Brand rave: Avène

Hello my lovelies!!! How you've all been?
After a short hiatus, I'm back with a pretty lengthy post ;)

These Avene products have been sitting on my bathroom shelf for a couple of months; however, I kept prostoping to write a post about them, as I wanted my initial excitement to die down and feel 100% confident that I'll share with you my true and honest thoughts about them.

So here it is, after three days of scribbling and re-writing;
a chit-chat on Avene, pharmaceutical companies and their products.

Up until now, my experience with Avene was minimal, if not non-existent. I've only tried a couple of products on a whim, and regardless of my satisfaction, I never really cared to give in to the brand as my trust in The Body Shop, Korres and Apivita stood strong. Same story with the rest of the so-called "pharmaceutical" skincare brands: in my eyes, they were boring, lacking in natural ingredients and odd-smelling, which was enough to put me off and stay clear of such products.

Well, after using all these samples, I have reevaluated my views on skincare brands.
But first, here are the separate mini reviews:

Avene Eau Thermale: when it comes to thermal water sprays, I'm not the one to share the rather demeaning "water in a can" claims, but I guess it's something that is up to personal preference. I've had an on-and-off relationship with thermal sprays in the past, including this one; now that I was reminded again of their beneficial properties on the skin, I'm commited to use them as a permanent fixture in my skincare routine.

Now, I know for a fact that Avene was the first at promoting thermal water for healing and soothing sensitive skin, with the rest of companies following Avene's footsteps purely for profit/competitive reasons. However, I still want to try out the Vichy and La Roche-Posay thermal water sprays, just in case there's any detectable differences between them. We shall see!

Avene Micellar lotion: so far, the only experience I've had with micellar lotions has been with the one by Korres. Same as the latter, the Avene Micellar lotion did an amazing job at taking away all face and eye makeup, but it fell short at leaving my lashes 100% clean from mascara- which is no biggie, I wouldn't trade my Avene eye makeup remover for the world. Micellar lotions are fantastic at removing makeup without causing irritation or redness to sensitive skin. Their only flaw? You tend to go through them faster than regular makeup removers :(

Avene Cleanance gel: this cleanser is targeted to oily/blemish-prone skin, and despite my skintype falling under this category, it currently goes through a dehydrated phase that makes choosing skincare products a lot more complicating... That's why I was so happy (and relieved!) that this cleanser didn't strip moisture from my skin, which probably has to do with the fact it's SLS-free. It also left my face smooth to the touch, which made me reconsider my false notion that "only cleansers containing exfoliating beads result into smooth skin". Conclusion: I'm most definitely going to purchase the full size of this one!

Avene Soothing hydrating serum: this little gem is by far the most amazing product of the bunch! No other skincare product I've used before has made me want to touch my face non-stop after applying it, so that says a lot. The label should have read something like "miracle smoothing potion" in the front, because that's exactly what it does! Most importantly, it didn't aggravate my acne- which happens 9 times out of 10 I try out a new skincare product.

Of course, it hydrates the skin and can be worn on its own during hot summer days, but I think it performs its best under makeup as a lightweight primer that hydrates and smooths the skin before applying foundation. Big thumbs up for this serum!

Avene Reflexe Solaire SPF50+: this face sunscreen was launched this summer as an all-round sunblock that offers high protection from both UVB and UVA rays. Because of the packaging's shape, it can be easily slipped inside your handbag, beach bag or in the back pocket of your trousers, if you wish. In terms of texture, it's not fluid like the Clarins sunscreen that I love, however it spreads nicely on the skin without leaving white marks on the face.

_ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _ . _

Overall, this experience with Avene has taught me a couple of things, which you may already know by now; to me, it was a case of "seeing is believing".

First of all, I realised I've been missing out on some amazing products from pharmaceutical brands, purely because of my fixation to lotions and potions with a more "natural" approach- you know the ones I'm talking about... If I can get skincare products from the pharmacy that are affordable and do a better job than their "natural" counterparts, well, I've been a fool to pretend they don't even exist. And they're actually all smelling nice!

Also, the consistent quality that runs through each Avene product I've tried, in relation to their small-ish but consistent range of products, can only be described as quality over quantity. Up until now, I had lower expectations with all the new skincare products I've tried, and took for granted that they wouldn't perform as stellar as the label reads. But that's not a way to build a trusty skincare routine for that flawless skin; if a product claims it does wonders, it better do so! Am I right?

So, from now on, expect to see more pharmaceutical brands featured in this blog. I'm determined to expand my knowledge in Avene and the likes, and already preparing my first wishlist!

Phew, that's it! I hope you made it this far, kudos to you mighty reader!
What's your experience with Avene? Do share ;)

* The Avene samples were given to me for free. I'm only featuring them on this blog because they're worth it. Sharing my honest opinions, as always; my loyalty is to my lovely readers.

