Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Grown Alchemist Damask Rose, Black Pepper & Sage Shampoo

I am a rose addict.

I love a small vase of fresh roses on my work table and a strong rose latte when I want to treat myself. When rose petals start to turn colour, I'll put them into a bucket for a foot spa. I've heard that it helps to calm the nerves!

I keep a box of rose buds in my cupboard and often add them to my chamomile tea because it gives it a better taste. A rose cleanser is also on my to-buy-list as they're supposedly good for soothing and softening sensitive skin.

In my last Grown Alchemist haul, I bought two rose beauty products - the Persian Rose & Argan Extract Intensive Hand Cream and Damask Rose, Black Pepper & Sage Shampoo. While the hand cream was good, it wasn't as intensive as I thought it would be. Luckily, I'm really liking their shampoo!

The best thing about the Grown Alchemist brand is that they're certified organic and their products do not contain sulphate, petrochemicals, artificial fragrances, animal derivatives, T.E.A, D.E.A., synthetic colours, silicons and parabens.

For me, it's especially important to use a sulphate-free shampoo and their one certainly fits the bill!

The formula is gentle and nutrient rich, as it's filled with micro wheat proteins, black pepper antioxidants, chamomile, bush tomato, lycopene and vitamin C. This is supposed to leave the hair nourished, stronger and tamer, without stripping it of its natural essential oils.

I rub one pump of product together in my hands to create some bubbles. Since it's sulphate-free, it does not lather like normal shampoos but I think this is workable and foams up quite well compared to other sulphate-free shampoos that I've used. I spread this across the front of my scalp and repeat the process to lather the back.

My hair feels clean, soft and manageable. I've used other sulphate-free shampoos but they have a tendency to dry out my hair, leaving it straw-like and brassy. This Grown Alchemist one is much better! I have to say in honesty that it doesn't compare to using normal shampoo. I used to love using Kao Essentials Rich Premier shampoo and conditioner, and this combination made my hair look and feel healthy. I've yet to find a sulphate-free shampoo that replicates this. 

Having said that, Grown Alchemist is the best one I've used so far in the sulphate-free category. At the very least, it cleans without drying my hair out and works pretty well with the Kao Essentials Rich Premier conditioner and hair mask.

The shampoo also has a very mild aromatic scent - I can pinpoint the rose and sage but not the black pepper. I'm used to something stronger but it turns out that a slight fragrance is just as good. I'm 3/4 through my bottle and I find the scent very soothing and calming.

This is the 300ml bottle and it comes with a pump which can be depressed and locked to stop leakages in the event that you have to travel with it. Hotel shampoos generally have sulphate in them and so I really appreciate this feature.

Overrall, this is a great option if you're looking for a sulphate-free shampoo. It's an all-natural product, cleans well and smells lovely. My only gripe with it is that it's on the expensive side ($22.95 for 300ml or $29.95 for 500ml). Lucky that their official website, Myers and David Jones seem to do sales on them quite frequently but it still makes me want to venture out and try other less expensive alternatives.But a cynical side of me thinks that I'll come crawling back to this one because that's what always happens. AHAH.

What's your favourite scent?

Saturday, 11 October 2014

First Impressions feat Giorgio Armani, Bobbi Brown, Aseop, Laneige & Kiehl's

So my Beauty Ban started all the way back in July and I reckon it's been a pretty big success! I've saved up a fair bit and hopefully I'll do a splurge on something non-beauty related. Who am I kidding, it'll probably end up going to food or some new skincare. 

But despite not purchasing much these past few months, I've been able to test out some products thanks to some generous SAs. I thought I'd offer my first impressions. So here goes!

I was at Giorgio Armani's beauty counter because I wanted to try their pink/salmon Master Corrector. Apparently, it's ace at correcting very dark under eye bags but every SA I spoke to tried to steer me in the direction of their orange shade. I've always thought that an orange corrective shade would be more appropriate for spots like pimples. One SA offered to apply the orange shade on me to see how it'd turn out.

She whipped out the Rejuvenating Serum after she noticed the puffiness around my eyes. She said the serum would be good for any excess fluid. Yeast extract, caffeine and tensor agents are released through the metal tip of the serum and is supposed to make the eye area brighter and smoother. 
I've used a different metal eye contour roller before and I was quite disappointed in that. The Armani one is infinitely better. The metal felt much cooler and my eyes honestly depuffed in front of me. The area looked smoother and my eye bags didn't look THAT bad. I don't know how it happened but I definitely saw the changes.

While it works just as stated, the serum is priced at $102.67. Don't think I'll be picking this up soon!

I went to the Bobbi Brown counter to ask about their corrector in Bisque for my under eye problem and I somehow ended up getting a makeover! AHAH I'm not sure how it happened because one minute I was standing there asking the SA questions about correctors and the next she was taking off my make up.
One of the products that she applied on me was the Smokey Nudes Eyeshadow Palette, which is part of their Fall Collection 2014. There's 8 shadows in total and the compact has a good mixture of mattes and metallics, making it a good essential for day and night smokey eyes. The shadows have the perfect amount of pigmentation, are soft to the touch and stays put.
I'm not a huge fan of wearing shimmers but my favourite Naked 1 shades all have some glitter in it. The best thing about this Bobbi Brown palette is that the commonly worn brown, nude and mauve gray colours are all matte - making the work appropriate smokey eye just that bit more classier.

