Moving on up

Ah, Monday, you’re here again. Could not resist the post title… since we are moving from the 1st floor to the 5th. Weekend was spent packing, driving, unpacking, driving etc late into the night, because Finland has also been suffering from a crazy heat wave for a couple of weeks now, which doesn’t seem to be going away. Car’s thermometer has at best been showing +41 celcius during our move and I’ve been sweating buckets. Sorry about the TMI. We’ve been trying to do as much of the move as possible as late in the day as possible to sweat a bit less, but honestly, yesterday it would have probably been smarter to just sweat during the day. We were moving and organizing stuff close to midnight and I didn’t get to bed until it was closer to 1 am… I had to get up at 6 and take the dog out, which was really wanting to go out, until he saw it was raining and wanted to just go back in…

We’ve got pretty much all of our clothes moved (and I’ve stocked up 2 boxes full of clothes I’m no longer planning on keeping and there’s probably still more to go), a lot of the kitchen stuff moved and a good deal of towels and such items as well as all of my husband’s den (save for the furniture). The storage capacity of my poor Volvo has been exhausted to the max and I’ve done about 170 km of driving just going back and forth. The apartments are about 20-25km apart.

It was nice to find out though that our apartment had been cleaned up after we last saw it and there was nothing really that needed to be done, apart from a bit of wiping down in the kitchen. It was also nice to have the electricity turned on now, so we got to really view the bathroom and sauna as well – looks nice! Everything is quite modern and lovely. We were pretty bummed out though when we noticed that we had not received the light oak laminate we had spoken of and agreed upon, but instead we got regular oak laminate, which isn’t the same color as our light furniture… Of course there is no time now to start changing it up and I’m pretty sure that we don’t want to pay for that either! I’m confident though that the apartment will look nice once we get settled in.

Even though technially we’re only losing 2 square meters, it feels like a lot more, because we’re losing the space where it counts. We’ve had a ridiculously small bathroom for the past year, but now we’re gaining two bathrooms and a sauna, which obviously take away space from the other rooms. Some furniture will likely not fit, but we’ll see once we get there – as long as my desk and makeup table fit, I’m pretty okay.

Our apartment building was built in 2009 so it’s still fairly new. We’ve seen some interesting choices made in terms of ecological options throughout the building. The drying room downstairs uses the moisture from the drying clothes to produce energy, thus recycling and replenishing what it takes to keep the dryer going. The whole building is sensitive to the changes of the environment around it, adjusting its heating and cooling accordingly. On a very cold and windy day the heating is increased where as on a warm and sunny day it’s automatically reduced. Several recycling options have been offered as well, which is always a bonus.

This week will be likely spent mostly in silence here in the blog as the moving is going to take up all of our time at least until Friday. But, worry not, I won’t be gone for long!

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Mineral base mini series – Part 2 – Using a mineral makeup base

Lily Lolo Mineral Makeup

Different mineral foundations and powders

As I mentioned in my previous post, different mineral makeup manufacturers offer products with different finishes. Most brands have a basic makeup base and then different types of finishing powders that offer various different looks. For instance, the BareMinerals’ Bare Escentuals line offers, in addition to the basic base, a matte base and a few different finishing powders, such as the moisturizing finishing powder and the illuminating finishing powder. Bare Escentuals does also offer a mineral base in a liquid form as well as in a compact form. Lily Lolo on the other hand only does one kind of a base and three different finishing powders – Flawless Matte (oil absorbing), Translucent Silk (illuminating, translucent), Flawless Silk (illuminating, tinted). Some other brands, like Jane Iredale, also do other mineral bases, such as BB creams, tinted moisturizers or even sun screens.

When choosing your makeup, you should pay attention to the promised finish and it’s compatibility with your skin. And again, I do recommend shopping around a bit before settling down and investing on a potentially expensive base!

