I'm glad to be finally posting on this product because it's been up for review for a while, it's just that I've been sneaking in other posts first. 

Plus it's gotten to the point where I've almost finished it, so best I post now while it's still front of mind. Also, I've just been diagnosed with contact dermatitis and now have limits about what I can put on my face over the next six weeks, so I would rather post on this product while I remember exactly what it's like.

Please note: I never intended to own this product. I asked my husband to buy the regular La Roche-Posay Anthelios sunscreen when Priceline had its last big sale, because I'd heard good things about it and wanted to try it (plus I was running out of facial sunscreen at the time).

Unfortunately he accidentally bought this one, and rather than go through the process of trying to exchange it (if my local Priceline had any of the original left, which it mightn't have) I decided to go ahead and use it anyway. After all, it's still sunscreen and I can use it for that if nothing else.

Overall I do think it's a decent product and I've seen plenty of people give it five stars online, but I don't have any use for it personally - so let's just say that it would suit plenty of people but I don't happen to be one of them. 

La Roche-Posay claims/product details:
  • A lightly tinted hydrating formula for a natural glow and tan effect
  • Offers the highest protection against UVA and UVB rays
  • Designed for daily use, leaving your skin naturally luminous and fresh
  • With a new, effective antioxidant complex (AOX Baicalin) to fight free radicals on the skin, this cream is specifically developed to protect sensitive skin from harmful environmental damage
  • With a mild, new fresh and watery scent, this rich but non-oily formula comes in a new, hygienic pump-tube to reduce product wastage and minimise microbial contamination
  • Provides a tinted coverage as an alternative to foundation with the highest UVA/UVB protection (tested to AS/NZS 2604:2012, 'very high') and a high tolerance
  • Protects, moisturises and evens the complexion simultaneously
  • RRP $28.95 AUD for 50ml, but do shop around (we bought ours for half that amount)

Now for swatches.

Below I've done two lots of swatches in direct sunlight, first a heavy one and then a lighter, blended one:

You'll note that the product has an odd, watery texture that separates a little until you rub it in, so it looks a bit weird in swatches but it's fine once applied.

There it is again:


This is one of those times when I'll have to review a product on its merits, even though it's not for me and it's not one I would buy.

It's a lightweight, thin product that's watery but almost gel-like in texture at the same time. It applies and spreads well, and I like the feel of it on my skin. 

It sets down to a tacky finish but it's not super sticky and it doesn't look greasy. Yes there's a slightly radiant finish, but it's a good kind of dew so I wouldn't necessarily ignore this if you have oily skin (if that's you, you could always test some on the back of your hand before committing to a purchase).

I agree that the scent is light and on the fresh side, but I wouldn't say that it smells watery: to me it almost smells like deodorant, which doesn't sound very pleasant but it's not strong so I can live with it and I also can't smell it once it's applied.

What I like about this product is that it doesn't have that traditional sunscreen feel so I'm now hoping that the original Anthelios version will be right up my street, and I can't wait to get my hands on that product the next time Priceline has a big sale.

Indeed, my main issue with this product is that I'm not one for a tint. For me, there's either plain old sunscreen or something with a light (or light-medium) coverage - otherwise there's no purpose to the tint for me because it doesn't even out my complexion. 

Indeed, all it does for me is dye my skin a little darker than it naturally is, which is fine if you're going to the beach and you only want something that makes your face and neck the same colour as your body (for many of us, our faces and necks are paler than our bodies - so something like this might even things out).

But since I'm so rarely at the beach these days, I have no use for this product. For me it's just a sunscreen, and since I traditionally use self-tanner to keep my body and face the same colour, something like this dyes my face darker - which of course isn't what I want.

Overall I think this product generally meets its claims (besides the description of the scent), and I do love the tube-with-pump packaging - indeed, that might just be my favourite packaging for something like this - and I have nothing bad to say about it except that I have no use for it personally.

Decent, but not for me.

Hi all and welcome to a short update for my various panning projects, these being Pan that Palette 2018, Project Pan 2018 and Project Dent 2018.

As you may know, I saw my dermatologist yesterday and received some ARGH news. The whole post on that situation is here, but essentially I've been told that I can't apply anything but DermAid 1% to my face for six weeks - the exceptions being sunscreen when needed, plain moisturiser if I get dry (plain eye cream too) and I'm also allowed to wear makeup when I go out. 

This whole thing of course sent me into a minor spin: aside from this blog, makeup and skincare are the only things I've relied on for the past three years (plus the forty weeks of my first pregnancy) - just to get me through these long days of being the primary carer of two young kids.

When I heard this news, I of course went and word-vomited onto the Not Beauty News page on Facebook, and thankfully some ladies there have come to the rescue with some great ideas to help me get through this curve-ball.

