Author / TheSkinCabinet

Books I’ve read this summer

Hi everyone,

As part of my new approach to blogging, I’d like to write more about my wider passions. One of them is, and has always been, reading. I’m an avid reader. I’ve had up and downs in my relationship with books but I still get a wonderful feeling when I walk into a bookshop and feel that excitement just before starting a new book.

That’s why I’d like to share a few books I’ve read this summer, the reasons why I loved (or loathed) them and which ones I think you should read too. I know a lot of people say that they don’t have time to read. That’s often not true, because we can all find five minutes a day to do what we love.

Without further ado, here’s the list:

Perfect for the beach! It’s one of those books you can’t put down because the story flows like a movie in your mind and you just want to know how everything will end. The plot in a nutshell: a white supremacist couple has a baby, they ask the black nurse who is supposed to be taking care of the baby to stay away from him, but the baby dies and they hold her responsible. We are then told how the whole trial develops from three points of view: the father, the nurse called Ruth, and Ruth’s lawyer. I really liked it. It made me think about racism from a different perspective, and needless to say this is a very topical issue. By the way, they’re making a movie out of this with none other than Viola Davis and Julia Roberts.

It’s not hard for me to say that this is one of the best books I’ve read in the last few years. First things first – it’s not a novel. It’s book to help you understand how and why the world is at is today, why some countries are powerful and what their weaknesses and strengths are. Most of those can be explained by their geography. Tim Marshall makes you see the world from a different perspective, without never being boring. I highly recommend this book if you are someone who likes politics, keeping yourself up to date with what goes on in the world and if you just want to develop a better understanding of the world’s geography.

My expectations were very high with this book. It’s famous, a classic, and most people have at least heard of it or the movie based on it starring Whoopi Goldberg. I knew nothing about it but the fact that it was about racism. I liked the story, but I didn’t particularly like the way it was told, in an epistolary way. Basically it’s the story of Celie, a black woman and her love for another woman as well as her search for the sister she was separated from, is written in the form of a letter addressed to God. They are also written in the way a woman like her would have written, with many spelling mistakes. I just didn’t like this form of presentation. I would still recommend people read it, although I didn’t find it as powerful as I thought it would be.

This is the right kind of book if you like reading about real crime stories. The book is not too long and it flows very fast, I read it in a day because I found it very hard to put down. It tells the true story of a crime committed in France by a man who killed his family, having lied to them for decades. The book itself was born from the writer’s fascination with the case and with the killer’s story. So they met and exchanged letters and that’s how the book was consequently born.

This is a famous book, from a very good and respected writer so I felt a bit of a responsibility reading it. I have to say that I found it hard to read it at times and the different time shifts difficult to follow. It’s set in India and everything is described in a wonderful way, the style of writing very unique. The story is that of two twins, a boy and a girl, and their cousin who dies in an accident in which the twins are involved, and how their family’s servant, part of the Untouchables caste, is then accused of the death. There’s obviously more than that, as the twins are then separated and meet again only twenty years later.

You’ve probably heard of the TV series which came out this year and had a lot of success in the US. I have only read the book and I can tell you, it’s one worth reading ASAP. It’s written in the form of diary, where the protagonist tells of her existence and everyday life in a fictitious US where the world as it is today has been subverted; there have been nuclear wars and pollution has reached a new high. The new authoritarian regime bases itself on the words of the Bible, and opposition to it is punished with death. Young women have to procreate in order to keep the birth rate high and they are assigned to sterile families where the man, known as the Commander, “rapes” the handmaid assigned to him in order to get her pregnant and keep her baby. It’s far more complicated than this, but I hope this little snippet will stimulate you to get the book and read it.

Is there any book you’d like to recommend me?

xx

Silvia

 

where to eat in lisbon

Where to eat in Lisbon

Where to eat in Lisbon?

Lisbon is becoming increasingly popular these days. I first went there five years ago with my parents and it was with much delight that I decided to go back with my boyfriend. I was looking forward to showing him how beautiful, welcoming and surprisingly underrated Lisbon is. We had a great time, sunny weather – perhaps slightly too hot – and we were lucky not to be disappointed by any of our meals.

The range of food and drink is very wide, with many restaurants serving local dishes, using locally sourced ingredients. That means a lot of fresh fish, especially bacalao(codfish), but also sardinhas (sardines), pulpo (octopus) and lulas (calamari).

