Sunday, 24 February 2013

Barbara Daly Super Sheer Loose Powder review: A nice little find

Barbara Daly Super Sheer Loose Powder

I picked up this Barbara Daly loose powder as an emergency face powder when I was in the UK for Christmas and had run out of my usual Urban Decay Razor Sharp Finishing Powder. The only shop within reasonable driving distance was a huge Tesco.

I love shopping for cosmetics in supermarkets... It's the thrill of browsing lesser-known brands, mixed with the convenience of being able to pick a little something up with my groceries. Barbara Daly Make-up is exclusive to Tesco, but it's rare to find a Tesco that stocks it, so I was excited to finally see it out in the wild.

The description of this powder is:

Our ultra-light, non-caking, non-drying finishing powder gives a natural, translucent finish.

Barbara Daly Super sheer loose powder is ultra-fine and silky smooth, containing light-diffusing particles to give skin a flawless finish. A must-have for your make-up bag, its soft formula is great for setting your make-up, reducing the appearance of pores and giving a flawless, professional finish.

The packaging is very... compact. At only 3.5g, it's pretty small for a powder. It comes with a mirror in the lid, and a small, square-shaped puff which is too small to be effective. I did try, but it was literally impossible to get any powder on my face with it. I might as well have been dabbing powder on using two fingers... that's how tiny it is.

Barbara Daly Super Sheer Loose Powder puff

The powder is dispensed through holes which can easily be covered and uncovered by twisting the stopper.

Barbara Daly Super Sheer Loose Powder close-up

The powder feels ultra-light, as described. It's not quite as fine as Urban Decay Razor Sharp Finishing Powder but it is still notably fine and silky. The powder is pale to the eye, but is designed to be translucent (although I think it may be more visible on dark skin).

Barbara Daly Super Sheer Loose Powder swatch

This powder goes on invisible on my skin with no chalkiness. I just lightly brush it on for an immediate mattified and airbrushed finish. The description mentions "light-diffusing particles" but I was happy to find that there are no shimmer particles in this powder.

It works really well over my Amarté Natural Finish BB Cream, and doesn't leave an obvious "powdered" look.

While this powder stops my face looking full-on shiny for most of the day (it diffuses the shine so it doesn't look as "oily"), I find that I need to blot with a tissue around my nose within a few hours if I want to maintain a truly matte appearance. It doesn't hold up to oil as much as a silica and silicone-heavy powder (e.g. Urban Decay Razor Sharp, or ELF HD Powder), but I still think it performs well.

I find I can re-apply this powder later in the day without it caking or changing colour.

This powder was only £7, but I'd put the quality up with any premium branded loose powders. I would say it's perfect for anyone who wants a finishing powder that doesn't leave a powdery or cakey finish, and who doesn't need aggressive oil-control.

I only wish the packaging was better. Although at a glance it's perfect - neat and tidy, contains an applicator and has a mirror - it's difficult to get enough powder out of the little holes, and the puff is just too small to be useful. I find it easier to just move the powder to another loose powder compact. I have a really old refillable loose powder compact from Bare Escentuals which I use all the time for loose powder.

Other than the packaging, this loose powder is fantastic and I'd recommend checking it out next time you're in a big Tesco or on

The full ingredients of Barbara Daly Super Sheer Loose Powder are:

Talc, Silica, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Ethylene/MA Copolymer, Mica, Zeolite, Methylparaben, Iron Oxide Yellow, Iron Oxide, Sorbic Acid, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben, Tetrasodium EDTA, Butylparaben, CI 77499, Orchis Mascula, Cyclopentasiloxane, BHT

Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso Cleansing Oil review

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso Cleansing Oil

While in The Body Shop last weekend stocking up on the Ginger Scalp Care shampoo (which is amazing for itchy scalps by the way), I picked up this Moisture White Shiso Cleansing Oil. I'm not usually a fan of The Body Shop skin care, but this cleansing oil sounded interesting.

Here's the description:

This rinse-off cleansing oil removes make-up and impurities. It contains our unique shiso formula. Gently dissolves make-up and lifts away impurities. Does not dry out skin. Specially developed for Asian skin.

Although I've been using hot cloth cream cleansers and milk cleansers for a few years now, I've never tried an cleansing oil. Unless I count using mineral oil to remove waterproof mascara when I was a teenager, which worked really well but used to blur my eyes.

This cleansing oil comes in a standard pour bottle. Personally I'd prefer a pump for convenience but it's fine... it just needs a wipe around the bottle opening every so often.

The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso Cleansing Oil lid

The main reason I wanted to try oil cleansing was because I wanted to be able to remove make-up and cleanse my skin in one step, instead of using face wipes, eye make-up remover, then cream cleanser etc. I've also come to dislike using face wipes because there's always loads of dry ones in the pack, and sometimes I feel like they're too abrasive on my skin, particularly when I'm removing eye make-up.

