ALL NATURAL, BABE: HZP+Co All Day Hydra-Defense Serum Review

Hey, babes!

Today, I’ve got a gorgeous product from up & coming New Zealand brand, HZP+Co. I was generously sent the All Day Hydra-Defense Serum, along with the Calm Me Down Splashwater and Lanolin Hand+Nail Cream (those two will get their review a bit later!).

The All Day Hydra Defense Serum contains patented hydrating ingredients, along with pure NZ spring water and natural extracts. The full ingredients list is actually really short, which I appreciate - read it here:

New Zealand Spring Water, Aquaxyl™, Lecigel™, CityStem™, Horopito Leaf Extract, Kiwifruit Extract, Mamaku Leaf Extract, Kowhai Extract, Natural Parfum (Grasse, France).

I had a wee google of the three patented ingredients, and they’re all basically supercharged hydrators that work to strengthen the skin barrier to keep skin gorgeous and glowy - yes, please!

One of the things that I absolutely adore about this serum is the packaging! The smooth, matte black glass bottle comes inside a fitted sleeve, just adding to the luxury of the experience. The serum comes with a super slick pump (which I love, much less fiddly than droppers!) I did find sometimes the pump would squirt out the serum with a high velocity and kind of splash it everywhere, which I hated because I felt like I was wasting gold!
The serum itself wasn’t runny at all, it had a gel texture which absorbed very easily when patted into the skin. The plant smell wasn’t too strong, but definitely there. It was really familiar as if I had smelled it in another product before?

I find my skin is generally drier at night, so I actually tried to use this in my evening routine. Sadly, I found that it stung my skin after using Tretinoin (not sure why though!) so I stuck to using it in the morning. If I was short on time, I found that mixing in a pump with my morning moisturiser still gave my skin that hydrated glow.

I know I said like three paragraphs before this that I love the luxe, black packaging, but it also comes with a downside: not being able to see how much serum you have left! This is kind of a pet peeve for me, as it’s also hard to tell by the weight due to the glass bottle. I’m the kind of person that has to be able to know how much I’ve got left so I don’t go a day without an essential step in my routine. (Now that I’ve written that out, I feel like I sound crazy but I NEED to know!)

Another thing worth bringing up is the price - $65 is fairly pricey compared to some other hydrating serums on the market. For me, price doesn’t always equal better when it comes to skincare - the mark of a great product for me is actually being able to meet claims and be wallet friendly. This does meet claims, but is it the most wallet-friendly? Not exactly. However, if you have the budget for this you won’t be disappointed. I rate this 4/5.

Have you tried any natural skincare lately?

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy HZP+Co.
pr sample

BIG PAPA-YA: Benton Papaya-D Sun Cream Review

Hey, babes!

Benton kindly sent me one of their new sunscreens to review, the Papaya Daily Suncream. I was pretty excited for this new release as I’m a big fan of their Snail Bee High Content Essence and also the sheet mask in the same line.

It’s SPF 38, which sounds low and a bit random, but bear in mind that SPF 30 blocks 97% of the sun’s UV rays, so this is certainly enough protection. It’s also a combination suncream, meaning it contains both physical and chemical sunscreens. However, this does mean a white cast can be present due to the titanium.

I definitely agree with how this product is named a suncream - it’s definitely creamy! I actually found it really similar to a Western sunscreen. It wasn’t as lightweight as I expected at all, and actually felt heavy in comparison to my usual sunscreen (Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence). It definitely had a bit of a white cast that needed some extra rubbing in to make disappear.

I found it wore well under makeup, but was just too dewy and heavy for my already oily skin. It didn’t break down my makeup, but it wasn’t keeping me as matte as I would have liked.

Sadly, this was a bit of a letdown for me. I think it’s better suited to people with normal to dry skin. This gets a 2.5/5 from me!

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy Benton
pr sample

June & July 2017 Empties

Hey, babes!

I’m not the kind of person to amass heaps of empties in a month, so I’ve combined 2 months worth of empties here (and it’s, still like 6 products hahaha).
Banila Co Miss Flower & Mr Honey Essence Oil
I remember there was a LOT of hype around this line when it first launched in 2015. There’s actually a full line including toner, essence stick, cream, AND hydrogel mask. I decided to grab the essence oil because I felt like it would fit into my routine best, and also because I really liked what I saw on the ingredients list! I managed to grab it at 30% off from one of RoseRoseShop’s eBay stores.

