No. 7 Makeup Brush Cleaner

I’m usually very strict about my makeup brushes. They get sprayed with a disinfectant after every use and shampooed with an intense brush cleaner once a week. When I’m in Vancouver, my brushes are the cleanest thing in the room.

I haven’t been in Vancouver for a long while now, and my brushes are disgusting.

I’m all about face masks when travelling- they come packaged in their own little sachets. You don’t need to rinse sheet masks! I’m even that weird person who uses them on planes. But cleaning brushes? Let’s be real. It’s a hassle.

Needless to say, after six months of, “I totally wiped them down with a makeup wipe that one time… I think.” I needed something more intense. Enter the No7 Makeup Brush Cleaner.

For those of you that don’t know, No7 Cosmetics was started by Boots in the mid 30’s. I would overbuy their skincare every time I passed through Heathrow and hoard it. I’ve never been disappointed by one of their products, so I was more than willing to part with €9. Especially since, and I can’t stress this enough, my brushes were rank.

The claims

The bottle claims it as a “quick fix for when you don’t have time to soak your brushes”. According to them, it’s as simple as squirting one or two pumps into a paper towel and wiping the brush around.

So, let’s see what we’re working with.

before

Foundation brushes are always the grossest and the hardest to get clean. Luckily, that’s ideal for this experiment.

They obviously don’t mess around with scents on this stuff because it smells like straight alcohol. However, I persisted with pumping some into a paper towel and wiped away.

I mean, you can’t argue with the result.

First Use Thoughts:

There’s a lot of good in this. I can’t dispute that my brushes are clean and they dried amazingly fast.

The downsides? Obviously the smell, and given how dry my hands are I worry about drying out brushes- especially the natural ones. On the frugality note, I burned through a ton of paper towel. Also, that bottle was full when I started. However, I think that boiled down to the fact that- well you know, really gross brushes.

Using my brushes and the second week

I noticed that while my fluffy powder and blush brushes were a dream to work with, the fan brush looked… well… not very fan-like.

I managed to work it back into shape, but I noticed that the flatter, denser brushes never really seemed to dry. I’m not talking just foundation, my eyeshadow brushes felt like they had a LOT of build-up on them. I have a few horse hair eyeshadow brushes that still haven’t quite bounced back.

When I added water to my beauty blender the day after cleaning it SO MUCH foundation rinsed out. It was insanity. So, I guess that worked. However, my beauty blender also broke while cleaning it this week. I’m not saying the cleaner had any part of it- I’ve had it for a few years- but it makes you wonder when you do something different and it breaks. It took to my new no7 sponge okay, so who knows.

I didn’t wear makeup much this week and I didn’t want to put this stuff on natural or eyeshadow brushes again. Plus, I have a LOT of brushes, so I wanted to see how much the product lasts for people who aren’t borderline hoarders. I cleaned my powder, blush, and blending brushes as well as my sponge.

productamountno7

Needless to say, I’m not the happiest. The bottom of the paper is where I started last week. This stuff will not last long.

 

Final Thoughts?

After use one…

While I think big, fluffy brushes took well to this, denser brushes (foundation and concealer mainly) needed something to really get in between the bristles. Given that our apartment doesn’t have a lot of space for drying makeup brushes, I might scale it back to once a month for a big shampoo and use this in between.

After the second time…

I’m happy I used a cloth to save paper towels. All up, the amount of product used is ridiculous. Granted, sponges take in a lot. I am worried about the dryness, and I can’t help but wonder if the brush cleaner’s alcohol content led to the degradation of my beloved beauty blender.

The real question with any review is would I buy the brush cleaner again? At this point, maybe, but for fluffy synthetics only. I get that alcohol is necessary- it dries super fast and disinfects, but there must be something they can put in for moisturization? Maybe when they dry I’ll try putting dry oil on the bristles.

I wanted to review this after using the whole bottle.

