Thursday, 28 March 2013

Make your own beauty products: volcanic bath fizzers

There are times when it is more economical and fun making your own beauty products than buying them from the shops. What about starting with some volcanic bath fizzers, to make your or your children's bath time more special? 

Here is a recipe which I found in The Times newspaper, on 2 June 2011 and I have tried a few times...good luck and have some fun!

  • Witch hazel
  • 50g citric acid
  • 100g sodium bicarbonate
  • 3 drops food colouring
  • fragrance such as rose water or your favourite essential oil
  • a cookie-cutter mold [or even better a rubber mold]  
  • [rubber gloves, optional]

Bath fizzers ingredients


  1. mix together the citric acid and sodium bicarbonate
  2. add your favourite colour and smell
  3. [using a spray bottle] spritz the witch hazel on to your mixture and keep stirring until the mixture starts to stick together
  4. quickly pack the mixture into your mold and leave there for 4 minutes
  5. take the bath fizzer out and leave it to dry in a cool place for 4 hours
  6. pop the fizzer into your bath and see what happens

Bath fizzer
To make the bath fizzer shown in the picture I packed half the amount of the mixture into a table spoon used as a mold.

In my experience a rubber mold works better than any other type of mold, because you can push your bath fizzer out of the mold more easily.
Do not use too much witch hazel or your fizzer will start bubbling  and growing out of control, just spritz a small amount at a time.
When you transfer the mixture into the mold press it firmly, leave for a few minutes and press it again, adding more mixture if necessary.   
You may want to use rubber gloves to protect your hands. 

Have you ever made a bath fizzer and which recipe do you use?

COMING SOON: Make your own luscious lip balm! (click here)

Other recipes:
Make your own Coconut Cleansing milk (click here)
How to make your own Camomile toner (click here) 
Make your own Two Phase Eye makeup Remover (click here) 

Friday, 22 March 2013

Bronzer extravaganza

I am not much of a bronzer person in winter, but as soon as springtime knocks at the door (inspite of the weather!) I love perking up my completion with a touch of bronzer.

Here is a collection of bronzers which I have bought or received as a gift in the past three years. Among the exceptional range of bronzers offered by different brands, I picked up these ones because they stood out for their colour, texture and packaging and here is what I think.

Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Aruba, Nars Laguna, Make Up For Ever Shade 30, Dior Bronze Original Tan - Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder, Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder in 04 Blondes, Sisley Sun Glow Pressed Powder Duo In Peach & Gold, Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Antigua

First row (left to right): Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Aruba, Nars Laguna, Make Up For Ever Shade 30
Second row (left to right): Dior Bronze Original Tan - Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder, Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder in 04 Blondes
Third row (left to right): Sisley Sun Glow Pressed Powder Duo In Peach & Gold, Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Antigua

Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Aruba, Nars Laguna, Make Up For Ever Shade 30, Dior Bronze Original Tan - Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder, Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder in 04 Blondes, Sisley Sun Glow Pressed Powder Duo In Peach & Gold, Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Antigua SWATCHES

Click on the above picture to expand.

Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Aruba is the most shimmery bronzer of the bunch.
When I first tried this bronzer I was a bit heavy handed because it is very sheer and my face ended up looking too glimmery. If you are light handed though, it gives the skin a nice light golden bronze glow.

BB Aruba

Nars Laguna is indeed the most universal shade of bronzer. This brown bronzer suits every skin tone (from fair to medium), it is nice for contouring and works well with a blush on top. Even though I like it, I do not love it, because its shade is a bit too 'neutral' for enhancing my completion on its on. Moreover its texture is very powdery.

In my opinion the most natural shade of bronzer is Make Up For Ever in shade 30, thanks to its red undertone which mimics the natural tone of tanned skin, without looking ruddish. This is my favourite bronzer because it gives me the most believable tan. It does not look like I am wearing bronzer at all, it just looks like I have been on holiday! Moreover for me the texture of this powder is perfection: soft but not powdery and easy to blend. 

Nars Laguna, Make Up For Ever 30

Dior Bronze Original Tan - Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder is a nice light golden bronze powder, just tinged with an orange hue, but very wearable and especially flattering on fair skin with cool tones. 

Dior Bronze Original Tan - Healthy Glow Bronzing Powder

The most orangey and least favourite bronzer is Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder in 04 Blondes! This bronzer looks lovely with its mosaic of peachy-pink, bronze and brown shades in the pan but once applied to the skin it looks way too orangey and shimmery. The texture is a bit dry as well. 

Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder Antigua is the sheerest bronzing powder. This light pink bronzer is not as shimmery as Aruba, or at least the shimmer is much more subtle and it gives the skin a healthy peachy glow. It is more of an illuminating powder or a sheer blush than a proper bronzer.

