Review: Mecca Cosmetica “To Save Face SPF30+ Facial Sunscreen”

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For some strange reason I’ve been struggling to find a SPF moisturiser. I take full responsibility for this because I’m extremely picky with what skincare products I purchase. At the end of the day, quality is most valuable to me. In this instance, I didn’t care if it the moisturiser was SPF15+ or higher, I didn’t care if it was available from the chemist or from a high-end store.  After back-and-forth research and constant deliberation between numerous brands, my curiosity to try Mecca Cosmetica’s sunscreen always remained in the back of my mind.

After several months of putting it off, I finally decided to head to Mecca and buy it. The biggest downside that, I think, didn’t make me buy it immediately was it’s price. It is currently selling for AUD $38, which in my opinion is incredibly expensive for a moisturiser/sunscreen. However, I was happily compensated by the product’s quality.

I’m always searching for reliable skincare products, and it’s always a gamble because I’m never sure what product will be compatible with my skin and which ones won’t. I’ve tried countless products through the years so when something suits my skin, I instantly know. Mecca’s sunscreen is now one of those few products.

This is a weightless, matte finish cream. Although it dries and feels weightless, the moisturiser’s consistency is thicker than regular day creams that I’ve used. Because of its thicker consistency, it means that a little goes a long way (which is another pro after spending $38 on it). I have combination skin during the hotter and more humid seasons, and drier skin during the colder months, so I’m hoping this is a product that I can carry out through the entire year.

To Save Face SPF30+ Facial Sunscreen is incredibly light, non-greasy, and smells like a dream (pomegranate, to be specific) so if you’ve struggled finding a good moisturiser with an SPF like I have, then I highly recommend this gem!

Available at your local Mecca store or online.

Happy shopping

Trixie

Review: Troye Sivan’s “Blue Neighbourhood”

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Rating: ★★★★

Australian YouTube personality, singer, and LBGTQ advocate Troye Sivan has made waves in the music scene with Blue Neighbourhood, released in December 2015, with sixteen tracks in total. The album has managed to appeal to every music magazine, with reviews commending the young artist and general ratings of no less than 4 stars.

I first found about Sivan on YouTube, like most of his fans did, circa 2010-2011. I categorise YouTubers stars in two sections: the old school, and the new school. Old school include the classics like Nigahiga, Smosh, KevJumba and mychonny, who paved the way from new school personalities like Zoella, Tyler Oakley, IISuperwomanII, danisnotonfire – which Troye Sivan falls under. Admittedly, I never watched much of Sivan’s videos so when I heard about the release of Blue Neighbourhood, I wasn’t in a rush to listen to it.

The music video for YOUTH was released yesterday, which sparked my interest in listening to the rest of the album. The sound of YOUTH is probably the happiest and most danceable song on Blue Neighbourhood (besides WILD), making me reminiscent of old memories with old friends. Undoubtedly, the theme of Blue Neighbourhood are the three big L’s of every relationship: love, longing, and loss. Sivan perfectly executes the natural cycle of love with a delicate, dreamy, and melancholic sound. It’s hard to listen to this album without opening old wounds.

One of my favourite things about this album is that Sivan showcases local Australian talent, including Adelaide’s rap queen Tkay Maizda and Melbourne’s Allday. Although I don’t listen to Maizda and Allay frequently, it’s rewarding as a fellow Australian to imagine millions of people getting a taste our talent. Blue Neighbourhood captures the pop/alternative/electronic crossover that’s currently popular in the music scene, while simultaneously channelling sounds from the 90’s (think 90’s slow R’n’B tracks). However I found myself thinking how this record reminded me of Frank Ocean’s 2012 channel ORANGE as well.

Album standouts:

QUIET
YOUTH
for him.
SUBURBIA
BLUE

I’ve always had a soft spot for simple, stripped-down love songs so the very moment I heard the slow playing of the piano, I knew that the 15th song, BLUE, would be my favourite song on the album. A softly sung first verse by Sivan followed by a smooth chorus by Australian writer/producer/artist Alex Hope marked my doom. Scrolling the Internet to pass time, this song managed to stop me in my tracks. The entirety of the song is composed softly, sung intimately, and lyrically, it paints the imagery of a person consumed with so much love that they’re willing to do anything for their partner’s happiness .

