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The Perfect Summer Pout

Every woman has a seasonal signature lip. They may know it or perhaps be unaware, but everyone has one . The bolds, the nudes, the minimalists or the ones who go bare. For me the idea of lipsticks and combination of lip products is ever appealing and I find myself flittering amongst too many things to actually call one product or a combination of products my favourite or my signature per say.

This was true  until a couple of  weeks ago, unusually I had a lot of time to get dressed to go out for the evening with my husband. I say unusually because like all women who are being accompanied by a person of the opposite gender, I too am guilty of always running late.

Having time on my hand, meant shuffling through the stash of lip products (my favourite part of putting on make-up) and I managed to layer three products that looked beautiful together and lasted a phenomenal 6 hours !! No touch ups.

Products :

Gosh Cosmetics Lipliner in 01 Nougat Crisp

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MAC Kinda Sexy

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Lancome Color Fever Lipgloss in 206

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The Finished Lip:

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This is probably the perfect pink for me, not too bold nor too insignificant and perfect for those spontaneous selfies !

What is your signature lip product/combination  this summer ?

 

The Rough Patch

I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. Perhaps this is why sometimes I find myself wishing for the “Oily T Zone” issues that people have. Don’t get grossed out just yet but it is nicer to have that glow on your face matted down by some powder,rather than try to inject moisture into your ever dehydrated skin.

Hence, the title “the rough patch”. For the severity of the dryness of my skin means always having to try to control my expressions( to avoid pre-mature wrinkles), tightness of skin and lots of discomfort caused by the omnipresent air-conditioning in this part of the world (the Middle East).

But battled with this problem for years now, I have found products that have helped in calming down my skin and also giving it extended periods of hydration and smoothness. The following are products that I have gone back and forth between, some older,some fairly new. But all that have worked wonders.

Favorite Face Products:

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator  

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If dehydrated and parched skin ever needed a burst of water that could be sealed into the skin, this product would be the solution. Will a gel like consistency this face product instantly gives the skin a burst of hydration without creating a greasy top layer.The hydration lasts for hours at a stretch which is unheard of for any product that has ever met my parched skin.

Favorite Lip Product:

Nuxe Reve De Miel Lip Balm

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This one is a recommendation I saw on Amelia Liana’s blog (http://amelialiana.com) and really all the raving is spot on as are her descriptions of the product. This isn’t a slick/glossy kind of lip balm it is in fact a pot of the most concentrated matte formula that just feels like a mask when you initially put it on your lips. The after effects though…WOW! Never have I ever had a lipstick application so smooth in my life. Definitely worth trying out, even if you have fairly smooth lips.

Favourite Body:

Nivea Nourishing Body Lotion (Dry to Very Dry Skin)

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Having persistent dry skin means that I have enough lotions and cremes in my bathroom for my entire neighbourhood to use. However, being cynical of Nivea(snob-alert) being able to help me, this one was only purchased in February this year when I paid my mom a visit in Dubai and she made me slather this on religiously for a week. The difference was mind boggling and I was sold !

Favorite Eye Cream :

Clinique all about eyes

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This eye cream comes in a huge tub that will probably last you forever. However, it is a total saviour for eyes that are feeling dry, itchy and are not smooth enough to apply any make-up without making it look like a bumpy mess. Also a little goes a long way and the formulation is perfect for those sensitive eyes that need something quite hydrating.

Favorite Hand Cream :

Neutrogena Concentrated Hand Cream

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Neutrogena’s concentrated hand cream formula can aptly be described as a sort of vaseline  that instantly softens without leaving a greasy or slick feeling to the skin. Great for those who wash their hands very often and also for people who are constantly within air-conditioned areas.

 Favorite Serum :

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum

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And last but not the least this product has quite a large cult following globally which I assumed must add up to something more than a large marketing budget. And rightly so ! A very nice gel like consistency means that this serum absorbs very quickly into the skin and the Hyaluronic Acid gives the skin and immediate plumpness. Eventually this will help re-texturize the skin and remove dry patches improving the quality of your skin, which means less make-up required to be piled on!

The Liquid Lipsticks

When you think of lip products the terms tube and wand are usually associated with lip glosses or in recent times lip stains ( glosses with a higher dose of pigmentation once the “glossy” bit has worn off). However,the beauty world has also been taken by a storm with a new hybrid,which are the liquid lipsticks.

Honestly, my first thought on hearing/seeing these on several beauty counters and youtube/blogs was,’that looks messy’.But curiosity always caught the cat (especially the ones mad about their lippies). And off I went to pick a couple of different ones to put to the test.

