My love affair for all things green tea began long before I ever moved to East Asia. Being in Japan last year really cemented it.
The rumors about Japan are true. They use matcha green tea for everything. In our hotel, the shampoo and conditioner were green tea. And they were phenomenal.
So since lockdown, when soap and other cosmetics suddenly vanished, I decided to start making my own cosmetics. I had planned to make a melt-and-pour shampoo bar before anything else, but I ended up making soaps successfully, first, and getting product safety tests done on my essential oil soaps. At the same time, my shampoo bars were not going so well.
I couldn’t understand it. Both my soaps and the shampoo bars were made using the correct bases (don’t use soap base for shampoo bars! I know a lot of bloggers say you can do it with soap base, but if you care about your hair, you need to use proper shampoo base) but my shampoo bars weren’t mixing properly and when I tested them on my hair, they left residue. Eeek!
Eventually, I found out where I was going wrong. The rubbing alcohol in this recipe is essential. Do not skip that step.
You will need (makes one 100 gram bar; scale up for more than one):
How to make vegan green tea melt and pour shampoo bar:
Cut the melt and pour shampoo base into small squares and put it into the jug.
Place the jug inside the pan of boiling water.
Remove when the shampoo base has melted.
In a small cup, mix the green tea powder with the alcohol.
Once this is mixed, add it to the shampoo base.
Add the avocado oil.
Pour into your soap mould. Leave to harden for about an hour and a half, then wrap.
I am so happy with this recipe (finally)! Let me know what you think in the comments! If you have a microwave, you can melt the melt and pour shampoo base in your microwave, checking every 30 seconds to be sure not to scald it!
I searched and searched the WHOLE DAMN INTERNET and none of it had a recipe like this. I wanted a recipe using natural, vegan ingredients, so I could make my own conditioner bars. I also wanted something that didn’t require expensive or bulky equipment to make it.
I needed this recipe to make a bar, not a liquid, because I travel a lot and I have super dry curly hair, and I am very fed up of not being able to take conditioner on a plane unless it’s in my checked baggage or in a very tiny bottle.
When I didn’t find a vegan hair conditioner bar recipe for travel, I made my own.
This bar is super-nourishing for very dry hair, you really don’t need much of it. I like to use it by working it into the ends first, while my hair is wet, then moving up slowly until I get to my ears. Lastly, I put the rest onto my hair from my parting downwards in one or two swift strokes.
If you accidentally use too much, get a bit of your shampoo bar and rub it between your hands then wipe the lather onto your hair where there’s too much conditioner.
This conditioner is a little bit soft, I’ve played around with the recipe and every time I’ve tried to harden it, it just goes oilier but not harder. So I find the original bar cracks into three or four pieces after a few uses, but after that it seems pretty stable.
If you’re a fan of using a bit of coconut oil to moisturize your hair, you will LOVE this recipe as it incorporates coconut oil but makes a solid bar for travelling with!
You will need:
A glass jug
A spoon for mixing
A soap mould
40g shea butter
30g olive wax
20g cocoa butter
20g coconut oil
10ml rice bran oil
10ml avocado oil
30 drops lavender oil (or other essential oil of your choice)
Method (no microwave… scroll for microwave method)
In a saucepan, boil some water and place your glass jug in it.
Add the cocoa butter and olive wax as these take the most heat to melt.
When they have melted, add the rest of the ingredients except the lavender oil.
Once the whole lot has melted, remove jug from saucepan, add lavender oil and mix well.
Pour the mixture into your soap mould and leave it to harden. This takes about 2-3 hours.
I wasn’t supposed to buy the Too Faced Naturals Pallette. I didn’t plan on buying this and yet I couldn’t leave without it because the moment I saw it, I fell in love with the amazing colors in this pallette.
Price: £32.50. I got it from: Too Faced counter, Debenhams, Oxford Street, London. What you get: Nine eyeshadow colors, including 3 matte shades and 6 highly pigmented shimmering sparkling shades. They are presented in a metal tin with an extensive leaflet detailing how you could use these colors.
The reason I bought this eyeshadow pallette was because I adore neutral shades, and I especially love shimmering neutrals (my go-to eye makeup before I got this Too Faced pallette was a blend of the Laura Mercier Baked Eyeshadow in Ballerina and the Bourjois Eye Shimmer Pot in 07 Ambre, both over the top of the Laura Mercier mono eyeshadow in ginger). It’s nice to have more sparkling shades to get a more dramatic eye look for those times when I want my make-up to show up on camera.
What do they look like?
