Thursday, 29 December 2016

Time to grow...Stemm Density Stimuli Hairgrowth Serum

...T'Was the time to Lob...

Hi all, the blog is still on...I just need to grow a bit!

In general, but my hair particularly. It was the time to lob when blond-o-rexia had taken the best out of my hair. It had not been my particular blond-o-rexia but an overeager hairdresser. And you know my game: I bring on everything and some that could cure it...I had to bring in some defeat, and the Lob it was...

Good the Canadians at Deciem have not been quiet this year. You might known them from their gorgeous NIOD line (copper serum anyone?) or their affordable Hylamide line. This year they added 'Stemm for hair, and The Ordinary for even-more-affordable skincare (more on that later).

'Stemm Density Stimuli is a hairgrowth serum based on similar premises as Phylia [de M] Connect I have been blogging about [here] frequently: it has Fulvic Acid as it's main component which is a mineral that stimulates hair growth. 

Other hairgrowth-boosters are:
  1. Stabilized dihydroquercetin (from larch tree wood)
  2. Stabilized epigallocatechin gallate (from purified green tea)
  3. Biotin in both free-form and in amino-peptide form (biotinoyl tripeptide-1)
  4. Purified pea peptides
  5. Very-high-solubility caffeine (5% net caffeine by weight in formula)
  6. An organic, stable form of sulphur (MSM)
  7. Bio-chelated topical-delivery silica (isolated from bamboo isoflavanones)
  8. Highly-refined black fulvic acid (multi-acid organic low-molecular-weight constituent of soil)
  9. Naturally-occurring hair amino acids (Arginine, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Proline, Threonine, Isoleucine, Histidine, Phenylalanine), stabilized amino acids (Acetyl Cysteine, Acetyl Methionine)
  10. Naturally-occurring minerals (Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium, Copper)
  11. Niacinamide
  12. Purified fireweed in a highly-specialized delivery system of multi-weight, cross-charged hyaluronic acid and soy-derived lysophospholipid.(source: Niod)
Woohooo, hold your horses. I seriously do not know the properties of half of it so I just have to see the growth, health and/or the thickness of it in the longer run. 

But before I'm going to update you on its effects after almost 2 months, let's just see how the packaging looks like:

Doesn't it look like a milk-cart package or takeaway meal or such? I do love their attention to a plastic free case, though the bottle is in a durable type of plastic.

As for applying the serum, there is a dropper you use when applying, the cap is just for closure.

And I still wanted to support the people at Vine video by making a dodgy - how to use the dropper? - video...

Yes, the sound is the nostalgic 2010 vibe of the XX 'heart skips a beat'...Let's hope it doesn't skip too much as only to pump nutrients to the hairshaft. 

After 1 and a half month I can say there is a small improvement in the amount of growth. I can measure at the highlights I placed in November, which is about 2 cm. Normally, in winter I only have 1 cm tops...

More importantly, I just love what it does to volume and density. You apply the serum at nighttime, and the morning I feel the roots are slightly lifted. Yes, volume with a Lob goes easier than with a booblength, but my virgin hair (on top) has the tendency to be lanky and heavy. This serum gives the effect of a good volume mousse without any scent or stickiness. It also looks incredibly healthy from the top, especially when you compare it to the blond-o-rexia-ed parts. 

Unfortunately, I have only seen a minor increase in new hairs growing: I had unsuccesfull extensions in May this year which yanked out a big heap of my hair in the back. This hair is still thinner compared to the top. It is called traction aclopedia and it does not only happen to me: See Kim K for it:

Side gap alert! Mine is not that bad because I had them twice but heck, when it happens to someone with sooo much cash and influence...

According to various sources (eg here), it takes 1 to 2 years for the hair to fully recover :(.

Anyway, for the time being I am liking the results I am having from the 'Stemm Density Stimuli. It is not whoppingly cheap, 43.00 EUR for 60 ml, but it will last for about 2 months. It gives me the feeling I am working on my natural [hair] growth without going bonkers about it. It makes me like my Lob [for the time being] as a new style, but does not keep me mentally in limbo on having to keep it this length. 

So yes, there we g[r]ow....

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Midsummer Newbies

Summer is still blooming around...perhaps it is more drying to skin than you anticipated. Or, when going city-tripping you can find your pores going congested like nothing else.

