Laura's weblog Beauty, food, photos and more!

30Jun/121

Figs & Rouge (Lip) Balm

I put "lip" in parentheses in the title, because as you can see in the picture, they actually call this a "lip, face & body balm". However, I doubt I will actually be using it for anything other than my lips, so, yeah. It comes in a cute little pink tin.

This is what the balm itself looks like. It's made of 100% natural, organic ingredients, just oils and butters, so it's a plain white balm. It's solid in the tin, but melts easily once you rub your finger over the top.

This is what it looks like on the lips, immediately after applying. I feel it's important to add that, because I don't think I've used a lip balm before that gets absorbed into my skin this well. Most balms just seem to leave a coating on top of my lips, which, while at least preventing them from drying out more, doesn't really moisturise them either. That film than gradually disappears as you eat, drink and talk. This balm, however, gets completely absorbed into the skin of my lips within minutes, and really does feel quite nourishing. I like it! So in terms of looks, it's slightly glossy at first, but then becomes matte again and just leaves your lips looking and feeling hydrated.

The only thing I didn't like that much about this balm is the scent. It's kind of a sweet rosy scent, which I guess a lot of people will consider quite nice... but to me it just feels kind of weird to have flowery perfumed lips? Yeah, I dunno, it's probably just me. I will still continue to use it for its nice hydration, though. :)

29Jun/121

Toni&Guy Casual Sea Salt Texturising Spray

So, this is the sea salt texturising spray that I got in my Glossybox. It's supposed to give your hair more volume and texture, in a coarse sort of way -- as if you've spent the day at the beach with sea water and sand and such -- and also allow you to easily create a sort of naturally wavy hairstyle.

Instructions on the bottle. Pretty simple, right? Spray into dry hair, finger comb, let dry, and you're done. Let's go ahead and try that.

My hair before...

...and after. Yeah, so, um. It looks nearly the same as before, except, well, messier. And not in the nonchalant "I'm a cool surfer girl" messy kind of way, either. Just in the "I cycled through a rainstorm and didn't bother to comb my hair once after it'd dried" kind of way. Also, it has virtually no extra volume, and definitely didn't spontaneously develop any curls or waves.

Even though I'd pretty much done exactly as the bottle instructed, I figured I had to be doing something wrong. I looked up a couple tutorials online, and most of them recommended a rather different approach: apply to damp/towel-dry hair rather than completely dry; apply enough of the spray so that it gets quite damp again; and then twist into tight buns and let it dry that way, or you probably still won't get any curls/waves if your hair is naturally straight. Huh.

So I decided to try that approach the next morning. I allowed my hair to air-dry for half an hour or so after showering, then applied the sea salt spray quite generously, sectioned my hair, and twisted each section up into a little bun. Now, my hair takes 2-3 hours to air-dry even when it's just hanging there loosely (there's a reason I blow-dry it every morning), and tied into a braid or bun it can literally take ALL DAY to dry, or even still be slightly damp by the time I go to bed. So, rather than letting it dry in the buns completely, I took them out after an hour and a half or so, though I did leave my hair hanging down in the "twist" shapes that I'd created until it was completely dry (which probably took about four hours in total). At that point, I just sort of shook it out/finger combed my hair a little, without actually combing it. This was the end result:

So, this time around it actually did get fairly curly/wavy. However... I don't really feel like the effect is any stronger than I would have achieved if I had just put my wet-from-shower hair up in those tight twisty buns and let it dry. Yeah. Um. Maybe it's just me or my hair type or whatever, but I'm really kind of failing to see the added value of the sea salt spray. Especially at a price of €13 per bottle that would last you maybe 5-6 uses if your hair is as long as mine.

28Jun/121

Glossybox for June

Another month, another Glossybox! Are you curious to see what June's box holds?

The theme for this month is "summer", so all the products are related to that in some way. Let's have a closer look at them...

