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Before yesterdayStained Pretty

Update: Where have I been?

10 November 2018 at 02:20

Hi, Guys!

So I’ve been missing for almost two months, and I thought I’d give you all a quick update.

These last two months have been filled with lots of new experiences and opportunities for me. Personally, there have been tons I’ve needed to focus on.

I recently started working full time which means my blogging schedule took a huge knock. I had to learn how to balance working full-time with family time and home life.

With my workload and the transition into working again, I knew that my blog posts would take a knock. I would not put out the quality content I wanted to, and I did not want to post substandard content.

Instead, I decided to take time to get used to my work and settle into the rhythm at home before jumping back into blogging. It is going to take me some time to be consistent with posts again.

I hope you all hang in there with me. I have some fantastic posts and surprises up my sleeve, and I can’t wait to share them all with you!

That’s it for my catch-up post, and I really hope you all stick with me through this position.

Love you all,

Ra’eesah

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Finds Friday: Pink Cosmetics Unicorn Brush Cleaner.

28 September 2018 at 05:23

I’ve long maintained that brush cleaners are over rated and that face wash or baby shampoo will work just fine. I never saw the need for a specific “cleaner” for your brushes until now.

Pink Cosmetics approached me with a chance to try their products and give them feedback as well as offering my readers a code for 10% off (Code: RAEESAH valid until the end of October).

I had been scrolling through their site and eyeing a number of their gorgeously packaged products (especially their makeup related items) and when they approached me they assured me that I was not expected to give a bias review of any of the products I received. So I figured this would be an amazing opportunity to try out some new stuff without making myself broke in the process.

Pink Cosmetics sent over a few productsincluding the stunning Unicorn Brush Cleanser  which we will be talking about today. I’ve been using them and putting them to the test over the past few weeks and I’m finally ready to share my thoughts.

The Company:

Since this is a new company to feature on my blog, I thought I should include some information about Pink Cosmetics before we dive into the product review.

Pink Cosmetics, a proudly South African company, is the brain child of Janet, (a self proclaimed nature lover and a mom of two). She is a qualified beautician with a passion for makeup, mermaids, beauty and all things pink.

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As a mom she was on a mission to find quality, safe and wholesome products that were perfect for her family and as a result in 2014 she decided to take a chance and establish a company that lived up to her expectations.

Pink Cosmetics proudly states that each product is handcrafted and all natural and safe for the entire family to use. Many  of the beneficial healing properties in their ingredients come for nature.

The name of the brand reflects their mission and as they explain: ” PINK: Perfectly Inspired by Nature’s Knowledge.”

Pink Cosmetics now has a variety of products including : artisan soaps, masks, scrubs, home scents and even bath, hair, body andFacial products.They consider the brand to be ever evolving and changing as Janet comes up with more innovative ideas and finds more and more natural ingredients from around the world to include in their products.

Pink Cosmetics stands proudly as an all vegan company assuring customers that their products contain no sulphates and parabens. Not to mention they are 100% cruelty free and offer affordable prices on all their products.

Clearly, a company worth checking out, right?

Now to the important part of this post. Let’s jump into the review.

Pink collection- Solid brush and sponge cleaner- Unicorn dreams

A simple yet smart product designed to make brush cleaning faster and more effective, the Pink Cosmetics Solid brush and Sponge Cleaner (R160) seems to be extremely promising when you look at the Pink Cosmetics website.

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The packaging:

Sleek and compact are the words that immediately jump into my head when I think of the packaging. The design of the contents inside only adds to the total value of the packaging and adds a super cute visual effect to the entire product. I have the brush cleaner in unicorn dreams and while the outside of each brush cleaner looks different the inside is unique.

According to Pink Cosmetics: Each product is poured by hand and made individually, the colour, design and weight will ALWAYS vary as they are HANDMADE not mass produced.

Since each one is hand poured the amount of product you receive varies. Each soap will be between 120 and 138 grams-every cleaner is different even though each tub is marked as having only 100 grams.

Ingredients:

The focus of this product is on simple ingredients that work well. These include a number of oils to ensure maximum cleansing properties without stripping the brushes and making them brittle. This formula (Aqua, Shea butter, Coco butter, Castor oil, Olive oil, Ricebran oil, Coconut oil, Sodium hydroxide, Fragrance, mica, glitter, Glycerine) aims to cleanse and nourish at the same time. The frangrance is the unique scent of the Unicorn dreams fragrance Pink Cosmetics is known for and each brush cleaner proudly states that it is free from sulphates, parabens, phthalates, petroleum products and other skin irritants, and can be used daily without harming your brushes

Product Claims:

The Pink Cosmetics website states that this product:

  • Will keep your  makeup brushes in tip top condition
  • It easily removes dirt and grime while conserving water and product.
  • super effective in keeping your makeup brushes clean and germ-free
  • great for travelling
  • easy to use.
  • contains soothing cocoa butter and olive oil to condition and easily break down excess residue and germs.
  • have been handcrafted and individually poured by a makeup enthusiast with a passion for quality products
  • offers real value and superior results.
  • This here is the ultimate cleaner for makeup artists and travellers alike.

I had to put all of these claims to the test especially since I had to know if it would really be any different from my face wash.

How It Works

Using this product is super simple.

  1. Wet your brush or sponge with clean water
  2. Wet the top of the cleaner in its container
  3. Swirl the wet brush around on it to activate the cleaning ingredients. Remember, the dirtier your brush, the less it lathers.
  4. Rinse and repeat until your brush or sponge is clean.
  5. Don’t waste the bubbles! Make use of them by cleaning your next brush.
  6. For liquid foundation removal, use a brush egg to help remove stubborn stains
  7. When done, rinse the soap under water and leave to dry upside down.
  8. Make up artists should spray their brushes with alcohol once they are dried to ensure a 100% sterile finish.

