Sunday, 29 March 2015

MURAD Skin Perfecting Lotion- Oil Free

It feels good to write about products that you like… First my Hourglass blush (Radiant Magenta- link) and now one of my favourite skin care products. I mentioned it in my favourites before (here), so there is no point to keep you guessing if I like the product or not?! I really DO!!! You know that I am not very forgiving if a product shows some flaws on my skin. I feel that I owe that to my readers.

Murad was founded by Dr. Herman Murad 25 years ago. He has changed the way world sees skincare through his pioneering research. Murad is the first brand of clinical skincare products which very early addressed the problem of environmental aging (sun, pollution…), as well as a hormonal and genetic aging. Since beauty lovers all around the world love it, it is not breaking news that I like it, too. But this product in particular was really good for my skin.

I have combination skin with oily t-zone and large pores, with sometimes dry surface areas which is starting to deal with first signs of aging. With that in mind, I went to Farmacia (Croatian pharmacy chain) in order to find something good and the man there recommended me Murad's Mattifying lotion. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good enough for me! It did make my skin matte in the morning but only for a short period of time, my "outer shine" showed in all of its glory as usual and I didn't have the feeling that it nourished or hydrated my skin enough. So, I wasn't going to make another Murad purchase that soon. But...when I stumbled upon a great deal on Murad's Oil Free Skin Perfecting lotion on HqHair, where a 50 ml/1.7 fl.oz. tube costed only 18.80 GBP, I knew it was an offer I wouldn't refuse. Its normal price on HqHair is 34 GBP- link. 

This lotion softens and refines skin texture by keeping it smooth and even and by providing essential hydration. For best results it should be used every day after cleansing and toning on the face and neck area.

When I first tried it, I immediately loved it! It was very light in texture, applied easily, was quickly absorbed into the skin but still left me with a great feeling that my skin was well cared for and moisturized. Another thing that I liked about it was its smell. It smells like honey which lead me to believe that it is an organic product, but unfortunately it isn't. It contains parabens which kind of surprised me because Murad really is an amazing company with good reputation and high prices and I expect more from them (to know more about all of its ingredients I am leaving a full list of them on the picture below).

Since 50 ml of product  is a lot more than you usually get from other brands, this lotion will last you a long time. I used mine twice a day and it lasted me for more than three months.

I already told you that it is very light in texture, which in my opinion makes it perfect for spring and summer. It left my face smooth, even and moisturized and acted well during the day on my more oily parts of the face. It is perfect on its own for warmer months but during winter I used it in combination with serums and face oils underneath, which also was great for my skin. If your skin is really oily, you could use just this lotion during winter months, but if you do suffer from any dry parts, I suggest to do the same as me. Use it in combination with some serums or oils underneath for best results! Besides, oils are so popular at the moment and there are so many to choose from, that I really think you will not have a problem finding one for your particular needs.

So my conclusion is that this was a great lotion, good enough to recommend it to you, but when I have in mind its full price of more than 30 GBP and the fact that it doesn't have the best ingredients for this day and age, I don't feel comfortable recommending it without pointing that out.

What about you? What are your Murad favourites?

Tell me...

Love, beautyandbrains007

Sunday, 22 March 2015

LUSH FAIR TRADE foot lotion

It has been far too long from my last Lush post here on my blog by my standards, so I am going to write a thing or two about their Fair Trade foot lotion, that I am almost out of. 

It comes in a plastic 225 g big Lush pot and costs 111 Croatian kunas (about 14.30 Euros/10.45 GBP/15.40 $). My pot is a bit smaller since it came in one of their gift boxes. The pot is good because by having five empty ones, you can bring them back to Lush and choose a free face mask. Some people don't like the idea of this pot packaging because of the germs but I wouldn't worry about that in this case since I never take product with dirty hands and this lotion is for my feet. It is not like I eat with them?! The fact that mine looks so beat up is a result of me cleaning it with a moist cloth which rubbed off some of the letters. I had no idea that my cleaning was so powerful?!

This is how Lush describes it:
"Tired feet will thank you for the cooling sensation of this refreshing, easily-absorbed lotion. A few applications will soon transform hard, dry and cracked feet: use last thing at night and wake up to soft feet that smell of creamy peppermint. The peppermint and spearmint oils here have a triple action: fragrancing the product, deodorising the feet and stimulating the circulation, giving that cooling menthol feeling."
First of all, this lotion is different than others of this type because of its pink colour, which most women will love, and most men won't. In my case, when I get my Significant other to massage my feet and then show him this lotion, his excitement about that becomes even less visible. The face of IwishYouwouldkillmerightnow and the sound of No,notagain says it all. He hates it! He hates that it leaves my skin looking more pink, that it is somewhat runny but greasy at the same time, and I must admit that because of it, my feet get less massage time from him.

