Lily Storm

A personal take on beauty, life and dreams.

Archive of ‘Reviews’ category

Elizabeth Arden: luxurious essentials

The cold and dry season always makes my skin beg for extra hydration and protection. This is where Elizabeth Arden has really impressed me with their rich skincare range. Relatively affordable too (as far as high end products go).

I have been using the following products for about 2 months:

- Visible Difference Gentle Hydrating Cleanser – R245

- Visible Difference Gentle Hydrating Cream SPF15 – R475

- Visible Difference Hydrating Boost Night Mask – R290

- Prevage Anti-aging Eye Cream SPF15- R945

- Flawless Finish Perfectly Satin  24HR Foundation with SPF15 (in Sunbeige) – R380

Every good skincare routine requires proper cleansing. There is no point in applying moisturiser and makeup if your pores are not looked after. I usually use Dove soap on my face, which I have no problem with as it’s not drying. However I could definitely feel a difference after trying the Visible Difference Gentle Hydrating Cleanser. I do prefer a foaming cleanser, but during winter you need that creamy consistency to replace lost moisture. This one is gorgeous and rinses off easily. Avoid the sensitive eye area of course.

The Visible Difference Gentle Hydrating Cream with SPF15 is gloriously indulgent. I love its soft texture and fragrance. The selling point for me is that it seems to deliver continuous moisture throughout the day – without leaving an oily residue. Exactly what I was looking for. It provides a very comfortable base for any foundation or BB cream.

I don’t usually splurge on face masks, but the Visible Difference Hydrating Boost Night Mask is a luxury to keep in your beauty cabinet. Apply a fairly thick layer for best results, and rinse off after a few minutes. I promise your skin will feel as soft as a baby’s bum.

Now for the most expensive (yet most important) product…Prevage Anti-aging Eye Cream SPF15.  At R945, it does not come cheap. But if you look at what this phenomenal product offers, I would say it is worth the investment. Forgive me for carrying on too much here, but you have to know this…. The first ever eye cream with both broad spectrum SPF protection and revolutionary Idebenone (known as the most powerful antioxidant), it provides protection against environmental and free radical damage. (Free radicals are those nasty little monsters that cause premature ageing!). From personal experience, I can say that it smooths the appearance of fine lines and reduces puffiness. The results are almost immediate.

I was an Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation girl for the longest time. After finishing the last bottle, I was so taken with Elizabeth Arden’s facial products – I decided to purchase the Flawless Finish Perfectly Satin  24HR Foundation with SPF15 (in Sunbeige). Also, it was cheaper and I was a full week away from payday! Provides great coverage with a matte (yet luminous) finish. If like me, you prefer a natural and fresh faced look as opposed to heavy makeup…this is the one.

Do you have any Elizabeth Arden favourites? Please share your experience in the comments section below.

Happy Woman’s Month!

LS xx

Florence Nightingale Graham (December 31, 1878 – October 18, 1966), who went by the business name Elizabeth Arden, was a Canadian American businesswoman who founded what is now Elizabeth Arden, Inc., and built a cosmetics empire in the United States. At the peak of her career, she was one of the wealthiest women in the world.  (photo courtesy of  Wikipedia.org)

Optiphi – advanced anti-aging skincare

I received a very exciting package from the kind folk at Optiphi today! They excel in the deliverance of scientific products to rehabilitate the skin at cellular level. Which is very important in treating the signs of aging.

Lets face it…post thirty, you start noticing little lines and wrinkles that were never there before. Not ideal! I am all for non-invasive products to help slow down this process. Youthful and healthy skin has always been a priority, so I am really looking forward to putting the following two products to the test.

Eyesigns Active Gel

I need a hardworking eye treatment. Eyesigns Active Gel (R755.00) promises to target fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles, puffiness and to improve the overall firmness and texture of the skin around the eye area. Firstly, I love Optiphi’s packaging. The product is easily dispensed, which diminishes wastage. The gel has a rich, thick feel. So a little goes a long way. I applied some after my morning shower today, and could immediately feel the moisturizing and soothing effect.

