(Over) The Edge of Seventeen: The Best Makeup, Beauty and Skincare of 2017

As far as the beauty industry is concerned we are already well into 2018; you may have noticed all the new product launches and spring colours arriving at a makeup counter near you. I love the spring releases but remove my rose tinted specs to try to figure out which will stand the test of time before I buy anything. Before I launch into reviews of the new crop here’s a round up of last year’s standouts. Last year when I wrote “We Are Sixteen Going on Seventeen” I wondered how long I’d be able to carry the numbers theme. So far, so easy. 2017 gave me more than seventeen makeup and skincare finds to rave about so though the last year may have been s–t in many respects, it was a bumper year for beauty. I’ve gone over the edge of seventeen but maybe you’ll find something good you may have missed.

The List consists of the things that rocked my working and non-working world in 2017, but not necessarily in that order.

PIXI SKINTREATS GLOW TONIC – found this on my first visit to a Marks and Spencer beauty department, just after I got back to the UK. My toner had run out so I asked the friend who went with me   if she liked it and with a resounding “yes” as an answer I bought a jumbo size with a 20% discount – a common occurrence at M&S apparently. This yummy toner smells as if honey and rose and gold have been mixed together. It gets the last bit of grime off your skin after cleaning and preps it in the morning before whatever you use goes on with a 5% glycolic acid formula for gently but effective daily exfoliation. Conclusion: worth the £18.00 and a beauty bargain when you think about it. Not newly released in 2017 but new to me so it’s on the list. What makes it even better is that the Pixitreats line raises money for local charities – I happened to be at the flagship store at Foubert’s Place, off Carnaby Street, to get another Pixi Glow Tonic for me plus a couple of small ones for my kit, while they were in the throes doing a lovely fundraiser for Wellbeing Of Women, a charity championing women’s health across the breadth of reproductive health and childbirth (Did you know folic acid is key in the healthy development of babies? If you did, it’s because this charity pioneered that research). All you had to do was kiss a piece of paper wearing one of their lip colours, and they donated £1. I gave another pound for such an important cause. Thanks to the Pixi women for putting up my pucker print and a card for the blog btw. Holly Dale’s is much nicer than mine.  Pixi Glow Tonic is also available in Canada and in the US at TARGET. I think xo

Me holding a bottle of Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic
It may be backwards but so am I and I still love it
Hand outside Pixi store in Carnaby Street holding up bottle of Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic
All hail to Pixi Glow Tonic

Lots of lipstick liprints on pieces of paper pinned to a board


NARS AUDACIOUS LIPSTICK IN ANITA -the Holiday Edition of Anita, in a gold ManRay inspired case was an immediate hit with me when I tried it and not only because of the excellent lighting! [sidebar: watch out for that, lighting in beauty departments is invariably awful so always go outside for a second opinion]. This mid-toned pinkish neutral, full coverage lipstick in a very good velvety matte texture is flattering on everyone (it is, I’ve tried it). Also loved the brilliant packaging so the ManRay edition had to be mine…well it matches my glasses holder doesn’t it? Nars Anita lipstick in Limited Edition Man Ray case

Nars Anita Lipstick and gold lips necklace on metallic table
Man Ray got Lippy


My JADE FACIAL MASSAGE ROLLER  which I found when I went to grab a juice on Vancouver’s Main Street. Not sure why they were in Juice The Two Of Us but of course I bought one and now wish I’d bought all three because I don’t see them around often. The rollers are a beautiful and calming tool for facial massage. Keep it in the fridge and roll away tired and puffy faces in the a.m or whenever your need arises.  The rolling technique stimulates facial muscles and aids in lymphatic drainage hence the de-puffing. Asian tradition believes jade holds special healing properties and draws out negative chi: as it turns out, moderns scientists discovered that jade is a natural transmitter of far infrared rays so it does in fact warm up and boost microcirculation in the skin. I recently heard the term “jadonic” from a top London facialist confirming the trend towards jade in skincare. My roller is double ended so very handy but Yu Ling Rollers Jade Facial Roller (Medium) and Yu Ling Rollers Jade Facial Roller (Small) can be had for £30 combined which isn’t bad for a lifelong beauty tool. Plus, it’s green and I went mad for green in 2017. My favourite natural beauty tool.

Hand holding double ended jade roller
The best facial massage tool to date. If you see one out there, don’t walk on by xo


CHARLOTTE TILBURY INSTANT MAGIC FACIAL DRY SHEET  was another spring 2017 arrival. It made a big impact as the first dry mask in the mainstream market using new beauty science tech to deliver professional results in fifteen minutes at home. I’m a big fan of CT products so here I am with yet another Tilbury recommendation. As the UK’s fastest growing beauty brand (a world takeover is imminent, CT shops popping up all over the place) her product development department keeps hitting it out of the park and this one was pretty amazing. Inspired by the technical innovations of Korean beauty, it has all that tech stuff going for it and works with ingredients such as vitamins, floral extracts, peptides, oils and butters to reduce wrinkles, smooth, brighten, lift and hydrate your skin. There’s a load of science here so have a read about it on the site. Because it’s a dry mask it doesn’t harbour bacteria AND you can use the same one up to 3 times saving some dosh. Win for face, win for wallet. A single mask is £18.00 (make sure to pack it back up tightly so you can use it again, I put the whole pack in a large ziplock). It’s one of the scarier -looking masks around but isn’t that part of the fun?picture of Charlotte Tilbury Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet MaskbENEfIT HOOLA CONTOUR STICK – this one arrived in February 2017 just when we needed a boost of bronze in those paler months. Taking their award-winning, amazing Hoola powder bronzer and turning it into a cream formula was an inspired beauty move by benefit and though I’m not mad about their brow obsession, this San Franciscan company does cheeks very very well. Using a contouring stick is the easiest way to contour, if you have to. I do it sometimes, but not in that weird ashy way. This one has a really good SLIGHTLY cooler tone, but because it’s based on the traditional bronzer colour, it’s not ugly ashy, which makes it a very good contour colour for light to medium skins. The formula blends very easily which is all important because having two big stripes under the cheekbones is not the way to achieve more dimension in your life! I have seen that on the street. Not even joking.

The stick is a great size for making marks all over your face 🙂 and sturdy packaging means it can survive a makeup bag or a handbag
Paint it on. Blend it. Contouring 101

KEVYN AUCOIN THE VOLUME MASCARA is a tube mascara, which are essential for bottom lashes IMO- they won’t smudge or come off until you want them to. My favourite UP UNTIL NOW had a great formula but the applicator brush was too big to get to those little lashes and deposited mascara on the skin under my eyes almost every time. Very annoying. I had to use the mini brush of a different mascara to put it on which became quite a complicated procedure! When it ran out I needed a new one but couldn’t find the brand in the UK. Went to SpaceNK in Brighton and was directed to this beauty of a tube mascara……with the PERFECT BRUSH. Tiny, dense and easy to handle, it gets to those bottom lashes and does the bizz. Now I don’t leave home without wearing KEVYN AUCOIN The Volume Mascara which only comes in black. My other one was dark brown but until they fix the brush issue I’m sticking to this one.

brush on the right belongs to the Kevyn Aucoin and gets to those bottom lashes no problem


MICRONEEDLING or DERMAL ROLLING was my skincare revelation of 2017. No porcupines were injured in the development of this practice, at least I don’t think so, but as forms of it go back centuries we cannot be entirely sure. The modern version of microneedling, aka dermal rolling, using a tool with medical grade titanium alloy needles, elicits a response from the skin to heal itself by producing collagen so the treatment is known as collagen induction therapy. My personal results were so good (glowing skin, softening of lines, better skin tone and texture) and natural that friends commented without knowing what I’d done. So impressed was I that I trained in the therapy and am now a certified microneedler. The most effective course of collagen induction therapy consists of six sessions (a week to ten days apart) with a .5mm needler which is considered a “medical” tool and can’t be purchased for home use. You can very easily buy dermal rollers needling with shorter needles but as they do not reach as far into the dermis the results won’t be the same. After your six sessions, one more six months later is all that’s required for the year. Not bad and better than injectables of toxin, n’est-ce pas ? 

