spend $50 AUD on the (rather small) full size, I've really been enjoying this sample throughout August. Full review here.

What I love about this gloss is that it's beautifully light in texture, rich and moisturising without being sticky, and it's not one of those products that dries out your lips with repeated use - indeed, I find it to be quite nourishing and I don't need a balm when I use this.

It also stays on the lips a little better than other glosses I've used, plus it plumps up my lips and reduces the look of lines. A beautiful product.

In sum

It was super easy to pick out my favourites this month because everything in this bunch has been ahead of the pack and I've been loving them all for the past month at least.

Do let me know if you've tried any of these and what you think of them if so, or whether you have anything else you've been loving this month that you can recommend.

Speak soon x

I should kick off this review by noting two things: first, there are two versions of this primer and I've wound up with the one for oily skin (twice); and second, I don't have oily skin. Indeed, my skin is dry and dehydrated, so this definitely isn't the version for me!

But since this is my second 7ml GWP sample, I figured I may as well review it because there may be people out there with my skin type who've been interested in trying this, since it's had some good ratings and I've seen quite a few youtubers rave about it.

I must say, I'd probably think more of it if it didn't cost $78 a pop (yikes!), but more on all that below.

Jane Iredale claims/product details:
  • Bring out your natural radiance with our revolutionary primer, designed to even out skintone, minimise pores and visibly reduce fine lines for a smooth, matte finish
  • Smooth Affair for Oily Skin also fights blemishes and reduces shine
  • Uses revolutionary PoreAway™ technology along with state-of-the-art mineral science that visibly reduces shine to create the ideal makeup canvas
  • Noticeably reduces the appearance of pores and fights blemishes
  • Creates a smooth, matte finish for an even skintone while employing advanced mineral technology that colour-adjusts to your skin
  • RRP $78 AUD for 50ml, but do shop around


I feel that I need to address the price of this first, since at $78 for the full size, it's one of the most expensive primers I've come across. While you do get a large 50ml in the tube, I still think the price is too steep and I personally wouldn't pay that much for something like this. For a great foundation? Maybe. For a primer? No thanks.

Leaving cost aside, let's look at the product itself. It's a light cream/gel that smells very faintly of citrus to me (so it's not super fragranced), and a little goes a long way so you don't need much per application.

The claims say this adds radiance but also reduces shine and gives you a matte finish, which don't reconcile themselves to me (can you be matte and radiant at the same time?) and in any event, I don't think this does any of those things - at least on my dry skin. What it does is dry down to a slightly tacky finish that makes it a good product to use under makeup, but it certainly doesn't make me matte and, if anything, it leaves me looking a little shiny from the tacky film it creates.

While we're talking product claims, let's look at the other ones: I don't think this visibly reduces fine lines but it does leave my skin feeling smoother; I don't think it reduces shine (it might for oily skin, but for my dry skin it adds shine as mentioned); and it certainly doesn't reduce the appearance of pores. Nor does it colour-adjust to my skin, and I'm not sure what that claim is getting at anyway.

What it does do, however, is make a slightly sticky base that's good for makeup application because my makeup adheres to it well. My foundation does go on smoothly over this and it's something I'm happy to use on days when I don't need extra hydration from one of my heavier primers, and when I don't need something that plugs pores because this doesn't do that (some of my foundations call for that because they sit in pores around the hairline).

As for whether it makes my makeup last longer, I think it does do this just a little bit - but having dry skin, makeup tends to cling to my face anyway so I think the longevity question is best-answered by someone with oily skin, which is what this product is designed for anyway.

It's also worth noting that this primer does contain silicones and I'm not a huge fan of those because they tend to dry me out; while this doesn't dry me out (unless I'm already having a dry day to start with, in which case it adds to the problem), it doesn't hydrate my face either.

All in all, I don't recommend this primer - particularly for the price tag. It may be that it works better for oily skin, but for my dry skin it doesn't do what it claims it will do (eg give a matte finish) and at $78 a pop, it would want to be pretty amazing.

Definitely one to test before making a purchase! Do let me know if you've tried this and what you think if so.

I bought this product around a year ago after sampling it at Mecca and falling in love, but I only opened it a few months back because I found myself swimming in cleansers and wanted to finish off a few first.

