Friday, January 31, 2014

PHYTO Botanical scalp treatment (PHYTOPLLéINE)

This is a 100% botanical treatment containing essential oils of






  It is highly concentrated in over 4 pounds of fresh plants, a synergy of purifying essential oils (72%), and corn germ oil that stimulates scalp micro-circulation to energize hair.

This is a pre-shampoo treatment that you apply (sparingly) to your scalp at least 20 minutes before shampooing (but I try to leave it in overnight).  It counteracts any dandruff or flaky skin, and balances out the scalp.

It has a pleasant essential-oily scent and works very well on my scalp.  There is no itching or burning, but after I wash my hair my scalp is normalised.

I don't have any excessive dryness or dandruff, only what happens with the dry air that accompanies a regular winter, so I use this about once a week and it's enough to normalise my scalp.  I don't know how this would work on excessive or chronic dandruff.

The only drawback of this is the price - it's around €20, for just 25ml or 0.8fl oz.  Using it once a week has made it last about 4 months, because a little of the oil goes a long way as it's spread over the scalp through an activation of body-heat and massaging. 

I've heard that combining coconut oil with a few drops of tea tree oil has the same effect, for a significantly lower cost.  I haven't tried that yet, so that will be my next experiment - and to see if the two really are comparable.

Do you use a regular scalp treatment?

Here are the ingredients:
1. Zea mays (corn) germ oil (huile de germes de maïs)
2. Fragrance
3. Citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil (citron)
4. Limonene
5. Melaleuca leucadendron cajaput oil (cajeput)
6. Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil (romarin)
7. Salvia officinalis (sage) oil (sauge)
8. Cupressus sempervirens leaf/nut/stem oil (cyprés)
9. Linalool
10. Citral
11. Isoeugenol
12. Geraniol
13. Eugenol
14. Coumarin
15. Citronellol

Monday, January 27, 2014

PHYT'SSIMA soin visage Nutrition Extrême

I'm so excited to be talking about this cream, as I recently discovered it in a "boutique marie claire" beauty trousse - otherwise I would never have come upon it, as I've never seen it at any of the parapharmacies or parfumeries that I frequent!

This is a very heavy, creamy cream, very rich and luxurious, with the star ingredients being the Argan oil and Hemp oil, both rich in Omega 3 and 6 oils.

It's aimed at dry to very dry skins, which is perfect for the dry winter weather - it relieves any redness or tightness associated with extreme dryness.

I've been applying it every night, and my skin just drinks it in.  I wouldn't wear this during the day as it tends to leave a sightly greasy residue (which, after letting it sink in for a few minutes, you could wipe away gently if you wanted to use this during the day), but I find it doesn't work very well with the kind of foundation I use (you'd need to experiment for youself, maybe it could work for you during the day!)

100% of the ingredients have a natural origin, 38% are issued from organic agriculture.  It has no preservative, and no synthetic coloring agent - but the lack of preservative means that, as it's an organically-made cream, it has a very short life after opening - only 3 months.

It's available on


Full list of ingredients:
1.  Aqua
2.  Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil

3.  Cannabis sativa (Hemp) seed oil

4.  Argania spinosa (Argan) kernel oil

5.  Polyglyceryl-3 polyricinoleate
6.  Cera alba/Beeswax/Cire d'abeille
7.  Hydrogenatzed castor oil
8.  Kaolin
9.  Parfum (fragrance)
10. Cinnamomum camphora (Camphor) bark oil
11. tocopherol
12.  Butyrospermum parkii (Shea) butter
13.  Lavandula hybrida (Lavandin) oil
14.  benzyl benzoate
15.  Citral
16.  Citronellol
17.  Coumarin
18.  Geraniol
19.  Limonene
20.  Linalool

Monday, January 20, 2014

BIOCYTE Moisturizing Face Mask

Biocyte is a French brand of skincare with a very small concentration of products - it consists of a few creams, a serum, a number of anti-ageing supplements containing collagen as well as for hair and nails, and face masks.

