Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas in a bottle

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If you could bottle the Christmas scent what would it be?

For me it is definitely pine needles, burning log and coal fires, clove studded oranges, cinnamon, marzipan, raw Christmas cake mix, dried fruit soaked in booze and the smell of burning candle wicks.

Everyone's would be different I presume, all based on your childhood memories and what Christmas means to you and how and where you spent it.

Christmas is so much about the smells for me - I make a point of getting 'Christmassy' by lighting cinnamon  candles and sticking my snout in jars of cloves and bottles of brandy and sneakily pulling a pine needle off a Christmas tree outside the local supermarket as I pass just to get a whiff.

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So over the past few days it's no surprise my super snout has been more sensitised to Christmas smells in beauty products.

These is what I have uncovered.

Mukti Kakadu Plum & Honey Masque
Smells like Christmas cake batter
To me the raw batter is better than the actual Christmas cake and not only because the booze hasn't evaporated off yet. I love the spicy, treacly, boozy nuttiness of it all. So I nearly passed out with joy when I used this face masque on Boxing Day for the first time.

Now I don't know what a kakadu plum smells or tastes like so am unsure if this is the source of the festive scent but my gosh this is like smearing Christmas cake batter all over your face. It is heaven.

On inspection of the ingredients it still doesn't make sense, yes there is organic honey and kakadu plum but the rest is all mainly just nourishing oils such as borage, rosehip and carrot seed  and grapefruit and chamomile extract but nothing that screams Christmas.

Nostalgic scent trips aside this masque is the perfect one to use after a day of maybe a little overindulgence as it is soothing, hydrating, nourishing and reviving and puts the glow back in tired skin.

Lush Glögg Shower Gel
Smells like mulled wine
It is no secret I love my wine.So mulled wine was always going to excite me. It is a no brainer really considering my other love of all things spicy. I am also partial to a Hot Port or three- an Irish drink made of port mixed with boiling water, sugar and a clove studded slice of lemon. A never fail get you festive kind of drink.

Glögg  encapuslates this perfectly. Named after the Swedish festivity of enjoying mulled wine-Glögg is Lush's home brew version of their shower gel base with cinnamon sticks and cloves boiled in water with freshly squeezed organic orange and lemon juice, a dash of red wine, and a shot of brandy finished with essential oils of orange and lime.

Yes is does contain SLS but we are allowed indulge ourselves over the festive period and this is creamy, foamy, spicy, warming, zesty, fruity showering at it's best. Next stop - a Glögg bath,  perhaps accompanied by a hot port!

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balms
Smells like juicy cranberry and apple glaze
Now I love my Burt's Bees tinted balms at the best of times and all four of the six colour collection on rotation but it was only in the past week or so I realised they were making me feel all fruity n festive. Not only  the 'rose' one that I have been reaching for to give me a berry red festive stain but because they smell  all cranberry and apple juicy.

I had the eureka moment whilst clad in a reindeer pinnie, stirring brandy into my cranberry sauce and honey and cinnamon syrup glaze while a leg of ham was boiling away beside me in it's spicy, cider and apple and cranberry juice stock.

Christmas in a balm stick.

Nuxe Paris, Huile Prodigieuse Or, Shimmering Dry Oil
Smells like something the three kings would have came a bearing
I can't be 100% sure I know what Myrrh smells like and I think I know what Frankincense smells like from distant childhood memories of when the priest would shake that Frankinsense ball thing in Christmas Mass  BUT regardless this is spicy, fragrant Christmas exoticness housed in a noursihing dry oil, enriched with flecks of gold shimmer. It should be called Three Kings Oil. Nothing embodies that part of the nativity story more than this product.

My friend who is well attuned to my love of lustrous gold sheeny beauty products sent it to me for my birthday and it is so indulgent I will be forever grateful. Amazing used down your shin bones and on collar bones and shoulders to provide a slimming lustrous sheen. This is non-greasy and heaven scent and can even be used in your hair to add shimmering dimensions while conditioning and making you belt out the chorus of "We Three Kings Of Orient Are" as you apply.

What smells like Christmas to you?

Any festive beauty products  you are using these holidays?

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Reddy for Christmas?


Are ya feeling festive yet?

I'm kinda..... not.......

I'm not all humbugs I have had pockets of festivity - watching celebrity chefs Christmas specials have helped AND dropping a $100 on crappy Christmas paraphernalia in the supermarket also did wonders for my seasonal spirit.

Red bows n baubles and reindeer tea towels and oven mitts will do it every time.

That and a classic red mani.

Seriously - it is Christmas on a nail plate.


With more punch than your home-made cranberry sauce and more spice than your figgy pud.

And as if that wasn't enough to fill my stocking - SAX polishes are all kinds of awesome.

I've never used them before but have been suitably impressed.

Seven festive reasons why
  • They go on glossy and creamy and streak free and as smooth as the royal icing on your cake
  • They are 3-free so no baddies to ruin the joy
  • Cheap as Christmas cracker toys
  • I've painted over some minor chips and had nearly a week's wear- a week I tells ya, just what a gal needs when partying hard
  • Rubber handle not unlike Orly's makes for a very for great grip even with greasy mince-pie mitts
  • The little diamante stud on the bottle - just like a Christmas guiding star
  • I hear Vixen is a fan and Prancer reckons it is "hot to trot"
What is your festive mani going to be?

Am off to get a pedi and mani  this arvo- I think I'm going to have to go with Orly Mineral FX in Emberstone, shiny, juicy and Christamsssssy!!

Have fun getting festive you crazy candy canes xxx

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Some Good Causes for Chrissy & Possibly A Divorce For Me

Not often I do a post on this sort of thing (apart from when I make a FITE contribution everytime I buy some Dermalogica which is often!) but I thought that both of these clever initiatives warranted a mention.

Nivea for Men ‘Shave It Or Save It’ Campaign

Now I am NOT one of the 83% of Aussie women who would like their man to be clean shaven.

I love my hubby's designer stubble which he shaved off once and I freaked out.

Nivea has honed in on this great debate for a good cause.

The Shave it or Save it campaign is for everyday guys to upload a piccie of their mo or chinfluff (or have someone upload it) and then they go up for public vote to SHAVE or SAVE!

Love it- have just spent ages trawling through the gallery and voting!! 

Funnily I'm mostly camp SHAVE.

Seriously - the photos crack me up!

The best bit for every vote Nivea for Men will donate $1 to the Australian Paralympic Committee.

So jump on and get voting!

Now I'll be divorced for this but I thought I could have my hubby's great beard debate answered for once or for all - so I uploaded him.  

Can't wait to see if he will be a SHAVE or SAVE
Vote what you think my hubby should do here?? - $1 will go to a good cause!!

Become a Garnier Take Care Ambassador

This initiative may help someone who is currently involved in a charity or fundraising program and would like to do more.

Garnier are looking for 10 inspiring Australian’s who are currently engaged with a grassroots project; whether it be fundraising for a local school or sporting group, assisting with community activities or raising awareness of important local issues.