I swatched them on my arm and photographed them, and the only editing I’ve done to that was to write the color names under the swatches, because as everyone knows I hate using photoshop and have to look up tutorials on YouTube every single time I need to do any image manipulation! As you can see in the second set of swatches, a couple of the colors aren’t very visible in the camera although IRL they were a little bit more obvious. I fiddled with my camera settings a lot but those colors just wouldn’t show very well. That’s worth bearing in mind for any events where you might want to look photogenic!
How do they wear?
I’ve only used these eyeshadows twice so far, but both times I really liked the way they came out, the blendability was a complete joy and the color went on creamy-soft, color payoff was maximum! I used the Urban Decay eyeshadow primer under the colors and I feel this gave a lovely blank canvas to make these colors come out beautifully. Next time I use this pallette I will get photos.
What do you think? Do you have any of the Too Faced Pallettes? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!
I am SO late to the party with this it’s unbelievable! What can I say? I live in a miserable backwater in the North whose only make-up counters are the ones aimed at the landed gentry, usually of the over-60s variety!
While I was in London before Christmas, I was SO EXCITED to pick up this eyeshadow primer! It’s been on my wish list for 3 actual YEARS.
What can I say about it? It comes in a purple tube that’s shiny with an applicator in the lid, yada yada… I got the large tube because a small one was £10.50 but the large was £16 which was twice the amount of product and I foresee myself using this a LOT and not being able to buy more for possibly 3 more years (actually, it depends where I emigrate to, but Ireland’s not known for its availability of make-up brands, and neither is New Zealand). Having said that, I’ve seen it for sale on US Amazon for a reasonable price (it’s disgracefully expensive on UK Amazon), so now that I know I like it, I will probably just get it off there after I emigrate to wherever I end up going, because aside from delivery to the UK, Amazon.com tends to be pretty good at international delivery.
I got the original; I didn’t ask the counter assistant what the difference was because I got this a few days before Christmas and the stores were literally heaving, and I was all like, “gimme makeups” like some sort of chemically deficient crack whore that needed a hit. If you’re wondering about getting into make-up, be warned that this will happen to you despite your best intentions at moderation and temperance! Joking aside though, the assistants were rushed off their feet and I didn’t want to waste their time and add to their stress by asking inane questions about products, so I just went with original since I was fairly sure I’d be happy with any. …And I am SO happy with this product! If you’re uncertain which version to get, go with the original purple one!
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion glides on the eye easily, turning pretty much invisible once it’s on, and it also does the following things that I liked:
It makes the eyeshadow colors stand out more.
It makes the eyeshadow colors blend more easily.
It makes the eyeshadow colors MUCH easier to remove at night with less crappy residue under my eyes after using my micellar water.
It makes my eye area look fresh and vital.
I don’t know how it does all this, probably some sort of mysterious voodoo magic or something, but whatever it is, I am in LOVE with this product. It was always going to be a gamble, getting a product that I’d wanted for so long, but in this case, it DEFINITELY lived up to all my expectations.
I’ve seen a lot of people claiming that the MAC Pro-Longwear Paint Pots are a better base for eyeshadow, but having used those in the past, I could not disagree more. The Urban Decay eyeshadow primer potion is much kinder to the eye area and looks way better under eyeshadow, and it gives better blendability too.
Thank-you, Urban Decay, for making the most fabulous eyeshadow primer ever!
I decided to do the ultimate concealer comparison between the two most popular concealers available to cosmetics junkies: MAC Pro Longwear Concealer and Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser Concealer (which is also known as Maybelline The Eraser Eye Instant Anti Age concealer as it recently got re-branded for the UK, which is why it says this on my product).
While both products come in glass bottles, the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser one is better packaged, with a twist top and a fuzzy under-eye applicator. It took a LOT of twisting to get my twist-top to dispense product, but I had the same problem with the MAC Pro Longwear’s pump top, and I remember with both of them spending ages trying to get them to dispense and wondering if I’d bought duds!! I’m not very patient haha.
2. Value for Money:
Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser is $6.99 (or £7.99) but you get 6.8ml where there’s 9ml in the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer although it costs $21.00 (or £17.50), so the Maybelline one is still better value for money.
I’ve done photos of the swatches. I’m neutral toned but I prefer yellow undertones to a product so MAC’s NC20 was matched to me in the shop (as their warm/cool is ass-backwards compared to everyone else’s). MAC Pro Longwear concealers are available in a huge range of colors so there’s something for everyone. The Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser lost points here because it only comes in “light” or “medium” and I bought light but really it was very pink which I disliked.
