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:

Untitled-1

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

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The “Hit, Miss and Maybe” Series – Micellar Water

As most of you will already know, there’s lots of controversy surrounding Irish beauty blogs this week. Many people are asking why bloggers, like myself, write more positive reviews than negative. Are we terrified to annoy PR companies, fearing that we’ll never receive press samples from them again? Are we being paid to pretend to like a product thus writing inauthentic, inaccurate reviews?

Honestly, maybe some of the community are taking advantage of their audience for monetary gain but most of us are not. I blog because I’m obsessed with make up but I don’t believe that it’s the be all and end all. I don’t need to wear it on a daily basis because I am confident about my own appearance. I enjoy cooing over new lipstick formulas and shades, but I work five days a week and I can afford to purchase a new release, should my heart desire it. So, the answer is no – I’m not afraid of annoying PR companies or brands. I’ve received many a press sample that has never made its way to my blog or social media feeds because it didn’t suit my complexion/skin type or simply because the formula was crap.

Keeping all of this in mind, I’m taking some constructive criticism on board and a leaf out of the book of my favourite, truth-telling blogger, Sinead Kavanagh. This post is the first in a series of “Hit, Miss and Maybe” product reviews, focusing on specific types of product. Some of these products are excellent, some are mediocre and some weren’t even worth mentioning – until now.

Let’s start with micellar water, a cleansing agent that should be in every gal’s skincare kit. While I don’t think these non-rinse formulas are suitable for a full cleanse, they’re super handy for removing the bulk of your make up before you cleanse with a lotion or wash. They’re also great for cleaning up application errors. However, of course, some of the formulas are much better than others. So, let’s have it!

“Hit” Products:

ESPA “Purifying Micellar Cleanser” (£24) – Available Here:

 

Espa Micellar Cleanser Review

At £24, this micellar water is, by far, the most expensive option on the list but, it’s also the best. The formula is filled with hyaluronic acid, rose water and witch hazel which work together to leave skin feeling plump and hydrated. Micellar waters are often very drying on the skin but that’s not the case with this offering from ESPA and that’s what makes it the stand out product in this post. I use this formula most mornings by soaking a cotton pad and sweeping it along my face to remove impurities and any traces of yesterday’s eyeliner. It soothes tired skin and doesn’t leave the skin too dry for the immediate application of make-up.

Bioderma’s “Sensibio H2O Micellar Solution” (€11.50) – Available Here:

Bioderma Micellar Water Review.png

At over half the price of the ESPA offering, this Bioderma micellar water is almost as good. This formula, which is one of the most popular skincare products on the French market, is designed specifically for sensitive skin so it won’t leave your skin feeling irritated or dehydrated. I think that this micellar water is the most effective product in this post, for the removal of heavy or stubborn make up. It removes eyeliner with a single swipe and, therefore, eliminates the need to purchase a separate eye make up remover. Again, highlighting its value for money. I’ve repurchased this micellar water four times – other products at the same price point just don’t compair!

“Maybe” Product:

Garnier Cleansing Micellar Water (€5.35) – Available Here:

 

 

Garnier Micellar Water

I know that lots of people rate the Garnier “Micellar Cleansing Water” as a “holy grail” product in their make up kit but, for me, it’s just OK. At just over €5, it’s really cheap and I can’t argue that it doesn’t remove make up really quickly. However, I found it a little drying – nothing that a little moisturiser couldn’t sort out but, I wasn’t wowed.

Now, it should be noted that I used the entire bottle of this micellar water when I purchased it, every last drop but I didn’t rush out to buy it again. However, I do tend to purchase the mini version of the product if I’m going on holidays as Boots in Dublin airport always have it in stock. Like the Bioderma formula, this micellar water is great for removing eyeliner and mascara. So, keeping all of this in mind – I’d buy it if I was on a strict budget, to use as an eye make up remover or, if I was travelling because it’s inexpensive enough to leave behind when you’re abroad without feeling any guilt.

“Miss Products”:

Super Facialist by Una Brennan “Probiotic Micellar Cleansing Water” (£6.99 – Purchased from Boots, UK):

 

Una Brennan Superfacialist Probiotic Micellar Water

This product is easily the worst micellar water that I have EVER used. The idea of a “probiotic” cleanser is lovely in theory but that just didn’t translate into reality. This product fails to remove anything more than a trace of foundation, never mind stubborn eye make up. This formula claims to sooth skin, with cucumber extract listed as a main ingredient, but I found that it irritated my skin (which is not particularly sensitive) and left it stingy and dehydrated. The micellar water also has a very soapy feel, which is very unusual for non-rinse products. A complete, without hesitation, thumbs-down from me.

