Clarins “Skin Illusion” Foundation – Review.

After a few days of sunshine, I’m 100% ready for the summer. This means that I’ve whipped out the false tan and now I’m a few shades darker than ghostly. I don’t wear tan very often so up until now, I haven’t really needed a darker foundation to match. So a few weeks ago, I hunted through my make up drawers and found my Clarins “Skin Illusion” foundation in the shade “107 Beige”. I was very kindly gifted this foundation a few months ago but the shade was too dark for my natural skin tone. I’m absolutely delighted that I’ve found a use for it, because the formula is divine.

This foundation is available in 22 shades which seems to be a pretty extensive range. Clarins advise that the formula is infused with “red jania extract and Light Optimising Complex” which helps to great a radiant glow on the skin. In this case, “a radiant glow” doesn’t mean a greasy look; it’s a very natural radiant effect. There are oils in the formula but they’re hydrating and don’t sit heavily on the skin. A little goes a long way and I find that the dropper allows me to control the exact amount that I apply so very little product is wasted.

As you can see above, the foundation looks very natural. It’s buildable coverage wise but I would say better if you apply a light to medium layer. In my experience, the formula stays put all day without the need for touch ups. I do layer some translucent powder over the foundation on application to keep it in place. I’m really impressed by “Skin Illusion” and will definitely be buying it in a lighter shade to match my natural skin tone. I think this will be my summer foundation this year.

Let me know what you think. Do you wear a darker foundation to match your false tan?

Nicole x

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Alex Steinherr x Primark “Pollution Solution Dual Textured Pads” – Review.

If you’ve followed Rouge Writing Hood for awhile, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of luxury skincare products. I believe that taking good care of your skin is worth the investment and often, the price of a product reflects the quality. It’s seldom that I find a budget skincare product that blows my mind. Alex Steinherr and Primark managed to blow my mind.

The “Pollution Solution” range within the “Alex Steinherr x Primark” collection targets skin issues arising from living in a busy, congested city. You may not know this but pollution tends to make skin dry and dull – something I’ve noticed over the past few months as I commute into the city centre for work everyday. I was hoping that the “Dual Texture Exfoliating Pads” would help to brighten up my complexion.

The pads are soaked with a formula containing gentle acids (such as lactic acid) which chemically exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells. I use them by rubbing one pad across my face after cleansing at night or I simply use one first thing in the morning. Unlike other chemical exfoliators I’ve tried, this one doesn’t sting or feel harsh on the skin. However, it’s EXTREMELY important to wear an SPF everyday if you’re using a skincare product that contains acids. Otherwise, you’ll end up doing more damage than good.

The pads cost €6 and there’s 60 in each tube. I’ve been using mine for just over a month now and I can genuinely say I’ve noticed a huge difference. As you can see from the “no make up” picture above, my skin is looking pretty bright at the moment. This photo was taken first thing in the morning, in natural light. I’m beyond delighted with this product.

I will definitely be repurchasing these exfoliating pads. I can’t believe how well they work, at such a low price point. I’m beyond impressed and I can’t want to try more products from the Alex Steinherr x Primark collection.

So, let me know if you can recommend any others. The “Sleep Spa Mask” is next on my “to trial” list.

Rouge x

PHYT’S “Panacée” Moisturiser – Review.

Anyone who has been following me for the past few months will know that I’ve been studying for my “Professional Exams” for what feels like an entire lifetime. I may have been studying for over 6 years at this stage, but the stress monster reappears every single time an exam paper looms on the horizon. I’ve never gotten used to it. When I’m studying; I tend to neglect my usual routine, drink buckets of coffee and forget to consume anything that resembles a vegetable. As you can imagine, my skin suffers dreadfully – I’m talking breakouts, dry patches and everything in between.

My exams took place a few weeks ago and ever since, I’ve been trying to revive my skin to its former glory. I’ve reverted to my regular routine, with a little adjustment. One major change has been that I’ve switched up my facial moisturiser. I was gifted the beautiful “Panacée” moisturiser from PHYT’s by V Claire Salon and I’ve been using it religiously (morning and night) for about a month now.

I know that lots of people roll their eyes and stop paying attention when a blogger says that a product was “gifted” but, I have a long standing relationship with V Claire Salon and we share a similar ethos when it comes to cosmetics. I would never speak highly of a product that I don’t love, and Virginie (founder of V Claire Salon), would lose all faith in me if I did. Trust me when I say that I’ve put this moisturiser through its paces – the goal was to transform my skin from dehydrated, dull and broken-out to bright and healthy looking. I really didn’t want to have to go back to work (after study leave) feeling that wearing make up wasn’t optional because my skin was in bad condition.

