First Impression: The Organics Pharmacy Antioxidant Lip Balm

The Organics Pharmacy Antioxidant Lip Balm

Breaking my hiatus, I want to talk about The Organics Pharmacy Antioxidant Lip Balm. It’s a travel/sample size version of the product which has 5ml of product, with the full size being 7ml and costing £13.00. If you want to look at the product, here’s a link to the company’s page on their product.

Off the bat, £13.00 is a lot of money for a lip balm, in my opinion. I can grab around eight lip balms from my stash and the total cost still wouldn’t equal this single full sized product. From my perspective, as someone with a tight budget, this is a huge turn-off, however, if you have a larger budget or just want to treat yourself, this is a product that would be an indulgence purchase. I personally can’t see myself ever spending that much money on a lip balm, however, this entirely a personal choice.

The Organics Pharmacy Antioxidant Lip Balm

The packaging itself is a small tube with a twist cap, which feels secure when shut but also doesn’t provide too much resistance when opening it to feel like a nuisance. I’ve been keeping this on my desk at all times, and grab this whenever I feel my lips getting dried out and/or sore. This tends to be every few hours at the moment, since we’re having a colder phase at the moment on the south coast.

I tried to photograph the lip balm itself, but it refused to focus (not that my camera does this properly anyway, I will figure this out someday, I apologise). The consistency when you squeeze it out of the tube is a solid gel, almost like Vaseline, if you get what I mean. When you spread it out, it behaves more like a lip gloss – it smooths over the lips really easily, and leaves a subtle sheen on the lips.

The texture on the lips is definitely noticeable for around 10 minutes after application, but it does absorb into the lips until your lips are left feeling softer. As I mentioned earlier, I reach for this every few hours, which is basically how long the effect of the lip balm is on my lips. My lips aren’t super dry naturally, but the colder months has made them drier and more irritable while we’re still in winter. I will end up using this over a dozen times throughout my typical working day, but I don’t see myself using this up any time soon. This is attributed mostly by the factor I love about any product, which is that a little goes a long way. I love typing that phrase. It makes me so happy as a beauty-lover to be able to say that about a product.

One of the conflicting things about this product is that I go through phases where the taste of this balm can be nauseating for me. The truly strange part for me is that I haven’t always reacted to it like this. This is a purely personal experience, as I can be prone to scents, tastes and other stimuli nauseating me when I’m unwell, anxious or just having an off day. On healthier/stable days, the taste isn’t a problem, but I think this is worth mentioning in case you experience a similar thing as I do. If you don’t, then you don’t need to really think about it.

Overall, I’ve had a mostly pleasant experience with this product. Other than the intermittent intolerance to the taste that I described in the paragraph above, it’s only the cost of the product that puts me off. I wanted to leave an affiliate link here, as my negatives about the product are extremely personal and obscure, however, the only Amazon link I could find retailed the product at just under twice the price of the company’s and I don’t feel right doing that. Instead, if you buy this product because of my review, please let me know. I won’t receive a commission, but to know my experience was helpful will make me really happy.

Thank you for taking the time to read my first impression today. I plan to use this product up, so expect it to appear in an Empties post some time in the future. I skipped last months empties because I didn’t have enough to justify a separate blog post, but I will combine them together once I feel there are enough to talk about. In the mean time, I hope you are happy and healthy, and I can’t wait to speak to you again.

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Hollypop’s Bathroom Facial Tools

Hollypop's Bathroom Tools

Apologies for not posting this yesterday as I had planned, I was unexpectedly ill yesterday, so spent the day recovering. So I’m posting it today now I am well enough, and I want to talk about the facial tools I keep in my bathroom. I consider them my unsung heroes as I don’t talk about accessories or tools very often. I don’t want to waffle on, so I’m going to talk about them one by one.

Innisfree Eco Beauty Tool Blackhead Out Brush:

A product I bought on a whim a few years back mostly out of fascination for Korean beauty products – I’ve kept the Innisfree Blackhead Out Brush in my bathroom for a few months, and used to keep this hanging off a hook in my previous apartment. The new apartment doesn’t provide that option for me now, so part of me is worried about ventilation for drying the brush properly, but I’m keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t get gunky or gross.

As a facial tool though, I use this for very specific areas of my face, notably my nose (as the name of the product suggests), as well as between the eyebrows and around my mouth, where larger brushes just don’t quite do the job.

Typically, I’ll use a larger facial tool to lather up cleanser on my face, then take this brush when it’s wet to work those specific areas that need more up-close attention. The brush hairs can be a little too rough on the skin when you apply too much pressure, but once you find the right balance, it doesn’t irritate my skin or feel scratchy.

My only gripe or worry about this brush is that the brush hairs are quite short – so I worry about water getting up the funnel really easily and breaking down the glue that keeps the brush hairs in place and behaving as intended. I haven’t seen too many of the hairs shedding yet, but it’s something I’m quite self conscious about every time I use it – and I find myself using this brush less often than I should as a result.

