Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Review: L'oreal Professionnel Intense Repair Mask

In this post I will be reviewing one of my all time favorite HG products, which I've been using for years and years... and will continue to do so; the L'Oreal Professional Series Expert Absolut Repair Masque.

If you are regularly dying your hair, or using heat tools (flat iron, blowdryer etc.), and experiencing breakage, then this product is for you.

At times I try to replace this mask with other treatments, as I like to rotate products I use on my hair, but I have to say this is the ONE that always yields the best results; manageable, strong hair, without feeling too "heavy", despite the product's thick creamy consistency.

The company claims this product intensively nourishes dry to very dry hair, and it lives up to it.


- Moisturizing without adding weight
- "A little goes a long way", as with all L'oreal Professionnel hair products. I only have to use a tiny amount on towel-dried hair, concentrating on my "fried" ends and the tube lasts me for at least 3 months (I apply it twice a week).
- Lives up to its claims, and results are visible on first application
- Minimizes breakage as it helps keep hair moisturized and shiny


- A little on the pricier side
- Takes a while to wash off. I have to rinse my hair for at least five minutes full blast to take any product residue off. Careful not to leave any on, as it will result in making your hair dull looking.


Product packaging states to leave it on towel-dried clean hair for 5-10 mins, enough time for the mask to do its work.

Also keep in mind to use a small amount each time, as it's easy to get carried away when using such products. I used to be the kind of person who would go through a tube in 3 weeks, until I was recommended by a stylist to use the smallest possible amount, because overconditioning can actually damage the hair, and that the product would work best when used this way, which I have found to be true.

I also discovered that using this after a clarifying shampoo (any drugstore brand is fine really) is even better, as it leaves the hair squeaky clean and the product is absorbed more efficiently.

An entire line of "intense repair" products is available, but I definitely wouldn't recommend splurging on them, unless your hair is severely damaged; all you really need is this mask. 

Final thoughts:

As I said, its no coincidence I have gone through numerous tubes of this product for years.

Defo a repurchase for me~!


Sunday, 25 September 2011

ETUDE HOUSE Proof 10 liquid liner review

One reason I 'm a fan of Korean "drugstore" cosmetic brands, Missha and ETUDE HOUSE being my top choices in make-up, is the fact that you get decent quality for what you pay for.

I'm always on the lookout for a good waterproof liquid liner, that is non-irritating with good lasting power, as my eyes can get extremely watery from time to time.

The proof 10 liquid liner did its job perfectly and I like how it doesn't give me that extremely "glossy" finish, which I often get with drugstore brand liners.


- Long lasting (no flaking)
- Waterproof (I just had to point this out, as I have previously purchased so-called "waterproof" liquid liners that ended up straight in my crease...)
- Easy to remove with my regular facial soap (no need for make up remover)
- Non irritating


- The brush; loved it the first week, but with consistent every-day use the bristles no longer worked for me so I had to give it a trim (to half the size). My guess is that it probably "loosened" with use, resulting in flimsy thick lines, which I hate. After the "trim" it works fine though... ;)

Final words:

Don't know if I will be repurchasing this, as I would like to give other brands a chance (like the Clio pen liner), once I'm done using it.

Excluding the packging, I would recommend this eyeliner for the formula.


Saturday, 24 September 2011

Does Biotin really make your hair grow faster?

Speaking from personal experience, I would say it does.

Having tried the most expensive hair supplements in the market, which can turn out to be quite costly (but have also worked for me in the past), I decided to give straight biotin supplements a try, after a not-so-pleasant hair disaster.

I started by taking 300mg (SOLGAR brand) initially, along with a vitamin B complex (since I read it helps), which didn't seem to do much, until I upped the dose to 900mg that resulted in a one inch growth per month, on average. I could immediately tell from my roots, as I dye my hair.

Quite impressive and cost-effective!

