Beauty reviews: Maybelline Shine-free cake powder, Shiseido Pure Retinol eye masks, NIVEA shower gels and creams plus Essie’s new Fall Collection

Screw an intro, let’s get stuck in, shall we?

Maybelline Clear Smooth All In One Shine-free cake powder, R79,99.

Got an oily to combo skin type and looking for a wallet-friendly face powder? Maybelline’s new Shine-free cake powders are fab in that they promise to control shine, even out your skin tone and offer an SPF of 25. The best bit is that they’re available in a whopping nine shades, most of which are suited to those with darker skin tones. Very good news because finding a powder for darker skins in stores like Clicks and Dis-Chem can be a bit of a challenge.

A wallet-friendly compact that includes a mirror? Yes please!
A wallet-friendly compact that includes a mirror? Yes please!

When I first spotted them, I mistook them for a blotting powder like MAC Blot Powder; the kind you can apply repeatedly throughout the day to minimise shine and wrote them off as too ‘cakey’. Don’t make the same mistake. Rather apply this just once with a kabuki brush or powder brush (the sponge that’s included lays it on too thick). You’ll then create a lovely matte, even finish that goes the distance. If you’ve got a regte oily T-panel like mine, you can then blitz any shine that crops up later in the day with blotting powders (Catrice and The Body Shop’s are both fab options) or a proper blotting powder.

Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Resist 24 Pure Retinol Express Soothing eye mask, R850 for 12 packets, selected Edgars and Stuttafords.

We all know how much I love retinol. It’s one of the most potent collagen-encouragers on the block and can help reduce the look of pores, fine lines and pigmentation. What’s not to love?

Naturally, I was thrilled to hear Shiseido now have a retinol product in their line up as I adore their colour cosmetics. Here’s hoping it’s the start of more to come. This particular item, however, isn’t intended for daily use; it’s a hydrating under eye patch (that you can also use around your mouth) that promises to moisturise and plump, minimise the look of wrinkles and ‘brighten’ to combat dark circles.

From a formulation point of view, the ‘actives’ are a mix of water-binders like glycerin which will hydrate and temporarily plump up your skin and good ole retinol which, merrily, appears midway in the ingredients list as opposed to right at the end. I’m not sure what they’re relying on to ‘brighten’ but can spot a form of antioxidant, collagen- encouraging vitamin C and a peony root extract known for their pigmentation-busting benefits in the mix. They’d have to be used in a very high concentration though in order to be effective (studies have shown the vitamin C has to be at least 10% in concentration) and I’m not sure if Shiseido’s masks contain enough of it.

Working hard on my hotness, yo!
Working hard on my hotness, yo!

As far as instant results go, these masks are great. If left one on for fifteen minutes, gently peeled it off and could see that my fine lines were immediately plumped up in comparison to the other eye that didn’t get any loving. (Older women, please note that I said fine lines. Truly blitzing deeper wrinkles is going to require Botox.) The skin under my treatment eye also felt ‘refreshed’ and I liked that the mask held vas so I didn’t have to lie down while they were on.

Still, if you’re to see any long-term wrinkle minimising from these babies you’d have to use them every day, ignoring the fact that Shiseido recommends you use them three times a week. In fact, there’s nothing in here that would prevent you from using them every morning or night every single day! As it is, I use a potent retinol serum all over my face almost every single day, as should every women who’s serious about anti-aging. Still, unless you’re rolling in it, the cost of Shiseido’s mask is a bit steep for most, so this is what I’d suggest; invest in a good retinol serum and use it every day. Then, if you’d specifically like to try Shiseido’s eye masks, keep them for special occasions or big night’s out when you want to pamper your eyes with a nice dose of skin-plumping moisture. Your skin will look better for having them on.

NIVEA’s new shower creams and gel, R28,99 for 250ml each.

NIVEA have launched a trio of new shower goodies; NIVEA Crème Care shower cream, NIVEA Crème Coconut shower cream and Pure Fresh shower gel.

NIVEA Pure Fresh, Coconut Creme and Creme Care shower gels and creams.

Of all three, I’m most enjoying using the Crème Care variant. It’s inspired by NIVEA’s iconic crème (you know, the one in the little blue tin) and smells pretty much exactly like it and I love that. The moment it hits my nose it’s like BOOM, I’m back in the 90’s slapping NIVEA Creme on my legs before school, completely unappreciative of my mooi, youthful skin and how quickly the downward spiral towards bingo wings, Spanx and ‘lights off’ sex really is. (Not that I feel like I’m there just yet. But if I peer into the future I can almost see that scenario waving at me, with a flappy arm, nogal.)

Nostalgic scent aside, it’s also formulated with pro-vitamin B5 and uses hydraIQ tech so ensure the moisture it provides sinks deep into your skin and then stays there. A very nice ‘winter’ body wash.

Essie’s Fall Collection, R119 per polish.

Essie’s new fall collection has finally hit SA shelves. Inspired by luxe winter textiles like twill and cashmere, the collection consists of two metallics which are having a bit of a moment right now; three creamier hues and a ‘true flannel grey’ with teensy pearlescent flecks in it.

Vested Interest (green grey), Cashmere Bathrobe (silver-flecked grey), Twin Sweater Set (red), After School Boy Blazer (navy), The Lace Is On (metallic orchid) and For The Twill Of It (metallic green-purple). 

The hue that’s generating the most hype right now is For The  Twill Of It.

For the Twill of It
Forgive the messy mani, I was in a rush.

Essie describes this as a brown shade with a reflective green shimmer but to me it looks like a mix of green and purple shimmer that makes me think of a peacock feather or an oily sidewalk puddle.

Personally, my favourite shade of the lot is Twin Sweater Set. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know I like to spend my colder month’s clad head to toe in black with the odd leopard print cameo, dripping in chunky gold jewellery and a pop of bright rooi on my fingertips. Being a ‘vibrant crimson’, this fits the bill (but to be completely honest, A List is still my favourite Essie red.)

Twin Sweater Set
Twin Sweater Set. Again, forgive the messy mani. I’m a busy girl, okay?

Last but not least, let me leave you with some very exciting news: Later this year, Essie will launch their gel polish collection in salons across South Africa. It aims to compete with the likes of gelish and the shades will be copies of Essie’s most popular nail colours. I can’t wait to give it a bash and will be sure to give you more info on its SA release closer to launch time.

Love, love


3 thoughts on “Beauty reviews: Maybelline Shine-free cake powder, Shiseido Pure Retinol eye masks, NIVEA shower gels and creams plus Essie’s new Fall Collection

  1. Leigh, do you use your retinol serum even right under your eye? I hate those fine little lines just under my lashes.
    Also have Uriage hyseac K18 and I don’t use it all the way up there coz I’m terrified.

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