Overall, it’s a nice tool and I’ll continue to keep it in my bathroom, the only thing I would want to change for myself, is to find a way to hang this up again so it can dry more efficiently and keep water from going into the glue as I described earlier.

Botanics Deep Cleansing Cellulose Sponge(s):

A bathroom tool I’ve been repurchasing for the past couple of years are the Botanics Cleansing Sponge(s) which are part of my cleansing routine. They come in packs of two for £5.00 from Boots, and I find myself reaching for these as my wash-off tool when I use my cleansers before I apply my face masks just before I jump in the shower.

This sponge is a product that I’ve always found extremely reliable and the size makes it perfect for use on the face, even though the name really makes it more appropriate for use on larger areas of the body. When dry, the sponge is hard, but I get a certain joy or running my tap, and dropping it into water and watching it expand and soften, does anyone else get a kick out of that?

For me, I’ll go through my cleansing step, then use this sponge as my tool to wash it off. So I’ll take my time focusing on one section of my face at a time, wipe with the sponge, gently wring the product out under running water, then repeat over the rest of my face. As sponges do have really constant contact with water, I replace it every month or so, but it mostly depends on how the sponge looks – as soon as I see any unusual build up or dirt on it, I throw it out and replace it with a new one. This will also depend on a few factors: how your dry it out (I want to get a brush drying rack someday for drying my makeup brushes) how effective you are at actually cleaning it, and how well ventilated the room is you’re drying the sponge out in. I can see myself replacing my sponges more frequently now I’m living in a new apartment – our apartment has poor insulation and ventilation as it is, but the bathroom particularly is really lacking – our only window in the bathroom is completely out of my reach – so my sponges will go out of date more often.

Soap & Glory Face Massage Mini Mitt:

My final bathroom facial tool I’m using at the moment is the Soap & Glory Massage Mitt, which is the first step in my cleansing routine. It retails for £4.50 in Boots, which from my perspective of Soap & Glory products, is quite affordable. While it calls itself a “massage mitt”, I use this a mild cleansing tool, although I find all three of the tools I’ve talked about today mildly exfoliate in their own way.

For my routine, I will dispense a small amount of my cleanser onto the mitt, run some water over it, and then massage over damp skin to lather up the cleanser properly. This allows me to lather up my cleanser with less mess on my hands, and less water required to do it.

The mitt itself is just smaller than the size of my palm – my hands being relatively small, as I’m quite a petite individual – and is very efficient for applying my cleanser over the large areas of my face. This includes my cheeks, chin and forehead. I use my Innisfree Brush that I talked about at the start to make up for this brush’s weakness – which is the lack of ergonomics for the smaller, or more curved areas of the face. These include between the brows, the temples, the curves of the nose and I include the edges of the mouth as well since it’s an area of the face you don’t want to accidentally spread too much cleanser to. Cleanser tastes vile and leaves my stomach aching during those unfortunate accidents.

Generally speaking I really like this product, it’s very gentle on the skin, and doesn’t scratch my skin at all. The only thing I’d like to see changed to the shape to accommodate for areas of the face like the nose, where it’s not very ideal for working around.

And these are the three main bathroom tools I’m using at the moment. I’m really happy using them, and find they work really nicely for my skin. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post today, and once again I’m sorry for the delay. I hope you are happy and healthy, and 2018 is treating you well.

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Review: The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner

The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner

Disclaimer: Links with a “*” beside them are affiliate links, and are purposely set so that Hollypop can potentially be supported.

Happy Wednesday everyone, I hope the middle of the week is treating you well. Today, I want to talk about The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner, which has been a part of my day time skincare routine for a little while now. As you can see from my photo, I have the 60ml travel size version, which I had initially intended to keep aside for traveling, but I ran out of full size toners, so this little bottle was added to my routine unexpectedly.

You may notice that I have my bottle in the older packaging, so if you’re curious what the product looks like now, the link to The Body Shop’s product on their site here. I think the new packaging looks fantastic, but I bought mine back when they were clearing out their old packaging, so please bear this in mind. The full size product is £7.50, but their travel size bottles tend to be cheaper, so it’s worth looking for those if you’re unsure of a product, which is what I tend to do.

As for the packaging, my outdated packaging consists of a bottle with a cap you pop open, but I haven’t found the lid to be loose or unreliable. It takes a little bit of effort, which I consider a positive. I’ve knocked this off my bathroom shelf a few times and it hasn’t burst apart, so it’s quite sturdy. I can’t speak for the new packaging however, so for this, it’s worth reading reviews from bloggers who have the newer packaging.

The product itself claims to be a “comforting, conditioning liquid proven to purify without irritating” (from the front of the bottle). For my oily-sensitive skin, I would say these claims ring true. I use this as a cleansing-toning step in my day time routine, and from my experience it washes away any overnight oil build ups, leaves my skin softer ready for my essences, serums and moisturisers that I follow up with. It does leave my skin in need of hydrating, but that’s not to be mistaken with it actually drying my skin – this is something I experience with any cleanser or toner as my skin simply needs those later steps. I also don’t find it irritating on my skin, so if you also have mildly sensitive skin you can take comfort in knowing this toner is an option for you.

