Éminence “Bright Skin Starter Set” – Review

If you have been following Rouge Writing Hood for awhile, you will know that over the past few weeks, I have been studying for exams. This, of course, means that I’ve barely slept in a month and after I finished my final exam last week, I looked exactly how that sounds – terrible!

Post-exam I took a trip to Amsterdam which I knew would involve lots of photographs. So my goal was to repair my dull, tired and dehydrated skin as quickly as possible. Otherwise, my make up wouldn’t have settled on my face properly and those photos that my friends snapped would have induced frantic clicking of the “remove tag” option on Facebook. So, I dug out my travel-friendly “Bright Skin Starter Set” by Éminence, packed it in my hand luggage and prayed for a miracle.

Eminence Bright SKin Starter Set

The kit includes everything that your skin would require on a weekend away: a decent sized cleanser, moisturiser (with SPF 30), a booster-serum and a brightening skin masque. Now, the set is marketed as a “month’s supply” of the products but if I’m honest, I don’t think you would get quite that long out of the products other than the “Licorice Root Booster Serum” and the “Bright Skin Masque”. If you cleanse and moisturise twice daily, you won’t get any more out of the cleanser and moisturiser than a 2-3 week supply. So, if you’re looking for a long-term supply of product, this kit isn’t for you. However, if you’re jetting off on holidays or simply want to trial the Éminence products without committing to the full price, this kit is perfection.

While talking about these products, I have to mention that Éminence is an “organic brand” which means that their products contain a minimum of 70% and up to 95% organic ingredients. The don’t use “filler” ingredients such as parabens, which are often found in cheaper skincare formulas and all of their products are cruelty free – I know that this is important to lots of Rouge Writing Hood’s followers. It’s also important to note that Éminence are a spa brand and I recommend that before purchasing their products, you visit a stockist and have your products prescribed by a professional skin therapist. I got my products from Anne McDevitt Beauty  in Dublin.

So let’s talk about the products in this specific kit. Generally, I don’t suffer from breakouts or acne so I would classify my skin as clear. However, when I’m studying or stressed, my skin rebels – it breaks out and becomes blotchy, dehydrated and dull. I used these products on occasion before my holidays and knew that they’d combat these issues. The cleanser and moisturiser in the kit feel lovely on the skin. I’ve been double cleansing with the cleansing cream which leaves the skin spotless but doesn’t strip it of moisture. And, the moisturiser isn’t too heavy or sticky and boasts a high SPF30 so that ticks a lot of boxes for me.

However, the standout products in this kit are definitely the “Licorice Root Booster Serum” and the “Bright Skin Masque”. I would repurchase the full-sized version of these babies in a heart beat. The “Licorice Root Booster Serum” is a skin brightening serum that feels light on the skin and absorbs really quickly. It’s filled with ingredients and antioxidants, including vitamin E and licorice root extract that rejuvenate dull, tired skin. This is one of the few serums that I would feel comfortable using in the morning, without feel like there’s an oil-slick on my face.

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The “Bright Skin Masque” was my favourite product in the starter kit. I used it every morning on my weekend away, to combat the appearance of my hangover which was written all over my skin. To use this product, you add a few drops of water to a pea sized amount of the formula and massage it evenly on to your face. Then, you wait for the product to dry (15 mins) and rinse off with warm water. This product is absolute bliss and a little goes a long way so I definitely think the full-size product would be worth the €58 price tag. I wouldn’t necessary recommend using this product daily, as I did on my holidays (I was having a skin emergency) but I would use it once a week. After application, I notice reduced redness, puffiness and my complexion appears calmer and brighter.

Over all, I loved these products and I will be looking further into the Éminence brand. I will be repurchasing the masque and serum (as soon as payday rolls by) but once again, because the Éminence products are quite pricey, I recommend booking in for a skin consultation at Anne McDevitt Beauty before you commit to purchasing the full-sized products. However, if you can’t make it to Dublin, the salon sell a number of “starter kits” online and you can check them out by clicking here.

Have you tried products from the brand before? Let me know what you’ve loved in the comment section as I’m looking to expand my collection!

Rouge x

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CND – The Art Vandal Collection. 

It’s true what they say; once you’ve had CND shellac, you won’t go back. The brand pride themselves on creating high quality formulas which provide vibrant, long-lasting colour, without damaging nails. 
 

I’ve been a huge fan of the “Vinylux” (weekly polish) range from CND for ages now so when I was invited to attend the launch of their “Art Vandal” collection, I was delighted to oblige. On arrival at the event, we were treated to some bubbly, sweet treats and a manicure using any shade from the new range (either shellac or Vinylux) – absolute bliss! 
 