 

For Sponges:

  1. Rub wet sponge in cleaner
  2. then rub in hand
  3. run under water and repeat steps till water runs clean when you squeeze the sponge and the surface of the sponge is clean.

 

First Impressions:

So, first off, my entire box smelt exactly like the brush cleaner and I am not complaining about that at all. It is divine. The package is stunning however I was super worried about the glitter getting everywhere and gluing itself to my brushes and making them scratchy.

I was wrong. The first brush I washed came out glitter free but more importantly I was blown away by how easily it cleaned the brush. It took me almost no time at all to work my way through my brushes and they all smelt divine.

Conclusion:

 

Since I am basically eating my own words regarding brush cleaners now, I knew I’d have to provide evidence and the pictures above show how stunning the brushes and sponge came out. These brushes were crying for a cleaning and would usually take me the whole day to get them looking this good. I did it in exactly 2 hours with the brush cleaner.

They came out super clean, soft and almost brand new. Now I’m contemplating buying a few to keep for when this one gets finished. (Even though I think this will last me forever).

If you hate cleaning brushes, this might be the product you should consider. It is definitely worth it and will make your life super easy.

Quietly eating my words ( smelling the brush cleaner again),

Ra’eesah

 

Pink Cosmetics Code: RAEESAH

Please note: This Post was delayed by three weeks as I had a few unexpected
issues but regular post schedule should be back in effect within the next 
week.

Thanks for all the messages to get well and the concerns. I am starting to 
feel much better now <3

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Masking Monday: 10 Common Masking Mistakes You’re Probably Making

23 July 2018 at 17:11

By now you all know that I always recommend masking as a solution for every problem. Even life problems… I firmly believe that masking fixes everything. Even if it’s just to give you a false sense of having your life together, masking is always worth it. Plus i nothing else is right, you might as well have amazing skin right…

However if you’re wondering why your mask doesn’t seem to be doing anything or giving you the results it gives everyone else, you’re probably making at least one of the following mistakes.

1. Buying Masks That You Don’t Need

Masks are like skincare and pads, one size does not fit all. Individual skin types and needs should play a major role in the mask selection process. You need to consider whether or not you have acne, breakouts, blackheads, oily areas, dry patches or uneven skin tone and how the mask in question will perform or react with regards to those skin concerns. Another thing you should check is what skin types the mask is recommended for. Some masks are specifically recommended for oily skin while others are for dry skin or acne prone skin. There are some that might work for all skin types but be aimed at specific skin concerns.

To Pick A Mask Follow This Process:

  1. Identify your skin type and skin concerns.
  2. Check for masks aimed at your skin concerns.
  3. Double check to ensure it is also conducive to your skin type in the area you intend to apply it.

2. Avoiding Multi-Masking

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This is a massive mistake lots of people make. Different areas of the face will have different skincare concerns thus one mask still will not fit all. Yes, there are some masks that are great for full faces but sometimes the best way to achieve amazing results is to customize the masking experience by multi-masking. I’ve already addressed the benefits of multi-masking in a detailed post which I’ve linked above for those who have not seen it yet. So all I’ll say now, is simply that multi-masking enables you to treat each area of the face and consider the individual needs of these areas thus ensuring the best possible outcomes for the full face.

3. Incorrectly Using Skincare With Masks

Okay so this point covers a multitude of mistakes that we all make at some stage. The first one is lazily skipping cleanser before masking. All masks come with the standard “Apply to clean, dry skin.” instruction and when we’re in a rush most of us ignore the clean part and skip to sticking the mask on as fast as possible. However, by doing this we’re trapping dirt under the mask and reducing the masks ability to penetrate the skin effectively since it now has to work harder to get to the skin first. So for really great results always cleanse first.

So either we completely forget to cleanse our skin, or we do our entire skincare routine and then mask. This is just as bad. Once your serums, moisturisers and oils have been put onto the skin, a mask will be almost completely ineffective. Each layer of skincare that you add after cleansing adds another barrier on your skin. A mask needs to penetrate through cleansed skin. So first cleanse then mask then the rest.

Because the last and worst mistake of all in my opinion, is skipping the rest of your routine after masking. Especially if you’ve used a cleansing mask, your skin is squeeky clean but probably craving some moisturizing and loving. Always follow a mask with the rest of your skincare routine to ensure your skin is well nourished. This will ensure the best results.

Now, lets talk about mistakes you make when you’re putting the mask on.

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3. Using Your Hands to Apply Your Mask

Hands collect dirt and oils from everything we touch and even with washing our hands thoroughly some of the bacteria and germs are still on your hands. For the best results I recommend using a paddle/flat foundation brush to apply masks, not only is it much more sanitary, it will also give you the smoothest application.

Talking about application, the next point might surprise you.

4. Applying Way Too Much Product

Most masks require only a thin layer. Applying more will not make the  mask more effective or work faster, if anything it will just take forever to dry.  You’re simply wasting product. A thin, even layer will dry on time and be just as effective. Plus, using less product means there’s more for later.

5. Not Reading the Instructions

I am particularly guilty of this. I tend to buy tons of Korean Beauty Masks and more often than not they have no English on the package so naturally instead of googling how to use it, I wing it. Then I wonder why it’s not doing what it should. A lot of masks have very specific instructions that are easy to overlook when you’ve used a few masks. But, like that time I reviewed the bubble mask, one simple instruction can activate the main ingredients of the mask.201806301156237596

Not reading the instructions probably leads to the next mistake as well.

6. Not Removing the Backing Paper on A Sheet Mask

Sheet masks might come with a backing layer which is designed to help them not stick to themselves when they’re folded up in the package. If you do not remove the backing paper, the mask loses its effectiveness and leads to another mistake common with sheet masks.

7. Not Ensuring the Mask is Sticking to the Skin Properly

So obviously, if the backing paper is still on, the mask is not as sticky as it should be. Sheet masks only work if they adhere correctly to the skin.