It probably goes without saying, but the toner is entirely water-based. The formula also has no scent, which is hopefully reassuring if you’re sensitive to fragrance. A part of my wishes it did smell of aloe, as I find aloe to be such a refreshing scent, however I do think it’s ultimately for the best as my skin can be sensitive to some fragrances, and I can be made nauseated by certain scents as well.

Throughout my long-term use of this toner, I haven’t found it to have any negative effects on my skin. My acne issues haven’t really changed while using this toner, but it has made my skin feel soothed and calmer ready for later steps in my routine. As a cleanser-toner step, I find it to be capable of cleansing mild oil build ups, but not over-drying so that my skin feels tight, irritated, and doesn’t produce more oil to compensate.

For me, judging the effectiveness of a toner can be a bit tricky, but as I haven’t noticed any negative effects on my skin I would otherwise say this product is reliable in a way from that. I like that it’s non-irritating, and has a cooling feel on the skin.

I think it’s worth buying anyway, which is why I’m going to leave an affiliate link *here*, for if you want to support me but also buy the product for yourself. By no means are you obligated to, but it’s an option if you found my review helpful.

This ends my review of The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner, thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. I really enjoy using this product, and plan to use it all up as I still have half of the bottle left. I hope you are happy and healthy, and I will have another post up on Friday, so I hope you will check it out.

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First Impressions: Christmas Skincare Routine 2017

Happy New Year everyone and I hope your festive period was fun and relaxing. Apologies for the delay, but I’m back with a batch of my first impressions for my post: “Christmas Skincare Routine 2017“. I initially planned to write about these products individually, but as I was using them during my visit home, most of these products really needed more than just a one-time use to write longer, comprehensive posts about them. However, I didn’t want to let my notes go to waste – I made sure to take a notebook back with me so I didn’t forget anything – so I plan to batch them together into one post today. Of my samples that I could get a slightly longer use out of, I plan to write separate first impressions of though, so please look forward to that as I continue taking notes for the time being. Without further ado though, let’s jump in.

Christmas 2017 First Impression

To kick it off, I want to talk about the Skinfood Broccoli Toner. Off the name alone, the idea of broccoli in a skincare product sounds really unusual to me, but I didn’t let that put me off. My first big gripe is that the sachet didn’t have enough to really apply to the entire face so I’d like to try this product again with a larger sample just from that alone. However, where I could apply it, it softened my skin leaving it smooth after it absorbed into the skin, which was almost immediately.

The consistency was very watery, so I can see this being great for all skin types, including sensitive skin – as it was very light, and didn’t feel like it was overwhelming my skin. As far as I could tell, there wasn’t a scent to the product, which I was quite happy about.

I mentioned that I wanted a larger sample of this product to try, and this is to see how this works longer term – it felt really refreshing and I didn’t notice any drawbacks aside from just not having enough of it to apply to my entire face.

Christmas 2017 First Impression

Next, is the COSRX Natural BHA Skin Returning Emulsion, which I expressed a lot of intrigue about. COSRX as a brand is very interesting to me, so I packed this sachet with some expectations.

Unlike the toner I talked about above, this sachet had more than enough for one application, with a gel-liquid consistency. I can see it being very good for oilier skin types because of the mild gel consistency, but I don’t think it would be exclusive to just oily skin.

I found it really softened my skin and mildly exfoliated the really minor rough areas of my skin. This included some minor flaking on old acne scars and slightly peeling areas around my nose and between my forehead – but doesn’t exfoliate everything away. I found that it was capable of extending my skin an extra day before needing to use a facial scrub again, which I consider a positive – I stretching those days very difficult as my oily/acne prone skin gets congested easily, but because my skin is also mildly sensitive, exfoliating too often can make my skin feel tight and uncomfortable. I think this is another product I really want to sample or just buy outright to see how it works long-term.

My only gripe, and it is a minor one, is the medicinal scent when applying it, but it fades very quickly. I’m more relieved that I didn’t find it nauseating or uncomfortable, as I personally can put up with it because it does fade away so quickly. So overall, I’m quite pleased.

Christmas 2017 First Impression

Moving on to the next product, I used my sachet of the Rizette Magic Whitening Glow Serum in Cream. Rizette as a brand is new to me, but I wanted to try out the sample as it claims on the sachet to “brighten[s] and helps illuminate dull skin tone” which my skin has definitely been like lately.

The sachet also claims it’s a gel type cream, but I found it was much more water-based. I don’t find this to be a bad thing, but it wasn’t quite what I expected. The cream itself is heavily white-based, with shimmers – I’m assuming from the “fine capsules” that are meant to create that brightening effect it claims to do.

Applied to the skin, it creates a very mild white cast at first, but patting and blending it into the skin makes it fade very quickly – at least on my very pale skin tone. I’m guessing the white cast is by design to create that ‘whitening’ effect on the skin. I’m relatively indifferent about it, my skin is naturally pale and it didn’t whiten my skin since it’s already very pale, but if you do have more colour to your complexion, you may not like this cream.