As one of the 10 Ambassadors you’ll lead The Circle, Garnier's online community which will give you a chance to shine a light on your own project, initiative or cause.

As an Ambassadors you also get to  trial and review new Garnier products and share beauty advice.

A pretty ace gig for a beauty blogger I suspect.

So if you are involved in a localised charitable cause or initiatives this could be a great way to raise awareness to your cause and also receive $1000 cash to help further your project, plus Garnier product and merchandise to use for fundraisers and prizes.

You will also meet the Garnier team during a special Induction Day in Melbourne where you will be treated to a professional photo shoot and receive Garnier products to trial and review throughout 2012.

You can check out the other entries here - it all seems pretty straight forward 

Enter before 4th Jan here

So if you work alongside a good cause and think you would be in with a shot go for it , if not and you do some charitable work good onya- your karma credit will be looking pretty healthy right now :)


My Boy should he SAVE or SHAVE..........?

Do you do any charity work- could the Take Care Ambassador Program work for you?

Sunday, 18 December 2011

BFF Post Party Pig Pick Me Ups


Silly season has officially landed.

And I have got myself officially silly.

I always need to psych myself up for this time of year.

A time when all virtuousness and good intentions go sliding like a slippery nipple by the wayside replaced by cocktails and goodies wrapped in prosciutto and served on a cocktail stick.

Not one for self-restrain if I am out and partying about I will drink what is put in my hand and eat what is presented to me on a tray.

Le oink.

This one-night-wonder did a triathlon this week and a long-distance party marathon last week and it near killed me.

Nanapants aint no spring turkey no more.

Three nights on the trot wandering far from the straight and narrow path called for these next-day remedies to get me through.

1. Flush those Flaming Sambucas out of that liver:
If in anyway coherent try to sneak a chlorophyll in water before bedtime. If you are like me you will leave a green mess behind you in the kitchen but thats better than the dehydrated mess that will stare back at you in that mirror the next day.

Upon waking if you have more bang of booze off you than your Auntie Jean's Christmas pud then you need to get that liver working to get that booze out of your system. I generally try upon rising, one eye at a time to do the old hot water and lemon juice trick, followed by copious amounts of coconut water (the natural Gatorade) and chlorophyll throughout the day.

Have the kettle on the go non-stop, drinking cups of Qi Detox Green Tea by the gallon, which has milk thistle, fennel seeds and dandelion root to try and lure all those alcohol-induced toxins from my liver

If not green under the gills I try to grab a fresh vegetable juice particularly containing spinach, ginger and beetroot to further cleanse the liver, settle the tummy and put back much needed enzymes, minerals and vitamins.

A banana mashed in natural yoghurt with manuka honey is my foolproof cure even if queasy. It has all the nutrients and minerals that need replacing plus it does wonders for your stomach lining which may be still cursing you for all those jagerbombs.

I find the next afternoon I always crave a beef burger too - so I try to go with a  burger wrap instead to cure the grease/salt/fat craving but not go too far from the healthy path.

2. Stimulate that Sauvingon Blanc away:


By getting the blood flowing again and invigorating the skin your lymph system will also get everything a flushing for a speedier recovery. You can''t go passed dry-body brushing to get the whole body tingling and kick-start detoxification.

For the visage, forget the gentle chemical exfoliants I need some grit here to wake my skin back up. I reach for The Body Shop's Vitamin C Facial Cleansing Polish which is fresh, juicy and the right balance between gritty and fine and the vitamin C spheres burst on your face and help to brighten.

A good scrub helps to bring blood to the skin surface  to oxygenate and revive the skin while getting rid of any party induced dullness and maybe a little residual party war paint. Call out the big guns like a Clarisonic or muslin facecloth for some extra stimulation. At the very least it will put some colour back in those palid, queasy looking cheeks!

I also always look to spritz on a stimulating scent. Anything citrusy will fill the perky, uplifting brief - Shiseido's Energising Fragrance, Jo Malone's Orange Blossom Cologne and  Acqua di Parma Cologne all do it for me.

3. Hydrate back in what the Harvey Wallbangers took out:

                           Image Source

Again if semi-coherent the night before I try to add a few drops of rosehip oil into the mix. I'm using the Natio Ageless one at the mo. But if your face feels as arid as the sole of Gandhi's sandal and your mouth as dry as if you had been chewing on 50 cream crackers upon waking hydrating boosters are required.  I will slather on any form of  hydrating/radiance boosting mask I can find. 

Akin Instant Radiance Facial Mask brightens with fruit acids and moisturises and Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Mask is so refreshing with it's gel texture and soothing properties are two in my cabinet I've been calling on.

4. Soothe Pina Coladaified peepers:


I don't know if you find this too but when hungover my eyes are always so dry and sore. I'm not sure if it is because I am a contact wearer or I wear more make-up out or call up my "less sensitive" mascaras & eyeliners etc but either way they are crusty and dusty feeling the morning after.

I always start by give them a second going over with make-up removal as inevitably there will be a panda or two knocking about, I go gently and just use some rosehip oil or Audra James's Skin Cleansing Oil on a cotton pad. I then use some soothing drops (Visine rocks at whitening bleary red eyes too) and look for any eye cream dispensed in gel- roller ball formula.

The little cold metal ball gives such relief but also helps to depuff and rehydrate. I have Clinique's All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage, Nivea  Q10 Plus Anti-Wrinkle Refreshing Eye Roll-On and Garnier's Youthful Radiance Caffeine Eye Roll-On. The Clinique is probably my favourite but that is because it is least fragranced. For me these are all about the balls - I don't use them regularly enough to comment on their conditioning properties but when suffering they offer refreshing comfort like no other.

5. Conceal away the Cosmopolitans, Illuminate away the Iced Margaritas

If facing public or even for my own sanity so I don't see my deathly complexion staring back at me in the mirror I try to brighten and conceal as much as juxtaposed by the fact I can't stand the feeling of make-up on my dehydrated skin either.

Garnier's Miracle Perfector BB Cream is a great starting point with reasonably good coverage, that feels fresh and moisturising and fakes a glow also the citrusy smell helps your cause. Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector is then my best friend, nothing gives more life to my face than that, it's super-fine and dewy.

I always then add some blush to keep me from looking like the living dead, I stay away from reds/pinks as the blood vessels are dilated enough. I can't really do powders hungover either so I usually just dab on some liquid bronzer like The Body Shop's Honey Bronzing Gel which also aids the fresh cause.

Likewise no powders allowed on my dried up old eyes - Benefit's Creaseless Cream Shadow in My Date's My Brother is an easy apply all over with a finger shimmery pink. If I have to do mascara I'll reach for the ones that feel least crunchy when dry. Ere Perez's Almond Oil Mascara is perfect.

Need more?
If at all possible I will try to get my head under seawater- nothing is more reviving.

If you are too weary or bleary to get to the sea fake it with Echolife Australian Macrobiotic Sea Salt Bath Crystals. A soak in the 40 strong mineral bath will help to revive and refresh like a roll in the surf.

