Review: Moroccanoil Smooth shampoo and conditioner

A while back Moroccanoil launched a new Smooth collection consisting of a shampoo (R350), conditioner (R370), blow dry lotion (R430) and mask (R570) specially formulated to sleeken unruly, frizz-prone locks without sacrificing volume.

Smooth operators...

Smooth operators…

Everything in the line up contains antioxidant-rich argan oil and strengthening amino acids and the conditioner and mask takes things a step further to include mega-hydrating argan butter and coconut-derived fatty acids. What’s not in the mix are sulfates, phosphates and parabens.

Moroccanoil's BLAH working his magic on a model at the launch

Moroccanoil’s Global Creative Ambassador, Steven Turpin, working his magic on a model at the recent launch in Cape Town.

Having very fine, dead straight hair that requires a light touch, I didn’t feel I was the right target market to review these babies but my loss was my friend Alice’s gain. She’s got thick, fabulous, naturally curly hair that requires a little more moisture and is a big Moroccanoil fan so it made sense that I hand her the sham and con. She’s been using them for a while now and her thoughts are as follows:

‘The shampoo didn’t work out for me. It didn’t “spread” or foam well so it kind of just sat on my scalp and I didn’t feel like it did a good enough job of cleansing. It kind of made my hair feel oily. The conditioner is fantastic though! After the first time I used it I could feel my hair was significantly softer and my curls were really definite with no frizz. I learned the hard way that I have to use very little but once I got that down I got the best results. I like to team it with the oil applied to the ends before blow drying and together the results are awesome.’

Models in white and bloggers in black. And no, that wasn't planned.

Models in white and my fellow media peeps in black. And no, that wasn’t planned.

I didn’t receive the mask so I wasn’t able to dole it out to my curly girls but I do want to let you know I’ve been using the Weightless Hydrating Mask for fine, dry hair (R420) and I love, love, love it. I can’t remember where I got it from (I have a vague recollection of receiving a voucher to blow at an online store and it was on special or something) and it lived in my bathroom cupboard for ages. I took it out on a whim the other day thinking I’d use it as a weekly treatment but I’ve now been using it every second day. You only need a small amount and I can happily slap it over my entire head – roots and all – and still come out with sleek, swishy locks that feel bouncy and clean. And then there’s the smell! I was always a bit ‘meh’ about Moroccanoil’s sweet, musky scent when it first arrived on the scene but now it’s like an addiction.

Love, love

Leigh

Reviews: Thierry Mugler Angel eau de Sucree, Lancôme La Vie Est Belle L’Eau de Parfum Intense and Jimmy Choo Blossom

Thierry Mugler love to reincarnate their bestselling Angel and there have been some real goodies along the starlit path, my favourite still being the light and lovely Aqua Chic 2o13. The latest limited edition version, however, is called Eau de Sucree (R695 for 50ml) and this one’s for serious gourmand lovers only in that it’s a serious celebration of sweetness.

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Thierry Mugler Angel eau de Sucree EDT

Officially, the notes are red berry sorbet, caramelised meringue, patchouli and vanilla and while they sound diabetes-inducing they’re actually well-tempered by the sorbet that lends it a certain sparkling freshness. Then, when the sweet notes come through, they’re muted and soft and sit nice and closely on your skin in a way that makes me think of cashmere, sugared almonds and that yummy ‘old school’ vanilla body lotion The Body Shop used to make. Anyone else remember that?

To me, Eau de Sucree is a lot less ‘brash’ than the original Angel in that I don’t think it’ll evoke the same ‘love it or hate it’ response. I consider it a real ‘comfort scent’ I’ll wear in cooler weather on a day or night when I’m craving a white hot chocolate but thinking of the bikini I have to squeeze into come November.

Another new gourmand-type scent set to emerge in September is Lancôme La Vie Est Belle L’Eau de Parfum Intense (R1300 for 50ml and R1700 for 75ml).