Tips to ensure you get the best out of your mask:

  1. Make sure to customize massive masks so that they fit your face and will lay flat against the skin. Cut the mask to fit your face.
  2. But if you’re anything like me, the first step is just too much effort and really messy. So instead I make sure to press the mask firmly down, focusing around my nose, eyes and lips as these are the areas that the mask usually lifts or slips around

8. Washing Your Face After Using a Sheet Mask and Throwing Away the Extra Essence

Again, this usually occurs because we didn’t read instructions. Most sheet masks are not meant to be washed off after and you should always save the extra liquid in the package and pat it into the skin after taking the mask off. Some do require you to pat on the extra liquid then wash ones face but most are essence based and should not be washed off.

Basically, don’t be like me, always read all the instructions!

9. Forgetting How Long The Mask Has Been On.

Moving on, number nine is a major no no! Leaving a mask on way too long, especially clay masks, can and will dry out your skin. It will not be more effective or work better. You can end up really irritating the skin.

The only mask I have ever found that I could leave on longer was the gel based English  Rose mask by The Body Shop (let me know if you guys want a full review on this). I also did tons of research before attempting to leave it on longer as well as experimenting with five minutes longer each time till I found my sweet spot. I do react terribly to this mask if I forget it’s on, so be very careful.

Most masks are rigorously tested before they are sold. Stick to the recommended times to get the best results and avoid causing more harm than good.

10. Inconsistency Or Using An Old Mask

So, I always get asked “why am not seeing the results from my mask?” and usually my first question is, “how many times did you use it and how often?”

See masking, much to my dismay, is not a miracle cure. Like all skincare, to get the best out of your mask it requires consistency. Most masks recommend using it at least 1-2 times a week to achieve long lasting results.

The only masks I’ve used that give you an instant lift is a sheet mask and this is because they’re designed for once off uses and the results are not as long lasting.

The other reason your mask will not be as potent as it claims is that it’s old. Once you have opened the mask up use it consistently. If you leave it to dry out or sit on the shelf for months between uses, it will lose it potency.

How many of these mistakes have you made? Let me know if fixing these mistakes helps you achieve the results you’re after in the comment section below.

Happy Masking,

Ra’eesah

 

 

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Tip Tuesday: Acne Attack Part 1

3 July 2018 at 14:22

If you met me four years ago, you would have never believed that  I’d ever have clear skin.  I had thick bands of acne breakouts on each cheek, across my forehead, chin and sometimes even on my nose. I was the definition of scar face.

My journey with acne was a long and crazy road to success. At first, I wasn’t too phased by my acne and left it alone. But high school pressure and my growing interest in the beauty industry soon caused me to become self conscious of it. So I began trying  every product I could get my hands on…

AN EPIC FAIL!

Instead, of helping it made it worse. It took me a ton of research, advice from my mum and some soul searching to find what worked for me and what did not.

As a result of my journey, I came up with a fail proof formula for all of you to follow to achieve your skincare goals.

Step 1: Identify What Type Of Acne You Have

This was something I didn’t know I had to do.

I did not realize there was more than one type of acne so if a product said anti-acne, I bought it.  It took me a long time to work out that not every acne product will work for everyone and an even longer time to realize that not everyone has the same type of acne.

There are actually six main types that your acne can be classified into and the key to solving your skincare woes lies in being able to identify the type of acne you have.

The picture below is linked to a detailed post, by BeSkinHost, discussing the different types of acne and tips to help with each one.

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On top of Acne, identify if you suffer from textural issues such as milia. Milia is not pimples or white heads and should not be treated the same way. Milia is caused by dead skin cells being trapped in pores and is often linked to under exfoliating the skin.

Over exfoliating the skin can also cause texture and bumps to appear.

 

Step 2: Understand the Causes of The Acne

So now, I’ve identified that I have a combination of papules and pustules but what the heck is causing them?

In an article, by Aubrey Wallace, on the Ann Marie Gianni Blog she says

It’s important to remember that the skin is an elimination system and that when it’s erupting, it’s pushing out impurities that would otherwise be swimming around your body, potentially wreaking havoc on you in other ways. I know it’s difficult to wake up and say, “Thank you, skin, for breaking out and pushing out those impurities,” but it’s actually performing its job exactly the way nature made it—so trust that it is doing the right thing for your health.

If you’re dealing with consistent acne, or even periodic acne, it’s good to start thinking about it as a cause and effect issue. There is a reason for its appearance and the best way to quell the acne pestilence is to work with your body to figure out what could be causing it, and then figuring out how to mitigate that issue.

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In my journey to figure out what the causes of my skin issues were, I came across a number of great articles breaking down the many possible causes for acne. Some suggest facial mapping (linked in the image) as a way to tell what’s causing your acne while others suggested blood tests or dietary adjustments were in order to get to the root of the problem. Many suggested first going through common causes such as hormones, gluten or dairy intolerance, stress and pollution and ruling those out first.

For me, I found that a combination of hormonal changes (which I addressed medically with the help of my dr), stress, food allergies (including too much sugar) and pollution were my number one causes.

Take your time to research and pinpoint your causes.

 

 

Step 3: Formulate a Plan Of Action

Right so we’ve figured out the type of acne and the cause of the acne.

What next?

It’s time to simplify and create a plan of action you can actually stick to.

We’re all tempted to buy into the lifestyle of our favorite beauty gurus. The ones with a ten step skincare plan and an hour long night time routines. Their skin looks fabulous so it must work right?

No. No it won’t.

The trick to their skin looking that amazing is consistency. They stick strictly to their routines but it’s simply not practical for most of us. It works out too expensive, time consuming and elaborate. It’s really hard to stick to something when you don’t have the time to do it.

So what should we do then?

SIMPLIFY!

Start with a basic cleanser and moisturizer. Use them for a few weeks and see if they’re working for you. Then add a toner or a makeup remover. If after a few weeks you see your skin is still doing really well then feel free to add another product.

Maybe try a mask or two at this point.