I really like the compact. It's actually two leveled with 4 shades on each and the bottom slides and extends out to create the image above.
There's a possibility that I'll buy this.

As you may already know, I'm on the hunt for a good sulphate free shampoo since anything with the ingredient itches my hands and irritates my scalp. I'm not too familiar with the Aseop brand but a friend told me that they do a good one. I went to ask about it and to also see what other ingredients are in the formula. The SA gave me two packets of their Calming Shampoo to try at home.
I tried it that night and the shampoo irritated my hands but not my scalp. I jumped online and found that the SA was wrong, in that it does actually have sulphate in it.

Aside from the itchy hands, I didn't notice my hair feel outstandingly different from other shampoos I've tried. 

Most BB creams make my face turn ash, so I wasn't interested at all when the BB Cushion trend came around. But, I was given a small sample pot/compact of Sulwhasoo's Evenfair Perfecting Cushion in No. 23 to try and I fell in love!

Line, hook and sinker - I'm all about that BB Cushion now. 

It seriously does give you Korean actress looking skin and is so easy to use. It's also less fiddly than pouring out foundation and applying it with a brush. All you have to do is pat the BB cream in with the sponge and then you're good to go. I think the hardest thing is getting the colour right.

I tried Laneige's BB Cushion in No. 13 and 21 on my face, and I'm somewhere in between. Not as pale as a 13 and not as beige as a 21. That's one reason why I didn't pick it up. Another is because I found this to make my skin look a little bit more drier than Sulwhasoo's. Whilst this one lasted longer, it did seem to make my face look dry as time went on. It's not bad but Sulwhasoo is better in terms of moisturise. 

If I hadn't tried Sulwhasoo's first, I think I would have purchased it in No. 21.

This gentle blend of botanically based ingredients targets flaking, itchy scalps to assuage irritation while effectively cleansing hair. The ideal shampoo for those with sensitive scalps prone to irritatio - See more at:
I bought their Avocado Eye Cream and the SA kindly offered me a round of samples to try at home. I told her that I have sensitive skin, react to sulphate and would like to avoid alcohol. She smiled and went off to gather me some sachets before popping them into my bag.
This cleanser was the first thing I tried and it stung my eye area so badly! Read the ingredients and sulphate was listed second. 

Ohhh, the anger. 

I clearly need to get into the habit of reading ingredient lists before leaving stores and definitely before putting anything on my face!
This gentle blend of botanically based ingredients targets flaking, itchy scalps to assuage irritation while effectively cleansing hair. The ideal shampoo for those with sensitive scalps prone to irritatio - See more at:

Have you tried out any of these products? 
What have you been trying out lately?

Sunday, 5 October 2014

SUNDAY READS: Dr Ivan Joseph - The Skill of Self Confidence

I really enjoy watching TED talks in my downtime and I'm always recommending this one by Dr Joseph on self confidence. What I love most about it is that he positions self confidence as a skill - a learned ability that anyone can develop through practice and positive self talk. He also explains how positive reinforcement can help develop the self confidence of those around us.

Here are some highlights from the video -

'We all have this negative self-talk that goes on in our head. Guess what? There's enough people that are telling us we can't do it. That we're not good enough. Why do we want to tell ourselves that? We know for a fact that thoughts influence actions'.

'We know that our thoughts influence actions, why do we want to say that negative self-talk to ourselves? We need to get our own self-affirmations. Muhammad Ali, what was his self-affirmation? "I am the greatest!". Who else is going to tell you that? There needs to be quiet moments in your bedroom, quiet moments when you're brushing your teeth that we need to reaffirm: "I am the captain of my ship and the master of my fate!". That is my affirmation'. 

'How do you build self confidence? Get away from the people who will tear you down. There's enough of that'.

'I wrote a letter to myself, it was my own brag sheet. My own letter about the things I was proud of. Because there are moments, and we'll all experience them in our career, in our lives, in our job hunting, in our relationships; when we are not feeling good about who, and what, and where we are. And I had to bring out that letter and read it time and time again, for a period of about two weeks, to weather me through that storm. It was important. Stop the self-talk, the negative self-talk'.

'It sounds simple but we forget about it. Or as educators, or as somebody on a team, if we manage to praise the positive behaviour that we wanted to reinforce. We forget it. It sounds so simple. Catch them when they're good. We forget it. It's simple'.

'If I could give you one thing to take from this, it is: no one will believe in you unless you do... Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. We're supposed to be different, folks. And when people look at us, believe in yourself'. 

I am not a confident person by nature and I am, in fact, full of doubt about most things. I am a highly careful and cautious person, and I was taught that confidence was interchangeable with cockiness. I think the last point is quite unfortunate because they are not synonyms.  

I came across this video during a time when I was very confused. There was a lot of noise going on around me - way too many competing opinions vying for attention and I found it hard to cut through all of that. It was even harder to trust and back myself up. This video really helped me to examine all that negative self talk that I'd been feeding myself. 

Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I always go back to this video and let it knock some sense into me.

I hope you enjoy this video as well.