Opting for the the shellac formula, I picked the shade “Digi-Teal, an electric blue from the new collection. My manicurist, the fabulous Susan from Rinn Neimhe Beauty Salon, Co. Leitrim took wonderful care of me. She explained that my nails were weak and damaged, due to winter weather and stressed the importance of the regular use of hand cream and cuticle oil – something I had never bothered with before. 

    
After one week of wear, I have to say that I am in absolute awe of the CND polish. There’s not a single chip in sight and most surprisingly, my nails appear to be stronger than usual. I’m delighted with the colour of the polish, as well as the cute glittering and foil detailing which can be added to any CND formula. 

  
I can’t wait to try the rest of the shades from the “Art Vandal Collection” – who doesn’t love a splash of colour in spring? 

  

Stay tuned for reviews and pictures from the Vinylux version of the collection. In the meantime, tell me – have you ever tried CND shellac? Or, do you have a favourite brand of your own? 

Rouge X 

Inglot’s AMC Eyebrow Gel – Review.

Don’t worry about me, worry about your eyebrows.

After posting a few too many selfies onto my Instagram account, I have been getting lots of questions about which products I use to shape my eyebrows. Eyebrow sculpting is a precarious art – if you do it properly, your face will appear more defined but if you use too much product you look RIDICULOUS. Yes, if you are smearing powder, gel, wax and liner all over your brow area, you probably do look ridiculous. Less is more in this instance.

As many of you already know, I am very pale with a definite ginger gene. So, it took me a long time to discover products which matched my hair and skin tone – there is nothing attractive about red hair paired with black eyebrows.

Inglot Brow Gel
However, a few months ago, my fabulous friend gifted me Inglot’s “AMC Eyebrow Gel” and I haven’t looked back since. With a range of 12 shades, Inglot have gone out of their way to accommodate those who like to match their hair colour with their eyebrows. There is one for everyone.

To use this gel, grab a small angled brush and dip it lightly into the product. Then, use the formula to sculpt the natural shape of your eyebrows. I always start from the arch and draw out towards the ears, then use the excess product on the brush by blending it in to the rest of the brow. This formula is waterproof so it is long lasting, and won’t budge from your face throughout the day.

  

 

 The above picture shows before (right eyebrow) and after (left eyebrow). It does take a few practice runs to perfect the technique and if you are unsure of your shade, I recommend visiting your local Inglot counter for a consultation with one of their well-trained staff.

Inglot’s “AMC Eyebrow Gel” is €16 and available here. Check it out and let me know what you think.

  

What products do you use to shape your eyebrows? Are you a fan of powder, gel or wax consistency?

Let me know – I love to hear your recommendations.

Rouge x

Daily Make-Up Look on a Budget (The College Edition). 

Quite a few of those who regularly read this blog are students and as you all know, college is a very expensive luxury. So, when I write about “high-end” products, I know that many of you are scoffing at the notion of spending €50 on foundation or €30 on a new lipstick.

Surely there must be a more affordable option? Well, today I have raided my make-up collection to put together an everyday look, using only “drugstore” products.

If you are not using a primer underneath your make-up, you need to invest in one. It will keep your foundation in place for considerably longer meaning that you won’t be practically barefaced come that 3pm lecture. I love this “Illuminating Primer” from Flormar which is available here for just €9.95. It’s really hydrating and should sooth skin which is sensitive to winter weather.

After applying primer, I always use a little liquid highlighter to brighten my complexion. I’m really enjoying this Botanic’s “Radiance Balm” which is available here for just €3.99. Apply lightly under foundation for a soft glow.

When it comes to choosing affordable products, I find it particularly difficult to fall in love with foundations. I am a Charlotte Tilbury fanatic but if I was on a strict budget, I would pick up this “Flawless Cream Foundation” from MeMeMe. It provides lovely, even coverage and is available in pharmacies nationwide for €15.99.

I rarely use bronzer when creating daytime looks because I’m so pale, and because I enjoy the extra few minutes in bed. Therefore, I really need a good blush to give my face some colour. I really like this Sleek blusher in the shade “Rose Gold” because it has a strong pigment which will last all day. It is also a great dupe for the Nars cult favourite “Orgasm” and is available at Cloud10 Beauty for just €5.99.

A good mascara is a must in my beauty book but, it is incredibly difficult to find a high quality formula at an affordable price. I really like Flormar’s “Spider Lash” which does exactly what it says on the packaging by giving an elongated effect, reminiscent of spider legs. Slightly gross imagery but really good results. Available here for just €4.95, this mascara is almost as good as my trusty Lancome “Grandiose” and that is a pretty big claim!

When creating a daytime look, my final step is always a pop of subtle lipstick. Go for something neutral like this Wet n Wild formula in “Bare it All” so you don’t look “over done”. At €2.99 this lipstick is a bargain so you can pick up as many as you like without feeling an iota of  guilt. Wet n Wild is available in pharmacies nationwide and in Dunnes Stores.

The final look you ask?

A “barely there” look which gives the illusion of flawless skin. And all for the grand total of €43.86 – that’s a heck of a lot of products for under €50. Student make-up bag? Sorted..

Rouge x

The Clarisonic Smart Profile – Review. 

€249 for a skincare device? Yes, I initially thought it was ridiculous too. However, when you’re pulling all nighters for exams and your skin rebels with the force of Solange Knowles in an elevator, you would try ANYTHING!

The “Smart Profile” is a sonic cleansing skincare device from Clarisonic which automatically adjusts timing and power to suit different face and body parts. For example, the timing customisation means that more delicate areas of the face such as the cheeks, receive a lighter cleanse than the forehead or nose. This is great news for anyone with sensitive skin.

I have been using the Clarisonic for approximately 5 weeks and, I’m afraid that traditional cleansing has been ruined for me for life. How the heck did I ever survive without this perfect device?

Dr. Robb Alridge, co-founder of Clarisonic states that the “Smart Profile” device cleanses skin 11 times better than using hands alone and while I can’t vouch for this particular equation – I can say that my skin feels much softer, fresher and definitely cleaner after using the Clarisonic.

To use the Clarisonic “Smart Profile”, I apply my regular cream cleanser (any cleanser can be used with the device), soak the brush head in warm water and massage face as directed. The timing customisation is made obvious by user alerts, ensuring the process is uncomplicated. I really appreciate the fact that the device has a ‘turbo’ function which allows the user to increase power at any time.

iPhone creators could also learn a thing or two from Clarisonic, with the battery of the “Smart Profile” lasting weeks at a time before the need to recharge is indictated.

All in all, I won’t be returning to traditional methods of cleansing. My exam-stress related breakouts have finally subsided and my skin is looking brighter and healthier than ever. Is the device worth €249? Well, obviously if you don’t have the money – it’s not a priority but if you are having skin problems or just want to treat yourself, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase one of these babies.

Let me know if you do!

Rouge x

Lancome Grandiose Mascara.

As a beauty blogger, it’s not often that I come across a ‘Holy Grail’ product. For weeks now, I’ve been avoiding the allure of high-end mascara in the hope of finding a trustworthy ‘bargain buy’, but I’m sorry – I just can’t locate one. As a redhead, I have naturally invisible lashes so I need something show-stopping. I need volume, curl and length – is that too much to ask?


Apparently Lancome doesn’t think so. Meet my new best friend, ‘Grandiose’ mascara. This baby is just beautiful! With it’s “swan neck” wand it grabs lashes from the root, fanning them out, whilst creating divine volume. It is also pretty moisturising which is great if your lashes are in bad condition.

My pet peeve regarding mascara is that I seem to have an inability to coat my lower lashes without creating smudge similar to that made famous by Marilyn Manson. However, the ‘Grandiose’ wand simplifies the process (although it does take a little practice).

I have simply been wriggling the wand from root to tip (two coats) to create the illusion of full and even lashes. Be careful though, if you don’t ‘wriggle’, you will end up with clumpy lashes!

You’d like to see the proof for yourself you say? Well here you go:

Pretty impressive, huh? I know I won’t be letting this beauty escape from my make-up bag!

‘Grandiose’ retails at €30 which is very expensive but every now and then, you’re entitled to “treat yo self” – yes, I went there! I picked mine up in Arnotts, if you want to pop over to their website for more details.

What do you think? Would you be willing to spend €30 of your hard-earned cash on a ‘Holy Grail’ product?

Rouge x

Essence ‘The Gel’ Nail Polish Review.

As I’ve told you millions of times at this stage, I recently abandoned my much loved acrylic nails in favour of a healthy, natural look. Therefore, I have taken to painting my nails at home and this has involved trying and testing a multitude of formulas and brands. One of my favourites so far has been Essence’s ‘The Gel’ nail polish. The budget friendly brand have released 46 new shades which promise the salon ‘gel effect’, without the need for UV light.

The colour range is really impressive and the formula is highly pigmented. Two coats and you’ll be laughing! I’ve tried a few of the shades which I will detail below and have gotten 3-4 days ‘chip-free’ wear from each colour without a base or top coat. This is great considering that I work with a computer keyboard all day long! Essence have developed a base and top coat for ‘The Gel’ nail polishes so I would imagine that by applying these, you can extend wear time.

  

‘Black is Back’.

  
‘Serendipity’.

  
‘Wonderfuel’.

  
‘Prince Charming’.

What do you think of the colours? Ooh, and I haven’t even mentioned the best part yet! Each bottle retails at just €1.79. BARGAIN!

Will you be purchasing?

Rouge x