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Beauty over Forty

Keeping up appearances when age is just a number

Reviewing an Obscure Palette: Mrs Bella by BH Cosmetics

Browsing through a local drugstore I was surprised to find a BH Cosmetics Palette displayed on the bottom row of an end shelf. Surprised as I have never seen BH Cosmetics in German drugstores, having never tried the brand I grabbed the opportunity and paid only 17,50 Euros for my adventure of 12 shades being 14 grams of product.

I found the name of the palette a bit odd, so asking google I discovered that this is a YouTuber collab, with a German Beauty Guru called MrsBella, who I had never heard of. Here is her channel so check her out.

First impressions: The palette is cardboard and sleek the format similar to a Lorac Pro. The graphic design is not my taste. Light pink with silver font and no imagery or perceptible design apart from a circle and silver lines is pretty plain. In my personal opinion the uninspired look struck me as cheap and loveless. Perhaps a rushed product. I later saw the same type of design on Mrs Bellas channel, maybe that was the reason for it.

Opening the palette, the color selection is unusual, some mid tone taupy browns, combining cool with warm, matte and shimmer with mustard (!) would not normally be a scheme that would attract me. But, in recognition of that I thought hey, let’s try something new, and not just for today, for a number of days.

Actual use: The quality of the shades turned out to be pretty darn outstanding, mattes that glided on very smoothly and blended well with very little fallout, shimmers that were of medium pigmentation, made the palette really easy to work with. The colors lasted pretty much all day on the lid, fading around 5pm a bit. I really like the formula. There are two highlighters included in the palette, one a bit pinky and one a bit gold, not really my style, they are nice eyeshadow toppers though that you can use to transform your shadows. There is not any yucky glitter only shimmer in the the eyeshadows and the highlighters (yay!)

Overall: I am very pleasantly surprised by this palette and would recommend it to anyone looking for some everyday office suitable shades. The quality was incredibly good on par with some very high-end products. I highly recommend it and look forward to working with more shades I would not usually use.

I think if BH Cosmetics were able to devote some more energy to the look of their products and their distribution they would have better success on the market. I hope they do, this is a great product and deserves more attention.

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Beauty Gurus Boredom

I watch a lot of YouTube. Maybe too much? That’s probably why I find myself agreeing with “Makeup Struggles” Gurus all seem to be doing the same thing, she has some great suggestion on how it could be different.

Miracle Eye Cream? Testing Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Eye Rescue

Happy Tuesday,

As you may have guessed I have been pretty busy doing long term product testing during my hiatus of 3 months. This eye cream is one of them and has been tested for a period of two months. Magic Eye Rescue retails at 55 Euros / 60 USD for 15ml, this is quite pricey for the small amount, but it comes in an oversize pot that gives the impression that you get more than you do.

If you read the blurb on her website you will expect nothing short of a miracle in using this cream, but that applies to most eye cream brands, so my expectations were moderate.

What makes it special? It has slow release retinol, which should absorb into the delicate skin around the eyes without irritation. It also contains a sugar complex. that boosts hydration.

Performance: Application is pleasant, a medium weight gel consistency with a pleasant fragrance, it spreads evenly and absorbs very quickly and feel very pleasant on the skin. I perceived instant improvements when I first started using it the area under the eyes appeared immediately plumped and wrinkles diminished. I no longer notice this as the results are maintained through consistent use.

Results over time: The wrinkles under my eyes have visibly diminished, prior to use they would be greatly exaggerated by makeup application, now they are so diminished that they are hardly noticeable. I also no longer need to use extra hydrating primers under the eyes, my normal primer works just fine.

Would I repurchase? Definitely.

SISLEY: A 3 Month Test of the most Expensive Primer on the Market

It was almost a year ago that Sisley’s Double Tenseur Primer started making a splash in the Beauty Community. At that price it was not something I was eager to try out, but given that I have slowly but surely stocked up on all makeup necessities, there has come a stage to look into things that might just not be worth it and retailing at 192 USD for 1 oz, this could be amongst them.