  • For the occasional bout of dryness I gotten myself this cute Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin pill mask. I've been sheetmasking before K-beauty gotten mainstream and it's fun they have gotten easier available. 
  • I've already gotten the Boscia Detoxing Black Cleanser in a sample size, and absolutely loved the warming effect on the skin. I love this liquid form of charcoal cleansing and I noticed it really helped getting to those pesky blackheads. Something not many products are effective off with my skin.

I also went on the bandwagon with Son & Park's Beauty water...

Ohh, I really love how the air in the water is looking in the bottle.

I had to decorate it with my Luxdivine (etsy) armband and the scarf is D&G summer collection.

I rediscovered cheeks with NARS Nars-issist Dual intensity blush palette.

 It is certainly a fantastic blending blush texture...I'm smitten. My cheeks glowwwww...

I have been upping up my foundation game with an oldie and a newbie:

  • Mac Face & Body is and oldie but still high in the ranks of makeupartists. I've picked a darker colour for my body as I have some white spots that I need to even out.
  • Nars Velvet Matte Skin tint is new on the market. I was not enterely sure as the colours tend to look a bit too yellow for my colouring, but they look velvety and real on (self-)tan skin. I still think the gap between Cusco and Annapurna is too large in colour dept.
One of the Sephora Beauty reward boxes contained Alterna. I love their Caviar Protein line but feel (and can see) that my hair might be healthy enough to alternate with moisture. So bring on the moisture with the CaviarAnti Ageing Replenishing Moisture line.

Ok, I say I'm team Alterna but I also have team Christophe Robin and I've been enjoying some other shampoos lately as well. But in the end Alterna would be my desert island brand!

Last but not least, nails. Since everybody and their grandma have been into nailart, gellnails everything etc, I have been neglecting my mani with a simple coat of strenghtener. Very sheer, kinda blah.

  • I thought some Chanel could bring back my colour game: Turban looks bright enough for summer and classic enough for always.
  • Another pretty one is the Damask Rose from & Other Stories. It looks so foiled on nails, incredible.
These have been some of my midsummer hauls. I'm already eyeing up some of the Autumn lines. Kose Addiction by Ayako has released these amazing new eyeshadows with names like Dancer in the Dark, Hazy Night, Volcano & Modern Nostalgia. The colours are as awesome to boot with their names and instagram is not holding too many secrets when recently renewed (just browse on the Japanese names). 

As for skincare, I think I will hold on on some new finds that I will review soon for it. I'm kinda behind my reviews: being stuck into the instagram picturing mode makes me kind of lazy on the writing front...It does make me attempt to make prettier photos : )

Thursday, 11 August 2016

What's Beachin'?

For being off the blog for so long, I have to say I start missing it. I started to have the urge to review lengthily on instagram...that's an instagram don't! Purty images first, link to review later.

After getting a freebie beachspray from a sort-a fixed hairgirl stylist, I was like...I have a lot of these. Why not do a 5 days of faux-beachin'? Because seriously, after beachin bitching oftenly about my hair, I seem to have reached instagram-a-ble hair status!

Which means, I've been buying and using a lot of hairstuff (link here), eating healthily, and being a part of the Olaplex posse seems to pay off a bit.

But that does not mean I'm playing
straight, sleek hair all the time...

I'm liking the beach-babe role a lot and beachsprays can help a lot in making prissy straight a bit messy fun.

Which explains the selection of beachsprays I will review. So why now in the midst of summer? Because nostalgia is going to kick in soon enough and that so-called memory will make us think our hair looked amazing after a dip in the sea.

So keep on beachin'...

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Back to Kate with Kanebo Kate Forming Edge Eyes in GD-1

Hiya Kate Kanebo, 
I've missed you...

I started Birkinbagbeauty with a strong interest in Asian Makeup. Through the years I have developed new interests like organic beauty and other. My love for a well-balanced eye-palette from Japanese crafship has never died... 

In current times when more is absolutely too much in makeup (My own opinion), where contouring has gone to slightly "Prisilla, Queen of the Desert" proportions, lips are plump and matte and eyes are never seen without falsies, I started to long for a fresh face with a cute bit of blush and a delightfully soft but sparkly eye.