Personally, I still use a super simple three to four step routine four years after I simplified it. This routine directly addresses my skincare needs and allows me to be consistent. I make sure I can do my routine in ten to fifteen minutes so that even when I’m in a rush I have no excuses.

By keeping my routine simple I’m also able to know exactly what is not agreeing with my skin when I try new products. I can pinpoint if it’s two products working against each other or if my skin does not agree with the new products.

My skincare products haven’t changed much since I did My Easy Peasy Skincare post, so I’ll skim through it quickly here and you can click on the link above to see it in more detail if you’re interested.

My products, in the order I use them, are:

 

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After seeing this list you’re probably thinking, “but, Ra’eesah, these are insanely expensive!” and you aren’t wrong but good skincare is always worth investing in. Also these products last me for a few months at a time. I’ve managed to stretch them for about six months at a time. So if I break it down per month it would be the same price as buying skincare monthly from the drugstore.

My tips for picking products and formulating you plan are simple.

  1. Focus on gentle but effective cleansers. Dermatologists often recommend products with Salicylic acid, Glycolic acid, Benzoyl peroxide, Sulfur and Retinol for acne. However they don’t outline how to pair up products. Using all of these together can be a disaster instead of a miracle cure.
  2. Do not just buy any product someone recommends. Research the ingredients and work out what pairs well together and what does not. Using three products with AHA’s or acids will eventually make your skin worst instead of helping it. Do your research.  (Keep an eye out for the next part of this series where I discuss mistakes to avoid when picking your skincare products).
  3. Get a lightweight moisturizer that will not clog your pores but will provide a good amount of hydration and will not allow your skin to dry out.
  4. If you really want a spot treatment look for one with a natural base. Look into products with Witch Hazel etc.
  5. Keep it simple.

Step 4: Break Old Habits

Now you’ve revamped your skincare routine, but you’re still breaking out. What more can you possibly do?

Break old habits.

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Do not touch your face! I am clearly still working on this.

Habits like touching your face during the day (especially resting your face in your palm) transfer bacteria from your hands to your face. Your palms carry bacteria and dirt from door handles, stair case railings, buttons, phones, laptop and your clothes. This bacteria can aggravate or cause breakouts.

Do NOT pop pustules or pimples. Leave them to run their natural course without touching them at all. Treat them gently and never ever attempt to pop them. Extracting these need to be done extremely carefully so that they do not cause more break outs or worst inflammation.

Do not scratch, rub or use harsh exfoliants like sugar. Sugar is a great exfoliate usually but for acne sufferers harsh exfoliants can actually cause more damage than good. Scratching or rubbing the surface of the skin can cause micro-tears in the sensitive facial skin which could result in more inflammation and as a result more break outs. Be gentle to your skin.

Snacking on sugary foods needs to be minimized especially chocolates if your acne is aggravated by dairy or hormonal changes. What you put into your body has to come out so watching what you eat makes a big difference.

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If you are an avid makeup user and notice that you’ve started breaking out, chances are you’ve fallen into the trap of not washing your brushes. Give your skin time to heal and break the habit of letting your brushes get gunky or using old sponges without cleansing them. Wash your brushes, sponges and tools thoroughly at least once a week and disinfect regularly.

My last habit to break is falling asleep with your makeup still on. Always remove makeup, cleanse and moisturizing your face before going to bed. Trust me on this point even if you ignore everything else under this step!

 

Step 5: Drink Water and Respect Your Skin

Drink the right amount of water to stay hydrated and allow your body to flush out toxins.  For me, because I am really short, a liter is more than enough.

Active acne breakouts are contraindicated to makeup application. Respect your skins needs and do NOT wear makeup on areas that have active breakouts. You will definitely aggravate the situation. If you really need to cover up breakouts for a function or a meeting, opt for a high coverage BB cream (something with skincare in it) and remove the makeup as soon as possible with a gentle cleanser, look for one that will not dry out your skin.

Please note that ONE pimple is NOT an acne breakout! Respect your skin. Do not use products that are designed for acne on skin that is not acne prone. Using the wrong products on your skin will destroy it.

I’ve stuck to these five simple steps for the last four years and I am the living proof that they work. My skin is relatively clear and problem free.

Wishing you clear skin and shiny hair,

Ra’eesah

 

 

 

 

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Masking Monday: Skin Republic Bubble Purifying + Charcoal Sheet Mask

2 July 2018 at 15:32

Well, it’s official. I finally bought into the hype and got myself the infamous bubble mask. I think this mask has been circulating all over social media for the longest time and since I’ve been eyeing Skin Republic for a while now, I figured I could combine two curiosities and review the Skin Republic Bubble Purifying + Charcoal Sheet Mask. (Available at Dischem for R44.95 or Amazon for $12.95)

So without babbling on, let’s jump straight into the review.

Packaging:

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The 20 ml silver foil-like packet contains a HUGE black cloth mask. The graphics on the outside are stunning and very realistic (which I personally really appreciated) and while the package design is sleek and minimal it still provides tons of useful information including usage instructions and product claims. The sachet was super easy to open with the tear mark at the top of the packet and the mask was folded neatly inside the packet making it easy to remove. The packaging is simple, effective and stunning, in my opinion.

 

Product Ingredients:

The main ingredient is water followed by glycerin and  Dipropylene Glycol which is said to be a hydrating agent.

Followed by Methyl Perfluorobutyl Ether and Methyl Perfluoroisobutyl Ether which are responsible for the bubbles the mask produces. When these react with oxygen they begin the bubbling process. ( To understand more about this mechanism check out How Bubbling Masks Work. Also, let me know, in the comments below,  if I should try out the mask she uses in that post).

The rest of these ingredients are skincare focused or filler ingredients:Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate , Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Betaine, Sodium Polyacrylate, Xanthan Gum, Pyrus malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract , Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Rosa Centifola Flower Water, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Morus Nigra Fruit Extract, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Charcoal Powder, Disodium EDTA, Chelating Agent, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum/Fragrance.

