Star Kin ‘Indigo I Promise’ Nail Polish

Friday, June 6th 2014 Nails

A month or so ago, I joined a great Facebook group for kiwi nail polish addicts, and it’s really rekindled my love of nail polish. Polish was like my gateway drug into my make up addiction, but I hadn’t been as into it recently, beyond painting my nails each week.

In this group, I was exposed to some incredible NZ indie nail polish brands, and through an arduous process I decided to make my first indie polish purchase from Star Kin by Every Sensory. When they arrived (of course I couldn’t limit myself to one, but I’ll review the other at a later date) I was so excited. I ordered on Thursday, they were shipped on Friday afternoon, and arrived on Wednesday – considering Monday was a public holiday, I was quite pleased with that. They were really well packaged in bubble wrap, and she even included a small hand-poured soap, a few lollies, and a lovely note. This is what I love about buying from small businesses – the personal touch.

Today I’m going to be reviewing Indigo I Promise – described as “a very deep blue crelly base, jam packed with copper micro glitter and copper shimmer”. I had to search and find out what crelly is – according to XOXOJen’s glossary, it means: creme-jelly. Squishy but not translucent enough to be called jelly. The more you know!

Star Kin Indigo I promise bottle.

I liked the packaging – sturdy and stylish

The polish applied well, and was actually almost opaque in one coat, but I did a second to make sure it looked perfect.

single coat Star Kin Indigo I go

Here’s how my nails looked after a single coat

The glitter in it is quite fine so it distributed evenly, no clumping up or anything. In different lights this polish looks almost purple, so I’ve been finding myself looking at my hands quite a lot, inspecting my nails. I think this dark colour is perfect for heading into winter, and the copper paired with blue makes such an interesting effect. It’s unlike nothing that you would find in normal department stores, and is a good price too – $14NZD for a 15ml bottle, with $5 shipping per order.

Nails with Two coats of polish, one of Sally Hansen Instadri top coat.

Two coats of polish, one of Sally Hansen Instadri top coat.

I like that I’m supporting a very small business, as far as I know it’s just run by one person out of her home, and the product is as of a similar high quality to those bought in stores. Star Kin have a range of great polishes that change regularly. I will definitely be buying more in the future!

Edit: Star Kin polishes are now being sold via the Peacock Pie store on Etsy

Lena x

PS: my cuticles are a bit of a state in this picture, but a product from Lush is working it’s magic on them. Read more about it in my post on nzgirl.

Kmart brand lipstick – say whaaaaat?

Tuesday, June 3rd 2014 Makeup

You heard me – Kmart has its own brand of lip products! If you’ve been to Kmart in NZ or Australia since they did their cosmetics refurbish earlier this year you will have seen a section call ‘Face Eyes Lips Nails’ – not to be confused with the brand ELF (Eyes Lips Face). I’d walked past it before, but never bought anything as I figured it would be poor quality. However, this past weekend I was at my local Kmart with Elese, and an orange lipstick caught my eye, and as it only cost $6 I thought why not give it a whirl.

Lips brand Orange Matte Lipstick from Kmart

Lips Colour Deluxe Semi Matte Lipstick – Shade 022

Kmart Lips Semi-Matte Deluxe Lipstick 022

The tube is nice and solid, the cap didn’t come off in my handbag.

Wrist swatch Kmart Lips Semi-Matte Deluxe Lipstick 022

Here’s a wrist swatch of it, to show how it looks without my lip colour interfering

Here’s my FOTD (Face Of The Day) for afternoon tea with a friend on the weekend. I’m wearing MAC Pro Longwear concealer, Maybelline Dream Pure BB cream, Models Prefer mineral foundation, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, Silk Naturals loose eyeshadow which I’m planning on posting about soon, Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in Espresso Ink, Smashbox Mascara and Bobbi Brown eyeshadow in my brows. Phew that sounds like a lot of products but it’s just for a fairly casual outing!

Kmart Lips Semi-Matte Deluxe Lipstick 022 on lips

Pretty basic make up look – I wanted to focus on the lips

And a close up of my lips, to show the lipstick better. My lips are a bit dry here, from wiping off a previous choice that I regretted – don’t blame this lipstick for it!

Kmart Lips Semi-Matte Deluxe Lipstick 022 on lips


I wore the lipstick out for a coffee date, and it faded a bit after my coffee and muffin, but after 4 hours it still looked decent which is a great in my books. If you have a nearby Kmart, and want a nice matte lipstick at a low cost – I recommend getting these. I’m certainly going to be going back and purchasing a few more of their offerings. There aren’t any testers but for $6 I’m willing to run the risk.