Botanics “All Bright Micellar 3 in 1 Cleansing Solution” (€6.49):

Botanics All Bright Micellar Water Review Blog

I had really high hopes for this product, because I actually like a lot of the products in the Botanics range from Boots. However, this formula was a little disappointing. The “3 in 1” formula promises to remove make up, unclog pores and remove impurities and as far as I can tell, it doesn’t live up to these claims. The formula removes a decent amount of make up but isn’t half as effective as the Bioderma, ESPA or Garnier products. This micellar cleanser also attempts to provide the user with a gentle chemical exfoliation but honestly, I found this ineffective and my skin was left feeling tight and dehydrated after use. However, this product might be perfect for those with very oily skin – so that’s something to keep in mind.

And there you have it, my “hit, miss and maybe” micellar water recommendations. I have to stress though, that what works for me, doesn’t necessarily work for everyone else. So, if you have any differing opinions on any of the products listed, we would love to hear them (just use the comment section) or, if you have more recommendations to add to the list – let us know!!

Rouge x

Yves Saint Laurent “Volupté Tint-In-Balm” – Review

YSL Tint In Balm

When I published my Mothers’ Day Gift Guide a few weeks ago, lots of you asked for more information on the YSL “Tint-In-Balm” that I included in the post. It seems that the cold weather has left us with chapped lips and no desire to cover them with a matte lipstick, regardless of how “on trend” they are at the minute. YSL have acknowledged that it’s time for something new – women need a lip colour that they can apply without running to a mirror and a formula that is comfortable to wear and moisturises the lips, keeping them healthy. And, although I was seriously skeptical about a balm formula that promised to pack a serious punch of pigment, I have to admit that I was wrong. YSL’s “Tint-In-Balm” is amazing and has quickly become my favourite beauty release of 2017, so far.

 

 

VOLUPTE TINT-IN-BALM N°1 DREAM ME NUDE

After attending the launch of the “Tint-In-Balm” lip colours, I received a press sample in the shade “N° 1 Dream Me Nude” (pictured above). This is one of 12 new shades and it’s a gorgeous “pinky” nude colour. I’m pretty confident when I say that “Dream Me Nude” is a universal shade and would suit all complexions.

We can’t talk about these balms without talking about YSL’s gorgeous packaging. The packaging of the “Tint-In-Balm” is perfection. Every time that I take this one out of my handbag, ladies nearby swoon. So, if you’re a fan of fancy lipsticks, then your collection isn’t complete without this beauty. The tube is also very durable, so you won’t have any issue with the lid falling off, causing the formula to get mushed around your handbag – as is often the case with cheaper, budget-friendly lipsticks.

The formula of “Tint-In-Balm” is moisturising and smooth. I wouldn’t describe the finish that it gives as “glossy”, because it’s not sticky in the least, but the balm does give the lips a healthy sheen. The pigment in these balms is buildable and can be used to create a strong colour after a few swipes – especially with the berry and red shades in the collection. I’m also a huge fan of the shade “N° 8 Catch Me Orange”, pictured below.

 

The thing that I love most about the “Tint-In-Balm” product is that its application is effortless. I can apply this lip colour without a lip liner or a mirror and don’t have to worry about whether my lips look uneven or question whether I have lipstick on my teeth.

All in all, the YSL “Tint-In-Balm” receives an “A” grade from me. I think that this product is fantastic for women who want their make up to be both pretty and comfortable. And from now on, I will be reserving the matte lipsticks for evening and weekend wear.

 

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The “Tint-In-Balm” range is available exclusively from Brown Thomas and retails at a rather expensive €33. However, because this formula is unique and really impressive, I think that the high-end price can be justified. I’m planning to purchase the “Catch Me Orange” shade as soon as my next pay day rolls by.

What do you think? Could you justify the price? Or, do you know about a similar product that retails for less? Let us know in the comment section!

Rouge x

Yves Saint Laurent “Fusion Ink Encre de Peau” Cushion Foundation – Review.

“We must never confuse elegance with snobbery.” – Yves Saint Laurent.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting lots of questions on Snapchat (@rougewriting) about the foundation that I have been wearing. Many of you have noticed the switch up in products from my beloved Too Faced’s “Born This Way” to a gorgeous new release. So it’s time to let you in on the secret. Let me introduce my new favourite “day time” foundation: YSL’s “Fusion Ink Encre de Peau”.

ysl-cushion-foundation

This baby is the first ever cushion foundation to come into my possession and, although I will admit that I was skeptical of the “cushion” concept when it first appeared on the market; it’s a must have. Yes, the likelihood is that you do get less product for your hard-earned cash but, the formula in this YSL cushion compact applies flawlessly. It just glides on to the skin to give an airbrushed effect. And, I can’t argue with that.

