donderdag 21 augustus 2014

My Holiday in Greece

Instagram:  @charlhxo

So on Monday night I returned from my 10-day holiday in the beautiful island of Corfu, Greece. Ten days filled to the brim with delicious food, gorgeous views, walks along the beach, visiting castles and forts, swimming in one of the most gorgeous swimming pools I've ever seen and walking through quaint little streets filled with restaurants and cute souvenir shops. It was amazing and I really can't even believe I'm back already. Time flew by so quickly while I was there and I would give anything just to go back.
We stayed in a little, but very beautiful hotel. There were only 40 rooms and just one pool, and there wasn't any animation whatsoever. I actually really liked that! The first few days were spent wandering around all of the little towns and visiting quite a few monuments, like the old and new fort in Corfu town. The last couple of days were spent chilling by the pool and reading a lot. I actually finished reading the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, and am now starting to read the second book. It consumed me to the point where I couldn't even think about anything else- when we were climbing one of the forts, I couldn't help but imagine I was walking around King's Landing, haha. I've been obsessed with both the Game of Thrones tv-series and the A Song of Ice and Fire book series, but that's a whole different topic. I might do a blog post on it as soon as I've finished reading the book and watching all the seasons!
Our third day was probably my favourite. We rented a little boat to explore the Northern coast of the island. It was so nice to just lay in the sun whilst being cradled by soft waves, looking at all the beautiful views. I actually even jumped into the ocean once, but immediately came out because not being able to see the bottom of the ocean is something that scares me a lot haha. After a while, we came across a tiny little bay. There where four restaurants on the beach, and you could just boat there and people would tie up the boat for you (I'm so sorry, I don't know the correct English word for this, haha!). We ate in one of those restaurants, which had that typical Greek atmosphere. Both the view and the food where both incredible, and the people were so so friendly and nice. We ate with our feet in the sand, and after we'd finished eating we could just swim into the ocean and lay on the beach for a while. It was the most incredible day and just thinking about it makes me sad to be back home again.

I really love being back home again. I missed my own bed so much, and just the familiarity and even the scents of your own home almost feels as good as relaxing on the beach on an island in the mediterranean. Almost. With a lot of imagination.
Have you been on a holiday this summer?

woensdag 14 mei 2014

Review: Nyx Jumbo Eye Pencils

A few weeks ago, I decided to order some NYX products. NYX has always been a brand I’ve wanted to try, but because it’s not readily available where I live I never really got the chance to try any of their products. I knew I could order them online, but always thought you had to have them shipped over from the US and I really couldn’t be bothered by that. On a boring Saturday evening, I discovered that a well known Dutch beauty store stocks NYX products in their online shop, so I really couldn’t resist any longer and caved. I ordered a few things, including four of their well-known jumbo eye pencils.

The most popular shade of the Jumbo Eye Pencil is most definitely the shade ‘Milk’, which is, like the name suggests, a white colour. I’ve seen many beauty bloggers use it as an eyeshadow base, to make other eyeshadow colours pop even more. I don’t know why, but I didn’t get ‘Milk’. Instead, I got four neutral shades. I got ‘Yogurt’, a really pretty, pearlescent pink colour. ‘Gold’, is, like the name suggests, a warm, gold colour. ‘French Fries’ is a nice bronze shade, and ‘Dark Brown’ is, again, as the name suggests, a dark brown shade which is so dark it’s almost black.
f.l.t.r.: Yogurt, Gold, French Fries, Dark Brown

All of the shades are extremely pretty and easy to work with. The only shade I don’t really like is ‘Gold’, which I find a little bit too dark for my skintone; it makes me look like I cried. In the photos I’m wearing Yogurt in the inner corner of my eye, Gold on my lower waterline, Dark Brown on my upper lashline and French Fries as a base colour on the eyelid. 

The NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils are super creamy, which makes them really blendable and easy to apply. I do, however, find they take a little while to dry, so when you first apply them they can be a little bit sticky- I sometimes feel that when I apply them on my upper lashline, the colour can transfer to my upper eyelid, which isn’t really a good look. Besides that, they’re extremely pigmented. I mean, look at those swatches- I only went over them once! When I used a transparent eye shadow base, they stayed on all day with minimal creasing. I do think that an eye shadow primer is a must if you, like me, have oily eyelids, to avoid creasing. The pencils contain quite a lot of product (0.18 oz.) which is really nice as well.