The thing is, I've literally just finished weaning my son - so my mood was already low and this dermatology hit was enough to make me scream. 

I didn't, though. I just word-vomited. I mean, that's what us writers do when we want to scream, cry, laugh, shout, whatever. So consider this screamed.

Moving on. Let's talk about each of my projects in turn.

Skincare (Project Pan)

I've already put most of my skincare away (just to keep it out of the Aussie heat), meaning that the three masks I'm panning will have to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. 

And since all three contain active ingredients of some description, I can't say for sure that all three will be 'ok' to use after that six-week period has passed. It may be that I'll need to give my skin a rest from the actives for a while, but we'll cross that bridge when it comes.

What I'll do over the next few days is a mini update removing those products from circulation and replacing them with things I can actually use (eg lip products, since my lips are excused from this equation). 

Makeup (Pan that Palette and Project Dent)

I'm waiting to hear back from my dermatologist as to whether I'm 'allowed' to apply a full face of makeup daily just before I hop in the shower. He may well say yes because I so rarely 'go out' and he's probably assumed that a 'normal' person goes out a couple of times a week.

I mean, if we're talking about how long these products are in contact with my skin, then the time will end up being about the same.

I'm sure there are those who'll think I'm nuts to apply makeup shortly before washing it off, but I so enjoy the process of applying it that I'll be really pleased if he does allow me to do this. We'll see.

Makeup (Pan that Palette and Project Dent)

A lovely lass in the FB group suggested doing a full face of makeup on one of those face charts that makeup artists use. Brilliant idea. Genius.

I did that for the first time today in a beautiful leather notebook my sister gave me that I'd been saving for a rainy day (yep, it's raining!) and I learned the following lessons:

  1. Draw the eyes bigger and the eyebrows higher (ha, rookie mistake)
  2. Only so much powder layers on paper so be more careful with placement next time
  3. The BB cream I’m currently panning not only oxidises on my face, but also on paper (WTF?!)
  4. Paper suits the metallic lip trend much more than actual lips ever will (FACT)
  5. My daughter likes being cuddled while watching me do this with one arm : )
So I'll continue to do this over the next six weeks, the benefit being that I'll be able to play with eyelid space for the first time in my life - with super hooded eyes, this will be quite the thrill!

In sum

Thankfully this doesn't have to be the end of my panning projects for now: indeed, it may actually help me to get through some of those older, unloved powders faster because I'll (hopefully) be applying them to both my actual face and also to a paper face every day. Silver lining, if I ever saw one.

This whole situation may also help me learn to do eye makeup in a different way (on eyes that aren't my own), which could benefit me when it comes to applying my actual makeup in future.

Other suggestions were made in the group - get into handcare, haircare etc - and I'll certainly consider that, with the note here being that I'm not going to go out and buy anything just for this purpose because our financial situation isn't great so I'm not going to spend money I don't need to spend unless I'm desperate (especially considering the expense of two dermatologist appointments, and possibly more after that).

So yes, I'm holding it together. Although I must say that I wanted to scream when I got the kids home from the playground today. A long and dastardly day it was.

But you know what? I've just written a blog post, so that's my SCREAM.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

* All images courtesy of unsplash.com

So ahhh, I've just been to see my dermatologist and turns out I have contact dermatitis.



The issue here is that I'm not allowed to use any skincare or makeup for the next six weeks, aside from DermAid 1%, which I'm to apply twice daily. I am however allowed to wear sunscreen if I go outside and I'm also allowed to wear plain moisturiser if my skin is getting dry. I can also wear makeup if I'm going out, and my lips and eyes are excused from the equation so I can go on using a simple eye cream and whatever lip products I want to use.



Some backstory. You may remember me mentioning late last year that I thought I'd developed some white patches (hypopigmentation) after using either The Ordinary's Lactic Acid 10% or Skinstitut's Vitamin C 100%.

After removing the lactic acid product from circulation (I'd thought that was the culprit) and then later discovering more white patches, I removed the vitamin c and thankfully the white patches stopped getting worse.

I let things sit that way for a while (it was the busy festive season), but when the white patches started looking worse again a couple of weeks ago, I saw my GP and got a referral to my dermatologist - and I've just returned from seeing him.

And yes, I'd had another post planned for today but I wanted to get online immediately and post about this!

So yep. That's the situation. Sure it's not the end of the world, but if you know me, then you'll know that skincare and makeup are my mediation so this is a big blow for me. And while I have no issue with walking around bare-faced, I do have an issue with not going through the process of applying my skincare and makeup on a daily basis.

What I'm considering doing - and damn I wish I hadn't been in shock at the time and had managed to ask him then - is applying my makeup on the daily when my husband gets home, so that I'll be whacking everything on twenty to thirty minutes before I step under the shower.

