Beauty reviews: Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse dry oil, Optiphi Classic Refine-Foliant and Armani Acqua di Gioia eau fraiche EDT

NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose dry oil, R210 for 50ml, Edgars and Truworths

You know how almost every girl you know has an Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream in her life? Well NUXE Huile Prodigieuse multi-purpose dry oil (for face, body and hair) is kind of like that for French women. You can open any bathroom cabinet in Paris and whoomp, there it is. For this shallowesque reason alone, I love the stuff. I adore slapping it on my skin and inhaling its pretty white floral scent and suddenly feeling like an exotic, sophisticated French girl. For me, that’s my raison d’etre for wanting this baby in my life. But there are other reasons why it’s a goodie.

See how I got all stylie stylie?

See how I got all stylie stylie?

For one, it’s 97,8% natural and makes use of six ‘precious oils’ (Borage, St. John’s Wort, sweet almond, camellia, hazelnut and macadamia nut) with vitamin E. Being a dry oil, it hydrates but sinks into your skin almost immediately. (Admittedly though, if you’ve got very dry, thirsty skin, I’d recommend more of an oily oil like The Body Shop’s Beautifying Oil. The Moringa version, my favourite, has a very similar scent Huile Prodigieuse.)

Regarding the multitasking aspect, there are lots of things you can do with it and these include using it to hydrate your hair, face, cuticles, lips and even mixing a few drops of it with a bit of foundation in your palm before application to create a more hydrating, silkier-feeling product. While I tried it on my face for a few nights and appreciated that it absorbed in a flash and didn’t cause any kind of reaction, I only really use this on my body, after applying a rapidly absorbed but very hydrating body lotion, to add a little glow and indulge in the scent – a mix of what smells like gardenia, magnolia and frangipanies.

Optiphi Classic Refine-Foliant, R520 to R650, selected salons.

Award-winning local skincare brand Optiphi are known for their in-salon peels and now they’re selling a fab li’l peel product, Optiphi Classic Refine-Foliant, so you can get your chemical exfoliation on at home.

Peel and reveal, darlings!

Peel and reveal, darlings!

Refine-Foliant is basically a box containing ten 5ml bottles of the chemical exfoliator. This way, you’re not opening one large bottle that, by the time you eventually use it up, has lost much of its potency due to exposure to air. You’re to use one bottle for each treatment, covering your face, neck, chest and the back of your hands, but I find I can get at least two or three treatments of just one bottle.

Ingredient-wise, you’re looking at a mix of top notch acids including lactic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid that zaps dead surface skin cells), salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid that manages to get inside your pores and clean those out; fabulous for blackhead-blitzing) as well as ascorbyl glucoside. The latter is a very stable form of vitamin C delivery and we all know this ingredient’s a goodie. Aside from being a fab antioxidant, it can minimise the appearance of pigmentation and encourage the formation of collagen in your skin. Then there’s hydrating glycerine and various other natural extracts – think soothing mallow and yarrow. The only thing that annoys me is there being peppermint leaf in the mix (like many others, my skin generally find’s it irritating) but thankfully it’s low down in the ingredients list.

Anyway, I slapped the peel on my face and hit the sack despite the fact that Optiphi suggests you leave their peel on for just five minutes. I’m not suggesting you do this; your skin might be less sensitive than mine. Thing is, I’m used to using an Environ’s Alpha Hydroxy Gel, which contains a very high concentration of glycolic acid, an AHA that’s even more fierce than lactic acid.

The next day, I washed my face as per usual and saw the peel had done a great job of completely removing a waning facial self-tan – no scrubbing required – and the dry skin on the side of my nose was gone. And yes, my skin did look smoother over all.

While Optiphi don’t offer their lactic acid percentage or give a recommended usage (i.e. use this once a week), I could merrily use this product two to three nights a week, as I do my super sterk Environ Alpha Hydroxy Gel. I also own Uriage’s Hyseac 18, which contains 18% glycolic acid and have no issue applying it to my face and wearing it for a full day or night, as is the intended use. My suggestion to you, is that you experiment with what your skin can tolerate.

In all, Optiphi’s chemical exfoliator is a very nice product.

Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia eau fraiche EDT, R719 for 50ml.

To date, I consider Acqua di Gio one of the sexiest scents on the planet. I really, really wanted to like its female counterpart, Acqua di Gioia, but it just never blew my hair back. However, last year’s Essenza, to my nose, was a lovely fresh, clean scent; the kind of fragrance that makes you feel like you’ve just got out of the shower. Still, the latest Acqua di Gioia flanker, eau fraiche, somehow manages to top it.

