I’m not dead!

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. I’ve been in Jozi for launches (got back last night) and now I’m running off to another two (eek!) so it’s been a bit cray. You can follow all that in ‘live time’ via twitter (I’m @lipglossgirl) and Instagram (@lipglossgirlxoxo).

Doing yoga at the L'Oreal launch in Jozi. (It was super cold. I need the bubbles to help keep me warm.)

Doing yoga at the L’Oreal launch in Jozi. (It was super cold so I needed the bubbles to help keep me warm!)

Still, I’ve now got lots of cool new things to chat about and will be playing blog post catch up on the weekend so pop in on Monday for a ‘hoezit‘. I’ll also be kicking off a cool new competition and here’s a spoiler alert: You’re going to L.O.V it.

Love, love

Leigh

Review: Rimmel Magnif’eyes eye contouring shadow palettes

Like a good drugstore deal? Rimmel London have launched Magnif’eyes eye contouring shadow palettes and at R169 a pop for eight shades they’re a regte steal. Sure, we’re not talking Urban Decay quality but hey, at less than two hundred bucks for a choice of eight shades, I’ll take it! I mean, even if you only end up using six of the shades its still a good deal. Currently just a single NYX shadow alone is R100 at Clicks.

Hello hello!

Hello hello!

Each palette comes with a guide as to how to apply them on the back but don’t pay too much attention to it. Use them how you wish and toss the little brush they come with in the trash. No fully grown make-up lovin’ woman should be putting on her shadow with a sponge brush. Invest in a proper bristle one today and it’ll change your life. (I like MAC’s 217.)

Now here’s a closer look at each trio…

Grunge Glamour

Grunge Glamour

London Calling

London Nudes Calling

…and..

Bronze

Keep Calm and Wear Bronze

Of all three I like Keep Calm and Wear Bronze best, but that’s just ‘cos I have a preference for warm-toned more natural-looking shades, so I wasted no time in getting swatchy.

You'll see the palest shade has zero pigment pay off. The first one that's visible is second from the left.

You’ll see the palest shade has zero pigment pay off and is almost like a translucent powder. The first one that’s visible is actually second from the left.

I found that some colour, mostly the matte ones, had to be applied with a heavy hand to make an impact but if you’re using a primer or applying them on top of foundation you’re not going to have too much of a problem. The shimmery shades, however, particularly the fourth and fifth shades from the left, stroked on super duper well.

In short, like I said, if you’re looking to up your shadow colour options fast without having to splash a lot of cash, Rimmel’s new palettes are a decent way to do it.

Love, love

Leigh

Gelish Dip is coming to South Africa! I gave it a bash and I’m super duper impressed

So, there’s a new kind of mani coming to town and that’s Gelish Dip! While it sits under the Gelish umbrella, it’s actually quite different to Gelish and kind of straddles the gap between gel and acrylic. The big pros are that it’s longer wearing than gel, doesn’t require a UV light to cure and the application is lightning fast.

Gelish Dip! A new way to do your nails.

Gelish Dip! A new way to do your nails.

So, how does it work? This little video clip on my Insta will give you an idea.

Can’t watch the video? Then let me explain. The first step is to apply a prep coat followed by a base coat. You then dip your nails into a coloured powder and dust off the excess before applying another base coat and another dip.

Dipped...

Dipped…

..

...and dusted!

…dusted!

Your mani is now almost done. To set it, you don’t have to sit under a light. Instead you apply a slick of activator and a third round of base coat. It then takes just three minutes for the nail to set – with no light and not the slightest whiff of that chemical smell you get from acrylics.

The activator is like a thin, clear fluid that looks like water. It'll turn your nails matte but don't stress. The shine comes later.

The activator is like a thin, clear fluid that looks like water. It’ll turn your nails matte but don’t stress. The shine comes later.

Once you’re all set you can file away any lumps and bumps, so you don’t have to worry about an uneven look. The odds of you getting a ‘precise’ mani are certainly better with a dip as opposed to a paint which is great if you end up with a therapist who isn’t especially exacting. (We’ve all been there!) To finish, you apply a coat of activator followed by a glossy top coat. Again this dries in a few minutes and BOOM, you’re all done!

I opted for a solid hot pink, however, Paparazzi Pose, one of the 44 colours soon to be available in SA. (Sparkle fans will be glad to know they have glitter shades too!)

I opted for a solid hot pink, however, Paparazzi Pose, one of the 44 colours soon to be available in SA. (Sparkle fans will be glad to know they have glitter shades too!)