Eventually in the evening I will surrender and succumb to the lure of my PJs on the sofa eating biscuits dunked in tea.

Nothing soothes like a comforting cuppa on the couch, that and knowing that once you hit the hay you will wake up human once more and be ready for round two - you crazy cat!


Whats your post party beauty remedy?

And your foolproof hangover cure?

Has silly season taken over you yet?

Want more Best Favourite Five lists see my BFF page here

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Fake But Natural Tan

One part of Natural November that made me nervous when initially thinking about it was not having the crutch of fake tan.

Now as a fair bear these days I don't over faux and prefer to settle on a more natural glow than the bronzalicious looks I may have sported in the past.

I thought sourcing a sunless tanner made from all natural ingredients would be near on impossible.

Me of little faith! 

Eco tan offered just the alternative with their Organic Invisible Tan.

Great - the general public would be saved from my lily-limbs glare. Not a good look down at Bondi Beach let me tell you.

I would probably have been heckled away by the local seagulls for being an eyesore.

Eco Tan to the rescue!

Made with certified organic ingredients and naturally derived colours and DHA.

Check em:

INGREDIENTS: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Dihydroxyacetone**, Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita matricaria) Flower Extract*, Cetyl Alcohol, Avocado (Persea gratissima) Oil*, Glycerin*, Macadamia integrifolia Seed Oil*, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Honesuckle (Lonicera caprifolium) Flower Extract, Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) Flower Extract, Rose Geranium (Pelargonium capitatum) Oil, Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Leaf Extract and Rose (Rosa damascena) Flower Oil.

This tanner is rich and creamy in texture, quite thick, not unlike the texture of a Burt's Bees Body Lotion.

Now I am a lazy tanner at the best of times and foregoed the Eco Tan Away Mitt that I also received for my first use. 

Straight in at the tanning deep end me. Hardcore.

Attempt number 1
I did however call on my trusty Velvotan Mitt for application assistance.

This helped me glide the lotion on and it worked in nicely to my palid skin. The smell they say is roseflower. I say orange blossom meets white chocolate. Still very delicate by tanning standards.

The texture feels just like a lux body moisturiser and once the lotion sinks in, rather quickly at that you are left with dewy soft, plump skin.

This is a white lotion, no tint here. That means unstained sheets, nighties, undergarments and white leather sofas (yes I left a stain once on my brother's white 3-seater - major faux tanning faux pas). 

However it also comes with a slight nervousness of have I applied evenly. Cue trusty Velvotan Mitt to guide you through the uncertainty.

I lucked out- my first application was perfect and the colour was golden and not unlike the tone I get when I do eventually tan, if ever.

The tan-pong factor is minimal, there is that slight sweet smell around the next morning which is slight in comparison to most and washes away down the plughole when you shower, never to linger.

What is more I would swear that this tan does darken over the next 24 hours even after showering - they do say this happens. I definitely seemed more golden come day 2- perfect timing for my One Year Wedding Anniversary mini-break which involved lots of poolside lounging and short dresses!!

The colour lasts really well too once developed- I can see it stretch for the whole week.

I never actually took any specific photos -so just had to compile a medley from photos taken after attempt 1. You can see it is very natural and tonal with my natural skin.

Attempt number 2 
I did call up the Eco Tan Away Mitt to help get rid of any remnants and start afresh. You use this glove in the shower - I squirted a little shower cream on it to get things moving.

Boy oh boy does this baby buff.

I loved the feeling. You get the same tingles that a good body brushing offers. This mitt would be great for exfoliating and stimulating circulation all in it's own . Love it. Its now hanging by the shower as regular fixture and I use it those times I hastily jump into the shower and forget to body brush before its too late and I am wet. 

So buffed within an inch of my life I decided to use my bare hands to apply the lotion. This makes it harder to work the thick texture into the skin. Once you do emulsify it does sink in well but there is some elbow grease required.

This way I also suffered some crusty, streaky feet.

Not a good look.

However the tan did come up darker - my legs were a fabulously rich colour.

The happy medium I think is use a mitt and apply more product.

Now for the love of gin - don't even go there when drunk. After attempt 2 with the slight crusty feet I came in a little tipsy and thought I'd fix it up and applied more on my feet in prep for the following night's party.

Not pretty, please take heed.

The following image may shock you but will hopefully stick in your subconscious to prevent you from making the same stupid mistakes


Some other tanners that fall into the natural(ish) side of things I want to try:

Jane Iredale Tantasia, Endota Spa Tandota, a certified organic gradual self-tanner and St Tropez Naturals with Vegetan a vegetable sourced tanning agent.

**UPDATED Uncannily I posted this today and the same evening Today Tonight ran a story on hazardous chemicals in fake tans and highlighted the safety of Eco Tan ingredients

`(If you are interested here is the video- there is an ad you need to sit through first)

Have you used a more natural formula fake tan?

Do you faux the glow?

Have you had a drink & faux tan faux pas before?

Monday, 12 December 2011

A primped up thank you


Ages and ages ago, way back when in August I begged you all for your vote for the Primped Posse competition.

The prize was a magical opportunity and coveted spot to guest blog and be a state beauty ambassador for top secret beauty missions on my favourite beauty website www.primped.com.au.


Well guess what - I won!!

It seems I pimped my blog out enough and my video and review was the NSW winner.


You can't see me but I am air-punching Tom Cruise stylee right now!!

So I just wanted to thank you gals and lassies for your vote, I know I cyber bullied you into it and lured you with promises of cosmetic karma, so I hope you get your cosmic dues :)

Meanwhile behind the beauty scenes, in between swatching polish and discarding unusable face of the days showcasing nothing but my nasal hair I am just getting started on my first Primped guest post...........

I'm all kinds of nervous and excited and overwhelmed.

So standby and stay posied for a Me My Best and I Primped Special cominatchya very, very soon.


Thanks so much  for your support & votes xxx
You guys rock  xx

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Haughty Taughty

A box of Taut Collagen loot landed on my desk recently.

There they stayed on my desk for a little while. The box had this really weird fish oil smell.

Now I am still traumatised over cod liver oil related incidents in my youth!

Firstly my Mum force fed us the stuff from a spoon as kids. The glass of orange juice that followed to take the edge off did nothing for me and I would be fish-burping all day until home time.

I must have kicked up enough of a stink to get promoted to cold liver oil capsules which worked for the most part apart from the odd early dissolver that would have you burping up a fishy storm once again.

Then there was the one I swallowed with hot tea, that burst in my mouth.

No more.

That ended my cold liver oil taking as a kid. I was on a life-long CLO strike only recently broken by the dicovery of the coated capsules that don't dissolve until they are safely past your stomach.

On further research my Taut Gold Standard Collagen Orange Drink contained shark cartilage extract which I figured must be what I was smelling and  further threw me offside

You could say I got a little Haughty Taughty about the whole thing as it dredged up these fishy memories so I knew I had to call in an independent adjudicator to try some of the products to get an unbiased view....