Here’s a list of places that I recommend. Click on the name of the restaurant and it’ll take you to Google Maps.

My favourite restaurant! They grill fish and meat of different kinds. I tried calamari which came with potatoes, olive oil and lemon. It was so tasty…words don’t do it justice! My boyfriend had cod. In addition to the quality of the food, the service was kind and friendly; the owner so proud of his food and the restaurant! We finished with my beloved mousse au chocolat and everything, including a small bottle of wine, came to just €30.

A young, trendy restaurant with a menu that combines tradition with a bit of innovation. You can get a good bottle of wine for €10, which is a bonus point. We had the goat cheese in filo pasty, the marinated prawns and a codfish dish served in a kind of pea soup, we finished with a pannacotta.

We went for dinner on our first night in the narrow streets of Bairro Alto. We tried the octopus and the pimientos verdes with two glasses of wine, bread and olives. I loved the modern design of this restaurant and the kind waiters who explained the difference between the wines on offer.

You can’t go to Lisbon and not try the traditional Pastel de Nata, a sweet delicious tart you’ll find all over the city, thousands are baked everyday but this place is where it was first created by the monks of the Jeronimos Monastery (which you must visit). Hence why you’ll find crowds of people from all over the word queuing here for a box of these delicious tarts. Skip the queue and go inside, there are hundreds of tables. You can have a coffee and try all the pasteis de nata you want for a very reasonable price.

I went here five years earlier and it has now become a very popular place. It is recommended by Lonely Planet, which is obviously a great way for places like this to gain exposure. They make cheap kebabs and vegetarian pittas, in front of you and with the ingredients you want. Warning: you’ll get your hands dirty!

A very popular place, located close to Cais do Sodre. It’s an indoor market with lots of food stands where you order your food, pay and they give you a little gadget that vibrates when your food is ready. You then have to find a place to sit among the long crowded tables in the middle of the market. Try to go in the off-peak hours (e.g. after 10) and try one of the counters that belongs to four famous Portuguese chefs where you can try a Michelin-starred meal for less than €20.

A traditional restaurant offering traditional dishes. We tried the Cataplana, a fish soup for two with prawns, tomatoes, clams. We had half a bottle of wine, bread, olives and a ‘crema catalana’ for around €40.

If you are on the hunt for a Portuguese wine tasting experience, look no further. The owner speaks English well and will do his best to find a wine that you like. He lets you taste three different options before you decide which one you want to have a glass of. You can also suggest the price you’re willing to pay – we said we didn’t want to spend more than €6 per glass. Along with the wine we also enjoyed some tasters of three Portuguese olive oils with bread, salt, olives and homemade preserves.

 

That’s it! I hope you found this helpful. If you’re planning your next getaway I hope you’ll give this city a chance. You won’t be disappointed!

xxx

Silvia

remember me

Remember me?

Hi everyone,

It’s Silvia here. I have been away for many months now and I’m not even sure anyone will read this post and realise I’ve been away! Many things have happened and to be honest, I was lacking a bit of mental strength to keep the blog going, write about skincare and follow everyone.

The good news is that I’ve graduated. I finished my three-year course in engineering management and although a part of me is very proud of this achievement, another one feels like I haven’t changed much from the first year until now. I mean in terms of the things I know or the skills I have –  although of course I had to learn a lot of things to pass my exams. I believe in higher education but I wonder whether it’s prepared me for real life.

The bad news is that I have also had some unexpected things happening to me, family related. I won’t share much for now but I’ve had really tough moments where I felt like I had no power over the situation I was going through. For the first time in my life I was sad for reasons that weren’t entirely dependent on me, where I wasn’t the cause and was unable to do anything to fix my family’s problems.

I was also very lucky to have a free summer. I will be back at university again in September for a two-year masters’ course – my final two years! I’m going to attend a European business school and I’m already thrilled. But scared too. I will have to find an internship for next summer and start building my future career in…I don’t know what. But I hope that over the coming months I’ll be able to make up my mind.

So…I was saying that I had enough free time to travel a bit. I went to London to visit my boyfriend, we went together to Lisbon and then I went to Berlin to see a friend. I’m now going to Sicily for a week and I’ve been eating healthily for the past two weeks so I won’t regret my unrestrained food experiences in Palermo and Catania!