Classic Complete Therapy SPF20

Women need to understand the importance of a good moisturizer. I fell in love with this one! There is hardly any fragrance, but the texture is glorious and comfortable. Classic Complete Therapy (R635.00) shields your skin during the day. It is an all in one treatment which offers: potent anti-oxidants, skin hydration, anti-wrinkle, skin restructuring and repair. Let’s not forget the sun protection factor – a huge plus.

I’ve tried various other anti-aging products, however some have seemed rather harsh on my skin. The difference here, is Optiphi’s gentle yet effective composition. Definately worth a try. Lets see how it performs over the next few weeks.

To purchase Optiphi, or locate a representative in your area, please contact Bernice Barnard on bernice.b@optiphi.com.

**COMPETITION TIME!**

To win both of these amazing products worth R 1,390 please ‘like’ my Facebook page here, and follow me on Instagram: @LilyStormBlog. 

The winner will be announced on 31 January 2015.

Good luck my lovelies!

xoxo

Optiphi Essence 1.618 – aromatic balm

I am a great lover of perfume, and very keen to try different brands according to my mood.

Optiphi’s Essence 1.618 aromatic balm is truly divine. My first experience with a solid perfume (received at a blogger event earlier this year), and months later I am still impressed. It comes presented in a cute vintage-like tin. Now a staple in my handbag.

What does it smell like? It’s hard to describe… warm, softly sweet, discreet yet seductive. I apply a smidgen to my pulse points during the day. It lasts for a few hours and I can’t resist sniffing my wrists every now and then! The fragrance is gentle enough for those who don’t like anything too overpowering.

Contact Optiphi for more information on stockists: http://www.optiphi.com or via Twitter @optiphi

LS

xxx

 

John Frieda Hair Product Review

I received a bumper gift pack from the team at John Frieda. Filled to the brim with every kind of hair styling product I could imagine – specifically suited to my hair type. As I tend to experiment with a lot of different brands, this was like walking into a candy store!

Like most women, I purchase many of my skin and haircare products from Clicks. Simply because it’s affordable and the quality is decent. Many brands promise salon quality at low prices, and John Frieda is honestly one of the best I’ve tried. I have naturally thick, wavy hair that is flat ironed on a weekly basis. So you can imagine that heat damage is one of my biggest concerns. I need a pre-treatment serum or spray that will protect and add shine, without weighing down my hair.

After experimenting with my box of goodies, I fell inlove with the Frizz-Ease 3-Day Straight Semi-Permanent Styling Spray (R95). A few sprays on damp, towel dried hair, and you’re ready to flat iron or blowdry. The result is sleek and healthy looking hair. My style retained its gloss and shape well into the next wash. With the rainy season coming up…I can’t think of a single lady who would not benefit from this tough little bottle! The secret is a blend of polymers with keratin protein. My hair certainly feels stronger and a lot healthier. When your friends notice the difference, you know it works!

I am also using the Brilliant Brunette Colour Protecting Moisturising Shampoo & Conditioner (R95 each). It just works so well – I am impressed! The colour, consistency and fragrance of the shampoo is a pleasure to use. And the conditioner looks like cappucino mousse once you’ve combed it through your hair. Contains crushed pearls and sweet almond oil…pure decadence.

The Full Repair Intensive Treatment Masque (R99) works wonders if you colour your hair frequently. Gives it that extra bit of care inbetween normal conditioning. What I like to do is apply after shampooing, and wrap my hair in a warm towel for about 15 minutes.

When I feel up to sporting a naturally wavy look, I’ll definately try the alcohol-free Frizz-Ease Dream Curls Styling Spray (R95). It promises to boost your natural curl pattern restore elasticity. Sounds perfect for those days when you just don’t have the energy for an intense heat styling session.