Rolling Rolling Rolling.

M.A.C “PROUD TO BE CANADIAN” LIPSTICK arrived in the summer to honour Canada’s 150th birthday – and as I’m a half Canadian, half British and was living in Vancouver for the celebrations on July 1st, I would have been very remiss not to participate! M.A.C  (Makeup Art Cosmetics in case you didn’t know) is Canada’s proudest beauty export, and was once a small Toronto based company that started making neutral matte lipsticks in the mid 80’s when nobody else did. The rest is history. It’s also where I started my (surprise) makeup career.  Sadly this red isn’t part of their regular stock which is a shame because it was a beautiful true red and inspired patriotism, eh?

A true red that does actually make me Proud To Be Canadian
A very rare sighting on social media of my most favourite small person, on a very special day in British Columbia


DECIEM “THE ORDINARY VEGAN HYALURONIC ACID 2% + B5 – good segueway into another great beauty product from Canada and a very definite Beauty Bargain Alert! This Toronto based skincare line is anything but ordinary and their vegan, cruelty-free hyaluronic acid is a no-nonsense hydrator from a no-nonsense company. Not funny that it took me a trip to Covent Garden to find it. Deciem and it’s ten (hence the name) brands which include The Ordinary, NIOD, The Chemistry Brand, White RX and Hylamide (that’s only half of them) get to the root of essential skincare. Last year on a trip to the UK I was on a mission to find a pure hyaluronic. In Canada and the states you can walk into any health food store and find it but I was a bit miffed that it was so hard to find in England, certainly not on any High Street. The times they are a-changing. Enter Brandon Truaxe and his extraordinary vision for skincare. The store in Covent Garden’s Beauty Quarter which opened in July 2017 (there’s five more across London) offers complete skincare at very competitive pricing, the 2% hyaluronic + B5 is a mere £5.90 so no wonder it sells out. Hopefully you all know by now that hyaluronic acid is essential for hydrated skin and hydrated skin equals youthful-looking skin. HA can attract up to 1000x it’s weight in water and there’s lots more science behind this formula with added B5 so it’s worth a visit to one of the stores if you want to change up your routine without breaking the bank.

So good it flies off the shelf


K BEAUTY  shook up my beauty world  in 2017, in a good way, not in a bad earthquake way, though there were a couple of nasty tremors in Vancouver last year. “K Beauty”, the generic term for Korean beauty products, packages really good product in a very appealing way so it’s ideal for teens first makeup forays and for grown-ups because it puts the fun back into your makeup bag.  The easy eye tints from By BelleMe were a game changer for my kit last year, delivering quick and beautiful summer makeup, wonderful on their own or with a bit of a cat liner for nights in tropical places. Or anywhere else. Read the post I did on the curated selection of K Beauty that Nordstrom did last year if you want to know more.


CHARLOTTE TILBURY INSTANT EYE PALETTE was initially released amidst a huge frenzy, as per usual for something new from Charlotte, for a twenty-four hour window only on Sep 21st. Savvy marketing move to raise the instafrenzy and bloggerbuzz which was to make it one of the must-have makeup  products of the year. The palette was available proper again in mid-October. Is it worth the hype? Containing twelve shadows in a mix of shimmer and silky matte textures, and in the predictable “prime, enhance, pop” Tilbury format you get the makings of four looks but hopefully you know to ignore that rule and apply them to best suit your eye shape and size. I think it’s a useful makeup kit collection for makeup fanatics and makeup artists alike and at £60.00 for twelve shadows you get quite a lot of bang for your bucks. Or pizazz for your pounds. Split the cost and share with family, friends  or flatmates, depending on who’s going to the desk or the disco! Unfortunately it is sold out yet again.

Twelve for One and One for Twelve! Some shimmer, some matte, pretty versatile

This is my version of day eye using date shadows. Don’t follow the rules.

CHANTECAILLE CONCEALER BRUSH  is a brilliant large acrylic brush for smoothing it’s way around the nooks and crannies that need concealing. A concealer brush is IMO the most important brush in your arsenal and I found this one at the Chantecaille counter in Fortnums where I normally only go to pick up tea and fruit jellies but as I’d recently come back to the UK I ventured up to the second floor. Some lovely makeup lines there so pop in if you are so inclined. This brush is nice and bendy, with a great handle for easy use and will be your new fave too if you give it a try. I got one for my kit and one for me because I love it so much. £30.00 at Fortnums and any Chantecaille counter. 


BENEFIT GALIFORNIA BLUSH arrived on March 29, just in time for Coachella . I had to have one (not that I could make it to Coachella, I was working)  and made a dash to the shops to get it for a film I was on. It sits happily in my kit alongside it’s cheeky siblings from this Californian company. I’m not as obsessed by brows as benefit seems to have become, but I do think they do cheeks very well. Galifornia  blends bright pink with shimmering gold and is very flattering on summer skin. I ended up loving it almost as much as the classic, everyone should have one, Dallas, which is a pinkish bronzer that is so natural compared to most of the bronzers out there. The newest blush from benefit comes with a cute little rounded brush for a perfect application.


NARS Radiance Primer SPF35 launched January last year with two other new primers from this beauty giant and became a firm favourite. It really does impart a glow and feels great on if you have dry skin like I do. Wear it alone or under your cream or liquid foundation. It’s peachy toned, luscious and juicy, apply it with your fingertips and radiate. But not in a nuclear way. Added SPF35 helps protect you from that. 


M&S AUTOGRAPH LASTING ALL IN ONE NAIL COLOUR in Emerald.  If you follow me on instagram @glossaholics you’ll know I went mad for green in 2017 and this nail varnish (nail polish, depending where you live) was one of my faves. Most recently it was on sale for £3.00 which means it’s probably being discontinued so I’d better get another one before it’s too late! Great colour, great coverage, great product. The ragged cuticles are all my own xoxo

it’s so easy being green xo


TOM FORD STARTS GARDENING  – the opening of the world’s first freestanding TOM FORD Beauty store in December in Covent Garden was big beauty news and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek. It’s a modern, sleek environment as befits the brand and as well as being full of gorgeousness the store also offers makeup, grooming and bespoke perfume services. I could go a bit mad here so will limit my visits but am very fortunate that Santa really did read my list this year and put a couple of goodies under the tree for me.

Grabbing one’s attention, as TF is wont to do, in the first TFBeauty Covent Garden window
Cream shadows are a sophisticated way to do evening eyes and no-one does sophisticated like Tom Ford
A beautiful cream and powder combo that I bought this summer and rarely put away. There’s a few colour options, believe me, the new store is worth a visit
Don’t forget to pick this up when you go! The most wearable and gorgeous lippie ever! Well of course it is xoxo


STILA MAGNIFICENT METALS GLITTER AND GLOW LIQUID EYE SHADOW  – 2017 was a truly glittering year but now we know there’s a real price to pay for their beauty. I’m putting them on my list because they were big news in 2017 and back in February we didn’t have the information we have now. If you ever wear glitter you must be diligent in removing it, using an oil cleanser that the glitter will stick to so you can put the bits in the bin and not into the water supply. Have a drain catcher in your sink anyway. This glittering but sophisticated look, created by me using  Stila Cosmetics Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow Smouldering Satin and Stila Cosmetics Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow Molten Midnight is a very good way to add some sparkle to your look and the Stila Metals are one of the easiest glitter shadows to use because of the sponge applicator. You have to get it on quick. I am especially fond of the lavender one but don’t know if I can use any of them again in good conscious.