While I wasn’t a fan of the shimmers in the cream (I think immediately of my poor pores that will suck that up) I didn’t find it to be pore-clogging, and it did make my skin very dewy looking. So if you’re a fan of the Korean dewy skin look, this is worth considering, especially if you’re more low maintenance and want days where you don’t need to use highlighters or base makeup to get that glowy look.

Christmas 2017 First Impression

Keeping up the pace, the next skincare product I used was the Tony Moly Prestige Jeju Snail Essence. This was one of the more interesting products for me, as the texture was this odd gooey yet watery consistency. It was fun but alarming as it meant to time to mess around as it runs off your skin. It absorbed really quickly into the skin and I think this is an essence really ideal for drier skin types. However that said, I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable for oilier skin types either, because it doesn’t feel too heavy on the skin. I do want to try this again and see how it works long-term particularly for winter time, so if I’m clever around late autumn of 2018, I’ll try to order this if it’s still available.

Christmas 2017 First Impression

Next, I want to talk about my experience with the Tony Moly Panda’s Dream White Magic Cream, which during my packing to go home, I mistook for the Panda’s Dream hand cream samples I also packed with me. In the end it turned out to be a blessing as I needed one extra day cream to get my through, so my misreading of the sachets ended up working out in my favour.

This is the only sachet that I ended up using that I felt didn’t work properly for my skin. Like the Rizette Cream I talked about earlier it has a white based formula, but this specific cream has a very strong white cast that even on my pale skin was just too much. Couple with how heavy it felt on my skin it was very clear it wasn’t a good fit for oilier skin types. I think it aims to whiten skin in the same way the Rizette Cream does, but for me it was too much. I think this cream would work better for drier skin types, but I personally don’t advise using it. But I also suggest reading other reviews from bloggers who have drier skin types as they may have a different perspective.

I feel a little sad to have such a negative first impression of this product, as I was looking forward to trying it, but I don’t regret it.

Christmas 2017 First Impression

We’re nearly at the end, but before that, I want to talk about the Tony Moly Nutra Energy Foam Cleanser. I normally avoid foam cleansers, but I haven’t tried any Korean ones before, and so I wanted to give this sachet a chance instead of just throwing it away.

Off the bat, rip a sachet before you get into the shower/bath – it was a nightmare tearing this open with wet hands, so that’s just some advice for anyone who might need it. Let me spare you from learning that the hard way, haha.

There is a fair bit packed into what was a fairly flat sachet, but you only the tiniest amount for it to lather up. I was extremely surprised and a little bit overwhelmed by how potent it was. It was really pleasant to apply to the skin, it left my skin feeling really smooth after washing it all off. Using this in the shower, it was quite easy to make sure it all washed off, but I think if you were to use it over the sink, you might have issues, because it lathers up so much it’s easy for it to get in the hairline. I also had issues of it running into my eyes and even seeping into my mouth – so I strongly advise caution. It was likely my fault though – I haven’t used a foam cleanser in years and it caught me off guard.

I do think the cleanser itself is on the milder end though – I didn’t find it over-dried my skin, but I think that’s partially because I used only a tiny amount. I’m not sure how this would work with the full sized product though, so I may research into this product further down the line when I need to replace my cleanser. For now though, I have a large stash of backups to work through.

Finally, and regretfully I either forgot to take a photo or it was lost between my trip and now, but I want to talk about my first impression of the Innisfree The Green Tea Seed Serum, which you can get an image of from my original post here.

It has a gel-watery consistency that leaves a light layer on the skin initially, but it dries down until all tackiness of the product is gone. I was originally a bit turned off by this, but I think this would be fine if I incorporated this into my night time routine where I don’t have any time-based pressures to worry about.

This completes my batch of first impressions from my trip home for the Christmas period. I hope this post was enjoyable and I hope you’ll read some of my other posts I have planned for this week. I planned to talk about my The Body Shop products I took back with me as well, but I passed on the facial peel to my lovely mum, and the mask I initially described as the Himalayan mask was actually an exfoliating mask, which I couldn’t get enough use out of to form a good first impression. By the time you read this though, I will have edited in a correction on my original post though, unless you happen to be very quick at reading and beat me to it.

All other tangents aside, thank you for taking time to read my very long post today, and I wish you good health and happiness.

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Christmas Makeup Bag 2017:

Christmas Makeup Bag 2017

Following on from my ‘Christmas Skincare Routine 2017‘ post that I published yesterday, I want to share with you the makeup I have picked out from my collection that will be coming home with me when I visit my family. I tried to be relatively selective, but I did pick out options for myself in certain categories, and I want to talk about my choices section by section.

Makeup Brushes:

Christmas Makeup Bag 2017

Makeup tools out of the way first, I decided to skip out my entire makeup brush collection entirely, and pull out my two travel sets. They’re both from the brand Ecotools, one is the Fresh & Flawless Complexion Set, and the other is an eyeshadow set. I think both are in more outdated packaging now, but across the two sets, my brush needs should be met. I like how compact the packaging for the brushes are, because even though I can’t fit them in my makeup bag, they won’t take up much room in my suitcase which is fine with me.