It’s been a couple months since I started this post and the thing is, I’m hesitant to put this back on my brushes- at least not until I’ve done a proper shampoo. I think this would be good for after a night when you had friends over and everyone just kind of does each other’s makeup and woo-hoo and such… But I haven’t touched it since the second time I used it and there’s definitely a reason for that.

You can buy the No7 Makeup Brush Cleaner here

If you want to read more reviews, I found good ones on the look list, Makeup and Beauty By Amy, and Beauty and Le Chic

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Quo Brush Cleaning Wipes

This is going to be a quick one because apparently the site you can see them on is blocked out in Europe, but we’re going to talk about Quo Brush Cleaning Wipes.

I picked these up before I left Canada, and have been using them for a while now. They’re exactly what they say they are- wipes that clean brushes. You swipe your brush across the wipe a few times and bam! Clean.

Well…

quo brush cleaning layout photo

We have the fan brush I use for bronzer, the blend-y all-purpose type brush, a lip brush, concealer brush, eyebrow brush, and a brush for packing on eyeshadow. These are four of my most used brushes, so they have some gunk on them.

I can’t say I hate these. Are my brushes 100% clean? Absolutely not. My concealer brush still has a tinge of green from colour corrector. My lip brush still has an overall red glow.

However, much like makeup remover wipes in general, these are good for certain situations. I’d definitely try to get something similar for travel. I think using these in Australia was the single reason why my skin didn’t have a major breakdown for three months. If you’re changing colours while doing your makeup this could also be a great option. Obviously, it doesn’t replace a weekly brush shampoo, but it can help in between them. I also like that you can use the wipe to clean the handles of brushes because mine get gross.

The packaging is also great. It’s small enough that it’s super travel friendly and there’s both a sticker-y part and a hard plastic cap. These things aren’t going to dry out.

I like Quo in general. I didn’t realize you could only get their stuff at Shopper’s Drug Mart, but if you’re in Canada and see a Shopper’s, get yourself some wipes… as well as some other things I’ve been hoarding, but that’s another post…

L’Oreal False Lash X Fibre Xtreme Resist Waterproof Mascara Review

First off, this mascara apparently has the longest name ever. Let’s just call it False Lash Fiber, alright?

lorealfiberfalselash
from boots.ie

I’m a sucker for a double ended mascara, and it was on sale, so I thought why not?

From a lash perspective, this stuff is amazing. I had people ask what mascara I was wearing. And I don’t blame them, my lashes looked good.

l'oreal lash fibre thing
It even distracted from my tragic eyebrows!

I tended to only use the first step on my lower lashes as I found both a bit too Twiggy-esque with both.

Alas, like everything good, this mascara has a dark side.

You’re only supposed to use mascara for three months. Think about it- dark tube, air, moisture… it’s like bacteria’s spa getaway. I have never had a mascara make it more apparent that it was time to switch. Things got a bit clumpy. Spider-y.

Basically, the opposite of every word you use to describe nice mascara.

This stuff bonds to your lashes. It’s fantastic when it’s windy, or when you’re watching something heartwarming and tear up a bit- I cry during sad advertisements. It’s a tough lifestyle. There’s nothing that gets this stuff off.

Which is also a huge deterrent to my repurchasing because, well, there’s nothing that gets this stuff off.

I love the feeling of squeaky clean skin. On days I wear makeup I use a makeup eraser cloth, oil cleanse, then use a foaming cleanser with my foreo luna mini. After all that, some of this stuff would always be on. I tried eye makeup remover, wipes, micellar water, straight up olive oil… The only way I came close to removing almost all of it was to spend a ridiculous amount of shower time with my face under running water and soaking it off. I think the oil cleanser breaking it down and the swelling from the water and rubbing? Who knows. The only real way to get it off is to not wear mascara for a few days and wait.

I’m really torn on this one. On the one hand, it does exactly what it says it will and more. I also like that it starts to get a bit less desirable after three months- eye infections aren’t cute and it’s a great reminder to get a new tube. But… I actually had some lashes fall out with all the rubbing I had to do and I noticed overall that they were falling out a bit quicker than usual. If you had a one-off event where there might be crying or sweating, this would be great. However, I like to be able to take off my makeup at the end of the day.