The other reason I wanted to wait is that I'd planned to collate a few Ren products over time - I tend to allow myself a purchase a month, which means that it takes me some time to build an array of skincare from any range - and I did do this over a few months and then started introducing the products earlier in the year so I could try them out together.

Anyhoo. This particular cleanser is up there with my favourite Ren products, and I have used a few of those this year so that's saying something.

It hasn't hit HG status yet but it may still do so, and it's definitely one I would repurchase - if I ever manage to get through the massive bottle. 

It mightn't be designed for my skin (this one's more for oily or blemish-prone skin, not dry skin like mine), but I love it anyway and it's something I can happily use most days without risk of drying out my skin.

Ren claims/product details:
  • A purifying antibacterial cleanser formulated to combat the appearance of breakouts and blemishes, leaving skin visibly clearer and calmer
  • French kaolin clay absorbs excess sebum and detoxifies impurities, while zinc gluconate reduces sebum production
  • Salicilin (from willow bark) provides mild exfoliation to unclog blocked pores 
  • Anti-bacterial and anti-microbial actives purify the skin
  • An essential oil complex of chamomile, lavender and sage reduces and calms inflammation 
  • Flavonoids from mayblossom extract tone skin and help reduce the appearance of large pores
  • Results: deeply cleanses and purifies; gently exfoliates to unclog skin; minimises the appearance of pore size
  • Designed for problem skin, prone to breakouts and blemishes
  • To use: rub one pump between the palms of slightly damp hands; gently massage onto face for 1-2 minutes; rinse off with warm water
  • RRP $40 AUD for 150ml


I absolutely love this cleanser and it's one I've been enjoying almost every day for the past couple of months, now that I've finished off some other cleansers and can use it more often.

It's a beautifully smooth, silky clay that feels so wonderfully creamy and cooling against the skin that I'd almost recommend it just for the texture alone! 

It also smells gently of these Dutch almond fingers that Mum used to buy from the supermarket (so I guess it smells of almond meal and honey to me) and I get a lift whenever I use it. The scent isn't overpowering but it's definitely there, so do test the product first if you're sensitive to fragrance.

Now the directions say to use one full pump, but I personally feel that one pump is too much product for my skin (it's the size of a small strawberry, almost double what I need), so I've settled on doing a half pump because that works for me. So do play around with how much you use, since there's no point rushing through the bottle if you don't need to.

Also, the directions suggest using slightly damp hands to apply this. I've tried it with and without wetting my hands first, and I don't feel there's any benefit to applying it with wet fingers - aside from the fact that you'll use less because it will spread better if you use water. So again, have a play and work out whether adding water before or after you've applied/massaged it works better for you.

I use this as my first cleanse on most mornings, though I have tried it in the evening a couple of times just to check whether it removes makeup. It does remove the easy stuff but you'll likely need something else for heavy eye makeup, and I reckon this is better for morning anyway because it's quite gentle and seems better-geared for a lighter cleanse (at least to me).

As for product claims, unfortunately I can't comment on whether it clears blemishes because, having dry skin, I tend to get less of the angry red ones and more of those annoying little dots around my chin (which are best targeted with a chemical exfoliant, in my experience). But I have seen plenty of lasses with oily skin say this helps calm their spots, so it's worth sampling this if that's what you need.

On the other claims: I do feel this purifies without stripping the skin (my skin has been pretty clear lately, despite the pregnancy) and it does have a calming effect. It also seems to tone and firm the skin - at least temporarily - but I haven't noticed any difference in pore size (and I'm not even sure that a cleansing product like this can make your pores look smaller ; )).

The only other thing I'll say about this product is that, if you have dry, sensitive and/or dehydrated skin like mine, you mightn't want to use this every day. I say this because if I wake up with super dry skin, I don't think a clay product is the right thing to reach for and I'd prefer to use an oil on those super dry days.

All in all, I love this cleanser and also love that you get so much product in the bottle - plus it's so reasonably priced. This is one of my favourite cleansers at the moment and it has been for a while, so I can see myself buying it again because it's a pleasure to use and it won't break the bank.


