Saturday, July 31, 2010

What's in my Make-up Purse?

Today I decided to share with you, my lovely followers, what I carry around in my make-up purse. The purse was a gift I got in a Max Factor promo. I really love the colour and the satin feel to it :) It looks so luxurious!

Now on to the contents.

Face: - e.l.f. studio Complexion Perfection

- e.l.f. Professional Shine Erasers

Eyes: - e.l.f. Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Mascara Duo

- Max Factor Kohl Pencil in 020 Black

Lips: - Nivea Care Gloss & Shine in Natural

- lipgloss/lipstick I am wearing that day (shown here is e.l.f. Super Glossy Lipshine SPF15 in Goddess).

Hands: - Nivea Creme

- Nail file

Extras: - The Body Shop Compact Mirror (one side is magnifying)

- Christina Aguilera by Night perfume sample

And you ladies? What you carry with you when heading out?

Lara xoxo

Review: Elegant Touch Diamond Protect & Shine Top Coat

I got this top coat a few weeks ago and now I am in a position to give a full review about it.

Compared to other top coats I previously owned, this one was more expensive (€8.30 ouch!!) so I was expecting it to be tough and do its job very well. On the box there was written that it protects nails from damage, contains diamond powder and prevents nail colour from chipping.

When applying the top coat I was amazed at the fact that it didn't smudge my nail art, not even a bit!! The brush also makes application easy as it is not too thick, not too thin, just right!

The nail polish did remain chip-free for 2 or 3 more days that usual so I give the top coat a thumbs up. Also, it gives a high-shine glossy finish to a manicure. When worn alone, it stays on without chipping for a whole seven days.

What I like about this top coat is although it is a bit expensive, it does its job and it contains 12.5ml which is quite a large format.

I'm still debating whether or not to buy it again though, mainly because of the price.

What would you suggest ladies?

Lara xoxo

Make-up Fun Facts: Mascara

~ The first ever mascara was brought to life by Eugene Rimmel in the 19th Century. In fact, in many languages, the word 'rimmel' means mascara; whilst the word 'mascara' originated from the Italian word 'maschera' (pro. maskerA, meaning mask).

~ The purpose of mascara is to make the lashes appear fuller and thicker.

~ The mascara we know today was created by the pharmacist T.L. Williams in 1913 for his sister Mabel. To create the mascara, he mixed some fine coal powder with Vaseline petroleum jelly. Mabel was very fond of it and her brother began selling it in the households. This saw the start of the world-famous make up brand Maybelline whose name is made up of Mabel's name and the last few letters of Vaseline!

~ The average mascara has a life-span of between 4 to 6 months from opening. Although most mascaras have antibacterial agents incorporated in them, these remain effective until the product expires. Mascara wands gather bacteria from the eyelashes themselves and surroundings. The bacteria then flourish inside the tube which has the perfect environment for them to proliferate. A tip to prevent bacteria from getting inside your mascara tube: instead of pumping the wand in and out, swirl it out in circular movements and do the same when replacing the wand.

~ If you use an old mascara, there is a high risk of causing irritations and possibly contracting a corneal infection. Therefore, if you notice that a mascara has changed odour or consistency, do not take any risks and throw it away. For more information about cosmetics expiration dates click here.

~ Mascara wands come in all shapes and sizes to suit a wide range of clientele as shown below:

Gel Nail Extensions course lesson 4

This morning, like the past three Saturdays, I had my fourth lesson, thereby I'm half way through :)

Today, I took the same model (my aunt) I had for my first lesson to do a refill on her nails. This is the end result:

So what do you think ladies? Feedback is much appreciated :)

Lara xoxo

Monthly Favourites: July 2010

July is nearing its end and that means it's time for my favourite products for this month.

And here are the stars for this month:

~ e.l.f. Studio Warm Bronzer (click here for a full review)

~ Nailene Bedazzle Nail Art stickers in Earth Angel (for a review click here)

~ Rimmel Powder Blush in 004 Pink Rose: I bought this blusher a few months ago because I wanted a healthy pinkish colour. It is my fave blusher because it blends in naturally with my skin tone.

~ e.l.f. Waterproof eyeliner pen in Coffee and Black (only one is shown)

~ e.l.f. Eyelid Primer

~ e.l.f. Earth and Water Mascara Duo in Brown (shown) and Black

~ e.l.f. Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear Mascara (for a full review of all e.l.f. eye products mentioned above, please click here)

~ e.l.f. Nail Polish in Lilac (click here for a review on e.l.f.'s nail polishes)

~ e.l.f. Super Glossy Lip Shine SPF15 in Goddess (click here for a full review and a sneak-peak at my lipgloss collection)

Lara xoxo

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nailene's First Contest Giveaway - I was one of the Winners :D

A few hours ago, Nailene announced the winners for their first blog giveaway and I was lucky enough to be one of the winners :) As a runner-up, I will be receiving 5 pre-selected products from Nailene. I'm so looking forward to receiving them ^.^!! I will do a post when I get them.

