Review: The best of the recent bunch of Essence items I got sent

I was sent a variety of new Essence goodies the other day, many of them from their limited edition ‘autumn collection’. Some items were better than others but I thought I’d tell you about a few of my favourites, the first being this boy.

Essence Quick & Easy sponge nail caring oil, R57,95.

Essence Quick & Easy sponge nail caring oil, R57,95.

Initially, I totally thought this was an instant nail polish remover twisty thing and only realised it wasn’t after plunging my polished finger into it and watching it come out unperturbed. This was upsetting. How dare this evil thing trick me? I mean, it’s not like it glaringly says ‘nail caring oil’ bright fuchsia lettering on it or anything. I took an immediate dislike to it and left it to roll away under my couch in shame. It was only later that we kissed and made up. I actually do like the ease of applying a sweet-smelling nail oil with a simple twist. It’s the ultimate in beauty tools for either lazy or busy people or girls who already have everything else and makes taking care of my cuticles a bit more fun.

More nail niceness? I quite like this base coat:

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Essence The Gel nail polish base coat and top coat, R47,95 each.

Ignore the rubbish they say about it being ‘gel that doesn’t need a lamp’. A product isn’t a ‘gel’ if it’s not cured by lamp. But as far as base coats go, I like that this has a slight ‘whitening’ effect once it’s on your nail. If you look at it on the brush and tilt it around in the light, you’ll see it’s almost got a slightly opalescent nature. I tried to photograph it but it’s too subtle for the camera to pick, but most definitely visible to the eye if you look carefully.

Next up, how adorbsville is Essence’s Benefit-esque How to Make Brows Wow brow kit (R115,50)?

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Three brow shades, a highlighter, tweezers and double-sided brush featuring a sponge applicator and bristle brush.

Cuteness aside, I am a critical bitch so let’s get a few gripes out the way – I will only ever use the ‘love ’em all’ shade so the paler ‘love blondes’ and ‘love brunettes’ colours are lost on me. It would’ve been nicer if Essence created three separate kits and used the freed up blocks for a setting wax or something. The tweezers isn’t a-mah-zing but does the job and the applicator isn’t ideal in that its super ‘scratchy’ and kicks up a lot of brow powder. Also, a brow comb is severely lacking and having to have this kit and still guy another brow tool to lug around is annoying. But all that aside, the brow powder I tried did a good job and the inclusion of a ‘lift me up’ highlighter (to place just under your arch to create the illusion of a more lifted brow) is a lovely touch.

One last thing about brows – Essence also now make a very nice brow tamer called Make Me Brow eyebrow gel mascara (R47,95). I can’t find the pic I took of it on my camera but will reshoot and include it soon. It says it contains tiny fibres to help fill in gaps but I can’t see any. To me, it just looks like a slightly tinted gel and that’s fine with me as it does a good job of fixing my brows in place after they’re done and that’s all I care about. When I want to fill, I reach for powder or pencil, not fibres.

Moving on, let’s talk about Essence Silky Touch blush in Summer Dreaming, (R47,95).

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I can’t find the shot I took while the compact was still pristine so I’m having to show it to you after I’ve used several times and you have nooo idea what that’s doing to my OCD-addled li’l heart right now.

Summer Dreaming is a new shade to Essence’s blush line up and, if you’re a cool-toned pale peep looking for a very light peach, every so slightly shimmery-looking flush, this is pretty flattering. On days when I want to create a very fresh, natural look, this is a goodie. It doesn’t have great staying powder though, so I only ever wear it on days when I’m wearing foundation as this acts like a primer, giving it something to ‘grip’ so it lasts longer.

Apologies for the lack of ‘on face’ pic but I’m currently dying in bed with flu. Once I can remain vertical for longer than five minutes I’ll be sure to snap one and update.

See anything you like? You’ll find Essence cosmetics in both Clicks and Dis-Chem stores.

Love, love

Leigh

Morgan Taylor launches their Midnight Masquerade collection and The Big Reveal is the shade you want

Morgan Taylor have a new nail collection out called Midnight Masquerade that’s inspired by the intrigue and innate sexiness of an opulent masked ball.

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Pretty, pretty!

I was given two shades nudey-mauvey hue called Flirting with the Phantom and another deep shimmering teal colour called The Big Reveal.

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The Big Reveal on the left and Flirting with the Phantom on the right.

When I first saw The Big Reveal, my thoughts ran as follows: Glitter. Puke. When is this stupid glitter nail trend going to die? I’m a woman not a 12 year old and no, I don’t have ten hours to take the stupid stuff off.