French pharmacies and perfumeries don't have a wide selection of cloth face masks, - at least, nothing compared to the Asian market - so I've managed to try many of the French and Italian brands and so far, this is my absolute favourite.

It is saturated with the solution, and there is always enough left over to also cover your neck and décolleté;  the cloth is very thin, but holds the solution well, and adheres superbly to the skin, covering the entire face without unsticking;  and even though the directions say to keep it on for twenty minutes, I find that I can keep it on for an hour before it starts to dry out.

Afterwards my skin feels plumped, refreshed, smooth.

Many pharmacies offer a choice - the mask can be purchased either individually (for between €7-€10, depending on the pharmacy) or in a pack of four (around €25-€30 a box).  This is about double the cost of a Planter's mask, but so definitely worth it!

What's your favourite cloth mask?

Where to find it:

Full list of ingredients:
1. Aqua/water
2. Dipropylene glycol
3. Pentylene glycol
4. Glycerol
5. Hydroxyethyl urea
6. Methylisothiazolinone
7. Chlorphenesin
8. Silk amino acid
9. Native marine collagen (soluble collagen)
10. Hydrolyzed elastin
11. Carbomer
12. Triethanolamine
13. Hyaluronic Acid
14. Polyquaternium-51
15. 2-Phenoxyethanol
16. PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil
17. Butylene glycol
18. Cestrum latifolium leaf extract
19. Xanthan gum
20. Disodium EDTA
21. Fragrance
22. Iodopropynyl butyl carbamate

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

ETAT PUR Aloe Vera (Total plant extract)

In a recent beauty box I was finally given the opportunity to try out something from the new Etat Pur skincare line:  the total plant extract of Aloe Vera.

In a 15ml bottle you get 75mg of aloe vera, and on the official site it retails for just over €10.
It is researched and made in France by DIPTA, the same research and production center responsible for Bioderma and Institut Esthederm.

The concept is to merge two types of skincare into a simple routine - combining the pure plant extracts with the Biomimetique creams and lotions.

Aloe Vera is aimed at dehydrated skin, and in the winter anything to up my skin's moisture levels is very welcome in my bathroom.

You need only four drops for the face, and it's a very thin, almost runny lotion that once patted into the skin is absorbed immediately.  It has no smell, no strange colour, and I've had no adverse reactions to it.

While the concentration of aloe vera increases the skin's moisture levels, I still feel that on its own it just isn't enough, because my skin, although combination, still needs a moisturizer to give it a soft feel, otherwise it's just too drying to use this alone.  However, on the website, there is plenty of information provided on how to use each extract, how to combine it with other extracts for specific concerns (eg ageing, smoker's complexion, acne, etc) and then what cream or lotion to follow that up with.  There are even videos showing how to use the skincare.

All in all, I'm very excited that there is a skincare brand on the market that offers higher concentrations of certain beneficial ingredients.  I think of the extracts as serums - just like when I use a Caudalie serum I still follow it up with a moisturizer, I do the same with this.

I can't wait to dig into some of the other extracts!

PS  The customer-review site gave this a very high mark, and I agree with them!

Have you tried anything from this range?

Full list of ingredients:
1.  Aqua/Water/Eau
2.  Dicaprylyl carbonate
3.  Propanediol
4.  Disodium phosphate
5.  Urea
6.  Alcohol
7.  C14-22 alcohols
8.  Capryloyl glycine
9.  Aloe Barbadensis leaf juice powder
10. Potassium phosphate
11. Sodium lactate
12. Leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate
13. C12-20 alkyl glucoside
14. Cetearyl alcohol
15. Xanthan gum
16. Sodium stearoyl glutamate
17. Cocoglucoside
18. Chondrus crispus (carrageenan)
19. Potassium sorbate
20. Sodium hydroxide

Friday, January 10, 2014

BIODERMA Hydrabio Moisturising Mask

According to the box:
Hydrabio is the first gentle hydration-generating mask with Aquagenium, a patented biological complex that stimulates the skin's cellular capabilities, re-training it to generate depth, and to lock in on the surface, the moisture essential for its balance.