In the meantime, congratulations to all the other winners especially Make up Loveer for winning the first prize!

You can join Nailene's blog here and keep your eyes sharp for more giveaways!

Lara xoxo

Make-up Fun Facts: Blusher

~ Blusher has been used by women (and in some cases men) to redden their cheeks from Ancient Egyptian times. Whereas the Ancient Egyptians are better known for their early takes on modern day eyeliner and lipstick (evident much in their art and hieroglyphics), their use of the earliest form of blusher is equally impressive.

~ The use of blush fell out of favour during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who made piercing red lips and ghostly white faces fashionable. Later on, during the Regency period, both men and women used blush for the same reasons it is used today - to create a flushed, youthful appearance as well as emphasizing their cheekbones.

~ The Victorians however looked down on this form of trickery, which resulted in women of the era resorting to pinching their cheeks to achieve the same flushed effect. Interestingly, this practice is still favoured by some women today as a natural alternative to cosmetics.

~ Ingredients used to make blusher have ranged from crushed mulberries and strawberries in ancient Greece to the talcum-based powder we use today, the colouring of which is often derived from the petals of the safflower.

Review: Orly Wrap & Tip Sponge Removal System for Natural & Artificial Nails

As you know, from my previous posts, I am currently taking a course leading to international qualifications as a gel nail technician.

On my first lesson, I managed to not put enough glue on one of the tips (oops :|) and consequently there was a huge air bubble. Having air bubbles trapped like that could mean the client could contract a fungal infection especially if she spends a lot of time with her hands in water doing house chores. This creates a moist environment which is perfect for fungi and certain bacteria to grow and multiply in.

Anyways, I asked my instructor to show me how to remove the tip and she produced this squarish bottle:

She asked me to put my model's finger in it and remove it after a couple of minutes. Basically, there is a sponge inside the bottle impregnated with a solvent that removes both artificial nails and nail polish from natural nails without causing any damage to the nails themselves and the surrounding nail wall. The client (or yourself) just has to insert her finger in the slit in the middle of the sponge and wait for a couple of minutes (seconds for nail polish) until the tip dissolves.

I decided to get one for myself and last lesson I bought one listen to this... for a mere €4 for 100ml!!! It's not at all costly is it?

So, on artificial nails I can say it works really well and the same goes for nail polish removal on natural nails. I was curious to try it and so I dipped my fingers one by one for like 2 or 3 seconds, only to lift them without any trace of nail polish on!! And the best thing is, I didn't experience any drying of my nails.

However, I just tried this once just to see how it works. I will still continue to use acetone-free nail polish remover and leave the product for my future clients.

I give this product my thumbs up and will definitely repurchase it!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Review: Nailene Ultra Quick Pink Brush-on Nail Glue

This is the second product that I tried from the whole nailene & Revlon package I received earlier this month for reviewing.

The product is Nailene Ultra Quick Pink Brush-on Nail Glue. On the back and the front of the package it says that you can use it for both natural and artificial nails and that is what I did!

I used the glue to glue some false nails for a client and I was impressed at the quick drying time (quicker than the usual glue) and the client hasn't had a nail fall off for over two weeks.

I also go to use the glue on my own nails. A week ago, I had a split in my thumb's nail and I managed to save it till I got home and repaired it with the glue. I followed the instructions and applied the glue and buffed the area to a smoother finish It stayed put and the nail is still there...WHOLE!! For both cases, there are instructions on how to apply the glue on the back of the package.

However, I still have mixed feelings about this product. Let's start with the pros first.

The first thing I noticed about this glue is the size; it is 5g and therefore larger than the ones that come with the false nails (these are usually 2 or 3g). Also, the applicator is a brush and therefore allows for precise application (especially on the natural nails) with a conveniently sized brush:

The glue is pink for a more natural tint that resembles the nail bed and I have to say I agree with this statement as there were no traces of the glue like the whitish residues you usually get.

Now to the cons...

One of the first things to notice about this glue is the warnings on the bottle label:


It is a good thing that the glue dries quickly on the nails but not as good if it bonds the eyes and skin. On the label there is also written what to do in such cases and also when not to use the product. Nailene did a great job here in printing this information.

However, what I really disliked about this glue is the pungent & irritating smell. In fact, there is a warning to open the bottle directed away from the face on the outer package. Consequently, I recommend you work with this product in a well ventilated area and if you find it insupportable, wear a mask. Also, take extra care to open the bottle away from any asthmatic client or clients with respiratory problems to prevent any mishaps.