Have you tried anything from Kmart’s Face, Eyes, Lips, Nails range? Is there anything you suggest that I try or that I should steer clear of? Let me know in the comments section.

Lena x



Beauty Myths: petroleum jelly and baby oil

Sunday, June 1st 2014 Skincare

is Vaseline bad for your skin

Since my post on microbeads was so well received, today I’m going to be doing another science/environmental themed beauty post, and this time the topic is petroleum jelly and mineral oil. Is petroleum jelly bad for your skin? Is baby oil bad for your health? Stay tuned to find out!

Beauty Myths: Petroleum Jelly and Baby Oil | Lena Talks Beauty

The product most people associate with petroleum jelly is Vaseline, which was invented in 1870. It was originally promoted as being good for burns and scrapes, but in the years since then it has turned out that it’s not very useful in that regard. What petroleum jelly is  useful for is on dry skin – it functions as an occlusive, that is, it stops water from evaporating from your skin and thereby preserves your skin’s natural moisture. Most people would also be familiar with baby oil, which is simply mineral oil with fragrance added. Mineral oil is known as liquid paraffin, pariffinum liquidum, and liquid petroleum,  and is closely related to petroleum jelly. People often are concerned about the use of both products for the same reasons, so for that reason I’ll be discussing both in this post.

Lucas' Paw Paw ointment is one of my favourite lip balms, and it contains petroleum jelly

Lucas’ Paw Paw ointment is one of my favourite lip balms, and it contains petroleum jelly

Myth #1  If comes from petrol, using it is bad for the environment

Mineral oil and petroleum jelly both are by-products that result from the distilling of crude oil in order to produce petrol. Yes, Oil is a non-renewable resource, so using it is environmentally unsustainable. However, mineral oil and petroleum jelly are made from what’s left over when petrol is produced, so you’re essentially reusing what would otherwise be a waste material. Companies aren’t drilling for oil just to make baby oil – the demand for petrol is much higher than for beauty products! In my informed opinion, the environmental effects from me using mineral oil or petroleum jelly is practically non-existent compared to driving my car or flying around the world. Therefore, I consider this myth BUSTED.

Myth #2 – They block your pores

Mineral oil/petroleum jelly have both been repeatedly tested to show that they are non-comedogenic on human skin (DiNardo, 2005). Non-comedogenic means unlikely to block pores – blocked pores turn into pimples and blackheads. There was research done in the 70s that said that they would block pores-  but that testing was performed on animals, mainly rabbits, and rabbit skin is different to humans. The molecules on mineral oil/petroleum jelly are larger than the pores on human skin, so they sit on top of the skin and don’t clog the pores. Cosmetics are rated for how comedogenic they are from 0-5 (will not clog pores – high chance of clogging pores), and mineral oil and petroleum jelly both score 0. In contrast, coconut oil which is often touted as the holy grail of everything, is rated as 4 – fairly high risk. It just goes to show, that “natural” is not always better! To find out more about whether products are comedogenic, head to

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly

Myth 3: It just sits on your skin, and doesn’t actually moisturise

There are different types of moisturisers – occlusives, humectants and emollients (more about that on XOVain). Occlusives work by sitting on top of the skin and preventing water in the skin from evaporating into the atmosphere. The fact that mineral oil and baby oil sit on top of the skin, as discussed in myth number 2, is what makes them such effective occlusives. Applying petroleum jelly to skin has been show to reduce Trans-Epidermal Water Loss (evaporation of water from skin to the atmosphere) by more than 98%, which makes it incredibly effective, more so than any other product  (Lynde, 2001).

Myth 3: Mineral oil will give you cancer

Some people claim that mineral oil will give you cancer, and often people who say so will state that the World Health Organisation consider it to be a carcinogen (substance that causes cancer). In actual fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), says that there is no reason to suspect that cosmetic grade refined mineral oil causes cancer. Untreated mineral oil, which is used in industrial machinery, is considered carcinogenic, but no one puts that on their face. (IARC, 2014).

Johnson's Baby Oil

I hope that this post was helpful for you, and that it might have answered some questions or concerns that you may have about mineral oil and petroleum jelly. They really are such useful products – I use baby oil to take my make up off, apply Vaseline on my skin over other moisturisers if it’s really dry, and use Lucas’ Paw Paw ointment on my lips.

