Up until a month ago, I would have considered myself a complete MAC devotee when it came to makeup brushes. My existing makeup brushes were looking a bit drab, so I decided to do some research as to the best makeup brushes available. My three contenders were MAC, Sigma and Real Techniques. I spent hours poring over reviews and information, until I decided that the Real techniques brushes had made the best impression on me. One of the biggest determining factors came down to price. While Sigma and MAC will have you paying a pretty penny for an entire collection of brushes, you are able to get similar brushes from Real Techniques at a fraction of the cost. I picked up my brushes from Foschini Cresta, as although Foschini stocks the brand, not all branches do.

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The Powder Brush (R200) is a big, fluffy brush and although the intended use is for powders and mineral foundation, I wouldn’t recommend it at all for mineral foundation. The brush is simply too fluffy and lacks the necessary control for an even application of mineral foundation. On the other hand, it is magnificent for applying powder and brushes on just the right amount of product. It feels like a teddy bear giving you kisses all over your face!

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I find the Blush Brush (R170) too big for applying blush neatly (it made a biiig portion of my cheek pink) so instead use it to apply bronzer. It is fluffy and soft and gets the job done nicely, although I would prefer if the bristles were a bit shorter, to give me a little more control.

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The Expert Face Brush (R160) is for applying and blending liquid or cream foundation and I can confidently say that it works like a charm. It buffs the foundation into the skin flawlessly. I still absolutely love the way my beauty blender applies foundation to my face, so will probably keep on using it, and I have found a much better use for this brush: contouring. Because the contouring brush is only available in a set that was out of stock, I didn’t manage to get my hands on it. The Expert Face Brush does such a great job of contouring, and I finally feel like I’m getting it 100% right! The brush is so dense and bristles are shorter, which gives me so much control. The bristles also pick up the perfect amount of product. I love!

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I wasn’t so sure about the Stippling Brush (R170), but am glad I got it, and use it to apply my blush. I am currently using a powder blush, and the stippling brush gives me a beautiful, airbrushed look. The wonderful thing about this brush is that it doesn’t pick up tons of product, so you can never overdo it, unless you’re trying to.

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The Setting Brush (R100) is a wonderful little brush that is intended for dusting on powder or highlighter. I have discovered 2 uses for it: to blend in my concealer and to apply highlighter to my cheek bones. I love that it is so soft and fluffy. It does a beautiful job of blending in the concealer and I find that my concealer NEVER looks cakey when I use it. I love it less for applying highlighter, and would like a bit more control.

All in all I am super impressed with the brushes from the Pixiwoo sisters. The brushes feel great on my skin and my makeup looks a lot softer. The brushes all have aluminum handles, are cruelty-free and made of synthetic Taklon bristles. Because of this, they dry a lot quicker than some of my natural-bristled brushes. The only thing that I’m not a fan of is the fact that not all of the brushes are sold separately. I don’t like having to buy a whole set for one brush. I also imagine they wouldn’t be a pleasure to take on any trips, as they are quite bulky, making them not ideal for travel. Have you tried any of the Real Techniques brushes?

Kell signaturey

 

French brand Avène is the new kid on the beauty block, with the entire range containing Avène spring water. Thermal water is a hot topic in beauty terms, and is said to calm and soothe skin. I suffer from really dry skin in winter, and my skin doesn’t love dry air. In the hopes of delaying the inevitable, I decided to try Avéne’s Soothing Moisture Mask. There is something about this brand that appeals to me. It could be the smell of the products, the clean white and peach packaging or the fact that they feel gentle and nurturing, with their main aim being to restore and soothe skin. Let’s get on with the review, shall we?

Packaging 
The packaging is simple and clean just like the the entire range. Maybe too similar though, because I often mistake it for my Cold Cream Hand Cream!

Fragrance 
The scent is the same as the Micellar Lotion, which I adore. I do question why they added fragrance though, as it can irritate sensitive skin. I feel like they could have done without it, but also I love it!

Performance
After I cleanse my face (and sometimes exfoliate) I apply a layer of this creamy mask. By the time I’ve applied it to my whole face, some parts have already sucked up the mask, so I apply another layer where needed. The directions say to leave it on for 10-15 minutes, but I leave it on for 20-30 minutes. I haven’t left it as an overnight mask, so can’t tell you about that. Leaving things on overnight is a bit too claustrophobic for my liking. It smells beautiful, and my skin looks all shiny and healthy while the mask is on. My skin usually takes it all in and when it’s time to come off, I just dab any excess off with a tissue. Sometimes if I’m in the mood, I’ll wash it off before I go to bed and apply a rich moisturiser.

Verdict
If you have dry skin, go out and get yourself a tube of this inexpensive face mask. There are a lot of higher end brands out there that also provide moisture, but this one works just as well. It’s also lush and creamy and lovely and you’ll love applying it to your face!

Rating: 5/5
Product: 5/5
Packaging: 5/5
Quality: 5/5
Price: Around R259
Would I buy again?: For the colder months it’s a firm favourite and a staple in my beauty drawer
Where to buy: Exclusively at Clicks

Last week I attended the launch for a very cool range of products from the pHformula brand. Who is pHformula you ask? They are a pharma-cosmeceutical from Barcelona, who find themselves between new generation cosmeceuticals and doctor’s practices. They offer products targeting concerns like ageing, hyperpigmentation, acne and chronic redness. You can also find them at medi spas with their skin resurfacing treatments addressing all of the aforementioned. (Most of the pHformula skin resurfacing products are not timed, neutralised or removed from the skin. Instead they are self-neutralising and left on the skin. This is quite a unique approach to skin resurfacing and seems gentler to me, as every peel that I’ve done had to be neutralised.) The great thing about them is that they offer customised, specific-to-your-skin treatments by testing your skin first to discover your tolerance levels.  With pHformula, one size does not fit all, and that’s what I like about the brand. They also offer home-care products as part of their treatments and a multifunctional, complexion correcting C.C. Cream.