Still not sure? Makeup is ridiculously subjective. Check out reviews from The EJB Edit and Liza Prideaux.

Garnier Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel Cream

Who doesn’t love a good moisturizer? I was low on product, there was a sale. There’s not much of a story that led me to Garnier Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel Cream. I’m going to call it Moisture Rescue for the rest of this post because it’s a wordy name.

Picture from garnierusa.com

The Claims

The box is long gone, but the website claims that skin looks better instantly and stays moisturized for twenty-four hours. It claims to protect the skin’s moisture barrier after an hour and that skin looks healthier with prolonged use.

After three months of use…

I’m at the end of my jar, which took about three and a half months of using it twice-daily. For reference, I have normal skin, and my skincare routine is to wash and moisturize in the morning. At night, I remove makeup with a makeup remover cloth, use some oil cleanser, foam up a face wash with my Foreo, toner, serum and eye cream (if I remember them), and moisturizer. I also try to use a sheet mask and a more traditional mask of some sort at least once a week. Even when I’m travelling and tend to be super gross, I always- always- put on moisturizer.

Here’s the thing: I want to say something amazing about this super cool gel moisturizer I found one day by complete chance. Who wouldn’t want to walk into a pharmacy, pick up a budget moisturizer on a whim and have their mind blown?

The fact is that it’s okay.

There were things I liked. It was quite cooling, which felt especially nice when tired or feeling a little delicate from an awesome night before. It absorbed pretty quickly and layered well under makeup. My skin never felt overwhelmingly dry.

I don’t love the packaging. Every time I stuck my finger in the jar I died a bit inside. Even with a super clean, just washed hand, it still felt a bit like I was sullying the entire pot. I don’t think there’s any jar pretty enough to justify the contamination factor. Also, it’s tough to get all the last little bits out as most of the product ends up under my nails.

Final Thoughts?

To be clear, I don’t think this is a bad moisturizer. Moisture Rescue is not expensive. I wasn’t blown-away-squealing-with-giddiness by it, but for $5.99, I don’t have to be. If I saw it on sale when I needed moisturizer, I’d probably rebuy it. If someone wanted a good, all-purpose cheap moisturizer I’d recommend it if it’s fresh in my mind. Yet… the wordiness of the name and the meh-ness of the product make it a tad bit forgettable.

You can buy the Garnier Moisture Rescue here

Still not sure? Everyone’s skin is different, so check out some other reviews on Musings of a Muse, Creatively Lauren, and This Girl is Obsessed

 

How to Look Like You’ve Slept on a Long-Haul Flight

Recently I’ve learned that I can, in fact, sleep on planes. My entire travel life has been spent eagerly loading up on books, magazines, anything, anything to keep me occupied for a few hours. Imagine how startled I was on hour twelve of a long haul from Melbourne to Doha when I woke up. What sort of wizardry actually allowed me to sleep for a few hours?! While I’m grateful for any sleep, those three hours left with me twenty-three to sit and contemplate how tired I must look. Luckily, I’ve learned how to pack the ultimate carry on.

airplane makeup bag contents

The main goal is hydration.

Plane air is notorious for being disgusting. There’s something about the thought of recirculated air… I mean, it’s enough to make you grossed out about your own habits, let alone everyone else’s. While it seems feral, I’m constantly assured by my plethora of plane-people friends that it’s run through a hospital grade filter. Really, the biggest problem is that it’s so dry.

So, what should I pack?

I’ve gotten everything here through security multiple times. A lot of this stuff was bought in drugstores, airports… Impulse buy type things. I’m not super loyal to anything, though all this stuff worked well.

sheet mask, makeup wipes, antibacterial wipes

Makeup-Removing Wipes

Chances are you don’t want makeup sitting on your skin for the length of a flight, so I take off all my old makeup as soon as we hit cruising altitude.