That does not mean I compromise on quality: just look at the photo above and see that perfectly pressed state of eyeshadow-ness.

I picked the golden and warmer toned palette: There's something typically summery about a golden hue on the eyes.
For the subtle fun, some microshimmer:

I am both impressed of the soft and buttery quality. However, for becoming more and more spoiled with strong and vivid pigments, I do find this palette a tad sheer. The mixture of a slightly bronzy gold, nice neutral brown and a buttery cream makes it easier for me to go eyeshadow again.

The effect on eyes is similar as the promotion photo:

I'm glad to have reunited with Kanebo Kate again. Although we never left (think Mascara primer), I've gone too neutral on the eyes lately with just a bit of pencil. A small palette like this makes eyeshadow not intimidating, but a fun way of bringing the eyes into focus again....

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Captain Blankenship Mermaid Mane dry Shampoo: a festie-bestie, volumizer or shower-shy hairfriend

•*´¨`*•.¸¸. Power to the mermaids ¸¸.•*´¨`*•

Actually weird, as mermaid would have perennially wet and salted hair by the sea. But I'll spare you the mythical details and let's just think gorgeous, bouncy and lustrous hair.

I've been having a couple of dry-shampoos in the range of Bumble & Bumble, the delightful Klorane, Rene Furtherer and even a DIY blend of my own with arrowpowder and cacao. Still, this one has wowed me.

I normally am not the greatest fan of dry shampoos: they do help to extend the hair for a day of showering, but the effect is always a bit too matte or just an unglossy bit that seems to tangle a bit easier. 

how to use? Peanuts...
Also, I have been on a chemical-light diet for the hair...Haha, I haven't quit cold turkey as there are still some chemicals my hair needs every now and then: e.g. hairtoners etc. Once you started anything that goes beyond your natural hue of hair...

However, I'm trying to keep things more organic close to the scalp. And by trying this relatively newbie on the block I have found an excellent hair-mate.

What I like is how you can dose it: want a tad of sprinkles or want a big heap of powder. Also, it is handluggage friendly and perfectly to-be- decanted in smaller proportions. 

I need volume more in my life than ever. Reason: my hair has been a tad thinner since I tried another shot in hairextensions (I took them out in a jiffy...another story, boohoo, a sad one). Trying this dry shampoo on 3rd day hair made me realize I could get my old volume again. Normally, I prefer my hair after washing it, but this time I actually longed for the 3rd day, Mermaid boosted hairdo!

 So what's inside?

Easy peasy, nothing obtrusive. Although I am not exactly a fan of how the Rose Geranium and Palmarosa ended up smelling like, it is absolutely a soft blend and ends of neutral (to my nose) within a couple of minutes after application.

The powder is thin but not too powdery. I'm delighted to see that my darker roots don't get that dreaded 'dandruf' glow or that greyish overcast but stay their natural shade. As for the blonder hairs: it gives fantastic volume without too much tangles. Ack, my blond tangles easy anyway but this does not really aggravate it.

For Europeans, I found mine of a clip-in hairextension site Dirtylooks (here), I know, I never learn ;) but I've bought in to colour them up with pastel and fun colours like purple, turquoise etc. They have some other cute Indie brands in their beauty-department.

As for the question of whether one is too old for festivals, meet @baddiewinkle (instagram):

So true...

•*´¨`*•.¸¸. Now sprinkle on your mermaid dust and have a fab summer ¸¸.•*´¨`*•

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Empties February (& January)

The last two months have been in the line of winter survival. 

I don't know about you guys, but somewhat the fun in cosmetics gets out of it and everything is more about necessity. Shortly, I'm looking forward for a warm spring so my skin can behave normal again, and I can have fun with my cosmetic goodies again.

Again, I'll have quite some used-ups and hygienic bye-bye's to show...