But then I looked a little closer and realised it wasn’t really glitter so much as micro-glitter whirled through a shimmering ‘base’ (if that makes sense) that sets to a finish so shiny and ‘expensive-looking’, you almost don’t need a top coat. Also, there’s something vinyl-like about the way it looks. Almost as though each micro-glitter is set within a clear gel-like sphere. Is any of this making sense? Am I sounding like a total crazy person here?

Morgan Taylor The Big Reveal

Morgan Taylor The Big Reveal

Another thing: Despite being a dark colour, it’s easy to paint with. Maybe it’s the shimmer aspect that makes it more forgiving than jet black which shows up your every error.

Anyway, I really, REALLY like this. In fact, I LOVE it. It’s that top you thought wouldn’t look good on you but you tossed it into the to try on pile anyway and BA-ZAAM it looks amazing. That is this nail colour. It should totally be called The Big Surprise as opposed to The Big Reveal.

I totally planned to take a snap, remove it and then photograph Flirting with the Phantom as I knew I’d be happy to then continue into my life wearing it but there’s no way I’m taking TBR off any time soon. (Yep, we’re so toit we’re now on an acronym basis, good ole’ TBR and I.) If you spot this collection in store (each shade is R123 a pop) ignore everything else and pop TBR in your trolley. You won’t regret it.

Love, love

Leigh

Surf Auto threw an elegant ‘Women in White’ event to celebrate strong, successful women

As it turns out, Surf was South Africa’s very first washing powder. Yep, they’ve been keeping our clothes clean and bright since 1953 y’all. But now there’s a new kid on the block – Surf Auto. Specially developed for top loaders, Surf Auto blitzes the ‘hard to remove’ dirt that causes dullness. It also locks in brightness to help keep your whites looking as dazzling as the day you bought them.

To celebrate the launch, Surf invited a mix of media and local celebs to an uber glam dinner at The 12 Apostle’s hotel.

How much do we love a good table setting?

How much do we love a good table setting?

Highlights included free-flowing bubbles, a yummy truffle-infused risotto and an all white-themed ‘help yourself’ candy bar.  Totally worth the semi-trauma of having to shoehorn myself into a teensy white lace dress that I’m convinced has shrunk in the wash since I last wore it. Clearly I wasn’t using Surf Auto. It couldn’t be the fact that I live and die and foodilicious launches like this one and may or may not have walked off with a good eight pieces of coconut ice smuggled into my purse. Oh no!

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Happy place!

The evening’s always charming MC was Jo-Anne Strauss who introduced us all to Surf’s new #WomenInWhite campaign. Essentially, the idea is that Surf wants to recognise inspirational South African women and inspire them to share their success story as well as a visual of themselves in a gorgeous white Black Coffee wrap dress that they gave to every women in the room.

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Expresso’s Lee-Anne Williams, Jo-Ann (looking mooi in her Black Coffee rokkie), myself and 2Oceansvibe radio’s Bailey Schneider.

Jo-Ann passed her dress on to Professor Rachel Japhta, a lecture who’d inspired her at university who’s now a Media24 board member before the evening’s woman of honour, sports presenter Carol Tshabalala, took the stage. She spoke about how she’d forged her path in a very male dominated sporting world via sheer determination and the belief that ‘nothing is impossible’. She then presented her dress to Hangwani Nengovhela of Rubicon Clothing. A self-taught seamstress, it took Hangwane a decade to build her brand.

So, now it’s my turn, to wear the dress.

Sucking it in HAAARD, yo!

Sucking it in HAAARD, yo!

I’m now supposed to chat about what I think makes me ‘successful’ but I’m not really comfortable with it. While I do see myself as a successful writer (I work like a donkey for various magazines, TV shows, ad agencies and PR agencies) I prefer to be self-deprecating so people will be fooled into thinking I’m a nice, sweet girl who isn’t arrogant cow in the least and then, if it’s necessary, blow them away with my bullet-proof CV forged by blood, sweat, tears and the long-term abuse of upper and downers. (Isn’t it nice to know that should my career result in the expulsion of yet more body fluids I now have a great detergent to keep my whites bright?)

So, who did I pass my dress on to? A friend of course! I’m very lucky to have no shortage of wonderful, inspiring women close to home and one of them is former local beauty queen and current fuchsia-haired hottie Chelle Lovatt.

Chelle Belle

A while back we drunkenly gave those horses names and personalities but then decided there was only really ONE horse living it up in alternate dimensions ‘cos we’re deep and insightful like that.