Despite the smell, I think I will still consider buying this glue as I really liked its overall performance. I think I'd give it a 3.5/5 rating.

For more great products Nailene, visit their website by clicking here

Review: Marks & Spencer Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Hand and Body Lotion

This lotion was part of a gift-set I received for Christmas. The set also included 2 shower gels, a roll-on deodorant (which I gave to my Mum as I don't use roll-ons) and a hand wash all in a pretty yellow wicker basket.

I love the combination of moisturizing cocoa butter and fragrant vanilla as it leaves my skin silky smooth and smelling nice for hours. In fact, on the bottle, there's written:

'Specially formulated with natural extracts of cocoa butter and vanilla, this hand and body lotion will soften and moisturize your skin, leaving it feeling smooth.'

I like the pump dispenser because I can control how much product comes out, therefore none of it will go to waste. Also, I find it practical on my lazy days hehe because I just press the dispenser once or twice and slather it on.

I keep the bottle on the bathroom sink so that I apply some right after I wash my hands to replenish lost moisture due to the chemicals in the hand wash. I also apply body lotion every day after I shower to keep my skin soft and supple.

This is not the first body lotion I ever tried from M&S and I was always pleased with the results. In fact they are my go-to body lotions when I want to buy another one! All of the M&S body lotions have a 12 month fit-for-use period.

Today's Market Haul

This morning I was off my summer placement from hospital and since my boyfriend is also on leave, we decided to take the opportunity to visit Vittoriosa Market.

As usual, there were a lot of stalls selling all kinds of things... household items, toiletries, clothes, accessories, make up, etc. As you might have guessed hehe I stopped by each and every make up stall to see which nail polish colours I will buy. Finally, I settled on two 2-in-1 nail art brush and pen (12ml each) by Nail Star and a La Femme glittery gold nail polish. Together, they cost me €7. You can imagine my bf rolling his eyes and exclaiming 'more nail polishes???!! don't you have enough already?!'

I also got a cute white pair of shorts with a purple hawaiian flowers print for the beach (hey they match one of my bikinis!). These were €4. The bf didn't complain about these though :P

Review: e.l.f. Professional Shine Erasers

I have been wanting to get my hands on a good packet of blotting sheets since forever and after seeing and reading so many good reviews about e.l.f. cosmetics' Professional Shine Erasers, I decided to give them a go myself and today I will review them for you.

The shine erasers come in a handy thin pack which fits into any bag so that you can take them anywhere with you for on-the-go touch ups. Each pack contains 50 sheets.

Elf says:

These amazing little sheets instantly absorb oil, minimize pores and mattify shiny skin. Woven texture eradicates shine and keeps skin matte for hours. Green Tea Extract helps re-texturize skin, masking facial imperfections. Travel pack fits neatly in your bag or pocket for on-the-go touch-ups.

I normally use one or two in a day depending on the state of my skin. The shine erasers do a wonderful job for me as they mop up excess oil and prevent my skin from looking and feeling like an oil rig for longer.

As with the pore minimizing thing...I can't say I've seen much difference as I don't have visible pores. I did notice a decrease in breakouts though! Maybe it's the tea tree in these sheets.

I will definitely purchase more of these sheets and at £1.50 I am definitely nice to my purse too :).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: e.l.f. studio Warm Bronzer

When I came to order this bronzer, I was a bit confused which one to get. I settled on the Warm Bronzer after watching a video on youtube by my friend Martina where she reviews all three bronzers in the range. I suggest you see this video too so you don't go wrong. The other bronzers are Cool Bronzer and Golden Bronzer.

First, let's see how it looks:

Like all the other studio line products, the Warm Bronzer comes in a sleek black palette with a mirror (package is the same as for Complexion Perfection). The mirror is quite big so that's bonus points for this baby :)

There are four bronze shades inside so that you can mix them according to your skin-tone to achieve a more natural glow. I use all four of them and what I do is I swirl a big powder brush all over the four shades in a clockwise movement and then apply everything to my face and decollete and finish off by using a contouring brush to blend the colours on my skin. Here is a swatch of the four shades:

Elf classifies the bronzers in this order:

~ Warm Bronzer- The warm shimmer that will bring a glow to your face. Ideal for summer or year-round.
~ Cool Bronzer- The ideal selection of matte colors to achieve a natural looking tan. Ideal for winter or year-round.
~ Golden Bronzer- An illuminating shimmer that is subtle and radiant. Ideal for summer or year-round.

I really love the Warm Bronzer as it gives my skin a healthy sun-kissed glow without being too obvious. It has a soft shimmer to it which makes it perfect for day-to-night make up.

The Warm Bronzer along with the others retail at £3.50 (for 12.3g of product which lasts for 2 years) and you can get yours here.

