Friday, 7 April 2017

Too Coal for school...

If you dare to watch the US every now and then, perhaps with the help of comedians like Trevor Noah in the 'Today Show', you might find coal being the hot topic of last week's news...Thanks/due to The US president it is probably the negotiations with China this week, something new and conflicting about the POTUS every week, right? Anyway, coal should not become a fuel anymore.

On the bright site, charcoal has never been hotter in skincare. So let's hear it for the positive about some of my skincare finds...

  • I have been trying out a couple of Charcoal soaps, and I find the Bamboo Charcoal soap from Funky Soap London to be one of the purest with the best bit of mint inside. As I said in my last posts, my psoriasis had been flaring up like a Australian forest fire in their summer and this has been one of the few soaps my skin could  1. tolerate 2. clean gently and 3. clear up the flare ups partly. Now my skin is a lot healthier, this soap feels amazing in purifying the skin and I love to wash my face with it too, as a part of step 2 of the double cleanse. Funky Soap London sells these big chunks of soap on etsy (here) for €4.00 and shipping is rather reasonable too.
  • I think that Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser has been discussed frequently on blogs and the Gram. I agree this is a gorgeous facewash and the warming element makes it feel like it's working even more effectively opening and purifying the pores. Hence, it gets my supporting vote as well.
  • I stumbled upon Ecodenta Black whitening Toothpaste after I was looking for a more affordable option for the very hyped Sister & Co Raw Coconut & Activated Charcoal Tooth Whitening. Ecodenta is indeed under a fiver and I already see a whitening effect on a more natural base. Perhaps the ingredient of €30-ish Sister & Co would have been a tad more pure, nevertheless the shipping -carbon waist- would add more polution to the environment. Ecodenta is produced in the Baltic States but Holland & Barrett import it in a larger frequency. Oh heck, the price is better ; )
  • The mascara featured has nothing to do with added charcoal but I really liked the look of it, and the brush. This Outdoor Girl mascara has a dryer formula but I use the brush only right now with my other mascara's.
  • I bought a couple of travel sized Byredo candles during the christmas season, and Bibliothèque has been one of my favourites because of the bookish, vintage scent. Do not worry you will only smell old books as the violet's will bring in that hopeful scent of young femininity of a girl who hopes her lovelife will be as exhilarating as the romantic novels she is reading.
Charcoal can be effective as a purifying product, and with some additional ingredients they can work in synch with helping your skin to get the desired effect. For example, by adding Tumeric you can also help to calm down inflamed skin, and turmeric would even function as an anti-ager. Personally, I had extremely sensitive skin and charcoal has been one of the few ingredients I could tolerate.

Besides these featured products, I have also tried some other hyped charcoal products. One of them was Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask. I found that Freeman version to be so incredibly overfraganced compared to the purer versions featured above, and my facial skin got irritated after using it. Hence, I do not believe every and any charcoal product would be best, so better do your research and use the purer versions when having sensitive skins.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Multiple Masking Mania: Clay's the new Sheetmask

Don't you often get that feeling that when something is a true hype, you start looking elsewhere? 

As with sheetmasking, I have been into Asian trends since the beginning of my blog (about 2007) and the occasional sheetmasks has often been a part of my facial routine. Don't get me wrong...I am so happy about the variety of sheetmasks popping up everywhere, instead of waiting for days for my gmarket Korea packet to come in...Sheetmasks are brilliant in moisture and adding a essence/serum really effectively, but when it comes to getting that pure, porepurging feeling...Clay is the word! 
Since I am still lazy to borrow from my own Instagram, ofcourse meticulously taken and edited photos, I had the theme "#spooning for #singlegirls is all about Multiple Masking". So there you go: 4 gorgeous colours of clay-based masks that each have a different purpose for the skin.

