Sunday, 28 February 2010

Teeny tiny toiletries

Greetings my small band of followers. I am happily reunited with my laptop after almost three days as I have been experiencing that most exciting rite of passage:  a country house hotel mini break. Despite my advancing years, I have never been on such a trip before. If I holiday in this country, it tends to be in a tent with my best mate. Holidays with the other half have usually been abroad in some sort of 'budget' accommodation, so this was a real treat involving Champagne, a creaky antique wardrobe and the sort of overabundant eating that may now be turning my liver to foie gras.

Anyway, one of the things I love about being away from home is travel toiletries. I have amassed a big collection of these by various means. Some were samples and gifts with purchase from cosmetic counters and online beauty companies. A lot are also due to my need to buy ridiculously uneconomical small bottles of stuff from Boots and Superdrug because awww, they're cute.
I spend almost as long refining my make-up and toiletry choices for a trip as I do picking outfits. Yes, I am odd. I like to make sure I will have enough product, but it needs to take up the bare minimum of space. I also need a good choice of products to cover most eventualities. Imagine the horror if an unforseen eye serum emergency arose and I wasn't covered. Therefore, teeny weeny bottles of cleansing oil, cleansing milk, eye-make up remover, moisturiser, night cream, shampoo, conditioner, hair serum, bubble bath etc are all vetted carefully before going in the washbag. Here are some of the products that passed muster this time:


Superdrug Vitamin E eye make-up remover pads -  I saw these when I was stocking up on deodorant and toothpaste for the trip. I'm not generally a fan of make-up removing wipes as they feel rough, often sting and I don't think they do a good job of cleansing. I do like to double cleanse and with eye make-up I normally use cotton wool pads soaked in remover and then follow up with cleansing oil on the whole face. I picked these up as they were half price - about 97p I think - and I thought they might work for the first stage of make-up removal and save me lugging another bottle of fluid along. I was quite impressed with how well these removed my evening make-up. I held one pad over each eye for a few seconds and then delicately dabbed to remove eyeshadow and brow powder. A few gentles wipes along the lashline removed the bulk of my mascara and there was not much left on the cotton wool pad when I did my second pass with a cleansing milk. Overall, I found these to be a cheap and convenient space saver that worked well for me.


RMK skincare samples - I really like RMK products. I've got quite a few make-up items from them now and am impressed at the quality. Their creamy foundation achieves great coverage with a small amount, the make-up base is a decent primer and I've got several eyeshadow palettes and singles and they are beautiful - subtle and buildable yet glam and unique at the same time. Each time I've bought something from the range, I've received a generous amount of sample sizes and free gifts. I'd tried most of the items individually, but decided to use several of the skincare items together while I was away and see how it went.

I took the cleansing oil, cleansing milk, Skin Tuner Light and Recovery Gel. The cleansing milk is a refreshing lotion that I massaged across my face and then removed using cotton wool. It is not overly perfumed and left my skin feeling very clean and refreshed. I only needed a hazelnut sized blob to clean my whole face and it dissolved make-up very well. I would buy the full size of this as I normally hate cleansing milk, but I actually liked using this.

The cleansing oil smells wonderfully minty and fresh, but you need to be careful not to get it in your eyes as it can sting as a result. It is not too heavy and a little goes a long way. It emulsified well and removed my make-up, including mascara, but I'm not sure I'd want to use it in my eye area every day.

RMK does a range of skin tuners, which are moisturising liquids. These seem very odd at first if you're not used to the concept (I wasn't). Once your skin is cleansed, you apply the liquid to your face. It feels just like water, yet I was very pleased with how well it moisturised my skin. I just tipped a little into my cupped palm, rubbed my hands together lightly and then 'pressed' the product into my face. The fluid smells very fruity and fresh and my skin felt lovely. Several different types of skin tuner are available, including moist and extra moist varieties. I'd definitely recommend them and I think the light version will be lovely in Summer, especially if kept in the fridge.

The Recovery Gel is a night time product. I've been using the sample for a while and like it so much I bought a full size (4oz) tub last week. As the name suggests, the product is a lightweight gel. It smells amazingly fruity and is a clear peachy orange in colour. It contains lots of white ceramide D microspheres which burst as you massage the product into the skin. It absorbs easily and when I wake up in the morning my skin looks calm and clear and feels very soft yet well moisturised. I love it because it's cooling and lightweight - I hate heavy night creams - yet has definite positive effects on my skin. I use about half a teaspoon at a time and the small sample has yielded about five doses.

Regarding make-up, I tried to minimise the products I took, so included a couple of longwear cream shadows and a Body Shop powder foundation that can be used wet or dry depending on the level of coverage and finish required.  I was most impressed by these products:

RMK Liquid Foundation - I'm honestly not sponsored by them, I've just got quite a few new samples recently. As I said above, I've already got the Creamy Foundation and I love it. I prefer a lighter coverage for the day though and I was very impressed by the tiny vial of liquid foundation I took. The product is very runny and liquid in texture, but applied smoothly and evenly. I just rubbed it on with my fingers and it gave me enough pigmentation to tone down my ruddy cheeks, yet my freckles still showed through and it did not look like a mask. Staying power was also excellent on my combination skin and the cotton wool pad showed a lot was still there to remove 12 hours after application. I intend to buy the full size product.

Estee Lauder Sumptuous Mascara - The full title is 'Sumptuous Bold Volume Lifting Mascara' and it seemed to live up to that name. I got a sample size in a GWP a few weeks ago and had forgotten about it until I packed for the trip. I chucked it in my make-up bag along with the Hourglass mascara sample I've been using for the last few weeks. In the end, I didn't need to fall back on the Hourglass product. The Lauder mascara applied easily with no blobbing or smearing. My lashes were defined and lengthened, seemed noticeably thicker to me and held their curl all evening. The brush is quite large so I couldn't actually coat all the bristles as the sample size tube is not long enough. However, I still found this to be an excellent mascara. I think it's the same formula that was used in the limited edition coloured mascaras last year, which I know a lot of people loved. I wouldn't buy the full size product, but only because I don't buy 'high end' mascaras. If I did, then I definitely would, if you see what I mean ...

Laura Mercier metallic creme eye colour in Rose Gold - I got this teeny tube of eye colour along with two others in a Christmas gift set. I really like the shade as it's a soft peachy, pinky, bronzey gold with a hint of sparkle that works well with my blue eyes. A tiny amount will spread easily across my lid and won't budge once it's dried. This is the perfect product for travelling with as it's a quick, pretty eye on its own or works as a fab base for other shadows and no brush is required. I just don't use it normally beacuse it's too easy - I like my brushes and blending when I'm doing my face at home. My rediscovery of this product over the last couple of days now makes me think I've been cutting off my nose to spite my face.

So there you go. Teeny tiny toiletries inspired a long and waffling review. Who'da thunk it?!

Regarding RMK, I get most of mine from the counter in Selfridges, Birmingham where they are very helpful and generous with the samples. I've also ordered RMK from and got a lot of the travel skincare in a free gift promotion, so it's worth checking for those. Look fantastic is a great website generally and sells loads of beauty brands with great promotions and special offers. I'm not affiliated to them, I'm just happy to recommend from experience.

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