First up, let’s talk about the packaging. YSL products always ooze elegance and luxury and this compact is no different. The “Fusion Ink Encre de Peau” cushion foundation would definitely provide decoration for any beauty lover’s dressing table. However, I think it’s important to look past the gorgeous packaging and ask ourselves whether it’s practical for carrying around in one’s handbag. After all, it is advertised as a cushion compact for women on the go. The packaging of this foundation is extremely durable and secure. It has a clasp mechanism that reduces the likelihood of spillages, and unlike products contained in glass bottles, it is “smash-proof”. The compact also contains a small mirror and a sponge applicator which is handy for “top-ups” at the end of the work day.

The YSL cushion foundation is available in 6 different shades which may seem limiting but, I’m delighted to report that they have catered for the palest of the pale. I wear the shade B10 (without wearing any false tan) and it’s a pretty perfect match for porcelain skin. I do recommend going to get shade matched at a YSL counter before purchasing though.

The texture of this foundation is very different from that which we have come to expect from “pump” formulas. It seems lighter and easier to blend. In fact, you can pat this foundation on using a sponge and it really eliminates the need for any blending at all. The product feels very light on the skin but it does provide decent coverage. Now, I’ve heard many beauty bloggers describe this as a full coverage foundation over the past few weeks and I would probably disagree with that. The formula can be applied very lightly for a “barely there” look, which is how I prefer to wear mine or; it can be built up to a medium coverage. I don’t think it’s as full coverage as some other products on the market and honestly, I think it’s always better to look radiant rather than “caked”.

The foundation is pretty long lasting but because it’s a “dewy” formula, those who have oily skin will probably find the need to re-apply powder once or twice throughout the day. The above picture demonstrated approx 5 hours of wear and if you ask me, the foundation doesn’t look like it has budged at all.

Of course, the price is a little steep at €45 for the compact but the good news is that the cushion refills are a little more affordable at €35. It remains to be seen how long one refill lasts but I have been using this foundation religiously for over a month and haven’t noticed the formula “running low”.

The YSL cushion foundation is available in Debenhams, Brown Thomas and stockists nationwide.

What do you think? Would you be willing to splurge €45 on a cushion foundation? Let us know in the comments section.

Rouge x

Ziaja ‘Cocoa Butter’ Range – My Winter Skincare Saviour.

Your skin is so soft, newborn babies are envious.

October is finally here! Welcome back to the pumpkin spice lattes, toffee apples, gorgeous autumnal colours and  of course flaky, weather-sensitive skin. During the summer, when the central heating systems are turned off, we don’t really need a heavy moisturiser and I love to use something nice and light like Cocoa Brown’s ‘Chocolate Whip’. However, now that Mr.Frost has returned, I need something a little more rich to keep my skin in tip-top condition. Let me introduce you to Ziaja’s ‘Cocoa Butter’ range.

First up, I was sent this beautiful ‘Ziaja Cocoa Body Butter’ (RRP €7.99). Filled with vitamin E, cocoa butter and omega 6 & 3, this formula is designed to give you satin smooth skin. It smells gorgeous – reminiscent of chocolate, so best to avoid if you’re on a diet. What I like best about this product is that it absorbs really quickly. I hate sticky moisturisers but this one soaks into skin almost immediately – perfect if you’re in a hurry. I have almost finished the container and will definitely be repurchasing!

I will admit that even though I’m a skincare addict, I never really believed in the benefits of hand cream until just a few weeks ago. Like I said, I cannot stand the sticky texture of moisturisers and I find that hand cream is often the worst culprit – nobody wants to be walking around with greasy palms! However, because I’m studying at the moment and handwriting essay after essay, I recently noticed that the skin around my fingers has become irritated and dry. So off I went in search of this ‘Ziaja Cocoa Butter Hand Cream’ (€2.99) only to discover that I have been missing out for years! After just three days of use, the dry patches on my hands have cleared up completely (results photographed below). Again, the formula is extremely fast absorbing (less than 60 seconds) and the scent is delicious. Ziaja promise that this product will also help strengthen nails over time, which I’m really looking forward to. At that price point, who could resist?

Ziaja products can be purchased online here. I’m very impressed by the quality of their products, for such affordable prices. Have you read my review of their ‘Natural Olive’ shampoo and conditioner?

Let me know if you have tried any of their products – I would love some recommendations.

Rouge x

“Back to College” – Daily Skincare Routine with ESPA.

College life can really take a huge toll on our skin. Greasy food, lack of sleep and lots of alcohol consumption can leave skin tired, dehydrated and prone to break-outs. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a good skincare routine.

I first discovered ESPA products at Castlemartyr Resort in County Cork, when my Mum went on holidays and brought back the gorgeous ‘Hydrating Cleansing Milk’. So, when ESPA kindly offered to send me some sample sized goodies to try out, I jumped at the chance. I have been using said products religiously for approximately 3-4 weeks and can honestly say, that ESPA will be my ‘go-to’ skincare brand in the future – I am in love!