The creams I want to tell you about today are so cool and nifty. Also really wonderful and full of active ingredients. pHformula believes that beautiful skin starts with vitamins. Because nutrition and beautiful skin are so closely linked, what better way to introduce a vitamin kick in the form of targeted facial creams? Introducing the Vita A, Vita B and Vita C 24 hour vitamin creams, all rich in essential vitamins at high concentration levels with a 24-hour moisture-retaining complex.

If you had to choose one, which one would you choose?

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Keep lines, wrinkles and dull skin at bay with Vitamin A

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What it does:

Retinol is the term used for the entire vitamin A molecule. Applied to the skin, retinol is a beneficial cell-communicating ingredient and an antioxidant. Simply put, it helps skin cells create better, healthier skin cells.

Why it’s recommended by Dermatologists?:

Retinol has been shown to increase skin’s collagen production and glycosaminoglycan content, resulting in firmer skin with an improved texture and enhanced barrier function*. It is a fantastic anti-ageing product.

(Not everyone can tolerate retinol and may people’s skin cannot tolerate any amount of prescription retinoid without experiencing discomfort and desirable side effects. Retinol’s most common side effects include flaking, sunburned-like skin. You can manage this by applying retinol less frequently.)

Use this cream only at night. It can be used as often as your skin will allow.

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Get a healthy glowing skin with vitamin B3

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What it does:

Also known as Niacinamide, topically applied vitamin B3 has been shown to increase ceramide and fatty acid levels in skin, prevent skin from losing water content, and stimulate microcirculation in the dermis.

Why it’s recommended by Dermatologists?:

It can improve skin’s elasticity, dramatically enhance skin’s barrier function*, help erase discolourations, and revive skin’s healthy tone and texture.

You can use this cream daily and nightly, with no hassle.

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Retain your smooth, youthful skin with Vitamin C

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What it does:

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant with mutiple anti-ageing benefits.

Why it’s recommended by Dermatologists?:

Topically applied vitamin C has been shown to increase collagen production, strengthen skin’s barrier, reduce the appearance of skin discolouration, enhance skin’s repair process, reduce inflammation and help skin better withstand exposure to sunlight, whether protected by sunscreen or not.

You can use this cream daily and nightly.

*What’s all this talk about ‘barrier function’? Barrier function is one of the most important aspects of healthy skin, and is strongly endorsed by pHformula. A compromised barrier function can lead to breakouts, dehydration, sensitisation and premature ageing. Some products can compromise barrier integrity by stripping or over-exfoliating the skin.

What I love about these creams:

♥ They are full of active ingredients and really work! I used the Vita A cream two days in a row (silly me) and my skin started to peel about 5 days later. This is normal though, and now I know that I should only be using it once a week. When I use the Vita C cream, my face has such a radiant glow to it, which obviously I love!

The base of each cream is a 24-hour hydration formula, which in addition to hydrating your skin, combats drying effects of, for example, retinol.

 Because you need to surprise your skin from time to time, I love the concept of making a vitamin cocktail every other day to shock it (in a good way). You can use all 3 creams separately, but are also able to layer them to create a cocktail boost.

 I love the packaging, How cute! Vitamins for your face.

♥  The Vita A cream can be used as a spot treatment for unwanted guests on your face.

Available at selected salons, medi spas and doctors’ rooms. Vita A, B and C creams retail for approximately R800 for each 45ml bottle. If you want more info, go here to read more.

xoxo

Estée Lauder today announced that it has signed nineteen-year-old Kendall Jenner, fashion’s new breakout star and social media sensation, as the newest member of their family.  She joins the likes of stars Joan Smalls, Constance Jablonski, and Liu Wen as the newest global face of Estée Lauder.

“It honestly feels like a dream to represent such an iconic beauty brand — it is an incredible honour and quite humbling,” said Kendall Jenner. “I found out when I was backstage at Paris fashion week, and all this time I’ve had to keep the news top secret. I am so excited to share it now and be part of Estée Lauder.”

Last night, Thierry Mugler introduced the new face of Angel perfume at an exclusive VIP event at Urban Tree in Sandton (along with local shining talent Tamara Dey as the host and performer for the night). Georgia May Jagger is the new face of Angel, 19 years after her mother Jerry Hall was the face of the scent.

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Can you believe that Jerry Hall was 38 at the time of this campaign?

Like mother like daughter

We were were welcomed by an avant-garde Angel on stilts and lead through a blue lit tunnel into a Thierry Mugler fragrance universe. Tamara Dey, the Mugler Muse for the night, took us on a gourmand journey through 3 different spaces, each showcasing a facet of the fragrance. From a heavenly cool blue and white 200 suspended balloon display to a rich and vibrant red carnivalesque space and and finally ending in a decadent and chic mirrored area.

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Did you know

Each Angel bottle is a hand polished work of art that combines sparkles of light and the magic of sculpted glass. Due to the unique creation process, no two bottles are alike, making each star a cherished object for the woman who owns it.