La Vie Est Belle L'Eau de Parfum Intense

La Vie Est Belle L’Eau de Parfum Intense

Notes-wise, the newbie, has a similar structure to the original in that also it opens with blackcurrant and pear but now boasts the addition of bergamot, orange and pink pepper. The similarities continue with the floral heart notes but this time more ‘intense’ versions of everything have been used. For example, jasmine now becomes fancy pants Sambac jasmine. The base, however, is now a delicious mix of hazelnut and cream as opposed to the initial scent’s vanilla-patchouli-praline blend. The other big difference I can pick up is that the original had a dash of powder in it but I can’t pick that up in ‘Intense’.

The overall result is that the Intense version is very similar to the regular La Vie Est Belle, but waaay more potent, a lot sweeter and leaves a lingering trail wherever you go making it more suited to night time or a very cold winter’s day. If you’re a fan of the original fragrance, you’ll definitely want to give this one a sniff but don’t automatically assume you’ll love it just because you’re a fan of the original. It’s potent, heady stuff and you’re either going to think it’s masterful or migraine-inducing.

Personally, while I like Intense, I prefer the original. Interestingly, it’s the one fragrance that seems to draw the most compliments from men whenever I wear it. My bestie, Karisa, occasionally wears it too and has noticed the same thing.

Last but not least, let’s talk about new Jimmy Choo Blossom eau de parfum (R595 for 40ml, R795 for 60ml and R1 050 for 100ml).

Jimmy Choo Blossom EDP

Jimmy Choo Blossom EDP

I can appreciate the odd splash of Meneer Choo’s perfumes on other people but they’ve never resonated with me. There’s either too much toffee or too much powder in the mix. This is why I’ve been super surprised by Blossom which I love, love, love and am actually wearing it now as I type. In fact, I’ve been wearing it the whole weekend and have had every person who’s given me a hug comment on how nice it is. Can we get a ‘yay’!?

A sparkling fruity-floral with good staying power, Blossom opens with juicy raspberry, citrus and red berries before revealing a soft sweet pea and floral heart. The dry down, however, is a heavenly oh-so-simple mix of sandalwood and white musk. The over all effect is an uplifting, clean, fresh, lighthearted and flirty scent that’s definitely ‘girlie’ but sophisticated enough so that I don’t feel like an idiot wearing it at almost 35. It really is well suited to its name as it’s the perfect ‘day time’ fragrance to wear this spring. The only problem is that I’ve now got several friends who want to buy it too so I might have to start telling people it’s a secret blend I had custom-made in France.

See anything you’d like to sniff yourself?

Love, love

Leigh

Reviews: SAMPAR 3 Day Weekend and First Hands Cream

Prettily packaged French beauty brand SAMPAR is back in South Africa, this time in Edgars once more as well as Woolies. I was given 3 Day Weekend (R250) to try and it’s a bit of an interesting cat in that it promises a healthy-looking glow but doesn’t use any self tan ingredients or a tint. Instead it claims to help your skin produce up to 32% more melanin, the pigment that gives you your colour, using a medicinal root extract and peptides.

SAMPAR 3 Day Weekend

You’re supposed to use it for seven days before you see results and I’ve been swatching it on the inside of my arm but didn’t see any colour change. I’ve read reviews from other girls online and it seems a bit hit and miss in that some will see a difference and other’s wont. This possibly has to do with the fact that I’m a super pale peep who’s melanin-challenged to begin with and SAMPAR does include a disclaimer that the results will be relevant to how much melanin your body can naturally produce at best.

Lovely and light!

Lovely and light!

If this is something you’d like to try yourself, know it’s got a divine gel-cream texture that absorbs within seconds.

I was also given the brand’s First Hands Cream (R250). Again, it’s also a lovely light-textured and floral-scented gel-cream that’s much ‘creamier’ than 3 Day Weekend. I can’t find the ingredients list but it feels like there’s a fair amount of silicone in the mix as it’s got a slight ‘primer effect’ and leaves your hands feeling ‘silky’ straight after use.

SAMPAR First Hands cream

SAMPAR First Hands Cream

Other plusses? It plumps with hyaluronic acid in a bid to (temporarily) reduce the look of wrinkles while protecting against dark marks thanks to niacinimide. I can’t find an ingredients list to give me an idea of how much niacinimide is the mix (it could be a smattering, it could be a decent amount) but as an SPF isn’t listed on the packaging just make sure you slap a sunscreen on top or you’ll undo all the good work the niacinimide may or may not do.

Silky, silky!