The directions suggest that for optimum results, use Hydrabio Mask every day for the first week, and afterwards once or twice a week.

I did that the first week, keeping the mask on for about 15 mins until it started to dry a little (the directions indicate to keep it on for 10 mins), and then I'd remove the excess and follow with my night cream.
Afterwards, I continued to use it about twice or three times a week.

At first I wasn't very impressed, because I expected a significant plumping (although I don't know why, as the description doesn't mention anything about plumping, but I suppose I associate "hydration" with "plumping), and I expected something magical after the first intensive week.

What I realized, about halfway through, was that this is a very handy, quick, convenient mask to throw on in the morning to rehydrate the skin after the night, before doing the morning skincare and makeup routine.  Using it in the mornings gives me a feeling of refreshment and prepping the skin for the day ahead.

Don't expect anti-ageing, don't expect plumping, and don't expect brightening:  but if you have slightly dehydrated skin or you feel you just need a quick boost, then go ahead, try the Hydrabio!

What is your favourite hydrating mask?

Full list of ingredients:

1.  Aqua/Water/Eau
2.  Glycerin
3.  Cyclomethicone
4.  Dicaprylyl Ether
5.  Dimethicone
6.  Xylitol
7.  Glycol palmitate
8.  Corn starch modified
9.  Arachidyl alcohol
10. Mannitol
11. Rhamnose
12. Fructooligosaccharides
13. Laminaria ochroleuca extract
14. Xylitylglucoside
15. Anhydroxylitol
16. Niacinamide
17. Pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract
18. Cyclopentasiloxane
19. Glyceryl stearate
20. PEG-100 stearate
21. Behenyl alcohol
22. Cetyl alcohol
23. Titanium dioxide
24. Arachidyl glucoside
25. Disodium EDTA
26. Xanthan gum
27. Hexyldecanol
28. C30-45 alkyl cetearyl dimethicone crosspolymer
29. Alumina
30. Stearic acid
31. Caprylic/capric triglyceride
32. Chlorphenesin
33. Phenoxyethanol
34. Fragrance (parfum)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

TIMOTEI brillance nacrée (eau coiffante)

Using hair products is not a regular part of my hair routine - I lean more towards using healing and repairing oils and masks, rather than expecting my shine to come from a styling product.
But this came in a beauty box, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

"Eau coiffante" means styling water, and the concept is that this is not so much a hairspray, because it doesn't hold a style, but it's supposed to increase the shine of your hair, give it discipline, while maintaining natural movement.

I don't have any frizzing issues, but I used it after straightening my hair to give it, what I thought would be, a glossy shine.  Unfortunately the shine never happened, and instead I had dull, unwashed-looking hair even though I had washed it an hour before using the product.

On the front of the bottle it says that it contains rose oil and pearl extracts - but when I checked the ingredients list on the back, the second ingredient is DENATURED ALCOHOL. 
There is even a little table on the back label that lists the benefits of this spray, and under 'health' it says
- soft to the touch
- doesn't dry out hair

And I don't understand the second point because how can putting ALCOHOL on your hair NOT be drying?