Now there are a few things that must be taken into account, before taking Biotin supplements, one being acne. I found that, taking over 300mg has resulted in persistent, small cysts, due to excessive sebum production, so it would be best to increase water intake and use acne preventative products if you are prone to breakouts. If you find that this doesn't work either, then perhaps it would be best to lower it to a "safer" dosage... you'll still get the benefit of stronger and healthier new hair AND nails.

Another unpleasant side effect from taking biotin was insomnia, probably because I didn't do my research and took supplements late in the evening (big mistake...).

Biotin is best taken with meals and can also be found in fooods like nuts, eggs, milk and veggies, like cucumbers.

If you're on a mission to grow long and healthy locks, I will share a few hair growth tips that work for me, in conjunction with taking Biotin and B-complex supplements;

  • Stimulating blood circulation by using a sparse wooden bristle brush, concentrating on the scalp, not only worked for me, but also helped decrease my frequent headaches.
  • Washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo (I use the Pantene Pro-V Clarifying Shampoo) can also be helpful, as it removes excess sebum from your scalp and product buildup from your hair. Since it can be extremely drying, its best to follow with a nourishing hair mask. Some people swear by Head and Shoulders, but it did absolutely nothing for me.
  • If your hair is chemically treated, make sure you use treatments and serums, every time you're out of the shower to prevent breakage and keep your locks moisturized (esp. if you're using hot tools to dry your hair).
  • Keeping my hair up in a bun, has also promoted hair growth. Just make sure your bun is not too tight; pulling the hair tightly does NOT equal hair growth, but a loose bun will protect your hair from potential damage and breakage, esp. during sleep.

If you have any hair growth tips that worked for you, I'd love to hear them! ^__^

Friday, 23 September 2011

The health benefits of Rucola, also known as rocket leaves... and a delicious salad recipe!

Rucola, otherwise known as rocket leaves, or arugula, is an aromatic, spicy  salad green... perfect for adding a peppery taste to your salad.

A natural source of Vitamins, AND low in calories.

100 grams of Arugula leaves offer (among other nutrients);

  • over 2000IU of Vitamin A (your ally for healthy skin and a boost to your immune system.
  • approximately 25% of your daily Vitamin C recommended intake
  • over 100mg of Vitamin K (a powerful antioxidant)
I believe, its always best to take your vitamins from natural food sources, instead of resorting to supplements, so next time you pop into the grocery store, you may consider grabbing a bag of Arugula leaves.

Arugula Salad Recipe (simple and easy to make):

A salad I often treat myself to, since its so easy to make, when I am in a hurry, offering the right nutrients in no time!

You will need;

  • 2 tomatoes (medium sized are approx. 22 kcal)
  • 1 cucumber - peeled (approx. 44 kcal)
  • 100 grams of rocket leaves (25 kcal)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of Virgin Olive oil (approx 100 kcal)
  • Cayenne Pepper (for the brave)
  • Dried Sage (I love the fresh minty flavor)
  • A pinch of salt (I use a salt substitute to prevent water retention; recommended if you have an underactive thyroid)
Chop your veggies and mix them with your spices well for a rich taste, add your oil and vinegar, mix again...

And Voila!!

An easy to make, nutritious, filling salad with less than 200 calories!

  • If you are following a low-calorie/restricted, diet, you may want to skip on the oil. 
  • In case you find that the peppery taste is too strong for you, I recommend sprinkling your salad with grated cheese... as it will cancel out the spicy effect!

For a healthy meal suggestion, you can accompany your salad, with gluten-free rice cakes (approx 25 kcal each), to satisfy your carb cravings,and a cup of cottage cheese (approx 180 calories), for a protein boost.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Three easy steps to achieve long lasting vibrant red lips...

Vibrant red lips are THE trend for Fall 2011, and an absolute classic, when matched with a bold, clean cut, cat-eyeliner look.

So I thought it was the perfect time to share a fool-proof method, which will ensure your red lips stay put and vibrant for the entire day...

Before applying any kind of lip product its always a good idea to prime/moisturize your lips. I prefer MAC's lip primer for this job, as it keeps my lips moisturized, yet not overly greasy and slippery. 