Welcome to my second empties post for August 2016 : )

While it mightn't look like I've finished that much above, I've actually managed to knock off five Project Pan products this month - four of them being full size (the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser isn't pictured because I accidentally threw it out!) - so it's been a great empties month for me and September is looking like it will be pretty good too. Hooray to that!

Let's have a quick look at what I've finished over the past couple of weeks:

Project Pan products

I won't go on about these too much here because I've done that via Project Pan, but suffice to say that the Inika primer and eyeliners from Teeez and Dd'ell were all wonderful products and I may well buy them in future (they all came in subscription boxes).

The base products from Nars and Laura Mercier (not pictured) however didn't float my boat: the fabled Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser in Sand didn't have enough coverage for me (and I like my bases pretty light!) and the Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Santa Fe didn't work because it looks like a mask on me and pools in my pores, so I wouldn't buy either.

Baylis & Harding Beauticology Mango & Mandarin Bath & Shower Crème

Full review here. This was passed on to me by a friend, and while it wasn't super amazing, I quite liked it and it's unlike any other body wash I've used because the texture is so thick. 

It smelled nice (definitely like mango and mandarin) and a little went a long way so the sample lasted a good while. Plus it lathered and cleaned well so no complaints on that front : ). Purchase? Maybe.

Ren Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser

I've used quite a few Ren products now and a lot of them I love (some are even on the HG list), but this one didn't grab me. I've reviewed it here.

I received it as a GWP and even though it's a cream, I didn't find it hydrating or nourishing at all - it actually stripped my skin if I tried to double-cleanse with it. Plus it wasn't super effective at removing makeup so I could only use it in the morning, and I would always do a second cleanse with something else because I wasn't convinced this was doing a great job. Purchase? No.

Ethique Lime & Ginger Body Polish

Full review here. This came in my first-ever Maslow & Co box, and it's one of those products that I didn't think much of to start with but soon fell in love with - so much so that it made a monthly favourites list and I also rationed it because I didn't want to get through it too quickly.

It's just a beautiful product that smells and feels wonderful, and while it's not the most effective body scrub I've used, it still does a reasonable job of polishing the skin and I really enjoyed it. I'll miss it! Might have to pick up another one : ). Purchase? Yes.

Bundle of samples

I've already written mini reviews of these as part of my 2016 declutter series (see this post), so I won't go on about them too much here but I'll comment on each briefly.

The Alpha-H Liquid Gold has been a favourite of mine for years now and I can't recommend it enough: few products brighten and resurface my skin like this one does so I can't see myself ever using anything else. Purchase? Already have.

The Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Eye Cream was a decent product that's nicely rich and hydrating so it's great for my dry eye area, but it's not as good as other thick eye creams I've tried and it's not one I would buy. Purchase? No.

I really didn't like the Klarity Lasertox Miracle White CC Lotion SPF 30 PA++ because it left little powder bits sitting in my pores (apparently it contains diamond powder) and was also drying on me and had a tacky finish that I didn't love. Purchase? No.

I also didn't love The Body Shop's Drops of Youth Concentrate because it didn't hydrate my skin at all and I found that I needed to apply moisturiser immediately after application (unlike other serums, which I normally leave to work for a few minutes before adding anything over the top). It was also a bit sticky and I couldn't see any benefits over the three weeks that I used it. Purchase? No.

L'Occitane's Immortelle Divine Youth Oil, on the other hand, was just beautiful - it melted like butter into the skin and felt so good that I really believed it was doing good things. It reminded me of Sunday Riley's Flora because it smells very similar and has a similar effect: problem is, it's even more expensive than Sunday Riley's oils! Purchase? Only if I could get it on special.

In sum

The best products in this lot are definitely those from Ethique, Alpha-H and L'Occitane, although I really like those three Project Pan products from Inika, Dd'ell and Teeez too. So there are some good products in this bunch!

Let me know if you've used anything amazing this month that you recommend - I'd love to hear : )

I've already finished most of the products in this kit because I've been introducing them gradually for ages, but I recently wrote my last post on the Micro Cleanse product and realised I'd never done a round-up post on the kit as a whole. Time to fix that!