Product Claims:

According to the Skin Republic website:

The bubble mask

  • Eliminates impurities
  • Exfoliates dead skin cells
  • Fresh and luminous complexion
  • Not tested on animals

Oxygenating facial effect cleans pores while containing Fruit Acids which exfoliate and brighten the skin for a youthful appearance. When exposed to air the oxygenating mask begins to bubble and foam diving deep into the skin’s pores and eliminating impurities.

Instructions for Use:

The sachet comes with step-by-step instructions on how to prep the skin  and then use the mask.

The most important tip is to rub the sachet before you open it to activate the ingredients and most importantly the bubbling agents.

This mask is incredibly easy to apply.

You’re only required to cleanse your skin properly before application (this includes removing ALL makeup) then you simply unfold and place it onto your face where it then begins to foam and bubble for the next 15- 20 min.

The other important step to take note of is that this mask, unlike other sheet masks I’ve used, must be washed off after use not just patted into the skin.

First Impressions

The very first thing I thought when I opened the sachet was, “whoa! This mask is massive!” and then I appreciated that the mask was not overly perfumed or sickly in scent nor does it smell like soap. It has this very subtle “clean” scent.

As soon as it started foaming I realised this was going to be really messy and aborted the idea of wearing my favorite jersey while I did it. It is not the kind of mask you’d use fully dressed just before you do your makeup because a) the mask is pretty wet and once it starts bubbling anything too close to your face is going to get soaked and b) you will need to rinse it off after you’re done masking.

So after I switched the jersey for a giant towel, I was all set for my 20 minute spa session.

Yep you heard me.

You’ll need to book a full 20 minutes out of your day, lay out a towel before you can lay back and let the mask make you a goddess.

I will say I was impressed that I could sit up and it didn’t really slide off my face like some masks do. But I definitely do not advise talking too much or sitting up too long as the bubbles will slowly slide down your face into eyes, mouth and neck which is a bit gross and messy.

Needless to say, if you have a small face like mine and the mask gets close to your eyes,  the bubbles will sting your eyes. It might  also sting a very tiny bit on dry or sensitive skin.

This was by far the weirdest mask I’ve ever done and it created the strangest sensation on my skin. I could feel the bubbles building and popping almost immediately.

However it also provides a gentle cooling sensation and after a while you get used to the weird feeling that the popping of the bubbles leaves on your skin. But for me it still felt like an ant I couldn’t kill walking on my face for the entire experience.

By the last minute I desperately just wanted to take it off because the sensation was starting to grate on my nerves and drive me insane.My fingers itched to rub my face and stop that sensation.

In terms of my skin, immediately after I removed the mask, I used the left over bubbles as a cleanser rinsed it clean and patted dry as I would usually. Then I patted in some of my usual moisturizer but today, my skin felt like I had done a super deep cleanse and was more supple and smooth to the touch.

Results & Conclusions:

Does it work?

Definitely!

Was I impressed?

Absolutely.

I knew my skin was not in the best shape this week as I had a few breakouts and I was looking for a miracle cure outside of my usual break out control routine. So when this mask helped to draw out the dirt without stripping my skin of its oils or moisture I was extremely impressed.

Not only did my skin feel extremely well cleansed, it also felt strangely more plumped and hydrated (looking back it probably has to do with the first few ingredients) than it does when I’m having a good skin day.

I’m not saying it’s a miracle cure. It did not take away my break outs instantly but it did help deep cleanse my skin and clear out my pores without irritating my agitated skin more. Allowing my skin to breathe and heal on its own.

Since sheet masks are single use, I felt like my sole experience was not enough to make an accurate decision. So I gifted each of my sisters one and told them to send me reviews.

Zahrah said:

My experience with the skin republic charcoal bubbling mask left my face clear for up to two weeks and I did not break out with pimples. The only problem I had was that the mask was too big for my face and kept slipping of my chin. Once I took off the mask my face was clean and I felt good about the way I looked. Finding a mask that can make a teen with horrible skin happy is difficult but this mask had done just that. So if you looking for an incredible mask that will make you look amazing as well as feel amazing, you should try this mask. It has done nothing but please me.

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and Zainab said:

The mask was easy to use, slightly messy when it starts to drip bubbles but pleasant to use over all. I was impressed with the results and my skin felt cleansed and refined. It didn’t ruin my skin or cause a break out after. The bubbling up was an awesome experience and  I would definitely repurchase this mask.

In all honesty, I was also so impressed with the results that I might just brave the icky sensation of the bubbles popping against my skin again.

Contemplating a Repurchase,

Ra’eesah.

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Masking Monday: L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask

16 April 2018 at 16:03

Finally, it’s Monday again and time for a super requested and eagerly awaited post on the L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask. This was actually the first mask I picked up from the L’Oreal range and I remember picking it because it reminded me so much of my much loved Body Shop Himalayan Clay Mask for literally a third of the price.

Naturally, I couldn’t resist.

So what do I really think of this mask? Well, lets get straight to the scoop…

Packaging:

The great thing about the L’Oreal Masks is that they kept the square clear-glass tubs and lids perfectly uniform allowing the mask itself to shine through and simple white lettering to identify each one (as we discussed in last weeks post). The tubs are easy to stack and store without taking up huge amounts of space and look beautiful in the bathroom. Each mask is 50 ml, which according to the box is

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Product Ingredients:

The L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask retails for P160 (R160 or $12.50) and boasts that it is a supercharged mask. L’Oreal Paris laboratories combined three pure clays with a recently trending ingredient in skincare i.e. charcoal, known to act like a magnet to draw out impurities, to create a smooth clay mask.

As we previously discussed the pure clays themselves boast a large number of benefits individually. But to recap:

Kaolin is a highly effective natural clay, known to absorb impurities and excess sebum while Montmorillonite is rich in minerals and widely recognized for helping to eliminate imperfections. Lastly, Ghassoul which is highly concentrated in minerals that are renowned to help clarify complexion.