Just a word about my piccies – it was a little dim and fluorescent in the mani room so my shot quality isn’t at its best and WordPress totally degrades my piccies even further so please know that Paparazzi Pose is actually a helluva lot more neon than it appears.

So! What’s the verdict? While I haven’t worn acrylics before, I can compare it to Gelish and find that it’s ever so slightly thicker than gel and definitely does feel harder. Within a few hours of having it done my nails felt a bit sore – almost like the colour was shrinking and squeezing my nail – and it made me think of that sensation you get the day your ortho tightens your braces but this vanished the next day.  It’s now been five days and my nails still look as good as they do the day they were applied.

Am I going to switch from Gelish to the dip? Well, on days when I’m in a rush then I’ll definitely opt for a dip. No question! Also, if I wanted a French mani then the dip would be my first choice hands down thanks to the precision factor and speed. However, as I’m perfectly happy with the wear I get from regular gel (the light curing doesn’t bother me and lack of odour isn’t a draw as I don’t do acrylics) I’m not leaving that in the dirt anytime soon. But yay for options, right?! Also, I think women who are currently big acrylic fans are going to be delighted by this newbie to the nail scene.

If you’re keen to take a dip yourself know that it’s going to trickle into salons as of next month (March). I don’t have exact costing just yet and this will vary from salon to salon but its going to be a little more expensive than a Gelish mani but nothing crazy town.

Love, love

Leigh

P.S. Oh! Wondering how you take it off? The same way you would a Gelish mani – with a soak off. The only difference is that you’d need an extra five minutes.

Review: NIVEA Q10 Plus anti-wrinkle replenishing serum pearls

If you’re a fan of NIVEA’s skin care, particularly their Coenzyme Q10 offerings, you’ll be glad to know they’ve just launched their most Q10-a-licious product yet – NIVEA Q10 Plus anti-wrinkle replenishing serum pearls (R229).

NIVEA

NIVEA Q10 Plus anti-wrinkle replenishing serum pearls

A good antioxidant, we know that Q10 occurs naturally in our skin, plays a role in how our cells produce ATP (cellular energy) and that our reserves deplete as we age.

NIVEA ran a study that proved topical Q10 can encourage your skin to produce more fibroblasts, the cells that produce collagen. I also found a Japanese study that saw a reduction of wrinkles in skin that used a 1% Q10 serum for five months. While it’s not as proven or ‘sterk‘ as something like retinol, it is promising stuff at an affordable price tag without risk in regards to skin irritation if you don’t use it carefully. Also, there’s nothing stopping you from using it in tandem with other anti-agers. For example, you could consider it a daytime antioxidant serum underneath a moisturiser with sunscreen and then apply your ‘hard guns’ anti-agers before bed or on ‘in door’ days. (That’s pretty much how I tend to roll.)

See the pearls?

See the pearls?

Anyway, it’s unclear what percentage of Q10 exists in NIVEA’s new serum but it’s packaged in little ‘pearls’ that burst open when pushed through the pump bottle’s nozzle to ensure a ‘fresh dose’ of Q10 that then mixes with the hydrating component of the serum, a glycerine-based gel that contains skin plumping hyaluronic acid and creatine, the latter being something that helps boost our skin’s ‘energy’ supply so it can function well when it comes to doing things like regenerate.

A pump of serum...

A pump of serum…

..

...spreads out to look like this and then completely disappears when it's fully rubbed in.

…spreads out to look like this and then completely disappears when it’s fully rubbed in.

I really, really liked that this is packaged in an airless pump to protect its actives from oxidation and hope to see more pumps and less jars from NIVEA going forward. I also liked that the serum literally absorbs into your skin in a flash and doesn’t fall into what I refer to as the ‘slippy serum trap’ – where the brand immediately fills the product with a zillion silicones, possibly because so many women automatically associate the word ‘serum’ with a velvety, primer-type texture. (Great if you’ve got a drier skin type but horrid if you’re oily as the moment your face greases up, the silicones lying on top of it can turn your complexion into a muddy-looking oil slick!)

From a purely ‘hydrating’ perspective, I wouldn’t advise you use NIVEA’s new serum on its own unless you’re very, very oily. I’m combination-skinned and can often get away with wearing a serum on its own as a moisturiser, but like I said, this absorbs fast and leaves zero slip in its wake. A rather nice thing because you can happily work it into any existing routine without having to worry about added weight.