Call me crazy, but I'm not sure I'll survive the next six weeks mentally if I can't do that. What I've now done is emailed his office with my question. Let's hope he says yes; otherwise the next six weeks will be tough going.

So yes, that's my ARGH post for the day. I'll keep you posted on what my dermatologist says so you know what the next six weeks are looking like.

And of course, this will also affect the products I'm panning so I'll have to adapt my current lists where needed.

Otherwise all I can do is laugh. Today, that is. Who knows if I'll be crying tomorrow...

Boo hiss boo.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

* All images courtesy of unsplash.com

Hello and welcome to another Project Dent update post for the year!

The item we're talking about now is my custom palette filled with shadows from the Becca Ombre Rouge and Ombre Nudes Eyeshadow Palettes, minus the shimmery gold from Ardency Inn (top left) and some of Nars Sin (top right), a blush that I've re-pressed into a smaller pan because I like how it looks when combined with these particular shades.

The above and below photos show how my shadows looked two weeks ago before I introduced them to Project Dent; and you'll note that I hadn't made much progress on them back then.

Do also note that every shot in this post has been enhanced for clarity. If you'd like to see these shades true to colour, my review of Ombre Rouge is here and my review of Ombre Nudes is here.

Above is how my palette looked two weeks ago, and below is how they're looking now, after two weeks' daily use:

Again, here's how they were two weeks ago:

And here's how they're looking now, after two weeks' daily use:

As you can see, I've barely made any progress over the denting period! Yes I can see that a few tiny dips have opened up on the surfaces of some of the shades (you'll see those in the centre of the pans above, and you'll note they weren't there previously), but I haven't been able to achieve much else.

Why? These shadows are pigmented! And I tend to go for more natural eye looks, so I'm never going to get through pigmented shadows very quickly.

Indeed, what I've learned over the denting period is that these Becca shadows are a lot more pigmented overall than the Too Faced ones I dented recently, and they do also adhere better to my eyes - even in this sweltering heat - so I haven't needed to reapply them after a few hours' wear in the heat (but I did with the Too Faced shadows).

What this tells me is that I'm better off keeping the Becca shadows in my collection and panning the Too Faced ones next year. Sure, they're not exactly the same products in colour, but they're similar enough that I don't need both.

Thankfully I was hoping to choose between the Becca and Too Faced shadows over the denting period, so even though I haven't made a tonne of progress in two weeks, at least we can say that I've made my choice. That's a valuable step, for me at least.

That's all from me! Hope all's well from you, and speak soon x

Hello and welcome to my next Project Dent post for the year.

Next up, I've decided to focus on my custom palette of (mostly) Becca products. Running left to right, top to bottom, we have: Bolero, Sweetpea, Wild Honey, Songbird, Opal, Champagne Pop and then Gorgeous Cosmetics' Prism Powder in Summer.

The top four products are all blushes and the bottom three are highlighters.

There they are again (below I've enhanced the above shot for clarity):

As you may know, via Pan that Palette 2018 I'm currently panning a blush palette, an eyeshadow quad and also a custom palette that's full of various powders, so this palette will compete with those and I'll have to find some kind of balance over the next two weeks while I'm denting this.

What I've decided to do, though, is rather than dent two products alongside each other for the next two weeks (two at a time being my goal for most of the year), I'm just going to focus on this alone for that period so I'm not throwing another item into the mix and therefore making matters worse.

I love all the powders in this palette, although the two Becca highlighters aren't my favourites for facial highlighting because they can emphasise texture, which is why I only use them on the eyes these days. And while I love Becca's blush formula, it's not quite as good as the formula from Hourglass or Marc Jacobs - so I don't reach for my Becca blushes as much these days either. 

The Gorgeous Cosmetics highlighter is a winner (especially the colour), but I have been focusing on other things lately so it will be nice to bring this one out again.

Below is the above shot, enhanced:

The fact that I don't use the products in this palette as much these days is the reason why I depotted them all. Every powder in here works beautifully on the eyes, and I can see myself mostly using it for that purpose over the denting period. Indeed, I depotted everything in here for the purpose of using the products together as eyeshadows.

Sure, there may be days over the next two weeks when I use this palette for blush and highlighting - either by mixing it with the Hourglass palette or using it alone - but I can definitely see myself favouring this palette for the eyes so that I can keep making steady progress on the Hourglass.

So, I'll be using these powders for two weeks straight, and my aim over that time is to get some little dents happening in the centre of each pan.

I won't be able to achieve more than this because there's a lot of product in this thing (every powder is full size and some of them aren't showing much use), but it will be nice to spend some focused time with it because I only depotted everything recently and I haven't had the chance to play with it much yet since I've been focusing on other things. 

Wish me luck!

