Beauty over Forty

Keeping up appearances when age is just a number


product fail

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.


Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad: worth 82 Bucks?

In a mad moment of shopaholism I bought a Tom Ford Eye Quad. They were all there in front of me laid out like jewels in Berlin’s most exclusive department store, I chose the one whose colors spoke to me: Last Dance. I paid no attention to the price, just wanting to have a little luxury.

A few weeks has passed and it’s time to answer the question: Was it worth it?

User Experience: The packaging is beautiful and on opening comes with a sponge applicator and a very small brush. Due to the brush, this means that you can use these tools for a look whilst travelling.  I enjoy the color selection. 3 satin shades and one metallic. At a first glance the satins look like mattes, but they are satin. Combing the satins give nice workday looks, the petrol blue metallic is a lovely pop to be combined for glamor. I started working with what I thought were mattes, and discovered they were satins, but not too in your face, we have a khaki green, a brown and a light yellow. The are easily combined as yellow for highlight, brown for crease/transition and green for lid. They apply really nicely and blend very well with no fallout. Then I used the metallic petrol blue. This did not want to pick up on neither natural nor synthetic fiber brush, in application with the brush there was little product, little pigment and fallout all over my face. I do not mind applying metallics with my finger, but for over 80 dollars, why can’t Tom Ford get the formula right where others such as Natasha Denona do? This is an unfortunate detraction from a great color combination quad.

So was it worth it? No, I really love this quad and I will save it for special occasion and I really do appreciate it, but for over 80 dollars they should do better. Consumers should not  have to put up with poor formula to own a luxury brand.

Stop the Madness! Lancôme LA RÔSE BLUSH POUDRER

Lancôme’s La Rose Blush Poudrer is 1,6 grams of highlighter for 60 USD. Is it made of cocaine? Nope. This is a very pretty natural looking highlighter, that recently came onto the market. It is an artificial rose with the petals coated in powder, housed in a cardboard (!) box. Very pretty and in my opinion insanely ridiculous. Rarely do I get angry about overpriced products. This time I do, at least put it in a proper tin, cardboard!?

My favorite review is by Bunny aka Graveyardgirl.

dsc00170If you are looking for a beautiful natural highlight, I suggest, the exact inverse price wise: Catrice High Glow Mineral Highlighting Powder, a whopping 8 grams for 4,5 Euros, the same product retails in the US under the name Essence Pure Nude Highlighter for 4,5 USD (Catrice owns Essence and are essentially the same brand).

Kathleen Lights gives a great review here.

I wouldn’t be so annoyed at Lancôme if their product retailed at 20 dollars, that would be more inline with an over-hyped plastic rose in a cardboard box.

#lancomeripoff #catricewins #essencewins

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Viseart Theory Palettes, Good value at 45 Bucks?

viseartcashmereI have heard again and again how awesome Viseart matte eye shadows are and also recently heard quite a few YouTubers suggesting; that if you are put off by the price, try out the smaller Theory pallets at 45 USD. As someone whose blending skills leave a lot to be desired, but really needs to start watching the pennies when it comes to product leaps of faith, this idea appealed to me. Off I went and ordered the Cashmere Theory Palette.

The palette is small, about the size of a credit card and comes in sleek but sturdy cardboard packaging making it great for your makeup bag. The 6 color selection of neutral browny shades makes it great for daytime to nighttime looks.

However, the quality between the 6 shades varies a lot! The two deeper matte shades blended out amazingly, like airbrushed and were very impressive. Pigmentation was strong. They were a pleasure to use. The lighter cream matte showed up poorly on my white skin, it was difficult to tell if it was as well pigmented.

The shimmers were very patchy, they swatched well with the fingers, but translated poorly on the eyes.

The looks I wore lasted till mid-afternoon.With the shimmers fading by lunch time and the mattes wearing the longest. I wore them over Mac Paintpot in Painterly, the same product I use for all my eye shadow tests.

The palette did convince me that the mattes could be amazing. But 45 USD for 2 great shades is really bad value and really disappointing. So don’t listen to someone advising you to drop that money on a Theory Palette for the purpose of a test. I have now ordered the neutral matte palette. So all this advice did, was make me disappointed, but encourage me to drop even more money on something which better not disappoint me, or else! You certainly will hear about it if that’s the case.

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Charlotte Tilbury Bi*** Perfect Lipstick.

Watching a video by Bunny (ka Graveyardgirl) reminded me how much I wanted to try Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks. I love the packaging and with the full on glam image of the brand it’s nice to own something with that old Hollywood feel. I went for the shade “Bitch Perfect” from the K.I.S.S.I.N.G. range, so named because it contains an anti-oxidant extract from the lipstick tree.

bitchperfectThe shade is a pinky coral, for me that was exciting as lately I have persistently been reaching for mauve shades and my choices were starting to bore me. I also purchased her lipliner “Lip Cheat” in the shade “Pillowtalk”. This lipliner gets great reviews and the color matches the lipstick really well.

