Micellaneous Beauty Photos: Budget Shower Gel, Mascara Stash, Weak Nail Solutions…

Hey everyone!

I hope you’ve had a good Monday so far! Today I’m showing you some miscellaneous beauty-related pictures, so sit back and enjoy!

Le Petit Marseillais is hands down my favorite supermarket shower gel. It comes with a wide range of scents, never dries my skin out or leaves it slippery, and did I mention it’s paraben-free?

I do occasionally get tempted to splurge on an expensive shower gel, but most of the time I prefer to keep it budget-friendly. As long as it smells pleasant, doesn’t dry my skin out (and doesn’t leave it slippery either. That I can’t stand), and is preferably as natural as possible, we’re on. Le Petit Marseillais totally fits the bill. Oh and the funny thing? Dr. D likes it too, but he prefers green bottles just because he thinks they look more masculine. Boys…

Here is to hoping against hope.

As some of you might remember, I’ve been suffering from weak and peeling nails for quite some months now. Normally a 3-month-course of vitamin supplement helps, but this time it didn’t work. I was on the supplement from another brand, but now I am continuing with Oenobiol. Packed with B vitamins, it should strengthen nails and hair. I have to take two a day during a meal.

I ran out of base coat recently too, and I got Essie Grow Stronger Fortifying Treatment Base Coat. It claims to strengthen nails in 5 days. It might be the combination of continuous vitamin supplement and a strengthening base coat, but my nails are not peeling further. I’m waiting for the broken parts to grow out, but I think after months and months I’ll finally have decent nails again.

Essie Grow Stronger looks a tad pink in the bottle, but on the nails it’s MOSTLY clear. It might be a bit tinted, but it doesn’t change the color of the nails all that much. I try to keep this on even when I’m not wearing nail polish nowadays, just to have something to protect my nails a little. Here you can see a swatch picture of this.

I will review these two items in detail, but it might be a while. For the base coat, I want to wait till the peeling parts are gone to test and compare it with other base coats I have tried before. For the Oenobiol supplement, I want to at least wait till I’m done (I still have about 66 days left). Maybe even longer, if I want to see how long the effects last!

My name is Sunny and I am a mascaraholic. From left to right: Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume, MAC Zoom Waterfast Lash, L’Oreal Million Lashes, Max Factor False Lash Effect, and Chanel Intimitable.

Behold part of the mascara I still have to try out. It’s not ALL (there is one that has already been tested but not yet reviewed. Two are stuck at clearance, and I don’t know when they’re going to release the package. On top of that I might or might not have got a gift with purchase coming my way…)! I used to be very sober. I would find a mascara to stick to for three months (I actually have to throw it away after three months. Otherwise my eyes start itching), and if I got any samples in the meantime I might play with it too. Nothing THIS dramatic.

Before I knew it however, a trip to the supermarket, a cross-Atlantic swap, an online order or two later, this is what I ended up with. These will be tested out and reviewed in time. Do you have a preference for what you want to see first? I might be able to accommodate!

Oh, before I forget: for those of you who have tried Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara, it is coming out today (14th of May) in this special pink edition exclusively at Kruidvat for 9,99 euros! The offer lasts till the 26th of May. I am currently testing it out, and I must say I am really impressed! I will review it as soon as I can, hopefully by the end of this week so you’ll still have time to decide whether you want to grab a tube!

For those who are going on holiday, Rituals has launched some travel-size products to help you travel light! Besides the mini deodorant (2,90 euros), these retail for 4,90 euros a piece. I’m saying it will definitely last you quite a while as well! The shampoo and conditioner smell SO good. In fact, every time I take them out they become the ONLY thing I can smell! The body products are less overpowering, but still they smell gorgeous (like lotus)!

I basically have everything it takes to go on holiday, but so far I don’t have anything booked yet!

What is your favorite budget-friendly shower gel? Do you have a mascara stash that’s getting out of hand? Which mascara would you like to see me review next?

Sunny, your beauty culture translator xx

Disclosure: Some of the products mentioned in this review are sent by the PR for my consideration. All opinions are honest and my own. I am in no way compensated for this review. I have always been, and will always be committed ONLY to my readers.

Bonus kitty photo:

Muffin waiting patiently by her daddy’s dining chair. Can kitty have a piece?

She does get a taste from time to time, and so far she’s very polite (when she loses patience she only puts her front paws on his lap. Nothing further). It’s hard to resist when she looks at you with such bright eyes!

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Review: L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream + L’Occitane Belgian Facebook Page Giveaway!