I'm gonna start with two of my favourites:
  • The NIOD Copper Amino Insulate Serum 1.00 % has been that wonderfully blue liquid that smells so neutral and layers on like a calming liquid. You mix the 2 bottles up and store it in the fridge: how fresh is that? I saw an improve in the quality of my skin: repurchased already!
  • May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon has been a nicely soothing balm, but too expensive and not entirely healing on disturbed skin so I've been looking for alternatives (see here).
  • Alterna Caviar repair Fill & Fix treatment Mask is a staple, abeit a pricy one. It packs up proteins for damaged hairs which has an instant effect, but also improves hairs in the long run
  • Fountain The Monecule in Happiness: I already shared my like for Fountain's hyaluronacid infused liquid concoctions and I could use some more positive feelings last months.
  • Glonaturals Bodylotion: It smells like chemical coconut but it packs in a good amount of moisture into winterskin. I mixed it with pure oils like St. Johnsworth to get extra hydration.
  • OlivineLove + Roses hydrating mist: Lovely and so natural smelling rose water infusion.
  • Aromantic Camellia Seed Oil: Aka Japanese Tsusaki oil works wonders on hair and is lovely on skin as well
  • De Tuinen Prickly Seed Oil: Prickly seed oil is a powerhouse that often sells really expensive, think La Bella Figura's version. I loved this affordable version.
  • Andalou Naturals Luminous Eye Serum: I order this in one of my Vitacost hauls and it moisturizes wonderfully without too much fragrance. As for anti-ageing? I'd prefer Pai.
  • Alterna Re-texturizing Protein Cream: This is such a favourite of mine! It smoothes in frizzies wonderfully and builds up hair in the long run.
  • Givenchy Eclat Matissime: This one is still full: it was not suitable for my sensitive skin.
  • Bliss FatGirlSlim has been a freebie in some box. I like it, but I'm a firm (pun intended) fan of my French line of anti-cellulite treatments (see a heap of mentions here). 
  • Mario Badescu Super Collagen Mask was another freebie. I feel nostalgic for anything Mario Badescu as it reminds me of my 1st couple of online cosmetic purchases around 2000. Then again, it only adds some moisture so I would not repurchase.
  • Givenchy Acti'mine Wake up skin Base: another full tube I have to abandon as I am too oversensitive for it.
  • Andalou Naturals Argan Stem Cells Scalp intensive Lotion is targetted for hairgrowth. I have not seen dramatic results but it might have helped.
  • Kinvaria 24hr Rosehip Face Serum was a serum I bought on a rave review being best thing ever for sensitive skin. Another case of not liking the fragance: household cleaning stuff. Blerg.
  •  Cinema Secret makes some awesome makeup for professional use. Their concealer palette has been fab for covering imperfections, but I have this palette for many years so bye bye!
  • Fasio Eyebrow Gel has been perfect for colouring the hairs of my eyebrow when they lightened in the sun. 
  • Jadilla J BB Concealer still originates from my Gmarket Haul days. Funnily, now everyone seems to go K-beauty I find it soo 2008! The colour is too light for me these days but coverage was wonderful.
  • Another hygiene/older concealer I had to bin is Models Prefer concealer duo. Somewhat it did not blend wonderfully either (green and a beigy colour) so I haven't used it much.
  • This Le Metier the Beaute eyebrow pencil in blonde has been a perfect colour, but the pigment-hold was not spectacular on skin. Now it dried out...
  • Clarins Eclat Minute...yes, fab coverage for under eyes but hygiene disposal again.

  • Tigi BedHead After Party is one of those raved about haircreams that make your blowdry last beautifully. I liked it but prefer my organics and Alterna ranges over this one.
  • Tatcha Indigo Soothing cream is another staple. Must-have for me.
  • Trevarno Eye cream smelled like herbs gone wild...Also, a bit too thick for eyes.
  • Nails Inc make some fab 3free nailpolishes that last and look superb. I loved this neutral pink.
  • NVey Eco compact foundation was the most unblendable foundation ever. No likey.
  •  I already discussed my Herbivore Lapis oil over here and I liked it a lot. 

  • WLL3People Expressionist bio Extreme Mascara is one of the mascaras the natural bloggers rave about. Nice, but they have not reached similar hold/volume over the chemical mascaras.
  • Bourjois Rouge Velvet in Fuschia has a gorgeous hold and superb matte appearance before this matte-lip thingy has been going on. 
  • Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Gloss Lip Lacquer Lipgloss in Love Drunk has been a sample I have been scraping the last bit out. Perfect mauvy shimmer! Adore...
  • Another Marc Jacobs winner has been his O!Mega Lash Volumizing Mascara I bought in Marseille, France. I would like to try his newer version but the reviews have been mixed.
  • Benefit Tinted Primer Hey, They're Real does not live up to my beloved Kate Kanebo version (here).
  • Oh, and the tiny oil on the left has been Kiss the Moon Midnight oil. Soo, gorgeous...on par with my new fascination with Herbivore oils.