I've used this spray three times and all those times the result was the same:  dull, lifeless, weighed-down hair.  I'll stick to my nourishing oils and forego the alcohol - at least in this instance!  ;)

Full list of ingredients:
1.  Aqua
2.  Alcohol Denat
3.  PVP/VA Copolymer
4.  Polyquaternium-16
5.  PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
6.  PEG-12 Dimethicone
7.  Propylene Glycol
8.  Dimethicone Propyl PG-Betaine
9.  Rosa Canina Fruit Oil
10.  Heliantus Annuus Seed Oil
11.  Laurtrimonium Chloride
12.  Glycerin
13.  Hydrolyzed Pearl
14.  Maris Sal
15.  Commiphora Abyssinica Resin Extract
16.  Phenoxyethanol
17.  Tocopherol
18.  Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate
19.  Parfum
20.  Benzyl Salicylate
21.  Butylphenyl Methylpropional
22.  Citronellol
23.  Geraniol
24.  Hexyl Cinnamal
25.  Limonene
26.  Linalool

Friday, January 3, 2014

EMBRYOLISSE Rich Balm/Baume Riche

Embryolisse has many many MANY wonderful creams and lotions, but I had never tried this until I'd gotten it in my BoutiqueMarieClaire beauty box/trousse.

The product comes protected in a metallic tube, and at my local pharmacy I can get this for about €12-€15 per 40ml tube.

This balm has a greasy texture no matter how little you put on, so I use it only on days when I know I won't be leaving the house.  It's great as a quick moisture-upper if you have an hour or two to spare, and sometimes when I have the whole day to myself I slather a thick layer all over my face and neck as an intense moisturizing mask.  You wouldn't believe how much my skin drinks this in, especially in winter!

It contains Phytosqualane extracted from olive, white beeswax, and shea butter.  So in effect, if you are already using raw, organic shea butter on your skin (which I love too, but sometimes it can be a little too heavy), you don't need to get this, although it has a lighter, creamier texture that is easier to work with than straight up shea.

Embryolisse products are not tested on animals and are paraben free.

Full list of ingredients:
1.  Aqua
2.  Paraffinum Liquidum
3.  Cera Alba
4.  Squalane plant extract
5.  Butyrospermum Parkii
6.  Potassium cetyl phosphate
7.  Glyceryl stearate
8.  Sucrose stearate
9.  Cetyl alcohol
10.  Cetyl palmitate
11.  Sodium citrate
12.  1.2-hexanediol
13.  Caprylyl glycol
14.  Tropolone
15.  Sodium hydroxide
16.  Parfum

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

CLINIQUE SPF40 with Solar Smart face cream

I wanted to try out a face sunblock from Clinique because I already enjoy their foundations, and their skincare is formulated for problematic skins.

This is UVA/UVB high protection and comes in a 50ml/1.7 fl oz.  It is photoallergy tested and 100% fragrance free.  Here is what it promises:

"Innovative SolarSmart technology stabilizes UVA/UVB protection to defend against the aging and burning effects of the sun.  Adds a barrier repair and solar-activated antioxidants to help prevent signs of aging."

It is oil-free, water-resistant, sweat-resistant, and appropriate for sensitive skins.

I used this for the last 6 weeks of summer, and I spent a fair amount of my time in full-on sun, and I didn't burn once.  I also didn't need to reapply.

I will say that I found the consistency to be too thick for my liking, especially as I wear foundation during the day.  The opening where the product comes out often became a little clogged and there was dried product around the nozzle, which I had to wipe away before every use.

I won't be buying this again because no matter how little of it I used (and it's a sunblock, so you're meant to apply LIBERALLY!) it made me shine like an oil-slick (could be the shea butter).  That is not a good look for the big city.

What sunblock do you use?