Lily Lolo Mineral Makeup

How to apply your mineral makeup base (powder):

  1. Cleanse and moisturize your skin really well.
  2. If you want to / require to use a primer, apply it on the areas you want.
  3. Pour the makeup powder onto the lid of the package, but remember to start with only a small amount. You can add more as you go and layer it up.
  4. Take the brush of your choice (kabuki works best) and lightly twirl it in the minerals before knocking off the excess by tapping the brush onto the edge of the lid – this is how you prevent the “flour face effect” that you might get if you get a bit too giddy with your powder product. Often, a small amount goes a long way anyway!
  5. Apply the base onto your face with circular movements and a soft hand. You don’t want to rub too hard! The circular movements help the powder to really become one with your skin, leaving a natural, polished finish. I’ve also noticed that applying the powder in a circular motion covers up the pores better than simply stroking the powder on or if I apply it by pressing it on.
  6. If you want more coverage, apply another layer of the base.
  7. If you have something to cover up, you can either use the base to cover up the imperfections (use a concealer brush for this) or you can use a specific mineral concealer, if you need heavy duty coverage.
  8. Apply your finishing powder of choice (optional). Finishing powders are a good way to set the base and prolong the wear time of your base. The finishing powders can also offer a bit of illumination to an otherwise matte and one dimensional base.
  9. If your skin is left looking a bit dry, or you would simply like your look to be a bit more dewy, lightly spray spring water or moisturizing face mist on – and let it air dry.

Attention! Not all mineral bases can be layered equally. I’ve noticed that for instance, the original Bare Escentuals base layers much better than the slightly dryer Lily Lolo base. For instance, Lily Lolo works well for me to cover up slightly darker under eye areas, but it’s not enough to fully cover up a really red pimple. If you have a lot of redness or spots to cover up, you might want to invest in a separate concealer.

Lily Lolo Mineral Makeup

Pay in mind that the finish matters. For a long time, I was using the Lily Lolo Translucent Silk Finishing Powder, hoping to achieve that wonderful, dewy glow. Right after applying my makeup, my face looked pretty nice, but even then, I had to add a bit of regular powder on my nose to make sure it would be matte. Though I found the mineral base to be long wearing, I did often find myself pretty shiny within 3-4 hours from applying my makeup – until I switched to Flawless Matte Finishing Powder. The Flawless Matte can be made to look dewy as well, with a light misting of thermal spring water – or with the help of highlighting powder. Again, remember, it’s always easier to add a bit of shimmer and shine than it is to take it away and still look fresh.

Finally, remember, that even though powdery mineral makeup lasts a long time, it’s still best to store it somewhere else than your often hot and humid bathroom. The humidity will only cause the product to get clumpy and it becomes more difficult to get out of the packaging. The humidity will also shorten the amount of time the product remains in pristine condition.

Also, remember to keep your brushes clean! A good cleaning once a week with Marseille soap should do it! Clean brushes provide a clean and smooth makeup application.

Have you tried mineral foundations?

Mineral base mini series – Part 1 – Choosing your base

Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation & Flawless Matte Finishing Powder

First of all, I doubt that anyone is surprised anymore when I say that my personal mineral base of choice is the Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation SPF 15 in Porcelain, I have spoken of it many times before! I have been using minerals for about 1,5 years now, though a bit on and off perhaps, because now and then I’ve still wanted to experiment with liquid foundations. Honestly, not all like the mineral foundation and there are those who don’t even want to give it a chance. I believe there is a suitable mineral base for pretty much anyone out there, with the exception of perhaps those with a whole lot to cover up. Minerals of certain brands can be built up for quite a lot of coverage though. Mineral foundation can also be a real help for those suffering from breakouts or even acne, because they are, at their best, very pure.