So clean, so fresh.

So clean, so fresh.

The scent, inspired by the ‘purity of nature’, is a citrusy-aquatic blend that opens with grapefruit, lemon and mandarin peel. Its watery heart has a few petals floating on it – ylang-ylang and jasmine tea – and the base is all about cedar, musk and brown sugar. It’s different to Essenza in that the citrus notes are more prolific as opposed to the flowers which dominated its predecessor.

At first spritz, I immediately get all the uplifting, refreshing citrus notes and appreciate that this doesn’t smell a bit like a household cleaning product. (Many lemon-focused scents have fallen into that trap.) I then pick up on the water and flowers with just a hint of musk but can never really sniff any wood or sugar. I’m very thankful about the latter though. If this had a drop of ‘caramel’ to it, I probably wouldn’t like it. I’m also glad it’s not ‘soapy’ in the least. Phew!

See how the bottle's already almost down quarter. I wasn't kidding when I said this is a fab every day scent.

See how the bottle’s already almost down quarter. I wasn’t kidding when I said this is a fab every day scent.

In all, this has merrily slipped into my summer fragrance collection. It’s the kind of scent you could douse yourself with liberally and not offend anyone. A real spritz-and-go, ‘every day’-type of summer scent for when you want to feel clean, fresh and feminine. This also makes it a lovely gift as I can’t imagine many people not liking it.

If you like clean, citrusy or aquatic scents like L’Eau Par Kenzo, Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea or Bulgari Aqua, do yourself a favour and give Acqua di Gioia a sniff.

Love, love

Leigh

Freebie alert: Grab a free Monkey Shoulder cocktail at Orphanage on Monkey Mondays

Remember me writing about that rocking Monkey Shoulder whiskey launch at House of Machines the other day? The spot with the seriously good bar snacks? (I mean, pork belly, hello?) Anyway, the Scottish whiskey brand’s now hosting Monkey Monday’s at Orphanage Cocktail Emporium in Bree Street every Monday until the end of April. This means you can score a complimentary Monkey Shoulder cocktail served up by ‘esoteric alchemist’ Dom Walsh and listen to Ann-Jangle live.

Myself and an old college friend, Ina who’s visiting from Germany, popped in earlier this week to try one of two Monkey Shoulder cocktails; a Monkey Mojito and a coffee-based martini type thing which name I’ve now forgotten. Oops! Of the two, Ina most liked the mojito while I really enjoyed the coffee number, which is weird ‘cos I’m not really a coffee liqueur kind of girl. I liked that it was sweet, but not too sweet and only just a little creamy.

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Dom on the left, myself and Ina on the right and the killer cocktails down below.

Ina and I rocked up super early, at seven, as we thought it was an ‘event’ and didn’t realise it was just us and that a table had been set aside just for us, stocked with a big bottle of Monkey Shoulder, mixers and lots of ice. Tough gig, right? Still, we gave Dom a bit of flack about the spot being a bit empty due to it being so early in the evening. Think ‘Really?! I curled my hair for this?! Hope you got good snacks, dude’. While he laughed, I could see in his eyes that he didn’t quite get I was kidding and wrote me off as a total bitchface. Fortunately, we got to know each other better later on but, either way, any budding friendship was totally ruined ‘cos my douche bag ex-boyfriend Peter rocked up. I don’t know what it is about the place, but every time I hit up Orphanage, Peter turns up like clockwork. It’s like he lives there or something.

 Peter doing the two things he does best; rock a waist coat and binge drinking.


Peter doing the two things he does best; rock a waist coat and binge drinking.

If you didn’t know, Peter’s a cruel drunk with a double scoop of selfish bastard. He wasted no time in downing three glasses of Monkey Shoulder neat on the rocks. He then proceeded to hoover up all the mini burgers, which were deffo the best thing on the snack platter Orphanage so kindly provided for us. He also tried to make me jealous by getting a little too friendly with Ina, but she’s a solid gold wing woman and wasted no time in telling him to hop along swiftly.

 See those ‘merry’ pics of Ina, myself and Peter? Our grins are masking abject terror, I promise. The sociopathic glint in Peter’s beady little eye, however, is pretty clear.


See those ‘merry’ pics of Ina, myself and Peter? Our grins are masking abject terror, promise. The sociopathic glint in Peter’s beady little eye, however, is pretty clear. Can’t tell you how I lucky I am he didn’t key my car upon leaving.

