Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hot Weather Holy Grail Beauty Products

Photo: W Magazine

It’s interesting how our everyday beauty essentials are dictated based on where we call home. What one beauty-obsessed girl holds up as a ‘holy grail product’ can be totally different, and completely unnecessary, to her pal who lives interstate. 

Case in point, my gorgeous cousin Tara (who used to live in Sydney) moved to Townsville in pursuit of love (well actually, she met her fiancé on a road trip and decided to stay) just last year.

I’m currently staying with her this week, and when I was casually scanning over her tallboy lined with a caboodle of beauty products, there were plenty I wasn’t used to seeing her use. I had to ask why. She’s normally so loyal to cosmetics, ones she’s been using since we were butterfly-clip wearing teens!

She explained that her beauty needs have changed due to what she can actually wear up here. The heat (an average 34 degrees) makes makeup slide off, and hair... well it resembles an African queen - frizz galore! 

Here are the products she swears by for when the heat gets hot (and also a few that us girls is the cooler climates can enjoy as well)!

KMS Hair Stay Anti Humidity Seal, $31.95

“If I straighten my hair, in this humidity, it will only last a few hours until it starts to frizz. But, if I spray this all over from the roots down, my straight hair will last all day. It smells like normal hair spray, but it makes your hair feel soft and fluffy, even though it doesn't look that way at all - it stays sleek.”

Bio Oil, $14.95 - $34.95

“It’s multi use. I use it after the sun, after the shower, and for any scars. For anything really! I personally liked it during my pregnancy. I didn't get one stretch mark, I rubbed it onto my stomach every morning and night. At the moment I’m also using it on my C-section. It stops it from itching and soothes it straight away.”

Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Eraser Treatment Makeup, $18.95

“I love the sponge on the top of this foundation, it’s like an in-built applicator. It makes it super easy to apply. It feels like a moisturiser when you put it on because it’s super light, it doesn't feel like I’m clogging my pores - I hate that feeling.”

Essence Matt Fixing Compact Powder, $5.95

“Basically when you go outside here (Townsville), the humidity hits your face instantly, and you start to sweat. This powder almost protects your face, and stops the makeup sweating off. It’s like an invisible shield. The powder also sets clear so there’s no trace of white. I also don’t get panda eyes (running mascara) with this powder, nothing budges.”

Essence I Love Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara, $4.95

“It’s like applying fake eyelashes, except they are your own. No gluggy-ness, it just thickens each strand separately. The brush has also stayed perfectly splayed over time and hasn’t become clogged up. I’ve been using this one for six months and it’s still going strong, it’s the only one I use now. I used to use an eyelash defining mascara that was much more expensive, but I’d end up with lashes that were stuck together and inky, it would splatter black mascara everywhere.”

There you have it, five key beauty products perfect (and sworn by) for the tropics! 

What are your holy grail beauty products. Which in particular, are great for where you live?

SS x

Friday, January 10, 2014

Get The Look: Nina Dobrev’s Knotty Updo

Everyone loves easy and effortless. It’s particularly an attractive look in the summer months, because really, who wouldn't rather be poolside then slaving hour after hour on polka-straight hair?

If you want a low-key look that is fab in any social environment, embrace the knotty updo. I think it's been worn best, recently, by beautiful actress Nina Dobrev at The People's Choice Awards.

Here’s how to achieve the look in ten minutes or under:

  1. With dry, naturally textured hair (this means no previous blow drying or straightening) spritz all over with a sea salt spray. This will give you natural grit, and later volume.
  2. Divide your hair in half. Take all the hair at the crown of your head and tie into a loose messy bun to work with later. With the bottom half of your hair, divide off the two panels nearest to your ears and pin away for the time being. You will now be left with a strip of hair from the top of your crown to the nape of your neck.  
  3. Take sections of hair approximately 4cm by 4cm and twirl into tight scrolls, then tightly wrap into small tight buns and secure with an invisible hair elastic. Do this until you have no hair left in this panel from crown the nape.
  4. Release one panel that aligns with your ear. Again, take 4cm worth of hair and scroll tightly. This time don’t form a bun, instead drag your tight roll of hair over to one of the centred buns and attach discreetly with a bobby pin of your hair colour. Do this for the remainder of this section, and then repeat on the panel of hair next to your other ear.
  5. You will now only have hair left on the crown of your head and hairline. 
  6. Carefully divide the hair along your hairline into 4cm chunks. You will want a little bit of volume and height here, so take a small toothed comb and back comb at the base of the roots. Gently twist your 4cm sections of hair back and pin to the top mini bun at the crown of your head. 
  7. For extra volume, like Nina, carefully pull at your twirls at the crown of your head to make them appear more effortless and loose.
  8. Voila. Look at you, you sexy demon!
SS xo

Friday, December 27, 2013

How To: Exfoliate At The Beach (A Photographic Tutorial!)