The MAC Pro Longwear had better coverage on its own or on top of foundation BUT it came at the expense of looking cakey. Underneath foundation, Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser was better. As you can see in the photo below, without any other makeup on my face, both products give similar coverage to each other, but both products have a transparency that appears in bad lighting (see second picture when I’ve fiddled with the camera settings to replicate bad lighting).
The Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser has a MUCH better finish, it looks more natural where the MAC Pro Longweaer concealer caked into my fine lines and even found new ones that I don’t usually have. Obviously, the old lady look isn’t what I’m going for when I use a concealer so this is a huge dealbreaker for me.
6. How does it work with other make up?
The MAC Pro Longwear works over most foundations although even with moisturizer and primer it really magnifies those fine lines which bothers me. The Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser concealer looks more natural underneath foundation, and works well to minimize the appearance of discoloration and skin imperfections. I put Sana Keana Pore Putty BB Pact (a sort of BB cream foundation crossover) over the two concealers, and added lipgloss because my lips were dry, but didn’t put any other products on, and the results are quite good – although it’s obvious that, even under the Sana Pore Putty, the MAC Pro Longwear concealer has gone translucent and the dark patch is showing through under the eye, whereas the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser has done a much better job of making the imperfections disappear.
I find the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser to be less drying and irritating to the eye where the MAC pro longwear concealer is both more drying and more irritating, and leaves my eye area sensitive even after I remove my make up. For this reason, I find myself reaching for the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser more.
8. Long Lasting:
I found they both lasted as long as each other, the MAC pro-longwear creased from the moment it was dry so it didn’t really wear very well and its formulation makes it a total bitch to fully remove without micellar water. The Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser was easier to remove and didn’t seem to disappear over the course of the day.
I like the color range, coverage and blendability of the MAC one, but the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser Concealer gives a much better finish overall and is more comfortable to wear, so I personally prefer the Maybelline one even though the color is definitely not perfect for my skin, because I can put foundation or powder over the top to correct color but I can’t do anything to cover up the problems I have with the MAC one. I would still use the MAC one, but not on dull, dark days or evenings or any time I might go into bad lighting. Overall, if you are looking for a new concealer and can’t decide between the MAC pro longwear concealer and the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser, I would recommend the Maybelline one, available here in the US (where it’s still called Age Rewind) or here in the UK (where it’s been renamed Maybelline Instant Anti-Ageing The Eraser Eye) (affiliate links, but obviously I only link to things I actually recommend even if, such as in this case, it’s the cheaper option).
Have you tried either of these? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments!
I did a fun beauty investigation over the past week to find out whether hairspray, setting spray (or nothing) is better for making your make-up stay put in a variety of weather conditions! The video’s tests are hilarious but it’s asking a real and important question about a beauty product that most of us use without thinking (or have in a drawer and forget about, if you’re like me).
Does setting spray or hairspray work better in a rainstorm?
I tested setting spray against no setting spray then got into the shower to see what they did in a rainstorm. Oh that was hilarious!!
Next I took my make-up off, did a complete reapply and tested setting spray against hair spray in first a light rainstorm (shower on low) then a heavy one (shower on high).
I found that hairspray worked marginally better but neither of them were really designed to stand up to this sort of abuse.
Does setting spray or hairspray work better during exercise?
After the rain test I took my experiment outside to find out what was better to keep make-up in place during exercise. I did about 30 minutes of exercise outdoors on a hot day to see which product was best at fighting make-up meltdown.
Lastly, to test for whether setting spray or hairspray was better during those really hot days for example when you’re on a long bus ride, I used my hairdryer. Unexpectedly, the heat from the hairdryer made any perspiration evaporate but it did also show some interesting results about make up that’s been fixed with setting spray – on the side of my face where I used setting spray, I ended up with a nasty little breakout on my cheek. On the side where I used hairspray, this did not happen (and my eye make-up looked fresher on the hairspray side).
Conclusion: Hairspray isn’t just a cheap alternative to setting spray. If you need your make up to last longer, hairspray is actually better. Which leads to the question, why is Studio Fix called a setting spray not something else???
I did not look at whether spraying your make-up brushes with setting spray would increase the intensity of eye shadow colours. Maybe in a future investigation…
What do you think of my little experiment? Let me know your thoughts!
It’s time for my most epic review of this month; which is better, Revitalash Advanced, Rapid Lash or Grande Lash MD??
I used Rapid Lash for the first five months of 2015. I switched to Revitalash Advanced in May 2015 and used it through November 2015 (I stopped in mid November due to severe pregnancy sickness which was nothing to do with the Revitalash but it did throw my beauty regime down the toilet). As a result I wrote an article comparing Rapid Lash and Revitalash.