Review: Attirance Cosmetics Shower Gels in Strawberry & Chocolate

I got to know about this Latvian cosmetics brand, Attirance through my boyfriend because a friend of his imports their products to Malta.

A small word about their philosophy...

'genuine naturalism that creates the desire for physical and emotional comfort, and helps us enjoy harmony in life'.

All the cosmetics produced are made from natural ingredients and range from soaps to shower gels, body creams to scented candles and so on.

My boyfriend, knowing how much I love scented shower gels and natural skin care, asked me if I wanted to try them. Obviously I said yes and got a chocolate shower gel to try it.

It smells so good, it is good enough to eat. And it really does form a foamy lather (something which I really like). I loved the shower gel so much I got another one. This time I got Strawberry. It also smells as scrumptiously good as the chocolate one. When this one finished as well, my boyfriend bought me both of them again :D and here they are:

Both shower gels contain aloe vera extract, vitamin B5 and natural betain. About their shower gels, Attirance say:
'The Attirance shower gel line consists of six inspirational aromas. The positive energy of natural essential oils will be released like a good genie from the bottle very time you wash. With the diligence of a kind fairy, shower gels will ensure effective skin cleansing and care. Essential oils act on the body both physically, and seemingly unnoticeably, on an emotional level. While in the shower, essential oils easily penetrate skin cells, thus slowing down the aging processes, and promoting cell regeneration. Added vitamin B5 promotes wound healing and improvement of overall skin condition. Shower gel gently cleans the skin and the essential oils included have a positive effect on the health of the skin, as they richly soften and moisturize'.

The shower gels come in a 250ml format so you get to enjoy the lovely aromas and softness they offer for quite a long time.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: e.l.f. studio Daily Brush Cleaner

I bought this product in my last haul from e.l.f. cosmetics. I usually wash my brushes once a week (or more if they need it) with regular hair shampoo and conditioner... but being the beauty product junkie that I am, I wanted to give this a go and at £3.50 (€4) I was not going to break the bank was I?

The Daily Brush Cleaner comes in a black plastic spray bottle that holds 250ml of product. I like the fact it's a spray bottle because that way you are more economical. Also, despite the bottle being black, it is still see-through and that way you can see how much of the product you have left. Here's what it looks like:

The actual product is a clear brush cleaner with a strong floral scent. I love the scent but since it is a bit strong, I recommend you work with it in a well-ventilated area. The smell doesn't linger on the brushes though so you should be ok with that.

The Daily Brush Cleaner is supposed to clean, disinfect and condition the bristles of your brushes. I can say it definitely cleans and disinfects them, as you can see and feel that your brushes seem fresh and as good as new after using this product! As for the conditioning part, I it doesn't dry out the bristles of the brushes so it definitely checks all the boxes!

You can use the brush cleaner in either of two ways; either by spraying the product directly on to the bristles and wipe them in a towel or else spray the product on the towel and wipe the bristles in back and forth gentle circular motions. Repeat the process if needed until there's no colour coming out of the brush, reshape the brushes and leave to dry (preferably flat). Depending on how dense the brush is, it will take from 2-10 minutes to dry. The quick drying time is because this cleaner (like all brush cleaners) contains alcohol, and so the brushes dry quickly!

I also use this to disinfect my nail art/gel extensions brushes after use and also on my nail stamping plates!

Overall, I like the results this product gave me so far and I am considering buying e.l.f.'s Brush Shampoo as well. I think it is worth investing in this brush cleaner since clean make up brushes mean less bacteria on your face and therefore less break outs!

Stamping Nail Art & Update Re: Gel Nail Extensions Course

By now, I think you are very aware that I am really passionate about nails and nail art. I am always looking out for new designs for myself and my clients and a few months ago, I decided to give stamping nail art a go and bought a set of 8 image plates and 2 french-tip plates off ebay to see how everything will turn out. I started searching youtube for tutorials on how to use the plates, stampers and scrapers and I've seen very good videos. However, all of them seemed to promote the Konad system.

When I searched for the plates, I found they were really expensive and I was putting off the thought of using them at all. Just as I was giving up all hopes, crops up a video showing another, cheaper and equally good system - GCOCL. I searched on ebay for such image plates and got 8 of them + a free stamper and scraper for like £8. I then looked for more plates this time for french tips and got another two for €3.

Here are all the plates I own till now:

Designs vary from flowers (actually most of them are floral), animals, abstract designs, etc. There is even a Hello Kitty motif!

I use regular nail polishes, no special polishes or stuff like that. Regular polishes work perfectly well for me.

Click here for instructions on the various techniques you can employ to use stamping nail art.