Guerlain 04 Blondes, BB Antigua

The most adjustable bronzer is Sisley Sun Glow Pressed Powder Duo In Peach & Gold. This bronzer includes a matt light shade to even out and warm up the completion and a slightly shimmery  bronze shade, with a hint of orange to add a pop of colour to your cheeks. The quality of the matt powder in particular is superbly buttery and blendable but the whole product is ridiculously expensive.

Tips for applying bronzer:
  • after swirling the brush in the bronzing powder, remember to tap it very well, e.g. on the back of your hand, to remove excess product, even if you think that there is nothing left on the brush! It is always easier to add more product than to remove too much of it.
  • apply bronzer on your forehead, cheeks, nose and the tip of your chin or for a super quick flattering application, try to draw a 3 on each side of your face swooping the brush from the temple down to the cheekbone and along the jawline. 
  • blend well 
  • if you have applied too much bronzer, try to tone it down by buffing it with some translucent powder. 
  • practice makes perfect
What is your favourite bronzer?

Monday, 18 March 2013

March beauty picks

Here is a handful of products which I am enjoying using this month: Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation, Pukka Gentle Cleanser, Marks and Spencer Autograph Ultimate Wear Nail Colour in Purple, Clarins Jolie Rouge Lipstick in Sweet Plum and Jean Paul Gaultier Classique X.

March beauty picks, Chanel perfection Lumiere, Pukka gentle Cleanser, M&S nail colour, Clarins Sweet Plum, Jean Paul Gaultier Classique X

I actually wrote a post about Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation back in February (full review here) but I like it so much that I had to include it among my favourites this month too. At the moment it is the perfect foundation for my skin because of its good coverage but very natural look. 

Pukka Gentle Cleanser Organic Rosewater & Green Tea Skin Purifying Formula is a creamy cleanser which contains a blend of Ayurvedic herbal ingredients to sooth and purify the skin. I have  been using this cleanser every night this winter to remove makeup. I find this product to be very gentle and soothing on the dry patches of my winter skin, but also very effective in loosening up clogged pores and clearing congested skin.  

Pukka Gentle Cleanser Organic Rosewater & Green Tea Skin Purifying Formula

Marks and Spencer ultimate wear nail colour in Purple was given to me by my mother in-law and I could not have been happier with the shade. Its beautiful plummy pink colour is the perfect trendy alternative to the classic red. Two coats of varnish is all I need to achieve good coverage.

Clarins Jolie Rouge Brilliant Perfect Shine Sheer Lipstick in Sweet Plum was love at first sight. I had been looking for a slightly shimmery, medium plummy pink lipstick like this for a while. Even though its sheer formula does not last very long, it leaves a bit of a stain for a just bitten look. 

Clarins Jolie Rouge Brilliant Perfect Shine Sheer Lipstick in Sweet Plum

Clarins Jolie Rouge Brilliant Perfect Shine Sheer Lipstick in Sweet Plum

Last but not least, Jean Paul Gaultier Classique X Eau De Toilette makes me feel ready for springtime with its fresh, though classic scent of citrus, cedar, iris and peonia and a touch of vanilla. I like the fact that, among the various sizes, it comes in an affordable bottle of 20ml too, which is plenty for me since I never stick to the same scent for too long. 

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique X Eau De Toilette

Friday, 15 March 2013

Beauty from the baby aisle

Since I became a mum seven years ago, I have been browsing the baby aisle in Boots nearly every day and I have discovered a few products, designed for babies, which double up as beauty products for grown ups.

One product I cannot live without is of course baby wipes, like Huggies pure baby wipes (alcohol & fragrance free), which are not only good for wiping bottoms, but excellent for removing makeup (especially mistakes) in a whim. They used to be quite expensive when my daughter was born but now you can get a packet of 64 wipes for £1 because they are often on special offer.

Huggies Pure Simple wipes

And what about the classic baby talcum powder? I sometimes use Johnson's baby powder as a dry shampoo to refresh my hair when I have not had time to wash it and a little goes a long way.

johnson's baby powder

Tommee tippee closer to nature hand serum has recently become another favourite of mine because is one of few hand sanitisers which does not dry out my hands since it does not contain alcohol nor bleach. This gel is claimed to kills 99% bacteria and viruses and to provide protection from germs up to six hours (click here for the product specification)The 50 ml bottle  is handy to carry in my bag to quickly wash big and little hands when 'soap and water' is not available or to dab on a sudden spot to keep it at bay in 'emergency'. 