Silky, silky!

Oh! There’s also an antioxidant complex in the mix – something SAMPAR refers to as their Urban Advance Complex – that consists of Shea, mint leaf and sweet probiotic extract.

Were you a SAMPAR fan when it first hit SA shores? Are you glad to have it back? Feel free to chat to me in the comments section below.

Love, love

Leigh

Review: Skinceuticals Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50

Bikini weather is impending so I’ve started running again, out on the prom in Green Point as well as near the Rhodes Memorial in the burbs. This means I’m slapping on more sunscreen and have several favourites, one being Eucerin’s new creme-gel that I chatted about the other day. While I’ve never had a problem with sunscreen annoying my eye area, I know some people feel this area’s extra sensitive or possibly want a separate ‘eye only’ SPF and that case you’ll want to know about new Skinceuticals Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50.

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Skinceuticals Physical Eye Defense SPF50, R450.

A 100% mineral base (zinc and titanium dioxide) infused with a smattering of ceramides, it promises to ‘defend, enhance and optimize’ and can be used over the entire eye area, including the eye lid. It aims to create a smooth canvas for any eye make-up, not migrate into your eye and features a ‘unifying tint’ to enhance your skin tone which is fancy pants speak to describe it’s nude, almost concealer-like hue. I’ve found many primers that have a bit more ‘flesh tone’ in the mix as opposed to being white as the driven snow are less likely to look pasty on my skin. I can’t speak for darker peeps, but Skinceuticals does say it should work for all skin tones.

Love that this is in a nice, hygienic tube.

Love that this is in a nice, hygienic tube.

When I apply it, feels pretty much like a silky, silcone-based primer so it glides on like a dream. It also does stay put. Even after a jog it hadn’t creased up or run. But let’s slap in a li’l disclaimer here for my overseas readers: I’m in South Africa but it’s currently winter, so we’re not dealing with crazy high temperatures or humidity. Also, I’ve never really been much of a sweater.

test

Obviously it totally disappears when you blend it in.

It’s easy to apply eye shadow on top of it. I haven’t had a day where I’ve been able to wear shadow from dusk til dawn to see if it extends it’s longevity like a ‘typical’ eye shadow primer but I will soon and will be sure to update this post.

To find a Skinceuticals stockist near you, visit their webpage over here.

Love, love

Leigh

Keen to save more cash? I’m going to share what I learn while taking part of 22seven’s money-saving GY$T challenge

My friend Darryn is always one of the first to discover super useful apps so when he mentioned his love affair with 22seven I didn’t hesitate to download and boy am I glad I did. And ‘love affair’ is perfectly apt. You have no idea how many times a day I open it up. Or how much money it’s saved me simply by heightening my awareness as to where my cash is really going.

To kind of sum it up, 22seven links all your accounts, lists them so you can see the balance of each one and then tallies them up to show you your net value, what you have, what you owe and even how much you can borrow. At present, I’ve linked my bank account, both my credit cards, my Woolies card and even my Clicks ClubCard. (I currently only have R3 worth of rewards in CashBack vouchers. Boo!)

As it’s linked to my credit cards, every time I swipe them, it automatically registers what I’ve spent and even categorises it for me. It’s a whopping 95% accurate in that it just seems to ‘know’ what’s a restaurant vs what’s my friendly credit card accepting drug dealer (kidding!) and if it gets it wrong you can recategorise with a few quick taps and then it remembers for the next time. You can also split things. For example, if I blow R500 at Clicks and it auto-files it to Personal Care, but R300 of that was for a stick blender, a few more quick taps pops the R300 into ‘Home & Garden’.

Screenshot_2015-08-14-14-12-08

For the record, Raru is not a rocking nightclub in Parow Industria, but a site from which I bought a book.

The end result of listing and tapping? You can check out the ‘Money Month’ section to get a regte overview of your month. I’ve just taken a quick scroll and seen that while I only have 10 days left of August (I’ve set it to register a month as being from the 25th to the 25th), I’ve already blown R1 214 on ‘Eating Out & Takeouts’. It’s a decent-ish enough figure as my goal was to get this amount down to R1 500 for the entire month by eating more meals at home. A quick swipe to the left takes me the ‘Money Money’ page of July, the month before, and reveals I blew a whopping R2 170 on eating out the month before in 15 different restaurants, nog al. And this figure excludes all the launch meals I didn’t have to pay for. Jirrrrre!)  Another finger flick takes me to June and I see I spent an even more disgusting R3 625 in June. (It was a helluva month, ok! But please know that much of that number is booze! Or does that make me look worse?) Being able to actually see what I’m spending with such a clear bird’s-eye view has been unbelievably helpful.