If you have any more questions on this topic, or other science/beauty questions you’d like me to answer in future posts, leave them in the comments section and I’ll try to answer to the best of my ability.

Lena x

Review: Collection Cosmetics Nail Polish

Sunday, June 1st 2014 Nails

Recently Collection Cosmetics (re)launched in New Zealand, and as part of this they did a big giveaway on their Facebook page. I was lucky enough to win a nail polish – shade number 12 which called Purplicious. I have had this on my toes for the last few weeks but figured that once was probably enough when it comes to posting pictures of my toes on the blog, and took some pictures when I put it on my fingernails.

I really liked this polish, it was beautifully opaque in two coats, not at all streaky, and dried very quickly. I liked the chunky top of the bottle as it was easy to hold while painting, and the brush is just a very standard size/shape – not too big or too small. The longevity has been good so far, I’m 3 days in and no sign of a chip despite my propensity to do reckless things with my nails.

Here’s how it looks on my nails before I cleaned up around the cuticles, and added a top coat:

Collection Cosmetics Nail Polish Purplicious

Two coats

This is the final result, which I’m very impressed with for such an affordable polish – they’re only $6.39! I would rather have 4 or 5 of these polishes than just one OPI polish.

2 coats of Collection Cosmetics Purplicious nail polish and Sally Hansen Instadry Top Coat

2 coats of Collection Cosmetics Purplicious Nail polish and Sally Hansen Instadry Top Coat

Collection Cosmetics don’t test on animals which is good for those who are on the look out for cruelty free products. There are 24 shades of polish in the range and I think I’ll be buying a few more of these. Collection is exclusively sold at Countdown in New Zealand, you can find out if it’s available in your area on their website. I’ve heard good things about their concealer and mascara, and seeing as it’s so cheap I can imagine it’ll be easy to pop a few in my trolley.

Have you tried anything by Collection – what else should I try?

Lena x

As seen on

Lip Product Addict Tag

Thursday, May 29th 2014 Makeup

My friend Jordy tagged me to do this Lip Product Addict tag in her latest youtube video. She also blogs and you should definitely check her site out – A Little Pinch Of Wonder. After you’ve finished reading this post of course!

This tag is for lip product addicts, and I certainly am one, as you can see by this picture. I probably have more tucked away in drawers and in handbags too, but this is the bulk of my collection.



1. Favorite balm/treatment?

Burt’s Bees Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter.  This is the lip balm that gets the honour of living in my handbag, as you might be able to tell from the fact that the label is completely rubbed off.

Burt's Bees Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter

How it looks when new

Burt's Bees Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter

My lip balm with totally worn off label





2. Best eye-catching red?

Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Fifth Avenue Red. I got it through a reddit exchange as mentioned in this post, and I am so delighted with it. It’s just a really classic red, which makes sense as it’s from the 1950s.

Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Fifth Avenue Red

3. Best luxury & best drugstore?

The closest I have to a luxury brand is NARS Velvet Gloss lip pencil – the shade is New Lover. They sell for $51 in New Zealand but I got it in a Sephora gift bag. It’s a pink with gold flecks in it, perfect for parties.

My best drugstore product is this Milani Gloss Stain in the shade Mango Tango that I also received from my reddit exhange. It’s glossy but stains, and is quite long wearing. I probably wouldn’t have chosen the shade for myself but I really love it. It sells for $6.50 in the US which is very affordable.

Nars Gloss Pencil New Lover and Milani Gloss Stain Mango Tango
4. Best MAC lipstick?

Syrup! So smooth and pretty, and it just works with so many different looks. It’s one of my most worn lipsticks by far, and it made it to my top 6 lipsticks.

MAC syrup lipstick

5. The most disappointing?

ChiChi Creamy Matte Liquid Lipstick – not matte, nor long wearing like they claim it is. A sandwich and a glass of wine left me with only a faint tinge. I do love the colour, which is the shade Show Stopper, but it doesn’t live up to it’s description or my expectations. I’d seen so many people rave about them, and I really just don’t understand the love for it.

ChiChi Matte Liquid Lipstick Show Stopper on lips

I wore it to a party last week and had to reapply three times

Chi Chi Creamy Matte Lipstick Show Stopper swatch

Swatched on my hand

  6. Liner – yes or no?

No. I have too many shades of lipstick, it’d be crazy to try and match them all. I have a couple and use them if I want really long wearing lip colour but generally I go without.