Tommee tippee closer to nature hand serum

Moreover I often use Milton Antibacterial Surface Wipes not only to clean and disinfect baby's stuff on the go, but also my tweezers, make up bag and cosmetic packaging (when I remember!). They come in a packet of 30 fragrance free, biodegradable wipes and  contain 36.17% w/w ethylic alcohol and kill 99% of germs.

Milton Antibacterial Surface Wipes

Last but not least, have you ever noticed that cotton wool pads displayed in the baby aisle are cheaper than the ones available in the regular toiletry aisle?
For example a packet of 100 Boots Essential Cotton Wool Pads that you find in the baby aisle costs £1.39, whereas a packet of 100 Boots Cotton Wool pads (same shape and size)  costs £1.69 and I cannot tell the difference in quality. Since I discovered that, I have  picked up all my toiletry essentials from the baby aisle.

What are your favourite 'double agent' baby products? 


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Nars Large Dome Eye Brush vs. Sephora Classic Rounded Crease Brush

As much as I love my Nars Large Dome Eye Brush number 13 for blending eye shadow to create a soft smoky eye, I find that Sephora Classic Rounded Crease Brush number 13 does a good job too for half the price...but let us take a close look at the two brushes and find out about similarities and differences.

At a first sight Sephora Classic Rounded Crease Brush looks nearly like a dead ringer for Nars Large Dome Eye Brush, apart from the handle which is shorter and thinner. 

Nars Large Dome Eye Brush vs. Sephora Classic Rounded Crease Brush

In fact both brush heads are the same size, have got the same tapered dome shape and are made of soft natural hair, but the  Nars one is fluffier and perfect for blending, whereas the Sephora one is more dense and ideal for adding colour in the crease.

Nars Large Dome Eye Brush vs. Sephora Classic Rounded Crease Brush

Both brushes are excellent for dusting eye shadows over the entire eye lid and in particular for blending it to create a round eye, but if you are on a budget and would like a more versatile brush go for Sephora Classic Rounded Crease Brush, whereas if you can splurge and are looking for the best blender go for Nars Large Dome Eye Brush.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Make up look for brunettes: smokey eyes in forest green and a peachy glow

If you are a brunette, try to wear a green forest eye shadow to make your eyes look brighter, a peachy blush to enhance your skin tone and a rosy-brown lipstick to give your face a lift like in the look below...

Make up look for brunettes

To even out my completion I first applied my usual foundation Chanel Perfection Lumiere in Clair followed by a dusting of the new bareMinerals READY SPF 20 Foundation in R150

bareMineral READY compact foundation

On my cheeks I swiped a peachy pink blush like Nars Orgasm and I added a touch of Nars bronzer in Laguna just below my cheekbones and on my temples to warm my skin.
On my eyes I first applied the dark green shade of the No 7 Forest greens eye shadow duo along my lash line and in the crease with Nars brush number 12, trying to draw a V shape and then I blend the lighter shade of the duo on the eyelid and just above the crease with Nars brush number 13 to combine the two shades together. Both shades of No 7 Forest greens eye shadow duo are slightly shimmery but very wearable. The darker colour is very pigmented but easy to blend while the lighter one is sheerer. In my opinion the two shades blend beautifully if you apply the darker first and then the lighter one, but not as well if you do the other way around.
Finally I added some drama to my eyelashes with the magic wand of Smoky Lash by Make Up Forever.
To complete my look I swiped a rosy brown lipstick like Clarins Jolie Rouge in Desert Rose 708 on my lips. 

Nars Laguna, Nars Orgasm, Clarins Desert Rose Jolie Rouge, No 7 Forest greens duo eyeshadow, Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash, Nars Yachiyo, 12 and 13 brushes

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Nail polish Potion by Number 17: a mesmerising shade of peridot green

A few weeks ago, while browsing in the House of Fraser in Leamington Spa, a bottle of Chanel nail varnish in Peridot caught my eye but I refrained from buying it because of its hefty price tag (and I am not even sure it was still in stock)...after all (I tried to talk myself out of it) how often am I going to wear green on my nails, right? Wrong, because this is not just green but jewel green! So, I got so obsessed with the shade that I had to look for something similar at a friendlier price and at last I have found a mesmerising shade of  olive green with a hint of gold, which resembles the infamous Chanel Peridot very closely:
Potion by Number 17 from Boots for only £2.99!
The varnish itself is quite easy to apply and it dries quite quicky. In order to achieve the same intensity as in the bottle you need to apply 3 coats...I do not know how long it lasts for yet because I have just applied it but I will update this post later on. 

And if you leave in the UK, at the moment in Boots there is an offer 'Buy one, get a second one half price' on all Number 17 products! 