That’s it. I’ll try to use this blog more over the next few months as a more personal space and to write about the things I care and I’m passionate about. I hope to fall in love again with blogging…one post at a time.

xxx

Silvia

Niod: the good, the bad and the final verdict

Niod: the good, the bad and the final verdict

Hi everyone, today I’m reviewing 3 products from the Deciem family. I’m sure you all know Deciem, but if it’s the first time you’ve heard the name, then I’m sure you’ve already heard of Niod or TheOrdinary, both owned by the Canadian company (but they also own Hylamide and many other brands for skincare, supplements and haircare).

Let’s start with the 3 Niod products I’ve tried. The three of them make up the Yesti collection, which, as they explain, is a way to use science but being respectful of the past. I know it sounds a tad weird but Niod is really a brand that wants to stand out from the crowd. The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s not very easy to understand what the products are for just from the names. And even when you read the descriptions, they can be hard to interpret if you don’t know anything about skincare. That was appealing to me at the beginning, but now I’m not so sure it’s a form of marketing that works for me.

This is the second tube of it I’m using. It’s a cleansing balm for the skin and not to be used to remove make-up, as they say in the description. Its aim is to be respectful of the skin’s barrier and I agree – it’s not an aggressive cleanser. It seeks to cleanse the pores of bacteria, dirt and oil. It cleanses the natural oil that the skin produces, but by doing so it also promotes its recycling. At the same time, it doesn’t dry the skin out and produce the opposite effect (overproduction of oils to protect the skin).

How I use it: it’s not that easy to apply, in all honesty, especially if you like fast solutions. I don’t mind spending some more time. I take some of the paste from the tube, add a few drops of water in the palm of my hand to create a cream. I then apply it on dry skin and add more water if needed. You can easily rinse it off with water and avoid using flannels.

The verdict: I like it. I don’t think I can use it every single day, especially right now when my skin is super dry. The Ayurvedic Saponins – which is where the name and nutty smell (not the most pleasant, but tolerable) come from – is unrefined and highly concentrated and has been used for centuries to cleanse the skin and “delete dirt”. It does this well, but I also find it slightly drying and that’s why I would recommend it to people with oily skin, combination or normal.

It costs £21 and I’d think it’s worth trying. A quick note on the packaging: when you open it and squeeze some product out, more will come out even when you have stopped squeezing. So you’ll have to put the cap on super-fast; even then some goes to waste. Niod, please fix it. It’s not nice.

This mask, which comes in the most unpractical pot I’ve ever seen, a bit like a pill jar, aims to tighten the skin, something I’ve never really heard of from a mask. Myhrr is a natural resin/gum whose main benefit is to give firmness to the skin, without leaving any residual film on the surface (typical of ingredients like mineral oil, silicones).

How I use it: once a week, as it says on the label, on dry skin. It smells like plum and has an intense black colour – you’ll scare everyone around you when you put it on. It dries up a bit but doesn’t crack up like most clay masks that paralyze your face once they’re dry. You can remove it with a flannel or just rinse it off with water.

The verdict: my opinions are mixed. I haven’t seen any noticeable result, to be honest. I’ve probably used it around 10 times now and I never see any particular difference in my skin. Could it be that my skin is already firm enough? Perhaps. Let me know if you’ve already used this product. For now, I don’t feel comfortable in recommending a €33 mask that didn’t do anything to my skin.

Last but not least in the collection is this mask, Mastic Must, whose aim is to reduce the size of pores (no need to say it’s not possible to eliminate pores). It’s a very soft and creamy texture and a light colour. Once applied to the skin you can leave it on as long as you want, it will not dry out or give you an uncomfortable feeling. The magic ingredient in this case is sap from a Greek mastic tree that “purifies and shrinks the look of pores without drying”.  Does it work? To be honest: No. It didn’t work for me. It did nothing to my pores. I’ve taken some before and after pics to see if I could notice any difference, and trust me, I do have some large pores around my nose area. The pictures show no before-after difference and I didn’t notice anything from looking at my skin in the mirror either.

