Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Review - Olay Essentials Skincare

Hello Princesses!

Today I'm going to be talking about some skincare that I've had for a little while and truly thought nothing of until I tried to clean out my skincare closet (it's pretty full). I trialed this set for a month and rediscovered my love hate relationship with it all over again. I wasn't even initially going to make this post because I thought the products had been discontinued!

I bought this set of four products from an online "deal" website that often brings in products from outside of New Zealand. They were really cheap, I think about $20 for the set (cleansers retail for $20 in NZ) and Olay was a brand that I was very familiar with having had one of their moisturizers since I was 13!

Honestly, I only like two out of the four products, but I really really like them, which is why I'm featuring them here! Lets get the two average products out of the way first.

Gentle Cleanser - Refreshing Face Wash

This cleanser has a pleasant fresh scent and is easy to lather into fluffy bubbles. However it is a really gentle cleanser, so gentle that it doesn't really feel like it's doing anything at all, and my face still feels dirty afterwards. What's the point in using a cleanser that doesn't cleanse? 

Refreshing Toner - Normal/Dry/Combo

This toner isn't bad, and for $5 it's actually quite good. However I have been quite spoilt with a Shiseido toner for too long to look back now. It sounds amazingly elitist, but once you try expensive skincare it's quite hard to go back to the cheaper stuff. I can totally appreciate the gems out of the cheap skincare or cheap Korean Skincare (which is a whole different ball game) but this Toner just didn't cut it for me. 

Conditioning Milk - Normal/Dry/Combo
This is one of the cheap skincare gems. This conditioning milk is the best friend of the campers or lazy girls that can't be bothered cleaning their skin at night, or don't want to take off their makeup, because it cleanses and moisturizes at the same time, all without the need for water. Simply massage the conditioning milk onto your face and remove with a wet or dry cotton pad. If you're using it as a makeup remover I would recommend using a cleanser afterwards (just to be sure) or do the same step twice to get the best cleanse. It leaves the skin looking clean and plump and you can pop straight off to bed after those simple steps. Awesome.

Eye Makeup Remover - Normal/Dry/Combo

This is another awesome product. The main awesome point is that it takes everything off your eyes (including the Benefit They're Real line) gently, doesn't seep into your eyes like oil based cleansers do or leave your eyes feeling greasy like wax based removers (I'm looking at your Ultrabland!) It's one of my favorite makeup removers, I'm just about of the tube and it's not available in New Zealand. :C

If you can get a hold of this line of skincare I would definitely recommend the Conditioning Milk and Eye Makeup Remover, because they are seriously great products for very little money!

I hope you Princesses enjoyed this super short, to the point review! Are these products available in your home countries?

Monday, 18 August 2014

Manicure Monday - Bows and Bling

Hello Princesses!

Today I have a really interesting manicure! When I envisioned this manicure I thought it would look super cool with a full dimante nail and a cute little bow. I painted my nails at night and thought, these look awesome! I went out to classes the next day, looked down at my hands and though ... oh, actually they look a little hookerish.


I used China Glaze's Poinsettia for the red polish. It's a little brighter during the day than what I thought it looked like at night. Fun fact, I almost always paint my nails at night since I work/study during the day!  This means that my Vinylux top coat is an absolute must-have, since it stops my bed from imprinting my nails with that horrible sheet print!

I'm not sure how I feel about this manicure. During the day it was almost offensively red and I found myself subconsciously trying to hide my hands. >< Oops!

What do you Princesses think of this manicure?

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Blogging 101 - How I Edit my Manicure Monday Photos

Hello Princesses!

Today I'm going to be showing you how I edit my nail photos! It's really nothing special or complex, but I thought it might be interesting for people who are just beginning their blogs or who (like me) never did art in school and have zero idea how to edit photos.

This is my original, un-edited photo. Don't worry too much about the middle nail looking super gross, it's just that the top coat was too thick and went all bubbly :C
My editor of choice is Picmonkey (mainly because it's all I know). I open my image in Picmonkey and crop my photo using the crop tool.
I also like to use the frames section to create rounded corners for my photos. Make sure that you click the transparent corners box so that you can't see the corners!
Next I open the Exposure tab. Brightness increases the overall brightness of the photo. Highlights brings out the light colours, while Shadows brings out more of the darker colours. Contrast increases the sharpness of the image. I generally take my photos at night in a light tent so I always need to adjust the brightness of the images!
Next up is the editing of the nail polish itself. As you can see in this gross close-up, my top coat has gone thick and bubbly because it's too old. :C The easiest way to fix this is by using the clone tool. The clone tool copies a section of image and pastes it to a place of your choosing. Brush Hardness determines how "hard" you want your copy and paste to look. I leave the Brush Hardness right at zero so I can keep the copy-ing soft.