A Sheet Mask

Nothing pumps your skin into gear like a good sheet mask. Yes, some people might look at you funny, but you know what really looks bad? Gross skin after hours in the air. All up, the person who teased me the most was my husband. The main thing you’ll get is other women who give you a look of admiration and jealousy as they start to feel their skin drying out. While I have a stash of sheet masks, I had to go buy this one because, and this is key so pay attention, on a plane you must pack a neutral scent. As much as I love the scent of lilies and calendula most people like you a thousand times better if you stick to aloe, green tea, or lemon. Remember you’re sharing the recirculated air-space with others.

Anti-Bacterial Wipes

This has nothing to do with looking like you’ve slept and everything to do with the horror stories my flight attendant friend has told me about tray tables.

A Mirror

I don’t really go anywhere without a mirror. How else can you admire how amazing your skin looks all flight?

Oil Blotters

It’ weird to think about oil blotters in a place where you’re trying to prevent dryness. However, if you have any proneness to oil at all, well, you know what I’m about to say. Your skin has this oil-making safeguard it can (and will) put in place to hydrate itself. Extra oil can sadly cause extra acne- and it’s totally the oil… definitely not the travel diet of booze, bread, and cheese. Yeah.

hair tie and bobby pins

Hair Ties

I straighten my hair before a flight because I find it just makes it lay smoother and prevents tangles. I love the telephone-cord type hair ties because I find they leave less creasing. They’re also fun to play with.

Bobby Pins

For all those stray pieces that just won’t get themselves into your hair tie.

Why pack makeup?

I like to reapply makeup when I land. The extra five minutes means the customs line has had a minute and that I have a lower chance of sitting next to an empty baggage carousel. Also, I find it nice to start in a new place looking refreshed and feeling like I’m ready to take on anything.

retractable kabuki and little brush

Makeup Brushes

I love a retractable kabuki, and a good fluffy travel brush will get you enough for a quick look.

Makeup

Makeup

Obviously what you pack depends heavily on personal preference. I go for a pretty powder-based but super light look. Powders also tend to be easier with security liquid guidelines.

The most important thing isn’t something you pack.

If there’s only one thing you get out of this, here it is:

Drink a tonne of water.

I usually buy two bottles at the gate and every single time I get offered water I take it. People (myself included) are constantly running around buying “holy grail” beauty products. The biggest holy grail? Water. Dehydration isn’t cute.

How do you pack for a flight? Have you ever seen someone with a sheet mask in flight? Let me know in the comments!

Love travel? Check out my travel blog Sandy Abroad for more!

My Experience With Light Therapy Masks

About two years ago I came across the Illumask (now discontinued). I’ve been using it pretty irregularly but I started using it again a few months before my wedding. I noticed that Neutrogena has now picked up the design and it’s not only cheaper but available everywhere.

The Neutrogena one appears to be an exact knockoff of the Illumask so I think they might have just bought the patent. The question, however, isn’t the chain of events that led to the mask. I’m sure all you really want to know is does it work?

The answer is one of those terrible yes and no’s. Acne is insanely complex. I’m not a scientist, just a person who falls into weird research loops and took quite a few biology classes. Keep in mind also that this is based on my use only. There are three main types of acne- hormonal, genetic, and what I’m going to call bacterial or surface. Hormonal is the lovely stuff that comes once a month. Genetic is well, genetic. These two types you can’t do anything about at home. All you can do is try your best to treat the breakouts when they come. If your main problem is internally caused acne and it’s getting out of control see a derm. They’ll be able to prescribe meds or even suggest lifestyle changes that can calm an outbreak.

Surface acne- or that bacterial stuff is a bit different. I get genetic and hormonal acne, but my biggest issue is that I’m a face toucher. I can’t help myself. Things like touching your face, falling asleep with makeup on every so often, and even if you’re cuddling and lying on your partner’s chest can transfer a LOT of bacteria. When was the last time you washed your makeup brushes? Walked for a bit and then didn’t immediately wash your face at your destination? This is where I find light therapy shines. I find since using it the only breakouts I’ve had to deal with are the hormonal ones.