1) The Apocalips Lip Lacquer (Released as Show-Offs in the USA) by Rimmel : This is one of the thinnest,”barely there” on your lips kind of lip colour formula that I have come across. With barely any weight it glides right on and the applicator is quite convenient as it is not flat but has a scoop like quality that helps to pick up just the right amount of colour from the tube for one full application. The formula goes on quite wet (not sticky!) but after around 45 minutes the sheen dries down and is very subtle the colour stays on for around 3 to 4 hours and does not require a touch up. Even after 4 hours the wear is not uneven and will fade beautifully.

Note : The Apocalips formula is not highly pigmented and can be built up to create a more opaque look or can be worn quite sheer to suit your personal preference.

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2) Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick:  This liquid lipstick is a more recent launch when compared to the Rimmel Apocalips. The formulation is also considerably different, with a creamier and much more opaque consistency,it is a lot more matte than the Rimmel formula and the dry down of the slight sheen is much faster. So if you love the look of a vibrant matte lipstick but hate the chalky dry feel of it on your lips, this liquid lipstick is a win-win situation for you ! The applicator of this is quite ordinary, however the formulation of the product more than makes up for it. One application and you have a full opaque mouth of colour, with the slight sheen drying down quite quickly, this lipstick will stay put for hours at a stretch and is completely smudge proof once is dries down (even requires quite a bit of work to remove it !). Great for those of us who could not be bothered with touching up our lippy throughout the day! Also like the Rimmel Apocalips these have a very barely there feel,yet with great pigmentation!

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Both Lipsticks are available at Boots Pharmacies.

The Vitamin-E Phenomenon

Ever since I recollect  hearing the term “Vitamin E” , all I can associate it with, are its benefits for hair, skin , nails etc. How it’s oil gives you the most flawless skin and the shiniest, thickest locks and also how this is found as an ingredient within so many beauty products.

Hence, my curiosity of whether,the Vitamin E phenomenon is true or false. Which is, does this ingredient actually have anything to its own merit or is it just one of the thousand ingredients dumped in to beautifying concoctions to increase their market appeal ?

On a trip to the pharmacy I picked up “Vitamin-E Oil Capsules” from a brand called Nature’s Bounty. A good Chunky sized capsule with Vitamin-E oil filled in each one,and to the test I put them.

Now after several weeks of using them, as oral supplements and for external application, the following uses are my personal favorites and have worked wonders for me.

Firstly, let me just put it out there that the oral consumption of these did nothing for me. I did not notice any significant difference with the texture or complexion of my skin. Neither did I see any improvement with the quality of my hair.

What worked wonders is the external application of this oil. So every night I nip open a capsule and apply the oil all over and under my eyelids, on my forehead, my neck and decolletage ( these are my driest patches of skin), and rub the remainder on the ends of my hair and elbows.

Doing this faithfully for a couple of weeks had left my skin and the ends of my hair so soft , healthy and nourished that it is unbelievable.

Vitamin E oil used right before bed, is by far better than any serum or night cream that I have ever tried and it soaks right in making the plumping effect instant, and not feeling greasy or oily at all.

Beauty Tip: If Vitamin-E oil in its original form is too heavy for your skin, you can always add  few drops to your favorite lotion/serum and store the rest for later.

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Products I’ve Used Up : 1st Edit

When going through my stuff I realise that I am a bit of a hoarder, there aren’t a lot of products that I have used up and I still  purchase that one odd thing here and there to add to my stash. Most beauty/pampering products are  not like toothpaste or shampoo,which you will religiously re-purchase for well…hygienic reasons.

However, if  I do manage to finish something… anything for that matter ! It amazes me and I give myself a pat on the back ! So here are my thoughts on 3 products that I recently used up (loved them) and can now honestly have an “Opinion” about.

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1) Eucerin Aquaporin Active Moisturising Cream  (Rich) : For starters let me tell you, that my skin situation isn’t a pleasant one, with very dry and dehydrated skin I can never have a lotion/cream  that can keep the surface of my face moist for more than a couple of hours. Sure, I have been recommended  those thick oily formulas which will work just fine on the dryness, but will most definitely result in a bout of unwanted pimples.

Eucerin’s Aquaporin range is the answer for all of those people who have dry dehydrated skin, or even those with normal skin but bouts of dehydration (try the “Light” version). With a lotion like consistency this is a fast absorbing, non oily treat and will leave the skin feeling plump and nourished for hours.

Beauty Tip: This also lives up to it’s claim of being an excellent base for your make-up.

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2) CLinique Lipliner 29 Sky Violet : This lip liner does not seem like anything special at first glance, however, for those of us warmer toned gals, who want a beautiful mauve-y pink this is perfect. Strangely enough this is one of the easiest things to line your lips with and can be worn with pinks, nudes, purples and browns making it very versatile.

Also one of my favourite ways to wear this lip-liner was on its own, it gave the most beautiful pouty effect with a hint of the violet hue . ( Although do note that I have quite pigmented lips).