Base Makeup:

Christmas Makeup Bag 2017

I plan on keeping my makeup relatively low maintenance, so you won’t see a foundation here. I was initially going to bring my NYX HD Concealer, but it’s becoming even more obvious to me lately just how off the colour match is on me now. I used to be able to just blend it down enough to get away with it, but now it’s just too obvious. So instead I’m taking my E.L.F. Under Eye Concealer & Highlighter in the shade combination “Fair/Glow“. While this product is designed for under eyes, the texture is really light on the skin, and I’m hoping that will help with any potential shade issues – since I’m very pale and I find it impossible to find a true shade match. I simply have to get as close as I can and blend until it’s not silly.

As far as powders go, I decided to take my Maybelline Matte Maker Powder, since it’s a clear powder and I know it works with my skin for applying where I need it. My expectation is that I’ll use it to set my concealer wherever I happen to apply it, as opposed to a mattifying effect that I tend to do throughout the rest of the year. I know I can trust this product – and I’m getting close to completely clearing the pan.


Christmas Makeup Bag 2017

I decided to give myself two options for blush, both in terms of shade and the formula. For a more watery based formula for drier days and more reddish tint, I picked out my sample/travel size of the Benefit Benetint, which I use exclusively as a cheek product. For a powder and more subtle, warm-pink toned blush, I picked out my Essence Silky Touch Blush in the shade ‘10 Adorable‘.


Christmas Makeup Bag 2017

I’ve kept both of these categories relatively low-key, so I’m putting these together. I don’t like to be too complex with my brows, so I only want to take my GOSH Brow Kit, with shades tailored for darker hair colours. I have dark brown/near black hair, and I find the two darker shades fit well so I can have more subtle brows or more intense brows depending on which shade I pick. I was going to take my brow pencil from The Body Shop, but I don’t want to bring a sharpener with me, and my brow kit has a brush included which is just more ideal for me.

As for eyeliners, I picked out my GOSH Intense Eye Liner Pen in the shade ‘03 Brown‘. Having pale skin, I find black only really looks best on me on top of a more full eyeshadow look, whereas brown looks great on my pale skin tone with and without shadows. Black is a great colour, but it can be a bit too intense, so I’m leaving it behind this time. I wanted to take a pencil liner, and I opted for my Holika Holika Jewel Light Waterproof Eyeliner in a burgundy shade. Unfortunately I don’t know Korean so I can’t translate the name, but if you’re looking for it, it has the number ’15’ attached to the name. I find burgundy can be a subtle liner colour on my skin for days I want something really minimal and understated.


Christmas Makeup Bag 2017

Moving from eyeliners and in to eyeshadows, I selected three eyeshadows and a cream eyeshadow pot for those rare days I might want to put a bit more effort in. From the left, I pulled out the Collection Work the Colour Nude Eye Palette, which has a selection of neutral shades that I find I can work with. Along the top, I have the B. Complete Eyeshadow Palette, in the palette selection ‘117 Dead of Night‘. It has a really autumnal lavender theme to it, and I just found myself grabbing for it while looking through my drawer of eyeshadow palettes.

My cream eyeshadow of choice that I find is just a reliable go-to is the Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo Creamy Mattes in the shade ‘Crème De Nude 93‘. The name of the shade pretty much explains itself, but the nude/skin-like tone works really nicely as a base for my eyelids and covers over most of my veins for a more flawless looking base. It is darker than my natural skin tone, but I find it works well enough since I typically apply eyeshadows over the top.

For the final eyeshadow product, I picked out an oldie from my collection, which is the Dolly Wink eyeshadow quad in the shade ‘01 Brown‘ (from roughly translating the title with my limited memory of Japanese). I remember a few YouTubers from back in the day talked about this quad and I bought my own and it’s a nice quad I can go to if I want a warmer based quad. I typically prefer cooler tones, but I still find myself liking these shades for days when I just want something warm.


Christmas Makeup Bag 2017

Finally, I really reeled myself in when it came to picking out lip products, as I have much more lip products than any other in my collection, and settled myself to three products. I picked them out mostly by shade, but I put the formula into consideration as well to really limit when searching through my collection.

The first is a product I’ve been reaching for pretty much all year for those rare days I do wear makeup, and it’s the MUA Sweet Sheen Lip Balm, in the shade ‘Cherry Bomb‘. This is a line of tinted lip balms I know I can rely on for reasonable pigmentation while being quite moisturising because of the lip balm consistency. It’s good for those days I want to take a walk into town to get errands done and don’t want to be high maintenance.

In the middle, one of the remaining Revlon Lip Butters still in my collection is the shade ‘040 Red Velvet‘ which is a nice burgundy shade. I love the slightly more vampy look, and while these aren’t long wearing, the compromise is that they’re quite moisturising, which for my needs, is more important. My lips get really dry and I’d rather wear something more moisturising and reapply rather than something long wearing that leaves my lips proverbially crying.

