Friday, 25 February 2011

The Fury of Mother Nature

2011 has been a trying time in my neck of the woods. Australia has been battered by floods, cyclones and a barrage of general bad weather. Whole towns have been wiped out and Brisbane, Australia's third largest city, was partially underwater and destroyed. These amazing photos from ABC News show just how much the landscape changed when the wall of water hit parts of Queensland:

More recently, New Zealand has been struck with their worst earthquake in history. As I am writing this, around 320 people in Christchurch have either died, or still missing - that is almost 1 in every 1000 residents. To put that in perspective, it is equivalent to around 4500 people in Sydney, 8400 people in New York City, 7500 people in London and 12500 in Delhi.

Luckily, they breed us tough down here and we won't be broken. The sight of thousands of people in Queensland lined up, armed with brooms, shovels and anything else they could find warmed my heart. To now see hundreds of student rallying together via Facebook to help where they can is such an amazing thing and reaffirms my faith in humanity after some of the other horrors of late.

Beauty blogging seems a little trivial when so many things have been going on so close to home, so I apologise to those who were hoping for an upbeat post on lipstick. Other things are more important.

If you would like to donate to the Queensland Flood Appeal, please do so via the Queensland Government website.

If you would like to donate to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, please visit the NZ Herald website for more information.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Tips for Achieving the Perfect Red Lip

Many women say they can't pull off red lipstick. What rot! I believe anyone can wear a red lip, you just need to find a colour that suits. This post gives you the low down on how to apply a red lipstick to perfection, and some pointers on how to ease into the boldness.

Red lips (or any really bright lip) require a little bit more work to stop them feathering or bleeding, but the results can be unlike any other.

First, prep your lips with a primer. I like Clinique All About Lips or MAC Prep and Prime Lips. This gives you a good base and makes the colour stick.There is nothing worse than finding more lipstick on your glass, fork and clothes than on your lips. Yuck.

Then you need to outline your lips with a lip pencil (MAC Redd or NARS Jungle Red), however I prefer to fill in the whole lip with the pencil. This stops you from having that dreaded red outline after the lipstick has faded and gives your lipstick something to hold onto.

Once you've applied the lip pencil, fill in your lips with lipstick (NARS Jungle Red or Tom Ford Cherry Lush), ensuring you stay within the lines.

Once your lipstick is set, layer with a gloss. You can try a red lipgloss for a more bold colour (MAC Russian Red, Lipstick Queen Fired Up or Lanolips Lip Ointment in Apples), a clear gloss for a bit of shine (Kiehl's Lip Balm) or even a totally different colour to tone down the red (Korres Lip Butter in Jasmine or Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker in Perfect Peach).

A really good visual representation is available on the video below, xsparkage has a really similar way of applying red lipstick.

If you are worried about wearing a red lip for the first time, there are a few ways you can ease into it and build up the colour gradually. Lip glosses are a great start. One of the first red lips I tried was with a lip glaze by Stila in Red Apple, a gorgeous pinky- red but applies as a sheer gloss. They don't make the colour anymore, but Elf make a really similar colour called Vixen and it is only a couple of dollars.

You can also try using a lipstick, but use a sheer colour (like Lipstick Queen Medieval Lip Tint), or a full strength colour, but apply it with your finger, gently patting it on your lips until you achieve the right shade. This can tone down a very bright colour and you can apply a bit more as you become more confident. A touch of gloss can also make a matte colour seem a little less harsh.

My last tip is to try out as many different shades as possible. Just like a pink lipstick, there are shades that will flatter you and some that don't. Don't be dragged down by counter staff trying to sell you whatever is in the latest collection, stick to your guns and test like crazy. Ask staff to apply a colour and walk around with it on, go outside and see the difference between sunlight and fluorescent lights. You are bound to find your perfect shade.

Finally, a good red lip can light up your face and make you feel a million times better, so next time you are having a crappy day, give a red lip a try and see the difference!

Naomi xx

Top image from Tom Ford Private Blend Lip Color Collection

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

New Proactiv - As Good As They Say?

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When I was a teenager, I always heard the myth that when you became an adult you no longer got pimples. If there are any teenagers reading this now, I'd like to go on record and say that is a load of shit. While your huge bouts of cystic acne may subside, there will still be spots in your future.

I was a little skeptical when I was sent a sample of the new Proactiv. The people on the ads are always teenagers with massive acne problems. Now I am all grown up (supposedly), I have more sporadic, but equally still annoying spots and breakouts. Can the zits that annoy us as an adult, be banished by the same products as the ones for teens? Proactiv spokespersons Jessica Simpson, Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry seem to think so. Justin Bieber is, ... is he even a teenager? I digress.

Katy Perry for Proactiv

 My sister tried it a few years ago as a teen and found it dried out her skin a lot. Given I no longer have overactive teen hormones, I wondered if my face be the same. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. From the first time I tried the cleanser, I noticed a difference. My pores appeared smaller, my monthly *cough* hormonal zits didn't even appear. My skin is softer, my breakouts are less infrequent and even the beautician commented on how good my skin was. Not bad for an infomercial product!

New Proactiv kit with Cleansing Body Bar & Doctors Secrets book

 The big complaint with the previous version was the stinging, burning, flaking or peeling sometimes caused. I didn't find any of that, and I have been using it for almost a month straight. Obviously, test it out on your own skin first and always follow the directions. 

One thing I can't stress enough is to use only white towels when using these products. The benzoyl peroxide in both the cleanser and the moisturiser will bleach anything it touches. If you think rinsing your face well after cleansing will be enough, think again. My (brand new) towel looks like I poured the cleanser directly on it, despite having washed and rinsed my face thoroughly in the shower.


The starter kit I received also now comes with a body bar which is BRILLIANT. I use it on my upper arms where I get KP, and it has made a noticeable difference. I have less redness and my skin is so much smoother. I did find the bar to be quite large, so I cut it in half. This worked well as it is quite a soft bar, so you use it up quickly. Half a bar lasted around 2-3 weeks, using it just on my arms and chest.

Fantastic - Cleansing Body Bar

Would I buy it again? Yes, particularly the cleanser and the body bar.

Have you tried new Proactiv? What are your thoughts? Better than the previous version? Tell us below.

New Proactiv is available online. There is currently a deal on where you get a months supply of the cleanser, toner and moisturiser, along with the body bar and a book for $29.95 plus postage.