As you may know, I'm a huge fan of Alpha-H skincare and if you're new to the brand, these kits are a great way to try a few things and get a feel for the range. Plus they're good value to boot : )

This Renew and Resurface Kit is a pretty good one, and two products became overnight hits for me so I've already bought both. Here's what you get:
  • Triple Action Cleanser 30ml 
  • Micro Cleanse 30ml 
  • Balancing Moisturiser and Gentle Exfoliant 30ml 
  • Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 30+ 30ml 
  • Liquid Gold Smoothing and Perfecting Mask 30ml 
  • Balancing and Pore Refining Mask 30ml 

The kit retails for $99 AUD but you can pick it up for less than this if you shop around. From memory I paid something like $74 for it, and I received a bonus Alpha-H product when I bought it. And of course, it's great value because you're getting 30ml sizes of six products: 30ml is a decent amount and more than enough product to work out whether any items are for you.

I'll do a mini review on each product from the kit now in case anyone's interested in the set as a whole - plus I'll include links to the full reviews I've written for each in case you're more interested in any particular item.

Do let me know in the comments whether you've tried any of these products and what you thought of them if so : )

In no particular order...

Alpha-H Triple Action Cleanser with Thyme

Full review here. This product is ok. It's not wonderful and it's not terrible, and it's a good product for a morning cleanse because it's very gentle on the skin.

Also, while it does remove 'easy' makeup ok, it doesn't remove all eye makeup or heavy-duty lipstick, and a good amount of muck comes away on the makeup pad when I tone afterwards so I don't think you can rely on this product alone for an evening cleanse (or at least I can't).

Overall it's probably too gentle and ineffective for me, however, because even a double-cleanse with this in the morning doesn't leave my skin feeling as clean as I would like. The plus side is that it doesn't irritate my sensitive skin or cause any breakouts.

Alpha-H Micro Cleanse with Glycolic Acid & Rice Bran

Full review here. This is another one that's ok but isn't my favourite and I have other exfoliants from Alpha-H that I much prefer.

It contains a reasonable amount of scrubby matter (although I personally think that more would be better), but the grains aren't fine enough to give a 'professional microdermabrasion result' as claimed and I've used better scrubs that really smooth and resurface the skin. 

I find this a little scratchy and, coupled with the peppermint fragrance (which I don't think agrees with my skin), my face feels quite dry and tight after using this but it doesn't feel as fresh, smooth and clean as it does when I use other physical exfoliants.

Looks like I'm in the minority though because most reviewers seem to love this one!

Alpha-H Balancing Moisturiser & Gentle Exfoliant

Full review here. Now this one I can get behind! It's sensational and I've given it an HG tag because I knew from the first use that it just worked for my skin. Indeed, I bought a back-up before I'd even finished the tube.

It feels lightweight and nourishing on the skin, absorbs beautifully, and leaves my face looking brighter and more radiant after use. It also makes my skin feel firmer and smoother, so for this reason it's a great product to use under makeup. 

Plus it has a clarifying effect and temporarily diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and I can always tell when I'm using this because my skin looks its best. Love. Yet another Alpha-H product that's found a rare spot in my permanent skincare armoury : )

Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 30+

Full review here. This is fine as a sunscreen, but I don't love it as a face cream. While it's not too thick and spreads/absorbs easily, it does leave a greasy residue and I also don't feel that it's hydrating enough for my dry skin.

If you need a great sunscreen that's also fantastic as a face cream, I'd go for Alpha-H's SPF 50+ version because that's heaps better than this and is very similar to Mecca's To Save Face because it's hydrating without being greasy and makes a great base for makeup.

This one also stings my eyes if I accidentally get it to close to the area so be sure to avoid that - there's nothing worse than a watering eye that completely ruins your makeup! The plus side is that this doesn't clog pores or break me out, but I still think you're better off with the other product.

Alpha-H Balancing & Pore Refining Mask with Jojoba

Full review here. This is a fantastic product and it's one of the best - and most reasonably priced - face masks that I've tried. Indeed, I like it so much that I've already gone out and bought the full size (a happy $30 for 100ml).

It looks and feels like a standard clay mask and it spreads evenly and thinly, so you don't need a lot each time and I personally feel that a thinner layer is better than a thicker one. 

