Winter to Spring Beauty Shelf

I haven’t done a beauty post in quite a while, mostly because there wasn’t a lot to tell. I do still experiment, but at my age it takes a lot to impress me, so posts like this tend to be thinner on the ground. However, February and March have been good for new discoveries that I’m happy to recommend.

Typical with me, its more skin care than anything else. Can’t help it. Have been like that since my teens when I bought my first jar of Noxema (remember that stuff?).

Ok, to start with is something from one of my favourite French brands, Avene. I have relied on Avene for several years, ever since peri menopause started messing around with my previously good skin. If you are having problems with redness aka “Farmer Fred’s Wife Face”, I can’t recommend their anti redness cream and treatment concentrate highly enough. This time though, I am treating a small patch of sun damage on my nose that developed after last Summer. Entirely my own fault. I haven’t been consistent with sun protection the past couple of years. Thankfully, the patch was small to start with and has shrunk since, but it is taking a LONG time to clear, assuming it does. It isn’t especially noticeable, but its a wake up call for sure. Avenue Cicalfate, is formulated with copper sulphate, zinc sulphate and Avene’s thermal water to keep the area well hydrated and promote healing.

I recently re-subscribed to My Little Box, the French beauty box subscription that I have had in the past. I had bagged the subscription a year ago when I wasn’t happy with the direction it was going. However it has been looking a lot better lately, so I decided to give it another try. This month, among other things, was a travel size from a French brand I haven’t tried until now. Garancia is a pharmacy botanical brand and like pretty much all French skin care products, there is some serious science behind it.

Pschitt Magique Nouvelle Peau is a micro-peeling mousse cleanser/treatment that works with a soap free, plant based formula. I don’t know about the peel aspect, but boy does it ever work well! You use it on clean skin, so get the make up off first. Apply to clean, dry skin and massage in gently. Leave it for 30 seconds and rinse well. Its meant to remove dead surface skin cells cleanly without stripping or drying. As with any good cleanser or treatment, I find my serums and moisturisers absorb beautifully afterwards and I think, work much more effectively. You know there’s a downside here, don’t you. The price – 15 euros on the mainland, £25 for 100 ml here in the U.K. and so far I’ve only been able to find it for sale via Garancia’s Amazon UK site. Oh and let’s not forget £9 delivery on top. Arrggg! So this isn’t going to be an everyday use product. More like once or twice a week, and then only if I’m feeling flush and have some on hand. Since we are going to Paris in July this year and visiting a pharmacy in the city aka Skin Care Fiend Heaven, I’ll pick up a couple of bottles.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse I have posted about before and it continues to be a staple. You can add this to body lotions and face creams to boost their efficacy, use it to smooth split ends or frizz, use it instead of your usual serum/moisturiser combo as an intensive overnight treatment and massage it into your nails, cuticles and hands. Get those Winter dry feet into shape for sandal weather with this gorgeous dry oil as well. Completely non-greasy (unless you’ve poured half the bottle on) and with a divine scent. If you haven’t tried a multi purpose skin oil before, this is the one to go for. The 50 ml bottle lasts absolutely ages and is £17.00, which is a bargain when you see what most of them cost. The formula is a secret, but again, like other French skin care brands, is made with botanical ingredients and no chemical nasties.

Right, hair care up next. I can’t remember when I last posted anything hair related. My mother in law inadvertently introduced me to this smoothing balm. She uses the one for blondes, but I don’t know where she gets it now as John Frieda don’t appear to be making it any more. If you are like me, you’ve had frizzy hair pretty much since birth. Add the damp British climate (ditto the Maritime air!) along with colouring/straightening/blow drying and Frizz Ease Secret Agent Touch Up creme is the answer to your problems. Who hasn’t heard of Frizz Ease, but beats me why I haven’t even thought to try it myself until I saw it in the MIL’s bathroom. £5 -£6 depending where you buy it and a tube lasts ages. Just work a small between your fingers and rake it through your hair, working it into the ends more. Presto, buh-bye frizz. Lasts through a day out in the windy, damp miserable British late Winter/early Spring too.

Last is make up. I have at least three times more skin care than cosmetics, but I am very serious about two products; mascara and lipstick. If I wear nothing else, its one or both of those two. Eye shadow? Not really interested. Eye liner? Have it, seldom use it. Blush? Since menopause you have got to be kidding. Foundation? Only if I’m going out or my skin is looking really tired and then its Estee Lauder Doublewear Light. I’ve tried numerous foundations over the years and have found this is one cosmetic I need to spend more on to be happy with the end result.

In the French beauty box this month was a travel size Givenchy Noir Couture Volume Mascara Volume Extreme in Black Taffeta. I’ve never tried Givenchy beyond their fragrances, so it was fun to get the chance with something from them that I know I’d use. The mascara is very dense and glossy and holy sh*t, do you ever get the so-called false lash effect with it. And that’s just with one coat. I can’t imagine needing two coats. This hits you with the glam on the first go. The bristles are arranged in a spiral around the wand, which is somewhat thinner at the top and a bit fatter at the bottom. This is different from the usual volumising mascaras, which largely rely on a fat, square brush to deliver the effect. However, this doesn’t work if you have short and/or sparse lashes (hello brands? Got that?)

At £25 per its slightly more than my other favourite premium brand mascara, Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme mascara. The EL one is also volumising with a tapered brush, but I think you get better control over how much product is going on with the EL mascara simply because you can get the excess off the brush before applying. I gently run the wand over the edge of the opening of the tube before use. A make up artist recommended I try doing that and it really works. I found it difficult to get the excess off the Givenchy mascara, but that was the only criticism I have for it. Otherwise, if you are willing to spend the extra and want really show stopper lashes, this will do it for you.

That’s the lot from me kids. Its Friday and I’m off to get my aforementioned hair trimmed tomorrow. Yes, it finally grew out from that way too short pixie cut I got before Christmas. I really do need to settle down and stop going from one extreme to the other with the hair length/colour ….. or not.

Have a great weekend.

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