The Latest Favourites

The Latest Favourites

It's been quite a while since I have been really excited about beauty products but after a recent clear out I fancied picking up a few new bits. A new foundation was top of my list and somehow buying one opened the floodgates! A new fragrance & beautiful pressed powder found their way into my hands within 15 minutes.

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Dry Skin Fix: Clinique Smart Treatment Oil


Clinique Smart Treatment OilMy skin is prone to dryness, especially in colder weather. The combination of full on car heating (and I mean as hot as it will go!) and colder outside temperatures wreaks havoc on my skin, leaving if dried out and a little lackluster. I know hydration has a big part to play here, so I religiously guzzle water throughout the day, take vitamin E supplements and could rival a newborn on the napping stakes, but find I still need a little something extra during these colder months to get that full, plump and hydrated complexion.

Facial oils have been a longstanding love of mine, in fact throw in cleansing oils and dry body oils there too. I’ve tried them all, some I ‘ve loved and others would take or leave.

I recently got to try out Clinique’s latest facial oil offering, Smart Treatment Oil. Admittedly Clinique is a brand that had somewhat fell off my skincare radar in recent times and having used this I feel like I’ve been missing a trick.  Instantly absorbable, I’m torn between wanting to douse the whole bottle on my face and using the teeniest, tiny drop in order to make it last longer.

Dry Skin Fix

As with all Clinique skincare, Smart Treatment Oil is fragrance free which I love. Packed with plant oils and rich in anti-oxidants, there’s almost a serum-like quality to this oil which I cannot get enough of.

There’s an immediate noticeable moisture boost every time I use this; something which I’ve struggled to find before. Complete with a glass-like plastic bottle perfect for travel and those prone to dropping, like me. Application takes the form of a dropper style lid to allow you precisely control how much product you apply.

Clinique Smart Treatment Oil is priced €44.00 and available from Clinique counters nationwide.

Becky Signature

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Battle of the Cleansing Balms: Clinique vs. Boots Botanics

Battle of the Cleansing Balms: Clinique vs. Boots Botanics

If you have been reading this blog for a while you will know that I am a big fan of cleansing balms and very partial to the Clinique Take The Day Off in particular. I stick by everything I have previously said about it, it's still a staple in my skincare collection! But as it is a high end product I always like to have a more affordable alternative up my sleeve.

So do we have ourselves a dupe?

I wouldn't say its an exact duplicate product but rather a very good alternative. It contains different ingredients and therefore feels completely differently on the skin but all in all, it is brilliant at taking of even heavy makeup and a very good cleanser in general. It definitely feels heavier and more oily than the Clinique offering and has to be taken off with a muslin cloth or, my favouirte, a hot flannel.

The Boots Botanics balm contains a blend of Shea Butter, Rosehip and Jojoba Oil and feels super nourishing on the skin. It leaves the skin feeling very clean but at the same time soft and supple. It leaves a tiny feeling of residue on the skin, so if you prefer that squeaky clean feeling after cleansing, this product is not the one for you. Even though I have combination-oily skin, my skin can get quite tight and dry after cleansing so I don't mind that feeling at all.

The Clinique balm has absolutely no fragrance whereas the Boots version distinctly smells of Rose and Beeswax. But it's a pleasant and natural smell, noting perfumed or invasive.

Battle of the Cleansing Balms: Clinique vs. Boots Botanics

The Boots Botanics balm is €12.99 for 65g and the Clinique one comes in at €29.99 for 125g. The Boots offering is a little more than half the size of the Clinique balm but you will still save some money going for the smaller Boots balm - because of the thick consistency you really don't need to use much of it at all. The only annoying thing about the Botanics balm is that it seems to be out of stock a lot of the time, so if you see one, make sure to get it!

After trying both balms out alongside each other for the past few weeks I can say that I still love my Clinique balm for every day use but reach for the Boots option when traveling (much more compact packaging!) or when I feel like my skin needs that extra bit of nourishment.

All in all, a really lovely cleansing balm and I can highly recommend it. Have you tried either one of these?