When I was living in Taiwan, a hand cream was something I only needed from time to time, mostly in winter. Now that I’m living in Belgium, a hand cream is something I need at least a couple of times a day, just so that my hands can stay soft instead of dry and scaly!

My affair with L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream has spanned at least 6 years. I remember really liking the vibe of L’Occitane stores in Taipei and hearing people rave about the brand, but everything looked a bit too expensive so I never splurged out. The first time I came to continental Europe in the beginning of 2006 however, I decided to give L’Occitane hand cream a try. 6 years and many more hand cream trials afterwards, this remains my go-to product.

Full-size (150 ml/5.2 oz) L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream comes in aluminum tubes, and the minis (usually 30 ml/1 oz) come in plastic ones. I’m not the biggest fan of aluminum tubes, but with a little patience you can squeeze everything out methodologically and effectively. I can’t put my fingers on the smell. It’s a bit “nutty” and a bit flowery perhaps. It doesn’t smell artificial, and unless I keep sniffing my hands I don’t really notice it that much. It contains 20% of shea butter, and the texture is very thick. When I squeeze it out of the tube, the cream actually retains its shape. Once it is warmed up by my hands however, it becomes silky soft. A little goes a long way, and it is absorbed very quickly especially considering how thick it is. I wouldn’t type right after using this cream, but give it 3-5 minutes and it’s fine. It does leave a residue, but it is not greasy or slimy. My hands feel well-moisturized, protected, and soft with this cream. The effect is very long-lasting as well, so I don’t have to reapply every time I wash my hands. A couple of friends who suffer from extremely dry and red hands in winter have bought this after my recommendation, and they were very impressed with the result. I think I have converted them to be members of the L’Occitane Shea Hand Cream cult!

At the end of every year, L’Occitane launches some limited edition scents of the shea butter line. In 2011, it was 3 small hand creams with Cocoa Flower, Hibiscus Flower, and Desert Rose. I am not ALWAYS a big fan of limited edition scents, but I think L’Occitane nailed it in 2011. All three of them smell lovely and protect my hands just as well as the original does. They are still available as far as I can tell, so stock up on a couple of yummy-smelling tubes to get yourselves through this winter!

Good news for my Belgian readers: If you “like” L’Occitane and fill in your information on their Facebook page, you will receive a coupon for a 10-milliliter tube of hand cream. If the page reaches 5000 fans, you will get a 30-milliliter tube instead! The page says the coupons will be sent before February 7th but not when the promotion ends, so I guess you have two weeks to do this.

How about you? What is your go-to hand cream? Have you tried anything L’Occitane?

Sunny xx

News: Want 2 Free Zoya Nail Polishes? Go Ahead, They’re Yours!

I originally saw this piece of news on Nouveau Cheap, but felt the impulse to share just in case you haven’t heard about it.

Until January 9th, Zoya is giving away 2 free nail polishes per order/account/household. All you have to do is put in the promotion code ZOYA2012 when you check out, and it automatically deducts 2 nail polishes from your order. The offer is limited to continental US only. You only have to pay 6.95 dollars for standard shipping. Also, according to the Zoya blog, if you spend an additional 25 dollars or more, you get free shipping too!

Has this piece of news awoken the polish hoarder in you? Go ahead and grab your freebies now!!! If you need some ideas, I love both my bottle of Jem and Yara. I should receive Yasmeen at some point, and I’m looking at Neeka and Valerie (because, as you know, one can never have enough purple nail polishes).

News Update: Amazing Giveaways and Beautybay Free Worldwide Delivery!

Hello everyone,

I’m here with some news about two amazing giveaways and Beautybay’s week-long offer of free worldwide delivery!

The first is Chloe.Ash‘s Naked2 giveaway. Lily is a Malaysia-based beauty blogger. I found her blog when I was looking for Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge reviews, and have been following her ever since because I am so impressed with the way she does makeup (especially eye makeup. She does a stunningly clean-looking smokey eye)! Here is the link to the giveaway post, and you can see her swatch/review here. I mean, it’s Naked2 for Christ’s sake! Click on that link and take part in it already!!!

The second is Blushing Noir‘s Benefit Thrrrob and Georgia blush giveaway. I found her blog when I was looking for Tarte Exposed reviews, and hers definitely helped me make the decision to lay my hands on one (PS: my review is coming soon so stay tuned)! Here is the link to the giveaway. I have heard so many good things about Benefit blushes but don’t own any yet, so it’d be sweet to win some!!!