7. Best gloss?

This product by Natio is technically an ‘Antioxidant Lip Shine’ but really it’s a gloss. It’s fairly pigmented for a gloss, and not disgustingly sticky like many of them can be. The shade is called ‘Love’ which is quite sweet. It has Jojoba Oil and Shea butter which makes it slightly moisturising.

Natio AntiOxidant Lip Shine Love
8. Something extra!

My L’Oreal Infallible long wear lip duo really lives up to it’s name. Last year I swatched all of my lip products on my arm for a forum post, and this lip duo lasted for so long. I gave my arm a good scrub but it wouldn’t budge, eventually it came off the next day. The colour is ‘perma-pink’ and that is the perfect description!

loreal infallible L'Oreal Infallible Lipstick








The picture of them all swatched shows just how much my collection has grown in the last year since my make up addiction has grown! It also has one of my beloved Clinique Chubby Sticks that I have since lost tear.

all of them swatched


What do you think of my answers? Do you agree or disagree? Jordy listed the ChiChi matte liquid lipstick as a favourite, so it goes to show that different people have different tastes!

If any of you that are reading feel inspired to do this tag, link it in the comment section and I’ll check it out

Lena x

Honesty in blogging

Wednesday, May 28th 2014 Uncategorised

To me, blogging has always been a more honest form of writing than most journalism. I had thought this when it comes to politics, or pop news, and it’s always something I’ve thought was true about beauty blogging too. Everyone knows that magazines are full of ads, and ‘advertorials, and even things that aren’t officially ads have never seemed very genuine to me. Everyone knows beauty editors get sent boxes full of new products, and of course if they’re writing an article about foundation they’ll say that you should buy this $70 one. That’s why  I never trusted their recommendations, and was delighted to find online beauty blogs and youtubers who were just people like me, sharing their opinions.

Or so I thought. As I’ve followed beauty blogs and youtube channels more closely, it has started to become more obvious that a lot of them are just raving about things that they got for free. I find it especially obvious among the smaller community of kiwi beauty bloggers – there aren’t as many of them, so if I see a bunch of articles within a couple of weeks about how GREAT the latest lotion and potion by X brand is, I feel pretty confident that it’s the case. This is more glaringly obvious if one or two of them say – oh, by the way, this was sent for me to review by them. I mean, of course it’s possible that they all just really like the product, but it seems unlikely that not one person is going to say something about how expensive it is, or that it was irritating to their skin, or that they didn’t like it’s staying power. I even begin to wonder if they’re not just getting the product for free, but even actually being paid to write about it.

In the US, the Federal Trade Commission has guidelines about how bloggers and youtubers should disclose that they are being paid to promote a product, or that they were given it for free with the expectation that it would be written about. I find that most bloggers based there are quite honest about this, and also with identifying where they will profit from you purchasing things through affiliate links. As far as I’m aware, no such guidelines exist in New Zealand, and I feel as if it is quite apparent when you read some blogs and channels that are based here.

I really like that some of my favourite bloggers, like Meagan from IAmMeaganKerr and Morgan from Hyacincth Girl disclose this, but there are plenty of others that don’t, and I want to know why? What do bloggers have to lose by disclosing that they got a free item? My personal theory is that bloggers know that PR companies and brands want posts to seem genuine, so if they disclose it, they may not receive freebies in the future – and everyone likes getting freebies.

Bloggers, I’d love to hear your take on this topic, and ask some questions. If you get sent a free item, do you disclose so? Why, or why not? What happens if you don’t like something – do you review it honestly, or just not review it at all?

I asked these questions to some bloggers that I know, and they all said that they disclose when they are sent free items. They had a variety of answers to the question about not liking a product. One of them said that they try to keep the review relatively neutral, and give reasons for liking and dislike. Another person said that she reviews the product in the same way whether she paid for it or not.

I’m genuinely really interested to see the responses to this post, no doubt it might be unpopular with some but hopefully I’ll get some insights!

Beauty Review Vault haul

Monday, May 26th 2014 Nails

Beauty Review is a great New Zealand-based website that sends out full sized beauty products for people to review on their website. You can also review products not sent to you by them, chat on the forum or read the interesting articles that they put up. Four times a year they have a ‘vault’ sale which is where you use the points you earn by reviewing and participating on the site to buy products. They held one a few weeks ago and today I’m going to review the products that I received.