It’s bikini season baby! If you’ve been in regular contact with me over the last couple of months you’ll be sick to death of this phrase. I’ve used it to justify just about all of my actions.
“Sarah, would you like some dressing on your salad?”
“Thanks, but no thanks… it's almost bikini season!”

“Uhh… what’s this? *Cue confused face*”
“It’s my Naked Tan membership card … it’s bikini season?!”

“What are you doing over the holidays?”
“Visiting my parents – for bikini season.”

Okay. You get the point.

So when it comes to looking your best when wearing, hmm, less - preparation will always be your friend.

Apart from eating healthy, and the sneaky perks of rocking a fake tan, exfoliating is one of the best ways to achieve enviable limbs this summer.

By brushing away dead skin cells, you allow your skin to breath. Your body will suddenly appear more luminous, and cellulite will also diminish drastically. Oh, and if you struggle with ingrown hair, consider it a problem of the past.

You can exfoliate a few different ways, either by dry skin brushing (a personal favourite), by using an in-shower body scrub with tough granules. Or, if you like the idea of not spending a cent, just head to your nearest beach.

Here’s my step-by-step tutorial on how to exfoliate with sea sand. A warning in advance – you will get a few weird looks. Especially when your body is covered in slushy sand head to toe. Don’t worry; the results are well worth it.

Step 1. Get comfy. Try find a location that isn’t too close to others swimming or tanning if you veer on the shy side. Take a large scoop full of sand and decide on a limb to start with. I normally begin with my feet and work my way up.

Beauty sand exfoliation in a bikini

Step 2. With the sand you’ve got in your hand, massage your skin firmly in circulation clockwise motions for about 30 seconds per 30cm radius. Try keep the sand on your skin until you finally wash off as it’s filled with precious minerals. The salt in the water will also help cleanse and dry out any impurities on your body.

Step 3. Work your way up your body until your reach your dĂ©colletage. It’s entirely up to you if you want to also gently buff away at your face, but if you do have sensitive skin I strongly recommend that you don’t. The water in the ocean alone will help cleanse your skin, but by abrasively massaging your face you may actually have a strong (read: harsh) reaction that is unsightly. I know from experience. 

Beauty sand exfoliation in a bikini

Step 4. If you have a friend with you, ask them to massage your back with sand, as this can be quite hard to reach. If not just try your best. 

Step 5. Despite how cold the water feels, you have no choice but to now go and wash it all off. By this point you will look like a freaky sand ogre, so I’m sure you will want to anyway. 

Beauty sand exfoliation in a bikini

And that’s it! As you walk back to your towel feel how soft your skin is. By the next day you will notice that any blemishes you previously had have dried out, and your skin will be glowing! Hurrah!

A piece of advice: when you go home and have your shower, upon exiting lather your body in a rich hydrating body lotion, because you’ve buffed away skin sebum you will need to rehydrate your body.

Let me know how your sand exfoliation works for you!

SS xo

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My 2014 Beauty Handbag Essentials (and why you need them!)

Image: Fashion Is Endless

So another new year is upon us, scary yes! But totally inevitable. So too is the fact that our current handbag essentials will need a refresh.

For 2014 I recommend investing in great staples that will serve you well despite the occasion. Your handbag goes everywhere you do, so as long as you have the below, it doesn’t really matter if a spontaneous invite is thrown your way!

My kit includes a great red lipstick for day and night, a plum lip gloss for more dressy affairs, an illuminating but extremely natural blush, and of course a few pencils to stow that will allow you to highlight your most gorgeous features.

Refreshing your beauty bag is pretty (okay, very) important for two reasons:

  1. All makeup has a use by date. The products you loved and used throughout 2013 may now have run their course, and a nasty eye infection from overused mascara is the opposite of attractive.
  2. Trends change! That Barbie pink lippy you sported back in February may have been fab then, but look to see what’s on everyone’s radar (or lips) now.
While the incredible post Boxing Day sales are still going, this is the time to pick up the below:

  1.  Loreal Paris Color Riche Le Khol in Immaculate Snow$19.95
Soft and creamy – just how you want a waterline/tightline pencil to feel. This white eyeliner will brighten up your peepers even on the most draining of days! Simply draw on to your tightline and waterline to make the whites of your eyes appear larger and brighter. This particular white isn’t too stark, either, so it will look completely natural.