Lily Lolo Minerals

If you have decided that you would like to try mineral makeup, I suggest looking around a bit as there are quite a few brands who offer mineral makeup – at least, if you’re not the palest of the pale like I am. Not all ranges offer as wide of a variety as some of the bigger ones, like BareMinerals or Lily Lolo, for example. Most brands also offer you sample sizes of their products so that you can get the feel of the thing as well as figure out what shade is right for you. The samples are usually very inexpensive, but there tends to be enough product to get more than just one try out of them! You might also want to take a look at the ingredients (and INCI) of the product to see if it is actually all minerals, because companies can technically market a product as mineral makeup as long as it contains some minerals. Some brands offer 100% natural mineral makeup, where as some brands also put synthetic ingredients into their minerals to improve them one way or another. The most natural of the mineral bases can contain well under 10 ingredients where as certain brands market their products as mineral makeup – yet have an ingredient list as tall as a house. Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation SPF 15 for example contains only mica, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and iron oxides, which indicates that it’s made 100% out of minerals. These all natural mineral bases are actually so pure that you could basically sleep in them without having to worry about the condition of your skin. (Though I still recommend removing your makeup in the evening!)

Lily Lolo Mineral

Not all mineral bases suit everyone, which is, again, a good reason to shop around a bit and see which one works for you. If you have a very sensitive skin or skin with a lot of problems, I would recommend to avoid a mineral base that has bismuth oxychloride in it, because it can often irritate sensitive skin. Of course, not all people get a reaction from it – and it’s also used in some lipsticks and nail polishes. By shopping around a bit, you can also find out which base gives you the kind of a look you want to achieve. A common misconception is that mineral bases are very chalky and you can’t, for instance, achieve a dewy look with them. You can actually get a nice, naturally glowing dewy look with minerals, if you know how (more on that in another chapter). For those with a combination skin or oily skin, I would recommend not choosing dewy finishes, because it’s always easier to add a bit of that glow afterwards with the help of a good highlighter rather than trying to take away all the added shine the dewy finish gives you. For those with dry skin, I recommend moisturizing really well and even choosing a day cream that’s perhaps a bit richer even than what you might use underneath a liquid foundation. In general, a mineral base always requires a well moisturized skin in order to look lovely and natural.

When you have found the brand you love (possibly through samples), see if they offer some kind of a starter kit – they often come with the right brush(es) and the basic products to get you started easily! The starter kits often offer a good deal as well, so you can also end up saving a bit!

To sum it up, when you are choosing your mineral base…

  • Consider the condition of your skin; is it normal, oily, dry or combination?
  • Consider the finish you want; matte or dewy – or somewhere in the middle?
  • Shop around and try out different samples by different brands.
  • Try to choose the shortest INCI you can find – if you are looking for the most natural product.
  • Make sure you get your money’s worth – the most expensive brand is not necessarily the best one (for you).
  • Buy the proper tools for applying the product! (A kabuki brush works best, either with a short grip or a long one.)

terre d’Oc Argan Butter

terre d'Oc Argan Butter

I got this terre d’Oc Argan Butter from my last LivBox as a thank you for being a long-term subscriber. I fell in love with the colorful tin immediately – and the scent was pleasant as well! I ended up struggling with getting the tin open, until I eventually twisted one of the “flaps” out a bit to get a grip. I didn’t notice any opening instructions anywhere, so I improvised. It was only later (and after taking these pictures) that I found out you can actually very simply open the tin by pressing the top of it down… Oops. Thankfully I have been able to twist the “flap” back down pretty well.

terre d’Oc Argan Butter (20g / 11,00 €)

Packaging: As mentioned, I do love the packaging. I’m crazy about little tins and even more so when they come so full of colors! The funny thing is, that the tin is only 20g and this is advertized as a body butter. Not much for a body butter, huh? However, a little seems to go a long way.

Scent: According to one site that sells this, the scent is that of orange blossoms, but since I’ve never sniffed an orange blossom, I can’t say if that assessment is accurate or not. Regardless of that, the scent is quite mild and pleasant. Somehow creamy and flowery all at once. Soft.