On to the method...

Step 1: Stain your lips...

The first and most important step is to stain your lips, using a red/deep pink lip stain product.

Make sure you use a liquid consistency stain, any brand will do the job.

This step will help you achieve a bright red tinted base, which literally won't budge, even if your lipstick wears off and you forget to re-apply throughout the day.

Step 2: Line your lips...

Using a red lip liner, define the outline of your lips to prevent your lipstick from bleeding.

Filling in your lips with a red lip liner, can also serve as an additional base, prior to applying lipstick.

Step 3: Apply a matte textured lipstick... 

I find that matte textures are the best, especially for this look, since it doesn't detract from color, and lasts way longer than glossy lipstick finishes. 

From personal experience, for this step, I highly recommend MAC matte finish lipsticks, my favorite, along with satin finish. If you have a favorite drugstore brand, that works for you, it will do. :)

In case you have trouble finding the right tone for you, I suggest matching your lipstick to your skin tone.

  • If you are cool-toned, go for cool-toned lipstick shades, like MAC's Russian Red; THE perfect red shade, with blue undertones (also recommended if you want your teeth to look whiter). 

Russian Red (Matte Finish)

  • If you are warm-toned, a warmer, orange-based red, will look very flattering. "So Chaud" by MAC is a perfect example.
So Chaud (Matte Finish)
  • A universal fiery orange red tone that could work for both warm and cool skin tones is MAC's lady danger, thanks to its coral undertones.
Lady Danger (Matte Finish)

Hope this was helpful!  ^___^

Swatches taken from: http://www.maccosmetics.com

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

L'Oreal Professionnel MYTHIC OIL review

Hair products are definitely a weak spot for me, I'm always up for trying something new, especially when it claims to be as good as the product I will be reviewing in this post.

L'Oreal Professionnel hair care products rarely fail to meet my expectations. The price may be a downside to this range, but always works out much cheaper than drugstore hair treatments, as I find a little goes a long way.

L'Oreal Professionnel Mythic Oil is no exception to the rule. It visibly improves how my hair looks and reduces hair breakage, every time I style it. :)


- Perfect for all hair types. I was initially sceptical about this claim, since I have super fine color-treated hair, and usually oil-based products are a major no-no for me, but to my surprise it didn't weigh my hair down at all.

- Lightweight consistency; as stated, no weigh down, dullness or excessive oiliness (when applied carefully towards the ends) and of course less buildup than "heavier" products I've tried (like John Frieda's Frizz Eaze serum for example)

- Pleasant fruity smell.

- Reduces frizz and helps tame my thin unruly hair.

- Multi-purpose; I use it as a heat protectant and its perfect for finishing touches

- Prevents hair breakage from dryness and styling tools. I use hot tools (flat iron and blowdryer) every time I wash my hair. Ever since I started using the "Mythic Oil" I have much less hair breakage (if any), and less trimming to be done! ^^

- Conditions the hair, making it soft and shiny, without the added stickiness.

- Economical: two drops are more than enough to cover dry/damaged ends, I've had mine for months and the 125ml bottle is still practically full.

- Reduces styling time and frustration. I just love how easily my brush goes through my hair when I use this.


- Steep price (but like I said you'll practically get bored of seeing this on your cabinet, it lasts forever xD)

- Needs to be applied every time you style/ wash your hair, meaning that results are not permanent, which is the case with most treatments anyway (low or high end).


Prior to styling

The only major secret in using anti frizz products, prior to styling, drying, is to apply them when your hair is really wet. (well not dripping wet ^^!!)

To apply, flip your hair down and run your fingers through from the middle the ends, to gently and evenly deposit the oil (don't massage the product into your hair). I found this method works for me since it helps stay away from the roots.

Two pumps are enough at this stage.

After you've styled your hair

If you feel your ends need more moisture, especially if you're prone to get the frizzies, I recommend applying one pump to your dry ends.