User experience: the lipstick is moderately stiff and skips a little when applying. The feeling on the lips is not immediately emollient, but remind me a little of the feeling of putting on petroleum jelly. The color applies patchy, and although my lips are exfoliated, the pigment bunches up giving the impression of dry lips. The pigment is gone within around an hour, but the emollient feeling on the lips actually increases as times goes by and continues post the pigment fading. This was very disappointing. I really like the shade and expected far better performance. The only way I could keep the color staying longer was to entirely cover my lips with lipliner and apply the lipstick on top of that, the pigment still bunched though. The lipliner also bunched and flaked.

just applied and already bunching

For me this is a big product fail. I will continue to use it though for a bit as I like the shade, unless I encounter something with a better formula of the same shade. I was rather hoping this lipstick would be my go to and was hoping the pretty metallic tube would be a staple in my handbag.

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Popular Stuff I am not going to buy

You know those products that everyone loves, but you just don’t care and because you do reviews you think you should try them, then at the last moment you think “dang no!”

These are my “dang no” products that  I am not interested in and the reasons why.

byterryBy Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder. This is hailed as the perfect setting powder for dry skin as it has hyaluronic acid in it. The thought is it is allegedly moisturising and doesn’t create cakey powderiness of dry skin. The thing is, that completely contradicts what we know about how to use hyaluronic acid properly. We need hyaluronic acid IN the skin, the deeper the better, not ON the skin. If you are in a dry climate, having hyaluronic acid on the skin will draw your hyaluronic acid out of your skin unless you seal it in with a moisturizer. If you don’t live in a dry climate, powder is not an effective delivery for hyaluronic acid into the skin. So I get it, the powder will draw moisture from the environment and therefore it will look less cakey, but you get that look with Mac Fix Plus on RCMA powder too and for far less money!

May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver is a clay based powder mask that you mix with maylindstromwater. All ingredients are natural and I really like that. It gets glowing reviews as a fabulous decongesting masks with a tingle. The tingle is where I start to lose interest it is causes by cinnamon and nutmeg, a lot of people have severe skin reactions to those two spices. When I was 12 I made a mask containing nutmeg, and yep it burnt, never done that again. The other point of contention is it costs 90 USD and you can make it yourself (and for far less money)! I am not kidding! You can buy all the ingredients online, as it is a powder just mixed with water, the shelf life of your home mixed version will be really long. Plus if you are sensitive to cinnamon or nutmeg you can leave those ingredients out, if you buy the May Lindstrom version, you don’t have that option!

What are the products others rave about, but just don’t interest you?

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Weird electric curling tongs for your eyes, are they worth it?

In a moment of madness, I bought this weird items from Muji for just under 20 Euros, its a heated wand where you can use either of the heated sides to curl your eyelashes. I don’t like conventional eyelash curlers. Whilst I have never actually gotten pinched using one, I kind of live in fear that I will end up curling them so hard they will snap (yep that’s not going to happen, but my irrational fear is as good as any other).


I thought I’d take a few pics for documentation, starting off with the untouched eye, the Muji electric eye, the conventional eye and an I where I used a conventional curler and then the electric one on top.

In order to curl your eyelashes with the electric wand you just stroke them upwards with it. The wand does not get very hot, it’s really just warm and quite pleasant to use. From the picture you might be able to see that it feathers they eyelashes out, but does not curl them particularly. The third picture is my lashes curled conventionally using 3 crimping motions. he lashes are far more upward and straight than with the electric wand. I do like the effect on the final eye of using the wand on top of conventionally curled eyelashes, you get the curl and they feather out quite nicely.

My key question, to find out whether I think something is worth it is to ask Would I buy it again? Nope. I just don’t care about my lashes enough. As pleasant as the warming sensation was, you need to be someone with a lot of time in the mornings and a great sense of appreciation of lashes to bother with this, in which case you might just go the whole way and slap on falsies. This is one of my more useless impulse buys, but I assure you: I haven’t learnt my lesson yet!



Product Fails – 4 disappointing Products in October & November

Every now and again you encounter a few products that just don’t work for you. They may work for others, but I think is especially important when a product has been an outright fail to let others know about it. Cosmetics are expensive items and consumers with a valid voice need to be heard above the marketing din. Everyone only has limited resources, so let’s spend our resources on things that work better. Here are my disappointments from October and November:

