Lancome “Matte Lip Shaker” – Review

A few months ago, I started a new job and blogging was kind of placed on the “back burner”. As much as I adore testing new beauty products, I simply found that I didn’t have as much time to play around with new releases and I’m never going to publish half-assed reviews, just for the sake of it. As any Irish parent would tell you, “money doesn’t grow on trees” and the beauty market is saturated with new releases to tempt the bank balance. However, now that I’ve settled in to the job, I’m back with some new review posts – and this time you can be sure that I’m choosing the “créme de la créme” of products to write about because I won’t find any time to write about the mediocre ones.

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Today, I want to talk to you about a product that I have been testing for months – the Lancome “Matte Shaker” lip colours. At first, when I received these in the post, I was worried that the design might be a gimmick but the novelty still hasn’t worn off. The packaging is sleek and quirky but more importantly, it’s handbag-proof. The lid of the “Matte Shaker” is sturdy and won’t open in your bag while you’re on the move. Anyone who has had the inside of their designer handbag smeared with bright lipstick will realise just how handy this is. The sponge applicator is difficult to get used to in the beginning and you will definitely need a mirror to apply this product but, the shape of the sponge eliminates the need to use a lip liner which is a pro that outweighs the con, in my opinion.

I’ve played around with all of the colours in this collection and there’s something to suit everyone. There are seven shades that range from peach to nude to bright orange. Although, I have to say that, for me, the reds steal the show. “Red-y In 5” is my favourite shade from the range and the one that I have chosen to use for imagery purposes in this post. It’s a beautiful, bold red that has gorgeous blue undertones. This type of red shade is perfect for pale complexions and the blue undertones help to create the illusion of whiter teeth.

 

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Now, let’s talk about the formula. What sets this matte lipstick apart in a market saturated with similar products? Well, I have to say that while there may be one hundred other matte lip products on the market at the moment, there are none quite like this one.

The formula is packed with pigment and although it’s build-able, it was designed to be applied as a super thin layer of colour. Any residue of the product seems to almost evaporate when it’s applied to the lips, so the formula wears like a second skin. The “Matte Lip Shakers” are exactly that – completely and totally matte so if you are looking for a moisturising lip product, this isn’t it. However, because the formula is so lightweight, it won’t drain any moisture from your lips and will leave them exactly as it found them.

I love the texture of this product and enjoy that it’s really comfortable to wear. Lots of matte lip products can feel heavy and balmy on the lips but you could forget that you were wearing any product at all, after applying the “Matte Shaker”.

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Taking all of the above into consideration, I have to say that I rate the “Matte Shaker” from Lancome as one of my favourite releases of 2017. I would even go as far as to say that it’s the most comfortable matte lipstick on the market at the moment, closely followed by TheBalm’s “Meet Matt(e) Hughes”.

Lancome “Matte Shakers” retail at €19.50 which is a pretty decent price point and they’re available from Lancome stockists nationwide. Have you tried the product? Or, do you already have favourite matte lipstick? Either way, we would love to hear about it so let us know in the comment section or over on Instagram under the corresponding post!

Rouge x

Urban Decay Dublin – My Top 5 Picks

If you’ve been following Rouge Writing Hood for any length of time, you will already know that Urban Decay is one of my all-time favourite make up brands. In fact, Urban Decay was actually the first high-end cosmetic brand that I made a purchase from – the original eye primer potion way back when I was 15. So, you can imagine my excitement when after all this time, Urban Decay decided to launch their first Irish “stand alone” store on Grafton Street, just minutes from where I work.

The new store opened on 22nd June 2017 and it’s everything that one would expect from Urban Decay. The design is edgy, fun and glamorous. And, most importantly, the store is home to ten make up stations and literally stocks every Urban Decay product on the market, as well as a few exclusives. It seems that lots of my followers are as excited about the opening as I am, with a few of you asking me to write a post about my favourite products from the brand. Now, this is one that I could talk about all day but to save us all a little time, I’ve narrowed it down to a “Top 5”.