  1. Natio Define Eye Brow Pencil$13.95
Defining your eyebrows is a must. Don’t let them become dishevelled and lack lustre just because you aren’t at home with your entire beauty box. This clever pencil has a brush on one end (so you can neaten them up) and a matte brown eyebrow pencil on the other that allows you to build up to your desired depth of colour. 

  1. Maybelline New York Master Precise Liquid Liner – $13.95
Winged eyeliner has almost become my daily beauty look – it’s just so easy and always looks as if you’ve put in a certain degree of effort in the morning! I found that the tip on this liquid liner pen is perfectly pointed so you really can make your cat eye flick as thin, or thick, as you want.

4. YSL Gloss Volupte in Prune Organdi – $55

Hello luxury! This pigmented lip gloss not only feels, but smells like heaven! One whiff reminds me of a blueberry/lemon gelato – definitely not what you would expect from the moody hue. I love this lip gloss for vamping up my night time look in a hurry.

  1. Maybelline New York Colorsensational 916 Neon Red$16.95
 I’m a big fan of red lips, for day and night. This particular lippy comes in a matte formulation, so you literally get a bright pop of colour on your pout instantly. I’d describe the colour as cherry-neon, so it suits most complexions and brightens up the skin to make it appear more radiant.

  1. Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra Lipstick in Sugar – $35
 This is, quiet literally, the perfect everyday nude/natural lipstick. It will be your go-to for job interviews, catching up with long lost friends, seeing the in-laws and even before your late night grocery shopping dash. It's matte, but contains a slight pearlescent shimmer. It also has no scent whatsoever, so if you’re one of those girls who constantly complain of makeup giving you a headache (due to the overload of fragrances used) this is a dream come true!

  1. Shu Uemura Cream On Cream Cheek Blush in Light Peach $35
Want to add light to your face as well as a hint of subtle colour? Say hello to Shu Uemura’s Cream On blushes. The silky soft creams contained in the cute snap lock compacts add the perfect, very natural hue, to your cheek bones. No one will even know you’re wearing blush – what they will know however, is that you look absolutely heavenly! I love sneaky beauty products.

What products are currently on high rotation in your handbag?

SS xo

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Secret Santa Beauty Gift Ideas Perfect For Female Friends

It’s that time of year again - the festive season. 

Please don’t mistake that first sentence as Grinch-like. I actually can’t wait to pop up the Christmas tree and make yummy festive treats to give to friends. But, one Chrissie ritual I (normally) hate is the ever-popular Secret Santa. They can be so tricky, especially if you don’t know the person that well. 

This year I’ve come up with two excellent ways to choose something much more exciting than a tray of Ferrero Rochers that’s certain to make your receiver feel like the archangels are looking down on her favourably.

Scenario 1. Your budget for the gift is $10, you’ve only spent $5 and are looking for a clever way to use up that last fiver.  

The Answer: Lush’s Limited Edition Relentless Whale Soap, $4.95.

 Not only is this totally adorable whale soap beautifully scented thanks to ylang ylang and jasmine, 100% of the proceeds from each soap go straight to marine life conservationist group Sea Shepherd. The money donated will help them embark on their 10th Antarctic campaign to save and protect whales which are hunted by Illegal Japanese boats.

If you’re just as passionate about this cause as I am please visit Lush online or in store. I’m sure the receiver of your gift will also be stoked to know that their gift is helping to save such a beautiful and majestic animal.

Scenario 2. Your budget is $25, within this price range you have plenty of options to choose from at your local shopping destination, except you don’t know what to choose. Many trinkets seem too personal – you don’t know the receiver that well, and you don’t want to give her something she’ll hate. 

The Answer: Goldwell Limited Edition StyleSign Packs, $24.95

Because it’s Christmas and Goldwell are feeling ever so generous, they’ve decided to package up not only one of their amazing salon hair care products for you, but they're pairing it with a chic Butter London nail polish. Essentially, you’ll be gifting your Secret Santa with luscious locks and beautifully painted nails. See, no need to buy her an awkward monogrammed Monday to Friday underpants set!