I do love a mask that only needs ten minutes to work, and I can feel the difference in my skin as soon as I wash it off: it feels cleaner, tighter and smoother, and it looks brighter and more refined. Plus I do feel that this helps clarify and keep blemishes at bay, so it's one to consider if like me you have dry and/or sensitive skin and many clay masks can strip/irritate your face: this one doesn't (at least for me), but it still performs.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold Smoothing & Perfecting Mask with Lavender

Full review here. This mask appears to be a favourite in the beauty world (it's won awards and everyone seems to rave about it), but unfortunately it's not for me.

It just doesn't seem to do anything for my skin, and it doesn't help that it smells strongly of lavender because that's not my favourite scent.

After use, there's no difference in my skin aside from it feeling and looking a bit duller and drier - the opposite of what it's meant to do! So looks like this is just one of those products that doesn't work for me, but it's worth testing anyway because so many people love it.

In sum

This mightn't be the best Alpha-H kit I've come across, but it's still a good one and I'm glad I've had the chance to try it. Plus I've found two products in here that now have permanent places in my skincare armoury - the moisturiser and the jojoba mask - so you can't ask for more than that!

Do let me know if you've tried any of these products and what you think of them if so : )

Welcome to my August Project Pan update! It's been a pretty good month, I'm pleased to report: I've finished seven full-sized products, which was the PP record I set in June and I can't believe I've already repeated it! Yay.

Here are the two products I've managed to finish since my last mini update:

That Inika Primer has been open for well over a year now, so I'm pleased I managed to finish it before it turned. It's a product I love and do plan to repurchase some day soon, particularly if I can find it discounted online.

The Nars Sheer Glow Foundation sample in Santa Fe is one I'm pleased to see the back of, since I'm no fan of the formula (for some reason it looks like a mask on me and also pools in pores, although I know it works for many!). I'm not counting this as a product knocked off the list until I finish the other two samples (see below).

As for the rest of the list, here's how it looks:
  • Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (Liquid) in Moonstone
  • Croquis Duo Concealer
  • Evelyn Iona Natural and Organic Concealer in Flawless
  • The Cosmetic Kitchen Pressed Mineral Blush in Raw Cacao
  • Lust Have It Sunset Strobe Natural Highlighter
  • Mememe Cosmetics Goddess Rocks 
  • Be a Bombshell Eye Base in Nudist
  • GHD Straight & Tame Cream
  • Natural World Moroccan Argan Oil
  • Sportsgirl Lipstick in Beauty Queen
  • Sportsgirl Lipstick in Whirlwind
  • Alpha-H Liquid Gold Smoothing & Perfecting Mask 
  • Stila Stay all Day 10-in-1 HD Bronzing Beauty Balm
  • Nars foundation samples (one of three down)
  • Inika Certified Organic Eyeliner in Black Caviar
  • Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in Damsel
  • Alpha-H Liquid Laser Cleansing Oil with White Mulberry
  • Inika Certified Organic Pure Primer
  • Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser SPF 20 in Sand
  • Teeez Eyeliner in Black
  • Dd'ell Eyeliner in Brown
  • Cheek Room Lip Palette
  • Becca Sheer Tint Lip Colour in Milla

That's sixteen products in total, and since I wanted to keep my list at around the fifteen mark, I'm happy with that for now (although I have added in one more item, which you'll see at the end of this post).

As for my other PP products, let's have a quick look at each one in turn (and if you want to see how much of each was gone at the end of July, see my last full PP update here):

I haven't even opened my Nars foundation samples in Fiji and Deauville because I wanted to knock off Sante Fe first. I expect they'll each take at least six weeks to get through, since I'm using them as mixer products only for bases that are too dark for me (they're both too pale). So long as they're gone by the end of the year, I'll be happy with that.

I've hit 'pan' on my Evelyn Iona Concealer, which I'm pleased about but there's a long way to go yet. Maybe I'll finish it by the end of the year and maybe I won't - concealers do last ages!

My Croquis Duo Concealer is finally on its last legs: I've had to remove the stopper from both ends to get to the last bits of product, and while there's still a decent amount in there, I hope to be finished with it sometime in September. Fingers crossed!

