Monday, 10 November 2014

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm Jar and Lip Moisturising Stick

I don't think Nuxe Reve De Miel lip balms need much of an introduction, considering that it is one of those products that is highly praised by the beauty community. Generally, people tend to rave about how moisturising the Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm. 

My lips are on the drier side, with visible lines when they're at their worst. My favourite lip care product is YSL's Top Secrets Re-Plumping Concentrate Lip & Contour Shaper because it makes my lips plump and smooth. It's become one of those essential products which I can't see myself doing without. But the shaper costs an arm and leg (we're talking $64AU)! So I'm definitely on the hunt for alternatives that will hydrate and plump my lips. 

The Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm is one of Nuxe's best sellers and has at least 78% natural ingredients. Honey, beeswax, sunflower, musk rose, almond oil, shea butter and grapefruit essence is included so that dry and chapped lips can be nourished, repaired, soothed and protected. There's also no parabens or petroleum in this mixture.

I love the look and feel of the jar! 15ml of product (the size of an average eye cream) is housed in a frosted jar and actually looks quite pretty on my dressing or night table! 


The balm's texture is actually very much like a paste. It's thick and has gritty particles which is apparently crystallised honey. Once on the lips, the particles can range from invisible to slightly visible if you come up close. I've noticed that this usually happens when the balm has hardened over in the cold weather. It does go away with time but I have a feeling that it's because I've ingested it! Perhaps the answer is to warm up the paste but the more I rub the balm into lips, the more I feel like I'm going through the motions with a lip exfoliator.

Most of the time, this lip balm does make my lips feel hydrated for a good few hours. In warmer weather, this balm is soft, buttery and very easy to apply. My lips feel soft and look plump. Not YSL shaper plump but my lips do look like they've got a decent amount of moisture in them! If I hadn't used the shaper first, I would be extremely impressed with this balm!

When it's cold, the paste freezes over and is harder to work with. The particles become obvious like tiny biscuit crumbs. If I don't roll it enough on my lips enough to heat it up, my lips end up looking drier than they really are and the whole area looks parched and stretched.

I like to apply this as part of my daily make up routine. But it works great as an overnight treatment too. In comparison to Vaseline, this one works much better! My lips turn a healthy pink in the morning and forms a great base for the day's lipgloss. I don't use this often overnight because I sleep on my belly and I don't like it smearing onto my pillowcase! Ahah =)

I'm enjoying this lip balm. I love it when it's a soft, creamy paste because it does make my lips look very soft and hydrated. I just wish they'd get rid of the grains! I can deal with the hardened-over paste but the gritty texture is a big no-no for me. 

There's printing within the box and I found a code as well. Not sure what it means - Google isn't bring up much in English but I've got a strong feeling that it's some discount code.

Anyone have any clues? The code is blurred out in case it is a shopping code! AHAH!

I'll reach for my Lip Moisturising Stick when the Balm is starting to wear off during the day. It's supposed to be the more portable version of the Balm but, for me, they're two different creatures. I actually used this before the jar and really liked the formula. It applies smoothly and does not leaving the lips feeling sticky or glossy. Once again, this is better when it's warmed up and softer, as it glides on even more smoothly. 

At first, despite having to reapply it often, I liked using it because it smells very, very nice. The scent is slightly more citrusy/lemony and I caught myself popping the cap off just to sniff it! But when compared to the jar version, it's honestly not as nourishing. 

This stays in my handbag and is used in conjunction with the jar. With the Balm as the base, this Stick helps to just lengthen the amount of moisture that's already there. 

Which lip balm do you wear underneath your lipsticks?
Which rave products do you enjoy using?


Sunday, 2 November 2014

SUNDAY READS: Favourites from my Tea Collection

My idea of relaxing involves a good read and tea. Whilst I'm still dreaming of the day I'll have my own personal library (it'll happen!), it's lucky that we have plenty of teas to choose from at home. 

Quite literally, two levels of our fridge and kitchen pantry is filled with teas that mum has collected over the years. She can't go a day without a cup of tea and so she's managed to hoard an impressive stash of canisters and old coffee jars filled with Chinese black, green and oolong teas.