The final verdict? I really, really like these. NYX is a pretty cheap brand and I think these Jumbo Eye Pencils are most definitely worth the money. They’re long lasting, the shade range is absolutely beautiful and you get a lot of product for your money. The only downside to this is that it does require sharpening, which can lead to wasting a little bit of the product. I’ve also read that they crease quite a lot on some people. I don’t find they crease on me, as long as I use a good eye shadow base, but it differs among some people. I'm really converted to NYX products and can't wait to try more of their products. 

Have you tried any of these? Would you like to see a review on the other NYX products i bought? 

dinsdag 13 mei 2014

My Evening Skincare Routine (+ My First Youtube Video!)

As I’ve written before, I have oily skin and have been dealing with acne since I was 11 years old. It started with small little bumps on my forehead (which I used to cover with a ridiculous emo fringe, haha), then slowly made its way to my cheeks. My acne hit an all time low when I was 14- my entire cheeks where covered in red, painful sores and I was too afraid to leave the house without any makeup on my face, in case people started laughing at me. I don’t think I’ve ever been so insecure about anything in my life. When you’re 14, life isn’t exactly easy, and even though this might sound a little bit over the top, I had to deal with a lot of things. My self-esteem was practically non-existent and in the evenings I used to cry because I felt so ugly- I felt like I was my acne. I remember thinking ‘I would be the happiest girl if my acne just went away’ and hoping that when I woke up the next day, it would have just magically disappeared. It didn’t.
So after about a year of having to deal with angry, red lumps on my skin, I literally begged my mum to put me on birth control. My doctor told me that it would clear up my acne a lot, and it did. I was so happy. It wasn’t completely gone, but it had calmed down and I was so grateful for that.
My skin cleared up but I still had a few breakouts every now and then. I was pretty content with my skin, until about two years ago. I had just finished high school and was getting ready to go to uni, when my skin started freaking out again. I don’t know if it was stress, hormonal changes or just being in a different environment (I moved to uni), but I started getting horrible hormonal breakouts on my cheeks. It was at its worst in November 2012- I kept telling myself that it wasn’t so bad, that it would go away and that there were people who have much worse acne, but looking back at pictures I took of my skin around that time, it was really, really bad. So I did what I always wanted to do: I went on acne medication. I started medication in February 2013 and had to take it for three months straight. I also got a prescription acne cream which totally burned off my skin, but it helped. After about a week I already started seeing results, and after two weeks, my skin was completely clear! I couldn’t believe it, because I couldn’t remember the last time my skin was completely clear. So a few months went by, and then in September, it came back. I think it was a combination of hormonal changes and using the wrong products (NEVER use Origins products if you have sensitive skin and suffer from acne- the essential oils in them will make your acne even worse. I know, I bought a lot of Origins products last summer and even posted about them and said that they were incredible –which they were, initially- but after a few weeks my skin went CRAZY). So I went on the same medication. It went away, again. My skin cleared up for a few months. So now I don’t really have acne anymore, just the casual breakouts that I try to keep in control with a simple skincare routine, targeted at sensitive skin.
My skin is also pretty oily. I used to use products that would dry my skin out, but those resulted in my skin producing even more oil. So now I opt for a mattifying product in the mornings, and restore the hydration in my skin with a more nourishing product at night, to balance things out.     

I always double cleanse to make sure all of the makeup and dirt is removed, before I continue my skincare routine. I first use a micellar water to take off my lip and eye makeup. At the moment, I’m using Bioderma Sensibio H20, which is a true blogger favourite. I think most other micellar waters are the same though, I’m not really picky when it comes down to them. I really want to try the Garnier micellar water next though, since it’s much cheaper than the Bioderma one and they basically do the same thing.
After that, I remove my face makeup. For this step, I use an oil or a balm. I really like the feeling of cleansing your face with an oil. Even though my skin is oily, I find that using an oil or balm cleanser balances my skin out more and doesn’t make my skin feel dehydrated. My skin feels really nourished and soft afterwards, not dry like you get with some other makeup removers. At the moment, I’m using the Body Shop’s Camomille Silky Cleansing Oil. It’s really amazing and I couldn’t recommend it enough. It doesn’t irritate the skin, doesn’t leave an oily residue but still leaves the skin really soft, supple and hydrated. It doesn’t have a strong scent and as far as I know, doesn’t really contain any irritating ingredients.