This look created with ” Smouldering Satin”and “Molten Midnight” is bound to get you lots of positive attention at Christmas parties or summer weddings and everything in between


And now for the Honorary Mentions:

BURT’S BEES LIP CRAYONS  There’s a reason crayons are loved the world over.  Easy to use, colourful and sturdy, these ones from the U.S Natural Beauty Co. are lovely on and in a wonderful range of colours. They are beautifully sheer so if dark or bright colours aren’t usually your thing these are a good way to start trying them. The darkest colours are absolutely gorgeous on black women.


O&M PROJECT SUKUROI GOLDEN SMOOTHING BALM is another product that was new to me in 2017, as was the whole Organic & Mineral line which I never came across in N AmericaThis balm has saved my hair from some severe bad hair days and I may not be a hairdresser but I have A LOT of hair which I think makes me qualified to review hair stuff.  Another great recommendation from SpaceNK in Brighton (which deserves a special shout-out. I am more often than not disappointed by service at makeup and beauty counters but the employees here, no matter their median age, know their stuff and are not pushy in the least). Add a good-sized golden blob (depending on how much hair you have) before blow drying and it will smooth it all out. The golden hue adds nice dimension and shine to any hair colour and it smells gorge too. O & M Project Sukuroi has taken my hair from straw to golden tresses on more than one occasion so it’s not a fluke, it’s a really good hair cream. At £30 a pot it’s worth it to me for good hair days and has lasted months.

Before. The results of a very windy and rainy run on the beach!
I may be The Girl With The Golden Hair (on an ABBA kick since I went to @abbathemuseum exhibit @southbankcentre. If you were ever a fan, it’s a must-see) but you do not have to be blonde to benefit from a touch of gold in your hair xo
After: Smooth Operator and good cut thanks to @thebrightonhairdresser


M.A.C HOLIDAY SNOWBALL COLLECTION – M.A.C gave us some sparklers for the 2017 holiday season in a collection worthy of Frosty. I caved and bought two eyeshadows, and a gorgeous (slightly) frosted bronze lipstick. The real beauty of these is that they can be worn all year for some subtle shine or bumped up for intense shimmer depending on the state of your eyelids. Holiday collections are designed with gifting in mind but are also good to share for party season if you’re so inclined. Most of the collection sold out very quickly but there are some nice bits left if you’re curious.

Who would have thought I’d be buying bronze lipsticks again?! This is a modern version of an old metallic favourite and very good for winter evenings xoxo
One light, one dark, can be sheer or dramatic depending on your application technique.


EYELASH PERMING – having a lash perm as a base for any other lash treatments (extensions, individual temporary lashes, full set of false eyelashes) makes them look better because the lashes curve in the right direction. A lash perm on it’s own is a fantastic eye-opener that looks natural and not Kardashian, you know what I’m talking about. I did love lash extensions but a lash perm is less upkeep and you can still use your regular mascara. An easy process that takes about an hour and a half  it’s a beauty investment as far as I’m concerned. Get a tint at the same time and you no longer have to worry about morning guinea-pig eyes. You know, the look before mascara’s applied. Be sure to find a really good practitioner and do a patch test first. I was going to the The Beauty Corner in Vancouver (booking my summer appointment soon!) but will have to find a good place near Brighton. I’m asking around.

M.A.C ROLLERWHEEL LIQUID LINER  – I WISH I could have reviewed this one but I walked out M.A.C on Robson in Vancouver without one on it’s first release, don’t know why I just didn’t buy it, and when I went back it was gone. Haven’t seen it anywhere since though rumours are it’s coming back. An interesting concept and one I would have liked to have tested. It won an Allure Award so fingers crossed for a return of the wheel because as of yet I can’t say if it’s a unique way to apply liner or a beauty gimmick.


M&S BEAUTY ULTIMATE SLEEP CREAM which you’ve all probably heard of by now because India Knight got to it long before I did. I found it during a bad bout of jet lag, drawn by the BIG claim “skin looks like you’ve had 8 hours sleep (even when you haven’t )”. It’s a rich, dependable night cream  that didn’t exactly make me an overnight sensation but is very good for the price and reminded me of Tilbury’s night cream. I love it as a night hand cream and on the décolletage.

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look In A Palette Beauty Glow Makeup Palette  was yet another beautiful palette from 2017 and her most natural so far. Even my non-makeupey friends like this one. Pop it in your handbag for work and weekend trips, it’s a pretty collection with three very useable eyeshadows, one sculpt, one highlight and two blush colours. A good investment that will give you a lot of mileage.

Very easy palette for your whole face – just add a lippie – brilliant for work with sturdy packaging and a good size for handbag survival xo

MARKS AND SPENCER AUTOGRAPH LINE COMPLEXION PRIMERS – another very good find in the M&S beauty aisles, there’s a primer for everyone and extremely competitively priced, not forgetting the beauty sales that are regularly on. I use the DD Daily Defence anti-pollution primer with SPF for days in London and the Hydrating for no-makeup days when I want to save my more expensive ones.

Pick your poison. Nice collection for different needs and skin conditions


NARS LA PLAGE BRONZING AND HIGHLIGHTING PALETTE – I’m not a fan of severe contouring and strobing but there are products that will do it in a pretty way and this is one of them. It has two very flattering, easy matte bronzers (cult classic Laguna is included) with four soft shimmery tones which add a nice bounce on summer nights, just don’t go too hard with them. Although the shimmers can be water activated, that will really bump up the impact and IMO a single sweep with a big brush is all you need. You can also use any of the six shades on your eyes so this one is excellent for holiday makeup bags. The La Plage palette, released in July, was a Nordstrom Exclusive in North America and didn’t last long so I’m glad I got one of these for the kit.  There are a few of them still around but you might have to search.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside. So would you, in these amazing beach tones with a little glimmer for summer nights.


So that’s it, many more than 17 and I ran out of time before I ran out of things to tell you about. Just so you know, I bought and tried every single thing on the list out of my own pocket, and wouldn’t recommend anything I didn’t believe could give you your best face forward. Wishing you a healthy, happy, confident and beautiful 2018.  And there’s a prize if you kept any of these…I blame everything on 17, it’s where my lipstick obsession began!


PRODUCT REVIEWS Mylifeinmakeup.com does not receive any monetary compensation to review products. Most reviews are based on products purchased personally, and preferred, or not. Occasionally I will receive products from makeup companies and will choose whether or not to review them here. Receiving products has no bearing on the opinion of the review, nor whether I choose to review it or not. All opinions are just that, and are honest and unbiased. Recommendations are based on the knowledge I have gained during almost twenty years as a professional Make-Up Artist. Mylifeinmakeup.com is not to be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and are dissatisfied with it.

Samples Are A Girl’s Best Friend

Marilyn may have been right about a few things and diamonds are pretty high up on the list, but in the beauty stakes, samples are a girl’s best friend!

The French are glad to freeze their faces

They delight in using ice

But I prefer a brand who gives samples of all things nice

A jar in the hand might be quite continental

But samples are a girl’s best friend

A gloss may be grand

But it won’t pay the rental

On your humble flat or help you at the laundromat

Shops grow cold as girls grow old

And we all lose collagen in the end

But square cut or round shaped these packs don’t lose their shape

Samples are a girl’s best friend!