And here two of my creations:


Nail Extension Course Update

Today, I had my third lesson and I took a news caster as a model and as a bonus I will have my name included in the final credits list :D

I did another french manicure with a pearl white tip and this time, the model wanted round tips so I learnt to do that as well (sorry I don't have a pic this time).

With regards the builder gel, I have to say I have improved greatly and now I am more confident dealing with it.

So, overall I was pleased with myself today. Hope next week's infills won't be too difficult.

Stay Beautiful,

Lara xoxo

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review: The Land of Corfu Olive Oil Organic Body Scrub

Last year I made my dream come true when I visited the beautiful and peaceful island of Corfu (Greece). I've been wanting to visit Greece and the Greek Islands since forever mainly because of the scenery that surrounds the lands. Then, when I found out that my great great grandfather was actually born in Corfu I really wanted to go asap to visit the beautiful country. I really enjoyed my whole stay; people are friendly, breathtaking views surround you from every corner, historical sites (one of which is directly related to Malta), etc...

Here's a taste of Corfu before I start the review:

I was really amazed at the quantity of Olive trees in Corfu... everywhere you look it's olive trees, olive trees & more olive trees!! In fact, most of the country's income is from products of the olive tree besides tourism.

When we visited Corfu Town (capital city), there were quite a lot of shops selling gifts crafted from the bark of the olive tree such as photo frames, kitchen utensils, chess boards, jewellery, home ornaments, you name it! There were also a number of shops selling beauty goods made from the products of the olive tree. These shops to me were like heaven :P and I spent a lot of time going round one of the teeny tiny shops to see what to get my hands on and I got *drumroll* not one but two tubs of Organic Olive Oil Body Scrub :D I also bought a lavender scented olive oil bar of soap, some olive oil to take home, a bracelet and a pair of earrings carved from the olive tree bark. Here is a picture:

And now on to the review...

I am a big fan of body scrubs and consequently, I am always on the look out for new ones to try. At the time I purchased these two, I was running out on my previous scrub (I think it was from The Body Shop and it was Shea Butter) so I decided to stock up and bought two (they cost €7 each for 200ml). The fact that the scrub is organic and a natural product made me go for it instantly. It contains (among other ingredients) olive extracts, aloe, almond oil, vitamin E and provitamin B5. We are all aware of the moisturizing properties these key ingredients have on our skin. I also use the scrub as part of my manicure routine since olive oil is known to strengthen nails.

When you open the jar, the smell of kumquat (typical fruit) welcomes you. There is also a protective plastic cover which you can replace when ready. The scrub has a really thick, creamy, consistency with small-sized orangish granules. Thereby, due to its consistency, the scrub is perfect for dry skin. The granules are not that harsh either so sensitive and easily-reddened skin might benefit from this product.

Personally, I use the scrub every other day and it lasts quite a long time (the first one last me like 7 months and this one is still going on). The scrub has a 6 month expiry period but past that, it still carries out its function properly without compromising consistency (at least for 1 month past the expiry date). I like how it smoothes my skin without being harsh and at the same time make it smell lovely.

I found this product so good, I think my hunt for body scrubs will stop here as I intend to buy more of it online from the company's website and probably even try out some of their other products

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Protective Hand Care during Summer

All of us are aware that sun exposure facilitates the skin's ageing process. The body parts which show the first signs of ageing are the face and the hands as these are always exposed.

It is therefore very important to protect our hands even during our teenage years because sparing/protecting your hands from damage will keep them unwrinkled and beautiful for longer. To help you achieve this, here are some tips:

1. Smooth the back of your hands with a sunscreen lotion. This will also guard against skin cancer development.

2. Every night, apply a dot of nail strengthener to your nails and then follow with a moisturizing hand cream.

3. Before starting gardening chores, first scrape your nails over a bar of soap or soapy nail brush. The undersides of your nails will fill up with soap, acting as a barrier against dirt, grime and infections.

4. Holidays are a perfect time to experiment with nail polish colours. Tropical colours and pearly polishes look great against lightly tanned fingers.

Review: Scholl Rough Skin Remover & Scholl Cracked Heel Repair Cream

These two products were featured in My Summer Essentials which I posted a few days ago (click here). They made it in my essentials for various reasons and today I am going to review both of them here.

I use both products in both summer and winter. I am not that kind of person who in winter ignore my feet completely and expect to have them flawless by summer. I take time to do a pedicure myself once a week (click here for the whole procedure) and I also take good care of my feet by wearing comfortable shoes when I'm working and massage after a long day.

Rough Skin Remover (75ml)

First up is the Rough Skin Remover. Since I spend a lot of time on my feet, I get occasional rough skin patches on the soles of my feet. I hate them and think they are unsightly, no matter how small they are. I used to remove them with a conventional body scrub but it didn't quite remove them wholly no matter how much time I spend circling it in :S

Then, I saw this product advertised in a magazine which they give out with a local newspaper and decided to give it a go. On the tube it says:

'Scholl Rough Skin Remover is especially created to take care for the unique characteristics of the skin on the foot. It contains specialized fruit AHAs and natural pumice to effectively remove rough, hard skin, leaving feet soft and smooth.'