I have a feeling that it's going to be a pretty strange round of Project Dent and I'm not expecting to achieve much over the next couple of weeks, but I am looking forward to getting some more good use out of this palette and also working out how I can use it alongside the products I'm currently panning.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

Hello and welcome to another Project Dent update post!

Strangely enough I made a lot more visible progress on this bronzer than I was expecting to over the denting period, and I now have a decent bit of pan showing in the centre.

And although I was seeing rings in this thing two weeks ago, I certainly wasn't expecting to hit pan - especially because I already knew how deep the pan was after hitting some on the edge a while back. So it was a happy surprise and you don't often get those with panning. Yay.

Anyhoo. Let's have a look.

I started denting this product again two weeks ago. Here's my intro post if you're interested.

And here's my review of this bronzer if you're interested. Long story short, I do like it but it's not my favourite and it's one that I'm looking forward to panning because I enjoy it enough to use it daily but it's not one that I want in my collection long-term.

Here's how it was looking two weeks ago:

And here's how it's looking now, after two weeks' daily use:

That's some pretty good pan! Even better that it's surprising pan: I didn't think I'd get anywhere near it during the denting period. I'm more than happy to have been proved wrong abut this!

The only annoying thing is that this bronzer is starting to flake away a bit in the middle (you can probably tell this from the way the pan looks along the bottom edge), which has meant that I've had to crush any little flakes that have come loose. 

If this continues to happen when it comes to panning this thing, then I'll likely re-press it to hopefully stop the problem - just to make life easier and prevent any chunks from falling onto the floor (and therefore going to waste).

That's all from me! I'm pleased to have gotten somewhere with this bronzer over the denting period; all that's left to do now is work out what product I'll be denting next.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x
Hello and welcome to my first round of monthly favourites for the year.

January has been an odd month for me because I've been focusing less on review posts and more on 'other' posts, so I'm not facing a long list of reviews from which to pick out my favourites.

Still, it wasn't too hard to choose my top products because I've been keeping things simple this month (it's been a tiring one), and I've certainly been in a little routine that hasn't varied too much.

Let's have a look.

Clinique Take the Day off Cleansing Balm

Full review here. This is one of those rare cult products that actually lives up to its hype, in my opinion, and I've been really enjoying it this month.

It's a solid balm that melts into an oil when applied, and it does a great job of removing makeup and grime - plus a little goes a long way so even this little sample tub is lasting a good while. It's also fragrance-free so it should suit those with sensitive skin.

The only thing I'll say about this is that it's better to use a cloth when you remove it, and it does leave a slight residue on my skin - which doesn't bother me because I double-cleanse anyway - but it's worth mentioning all the same.

A cult favourite for good reason.

Becca custom palette (Ombre Rouge and Ombre Nudes)

This palette is in circulation for Project Dent at the moment, and using the shadows has reminded me of how much I love them. I've reviewed the Ombre Nudes palette here and the Ombre Rouge palette here.

As you may know, I wanted to use this just after my Too Faced Natural Matte palette so I could compare the two formulas, and while I do feel that the Too Faced shadows feel softer, smoother and creamier in texture (which is my preference), these Becca ones are generally more pigmented (so less building required, but they're not so pigmented that they're hard to work with), and they also last longer on the eye.

I've used both palettes during January when it's been hot (and eyeshadow is more likely to shift on me), and it's been interesting to see just how long these Becca ones stay put as compared to the Too Faced shadows, which only last five hours max on me in the heat.

So we can say now that I'm probably going to pan the Too Faced palette next year because I don't need both, meaning I've learned something valuable from the exercise. Hooray to that.

Antipodes Joyous Protein-Rich Night Replenish Serum

Full review here. I finished this recently and I'm missing it already: nothing I'm currently using is as rich and good for my dry skin as this product was.

It's a serum but it feels more like an oil in texture, and it also smells like berries (in a natural way) so I enjoyed the overall experience of using it because it felt lovely and I liked the scent.

If you have oily skin then you mightn't like this because you may find it to be too heavy, but for my dry/dehydrated skin, I couldn't get enough of it. I would absolutely buy it again: it's reasonably priced and you can always wait for specials at Priceline. Even better.

Inika Certified Organic Pure Primer with Hyaluronic Acid

I've used a lot of average primers that don't do much in my time, but this isn't one of those. Indeed, I'm surprised that it isn't talked about more: I think it's underrated and I hope that more people get a chance to use it. It's that good. I've reviewed it here.

What I love about this is that it's super hydrating so it gives my dry skin a drink, and not only this, it has a tacky finish that helps makeup adhere and also last longer - and since most primers don't do much for longevity on me, that's something I really like about this product.

For me, this is everything the Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer should have been (that didn't work well for me unfortunately), and I definitely recommend it.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette

Full review here. This is currently part of my 2018 Pan that Palette challenge, and as you may know, when we pan things they often lose their 'colour' a little with daily use: that is, we can tire of them and they can feel less special over time.