 

Urban Decay “Vice Lipstick” (Shade – Naked):

Urban Decay Vice Naked Lipstick Review

I wrote a full length review on the “Vice” lipsticks back in 2016, and I still find myself reaching for the “Naked” shade on a daily basis. This shade is a handbag essential and I’ve actually repurchased it, which is majorly impressive because I NEVER use a lipstick in its entirety before moving on to another formula. “Naked” is a universally flattering shade, perfect for a natural look and the pigment isn’t too “nude” so it doesn’t make me look like the walking dead. The formula is also really moisturising so while the colour pay-off is excellent, it won’t dry out your lips.

 

Urban Decay “Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion”:

Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion Review

Like I said, this product is the one that introduced me to the world of high-end make-up and it will always have a place in my heart. If you could only purchase one product in the new Urban Decay store, I would recommend picking this one. I’ve been using the formula since I was 15, and although I’ve strayed to try some other formulas, none have ever quite matched up – including the “Eden” and “Sin” versions from Urban Decay. The original formula applies smoothly and keeps eyeshadow in place, without creasing until you decide to take it off. Plus, a little goes a long way so at €21, this product is an absolute bargain.

 

Urban Decay “Naked Flushed” (Shade – Streak):

Urban Decay Naked Flushd Streak Review

“Naked Flushed” in the shade “Streak” is the perfect contour palette for pale girls. The shades are beautifully flattering on fair-toned skin and although the blush looks a bit bright and intimidating in the palette, a little pop of it adds instant life and radiance to the face. The powder is really finely milled so it blends very easily and this means that you won’t have any obvious “contour lines”. I would recommend investing in a fluffy, angled contour brush for precise application though. If you’re in a rush, you can swirl your blush through all three shades and just add it to your cheeks for a flush of colour.

 

Urban Decay “Naked Eyeshadow Palette”:

Urban Decay Naked Palette Review

I know that I’m stating the obvious here. The original “Naked” palette is a cult favourite and I’m sure that at this stage, every beauty fanatic on the planet owns one but I couldn’t do a “Top 5” without mentioning it. Again, this palette was one of my first make up purchases and I still love the shades and formula. The mattes, shimmers and sparkles work really well together and blend to perfection so if you haven’t tried this product yet, what are you waiting for?

 

Urban Decay “Optical Illusion Complexion Primer”:

Urban Decay Optical Illusion Review

This product is a new one to my collection. I actually only purchased it this week but I already know that I love it. Recently, I was finding it really difficult to make my make-up stay on my face for the entire day, while I was at work. I was finding that by the time I got home in the evening, my make up was patchy and my skin looked dehydrated. So, I popped into the store to see if they had a solution and the lovely Amy, a senior make-up artist, introduced me to this beauty. The primer is pore minimising and applies to the skin like silk. It has a slightly “balmy” texture but is absorbed quickly and helps to blur imperfections, so make-up applies more evenly. The primer creates a barrier between the skin and your foundation so the make-up won’t get absorbed throughout the day. So far, I can’t fault this product and it’s working brilliantly.

 

And there you have it, my “Top 5 Picks” from the new Urban Decay store on Grafton Street. I’ll list the opening hours for the store below and if you pop in, let us know what you think in the comment section or the corresponding Instagram posts.

 Opening Hours:
Sunday: 12 noon to 6pm
Monday: 10am to 7pm
Tuesday:10am to 7pm
Wednesday: 10am to 7pm
Thursday: 10am to 9pm
Friday: 10am to 8pm
Saturday: 9.30am to 7pm

 

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

Camile Thai – Brunch Review

Last weekend, myself and two of my besties were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of Camile Thai’s new brunch menu, at their first “sit-in” restaurant in Phibsborough, Dublin. Those of you who are familiar with the Camile brand will know that they are famed for their Thai takeaway restaurant chain, so I was a little surprised when I heard that they were launching a brunch menu and I have to say that I really questioned what on earth “brunch with a Thai twist” would consist of.

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It turns out that “brunch with a Thai twist” is delicious and it’s EXACTLY what one needs to recover after a night out on the town. The brunch menu at Camile offers a wide range of options from classic breakfast dishes like “Eggs Benedict” to more substantial dishes like their “Katsu Chicken Fillets”.  The restaurant doesn’t offer a large selection of brunch cocktails yet but, the girls and I started our afternoon with a “Kir Camile” which is a lovely fruity combination of Prosecco and Creme de Cassis. It should be noted that they serve a really good quality glass of Prosecco that’s fairly light but has gorgeous almond, pear and apple flavours – for me, this is really important because I’m so sick of the “muck” that’s often served at some of the “bottomless brunches” that have become a fad in recent times.