All John Frieda products are available at Clicks stores. Enjoy!

xoxo

 

MAC Russian Red

My friend Anda is one of the loveliest, most sincere people I have ever met. She has fabulous fashion sense and always stresses the fact (accompanied by very animated hand gestures), that I should never date broke good-for-nothing boys. But more than that – she’s introduced me to MAC’s Russian Red lipstick!

I was always terrified of wearing red lipstick. Fearing I’d look like a lady of the night. I usually keep my lip colour fairly conservative as a have a full pout. Then one Friday evening, while heading out on a girls night, Anda appears sporting the most gorgeous mouth I’ve ever seen. While the rest of us were furiously touching up our faces in the little girls room, all she did was slick on some lipstick. According to her, Russian Red is the only accessory she needs.

After much ooh’ing and aah’ing, Anda eventually convinced all of us to try it. Bear in mind that we were a mixture of all different skin tones and lip sizes. I promise you though, each and every one of us looked amazing!

It has a velvety matte texture, and seems to last for hours.

Now I think there are some rules to pulling off this look:

- Your skin has to be fairly smooth and even. I recommend using a BB cream or lightweight foundation, and covering any spots and dark undereye circles with concealer. You don’t want to create a pasty death-like mask, but you do want clear skin with minimal shine.

- Keep the rest of your makeup subtle. Some highlighter on the brow bone, mascara and small amount of blush on the apples of your cheeks will do the trick. This lipstick speaks volumes, so you don’t need much else.

Walk into a room wearing Russian Red, and there’s no chance of you being a wall flower. Thanks Anda…I am now a convert.

Off to MAC we go!

xx

LS

Photo courtesy of coolspotters.com

Don’t you just adore the way Kim Kardashian rocks her Russian Red? This shade works especially well against dark hair and brown eyes.

 

The Clarins Glow

I am an insomniac. Often having to get by on 3 hours of sleep! Inspiration strikes during the wee hours of the morning…my penance for being a creative! As you can well imagine, this lack of sleep does my skin no favours.

But fear not – I am about to reveal my three favourite products which fool people into thinking I am only 26. (Not bad for a thirty-something!)

CLARINS:  Beauty Flash Balm, Eye Contour Gel, and Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector!

If you need to have your game face on for that Monday morning meeting, then make sure you have these staples in your vanity bag.

For puffy, baggy eyes – the Eye Contour Gel is incredible. I keep mine in the fridge so that it’s extra soothing when I need it. Pat lightly around the eye area with your ring finger.

My addiction…Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. Everything about this balm speaks of calm and comfort. The texture is ever so smooth and melts into your skin, and the fragrance reminds me of Oil of Olay. Classic. It will eliminate any sign of tiredness, and leaves your skin with a healthy, dewy sheen. I am amazed every single time. Apply a swish of bronzer on the apples of your cheeks and you’ll be the picture of good health!

As a lipgloss junkie, I have yet to find one that delivers as much as the Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector . It protects with shea butter, Vitamins A and E, and offers a subtle shimmer too. Not at all sticky, and comes in an array of complementary colours. Totally love this stuff.

You can find all of the above on the Clarins website: http://www.clarins.co.za

xx

 

Skin Clays by Kai

I’ve been on a mission to find a really good clay face mask. You know the kind that dries to a crusty layer on your skin making it almost impossible to smile? So whilst googling, I discovered an amazing locally produced range called Skin Clays by Kai.

My beauty besty Zuleigha (aka The Pink Mermaid) and I met up with the lovely Karen Vosloo – proud owner of this home-based business in Durbanville. Chatting to Karen, I immediately sensed her passion and love for her products. After three years of hard work and research, she has managed to unite the amazing qualities of clay and essential oils.

The various clays are imported from Australia and France, and contain a high mineral content. Most importantly, it detoxifies, exfoliates and smoothes in one action.