Everyone in the house enjoys tea, except for dad. We have a tendency to prefer tea as it is, and rarely drink mixes or fruit blends. I love the fresh and pure taste of a good tea and am always on the lookout for something that meets this standard. I've started to branch out beyond mum's teas and have begun my own tea collection. 

I thought I'd share a couple of my favourites! 

1. Bi Luo Chun - the 'most aromatic green tea'
Bi Luo Chun is one of China's most famous green teas. It used to be enjoyed in the Imperial Court and is liked for its fresh aromatic taste. The tea does not go through a fermentation process, which just means that it's able to retain its natural antioxidants and vitamins. It is often rolled into tight spirals which unravel once in hot water. It's quite a sight if you've never seen this happen!

I like to let the Bi Luo Chun brew until its leaves are half unravelled in my teapot. The water first turns green and then a yellow-ish colour. This is indicative of its flavours being released!

In comparison to Japanese green teas, Chinese green teas tend to be milder and sweeter. This Bi Luo Chun is light, fresh and very smooth on the palate. It has a sweet jasmine aftertaste that makes me come back for more. Like most Chinese green teas, it can get a tiny bit bitter if the tea/water ratio isn't carefully handled. I'm no expert, so I operate on a trial and error basis!
Bi Luo Chun is really refreshing and so I think it's especially good for yum cha or a Chinese dinner. I also like drinking this in the morning because the flavour is clean and very, very fragrant. It's a lovely wake up call! My brother likes this chilled in the summer and will drink it throughout the day.

 2. Irish Breakfast - the 'strong like a coffee' tea
I love Irish Breakfast and am always gifting this to my friends who rely on coffee to make it through their day. For me, this black tea is stronger than coffee if I brew two teaspoons in a small teapot. I'll drink 3-4 cups and I'll be up on night. I take this first thing in the morning and it powers me through the night!

This is because it has a higher caffeine level than other green or white teas, making it stronger than most. Whilst it has a lesser amount of caffeine than that in a coffee, for me, it's stronger than a latte with one sugar. I drank this practically everyday last year when I had to stay up a lot!

As my friend describes it, Irish Breakfast is 'like English Breakfast but not'. I find Irish Breakfast to be more full-bodied, richer and maltier. It's more of a hearty, savoury tea that goes well with a big breakfast or even a high tea. I especially love this with scones and ribbon sandwiches!

3. Rose Tea - 'my favourite fragrance in a cup' tea
It actually took me awhile to find some rosebuds that didn't look or taste artificial. Rose buds are very popular in Hong Kong and they're easy to find in Chinese heralist stores. But they tend to stock the kind that smell and taste like they've been artificially dealt with. 

I still have a few tins of them left over and they're lovely for foot baths, but not great for drinking. 

For me, the rose buds pictured have just the right amount of colouring and they taste very natural. It's not a strong or overpowering tea, instead it gives a more gentler taste on the palate.

I started drinking rose tea because it's supposed to relax and calm. I love roses, so drinking rose tea is just the cherry on top. I'm not surprised that it calms me because so does a rose latte and some rose jam! I just really like the flavour and, therefore, whenever it is brewed, it's my cue to sit back and just be in the moment.

I like mine hot but this can be drunk chilled. I just find that cold rose water tastes bland and needs some honey or Lu Han Guo water to bring out its flavour.   

4. Chamomile Tea - the 'keep calm and breathe' tea
Research suggests that chamomile tea can help alleviate insomnia, boost your immune system, calm nerves and soothe menstrual camps. Whether it's a placebo effort or not, I find it working for me in the area of stress relief. 

I just love the smell of it when it's freshly brewed. The whole kitchen smells floral and just plain calming. The taste is subtle and slightly sweet. I've been drinking this a lot lately because I'm really liking the flavour.

This is great towards the end of the day, when I'm trying to get the last few cups of water into my system. I generally scoop 2 teaspoons into a teapot and drink it until it starts to lose its flavour and colour. The chamomile itself also turns pulpy and then I toss it out.

Are you a tea drinker? What types of teas do you like? 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Dr Jart Ceramidin Light Cream Set

I've always envied people with dewy skin - Korean girls especially. Most of them seem to have this airbrushed, baby smooth skin and, whilst there's undoubtedly a plethora of make up to achieve that look, my interest seems to lie in their skincare routines.