Left to right Sally Hansen Diamond Strength French Manicure Pen Kit Ballet Bare, Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick - Very Violet, Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quads - Romantic Mauves, Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quads - Romantic Mauves.

My haul from the Beauty Review Vault

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set – RRP $59

eth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set

I chose this with the intention of giving it to my mum for a belated Mother’s Day gift – a bit of a cheapskate, I know, but my mum loves a bargain just like I do. And yes, she knows I was going to swatch them for the blog. She’s so long suffering. Anyway, on to the review – to be honest I was a bit disappointed with it – the glosses are quite small and weren’t anything special compared to just about every other lip gloss I’ve tried before. They work out to be $3.70/ml, whereas an Australis lip gloss is $2.50/ml. At least with this set you get to try a variety of colours, which is nice, because who ever finishes a lip gloss – not me that’s for sure. Passion Fruit and Coral Kiss are my favourite colours out of the set.

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Lip Gloss Set – swatched on hand

Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad – Romantic Mauves. RRP $35

Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad - Romantic Mauves

Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad – Romantic Mauves

This eyeshadow quad is another gift for my lovely mum. I know she likes pinkish eyeshadow shades and they really suit her green eyes, so I thought I’d grab it for her. The packaging is nice and sturdy, and it comes with a good sized mirror which would be useful for travelling or doing your make up on the run. When I swatched them they didn’t appear to be terribly pigmented, but they might be better applied with brushes rather than the little sponge applicator that the quad came with.

 Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad - Romantic Mauves swatch

Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad – Romantic Mauves swatch

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick – Very Violet. RRP $25.00

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick - Very Violet

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick – Very Violet

When I saw this lipstick listed in the Vault I knew that I just had to have it. An Avon lipstick is one of my favourite lipsticks, and I have had ‘purple lipstick’ on my wishlist for months because they are such a hot trend for this winter. When I opened it and swatched it on my hand, I was in love. It’s a fairly warm purple, compared to the darker colours that are out there, but it’s a good way for me to dip my toes into the world of bolder purple lipsticks.

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick - Very Violet swatchI eagerly applied it and posted this picture to instagram, despite my lack of makeup – that’s how excited I was! I really like the way this looks, and it’s going to be in frequent rotation this winter.

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick - Very Violet on lips

Avon Ultra Color Rich Lipstick – Very Violet on my lips

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength French Manicure Pen Kit Ballet Bare – RRP $35

Sally Hansen Diamond Strength French Manicure Pen Kit Ballet Bare


I am yet to actually use this product, as I had newly painted nails when it arrived. So really, all I can comment on is the value. Sally Hansen polishes are usually around $12-14 each, and the top coats are more like $16-19 each, so buying it in the kit is as if the white tip pen comes free. I have always found French manicures difficult, having to use the little sticky strips that can ruin the base coat, or having a wobbly line for the white tips. I’ll be trying this out soon and posting a full review when I do.

 If you would like to join Beauty Review and start earning points from reviews to use at the next vault sale, you can use my affiliate link to sign up here.

Lena x

How microbead exfoliators pollute the ocean

Monday, May 26th 2014 Skincare


Yesterday I read the ingredients list of my Aveeno Smart Essentials Daily Detoxifying Scrub and I discovered something sinister. I realised that I had been scrubbing my face with tiny bits of plastic that were then being washed down the drain, to end up in the ocean! Recently there has been a lot in the news about the use of microbeads in scrubs, body washes, and even toothpaste. Plastic microbeads are too small to be filtered by most wastewater treatment, therefore ending up in oceans and lakes, and they are beginning to cause real trouble in the food chain. Despite having heard about the hazard of these microbeads, I naively assumed that since the scrub I use most often from Aveeno, whose tagline is ‘Active Naturals’ that it wouldn’t be an issues. OH HOW WRONG I WAS.

The ingredients list is below for Aveeno Smart Essentials Daily Detoxifying Scrub, and I have bolded Polyethylene – which is the most commonly used plastic in the world. Interestingly, and unsurprisingly, they don’t state this clearly on the packaging or website,instead waxing lyrical about how”the natural loofah and coconut pulp-enriched formula gently polishes away pore-clogging debris, revealing a brighter, smoother look, and prepares your skin for your daily moisturizer.”