I called up Betty of previous Aveeno Tinted Moisturiser testing fame

Now I knew she would have baulked at the price had she known what they cost so was allowed do no research before testing. She was told to drink the Taut Gold Standard Collagen Orange Drink ($84.95 for 8) cold and use the Taut Collagen Infusion Mask ($44.95 for 5 )mask as instructed.

Her feedback:
"The wee bottles looked serious! I couldn't decide if I liked the taste or not. The taste kept changing as I drank it. It tasted like an orange vitamin drink that was yukky enough for me to think it must be good for me!"

"I was sure I could smell it in my pee! But can't say after one  if it changed  my skin "

"As for the mask - it was lovely lovely!!!! I loved the feel of it and it left my skin bright n shiney n taut!!!! The smell was nice too. There was plenty of product on the mask.The clothes were nice and moist. 

"Both the drinks and especially the mask felt luxe!!!"

So after Betty's feedback and getting over my initial haughty taughtyness  I decided I was ready to face my fears.

Taut Gold Standard Collagen Orange Drink
So I don't know what all my fuss was about!  Taste wise they don't taste fishy at all  - I'm not sure where I was getting the fish oil flashbacks from. 

These orange flavoured drinks include shark cartilage extract as the collagen source with hyaluronic acid, ceramide and vitamins such as B1, B2, B6, E and beta-carotene.and supposedly when drunk a few times a week will boost skin conditioning.

If anything I can taste the yeastiness of the B vitamins mixed with orange, not unlike a berocca. They were inoffensive, however I do still remain a little haughty taughty about them. 

I am a firm believer in getting your nutrition where possible from wholesome food sources and I would much rather eat a "complete protein" food such as quinoa, eggs, spirulina or amaranth and get all nine amino acids in one hit than pay through the odds for a drink containing collagen which lets face it will be broken down to amino acids by my stomach.

But that is just me, perhaps these would be good for someone starting out an a health kick and is looking to improve their skin and isn't quite there on the whole healthy eating thing yet.

The shark fin cartilage bit doesn't sit well with me at all, I know most collagen beauty products are made from rooster combs or pigs feet or the likes but still it irks me.

Taut Collagen Infusion Mask 
These however were a different story and as Betty put it feel lovely, lovely, lovely. They are a gauze-cloth mask heavily soaked  in a really, really moist collagen, squalene, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E cocktail. 

Now collagen when used topically on the skin has moisturising properties it doesn't actually help to synthesis collagen, only your body can do that internally. However these really, really do moisturise and plump your skin. I used a mask after two nights out in a row when the wine and cocktails were starting to take their toll and sucking the moisture from my face.

After a 10 minute lie down with this on I was plump and moist and dewy and fresh and ready to face night three out on the razzle dazzle.

These will be excellent to keep on hand to prep for a big night out or recover from one just as equally.

The cloth stayed so moist I even popped it on my hubby's face while he was having a Nana nap on the sofa! 

You could definitely get two goes from the one cloth to share with your bestie or your betrothed. 

I'm usually a clay or an enzyme mask girl but definitely like these moist little treats for times when I am feeling a little pruneish  now I am not so haughty taughty about the whole affair!!

Have you tried these?

What are your thoughts on collagen drinks - all Hollywood are doing them apparently?

Do you like cloth masks? Any goodies?

Do you have CLO scars? Were you a fish-burper at school?

At time of posting the mask and drinks were reduced to $26.97 and $50.97 respectively

These products were supplied for review cold liver oil traumas and opinions are mine and Bettys

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Mineral Files - File under F for Foundation

So the world of mineral foundation was a strange one to me, one I thought I would never want to play in.

I thought  dusty, messy, cakey, flat,matte, not enough coverage.

In fact it is quite the opposite (except messy, it is a little!)

(If you missed it, check out my Kiss & Mineral Make-up post with before & afters and video for the transformation and why i changed my mind)

My mineral foundation pros and cons:

Les Pros
  • Loving the skin your in- The biggest draw card is the non-pore clogging and skin conditioning benefits natural minerals bring. 2012 is the year of good skin for me, I'm just forewarning you and together me & minerals are going to get there.
  • The shit lasts - It goes the distance. Yes it does need a little touching up on blemishes throughout the day and maybe a little shine check on the t-zone but overall this stuff is long-lasting. I did a spin class yesterday at lunch (reassured in the comfort of working out in make-up, see point 1!) and did a tiny dust over with my mini-buki brush and micro-pot of bareMinerals I carry in my gym bag. My hubby compliments me on my makeup when I walk through the door at 6pm. That is a 12 hour stint we're talking peeps sans primer + my first spin class in 5 weeks which was sweaty + post workout shower (shielding face).  More staying power then a Kardashian wedding for realz!
  • There is a glowy luminosity that you just can't achieve with liquid foundation. I dunno what it is but its an all over lit from within dimension that minerals (mainly the mineral veil finishing layer) brings. 
  • SPF - all that extra SPF that minerals offer does wonders for ones skin insurance whilst living in this great southern land.
  • What lies beneath - you will never know because that soft focus trickery minerals give, creates a bit of a smokescreen to blemishes and it masks redness like you wouldn't believable. You can of course see the bump of a blemish but any healed spots that are now just red marks waiting to fade, melt away.. wait, what red mark...???
  • Mineral-eyes - I swear there is something in using mineral pigments as your base that makes your eyes pop and your whites look lighter in contrast, I'm not sure why or how but probably something to do with the trueness of the pigments. 
Les Cons
  • The mess factor - there is no denying there is a some mineral fall out when you are buffing and dusting, you do notice a layer form on your bedroom dresser. Most of the containers are designed well to contain the mess (bareMinerals in particular  lets you dispense powder then lock the holes up again by twisting the cap). I've also noticed this 'minerals ring" form around my sink after  I have used a sink full of hot water to rinse my face washer. I now need to clean my sink daily (I quite liking have those Pine o cleen wipes handy (anyone have a natural/eco wipe alternative suggestion??)
  • Badly timed sneezes and  menacing neighbours hairdryers in gym changing room mirrors. Say no more
  • Liquid on powder - sometimes a little tricky using creme blush and liquid illuminators on top. I've learnt two tips 1) mist your mineral base with a facial spritz which will help settle the minerals and even out your complexion anyway, but while the skin is damp you can blend cream formulas in reasonably well 2) stipple don't rub, if you go lightly with a foundation or stipple brush when applying the cream formula and press down, don't swipe or rub, you'll be right!
  • Luggage - there are a few extra pots to carry around in your make-up kit

bareMinerals Original SPF 15 Foundation*
The Lancome Teint Miracle of mineral makeup
I wear Fairly Light

This has really good buildable coverage and lasts the longest on my face but also illuminates softly. Combined with the concealer, the all-over radiance and the mineral veil to set this is the perfect little system for a well-covered, glowing, contoured face with some life to it.
(Funny story: I accidentally picked up a Matte formula as opposed to the Orignal (Matte is boxed, Original ain't peeps, learn from my mistakes) I hated it on first us , it didn't seem to have the glowy-soft-focus-fabulousness the Original offers BUT I've since found it a great way to pre-conceal, so I buff this on my blemished/marked t-zone first then swoop in with the Original )

Vani-T Mineral Powder *
The Shiseido Cream Foundation of mineral makeup
I wear Shell
This again offers great buildable coverage but has a finish not unlike a cream foundation. I find it suedey and and creamy looking but still with some life and light. The packaging on this is gorgeous,  like a little diamond or precious gem and the lid is quite wide and deep which makes for easy swirling with your brush before applying.