The Money Month section also has a cool barometer thing that shows you what you’ve spent so far (for that month), your average monthly spending and your forecast spending.

g

You can see I haven’t yet drawn from the ATM this month. The ‘of 1,183’ indicates that when I do draw, that’s the average amount each month.

If I flick back to the previous months, I can my average monthly spending’s been pretty high but there was this one month in April where, after shelling out a massive lump sum for something the month before, I was shocked into serious Scrooge McDuck-like behaviour and managed to spend only R17 583. (This is a massive reduction considering 22seven tells me my average monthly spend is just under R27 000.)

So how did I do it? I basically made a point of not buying any groceries until I’d eaten the very last Salticrax in my cupboard and told friends I’d only hang out with them if what we did was free. This penny pinching month has kind of set the bar in showing me how much I can save by making seriously frugal choices and I now ‘compete’ with it during months when I know I’d rather purchase something big as opposed to fritter away my cash on drive-through cappuccinos (oh the shame!), Woolies’ ready meals and mad midnight purchases on eBay while waiting for my sleeping tablet to kick in. (Cookie dough-scented perfume oil, Leigh? Really?! Goddamnit, woman!)

Anyway, there are a host of other cool things this app can do – just download it and see for yourself. You’ll also appreciate that you don’t have to wait several months to have a ‘back history’. Once it syncs up into your accounts, it automatically goes back a few months for you.

As I’ve been banging on about 22seven’s awesomeness for a while now, agreeing to participate in their #GY$T (Get Your $ Together) challenge was a total no brainer. This means accepting 7 of their money-saving challenges which are as follows:

1. Go carless by attempting to car pool where possible and compare the cost of taking an Uber as opposed to using my car. (22seven also suggests walking as an option but I live in Woodstock/Obz where I listen to people get mugged outside my window on a bi-weekly basis.)

GY$T_carless_flat

If I was doing this outside my flat I’d need more than a helmet for protection.

2. Bust my bank fees by calculating what I’m really paying in bank fees including ATM fees and what not and then see if I can bring that rate down.

3. Put the ‘sure’ into insurance by getting competitive quotes to see how much less I could pay.

4. Do a little ‘subscription subtraction’ by cancelling or attempting to reduce things like the cash I pay my internet provider, cell phone company or gym.

If I could leave the prison that is my Cell C contract I sooo would.

If I could leave the prison that is my Cell C contract I sooo would.

5. ‘Deload my lunch’ by eating packed lunches vs bought ones and basically seeing what I can do to reduce what I spend on food.

The money I'm saving in this department is ridic.

The money I’m saving in this department is ridic.

6. Find something free or cheap to entertain myself.

7. ‘Cash it to cap it’ by deciding what I’d want to spend on a night out and taking only that amount in cash. No cards that’ll allow you to keep on spending.

I’ve got 22 days to complete my cash saving quest and will be keeping you updated here and there via twitter using the hashtag #GYST. (Silly twitter won’t let me use the $ sign with a #.) I really do hope my li’l financial journey serves to inspire and already have a few good ideas as to how I’m going to klap it. As it is, I’ve spent the last 20 months living a very ‘down sized’ life in a bid to slap down a large deposit on a house sans hubby, so any new tricks I can learn to speed that up even further is most welcome.

Now go download that bloody app so you can become more aware of what your kesh monneh’s doing.

Love, love

Leigh

Reviews: Dove Gentle Exfoliating Nourishing body wash, Eucerin Sun Gel-Creme Oil Control Dry Touch SPF50 and BioNike Defence Color Crystal Lipgloss

Dove have just launched yet another body wash – Gentle Exfoliating Nourishing body wash (R33,99).