The verdict: this product did not work for my skin. It didn’t make it worse but there was no positive effect, and it certainly didn’t help with my pores. I’m sorry to say this. Each person’s skin is different but I have to be honest and say I don’t think anyone needs this €34 product in their skincare stash.

Have you tried Niod products? What do you think?

xxx

Silvia

 

 

 

 

leahlani skincare mermaid mask champagne serum review

Leahlani skincare: first impressions and thoughts

Hi my dear skincare-addicts,

At the end of January I was stuck at home studying for my exams. Is there a better way to treat yourself than with a good skincare haul? There really isn’t, so I took the plunge and splurged on some new skincare bits from Leahlani. I chose GreenSoulCosmetics because they are based in Italy so I knew the delivery would be fast, but they ship everywhere and I highly encourage you to take a look at their website if you’re into green skincare. Their customer service was fantastic and it was the first time I’ve received a handwritten note with one of my orders.

I picked two products: the Mermaid Mask, because it’s probably their most popular item, they even have a hashtag for it (#mermaidmondays), and the Champagne serum, because I was looking for something to replace the face oil I was running out of.

Here are my first impressions after almost two months of using them. I say first impressions but after all this time I guess you can consider them full reviews.

I chose this mask to see if the hype was real. It should help to purify and renew the complexion”, “strengthen the skin cells, boost circulation, fight breakouts and moisturize”. My expectations were very high, to be honest. It’s not that easy to apply; especially the first few times. You have to mix the product well with a spatula the first time you open it. You then have to scoop a bit of product out – it’s a very dense and thick paste – and massage it on damp skin (your skin has to be damp, this is very important). It might seem easy, but it isn’t and I kept wondering if I was using the right amount because on damp skin the product glides and doesn’t seem to stick that well to the skin. Anyway… I’ve now mastered the technique, but it took some time. It doesn’t dry out so you can leave it on your skin for all the time you want/need. I find 30 minutes to be more than enough.

It contains raw honey, organic spirulina and organic chlorella (both grown in Hawaii and both considered “superfoods”) which give it that emerald green colour and a few essential oils (see at the bottom). It has a delicate sweet smell.

Since my first use, I haven’t noticed all of the things that other people noticed. I know each individual’s skin is different, and I try not to be influenced by other people’s experience. I found that it revealed a glow complexion, soothed the skin, but I didn’t find it nourishing enough and I sometimes felt that my skin was tight, like after you’ve used a foaming cleanser (most of you will know this feeling). So while I have enjoyed using it, I’m not stunned by it. I did expect a bit more to be honest.

Final verdict: I’m happy that I’ve tried it, but it probably will not be a favourite mask of mine. I also got in touch with Leahlani’s founder, Leah. She kindly gave me some advice on how to get the most out of it, all of which I’ve tried: taking a shower with it, as the steam helps, (but it my case it only melted), making sure you use it on damp skin, massaging it in a circular motion, etc.

I will let you know if I change my mind about it and I will keep on using it until it’s finished, of course.

Organic Hawaiian raw honey, organic Hawaiian spirulina (Spirulina Maxima), pure organic chlorella (Chlorella Vulgaris), french green clay, pure sea clay, luminess algae, organic sea buckthorn CO2 (Hippophae Rhamnoides), vanilla CO2 (Vanilla Planifolia), essential oils of: (organic orange (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis), moroccan chamomile (Tanacetum annuum ), roman chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), bee balm (Monarda fistulosa) , geranium (Pelargonium Graveolens), palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini), lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), ylang ylang (Canaga Odorata), rose (Rose Damascena), white lotus flower absolute (Nelumbo Nucifera), beeswax absolute (Apies millifera), coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum), and LOVE.

leahlani skincare mermaid mask champagne serum review

This oil is designed for all skin types, but is especially beneficial for “dry and sensitive skin prone to redness and inflammation” according to their website, and it should “help balance and soothe, reduce inflammation and help heal scarring”. The main oils it contains are: grapeseed oil, rosehip oil (not a favourite of mine when taken on its own) and jojoba oil along with a few essential oils (see the full ingredient list at the bottom). I love the packaging: a thick glass transparent bottle with a pump that works great – more practical than the usual pipette most serums have. The fragrance is not too strong and, to be honest, I can’t describe it. It’s very calming and it obviously doesn’t remain on the skin, but it makes the application very pleasant. I have used it on my skin almost every night, one pump is enough to cover my whole face, and I usually massage it all over for a few seconds. It doesn’t absorb very quickly, that’s why in my opinion you should only use it at night. It does what it says: in the morning I find my skin to be calm (no redness), hydrated – though I wish it was more nourishing – and the oil is fully absorbed, with no residue.