 

 

Moving on to the food. First up, let’s talk about the “Eggs Benedict”. My friend had this dish, so I’m giving you the low-down from her point of view. This is probably the best time to mention that the three of us could be classified as “food snobs”. We have all worked in the hospitality/food industry, so our standards are pretty high. A brunch menu is not complete without the addition of an “Eggs Benedict” dish and Camile’s version consists of two poached eggs, rashers and chilli hollandaise sauce – all served on a toasted muffin. The presentation of this dish was brilliant and as you can see from the photo, it looked really appetising. There’s nothing particularly Thai about “Eggs Benedict” but, my friend really enjoyed the kick that the chilli hollandaise sauce gave to the dish. It’s a small but effective twist that transformed a dish that can be quite bland, to a flavoursome option – if you’re popping in for a quick breakfast, this is a great choice.

Next up, we have my dish of choice, the “Katsu Chicken Fillets”. This is the PERFECT option for anyone who is feeling hungover and needs a spicy pick-me-up. The crisp chicken fillets were accompanied by green curry sauce and fried potatoes that were seasoned with garlic, chilli and salt. This dish is ultimately a high-end version of the “spice bag” which just happens to be my takeaway of choice if I’ve had a few too many cocktails the night before. The chicken was cooked to perfection – the coating was perfectly crisp but the meat itself was juicy and full of flavour. The potatoes were the kind of “roasties” that melt in your mouth – they were fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside. I detest under-cooked or soggy fried potatoes but these were some of the best that I’ve tasted and the seasoning was great too – spicy but not too salty. The only minor issue that I have was that I would have liked more green curry sauce to be served with the dish but this is just a small hiccup and is easily resolved by simply asking for more sauce.

 

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The final dish that we sampled was the “Salmon Fish Cake Slider” which was served with a toasted muffin, roccola, siracha mayonnaise and fried potatoes. Now, I’m not a big fan of salmon but the lady who ordered it is. She described it as zesty with a kick of spice and loved the siracha mayo which added flavour to the fish. Again, the spiced fried potatoes were great. I have to admit that this dish looks divine!

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Calories don’t count on Sunday so all three of us opted to try the “Warm Death By Chocolate” dessert. I’m a “dessert person” and would usually choose sweet over savoury but I’m afraid that for me, this dessert fell a little short of the mark. It was light and tasty but it wasn’t exactly “death by chocolate” which, in my opinion, translates to calorific and smothered with rich chocolate sauce and/or caramel. Again, the presentation was great and this might be a good option for those who don’t enjoy heavy desserts but I would like to see a more luscious dessert option on the menu. The dessert didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the brunch experience, it’s just a little constructive criticism for the restaurant.

We had a brilliant afternoon at Camile – it was a fabulous place to recover after a night out/ The decor is really nice and relaxed, the staff were absolutely lovely and the customer service was flawless. Again, having worked in hospitality, we see this as something that either makes or breaks a restaurant. All three of us have agreed that we will definitely return at some stage – maybe next time we’ll opt for an evening meal with some of that delicious Prosecco.

Thai Brunch at Camile, Phibsborough is available every Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm and all the dishes are priced between €5.95 and €13.95 – it’s well worth a trip!

Rouge x

The “Hit, Miss and Maybe” Series – Facial Exfoliators

“Glowing skin is always in”.

Alright, so the “Hit, Miss and Maybe” series has officially become a thing. After last week’s post about cleansing lotions and the post before that about micellar water, I’ve decided to walk you all through my entire skin routine, detailing the products that I’ve tried and either loved or hated. We’ll make our way through every step of a good skincare routine, and if that’s a success, we’ll talk about the “Hit, Miss and Maybe” products in the make-up world.

This week – I’m going to write an account of the facial exfoliating products that I have tried lately and let you know which ones that I would repurchase (because that’s the real test – money doesn’t grow on trees) and which ones I’ve thrown in the trash. Remember, we want to create a really balanced series of posts here so if you agree or disagree with my choices, let us know in the comment section of this post or, on the corresponding Instagram post (UN: Rougewritinghood).