Finally, for a pinker, more natural lip colour, I’m tucking my Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in the shade ‘415 Pink in the Afternoon‘. At full pigmentation, it’s slightly too much for my skin tone, but when I tone it down, either by applying directly after a lip balm, or dabbing it down with my finger tips, I find it adds a really subtle and sweet pigmentation to the lips that works really nicely on my paler skin. I feel like with these three shades, it provides enough variety for a week away from my collection that I don’t think I’ll be upset for a lack of choice.

Christmas Makeup Bag 2017

And this concludes the makeup I’m tucking away into my makeup bag. I think this is going to fulfill my makeup needs for a week, and I don’t find myself wondering if something is missing. I considered throwing my Benefit Porefessional travel size tube in here, but honestly, my skin is such a mess as I recover from the flu and just the change in weather that I plan to depend on a good moisturiser and my sunscreen to be my primer for a week.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post, you have the patience of a saint to read all the way to the end. I hope it was enjoyable, it was fun to sit down and look through my collection and just appreciate what I have. I won’t be posting any more content for the next week, while I’m visiting my family and away from my PC, but I will have lots of content to write up for the new year, so please keep an eye out when we arrive at 2018! (That’s weird to type, it feels like it should still be March or something.)

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Christmas Skincare Routine 2017:


Christmas Skincare Routine 2017

As Christmas is quickly approaching, I’m preparing to head home to visit family over the festive period. For anyone who’s traveled for any length of time, you have likely experienced the inconvenience of trying to haul your home skincare routine with you in a suitcase, and that sometimes it’s just not worth it. Many of my skincare products at the moment fall into this category as they are just not travel friendly for a number of reasons. Some are just in large packaging, are likely to break during travel, or just too fragile. So I took some time this afternoon to dig through my box of samples to prepare a make-shift routine for my Christmas trip home. Some of my routine contains my normal routine, but most of it has samples that I want to write first impressions on to share after the new year.

This is going to be a really long post, so grab a cup of tea, a snack or a blanket – because I plan to break this down into individual sections.


Christmas Skincare Routine 2017


I plan to take two cleansers back with me, the first a tube I plan to use the most, and the other I want to write a one-time/first impression on. The first is The Organic Pharmacy Rose Facial Cleansing Gel, which I’ve referred to in my sample stash series, here. The next is a sachet of the Tony Moly Nutra Energy Foam Cleanser which I’m curious to see how it reacts with my skin, or if it can even foam up at all from being contained in a sachet.


Christmas Skincare Routine 2017

I’m not sure how often I’ll need to exfoliate my skin, but I’m taking my go-to and the only sachet I have. I reviewed this product very recently here, but I’m bringing my Soap & Glory Scrub Your Nose In It facial scrub back with, and as you can probably tell, it’s battered and bruised with use. The sachet I’m bringing back with my is the Ioma Gentle Exfoliating Emulsion, which I’ve decided to try as part of my exfoliating step right before a toner or emulsion.


Christmas Skincare Routine 2017

I have a similar approach for toners as well, with one bottle and one sachet. I have my tiny sample bottle of the Holika Holika Black Snail Toner, which I’m expecting to be interesting to use during the dry wintry period. I also wanted to take my sachet of the Skinfood Broccoli Toner, since these are the only toner samples I have left, and I wanted to take the chance to give this little sample a go. I will write up a first impression for this sample too, so expect a post on that after the new year.


Christmas Skincare Routine 2017

Combining this into one section, I plan to use only sachets for this step in my routine, as I have a large abundance of samples. I have two sachets of the Skinfood Blanc Pearl Caviar Emulsion, which I’m curious whether this will feel as luxurious on the skin as the name makes it sound. Next is the Tony Moly Prestige Jeju Snail Essence, which I’m mostly curious about because the snail trend may have passed, but to me it’s still a little bit intriguing. The next sachet is the Missha MISA Geum Sul First Essence Booster, as well as the Innisfree The Green Tea Seed Serum. All of the sachets I’ve mentioned in this paragraph I referred to in my sample stash post, here. Lastly, is the COSRX BHA Skin Returning Emulsion, which honestly I’m just so intrigued by this brand. I have their acne patches and the AHA/BHA Clarifying Toner, and so far really like their products, so it’ll be interesting to see if this emulsion is a potential purchase.


Christmas Skincare Routine 2017

I plan to use a tube and sachet during my trip home. The tube I’m planning to try out is the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, and I’m curious to see how a higher end brand will work with my skin. The sachet I’m packing is the Rizette Magic Whitening Glow Serum Cream, which is a brand I’m completely unfamiliar with.

I didn’t pack a night time specific product, as I’m using the next couple of nights to judge my skin’s needs on what type of moisturiser I may need, or to just layer up my serums instead.


Christmas Skincare Routine 2017

I only have one sample for this area of my routine, so I have my current sunscreen which is the EGLIPS Multi Unique Sun Block, and my sachet of the Skinfood Aloe Watery Sun Daily Sunscreen. Both of these products are SPF 50+ and PA +++ so I’m curious what the different textures are like. I’ve been meaning to review the EGLIPS sunscreen for a while, but I don’t go out very often so I use it infrequently, but I will write my thoughts soon and review it.