Here is a fully list of the ingredients:
1. Water/aqua/eau
2. Benzophenone-3 (OXYBENZONE)
3. Ethylhexyl Salicylate
4. Methyl Trimethicone
5. Homosalate
6. Butylene Glycol
7. Butyloctyl Salicylate
8. Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate
9. Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane
10. Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)
11.  Octocrylene
12. PEG-100 Stearate
13. Silica
14. Dipentaerythrityl Tri-Polyhydroxystearate
15. Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone
16. Dimethicone
17. Glyceryl Stearate
18. Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
19. Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract
20. Perilla Ocymoides Leaf Extract
21. Caffeine
22. Potassium Cetyl Phosphate
23. Sucrose
24. Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer
25. C30-38 Olefin/Isopropylmaleate/Ma Copolymer
26. Cetyl Alcohol
27. VP/Eicosene Copolymer
28. Ethylhexylglycerin
29. Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer
30. PEG-8 Laurate
31. Sodium RNA
32. Lecithin
33. Propyl Gallate
34. Arginine Ferulate
35. Tocopheryl Acetate
36. Caprylyl Glycol
37. Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Maleate
38. Stearic Acid
39. Xanthan Gum
40. Hexylene Glycol
41. Nordi-Hydroguaiaretic Acid
42. Plankton Extract
43. Disodium EDTA
44. Phenoxy-ethanol
45. MICA
46. Sodium Dexydro-Acetate

Sunday, October 6, 2013

THE BEST BODY CREAM EVER!!! - GARANCIA: Formule Ensorcelante Anti-Peau de Croco 3 en 1


It nourishes + hydrates for 24 hours (YES!)
It has a peeling effect without any granules, leaving the skin soft like a baby's feet (YES!)
It firms (ok, this I haven't noticed).

Victoire de la Beauté, which is an independent panel of consumers who test out new products, made this the winner for 2012-2013.

Let me tell you how good this is:  previously I had been using regular body creams from various brands.  The first time I used this, my boy-friend touched my skin and said with surprise, "Why is your skin so soft???"

I haven't stopped using it since.

Here's the full list of ingredients:
1.  Aqua (water/eau)
2.  Glycerin
3.  Coco-Caprylate/caprate
4.  Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter/beurre)
5.  Candelilla/Jojoba/Rice Bran Polyglyceryl-3 Ester
6.  Glyceryl Stearate
7.  Imperata Cylindrica
8.  Linum Usitatissimum
9.  Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate
10. Rosa Damascena Flower Extract
11. Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract
12. Cetearyl Alcohol
13. Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
14. Gellan Gum
15.  Xanthan Gum
16. Parfum (Fragrance)
17. Menyanthes Trifoliata Leaf Extract
18.  Salicylic Acid
19. Carbomer
20. Mel (Honey)
21. Sodium Hydroxyde
22. Ethyl Vanillin
23. Phenethyl Alcohol
24. PPG-2 Methyl Ether
25. Methylisothiazolinone
26. Caprylyl Glycol
27. Acrylate/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer

What's your favourite body cream?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

SEPHORA single eye shadows - current special offer!

I LOVE the Sephora single eye shadows, especially now that they are reformulated.  Wanna know how much I love them?  I already own 22.  Five of them are in the "mirror" finish (with large chunky glitter - I had a weak moment), but the "Mat" and "Nacré" (satin) finishes are definitely the best quality and the most long-lasting.

Currently the French Sephora is having a special offer - if you buy two single eye shadows, you receive a 3-shadow empty palette, while stocks last.
It's a very sturdy and relatively heavy compact, about the size of my hand, with a shiny black cover and the Sephora logo in the centre.

The back of the compact features easy-to-read instructions on how to remove the single eye shadows from their individual pots and place them into the palette.

On the inside there is a mirror that covers the entire surface of the lid, and the three eyeshadow places, including a key which is used to remove the shadows to transfer from pot to palette and vice versa.

(This is my neutral palette, the colours you see here are, on the left, no 63 which is a satin icy white, perfect for the inner corner highlight;  next to it is no 73, an ideal matte skin colour that I use every day to create a smooth base for my colourful eyeshadows;  and on the bottom is no 86, a good satin brown for those quick days when all you want is one colour on your eyes for some definition.)

This is a very high-quality palette where it is obvious that a lot of thought went into the design.  The key has its own little home that it sits in securely fastened, and yet is easy to remove due to a see-saw action;  and the magnetic base of the palette is strong enough that the eyeshadows don't budge, yet removing them is no hassle.

I just wish more brands came out with something like this!