The “Panacée” moisturiser is an anti-aging product that’s primarily aimed at more mature skin. However, I’m a big believer in the old “prevention is better than the cure” ideology so I’m happy to use any anti-aging products that suit my skin. The ingredients in this formula include edelweiss & rosemary, acmella, rye, brown seaweed and punarnava. This list may not mean much to those of us who don’t have expertise in the science behind skincare but these ingredients combine to nourish skin and help it to retain a youthful elasticity. One of the things that I love most about the PHYT’s range is that it’s natural and organic. There are no chemical nasties in the “Panacée” moisturiser and it works just as well (if not better than) as any expensive, chemical filled moisturiser that I’ve tried.

My personal experience with this moisturiser is that it’s helped to regenerate my stressed, tired skin. A little goes a long way and one of the things that I love most about this product is that it absorbs into the skin almost instantly and sits well under make up. There’s nothing worse than a facial moisturiser that sits on the face, feeling greasy. Since I started using the moisturiser morning and night, after cleansing; my skin cleared up and feels rehydrated. I’ve been getting lots of compliments from complete strangers and asked how I keep my skin bright and clear.

A month ago, my goal was to get my skin back into good condition to the point that I didn’t feel I “had to” wear foundation to look presentable. Let’s be clear, I wear make up because I enjoy the process – not because I feel it’s an everyday essential. The picture above was taken last weekend. It was taken in natural light and the only make up that I was wearing at the time was mascara, some cream blush and a balm on my lips. Not a smidgen of foundation in sight. Honestly, I think my skin looks great now and although I do have good skin genes (thanks Mam), the reality is that the older that I get; the more my skin seems to need a regular, effective routine to keep it in good shape.

I believe 100% that the “Panacée” moisturiser is helping to keep my skin nourished and radiant. The product retails at €115 and is available here. I know that’s expensive but in my opinion, good skincare is an investment. This is especially true in the case of organic, natural skincare because you can be sure that you’re not doing any harm to your face/body by using such products. However, if possible, I do recommend popping into V Claire Salon or any PHYT’s stockist nationwide to have a chat with the specialists about your skin concerns and skin type, before parting with your hard earned cash.

What do you think? Have you been tempted to try some organic, natural beauty products? Let us know in the comments.

Rouge x

Brace Yourself, Dry Hands are Coming – My Top 3 Hand Creams.

It’s frickin’ BALTIC outside all of a sudden and the central heating is on full blast. This paired with my new fascination with cleaning (thanks to Mrs. Hinch) means that my hands are in bits. I know that lots of you are probably suffering with the same issue at the moment so I thought I’d share a post on my favorite hand creams.

CeraVe “Reparative Hand Cream”:

I was only recently introduced to the CeraVe brand and I have to say, I’m very impressed with the products that I’ve tried. Their “Reparative Hand Cream” does exactly what it says in the packaging. It absorbs into the skin really quickly and doesn’t leave any greasy residue, which is exactly what I look for in a hand cream. This formula includes hyaluronic acid so it works to repair cracked and dry skin, as well as instantly soothing it. The product is also fragrance free so it’s suitable for sensitive skin. This is the cream that I reach for after I’ve cleaned the house with detergents that make my hands sting. I’ve got really sensitive skin so I’m currently on the look out for some more natural cleaning products. CeraVe’s “Reparative Hand Cream” is available in pharmacies nationwide and costs just €5 – an absolute bargain.

The Body Shop “Shea Hand Cream”:

This hand cream from The Body Shop is absolutely divine. It has an almost gel like texture so again, this one absorbs really quickly. The shea scented version smells luxurious but it’s not over powering. The formula soothes skin and I feel instant relief when I use it. The Body Shop’s Hand cream is my handbag staple and at €6.50 it’s another affordable option. The packaging is also fabulous so it would be a lovely stocking filler / kris kindle present – sorry for mentioning Christmas so soon.

Crabtree & Evelyn “Verbena & Lavender De Provence Ultra Moisturising Hand Therapy:

This hand cream from Crabtree and Evelyn is absolute heaven. It’s rich and luxurious, without being greasy. I adore the scent which is lavender with a hint of lemon and it lingers on the skin for hours. The ingredients include shea butter, macadamia nut and vitamins so it’s a really nourishing formula that genuinely improves the condition of my skin. The Crabtree and Evelyn Hand cream is more expensive than the others on the list at €24 but it’s double the size of the CeraVe option and over triple the size of The Body Shop hand cream – it’s a 100ml tube. This hand cream is one of my all time favourites and it’s another one that’s a gorgeous gift option.