Here are some pictures 

Nail polish Potion by Number 17

Nail polish Potion by Number 17 swatches

Nail polish Potion by Number 17 swatches

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

My top ten Bobbi Brown blushes

One of my favourite makeup products is blush because a touch of colour on your cheeks is the perfect pick me up and pulls a makeup look together. 
One of my favourite brand for blushes is Bobbi Brown, because they come in a fabulous range of colours, are pigmented, long lasting, do not break me out and even though they are 'high end' they are still cheaper then other famous brands.
Here are my top ten Bobbi Brown blushes grouped by matte, shimmery and creamy. 

Bobbi Brown Blush Desert Rose, Desert Pink, Tawny, Nectar, Pale Pink

The five blushes in the above picture are all matte.
On Bobbi Brown  web site Desert Rose is described  as a 'muted pinky brown' and in my opinion it is a neutral light pink that you can apply with your eyes shut and gives you a touch of a natural healthy glow.
Desert Pink is described as a soft natural pink and for me it is a warm light pink, slightly deeper than Desert Rose, but still very easy to apply without going overboard. If your skin is fair both Desert Rose and Desert Pink are very wearable and will work  with any look.
Tawny is described as a medium pinky brown and although it suits my colouring very well, by adding a nice warmth to my completion and making my brown eyes pop, I need to be light handed when applying it on my fair skin.
Nectar is indeed a bright pink coral and Pale Pink is a bright cool pink and both work well as a pop of colour for an outdoorsy glow on top of bronzer or of a natural blush. Although I expected a warm shade like Nectar to suit my colouring better than a cool shade like Pale Pink, I actually find the latter more flattering on me.

Bobbi Brown Blush swatches Desert Rose, Desert Pink, Tawny, Nectar, Pale Pink

The next three blushes are shimmery but very wearable because the shimmer is finely milled.

Bobbi Brown shimmery blush Coral, Bahama Brown, Washed Rose

Coral is a soft coral, almost tangerine colour and it looks juicy when paired with a red lipstick.
Bahama Brown, a neutral-cool mauve brown, does not look appealing in the pan, which may be one reason why it has been discontinued (?), but it turns into a very natural bronzy glow on the skin and works well with a pop of a brighter colour on top, such as Pale Pink or Washed Rose.
Washed Rose, described as a warm rose sugar, is a beautiful shimmery rose which looks very flattering on   brunettes.

Bobbi Brown shimmery blush swatches Coral, Bahama Brown, Washed Rose

The last two blushes are the famous creamy Pot Rouge, easy to pat and blend on the apple of the cheeks for a just-pinched look.

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Powder Pink and Pale Pink

Powder Pink is described as a light pink and for me it is a light pinky brown which looks very natural on both warm and cool fair skin tones and goes well with any look, but Pale Pink, a bright pastel pink, gives me more of a healthy look. 

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Powder Pink and Pale Pink swatches

Monday, 4 March 2013

The French pharmacy comes to the rescue of problematic skin

Whenever my skin goes through a problematic phase, like an outbreak of blemishes or it is sensitive and reactive the 'French pharmacy' brand La Roche-Posay comes to the rescue with a few effective, spa water enriched and affordable products. Here are some of my favourite ones:

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel gently cleanses and purifies my skin when it is blemish prone. Since my skin is not particularly oily I only use it once a day in the evening to remove my makeup.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel

Effaclar Ingredients:

Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, PEG-8, Coco-Betaine, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Zinc PCA, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance

To help keep my skin clear and smooth, I love using  Effaclar K daily renewal moisturizer, a lightweight, fluid cream which contains 1.5% salicylic acid, an ingredient which exfoliates not only the surface of the skin but also inside the pore. I use it only once a day in the evening but it is suitable for use under makeup.

Effaclar K daily renewal moisturizer

Effaclar K Ingredients:

Active: Salicylic Acid 1.5%, Other: Water, Di-C12-13 Alkyl Malate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Propylene Glycol, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-4 Dilaurate, PEG-4 Laurate, Zinc PCA, Sodium Hydroxide, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, PEG-4, Fragrance

When I recently developed an eczema type of rash on my eyelids I found relief in applying Toleriane Ultra Intensive soothing care moisturizer. I love how light but highly hydrating this cream is and the fact that it is gentle enough to be be used on both face and eyes. In fact it does not contain any  preservative since it is housed in special airtight packaging with pump and it is fragrance free. 

Toleriane Ultra Intensive soothing care moisturizer

Toleriane Ultra Ingredients:

Water, Isocetyl Stearate, Squalane, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Shea Butter, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Pentylene Glycol, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethiconol, Sodium Hydroxide, Acetyl Dipetide-1 Cetyl Ester, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer

And if you live in the UK The Garden Pharmacy offers 33% discount on La Roche-Posay during March 2013! Click here.