Jane Iredale Liquid Minerals*
The Garnier BB Cream of mineral makeup

I wear Radiance
I had this lined up initially as my mineral makeup of choice for Natural November as I was struggling with breaking ties with cream foundations, foundation brushes, the whole process really. As it turns out this is not my main player. However it is so perfect for the mornings I'm running to the gym or yoga as it applies like a tinted moisturiser.

It is really such a clever product - liposomes of mineral powders are suspended in an aloe vera and glycerin base. So when you pump out a squirt the action blends the formula together so you get a liquid mineral application. It feels fresh and comfortable and offers light to medium buildable coverage.

I've also just had a eureka moment whereby I apply this with a foundation brush to primed skin before buffing on a layer of powder when I go out. It's like priming my primer! The whole combination gives a fresh, illuminated, long-lasting, well covered base for night.

A great minerals option for lucky ducks who like light-medium coverage.

Natural Compatabiles, Wet/Dry Foundation*
If you like it soft and matte and on the go
I wear Medium

Never one previously for compact powder foundations I wasn't sure about this one but in the name of blog gave it a go. I was surprised it actually worked with a wet sponge, which goes against all my instincts. I used a little Sodashi Calming Mist to dampen the sponge and off I blended. This gives excellent coverage, I did not need to use any concealer. It is almost full coverage when used wet. It is matte and a suede-like finish. I prefer a little more luminosity BUT this would be great for oily skinned gals as you do still get a little shine-peep through with the other mineral bases I've used. It lasted all the live long day too.

However it contains talc as the main ingredient, silicone as the third so goes against my whole reasoning for letting the skin breathe with pure minerals. In saying that this lives on my desk and is wonderful used dry for touch ups both as a spot conceal and on any shine-through during the day. I also secretly love the ladylike glamour of patting on powder with a sponge while looking in a compact!! Also great if you just want to carry one product around instead of pots of different minerals

bareMinerals SPF20 Concealer*
Takes out what the mineral foundation can't
I use Bisque

This is creamy albeit a powder and really really fine. It has that moist sensation feeling when you apply it.  Originally an eyeshadow they converted it to a concealer after feedback of what wonders it did for making the eyes a flawless canvas. It has a slight sandy tone which is different to the Fairly Light I wear which is more a vanilla/yellow tone but somehow it works and doesn't cake at all.

bareMinerals Mineral Veil*
The Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector of mineral makeup
This gives the wow factor. No shimmer, no glitter just this incredibly sheer moist feeling powder that helps to blend all the other minerals bases together and soften them into one glowy look. I love how this feels cool and feather light and a little damp on application and how it just makes your whole look pop.

Everyday Minerals, Dusty Miller**
A great dupe for bareMinerals Mineral Veil
Initially I thought this was going to be a little 'sparkly" you can physically see tiny specks of gold shimmer in this ballet pink powder. What is amazing is this dissipates when on your face, you don't look shimmery or glittery at all. The ballet pink colour also vanishes instead just a lucent, soft, glowy finished veil of minerals is left, colour is undetectable.

The container is pants. Even though it has a twisty/seal cap it leaks. I will decant into an empty bareMinerals pot I think. Love the name!! Again seriously unbelievable value at $9 for a huge pot, about 1/2 the price of bareMinerals Mineral Veil and works just as effectively

bareMinerals Starter Kit*

The I want to give it a go and don't know where to start kit
This really was my launchpad into minerals and without it I don't know if I would have been such a convert. It has everything you need, 2 x 2g foundation bases (I have light & fairly light colours) a concealer (bisque) a bronzer (warmth) and a mineral veil finishing powder PLUS three super soft beautiful brushes for full coverage, finishing & bronzing and a flat one for concealing. PLUS a DVD how-to which I have to say was well worth the watch! All for $85 which really considering the quality brushes is a bargain. I got nearly 6 weeks out of the foundation sizes.

Les Brushes

I've been swirl tap buffing my life away with these brushes:

Full Flawless Application Face Brush*
Made of goat hair, this brush really does help to build full coverage. I use this for the base only. The bristles are really dense and they hold their own and splay marginally as you buff so you can cover your whole face very quickly. I've had the odd shed from this one. Not every time just the occasional and a  few after it's last wash.

Flawless Application Face Brush*
This is smaller, and slightly more domed than the Full Flawless and also made of goat hair. No shed as yet from this baby. I use this for the mineral veil, also for the bronzer sweep, it is less dense and softer so gives much lighter coverage.

Everyday Minerals Long Handles Kabuki**
The name is deceiving this is still a little stumpy thing (aren't we all!) but boy oh boy is this buki soft as soft can be. This brush is $12USD and worth ten times tha , it is so soft and beautiful I love how it feels. It gives medium coverage.

I use this to buff on the Matte bareMineras as my pre-conceal layer on the t-zone. I sometimes do a finish of Mineral Veil with this too. Amazing, amazing value.Want more, more I tell you, more.

Maximum Coverage Concealer Brush*
This flat, silky brush is perfect for patting on the bareMinerals Bisque Concealer. I use a pressing motion and flip the brush from side to side to cover any blemishes from all angles and to get a seamless blend. The handle is short too so you get good control and the ability to apply pressure. It's made from a synthetic fibre called taklon.

After a mammoth swatching photo shoot that I final got off my little procrastinating ass , I now have photos of all these minerals, standby for a visuals post!!

Have you tried any of these yet?

Do you have a favourite minerals brush?

Any other minerals pros/cons to submit?

* these products were supplied for consideration , opinions are my own. I have since rebought bareMinerals Original and Matte foundations

**these products were sent to me by the gorgeous Jac over at ChloeBlue likes to Sparkle. Go share the karma and join her blog, she rocks out amazing nail colours regularly. Tell her I sent you!!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Bloomin generous Bloom Cosmetics $25 free offer makes me do a jig

Christmas fever is upon us at Me, my best & I, I'm actually starting to feel festive. Watching every Christmas Cooking show on Lifestyle Food is helping. Thanks Jamie & Delia!

Meanwhile back at Beauty HQ Me, my elves and I have been busy  beavering away to bring you some festive offers.

If we are not getting you free bottles of Pure Rose Water facial Mist with every Audra James Cleansing Oil order over here,  we have also negotiated a fine deal with the elves over at Natalie Bloom's crib for you.

It took some negotiations and we even had to barter poor Vixen's Clarisonic to seal the deal (she is most disgruntled, Rudolf is still trying to pacify her with his red nose stunts) but we swung a mightly festive deal in the end for you.