Left to Right:
  • Lush Don't Look At Me Mask is as fresh as its smurfblue colour. It has a good whopping of citrus juice combined with the base-clay of Kaoline. Citrus Juice is nice for brightening skin and purifying pores, but I would steer away from the sensitive parts of your face. This one went on the nose and chin. It is quite fraganced of neroli essential oil...The blue colour, unfortunately, is a colourant and not derived from any natural clay-source.
  • Cattier Paris Pink Clay Mask is the perfect type of clay for purifying sensitive skin. The list of ingredients is short: Pink clay, Organic sheabutter, Organic peppermint extract, Lactic acid (vegetable), Organic Aloe vera but that is enough to purify on a gentle level. The price was under a fiver and the cream-to-clay formula is easier than handling the power version of pink clay.
  •  Before Herbana I never heard of Purple Clay before. According to Herbana (here) "Violet clay is a combination of a few natural clays which contains low concentration natural minerals. It is rich in silica and less absorptive than green clays" and I get a similar summing up of minerals from this and this site. Now Herbana amped up the youth-boosting factor for adding argan oil, Rosehip Oil and Aloe Vera gel. It still dries to a dry and violet mask but the effect is incredibly soft. I really like the effect this masks gives me: I feel purified without that overly dry feeling some clay masks can give. This retails for a reasonable € 13 on Etsy, and will make fun selfie/masking/scaring your cat/loved one game.
  • You might have heard a lot about NIOD and their Flavavone Mud Mask. Niod often has an incredibly story behind their innovative ingredients, and this one is no exception about their triple faces of 1. Purifying ; 2. Protecting & 3. Responsive Phase. For the whopping amount of € 35 a good story should be behind it, right? Personally, I was not really wowed by this mask. During my most sensitive phase of my psoriasis, it actually felt quite drying and not really helping my skin. The Cattier Pink clay actually worked at that same phase, so I guess price, an elaborate story and innovation are not always an all-cure-for-all. Now my skin is a lot calmer, I find it just ok but not as good as the Cattier or my gorgeous new Herbana. I still like a lot of NIOD's products, especially the Copper serum, but this one did not float my boat.

Just as sheetmasking can be a lot of fun, I think the added natural or unnatural colours of the claymasks can look fun and also have an a beneficial value. Most people would think of claymasks as drying and more suitable for oily/combined skin but the gentlier versions of pink and purple clay can be quite beneficial for dryer, dehydrated and maturing skins thanks to the additional minerals. Closing off the skin from air and other elements, similar as taking a sheetmask, often helps the regeneration/purifying process some more. However, take in mind that clays can draw out the occassional pimple as well so perhaps before a date or special occasion, the sheetmasks would be a tad more smoothing.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Moist to the People- hydrating with Olivine, The Ordinary and Herbivore

Blog -> Instagram -> Blog (& Instagram)

Going off the blog has not diminished my love for contraire...I think I bought more because my skin was very *wack* and sensitive so my game was more on.

I went to post on Instagram (@suikerstruisje), every now and then, because I just love how a beautiful product can look in synch with other elements. But I miss writing in depth of how it works and how I find it effective. Emoticons are what they are, simple, and lengthy reviews are often looked over at the Gram.

So let's work it on the blog again :)! 

Left to right: 
  • Olivine Love & Roses Beauty mist could pass as simple rosewater concoction, were it not that the roses have been organically harvested, rose quartz have been infused in the water, Moringa Seed extract, Andean Orchid Flower and Cassia extract that mimics hyaluronic acid...To amp up the beauty ritual, Olivine recommends chanting/voicing the mantra 'I am divine' while spritzing your face with this gorgeous tonic. Moreover, the bottle is a recyclable glass... 
  • The Ordinary Buffet has become one of the Ordinary's star products, although it would be hard to pick a favourite of any of Deciem's newer, affordable skincare-line. What makes Buffet such a winner is the massive concoction of peptides that has been a bliss to my post Fraxel-laser skin...During autumn '16 my skin hardly recovered from the abrasive actions of the laser, nevertheless this peptide concoction offered my skin a helping hand in building up new skincells (also thanks to Rosehip oil and Manuka honey). For more info on the peptide blend, check their website here.
  • Herbivore Orchid anti ageing Face oil has the most gorgeous dainty smell of all my skincare. And that is a lot. Positive emotions by scent can also help the pro-youth feeling (I don't like the word 'anti-ageing' for the record). Then I hear you think: with soooo many oils on the market, what makes this one IT? To me, I like a simple ingredient list with oils, I like complicated serums but the oils should be oils and a tad simple. Notwithstanding, they should be very potent. Orchid extract has minerals like Zinc,  Calcium and Magnesium but the process of the flower developing itself is so intricate that the 'plant memory' of youth and regeneration is quite upscale. Adding a beautiful Camelia Flower oil for the positive omegas makes it a gorgeous blend.
Ok, so let me add the way I posted this on Instagram. I'm always itching to write full reviews...

Now I noticed I've gotten lazier on the text...So give me some time and I'll be full-on blogger again, with plenty-o-text...

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....