I did find out that these lash products are not recommended for use during pregnancy due to lack of evidence about the effects. In February, when I was no longer pregnant, I was going to buy more Revitalash Advanced but the price went up a LOT then I saw there’s been an explosion of new lash serums onto the market. Scrutinizing the ingredients pretty cautiously (because this stuff is going on my eyes) I selected Grande Lash MD as my new lash serum because it didn’t look like a bad knock-off (a fake dupe – a dupe that doesn’t actually work but looks a lot like the real thing) of Rapid Lash or Revitalash Advanced (assume I mean Revitalash Advanced where I say “revitalash” in the rest of this article). I have reviewed a couple of the lash serums that don’t have any proper active ingredients, to see how they compared to Rapid Lash, but spoiler alert, their lengthening effects were instant but those effects washed off again.
That’s not to say these are the only three that work, just the only three I’ve tested and found to work.
All the products I talk about in this review really work to grow your lashes, the question I want to answer in this lash serum review is: Which one is better?
This is what Grande Lash MD looks like:
I really liked the packaging for Grande Lash MD – the metallic orangey bronze colour was a refreshing pop against the Revitalash and Rapid Lash packaging, both of which are silvery. I have noticed most of the cheap knock offs of Revitalash and Rapid Lash have silver packaging as well – presumably to get you to think they’re just as good. I actually chose Grande Lash MD out of a long list of lash serums on Amazon.com because it looked a bit different to the others – it stood out. I liked that it dared to be different with packaging. I know it doesn’t affect the quality of the product… but still… I liked it.
Grande Lash MD works the same way as Rapid Lash and Revitalash. It makes your lashes grow using a special ingredient called a “bimatoprost analog” (an analog of prostaglandin, used in glaucoma drugs and Latisse). When the product is applied to the lashes once a day (usually at night, so that your mascara doesn’t interfere with it), after 4-8 weeks the lashes should be longer. I tried Grande Lash MD for 3 months to see how it stood up against Revitalash and Rapid Lash.
It’s in a long tube with a thin brush inside. You use the brush to paint the product over your eyelashes at the base. The product is colourless and transparent, and it dries invisible with no residue or sticking of the lashes.
And here’s a handy table of comparisons:
As you can see from the comparison table, they all have the same active ingredient. There’s a lot of new lash serums on the market that claim to be good but don’t have any useful active ingredients. Call me a sourpuss, but if people put “eyelash serum” or “eyelash conditioner” on the label of a product, I expect them to have at least made an effort to put something into the product, some ingredient or other, that will actually make my lashes grow. That’s why these three are so great.
Grande Lash MD vs Revitalash:
If you’ve got the money for Revitalash, I’d buy Revitalash for 2 reasons – 1. the results were faster. 2. The results were better. So my lashes grew to their longest overall length with the Revitalash and the results started being visible from week 3. After 6 weeks of using the Revitalash, my lashes were phenomenal lengths. If it was easier to photograph eyelashes on my phone I’d definitely have comparison pictures. When I can afford a Macro Lens I will add some better pictures of my eyelashes.
If you haven’t got the money for Revitalash, your only options for actual lash growth are Grande Lash MD or Rapid Lash. I’ve already written a comparison review of Revitalash vs Rapid Lash. Let’s see how Grande Lash MD and Rapid Lash compare to each other:
Grande Lash MD vs Rapid Lash.
Grande Lash MD is already winning because it’s cheapest of the two, and if money is your main concern you will actually get better value for money from the Grande Lash MD. The results I got were not as good as with the Rapid Lash, BUT there was no irritation (for me personally) with the Grande Lash MD. If you remember my article comparing Rapid Lash and Revitalash, I complained that the Rapid Lash left a dark line above my lashes and it also irritated my eyes. I have had absolutely no bad reaction to the Grande Lash MD – even when I used it twice a day for a week to see what would happen (which I tried with the other two as well). The effects I experienced with Rapid Lash won’t happen to everyone who uses it, so it’s likely that you will not have this problem with Rapid Lash, but for me, Grande Lash MD is the better option because it didn’t harm my eye area.
Where can I buy them?
I get these from Amazon because they are genuine products and a LOT cheaper than paying recommended retail price. Revitalash is also available from beauticians (their website has a search option) and Rapid Lash is available from some drugstores (Boots in the UK sells it), but Amazon is the cheapest place to get them. Here’s the affiliated links (US):
Obviously you can’t use them on different days at the same time to test them because the results take a while to show. I started with Rapid Lash, using it once a day (at night) coating the roots of my lashes with it for a few months. I also tried using it twice a day for a week.