That's not true of this palette. Yes I've only been panning it for a month, but I've been reaching for it every day because I want to - while with the eyeshadows I'm panning, for example, I've wanted to have a break for a day or two each week. Hell, even the two bronzers on my Project Dent list were put aside for a couple of days over their respective denting periods this month, for the simple reason that I needed a break from them. And Project Dent only runs for two weeks!

But with this? Every day I'm using it as my blush, highlighter and also my finishing powder (I'm separating the individual swirls in each pan to achieve this with a needle), and never once have I tired of it. Never once have I wanted to use anything else.

That says something.

In sum

I hope you enjoyed this little post!

January is usually a pretty slow month but it's also a weird one (I've found myself drowning in admin rubbish this month - how many forms do I need to complete?!), so it's definitely been one of those months where I've stuck to what works and haven't played around too much.

Do let me know in the comments what your favourite products are this month: I'd love to hear.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

Hi all and welcome to Project Pan 2018!

I'd meant to get this post up around the 25th of the month, so we're not doing too badly and I'm only one day late. I did however take my photos yesterday, so the progress shots are as of the 25th and I'll try to stick to the 25th when I write updates each month.

Above you'll see ten products. Here's what they are:

  • Laura Mercier Baked Bronzer in Bronze 04
  • Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch Primer
  • BareMinerals BareSkin Serum Concealer in Medium Golden
  • Rimmel Moisture Renew Sheer & Shine Lipstick in 600
  • Burt's Bees Lipstick in 501 Blush Basin
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Tinted Comfort Cream in Medium
  • La Roche-Posay Uvidea XL SPF 50+ BB Cream in Medium
  • Skinstititut Enzymatic Micro Peel
  • Alpha-H Balancing and Pore Refining Mask with Jojoba Oil
  • Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

First up, two face masks. As you may know, I'm on a skincare no buy (and more recently a makeup one) because I have too much stuff, and masks are my worst category in the skincare department. That's why there are three on this list.

The Alpha-H mask I've rolled over from last year (see markers below), and you'll note that I'm a little over halfway through it. I love this product but I can't use it that often on my dry skin - it would be a little much for me - so I haven't been able to get far with it by applying it only once a week. But it's currently summer and my skin is less dry, so hopefully I'll be able to make faster progress by using it twice-weekly from now on.

As for the Skinstitut mask, I like this one too but I need to start getting through it because it's been open for over six months now. I have a little more than half left in the tube and I can apply it twice-weekly so I'll do that and see how far I can get.

I reckon both masks will last for at least another three months. We'll see.

Next, one tinted sunscreen (this is on my skincare list because I asked my husband to buy the sunscreen version and he accidentally bought the tint, which I use as a sunscreen anyway) and also a BB cream. Both products are from La Roche-Posay.

The tinted product is almost finished now so I suppose you could call it an 'easy' inclusion, although I have been deliberately focusing on it for a while and I'd like to pan it by the end of February. I also need to review it so stay tuned for that if you're interested, but essentially it does 'tint' the skin (too dark in my case) but it doesn't offer any coverage. I guess that's why it's called a tint ; )

As for the BB cream, I don't like this at all. I'll be reviewing this soon too, but essentially it cakes up on my face, creates dry patches that I never knew I had, and also settles into pores and fine lines. Plus it oxidises something chronic on me so if I want to use it, I have to mix it with something else. I've tried adding oil to it to help the problem, but I need to add A LOT of oil to stop it caking up and creating dry patches - so there goes that.

I hope to be through this product by the end of March - sooner, if I can. Maybe I can mix it with an illuminator (1:1 ratio) and see if that helps.

Next, the two lip products I'm starting out with. One is from Rimmel and the other from Burt's Bees, and you'll see that I've almost finished the latter so it should be done within the next month.

I like the Burt's Bees formula but it's drying if I use it every day, so I'll need to find some way to manage that issue over the coming weeks. The Rimmel formula I've yet to review - so stay tuned for that if you're interested - and I do have another one in a different shade that I'll bring into circulation after finishing the Burt's Bees.

Lip products are the easiest things for me to pan so I'm not worried about turning these two around quickly.

Next, my Clarins primer. I really enjoy this product and it's one of the few pore-plugging primers I can wear on my dry skin without it drying me out or sliding around (indeed, it's the best one I've found so far), but I tend to only use it in summer so I'd like to pan it while it's still agreeing with my skin (in the cooler months, it can make my skin feel a little dry underneath).

While in theory there's only a small 15ml in here, a little goes a long way so this will last me for months. If I can get through it by the end of April, I'll be happy. I have far too many primers at the moment: something needs to give!