I'm pleased to say that since I started using this cleansing oil, I've managed to simplify my evening cleansing routine.

To show you how, here's my hand with a variety of water resistant and waterproof make-up on it..

Cleansing oil before

This is a splash of cleansing oil going on...

Cleansing oil after

This is the cleansing oil gently rubbed into the area for a few seconds. The make-up has dissolved with hardly any friction required.

Cleansing oil after

This is my hand after being rinsed with water. Clean as a whistle!

Cleansing oil after

I'm happy with my first cleansing oil so far. I much prefer using just one product and then rinsing it off clean.

I've tried a few different methods of using this cleansing oil, and my preferred method is as follows:

  1. Start with dry skin. Pour about a teaspoon of the cleansing oil onto palm
  2. Use fingers to dab oil generously on areas prone to build-up of sebum or make-up (e.g. sides of nose, chin, and eyelids)
  3. Dab remaining oil to rest of face
  4. Use fingertips to spread and massage oil in circular motions, concentrating on aforementioned areas of concern
  5. Leave eye area to last so that the oil has had more time to start dissolving stubborn make-up and thus needs less rubbing
  6. Rinse thoroughly
I don't find that the cleansing oil works as well mixed with water, so I always use it on dry skin.

After rinsing, my skin really does look and feel clean. When I rinse, the oil comes off completely, taking all traces of make-up and dirt with it. If I use a white towel on my face afterwards, it doesn't get left with remnant make-up.

The first couple of days I used this, I thought my skin seemed a little more dry after rinsing than when I've used a cream/milk cleanser. I really wanted the oil to be moisturising as well as cleansing, but it doesn't seem to be. I guess I wouldn't want any "dirtied" oil staying on my skin anyway...

I'm definitely going to keep using this cleansing oil. I like that it leaves my skin perfectly clean and also saves me time and effort in the evenings.

This cleansing oil was $15 for 125ml (4.2 fl oz).

The full ingredients (I'm not a fan of fragrance being listed) of The Body Shop Moisture White Shiso Cleansing Oil are:

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Emollient), PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate (Skin-Conditioning Agent), Isohexadecane (Emollient/Solvent), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil (Emollient/Skin Conditioner), Glyceryl Behenate/Eicosadioate (Surfactant - Emulsifying Agent), Water (Solvent/Diluent), Fragrance (Fragrance), Perilla Ocymoides Seed Oil (Skin-Conditioning Agent), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Antioxidant), Butylphenyl Methylpropional (Fragrance Ingredient), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (Conditioning Agent, Humectant), Citric Acid (pH Adjuster)

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Amarté Natural Finish BB Cream review: I love this!

Amarté Natural Finish BB Cream samples

I've been looking for a BB cream for ever. The idea of consolidating moisturiser, anti-ageing treatment, sunscreen, foundation and concealer into one easy step is just too appealing to me as someone who isn't a morning person.

I've been scouring BB cream reviews and photos for months, but all the Asian BB creams seem to result in a chalky, unnatural-looking mask for anyone who isn't naturally pale. And most of the "western" BB creams have been deemed too sheer and a waste of time. I started thinking that the treatment+foundation concept was too good to be true.

But, I think I might have just found my perfect BB cream in the form of Amarté Natural Finish BB Cream. I received some mini samples to try and have so far squeezed two days out of them - enough time for me to conclude that I love this product.

This BB cream is SPF 36 and comes in two shades - Light Tint and Natural Tint. Light Tint has a pink tinge and is suitable for anyone who usually buys the palest foundation shades. Natural tint is darker and more beige, and is suitable for anyone with a medium, olive or tanned skin tone.

Amarté Natural Finish BB Cream swatches

Below are the two shades on my cheek (Natural Tint on the left, Light Tint to the right). I can get away with either of these shades because they blend out really well, but you can see that the darker shade, Natural Tint, is an almost perfect match for my beige skin.

Amarté Natural Finish BB Cream swatches on face

This BB cream is quite thick and pigmented, like how you might imagine a heavy duty concealer would be. But the consistency is really smooth and refined, which makes it easy to spread and pat onto the skin. I use it straight after my serum and eye cream, without a moisturiser underneath and I've found it hydrating enough even for my dry skin.

After applying the BB cream all over my face, I pat extra under my eyes as it works amazingly well as a concealer. I can also apply it to my eyelids without it irritating my eyes.

Here are the before and after photos, with just the BB cream, no concealer or powder. In the before photo, my skin looks fairly smooth but I have hyperpigmentation, redness around my nose and chin, and a purple tinge under my eyes. In the after photo, you can see that the BB cream has diffused my freckles and also completely covered up redness and undereye circles. My eyelids are also more even toned and less tired-looking.