Karen has formulated quite an array of products: face masks, body cream, hand cream, linen sprays, body scrubs and room mists. I have tried many lotions and potions over the years, but I was truly blown away by Skin Clays. We were lucky to receive some samples – and Zuleigha and I wasted no time experimenting.

My absolute favourites are the French Pink Clay mask (R35 - yields about four applications) and shower gel (R30 for 200ml). After mixing up the powdered mask with a few drops of water, and applying to my face for about 15 minutes…I could seriously see a difference to the texture and glow of my skin after rinsing it off. And this after only one application. The stuff is amazing.

The shower gel (which also contains the pink clay) foams very well when used with a body sponge, and the celestial fragrance lingers for a long time. I sometimes battle to find a soap or shower product which will not irritate my skin, and so far, I haven’t had a problem with this one.

Also really enjoyed the Juniper, Jasmine and Bergamot Room Mist. I swear it’s better than any regular air freshener.

We LOVE Skin Clays by Kai - and have given them the Lily Storm stamp of approval!

For more information on the Skin Clays range, or to place an order, please contact Karen on 083 264 9498 or karenvosloo@telkomsa.net. You may also click here to hook up with them on Facebook.

VALENTINES DAY SPECIAL: For every purchase of R150 or more, you will receive a sample pack of their latest products – which includes a 50ml Juniper & Jasmin Skin Cream, 2 x 50ml sample bottles Men’s Post Shave Balm (difference flavours) and a 50ml Men’s Anti Dandruff Shampoo.

Then…to stand a chance of winning a gift hamper, all you need to do is then provide feedback on the new products you’ve sampled. The gift hamper contains: 200ml Skin Cream, 250ml Post Shave Balm and a 300ml Shampoo (you may choose any variants).

xx

Kashie

 

*Skin Clays Face Mask Review by the Pink Mermaid*

I had the absolute delight of meeting a really passionate woman with my side kick Kashie.

Karen Vosloo is an entrepreneur of note. She runs her own little business from her home making clay products, ” Skin Clays by Kai”.

Her ample samples given to Lily Storm meant Kashie and I could try all the different products and share with the experimenting. I tried the French Pink Clay face mask. It comes in a 30g glass jar. I split it with Kashie and managed to get 2 full applications, so a 30g jar can get four applications.

Firstly, you add about 2-3 teaspoons of the powder into a bowl or cup. Add a few drops of water and stir till you get a thinnish paste. Mine was a little watery cause I added too much water, but it was fine. It mixes well and quickly so no heavy mixing required.

Once mixed I applied to my face. It goes on easily. I put it all over over my face - T zone, forehead and didn’t worry that some got in my hair.

I was told by Karen that I should sit in the bath with it so when it dries it can fall into the bath water. The water then re-activates it. It’s good for your whole body.

It started drying quite quickly depending on how thick the paste is when you make it. It had a little stinging sensation as it dried out. Nothing scary, I just thought it must be working (that whole ‘no pain no beauty gain’ phrase was in my head). But once it dried it was fine. It REALLY hardens. I loved that it did. Like when you talk it cracks. So after ten minutes or so I felt like I was ready.

I just washed it off in the shower, no need for a facecloth even. It washed off easily enough and it doesn’t stain the bath. If anything it seems to just dissolve in the water.

My face felt divine. Fresh and light, very CLEAN. It didn’t even dry my skin out, nor did it feel oily. It was just perfect actually.

I didn’t even feel the need to put a moisturizer on ( I should though). It just felt like a good old fashioned clay mask, the kind I remember my aunts used to use when I was a smally.

I liked that it hardens properly, I like the colors that it comes in (an old fashioned green and a classic dusty pink).

It gets two thumbs up from me!

The Pink Mermaid

PS: Watch this space for a review (yes, from a real guy!) on the new Skin Clays Post Shave Balm!