“Hit” Products:

 

Dermalogica “Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator”  (€46.80) – Available Here from Millies.ie:

 

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

This product is a “cult-favourite” skincare formula, and one of Dermalogica’s best sellers. It’s pretty pricey at €46 (which is a discounted price from Millie’s at the time of publishing this post) but, because it’s a powder formula and you only need a tiny bit for every use, the product lasts for AGES. I’d easily get 6-9 months out of one container, with twice weekly use. It should also be noted that because the “Daily Microfoliant” is a powder, it’s completely travel friendly.

To use this product, take about half a teaspoon of the formula and add it to soaking wet hands to create a paste. Apply the paste to your face, massage it in gently for about a minute and rinse. If you’re in a hurry, the exfoliator can also be added to your cleanser. Now, I wouldn’t use “Daily Microfoliant” every day, as recommended, because I don’t think skin needs to be exfoliated any more than twice weekly. However, the results from this product are instantaneous. Skin looks brighter and more radiant after just one use and, I find that my face feels spotlessly clean and fresh after rinsing. The scrub is very gentle and although Dermalogica recommend it for all skin types – I think it works especially well on dry/normal skin. I would probably go for a chemical exfoliation, rather than a scrub if I had very oily skin.

Vichy “Idéalia Night Peeling” (€30) – Available Here from Meaghers Pharmacy:

Vichy Idealia Night Peeling

I know that lots of you steer clear of exfoliating scrubs because you think that often, they’re so abrasive that they do more damage than good. And, even though I love a good scrub, I can see where you’re coming from. If you have very sensitive or oily skin, I recommend choosing a peeling product, over a scrub. “Idéalia Peeling” from Vichy is a foolproof, overnight exfoliating peel.

This formula is used by applying the product to a cotton pad and swiping it across your face, before applying your usual night cream. The ingredients, including glycolic acid activate as you sleep to peel and exfoliate the surface of your skin, removing dead skin cells and unblocking pores. This is a really gentle peel so you won’t see immediate results but after a few nights, you will notice that your skin feels less bumpy and looks more radiant. I love this exfoliator as a “quick fix” product and it’s become part of my night time skin routine. At €30, it’s pretty pricey but if you have the cash to spend and you have sensitive skin, you won’t regret the purchase.

Ren “Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial” (€38) – Available Here from Meaghers Pharmacy:

Ren Flash Rinse Facial

If you suffer from really dull skin, this exfoliating scrub is one that you will love. It’s one of the best brightening products that I’ve ever tried and while the results aren’t permanent or long-lasting, they are instantaneous and my skin looks instantly refreshed every time that I use this scrub. Often, if I’m preparing for a night out, I will use this product before applying moisturiser to my face. I then allow my moisturiser 10-15 mins to soak into my skin before applying make up. This creates a much smoother base for my foundation, which means it sits better and lasts longer. You can read my full review of the REN “Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial” here.

Clarins “Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream with Microbeads” (€32) – Available Here from Debenhams:

Clarins Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream Review

This exfoliating cream was one of the first Clarins products that I ever used, way back when I was in secondary school. The fact that I’m still reaching for it, tells me that it’s a pretty good formula. This creamy exfoliator is really gentle on dry and sensitive skin and for that reason, I use it if my skin is feeling dehydrated or sore. The microbeads in this formula are very gentle and they don’t feel abrasive on the skin. If you’re looking for something gentle and nourishing to remove dry patches on your face, then this product is a great bet. I would recommend using it once or twice a week for best results.

“Maybe” Products:

 

Bioré “Blemish Clearing Scrub” (€6.99):

Biore Blemish Clearing Scrub Review

This scrub is in my “maybe” category because although it didn’t work for my skin type, I have friends who swear by it. Now, most of you will already know that I don’t have very oily skin, nor do I really suffer many breakouts and for this reason, the Bioré scrub just doesn’t do anything for my skin. My skin didn’t feel any worse for using the product but because it’s a scrub that is designed to help combat oiliness and acne, I think it would be better suited to someone with really problematic skin. While I was in college, lots of my friends used this product and loved it – they’re a pretty tough audience when it comes to beauty and skincare products so I’m willing to take their word for it. This formula also has a gorgeous mint scent so, it’s a nice product to use first thing in the morning, before you start your day. The “Blemish Clearing Scrub” isn’t something that I would repurchase but, I think it would be a viable option for those who have acne prone skin.