The product does not have a particular smell and has an average consistency with not-so-small brownish granules. It is advised to apply it to clean, dry skin in circular motions and then rinse it off. It should be applied from 2 to 3 times a week depending on severity of the condition (N.B. If you have a very thick layer of hard skin, do not cut it off, always consult with a podologist before attempting anything yourself).

It is very important that your feet be dry to achieve full benefits of the product. It feels really nice applying the cream because once the cream is absorbed in the skin, all there's left are the granules which you continue to massage and you will see the hard skin falling off!

The down-side to this product is the fact that it leaves my feet and hands quite dry after use. A bit like washing with a bar of soap.

However, I've noted a decrease in frequency of hard skin occurring on my feet so I will certainly buy this again.

It has a 12 month fit for use period.

Cracked Heel Repair Cream (60ml)

The Cracked Heel Repair Cream, I use as a foot cream at the end of my pedicure/bath. As I said, I spend a lot of time standing on my feet and I do wear high heels, thus my heels are prone to crack slightly.

After using this cream for three consecutive days, I immediately notice smoother heels with no cracks and thus I still use this product everyday to maintain them.

It has a rich consistency which is however easily absorbed in the skin and has no particular scent. The product also has a 12 month expiry period.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Hello ladies :)

Today I wanted to post a little something about perfumes before I soon head out to do my bf's mum's nails.

Each one of us has her favourite smell/s... to me it's Vanilla and Lavender. I like Vanilla-based scents because they are sweet and I find them uplifting. They remind me of good times. Consequently, Velvet Hour by Kate Moss is my fave perfume :) On the other hand, Lavender calms and relaxes me after a hard day.

Here is some information about perfumes (the photos are all the perfumes I own):

The word ‘perfume’ originates from the Latin term ‘perfumum’ and means ‘through smoke’.

Perfume in the general sense, ensures the longevity of the scents produced from the natural oils found in flowers, fruits, herbs, leaves, spices and woods by combining them with stabilizing ingredients such as alcohol and water.

A perfume is composed from three layers: a top note, middle note (often called the ‘heart’ or centre fragrance) and a base note.

The top note contain powerful oils that create the most powerful scent of the perfume. This layer is the most fleeting and short lasting. Floral and citrus scents are frequently used for the top note.

The middle note is the ‘heart’ of the perfume, which reacts with the skin to create a defining character. Containing gentle smells such as carnation, daffodil, honeysuckle, jasmine, lilac, snowberry, magnolia, orchid, peony, rose, hyacinth, violet and lotus.

The base note determines the longevity, character and success of the perfume. The base note scents outlasts the top and middle notes due to the interaction with the skin. Amber, balsam, benzoin, cedar wood, musk, oak, pachouli, sandalwood and vanilla are some scents used.

Fragrance Types

FLORAL – In primarily floral perfumes, one or more flower kinds are used. Perfumes created from only one type of flower are called soliflore. Floral scents are the most numerous and diverse. Some examples are rose, jasmine, snowberry, carnation, daffodil, peony and violet.

ORIENTAL – One of the largest fragrance types utilized in the perfume industry. Containing powerful scents such as cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, ginger, vanilla, vetiver, sandalwood, cedar wood, musk and amber.

FRUITS – One of the oldest fragrance families and contains tangerine, bergamot, peach, lychee, lime, papaya, apple, apricot, melon, purple passionflower and pineapple. Fruity scents are clean, happy and soft. Perfumes with strong fruit scents tend to have many citrus tones through them.

FRESH – In this collection of scents are predominantly pine, juniper, rosemary and hyacinth.

SCENIC – A new group of fragrances that is comprised of synthetic oils and bring the smell of the ocean and mountain air.

CHYPRE - "Chypre," in French, refers to the island of Cyprus, birthplace of Venus, the legendary goddess of love. The perfume Chypre de Coty set the standard for a new type of fragrance, a category which we now refer to as "mossy-woody." The "mossy-woody" comes from oakmoss, which comes from the island of Cyprus. The scent was first created in 1917 by François Coty. Also in this grouping of scents are pachouli, lavender and oak.

LEATHER – The middle and base notes of a perfume contain honey, tabacco and wood scents, which suggest a smell of leather.

FOUGÈRE – meaning "fern-like", the name is derived from the perfume ‘Fougère Royale’ formulated by the perfumer Paul Parquet. The class of fragrances have the basic accord with a top-note of lavender and base-notes of oakmoss and coumarin. Aromatic fougère, a derivative of this class contain additional notes of spice and wood.

ALDEHYDE – The family of chemical substances utilised to create the basis of a perfume and are essential in arranging the different scents within a perfume. Sharp, attractive and curiousity awaken notes are found.

Choosing a perfume

You may like a perfume that your friend is wearing. However, every person has a unique scent generated from their skin. Without trying a perfume on your own skin, you cannot be sure of the success of perfume.

The real scent of the perfume occurs once the scents have interacted with the scents produced by the body and skin. There is more to a perfume than it’s smell from the bottle. Apply a little of the perfume on to your wrist and allow for the scent to interact with your skin for 10 minutes before judging the suitability of the perfume. During this time, the alchol will evaporate, the fragrance of the perfume will settle on to the skin and the real impact of the perfume will reveal itself.

Do not try more than three perfumes at the same time. After three perfumes the nose loses it’s ability to differentiate between smells. When choosing perfumes, it is advisable to pick scents that are compatiable with your bodily scent. It is worth noting that temperature and humidity effect the longevity and effectiveness of perfumes.

How to apply perfume

The first rule of correct perfume application is clean skin. To improve the longevity of a perfume it is best to apply straight after a shower or bath because the pores of the skin are open at this point and are better able to absorb the perfume. Using related products of your chosen perfume (shower gels, soaps, etc) will increase the impact of the perfume.

By applying perfume to parts of the body with a strong pulse, such as wrists, neck, between the breasts, behind the ears, elbows and the back of knees, allows for effective spread of the scent.

A young woman once asked: “Where should one use perfume?” Coco Chanel replied: “Wherever one wants to be kissed.”

Skin type is closely related to the endurance of the perfume. Oily skin types hold fragrances with more ease. Dry skin types need to apply more perfume than usual.

Hold the bottle at least 15 cm away from the skin and spray the perfume

How to store perfume

Keep your perfume away from sources of direct light and heat. Strong lighting, both natural and artificial, will cause for your perfume to lose it’s potency and colour. Heat is also a factor that can decay the quality of your perfume.

Bottles that have spray caps are preferable to those which do not. Bottles that use the cap as a means of application to the skin allow for bacteria from the skin to enter the perfume bottle itself and therefore contaminate the perfume.

And you sweeties? how did you like this info? which is your fave scent and perfume?

Review: Nailene Bedazzle Nail Art stickers in Earth Angel

As you may recall, I recently posted a short post about some Nailene and Revlon products that were sent to me to review for the company (no payments involved). You can view the post here.

The first review will be about Nailene Bedazzle Nail Art stickers in Earth Angel. I decided to give these a go because they are sooooo cute ^.^. Designs vary from butterflies to flowers to upside-down tiara-like stickers to letters and other motifs with curly ends...

... very Earthy don't you think? :P Even the package has an earthy feel... the colour scheme, the flowers adorning it... everything! See how it looks:

The outer plastic packaging is the same as for the Cuticle Pumice Sticks I reviewed in this post and inside are four small, transparent, thin plastic 'covers' each of which hold 4 small sheets of stickers. These 'covers' are connected to each other in a concertina fashion and you can take out the sheets from the sides.

The amount of stickers is well over a 100, 196 to be exact (almost double than that stated on the pack insert!!). Besides the Earth Angel set, they also have Fashionista and Superstar; you can have a look at them here.

I decided to try the embossed silvery ones with a faint black outer lining. Here is my creation for which I used a half butterfly sticker and a flower with slightly inward indented petals:

The stickers are very easy to peel off the backing and apply to your nails. I used a fine-tipped rhinestone nipper to place them in the correct orientation. They adhere instantly and they are very durable.

I only applied one coat of clear top coat to my nails during the week (and over) I've been wearing the stickers on my nails and I went swimming, showered, did full sets of gel nails, you name it... and yet they stayed there, polish and all INTACT!!! Now I'm really looking forward to try all the other stickers with different nail looks.

I definitely recommend these stickers for quick, cute and on-trend enhancements to your nails. They are a very good alternative to nail art for a different look that screams 'fashionable nails in an instant'!

You can view Nailene's whole range of products by clicking here

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Summer Essentials

Hello my beauties :)

Today I'm going to share my summer essentials with you. They cover every area of the body so rest assured you won't miss anything :P. Although, it is not included in the picture below, sunblock is the most obvious product that one looks for the most in summer so be sure to have a good one at hand, not some left overs from last year or the year before that or before that... you get the drift.

From left to right, clockwise:

Hair: - Angel Professional Water Element Nourishing Cream (take a look at the review here)

- Senscience brilliant defense protective spray with UV filter

Body: - Olive Oil Organic body scrub

- Impulse Temptation deodorant
- Veet cold waxing strips for face/bikini line (pink box) and legs (blue box)
- Scholl Rough Skin Remover
- School Cracked Heel Repair Cream

Face: - e.l.f. Professional Shine Erasers

- e.l.f. Super Glossy Lip Shines SPF 15 in Goddess, Malt Shake and Iced Latte
- Rimmel Lasting Finish Loose Powder Foundation in Ivory 001 (I only use this when I really really need it)
- e.l.f. studio Warm Bronzer
- e.l.f. Earth & Water Mascara duos in Black and Brown
- e.l.f. Waterproof eyeliner pens in Black and Coffee

Nails: - Nail polishes for French Manicure
- An array (vast hehe) of brightly coloured nail polishes

I hope you enjoyed my summer faves. Until the next post,

Stay beautiful :)

Lara xoxo

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Review: Nailene Cuticle Pumice Sticks + Some info on cuticles and cuticle care

Hello my lovelies :)

In this post, as the title suggests, I will be giving some info on what cuticles are how to take good care of them, together with a review on Nailene's Cuticle Pumice Sticks, which as you'll find out, are a much better alternative to cutting the cuticles out. Enjoy...

What are cuticles?

Ever since I started enriching my knowledge about nails and nail art, I always read in a variety of books and internet sources that you shouldn't cut your cuticles.

In simple terms, the cuticle is that thin strip around the base of the nail that protects the new cells underneath from infection or damage. Therefore, the cuticle grows from the finger to overlap and protect the nail plate and form a rim around the base of the nail. Here is an image to show you exactly where the cuticle is situated:

The cuticle is perhaps the most important part of the nail, protecting both the nail matrix and with its delicate tissues and cells below the nail plate which are actively forming the hard nail. Its purpose is to protect against debris, fungi and bacteria that can damage the matrix and the nail bed.

Gentleness is key when caring for your cuticles since vigorous trimming or pushing back cuticles as well as the use of harsh chemical solvents may cause ridges in the nail. Therefore, wearing rubber gloves while doing house chores helps protect both your hands and cuticles.

A key point to note is that once the cuticle is damaged, the watertight space under the nail fold is laid open to moisture and becomes a potential breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to a number of unwanted infections.

Caring for your cuticles

The cuticles are a very delicate area and thus, as stated earlier, it is important to treat them gently. Here are a few tips on how to take care of them:

- Push back your cuticles right after a bath or shower or after soaking your nails in water for some time. You will achieve a neater result and they will be softer to work on.

- Never cut your cuticles. Besides leaving you prone to infections, this will make cuticles become tougher and thicker than before.

- Use a cuticle moisturizing oil (like this) on a daily basis. This helps strengthen the nails as well as soften and condition dry cuticles. If you don't have cuticle oil, you can use baby oil or olive oil.

- Wear gloves whilst doing house chores.

- Apply a highly moisturizing hand cream frequently, preferably after each time you wash your hands. Use one with a pump dispenser, that way you'll be more inclined to use it. Also, try slathering on a thick layer of hand cream (or body cream on your feet) before you go to bed and wear an old pair of gloves (or socks!) and sleep in them... by morning your hands and feet will be baby soft!


And now, on to the review.

So , here's a picture of the product I will be reviewing:

I bought these cuticle sticks recently because I had run out of the others I was using. I thought these are a good purchase because they have a pushing side and a grit side to exfoliate away excess cuticles.

Here's what there is written on the package insert:

'Nailene brings the salon home to you with professional Cuticle Pumice Sticks. Featuring a grit end and a wood end, these 2-in-1 manicure sticks safely push back and exfoliate cuticles.'

The recommended directions of use are as follows:

'- Remove all nail products and clean and dry nails
- Using the wood end of the cuticle stick, push back the cuticles
- Using the grit side of the stick, gently exfoliate excess skin from cuticles
- Wash hands'

The pack contains 6 of these cuticle pushers which look like this one here:

On my nails, I have never used the grit end but I only use the wooden end. The stick is very ergonomic and the wood feels smooth to the touch and I never had any problems using them till now.

The grit end, however, I did use it on my Mum's nails and other people who asked me to do them a manicure and needed to have some cuticle removed. The comments were that the grit is gentle enough to remove excess cuticles without damaging the nail or its surrounding skin; so I guess they would give these sticks a five star rating.

What I dislike about these sticks is their packaging. You have to open it up very gently otherwise you'll end up with the cuticle sticks all over the place...but it's a small price to pay for the quality of these sticks. Pricing was also reasonable although I can't remember how much they cost me exactly.

I hope you enjoyed this rather longish article :)

Feel free to ask any questions or want clarification on some point or other :)

As always, take care and stay beautiful :)

Lara xoxo