Catherine Reviews..

Sunday, December 30, 2012

First Impressions: Chanel Rouge Allure in Pirate & L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil

Even though I haven't done reviews for the products I featured in my first First Impressions post (here), here is another one. I think there will probably be a couple more First Impressions posts over the next few weeks given the time of year as even though Christmas is over my birthday is in less than three weeks so stay tuned for new stuff!

Today I have another two products to show you and both of these were Christmas gifts:

Chanel Rouge Allure in Pirate (no. 99): This lipstick I tried ages ago when I went to an launch event at a department store. Apparently this is one of the best-selling red lipsticks and a lot of the Chanel MUAs where saying how it's the only red lip colour they can wear. After some quick googling most reviews seemed to back up this sentiment. I don't have a problem wearing most reds, in fact my lipstick collection is made up of mostly red toned hues. However, this one was such a lovely blue-y/pink-y almost plum toned red I couldn't not put it on my Christmas list.

L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil: I've always been fascinated with oils but I don't really use them because I don't really take baths and I often feel like body oils are too expensive to use and not really that suitable for a hot climate.  That's why when I heard about this shower oil that when used with water emulsifies to a slight foam I had to try it. I've used it everyday since Christmas, it smells amazing and it's great to use for shaving.

So that's it for now! Stay tuned for more in depth reviews!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

YSL Touche Eclat & Benefit Boi-ing Concealer

As the southern hemisphere descends more into summer the hotter weather has made my skin oiler with the advent of a few spots here and there. This means that I need to use concealer more often, especially because I loathe wearing foundation during the day whenever the mercury climbs over 30 degrees C.

The two I've been using are the famous YSL Touche Eclat in no. 2 and Benefit Boi-ing Concealer  in 01.

YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch Highlighter Pen: 
Ok so, this is technically not a concealer per se, it's a highlighter pen that is supposed to brighten the face. However, it does conceal under the eye circles really well and the best part is that it does not crease on me. I use it to brighten the whole eye area and I also use it around the nose to tone down any redness there. This particular shade is good for cancelling out redness because it's quite a neutral/yellow-y tone unlike the original which I believe is more pink.

Benefit Boi-ing Concealer:
This concealer claims that it is industrial strength and it does cover pretty much anything. The beef I have with this is that it creases like a mofo and it's also a bit cakey. I absolutely cannot use this under my eyes or around my nose as it just settles into the smallest line or gathers around the edge of the nose.  It looks shocking. As a blemish concealer it does it's job though so I will probably use this up (I've hit pan on it so far) but I don't think I will repurchase.

What are your favourite concealers?  Do you prefer a different one to conceal blemishes and to conceal under the eye?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque

I'm relatively new to the world of beauty/cleansing masks, in fact the Aesop Parsley Seed is the first one I have bought in full size. I bought it because I read that it was a good cleansing mask but was not to drying and a lot of the masks I had tried were waayyy to drying for my skin.

I have combination skin that has random bouts of oiliness otherwise it's a bit dry and congested which leads to irritation and spots if not well moisturised. The problem I have then how to  go about getting rid of the oiliness and congestion without drying the skin out too much so to avoid irritation.

After using this mask for a couple of months it pretty much does just that, it smooths out the skin calming any irritation on my face but also balances out the oiliness without making my skin too dry. It is also really good at calming down swelling from particularly nasty spots. The sales assistant said that it could be used as an overnight spot treatment if you just apply it to the affected area and whilst I haven't tried it myself (as I prefer to use my Origins Super Spot Remover) I can definitely see it being an effective treatment.

I  recommend this masque for people who find normal clay masks too drying and those who have semi sensitive but congested skin. Although this is obviously my own experience and I would highly recommend that you try a sample before purchasing. My identical twin sister tried this out and it made her skin go bright red, I think this may have been just because she has a less rigorous skin care regime to me and her skin may not be used to it and although the redness faded after about 15 minutes it just shows how variable skin types can be!

I bought this for $39 which I think is reasonable considering the effectiveness of the product and it seems to be lasting well.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thoughts on: Advent Calendars

As it's only 15 days until Christmas I wanted to get in a sneaky Christmas post before it was all over (it goes so fast!).