I save mine up and take them on trips

If you’re a Hey Big Spender at the cosmetics and skincare counters, or even if you are not, there is a way to try before you buy, and to stock up on some yummy things. Many companies and department stores have an in-built policy to give samples to those that ask and some of them offer without an ask: Kiehls is so far the best I’ve come across, and their samples are brilliantly packaged, making them superb for adding to your holiday packing so you don’t have to take big sizes of everything with you. I usually manage to save enough samples to have skincare and hair stuff for trips, saving on baggage allowance  and extra purchasing once you land. Just a thought! Charlotte Tilbury and other brands offer free samples with online shopping but it’s worth asking at the counter too. Don’t be shy – they want you to try their stuff!

Spring Is In The Air

Time to bring some colour back into your life. Think pinks, corals, reds on cheeks and lips and greens, teals, blues and bronzes for the eyes. With glowing skin and lots of mascara of course xo

Space NK UK

Sponge Job

I simply couldn’t walk past this amazing beauty bargain last week without popping one in the basket! Lucky for me they were left on the shelf (how many times did I hear that from my great aunt Lil, usually in relation to me): three konjac sponges for $7.00 at a Canadian drugstore. Yes please and thank you very much. Note the packaging is also en francais. It may be the right thing to do, but it means all the writing on packages in Canada is eeeeennnsy weeeensy, which is doing my eyesight in.

Not that my bathroom cabinet is in need of any more cleansing options. Truly. There are so many ways to wash away makeup and general out-and about grime and pollutants, it’s a wonder we know where to begin. There’s those regular cleansers, remember them? Put them on your face, move them around a bit, rinse with water, SO old school. I can’t imagine how we coped when that was the only choice. There’s the ubiquitous Clarasonic and all its spin-offs, that new rubbery thing, the Foreo LUNA 2 for Sensitive Skin, have you had the pleasure of running into one of those yet? I’ve seen them at Sephora but am still thinking about the concept and whether I want to spend that kind of cash. The Foreo IRIS Eye Massager is on my wish list though, and I do have a birthday coming up! There’s micellar waters, cleansing oils, milks, balms and exfoliators for shelves and shelves. And the meek but mighty konjac sponge. I used to use one pre-blog, and then lapsed; this time I’m bringing them to you.

Konjac sponges are made from the fibers of the konjac (konnyaku) plant and have been used for centuries in Japan to clean newborn babies because of their soft texture. The sponge, not the baby. Although babies are very very soft. Konjac is a member of the potato family, a perennial plant native to Asia and grows wild at very high altitudes. A totally natural food source, it is is 97% water, rich in mineral goodness and low in calories but don’t eat the sponge please. The plant is naturally alkaline and pH neutral, which makes it an ideal cleansing medium. It’s been used in Korea, Japan and China for over 1,500 years as medicine, food, a dieting aid and a beauty product. The cosmetic sponges started to swim to our shores with the rise of K-Beauty imports. Three cheers for world trade.

Because they are plant-based, the sponges are biodegradable, fully sustainable, vegan-friendly and probably one of the most natural ways to wash your face barring using only water which doesn’t do much  – you don’t even need to add a cleanser if you don’t want to. The sponge itself does the cleaning.

There’s a variety of sponges available according to your skin type and cleansing needs. To make them, the fibrous plant base is mixed with water and other ingredients, e.g. charcoal or clay for a specialised sponge.  My three-pack includes:

  • Pink Clay konjac sponge – for sensitive skin
  • Lavender konjac sponge – soft and gentle with soothing qualities of lavender
  • Charcoal – gently exfoliates, ideal for controlling occasional breakouts

On your behalf I tested the lavender sponge for the blog. My skin isn’t overly sensitive and I don’t break out much. I do have a spot brewing on the corner of my mouth and quite a bit of congestion around my chin, thanks electrolysis (bet you’re looking forward to that post!), so I’ll pay special attention to those and let you know the results. I should probably use the charcoal one on the troubled areas.

But back to the sponges: they’re very hard to the touch when you first open the package and are dome-shaped. They look like fancy pumice stones.

Stage One
Close up to see the pumice-like texture of the lavender sponge

Soak them in warm water for 3-5 minutes before using, and up to fifteen minutes for first time use, until it absorbs lots of water and feels nice and squishy.It will have expanded to about 1 1/2 it’s original size. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the sponge. It’s hard to explain what they feel like; a gelatinous sponge is the best description I can come up with. Your sponge is now ready for use:

The purple pimple eater

Use the damp sponge to cleanse, using circular movements all over the face and neck. It’s nice and soft so there’s no drag on the skin and even if you were to apply the most pressure you could, you can do no damage- it’s too soft! It simply glides around like a friendly jellyfish, eating up all the makeup and dirt as it goes. You can use the edge to take the sponge up around the eye area. You’ll get the hang of it and feel your way around.

I did have to use eye makeup remover to get rid of the day’s my eye makeup which didn’t even budge after using the sponge alone. Granted I was wearing some wonderfully long-lasting Korean eye tints from BelleMe (if you follow me on Insta you’ll have seen me raving about them) and my favourite waterproof mascara so fair enough, it’s a lot for a mere potato to handle.

This is after a thorough go with the sponge. Got off a bit of the blinc mascara but that’s about it.

After the first use, My face feels really smooth and velvety but not wet at all, which is strange because I expected it to. It feels squeaky clean without feeling a bit parched or pinched. Yay. No rinsing required, you can go straight to your serums, oils, whatever routine and settle in for the night.

Taking care of your new squishy friend is so easy. To clean the sponge, simply run it under hot water after you’re done and allow it to dry in an airy place between uses. Be careful not to wring it out as this may damage the delicate plant fibres, just squeeze between your flattened hands. You can also pop your clean sponge in the fridge to keep it fresh and cool, which helps it last even longer. Alternatively, your sponge is happy to be aired on a radiator or heated towel rail. When dried, it will go back to it’s original size and texture; simply soak it to absorb water before using it again. It even comes with a nifty string thingy attached so you can hang it to dry! How brilliant is that.

Comes with it’s own personal handle

Never use the sponge when it’s dry. It will hurt and scratch your skin. The better care of the sponge you take, the longer it will last. You should get at least two – three months out of it, which isn’t bad for a vegetable you keep in the washroom. Don’t leave it sitting in the shower or in a pool of water which will shorten it’s life; once it starts to look tired or breaks down, get rid of it. They can be composted or used in the garden to help water your plants by holding moisture. Stick them in your pot plants and tell your friends there’s been an alien slug invasion.

Finding the pack on sale was meant to be; I am falling back in love with konjac sponges. They are really fun to use and feel lovely, which makes it easy to spend more time than usual doing your cleansing routine; a plus in every way. I went around and around my face and then used the principles of facial massage to sweep the thing all over my face and up from the neck which turned into a good five minutes of “work” that I thoroughly enjoyed. I ended up very glowy, and that’s without cleanser added but if you’re wearing makeup, you might want to add cleanser to the sponge for better cleaning. The top pad shows what was left on my skin after using the sponge on it’s own. The bottom one is what’s left after using my regular cleanser and the sponge- it’s very clean! If you don’t use makeup you’re fine to use the sponge all by itself. Word to the wise, if you add cleanser, use a tiny bit. Also a saving- a small investment in a konjac sponge will save you on cleanser bills.