Eye Creams:

Christmas Skincare Routine 2017

I plan to bring my eye creams from my skincare routine, but I know my day time eye cream is close to running out, so I’m packing a few samples to pick from should I run out. My day time eye cream at the moment is the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Line Smoothing Eye Cream, which I’ve reviewed, here. My night time eye cream which is also starting to get low, is the Simple Kind to Eyes Soothing Eye Balm. Moving right, I have three sachets that I may end up trying out. In order they are the Missha MISA Geum Sul Vitalising Eye Cream, the Skinfood Blanc Pearl Caviar Eye Cream, and the Ioma Flash Youth Eye Contour Concentrate, which I think will work well as a night time sort of eye cream.

Along the bottom, I have my last pair of Dermactin-TS Collagen Gel Under Eye Patches which I reviewed a while ago, here. I want to pack these just in case I’m having a phase where my eyes just need some extra love, and I just want an excuse to remember these exist. That’s what I get for leaving them in the bedroom, instead of in my desk. One eye product that does normally live in my desk though, is my The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cube, which I want to bring with me for those moments when my eye area needs a freshen up, but an eye cream is just a bit too much. I reviewed this product as well, which you can read here.


Christmas Skincare Routine 2017

I want to group these two categories together, since I only have one treatment product on the go right now, and I plan to bring it back with me. My acne treatment I’ve been using lately is The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil, which I have in the older packaging. I use this on my acne to prevent and treat, and so far haven’t found this to be too intense for my skin, so I plan to bring it home with me. I was initially nervous to pack it, but as I load the products into my clear makeup bag, it’s really nicely cushioned so I feel okay packing it.

Two sachets I’m taking back are the Tony Moly Intense Dual Effect Sleeping Pack, which will work as a night cream and sleeping pack in one if I find my skin needs it. So I may write a first impression on it if I do use them.

Lastly for this area, I have two masks/treatments from The Body Shop, which are samples of the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask, and the Drops of Light Pure Resurfacing Liquid Peel. The assistant at the store in my home town gave me around 4-6 samples of their masks a while ago, and since they don’t appear to have gone off, I decided to take these two back with me to try. I’m a little nervous about the liquid peel, but my gut instinct tells me to give it a go.

Edit: Since using this product after publishing this post, I discovered that the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask that was described on the bottom of the sample tub was actually the Chinese Ginseng and Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask. I apologise for the misinformation, I hope you understand that it wasn’t intentional. I haven’t edited this out to avoid confusion, but want to highlight this error nonetheless.

Lip Balm(s):

Christmas Skincare Routine 2017

I initially planned to leave this section out, but I’m packing a sample back-up for just in case, so I want to talk about my current lip balm with it. I passed on the Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm very recently because the scent was too much for me, and in my rush to replace it, I picked out my Boots Lipsalve in the strawberry flavour, and have been working through it very quickly. I don’t feel the need to write a review on it, but basically if you find yourself in need of a lip balm in a rush, say yours got ruined, or you ran out and you’re panicking to find one that will work, this is a lip balm you can depend on for frequent daily use. It’s not a lip treatment like I got from my E.L.F. Soothing Lip Balm, but for general use it’s great.

Because I am working through my lip balm so quickly though, I decided to pack my sample of The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Lip Balm just in case I do run out while I’m visiting family.

Hand Cream:

Christmas Skincare Routine 2017

This is more of a back-up section, as I have a hand cream I keep in my bag at all times. Just in case I use it up though, I am packing my two sample sachets of the Tony Moly Panda’s Dream White Hand Cream. I accidentally added the day cream (on the left) sachet in here as well, but I’m honestly relieved I made the mistake since I may end up using it. Sneaky Tony Moly though for making their sachets so extremely similar, hehe.

Christmas Skincare Routine 2017

This is what all of these products look like bundled up in my makeup bag. I’m a little surprised they all fit, but there’s actually a little room for a serum or small moisturiser to sneak in there if I decide I need it, so I’m quite happy with how this worked out. I plan to sort out my makeup bag of products I’ll bring back with me, so I’ll aim to write a separate post to either post tomorrow or over the weekend, depending on how my schedule works out.

I have a little note book I plan to pack to take home, and I’ll write notes of my experiences with all of these products, so expect a some first impression posts after the new year. I may take notes of my makeup bag choices too, but I will have to see what I pick out first.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post, honestly, well done for sticking it out. It ended up being a really long post, so truly, thank you for your patience. I hope you are happy and healthy, and the festive period is positive, happy and safe for you. Actually, I wish this all year round, but that hopefully goes without saying.

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Products I’m Passing On – November 2017

Products I'm Passing On - November 2017

So after skipping October, I have two months worth of products that I passed on, and I want to share them with you today and talk about what made me declutter them from my collection. These were all passed on to my Mum, as is my habit. There are a lot of products to talk about so I’m going to just jump right in.