Sivan perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to be young and in love – the dedication, devotion, desperation to the hope and the loneliness – the pure love and the pure heartbreak. Blue Neighbourhood isn’t a cure but moreover the perfect companion for your heavy heart, and the nostalgia and melancholy that comes with it.

Happy listening,

trixiewrites.

Watch Troye Sivan’s music video for YOUTH below.

Concert Review: The Maine Brisbane Show 2015

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The highly anticipated Australian tour has come and gone far too quickly. Consisting of only three dates (Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne), The Maine have finally made it down under after two years away from our shores, following their recent album release of American Candy. Fans have been able to catch The Maine at Soundwave in 2011, as support for Taking Back Sunday in 2012, and then in 2013 supporting their friends Anberlin. Although they haven’t returned in two years, the crowds at their 2015 shows welcomed the Arizona-based band back with open arms.

Over the past few years that they’ve been in Australia, it’s either for a festival or as a support band. This essentially means that they play less than ten songs, which isn’t that much considering that they now have five albums and two EPs under their belt. With their long-awaited and well-deserved headline tour, fans were blessed with an entire hour-and-a-half long set. I’m not sure how I dealt with their thirty-minute sets before because tonight wasn’t long enough for me at all. Time absolutely flew by.

I attended their Brisbane date at The Brightside, and it’s been about three years since I last saw The Maine so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Reflecting back on it, I think this was a good thing in the end. It felt like I was seeing them for the first time all over again. If anything, they were more energetic and happy than the last time I saw them, but this tour they were probably buzzing from the impressive turnout after such a long time away.

The atmosphere was one of love and support from both the fans and the band. There was a general consensus among fans who were so happy and relieved that The Maine had finally returned – and with a full set-list! We hit the jackpot! Apart from your typical adolescent male heckler, who was probably fresh out of school and was feeling especially confident with his high school crew with him, there was a mutual respect between the audience and the band. Between personal anecdotes and performing, the lead singer John O’Callaghan constantly expressed his gratitude at every opportunity he got.

The Maine Brisbane Show setlist (30/11/15)
Another Night On Mars
Right Girl
Diet Soda Society
My Heroine
Misery
When I’m At Home
I Must Be Dreaming
Miles Away
Everything I Ask For
Am I Pretty
Some Days
Into Your Arms (acoustic)
Like We Did (Windows Down)
Sad Songs
English Girls
Growing Up
American Candy

The Maine kicked off their show with “Another Night On Mars”. I’ve always imagined this as a closing song, due to the fact it’s the last one on American Candy, but that night I was proven wrong. It turns out it works just as effectively as the opening song. Another Night On Mars is an anthem-tune and with no prior expectation of actually hearing it live, I can tell you that witnessing it from the get-go made me ready for an entire set of sing-from-the-top-of-your-lungs-while-you-sway-with-your-friends kind of songs.

Their second song was Right Girl, which is one of their well-known songs from 2010’s Black & White, an album that solidified them as artists in the pop-punk/alternative scene. Their set had, understandably, a greater focus on their new releases, however the band allocated time for their old hits as well. Australian fans were blessed with four throwback songs: I Must Be Dreaming, Everything I Ask Four, Into Your Arms, and an alternative rendition of Growing Up.

To be completely honest, before the show I was unsure of what the crowd would be like. The Maine hadn’t played in Australia for two years and I was worried that there wouldn’t be a sufficient amount of people. My worries were immediately non-existent when I found myself in an almost-full venue. Talking to the guys after the show, they too seemed just as surprised as I was, telling me and other fans that they weren’t expecting such a successful turnout.

The Maine’s sound is always evolving and none of their albums resembles its predecessor, but a few things you can count on to remain constant and unchanging is their kindness and humility. They continuously, and without fail, treat every fan with respect and attentiveness. They are the most welcoming and humble band that I’ve been blessed to encounter, and I’m happy that 13-year-old me stumbled upon them all those years ago.

I remember the moment I discovered The Maine back in 2009. I was on YouTube, mindlessly going through one suggested music video after the other trying to kill time, when finally I stumbled upon The Maine. I remember it so vividly and so fondly; the initial click, and then the feeling that takes over you when you know you’ve discovered something special, something worthwhile, something putting energy into. It’s instantaneous, and if you enjoy music, I know you’ve had this feeling before.