After a swipe of micellar water, top: konjac sponge without cleanser. Bottom: with cleanser applied straight onto the sponge

Interestingly, I found some tattoo after-care sponges at www.konjacspongecompany.com so if you’re into inking this could save a lot of post-tat issues. Use the sponge on new tats to remove dirt, blood and plasma. The gentle sponge, which is larger than the facial ones, for obvious reasons, cleans and soothes the affected area and should reduce the likelihood of large scabs forming. Once the new layers of skin have been exposed, the sponge will help cleanse and condition the new delicate and sensitive skin without the need for any soap, which could irritate or dry out the affected area. Sterilise it in between uses by boiling in water for two minutes.

I’ll be dreaming about purple and pink jellyfish off the Greek Islands this week. Carry on konjacing! Let me know how you get on.

Beauty Boutique New Arrivals

PRODUCT REVIEWS Mylifeinmakeup.com does not receive any monetary compensation to review products. Most reviews are based on products purchased personally, and preferred, or not. Occasionally I will receive products from makeup companies and will choose whether or not to review them here. Receiving products has no bearing on the opinion of the review, nor whether I choose to review it or not. All opinions are just that, and are honest and unbiased. Recommendations are based on the knowledge I have gained during almost twenty years as a professional Make-Up Artist. Mylifeinmakeup.com is not to be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and are dissatisfied with it.




K is for Kurated

I had to go makeup shopping last weekend. You may not believe me, but it’s not always an enjoyable experience, especially on a crowded Saturday afternoon, and as I take my makeup shopping seriously, it’s usually an expedition with more than one mission involved. It’s actual work. So there I was, list in hand, eyes on sticks, on the beauty floor of the fairly new Nordstrom Vancouver, when lo and behold I spotted a sign that caught my attention. K Beauty, a recent phenomenon of the beauty world, has arrived for a limited time.

When I shop for makeup, for myself or anyone else, which I do frequently, it’s mostly to the same places I’ve known and loved long long time. My choices are probably the same as your choices if you’re near a large town or city and in the western world. I do a round of the counters of the established beauty giants: NARS, Charlotte Tilbury, Chanel, YSL, Laura Mercier, Tom Ford Beauty, M.A.C, Stila, Bobbi Brown etc etc, the doyens of the industry. Nordstrom has all of them and many more. It can be a whole-day beauty bonanza if you’re so inclined (do not go to the strategically placed bar on the first floor…shopping after cocktails is a dangerous activity). So seeing the sign for the K-Beauty pop-up shop immediately piqued an interest and of course I had to investigate.  There, in the corner of the colossal ground floor, amongst the elegant grown-ups of the beauty world, I had some fun and felt like a rookie. All over again.

There is no one product line called “K-Beauty“.  It’s an umbrella term given to the lines that come out of the South Korean industry. The fad of Korean beauty products gained popularity worldwide last year, particularly in the U.S. where they went a bit bonkers for it, and focuses on health, hydration and lots of natural oils. BB Cream, once a mystery to the west but now in loads of makeup bags, originated in Korea.

There are some kooky ingredients to be found here and not the norm of western products: snail slime, bee venom (an anti-inflammatory “faux-tox” alleged to relax facial muscles), moisturizing starfish extract, and egg yolks. There are vegan and cruelty-free lines available, be sure to ask which ones: Color Buckat and Touch In Sol are and there’s more. Korea is already in the process of phasing out animal testing for cosmetics by 2018. The bill entered into law earlier this year.

The boom in sheet face-masking can be “blamed” on the influence of K-Beauty which started in earnest in 2016. The market is now inundated with sheet masks. They are quite fun and very effective so I’m not complaining. Korean skincare regimes involve a series of steps including cleansing rituals (oils are preferred), sheet masks, essences, serums, moisturisers, cushion compacts, fermented products, and essential sunscreen (at night, the sunscreen is replaced by a “sleep cream”), so to the uninitiated it’s rather a complicated business and one I admit I knew little about. The sheet-masking step is essential, and a ritual I’ve taken to happily. I got my hands on another one of the cult Egg Cream Masks (I got one for Christmas) which sell out everywhere in minutes flat.

The Egg Cream
Mask has been a huge seller since it arrived in the west; egg yolk and coconut extracts for intense hydration

With so many steps to the regime and so many lines and products to choose from, the curated pop-up shop is a brilliant introduction to the best of the best of K-beauty, and a stunning marketing idea. Well done Nordstrom for giving many brands their “stateside debut” and for giving us a glimpse into another world of beauty, for both women and men. And thanks to Olivia Kim (http://fashionista.com/2014/11/olivia-kim) for hand picking these gorgeous goodies. Brands showcased in the pop-up include Huxley, BelleMe, Color Buckat, Too Cool For School, Touch In Sol, Za, Onnu, Twenty Four/Seven, DTRT. That’s just for starters.

First impressions were all about presentation. K is for kute and kitch with packaging which is immediately eye-catching and draws you to look closer. K is also for klever. These are the kinds of things you want in your handbag, on the makeup table, to give to friends, to keep for yourself, because they are cheerful and funny. Lots of these products put the girly back into glamour, and not even in a retro way like so many other lines do. The pink faux-fur ball chairs for resting on didn’t hurt either.

Phil Oakley has come to life as a makeup mirror!

Get ready for a barrage of fun photos – I couldn’t stop! So many delightful things. It’s a wonder I put the camera away and made time to actually try stuff.

Time to think pink…

Vivid pink cheek and lip stain stain from ver.22; So Tiny it pops into your handbag
makeup wipes for grrrrrrrls.

Cleansers abound…

Cleansing gels are available
But oils are king

Gorgeous smelling facial mists and sunscreens are as essential as sheet masking, and there’s loads to choose from.

Pretty Filter facial mist, from Touch In Sol, to mattify and beautify
The cherry blossom one is lovely, the gel mist is richer for great hydration
All four pieces of the VT Phyto Skin are in the pop-up, natural formulations and rare to see them in person.
Another fixer spray from Too Cool For School; sets and refreshes with rose water and lemon balm but without sulphates and phthalates
These two mists packaged together are nifty; one for night, one for day with sunscreen, hence 24/7

Nordstrom have not forgotten the boys in the mix, there’a a whole range of skin and shave products. Dear Matt, you’ll be Better Tomorrow!…

And then there’s the makeup, starting with some rather excellent primers and skin beautifiers…

Best base forward from Too Cool For School – glow, brighten or shimmer

I thought these were brilliant, and it tastes really good too. A yummy honey moisturising treatment.

From 24/7, can’t even describe how delicious these are
Look what’s hiding in the other end! A universally flattering peach/orange shade that is much subtler than it looks and very moisturising
Milk Tints, from Too Cool For School, for cheeks and lips. So easy, so pretty. I feel like spring has sprung
Milk Tint and Eye Tint swatches. Gorge. I bought them.

So here’s what I came away with…

Huxley Secret Sahara Oil with sahara cactus oil, quinoa, and acai berry – I have it on good authority that this is “the secret weapon of Korean flight attendants”

Although skincare reigns supreme, there’s lots of makeup to play with too. Top picks: these amazing eyeshadows, from Belle Me. I couldn’t not; you can never have too many brown shadows (my weakness) and the colour of the sun kissed one is glorious. They are silky and shimmery, with a remarkable colour payoff and are VERY long lasting. Impressed. And less that $10 each! I have to go back for more.

Silky shadows in Road Trip and Before Sunset (top)

These eye tints, also from Belle Me are to die for and take me back to Miss Selfridge makeup days, except then they were in purple and pink. These ones have a creamy constancy and with a sponge applicator in tube, they blend to luscious sparkly textures in gorge colours, and last all day. I’ve been working 16 hour days and they’re still on at the end of it. Same with the shadows above. Brilliant. Less than $20. Also brilliant.