  

So let’s talk about the skincare routine. First up, remove your make-up using the ‘Hydrating Cleansing Milk’. This product is very mild and soothing so, perfect for irritated skin. Before, introducing this cleanser to my routine, I was sampling quite a lot of products and my skin did not appreciate playing ‘guinea pig’ – it was sore, blotchy and prone to blemishes. This formula is filled with wholesome ingredients like sweet almond and soya bean oils so it will nourish dehydrated and damaged skin. Yes, I’m looking at you with the glass of wine in your hand!

  

Next up, add a little ‘Hydrating Floral Spafresh’ toner to some cotton wool and wipe face in a circular motion. This will remove the last bit of debris from skin and strip away any excess oil. It is also soothing on skin and is filled with rose extract. If you are on a very tight student budget, I think you could skip this step but if you want to pamper your skin, I would definitely include it.

  

One or twice a week, after cleansing and toning, I have been using ESPA’s ‘Optimal Skin ProSerum’. This is to be used at night when your skin is feeling especially worse for wear. It is enriched with omega and vitamins to rejuvenate skin, giving it a healthy glow. And, even more importantly, it promises to protect against early ageing. Trust me, you want to enjoy your time spent in college without having the wrinkles to show for it. Just note, that the facial oil can feel a little ‘slimy’, so I wouldn’t attempt to apply it underneath make-up.

  

Moisturising is a key element of any skincare regime and ESPA’s ’24 Hour Replenishing Moisturiser’ is a ‘holy grail’ product. It is filled with delicious ingredients such as frankincense and vitamins to help stimulate cell renewal. You only need to apply a ‘pea sized’ amount of this product to your skin, so I’d imagine that the full-sized version would last throughout your entire college year.

  

Finally, I complete my skincare routine by applying a tiny amount of ESPA’s ’24 Hour Replenishing Eye Moisturiser’ to the top of my cheek bone, just below the immediate eye area. The eye area is very sensitive because your skin tissue is much thinner, compared to the rest of your face. Therefore, regular moisturisers are too heavy to be used and a specific eye cream is essential to banish bags and dark circles. This is particularly handy during exam season when ‘all-nighters’ are the norm!

All in all, I think I have found my favourite skincare brand. Since undertaking this routine, I have noticed a huge improvement in my skin – it appears more firm and blotchy areas have been banished. ESPA isn’t cheap but then again, I have yet to find skincare products which are really luxurious yet available at a low price tag. I would recommend this routine for anyone with normal or dry, damaged and dehydrated skin. I will be posting a routine for oily skin in the next few days so stay tuned.

ESPA products are available online here, in Harvey Nichols or in selected spa resorts such as Castlemartyr Resort or Powerscourt Hotel.

Let me know what you think if you try the products.

Rouge x

Flormar Fabulous!

Ok, so anyone who is following me on Instagram or Twitter will know that I’ve become obsessed with Flormar, a brand who have just recently introduced themselves in Ireland. I’ve been posting little snippets of my favourites for weeks now, so today I’m going to share a full post reviewing my must-haves.

Bronzer

With contouring remaining a huge trend on the make-up scene, a good bronzer is an essential tool in any kit. Check out Flormar’s ‘Bronzing Powder Face and Body’. Those of us who don’t tan will know that finding the correct shade of bronzer is a tough task, unless you favour the oompa loompa look. However, this Flormar powder is available in a perfectly subtle shade for fair skinned folk – result! The RRP of the bronzer is €9.95 and because it is positively huge in size, the value for money is insane. I’ve been using the product by applying it to the hollows of my cheeks with an angled contouring brush.

Flormar Lip gloss
Next up, I am madly in love with the ‘Long Wearing Lip Gloss’ in the shade ‘Backstage’. When I first received this colour in a goodie bag, I was majorly apprehensive of the super bright shade. However, I quickly learned that the formula can be layered for desired colour intensity. At €5.95, I couldn’t walk past one of these glosses in a pharmacy without picking it up.
Flormar Primer
Finally, we have my favourite Flormar product. This ‘Illuminating Primer Make-Up Base’ is liquid gold. I’ve tested it for both day-time and night-time wear and love the results. The formula creates a smooth base for make-up application. It is super hydrating and evens out dry patches while retaining a mattifying effect on skin. The best part is that the primer ensures that make-up remains on the skin for an extended period of time, eliminating the need for foundation touch ups. At €9.95, this product will be replacing more high-end versions in my make-up kit.

Here’s a look at the three products discussed upon application:


Flormar products are available in selected pharmacies nationwide and online at Simplyfoxy.com. What do you think? Will you be purchasing?

Rouge x