Sweet Sixteen: Karaja Super Longwear Semi-Permanent Soft Eyeliner

Aw! All done: here’s the last entry in the brightandbeautyfull.com Sweet Sixteen Sweepstakes. The sixteenth and final product was only slightly influenced by the discovery that I had very little make up in the running.

I went and got a makeover at a counter in a fancy department store — Dior in Brown Thomas — before heading the launch party for my first novel*, and among the many cool things the make up lady did was to line my upper inner lid in black.

Now, I am capable enough to just about poke my own eye out putting on shades, so the notion of going anywhere near my eyeball with a pencil-shaped object made me extremely nervous. I got the hang of it, though, because it looked so good, and on days when I can’t be arsed to do the whole mascara-and-eyeshadow thing, a little bit of a line in the inside of my upper lids is all I need to feel like a slightly vampy all-natural girl.

My first favourite was Origins Automagically ™ Eye Lining Pencil, but I ran out and then couldn’t buy it in Ireland anymore. {This is true, right?} Then, it didn’t matter anymore because I got Karaja’s Super Longwear Semi-Permanent Soft Eyeliner, and haven’t looked back since.

Oh, wow, didn’t even see what I did there. <– And there! Okay, enough with the cleverness. I love this liner, and I am using it down to the nub. I’ve consulted my archives, and am stunned to discover that I have only been using this for little over a year. Stunned! This is such a big part of my regime, that it feels as though I have been using this forever, if not two years at least.

I will admit to being a bit freaked out by the semi-permanent aspect of this. It does have amazing staying power, but it also does require at least one touch-up in the day. On the other hand, it is a bit of a bitch to remove. I have gone through more than my normal allotment of cotton pads. But then, on the other other hand, even when I blink like a … a bunny? Do bunnies blink really fast? Even when I blink really fast when applying, it never ends up on my bottom inner lid, never mind the rest of my face.

It’s also sort of been my gateway product as far as The Smoky Eye is concerned. I have always been afraid of TSE, which is silly, because it is totally hot, and using the Karaja pencil eased me into the whole look gently, easily, and unsmearingly.

Next long-from feature: Desert Island Sponge Bag {or Wash Bag, or Toiletries Bag, depending upon from whence ye hail.}

€10/£9.99/$13-ish, plus P&H via euro-products.co.uk

*which is also available on Kindle.

If You Ever Get Kicked By a Horse…

… and the bruise is not going away, then I highly recommend Cicaplast, by La Roche-Posay. If you want the whole story, it’s here.

This is not blatant blog-rolling on my part, I’m just too pressed for time to get into the details. Condensed version: got kicked by a horse, a glancing blow to the shin, very lucky I had been turning my mount away or else God knows what would have happened {or been broken}, it stung like m***erf***er for a couple days, was sore for a few more, and then… nothing much. Some discolouration, but no real bruising.

Then, two months later, it started to itch like a double mofo, and I grabbed the Cicaplast. I hadn’t used it before, as I don’t have sensitive skin, and this stuff seems to be for those who do. I read up on it, noticed on the website that there were images of other parts of the body besides the face, and slapped this on the dent in my leg.

It cleared it up in no time a’tall. The itching stopped within moments of contact –>foreals,  and the discolouration faded in days. A cursory wander round the web reveals that it is good for all manner of skin complaints, from nappy rash to use as primer by make up artists to the healing of scars. The tiniest bit of it works like a charm, it is light, fragrance-free, and I think it made by the fairies under the full moon, because it is pure magic.

Now, if only there was a topical that could do something about that dent, which is still apparent, almost a year later…

€12.50/£13.00(NI)/$36.50 list price on Amazon, down to $12.50, but still?!? See here, in the comments, for recs on where to buy Stateside.

Sweet Sixteen: Almost There!

Well, here we are, almost on the last installment* in the first long-form editorial feature on brightandbeautyfull.com. I just had a bad moment in which I thought that I had miscounted and actually had three more to do, rather only one. It gave me pause, in that it A} reinforced my belief that I suffer from dyscalculia (must self-diagnose myself, there has to be a test I can take online) and B} made me wonder how the previous fifteen added up, in terms of categories covered. Like, if I had to survive on a desert island with only these products, could I?!?!?

Well, I’d certainly smell good, and have incredibly soft skin. No less than six of the products had to do with exfoliating, moisturising, oiling and scenting the bod. I think this is a good thing, because of predators, you know, on the desert island. They’d be put off by all that perfume, right? So thanks to Bliss Vanilla + Bergamot, Jo Malone Body Créme, Elemis Frangipani Monoi Moisturing Oil, the L’Occitane Almond line, the Lush Karma line, and Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse, I am safe from… I don’t know, monkeys?

Skincare-wise, I’ve got Clinique’s Clarifying Toner and REN’s Cleansing Milk, Dermalogica’s Soothing Booster to zap away those pesky zits, Yes to Carrots Exfoliating Mud Mask, and Lancôme’s Visionnaire to keep me youthful while I wait for the rescue ship. Perhaps if I had realised I was going to be shipwrecked, I would have packed some SPF.

As far as make up goes, I’ve got Benefit’s Erase Paste, Mac’s Beauty Powder, and Too Faced Caribbean in a Compact which is surely redundant. Also surplus to requirements, at least in the middle of the ocean, is Voya’s Lazy Days seaweed bath.

Hmmm: no lip balm, and I am as addicted to that as I am to shampoo & conditioner — and no shampoo & conditioner?!? No regular moisturiser or serum, nothing for my brows. Since I already know what my last item is, I see that I may have to do something else along the lines of… My Desert Island Sponge Bag???

Too lazy to link — already gearing up for the laid-back island lifestyle — but if you click on the Sweet Sixteen tag or category link below, it’ll take you where you want to go.

*Appearing tomorrow

Haiku Review: Avon ANEW Clinical Resurfacing Expert Smoothing Fluid

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

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

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

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…