collagen extract, glycerin, water, methylgluceth-20, polyglycerin-3, niacinamide, ethanol, honey extract, aureobasidium pullulans ferment, theobroma cacao (cocoa) extract, royal jelly extract, propolis extract, chrysanthellum indicum extract, plukenetia volubilis seed oil, argania spinosa kernel oil, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, anthemis nobilis flower extract, oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed extract, calendula officinalis flower extract, pentylene glycol, PEG-8, butylene glycol, glyceryl polyacrylate, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, adenosine, tromethamine, caprylic/capric triglyceride, octyldodecanol, hydrogenated coco-glyceride, sodium starch octenyl succinate, maltodextrin, calcium pantothenate, hydrogenated lecithin, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, tocopheryl acetate, pyridoxine HCI, silica, xanthan gum, carbomer, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, fragrance

I had best results with this when mixed with my evening moisturiser - my skin was plump, hydrated, and bright. It also smelled amazing! The only reason I haven’t repurchased yet is because I’m waiting for another online sale - the line is definitely more on the expensive side and not something I would be able to splash out on regularly. 4.5/5 from me!

I’m From Ginseng Serum
I also finally finished the I’m From Ginseng Serum. You can read my full review here, but basically, I only finished this because it worked pretty well as a pre-mask treatment for super glowy skin. However, that’s not enough for me personally to warrant re-purchasing.

Hada Labo Arbutin Lotion & Hada Labo Arbutin Milk
I also finished my holy grail toner & moisturiser combo, the Hada Labo Arbutin Lotion and matching Milk. I’ve already repurchased the Milk (obviously!) but instead of going for the lighter version of the toner, I purchased the rich/heavier one as I’ve been dealing with so much more flakiness this winter. So far, I do love it and will probably stick with it - it’s definitely more nourishing and hydrating than the light version, I don’t know why I didn’t use it before!
Rimmel Stay Matte Powder
If you’ve followed me for a while, then you would know that this is basically my holy grail drugstore setting powder. I go through so many of these a year and I keep coming back to it because it’s basically amazing. However, I hate that it does eventually just break out of the pan when you’ve reached a certain point of use, and basically becomes unusable. I HAVE repurchased this, but I’ve also bought the Kat Von D Lock It Setting Powder to see if it can knock the Rimmel out of its holy grail status!

Clio Kill Black Waterproof Brush Liner
This is my absolute holy grail liquid eyeliner! It’s so long-wearing, waterproof, a true black, and the end stays sharp and doesn’t gunk up with eyeshadow after like a month. I cannot recommend this enough to anyone still looking for their perfect liquid eyeliner. 5/5!

Giorgio Armani Si EDT
I’ve actually had this sitting around as an empty for a while, but couldn’t bring myself to chuck it out until now. This is such a gorgeous scent - I’ll have to pick up another bottle when I go through Duty-Free next! I’m obsessed with it.

What have you finished recently?

Lexie xx

SCRUB IT GOOD: Seed & Soul Step-Up Scrub Review

Hey, babes!

Today, I'll be writing about the Seed & Soul Step-Up Scrub, which was kindly sent to me for review purposes. Seed & Soul are a New Zealand brand with a focus on sustainability and plant-based well-being.
This particular scrub is honestly amazing for skin and the environment - it doesn't contain any harmful microbeads, comes in a glass jar with no excess packaging, and really, really works. Instead of microbeads, it contains small pieces of loofah to gently exfoliate your skin. It also contains a whole slew of incredibly moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and jojoba seed oil to make sure that your skin isn't left dry after exfoliating.
I also LOVE how this smells! It's citrusy and fresh with a kind of sweet vanilla note at the end, so I always look forward to nights when I use this instead of chemically exfoliating. Since I started using Tretinoin, I'm pretty cautious about over exfoliating but I don't feel like I have to worry about that too much with this because of how gentle the loofah particles are and how nourishing this is. After rinsing it off, I can literally feel the additional moisture on my skin from the shea butter and jojoba oil. My skin is also suuuper soft the morning after.
The only drawback of this product IMO is the packaging - I know, I know, I just said before that the jar was a GOOD idea! However, I dislike jar packaging because it is so easy to contaminate the product, especially a product that you are touching with wet hands and keeping in a place that is frequently wet and warm. That said, the scrub does have a 6-month shelf life, and this is definitely easily usable in 6 months. I guess there is always going to be a trade off for products that cost less to the Earth.

Overall, I do really enjoy using this product and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for effective, environmentally-friendly skincare! It gets a 4/5 from me.

What's your favorite green skincare brand?

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy Seed & Soul
pr sample

GEOMETRY: Styling with Michael Hill Jewellery

Hey, babes!

I was recently contacted by Michael Hill to see if I would like to try some of their latest collection. I agreed, just since their pieces are just so gorgeous!