Consistency: This surprised me! I was expecting the same kind of texture as The Body Shop’s body butters, but this was more like the texture of coconut oil prior to being warmed up by your skin. As I applied the product onto my skin, it started to resemble dry oil. It gives a certain kind of shine to the skin, but it doesn’t feel greasy. The butter starts absorbing reasonably quickly when I try it on my hands and cuticles. It’s more of a dry oil than a body butter, if you ask me!

How does it work: I’ve been using this to treat my extremely dry cuticles at work. Sometimes I also rub a bit on my hands (not palms though) and let it work its magic while I work. It feels like it nourishes my cuticles very well and softens my skin. I could imagine this working wonders on dry elbows and such as well!

Summary: Works well on moisturizing small, dry areas of skin, such as the cuticles. It feels like it nourishes and even repairs the skin. I would love to take this little tin with me everywhere, but unfortunately the product contains sesame seed oil, which my husband is terribly allergic to, so I have to limit the use of this to work, mostly. I don’t want to accidentally cause him to break out in hives! I’m certain that once I have used this up (though it looks like it will be a looooong while!), I will find another use for the pretty thing – perhaps as a place to store my medicine on the go. It’s also worth noting that terre d’Oc products are eco-certified natural cosmetics – which really makes me appreciate the product even more.

Would I buy again: Well, I didn’t buy this one to begin with and unfortunately, due to the sesame seeds, I won’t be buying this in the future. I do still really like the product though and I wish I could buy it, because it does work really well on my cuticles!

Who I would recommend this to: Generally anyone who has problems with dry skin, really.

Dress vs. shorts

Which would you choose?

Sluggish

I’ve been feeling extremely sluggish all weekend. The crazy heat we’ve been getting and the nearly constant sunshine (in Finland, the sun shines nearly 24h/day during summer, even here towards the south) has drained me so completely that doing anything useful has been more or less out of the question. I’ve pretty much spent my time drinking cold drinks and enjoying my new 23″ monitor that arrived in the mail on Friday – as did my Lily Lolo minerals that I ordered a while ago.

Yesterday I managed to drag myself to the grocery store and the pharmacy, but I can safely admit I’ve done nothing but watched old episodes of Ugly Betty and drank tons and tons of water and a bit of this delicious strawberry-ice-orange juice -mix (seen in the breakfast picture). I’ve walked the dog, but if anyone asks, I think both I and the poodle are more comfortable indoors in front of a fan!

I also managed to put together a little makeup look yesterday, with one of my favorite eye shadow palettes, MUA Makeup Academy’s From Dusk ‘Til Dawn palette. I used the white shade on my brow bone and inner corners of my eye, then the slightly purple-ish shade next to it for the lid and the deep purple shade on the outer corners and softly on the lower lash line as well. A bit of black eyeliner tightlining and a coat of my new Lumene mascara to finish it off! For eyebrows I used my trusty Rimmel eyebrow pen and of course, Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation & Matte Finishing Powder for the base. For cheeks I used my Bare Minerals bronzer and MUA’s blusher in Bubblegum. On the lips I have a Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in a very pale shade 103 Iridescent Rose Diamonds. As for my hair… I slept with my hair on a bun and curls happened!

Odd how that eye makeup looks so silvery, even though I was using purples! In real life they looked perhaps a hint more purple than in the pictures. Such a lovely palette!

I plan on spending the rest of my Sunday doing absolutely nothing, except helping my husband cook parmesan chicken with this pesto rosso pasta we’re planning on.

How has your weekend been?

got2b guardian angel

I rarely blow-dry my hair, especially during summer when it’s just too hot to do, but I do use a straightener or curler now and then and I acknowledge that I should use a heat protector of some sort. After seeing a few good reviews, I opted for the Schwarzkopf got2b guardian angel heat protection some months ago. Yes, months. This product is still almost full, because it has mostly spent its days sitting in my bathroom haircare basket unused, yet I haven’t dared to throw it away, because it’s almost unused and I had been hoping that I had just been doing something wrong and that it should be good.

got2b guardian angel (200ml / approx. 8 €)

Packaging: A reasonably sized, tall and slender black plastic spray bottle with a bit of gold decoration and white text. Probably aimed at a younger (and possibly cooler) clientele than I, but none the less, I find the packaging to be alright. The curve of the bottle provides a decent grip.