Swatches of Cocao Fizz (top) and Kahlua Milk. I got both! Amazing texture and not drying considering the shimmer. Love.
Miss Selfridge flashback,except they were phials of shimmer powder and not cream based.

Another thing I found with incredible staying power are these gel liners, the Dessert In My Eyes range,  from Belle Me. The box of four was $31.25. Such great price points. I’ve already worn the lilac/brown, Macaron, a fab soft colour for a sophisticated way to do purple, and Chocolat, which smudges but then doesn’t move. I’m serious.

A four-pack of delicious gel eyeliners, “Dessert In My Eyes”.
From left to right: Caramel Sugar, Chocolat, Pudding, Macaron. By the way, this is AFTER I tried to wipe them off with a baby wipe. They do not budge.

it didn’t stop there. Behind this New York skyline lies another thumbs up for my makeup kit. It’s Too Cool For School.


Hello highlighter, blush and bronzer/ contour. I can use this on loads of skin tones.

Almost last but not almost least, a very juicy rosewater gel from IPKN. With 20% pure rosewater, it tones and soothes. Can also be used as a soothing sleeping mask, a body gel cream or a hair treatment. Thirty dollars well spent. Like most everything here, silicone-free, phthalate-free, paraben-free and sulphate-free. Even better.

Cooling and soothing. I need to take a better picture!

And of course an Egg Cream sheet mask. They have the All-In-One Mellow Soothing Cream with added collagen, in stock but I had to walk away at some point. Until I go back before Saturday! Fingers crossed.

I’m ready to try this recipe for my tired weekend skin.

Quite a good haul for an unexpected bypass. I spent so much time with K-Beauty the rest of the counters were a rush job but that’s ok. This one is temporary. Have to make the most of it.

Another thing I like about this pop-up, apart from it’s great lighting and knowledgeable but laid-back sales team, is their inclusive advertising – these “models” are friends of the photographer from Seattle. Real, interesting faces representing world beauty (but not all ages) was a refreshing change.

All in all, a really delightful shopping experience.  This may be fun skincare and lighthearted makeup but it demands to be taken seriously.

Seeing all of it, new and exotic, made me feel like a beauty newbie, in the most delightful way, which is no mean feat for someone so long in the makeup tooth. My makeup intern too had a blast; she’s gifted with great artistic ability, as you can see…

If you want some makeup joy in your life, head down there, you’ve got until March 26th. I’m quite sure I’ll be going back myself. But I’ll try not to get another brown eyeshadow, promise. If you’re lucky, Kevin, who is vastly knowledgeable about what’s on the shelves, will be on duty to point you in the right direction: towards South Korea.

If you’re nowhere near Vancouver, or a store that carries Korean product lines have a look here, but please don’t blame me. Goodnight or good morning, Glossaholics.
Cult Beauty Ltd.

PRODUCT REVIEWS Mylifeinmakeup.com does not receive any monetary compensation to review products. Most reviews are based on products purchased personally, and preferred, or not. Occasionally I will receive products from makeup companies and will choose whether or not to review them here. Receiving products has no bearing on the opinion of the review, nor whether I choose to review it or not. All opinions are just that, and are honest and unbiased. Recommendations are based on the knowledge I have gained during almost twenty years as a professional Make-Up Artist. Mylifeinmakeup.com is not to be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and are dissatisfied with it.

Make Mine A Quadruple

One of my first loves from this line, Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask – Cleanser, Mask & Balm – 75ml changed My Life In Makeup forever (go back a few posts to read me rave about it), so you can imagine how I feel about this one.

It might look a fright but the results are worth it!

New from the magic Makeup Artist Tilbury is the revolutionary Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask, which promises, and delivers, facial-like results in fifteen minutes. This new mask features ingredients which are clinically proven (tested on humans) to reduce wrinkles and to smooth, brighten, lift and hydrate your skin.

This is what makes the new dry mask so unique:

  • it has a BIO-MIMETIC VECTOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (sounds complicated. It is)that allows for a prolonged release of active ingredients and powers them into the epidermis.
  • it has an in-built technological 5 Skin Solution IQ which tailors to your skin, feeding it exactly what it needs.
  • Vitamin B3 brightens the skin, while Plant Stem Cell Matrix lifts and decreases wrinkles.
  • it’s a DRY textile mask with active ingredients imprinted on it, you can use it up to 3 times. Amazing.
  • the burst release effects of this mask last for up to 8 HOURS.
  • It has a higher DOSAGE of active ingredients and the most potent delivery system.
  • it give gorgeous, glowing skin that is hydrated and revitalized.
  • the silly selfie opportunities are limitless

Very importantly, this mask is more Hannibal-like than others on the market, so it’s good for frightening your significant others on mask days!

I heartily recommend making masking a regular part of your beauty routine. Pick a day a week for exfoliation, and a day for masking. It can be the same day for both, why not make it your beauty day? I do mine on Sunday but have a friend who insists that Thursday is better so she looks good for the weekend. She has a point! Doing them together makes it easier to remember to do both, and exfoliating your skin beforehand will enhance the benefits of a mask. Fit these two treatments into your regular skincare routine and you will see and feel a difference immediately, which will keep you at it. I also add a mask for clients before special events, whatever they may be.  They are very easy and fun to use. Put some relaxing music on, have a soothing tea (skip the wine) and you’re on the way to a beautiful day:

1..2..3..4.. voila! Beautiful skin but sadly not guaranteed to give you hair like that.

The mask also comes in a four-pack, which is a fantastic idea. It’s marv to have masks on hand, and being able to use each one multiple times is rather brilliant (be sure to seal the packaging up after each use). These are going to be wonderful to have for holidays, destination weddings, or any travelling you want or have to do. Alternatively, split the cost and have a girls night in and mask with friends. Boys are also allowed to try them.

The multipacks are in my shopping basket for clients but I want to keep them for myself!
Charlotte Tilbury (UK)

PRODUCT REVIEWS Mylifeinmakeup.com does not receive any monetary compensation to review products. Most reviews are based on products purchased personally, and preferred, or not. Occasionally I will receive products from makeup companies and will choose whether or not to review them here. Receiving products has no bearing on the opinion of the review, nor whether I choose to review it or not. All opinions are just that, and are honest and unbiased. Recommendations are based on the knowledge I have gained during almost twenty years as a professional Make-Up Artist. Mylifeinmakeup.com is not to be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and are dissatisfied with it.

Take A Picture, It Lasts Longer

I was poor once. Who’s to say I won’t be poor again. But before that happens let me tell you abou one of my favourite things.

Back in the poor days (you may know about them too, just scraping the rent together even though you’re working, only using public transport, very few nights out and certainly nothing fancy. No holidays, all in all a bit bleak but it happens to everyone. Doesn’t it?) when I was a younger adult starting out on my own and strangely determined to make it as a makeup artist, putting my degree in Politics to great use, obviously, I really had a tough time making the ends meet. Once every couple of weeks I could afford to meet my friends for a meal at a studenty restaurant, or buy a bottle of red instead and spend the weekend sipping through it. First world problems.

One time I spent the money left over, after all the bills were paid, on this thing which still holds a place in my heart. Back then it represented luxury, indulgence and seemed ludicrously frivolous. But it was so lovely it cheered me up, and gave me such a boost whenever I used it, surly the sign of a bathtime classic. Since then it’s remained a staple in the pampering basket and a great go-to gift for the girls and women in my life. So cheers to Bathina and her words of wisdom: take a picture. it lasts longer.