Anyway, that awkwies moment aside, this was a seriously fun night out. By the time we’d left, the place was totally pumping which is impressive for a Monday night anywhere in Cape Town. We’d put away half a bottle of Monkey Shoulder (like I said, it was Peter, not us, okay?) and made a bunch of new friends which, as it turns out, is easy if you stagger into the courtyard holding a bottle of killer good whiskey and insist on pouring it into everyone’s glass, regardless of what they’re drinking. (‘What do you mean you can’t mix whiskey with wine?! That’s a bespoke artisanal cocktail right there, dude!’)

Want to enjoy a Monkey Monday yourself? Swing past Orphanage in Bree street next week Monday. You’ll have fun. For more info check out Monkey Shoulder on Facebook.

Love, love

Leigh

P.S. If you’d like to live it up but not so keen on driving into the back end of Corsa Lite, perhaps make use of Uber, the slickest taxi service in the city. Simply download the app and use my promo code, ubv7n, to get R180 in credit totally free. 

So Ambri Designs gave me a tee. It’s super cute, right?

A few weeks back I was gifted with the cutest little viscose printed tee (R290) by local label Ambri Designs.

See the subtle pretty lady puff print?

See the subtle pretty lady puff print?

The designer behind the locally produced label, Andrea Bryant, reckons the key factors that make Ambri Designs unique are the following; she doesn’t compromise on quality, comfort and wearability is everything and all the garments produced are limited to just 10 units of each style.

My Candice Swanepoel-esque modeling skills be illz.

My Candice Swanepoel-esque modeling skills be illz, yo.

Fabric-wise, this stretchy, super soft tee feels fabulous on. I like that the print adds a bit of interest to an otherwise basic tee and like that the scooped neckline allows you to wear it off the shoulder too. It’s also a little longer than ye regular old T-shirt which makes it super easy to team with leggings. (We all know the golden rule of how to rock a pair of leggings by now, right? Always ensure your top covers your hip bones and your bum!)

Aside from tees, which are available in various colours and styles, Ambri also do other pieces including dresses, trousers, bling-infused shorts, shirts and slim fit blazers. Of everything I’ve spotted on their website, I most like this boob tube maxi dress (PRICE) and printed viscose joggers with side pockets (R495).

I'm actually wearing pants super similar to these as I type.

I’m actually wearing pants super similar to these as I type.

To see Ambri’s full collection pop on over to their website or visit them on Facebook. Currently, the range is being stocked at Katema Boutique at 219 Bree Street, Cape Town, but you can place orders online too.

Love, love

Leigh

MAVALA’s Sublime autumn/winter 2014 collection is on the shelves

Inspired by the 40s, MAVALA’s Sublime autumn/winter nail colour collection ranges from dark and mysterious to dusky rose and soft beige.

Pretty, pretty!

From left to right you’ve got Twilight Blue, Amethyst. Ivory Beige, Poetic Rose, Warm Grey and Espresso.

Of all the colours, I’m most excited to wear Espresso. It’s the kind of hue that’ll look awesome when paired with a winter white blazer and lots of chunky gold jewellery. (I’d show it off on my nails if I could but I’m wearing a hot pink gelish hue at the mo.)

Want one yourself? They’re in selected Clicks and Dis-Chem as I type going for R59,99 a pop.

Love, love

Leigh

Who wants to win a Lamelle Dermaheal travel pack valued at R500?

For those of you aren’t familiar with the brand, Lamelle is proudly South African biotechnology research company that manufactures its own skin care ranges including Dermaheal (to combat aging), Luminesce (for pigmentation) and Serra (for very dry skin).
They’ve also recently launched their own anti-aging and skin care-focused mag called Lapelle.

Product-wise. Lamelle’s Dermaheal range flies off the shelves of good salons like my beloved Skin & Body Renewal as it makes use of peptides and growth factors that encourage your skin to produce more of its own collagen and speed up any healing process. Better yet, the growth factors have been nano-encapsulated to ensure they’re small enough to penetrate your skin to ensure you get more bang for your buck.

Win! Win! Win!

I’ve been given a Dermaheal travel pack valued at R500 to give away.

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This could be yours, darlings but you have to be in it to win it.

Each pack contains a travel-sized Dermaheal Foaming Cleanser, Daily Cellular Repair Cream, Hydrating Sunscreen 30 and Ultra Moisturising Renewal Cream.  This is a great way to try the range before committing to full-sized products as well as save a li’l space in your luggage when you travel.

Want to enter to win? Simply like Lamelle on Facebook and/or follow them on twitter and then drop me a mail on glossycomps@gmail.com with the subject ‘Lamelle comp’. The competition closes at 5pm on Wednesday and I’ll be announcing the winner shortly afterwards.