  1. Benefit They’re Real Push up Liner. This is one of the greatest product fails I havebenefitpushupliner encountered and the marketing claims are just unbelievable given how the product performs. On the packet it states 88% of users (based on 19 panelists) said it hugged the lash line. I am wondering if these people were drunk.The product is a gel liner in a tube. You twist the base and the liner is pushed up, at the tip there is a silicon type of envelope tip with a slant ( a bit like an injection syringe). Here my 3 complaints: the design in itself with product coming out of a silicon tip that has edges guarantees that it is not deposited close to the lashes, the gel comes out straight up, but the tip is slanted, meaning that there is consistently too much product on one side of the tip, the product is very dry and skips . It cost me 26 Euros, I have never been so annoyed with a manufacturer. Usually marketing is just exaggeration of positive traits, in this case, it’s outright lies.
  2.  Holika Holika Pig Nose Clear Black Head 3 Step Kit. I wrote about this in my recent post about A Short Foray into Korean Skincare. It removed nothing from my nose pores, seemingly my pores are very clear, but more worrying I had others test it whose noses quite obviously had blocked pores and it removed nothing from theirs either. 
  3. Maybelline Super Stay 24hr Color Liquid Lipstick in the shade “non stop pink”. This applied incredibly streaky and it stayed less than 4 hours. Marketing was very optimistic here.
  4. Benefit Roller Lash Mascara. The Marketing claims that this mascara will lift an curl your lashes and states that 87% of their panel users (31 women) said it did that. It did it for me too during the test at the store. However, at the test in the store I was already wearing Too Faced mascara and the Benefit mascara being applied on top did lift and curl the lashes, but having paid the hard earned cash for it and having taken it home, it fell short of expectations. Using it by itself it did the lovely lift and curl thing, but almost as soon as it was dry the curl was gone. Yes, I used the correct rolling technique.

So there you go. If you use these products and have managed  to make them work for you, do let me know. I would love to have them work for me too. 🙂


My ultimate Bronzer favorites (and one expensive fail) for medium/light skintones

Up here in the northern hemisphere the sun has gone on vacation. For people of palor (that would be me) now is the time to grab that bronzer.

Pale people need a bronzer that bronzes and we are at a higher risk than most of looking like an oompa loompa if we get it wrong. Here is my personal ranking of all the bronzers I have for a daytime natural look.

physiciansformulabutterbronzer#1 Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer. Price for EU, 27.29 Euro via Amazon.  USD 14.95 for 11 grams. This bronzer gets the tone just right, no orange, a light silky sheen (not glitter) given a very subtle glow erring more towards matte. Don’t opt for the shade light, that won’t show up enough, the normal basic shade is just right. It stays on all day.It won the Women’s Health 2016 Beauty Award and I congratulate the jury on this one. It smells a bit like a Pina Colada, so if you don’t like the sound of that go for my #2.

#2 Too Faced Soulmates Blushing Bronzer Ross & Rachel. Price 12 Euros for me from toofacedrossrachelTK/TJ Maxx! For EU 26.79 Euro via Amazon, 30,60 USD for 18 grams. I love this bronzer which I believe consists of Too Faced Chocolate Soleil with a blush thrown in. The size of the item means that your brush will not touch the blush if you don’t want it to, plus you get two products in one, both are long-wearing. Again a silky sheen (no glitter), great natural color. Some may prefer to get Chocolate Soleil alone, but for me (and other Europeans) getting that via Amazon would be upwards of 40 Euros. I get a much better deal with the two in one. Both products are longwearing and smell of chocolate (there’s real cocoa powder in them). They also got the tone just right. This would be my number one except not everyone wants 2 items in one.

guerlain-terracotta-terracotta_4_seasons#3 Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons in the shade Natural Brunette 03. Price 65,95 Euros, 76 USD for 10 grams. This is the most versatile bronzer I have. You can mix the shades according to the season you are in based on how deep your own skin tans. This also means you can use it on your friends. The finish is matte. It’s long-wearing and seemingly unscented. This stuff is expensive, but given it’s versatility this may be worth it for you. A little goes a long way.

cargo-medium_bronzer_#4 Cargo Cosmetics Bronzer Medium. Price 29 USD for 8.9 grams. I got this in a starter complexion kit (containing bronzer, concealer and eye-liner) at TK Maxx (TJ Maxx for our US reads) for 14 Euros. There are a lot of these kits going around in Germany, so grab this, it is a bargain, it is a great product. It has a silky translucent sheen and will be my favorite for holiday parties. The tone looks slightly orange in the pan, but there is no sign of that on the skin. #bestbargain. #greatdeal


#5 Benefit Hoola. Price 33 Euro, 29 USD for 8 grams. Hoola is a cult classic. It a great bronzer, good tone, matte finish, slightly chemically smell, good staying power. You either love or hate the packaging. It was my first bronzer that had the right tone, unfortunately I have gone off it a little due to the smell and having found better alternative, still a great product though.

wetwild#6 Wet n Wild Coloricon Ticket to Brazil (or Bikini Contest), Price 7.79 Euro, 3.99 USD for 13 grams. How do they do it? This stuff is awesome. It has a shimmery finish goes on really well and stays on pretty long. The smell is faint and slightly medicated. This is an amazing deal and now that I have picked it up, I am not sure if it beats my Cargo or not. What a stunner! #mikedrop

All the above are great bronzers for lighter skin tones, none of them are orangey, all hold up well and give a natural glow. And now the a catastrophic high end fail:


WTH La Prairie!

La Prairie Cellular Treatment Bronzer, Price 55 Euro, 65 USD for 13,5 grams. I would love to say I was drunk when I bought this. I was duped by the salesperson who had already convinced me to spend ridiculous amounts on face cream as she assured me she was wearing this herself. This peeps, is the stuff of the high end oompa loompa. As beautiful and luxury as it is, don’t do it! Step away from the counter!

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