Sh’Zen Cellular Boost Lotion for Body SPF 15

A few years ago, I was a Sh’Zen junkie. I’m sure you must have seen their catalogues or even attended a Sh’Zen pamper party. I simply couldn’t resist ordering one or two items from their specials brochure every month. My cupboard was packed to capacity with Spa Additive, Detox Oils and Bath Crystals! 

Meaning ‘natural’ in Japanese, Sh’Zen products are formulated with essential oils and plant extracts – so you’re guaranteed to be taken on a pleasurable sensory journey. When a product evokes a certain emotion with just its fragrance, that for me is what creates a pampering and personal experience.

I received a 125ml tube of the Cellular Boost lotion for Body with SPF 15. Ideally, this is a summer lotion that you’ll pack in your weekend bag when going on a trip or to the beach. Pink grapefruit gives it a zesty fresh fragrance and also has firming properties (always welcome!).

Contains one of my all time favourite moisturizers – Shea Butter, as well as Sesame and Hazelnut oils. I love using this lotion straight after a shower in the morning, when I’m not in the mood for a thick body butter. And although incredibly moisturing, it’s not overly so…where you find yourself slipping out of your sandals. This will become one of your summer staples.  

Retails for about R179. Find a stockist near you by visiting the Sh’Zen website:  http://www.shzen.co.za

xx

 

November GlossyBox

Once again, I was impressed with the contents of this month’s GlossyBox.

However, I do have some thoughts on the sample concept. My opionion is that GlossyBox could either include one or two more ‘travel sized’ goodies (usually 30ml). Or alternately, negotiate with the big brands and have them provide the occasional full sized product. I can assure you that more people would subscribe if the element of surprise were greater. Imagine receiving a 50ml L’Occitane hand cream for example! The overseas boxes are amazing, and brimming with exciting stuff. Yes I realize that we have a smaller market in South Africa, but this should be no excuse for beauty houses not to come to the party and up their marketing game.

With that being said, I still enjoyed going through everything this month. The winner here has to be the Sans Soucis Cleansing Milk (30ml). Very gentle on the skin, and you can feel it working from the first application. I am a loyal Clarin’s follower, however this cleanser could possibly give them a run for their money.

Maria Garcia ‘Firming Up’ Gel: This is a pricey one - retailing at R650 for 50ml. My sample is 8ml, so not bad at all. Promises to plump up and energize the skin.

Schwarzkopf Gliss Marrakesh Oil & Coconut Shampoo (50ml): Gliss has never agreed with my tresses. Tried it though, because I liked the Marrakesh and coconut combination – but still not impressed.

6 various perfume samples including Carolina Herrera (still my favourite), Prada – Candy, Calvin Klein – Euphoria, and Chloe – Love.

And last but not least, a beautiful orange and brown indian bracelet set from 4Flavour.

I am excited for the December edition! Maybe Santa will surprise us with an extra special holiday item or two?? Watch this space.

http://www.glossyboxsa.co.za

xx

L’Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate

When I can feel and smell the quality of a good beauty product – I don’t mind splurging. L’Occitane is one such brand, who offers a wonderland of luxurious body treatments and fragrances. If you’ve ever browsed one of their stores, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

I recently received a sample of their Almond Milk Concentrate in my September Glossy Box, and was highly impressed. This rich body cream contains a blend of silicium and almond proteins, which are similar to collagen – effectively fights skin slackening by restoring skin’s support tissue. I don’t generally believe in firming lotions, but after just one application, my legs definately felt smoother with a lovely glossy sheen.

It has a light and creamy texture, and I simply adored the fresh and lingering fragrance of almond blossoms. I applied it immediately after shaving and found it to be wonderfully soothing because of the high almond oil and milk content.

This is certainly going to be one of my summer staples. You can scoop it up on feeluniqe.com for about R450 (200ml). One of my favourite websites because they offer free worldwide shipping, and you never experience any hassles with receiving your packages. Happy shopping!

xx