Good luck girls!

Love, love

Leigh

Beauty reviews: Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet, John Frieda repairing oil elixir, Revlon Colorburst Lacquer and Matt Balms and Shiseido UV Protective Compact foundation

Ready to jump? Here we go!

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lip colour, R125,95.

Bourjois have taken your stock standard liquid lip colour and injected it with a big dose of silicones. The result? Rouge Edition Velvet, a feather light lip, silky smooth lip colour with a velvety matte-looking finish. In short, the perfect lip colour for winter. 

Pretty, pretty!

Pretty, pretty!

I was given an incredible fuchsia shade called Pink Pong and liked it so much I wore it to the Veuve Clicquot polo. I loved that it’s fabulously pigmented. Also, despite all the silicones, it doesn’t slide off your lips; the staying power is very, very decent. I’m now excited to get into a store and get up close and personal with the other eight shades on offer. I’d love to snap this baby up in a zexy, vampy-looking rooi.

John Frieda Full Repair repairing oil elixir, R110, exclusive to Clicks.

John Frieda’s new oil elixir is pretty much the standard ‘hair oil’ formula; lots of silicone blended with a bit of oil. (In this case it’s omega acid-rich Inca Incha oil which, John Frieda reckons, contains 47 times more omega 3 than Argan oil.) Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘Oh God, yet another hair oil…’ and I agree. They’re pretty much the BB Cream of the hair world right now. Still, this one’s worth your attention if you’re fine haired like me in that it’s fabulously light yet wallet-friendly too. Many of the lighter textured hair oils I’ve tried come in at a killer salon price point. Wella SP Oil Elixer, for example, is awesome, but will set you back over five hundred bucks.

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John Frieda Full Repair repairing oil elixir.

The first time I used this I pumped out way too much but slapped it all on my lengths anyway and this is what ran through my head: ‘Arrrgh! You’re going to look like a greasy train wreck the moment you blow dry your hair. You’re totally going to have to try this again tomorrow…’ But, surprise, surprise; my hair looked great and didn’t feel weighed down in the least.

I also like that it’s got a slightly more true-to-oil texture as opposed to feeling like silicone. Not that there’s anything wrong with silicone; that’s exactly what’s doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to de-frizzing, softening, boosting shine and protecting you from heat-damage. Oh! And it smells delish too – almost exactly like Burberry Body EDT.

Revlon Colorburst Lacquer and Matte Balm lip colours, R120 each.

We all loved Revlon’s Colorburst Balm Stain lip colours. I know you’ve got one or two rolling around in your handbag. But now the brand’s extended their chubby stick empire to include two new options; a shiny Lacquer Balm and Matte Balm. Unlike their predecessor, these don’t stain your lips, but they do serve up a nice punch of colour. Also, despite offering two very different finishes, each lippie is incredibly hydrating and infused with Shea, Cocoa and Mango butter.

The colours on my arm from left to right are A and B (both Lacquer Balms) and B (a Matte Balm).

The colours on my arm from left to right are A and B (both Lacquer Balms) and B (a Matte Balm).

Of the two variants, I’m a fan of the Lacquer. It imparts a nice shiny pop of colour but doesn’t slide off your lips. The matte lip colour looked a bit milky and created little ‘lines’ on my lips but I can’t be sure that’s not exclusive to the milky-type shade I was given. Scent-wise, each shade has a lovely, fresh peppermint smell and a slightly sweet taste taste, but not so much that you’re going to lick them off your lips. Now, as is the case with Bourjois’ Rouge Edition Velvet, I’m now dying to get into store to check out the other Lacquer Balm shades.

Shiseido UV Protective Compact foundation SPF 30, R395, exclusive to Edgars Sandton and V&A Waterfront.

When I want a heavier foundation that also has fab light reflecting qualities I don’t hesitate to reach for Shiseido’s Radiant Lifting foundation. In short, it’s freakin’ fabulous. So I was super excited to try one of their compacts, in this case the UV Protective formula. It’s one of their international bestsellers and I’d always been intrigued by it, having spotted it in foreign mags and the handbags of all my German besties.

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This is currently exclusive to Edgars in Sandton and the V&A Waterfront but the moment it starts flying off the Shiseido counter I’m sure it’ll pop up in more stores.

Aside from offering matte yet natural-looking medium level coverage, it protects your skin from the sun and is formulated with something Shiseido call Profense CEL, which, to me, sounds like a mix of antioxidants. As it is I can spot vitamin E in the ingredients list. It’s also oil and water-resistant.