When a product is so expensive, a first-impressions isn’t really what it’s about, I tested Double Tenseur over a period of 3 months.

Performance: You don’t need a lot of product and it does a great job of smoothing out the skin. Prior to using it, I used Guerlain L’Or on most of my face and Benefit’s Porefessional on large pores. Using this Sisley primer I could use this all over the face, as  it dealt with large pores really well. It did not feel heavy on the face and had a pleasant botanical smell. Of all the primers I have used; it delivered best on keeping makeup on the longest, even when it is blazing hot and you are having a “glowy” day. It does not play well though with strong setting sprays over longer periods. It sets on the skin creating (as advertised) a mesh whilst also sinking into the skin. On very hot days (ie you sweat under your makeup) having a strong setting spray on top of foundation such as Urban Decay’s All Nighter or Chill, will lead the makeup to breakup if you touch your face and wipe off in layers. This sounds very alarming, but it isn’t. If I left out setting spray, the primer kept everything on wonderfully.

Why is it so expensive? Sisley is expensive anyway, but this primer is skincare. It claims to help firm and lift  the skin over time using botanical extracts. I have experienced improvements in my skin since starting to use this. The botanicals and their (alleged) virtues are listed like this on the Sisley website: “Rhatany extract: astringent and toning, contributes to an immediate lifting effect. Lemon extract : astringent and toning. Oat seed extract: “3D lifter” active ingredient. Tiger Nut extract : restores the skin’s elasticity. Cotton extract: regenerating and replenishing. Red Vine extract: anti-free radicals. Watercress extract: tones and revitalizes. Biosaccharide solution : instant and long-term moisturizing properties. Plant-origin glycerin : moisturizes and softens.

Would I repurchase? Yes, although it is very expensive, I use very little product, it does what it says in the advertising and does this with great ingredients which benefit my skin. I am at the age, where I need the products that go onto my skin to all be anti-aging and I appreciate products that work, as as we age I don’t want to waste time on those that don’t.

Totally worth the hype.

How to get the best out of your ABH Subculture Palette

The last days have been marked by outrage over Anastasia Beverly Hill’s new eyeshadow palette called “Subculture”. Expectations were high for this palette as the previous released “Modern Renaissance Palette” was one of the most popular palettes of last year. Announced as a sister palette to Modern Renaissance, Consumers and YouTube “Beauty Gurus” by and large expected it to be the same, albeit in a different color scheme. Quickly they discovered it is not.

There then ensued a plethora of “WTF” videos and consumers planning to return the palette before they had ever received it. This was then followed by videos theorizing about: Why???

If this is all news to you, I’d like to save you some time clicking through all the dramatic videos and direct you towards Stephanie Nicole’s which is the best informed one out there, her content will save me a lot of typing here.

So, how can you work with the palette and get good results?

  1. Prime and use a smooth powder shadow over the primer, do not have patches which are wet, they will grab pigment and wet pigment goes dark. The shade “Dawn” from the palette creates a good base from eyelid to brow bone.
  2. Use fluffy crease brushes (small, ideally natural hair if you have them, they hold color better). Flat shaders for packing color will not help, the reason why is coming up…
  3. When dipping into the shadow just let the tip of your brush graze the shadow lightly. These shadows are enormously pigmented, treat them like a pigment, if you get too much color on your brush you will have difficulties.
  4. Use your brush on your eyelid as if you are painting in light strokes, do not pack on pigment and then try to blend it out. It doesn’t work. Blending strokes will wipe the color off. Instead build color with light feathery strokes.
  5. If you are concerned about fallout use shadow shields or do your eyes first followed by your face makeup.

In the picture below which was my first attempt at using the palette I used a shadow shield, but with the progress made using as you can see dark shades, there was not a single speck of fallout using the technique I described above.