This did accelerate results quite well but also made the irritation a LOT worse leading to me using it less. I moved onto the Revitalash and used that once a day (at night, as instructed by the packet), covering the base of my lashes, as shown on the video, which is slightly different to the application method described on the tube.
The tube says “at the base of the lashes, like eyeliner” but the video that Revitalash made shows that’s not how you use it. I found the method shown on the video to produce good results. I tried using Revitalash twice a day and my lashes did get longer but I also noticed that my eyes were looking more sunken.
One huge downside to Revitalash is that it reduces the amount of fat around the eye (I can’t find the scientific study that showed this but Latisse has the same effect) – so if you use too much of it, it can make you look aged while you are using it for the initial 4-6 weeks. Once your lashes have reached their best length, you can scale back to using Revitalash one or twice a week, I found twice a week was best to maintain beautiful long lashes. At this point, your eyes will go back to normal if you were affected by fat loss.
What about Latisse?
I really *really* want to try Latisse for a fair comparison. I usually buy all my products with my own money, but Latisse is the only one I would make an exception for: If the manufacturers would like to send me a sample, I would be only too happy to try it out and write about it. There are mountains of evidence from clinical trials that show that Latisse works, but it would be fantastic to see how much better (or worse) it works than these other serums.
Sadly, it’s not available in the UK because we have an NHS and so there’s no market for doctor-prescribed lash growth serums, it’s seen as an un-necessary expense. If it becomes more normal in the UK for people on a middle income to choose a private doctor’s consultation, perhaps in the future Latisse will be available in the UK. In the meantime, since 90% of my readers are American, perhaps you could add any experiences you have had with Latisse to the comments to help other readers?
And a warning:
One disturbing trend I’ve noticed on the internet is people are buying Bimatoprost from online pharmacies in America at generic drug prices, to try and get cheap Latisse. Young teenagers are making videos telling people to do this.
This is highly dangerous because the concentration in generic Bimatoprost is very high (it’s specifically formulated for people with glaucoma; its actual mechanism is designed to reduce eye pressure) and it will cause the pressure in your eye to drop too low, causing a medical condition known as hypotony which can lead to loss of vision. As with many pharmaceuticals, this will not happen instantly, the effect will get worse over time but once you have damaged your vision it’s not reversible.
Please, please don’t be stupid, long lashes are NOT worth blinding yourself for!! That is why, if you cannot afford Latisse or it isn’t available in your country, it’s better to get Revitalash, Grande Lash MD or Rapid Lash, these products are made to go on lashes and if anything goes wrong, these companies are accountable. If you buy actual glaucoma drugs on the sly to make longer lashes and you go blind, it is your own fault. As an analogy, using pharmacy-grade Bimatoprost to grow your lashes is like using thick house bleach to dye your hair. Would you dye your hair with the bleach you clean your toilet with??? Of course not, the concentration is far too high! Save yourself the horror and buy a real lash serum.
UPDATE 2020: I’ve updated the article above as some of the info has changed, and I also wanted to comment on a worrying trend that’s sweeping Amazon. Dubious quality products (some very expensive) calling themselves “lash growth serums” have flooded the market from brands that aren’t real, aren’t established, and when you dig deeper into them, they aren’t FDA regulated or EU regulated companies. Please keep safe online and only buy these sort of products from reputable companies. I intend to write a full article exposing these fake companies and their fake review practices once I have the time (the joys of being a full-time working mother).
I will remind readers that I use Amazon Associates because Amazon offers the best value. This does not affect the price you pay.
So this week’s video is of all my UNfavorites, as I clear out my make up drawer of products from the last couple of years that haven’t been bad enough to bin straight away, but haven’t really wowed me in any way either. There is a special visit from a special visitor about halfway through (clue: He’s orange and really, REALLY cute). Enjoy:
So I’m still waiting for the white hair to arrive for the Lily Munster tutorial, in the meantime, here’s another thing you can do with a black wig (or straight long black hair if you’re so blessed), white foundation and black eyeliner. Enjoy:
I did the Kat Von D One Product Makeup Challenge… 10 TIMES! The results are hilarious. The Kat Von D One Product Makeup Challenge is where you use only one product to create a full face of makeup. I took it one step further, trying to use the most random products I could think of, I did a full face of make-up using each product on its own then washed each one off and did the next one.
I just put it up on my beauty channel, enjoy: