Archive | January, 2012

Haiku Review: Avon ANEW Clinical Resurfacing Expert Smoothing Fluid

25 Jan

Microdermabrasion!
A more perfect haiku word
Has never been known.

Oh, words: I love words, and one of my favourite words is ‘slough’. Oh wow, I am saying it over and over to myself and it is just the most amazing feeling. Slough slough slough. It’s the owwwwwwww part, and the visual of the silent ‘gh’ that gets me. {This is turning out to be a week of strange posts…}

Oh, but it is so satisfying. Other faves include: waft, bedizen, and smooch.

I’ve been researching microdermabrasion, and that’s how I came across slough, as in: sloughing off dead skin cells. I went a’googlin’ because I got some Avon ANEW Clinical Resurfacing Expert Smoothing Fluid {whew! What a mouthful!} yesterday and was immediately taken by the notion of being able to self-treat my complexion in a microdermabrasional kind of way.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a clinical treatment — surely I’d remember? It involves machines, which is both scary and thrilling; one can go so far as to buy oneself a machine for at-home use. I have worked professionally as a gadget reviewer, and I am a techno-magpie: I use stuff for a while, and then I get bored, so I can’t imagine that a machine would do me any good in the long run. So in Avon’s offering we’ve got a little bit ‘o’ complexion transformation in a bottle, which seems as simple as could be.

Too simple?  The whole point of microdermabrasion {I am getting tired of typing that word} is to SLOUGH off those dead skin cells, in turn reducing the appearance of fine lines, increasing the softness of your skin, and eradicating acne. Can a mere lotion deliver the same benefit?

We’ll see, because I would very much like this to work. According to one of the Avon R&D bods, the product ‘mimic[s] the physical action of microdermabrasion treatments, with less irritation.’ Or, to hark back to my favourite word, less owwwwww.

Will keep you posted.

€32.50/£28/$38

Sweet Sixteen: REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk

24 Jan

This is number fifteen in the series, woo hoo! And I’m waffling about what the finale is going to be…

I am not a big fan of cleanser. Based on the post I am working on re: day creams v night creams, in which I am thinking about not bothering with the cream of the night, it is hard to imagine what my beauty regime actually entails, if I am a big cleanser h8r.

I dunno: I think I just hate the mess it makes when you use the stuff — or maybe I just make a big mess? Splatters of water all over the place, from scooping water on my face to clean off the cleanser, and I haaaaate the feeling of water running down my neck and arms. I think I must suffer from some sort of rare condition, because written out, that is just freaky.

But then I got some REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk to review, and I think I may have changed my mind.

This is so thick and rich, it feels like you are icing your face like a cake. It’s thicker than milk, actually, and think ‘Cleansing Custard’ might be a better name. The very first time I applied this, I sighed aloud — it’s that nice. It’s … well, it’s sensuous, which is weird in a cleanser. And as sexy as it is, it gets the job done, removing even the most stubborn of make up, even my waterproof inner eye liner, which is a tough customer.

Thanks to its chemical-free state, my skin didn’t feel squinchy after I’d rinsed it off. I don’t mind a good feeling of squinch — makes me feel like my pores have been seen to — but I do know that it’s not the best state for my skin to be in. I get the clean, shiny result of such squinch-making cleansers, without the stress to my complexion.

I still haaaaate the feeling of water running down my neck and arms, though, and tend to use this in the shower in the a.m., even though I feel like this kind of product does its best for me in the p.m. Well, you never know, I may get over my squeamishness. Either way, this is a keeper.

€25/£18/$32

Pretty Darned Beautiful

24 Jan

I’m not a big fan of dystopian literature, and post-apocalytic narratives, well, they scare the crap out of me. {Kath, are you reading? OMEGA MAN.}

But, but, but: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is an exception to every rule, in the main down to the fact that the whole scenario — in a future US of A, women are second class citizens whose relative worth is determined by their place in society, and who are identified by the clothes they wear — hmm… yes, this is all too plausible.

That’s as simplistic a précis as it gets, but the book is so complex, and so emotionally affecting, I can’t really do any better than that. When I bought it, I stayed up all night, reading, and I consider it to be one of the key narratives of my life, one that has shaped my views and my politics. I don’t know where my copy of it is, and I often wish I had it to hand.

The images that I retain of something I’ve read are usually pretty robust. I mean, all the Harry Potter movies did a really good job of matching my mental pictures, lucky them. I wouldn’t be a fan of illustrations accompanying text, but then I saw these amazing images, and damn, they are not only gorgeous but they also perfectly capture the tone and atmosphere of Atwood’s terrible future.

I’ve been sorry for years that I can’t find my Handmaid’s Tale, and now, well, looks like I’ve found the perfect edition with which to replace it.

Clarins Skintime Rundown

23 Jan

Remember this totally free thing? I just wanted to let you know, step by step, what you can get for nothing at your local Clarins counter.

Here are the eight steps that incorporate Clarins Skintime, each one totally libre:
1> Eyesadow gently removed
2> Skin cleansed using the suction procedure as explained
3> Exfoliation, in a process that is exactly not what I do: the product was swept from left to right, rather than rubbed in circles. I feel like this is important.
4> Quick mask. There wasn’t the time for the usual 10 minute time period, but it was still refreshing.
5> Toning
6> Moisturiser
7> Neck and Decollete: mositurise using the light pressure application thing
8> Eye cream

I can personally recommend the Hydra Quench Mask {step 4} and Eye Contour Gel {Step 8}. I’m in the process of testing the Gentle Eye Makeup Remover Lotion and will share my thoughts anon.

And I’m still pondering the lymphatic drainage craic, may be writing more about that…

It’s Leap Year, and You All Know What That Means.

23 Jan

Right? You know what that means? If not, get this:

On the British isles, it is a tradition that women may propose marriage only on leap years. While it has been claimed that the tradition was initiated by Saint Patrick or Brigid of Kildare in 5th century Ireland, this is dubious, as the tradition has not been attested before the 19th century.

Wha’? I don’t even — it’s an Irish thing? This is from Wikipedia; naturally, I took that with a grain of salt and went off a’googling. Now, it occurs to me that the internet is just a massive self-fulfilling prophecy, in that information is taken from one place and put in another, because where else are we going to get our information, and everything you see on a screen is true. Right? I don’t know, it just hit me, that this is so, and made me wonder about the things we think we know… I’ve always been easily led, but today is the day I question everything.

From about.com:

St. Bridget’s Complaint
It is believed this tradition was started in 5th century Ireland when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose. According to legend, St. Patrick said the yearning females could propose on this one day in February during the leap year.

Plus the whole Sadie Hawkins thing started in a comic strip? Really?

I didn’t really get Lush’s Leap Frog Bath Ballistic. I mean, he smelled fantastic, and was made of all of my fave essential oils: jasmine, neroli, ylang ylang, sandalwood and rose. < Seriously, all of them in one place, I couldn’t believe it. He looked to be a good size, one that would keep fizzing until he melted, rather than fizzling out. LOL.

The Leap Frog’s particular thing is that he comes with a special message inside. Now, let me tell ya, there is nothing like the promise of a secret thing inside another thing to get me going. Or a prize of some sort! Lucky Dip, Cracker Jacks, piñatas — holy wow, watch me go for it.

The special, secret message, though, has to do with being a female and popping the question to the male? I have no use for such a message at this stage, but: I HAD TO KNOW WHAT WAS IN THE FROG. And if I got the special, secret message that’s supposed to help you go about proposing {???} then I would put it aside for future use. Maybe. I already been married, sistuhs, so, you know, no big deal.

BUT I HAD TO KNOW WHAT WAS IN THE FROG. I needed a bath, anyway. Are you the kind of person who needs baths? I prefer showering for cleanliness, but need baths for relaxing and unwinding. So, into the bath I went, with the Frog, who was as fizzy and fragrant as promised and although this was a scenario designed to create the relaxing and the unwinding, I was completely focused on the disintegrating Frog, waiting for the SPECIAL MESSAGE.

When it appeared, I couldn’t read it anyway because I had the candles going and I didn’t have my glasses. Did not relax or unwind much because I COULDN’T READ the special message that I HAD BEEN WAITING FOR.

<This is what I got!

Okay! I am down with this! I actually had a dream a couple weeks ago about a dude called Robert! WILL THIS SPECIAL MESSAGE COME TRUE?!?!?!

€3.50/£2.95/No sign of this in the US

Are you superstitious? Don’t go here.

These Are Bright! And Beautyfull!

23 Jan

Pushing the remit to include gadgety accessories? I don’t see why not!

I found out about Urbanears ‘Plattan’ Headphones last year, via a fab site called The Hairpin, a New York-based, female-oriented, blog-of-excellence. I hit the google, found the UK-based public relations company, and after some to-ing and fro-ing {mostly about colour} I had these in my hot little hands.

Now, I am an ear bud sort of person. They are easy to wind up and stick in a pocket, they are lightweight, and they sound perfectly great. I’ve tried & tested my fair share, from Philips to Sony Ericsson to Denon, and they all had their plusses and minuses. Most importantly, they all had control panels with which I could answer phone calls, skip songs, and rewind when I wanted to hear the same song over and over. You’d be surprised that there are still ‘buds out there that don’t have control panels, but it is true.

As much as I wanted to test these, I wasn’t all that sure that I actually wanted to have to use them. The band! My hair! The band and sunglasses! The band and earrings? Dubiousness reigned.

I legged it to the post office to collect them, and didn’t make it two streets before I was eagerly prying the box open to get a look at their Raspberry fabulousness. Since I had them out, sure, it couldn’t have been a better time than then to plug them in. It’s not like I walked around my house wearing listening devices attached to music/communications providers.

I plugged, and played, and said, aloud, ‘Ooh!’

Remember bass? I had forgotten about bass. I know how flat music is these days, because of the digital sandwiching thing, but I didn’t realise that all of those ‘buds that I had tried were woefully lacking in bass.

Bass is pretty damn awesome. Bass makes you want to bop your head to the beat, even you are walking through a homey, residential section in Fairview; even with only the outdoor cats to catch one doing this, it feels a bit ridic, but ultimately, one doesn’t care, and the hell with those judgey cats, because of bass.

They are comfortable, and colourful {OMG: the colours!} They fold up so that the cups end up flush against the inside of the band, and you can wind the tangle-free cord around those clippy bits on the outside of the band, and lash them into your bag without worry. And! There’s a thing called a ZoundPlug, which is a jack below the right cup, which means someone else can plug into you playlist. Can’t imagine anything better for a long train journey with a pal, unless you are me and your taste in music is eclectic, which is a fancy code word for desperately embarrassing.

Not matter what your guilty pleasures are, the music sounds amazing. But the talking-on-the-phone bit? Slightly weird. With ‘buds, you get enough outside noise so you can hear your voice in the world. These do a mighty job of minimising outside noise, but they also made me feel like I didn’t know if I was talking really loudly because I couldn’t hear myself. The control panel is just ‘okay’, with only the one button to turn on the tunes, turn them off, double click to FF and treble click to rewind.

And the band aspect? Eh. Pesky whilst wearing shades, slightly annoying to have to slip them on and off when doing errands and entering into transactions, and even if I wanted to wear earrings, I wouldn’t be arsed: far too many things on and around my head to be handled with aplomb.

All in all, though: BASS. The sound that these give out is super impressive for the price, and seriously, the colours. I had taken great care in choosing Raspberry, but the Mocca! Indigo! Well, I may go for one or the other, since I had to give these back.*

If you like pretty things that do justice to your tunes, well, here you are!

£50/€66**/$60

* {…}
**At Urban Outfitters, but €59 as per harveynorman.ie, or €60 on raidiar.ie. Whatevs…

My World of Shampoo, Part IV: Matrix Total Results Color Care

20 Jan

To review: all the shampoos and conditioners.

I tend to forget that I have this combo from Matrix, because I am not familiar with the brand, and it’s tucked away on my tub. If you click the link, you can see them, hanging out kind of gormlessly on the edge, on your right. Since I’m right-handed, I tend to reach in that direction for stuff, even in the bath. It could be argued that I am saving certain concoctions for very specific use… well, whatevs. I do think that these got tucked up because my highlights had gotten so low, so what would have been the point of caring for the color?

I didn’t know what kind of hair the day wanted, and when I reached for these, I was pleasantly surprised by their fullness. Fullness due to their being tucked, etc. Sure, let’s give these a go, I thought, and as my highlights are light again, I’d be in a good position to judge whether or not this did the job.

I got seriously sleek salon stylin’, but I wasn’t as impressed by the punch of of colour, as I was by the John Freida Sheer Blonde that I wrote about recently. I think I thought this brand was fancier than it is; I’m not having much luck finding €/£ prices, but I found a site that sells the 10.0 fl oz bottle of shampers, as pictured, for $10. Now, it may something about my maintenance budget, but that doesn’t seem like a lot. When I was addicted to Aveda’s Shampure {ah! the scent!} I’m pretty sure it cost a bomb.

This begs the question: why are fancy shamps+conds so ‘spensive? It’s all down to ingredients, as you may have suspected. Mass produced cheap-o stuff is less likely to be infused with essential oils that have been harvested and extracted by hand from the only night-blooming ooga booga bush that grows along the Nile. Seriously, though, I’ll say it again: when it costs more, you use less. And you need to use less, because the quality of the surfectant — the thing that makes it lather up and clean you hair — in pricier brands is better.

So, this is really, really good for shiny and fancy, a bit ‘eh’ on the colour boosting, and while not as fancy as I thought, Matrix still a good thing to keep in the back pocket for a guaranteed shiny hair day.

Haiku Review: Beauty Trimmer

20 Jan

Let’s face it, ladies:
As we age, the hair does grow,
Not just from the scalp.

It all started on the chin, I think. Or maybe it was the upper lip. As I mentioned here, I had hit the waxing scene rather early, so unwieldy facial hair has always been a thing. Once it started to look like I was going to give those dudes from ZZ Top some serious competition, I started to look for some equally serious epilatory solutions.

Okay, so it wasn’t as bad as all that. And the hair itself was and mostly continues to be light blonde. This is great because one learns not to sit in the windows of cafés in direct sunlight, for example, and one therefore can stretch out the time between the employment of epilatory techniques. It is not great when one is a beauty journo/blogger, with many opportunities to review laser hair removal, only to be told that one’s hair is too light for it to work.

Grrrrrr. <A sound appropriate to my hirsuteness.

There were several approaches to solve this problem: I got the lip and chin waxed. I got the at-home waxing strips. I quite like this, from Boots, only it takes planning. Do not even suggest putting a tweezer anywhere near my lip, my eyes have just started watering.

When the neck hair got really out of control, I bit the bullet and started using the Braun Silk Epil 7. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! It took some seasoning of the skin, but once I became inured to all the little spinning razors yanking the hair out, I wouldn’t be without it. Some of the finer hairs haven’t grown back!

But there was no. way. in. hell I was going to run that over my lip. Of all the whiskers, I dislike these the most. So when the Beauty Trimmer landed on my desk, and purported to be more than able to deal with hairs other than my brows (for which I had requested this, initially), I though, ah, sure why not?

I liked its sleekness, right off the bat. It’s something that you could easily slip into your make up bag, as easily as a pair {set?} of tweezers. There’s only one setting — gentle buzz — and to be honest, it didn’t feel like it was doing anything as I stroked it over my lip, until I realised I was stroking it over a clean, hairless lip. ! It’s also fairly good on the goatee, but it really is all about the lip area for me.

Painless, quick, easy… the longer hairs around the edges of my mouth tend to grow in darker, where they didn’t before, but bright side! I can go get those zapped now.

The pink thing in the picture is a thing to put on the end to use on your brows? I haven’t gone there yet, mainly because I haven’t figured out in my head how it could possibly work. Combing? There’s a video, but I don’t feel enlightened. And oh yes she did at :53.

€11.99/£9.99, via jmldirect.com

Ooooh, Pretty: V Day from Lush

19 Jan

I love Valentine’s Day. People seem to get really angry about it? I think it’s all about perspective. If you feel like you have to go out and spend a bomb on a meal that would normally be kinda cheap, then yeah, you are going to be annoyed.

If you want to observe the event chez nous, then I can’t imagine a better accessory than this: PS I Love You, a box of sensual delights from Lush. From bottom left:

> Soft Coeur Massage Bar
> It’s Raining Men Shower Gel
> Silky Underwear Dusting Powder
> Sweetheart Soap

I have first-hand experience with the Raining Men, and it is gorgeous. I am also familiar with massage bars of the past, and have always found them to be fun and easy to use {TWHS}. Woo, I am losing the plot!

As far as the dusting powder is concerned… hmm. I’ve dipped into this sample, and I think it may be a goer. We’ve been warned off powders containing talc, which is a good thing because, hello, talc is related to asbestos and is completely toxic. I vaguely remember a time in which powder felt like an integral part of my post-shower routine; I’ve smoothed some this on and I don’t know, maybe. We’ll see.

What else? Oh, the soap. It smells like candy. I better put it in the soap dish before I take a bite.

Also: the box! This was the inspiration for the title of this post. I mean, seriously, so pretty. I will empty it, and reuse it, with pleasure.

So, if you’re a heart day fan, I can’t think if a better treat to ask for. Because you should always ask for what you want.

€23.50/£16.95/will let you know if this is avail in the States> it is! $34.95

This is a Totally Free Thing: Clarins Skin Time

19 Jan

I am a pushover. I go for a makeover, say, at the beauty hall of a big department store, and think to myself, ‘Well, Suzu, this time we will just pay the €20 or whatever and not get hijacked into buying any product.’

But, then, the thing is, you actually don’t have to pay anything if you spend that much on product, and seriously, you walk away with something that has been used to create that amazing face, and doesn’t it make more sense to have spent the money on something you can use in future?

Yeah. So, you can imagine what transpires. Although it does make sense {it does!}, it would be nice to rock up to a counter and say, ‘A free treatment, please!’ and have it actually be free. Clarins Skin Time is totally free, and you won’t be hectored into buying any of the myriad product that is utilised, and you will learn something. Continue reading

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