DSC00443

The brushes I used were a Wayne Goss no. 4 small crease brush, a Wayne Goss no. 5 detail brush and the best brush of all a small fluffy crease brush bought in German drugstore chain Rossmann for under 3 Euros by the brand “For Your Beauty”. This is quite possibly the best brush I have ever had (I have six of them). The ELF small crease brush will work just as well.

 

Enjoy!!

Mario Badescu Anti-Aging Regimen Kit

I found the Mario Badescu Anti-Aging Regimen Kit on BeautyBay for 31,50 Euros and was intrigued. I had never tried any Mario Badescu products and this seemed like a good opportunity especially as it came with a free makeup bag with some travel size body care samples. This has now sold out, but US customer can find the set at Ulta.

The brand was founded in 1967 by Mario Badescu; who is a Romanian immigrant. He sought to bring his natural recipes and approach to New York city.  The brand uses known actives and has never tested on animals.

mariobadescuantiagingkit

 

First Impressions: For Anti Aging the set struck me as a strange combination of items. It comprises a Glycolic Foaming Cleanser, Glycolic Acid Toner, Collagen Moisturizer with SPF 15, Super Collagen Mask and very small pot of Glycolic Eye Cream. Considering that the range also has products with ceramides, peptides, hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C the contents of the set represent only quite limited anti-aging actives.

 

User Experience:

Glycolic Foaming Cleanser; this has a light citrus scent, it is non stinging and foams slightly. Using it my skin did not feel parched afterwards a very enjoyable experience. It is only supposed to be used twice per week, which is good, because there’s only 2 ounces in the bottle.

Glycolic Acid Toner; this was also pleasant to use, again it doesn’t sting on the skin and leaves it feeling smooth and in a good place to receive further skin care. The scent is unusually a little like baby powder. It is meant to be used each time you wash.

Collagen Moisturizer with SPF 15, is a very fluid lotion with very visible sunscreen in it. I would expect the sunscreen to be stronger given the level of whiteness the lotion has. It is very comfortable and absorbs quickly and provides more moisture than it’s texture would imply.

Super Collagen Mask: This I did not like. The face mask is a paste that you apply and let sit on the skin for around 15 minutes until it is totally dried out. It contains kaolin making this a clay mask along with the collagen. It dried hard as a rock and was difficult to remove. I appreciate that it had collagen on it, but I don’t like Kaolin sucking moisture out of my skin and this does not strike me as effective anti aging.

Glycolic Eye Cream: I have to admit I have shirked my responsibility on this test and have only used this once. The reason is the idea of putting glycolic acid on the skin on my eye area was a bit disconcerting. In using it, my eyes watered from the acid in the surrounding area. It stung slightly when putting on but did not really irritate the skin. The reviews on this eye cream are really good, so maybe I should overcome my fears and give this a proper chance!

All in all, I don’t see this set as optimal for mature skin, at my age an effective anti aging regime would need some more actives than this, but it was great to test the products. I think skins in their twenties and early thirties can really benefit from these products.

Monthly Nails – March 2017

Hey everyone, I have never written about how I get my nails done. Whilst this is not my work, but the work of my local salon. I really appreciate them and get my nails a new look there around every three weeks.

Given that I am expecting a tough work week, here are my nails not too over the top for this week 🙂

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Nails by VA Nails in Berlin.

Brand Review: Mad Hippie Advanced Skin Care

 

I have often written how much I appreciate the cost efficiency of The Ordinary products and I really enjoy the flexibility of my skincare regime incorporating multiple serums with multiple active ingredients, but not everyone has the time or the interest to find out how to do it. In December last year I started thinking and wondering whether there might be a brand that combines known actives in a no nonsense, affordable way that makes sense for people. I did a lot of research and stumbled upon the Mad Hippie brand. A brand that is not available in retail in the country I live in.

Mad Hippie’s founders are surfers, who were looking for good quality skincare to save and restore their weather beaten skin. Their products contain multiple natural actives that harmonize with each other. They do without anything unnecessary avoiding fragrance and harmful preservatives such as parabens. They use no animal testing and all products are vegan.