For all the croquet players out there

Bathina by Benefit is a body balm which shimmers gently and so looks beautiful on any limbs that might be showing (hopefully not when you’re bending over in a croquet skirt), on the collarbones and décolletage, and also works as a cheek highlighter. It’s also lovely if you’re merely slipping between the sheets, after all there’s nothing wrong with a bit of shimmer in soft light. It’s scent is as delicate as the shimmer and rather gorgeous. High praise from a Tom Ford addict. Two of the things that are most endearing about are the packaging which is retro girly, and the little velour application puff. It’s very sweet. And though I am not usually a fan of too-girly or sweet, it works with Bathina in a comforting way. Actually, it’s rather the point of it; it’s a fun product, not to be taken seriously but to be enjoyed. The sweet little puff is palm sized and perfect for applying the balm.

The Four S’s: subtle, shimmery, scented and sexy

It’s been a long day and I’m off to have a soak in the tub. I am very grateful that all my hard work and determination paid off and I have more pennies to treat myself with than I did at the start.  Even if I were the richest make-up artist in all the kingdom, I’d keep my Bathina close by, such a loyal friend she’s been.Benefit Cosmetics (UK)

PRODUCT REVIEWS Mylifeinmakeup.com does not receive any monetary compensation to review products. Most reviews are based on products purchased personally, and preferred, or not. Occasionally I will receive products from makeup companies and will choose whether or not to review them here. Receiving products has no bearing on the opinion of the review, nor whether I choose to review it or not. All opinions are just that, and are honest and unbiased. Recommendations are based on the knowledge I have gained during almost twenty years as a professional Make-Up Artist. Mylifeinmakeup.com is not to be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and are dissatisfied with it.

Ice Ice Baby

Some meetings are meant to happen. I firmly believe that. This summer I went to Iceland, at last, and  met with awe inspiring forces in both natural and human forms. Iceland is a place unlike any I’ve ever been, all rock and sky and water. It’s Scotland on Viking steroids. Vast stretches of volcanic terrain leading to mountains of muted tones under blue blue skies, you can’t help but wonder when the elves will pop out to greet you.

And then there’s the people. And their skin. I was meant to meet them and their spa culture. You cannot help but notice how healthy and vibrant they look, how they “glow” and look fine of pore. Is it the cold? Is it genetic? Is it their lifestyle? The water, it must be the water. Whatever the reason, it is apparent that Icelanders take their skin and their spa seriously. And because I wanted to walk like them, talk like them, be like them (sing like them!), I did the next best thing and went to the shops like them.

My first brush with Icelandic skincare was with SKYN eye masks, recommended for de-puffing the eyes of a certain someone who shall remain nameless and I didn’t have to go to Iceland to get them. Actually getting there opened up a whole new world of skincare possibilities.  On the streets of Reykjavik, all over the place, you see ads for BIOEFFECT EGF Serum. I’d caught wind of it in the beauty world before this trip, so by the time I got there and saw it everywhere I was convinced it was a national treasure. It was my first purchase; I tucked it away into the suitcase for later use. I should have started to use it right away, but that’s a different story. I had already planned to do an article about winter skin care, so I put it aside for later.

A couple of days into my trip I went to the infamous Blue Lagoon which has its own spa and shop; very tempting to buy everything but I had two months of travelling to consider so called upon my Wendy Willpower, walking away with only the award-winning Blue Lagoon Rejuvenating lipbalm. There’s always online shopping after all.

I flew on from Reykjavik and on the plane read about Dr Bragi and his skincare line; third purchase, Marine Enzyme Age Management Moisturiser. I didn’t even have to leave my seat. How easy was that?

This trio stayed hidden away until the winter when I started my thirty day trial. So here they are, in the order I bought them, which seemed the fairest way to do this.


Lots of stuff about this on the plane to Reykjavik…Icelanders are proud of local achievments, in all areas of expertise (I arrived just after the football defeat but the city was still celebrating the team and all it had done) and do much to applaud home success stories. Nothing wrong with that, especially when they’re of such a high calibre.

What is EGF I hear you ask? Well, let me tell you. Epidermal Growth Factor aka EGF is a naturally occurring skin protein, and “acts as the skin’s cellular messenger, kick-starting the production of youth-preserving collagen and elastin while promoting the skin’s own repair process”. Stanley Cohen and Rita Levi-Montalcini won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1986 for their discovery of EGF and it’s vital function in the biology of human skin. The serum is a ground breaking cellular activating serum, containing only 7 ingredients with no preservatives or fragrance and suitable for all skin types. It takes a nightly dose (the serum works best on resting skin, not sure if that included lying on the sofa watching The Crown) for the serum to replicate the effects EGF naturally has on the skin. See it to believe it. It’s made in Iceland, from barley grown in volcanic pumice with pure Icelandic water. See, I knew it was all about that water.

This is a beautifully liquid serum making it easy to massage in (don’t forget those facial massages please). I used it nightly, only 2-4 drops, and it’s about to run out so I will repurchase. It feels extraordinary on my parched face during these winter months.

Sad face, I’m almost out.
A beautifully liquid serum that’s easily absorbed and super hydrating

According to the company’s literature, it will deliver skin rejuvenating results for all skin types (suitable for even the most sensitive due to its lack of fillers, fragrances, parabens, preservatives or colourants). For more info and for their other anti-aging products go to www.bioeffect.com

DR BRAGI Marine Enzyme Age Management Moisturiser

The late Dr Jon Bragi Bjarnason was Professor of biochemistry at the University of Iceland and one of the world’s leading enzymologists. His life was dedicated to the study and therapeutic application of marine enzymes, starting with arthritis and wound healing and later expanding into dermatology; clinical evidence led Dr Bragi to develop a unique line of skincare based on marine enzyme technology. I was right again! It’s all because of the water!

The Age Management Moisturiser has a stable texture, slides on beautifully to the face, neck and décolletage and stays put throughout the day

The Age Management Mosturiser combines his patented formula of super-active marine enzymes with hyaluronic acid, known for it’s plumping and hydrating abilities (hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times it’s own volume in water) so this one claims to offer advanced relief for persistently dry and sensitive skin and to prevent the breakdown of collagen by supporting optimal cell function. In fact, one would think this product has superpowers, with those two ingredients for parents! I was kind of hooked after the first application – applied on my damp face after a steamy Sunday bath (I feel another of those coming on) it felt immediately nourished and a bit “sticky”. The packaging says if it feels sticky you’ve applied too much, but that’s one of the things that comforted me about it during daily use  – that tiny touch of “tack” I felt assured me it was in place and doing it’s amazing job. I used a bit too much, obvs, but I liked it that way, my skin felt amazing and my makeup stayed on all day (wait 15 minutes before applying) so it works as a beautiful primer as well. According to the company info, because the marine enzyme products optimize cell function, and enhances the skin’s natural rejuvenating mechanisms, other products aren’t as necessary.  You can use just this as your moisturiser and eye cream. Financial bonus. All in all I loved it because my face felt smooth and hydrated, and it didn’t suffer through the freezing weather, a surefire way of knowing that a product is working.

The Dr Bragi skincare line contains no parabens, perfumes, silicones, glycols, artificial preservatives, lanolin, lipids or dyes; safe for the most sensitive skins and for use during pregnancy. My skin is not overly sensitive but dry and dehydrated but I would have no problem recommending it to anyone who is sensitive or problematic skin because the ingredients are so pure, which means they are much less likely to cause any reactions. I rather like this graphic from the literature about the Bragi approach to caring for the skin:

I was genuinely saddened when my moisturiser ran out and not only ordered more but delved into other products from the line. I have an Intensive Treatment Mask waiting for me to use on my next at-home spa day. That may not be for a couple of weeks, boohoo, but I’m really looking forward to it.

Oh, by the way, the Dr Bragi line was a CEW Beauty Insiders Choice for best new skincare line in 2008. That’s the equivalent of an Oscar for beauty products.