Fast forward to 2015, I still have the same excitement, appreciation, pride, and admiration for their music as when I first listened to them. Watching them grow with each album, hearing them constantly improving with each release, and knowing that they’re really happy with what they produce has been a privilege.

As short-lived as the tour was, I’m extremely fortunate to have had the experience. I’m hoping it won’t take them two years again for them to return but their 2015 Australian shows are proof enough that we’re all still going to be here waiting for when they do.

Jared, Pat, Garrett, Kennedy, John – thank you. Special thanks to the Australian fans for making this tour a reality.

Happy listening,

Trixie.

Top 5 Bath Bombs from Lush + Review

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I remember the first time I ever stepped into a Lush store, which is almost two years ago, and remembered thinking that I couldn’t wait to try everything there. After a few years I’ve had the opportunity to try out their famous bath bombs. Below are my top five bath bomb recommendations:

  1. Twilight (AUD $6.95)
    This is my all-time favourite bath bomb that Lush has ever brought out. I remember as I was purchasing this, the lady at the register told me that Twilight had the capability of making you relaxed and ready to sleep – however, I didn’t believe her until I actually used it. Out of all the bath bombs, this was truly the most relaxing one. This is due to the essential oils of lavender and ylang ylang – which are soothing and calming scents. This is a really popular, and you’ll find that this particular bath bomb will be sold out at your local store, so be sure to check online (if it isn’t sold out there either).
  2. Dragon’s Egg (AUD $6.95)
    Dragon’s Egg, I personally think, is one of Lush’s more enjoyable bath bombs. It’s exterior is white with colourful dots placed on it, so from first glance it’s evident that this bath bomb has a few surprises up its sleeve. With no research prior to buying it, I think I just expected a white bath bomb with a few colours thrown in but I’m happy it didn’t turn out that way. After the white exterior bubbles away, an orange centre is revealed – this becomes the final colour of your bath. Dragon’s Egg contains lemon and bergamot oil, which are from the citrus family and is all your bathroom will smell of for the next few days. The smell of oranges will coincide with the colour of your bath at least. My favourite thing about this one is that it contains gold glitter and I spent most of the bath mesmerised by it.
  3. Phoenix Rising (AUD $6.95)
    I really like this bath bomb for its colour and properties. I was drawn to Phoenix Rising mainly due to the vivid purple, although it isn’t typically shaped like the other Lush bath bombs, which are round. In this case, Phoenix Rising is shaped like a trapezoid (or if you’re like me, and couldn’t remember your basic geometric shapes and had to Google that, this bath bomb looks like a small Christmas pudding). Another cool thing about Phoenix Rising is that includes gold glitter, which contrasts extremely nicely with the purple – just as mesmerising and a bit more magical than Dragon’s Egg. The main reason to buy this bath bomb is that it’s super moisturising, as it includes cacao butter, shea butter, and jojoba oil (which are ingredients found in most moisturisers). If you’re looking for hydration, then Phoenix Rising is for you. Be sure to get this quickly, this one’s quite popular too!
  4. Space Girl (AUD $6.50)
    If you walk into your local Lush store and look at the bath bombs, you’re immediately intrigued by this one, mainly because of its shape. Its designed to resemble the planet Saturn and its exterior is blue with orange glitter on top. I was expecting this bath bomb to a murky blue but was happily surprised to see the bath turn two different colours. The bath separates to purple and orange, but as you mix it around, you’ll find your bath with a colour in between. This bath bomb also includes glitter! Space Girl includes grapefruit oil, which gives your bath a blackcurrant scent, and bergamot oil, which gives you a touch of orange, as well as almond oil, which moisturises your skin.
  5. Big Blue (AUD $6.50)
    Although this bath bomb is listed last, it doesn’t make it any worse than the bath bombs above. In fact, Big Blue is a really cool bath bomb and leaves the water a really vivid blue. As a bath bomb that is supposed to imitate the ocean, this is quite relaxing. This also leaves your bathroom and skin with a lovely scent for the next several days. Big Blue includes sea salt, lemon oil and lavender oil which contributes to the relaxing aroma. Although I’ve ranked Big Blue as #5, I personally just prefer floral and citrus scents of the smell of sea salt and seaweed, but it didn’t detract from my experience.