Product Claims:

According to L’Oreal the creamy formulation of the mask makes it non-drying while still deeply cleansing the skin to leave the skin feeling clean, velvety, and re-balanced. It aims to work on dull, tired skin and transform it to reveal purified skin that boasts an even and radiant complexion. The website then goes on to claim that immediately after use,  your skin will look brighter and exude a healthy glow.

In L’Oreal’s own words: “Our charcoal mask provides deep pore cleansing–dirt, dust and pollution are removed from skin. Skin’s complexion looks fresher and more even. Use After Use, skin is clean as if detoxified. Skin feels as though it can breathe better.”

Instructions to Use:

L’Oreal is so passionate about this product they have an entire post online outlining guidelines for how to use their mask. Including:

STEP 1: Cleanse your skin thoroughly before applying the mask

STEP 2: Apply a thin, even layer of the mask to the skin using a brush or ones fingers. I prefer a brush

STEP 3: Wait 10-15 minutes for the mask to dry down, the charcoal one turns from black to a grey.

STEP 4: Once dry, rinse the mask off using cool water to gently remove the mask. Use  circular, upward motions to massage it off the skin.

STEP 5: Pat your face dry with a towel

STEP 6: Follow with a light weight moisturiser

STEP 7: Repeat this process 2 – 3 times a week.

First Impressions

So smooth. That is the very first thing that echoed through my mind as I applied to my skin quickly followed by, “it doesn’t really have an intense scent and it feels so cool.” Then as the mask started setting it tingled slightly and burned a bit in areas where I had a large number of blackheads but nothing too uncomfortable. In fact, it felt pretty good almost like I could feel it working. Another really cool thing to note was that it seemed to sink into pores with blackheads and pull them out, making little dots on the mask as it dried.

I was further impressed with the results when I washed it off. This mask was instantly a favourite (and that’s saying a lot because I usually don’t put much merit in first impressions) but the results compared very closely to the Body Shop mask which as I mentioned before cost a ton more.

Results and Conclusions:

Not only is L’Oreal breaking the mould with their formula but they’re also tearing down price barriers by offering such great skincare at such an affordable rate. With the price of this mask being so low, even if the results weren’t as impressive as they are, the masks would still be worth using for those of us on budgets because let’s face it, I can’t afford to keep repurchasing masks that cost P300+ all the time.

Now, price tag disregarded, I’ve pretty much hit the bottom of my tub and will definitely be repurchasing another one, and if that is not enough to convince you I love it check out the side by side pictures of before and after results. For the first time in a long time, I can honestly say that I really do believe L’Oreal’s claim that with continued use the results get better and more visible each time.

The results speak for themselves and honestly, it makes me so excited to keep trying more and more of their products. Looking forward to getting my hands on the two new launches but in the meantime keep your eyes peeled for the L’Oreal Pure Clay Purify and Mattifying Mask review next week and tomorrow’s Tip Tuesday.

Still in awe with the results,

Ra’eesah

 

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This or That Thursdays: New Nivea Perfect & Radiant Micellar Water v.s. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

12 April 2018 at 16:17

I am always looking for the easiest makeup removers especially after long days and late nights because I firmly believe you should never go to bed with your makeup on and I am way too lazy to do a double cleanse after a night out. All I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep. So naturally my normal go-to is makeup wipes because they are so convenient. I simply leave them on my bedside and clean off my makeup sitting in bed with my jammies already on.

But open to new possibilities I had been experimenting with the Garnier SkinActive Micellar water for a while, so when Rubybox asked me if I’d be interested in testing out the new Nivea Perfect and Radiant Micellar Water, I thought it would be the perfect chance to compare the two.

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Okay now that I got all the details out of the way, let’s dive into my thoughts and conclusions regarding these products.

First Impressions When Comparing The Two:

Both bottles are pretty well designed and eye catching while still remaining relatively simple. Scent wise, I prefer Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water slightly more as it is completely scentless whereas the Nivea Perfect & Radiant Micellar water, while unscented, still carries a slightly alcohol-like scent which I tend to avoid in products that I’m using on my face.

Based on their ability to removes makeup, I was super impressed with the Nivea Micellar water. It held its own against my usual and I really had to put them to the test to truly see any differences.

My Test Process in Pictures:

I used Garnier on one side and Nivea on the other side then compared the results. I then followed with a seperate tissue on each side to see how much makeup was still on my skin after using only one cotton pad per side.

Conclusions:

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In the end, I found that the Garnier one did a slightly better job of removing my base but the difference was very slight as you can see in the image above.

I felt the Nivea side definitely left my skin feeling hydrated and softer whereas the Garnier side was more soothed and refreshed but since we’re comparing two products, instead of writing a normal conclusion, I’ll rate them out of 5 based on their price, results, scent and availability.

Garnier:                                                                                          Nivea:

Price:               4                                                                              Price:                5

Results:           4                                                                              Results:            4

Scent:              3                                                                              Scent:               4

Availability:     5                                                                            Availability:     5

 

Thus overall Garnier scored a respectable 4 out 5 and the Nivea achieved a 4.5 out of 5 which in my opinion if too small a margin to crown one king.

I think the bigger question is, will  I give up my favorite makeup removing wipes (Charmzone Ginkgo Wipes) to use either of these regularly and my answer is probably not simply because the wipes are doing wonders to keep my skin clear. Also the wipes are more convenient as I don’t need anything extra to go with them whereas with micellar water, I need to have cotton pads on hand. On that note, I will however keep a bottle  of micellar water on hand for fixing makeup mistakes, other hacks (like we discovered in my Tip Tuesday post earlier this week)  and even for travelling because my current box of wipes is too bulky to lug around.