This will help smooth your hair and prevent possible frizz.

If don't have to go through this stage, don't, as it would probably end up making your hair oily faster.


Full list of L'Oreal Professionnel Mythic Oil ingredients, as listed on the bottle, for those interested:


Battle of the top coats.

There are so many "raved about" top coats in the market, and I've tried most, having spent hours of reading reviews on makeupalley... still I thought it would be helpful to share my opinion and experiences in using them.

Let the showdown begin! xD

Sally Hansen Mega Shine Top Coat:


-Accelerated drying time

-Made my nails super shiny indeed


-Extended Wear? Don't think so... my nails started chipping, way faster than usual (after the first day), even used over long-lasting, high-end, nail polishes. Often my nail polish would just "flip off" along with the top coat! :O

-If not used with care, you'll end up with a transparent film around your cuticles.

Final Thoughts: Only recommended if you're in a hurry, definitely not worth the hype for me.


EZFLOW Fast Finish top coat:


- Practically none for me, although it comes in efficient packaging, loved the brush.

- Price; very affordable.


- Bubbles... bubbles.... bubbles.... This top coat practically ruined my nail polish on first application, having painstakingly applying my manicure I ended up with mini bubbles all over my nails. Tried it multiple times, under different conditions, environments, I even tried to put it in the fridge, as it supposedly helps keep bubbles to a minimum... didn't work either.

Final thoughts: Definitely not recommended. I may have ended up buying a bad batch but this experience has really put me off giving it another chance.

If anyone else had luck in using this top coat, I'd love to hear your views.


China Glaze Fast Forward Top Coat:


- Dries faster than any other top coat I've tried

- Amazing thin consistency, doesn't look like an "invisible film" over your nail polish

- Easy to use brush


- Chips fast, can't say I didn't expect that though.

Final Thoughts: If you change your nail color often, then this top coat is for you. Thanks to its fast-drying, thin formula it works perfectly worn over opaque creamy colors... No good for applying over glitter though, as it does nothing in smoothing rough surfaces.


Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat:


- Fast drying time

- Extreme gloss (best if you like a glossy finish really)

- Long lasting


- Thick formula that tends to get goopy once you reach the middle of your bottle, sometimes sooner, which means that if you like this top coat, be prepared to have a backup handy. Frustrating and non-economical in this aspect.

- Intense chemical smell; can't handle this top coat without adequate ventillation!!

- Once the formula thickens, through repeated use, you'll find it often "drags" your nail polish from the edges. My guess is that it probably shrinks the formula of colored nail polish, at least seems so...

- Tends to darken nail polish if you've had it on for many days.

Final thoughts: I recommend this for use over glitter polishes, thanks to its thick formula, it works best in smoothing rough textures. Not the best I tried, but it does the work better than other overhyped top coats. I purchased many bottles, and I wouldn't mind repurchasing it.


Poshe Super-Fast Drying Top Coat:


- Amazing formula (not too thin, yet not too thick), makes application easy. Like an improved version of the Seche Vite top coat.

- Dries fast, can be applied over wet and dry nail polish.

- Bearable smell.

- Lasts longer than any other top coat I've tried... to the extent that I change my polish when I actually get bored of it and not because I have to.

-Transforms the look and texture of low-end nail polishes, even the ones that bubble up.


- Darkens nail polish color/vibrancy, after a few days. Not a major issue for me, since chipping is my prime concern.

- Price; most expensive top coat I've purchased, but totally worth it.

Final thoughts: This is my go-to and favorite top coat, which is why I saved it for the end. I would recommend this to anyone, if you don't mind the color darkening effect, but then again, I have yet to find a fast drying top coat that lasts and doesn't alter my nail polish color after a few days.


Growing your brows back for a natural look...

Surely most of us have come across eyebrow tutorials, on where to place our arch, how to correctly shape our brows and so forth...