As I already said, it has a very thin and kind of runny texture, but is also oily at the same time. In my opinion that is why it is called a lotion and not a cream. It smells mostly like peppermint but I didn't notice much of a colling effect.

When you rub it on your skin, this might leave a residue on your sheets. In my opinion it is best to wear socks with it until morning and that is how it will work best! Although I don't think that it would be nourishing enough for really dry and cracked feet. I also don't think that it would be good as a daytime foot lotion because it is greasy and would make your bare feet slide inside of your flip flops, shoes...

If you need something for your really dry and cracked skin, I would suggest pedicure first and something like Avon's Planet Spa mask. If you only need to keep your feet nice and soft, a simple Balea Foot cream would be as good as this, and actually even better. So, sorry Lush but for that price and your reputation, we expect more, at least I do! 

you can see the oily residue on my hand (keep in mind that skin here is completely different than on your feet, especially heels)

To conclude, I wouldn't buy this again or recommend it.

What do you think? Have you tried this? Did it work better for you?

Tell me...

Love, beautyandbrains007

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush- Radiant Magenta

I don't know why but there was no doubt that my todays post has to be about this blush... I told you when I first got it here but never spoke about it after that, until I mentioned it in my last month's favourites here.

The story about our hate/love relationship goes something like this... Once upon a time there was a beauty obsessed girl who watched too much You Tube videos while everyone was talking about new Ambient Lighting blushes that Hourglass released after a lot of success with their Ambient Lighting powders. Everyone was saying how great they are so she wanted at least one for herself. Then, one day she realized that Net-a-Porter has them and when she saw a Free Shipping sign, the blush was in her shopping bag. The only thing that puzzled her was whether to get Luminous Flush (a more coral colour) or Radiant Magenta (hot pink with coral undertone and golden veining)? The swatches on the internet were very similar although they looked as completely different colours in the packaging. But then she thought that she is going to step outside of the comfort zone of her Beauty Kingdom and bought Radiant Magenta. When Radiant Magenta came to her home housed in golden packaging, she was thrilled... So much that she immediately wrote about it in her New in post. When she finally tried it, the story was rudely interrupted with an annoying sound.

Let's come back from the fairy land. I hated it and couldn't believe that everyone was so into them! Ok. To be fair, the product itself wasn't bad but I thought that the colour was completely wrong for my fair complexion. Since I don't give up that easily, especially when the blush is so expensive, after some time of hating it and letting it mock me from the cupboard, I took things into my own hands and played with it again.

I admit. I used it all wrong.  If your hand isn't light enough while taking and applying this blush, you can end up looking like a girl from a Cindy Lauper video, which isn't exactly what I am going for. But if you barely touch the blush and then apply it to your face with a light hand, gradually adding colour... This is absolutely beautiful! Net-a-Porter has a video on how to apply it where they swirl the brush heavily into this blush which, in my opinion, is totally wrong!

heavy swatch on the left, blended out on the right
natural lighting

I use it by itself or with a more neutral toned blush, and if I apply it like that, then I just add it on my cheek bones for some healthy rosy glow and an accent. Radiant Magenta looks like fuschia in the pan but when swatched, it is more a mixture between light pink and coral colour, while its golden veining gives the face a very natural glow. The shiny part is so natural that it doesn't emphasise the pores but adds some dimension.

As I said, it is extremely pigmented and it lasts the whole day on me, eventhough I have combination to oily skin. Since it doesn't have any scent, if you are sensitive to them, you do not need to worry.

Hourglass blushes don't contain parabens and their photoluminescent colour technology creates multidimensional colour. They come in a 4.2 g/0.15 oz golden packaging with a nicely sized mirror. In Croatia you can buy them only online, I personally found it on Net-a-Porter for 29.66 GBP ( link). I must warn you that Net-a-Porter shows prices without tax, so it says that it costs 23 GBP, but with 5.93 GBP tax it is 29.66 GBP. Then there are shipping costs of 18.20 GBP, so my advice is not to buy beauty products there if the shipping isn't free. The price of this blush isn't low but the blush itself is beautiful and it will last you a long time, mine looks like I am not using it at all.

list of ingredients

So, if you come accross Hourglass stand do take a look at their blushes! I am always honest in my reviews, especially if the post is about a high end product. If you are paying a lot of money, then you are more than welcome to expect only the best, and this blush deserves to be a part of that group. I really recommend it.

On that note, if anyone tried their new eyeshadow palettes, please let me know what you think about them. Those waves look so messy to me...

Do you own any of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting blushes? Do you like them? Maybe want to try them? Have you tried their new eyeshadow palettes?

Tell me...