And there you have it; three quick solutions to rescue tired, dry hands. Let me know if you have any other favourites to add to the list. And, definitely let me know if you have any advice on natural/organic cleaning products.

Rouge x

The Ginja Ninja’s Essential Guide to SPF.

I can’t complain, I know that I CAN’T complain but do you know what it’s like to be ginger in this heat? Absolutely dangerous. I’ve become a self-certified expert in all things relating to sunscreen and by that I mean that I’m not an expert at all but I have found some life saving, skin protecting products that work well for me. So, I thought I’d fill you in..

Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily SPF 50+:

 

Alpha H Sunscreen

 

Alright, so I know that this one is pricey at €39 but a facial SPF is a skincare essential regardless of whether it’s roasting outside. So, I see this one as an investment. Think of all of the wrinkles that you won’t have in your old age if you apply this product every morning. Out of all of the facial SPFs that I’ve tried, this one is my favourite. And yes, I’ve tried the cult favourite Image SPFs in the original and matte formulas. For me, the Alpha-H formula just absorbs into the skin more quickly than any other similar product that I’ve tried. It sits nicely under make up and most importantly, it doesn’t clog my pores – which is an issue that I have with the majority of facial SPFs that I’ve tried. Alpha-H is available from a range of pharmacies nationwide or online from Cloud 10 Beauty (who often have a good discount code on the go).

 

P20 “Once a Day Sun Protection Spray:

 

p20 sunscreen.jpg

 

I’m not the only ginger in my household and this product is one that the whole family use. My Dad put it to the test when he moved to Australia, many moons ago and we’ve been using P20 ever since. It’s my go to body sunscreen because it only needs to be applied once a day and it’s not greasy on the skin (although it does take about 15 mins to dry after application). It also applies clear so there’s no white residue to contend with and, if you ever get to the beach (unlike those of us spending the heatwave in their office), it’s water resistant so doesn’t need to be re-applied every time that you go for a dip. That said, I would definitely reapply if you’re coating the kiddies in it because it’s better to be safe than sorry. P20 is on sale at Cloud 10 Beauty at the moment – not an ad or sponsored content, they just seem to have really cost effective offers available.

 

Isa Dora “Twist Up Lip Balm” (SPF 15):

 

Isa Dora Lip Balm Review

 

Isa Dora are one of my favourite brands. They offer really high quality beauty products at an affordable price point and I’ve never been left disappointed with a purchase. Their “Twist Up Lip Balm” isn’t groundbreaking or life changing but it is gorgeous all the same. It contains natural oils to nourish the lips and also an SPF to protect them (which many lipsticks and balms don’t). The shades are all pretty natural so can be applied liberally and on the go, without a mirror. The formula also has a delicious raspberry scent so it just reminds me of summer and fruity cocktails by the beach. This product is also on sale (with 40% off) here from Feel Unique which is an absolute bargain!

And there you have it – these three are my SPF essentials and to date, my favourite sun protection products. It may also be worth mentioning that SPF does have an expiration date so if you’re using the products that you bought last summer – they really aren’t good enough. In my opinion, every SPF product needs to be replaced 9 months after opening. I know it’s a pain for our pockets (let’s face it – sunscreen is a boring purchase) but you’ll thank me when you’re not withering around in sunburn hell.

Now, drop us a comment and let us know if you’ve been loving or hating the heatwave – I don’t think I’ve ever experienced weather like this in Ireland in the past 25 years!!

Rouge x

 

Spring into Summer – At Home Pedicures

It’s officially sandal season! As I type this, Irish ladies are ditching their ankle boots and court shoes in favour of more breathable footwear options. We’ve had a spell of good weather lately and I think that we all have our fingers and toes crossed for the sunshine to stay awhile longer. With this in mind, I thought I would write a little post about keeping those toes in good condition, after hiding them in socks for the past few months.

As soon as the sun makes an appearance, salons everywhere are swarmed by those seeking last minute pedicure appointments. So, if your salon is fully booked or you just want to save yourself a small fortune, here’s my guide to a perfect “at home” pedicure.

 

Step 1: Remove Dead Skin.

 

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Bellamianta “Luxury Exfoliating Glove” (€9.95) – Available Here.