Final verdict: I would highly recommend this product if you’re looking for a face oil to use at night and you have no specific concerns. It worked well on my skin and I think it has a great price point if you consider how long it will last and the fact that it’s made with green ingredients (and with LOVE, at they wrote on the label!).

Organic cold pressed grapeseed oil (Vitis Vinifera), cold pressed chardonnay grapeseed oil (Vitis Vinifera Chardonnay), organic cold pressed rosehip oil (Rosa Canina), organic cold pressed jojoba oil (Simmondsia Chinensis), essential oils of: organic lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla), organic orange (Citrus Nobilis), rose geranium (Pelargonium Graveolens), Leahlani antioxidant cocktail: (organic green tea (Camellia Sinensis), organic white tea (Camellia Sinensis), organic rooibos tea (Aspalathus Linearis), organic calendula (Calendula Officinalis), Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate), organic sunflower oil (Helianthus Annuus) and LOVE.


leahlani skincare mermaid mask champagne serum review

Have you tried Leahlani’s products? Let me know if you have any advice!

xxx

Silvia

The Best of Skincare tag

The Best of Skincare Tag

Hi everyone! Today I decided for the first time to take part in a tag. Guess what it’s about? My favourite topic of course: skincare. I read it on Holly’s blog and I don’t know who started it first. Feel free to join me and do your own version!

  1. Skin type?

My skin fits into the category ‘never been perfect, never will’. I know I shouldn’t say that perfect skin exists but let’s all face it – some people have won the genetic lottery when it comes to skin. I’m not one of them. I have always had oily (very oily, to be fair) skin. I had acne for years and that left some nice scars on my cheeks. They could be worse, they could be better too. Around three years ago, I started taking the pill to take back control of my skin and doing that made it normal to dry. It also helped me completely get rid of my acne and I rarely have blemishes now! Just to add – I also tend to have blackheads on my nose and chin as well as redness on my cheeks where the scars are.

  1. Skincare product storage?

I live between two houses so my products travel a lot. I tend to store them in a cupboard in my bathroom and around the sink.

  1. Favourite ingredient?

Honey! My favourite mask, Aura, is packed with honey and it seems like it’s the best ingredient for deeply nourishing my skin. Plus, it’s a natural antibacterial and helps to make spots less inflamed and red.

  1. Most indulgent product?

I recently splurged on the Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm. I use it to cleanse my face in the morning and at night, after I have removed my make-up. But it’s worth mentioning I don’t wear make-up very day. I’m loving it. It was definitely an extravagant buy for me but I was lucky to get it with an offer (so I paid it £28 instead of £38!).

  1. Best budget buy?

The first item that comes to mind is Good Things Manuka Honey Cream Cleanser, but Superdrug’s Hydrating Serum is a great budget buy too. Both are under £5. I’m afraid they may only be available in the UK though.

  1. Any tools?

I do have a Clarisonic my mum got me for Xmas a few years ago. I remember how happy I was – I thought it was going to make my skin flawless. The problem is that for it to work well you need to use a foaming cleanser, as the brush helps to create a lather. However, I have completely ditched foaming cleansers from my routine so it makes no sense for me to use electric brushes.

  1. Best mask(s)?

Antipodes Aura mask for dry skin and Oskia Renaissance Mask for glowy skin.

  1. Best multi-use?

To be honest, I can’t think of one right now. I can only mention Weleda Skin Food because it’s a very rich cream for the face, for the body and it can also be used as a face mask (although I wasn’t enthusiastic about it!).

  1. Favourite brand?

Tough question! If I have to pick one I’d choose Oskia, although I haven’t tried their whole skincare range. I like everything about them though: the packaging, the formulations, their philosophy and brand image.

  1. Best spot treatment?

It’s hard for me to say it because I don’t often have spots and when I do I just leave them where they are. I’d say clay masks and tea tree oil are without doubt good antidotes. Oh, and salycilic acid too.