I always follow up with a milk or gel cleanser. At the moment I’m using a cleansing milk, and I always tend to opt for cleansers targeted at sensitive skin. My current favourite milk cleanser is the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser. It’s nothing really fancy- just a simple cleanser, which does the job really well and I love using it.

I always tone after cleansing, to restore the pH balance of my skin and to prepare it for any following treatments. I tend to avoid toners that really dry out the skin, and tend to look for toners that have a few extra properties, like a little bit of exfoliation or toners that give that extra boost of hydration. The current toner I’m using is the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Astringent Lotion with Micro-Exfoliating properties. This contains citric acid and salicylic acid, which exfoliate the skin and gets rid of dead skin cells. I’m not quite sure about this toner; it contains a lot of alcohol, which isn’t really good for the skin. It doesn’t dry out my skin, but I’m still looking for another toner.

I always make sure to use an eye cream. I’m only 19 years old, but I’m terrified of getting little wrinkles underneath my eyes, so I always make sure to moisturize the under-eye area. I don’t use an anti aging treatment, just a cooling eye cream to reduce puffiness and give a little bit of hydration to the skin. I’m currently using the Lierac Dioptigel, which is really gentle and feels amazing.
My treatment/moisturizer is the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo. I really, really love this. It’s targeted at acne-prone skin and aims to declog the pores and purify the skin. At first I thought this was breaking me out even more, but now I’ve been using it for a few weeks I definitely see a difference in my skin. It really helps to keep my acne under control. Sometimes it does feel like it’s burning my skin a little though, but because I apply a soothing moisturizer afterwards it’s not too bad.
The moisturizer I use after that is the La Roche-Posay Toleriane moisturiser. It’s just a really simple moisturizer which doesn’t contain any fancy ingredients, but it’s super soothing and my skin feels really velvety and smooth after I’ve applied this. I just massage this into the skin. I really like this moisturizer, it helps to keep my skin in check and I will definitely repurchase it, like the most products in my skincare routine.

I thought I would include two little extra products I always use after completing my skincare routine. The first thing I use is a lip balm, and I always make sure to have a little pot of the Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm on hand. When I first started using this, I thought the texture was quite weird. It’s a really stiff lip balm, and you need to use the heat of your fingers to warm it up and make it melt. This might be a little bit weird at first, but after you’ve gotten used to that, it is literally amazing.  It is the best lip balm I’ve ever tried; I love the texture, the scent, the packaging, just everything about this product. My lips feel super hydrated in the morning and I will always, always repurchase this.
I also use a hand cream. I own a ton of hand creams, because my hands tend to get really dry at times. At the moment I’m loving the Body Shop Wild Rose hand cream. It’s actually aimed at mature skin, to help with wrinkles and sunspots on your hands. It contains SPF 15, which is really nice because we often forget to apply sunprotection to our hands, which can result in premature aging of the skin on our hands. I love rose scented products, and this hand cream sinks into the skin immediately. I hate having sticky hands after applying a hand cream, so that definitely makes this a winner.

I only filmed my evening skincare routine because in the morning, I use the same products- I just cleanse with the Bioderma micellar water, tone with the Effaclar toner, use the Lierac eye cream and moisturize with the Effaclar Duo treatment. I don’t use an extra moisturizer in the morning, because my skin can get really oily during the day. A lot of French pharmacy products, especially La Roche-Posay ones, but I just really like them. They're simple, targeted at sensitive skin and effective; what more could I possibly ask for?!
Thank you so much for watching my video and reading this enormous blog post. Please leave a comment with what you think of it so I can improve myself! What’s your skincare routine?