Promise: “Protect your sizzling styles with got2b guardian angel with up to 220’C heat protection, your hair will be invincible when using hot irons + blow dryers. So, go ahead and create your hair styles, now you have your own guardian angel protecting you! Be divine and shine!”

Scent: I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. It’s not entirely what I would hope for my hair to smell like, but it’s better than in a lot of the heat protection sprays I’ve sniffed. I wouldn’t recommend this to those who are quite sensitive of scents though! It can be overpowering.

What does it do: My hair is naturally wavy, at times a bit frizzy and medium-thick. For me… this product was unfortunately little more than a hot mess. I have tried to use it before blow drying, but it just leaves my hair feeling like straw. Hard and also a bit sticky. For some reason this just doesn’t seem to work on my hair at all. I’m not seeing any shine added to my hair and it even ends up looking quite… dry, to be honest. Many people have used this and loved this, but it’s certainly not the product for me. Shame, because it sounded good enough on paper!

Would I repurchase: No. I don’t see myself using this, because of the way it makes my hair feel. It just creeps me out, sorry, got2b.

The konjac sponge & other eco goods

Facial-Konjac-Sponges

(click the image for original source)

I have been on a bit of a health (& beauty) kick as of late and my latest purchases in that field should be arriving for me soon. My quest for finding eco & animal friendly alternatives to everyday products sometimes feels like a real chore, because it feels like I learn more and more every day and realize I have to find yet another product that fits the bill of ethical consuming. I have been increasing the amount of fruit, vegetables and berries in my diet and I have been replacing some meals/snacks with smoothies and salads. Not just because of the obvious health benefits, but also because on a hot day smoothie feels like the perfect choice!

In addition to trying to clean up my diet a bit I’ve also been looking into new, eco & animal friendly beauty products, such as the Konjac sponge, which has seen some hype from beauty bloggers (at least in Finland) for quite some time. Asian readers probably know the konjac plant from food industry, where it is commonly used in dishes such as oden, in Japan. The plant itself contains no calories, but it has a lot of fiber, which is why it’s also a popular ingredient in weight loss supplements. I, however, planning on rubbing the roots of the plant on my face! The konjac sponge can be used on its own to remove light makeup – all you need is your sponge and water. For heavier makeup or very intense eye makeup, you can use the sponge with your favorite cleaning product. I’m personally looking forward to using this to wake up my face in the morning and to give it a very light exfoliation in the process. I have ordered the Konjac Pure sponge, intended for normal, balanced skin. Even though my skin is more of a mixed skin than completely normal, I was worried that the sponge intended for mixed to oily skin would be too harsh. I am expecting my order of the konjac sponge to be delivered early next week along with a few other eco-friendly beauty products, such as a clay mask by Cattier Paris and a minty day cream / emulsion by Lavera. I’m also going to be trying out a new herbal toothpaste, the Urtekram Mint & Green Tea. I’m pretty excited to get to try them all!

By the way, it has only been about a month since I purchased The Body Shop Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet face cream and I’ve almost run out already! Though I have used it day and night, I still feel like you end up going through a lot of product rather quickly, which is a bit disappointing, because it wasn’t, in my opinion, a cheap product. I have absolutely loved it though and I think I will still repurchase, but I may end up using it together with the Lavera’s emulsion (hopefully it’s good!) to make it last a bit longer.