So excited that we were, we broke out into a festive dance in the elf workshop, just check out our supermoves:

Me, my best & I Exclusive Bloom Cosmetics Christmas Readers Offer:

Visit www.bloomcosmetics.com to receive a $25 voucher with any purchase over $50 to put towards your next purchase.

Simply enter the special code: memyselfandi25 at the checkout to receive your $25 voucher for your next visit. The voucher will be mailed to you with your order.

This voucher is valid from today 5th December until 19th December only.

Hows that for some festive cheer??

If you need any inspiration I've compiled some special BFF lists of my top picks for you;

My BFF Bloom Cosmetics Christmas Present to myself:
One must always buy themselves a Christmas and Birthday present for themselves , that is the rule in my house.These are my top Bloom picks for my festive summer look.

  • Illuminiser in Glow, $35 - I've swatched this before and it's super-fine and velvety. A champagne sheen to go with your champagne buzz. Also contains jojoba and rice bran oil but I'm not sure that will even save you from post-party hangover skin!! However you can fake a glow the next day with this too. Party multi-tasker, love it!
  • Eyeshadow in Olive, $25- I've previously bought this for a mate but want one for myself. Its a bronzey-gilded olive that takes bronze out of the ordinary but is still neutral and muted with only a hint of green. Khaki and orange are my two colour obsessions this summer - so this will go with half my wardrobe at the moment
  • Nail Polish in Miss Connie II, $19.95 (or 2 for $29.95) - This fills the orange fixation summer brief - a neon orange that would look just as hot against pale skin as it would bronzed or dark. NEED!
  • Eye Brow Duo, $25 - I have this and it rocks, it was my most missed make-up product in Natural November, the long-wearing neutral, matte shadow-pencil fills in brows with a triangular tip that can be angled for precise definition and creating sharp and fine feathered lines. Then the colourless brow gel tames and sets them in place. My brows love it.
  • Lipstick in Peach, $28 - a muted petal pinky-peach, this is the perfect summer juicy wearable colour. I've wanted this for the longest time. All Bloom lips smell like vanilla & mandarin too - yummosyummos.
  • Cream Bronzing Duo, $38 - I love cream bronzers, they give such a natural, healthy glow and often offer way more oomph and lift than a flat matte powder.
My BFF Bloom Cosmetics Christmas Present to a Bestie:
Any of these Bloom beauties would make a great pressie for your friend or Mum, sister or Aunt. I'd be happy to unwrap any of these. Better then a French hen any day!

  • Candle, Lemon, Verbana & Rose, $39.95 - I think this is the nicest of the new candle range, fresh, zesty but still girlie. Liking the treble wick action too. I never buy myself fragranced candles but love to use them so this would be my ideal gift from a friend.
  • Organic Rosehip Oil, $25 - Every gal should own one. Period. Young, old, spots, wrinkles, dry, oily. This is ACO certified organic and very well priced at that.
  • Organic Body Oil, Uplifting $35 -  What could be a more luxurious treat for someone than a sumptuous organic body oil - This is also ACO certified organic with a sunflower, jojoba, macadamia and sweet almond base blended with sweet orange, lemon, bergamot, mandarin, geranium and neroli oil. Holy citrus wake-up call, your hangover will run and hide!
  • Make-Up Artists Cosmetics Bag, $30- I am forever swapping out my cosmetics bags. Dealbreakers for me are not wipe-able clean material (mineral make-up  users will empathise with me here) and not enough pockets and sections to keep things organised. This opens to lay flat another feature I love which aids easy viewing, has heaps of pockets and even has a ring-binder style insert with mesh pockets for micro-organisation!! Particularly good for the buddy with OCD tendencies. I love any vintage style print with birds so this pattern also does it for me big style.
  • 10 Piece Brush Set, $49.95- The gift that keeps on giving. I can never have enough make-up brushes but love how this case makes these so easy to have on the go. I would SQUEE with joy if this was lying beneath the wrapping paper. The ten brushes include: eye shadow, sponge tip, eye blending, liner, lip, powder and lash and brow plus a handy mirror. Sorted.
My BFF imma still on a natural buzz list:

  • Organic Refreshing Facial Mist, $16.95 - Three words seal the deal for me. 1)Spritzer. 2)Orange 3)Blossom. Plus cooling, refreshing witch hazel and soothing calendula and camomile extracts. ACO certified organic tips me over the edge.
  • Mineral Plus Sheer Mineral Tint in Fair/Medium, $48 - The natural, mineral way to wear tinted moisturiser with SPF 15 and skin energising gingko biloba and ginseng with vitamins A & E. This water resistant formula is perfect for days at the beach. (I'd layer over an SPF 30 for extra protection)
  • Organic Hand & Body Wash $38 -  Again posh shower gels are an indulgence for me, another gift I love to get. I also do enjoy a pump bottle in the shower, makes things much easier. 81% Certified Organic and with aloe juice, calendula and ginseng blended with invigorating organic ylang ylang, lavender and orange essential oils this would be definitely uplifting and reviving the morning after....
  • Mineral Powder Foundation, Light, $35 + Pure Mineral Foundation Brush $38 - Bloom's mineral foundation is a best seller and has no talcs, fillers or binders. The dense brush is designed specifically to apply the ultra-fine powder efficiently. 
  • B Collection, Mineral Veil in Himalayan Mist, $35 - For me it is all the mineral veils in  mineral foundation systems that blow my mind. They give that soft-focus, air-brushed luminosity. Your whole face changes after a dusting of mineral veil. This would work just as well over a liquid foundation for the perfect finishing touch and to add glowy longevity

So which would you like to find in your stocking on Christmas day?

Have you a favourite Bloom product to share?

What would be yur ideal Christmas Cosmetic Gift?

Can you do The Chritsmas Charlston as good as me. Bet ya can't!!

Oh  oo de oo doo de oo doo de oo de oo doo doo de ooo doo de oo doo de oo de oo doo doo de oo doo de oo do de oo de oo de oo oop- Betty Boop hasn't got a patch on me!!

Happy Bloom spending - get amongst it!!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Handy Naturals

I haven't really finished Natural November yet so will keep posting some posts relating to it before i do a summary.

What can I say, I'm enjoying it too much - hope you all are too and are not sick of me harping on just yet.

So, I am over obsessed with my nails, and  hand care remained a strong focus even throughout Natural November.

Nail-wise I used only 3free polishes and will continue to purchase only the same from here on in.

Natural hand and nail care is an easy switch to make with heaps of gorgeous organic soaps, handcreams and natural oils about to soften those pinkies.

Here's what I was using on my paws all month.

Get 10 perfect fingers and 10 perfect toes.
Burt's Bees Lemon Cuticle Butter
One of my secret desk CPR tricks for beating the afternoon flag. I love this fresh, zingy, citrusy, waxy balm. Its so fresh and never greasy so you won't fumble with the phone or oil slick your keypad! Sweet almond oil  cocoa seed butter and sunflower oil work to soften those cutes!
Olive Tree Organic Hand Cream
L'Occitane Olive Tree Organic Hand Creme*
I was already bowled over by the Organic Shower Creme and Body Lotion from the same range. This is just as olivelicious. Like the body lotion it is light and sinks right in with the same fresh grassy but soft fragrance (does contain some synthetic fragrance) It also has the same clever stand on its head twist open a hole squirter cap!