Anyway, I’ve been using this for a while now and love how easy it is to apply. You can either sweep it on with a powder brush for a more natural look or swipe it on with the sponge which creates a heavier veil that sits very closely to your skin. Just be careful of using the latter application method if you’re oily-skinned like me; too much of it and it can make your pores look a bit more obvious once your skin starts greasing up as the day goes on. The right amount, however, will obliterate them and then you can ‘touch up’ your face throughout the day with a super light blotting powder. (I’m addicted to MAC’s Blot Powder for this.)

In all, this is a lovely compact foundation with great sun protection properties but I still wouldn’t rely on it as my sole SPF. You can’t apply it to every drop of skin on your face – to do so would result in a bit of a weird finish. So be sure to team it with a good facial sunscreen or a moisturiser with a high SPF and you’re all good to go.

NSI (Nail Systems International) Nurture Oil, R78, Dream Nails Beauty salons.

I’ve tried a few nail oils in the past and NSI’s Nurture Oil is one of the best. A blend of five different skin and nail-loving oils (jojoba, soy, safflower, wheatgerm and grapeseed) there’s also vitamin C and E in the mix. I use it every night and love how my cuticles and the skin around my nails immediately drinks it up. I like the way it smells – like a grape-flavoured lollipop! It’s also the perfect after-mani oil and it does a nice job of ‘lifting’ any polish you might’ve got on the skin around your nails.

Nurture oil.

NSI Nurture Oil.

Last but not least? I’ve discovered that adding a few drops of Nurture Oil to any dried up cream eye shadows immediately gives them a new lease on life. If it wasn’t for this baby I’d have had to toss my beloved Benefit Creaseless Cream shadow/liner in Busy Signal which, sadly, isn’t available in South Africa anymore.

So, which of these li’l darling’s have got your attention?

Love, love

Leigh

Fragrance review: New Karl Lagerfeld For Her EDP

Karl Lagerfeld is not new to creating fragrances. One of the first of his I can recall is Sun Moon Stars which launched back in ’94. Then there was Karleidoscope in 2004 after which he went quiet for a bit but now he’s back with two much-hyped eponymous new fragrances; Karl Lagerfeld for Her and for Him.

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Ladies on the left and the male scent on the right. (But you probably figured that out yourself, hey?)

Myself and my friend Tracy had a good laugh at the launch as we reckon the model in the ad, Baptiste Giabiconi, is a dead ringer for her boyfriend Jeff.

You can see it, right?

You can see it, right?

Because I was terrified of Jeff’s photographer suing me for using an image without crediting him I first asked if I could slap it up and was told it’d be A-Okay provided I say ‘Jeff Tsoutsos, owner of Dranged Clothing‘ as opposed ‘Jeff Tsoutsos my hot guy friend who often pops up on my blog in various stages of undress’. So there you have it!

But ja, getting back to the scent… I really like the bottle. It’s big and luxuriously heavy in your hands yet styled in an understated, elegant way. Still, it’s studded ‘choker’ and the teensy graphic image of Karl almost hidden in the type face give it a mod li’l edge.

Pretty, pretty!

FYI, the male scent’s all about mandarin, lavender, green apple, violet, amber and sandalwood.

Notes-wise, the female scent is a light, fresh blend of lime, peach, magnolia, ‘metallic rose’ and frangipani on a bed of amber, wood and musk. Upon first spritz, all I got was magnolia and while it smelled pretty and clean, a big surprise considering Uncle Karl’s rather hard core-looking image. Still, it didn’t blow my hair back as it reminded me of the Woolworths’ magnolia bath and body range my mom used to be obsessed with back in the day. Once it started to dry down, however, I totally changed my mind. This was when the peach started to come through and I had an instant flashback to being in college and dousing myself with Crabtree & Evelyn’s Tom Kitten ‘children’s fragrance’. God, I used to love that scent! It smelled like soft, sugary sun-ripened peaches and did a way better job of bringing all the boys to my yard than Gucci Rush ever did, the primo ‘sexy scent’ of the day.  

Anyway, after a lovely jaunt past the peach trees, For Her settles into a soft musky-floral making it something that’s very easy to wear and could suit both very young and older women alike. Due to its gentle nature, however, I’d probably only really wear it in the daytime.

Keen to try the scents your self? You’ll find them in stores with pricing as follows: Ladies 25ml EDP for R495; 45ml EDP for R695 and 85ml EDP for R995. Mens’ 50ml EDT for R695 and 100ml EDT for R895.

Love, love

Leigh