IMAG5231-001

Dove Gentle Exfoliating Nourishing body wash

It’s got a lovely ‘creamy’-feeling formula enriched with natural plant oils and free of ‘strippy’ sodium lauryl sulphate  – the kind I like to use in winter when my skin feels a little drier. Another plus is it’s nice, ‘clean’ fragrance that doesn’t smell like the original Dove soap at all. (This is something I appreciate as there are several Dove products I adore, but won’t use their iconic soap due to it’s scent.)

If you look close you'll see the 'scrubbies'.

If you look close you’ll see the ‘scrubbies’.

The only downside here is that the exfoliating beads really don’t do much of anything. So much so that I can happily use it while wearing self-tan without worrying it’s going to take anything off. Anyone looking for an exfoliating shower gel will be disappointed but if you’re happy to consider it a non-drying shower gel you’re going to enjoy using it as I do.

Next up, let’s talk about Eucerin’s new Sun Gel-Cream Oil Control Dry Touch SPF 50+ sunscreen for oily, acne-prone skin (R179,99).

Eucerin

Eucerin Sun Gel-Cream Oil Control Dry Touch SPF 50+

Being an oil-skinned girl who likes to run outdoors I’m always on the look out for ultra-lightweight high SPF sunscreens. The last one that really impressed with Heliocare’s, but it’s a little bit murdery on the wallet. This is why I’m thrilled to find Eucerin’s little darling.

It’s got a creme-gel texture that dries in a flash and even leaves your skin feeling a little more matte thanks to oil-absorbing powder (listed as tapioca starch) that makes me think it’ll live up to it’s promise to hold up in humid climates. It’s now definitely on my packing list for when I visit Thailand (again, I know! I’m crazy about the place) in November.

This feels so light you won't believe it's a high SPF sunscreen.

This feels so light you won’t believe it’s a high SPF sunscreen.

Eucerin’s formula also contains antioxidant licorice extract and anti-inflammatory glycrrhetinic acid (another type of licorice extract) and the brand reckon’s the latter can help support your skin’s cell renewal.

Last but not least, as it turns out, Dis-Chem’s sensitive skin line BioNike also create cosmetics. Obviously I tried the Defence Color Crystal Lipgloss (R99) first.

BioNike

BioNike Defence Color Crystal Lipgloss

Like all the items in the line it’s nickel-tested, 100% preservative and fragrance-free and has undergone microbiological tests too, but, to be honest, I have no clue what that means or why it would be good. Possibly to ensure there are no bad bacteria or fungi in the mix?

This sheer, pale peachy-pink colour's called Bonbon.

This sheer, pale peachy-pink colour’s called Bonbon.

Anyway, this is a very nice gloss in that it smells like vanilla (thanks to natural vanilla, not an artificial scent) and feels nice and hydrating on your lips and despite claiming not to be sticky, it’s got just enough ‘tack’ to stay put. The shade I was given is called Bonbon and features li’l micro-pearls that give it a slight pearlescence – no horrible, chunky glitter, thanks! It’s also formulated with antioxidants moringa seed extract, cocoa extract and vitamin E.

See anything you’d be keen to try?

Love, love

Leigh

 

New perfumes review: Givenchy Ange ou Demon Le Parfum, Alaia Paris, Narciso EDT and Rihanna Rogue Love.

A whopload of new fragrances have recently crossed my desk so I thought I’d cover a few now and some more later. I tried to photograph them earlier but I’m not happy with the gloomy light situation (clouds, can you just go away already?!) so note that I’ll be updating this post as the day goes on with proper bottle shots. I hope.

So! Are you ready to get cracking?

First up, we’ve got Givenchy Ange au Demon Le Parfum and Accord Illicite (price R1 175 for 40ml and R1 635 for 100ml, exclusive to Stuttafords.)

Givenchy Ange au Demon Le Parfum and Accord Illicite.

Givenchy Ange au Demon Le Parfum and Accord Illicite.

A musky-woody-floriental, Givenchy’s new scent is pretty much sex in a bottle and has found a happy home in my perfume collection. It actually comes in two parts in that you’ve got the basic fragrance that’s a mix of tangerine, jasmine and orange blossom on a sensual bed of amber, musk and patchouli plus a tiny vial that contains ‘an illicite accord’ of leather, vanilla and yet more patchouli and musk.