First, there is a sea salt texturising spray by Toni & Guy, which you can use to create a beachy/surfer type hair style. I've heard of these types of salt sprays before, but never actually tried them, so I'm curious! This is a travel size item; the full size normally retails for €12.99. Over on the right end is a balm by Figs & Rouge, which can be used for dry lips but also simply for dry skin in general. This is a full sized tin which retails for €3.95.

The bright yellow bottle is a sample sized version of Biotherm SPF30 sunscreen. The full size of this is, in my opinion, kind of ridiculously expensive (€27 for just 200ml) so I'm rather curious to see if this is actually nicer in any way than my usual drugstore's home brand sunscreen (€5 for 250ml or something like that).  Finally, there are two items to help you get your feet all ready to be shown off in your flip-flops (or whatever other "open" summer shoes you normally wear). A heel rescue balm for dry feet by Alessandro, with a RRP of €7.95 (for the full size), and a pair of toe separators to help you apply nail polish without things getting messy. Obviously, that's also a full sized item (or they wouldn't fit anymore, haha) which normally goes for €2.50.

Here's a closer look at the toe spreader things, since I doubt I will be specifically reviewing those in their own blog post. I mean, they're toe spreaders. They spread your toes. What else do you want me to say about them? :P They did come in a cute bag that you can use to store make-up or other items.

So, that's the contents of June's Glossybox! Overall, I have to say I'm a bit less impressed with this month's box than I was with the previous two. April's box had generous samples of quite high-end products, and May's box had regular drugstore products, but those were full sizes... the brands in this month's box are not all that special, if you ask me, and yet they are mostly sample sizes. Still, it's always nice to try out some new products that you might not have bought, otherwise :)

26Jun/121

Bikini Waxing: Veet Ready-To-Use Wax Strips

Soooo this is going to be by far the most TMI beauty related post I've ever written. Unlike my usual reviews, this will not include any pictures. (Were you seriously expecting any? Come now.)

I have been shaving my bikini area since I was like, 14 or something, I think. It's always been a bit more sensitive than shaving my legs or underarms, but over the past year or so, things had gotten particularly bad. After shaving, the entire area would be sensitive to the point of feeling chafed and sore, not just for a couple hours, but at least a full day. Then once new hairs started growing in, that process would itch. Now, it would only take a day or so for regrowth to start happening, and then another day for the hairs to be visible enough that I'd want to shave again.

So, effectively, I was trapped in a cycle of one day of pain, one day of itching, and right back to pain again. I tried various kinds of razors, different brands of shaving cream, shaving with and without any cream, etc. Nothing seemed to make much of a difference. Then, one day last month, I was at the store and they had these ready-to-use cold wax strips on sale, intended specifically for use on the bikini line (or underarm area). Now, I'd tried wax strips on my legs once, a couple years ago, and this was basically a complete disaster: it seriously hurt, and on top of that, it just simply didn't remove any hair. Like, the entire 2x4" strip had removed a grand total of 3 hairs or something, while instantly leaving my skin so irritated I didn't dare apply another strip to the same area. I had never before dared to expose the even more sensitive skin of my bikini line to that torture. But this time, being completely fed up with the vicious cycle of shaving, I decided to buy and try them.

I used them that very same day, and, well. It wasn't pleasant. Actually, that's a bit of an understatement. :P I applied the first strip, and stood there for about a full minute before I dared pull it off and then oh my god pain. But, when I looked at the wax strip, it had also managed to pull out a pretty decent amount of hair. So, I kept at it, and some 15 minutes and 8 wax strips later, most of the hair was gone. Well, when I say most, I really only mean about 60% or so, since the rest of it was either too thick or lying too flat against my skin to be able to be yanked out by the wax strips. So, I removed the rest of it using the epilator that I normally use on my legs, which was now quite doable on the already endorphine-numbed area. :P

So, yeah, I'm not gonna lie, it was painful. Quite so. And keep in mind that this is coming from someone with a high pain tolerance. Also, I was still sore for a full day afterwards, but it was a completely different kind of soreness; whereas after shaving, my skin would feel chafed and irritated and hurt upon pretty much any contact with clothing etc., this felt almost like a bruise, hurting much farther "underneath" the skin (where the hair follicles are located, I'm guessing?) and only upon pressure being applied. And, most importantly... with shaving I'm in for a day of soreness, knowing that I'll have to do it all over again in just two days, whereas this time, once the soreness subsided, I was still hair-free for another two weeks. OMG -- best thing ever.