Next up, my two Sportsgirl Lipsticks in Beauty Queen and Whirlwind. I'm wearing these daily together because they make a perfect creamy lavender shade that I'm really enjoying as we come into spring - and it's saved me buying a dedicated lavender lipstick, which I'd wanted to do until I saw how these looked together : )

Beauty Queen is vanishing faster than Whirlwind because it's in the cream formula so I use it for hydration (Whirlwind is matte), but once that's gone I have a Shanghai Suzy creamy pink lipstick that I plan to mix with Whirlwind to get a similar shade.

That Be a Bombshell Eye Base is getting smaller and smaller as the months pass. I'll have to rememebr to do one of my 'how long does it take to finish?' posts on it soon because that was one of the reasons I wanted to include it on my PP list.

My Stila and Inika eyeliners were only introduced to my list this month, so I've hardly used any of them and I expect them to be slow-going because I barely use any of either per application (I'm not big on strong eyeliner on my eyes - it doesn't suit me). If they're hanging round on the list for too long, I might actually switch them out: they're my only two eyeliners anyway so I'm in no rush to get through them.

My Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone is also vanishing quickly enough, since I use a good squirt of it every day to add some glow to my base and also bring down the colour of my summer products (which are currently too dark for me - but perhaps not for long, now that the sun's coming out!). I love this product but I have three of these in different shades and I wanted to streamline my collection down to two.

The Stila Bronzing Beauty Balm is also a newer inclusion, but I've been using it daily for ages to beef up the sun protection in my primer or day cream and also give myself a bronze glow. There's perhaps a quarter left? In any event, I expect it to last out the year because I only use a little each time - it's quite pigmented so I can't use too much.

As for my powders, you can see I've made good in-roads into both the blush from The Cosmetic Kitchen and the bronzer from Mememe Cosmetics

I'm getting through them so quickly because I'm using the Mememe rocks crushed up in my body cream (they add a nice bronze glow) and the blush is getting used to top up my bronzer, eyeshadow and blush as those fade throughout the day. I've also started using it as a dry shampoo because I'm keen to finish it by the end of the year, and I don't know how I'd do it otherwise!

As for the Lust Have It Highlighter, that's slow-going at the moment because I'm only using it to top up my highlighter later in the day, but once it's warmer and I start showing more skin, I plan to use it on my body (collarbones, shoulders, down the shins) because it's subtle and will work well for that purpose. 

Last up, my non-makeup items. I really can't believe that my GHD Straight & Tame Cream is still going: not only am I using it on my own hair, but also on my daughter's hair (daily) because it really helps me brush the knots out of her curls. Honestly, hair products can be never-ending - I should have learned my lesson by now and stopped including them!

The Natural World hair oil is getting there: there's around one-tenth left. It may or may not be gone by the end of September, but I'd like to finish it soon because I want to open something new : )

As for the Alpha-H mask, I've only just moved that into circulation and even though it's a 30ml travel size, I expect it to last for ages because I only use it around once a week. It's not a mask I love, but I can make it work by mixing it with my Argo Naturals Pure Thanaka Powder.

That's it! As for what I'm bringing into circulation:

The Cosmetic Kitchen Macadamia Wax Creme Highlighter

Full review here. I love this product: it offers such a gorgeous, believable glow to the cheeks that's perfect for the summer months. Problem is, I never use mine because I always find myself heading for my powders!

This is in fact my second one of these and the second that I'm including in a Project Pan (the first was finished last year, from memory). I wound up with two via sub boxes, and since this has been open for over a year, it's definitely time to get through it.

I haven't worked out exactly what I'll do with it yet: I may make it my go-to highlight for summer, use it as a base for powder highlighters, or even mix it in with my foundation once I'm through Becca Moonstone. We'll see. It'll take a good six months of solid use to get through it, but I'd like to do that before it goes off because it's a great product and I'd hate to see it wasted.

In sum

That's my update for August - not a bad PP month, I must say! 

I'm really looking forward to the warmer weather because that means dusting off a few products I've been ignoring, and also means that I won't need to keep lightening all my summer bases with mixer products ; )

Let's hope September is another reasonable month so I can bring some new stuff into circulation. 