Aside from being a kind, funny, smart, creative and ballsy human being that also happens to be born on the same freakin’ day as I am, Chelle is industrious to the max. She works as a fashion buyer by day and then comes home to run up satin pillow slips for her company Dear Deer. Made from 100% pure satin, they help your skin remain hydrated and less likely to crease up while you sleep – AND – all the profits from Chelle’s pillow cases go to various charities, particularly cancer-related ones as a tribute to her mom who she lost to the disease. If you’re looking for an amazing energy-infused gift for the girl who has everything and want to know your money is doing good, trust me, this is it.

Thank you Surf for a delish dinner in a room full of bright, inspiring women. Receiving your white dress was an honour.

Love, love

Leigh

Keen to win an organic Vita Liberata spray tan?

By now you’ve surely heard of Vita Liberata. They’re an organic self-tan company that’s a hit with celebs like Kim Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow due to A) being awesome and B) using certified organic and Ecocert ingredients. To learn more about it, read my review of Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 week tan mousse over here.

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Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 week tan mousse, R965.

Aside from having a nice range of luxury ‘at home’ self-tanning products, the company also serve up a great spray tan, available at selected salons nationwide. To find one in your area, visit their local webpage. You can also safely shop their products online for national delivery.

Alternatively, enter my competition to win a Vita Liberata spray tan, bearing in mind that you need to live in Cape Town as your tan will take place as the company’s office in Gardens. Keen? Drop me a tweet saying ‘Hey @lipglossgirl! I’d love to win a @VitaLiberataSA spray tan. Pick me!’ being sure to follow them on Twitter and include a link to this page.

Another way to win? Leave a comment on this page telling me why you’d be keen to win. Maybe you’re going to 5 for Change at the end of the month… maybe you’re invited to a wedding where your evil ex is a guest. Whatever. Tell me why you want a tan and maybe it’ll be you who nabs it, but bear in mind I use a random number generator to select a winner as many of my friends enter my comps and I don’t want to be a biased biets.

Good luck girls! This comp closes at COB on Tuesday.

'Cos a tan this hot would always make me faint on a tree.

‘Cos a tan this hot would always make me faint on a tree.

Love, love

Leigh

I’m testing Pantene Pro-V Full & Thick shampoo and conditioner in a blogger trial

If you follow me on twitter, or any other beauty bloggers for that matter, you’ll know that Pantene has updated their shampoo so that their formula now contains a ‘damage-blocker’ to protect your hair from water. Yep, you heard me. The minerals found in tap water might be doing your body good but, according to the brand’s trichologist, Dr. John Gray, your hair ain’t loving it. It’s the copper ions that are the worst, he says, as they ‘erode your hair’s vital protein layer via oxidation damage that eventually leads to protein-porosis’ – essentially holes in your hair.

So, there’s something in Pantene’s new shampoo line up that, the brand reckon, can protect your hair by ‘targeting, capturing and neutralizing’ the damage-causing minerals to ensure stronger, healthier hair.

I was given Pantene’s new and improved Pro-V Full and Thick shampoo and conditioner to use for the month of May.

Hello boys!

Hello boys!

I’ll be letting the company know my thoughts week by week and will be sure to do a report back here to let you know them too. As it is, I’ve used Pantene’s Aqua Light shampoo and conditioner in the past and rather liked them. My hair is baby fine and prone to getting oily fast so I was it every single day. I liked that Aqua Light didn’t ‘coat’ my hair with silicones and then build up to leave my tresses feeling limp. I’ve had this problem with Pantene’s Smooth & Sleek shampoo in the past but that’s hardly something I can cry about. That range is designed for people with thick, frizzy hair and for them it’s kind of ideal. In that case, silicone is your friend as it seals up your hair’s cuticle to keep out the humidity that causes it to frizz.

So, long story short, find a shampoo and conditioner that works for your hair type and feel free to stick with it. Your hair can’t ‘get tired’ of a shampoo. It’s not a person. It’s hair. This is something that was reaffirmed to me by aforementioned hair doc John Gray. He’s also said there’s absolutely nothing wrong with washing your hair everyday and I loved hearing that. So that’s something for all you wive’s tail perpetuators to think about while you possibly damage the shizz out of your hair by giving it 100 strokes of the brush before bed.

Love, love

Leigh

Winter restaurant special altert: Pigalle in Cape Town’s seafood platter for two is just R495

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I’ve been honoured with the role of being an ambassador for Pigalle, the iconic ‘dinner and dance’ restaurant in Green Point. Personally, I don’t think Pigalle needs an ambassador – everyone knows their food is amazing, the service is top notch and the venue’s a total gem – but I’ll never tell them that ‘cos we all know the Rules to a Happy Life and one of them is to never look a gift seafood platter in the mouth.