Love, beautyandbrains007

Friday, 13 March 2015


It's that time of the month again. Lookfantastic time. Its name is Beauty Box, March's Beauty Box. Can you tell that I am watching a James Bond movie as I am writing this?

You know the drill. Every month LF releases a new box with 6 beauty products worth 71 GBP, but you pay them only 15 GBP (shipping included).

If you are completely into this boxes thing, you can save yourself some money and preorder couple of boxes for the next 3, 6 or 12 months. The longer you order them, the more you save, so that whole thing will cost you 40 GBP, 75 GBP or 135 GBP.

The box itself is sturdy, slightly decorative, has a LF logo on it and I personally use it for storage and organizing. Products are protected with gray tissue paper and sealed with the LF sticker. Every box also contains a little booklet that tells you a bit more about the products inisde of it.

First product was a surprise. Nuxe or Caudalie? That was the question?! I am so theatrical today... I received Nuxellence Detox night cream-Detoxifying and Youth Revealing Anti-aging care, which came in a 15 ml/0.5 oz. tube and in its full size version costs 66.50 Euros (link). I've seen unboxing videos for this month's "issue" and everyone showed Caudalie Polyphenol serum which I already have. I love that serum but this will be a good way to try something else.

Cowshed Lippy Cow natural lip balm would be great, except that mine came with a dead, red ant with little wings. Natural indeed. I love animals but this one was a bit too much for me. I just can't put that anywhere near my face or lips! This small 5 ml tube costs 5 GBP.

I also got a LORD&BERRY black eyeliner. Been there done that, so I am "comme ci, comme ca" about it, although it comes with a price tag of 10 GBP.

The product that I was most excited about is  travel size (I think) WET BRUSH worth 7.99 GBP (link). I already admitted that I watched videos about this month's box prior to getting it myself. Everyone showed a green one, so I was even more happy when I saw that mine is hot pink.

I was also very happy to see NUDESTIX MAGNETIC EYE COLOUR (2.8 g/0.10 oz), creamy eyeshadow in a pencil. It came in a shade GILT and costs 24 GBP (link). On my fair comlexion it looks as a mixture of gold and bronze, depending on the angle, but I can say that while I was trying it on my hand, it didn't budge at all.

The last product is BLISS'S FAT GIRL SLIM firming cream (2 oz/60 ml) worth 10.40 GBP. It has almost liquidy texture, smells funny, but I'll try it.

My overall impression is OK. I just can't forget about that ant... Where did he come from? Wher was he going? It is not a bad value for money and there are some great products inside of it but this PLUS ANT thing just ruined it a bit for me.

What do you say? Have you ordered any of the beauty boxes? Are you sorry for the ant? Or for me? ;)

Tell me...

Love, beautyandbrains007

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Charlotte Tilbury, The Classic Eyeliner Powder Pencil in the shade Audrey

Is it strange that I am so excited about a new makeu-up post?! It has been a while from my last make-up edition so writing this Charlotte Tilbury review just brings me so much joy... To be honest, another happy factor is that it is finally sunny in Croatia. It seems that spring is here, I bought some fresh cut flowers, hyacinth, that filled my rooms with an amazing scent and it is such a refreshment from the candles that I usually burn. Don't get me wrong, I love candles but this is waayyy better. Let's get back to make-up. I have been really into CT products. I first made a CT purchase a year ago (here), and then got a bit carried away later in the year (here). Now, it is time to write a word or two about them. We'll start today with The Classic Eyeliner Powder Pencil in the shade Audrey.

A dark brown shade that looks almost black, which was equally inviting for me as a shade and as a reminder of Audrey Hepburn. I admit, I am guilty. I love Audrey's stile and aspire to look so put together and sophisticated in my daily looks, too. It is not that I always succeed, but at least I try. :)

This is how Charlotte Tilbury describes it:
"Cheat the classic, chic groomed-girl look with no effort. Enriched with a mix of fine opaque powders and specially-blended oils, THE CLASSIC Eyeliner Powder Pencil gives you a soft, subtle, blendable line that is easy to control. The result is chic and timeless: Perfect for a natural daytime look or buildable at night for a sophisticated sexy smoky eye. A mix of fine opaque powders and specially-blended oils creates a soft, subtle line that is easy to apply. Enriched with soothing allantoin, to be gentle on the delicate eye area."

When I first started playing with this eyeliner, I was surprised how rough and dry it was, which disappointed me. Then I warmed it up a bit on my hand and it worked much better, but it isn't so soft and "glidy" as UD 24/7 glide on pencils (review). Today, after using it for quite some time now, I can say that with time and each new sharpening it becomes softer and less dry, but never achieves UD status. On the other hand, this eyeliner will last you longer because of that, since you don't have to sharpen it that often.