Beauty Tip : This is not a very creamy formula, but is not as tough as MAC liners either. Which makes the application easy and the staying power very good ! Win-Win Situation !

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3) Bath and Body Works 3 wick Candle (Espresso Bar): Are you one of those people who’s nerves are calmed instantly  by that smell of freshly brewed coffee ?? Then this candle is for you !! I have never burned a candle this fast in my life ! And mind you it wasn’t a small one either.

Now the scent of this candle makes it either a hit or a miss, there is no real middle ground and the scent remains as strong as when you first burn it…all the way up until the bottom. With the rich aroma of coffee wafting through your rooms/home, this candle is any coffee lover’s dream and I will repurchase it forever. Unfortunately, though it was a seasonal candle, and even though I have quite a few other scents left with me to burn,I keep going back to different Bath and Body Works stores and inquiring if these are back in “Season” yet. Sighhh …

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Beauty Alternatives : Salt and Oil

With a beauty industry as saturated as today’s, it isn’t surprising that there is a product for everything. In fact go have a quick peak at your beauty/make-up stash, you are likely to find at least a couple of products that you dint even know could serve a useful purpose in your make-up/beauty regime a few years ago.

Having scoured malls and  seen one beauty product after another, sometimes the mind craves an alternative, something that you don’t have to dish out a casual 100 AED or 10BD ( $26.5), every time you run out of it.

Shopper’s Note: The beauty/ make-up products are significantly more expensive in the GCC, especially when compared to the USA.

There are 2 products to which I have sort of found my own alternatives to and they have worked for me, for quite some time now so I thought I would share.

1) Make-Up Brush Cleaners:

Yes, these are wonderful detergents that promise to remove all the residue from your make-up brushes and provide a clean bacteria free application the next time you reach out for them. The problem is …. if you have an active schedule/routine and enjoy slapping your products on (like me), you will go through these like water ! Which can make you cringe a bit every time you reach the end of a bottle.

Alternative: Anti-bacterial hand soap and oil.

The oil (Argan,Olive,Almond..whatever your pick is) will help break down all make-up residue especially liquid/cream products off the bristles of the brushes, this works especially well for synthetic brushes and also brushes that are quite dense.

Obviously since oil is heavy, make sure you only use a very tiny amount just enough to work the product off, otherwise you shall be left with a shapeless mess of bristles on a stick.

After working the oil into the bristles, take one pump of anti-baterial soap and work the brush (now coated with oil) into the soap and rinse-off.

Leave them side-ways on a wash-cloth to dry !

Voila !! Fresh,soft,clean bacteria free brushes,  also this is not a time-consuming process ! I did 10 brushes within 3-5 minutes.

Cleaning Tip : For some extra anti-bacterial action, pop a few drops of tea-tree oil into the base oil.

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Argan Oil

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Working It !

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Rinse Away

 

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Squeaky Clean

2) Volumizing/Texturizing sprays:

For those with fine/limp hair , you know this was one product that brought glory to your crown, and had you wanting to take more pictures at events because.. well your locks don’t get mistaken for a greasy mess no more ! And I must admit I love my volumizing/texturizing spray and that boost that it gives my roots, but after doing this everyday for a week … I couldn’t deal with the aftermath.

Aftermath: 1) you have weird gunky (hairspray-ish) residue in your hair, and its a vicious cycle of wash, spray….go through the day and wash again !

2) You are washing your hair everyday ! which means sulphate overload and hair fall.

Alternative: Table Salt. Yes .. the stuff that you sprinkle on your food ! Now please read further before you think this is far-fetched. Salt is a great natural cleaning agent, and when reading an article about its cleansing properties, and realising the effects of sea salt hairsprays I decided to see if it worked to give volume to the hair, without leaving that grit behind. After a couple of trial and errors, this step by step procedure now works wonders to give volume to my hair sans any residue and has also helped increase the clean hair time I get between 2 washes !

  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of Table Salt onto the palm of your hand and add about 2 drops of water creating a semi-solid paste. ( Don’t add two much water, we are not aiming for a liquid-y texture)
  • Part your hair and rub mixture into your roots ( Please do NOT be aggressive just gently massage it in) (Caution: If you have a sensitive scalp or any open wounds this is NOT for you)
  • Wait 5 minutes.
  • Get into the shower , apply conditioner first wait a bit and then shampoo.

This will give you soft managable hair with no residue, and a visible lift to your roots. I do this once every 2 washes.

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Table Salt

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With a few drops of water. (This is the consistency that you are aiming for !)

Note: My attempts to take pictures of my hair, a before and after shot , were just impossible (hence the step-by step procedure), but basically if you have ever used a volumizing hairspray ,the effects aren’t as dramatic (in terms of lift and volume), however the volume is subtle, yet with a clean scalp and tangle free hair !

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