Getting hold of the products involved an order from i-herb for me followed by a one hour trip to customs to pay import duties. I was not able to buy everything I wanted, but despite the hoops I had to jump through to get them I do not regret the effort, it was all worth it.

Here are my thoughts on the products I have tested so far:

madhippievitamincVitamin C Serum: This product contains way more than just Vitamin C. Also Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, Konjac Root, Grapefruit, Chamomile and Clary Sage. The product does not sting when applied and absorbs quickly. A very pleasant serum. The only criticism I have is that it comes in a dark glass bottle with a dropper. You need to use it up quickly or it will turn bad in 3 months. An airtight, lighttight packaging would be better, but you can decant half of it and keep it in the fridge to extend it’s life, apart from that it’s a really pleasant good serum at a fair price of around 30 dollars.

 

Exfoliating Serum: I love this serum, it has glycolic and lactic acid in it, as well as Matrixyl madhippieexfoliating(peptide complex), apple stem cells, gigawhite (botanical blend that is skin brightening), Sodium Hyaluronate (related to Hyaluronic Acid)´, penetrates skin deeper), and the anti-oxidants white tea, goji berry and ceramides to protect the moisture barrier. This is the best exfoliating serum I have found to date.

Face Cream: The ingredients of this face cream are amazing, but it was not hydrating enough for my dry skin, normal skin though would love it! I still use it, but top it with a more oily product on top. From the actives, I can’t think of a better combination. It contains  Matrixyl & other peptides, Coenzyme Q10 (affects cell activity), Antioxidants: resveratrol, acai berry, pomegranate & green tea, niacinamide (evens skin tone and affects size of pores and sebum), aloe vera and  coconut & argan oil.

Eye Cream: The eye cream is amazing. This is the opposite of those oily creams that sit around your eyes with you wondering what the heck they are actually doing. It absorbs immediately and it may be my imagination, but I actually think I can feel it doing good things. This one is suitable for everyone. The actives are matrixyl & other peptides, chamomile, anti-oxidants: pomegranate and white tea, Vitamins C, B3 and E, Wheat Protein and Argan Oil. Best eye cream ever for only 25 dollars.

I have heard great things about their Antioxidant Face Oil, but unfortunately could not get my hands on it.

I have heard that in the States Mad Hippie can be picked up at wholefood stores. I envy you!

I hope to test more Mad Hippie products and I totally support the brand. Proven actives, fairly priced, well combined from an ethical company. I don’t think we can ask for much more.

Save your Money: Skin Chemists Aqua Repair Facial Serum

I got the full size of this product “Skin Chemists London’s Aqua Repair Facial Serum” in a Look Fantastic box, it retails at 39 GBP for 30ml/1 ounce. It’s called a serum, but is more like a somewhat fluid gel.

Whilst this is not a harmful product, it is a bit b***s***, and this is why I think you should save your money.

The main actives advertised on the packaging are Rose Water and Aloe Vera and that there are no Parabens.

As you will be aware: INCI rules mean that ingredients must be stated with the ingredient with the largest proportion first, so the lower down an ingredient is named, the less of it is in it.

The first two ingredients are Water and Carbomer. Carbomer is a filler that expands when wet. So the main content of this product is filler. Then good news: the next one is Rose Water. At 7th place we have Allantoin (smoothing, helps acne scars).  At 10th place we have perfume (middle of ingredients list), and boy can we smell it, Finally at 16th place we have powdered Aloe. Interesting that they don’t list the ingredients on their website.

Instead of preserving with Parabens, they preserve with Coumarin. Coumarin  can cause liver damage in individuals sensitive to it ,even at low levels. Like Parabens, it has also be shown to induce cancer in rats and mice. So, I’m not exactly sure why Coumarin is cooler than Parabens ^^

This is pretty much the cheapest set of ingredients I have seen in a long time in skincare, we might do better buying a 3 GBP Rose Water from Amazon and mixing it with Olive Oil. Save your money.

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