Endota Lavander & Alpine Pepper Hand Cream
This could easily slink into a Desk CPR list too as its peppery and minty and a bit invigorating, Initially it is all about the lavender but as you massage it in you get astringent herbs like rosemary, then some pepperiness and then mint. Fresh fingies comin atchya. Organic too - bonus.
Comvita Deep Cleansing Beauty Bar*
Yes posh soap, not sure if I would buy as there are heaps of natural alternatives available much cheaper, even from your pharmacy (Actually I think I will do Sukin handwash next- they have it in my yoga studio and it is gorge!) However I had this so was nice to indulge. 

It is meant to be a body bar but I'm not one for soaps in the shower so it lived on my bathroom sink. This is handmade and contains good quantities of  manuka honey (all the products do, I was quite surprised, manuka is usually listed in the top 3 ingredients) and propolis. It is really creamy and soft and smells a little honey-ish. The lather is soft and silky and really light. The only problem is its quite soft so goes a bit mushy and battered looking on the sink which freaks me a little.

Priti NYC Soy Polish Remover
I had to try this after my first Priti NYC experience where I used one of the wipes. I've had this teeny bottle since around June and it is still going strong even with my bi-weekly nail swatching. I think this product is genius, it is 100% biodegradable, non-toxic and non carcinogenic.

It is derived from soy bean esters and does not contain any petroleum ingredients, just some lemongrass oil for fresh fragrance and it is just that, lemony and fresh. Granted the removal process take a little longer thann with an acetone based alternative but not by much.

The trick is to use quite a saturated cotton ball and hold for a few seconds before rubbing. You do need to wash your hands afterwards as it is an oily texture but it smells so, so good, no chemical smel at all , just leomngrass oil. Your fingers and skin don't feel dry or tight in the slightest after using this.

3free polishes:
Continuing to bang the drum on my 3free post during Natural November

I recently stumbled across this independent survey on Sarah Wilson's A Sweeter Life blog and thought you may find it interesting, some brands I weren't aware of as bring 3free.

Paint away safely ladies !!

I also know that Priti NYC & Endota Nail Paints should be listed on there too, let me know others that are missing....


Any 3frees, not listed?

Would you try thr Priti NYC remover as a natural alternative or have you?

Any other natural hand care you use I should know about?

*Provided for consideration, hands, nails & opinions all my own

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Trout Pout

If you are here for a trashy post on botched lip fillers then you have come to the wrong place lady.

I'm not about to start bagging out the fish-face flops of celebrity restalyne suckers.

You are probably best to head down to your local newsagent and grab yourself a copy of NW or even better a National Enquirer for your laugh-along-celebrity-plastic-botch-job fix.

Hey but before you do, check out Katie Price and wouldyalookat Coutrney's lip-lilos. Fo Realz?
No , no ,  no,  cheap thrills I do apologise, we are actually here to ogle the corally deliciousness that is Trout Pout by Butter London.

As part of my Natural November I wanted to try Butter London polishes. I was stoked to when a free bottle with Madison magazine popped my buttery cherry!

On initial introductions I love the packaging - the square bottle, the raven logo printed on the lid. Like a baboon I try to twist off the square lid. Pull folks, pull. You will  then reveal a slim twistie round handle inside. Duh!

This creamy coral creme worries me about streaks on first coat, I am appeased come the second lick when its seems to settle and blend to an even, opaque lustre. By my Orly Glosser top layer it is positively glass like.


However the butter turns a little rancid quickly come day 2 when half my left hand is in chipsville.

I scold myself for being a baboon for the second time and redo the casualties.

Trout Pout Premature Chips, The Sequel, its even worse.

Am bummed but still in awe of said cremey goodness and coral lovliness en-capsuled in birdy emblazoned square bottleness.

Will I go for Trout Pout Premature Chips, Part III. I'm not convinced, third title releases are usually the worst.

Fillers in lips. Whyyyyyyyy? Wouldya?

Were you more bummed about Butter London's performance than Kim Basinger in Last Tango in Paris too?

Is it just me - should I go for part III?

Have I overkilled coral yet.....? I may have.... yes I think so.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Hairomatherapy + Audra James aromatherapy legend drops by

So as part of my Natural November undertakings, natural haircare was a huge challenge. I ditched the SLS but also the silicones and synthetic fragrances. Ach- not much left to play with!

Not an easy task. 

My hair regime simply consisted of Alch'emy Shampoo & Conditioner,  coconut oil once a week as a treatment and Audra James's Bespoke Hair Elixir.

I wanted to keep up the argan oil treatments but was frustrated at hair oils containing silicone OR the more natural ones containing buzz word "Argan OIl" being extortionate.

I then stumbled upon Audra James's argan oil and thought that would be a great affordable option, however she consulted with me and we came to the conclusion that a bespoke hair elixir would be better suited to my issues; coloured, dry hair, prone to frizzies and lankness from product overload.

Audra's solution was to blend organic argan oil with some lighter organic jojoba oil and evening primrose oil so that it was nourishing and also repairing for my hair that is dry and damaged, but not too heavy

She also included essential oils calendula , lavender, rose geranium, bergamot and chamomile which  would help stimulate hair growth and prolong my blonde foils.

Audra James Bespoke Hair Elixr
It comes in a small 30ml bottle and what is great is that the bottle has a dropper cap fitted so you have to give it a good shake to get a sprinkling of drops out so you never have too much product on your hands and risk greaseball overload.

A few drops through wet hair is mostly how I use it before styling. My hair has never become greasy from it, so it truly is light, Audra totally filled the brief!

Bearing in mind I have dryish coloured hair, prone to frizzies with a weird kink that needs to be styled and preened into shape and I used NO other styling products in November without having to wear a motorcycle helmet 24/7 I think this preformed very well.

Yes I missed silicones for maintaining my style and yes day two said kinks were clipped, pinned or tied back but I think to survive with just a few drops of this oil was quite an achievement!

You can also rub the excess on your nails or elbows or any dry patches you may have and you can also use a few drops in the bath, a larger volume as a hair treatment or on your pulse points as fragrance. Love a multi-tasker!

And you totally would want to use it as a fragrance - the geranium rose and bergamot (added based on my consultation survey and my fragrance preferences) in my oil smell exotic and sensuous, I love it!

If you are looking for a realistically priced argan oil based product that contains no silicones, you can't go past this.  At $28 my blend was is so reasonably priced, the 30ml will last forever and what  is more it is hand-blended with love and evident passion to suit your exact hair requirements!!

Following the success of the hair elixir I then bought the skin cleansing oil & cloth which I reviewed over here.  I adore using this twice a week as a deep cleanse, if I thought the Hair Elixir smelled , good this BLEW my mind! Sweet, cirtusy , orangey rose. Like a Turkish Delight!