Speak soon x

Welcome to my second Pan that Palette update for the year! As you may know, I only started the challenge around six weeks ago so I'm late to the party, but happily there's already been some solid progress and I hope to show you lots more as the year comes to a close.

First up, some house-keeping. I've decided to move my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette into the challenge for a few reasons: I love it and want to use it every day; I've finished Dim Light and that's my favourite shade so I'd like to knock off the other two; and I want to buy the new Hourglass Surreal Glow Palette that's coming out later in the year, so I'd like to sneak this one out the door to make room for it.

Also, I know that some people prefer Pan that Palette challenges that work on a pre-made palette (as opposed to a Z-palette, as I'm doing), so I wanted to bring something in to satisfy those who like to watch panners get through palettes they haven't made themselves.

Hourglass Ambient Light Palette

I've reviewed this here. I'm an absolute sucker for the powders that Hourglass creates, and these Ambient Lighting Powders - the ones that started it all - are no exception.

I've had this for something like two years now and, as you can see, it's had plenty of use in that time. Dim Light is my preferred finishing powder (which is why I've finished it completely!) and while I do like the other two shades, I'm ready to try something else from the range.

There's where my palette is at, as of today:

I do have a full-size Dim Light on the go, but I would like to save using that for days when I'm not housebound for most of the day (I'm pregnant and have a toddler), so I've been using a mix of Incandescent Light (centre) and Radiant Light (right) as my finishing powder for days when I'm not doing much. I do like them together, but I prefer Dim Light because it doesn't have any specks of shimmer in it.

I can also mix these two shades and apply them more intensely for use as a highlighter, and Radiant Light makes a great bronzer-topper if I need a little more oomph. I do use Incandescent Light occasionally as a stand-alone highlighter, but it's a little too cool for my colouring so I prefer to mix it with something else to warm it up. Both shades also work well on the eyes.

I have no idea how long it will take me to finish these - it could be up to a year, since you only need a tiny bit each time - but I'll see how I go. 

There's my Z-palette above, which I've been working on since midway through July. I'm not trying to finish all of it at this point, just the following powders:

There's where my Gorgeous Cosmetics bronzer was above, back at the end of July. And below is where it's at now, after a month of solid use:

As you can see, I've hit pan - huzzah! I've been able to do this because it's the lightest bronzer I own so I need to use more of it per application than I do other bronzers to make it show up, and I also like it as a crease colour on the eyes so it's getting plenty of use.

I started off using it via Project Pan before moving it over to this challenge, and I'd hoped to get through it by the end of the year. Given how much I've used of it already, it's just possible that I'll be able to do that.

Here's where my two Mirenesse shadows were at the end of July:

And here's where they are now, one month on:

I've made some pretty good progress with these, but they're not vanishing as fast as I would like. As I've mentioned before, they're not the worst shadows but they're not great either and the only reason I want to finish them off is because I want to use the pans for other products.

But they do make good top-up products for my eyeshadow and blush (I often apply a swipe of each after lunch), and that's how I've been getting through them.

Next up, my Stila eyeshadow in Bliss (from the In the Light palette) and my 'Tini Beauty shadow in Pearl Fizz. There's where they were at in July:

And here's where they are now (bottom row):

I've definitely made some good progress on both of these, and that 'Tini Beauty eyeshadow in particular shouldn't be around too much longer because I've re-pressed it and the product that's left isn't as thick as it is for Bliss.

I've also included a photo of Stila's Bare (also from the In the Light Palette), which is the cream shade at the top. I'm including a photo of it here because it will be the next shade I bring into this challenge, once I've finished off one of the powders I'm working on now. So we've got this shot as a marker for where it was at before September, just in case I'm able to introduce it during the next month.

In sum

I'm pretty happy with my Pan that Palette progress, particularly given that I only started the challenge partway through July.

I do plan on doing Pan that Palette again next year, and at the moment I'm getting a feel for what shades I find easiest so I can pick a pre-made palette that I have a chance of actually finishing for Pan that Palette 2017.

Do let me know if you've ever done Pan that Palette and whether you have any tips!
littlewhitetruths. Powered by Blogger.