Still Experimenting with the Micellar Water,

Ra’eesah

 

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Tip Tuesday: Multi-use Micellar Water

11 April 2018 at 05:10

Micellar water has taken the beauty world by storm as they often boast easy, gentle cleansing and makeup removal without drying the skin or needing rubbing or rinsing. It seems like the perfect solution on a lazy night. You simply leave it next to your bed with a few cotton pads and you can remove your makeup while lying in your bed… Who doesn’t want that after a long night out?

If you’re already thinking damn, this sounds amazing… There’s more.

I went on a mission and came back armed with 10 life-altering hacks using Micellar Waters. So without wasting any more time, I’m going to jump straight into the hacks and  give you the key to simplifying your life.

1. Spot Clean Makeup Brushes

 

Once again following on from the last few Tip Tuesday posts, I bring you another great brush cleaning hack. This is perfect for when you’re in a hurry and realise every single one of your brushes have black or dark brown eye-shadow all over from yesterdays sultry smokey eye and you want to do a soft natural look for work today.

Simply pop a bit of micellar water on a towel and quickly swirl your brush on the wet part then on a dry piece of the towel and VOILA, you have a spotless brush  that’s bone dry and ready to use.

2. Perfect Your Wings

 

I love a good winged look but there is nothing more frustrating than getting to that last step and ruining everything because it smudges everywhere. So my little trick is to keep pointed cotton buds and micellar water on hand at all my consultations. Simply dip the cotton bud in micellar water and wipe away any smudges to reveal the perfect wing. As easy as snapping your fingers.

3. Remove Stains (Spot Clean)

 

Just like it works with brushes, micellar water is great to spot clean stains from just about anything. Whether it’s a coffee stain on a shirt or a tea ring on your couch simple pop a bit of micellar water on the cloth, let it soak on the spot then rub gently and watch it disappear.

4.  Remove Stubborn Label Glue

 

My personal pet peeve is buying something and taking off the price tag or a label and being stuck with that disgusting label glue and gunk on the product. After a little experimenting on my part, I’ve discovered that the best option is not to scratch till it comes off but to use two cotton pads and some micellar water. Soak one cotton pad in micellar water and place on the sticky part then gently rub till it comes off. Use the dry cotton pad in between to dry off the surface so you can see if there is any residue still left behind and continue repeating the steps till it is completely clean.

5. Use as Hand Sanitizer

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If you’re anything like me you hate sticky hands but you hate the way hand sanitizers leave your skin feeling just a tiny bit more. My solution is to use a hydrating micellar water instead ( I keep a travel size in my hand bag). Not only do I not have to rinse my hands after using it (just like sanitizer) but it usually smells better and does not leave me feeling as dry as the Sahara desert.

6. Clean Suede Shoes

 

According to Twitter user @kieraohagan, she realised micellar water is the answer to all of our suede shoes woes. She simply put a little on a cotton pad and rubbed at the stains on her shoes till they came off. So naturally, I had to give this a try. Needless to say, I was blown away. It works like a charm and my rather well-loved favorite pair of shoes suddenly looked relatively new again.

7. Use to Remove Fragrance

Have you ever tried out a perfume and it instantly gives you a migraine? Well, if you’ve put it on and don’t want to be stuck with it for the rest of the day try using some micellar water on a cotton pad and wiping it till the scent is gone. This also works great if you suffer from sinuses and wore perfume out at night but do not want to go to sleep with it on.

8. Remove Glue From Your Falsies

Surprisingly, not only is micellar water sable to soften falsie glue and make removing them as easy as wiping your makeup, but it also amazing for getting the glue off the band of lashes without destroying your lashes. Simply apply some to cotton bud and gently rub along the band until all the glue has softened and come off. Now your lashes are as good as new and ready to be reused.

9. Quick Travel Hydrating Facial

I travel a ton and I know how bad it is for my skin. I hate how  air conditioning and climate change can take glowing skin and turn it into a patchy dry mess. I read somewhere that micellar water can be used as a facial mist and that got me thinking. What if I kept a small spray bottle or travel size in my bag and used it as a quick refreshing spritz while I travel. Turns out, not only does it refresh your skin but it also gives a moisture boost and helps tons with toning, not to mention it removes any dirt and grime so your pores stay unclogged as well.

10. Freshen Up After The Gym

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As noted before, micellar water is great to refresh skin and clean out grime from pores thus making it the perfect gym bag companion. It is the perfect solution on a busy morning when you don’t have time to shower after gym, simply wipe away the sweat and dirt from your skin with a cotton pad soaked in micellar water and you’re good to go.

Which of these hacks intrigued you the most?

Looking for more hacks,

Ra’eesah

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Masking Monday: L’oreal Pure Clay Glow Mask

9 April 2018 at 14:37

Picking up where I left off in the multi-masking post, let’s dive into each individual mask and break them down. I think on a Monday we’re all after a little spoiling even if we have to pamper ourselves. For me, the best way to spoil myself is clean, supple and glowing skin and I’m always on the hunt for the perfect mask for a busy morning to give me the results I want.

So eagerly, I jumped at the chance to try out the L’Oreal Pure Clay Glow Mask, so let’s dive in and break it down…

Packaging:

A beautiful glass jar with a surprisingly sturdy plastic lid and simple white lettering resulting in a pretty sleek package for a mud mask. It’s also an easy to use and effective way since the jar has a large mouth/opening which allows for both a  brush or your hands to remove product easily without making a huge mess or fussing with the packaging. I also appreciate the large amount of information available on the box however, keep in mind that once you get rid of the box the only other way to get the instructions is online as it is not on the bottle but that’s the only downside to the packaging that I personally found.

Product Ingredients & Claims

The L’Oreal website claims the glow mask is enriched with Red Algae extract which is known for its brightening properties, and finely milled apricot seeds  to gently exfoliate dull, uneven skin thus these two ingredients work together to reveal the skins natural glow. The claims also state that the beaded, creamy texture will illuminate the tone of the skin by exfoliating your skin without drying it out.