I chose a stunning matching bangle and earring geometric triangle set in silver and cubic zirconia - how gorgeous do they look in these photos? These two are part of their newest releases.
The only thing I did find was that the bangle was really big for my wrist - I would have preferred something a bit smaller. The bangle would sit right on my elbow if I would let it! Here's a bonus photo of me wearing the pieces with a slightly cooler-toned makeup look, to go well with the silver:
I do generally suit both gold and silver, so I'll definitely be rocking these depending on what look I'm going for!

Are you more of a gold or silver person? Do you have a favourite? Let me know in the comments!

Lexie xx

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G'MORNING: SkinFactory Premium Morning Recipe 3-Step Review

Hi, friends!

SkinFactory kindly sent me a curious little product to review called the Morning Recipe 3-Step Mask. It’s an entire morning skin routine in one packet (except for sunscreen), with really cute, descriptive names for each step. 
Step 1 is the Morning Cloud Foam Cleanser, which once squeezed out of the packet, literally looks like a cloud. It foams easily and left my face clean without being stripping. It smelt really strongly of passionfruit which could be a bit off-putting for some.

Step 2 is the Dual Morning Pad, which is a double sided pad loaded with a hydrating essence. One side of the pad has lots of tiny smooth knobs to gently exfoliate at first, and then you switch it to the other side to help pat in the essence. The knobs were so gentle on my face and left it super smooth. The essence wasn’t strongly scented at all and absorbed into my skin very easily. 
Step 3, the final step, was my favourite of all three. The moisturiser has a light, sherbet texture which absorbed into my skin beautifully and left my skin SUPER glowy without being greasy. It also smelled of passionfruit, but this scent disappeared quickly.

Overall, it left my skin soft and hydrated. I was also a bit sick at the time I tried this and it didn’t burn or irritate the raw skin around my nose like other products tend to do. 

I really liked the overall result on my skin, but I’m not really sure I get the concept of having a whole routine in one packet. Sure, it’s great for travel, but what if I only really like one thing in the system? I would TOTALLY buy jars and jars of the moisturiser if it came on its own, but sadly it doesn’t. 

This gets a 2.8/5 from me. 

Have you tried any multi-step products like this?

Lexie xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy SkinFactory
YesStyle* (international)

pr sample / contains affiliate links*

GIN-SENG & TONIC: I'm From Ginseng Serum Review

Hey, babes!

I was recently contacted by Wishtrend to review the newly released I’m From Ginseng Serum. I was pretty excited to try this as I haven’t tried that many ginseng products before! Ginseng is a potent antioxidant and is amazing for the skin.

This ginseng serum has an incredibly strong ginseng smell due to the serum containing nearly 8% pure ginseng extract. I found this incredibly overwhelming at first but eventually got used to it. The serum itself is opaque and honey coloured, with a with a gel-like consistency. However, it spreads and absorbs very easily.

Taking a look at the ingredients, ginseng features twice in the form of Red Ginseng Extract and Panax Ginseng Seed Oil. There's a wealth of other great plant ingredients, such as Green Tea Extract, Licorice Root Extract, and Peony Extract, to name a few.

Water, Red Ginseng Extract, Butylene Glycol, Betaine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Panax Ginseng Seed Oil, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Angelica Gigas Root Extract, Rheum Palmatum Root Extract, Angelica Pubescens Root Extract, Schizonepeta Tenuifolia Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Ethoxydiglycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Hyaluronic Acid, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance
From the get go, I noticed that it immediately made my skin softer. And not just after using - I would notice my skin was soft after cleansing and consistently soft throughout the day. Unfortunately, with consistent use, I did not notice any other benefits such as brightening or soothing. Despite increasing skin softness, my skin hydration didn’t seem to increase either. I have persistent dry spots due to tretinoin, and the serum didn’t reduce them at all. So… Softening was the only benefit I got.

My breakthrough with this serum came when I thought to use it before using a Papa Recipe Bombee Mask! While that particular mask DOES generally leave my skin looking amazing, combining it with the ginseng serum gave me results I’ve never had before. It was SO incredibly hydrated, soothed, and brightened.

However, I’m still generally unsure of the overall benefits of this serum, especially at my age. A lot of the info around ginseng is how good it is for older, wrinkled skin - not an issue . Also, considering it took to combining it with another product for best effects, I’m not sure I would pay US $28.80 for it.

I would give this a 2.7/5. This serum just wasn't enough on it's own for me, and I would expect more results considering the price point.

Have you tried any ginseng products before?

Lexie xx

where to buy online
Wishtrend* (International) | Amazon* (US only)

pr sample/ contains affiliate links*
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