Products I'm Passing On - November 2017

First off hair related products. The Mark Hill Flirty Fix! Texturising Polish was a hair styling product that just proved to me how low maintenance I am with my hair. I have a difficult enough time keeping my hair feeling fresh, that anything that’s remotely non-water textured makes my hair feel even heavier and greasier than it insists on being anyway.

Next are some glasses shaped hair clips I bought rather randomly in Wilko, and again – I’m just low maintenance with my hair and have simply never used them. The same thing for the hair clips on the right – I use hair velcros for pinning back my fringe/bangs or use large hair clips if I don’t want to use a hair tie.

Products I'm Passing On - November 2017

A skincare tool, I passed on my Botanics Facial Brush, which can be bought from Boots here. I think this is a nice product, but it was just a bit too large for my face and as my skin is slightly sensitive, I found the bristles to be a bit too scratchy and uncomfortable. I know Mum’s skin isn’t as sensitive as mine, so I cleaned this up so she could try it out.

Products I'm Passing On - November 2017

Moving on to make up brushes, I’m passing on my Precision Beauty Eyeshadow Brush – which was just overlapping in my collection with an eyeshadow brush from EcoTools I prefer more. The second is The Body Shop Line Softener sponge brush. I kept this brush around for a long time since I figured an occasion would come up where I would need it – but with my move that took place in November, I decided there was no point holding onto it any longer. It’s a nice sponge/brush but I had to strict with myself.

Products I'm Passing On - November 2017

Eye products -there’s a lot to talk about here. I didn’t get the chance to write down all of the shade names in my rush to pack up the old apartment, but I’ll do my best to describe them. The first is the Bourjois Colorband 2-in-1 Eyeshadow Stick and Liner, which I had in the shade ‘Mauve‘. The shade itself was okay on my skintone, but I found my specific shadow stick to be quite dry and tugged too much on my skin. I think it’s possible my apartment was too cold and it hardened the product up a bit, but I just didn’t love this product enough to wait around for spring or summer.

An eyeliner I passed on was the GOSH Xtreme Liquid Gel Eyeliner. I think this is the last of my two shades that I previously owned, but I found the texture to be a little bit too tricky to work with. It had a habit of collecting at the roots of my eyelashes and behaving really similarly to when you over-apply mascara and it builds up at the roots before it has a chance to dry down. The shades I had were really nice, but I think the application just doesn’t suit me. I think if these shades were in a pen style applicator, I would have been much more satisfied.

On the right, I passed on a The Body Shop Eyeshadow single. Unfortunately, I can’t find the singles on their website to reference, but I passed this specific shade on because the warm orangey tone just didn’t work for my skin tone. I have a neutral-cool skin tone and I just couldn’t find the balance to make the warmer tone work. However, I have other single eyeshadows in different shades, so it’s not the formula itself I had problems with.

Two of my Essence Eyeshadows are also being passed on, as I found that they just didn’t look quite right on my skintone. I experimented with them several times and some looks looked ‘okay’ and others I just wasn’t satisfied with. I couldn’t make them work consistently, so I decided it was time to pass them on to someone else who might enjoy them.

Lastly for this section are two loose eyeshadow products, unfortunately I can’t remember the exact name of the brand, although they aren’t listed on Debenham’s website anymore which is where I bought them, so I assume they’re no longer sold anyway. I think I may still have some of the other loose shadows in different shades, but a quick look through boxes to find them has proven unfruitful. These were originally part of a large insist that included a large eyeshadow palette, lip gloss palette within a large box setup that over the years I’ve decluttered. These specific shades just don’t really fit within my personal tastes so I decided it was time to just pass them on.

Products I'm Passing On - November 2017

For the last section, I have put a highlighter and lip balm together. The highlighter is the MUA Undress Your Skin Shimmer Highlighter. This is the shade ‘Pink Shimmer‘ if I’m not mistaken and although the shade is gorgeous, it’s just too intense on me. I initially expected a soft pinker toned highlight to complement the slightly cooler tones of my skin, but what took me off guard is the colour shifts within the powder at certain angles. It’s a gorgeous product and I definitely recommend it for anyone who likes really impactful highlighters like it – but for me, it’s just too much. I prefer a more natural ‘glow from within’ sort of makeup look, whereas this highlighter has a ‘bam, disco ball’ sort of look. If this is your cup of tea, then this is perfect for you, but it’s a bit too intimidating for me so I simply avoided using it. But it’s gorgeous and deserves a home.

Lastly, is a lip balm I expected to fall in love with. I wrote my ‘Review: Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm‘ post where I talked in detail about my experience with the beeswax version of the lip balm, and days after I posted it, I moved on to the pomegranate version as my beeswax one had started to go off. The lip balm itself is really moisturising and soft on the lips, but what made me immediately put this in my ‘products to pass on’ basket was the scent. If you like the smell of pomegranate you can look past this comment, but for me it was nauseating and extremely unpleasant.

These were all of the products I’m passing on from October and November. There were a lot. Thank you and well done for reading this far, I hope it was informative. My blog might have a slow month throughout December as I unpack into my new home, and Christmas time makes life a bit busy again, but I will write up posts as content ideas come to me, so I hope you will give them a read.

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