You can purchase any of these bath bombs from your local Lush store or online.

Countries that sell Lush:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, UK, Ukraine, USA.

Review: Grown Alchemist Deep Cleansing Facial Masque and Matte Balancing Moisturiser

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Deep Cleansing Facial Masque ★★★★☆
Matte Balancing Moisturiser ★★★★☆

Over the past few days, I’ve been tossing up between purchasing new skincare from Aesop or Grown Alchemist. I was a bit skeptic of Grown Alchemist as they don’t list their full ingredients on their website, but I was also wary of Aesop after I read reviews that some of their products aren’t that effective. I decided to go to Myer to check both brands out and finally came to the conclusion of buying the “Deep Cleansing Facial Masque” and the “Matte Balancing Moisturiser“.

I’ve seen Grown Alchemist products at selected pharmacies, such as Priceline, and was curious about it but to be perfectly honest, I didn’t actively search for it until I stumbled upon their Instagram account. Similar to its stylish packaging, their online presence has an extremely clean and cool aesthetic appeal to it. I really enjoy the packaging and how it’s far more sanitary than masks in a tub.

Deep Cleansing Facial Masque (Wheatgerm, Ginkgo & Cranberry)

As you apply the masque onto you’re face, you’re initially met with a strong scent. This isn’t the prettiest smell, but it isn’t terrible at all so don’t let this be the deciding factor for you. The plus side to this smell is that it’s a refreshing, clean scent and you only have to wear it for 10-15 minutes.

The masque is of a white, creamy texture and has a good spreadability across the face. You’ll find that when you wait for the 10-15 minutes that the masque won’t completely dry, like other brands. However some of the masque will dry but it will become almost translucent. I found that this felt a lot better than other masks that completely dry out until you’re not able to move your face anymore.

After the appropriate time, I wiped it off with warm water and a face towel, and found that in a few swipes, the mask was off. Sometimes I find it slightly tedious when you have to go through a lot of washing or wiping to get rid of a mask, but it wasn’t the case this time.

Instantly, I noticed that my skin was brighter and looked a lot more healthier. The text on its tube claims that this masque will visibly improve your skin’s firmness, “leaving your skin revitalised and decongested, feeling smooth and toned.” I’m happy to say that I’ve experienced all of the above from just one use of the masque. You’re going to be left with a subtle scent but don’t worry, it’s not as pungent but if you dislike the masque’s scent then you can apply your choice of moisturiser afterwards.

Ingredients are listed in the photo below.

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Matte Balancing Moisturiser (Acai-Berry & Borago)

Unlike the masque, I don’t have much to say about this product because I’ve only used it once but this was the product from Grown Alchemist that I was really curious about as it says it has a matte finish. After applying this, I did notice that my skin glowing and my face felt smooth.

As you apply this on your face, there is a noticeable scent that isn’t of typical floral sweetness like other moisturisers but I don’t mind it at all. The smell is neither good nor bad, and the results are just as good as the masque. This moisturiser goes a long way and has excellent spreadability so this should last a several months if you’re using it daily. It comes packaged in a cream tube which makes it useful if you’re travelling.

Ingredients are listed in the photo below.

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Final Thoughts:

I’m really impressed with both these products and I’m happy I went with Grown Alchemist instead of Aesop, although down the line I do want to try Aesop. If you’re interested in Grown Alchemist but you’re not sure of what to purchase first, then I highly recommend this masque and moisturiser. It’s the perfect indulgent buy and is incredibly effective.

Despite this, you’ll find yourself spending a lot of money for this brand. If you’re like me and you already have a cleanser and exfoliator that works for you, then I suggest sticking to those until they run out and buy Grown Alchemist in bits and pieces. But if you want to revamp your skincare range/routine, you’ll end up spending around $220 and that’s only for a cleanser, exfoliator, toner, moisturiser, and masque.

Prices:

  1. Deep Cleansing Facial Masque = $40.00
  2. Matte Balancing Moisturiser = $60.00

Where to buy:

  • Grown Alchemist online store: http://www.grownalchemist.com
  • Myer in-store or online
  • David Jones in-store or online
  • Priceline (only sells limited products such as their hand cream and hand wash, and products aren’t available online)

What do you think about Grown Alchemist products?

Happy shopping,

Trixie