Evi   xx


Dior Amber Diamond shimmering powder, a review

I know, I know, this baby has already been reviewed to death-
but in case you're not bored yet, here's my version ;)

As many others before me, I succumbed to the hype of the Dior Amber Diamond powder. Does it live up to the claims everyone talks about? I certainly think so! It took me a while to get used to it though, since it stands apart from most powder highlighters on the market.

Look at it, my precious!!!

Amber Diamond is listed under "powders" in the Dior website, along with its sister Rose Diamond. It holds 10 gr of product in a sleek compact with a handy mirror, and has its own little velvet pouch (as all respectable high-end makeup products do!). All 5 shades could work as a sheer wash on the lids- if you like shimmery gold eyeshadow, that is.

[I've actually managed to drop it to the floor twice, thank goodness it has only cracked where the colours meet!]

As you can see, you get five complimentary golden-to-amber shades that you can even use individually to perfectly match your blush/lipstick combo you're wearing.

Now, here's the tricky part: you know how most powder highlighters provide only shine? Well, Amber Diamond has a certain colour to it. And the finest shimmer you could possibly find in a highlighting product. Combine those two facts together and you'll soon be
over-applying it in order to see some shine, while your cheeks get darker! For me, the best way to wear Amber Diamond is right after contouring, and definitely before blush application. Which is optional, anyway.

I tried to do a comparison swatch with a couple of other brozing/highlighting products in my makeup bag, but I think we can safely call it a fail: see any similarities?
Neither can I!

    Left to right: Dior Amber Diamond, TBS Bronzing Beads, TBS Bronze Shimmer Waves

Hopefully, you can see Amber Diamond's fine shimmer compared to the harshness of Shimmer Waves on the far right. That means it's ideal for skin with visible pores, oily skin, mature ladies, plus it looks pretty neat during daytime!

Personally, and contrary to what I've documented above, I wouldn't call the Dior Amber Diamond powder a "must buy": in retrospect, I'd much rather have spent my money to a high-end blush or bronzer than a highlighter! But if your collection lacks of a nice highlighting product and you have the money to spare, go for it. You'll love it.

Now tell me, are you tempted by all the raving reviews on Dior Amber Diamond?
Which is your favourite highlighter, ever?

Evi   xx


July '12 favourites.

It's funny writing about summery beauty products, when it's sooo gloomy outside!
Want proof? Scroll down to the last pic...

Much like June, July was a pretty boring month of no-makeup days. Same story every summer; I seem to lose interest in makeup when the days get hotter! Hence, July's favourites consist of only a few bodycare products.

Apivita Face Sunscreen for oily-combination skin, SPF30: yet another Apivita product that exceeds in quality its equivalent by Korres. It spreads beautifully on my skin with less amount of shine, plus it leaves no white film on the face as it's slightly tinted! And smells lovely, too. Can't help but feel proud that Apivita products can be compared with the very best on the market!

Korres After Sun with Aloe Vera: you know me, I go gaga over anything containing aloe vera... This body milk is perfect to quench my skin after sunbathing. I could do without the strong floral scent (jasmine, perhaps?)- still, it's a nice product and I enjoy using it.

The Body Shop Coconut Beautifying Oil*: these new all-round oils from the Body Shop are THE BOMB. They're loaded with natural oils with no parabens and they work brilliantly for face, body and hair. Actually, a little birdie at the Body Shop told me they're planning to transition all of their products to paraben-free, so that's good news.

Thanks to a suggestion by Ria, I own my very first glitter nail polish! I tried wearing it on top of a nude shade, but I think it looks fantastic over pastel colours. I'm seriously tempted to paint all my nails with this stuff, it would probably looks so damn kitch but I don't care!

[The baby blue nail polish I'm wearing in this pic is part of the new Colour Riche range by L'Oreal, I couldn't help myself and bought a couple of these babies! Xcuse the sloppy application- apparently, painting thick layers of nail polish while the fan is blowing air on your nails is not a good idea- hello lil' air bubbles!]

Also, I thought I'd mention how I spent most of my days during past month: the mandatory Agatha Christie novel -no fuss, easy-going storyline that doesn't dissapoint- and my new video game, Tales of Monkey Island! I mean, Age of Empires is nice, Sims are even better, but sometimes nothing can compete with a dorky RPG aimed at teens ;)

And you thought Greece couldn't compete with England? The hell we can't! There's your evidence: rain and cloudy sky during August. Unheard of, but we did it. Can't say I'm not enjoying it, though; Bring on the autumn!

Now, be random: which are your favourite crime fiction novels?
Any RPG games worth looking into? Do share ;)

* The oil from TBS was given to me for free. I'm showing it some blog love because, well, I love it! Sharing my honest opinions, as always.

Evi   xx

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