  1. Favourite skincare routine step?

I love cleansing my skin in the morning and after I’ve removed my make-up. I have an obsession with balms and flannels and I’m convinced there’s no better way for me to cleanse! I just love massaging oils on my face and then having my skin feel soft, clean and hydrated.

  1. Skincare wish list?

That would be too long to say in a few lines. I’d say Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator, TheOrdinary Lactic Acid because I’ve never tried this kind of acid on my skin and also Votary Rose Geranium & Apricot Cleansing Oil.

I hope you liked reading my answers and that you’ll follow me and give your own answers too!

xxx

Silvia

 

My minimal make-up collection

My minimal make-up collection

You may not be aware but I’m not an obsessive fan of make-up and I do not wear a huge amount of it. Call me crazy, but I never wear concealer (I don’t even own one), put nothing on my eyebrows and I never wear eye shadow, although I have an old customized Mac palette which I got at a time when I thought I’d have used it. To be honest, it’s partly because I’m not very skilled at putting make-up on. But either way I really don’t like wearing a lot of make-up. I’m a fan of a more natural look and I feel more comfortable knowing that the people around me don’t have the impression I’ve got loads of make-up on. That’s just me.

When it comes to make-up, unlike with skincare, I’m a minimalist. I like having just a handful of products, only one per category, but I want them to be good, high quality and I want to be able to trust them, knowing that they won’t disappoint me.

Here are the ones I’ve used through the last year or so:

I always start off with foundation, of course. The one I have been using through all this year is the Nars Sheer Glow foundation. I’m not in love with it, as I was with Chanel Perfection Lumiere, but after almost a year of use I’m satisfied overall with it. Yes, one year. I don’t buy more than one foundation per year and I only use a small amount of it to cover my whole face, usually one pump is enough. I use my hands to apply it, not only because I love the feeling but it also allows me to reach every corner. Added to that, using a brush or a sponge makes you waste a lot of product. Nars Sheer Glow has a medium coverage, buildable if you use more. It doesn’t make me look cakey and is definitely light, although not as light as the Chanel one I used throughout 2015.

It has a “sheer finish” which means it’s not going to be you top choice if you have oily skin. I have the kind of skin that works well with it so I’m happy. Also, it helps a bit if you have dry skin, it won’t enhance your dry patches (which you should try to get rid of anyway) and it will not make your skin feel tight. Of course it’s fundamental that you start with a good base of serum + moisturizer + SPF (serum is optional of course, moisturizer is not!). I then follow up with the Givenchy Prisme Visage Perfecting Powder. It’s a mixture of 4 different shades, but the difference is very light and when you use your brush it mixes all of them. It’s almost translucent, to be honest. I don’t see any change in the shade of my face, luckily. It’s a setting powder that helps control shine, just like most powders. It’s very simple to be honest and it does what it says. The packaging is beautiful – the pictures don’t do it justice!

After the base it’s time to put some make-up on the eyes. As I said at the beginning I use very little make-up. I usually use Make-Up Forever Aqua Eyes pencils because they are long lasting and will not smudge under any condition (tears, sweat, rain, they are amazing!). I have used them for years in different colours and I always buy this brand. My favourite is the classical brown one, brown being my favourite natural colour for the eyes. I use it on my eyelid inside and outside and sometimes even on the bottom lid. But as I said, I like to look natural and effortless. My next step is mascara, something I absolutely love for the difference it makes. I don’t like to spend too much on mascaras. I’m lucky to have long black lashes, they just need to be curled. My favourite mascaras are from L’Oréal. I’m really enjoying this one at the moment and I’ve used all of those from the Voluminous line. They work really well.

After the eyes, it’s time for the cheeks. I have this blush from Sleek which I got in July after my beloved Nars Amour fell and broke. At the time I didn’t want to spend a lot on a new blush, given that they are all pretty much the same in terms of quality, what changes is the colour range and the packaging. This one is the kind of colour I‘d use every day so I picked it and I didn’t regret my choice. I apply it on the apples of my cheeks and to finish off I use some lip balm on my lips.

Et voilà, I’m done. Ready to go to class (or wherever else!). I know you probably expected something more extensive and perhaps a longer list of products. I have been totally honest, that’s what I do.