Love, love

Leigh

I visited the new Four Cousins Tasting Room at Van Loveren in Robertson and it was great

The other day I got whisked off to Robertson to visit the new Four Cousins tasting room, @FourCousins. (While it’s connected to Van Loveren, it’s a totally separate venue.) Getting there means a two hour drive from Cape Town but this wasn’t an ish as the lovely PR, Mira, had organised a shuttle so I could literally lie in the back seat of the van and catch up on my secret shame, The Bachelor. (I even brought a pillow!)

For those who don’t know, Four Cousins is Van Loveren’s wallet-friendly line that launched in 2000. I’m quite the fan of their Skinny Wine (low cal, low alcohol) and Tangled Tree offerings. The latter is packaged in plastic bottles so they’re fabulous for travel.

Hello hello!

Hello hello!

Upon arrival I was impressed by how big the winery is. We’re talking double volume ceilings, huge floor to ceiling windows and light spilling in everywhere. There wasn’t a Dutch gable to be found – everything was clean, airy and mod.

This is the tasting room.

This is the tasting room. Mooi, ne?

Aside from the tasting room itself, you’ll also find several bar areas, one that serves their craft beer on tap right next to the brewing tanks (yep, Four Cousins now make beer! And whiskey too!) as well as a restaurant and shop.

Craft beer on tap.

Fancy a beer, boet?

After a quick tour, I was thrilled when our super charming host, Rensche Schwartz, brought out all the tastings they offer. I was especially interested in tasting the Boet beer and whiskey and really, really liked the former, particular the Boet Beer Lager and Weiss as they were nice and light but full of flavour.

Nougat, caramel and a Sweetie Pie. That's my kind of whiskey tasting!

Nougat, caramel and a Sweetie Pie. That’s my kind of whiskey tasting!

Of all their nine tastings (one is non-alcoholic for the kiddies), the one I enjoyed most was the Family Pairing. It features five of the original Four Cousins wines paired with nostalgic treats like an Iced Zoo biscuit and Licourice All Sorts specifically chosen to make you hark back to the days of your childhood. Like all the other adult pairings it costs just R55.

Ice Zoo biscuits are still one of my favourite things in the world.

I really like the Four Cousins’ reds as they’re juicy and light but don’t taste watered down. (Heavy reds give me an instant migraine.)

Something else you should know? Four Cousins stock and use Olyfberg olives and they’re amaaaazing. The fleshiest, meatiest, yummiest dudes I’ve eaten in a while. If you’re an olive fan like me, please don’t leave the farm without adding the Olyfberg tasting to your table. It features the olives, tapanade, olive oil and balsamic vinegar paired with the Four Cousin’s Singles range.

Yum!

Arrrgh! Now I’m totally craving olives.

After stuffing our faces with a zillion treats you’d think we’d be too full for lunch but noooo. I’d smelled the most delicious pork ribs (R170 for 400g) while walking past the restaurant so deciding on what to order was easy.

This is just one aspect of the restaurant. It's huuuuge.

This is just one aspect of the restaurant. It’s huuuuge.

I liked that the meat fell off the bone, they weren’t too fatty and they weren’t shy with the sticky BBQ basting. I also got to pick from a side of either salad, oven roasted veggies or fries and opted for the latter which were nice and crispy.

Finger licking good!

Finger licking good!

Another dish that deserves major props is the beef chateaubriand (R195) served with bone marrow. I didn’t taste it myself but it looked amazing and fellow guest Roxy AKA The Witty Wine Woman (@witty_wine_ZA on twitter and @the_witty_wine_woman on insta) said it was a serious winner.

Looks good, hey?

Looks good, hey?

By this point, I told everyone there was no way I could squeeze in a dessert but then proceeded to pick away at the cheese platter (R145)…

Them olives again!

Them olives again!

…and wolf down half of Mira’s sticky toffee pudding (R50). It was huuuge and didn’t come with just sticky toffee sauce – it also boasted a cognac crème anglaise, kind of like a brandy-infused custard.

Can we get a yum over here, please?

Can we get a yum over here, please?

If you’re in the Robertson area or planning on making a weekend of it (highly recommended – read this post for help on planning your stay), consider putting the Four Cousins tasting room on your tasting pit-stop itinerary and, if you eat just one thing in their restaurant, make it the sticky toffee pudding.

Love, love

Leigh

Beauty bits and pieces: The Body Shop Almond Milk and Honey body butter, Tweezerman x12 mirror and point tweezers plus Soylites soy candle in Entice

Whether you’ve got sensitive skin or not, chances are you’re going to like The Body Shop’s new Almond Milk and Honey body care range as much as I do. It’s got a fabulously clean yet warm-smelling scent, almost like something developed for a baby care line, but without the powder. (I hate most powder scented products!) The kiffness that is Liezel from 9lives.co.za recently described it as ‘honey sponge cake’ and I totally get that too.

