Marvala Nail Shield
A few months ago my nails were looking seriously worse for wear and I thought to myself “I know, I’ll try Gelish for a little while and see if it helps”…in the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman: big mistake, huge! Not only did Gelish not help, but it actually made my nails worse (not throwing shade at Gelish here, by the way, I think it’s bloody brilliant and I loved having glossy, chip-free nails for 2 months – if my nails were stronger I would absolutely have kept getting Gelish manicures). When my manicurist scraped the last trace of it from my nails, I was horrified; my nails were paper-soft, peeling and sore. Drastic action was required and I promptly marched myself to Clicks and bought the Marvala Nail Shield, a two-phase strengthening kit aimed at reinforcing weakened nails. The formula of Nail Shield has been developed to give nails resistance, protecting them from daily tasks and other damaging elements, with the idea being that the nails can then correctly regenerate and strengthen itself as their growth is protected from breaking, flaking and impacts.
The first phase contains fibers to create protective matrix over the nail to reinforce it. The second phase is smoothing top coat which is similar to a ridge-filler I suppose – it evens out the surface of the nail so that you can apply polish on top without it looking bumpy. I have been applying a light pink polish over the top for the past 2 months (OPI ‘Privacy Please’ is my current favourite) and I think it looks great. I have seen a remarkable improvement in the strength of my nails – they no longer bend on contact which is nice, and they aren’t sore anymore. There is still some peeling, but nowhere near as bad as when the Gelish first came off (or even prior to the Gelish, come to think of it). My nails are still a work in progress, but Nail Shield definitely helped speed along the recovery process.
Avène Gentle Milk Cleanser
I was initially put off by the name of this, because to me, milk cleansers are wishy-washy and don’t really do much for my skin. However, this offering from Avène is far more of a cream cleanser than a milk cleanser – the consistency is rich and comforting, and it’s packed full of Vitamin E so it’s incredibly moisturising. It is gentle yet effective – I use it as my second cleanse in the evenings and it zaps any trace of makeup that my first cleanse may have missed, and it’s definitely the best part of my morning skincare routine because it just feels so good (and has the signature Avène scent which I love). This is going to be a Holy Grail product for me, I can just feel it.Will there ever be an Avène product that I don’t adore? Doubts it.
I have been l.o.v.i.n.g. SOiL products this month – the Uplifting Coconut Bath Oil has become a regular fixture in my bath time routine, and I use the Rose Geranium and Grapefruit essential oils in my humidifier every single day (I have also been inspired by Tori and Talya and will be making my own candles using SOiL essential oils, but more on that at a later stage). Forgive the hippie moment, but I feel so happy when I use this brand because a) it’s local and b) it’s certified organic so I know it’s free of nasties. The founders of the brand actually farm, process and market the products themselves, so they are incredibly hands-on and are able to properly monitor the process from start to finish to ensure that every product is of the highest quality.
This shea butter has been a total skin saviour for me this winter – not only is it incredibly moisturising (obviously) but it’s completely pure, no colour, no scent, nothing. I have been slathering it on 3 nights a week, usually after a nice hot bath (I know hot baths dry out the skin but I am unrepentant because winter). I like to apply it as soon as I get out of the bath, while the bathroom is still filled with steam – I gently pat myself dry, then warm the oil up between my palms, and massage it in from top to toe. Given how greasy you will look/feel afterwards, I wouldn’t recommend using this in the mornings – save it for the evenings when you can lounge around and soak up all the glorious oil without worrying about how the hell you’re going to get your jeans on. In the morning you will be baby soft, I promise.
Healing Earth Stillness Bath Salts*
Another local hero, this time from Healing Earth, a holistic beauty and wellness brand. I love a good bath (if you hadn’t already noticed), and I am always on the lookout to try new products to take my soak to the next level. These bath salts contain pure sea salt crystals blended with 100% pure essential oils, and there are four options to choose from: Rhythm (nourishing), Joy (energising), Forest (relaxing) and Stillness (sleep enhancing) – I chose Stillness, which smells like actual heaven. I ran a bath last week and put in half a box of epsom salts (standard – I don’t bath without them anymore) and small handful of these. The whole bathroom was instantly filled with the aroma of lavender, and when I sunk into the warm water I felt instantly relaxed. I did sleep well afterwards, but then I always sleep well after a bath so I can’t say that it helped on that front. A lovely bath time treat nonetheless.
Maybelline Volume Express Big Eyes Mascara
This clever mascara contains two wands: a thicker wand for the top lashes, and a skinny little wand for the bottom lashes! It’s amazing what a difference it makes having the bottom lash wand – it really grips the lashes and distributes the product evenly without getting mascara smudges all over the place. As much as a love big, fat mascara brushes, they can be impractical for lower lashes as they can sometimes be a bit too cumbersome to do a proper job. This little wand leaves the bottom lashes looking incredibly natural, but still defined, which may sound kind of obvious, but when I think back to the Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara (RIP), I remembered that it did have a tendency to make the bottom lashes look a little spidery, particularly when it was new and hadn’t had a chance to dry out a little. The top lash wand of this mascara is fantastic too – it really builds up volume without clumping, and it wears well too. A gold star to Maybelline for this stroke of genius!