Next, my Laura Mercier bronzer. While this can look nice on the skin, the formula is so dry that I can't use it on the eyes - it looks seriously ageing on me if I do - and it also has so little pigment that I'm burning through it like nobody's business. Plus I need to reapply it after lunch because it falls off my face (maybe because the formula is so dry that it doesn't adhere properly), so that doesn't help.

There it it again:

Hopefully you can tell that this has been flattened A LOT. Indeed, I reckon I've used up half of the 8.5g of product in only six weeks (it was on my Project Pan list towards the end of last year), so I reckon I can pan this relatively quickly.

I'm hoping to finish it by the end of March, and I don't see any problem in achieving that because I do like how it looks on the face (not the eyes) so I'm happy to use it, it's just that it's not a good-value formula in my case and of course I'd prefer to use bronzers that wear well throughout the day.

Next, my Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, which I love but it's been open for 18 months now and the shelf-life is 24 months so it's time to get through it. I think there's only about a quarter of the original amount left, and it's a travel-sized 50g so I should be able to get through it within three months.

And last, my BareMinerals concealer. This is my HG formula for concealing and I have two shades: this one in Medium Golden and also one in Medium. Both shades work for me but I've been reaching for Medium more often because it's more brightening, and Medium's also newer because I bought Medium Golden first - so I really need to get through this darker shade while it's summer and I'm at my darkest. 

To use it, I may well bring down the colour with some whitening drops when I apply it under my eyes, and it also works well to darken any base that's too light for me.

Funnily enough, this concealer used to be my perfect shade - so looks like I'm lighter than I used to be! (Must be all those active ingredients I'm using...)

In sum

That's all from me. Happy new panning year to everyone and I do hope you're feeling motivated and inspired with whatever products you're panning.

The start of the year is usually the easiest when it comes to panning because we have fresh lists and feel motivated to start with a clean slate, and I certainly do feel that way myself so yay.

Let me know in the comments whether you're doing a Project Pan this year and include links if so: I'd love to follow your progress.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

I feel like I've been ignoring the review posts too much lately so I'm back today with one that I need to write sooner rather than later because I've almost finished the product.

As you may know, I received a bundle of Clinique samples last year and I posted on those a month back (gosh, was it that long ago?!), letting you know that I would be testing and reviewing them in the coming weeks.

First up is this fabled cleansing balm. And guess what? I like it as much as everyone else seems to. Hip hip hooray.

Clinique claims/product details:
  • Lightweight makeup remover 
  • Quickly dissolves tenacious eye/face makeup and sunscreen 
  • Transforms from a solid balm into a silky oil upon application
  • Cleans thoroughly, rinses off completely
  • Non greasy, non drying 
  • Ophthalmologist tested 
  • For all skin types
  • To use: use fingertips to massage balm over dry skin; rinse well with warm water; pat dry
  • RRP $55 AUD for 125ml


I must confess, I was a little anxious about trying this because it's so well-loved in the beauty community that I'd half-expected to be disappointed: it's hard for products to live up to their hype sometimes, but this one did so yay.

It's a white balm that goes on clear when applied and it has no scent so it should suit those who don't like fragranced products. It's solid in the tub but it melts onto the face when applied and also spreads very easily, and I've learned that a little goes a long way so the product should last a good while.

Indeed, my sample is only 15ml but I've been using it daily for almost a month now - so I can see the 125ml full-size lasting me for at least eight months. Therefore I reckon the product is a good investment and I think you're getting value for your money.

I've been using this mostly in the evenings to remove my makeup, and it does work beautifully for that purpose. I apply a little and massage it over my face before removing it with a damp face cloth, and I've found that it deals with stubborn makeup and dirt very well. I do prefer to go in with a second cleanse afterwards, however, just to ensure I've removed the slight residue this product leaves behind (although I always double cleanse anyway, so that doesn't bother me).

I've also occasionally used this as my first cleanse in the morning. As you may know, with my dry skin I like to throw on a cleansing oil or balm as soon as I get up and I leave it there for 20 mins (often more) as a kind of mask while I'm rushing around getting the kids organised, before going back later and completing the cleansing process. I will say that I prefer this product as a makeup remover: it doesn't operate as well as a mask as other balms/oils I've tried do, and I also think that it works so well for makeup-removal that it's probably better to use it for that anyway.

Overall I think this is an excellent product that generally meets its claims, and although it's not cheap, I do think it's good value because the tub should last a good while. 

Worth noting, though, is that if I had to choose between this and Bobbi Brown's Soothing Cleansing Oil (reviewed here), I would pick the Bobbi Brown. Yes it's a little more expensive ($67 AUD) but you do get 200ml so it's better value, and I also personally found it to be slightly better for my dry skin. Both products perform equally well, but there's something about the Bobbi Brown that my skin really loves.