To start cloning, hold Ctrl, and click the dotted circle where you want to pick up the image, release Ctrl and you will see a full circle appear. To cover this sort of mess, it's easiest to make your second click overlap the first click by quite a lot, so you clone small sections over and over. It takes a while, so be patient!
The trick to cloning is to work in small sections, using downwards and sideways cloning clicks. Zoom in and out to make sure the cloning looks somewhat natural! This method works really well for fixing uneven cuticle lines as well! I forgot to fix the upper right of my nail and you can clearly see where I cloned to the right. LAZY BECCA. 
Make sure you don't edit out any light lines. Shiny nails almost always have some light reflections (it's not the same if they're matte) so you want the cloning to look similar to what it was before, just with any impurities removed! A flat one colour nail will look super obviously edited, just like you wouldn't edit your face to be all one colour with no shadows or highlights.
Watermark your image and you're done! ^.^ There are some additional steps that I take depending on how well I prepped my fingers an how well the photo is taken. Sometimes I need to airbrush my cuticles if they look very dry, and sometimes I use the Mascara tool to add contrast to details like rhinestones or patterns. You can also make your fingers grow a mustache if that's what you're into! (You can also turn yourself into Chewbacca ... ahh ... not that I've tried ...)
 Ok no really.
I hope this was a little helpful! ^.^ Next week I'll show you how I edit my face!

Friday, 15 August 2014

First Impression - The Body Shop, Instablur

Hello Princesses!

Today I'm going to be showing you a new product from The Body Shop - Instablur! When I first saw the product launch I was super excited and curious, but the only thing that stopped me from scooping this product up straight away was the fact that it seems quite similar to Benefits Porefessional which I already own. I picked up a sample pot to compare the two and decide if I need both Instablur and Porefessional!
What Does It Do?

This all-new face perfector blurs imperfections, giving you flawless photo-perfect skin in an instant! With Community Fair Trade marula oil.
  • Five action perfector:
  • Shine Controlling 12h
  • Reduces appearance of pores
  • Blemish Hiding
  • Complexion Unifying
  • Make-up Extending(1)

One of my very favorite way to test out primers that are designed to fill pores or cover wrinkles is to test a patch between my thumb and index finger. Why? The skin is naturally soft and a little wrinkly there, so that gives the primer something to "fill", rather than testing it on the smooth back of your hand.
The test patch looks fabulous, filling and blurring my hand wrinkles, and providing a velvety smooth base. The next test is to try it on my face. I'm really glad I did close-up comparisons, because even I can't see anything from the full face comparison. I'll leave it here in case anyone is curious though!
The close up shots really showcase my amazing gappy pores. Lets be honest, everyone has pores, and a significant amount of people have large pores, there's no shame in that. The InstaBlur works it's magic and mattifies my face while filling in my pores. It makes my BB Cream sit atop of my skin beautifully and adding a translucent powder makes my skin look flawless. 

It holds up well after 6 hours, but I wouldn't quite agree that it keeps my skin from getting shiny, because we can obviously see that it's quite shiny. This is normal from a BB Cream though (and perhaps an unfair test) but I don't have enough product to test again!
But is this product better than the legendary Porefessional? I've done some swatches to compare InstaBlur to Benefit's Porefessional, and Shiseido's Pore Smoothing Corrector (which I think is discontinued). The InstaBlur starts out translucent, while the other two primers blend out to be translucent. The Shiseido has more of a moisturizing finish, while Porefessional and Instablur feel exactly the same with a soft matte finish.
 Let's have a gratuitous selfie, why not.
Would I Purchase This Product?
No, but yes, but no but yes. Considering I have a full tube of Porefessional I don't particularly neeeed another primer that does exactly the same thing, but this isn't to say that I don't like the product, because I do! It lives up to the majority of it's claims but mattifying skin and blurring pores and does pretty much the exact same things as Benefit's Porefessional, but being a couple of dollars cheaper. 

I would totally recommend this primer to anyone who's looking to blur imperfections, but doesn't have a Benefit counter nearby, or who doesn't want to fork out the $$ for Porefessional as the InstaBlur is a couple of dollars less! I can't quite bring myself to say that the Porefessional and InstaBlur are complete dupes (since Porefessional is skin coloured and InstaBlur is translucent) but they have exactly the same effect.

I'm thinking about purchasing a tube of InstaBlur so I can do a direct comparison between the two primers. What do you think, would that be helpful?
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