Yum!

Yum!

I was given the body butter (R170) and its lovely stuff. Formulated with organic almond milk from Spain and community trade honey from Ethiopia, it promises to soothe and hydrate for a solid 48 hours. Like everything else in the range, it makes use of a hypoallergenic fragrance and is free of well-known irritants.

Aside from the body butter, the line up also includes a cleansing bar, shower cream, bath milk, gentle exfoliator, body lotion and hand cream. You can view them all on the brand’s local site here.

Now let’s chat Tweezerman! I was sent one of their Tweezermate 12x magnifying mirrors (R295, Dis-Chem) and its possibly the best and worst things that’s happened to me.

Looky looky!

Please appreciate that angling my camera in such a way that I wasn’t looming over this shot was a feat.

I love being able to see my lashes close up (x12 to be exact) on days when I really want to pay attention to my mascara. Same goes for my brows when I’m going in for a tweeze. My crow’s feet and every single pore in excruciating detail? Not so much. But hey, as far as magnifying mirrors go, this one’s a gem. It’s also got two little suction cups at the back so you can stick it on a flat surface. This is the kind of thing I wouldn’t have seen the point of ten years back but now that I’m middle-aged and sliding into blindness it’s a winner.

Something else from Tweezerman I didn’t know I always wanted? Their stainless steel point tweezers (R250, Dis-Chem)!

Skerp! Passop!

Biets, passop! Dis lekker skerp! 

These aren’t your every day Tweezers – ye regular slanted tip dude. Nope, these are seriously, pointed to the point that they could be lethal in the wrong hands. But if you’ve got steady ones and a good eye (or a Tweezerman magnifying mirror!), you’ll find they do a brilliant job of nabbing the finest little hairs as well as those that are just poking out enough to be nabbed, but not enough to be caught easily with a regular tweezers. In short, they’re an ingrown hair’s worst enemy. I honestly don’t know how I ever fathomed I could ever deal with the latter using a regular tweezers.

Lastly, I just want to take a mo to let you know how impressed I am by Soy Lites candles. They’ve been churning out the burners for ages now but I didn’t realise how many gorgeous variants they’d expanded into until I looked at their website the other day. Now I want to snap up basically everything! If you didn’t know, at any given moment, there’s at least one scented candle burning in my home. (Today it’s Bath & Bodyworks Island Margarita, a li’l something I picked up in Mexico.)

Anyway, Soy Lites sent me a variant of theirs called Entice (R215, Soylites.co.za) – a blend of ginger, cinnamon, grapefruit, sweet orange and pepper. Alone, each of those scents is one I adore and together they make this delish-smelling mix that makes me think of ginger ale and those cinnamon-y fireball sweets I used to love as a kid. It’s definitely the kind of uplifting yet comforting fragrance I want around me when the leaves start falling but I did light it last night to test the ‘throw’ and it’s very good. I could smell it from the other side of my bedroom (which is exceptionally large) within five minutes.

Apparently it serves up a cool fifty hours of burn time!

Apparently it serves up a cool fifty hours of burn time!

An added bonus regarding soy candles is that their wax has a lower melting point so you can drip it on your skin without burning yourself. This makes it a dual use item as you can use the melted soyabean oil for massages as well as moisturising super dry bits like cuticles but between you and me and I just like to light ’em up.

See anything you like?

Love, love

Leigh

I had a face mapping session with Dermalogica and am now crazy in love with their MediBac Clearing overnight clearing gel

Dermalogica reckons every face tells a story and they’re right. Your skin isn’t just a snap shot of what’s going on right now but a multi-layered novella that also draws from what’s happened in the past and, with the right products, can have a very happy ending.

Right now, however, my skin is a bit of a ‘thriller’ with a few shocking surprise twists thanks to recently coming off the pill. It’s now oilier than usual and being stalked by the odd blind pimple, the evil kind that loves to show up just before I have an important event to attend or two days before I’m told I’ll be appearing on Expresso. Then, once it’s had it’s fun and (finally) disappeared, another one will pop up someplace else. In short, my face is fast becoming a horrible game of whack-a-mole!

So, while AHAs and retinol have been my focus for ages (wrinkles be damned!), I’m now cruising the acne aisle at the tender age of 35 until my hormones settle down and this means BHA has become my new bestie. For those of you who don’t know, BHA is kind of like a cousin to AHA and also known as salicylic acid. While AHAs do a great job of exfoliating the upper layers of your face, BHA can get deep down into your pores, cleaning them up from the inside out. While most of the oil-control or acne-targeting skincare products you’ll find in the drugstore contain BHA, very few contain a super concentrated amount and this is why I’m loving Dermalogica right now, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

What's your face trying to tell you?