Everytime I make an order I joke with Audra how I will get round to her blending a Bespoke Perfume for me one of these days- one of her specialities, that recently featured in OK magazine!! I love the idea of having my very own individual scent. I would have killed to have had this for my wedding last year.

I also make Audra promise to contact me next time she is down in Sydney for one of her signature facial treatments which she runs from a studio in Brisbane - she describes them over on her blog and they sound like my idea of facial heaven! Brissie girls you are so lucky! I look forward to reporting back on my own treatment one day soon.

So with all the chatting myself an Audra do when I place my orders with her, we got chatting about Natural November and I thought you guys may be interested to hear what a 20+ years experienced Aromatherapy & Natural skincare advocate and guru has to say for herself on the matter.


Hot of the press - Audra's recent feature in  December Harper's Bazaar

What was the turning point for you personally to make the change to start using natural skincare & aromatherapy?
I was working as a corporate trainer and was asked to develop a course on stress management. I picked up a book by the late Micheline Arcier, who was one of the pioneers of Aromatherapy - having no idea what it was all about. It just grabbed me - I was completely hooked and knew I wanted to work with essential oils. I then did a Diploma of Clinical Aromatherapy in Australia and also did some further training back in the UK (where I'm from). This was in 1991 and I'm still completley obsessed!

What was the biggest change you noticed when you made the switch?
That I felt calmer! It was a stressful time in my life and I noticed that incorporating essential oils into my life in small ways every day made me feel much more positive.

What product is your best seller and why do you think that is?
The Skin Cleansers. Cleansing really is the most imporant part of skincare. Using the wrong cleanser can cause many problems to skin. For example, a cleanser that is drying, causes the skin to overproduce sebum, which in turn results in congestion and blocked pores.

Oil based cleansers have become incredibly popular for a reason - they clean skin beautifully without drying skin out. We have 3 cleansers - a creamy oil based one, which can be used daily (Skin Cleaning System) , Skin Cleansing Balm which is wonderful for dry skin and Skin Cleansing Oil which can be used to give a beautiful deep cleanse 2-3 times a week or to remove heavy makeup. 

Each cleanser comes with our skin cleansing cloth to remove the product. This is really important as compressing the skin helps to lift dirt and impurities from pores. If skin isn't cleansed properly, other products that are used wont be effective.

What is your personal favourite Audra James product and why?

I'm a huge lover of Body and Facial Oils so I would have to say both of those. Many people think that a facial oil is going to be greasy and cause skin congestion, but in fact the opposite is true. The right plant oils absorb easily into the skin and deliver essential nutrients quickly. 

They are completely natural and can be formulated without synthetic preservatives so are perfect for all skin types - even oily skin. I've seen the 'right' facial oil do miraculous things for problem skin.

What has been the most significant result you’ve heard back from a customer after using your products?
I do get a lot of very positive feedback which is wonderful - especially when people say that your products have really changed their skin or their life in some way. Probably the most significant result was in the early days - I was managing the Aromatherapy Clinic at a Natural Therapy College and a student had quite congested skin. She had tried numerous treatments and products and I just said I would formulate a Bespoke Facial Oil for her skin as part of a lesson I was teaching. 

It was quite a simple formula, but when she walked in the next week for a class - everyone was astonished - her skin was clear and glowing. I think I realised at that point that I was lucky enough to have a gift for creating blends that really worked, by formulating what I felt the client needed rather than what a text book might tell me to do. In this case, hormonal imbalances were causing her skin problems, so I addressed that first.

What is your favourite oil and favourite essential oil and why?
That is such a difficult question for any aromatherapist to answer! It does vary depending on the season and how I'm feeling. As far as essential oils go - I definitely love the mood boosting effects that citrus oils give, so lime, grapefruit, lemon, green mandarin are all favourites but I'm all about balance so I like to add a drop of Vetivert to a citrus blend which is grounding. At the moment my favourite essential oil blend is Grapefruit, Lime and Vetivert for the body.

My favourite blend for the face at the moment is a blend of Camellia Oil (amazing skin plumping effects), Rosehip, Argan and Evening Primrose - I blend that with Frankincense and Rose which is a great anti-ageing formula.

I adore your blog and love the advice you share there and on twitter, I want to start going more natural in my skincare and product choices, and using aromatherapy what advice can you give me to make the change?
Thank you - I usually tweet throughout the day when I'm blending. Firstly, start to incorporate essential oils into your everyday life. Find one or two that you love and that make you feel good. Sprinkle a drop onto a tissue + inhale when you need to throughout the day. 

You can also add a few drops to the shower base in the morning (Eucalyptus + Lime are wonderful for this). When it comes to skincare - simple formulas really do work exceptionally well. I've found that sometimes adding too many essential oils + plant oils to a product can confuse the skin. It is important that there is enough of the active ingredient in each product to work so in order to do that, there has to be enough of each ingredient - and this does vary. 

I think using a facial oil is a great way to start as you can add a drop to an existing moisturiser or use as an overnight treatment. A drop added to a liquid foundation also gives a beautiful glow to skin so it's a great way to ease yourself in. Most people do find once they make the switch that their skin starts to look better and they love the added relaxation benefits that essential oils bring.

What other sort of products have you got in the Audra James pipeline to release?
I'm very much guided by my clients and what their needs are. I'm working on a 3 in 1 treatment mask at the moment which gives an instant boost to tired skin. 

I am also developing a 'Beauty Tea' as I believe it's so important to nourish skin inside and out.

Our Bespoke range is very popular and one that sets us apart - and so the Bespoke Perfumery will expand. I started this service because so many clients were unable to use synthetic perfumes but it has now grown because people are often looking for something unique that expresses their individuality rather than just something that is mass produced. I definitely think the Bespoke approach is one that is at the cornerstone of everything we do.

Audra's kind & generous Me My Best & I exclusive offer:
Order the Skin Cleansing Oil + Cloth in the month of December & Audra will generously  include a 50ml pure Rose Water Facial Mist, just mention when ordering that Me, my best & I sent you! 

I want one!!

Audra's online store can be found here http://audrajames.com/

If you wish to read more about the Skin Cleansing Oil & it's benefits Audra has posted about it on her blog

And if you want your timeline filled with inspirational nutritious food tweets, oil blend recommendations and general feel-goodness follow Audra on Twitter @audra_james

Thanks Audra fo all you support with each of my purchases, it is truly a pleasure to chat with you and your tweets fill me with happy!.

You've also prompted me to make sure I do a couple of deep breaths with all my aromatherapy based products and take a moment for me while getting the most from the aromas.

The Beauty Tea sounds right up me street. I'm obsessed with herbal teas, I'll happily be a guinea pig + the mask sounds right up my alley, 3 in 1 all the way!!!

Thanks Audra -I look forward to meeting you for a magical Audra facial one day soon. xxx

Do you use aromatherapy as part of your skincare or at home?

Have you tried any of Audra's products?

What is your favourite essential oil - I'm torn between rose, bergamot and neroli!

* This is not a sponsored post- All products were purchased by Me, my best & I.  I just wanted to share the natural love!