Finally, Beautybay is offering free worldwide delivery throughout the week. I received the e-mail today, so I’m assuming the offer runs till the 10th (I have checked the website, but it doesn’t give the specific time at which the offer ends). Cargo blushes, Macadamia Natural Oil, Essie, anyone?

I hope you guys will make time to head over to the giveaways, and maybe stock up on some more amazing beauty/skincare products!

Sunny xx

FOTD: What I Wore for Christmas and Beautybay Sale!

Hey everyone!

How was your Christmas? Did you have a good one with a lot of nice presents and food overdose? My Christmas Eve was quiet, but I did see quite some friends over Christmas Day and Boxing Day, so I would like to share the looks I did with you.

First and foremost is my Christmas manicure. I very seldom wear nail polish nowadays, but since D cooked on Christmas Eve and we were going over to some friends’ on Christmas Day, I thought I’d seize the chance. The polish is OPI Merry Midnight. It is from the 2009 Christmas collection, so it is rather difficult to find one now. I only found out about it this summer when I picked this shade for my pedicure back home, and I was lucky enough to find a bottle on Yahoo Auction in Taiwan (it’s the equivalent of EBay in Taiwan because it has been there for much longer). I don’t like to tease you with limited edition or hard-to-find items, so I am not going to write a separate review about it. As you will be able to see in the following picture, the polish is a jelly purple with multi-color shimmer and flakes. The first coat is stunningly uneven, un-sparkling, and uninspiring in general. I remember being so taken aback during my pedicure when the lady put on the first coat. I almost said:” you must have made a mistake! This is NOT the shade I picked out!” But after the second coat things get dramatically better. You do need more skills and experience to work with this nail polish, and I find it difficult to avoid some unevenness altogether (though nothing too concerning). Something else I don’t like so much about it is the fact that it doesn’t last as well on me as a typical OPI nail polish. I’m getting tip wear and some chips after just a couple of days, while normally OPI polishes last 3-4 days with minimal tip wear on me! I do hope OPI will bring the shade back with a better formula.

Now moving on to my Christmas Day makeup. I did a “classic” look with the Naked Palette. I used Sin on the inner half, Buck on the outer half, the lightest shade of NYX Rock and Roll on the inner corner, and smudged my lower lash line out with Gunmetal. I was also testing Tarte Exposed out and was pretty happy with it! On my lips it’s Chanel Rouge Coco Mademoiselle.

For Boxing Day I did something a bit more dramatic. I used my L’Oreal HiP duo in 106 Sculpted. The lighter shade all over my lid, and the darker shade on the outer corner, brought into my crease, and on my lower lash line. On the inner corner is Sin from the Naked Palette, Tarte Exposed on cheek, a bit of Bali Brown to add some dimension to my face, and MAC Sweetie on lips.

I have to report that the darker shade of the duo is really rather hard to blend, and there is some fallout. The fallout isn’t too concerning at all, but the lack of blendability is a pain. The lighter shade doesn’t pull orange on me though, so I’m happy about that. I wore makeup for 11-12 hours that day, and by the end of the day I could see some fading, but it was still OK. Man, you can see the print my glasses leave on my nose SO clearly in this picture (for some reason it is worse on the left side)! I might have to start looking for a decent concealer now.

Also, I’m still looking for a way to take clearer pictures of my FOTD. As what I have told you, we haven’t had a lot of natural light in Belgium, and the flashlight doesn’t always allow colors to be captured on photos as they are. I will work on this issue, but in the meantime I hope you at least get an idea!

Last but not least, Muffin the new kitten wants to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a 2012 with a punch!

She has been with us for a bit more than two weeks now, and she is a total sweetheart! I’ll for sure introduce her properly in the blog soon. She plays go fetch just like what Brownie used to do. Can you believe that?

Lots of Christmas love,

Sunny

Oh, and pssst I almost forgot to tell you about this! Beautybay.com is having a 10% off sale till midnight Wednesday (UK time, so it might be earlier/later depending on where you live. For example, in continental Europe, it would be 1AM on Thursday). I am a registered customer, so I received an e-mail with 15% off. The promotion code is the same though (XMAS), so I guess the system just checks if you are already in it. If you have been lemming for Cargo blushes for example, this would be a great opportunity to get some! What I LOVE about Beautybay is the fact that it doesn’t rip you off. A 25-dollar Cargo blush would cost about 18.60 euros, but the rate does change a little from time to time (or even every day?). Beautybay also carries Too Faced, Urban Decay, Bedhead, Bare Escentuals, and so on. I got some stuff myself, and will show you soon!