What’s your face trying to tell you?

After a quick face mapping session where the therapist could assess all the areas of my face, I was hooked up with a few products that could help me best balance things out. Keen to check ’em out?

Hello friends!

Hello friends!

First up, we’ve got a product that doesn’t really need much introduction – Dermalogica daily microfoliant (R1 020).

This dude's long reigned supreme as one of the kings of the exfoliation game and is a worldwide best seller for a reason.

This dude’s long reigned supreme as one of the kings of the exfoliation game and is a worldwide bestseller for a reason.

A rice powder-based formula that makes use of BHA as well as an enzyme exfoliator (papain), it also contains soothing colloidal oatmeal and is gentle enough to use every day. Because the grains are so incredibly fine, it almost acts like a microdermabrasian session, lifting away loads more dead skin then you’d be able to with a grainier scrub that could result in irritation. It also does a great job of prepping your skin before you apply anything else – a polished up, oil and flake-free face is always going to absorb way more actives than one that’s mired in microscopic debris.

Next up, let’s chat about Dermalogica Age Smart overnight retinol repair (R1 480).

Retinol - the world's most proven wrinkle-buster.

Retinol – the world’s most proven wrinkle-buster.

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know I love and adore a good ole retinol serum and have used those boasting a concentration of up to 1% in the past. Now, however, as my skin’s a bit more reactive, I’m going a little easier on it so I like that Dermalogica’s treatment contains 0,5%. As you know, retinol is potent so you can’t just jump right into it. You need to wean yourself up to a concentration you can best tolerate and only use it every other night until you find a level that doesn’t causes any irritation. For this reason, Dermalogica’s serum comes with a buffer cream that you can blend it with to dilute its effects until you acclimatise.

Being a long-time user, I’m ‘drinking it neat’, like a whiskey sans water, every other night and its working like a charm. I also like that this particular formula’s good bang for your buck as it contains a mix of collagen-boosters aside from the retinol itself, namely antioxidant vitamin C and peptides. Good skin care is very much like a healthy diet – you can’t live on one active alone, you need several ingredients to whip up a ‘meal’ with all the nutrients you need thrive.

Now let’s chat about the hun bun that’s doing a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of helping to change my skin’s narrative – Dermalogica MediBac Clearing overnight clearing gel (R760).

If we're using story telling analogies here please know that this guy's the knight in shining armour.

If we’re using story telling analogies here please know that this guy’s the knight in shining armour.

Girls, you have no idea how much love I have for this product right now. Like I said earlier, finding something that doesn’t just contain a dash of BHA, but a whopping 2% is super-duper tricky. Previously I was using a treatment from Paula’s Choice, but now that brand’s not available in SA anymore and shipping it costs just as much as the bloody product. For a while I wasn’t too sure what I’d turn to next so discovering that Dermalogica’s treatment also contains 2%, costs way less and has a wonderful non-sticky texture that beats Paula’s in its moer was nothing short of Christmas day for my face.

I’ve been using it every other night, alternating it with the retinol, and every single night in an area that’s misbehaving and it’s making a huge, HUGE difference in keeping my skin clear. The moment this bottle empties out I’m totally buying another. I also like that it’s got antibacterial tea tree in the mix as well as ant-inflammatories like niacinimide (vitamin B3) and zinc gluconate to soothe as well as blitz.

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about Dermalogica MediBac Clearing oil-free matte SPF 30 (R800).

Oh hey there, run buddy!

Say ‘hey’ to my run buddy!

I run outdoors every second day and am always looking for a good sunscreen so finding one that’s not only going to tick all my usual boxes (no white cast, doesn’t turn me into an oil slick, high SPF) but also contains BHA is total win. On top of that, it also contains all the other skin soothing goodies and then some that you’ll find in the clearing gel, albeit in a lesser concentration. I really like that its texture is so nice and light that I could easily wear it as a daily moisturiser, not only when I hit the road.

In short, Dermalogica is a brand I’m very happy to have partnered with, especially since discovering a few of the gems within their line up. They’re doing a great job of turning my personal skin story into the kind where the phrase ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ wouldn’t be out-of-place. If you’d like to find out which of their products could play the hero protagonists in your own skin story, visit a Dermalogica concept store near you for your own face mapping session with one of their highly trained, professional skin care therapists.

Here's to happy endings!

Here’s to happy endings!

Love, love

Leigh