In other news, I’m going to give everyone a heads up already that it’s very likely that between 25th and 31st of this month it may be rather quiet here in the blog as we are moving apartments! Since I am working fully until the 29th, it’s likely that I won’t have as much time for my blog as I would like since my spare time will be spent packing our stuff. I am both terrified and excited about the move – and a bit sad to leave our current home behind because it has been such a lovely one. Our location has been superb, our neighbors have been very friendly and there are a lot of dogs (and a dog park) nearby, which has been very nice as well. I will certainly miss it all and I will probably also miss living on the convinient 1st floor, but then again, I’m trying to think of the fact that we shall soon be on the top (5th) floor with nobody rummaging above us and with a better view to boot. We are going to have an open livingroom – kitchen combo going on, which feels a bit weird since I’ve never really had one and my desk will be in that space as well. Then again, we will also have our own sauna again and I get to indulge myself with different sauna products again… mmmm…

Summer lips

summer_favsswatches

Barely there or vibrant. I don’t seem to go for the middle ground when it comes to lips. Above you see my current favorite summer lipsticks / glosses that I find myself reaching for over and over. Unfortunately when swatched on my hand, you can barely see some of them! I do however have naturally very dark lips, so none of these look invisible on me.

In the top picture from the left: MUA Makeup Academy Power Pout in Rendezvous, Isadora Twist-Up Gloss Stick in Sherbet and next to it Coral Cocktail*, Isadora Multi Vitamin Gloss in Pomegranate, Maybelline Color Sensational in Shocking Coral*, Maybelline Color Sensational the Shine in Ice Tea, MUA Makeup Academy Lipstick in Shade 4.

*so not coral in the slightest.

Forgive me, if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t coral be some kind of even slightly orange-y shade? The Shocking Coral is a super vibrant deep pink on my lips and Coral Cocktail is a juicy coral-pink. Both are lovely, but not what I would instantly think of as coral.

Regardless, these are my go-to shades during the warm, sunny times! Rendezvous, Shocking Coral and Coral Cocktail are the shades I often wear as the main focus on my makeup as they all give a very strong, vibrant color on my lips (as they are so dark, it takes very little), but the rest I often pair with a look that has the focus point on the eyes. I feel that if I put a lot of color on both my eyes and my lips, I quickly look clownish.

Why do I like these shades?

Rendezvous I like because even though I bought it thinking it’s a nice nude shade and it turned out very pink on my lips, it’s a very beautiful shade that suits me well. The minty scent certainly also helps.

Sherbet I like because it’s so subtle and barely there. It suits both a natural look and a very glamorous eye makeup look.

Coral Cocktail is super juicy, glossy and beautiful pink-coral that I just adore. Oh, and it smells like vanilla, as does Sherbet.

Pomegranate feels good on the lips, perhaps because of these vitamins. It gives a great shine, but unlike most glosses that come in a similar packaging, this one isn’t sticky. The shade is also beautifully natural.

Shade 4 is my go-to light pink that can be paired with pretty much anything. It looks like a really candy pink shade in the tube, but comes out very sheer and just as a hint of pink.

Shocking Coral is shockingly not coral at all, but it’s a good thing vibrant pink suits me better anyway. It is definitely a warm pink on the lips, though it looks pretty cold when swatched on my hand. Very richly pigmented. I got this one from my mom – on whom it did look orange-y!

Ice Tea would probably be closest to nude I can go. It’s a warm, slightly peach-y beige hue, very sheer and one that goes with pretty much any look. I like it because it’s so neutral.

What’s your summer favorite lipstick or gloss?

Fall 2014 – Oxfords, grey, leather, jewel tones

Fall 2014 - Oxfords, grey, leather, jewel tones

I’ve been checking out some fall trends and it would seem that there are quite a few that could easily slip into my wardrobe – and some that I certainly want to keep out (like pastels for instance, I am really quite done with them!). I would opt for a fake leather jacket myself, but otherwise this is definitely something I could see myself wearing. I’ve been really into oxfords for a while and it seems that they will be a big trend this fall!