A. xx

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My Morning Skincare Routine of the Moment

My Morning Skincare RoutineThese days there are so many different skincare products on the market, it can be quite overwhelming and confusing at times (unless you are a bit of a geek like me & then it's a wonderful world of plenty ready for you to explore). But however much I love testing out new products, I have my core skincare staples that I always come back to. On an everyday basis there really are only 3 - 4 steps to the routine (unless disaster strikes and I wake up with a massive spot in the middle of my forehead... but I digress...). So without further ado, here are all the products I use in the morning to make myself look & feel presentable: 1. Cleansing (Clinique Take Off The Day Cleansing Balm)My Morning Skincare RoutineI've written about this product before here, so I will not go too much into the specifics. All I will say is: you do need a cleanser. I know that a wipe may take a little less time but it will also not actually cleanse your skin, just wipe off a very superficial layer of sweat and grime & possibly irritate your skin. My preferred cleansers are oils or balms as they are gentle but there is a multitude of amazing cleansers out there. Giving yourself a little facial massage in the morning will also get your circulation going & drain away some of the fluid that causes puffiness. To rinse off just use a flannel (mine are mostly from Penneys / Primark) and warm water. Your face will feel clean and fresh without being stripped or tight.

Clinique Cleansing Balm €28 from Boots

2. Toning (Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner)My Morning Skincare RoutineNow, toning is the forgotten step of skincare (seems a little bit 90's) but it's so worth incorporating into your day! An exfoliating toner will help get rid off any dead skin, making it more glowing and youthful looking. There is a lot of exfoliating toners of different strengths available on the market (Pixi, Ren, Shiseido...) and most of them can be used morning and evening. The one from Clarins is amazing, I use it every morning as my skin is very hardy & can take a little bit more exfoliation. For more delicate skins I would recommend using this toner every other day.

Clarins Gentle Skin Exfoliator €31 from Boots

3. Serum (Indeed Labs Hydraluron)My Morning Skincare RoutineThis is an optional step if you feel you want to be extra nice to your skin or have a particular skin concern. I am using Hydraluron, which is a no fuss serum that contains a pure form of hyaluronic acid and basically helps your moisturiser go that little bit further. It gives your skin plumpness and elasticity, which will reduce signs of aging in the long run.

Indeed Labs Hydraluron €32.50 from Boots (often on offer!!)

4. Moisturiser (Dr Perricone Photo Plasma & Origins GinZing)My Morning Skincare RoutineAgain, Photo Plasma by Perricone MD is a product I have written a post on before here. Because I use an exfoliating toner I need to protect my skin with a high SPF during the day. There is a multitude of fantastic moisturisers for all skin types and skin concerns so take your pick but DO NOT skip this step! Even if you have oily skin, you really need to replenish moisture in your skin to prevent premature aging and a multitude of other skin problems. I also use an eye cream - important for me as my under eye area gets quite dry sometime and, unfortunately, I am prone to puffiness and dark circles.

Origins GinZing Eye Cream €32 from Boots Perricone MD Photo Plasma approx. £54 from Space.NK

If a routine like this is too much fuss for you reduce it to cleansing and moisturising, these steps are truly essential and will make a huge difference if you are consistent (every day, twice a day). I do realise that the products above are on the pricy side, so if you are on a budget you can replace a cleansing balm with Coconut Oil (available in most supermarkets), it is very gentle and absolutely perfect for cleansing and it can also be used for moisturising. Alternatively, the Una Brennan Vitamin C Cleansing Oil is a very good option too (less than €10 in Boots).

What are your skincare staples?

A. xx

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Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

Clinique Cleansing BalmTo me cleansing is the most important part of any skincare routine – without a good cleanse it doesn't matter how good the cosmetics are that you are putting on your face, they just won’t work, especially in summer when we tend to use higher SPF and potentially clog up our pores a bit more.

The Clinique Cleansing Balm is not a new product... so to say, an oldie but goodie. It's a really sturdy, fragrance free, no-nonsense cleansing balm. It has the consistency of something quite fatty, like lard (sorry for the unappetizing comparison) but it will take off all your makeup, dirt and grime and leave your face feeling nice and refreshed. It won’t strip your natural oils or leave your skin feeling tight – just nice and clean.Clinique Cleansing Balm

I mainly use this cleanser with a damp, hot flannel in the evening for a really thorough first cleanse and follow up with a lighter cleanser (something like the Elemis Tri-Enzyme cleanser).