Amarté Natural Finish BB Cream before and after

The finish is neither dewy nor matte, and if I didn't have the type of skin that gets shiny during the day, I wouldn't even bother to apply powder because the finish is so nice on its own.

As one of the main ingredients in this BB cream is titanium dioxide (used as a physical sunscreen), the finish reminds of mineral foundation. Light is diffused which gives a really even and luminous appearance, all without any shimmer.

I stopped wearing mineral foundation many years ago due to it flashing back in photos and generally making my skin look shiny wherever light hit it, so I was worried that a BB cream containing mineral sunscreen would do the same. However, I took the below photo with flash, and there doesn't seem to be any major flashback or whiteness.

Amarté Natural Finish BB Cream with flash

As the coverage of this BB cream is medium (it will cover redness and minor spots), it means I definitely need to add contours and blush back on my face to avoid looking too "flat". Here's how the BB cream looks with a light dusting of powder and my face drawn back on.

Amarté Natural Finish BB Cream with make-up

I've found this BB cream to last all day without melting off or disappearing (the only thing is if I've applied too thickly in areas with creases like my nose to mouth lines, it starts to show a bit). Most impressive is the fact that it covers my dark circles all day, which I find difficult to achieve even with heavy duty concealer. It must also have some oil control properties because I tried going without eyelid primer today, and my eyeshadow has hardly creased at all. So that's one more product I can skip in the mornings!

Ok, what's the catch, I hear you ask. It's $80 for 40 ml (1.4 fl oz). That's a lot for a BB cream. But I am definitely going to buy the full size pump bottle because 1) it makes my skin look flawless all day, 2) I have no upper limit on skincare as long as it does good, and 3) this one product is replacing several products which in total cost more than $80 and take me much longer to apply.

At the moment you can buy Amarté products directly from their website at or at (which usually has 10% off if you add a product to your favourites list). The Amarté website mentions that the brand is coming to "luxury retailers" soon too.

The full ingredients of Amarté Natural Finish BB Cream are:

Water, Titanium Dioxide, Propylene Glycol, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Glycerin, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Human Oligopetide-1 (EGF 2-nano), Caviar Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Althaea Rosea Flower Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Elemental Sulfur, Allantoin, Collagen, Dimethicone, Iron Oxide, Ferric Oxide, Tri-iron Tetra-oxide, Stearyl Dimethicone, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Talc, Phenoxyethanol

Disclosure: PR samples

[Update: I bought the full size bottle of this BB cream and I have been using it every day. My skin has been looking good with and without the BB cream on, and I've had no blocked pores from it. I love it! One pump of the bottle covers my whole face so I think the bottle will last a long time.]

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation review: Approved!

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation

I picked up this Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation when I was back in the UK for Christmas and I've worn it every day since.

I bought the shade, Beige 54, which matches my skin tone perfectly.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation Beige 54 swatch

The formula is very fluid and is dispensed evenly from a pump bottle. This foundation contains a lot of silicone ingredients but doesn't have that sitting-on-top-of-the-skin or slippery feeling that you get with some other silicone-based foundations (e.g. Face Atelier). It feels much more watery. There is quite a strong flowery-fruity fragrance but it goes away soon after application.

Once on the skin, this foundation spreads easily with fingers and airbrushes away any unevenness and redness. It really takes just seconds for me to blend this foundation using my fingers because the formula is so light and easy to work with.

Given how watery and weightless the formula is (I can't feel it on my skin at all), the coverage is surprisingly good. I would say it's medium coverage.

The finish is extremely natural - it just looks like a better version of my skin. But what I love is that it looks as fresh at the end of the day as it does when first applied. It's not mattifying by itself (I still need a dusting of powder), but it also doesn't turn greasy through the day.

Here are before and after pictures of me wearing the foundation with no concealer or powder. The photos were taken in exactly the same position and light (a particularly unflattering light that shows up every freckle). You can see it has evened out areas of freckling and redness, but hasn't made my skin look completely opaque. It has also taken the edge off the purple under my eyes, but I would still need to wear undereye concealer.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation before and after

This foundation was only £9.99 from Boots, which is a bargain for a great quality foundation.

Bourjois isn't sold in the US, but sometimes you can find it in stock on who will ship it to the US.

Bourjois also have a foundation called "Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation" which I want to try as well.

The full ingredients of Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation are:

Aqua (Water), Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium chloride, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Alcohol Denat, Parfum (Fragrance), Panthenol, Alcohol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Silica, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Benzoic Acid, Sorbic Acid, [+/- (may contain): Mica, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)]
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