The Blue Lagoon Rejuvenating Lipbalm

This is a cheeky little number – it’s actually made in Denmark! But I’ll let it off, it has Icelandic ingredients and maybe all the facilities in Iceland (there can’t be very many) were busy making other stuff so they had to go somewhere else to mix it up. This balm is velvety but matte, stays on really well and doesn’t interfere with lipstick, in face I love it under a matte. By itself it looks natural and is uncoloured. I did lend this to ‘im indoors and got very gentle whiffs of chocolate every time he went by. Yummy.

What can I say about my impressions of Icelandic skincare so far? The products I’ve come across are symbolic of everything I loved about the country itself – they are pure, clean, modern, and really, really well designed. If you’re a regular reader you might have gathered that I’m a skincare fanatic. Good skin equals good makeup, which makes my work easier to do and the results more beautiful, so all of these are staying in my kit for good, to use on both women and men. In fact, all of the things I’ve talked about here would fit amazingly well into a his/hers bathroom. It’s the kind of stuff you want to keep for yourself but can, generously of course, because we’re good people, lend to the guy who’s interested in skincare but doesn’t know where to start. The packaging is ultra modern (right up my alley) and non gender oriented. If he likes it make sure he gets his own or yours will be gone too quickly! I think I have made good skincare choices in the last ten-fifteen years (when I became very serious about it in terms of helping with the aging process) but honestly wish I’d come across these Icelandic lines sooner. They really deliver, and in the purest way, which is no bad thing. It feels as if they are the way forward in modern skincare, with Iceland leading the charge. Which makes it Viking skincare, no?! Charging  forward with purity and science, the modern Vikings of the beauty industry. It is in their blood. And in the water.

I would go back to Iceland in a heartbeat, I absolutely loved it. Would be nice if the next trip was a winter one, to see northern lights and have lots of amazing spa time and imagining a Christmas there gets me all hygge; I am a Viking myself, after all. The next time I go, whenever it may be, I aim to have skin like a local! I’m hoping they’ll give me citizenship.

P.S here’s another meeting that was meant to happen…and another reason I need to return to Iceland.

PRODUCT REVIEWS Mylifeinmakeup.com does not receive any monetary compensation to review products. Most reviews are based on products purchased personally, and preferred, or not. Occasionally I will receive products from makeup companies and will choose whether or not to review them here. Receiving products has no bearing on the opinion of the review, nor whether I choose to review it or not. All opinions are just that, and are honest and unbiased. Recommendations are based on the knowledge I have gained during almost twenty years as a professional Make-Up Artist. Mylifeinmakeup.com is not to be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and are dissatisfied with it.


The Year of the Rooster

Chinese New Year is soon upon us. I’m a bit bloody sad The Year of The Monkey has flown by so quickly because it’s been one of great inspiration and change; this monkey really got out to swing through the jungle! But it’s out with the monkey, in with the cock and time to stop the bull. Pardon the expressions.

Goodbye Monkey!
The Circle of Animals, Ai WeiWei’s Golden Horoscope Sculptures were one of my art highlights of 2015. I made a special trip to the Portland Museum of Art

According to the Chinese Horoscope, people born in Rooster years have “many excellent characteristics, such as being honest, bright, communicative and ambitious. Most of them are born pretty or handsome, and prefer to dress up. In daily life, they seldom rely on others. However, they might be enthusiastic about something quickly, but soon be impassive. Thus, they need to have enough faiths and patience to insist on one thing”. Sounds like Rooster girls aren’t happy with just one lipstick.

For all the Roosters, and the rest of us that like to dress up (our faces), there’s lots of lovely goodies around in honour of this new year. No reason not to be a beautiful chicken. But please remember to stay away from rats!

Wei Beauty



PRODUCT REVIEWS Mylifeinmakeup.com does not receive any monetary compensation to review products. Most reviews are based on products purchased personally, and preferred, or not. Occasionally I will receive products from makeup companies and will choose whether or not to review them here. Receiving products has no bearing on the opinion of the review, nor whether I choose to review it or not. All opinions are just that, and are honest and unbiased. Recommendations are based on the knowledge I have gained during almost twenty years as a professional Make-Up Artist. Mylifeinmakeup.com is not to be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and are dissatisfied with it.


Lip Service

Like my grandmother before me, I am much more prevention than cure, ergo my obsession with skincare in place of botox and fillers. I have a never ending supply of anti-oxidant skin treatments, anti-aging skincare products, hand creams, sunscreens and lip balms and they’re stashed all over the place because you use never know when and where you’ll need one.

Despite all my efforts, this week I’m a chappy chap and I admit that I have fallen victim to a few environmental factors, whilst taking full responsibility because I was less than diligent in preventing my chapped lips. I’m owning it! A perfect example of Do What I Say Not What I Do.

The recent weather (which has consisted of cold winds, icy rain and even snow, typically, of course on the days and nights I have to work outside), the central heating at night, a warm car on long drives, the occasional flight, even two hours on a boat in freezing temperatures, a fair few number of matte lipsticks which I’ve been loving for months; all these have given me a case of the chaps. So I’m going the extra mile with something new Father Christmas put in my stocking and testing it on your behalf. Time to get my pucker back.

I’ve talked before about lip scrubs before and the importance of exfoliating especially in seasons of extreme weather (“Pucker Up: Lip Scrubs Tested On Your Behalf”). I still have one from biTE Beauty in my personal beauty arsenal so I started with that.

This lip scrub from biTE is mildly cherry flavoured and grainy but in a good emollient base.

Using it is pretty straightforward; apply it to your lips and around the lipline and massage in with a circular motion, then leave it to do it’s job for a few minutes. Wipe away with a wet flannel and gently pat dry.

The next step is the fun part!

Blimey look at that it’s back to front! Sorry.

What this nifty little packet says is Sephora Shea Lip Mask (after the French part which is actually at the top. Must have been packaged for Quebec). It’s a bio-cellulose lip mask for protecting and repairing and is full of squishy good stuff including shea butter. The elves stuffed my stocking nicely this year so I have some lovely things to try out!

This is what it looks like when you get the package open (take care not to rip it apart down the middle or you’ll tear the actual mask itself which is hidden in there and quite delicate).


Juiced up and ready to go! Take off the two backing bits and apply to your mouth. Relax for ten minutes.




Getting a bit lippy. Prepare to look like this, have a laugh and take a few selfies! I recommend lying down when trying this at home, otherwise the mask slides off.













Another word to the wise, it may not be the best time to take calls.






When your time is up (take longer than ten minutes, by all means), remove the mask and massage in all the treatment that’s left over. Feels remarkable, I love it and PROMISE myself to exfoliate and mask more often from now on. I am loading up on lip balms and holding off on the matte lipsticks for a week (the new formulas are not as drying as they used to be but I’ll still have a week off). I know you may not all be in the land of Sephoras but I bet Boots, Superdrug and the like have loads of these as well.

My lips are feeling and looking much better so I’m just off to ring my friend Janice to tell her I’ve found something perfect for her! It does, in fact, appear to be custom made xo

PRODUCT REVIEWS Mylifeinmakeup.com does not receive any monetary compensation to review products. Most reviews are based on products purchased personally, and preferred, or not. Occasionally I will receive products from makeup companies and will choose whether or not to review them here. Receiving products has no bearing on the opinion of the review, nor whether I choose to review it or not. All opinions are just that, and are honest and unbiased. Recommendations are based on the knowledge I have gained during almost twenty years as a professional Make-Up Artist. Mylifeinmakeup.com is not to be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and are dissatisfied with it.