Sounds great, but if your natural brow is not shaped this way, you'll probably end up with overplucked, pencilled brows.This may look amazing on photos, with appropriate make up, but in reality, you're messing up your facial proportions.

There's nothing more beautiful and flattering for your facial structure than your own natural, well-groomed, set of brows. And despite the "myths", I'd say it's never too late to grow your them back.

All it takes is patience! ^^

Tips on how to grow your eyebrows back:

- I would recommend commiting yourself to this process little by little, perhaps you could consider sporting a fringe, as a temporary solution to cover up the "mess".

-If your eyebrows are severely overplucked, you could start by initially growing the first two thirds, and then move on to the end of your brow, once its fully grown to the point/thickness you'd like to achieve. 

- You certainly don't have to part with your tweezers, in fact consider them an ally in this process, only tweezing stray and out-of-place hairs (i.e. nowhere near your basic brow shape).

- If you have been tweezing your brows for years, you may find individual hairs growing in all possible directions. In this case, I would recommend spotting the specific, unruly hair and carefully pluck it to the direction you'd like it to grow. Trust me this worked wonders for me... :)

- Mini curved scissors will also help you define your shape better, contributing to an overall groomed look. Often I find that most women need a "trim" more than extreme plucking. Don't overdoit in this case either, just comb your eyebrows with a spoolie and trim the excess.

- For further grooming:
  • equip yourself with a light brown brow pencil, that works for most hair shades (don't go too dark, unless you like an intense drawn-on brow), to cover up "bald" spots
  • a spoolie to soften harsh lines for an airbrushed effect
  • and most importantly, a liquid eyeliner pen (preferrably in the lightest shade of brown, to simulate the look of actual hairs - takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it, but once mastered you'll love it
- A tip that people always forget is to take hair vitamins, and follow a healthy lifestyle. What works for your hair, works for your eyebrows too! :)

- You could also use a mild exfoliant on the brow area (I used a tiny amount of "pores be pure", a skin clarifying mud mask by Formula 10.0.6, use with caution as it stings) to help unclog pores and stimulate hair growth, massage with almond oil drops to relieve dryness and condition your eyebrows.

How to maintain and shape your brows once grown:

- Simply follow your natural eyebrow shape, there's no trick or gimmick to that. We are all unique for a reason, what works for one, may not work for another.

- Pluck stray hairs only, i.e. obviously far from your brow shape.

- Trim excessively long hairs if needed (this prevents the "caterpillar" brow effect)

- To intensify your look, use a brow pencil. Although from personal experience, I can assure you that you won't be needing it as much as you did, once your brows are fully grown.

Final thoughts:

Depending on your case, this may take a month, or even a year.

In my case, it literally took over a year to achieve the coveted natural brow look, but I took it very slowly. I'd say by the first two months my eyebrows were looking normal again.

If you have persistent "bald" spots don't give up, the hair will eventually grow back.

The process is definitely worth the wait.

Audrey Hepburn; an inspirational role model for gorgeous, natural eyebrows.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Clarisonic: Is it really worth the hype?

Deep Pore Cleansing Brush
In a nutshell, the answer to this question is a definite yes.

However,  it would be best to analyse briefly, what the clarisonic can, and can't do.

FIY I own the travel-sized version, which is the Clarisonic Mia. The mia version, only has one speed and doesn't beep like the regular version when you need to switch areas.

The clarisonic is essentially an excellent cleansing tool, nothing more, nothing less and definitely not a "miracle" product as some may claim.

Once I got over the initial "WOW my skin looks so awesome" effect, I admit I wasn't really impressed with the "sensitive skin" brush it came with, but I definitely LOVED the Deep Pore Cleansing Brush Head I bought afterwards. Much more effective and surprisingly smoother.

I personally don't use it to remove make up straight on, but after I wash my make up off with regular face soap (I use clean & clear mainly), to prep my skin before any product application. I somehow feel that if I use the brush on my "dirty" face, it would further push make-up residue into my pores. I could be wrong, but that's how it works for me.