“Miss” Products:

 

Lush “Dark Angels Face and Body Cleanser” (£7.25 – UK Price):

Lush Dark Angels Review

There are lots of things that I like about Lush. Their products are handmade, cruelty free and for the most part, they’re pretty effective. Lush face masks remind me of all the “girls’ night” sleepovers of my teenage years, when four of us with completely different skin types used the same pot of face mask – just because.

Unfortunately though, I have to say that I hate this product. I’m not sure why I purchased it because I’m not a big fan of charcoal scrubs in general but, this one is probably the worst of a bad bunch. First of all, it’s SO messy. If you use this product, you should do so before hopping into the shower or your entire bathroom will get covered in grey gloop and the facecloth that you use to rinse the scrub off your skin will never be white again. More importantly, even though this scrub contains ingredients like avocado oil and rosewood oil to soften and moisturise the skin, I found it to be really abrasive and very drying. My skin didn’t feel spotless after use (patches of the grey charcoal formula clung to my face) and I actually found that prolonged use of the product led to breakouts and sensitivity. Overall, I wouldn’t repurchase this product.

 

Clean and Clear “Blackhead Clearing Scrub” (€5.29):

 

Clean And Clean Scrub Review

This scrub from Clean and Clear isn’t the worst product that I’ve ever used. It does provide a pretty decent exfoliation and it didn’t cause my skin to breakout. However, it doesn’t live up to its “blackhead clearing” (after a single use) claim – at all. After over two weeks of use, I can’t say that this scrub reduced the visibility of the little impurities around my nose, which is why I purchased it in the first place. The formula is also filled with blue microbeads which, unlike the microbeads in the Clarins scrub, were really messy and difficult to rinse from the skin. My skin also felt a little tight and stripped of oil after use but it’s nothing that a bit of moisturiser didn’t sort out. The Clean and Clear formula isn’t dreadful but because it doesn’t live up to the promises made by the brand, it feels like a bit of a gimmick to me – I consider this one a waste of hard-earned money.

Nip and Fab “Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads” (€17.99):

Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix Review

These cleansing pads from Nip and Fab, which are supposedly adored by Kylie Jenner, are advertised as a means of chemical exfoliation using glycolic acid. The brand claim that these cleansing pads work to clear impurities, below the surface of the skin and by doing so, make the skin brighter and more radiant. Unfortunately, I found them to be ineffective.

Now, I know that your skin takes a little while to get used to the addition of glycolic acid into your cleansing routine but, I found that I couldn’t use these cleansing pads for any longer than three weeks. The didn’t brighten my skin but they did cause it to become sensitive, sore and created visible redness around the nose area. At €18, they’re a little more expensive than the other products in the “miss” category and to be honest, I would recommend saving this money and putting it towards a more expensive and effective product that works for your skin.

Simple “Clear Skin Oil Balancing Exfoliating Wash” (€5.29):

Simple Oil Balancing Exfoliating Wash

I’m not really sure why Simple decided to market this formula as a a facial exfoliator because, in my opinion, it’s not exfoliating at all. I don’t feel that the formula really gives a deep clean and, because it’s neither a scrub nor a chemical exfoliator, it’s sort of stuck in face wash limbo. I doubt that this product would help to alleviate breakouts and because it left my skin feeling a bit dry and lackluster, I wouldn’t recommend it for dry/normal skin types either. Again, it’s not the worst product that I’ve ever tried but it still ended up in the bin before I’d used even half of the tube.

And there you have it – all of the facial exfoliators that I have tried in the past few months. While writing this post, it became apparent to me that you seem to get what you pay for when it comes to this type of product, with luxury products performing far better than the budget alternatives. Do you think this is true?

If you have tried any products that you think should be added to any of the three “Hit, Miss and Maybe” categories, leave us a comment on this post or over on Instagram. And, if you disagree with any of my choices – be sure to let us know!

