Thursday, 22 May 2014

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask | Review

I think I have a bit of a soft spot for anything that hails from New Zealand. Pineapple Lumps come to mind...Rush Monroe's Ice Cream...rolling green hills...beautiful wineries...the list could go on!

My mum is a Kiwi, so really it is my family heritage which binds my heart to the Land of the Long White Cloud, ( all food jokes aside ). And proud of it I am!!

Antipodes are a New Zealand skincare brand, offering natural, organic skincare products with a conscious respect for our environment. Antipodes promote the use of sustainable resources in the manufacture and design of their packaging, in the choice of ingredients, and in the manufacture of their products.

 On a recent trip to the North Island, I found myself in a lovely little pharmacy in the city of Wellington. I had heard, and read great things about the Aura Manuka Mask, and knew from the ingredients that it would likely be a good skincare investment.

I say investment because this mask will set you back in the vicinity of $50 AU. Not cheap by any means, but for me personally, good quality skincare will always take priority over a beautifully packaged high end colour cosmetic.

As you can see in the photograph above, manuka honey is the second on the ingredient list in this mask. Manuka honey is produced from the Manuka Tree, which is native to New Zealand, and also some parts of Australia.

 All types of honey have antibacterial properties, whether taken internally or applied topically. Manuka honey is know to be the most "active" in terms of its anti-microbial action, making it an ideal skincare ingredient for problem/blemish prone skin. It is also known to be cleansing, anti-inflammatory, intensely hydrating and nourishing for the skin, and has been used for these same reasons by the Maori people of New Zealand for many generations. Also worth noting is the inclusion of Grapeseed extract, Carrot oil, and Pohutukawa extract. All powerful, protective antioxidants. Ticking any boxes?

The mask has a very subtle scent of vanilla, and I can also smell the distinctly herbal, sweet scent of the honey. It is pleasant and unobtrusive. The aluminium tube keeps the product protected from light, maintaining the efficiacy and stability of the antioxidants, and is very user friendly. The mask has the consistency of a thick, creamy ointment, and is best applied with clean fingers. I apply any product left on my fingers onto the backs of my hands.

While this mask will essentially 'dry' a little on the face, it never hardens or feels uncomfortable. I will often forget to keep an eye on the time...

After a few rounds with my flannel and nice warm water, my skin looks and feels calm and hydrated. Any redness or inflammation is markedly reduced. My skin feels clean and balanced, and has a lovely glow.

I try to make time at least twice a week to add a mask to my skincare routine, and I love that I can be treating any blemishes gently, whilst adding hydration to my skin. This mask can also be used as a spot treatment for blemishes. Unlike a clay based mask, you will not get bits of mask falling off your face as it dries (anyone else?) so spot treating is as simple as dabbing on an ointment. Nice.
 For me, blemishes will heal faster, without the dry and flaky skin (sorry..) and I find any redness is calmed and soothed.

I can safely say that I will always have a tube of this mask in my skincare wardrobe.

You can read all about Antipodes, find stockists, and peruse their product range on their website here

Antipodes is also available online in Australia at Adore Beauty , and more recently, instore and online at Priceline Pharmacy.

You can find Antipodes in the UK at both Beauty Bay and Feel Unique.

Have you tried any products from Antipodes? I would love to hear any recommendations you might have, and you know how much I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment below!

Thank so much for stopping by!


Lou xo

Disclaimer: As always, I make no guarantees regarding your own personal results with products. I am simply sharing my own experiences. Do always follow instructions as listed by the manufacturer.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Real Techniques: Modern Natural and Night Owl Make-up Kits

With a cult following on You Tube, a huge library of make-up tutorials and their own line of make-up brushes, it seems that the beautiful Pixiwoo sisters Sam and Nic can do no wrong.

I have, and love, many of their brushes. They are excellent quality, and really do help you to apply your make-up flawlessly. I purchase mine from the well known online store  iherb, which as it happens, is currently offering Real Techniques brushes at 20% off until the 21st May!
You're welcome!

I absolutely jumped at the chance to try their newly released make-up kits , so as soon as I received the email that they were available to purchase, it was on like Donky Kong!!

Thankfully, Real Techniques were offering worldwide shipping, and I opted for the express delivery option, (a very reasonable $12.01) which saw my order confirmed, shipped and delivered to Australia in seven days. Nice.

Do bear in mind it is an American company, and prices on the website are in US dollars. My total order, including shipping came to just over $69.00AU for the 2 palettes.

There are two kits available...Modern Natural, perfect for a more natural daytime look, and Night Owl, your smokey, evening appropriate shades.

Each palette contains three shimmer eyeshadows, one matte eyeshadow, one gel eyeliner, one cream highlight, one powder blush, and two lip glosses.

Do keep in mind my focus with this post is mainly on swatches, and initial impressions only. This is by no means a full review.

Real Techniques "Modern Natural" Make-up Kit.

The kits are housed in sturdy cardboard packaging embossed with the Real Techniques logo. Inside, the products are contained in a plastic tray. The lid has clear, pliable perspex lid which has a magnetic closure.

At first glance, the packaging is probably not particularly enticing, but it is functional. Fine by me.

Real Techniques "Modern Natural" Make-up Kit.

Swatches are in the order they appear in the palette.