Rather than using a body scrub filled with micro-beads, I usually opt to exfoliate using some shower gel and this glove/mitt from Bellamianta. It’s a really gentle way to remove dead skin from the body and the feet and it’s brilliant for removing stubborn false tan streaks. The glove is also really cost effective. At only €10, you can treat it with care and you’ll have it for months!

 

Photo:Andrew Downes

Micro Pedi Nano (€29.95) – Available Here.

If your feet are particularly neglected, this is a great little gadget for removing dead skin. However, I would warn users to take it slowly when using the product – if you take off too much skin, your feet will be tender for days! When used gently, this electronic device removes all the rough skin to leave toes feeling silky soft. And, it’s small enough to pack into your hand luggage if you’re off on holidays.

 

Step 2: File.

 

Choose any nail file that you like and use it to shape your toenails. Always file in one direction to avoid damaging the nail.

 

Step 3: Paint.

 

 

Kiss “Diamond Hard Nail Strengthener” (€5.99) – Available Here.

I always apply a nail strengthener to my nails before polishing them, to keep them in good condition and to help avoid staining. This one from Kiss is great value and keeps nails from chipping or breaking.

CND “One Week Vinylux Polish” (€11.95) – Available Here.

This polish does exactly what it says on the packaging and if applied using the corresponding top coat, it won’t chip for at least 7 days. I have very weak nails and this is one of the very few polishes on the market that stays put on them for more than five minutes. There are cheaper options on the market but in my opinion, the “Vinylux” nail polish is worth an extra few euro – my favourite shade is “Cake Pop”.

Wet n Wild “1 Step Wonder Gel” (€2.99) – Available in Pharmacies Nationwide.

If the CND “Vinylux Polish” is out of your budget, then this option from Wet n Wild is almost as good. It doesn’t last an entire 7 days on my finger nails without chipping, but it lasts for ages on my toes. The polish is only €2.99 which is an absolute bargain and the shade range is great so next time you’re in Penneys or a pharmacy that stocks Wet N Wild, I suggest that you pick up a few!

 

Step 4: Moisturise and Apply Cuticle Oil

 

 

Ziaja “Foot Cream” (€3.99) – Available Here.
I haven’t written about the brand in ages but long time followers of Rouge Writing Hood will know that I LOVE Ziaja body care products. Their body lotions and balms are so affordable and they achieve great results – as good as any luxury brand that I’ve tried. At only €3.99, their “Foot Cream” is one of my favourite products. I first tried this when I was away for the weekend in Warsaw (Ziaja is a Polish brand) and my feet were killing me after a weekend of stomping around nightclubs in high heels. The cream is instantly soothing and really helps to repair cracked, damaged skin. I now apply it every second night before I go to bed.

 

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CND “Solar Oil” (€4.95) – Available Here.

“Solar Oil” by CND is the only cuticle oil that I’ve tried and found effective. It’s formulated specifically to penetrate beneath shellac and gel polish so it really works to moisture the nails and keep them in healthy condition. The oil is filled with vitamin E which promotes nail growth and leaves nails stronger. This formula should be applied nightly before bed and a little goes a long way.

There you have it – fours steps to achieving silky soft feet from the comfort of your own home. If you can think of any products that you would recommend – let us know in the comment section..

Rouge x

 

 

The “Hit, Miss and Maybe” Series – Face Masks

Another week, another “Hit, Miss and Maybe” post. So far, we’ve had a look at micellar watercleansing lotions and wash and facial exfoliators. To date, the posts have been really successful and lots of you seem to enjoy reading about the products that I love and the ones that amount to a skincare disaster, in my opinion. Of course, you haven’t all been in agreement with my choices but that’s half the fun – I’m having a great time sifting through the comments and picking up some skincare tips along the way.

This week, we’re going to talk about face masks. A face mask isn’t really an essential step in one’s skincare routine but everyone deserves a little bit of luxury. I’m a big fan of these type of products and usually apply a face mask once a week or more often, if I’m going on a night out. Here are some of the products that I love and, of course, some of the ones that I hate..

“Hit” Products:

PHYT’s “Masque Révélateur” (€24) – Available Here from PHYT’s Ireland:

 

PHYTs Masque Review

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that PHYT’s is one of my all-time favourite skincare brands. They produce organic, natural and cruelty-free products that contain active ingredients which means that although they’re gentle, the products REALLY work. This product is a radiance mask, which means that it’s designed to brighten dull, tired skin. And, I can confirm that the results are instantaneous.