The idea is that I have dehydrated skin and Korea has a much cooler and drier climate in comparison to Sydney or Hong Kong. So I imagine that their moisturisers would suit my skin type.

One line of Korean skincare products that I've come into contact with is Dr Jart's Ceramidin collection. This line is designed to stop water from being evaporated from the skin. This is done by forming a protective shield over it, with the aim of replenishing the skin and making it look healthy and thoroughly moisturised. 

I actually learnt about the Ceramidin collection through a YouTube video where KPop artists Son Dam Bi and SPICA were raving about the products' hydrating abilities. One of the SPICA girls mixed Dr Jart's Ceramidin Cream with a BB Cream to make a tinted moisturiser (or a dewy foundation, really).

The premise of Ceramidin products is to replenish our body's ceramide supply. So before anything else, we have to understand what exactly this is. 
Ceramides are liqids that are naturally found in our skin. It's actually the binding or 'glue' that holds surface skin cells together and is responsible for healthy, glowing skin. But as we age, the amount of ceramide in our body decreases as production slows down. This makes our skin barrier thinner.

Hyaluronic acid can help with attracting moisture but the story goes that it'll just escape if your skin barrier is weak. That's why you need ceramide to hold the water in. 

Dry, irritated and sensitive skin often lack ceramides. So I was very keen on trying the Ceramidin line. Dr Jart says that their products uses time-release microcapsule ceramides which can deeply penetrate and replenish damaged skin. Over time, this will strengthen the skin barrier and enhance the skin's own moisturising ability.

Are we all excited by now?!

Before this Ceramidin Light Cream set, I used their cream in a squeezy tube and, while the packaging wasn't to my liking, I really enjoyed the actual product. I decided to give this Light Cream set a go since it came with the Liquid and this is often touted as the star product. I didn't expect too much of the Light Cream because anything light is often used as a moisture sealant for me. They're rarely enough for my thirsty skin.

All Ceramidin products are without sulphate, paraben and phthalates, making it a good choice for sensitive skin types. Licorice extract and potulacaa oleracea is also included to brighten and soothe inflamed skin. Panthenol is added to nourish and strengthen damaged skin. 

All products have a fresh, botanical scent to it. It's very clean and surprisingly relaxing. I've read reviews online that people really dislike the scent but I find it calming and I actually look forward to my skincare routine now.

In the set, there's a trial size of the Cermaidin Liquid and it's to be applied after your cleansing routine. In Korea, it's described as an all-in-one product - it's a toner, essence, emulsion, booster and serum depending on your needs. 

I personally use this day and night after my cleansing toner by squeezing about a 5 cent coin and patting it onto my face. As it absorbs, I'll give myself a bit of a massage by gently lifting the sides of of my skin and cheeks towards my ears, and forehead to my hair line. The liquid is very quickly absorbed and it leaves the skin feeling moisturised. In the first few days of use, I found that it really helped to even out my skintone.

Every so often, after a clay mask or if I want to give my skin some more pampering, I'll layer a moisturising serum on top and press that in with warmed hands. I've found that my foundation goes on smoother and holds much better with this trick!

I've purchased the full size version of this because I really like it!

The Ceramidin Light Cream looks like soft butter but is light and watery to the touch. I got this in the summer and wanted something that would hydrate my skin since the air-con was drying me out pretty badly. Luckily, this was just what I was looking for.

Admittedly, at first, I wrote it off because the first few uses didn't reap any benefits. I picked it up again awhile afterward and decided to use it as a sleeping mask. I put on a very generous layer for two nights straight and my skin started to soften and become more resilient. 

I then started using this day and night on top of the Liquid and right before my foundation. Despite the fact that it's a light formula, it's moisturising and it's really improved my skin. I went to get my make up done a few weeks ago and for the first time in my life, the make up artist didn't mention my dry skin. 

Errr, how much win is that?!

I've finished using the entire tub now and I think this is a great moisturiser for the warmer months but I'll be switching back to the cream version when winter comes around. I think both combination and normal skin types can benefit from the Cream and Liquid. But whether you need both products really depends on how dry your skin is. I mean, sometimes, I'll just use the Liquid and jump straight to my sunscreen.

There are definitely other ceramide skin products out there but I think this is a cheaper alternative in comparison. 

Which moisturiser are you using now? 
Do you usually switch your moisturisers according to the weather?