Still, this Clinique balm is wonderful and I reckon it deserves the hype.

I recently posted on the animal-testing discussion (see here), and today I'm back as promised to tell you what percentage of my collection is already cruelty free, and how I plan to approach my more focused transition to cruelty free this year.

I say 'more focused' because I've previously kept an eye on my collection when it comes to high-end brands: it's mainly the budget brands that populate my non cruelty free list. I'll touch on the reasons for this below.

In this post I'm also going to tell you a little about what I'm doing and why/how etc, so you can understand why I've made particular goals and plans.

On that, the way I'm planning to transition and also my 'exceptions/rules' (see below) may not be the same as they are for others. 

Both this post and the one linked above explain my reasoning behind my personal approach, but essentially the post linked above talks about the importance of petitioning China and the corporate giants who sell there (as well as making our own cruelty free decisions), and it also touches on issues of finances, the particular challenges of the Australian market, and of course my belief that preventing any kind of waste (whether makeup, packaging, water, food etc) is just as important as it is to make cruelty free decisions in my daily life.

So I hope we can all approach the cruelty free issue/transition in our own individual ways and not judge other people's choices. No point adding fuel to the fire I reckon.

Let's get stuck into this.

Cruelty free count in my makeup collection

Below are the items I own from cruelty free brands. I've separated everything and noted what I have to make things easier for myself when it comes to counting everything in future and monitoring what I've finished. If you're not interested in the bullet-points, just head for the total count below.

  • Hourglass: 11 products (10 compacts and 1 lipstick)
  • Kevyn Aucoin: 22 products (21 pans of powder and 1 foundation)
  • Marc Jacobs Beauty: 10 products (6 compacts, 1 eyeliner, 2 glosses and 1 primer)
  • Becca: 21 products (15 pans of powder, 1 primer, 1 eye primer, 1 corrector, 1 liquid highlighter and 2 compacts)
  • Ardency Inn: 4 products (4 pans of eyeshadow)
  • Urban Decay: 3 products (2 compacts and 1 eye primer)
  • Chantecaille: 1 product (tinted moisturiser)
  • Mecca Cosmetica: 4 products (1 setting spray, 1 liquid highlighter, 1 lip balm and 1 primer)
  • BareMinerals: 2 products (both concealers)
  • Fenty Beauty: 1 product (lip gloss)
  • Mario Badescu: 1 product (setting spray)
  • Stila: 3 products (all eyeshadow pans)
  • Gorgeous Cosmetics: 1 product (highlighter pan)
  • Too Faced: 3 products (2 eyeshadow palettes and 1 glitter glue)
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills: 2 products (both eyeshadow palettes)
  • Kat Von D: 2 products (1 eyeshadow palette and 1 mini concealer)
  • Tarte: 3 products (1 primer, 1 corrector and 1 mini blush pan)
  • Koh Gen Do: 1 product (foundation)
  • theBalm: 1 product (highlighter pan)
  • Bleach London: 3 products (all eyeshadow pans)
  • Girlactic: 1 product (eyeshadow pan)
  • 'Tini Beauty: 1 product (eyeshadow pan)
  • Adorn Cosmetics: 1 product (blush pan)
  • Inika: 2 products (1 primer and 1 mini blush)
  • Australis: 1 product (whitening drops)
  • J One Jelly Pack: 1 product (primer)
  • NYX: 4 products (2 lipsticks and 2 glosses)
  • Sportsgirl Cosmetics: 1 product (lipstick)
  • Savvy by DB: 1 product (brow pencil)
  • Models Prefer: 1 product (lip lacquer) 
  • Lanolips: 1 product (tinted balm)
  • The Ordinary: 2 products (both primers)
  • RCMA: 1 product (setting powder)
  • Bodyography: 1 product (lip gloss)
  • Natio: 3 products (tinted moisturisers that I use as foundation mixers)

Total count: 121 cruelty free products.

Non cruelty free count in my makeup collection

As per above, I've noted what I own individually to help myself keep track of things - so just skip to the total count below if you're not interested in the bullet-points.

  • Burberry: 3 products (2 blush pans and 1 eyeshadow quad)
  • MUFE: 1 product (foundation)
  • Nars: 5 products (all pans used as eyeshadows)
  • Clarins: 2 products (1 bronzer pan and 1 primer)
  • Laura Mercier: 2 products (1 bronzer and 1 highlighter)
  • Benefit: 1 product (bronzer pan)
  • Rimmel: 5 products (3 lipsticks, 1 liner and 1 mascara)
  • Clinique: 1 product (mini mascara)
  • Revlon: 4 products (3 lipsticks and 1 lip crayon)
  • Maybelline: 1 product (lipstick)
  • Sephora Collection: 1 product (mini mascara)
  • L'Oreal: 1 product (mascara)
  • Covergirl: 1 product (mascara)
  • Coty Airspun: 2 products (1 setting powder and 1 powder foundation)
  • Bobbi Brown: 1 product (bronzer)

Total count: 31 non cruelty free products.