Just for that, I knew it would be worth it to try it again, even though I still clearly remembered the pain from the first time. About three weeks after my first attempt, the new (soft fuzzy baby) hairs had grown out enough to wax them again. So I did, and oh wow -- world of difference. You know how you'll hear people say that your first-ever wax is by far the worst? THIS IS TRUE. Of course, I'm not going to say the second time around, things were suddenly entirely painless, but it doesn't even compare to the first time, when you have those super coarse hairs built up from years of shaving. Plus, this time around the strips removed like 90% of the hairs, rather than just 60% or so the first time around. Rather than getting out my epilator again, I just used tweezers to get rid of the last couple of hairs. Also, this time, even though the waxing process itself was still a little bit painful, my skin wasn't sore at all, afterwards, not even for a little while.

So, yeah, I wasn't sure whether I should write a post about this, considering the subject matter, but I felt like I had to, because it worked out so well for me. Seriously, to all the girls reading this, if you've ever considered waxing but were too scared to, try it. At least twice, before you give up on it, because the second time will be much, much easier.

I liked these wax strips, too. Well, obviously I don't really have anything to compare them with, but they're a nice size, the wax works pretty well, and I like that they come with little cloths drenched in some kind of magical solution that is actually able to get the sticky wax remnants off your skin. (Seriously, I've tried like four different soaps and shampoos as well as alcohol and acetone, but NOTHING besides those wipes seems to be able to get the wax of my hands. O.o) They're € 2.39 for a pack of 16 wax strips plus 4 wipes, which will probably last you 2-4 applications depending on how large an area you're doing, etc. Given that you'll only need to do this once every two to four weeks, that's pretty cheap, too.

25Jun/121

Revitalash Eyelash Conditioner

Remember how I got a Revitalash sample in my first Glossybox, back in April? After applying it about every other day on average, it's nearly run out by now, so it's time to evaluate! Let's do some side-by-side pictures, shall we?

This is my right eye, before and then after, with and without mascara.

And my left eye as well, although it appears I didn't take a "before" picture with mascara there.

So, what do I think? Subjectively, my lashes feel slightly fuller and longer, especially if I compare the way they look when wearing mascara (the same mascara before and after, obviously). In the mirror and in real life, I mean. The difference is subtle, however, and I have to admit I can hardly see it in the pictures up above. I do feel like it has a bit of an effect, but it isn't dramatic or miraculous enough to justify using a $100 eyelash conditioner, in my opinion. Hell, I wouldn't even use a conditioner that pricey on my regular hair, and the difference would probably be much more noticeable there. :P

The most remarkable change is actually visible on the lash line of my left eye. If you look at the "before" picture for that one, you can see there's a noticeable bald spot near the corner of my eye. This is entirely my own fault, as I go through occasional phases where I compulsively pull out my own lashes. Now, this actually hadn't happened for quite some time when I took that photo, yet that spot had been hairless for several weeks, maybe even months (I hadn't really kept track). This had led me to believe that due to the repeated pulling (I have been doing this for over ten years), I had managed to damage the hair follicles in that area to the point of the lashes just not growing back anymore. But... they have. Check out the bottom two photos; they are now nearly as full and long as the rest of my lashes again. I have no way of knowing whether this is a direct result of the Revitalash stuff, but if it is, that's pretty damn awesome.

Even if it is, though... nope, still not going to spend $100 on eyelash conditioner every three months. Sorry ;)