Let me also recommend the amazing Real Techniques brushes. My blush brush is 4 years old now and it’s in just as good a condition as when I bought it in Oxford. The other one is newer and it’s the one I use for powder (or bronzer, but I don’t use bronzer in winter).

Here’s my make-up routine, do you like natural looks?

Hope you enjoyed it!

Silvia

 

The Body Shop - Camomile Cleansing Butter review

The Body Shop – Camomile Cleansing Butter review

It has taken me quite a long time to review this great cleansing butter, which unlike what you see in the picture taken months ago, is now running out. It has worked fantastically well for removing my make-up after busy days at work, late nights out (less so!) and I can’t think of a product I prefer using for this purpose.

I know I know, most girls are tempted to use face wipes to remove make-up, especially late at night, but I suggest you try using a balm and a flannel. I don’t even own face wipes. I would never use them because I love the feeling of putting my fingers in the tin, scooping some balm out, rubbing it on the palms of my hands and then massaging my face with oily hands and seeing every trace of mascara melting off. Oh, and the best is yet to come. My favourite part is when I take a clean dry flannel and I put it under hot running water. The hotter the better. I then gently lay it onto my whole face, press and after a few seconds remove it, wiping as I go. I usually repeat this step once or twice, using the back of the flannel and rinsing it again if I want more of that warmth on my face.

Now, a few lines on this product. To be honest there’s not a whole lot to add. I’ve already shared with you how I use it and you’ll have noticed that I only use it to remove make-up and not as a first cleanser (if this concept is new to you read this post). It does its job wonderfully and it leaves my skin soft, clean and ready for the next step, which most of the time is a second cleanse. It only costs £10 and I’d say it’s good value for a product of this kind. You can easily compare this one to the Clinique Take the Day Off Balm. I think the advantage of the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter is that it has a lovely, delicate and flowery smell, at least those are the adjectives that spring to mind!

Lastly, I should say that I’m yet to try a real high-end balm/butter. I know that as the price goes up, you often get products with better-quality ingredients. One exception in my opinion is the famous Eve Lom Cleansing Balm, which is made up of an inexpensive mineral oil and yet retails for £40 – it’s still a mystery to me! I feel like more luxurious ingredients would be better used for a second cleanse or a morning cleanse. But that’s something we’ll go over another time. I have only ever tried a sample of the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm and if I was to spend £38 on a cleanser, I’d feel it was a waste just to use it to remove a layer of foundation and mascara from my face. It deserves more, in my opinion of course.

Have you tried this butter? Do you have a favourite one?

Let me know!

xxx

Silvia

 

my current realist skincare wishlist

My current (realistic) skincare wishlist

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re all well! I’ve had a very busy January and I couldn’t post as much as I wanted to. Now that I’ve finished my first-semester exams, my goal is to write as many posts as possible over the next weeks and months. But of course, I believe in quality over quantity so I’ll be sure there is a good deal of thought behind each new post.

I had wanted to write this one for a long time; my friend Siobhán actually wrote a similar post at the beginning of the year and I told her I was planning to write something similar.

Now I want to put all of my thoughts together and share with you 10 products I’m hoping to purchase through this year and which fit my budget. A dream has already come true, I got my first two Leahlani products from GreenSoulCosmetics and I look forward to sharing my first impression of them with you.

Caroline Hirons loves it, Tophcam loves it and I’m yet to find someone who doesn’t. I wouldn’t normally spend this much on a toner, but if it does more than just toning, I’m willing to spend a bit extra. Plus, the travel-size one is reasonably priced.

I’ve already used this – and I loved it! You’ll find a review here. I miss this product so much and I will repurchase it very soon. Nothing compares, guys, nothing compares.

You may not know this English green brand, but some of my trusted Insta friends love it and so I really want to try their products. This set includes two balms and one cleansing balm.

A simple hydrating toner I’ve heard good reviews of.

A very rich moisturizer I’ve missed during these last few weeks, when I’ve had arid and dehydrated skin. If you want to read my review after using a sample of it, click here.

THE cleansing oil. Pricey, but on top my cleansing oils wish-list.

Affordable and milky, for people prone to redness like me. Ren is a trusted brand and I’m willing to give it a try.

Jordan is lovely, everyone loves his three products and he will launch many more later this year. It’s like buying something your trusted friend has created from start to finish, almost entirely with his own hands. I’m just waiting for the right time and I’m a bit wary of the customs fee, because they only ship from the US.