Percentages and notes

So, 75 per cent of my makeup collection is cruelty free and 25 per cent is not. I'd thought the percentage was around 80 per cent, so I wasn't far off.

Do note:

  • The items included above have been determined cruelty free or otherwise by information on the respective brands' websites or on crueltyfreekitty. If you think any of the items above are on the wrong list, please let me know. 
  • I haven't included tools/accessories (brushes, custom palettes and the like) because I want to focus on products that actually expire first. It can be difficult and time-consuming to negotiate cruelty free territory, so I'm starting at the beginning and working my way up from there.
  • For the same reason - that is, starting at the beginning - I'm not going to focus for now on whether any sister or parent companies of the brands on my cruelty free list are cruelty free themselves. This may be a step I take later on, but for now, I'm approaching my transition from the ground up.
  • I have a few random pans of powder in my custom palettes that I've mixed myself from old powders, so I've no idea which mixes contain cruelty free or non cruelty products because I can't remember where most of them came from! So I haven't included those in the count.

Aims, plans and rules/exceptions

My aim for 2018 is to have a makeup collection that is 90 per cent cruelty free by year's end.

I will continue to use the older items in my collection first - whether they're cruelty free or not - because it's just as important to me to ensure that I'm not allowing anything to expire (therefore wasting it) as it is to aim for a higher percentage of cruelty free products.

I will do my best to avoid purchasing any non cruelty free items from now on (more on that below), but I will not automatically declutter items from non cruelty free brands that come my way by other means: for example, products that have been sent to me for review, given to me as presents or included in orders as GWPs. 

Why? First, we don't have enough money for me to be passing on usable items just because they're not cruelty free. Second, I'm a panner and I use and enjoy everything in my collection. If I were to pass non cruelty free items on to others for only that reason (ie, not because they don't work for me), there's no guarantee that others will use them as much as I would have if I'd kept them (or that others will attempt to finish them before they expire), nor can I say for sure that others will share my concerns when it comes to re-purposing/recycling packaging and reusing empty containers (eg for 'toys', games or arts/crafts for children). 

For me, this is about balance. I want to consider both the environment and animal testing at the same time. Hopefully that makes sense.

Rules/exceptions ctd

Now here's a point that I need to explain. We live in Australia. Prices are ridiculous here and we also don't have access to as many of the brands that you'll easily find in the US especially. Wet n Wild is a good example here.

So unless I want to pay exorbitant rates on eBay or the like (which I do not), there may be times when I'll have to make choices based not only on price, but also on availability. I'm mostly talking about budget/drugstore brands here. We only recently had the cruelty free NYX arrive in Priceline (the US equivalent of Ulta), and while other cruelty free options exist in Australian chemists/drugstores, I haven't had a lot of luck with many of them. What I'm saying is, I'm not going to buy something from a brand that generally doesn't work for me just because it's cruelty free. Otherwise the item may end up being decluttered or sitting there gathering dust in my collection, which would of course be wasteful.

Also, my local Priceline and Chemist Warehouse stores are tiny so they don't eg stock the cruelty free brand Essence. I'm not going to make a huge online order of items that I may or may not need just to get free shipping (nor am I going to pay shipping for a few items) - nor do I want to encourage more packaging to be used in the shipping process. And unfortunately I can't just wander out to any Priceline or Chemist Warehouse because I'm the primary carer of two toddlers and I work on weekends to help cover household expenses, so I've been hamstrung in that respect. Getting two heavy, screaming and active children into the car/double pram to source brands like Essence isn't something I feel able to do at the moment. My body and sanity are borderline expired as it is (especially my back), so there's a line and I need to tread it carefully. 

I guess what I'm saying is, if Maybelline is 50 per cent off at Priceline and I need to replace a mascara that I already know I'll use and love, then I'll do that. Or if I happen to eg be in the CBD and I find Essence in one of the larger chemists, then I'm not going to buy an Essence mascara unless it's on sale. Australian prices are too ridiculous to do otherwise, and so many Australian families do not have enough spare cash lying around to be paying full-price for things when they don't need to.

In future I'll have more energy and freedom to source products from cruelty free brands that I've heard great things about but that aren't readily available in my local chemists, but for now I'll continue to put finances and physical/mental health first. Hopefully people understand this. 

In sum

Ok, I think we're done here. 

I reckon I've already talked too much in this post so I'm not going to add more words in now to sum up what I've said above, but do let me know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions for me. Going cruelty free can be a more detailed and difficult process than you might think, so I'd love to hear advice if you have some.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

* All images courtesy of unsplash.com
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