Water, Glycerin, Amino Methyl Propanol, Polyethylene, Glyceryl Stearate, Lauryl Glucoside, Acrylates/C10 30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance, Sodium Hydroxide, Cetearyl Olivate, Oryza Sativa Bran Wax (Rice), Luffa Cylindrica (Luffah Cylindrica) Fruit, Cocos Nucifera Fruit (Coconut), Chlorphenesin, Sorbitan Olivate (Source Olive Oil), Citric Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Capryl Hydroxamic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Artemisia Abrotanum Extract (Flower/Leaf/Stem), Hydrolyzed Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum, Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum

Aveeno smart naturals daily detoxifying scrub

This is yet another example of how companies greenwash their products. People will have bought this scrub, thinking that it was natural and therefore good for your skin. Well, I did find it to have good results for my skin BUT it’s not good for the environment at all, and besides, it cannot remove toxins which is a ridiculous claim in the first place. I am certainly going to be throwing this product out, along with any other products in my bathroom that have plastic in their formulas. The idea of actually consuming plastic through toothpaste is very concerning to me, but I was relieved to find that all the toothpastes in our bathroom are free of plastic – words I never thought that I would write.

A lot of products have microbeads in them – the picture below shows just how much plastic is in each of these very common scrubs. I took the picture from a really great article on The Huffington Post which I would urge you all to read –Tiny Plastic Beads Are Invading The Great Lakes. Here’s What Scientists Are Doing To Stop It

Image showing plastic microbeads that are contained in neutrogena deep clean scrub, clean & clear daily pore cleanser, Aveeno positively radiant skin brightening daily scrub

If you want to check your scrubs, toothpastes and body washes for microbeads, the most common think to check for is polyethylene (PE), but they also can be polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and nylon.

The US state of California recently passed a bill to ban the sale and manufacturing of personal care products containing tiny,synthetic plastic microbeads, with other states such as New York and Illinois looking set to follow. Thankfully, a lot of multinational companies are phasing out the inclusion of microbeads in their products but it will take a while before they are fully gone.  Johnson and Johnson, parent company of Aveeno, as well as Neutrogena, Clean and Clear and others, have made a statement on their website that “Our goal is to complete the first phase of reformulations by the end of 2015, which represents about half our products sold that contain microbeads”. Unilever, parent company of brands such as Dove, Simple and St Ives, has stated that their products will be free of microbeads from 2015. Beat the Microbead has a more comprehensive list of various companies’ statements about their use of microbeads – you can find it at

I really encourage all of you that read this to check your products out and throw them away – those little bits of plastic are causing havoc, polluting oceans and lakes, and being found in disturbing quantities inside fish. Let me know in the comments section what you find in your bathroom, I’m sure the results will be quite shocking! This is a bit of an unusual post for a beauty blog but as someone who is passionate about the environment, I couldn’t NOT write about this.

Some scrubs that do not contain microbeads include:

  • Trilogy Gentle Daily Exfoliant
  • Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
  • Goodness Every Week Face Scrub
  • Burt’s Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser – jojoba beads
  • Time Bomb Cleansing Cream – magnesium oxide crystals (naturally occurring)
  • Sebamed Clear Face Gentle Scrub – plant wax scrub particles (hydrogenated jojoba oil and hydrogenated castor oil)
  • Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Polishing Mask – sugar

Lena x


How to make your manicure last!

Sunday, May 25th 2014 Nails

There are few things more upsetting than spending time painting your nails with a gorgeous colour, and having it chip off within a day or two. I want mine to last for about a week, and using these techniques I generally achieve that.

You will need:

  • A base coat – I use Orly Bonder
  • Nail polish, whatever you fancy.
  • A top coat – I use Sally Hansen Insta-Dri
  • Nail polish remover and cotton balls
  • Tiny paint brush
  • Paper towel/tissues

Products for a long lasting manicure

The very first step is to make sure that your nails are free of any oils before you start – use nail polish remover on a cotton ball even if your nails don’t have polish on them. If there is any oil on your nails, from hand cream or even food then that will cause the polish to not adhere as well to your nail, and that can cause it to chip. Next you apply your base coat – I really like Orly Bonder, I’ve tried a few others but this is the best so far. I buy mine from eBay as it’s about half the price as buying it in store, but you can easily get it at Farmers.