This probably isn't  the fanciest and glitziest cleanser on the market but it does an amazing job and my skin feels just right ever since I've started using it, not too dry and not too oily. It has no fragrance and is  gentle enough to remove eye makeup (I can even open my eyes after I've massaged it into my lashes without any stinging!).

I really love this product, it’s a staple in my skincare collection and I haven’t been able to find a better one in this price range! I have re-purchased several times already and I can't see this leaving my skincare staples anytime soon : ) ... although... never say never  : )

What's your favourite cleanser?

A. xx

My favourite foundations for combination / oily skin

FoundationsAs you may know from other posts, I have a combination to oily skin with the unfortunate tendency to breakouts every now and then. My skin is very awkward, it’s quite oily through my forehead, temples and the sides of my nose but at the same time quite dry on my cheeks and chin.

Combination skin can be annoying because oil free, mat foundations are too drying for me (I am also not too keen on a completely mat look anyway) and moist, dewy foundations leave my skin too oily and the makeup doesn’t last.

After years of testing and trying of different formulae, consistencies and ingredient combinations I came up with a fairly big collection of foundations that are a really good match for my skin. There are two reasons why I have several foundations (actually I have more than the below in my private collection but these are the ones I use on a regular, day-to-day basis):

  • I am obsessed with makeup and can’t resist buying lots of products.
  • My skin changes during the week / month, depending on temperature, moisture in the air, stress and hormone levels, etc.
  • Depending on the make-up look I'm after I will go for a different finish / coverage foundation

So, without further ado, let’s look at the foundations:

1. Vitalumiere Aqua, ca.€40

This is probably my favourite foundation that I tend to use most often for day makeup. It has a velvet finish, so it isn't really dewy but also doesn't give you a tight feeling mat skin. It has medium (buildable) coverage and looks very natural on the skin. Love this one! The only down side to these I can think of is that the lightest shade is not really that light... Otherwise really worth the money!

2. llamasqua Skin Base Foundation, approx. €33

This is a great foundation if you are looking for a good coverage without the mask effect. It sits beautifully on the skin if you use a stippling or buffing brush to apply it. I have tested with a lot of brushes and it doesn't work very well with a flat foundation brush, it sits on top of the skin and looks cakey. It has a medium to full coverage with a very perfect finish. With this one remember: a little goes a long, long, long way!

3. MUFE HD Foundation, approx. €39.50

This is a beautiful foundation, it leaves your face looking very perfect but still fresh and luminous. It is amazing for special occasion makeup, where you know you will be photographed a lot as it doesn't have any SPF in it (if you are using it during the day make sure your moisturizer has sun protection built in!!!). I think MUFE recommend to put this on with a regular foundation brush but I find it looks better when it's buffed in with a stippling brush.

4. Chanel Vitalumier Aqua Compact, approx. €40

This one is the sister of the Vitalumier Aqua liquid foundation. I love it for make-up on the go and touch ups during the day. It has slightly more coverage than the liquid version and I tend to use it with my fingers. Can also be used as concealer in an emergency. I couldn't be without it!

5. Nars Sheer Glow, approx. €40

This is a relatively new discovery for me but so far I am in love! The name of the foundation is a bit deceiving - it is neither sheer nor glowy! It has a velvety finish and medium coverage that can be built up. It looks amazing on the skin, it gives you the most perfect and healthy looking skin. This one also doesn't have an SPF and photographs very well. The colour range of this foundation is fantastic!

6. Clinique Anti Blemish Foundation, approx.€30

This is my go to foundation for the days when my skin breaks out. It has a velvet to mat texture and quite good coverage but is not cakey, you can thin it out on the edges of your face for a more natural look. This foundation contains salicylic acid  (the magic ingredient for acne prone skin) as well as other skin clearing ingredients. A life saver!

What are your favourites? Would love to try out some of your recommedations!