Aaaaaah, how I have missed writing these ‘Beauty Snoop’ blog posts… I have absolutely no idea why it’s been so long since I’ve written one because I really enjoy choosing 5 or 6 products to feature in these short review posts. Let’s quickly recap: This is where I show you a handful of new products I am testing out. I usually feature about 5 or 6 products in each blog post and give you a short review / first impression of each product. Some of the products featured in these ‘Beauty Snoop’ blog posts are products that I have bought with my own money and others are products that have been sent to me by brands / PR companies. To keep things open and honest, I will indicate a ‘**’ next to a product if it has been sent to me by a brand or PR company.
I personally really enjoy reading blog posts that feature short reviews of various beauty products (hair care, skincare, nail care, makeup and bath & body care), because I usually get to see whether a product I have been eyeing, will be suitable or worth the money for me by just logging on to one blog post.
Have you ever wanted to snoop around in a beauty blogger’s beauty cupboard or vanity? I got you covered! Today I have 7 products that I would like to perhaps introduce you to – some are winners, and others have been a bit of a letdown for me. Let’s take a look!
L.A. Girl Cuticle Oil (R 39,95) ** – The OPI Avoplex Nail and Cuticle Replenishing Oil has been my go-to treatment product for the last 4 years. During the past couple of years, I have had the opportunity to test and trial quite a few cuticle oils and none have ever compared to the deeply nourishing benefits of Avoplex. A major con for me, though, was the price (it is ridiculously expensive) and the fact that it is also very hard to find locally. Ok, enough about OPI. In more recent months, though, I have been looking for a cuticle oil that is not quite as thick and for lack of a better word ‘greasy’ as the aforementioned oil. I recently discovered this purple cutie from L.A. Girl and it is exactly what I have been looking for!
Its lightweight formula absorbs fairly quickly and it has worked wonders for my dry cuticles. I brush it onto the contours of my nails and massage it in with circular motions. The skin around my nails feel nourished, soft and supple which is a welcome change to the rather embarassing sight of peeling and flakiness the dry winter weather left behind. The best part? It’s cheap and cheerful, and you can find it at Dis-Chem.
Wella Professionals Elements Reconstructing Mask (R 252,00) ** – This is definitely a hair care range for my ingredient-conscious readers. The range features 4 products (take a look at this blog post) with their formulas containing no parabens, no sulphates and no artificial colourants. Today I’m featuring the reconstructing mask, it contains a special mix of natural tree extract (antioxidants), argan oil and panthenol to restore, strengthen and renew the natural inner structure of the hair. It’s an intensive mask that provides up to 10 times more keratin protection for renewed hair vitality.
I have dry, damaged and colour-treated hair and found that using this mask once a week did the trick – it didn’t fade my colour and has made my hair more manageable without having to sacrifice volume. The deliciously thick and creamy texture really is a treat for your tresses, my hair feels hydrated but not greasy and soft but not slick. The scent of the Elements range is very fresh and uplifting, I can smell hints of lime, mandarin and something herby too. You can purchase the Wella Professionals Elements range online at Retail Box or at selected hair salons nationwide.
Freeman Dead Sea Minerals Foaming Facial Cleanser (R 74,95) – I was really hoping to fall in love with this cleanser. I mentioned it in my latest Drugstore Haul video (along with a couple of other Freeman products) and couldn’t wait to start testing this as it is one of the first cleansers from Freeman to arrive in South Africa. When I saw the colour and consistency of the cleanser, I immediately thought: “Oh boy… This is one of those pearly white cleansers.” From previous experience with these types of cleansers, I already knew I was probably not going to like it because they usually leave the skin feeling squeaky clean and rather dry too. I immediately put my doubtful thoughts out of my mind, and started testing this cleanser that same evening after I filmed the haul video. I was wearing a full face of makeup and wanted to see how it would compare to some of my other cleansers in terms of makeup removal.
I was disappointed in this product, which is such a surprise for me because I have loved 90% of all the Freeman Beauty products I have used in the past. The packaging says “Cleans without over-drying” and “For all skin types” – I unfortunately don’t agree with either statement. After cleansing my face, I ran a cotton round dampened with my Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water all over my skin and noticed there was still face- and eye makeup left behind. And as expected, this cleanser did leave my skin feeling tight and dry (plus I wouldn’t suggest getting this in your eyes, it hurts like a *beep*). I love the fresh and slightly aquatic scent of the cleanser (it smells a lot like their Dead Sea Minerals Anti-Stress Mask) but that’s unfortunately the only thing I like about it. Freeman Beauty products are exclusive to Dis-Chem stores.
Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara (R 99,95) – This is Maybelline’s first tinted brow mascara, not brow gel, and I’ll explain why this multi-tasker will be a good fit for most people. If your brows are already in pretty good shape and all you need is a little bit colour and definition, this will groom the brows into shape as well as colour them ever so slightly. It’s not supposed to set your brows in place, but I do find it does a good job of holding the shape all day. It’s also quite impressive in the thickening department even though it doesn’t contain any fibres. BUT this is not a one-stop-shop for those of us who have thin brows, because you would still need to fill in your brows where you need it most. The lightweight formula tint is the perfect brown (I have the shade Medium Brown) and will be suitable for light, medium and even dark brunettes. This adds great definition by combing through the hairs, and transferring just the right amount of colour to give your brows that 3D look.