If I have lots of time to get ready before I night out, I will apply this mask after cleansing my skin and allow it to work its magic for fifteen minutes while I curl my hair. The ingredients in the mask including camphor, mint and sunflower extract work together to soothe tired skin, smoothing the surface and brightening the area – this product is gentle enough that it can even be used underneath the eyes to diminish dark circles. I rinse the mask off using lukewarm water and a facecloth and my skin looks instantly plump and refreshed, as though I just had a good night’s sleep. After using this formula, foundation sits far better on my face and doesn’t cling to any dry skin. If you have an event coming up, I would 100% recommend taking an extra few minutes before applying make-up to use this product.

ESPA “Optimal Skin ProCleanser” (£31 – UK) – Available Here from ESPA:

ESPA Optimal Skin ProCleanser

Alright, so technically this product is marketed as a cleanser but, it’s actually a multi-tasking formula. When it comes to removing make-up, I prefer to use the ESPA “Hydrating Milk Cleanser” which I wrote about here but I think that the “Optimal Skin ProCleanser” is the bees knees when used as a face mask. One of the main ingredients in this formula is actually bees wax so a little goes a long way. This mask is very luxurious and has a strong scent, reminiscent of a day spa. I tend to use this one before showering because it does contain some exfoliating beads and can be a little messy. To use this one, you simply massage it into the skin and allow it to work its magic for 15 minutes before rinsing off. The brightening effects are instantaneous and because this formula also works as an exfoliator, skin feels super soft after use.

Image Skincare “Clear Cell Clarifying Masque” (€35) – Available in Salon Only:

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Image Skincare is a great brand for really strong and effective products, which is why they’re only available for purchase in salons where trained Image Skincare specialists can recommend specific products to suit your skin type and to help combat your individual skin concerns. This “Clear Cell Masque” is a brilliant option for anyone who suffers from problem skin. Now, 99% of the time, I have really clear skin but if I’m feeling under pressure and stressed, my skin tends to break out. On these occasions, I tend to apply this product to the specific problem areas and rinse off with cool water after about 15 mins. Because I don’t have oily skin, I don’t apply this product to my whole face but if you suffer from acne, I think this may be a great product for you. I find that the glycolic and salicylic acid in the formula really helps to draw impurities to the surface of he skin, while the green tea extracts in the product soothe sore, red skin.

Again though, Image products are professional products so I do recommend that you get the advice of your local Image specialist before purchasing this mask. For any Cavan girls, I recommend my local salon, Essential Beauty Skin and Laser.

“Maybe” Products:

 

TonyMoly “I Am Real Aloe Mask Sheet” (€3):

 

TonyMoly Aloe Mask Sheet

I know that the world is going mad for these sheet masks at the minute and I can’t really argue with that €3 price tag but, I just wasn’t blown away by this product. I love sheet masks as much as the next person, but I have to question whether they’re really just a gimmick. This product is definitely soothing and cooling on the face but, I didn’t really see any noticeable results after use. My skin didn’t appear more plump or any healthier so this one only gets a “maybe” from me – it’s great for relaxation purposes but, don’t expect and drastic visual results. If you’re looking for a hydrating sheet mask, Image Skincare also have a gorgeous option that’s more expensive, but worth looking in to.

Dermalogica “Charcoal Rescue Masque” (€48):

Dermalogica Charcoal Face Masque

Alright, so last week I wrote about a Dermalogica cleanser that I love, so as you can imagine, I had high hopes for this product and at first, I loved it. The brand promise that this formula works to detoxify skin, eliminating impurities such as spots and blackheads. This is a claim that the product actually lives up to but after prolonged use over a few months, I found that this formula was a little drying on my skin and that’s why it’s on my “maybe” list. Plus, the charcoal makes it really, really messy. However, if you’ve got oily, acne-prone skin and enjoy a good exfoliating mask, this would probably suit your skin type.

“Miss” Products:

 

Montagne Jeunesse Face Masks (€1.50):

 

 

All of the memories from your teenage years have just come flooding back to you, haven’t they? These face masks, a firm favourite at girly sleepovers in the 90s and 00s are available in pharmacies nationwide for the dirt cheap price of €1.50. But, there’s a reason that they cost less than a family sized bar of Galaxy chocolate. These products are fun to apply and often smell fab but the truth is that they just don’t do anything. In fact, my skin often felt greasy after using these products, which is never a good look. Honestly, I think that there’s a good reason that these masks only cost €1.50 and, you’d be better off buying that bar of chocolate if you want to treat yourself!

 

And there you have it, another selection of “Hit, Miss and Maybe” products. If you have any opinions on the products listed or feel that you could add some different products into these categories, please do let us know in the comment section of this post or the corresponding Instagram picture..

Rouge x