Now there’s the big step, which is using your polish. Apply it carefully, and try to avoid getting any on your cuticles. If you do, that’s okay because you can clean it up later. I typically do two thin coats, and don’t generally leave much time between them – not as a conscious decision, more just because I don’t like waiting around a lot. I generally make sure to ‘wrap the tips’ – that is, to paint the edge of my nail with polish. I find that it’s one of the things that has made a major improvement in the wear time of my manicures. A post from Michelle from All Lacquered Up is what inspired me to start doing this, and it has been really valuable advice – her post is here. The picture below is from her tutorial and gives an (exaggerated) idea of what to do.

Manicure Tip Wrap Nail Edge with Polish

Wrapping your tip – picture by

Top coats also make a big impact on the length of time that a manicure will last. For a long time I used Seche Vite, the top coat that is touted all over the internet as being the best ever, but I found it very frustrating at how it got gluggy quickly and required excessive use of nail polish thinner. On that note, don’t add nail polish remover to your polish to thin it as it ruins it. A proper thinner like Orly’s will mean that your polishes will live long and happy lives. Aaaaaanyway, nowadays I use Sally Hansen Insta-Dri topcoat which I think is better than Seche Vite. It makes my polish dry very quickly and makes my nails really shiny, as well as making it last for a long time. You should wrap your tips in the topcoat too, like in the tutorial I linked above.


Despite my best efforts I typically get some polish on my cuticles, or even on my skin. I used to just peel it off, or leave it there, but I found that doing so meant polish would peel off my nail to which is not what I intended! So now I use nail polish remover to tidy up by removing any polish in my cuticles – it looks better and helps my manicure to last longer too. I pour a bit of nail polish remover into the cap of the bottle and use a tiny brush I got with a nail art kit. A cotton bud will do it a pinch but it’s not as precise. Wet the brush with nail polish remover and work your way around the nails, wiping off the polish from your brush onto your tissue or paper towel. If you want to see how this is done, aLoveTart has a good tutorial on youtube: How to: Remove Nail Polish From Your Cuticles

I hope these tips help you to have a longer lasting manicure! Try them and tell me how you get on in the comments section, or Facebook or Twitter.

Lena x

Product Review: Garnier Moisture Match – Goodbye Dry moisturiser

Thursday, May 22nd 2014 Skincare

Garnier NZ has recently launched Moisture Match 24 Hour Hydration Tailor Made moisturisers  which are a “new generation of moisturisers with a variety of sensorial textures, customised to match specific skin needs.” According to their promotional material the five different moisturisers all offer 24 hour hydration to suit your skin.

The types are as follows

Protect and glow – for normal skin
Goodbye Dry – for dry/very dry skin.
Start afresh – for normal/dry skin
Wake me up – for dull skin
Shine be gone – for combination/oily skin

Last month Garnier NZ had a contest on their Facebook page  to win of their new moisturisers. I didn’t win a full size, but they did send out samples as a consolation prize which was nice. They have five different types, and according to their quiz I should use Goodbye Dry – for dry/very dry skin. This was correct, I do have dry skin. The quiz/contest has finished on their facebook, but it’s available on Garnier UK’s website.

Garnier Moisture Match Goodbye Dry samples

Garnier Moisture Match Goodbye Dry samples

I received 5 sachets, which was great – it meant I was able to properly try out the moisturiser for about a week before reviewing it. When I first opened it I was surprised that it wasn’t as creamy as you would expect from a product for people with very dry skin, but I used it anyway after my nightly skincare routine. It felt nice, and it wasn’t sticky or slimy which is an important consideration, especially if you were to put this on in the morning. In the morning I did feel like I needed to moisturise again, which I don’t typically do as part of my skincare routine. I wouldn’t say that this gave me 24 hour hydration, but that’s not really a terrible flaw in the product, I think many people moisturise twice a day anyway, especially if they wash their face twice a day. I probably won’t be throwing out my existing moisturisers to start using this moisturiser instead, but once I’ve finished what I currently have I would consider buying this moisturiser. I might be inclined to use this before make up as it’s non-greasy and dries quickly, and it has Dimethicone in it which is an important ingredient in my favourite primer. Garnier doesn’t have the ingredients list on their website but it has been entered to CosDNA which is a cosmetics ingredient database – check it out here.

Garnier Moisture match moisturisers are available in New Zealand at supermarkets, Farmers, Kmart and presumably other places too. In the process of writing this post I’ve found that they’ve been out in the UK for at least a year, but I’m not sure about availability elsewhere.

Have you tried this, or are you interested in it? I’m curious to see what the other products in the range are like, and if they are drastically different.

Lena x


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