Rouge x

 

The “Hit, Miss and Maybe” Series – Cleansing Lotion and Wash

When I wrote the first post in my new “Hit, Miss and Maybe” series, I didn’t really know how it would be received by my followers. Lots of us have completely different skin types and complexions and so, lots of us have differing opinions on certain brands and cosmetics. However, it seems that the majority of my followers really liked the post and enjoyed the opportunity to interact on social media, telling us all about your favourite products and the ones that you think are utter crap! And, I really enjoyed reading the comments and taking on board some new recommendations.

So, I think that we’ll make the “Hit, Miss and Maybe” posts into a regular feature on Rouge Writing Hood. We’ll start with skincare products, taking you through an entire skincare regime before moving on to make up. My opinions may be controversial but sure, it’s all in the name of “authenticity”.

This week, let’s talk about cleansing lotion and wash. Cleanser is probably the most important step in a skincare regime. If you’re not taking your make up off properly at night, then you’re wasting your money on fancy moisturisers, face masks and foundations. So, find a cleanser that’s right for your own skin type, removes every trace of make up and is gentle on your skin – set the bar high and if you have to spend an extra few euro to get great results, I recommend doing so.

 

“Hit” Products:

PHYT’s Lait Nettoyant (€25) – Available Here:

 

Phyts Cleanser Review

PHYT’s are one of my favourite skincare brands. The brand are organic, cruelty-free and their products contain active ingredients for actual results. This cleanser is one that I use on a daily basis, after I’ve taken the bulk of my make up off using a micellar water or my “Cleanse Off Mitt”. “Lait Nettoyant” is a really creamy cleansing lotion that is perfect for dry skin. I apply it directly to my face, massage in upward, circular motions and rinse off with a warm facecloth. This formula leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated but I would stress that I feel it needs to be rinsed off properly (I never remove it with dry cotton wool) or you will feel a little residue of the lotion on your face. This product is perfect for dry/dehydrated skin but, if you have oily skin, I would recommend steering clear of creamy cleansers and opting for a cleansing milk instead.

ESPA “Hydrating Cleansing Milk” (£24) – Available Here:

ESPA Hydrating Cleansing Milk

This cleansing milk from ESPA is another one of my long-time skincare favourites. I first discovered the ESPA brand years ago when my Mum purchased this cleanser from the spa at Powerscourt Hotel in Wicklow. We both fell in love with the product and have since repurchased it, on numerous occasions. The ESPA “Hydrating Cleansing Milk” is a really gentle cleanser that I would say is best suited to combination skin. It removes all traces of make up and excess oil but doesn’t leave the face feeling tight or dehydrated. I find this cleanser to be very soothing on the skin and it helps to alleviate redness, which ESPA put down to the inclusion of marshmallow extract and chamomile in the ingredients. I usually double cleanse with this product, which means that I apply it to my face twice, to ensure all make up is removed. Again, this is a cleanser that needs to be rinsed using warm water.

Kiehls “Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil” (€35) – Available Here:

Kiehls Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil

This new release from Kiehls is the only cleansing oil in my skincare collection. Even though I have dehydrated skin, I don’t usually opt for an oil based cleanser but because I adore the Kiehls “Midnight Recovery Oil”, I thought I’d give this product a whirl. I’m so glad that I did. Ingredients in this formula include: squalane, a planted-derived lipid with a natural affinity for skin; evening primrose oil, which is rich in omega-6 fatty acids; and lavender essential oil. This means that the product nourishes the skin, while removing any stubborn make up. And yes, it removes even the most stubborn of make up! This is the only cleanser on my list that I can use to remove my eye make up. Usually, I use a separate eye make up remover but, the cleansing oil eliminates the need to do so. Goodbye, panda-eyes.

“Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil” exudes a gorgeous lavender scent so it’s a perfect addition to anyone’s night time skincare routine. To use this product, you apply three pumps to your face, massage in for about 30 secs and then emulsify the oil using warm water. Massage for a further 30 secs and rinse off with water. When I use this product, I don’t feel the need to double cleanse so even though it’s pricey at €35, it lasts twice as long as the other products mentioned. However, because it’s an oil formula, it is a little messier than my other “hit” options so I tend to use it at night time, rather than first thing in the morning.