- Visible pore size reduction, simply because it helps maintain your pores squeaky clean. No more nose strips for me!

- Overall makes a worthwhile investment on yourself. Saves money in the long-run; I find products work more effectively now, as I apply much less than I previously had to. Needless to say I no longer have to get any facials done.

- Less whiteheads and millia... paired with my retinol treatment, the clarisonic mia has considerably contributed in smoothing my skin's texture, which was a major issue for me.

- No irritation whatsoever, if used with caution. After all nobody knows your skin better than you do, so I recommend you experiment a little on how often your skin can handle it best. I use it on a daily basis, but not always "twice a day" as directed... sometimes I prefer to let my skin rest in the mornings.

- If you like applying masks, packs, etc, then this will be your perfect accomplice. Using the clarisonic prior to the application of any mask, with lukewarm water helps open up my pores, increasing the effectiveness of the treatment. (I recommend the Jan Marini Skin Zyme Green Papaya Mask, which I will be reviewing soon)

- Waterproof; you can use it safely in the shower! 

- Even though I dreaded the "purging" effect, something that often happens with harsh exfoliants (esp. scrubs) surprisingly this didn't break me out at all.

- Visibly improved skin texture, helps loosen up and remove dead skin cells with regular use.


- Battery life; nothing more frustrating than my clarisonic "betraying" me in the shower... happened numerous times! (murphy's law? lol) Wish it came with an indicator, cause I'm not fond of guessing when it MAY go off.

- Charging takes forever and a century, well over 15 hours to be precise, but I can live with it (better than having to get new batteries).

- Removing the brush lid is frustrating, as I often end up removing the brush along with it.

- Having to replace the brush every 2-3 months is a bit of a hassle, but I guess its like owning a toothbrush! Can't use the same one forever... lol

Final thoughts:

One can be overwhelmed by the abundance of clarisonic dupe products in the market, but I can only recommend saving for the real deal, since we're talking about a brush you'll be using directly on your skin, on a daily basis.

Is it worth the hype? As a skincare routine staple... yes, it lives up to it.

Excluding minor practical issues mentioned above, I've only experienced positive things, after months of regular use.

If my sensitive, acne-prone skin loves it, yours probably will too.


Philosophy 'Help Me' Retinol Night Treatment

I started using this treatment six months ago, halfway through my second tube now and very pleased, to the extent I can confidently state that this product, actually WORKS! ^^

- A little goes a long way, one tube lasted me over three months, applying the product practically every evening
- Quick results, I got many compliments on my skin's texture and "glow". 
- No irritation whatsoever for my acne-prone skin. Although I would recommend getting a sample or smaller tube first, in case you experience a negative reaction to retinol.
- Overall skin appearance improved, acne scars and fine lines significantly faded.
- Like I said... compared to other "miraculous" products, this one actually worked. If your skin can handle retinol, you'll love it!

- Waxy texture, may cause irritation to some skin types. Didn't experience any pore-clogging, but I don't know if this is related to using the clarisonic on a daily basis.
- Didn't do much for my sunspots, although one considerably faded, I can still see it.

- Like the product says, its best to use this at night, unless you want to fry your skin.
- Also, since retinol causes sensitivity to sunlight, I would highly recommend getting a moisturizer with sunblock for daytime use.
- Avoid using toners with salycilic acid prior to this, or any other acids whatsoever... too much exfoliation would have adverse effects and prevent the product from working.

Final thoughts:

Definitely a holy grail product for me.



The purpose of this blog is to share my beauty and well-being experiences, with people around the world.

I'm not a professional in any way, but I love learning new things, and I hope this blog is helpful and fun.

As the title of the blog states, I will do my best to provide a "daily beauty fix"... ^^

Posts will focus on unbiased beauty-related product reviews (I'm a sucker for trying new skincare and hair products especially, so expect a lot), from low to high end, beauty and style tips, wellbeing, health, recipes, supplements... you name it!

Have fun, and I hope to meet more beauty-addicts like myself here!

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