 There are ten different packs to choose from, and all are paired with one of ten popular Butter London nail polish colours (the nail polishes are valued at $22 alone!). Have your pick from options like the amazing Diamond Gloss Spray Shine to the very popular Naturally Full Bodyfying Spray (a personal favourite!). 

To check out the ten packs on offer head into one of Goldwell’s Salons. I’ve provided the link here so you can see which stockist is closest to you! Packs are limited edition so get in quick girlies before they sell out (or I go buy them all!).

I’m content knowing I have both of the above options to pick from this year, I hope this helps you guys as well. Here’s to Secret Santa shopping for 2013!

SS x

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Steal Phoebe Tonkin’s Fresh Summer Beauty Look

Phoebe Tonkin – whadda babe!

With doe-like eyes, thick yet feathery lashes and super kissable coral lips – could she look any hotter?!

I think this look is fabulous to rip off this coming summer. It offers the luminous dewy skin that we’re always chasing, effortless eyes that won’t smudge under intense heat, and perky fun lips to play into summer’s upbeat feel.

If you want Phoebe’s smouldering look, read on!

After applying a light creamy foundation, I like MAC Prep & Prime Beauty Balm for great coverage, take a smidgen of Tom Fords Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust. Here's a quick swatch I did for you guys:

It has just the right amount of shimmer to make your skin seem fresh and awake without crossing the border to disco-divaville. 

Take a makeup sponge and dab onto the highest planes of your face (cheekbones, ridge of your nose and arch of your eyebrows.) Alternatively, you could always mix a little into your BB cream for an all over glow like Phoebe’s.

Now take Inika’s Peach Fetish eye shadow (which I love!) and swipe over the entirety of your eyelid. Make sure to take a blending brush and get rid of any nasty harsh lines. My secret trick now is to take a large fluffy makeup brush, one that you would use on your cheeks, and brush this same hue onto the apples of your cheeks, but very subtly of course. This will make your face look naturally flushed and oh so pretty! 

Phoebe’s eyes are mesmerising. I think the key here, though, is less is more. What you do need is a hard working mascara that doesn’t clump but creates thick feathery lashes. What magic wand will achieve this? I’ve been very impressed with Too Faced Size Queen Mascara.

It comes in a pretty pink canister and the wand has evenly placed bristles, so they are able to separate each lash and coat it in the right amount of formula. Repeat on the upper and lower lashes. Thank me later for sharing this fab product!

Now you want a plump coral toned pout. When sifting through me almost worryingly large collection of lipsticks I was super happy to re-find Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipstick in Kiss Me Coral.

Its an exact match to Phoebe's and lasts quite a while on your lips without the need to be retouched. It also nourishes as you wear it.  

 Lastly straighten your hair (I prefer my GHD ceramic flat iron) and create a deep side part. Flick your hair behind your ears and take Bamboo’s Luminous Shine Mist and spritz through your locks.

 Take a flat panel brush and comb yours strands – take in your natural shine. This mist also contains gooseberry so it feeds your hair with antioxidants as you wear it – super clever! And you're done!

What do you guys think of Phoebe’s look? Love or hate?

SS x

Saturday, October 26, 2013

What’s new in skincare? Ultraceuticals Ultra Brightening Foaming Cleanser...

Is your skin summer ready? To be blunt - are you ready to splash away amongst the waves, minus a hint of makeup, and not feel coy? Well, it's time to lather up beauty babes, because I’ve tried a new cleanser that is ready to foam and brighten your complexion all at once – a total skincare show-off!

Say hello to Ultraceuticals latest brainwave creation – a tidy tube containing a velvety formulation that once messaged onto your wet skin, has the ability to foam dramatically (which means you really only need the teeniest amount) washing away both your makeup and cleaning out oily pores – perfect for summer.

This cleanser is packed with vitamin B3, provitamin B5 - both scientifically proven to feed your skin with moisture and allow it to illuminate. It also contains soothing cucumber extract, so you never feel as though you have abrasively cleansed your face leaving it red raw.

This is a clever cleanser to switch to now that we’re moving into summer; we need to be more conscious of our over-working oil glands, and the higher production of sebum resulting in breakouts and black heads. It’s nice to know that switching to a harder working cleanser doesn’t necessarily mean picking one that will leave your skin stinging post-shower!

Ultraceuticals Ultra Brightening Foaming Cleanser is $55 at selected salons.

Time to beam in the sun,

SS x