The illicite accord is supposed to be added to your pulse points in teensy drops after you’ve spritzed on the ‘main’ scent on days when you want to rev things up but I’m a ‘use your best silverware everyday’ kind of person so I’d want to wear them as a duo day or night. Eventually, I’ll run out of the accord before the regular scent and this makes me super sad as I could honestly bathe myself in the former. To me, it could best be summed up as ‘dark vanilla’ and it’s addictive as all hell. Here’s hoping Givenchy catch on as to how lustable it is and bring the fragrance out all by itself.

If you like ‘dark’ sexy scents like Tom Ford Black Orchid (one of my absolute favourite fragrances in the world), this might appeal to you too.

Moving on, let’s talk about the hotly anticipated Alaia Paris Eau de Parfum (R1 625 for 100ml, selected Woolworths stores).

Alaia Paris eau de parfum

Alaia Paris Eau de Parfum

This is another interesting scent in that while it’s made up of several notes, you’ll struggle to identify them individually. This was actually Alaia’s goal and he most certainly achieved it in that despite several sniffs of my wrist, it’s hard to pull descriptor words from my brain other than ‘sexy skin’, ‘warm sun’, ‘moody musk’, ‘expensive’ and ‘clean’.

Inspired by a childhood memory of his grandmother throwing cold water against a hot wall in Tunisia (crazy, I know), the scent’s notes include pink pepper, freesia, peony, animalic notes and musk. Together they all merge to create this delicious, mutable mix that could easily be worn day or night come rain or shine by a more sophisticated young (or more mature) woman as opposed to a girl.

I think that if you appreciate musky fragrances like Narciso Rodriguez For Her (another personal favourite), you might fall madly in love with Alaia Paris. I know I have. Aside from finding a permanent home in perfume line up, it’s fast becoming a ‘go to’ scent because, while it’s similar to the aforementioned, it’s much less potent and sits a lot closer to your skin so you could happily douse yourself with it and still not over do it.

Anyway, speaking of Narciso, the American fashion designer has created yet another fragrance – Narciso Eau de Toilette (R630 for 30mls, R895 for 50mls and R1 245 for 50mls).

Narciso Eau de Toilette

Narciso Eau de Toilette

While the Narciso line is a different one to the crazy successful Narciso For Her, you can instantly tell they’re ‘sisters’ in that they both have that woody-musky ‘typical Narciso’ scent. However, I can pick up more white flowers in Narciso and its Bulgarian rose comes through (to my nose) as a sweet patchouli that totally overshadows the musk. It’s the kind of sensual, feminine scent that’s best suited to colder weather and after dark.

The official note structure, however, is peony and Bulgarian rose up top and a musky heart resting on a bed of vetiver and cedar.

If you’re a fan of the Narciso fragrance family, definitely give this a sniff. Also, if you like sweet, patchouilicious scents like Issey Miyake Pleats Please and Kim Kardashian Fleur Fatale then this is probably going to hit home for you too.

Last but not least, let’s talk about Rihanna’s new fragrance, Rogue Love Eau de Parfum (R445 for 30mls and R595 for 75mls).

Rihanna rogue love

Rogue Love Eau de Parfum by Rihanna

A fruity-white floral with a good lick of caramel going on, Rihanna reckons her new scent is all about that moment when you’re struck by the first rush of love.

Notes-wise, there are loads of petals and fruits in the mix but if I’m to simply you’re looking at juicy red berries, orange and peach up top (the peach comes through especially strong); a white floral heart with an indiscernible dash of coconut and a warm, woody dry down with lots and lots of caramel.

To my nose, this is almost identical to Juicy Couture’s Viva La Juicy and a quick google reveals the note structure is pretty much the same – berries and orange on white flowers with a woody-caramel dry down. If you already own one, I don’t think you’ll need the other, but if one has caught your attention make sure you smell both before deciding which one you like best. If it’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that perfumes really do develop differently on everyone.

Comparisons aside, this is the kind of sweet, flirty scent that’ll go down well with a younger ‘girlie’ girl who enjoys a heady, white floral with mega staying power. Seriously. Just one spritz and you’ll be smelling it all day.

See anything you’d be keen to try yourself?

Love, love

Leigh