Its pigmentation is really good. I aplly it along my top lash line and on the outer edge of my bottom lash line for a soft and almost cat eye look. You can put it in your waterline but it will "move" there a bit.

this is how intense it looks at the end of the day

And then there is its staying power. It lasts on my eyes the whole day. I apply it early in the morning before going to work and it stays there until I remove my make-up in the evening. Of course, it fades a bit and looks more smoky, but your eyes will still have some conture. There are many ways how you can apply and wear it to begin with, and CT herself offers you some advice on that too (link). But, I must say that in my opinion if you have really oily eyelids, your eyes are watery or you sweat, this will probably smudge on you.

The Classic Eyeliner Powder pencils from CT come in a 1.1 g size and cost 16 GBP. They are not available in Croatia but you can order them online form Charlotte Tilbury's website or from Net-a-Porter and Selfridges. Shipping costs vary from 15-25 Euros but Net-a-Porter occasionally offers free shipping so that isn't a bad time to try something from CT. 

In my opinion, CT has much better products and if I had to choose my favourite between this Classic CT eyeliner and UD 24/7 eyeliners, I would vote and go for UD. While this is still an OK product and I will use it up, I expect more from CT and wouldn't buy eyeliners from The Classic line again, but would love to try Rock N' Kohl liners because I heard and read a lot of good things about them. CT has amazing products but for me this one isn't quite up there.

Ingredients:Ethylhexyl Isostearate, Nylon-12, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax (Copernicia Cerifera Cera), Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax (Candelilla Cera), Ceresin, Paraffin, Talc, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Allantoin, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Bht, Tin Oxide, Mica (CI 77019), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), [May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Ferric Ferrocyanide (CI 77510)]

What do you say about Charlotte Tilbury make-up? Have you tried any of her products? Any recommendations?  

Tell me...
Love, beautyandbrains007

Thursday, 5 March 2015

I've been busy.... My Empties from February 2015.

This week was super busy for me so my Empties post is a bit late. I just didn't have enough time and/or energy to finish it before. Then again, better late than never, right? So, Ladies, I am bringing you my Empties from February!

You can see that this past month of February was shorter. :)

It seems to me that I finished up less products than usual, but most of the ones I finished are body care products.

I am always busy with my hair, so I finished up Schauma Push-Up Volume shampoo. Ok, it wasn't full and I decided to finish all the bottles of hair care products that were opened in my bathroom but this one wasn't bad at all.
I also used up Avon's Senses shower gel- Spicy Morrocan Delights. I already wrote about it here, so you can read my full review, but the point is that I really like their Senses shower gels.
I finished up Müller's BodySoul Wellness Lotus and Shea Butter bubble bath, which I got as a present from a friend. She loves this line and wanted me to try it. I also got their hand cream, body scrub and body butter. This bubble bath was very nice, body scrub was too "light" for my taste, I wasn't thrilled with their hand cream but I really liked their body butter.

I used up two different kinds of body lotions, one of which is Balea In Shower body milk for dry skin. I wrote about the original version here. It is amazing and I also mentioned it in my Favourites of 2014.- here.
Avon's Naturals Winterberry & Shea Swirls body lotion is unfortunately also among my empties... Loved it, wrote about it here and I am sad to see it gone... 

Then, there are face skin care products. I used up three of them. Two were really nice and the third one I hated!
Olival is frequently mentioned in my posts. It is a Croatian brand which is aiming to create quality, natural products. Here we have their face scrub and face mask from immortelle line. They were both very nice, I like the mask more but my favourite product from the line is the toner.
On the other hand, there is Gatineau's micelle solution. This 400 ml bottle costs 218 kunas (about 28.43 Euros/20.65 GBP/31.47 $) and that is too much to begin with, but the real minus is that this solution is terrible! I hated it! It stings the eyes (and my eyes aren't very sensitive at all), doesn't remove make-up very well, eye make-up removal is impossible with it and I really tried hard to finish it up.

Since I am always writing about beauty boxes that I love, I have to mention 50 ml bottle of Pure Gold Collagen that came in December Lookfantastic Beauty Box (link). It is a food supplement for beauty within. Can't say much about the product because it should be used through a longer period of time, but I can say that I was afraid to try it. Usually this type of products taste horrible, but this one wasn't that bad. It tastes like apricot juice.

The only make-up product which I used up in February is Maybelline NY Instant Anti-age Eraser liquid foundation. I was going to write a review on it but it seems that it disappeared form our shelves in Croatia.

And the last from the bunch is the White Glo tooth paste. Hated it! No fresh breath, no white teeth... A big NO!

Those were my empties? What did you finish up? Have you tried any of these products?

Tell me..

Love, beautyandbrains007