Vichy “Pureté Thermale 3 in 1 Step Cleanser” (€15) – Available Here:

vichy_purete_thermale_3_in_1_one_step_cleanser_200ml_1

This cleanser is the cheapest in my “hit” section (currently on offer from Meaghers Pharmacy for €11.21) but the quality of the formula is great. Now, I don’t believe that the product is a “one step” skin routine but it’s a damn good cleanser. I usually use this product if my skin is feeling a little oily because it leaves my face feeling spotless, without making skin feel sore or sensitive. For that reason, I think this is a great option for oily and sensitive skin types. The gel texture of this cleanser is gorgeous. It’s a water-based product so it feels smooth and lightweight on the skin and I also find it very cooling so it’s a good option for the summer. The cleanser is soap-free, alcohol-free and fragrance-free so again, it’s a great option for sensitive skin. My only criticism would be that it doesn’t remove waterproof mascara very well but, that’s what they invented eye make up remover for. Over all, this product is a winner and I would definitely repurchase.

“Maybe” Products:

So here’s the thing – I don’t believe in “maybe” products when it comes to cleanser. I either like a product, or I don’t – there’s no sitting on the fence allowed in this category of skincare. I honestly believe that cleansing is the most important step in any beauty routine so this week, we don’t have any “maybe” products.

“Miss” Products:

 

Simple “Kind to Skin Purifying Cleansing Lotion” (€5.49):

Simple Cleanser Review

Alright, so I know that this pick will be controversial because LOTS of beauty fanatics rave about this cleanser but, I just don’t get it – at all. Why on earth would you use this product on your face? It is horrific. First of all, it’s impossible to squeeze a decent amount of product out of the container without maximum effort. Secondly, the texture of the product is thick and slimy and errghhhh. And finally, it doesn’t seem to remove your make up unless you apply three or four coats of it, rinsing each time. It’s one of the few cleansers that I’ve ever used that has caused me to breakout and it makes me pores appear enlarged. So, even though I know that every teenager in Ireland tries this product at some stage, if you’re still using it, I would urge you to try something new – there are so many better options out there. Simple’s “Kind to Skin Purifying Cleansing Lotion” may be extremely cheap at €5.49 but, I wouldn’t pay that amount of money for it again.

Soap and Glory “Peaches and Clean Deep Cleansing Milk” (€9.99): 

Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean

Soap and Glory are my guilty pleasure brand. We’ve been told time and time again that heavily scented products aren’t really good for our skin and yet, I could bathe in the Soap and Glory body butters and I love their shower gels. So, I was kind of expecting to love this cleanser when I purchased it a few years ago. And, at first, I did. I loved the scent and the creamy texture but, at the end of a three week trial, this product irritated my skin and left my face feeling sore and sensitive. The formula smells fruity and divine but because it’s so heavily perfumed, I feel that it strips the skin of all moisture. I also don’t think that that the cleansing milk actually removes make up all that well. It’s not as ineffective as the Simple option but, it fails to remove any eye make up and actual stings and irritates eyes in the process. Lots of people love this cleanser and maybe if you have oily skin, it would be a good option but it’s just not for me – I won’t be repurchasing.

The Body Shop “Tea Tree Skin Clearing Foaming Cleanser” (€9.50):

Body Shop Tea Tree Foaming Cleanser Review

Let me begin here by saying that this cleanser from the Body Shop is marketed as a formula specifically for acne prone skin. I have to say that this isn’t my skin type so there’s a fair chance that I didn’t like this product, simply because it doesn’t suit my own skin. However, I did trial it during exam season, when my skin was stressed and experiencing a few breakouts and I just didn’t like it. Yes, I love the scent of the tea tree ingredients and the foaming cleanser does have a cooling effect on skin but, for me, it wasn’t very effective for clearing skin and I’m really conscious of the fact that this formula contains lots of chemicals in the form of sulfates and emulsifiers. The product does remove make up really well but my skin felt very dry after use – it should be noted that I would never recommend using a foaming wash on dry skin because it will worsen the problem. Overall, the product just doesn’t live up to its claims (in my opinion) and it’s been banished to my “emergency” skincare drawer, never to see the light of day again.

And there you have it, a new list of “Hit, Miss and Maybe” products.. Feel free to agree or disagree with my picks in the comment section or over on the corresponding Instagram post – I’d love to hear what you think! 

Rouge x