Pretty, pretty!

Fancy!

Pigalle’s enormous lemon-butter drench platter for two is currently on special for just R495 and that’s crazy good value considering it was almost too much for my date Tatum and I. You’re looking at two enormous Natal lobsters, prawns, fresh line fish, mussels in a creamy, almost garlic & cheesy-tasting sauce that, for me, totally stole the show, and buttersoft calamari.

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Huge, right? But oh boy did we manage to find the space and them some…

Also, no trip to Pigalle is complete without a little trinchado on the table. Once you’ve eaten, you’re ruined for life in that whenever you eat trinchado anywhere else it kind of tastes like rubber. Or ash. Or maybe crushed glass. Pigalle’s, you see, might as well be soft, fluffy fillet that you can cut with a butter knife; floating on a sea of spicy, creamy sauce that sees you lose all dignity and scoop it up into your mouth with your fingers (when nobody else is looking, of course.)

Cue Sade's Nothing Compares to Youuuuu....

Cue Sade’s ‘Cos noooothing compares to youuuuu….

Eventually, it was dessert time and Tatum and I knew their was no way we’d be able to eat one more drop. We’d be like that cartoon doing the rounds on the net. You know. Of the guy who’s super duper full but simply has to put the last pea in his mouth and then BOOM, he explodes like a grenade. Have you seen that? Well we where like that so it made sense to order just one dessert to share and not actually eat it.

‘Please bring us something that’ll look incredible in a photograph’, we said. ‘We can’t actually eat it though’.

Our lovely waitress smiled and brought us the chocolate fondant. ‘It comes with pistachio ice cream and warm, runny chocolate oozes out of it when you cut it open’, she said. ‘You’re definitely going to it eat’.

This is what you want your mom to be eating come Mother's Day.

If I could slap a triple stack of my phone’s ‘praise hands’ emoji here I totally would.

And she was right. About everything. And then there was nothing left to say or do but roll home in a happy Public Holiday afternoon haze, being careful to avoid ingesting any potential life-ending peas that crossed our paths.

So! If you’re a seafood fan like me and want to indulge in the Pigalle’s incredible platter for two (and you will – it’s the hot stone massage of the seafood platter world), know that it’s a winter special that costs just R495 and runs until the end of August. Available Monday to Thursdays for dinner and Tuesdays to Fridays for lunch.

Thanks for having me!

These tables fill up fast so call (021) 421 4848 to book.

Thank you Pigalle for yet another incredible meal. Even the peri peri sauce you serve with your warm, crusty bread is perfection.

Love, love

Leigh

The Body Shop’s Vitamin E line features limited edition Union Jack packaging for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend (I’m not sure if it’s the Saturday or the Sunday) and, to celebrate, The Body Shop’s serving up a Mother’s Day collection that’s essentially their lovely Vitamin E line repackaged with a cute Union Jack and crown combo to tie in with their whole ‘treat your mum like a queen’ angle.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil (R155) and Aqua Boost Sorbet (R135).

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil (R155) and Aqua Boost Sorbet (R135).

Now in a bid for full disclosure, the Union Jack vibe does nothing for me as I’m not a Brit. But I do know my mom, or most people really, would happily accept The Body Shop products as opposed to a horrid broderie anglaise slipper and tea pot combo. Still, Mother’s Day angle aside I wanted to chat about their Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil (R155).

How much do we love that big ole' vein pulsing in my hand?

This boy’s packed with wheatgerm oil – the highest source of vitamin E in nature.

I was aware of this product but hadn’t really picked it up before. Also, something about it made me think it would contain a bunch of silicones which I’m not a big fan of as I’m oily-skinned and they tend to aggravate that or, in the worst case, cause me to break out. Merrily, however, it’s actually silicone-free. In fact, what you’re really looking at is a nicely priced mix of antioxidant-rich hydrating oils like wheatgerm, sweet almond and jojoba.

While The Body Shop reckons you should apply a few drops at night to wake up with skin that feels replenished you can do pretty much whatever you like with it, the same way you would something like Bio-Oil. I’ve been rubbing it into my cuticles, wearing it like a ‘mask’ if I’m home working and could merrily add a drop to any face cream if I wanted to bump up it’s hydration aspect. Essentially that’s what you’re getting here. A fab hydrator that isn’t promising to turn back time – simply moisturise.

So! Let’s wrap things up. Mom or not, if you’ve got dry skin in need of a simple moisture bath and enjoy luxurious oil textures, know that this is a lovely product.

Love, love

Leigh