Specifically I wanted to talk about Advent Calendars as these seem to have become quite sophisticated in the last few years, far from the ordinary ones with the cheap chocolate ones we had as kids.

There's the Ciate Mini Mani Month & Uk company Liz Earle had a version where every day you open up a window to a sample-sized product and many variations there of.

But what if you don't have the money to spend on a pricey luxury calendar but you're not a big fan of cheap chocolate? 
One crafty solution is my family's advent calendar, it was handmade by a family friend and the best part is that you can reuse it year after year!

It is essentially a 2D Christmas tree with 24  halves of a press stud sewn onto it and the other half sewn onto 24 different Christmas decorations and each day you put one more decoration on the tree until you put the last one on on Christmas Eve. It's a very decorative and festive way of counting down the days 'til Christmas. 

If you're feeling crafty you could probably make one for yourself or as a gift for someone. If you're not so crafty you could probably use a small 3D Christmas tree and put a new decoration on it each day counting down the days until Christmas. This would be particularly good for people who may not have the time or space for a big tree.

What do you use to count down the days to Christmas? Have you ever made a DIY Advent Calendar?


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

First Impressions: MAC Plumful & This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray

I thought I would start a new category today about the first impressions of products I've just bought so if I think they're review worthy later down the line I can compare my initial reaction to my deliberative one.

These are a couple of things I bought a couple of days ago:

MAC Lipstick in Plumful: I bought this lipstick because I've been looking for a darker toned lip colour (I really only own bright pinks and reds atm). So when I saw this lipstick on essie button I decided that this was the colour I wanted. I've worn it once and so far I think it's exactly the right shade for me, it's a couple of shades darker than my lip colour and slightly more plum but not too purple-y. I think I will be able to wear it throughout the day and night.

thisworks Deep Sleep Pillow Spray: This has been doing the rounds in the blogger sphere and has generally received rave reviews. This spray contains Lavender, Vetivert and Camomile essential oils to help relaxation and promote sleep. I often have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep and hopefully this should help me to get to sleep easier. This has a pleasant relaxing smell when sprayed  and seems to promote sleepiness although I doubt it's the miracle solution that it claims on the bottle, but we shall see!

Has anyone tried either of these products? Let me know what you think of them!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

I review The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky

I wanted to post this book review to take a break from beauty-related posts because not all of my posts will be about beauty products. I'm hoping to do reviews of more books, movies and other stuff.

My first book review is The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky.  I hadn't read this book before I heard the movie was coming out so I read it recently because of all the hype for the movie and how everyone was saying how good the book was in light of the impending movie release.

For those who are unaware the book is about a high school freshman called Charlie who writes to an unnamed friend about his experiences during high school and the experiences of his slightly older friends Sam and Patrick.  I guess you could say that Charlie and his friends are somewhat on the 'fringe' of the social microcosm that is American high school, hence the reference to being a 'wallflower', also  a reference to Charlie's ability to observe the happenings of his surroundings.
I can't really say too much more about the plot because it would ruin it for those of you who haven't read it.

I know that a lot of people really liked this book and related to it really well and I can see why. It's a modern 'coming-of-age' story for the disenfranchised teenager (and what teenager doesn't feel disenfranchised at some point or other).

 I however, didn't particularly like it. I'm not saying it's a bad book because I actually think it's a really good book and would certainly recommend it to others, especially to teenagers. I just think as I am no longer a teenager it was a bit more difficult to relate to it. I mean, I felt like I could only relate to it in hindsight and I didn't feel like that was especially helpful, in fact I found it a bit depressing to be honest.

Obviously, my experiences in high school were oceans apart from Charlie's (quite literally) but the sentiment/moral of the book is pretty universal. I was pretty quiet and observant in high school and I feel like that kind of introspection can be fairly difficult at times, which is I guess what Charlie learns.
This book didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know having already lived through high school myself. Perhaps that's because I wasn't engaged enough in the book or perhaps I would have been better off reading it earlier on when I was still at school. I'm not sure.

For this reason I won't be seeing the movie anytime soon although I do encourage you to read it and see what your experience with it is.