Just because it includes a mini size of their Miracle Cleanser. I have only smelled it in store but I wanted to massage the white cream on my face. Will I ever do it? The price is a bit of a barrier.

This balm is on my list and I was very close to buying it with my first Leahlani order. I ended up getting the Mermaid Mask and the Champagne Serum. I was undecided until the last minute so I’m hoping to try this one as well in the future.

 

Have you tried any of these? I hope you enjoyed this post. I tried to stay realistic and didn’t include brands that are completely out of my price range!

xox

Silvia

favourite skincare products 2016

Favourite skincare products of 2016

One of the first blog posts I ever wrote, almost a year ago, was about my favourite products in 2015. I remember writing it but never ended up posting it because I kept putting off opening the actual blog. By the time I opened it – in April – it felt like it was no longer newsworthy!

That said, I absolutely love this kind of post, where people stop to think about the year that has just passed and the products they have loved using. Here are mine. I hope you enjoy reading it.

This is certainly one of my top 3 discoveries. I love it. It’s a great night oil that makes your skin look radiant and feel hydrated in the morning. And it does it for a very good price. Highly recommended. And no, it didn’t cause any breakouts, nor did it clog my pores.

This was one of the best discoveries of 2016. A rich cream cleanser that leaves the skin clean and nourished. This is perfect for people with normal to dry skin and who love massaging the cleanser for a while and removing it with a flannel. The smell is incredible and it is one of the cheapest products you’ll find mentioned on the blog.

I wrote about this mask soon after I bought it (here). Now, after two months of use I can only reaffirm what I already said. This is the “make my skin look glow/healthy/great” kind of mask. It does exfoliate the skin slightly, but it doesn’t sting nor does it irritate. I find that my skin is very calm afterwards and I use it every time I have to go and meet my boyfriend at the airport. That says it all!

The best mask I have ever tried. Soothes the skin and leaves it deeply nourished and calm. My prone-to-redness skin loves it. Read more here.

A staple in my skincare cabinet. A must for dehydrated skin. You need to use a moisturizer afterwards as this gel goes deep down into your skin but needs something to seal it on the top. A pea size quantity every day is enough; it absorbs super fast and lasts for months and months.

Another good hydrating boost. I really like it but it’s completely different from Hydraluron. It has the texture and feel of a moisturizer. I was lucky enough to win 5 of these with a giveaway (first time in my life!). It’s quite expensive in my opinion, so you may want to try a sample first or consider cheaper options.

  • Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Serum | £ 2.50

This is a huge revelation for me. I first heard of it from Sali Hughes (read here). And if you know her, you know that she’s one to be taken seriously, plus she has dry skin so she knows what our type of skin needs. And this £ 2 serum just delivers what it says. It sometimes makes my skin feel like it doesn’t need moisturizer on top (though I still apply a thin layer of it).

A good toner for those who either want to soothe the skin, Zinc is great for that, or get an opaque look. This really works great if you have oily skin to help you get that “matte” look. Not recommended if you want something to hydrate your skin.

One of the cheapest SPF I have tried lately but also the best one. It was love at first sight. Very light, and its moisturising effect makes me think I don’t need a layer of moisturiser underneath. It doesn’t leave a white cast and doesn’t make my skin look shiny; it also absorbs quite quickly. I was very happy with it.

Just a good toner. Refreshing, hydrating and inexpensive.

I didn’t think I could include a physical exfoliator on this list but this one is just great for when you want to exfoliate your skin before a good pampering session. It’s expensive but if you can afford it, it’s just perfect at doing what it’s supposed to do. It doesn’t leave the skin irritated or red at all; at least that’s what I found.

This is the balm I reach for when I want to remove my make-up while giving my face a good massage. It smells good and leaves the skin soft. As with every cleansing balm/butter, it turns into an oil when massaged on the skin. It must be always removed with a damp flannel, of course.

Last but not least. I absolutely love this moisturizer. This was my second jar of it and I’m sure there will be more. My skin loves it, it’s fast absorbing and creates a wonderful make-up base. Suitable for all kind of skin. Full review here.

Have you ever tried any of these products?

Let me know in the comments 

xxx

Silvia

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