The mask also contains L’Oreal’s signature combination of three powerful pure clays:

  1. Kaolin – is a  natural clay, known to absorb impurities and excess sebum.
  2. Montmorillonite – Rich in minerals, it is a clay that is recognised for its ability to eliminate imperfections
  3. Ghassoul – A pure clay highly renowned to help clarify complexion.

The box also boasts instant and lasting, visible results and breaks down what you can expect from the product depending on the number of uses stating:

  • Immediately: skin is softer, smoother and brighter.
  • Use for one week: pores feel tighter, skin texture is refined.
  • Use after use: skin is visibly transformed, with an even healthy glow

The full ingredients list is:

782586 14, Aqua / Water, Kaolin, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Cyclohexasiloxane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Dimethicone, PEG-100 Stearate, Prunus Armeniaca Seed Powder / Apricot Seed Powder, Perlite, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Dimethiconol, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Moroccan, Lava Clay, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Montmorillonite, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 / Iron Oxides, Linalool, Parfum / Fragrance, (F.I.L. B186964/1)

First Impressions:

The first time I used this mask, I think my expectations were unfairly high as I’d already been using the black detoxifying mask for a few months, I was disappointed and unhappily exclaimed that it did absolutely nothing and smelt like cardamom pods. It was however, really cool and relaxing so that’s one immediate bonus and after washing it off I definitely felt softer skin due to the exfoliation it provided.

The thick cream texture was extremely different from the other masks and the smell got to me a bit. It  had a roughness to it that the other masks did not have as it was meant to exfoliate the skin but it didn’t tingle or settle like the other masks meaning it didn’t  feel like it was doing anything at all.

It did not instantly become one of my favourite mask, not by a long shot.

Results and Conclusions:

But determined to figure out why it wasn’t as good as the others when it packed the same amazing ingredient punch, I persevered and continued to use it and very quickly changed my tune. By the second and third use, I was pretty much sold on the mask. It exfoliated in a gentle manner while also deeply penetrating and drawing out a natural glow from the skin without drying out my cheeks or making my nose extra oily (#comboskinstruggles).

For the price (P159 or R159 or $12.99 ), availability (it’s easily found at any drug store or L’Oreal beauty stockists in both South Africa and Botswana) and ease of application and use as well as the results I got from continued use makes me feel more and more inclined to repurchase this product and make it part of my permanent skin care rotation.

Glowing my way to tomorrow,

Ra’eesah

 

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Tip Tuesday: Clean Beauty Sponge

27 March 2018 at 19:07

Following in the trend of last week’s Tip Tuesday post, we’re continuing the trend of cleaning and caring for our beauty tools. We did brushes (and I know I promised an instructional post on the exact steps for both deep cleaning and spot cleaning, I will be posting those so keep your eyes peeled for them) but I thought we’d dive into a very popular item first.

Yep, let’s talk beauty sponges.

Is it getting grimy and gross really really fast? Washing it often causing it to break up faster? Stained and full of product that refuses to come out? Or does it just take too damn long to get clean?

I  came armed with all the answers and a lazy girl hack you’ll love me for….

Before I get into the methods I use and my hacks, for those of you who are looking for a more professional approach and want to invest in a soap/ cleanser made specifically for sponges then you might  be interested in the BeautyBlender Cleanser ($16 which is about P160 excluding shipping).

Now, with that out of the way, this one if for my busy girls who want to use the fastest and least labor intensive method, grab a mug (well grab two if you’re a tea lover), put the kettle to boil and follow the steps below after making yourself a cup of tea in the one mug.

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First, add the boiling water from the kettle and some dish soap, facial cleanser or hand wash (whichever you prefer)  then pop the sponge into the cup and let it soak till the water turns cold, by that point it will be a pretty shade of brown, almost a milky tea-like shade. Usually it can sit for about 30 minutes, so feel free to go do something else or answer some emails in the time. Pro Tip: weight the sponge down with a spoon to make sure the whole sponge soaks through properly.

Once the water has turned to “makeup tea” and is cold, throw it out of the cup and squeeze any access water out of the sponge. Then under a running tap re-soak it and squeeze the water out of the sponge a few times until the water runs clear from the sponge. This usually takes three to five repeats. Follow with soaking in plain boiling water for another half hour, this not only sterilizes the sponge but it also ensures every single stubborn stain and makeup residue is thoroughly removed from the sponge. Then squeeze out sponge thoroughly and leave on a flat surface to dry out. Pro tip: leave it to dry on a towel or invest in a sponge holder on amazon.

And while I’ve been cleaning my sponges like this for the longest time, I recently discovered a genius lazy girl hack to cleaning my sponges, from the lady behind Journal of a Daisy Kid: Bibi Aisha Paruk (@beebzonian), that I am dying to share with you guys. It is such a perfect idea for those days when you just want to get done and chill.

Jumping straight into it, you’re going to need the same basic three supplies I used in my regular method, i.e. a cup, water and soap, as well as a microwave for this hack. Fill the cup half way with cool tap water and a pump or two of soap (whichever you prefer, liquid is better, just like in my previous method) and throw your sponge into the cup ensuring it is submerged. Then comes the genius part (and yes, I am kicking myself for not thinking of this before) pop the cup into the microwave for thirty seconds to heat the sponge and the water. By heating the water you will sterilize the sponge as before as well as draw dirt and grime out of the sponge. Leave it to soak and cool (about five minutes) then squeeze and rinse sponge like normal under running water. Repeat until sponge is spotless. (I did it three times)

Pro Tip: LET IT COOL DOWN. while the water coming out of the microwave and the cup don’t feel too hot the actual sponge and the water inside the sponge can be extremely hot when you go to squeeze the water out.

 

Hope these hacks save you valuable time and help you create a flawless look.

Currently staring at my sponge in wonder,

Ra’eesah

P.s. don’t forget to leave questions and suggestions in the comment section below and like and share this post with fellow lazy girls ❤

Until next time, may your makeup be flawless.

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