The ball applicator…they call it a ‘detailing ball’ and although it helps the formula to latch onto every hair, I do think it’s a little bit too big for those of us who have brows that are on the thin side. Even if you have normal-sized brows, I think the wand will still be a little bit too large to control the application, especially when you get to the tail-end of the brow. I like this, but I don’t love it…just because I think a cone-shaped wand would have been so much easier to work with. You can purchase this brow mascara at Clicks and Dis-Chem stores.
Maybelline Brow Satin Eyebrow Pencil (R 109,95) – This brow pencil is double-ended and features a mechanical pencil (you never have to sharpen it) on the one end, and a self loading brow powder with sponge tip applicator on the other. The powder is stored in the cap and the applicator-end is spring-loaded, so whenever you put the cap back on, it burrows back into the pigment. Clever concept! The idea is to fill in and shape the brows with the gel-pencil first, and then set it with the brow powder to create a soft, more natural brow look. The pencil tip is thin and precise, I like it because you can mimic little brow hairs. Let’s talk about the colour, I initially purchased the Dark Brown shade because it was the only shade in stock. I was scared it would be too dark (even with my dark brunette hair) as I like to fill in my brows with something that is a shade or two lighter than my hair colour (I find it looks more natural). As I suspected the dark brown is very dark and it just didn’t look right on my fair skin, so I went back and purchased the Medium Brown shade. This one was a better fit for my brows, and it’s just a smidgeon darker than my beloved MAC Lingering brow pencil. The colour (on both ends) is not too warm-toned and not too cool-toned, a good neutral brown with a matte finish.
Here’s why I have mixed feelings about this product: The pencil as a whole is not really suitable for my brow type, which is the ‘overplucked-sparse-and-thin’ brow type. Although I find the pencil tip to be precise (I really like the retractable pencil tip), the other sponge tip is just too bulky (even though it is pointed) to create that perfect brow shape. I always end up with faint smudges of the brown pigment where I’ve overshot the arch and thin tails of my brows. If you have relatively full / strong brows and you are looking for something to create a soft, wispy and airbrushed brow look like for instance, Cara Delevingne, then this is the product for you. If you have thin brows, then you might end up only using the one side of the Brow Satin pencil. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, because the price is still a lot more affordable than the MAC Lingering brow pencil. The Maybelline Brow Satin Eyebrow Pencil is available at Clicks and Dis-Chem stores.
Real Techniques Bold Metals Triangle Foundation Brush (R 399,95) ** – Let me start off by saying this is not a foundation brush I would have chosen for myself, as I’m usually not a fan of these paddle-shaped foundation brushes. I must admit, though, the shape of this brush is very unique in that it is flat on the one side and peaked to create a triangular shape on the other. The bristles are synthetic (all Real Techniques brushes are cruelty-free) so they have a smooth feel to them. Unlike natural bristles, synthetic bristles don’t have a cuticle, which makes them great to use with liquid, cream or gel products, because they won’t trap makeup (which can lead to breakouts).
The Bold Metals brushes feel lovely and comfortable in the hand because they are weighted at the ferrule and tapered towards the tip of the handle. I also love that they are shed-proof brushes because the bristles are hand glued into the ferrules. As for the shape of the Triangle Foundation Brush, in theory it allows you to cover all the nooks and crannies on the face, so you can more easily manoeuver underneath the eye and around the nose. My personal preference is something like the Real Techniques Buffing Brush or a beauty sponge (Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge) because I feel I get a much more airbrushed and smooth finish. When using a paddle brush, often times it leaves visible strokes of the liquid foundation on my skin – which was unfortunately the case with this brush as well. It’s all down to personal preference, as I know a lot of people like these flat paddle-shaped brushes.
Great news! Real Techniques Bold Metals brushes are now available at selected Clicks, Foschini and Woolworths stores; or online at Takealot.
Top Tip: If you’re not sure what to do with your paddle-shaped makeup brush, I’ll tell you what I use them for. I LOVE using these brushes for applying my face masks. Using a paddle-shaped brush means I have so much more control over how and where I apply the mask, so I don’t end up getting it all in my hair. I also get an even application all over the skin too.
LUX Sheer Twilight Body Wash (R 21,99) ** – I often forget to spritz on my current favourite fragrance before I dash out the door in the morning and then spend the rest of the day worrying about the fact that I smell like nothing. I don’t know why, it’s just something that slips my mind. I am someone who loves knowing I smell great, here’s why: Whenever I meet someone for the first time, and they smell amazing, I’m more inclined to remember their name or face afterwards. In fact, scientists have found that your memory is most closely related to smell than to any of the other senses in the body.
Inspired by key notes of the rare and intense Black Orchid and Juniper oil, Lux Sheer Twilight body wash leaves an alluring fragrance on the skin that is said to linger for up to 8 hours after your morning shower. The floral scent of this body wash really is intoxicating (but not overpowering) and I find it mimics the notes and longevity of a high-end eau de parfum fragrance very well. I pour a coin-sized amount of Lux Sheer Twilight body wash onto my loofah (or shower lily), gently massage the loofah to create a rich & luxurious lather and work it onto my skin. I’ve been using Sheer Twilight for the past few weeks and I’d say the scent lasts on my skin for roughly 4 to 5 hours, which is still a heck of a lot better than my other shower gels that last for maybe 10 minutes? You can find this luxurious body wash at leading retailers, as well as Clicks and Dis-Chem stores nationwide.