Above: Shade
 Below: Direct natural light

To touch, all of the shades in this palette feel smooth and silky and have good colour pay-off. The blush initially felt a little powdery, but adheres to the skin well and is easy to blend...and such a pretty peachy pink satin/matte blush.

The cream highlight ( far right ), reminds me of The Balm's Mary-Loumanizer...very much. It feels soft, creamy and easy to blend. I am really looking forward to getting this on ma face! The gel liner is also soft and creamy, and a lovely warm chocolate brown.

I obviously can't comment on application, wear and longevity, however I am really looking forward to using this palette!

There are two shades of lipgloss in the Modern Natural palette. A shimmery gold with a fine glitter, and a very sheer pink/peach, which on the lips really looks like a clear gloss.

 They are very small tubes, and it is a little hard to get a decent amount of product out...I had to dip the applicator in several times to get enough gloss to cover my lips.

The gloss itself does feel nice on the lips, and even a sheer gloss compliments the overall theme of the palette nicely.

Real Techniques "Night Owl" Make-up Kit.

Real Techniques "Night Owl" Make-up Kit.

Swatches are in the order they appear in the palette.

Some of these deeper shades lost a little intensity on the skin, the purple/plum, and the blue shades definitely taking on a more muted tone... there is very little shimmer to the plum at all. The pale gold highlight on the far left is gorgeous.

To my eyes, the cream highlight is the same in both palettes ( do correct me if I am wrong ).

How gorgeous is this blush looking? Very silky and smooth, and such a gorgeous sheen. What I would call a lovely rosey pink.

The two glosses in the Night Owl palette pack a little more punch, as you can see above. The red is highly pigmented and beautiful.

L-R  The cream highlight, Night Owl Blush, and Modern Natural Blush.

Don't they look beautiful?

Two Pointed Eyeliner brushes were gifted with my order, I presume one per palette would be the standard. They remind me of the brush that comes with the Maybelline Gel liner pots, which I actually really like. Always happy to own another Real Techniques brush, and a free gift with purchase is always appreciated!

I will spend the next few weeks playing with these, and will try to upload a few looks at a later date. As I mentioned, this is not a full review, just me sharing my initial thoughts with you. So far, it is only the lip glosses that are a little disappointing for me, but to be honest, the shadows and the face products are the reason I purchased these kits.

Have you taken the plunge and purchased either of these? Are you holding off until you read some reviews? I know that some people do not like having both cream and powder products together in the same palette...does it bother you?

Do let me know in the comments below!!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to visit my blog, so thank you from the bottom of my heart!


Lou xo

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Manicures of the Month #1

I really enjoy doing my own manicures. Typically, you will find me at my computer in the evening, when all the wee 'roses are tucked up in bed. I will no doubt be devouring the latest offerings from my favourite beauty gurus on You Tube...and painting my nails. 

Those lovely little bottles of every shade and finish imaginable hit me at my girly core. I have been attempting some very basic nail art ( please be gentle ) but also love a clean, classic cream finish. The options are endless, and the opportunity for creativity is always knocking on my door...

I thought I would put together a little offering of some current mani's that have tickled my fancy over the last month or so...I hope you enjoy! I regularly post pics of my nails on instagram, so come and say hello because I LOVE chatting beauty, and am always keen to find others who share my passion!!

OPI Russian Navy. Not a great deal to say. It is stunning, and one of my all time favourites. I will always have a bottle of this in my collection. It has so much depth and dimension, and has a sophistication that beats a straight black mani any my humble opinion.

Powder Perfect. An Australian Independent brand that I have recently discovered and have fallen in love with. I have used the shade "Aquitaine" for the base, and the glitter gradient is "Fallen Chandelier". Beautiful hand mixed formulas that apply like a dream. You can find their website here
You're welcome...

A little Maybelline love with this mani, using Take It Off, In Your Flesh and Tan Lines from their Stripped Nude collection. I really enjoy the Colorshow line of polishes. They are affordable, and have a nice colour range, though we would love to see a larger range of shades Down Under Maybelline! 

Just sayin...

More Powder Perfect. This is gorgeous, slightly muted purple is called "Salut D'Amor". My accent nail is L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche in the shade "Sequin Explosion"....and my word, it is packed with small multicoloured glitter and boy does she sparkle!

I see a theme emerging...Powder Perfect...again! This beauty is from the Euphoria Collection, and is called "Elation". The photo does not do her justice. It is one of those glitters that shimmers in both the shade and the light. A true beauty.

A little ambitious for The Beauty Vine perhaps , but thought I would share my first attempt using tape. I used 2 coats of Orly Rage ( another must have ) for my base coat. Allowed it to dry completely. Placed my tape in position, and then applied one coat of Dance Legend no.357. I did one nail at a time, removing the tape immediately following the coat of polish.Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Dance Legend is a Russian brand, and it is beautiful. I felt quite fancy. I purchased this shade from SoNailicious Boutique 

You will also find the beautiful midi rings I am wearing in most of these photos from there as well. And you simply must check out the So Nailicious Blog...always beautiful, always inspiring.

You're welcome!

Do let me know in the comments below what your favourite nail polish brands and shades are! I would love to hear from you!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Lou xo

Disclaimer: All polishes were purchased by me. I have no affiliation with the brands mentioned in this post. I just love them. Cheers.
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