  • Grow Gorgeous End split ends Leave in Serum in from that Deciem line again. Ok, me and my sensitive nose but this is sooo masculine and overpowering I cannot use it.
  • Arcona Chamomile balm smells amazingly soft, but it also brings in a good amount of soothing softness on par with May Lindstrom the Blue Cocoon, for a fraction the price: staple!
  • Wella Colour Fresh in Silver 10/81 has been a end-of-holiday toner for my then blonde hair. This one tones gorgeously and only needs one bottle without mixing. More about it soon.
  • Another case of the ageing makeup product: My gorgeous YSL palette...awww...
  • Another staple is my Collistar Face Magic Drops for self-tan. Although I don't use it in winter, I use it to match my face to my body on beachy holidays.
  I have been using up a lot of staples that are suitable to calm my oversensitive skin during the winter period. I have also ventured on some new products which has been a mixed bag of winners and not-so-successful for me. And I have been able to let go of some expensive brands that will not work for me (aww Givenchy)...
So for next month I hope to cleaned out my makeup-drawer a bit more, and be as diligent as ever to finish up products that I like : )

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

New Oils: Herbivore Orchid & Lapis

Spring is lurking but winter is still there: let's test some oils again.

Since I've been running out of the very expensive May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon, I wanted to find a nighttime treatment that would add the soothing proprieties of Blue Tansy. I liked Blue Cocoon, but somehow I am not the greatest fan of balms, even if they liquidify into a soft oil when warmed. 

I found Herbivore Oil Balancing Lapis face oil with blue tansy on Sephora, but found out that their Etsy shop had samples. I have found most facial oils too heavy on my face lately; a tester would be better before the full splurge.

And how to resist the Orchid Youth Preserving Facial Oil? I mean, the terminology on 'age-battling' has become a lot more creative and friendly lately. 

So two oils. The difference between the Lapis (above) and the Orchid (beneath) is clearly in colour.

 Let's take a look at my 1st choice: the Herbivore Lapis Oil Balancing oil:

It is such a relief to see the blue Tansy represented in the oil: that gorgeous aqua blue hue. I do not exactly need an oil that targets for balanced skin, anyway, blue tansy does so much more than oil regulating. It is a potent anti-inflammatory oil which benefits both restless acne skin as my older, sensitive-prone complexion.

The Jasmine Sambac smells amazing in a soft, soothing manner. Nothing too cloying for a sensitive nose. I am also delighted about the lightness or dry feel of the oil: It feels so light and still moisturizes plently. I had experimented with a couple of older favourites this winter that felt too heavy on me. Hence, I skipped the face-oils for a while and my dryer skin was the result of this. This is one of the first oils I can feel it bringing the right amount of moisture to me again!

Herbivore Orchid Youth Preserving Oil

This oil has the familiar hue of lighter yellow that is recognizable. It also feels like a light oil, though it is a tad thicker than the Lapis version. I am deeply in love with the blend of Orchid with the Jasmine, scentsational!

Camillia flower oil is one of my favourite oils around. A good version is also expensive and not so easy to find in the West. The addition of Squalane gives this oil enough lightness for me to tolerate.

And I really like the roller-ball that comes with the travel size: you can have the benefits of a micro-massage and the delightful-ness of the ingredients.

Right now, I feel I wake up glowier with the Orchid Youth Preserving oil than with the Lapis Oil Regulating one. Both oils feel like they calm down my flaky bits. I have only used both a couple of times so I think I will have to continue a while with one version before I can bring out a good, rounded review. Also, I might like the richer Orchid for this time of year and will probably enjoy the lighter Lapis one when the weather becomes warmer. 

Overall, I feel glad to have found not only one, but two oils that feel like a delicate treat on my skin (instead of a nuisance). I think I will purchase the larger bottle of the Orchid Youth Preserving oil soon, and during spring I might purchase the Lapis Oil Regulating one.