Aside from being fun to use- who doesn’t want to look like Daft Punk for ten minutes? I find light therapy does have some benefits. Aside from the possible whole body placebo effect I very well might be experiencing, I find it’s nice to take ten minutes a day to kind of immobilize myself and remember to chill out. If you’re the type of person that finds your acne responds to salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide face washes but want another tool in your arsenal to pick things up a bit faster, you may have found your new gadget.

And to acknowledge the thirty uses per remote thing?

Youtube and tools, m’dears. Youtube and tools.

 

 

Effortless Makeup for Real Women on Udemy: A Review

You know the situation. You’re relaxing. Maybe you’re on public transit. Maybe you’re killing time while waiting in line. You’re scrolling through Instagram and you see a sponsored post, “you can make shoes online!”

I swear, there could be an ad for a pogo stick unicycling class and I’d stop and have that thought, “I could totally learn that.”

To be honest, I love the internet for that. It’s like when your parents told you that you could be anything; it makes you feel absolutely limitless. So, I decided to ask myself, “what can I learn on the internet?”

What if I can learn to do things I already do but do them better?

This led me to a Udemy class: Effortless Makeup for Real Woman

Apparently, it’s a best seller.

I watched through the entire course and spent many days experimenting with the looks.

Let’s start with the presenter.

Lousie is awesome. She speaks clearly, and she’s putting makeup on herself. Is it cool to watch a professional put makeup on a model? Yes. Does it make you feel like a seven-year-old who uncapped too many markers when you’re trying it on yourself? Essentially. She goes through why you’re doing what you’re doing. It feels like you’re just having a casual chat with a friend.

She starts with an everyday look, then goes through easy ways to transition into something more evening. She also covers fancy, super fun going out looks. I haven’t had the chance to try the heavier stuff yet, but the everyday face applied exactly as she says looks like this:

It’s a great look that makes you feel covered, but not overly done up. I used either high-end brands that she recommended (the Estee Lauder Foundation and Benefit mascara are two things that you should definitely invest in) or ones that were sort of in the same price range that I had.

Things to Note:

  • If you haven’t bought makeup in ten years and need to get all new stuff, you’ll end up spending quite a bit. Louise tries to recommend products at all ends of the spectrum so you can get some drugstore finds, but I found a large amount of the stuff she recommended was either discontinued or impossible to find outside of the UK.
  • She recommends you put stuff on with your fingers. Like, a lot. I try to do everything possible to avoid touching my face so this gave me a bit of a conniption.
  • Udemy courses go on sale quite often, so if your budget is tight and you possess the virtue of patience try waiting it out for a month.

Overall?

I liked the progression of looks here. The class is titled for real women, and that’s exactly who it’s for. The everyday look doesn’t take long once you get the hang of it and… I mean, it just looks good. I just felt like the best version of myself. I also kind of realized I’ve become a bit of a makeup snob. This course really inspired me to go back to the basics and try out drugstore stuff. I liked the inclusion of going out makeup, and I loved the bonus section on cleaning your makeup brushes. The only thing that really drove me nuts about this was how Louise doesn’t mention that when you put makeup on with your hands, you need to wash your hands just slightly less than an act five Lady Macbeth. At the same time, if you’re a grown adult who hasn’t figured that out yet…

Who This Is For:

I was never bad at makeup. To be perfectly honest, I was expecting this course to be crap. What could a paid course teach me that youtube couldn’t? Because of this course, I’ve gotten into some great habits. I used to make fun of people who touched up their makeup, but blotting my face and touching up my powder makes me feel kind of amazing. Switching up my lipstick? It feels like a whole new thing.

I have a friend who is an awesome person. However, she has a bit of an issue with choosing makeup that’s right for her skin and applying it in a natural, fresh way. A lot of women have the same problem. Makeup is something that gets taken for granted as assumed knowledge, but it’s not. Enter Louise.

If you have a teenage cousin or sister who needs to pare down, or if you’ve always felt a bit like you’re out of the makeup loop then this course is just what the beautician ordered. Putting on a face is not something that just gets bred into us, and it’s time to stop pretending like it is.