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The Best Aussie Skincare Brand You’ll Ever Use

By July 16, 2017 Skincare

Words by Matt Huxley

I rarely find a brand where I have a genuine and undying love for every single product that the brand in question produces. This happened for me this week with an Australian brand, Karinda Skincare. Oftentimes we (myself included) can be so focussed on finding amazing overseas brands in the French, Korean or British markets that we forget that Aussie brands have some amazing products. As well as that, the Australian bush is full of botanical extracts that can make one hell of a difference to that craggy facade.

Karinda has a four product range of uber high quality skincare. Featuring botanical extracts from the Australian bush, it’s guaranteed to help refresh and revitalise your face in only the best way.

Overall I would say the range is better for combination to dry skin, with products designed to help manage oil, hydrate and brighten the face, as well as refresh the overall complexion.

Kakadu plum extract runs through the entire range. This powerful plum has the highest vitamin c content of any fruit. Vitamin C is an essential ingredient for collagen production, meaning that the skin can replenish and repair itself in the highest way.

The Natural Purifying Cleanser is a gentle, milky cleanser that contains antioxidants from Snowflower, Mountain Pepper and Emu Bush, in addition to Finger Lime extract which hydrates the skin. Overall this means that skin is left soft and supple after use. All dirt, grime and makeup is gone from the skin and the skin looks refreshed, yet not dry or tight.

Following up the cleanser, I use the Rejuvenating Serum. I’m actually quite amazed at how quickly this sinks into the skin. Usually a serum will take a minute or two to fully absorb, but this one really just melts in and makes the skin feel amazing. What I think this comes down to is the Quandong extract. This fruit means that vitamin c (from Kakadu Plum) works more effectively, therefore speeding up the cell renewal and really rejuvenating the skin.

Then you go on with the Sacred Youth Oil. This oil contains Kakadu Plum and Australian Sandalwood Oil. Sandalwood oil is very rich in Ximenynic acid, which helps to remove fine lines (hollah!) and improve skin tone. This is a lightweight oil which I don’t find leaves too heavy a residue on the face. A lot of people say they don’t like their skin feeling oily. Suck it up princesses! It may feel a bit greasy for a bit but oils are one of the absolute best things for your skin.

Finishing up the routine is the Nourishing Moisturiser. This lightweight moisturiser locks in all of the goodness that we have previously slathered on and doesn’t leave the skin feeling oversaturated or greasy. It also contains anti-ageing Crown of Gold extract, so perfect for those of us feeling the attack of those fine lines.

Make sure you stock up on all of your Karinda goodies here. You can get 25% off the entire range with my code MATT30.

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The Best Skin: Korean Skincare with Style Story

By June 5, 2017 Skincare

Words by Matt Huxley

Unless you’ve been living under an Uluru-sized skincare rock, you will know about the amazing products that Korean beauty brands have been bringing out. Pioneers and innovators in the skincare world, Korean brands are responsible for some of the beauty innovations that we now take for granted (cushion foundation, peel exfoliators, essence lotions anyone?).

I first stumbled across Korean skincare a few years ago when it blew up across the youtube skincare world. Then a fortuitously-timed trip to India meant that I could pick up some basics in the asian airport boutiques (I think there’s a sneaky haul vid on the internet somewhere). But after that I had no idea how to explore more of this world.

Well now Aussie skincare enthusiasts (aka me) can get their Korean beauty fix with Style Story. Founded in 2013, this entrepreneurial brand lets you pick and choose the products most suited for your skin, for your own skincare style story.

I tested out a few of Style Story’s most popular products and have provided my observations below for you.

Benton Fermentation Essence: I mean firstly isn’t this the most perfectly minimal packaging ever? This brightening essence has a high concentration of Galctomyces Ferment Filtrate – basically a type of yeast. This works to really even out tone and texture and brighten up the skin. An essence is an uber light lotion that sinks immediately into the skin, sinks to a very low level in the skin and really works at the dermal level. Definitely a fan of this product, it’s great for lots of light layers to build up that hydration. Plus it’s at an affordable price point so I definitely see this bad boy being a regular in my skincare cupboard.

Vlancvere Power VC15 Ample: FYI ample means serum. This Vitamin C serum has 15% strength – the best amount for your skin to reduce irritation and provide the brightening benefits that Vit C is known for. The consistency for me is a cross between an essence and an oil. Meaning that it sinks in quickly but there’s a slight tackiness with it (totally fine for me!). The other key ingredient in this bad boy is Ferulic Acid. This helps to really reduce any melanin in the skin (the pigment that causes dark spots). Meaning that anyone with blotchy or pigmented skin can use this to assist in decreasing them. Serums are really like the middle child of skincare; always there, but never truly appreciated. Serums are actually the powerhouses of your regime, and the ones that will have the greatest affect on you. So invest wisely and do your research. If you need brightening, this one is for you!

Mizon All in One Snail Repair Cream: Oh. My. God. I can’t even physically deal at how much I love this product. I am shook officially. Containing 92% snail mucin (the mucous that repairs a snail’s skin as it crawls) this bad boy really works to rehydrate, refine and protect the skin. Encouraging cell turnover is always a good thing as it enables the collagen production of the skin to increase (hence meaning that your skin looks young and fresh), and this bad boy does this. I woke up looking like a baby’s butt. Shook I tell you.

Simply When Snow Song Mask + Leaders Insolution Melatox Skin Mask: I must confess, whilst I enjoy sheet masks, I’ve never really made the time to integrate them (or any mask for that matter) into my routine. I am unfortunately one of those people with whom they just slide straight off unless I’m horizontal so I always make the too busy excuse. Testing these out gave me a perfect opportunity to stop all that Master’s work and really take 10-15 mins out to really rehydrate my skin after spending all day in the library air con. Both were highly enjoyable and certainly revitalised my skin. Definitely recommend picking a few up to force yourself to take a breather!

Make sure you pick up some of the amazing products at Style Story here.

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April Empties

By May 14, 2017 Skincare

Words by Matt Huxley

Let’s go through my trash:

Stefan Shave Oil: Phenomenal, loved every second of using it. It has this effect of clumping up your beardsy bristles so that they’re easier to remove. Great product.

Lush Snow Fairy: Made me smell like a candy scented goddess so what’s not to love?

Bathox Rose and Jasmine Shower Gel: I have bought this quite a number of times now and I always enjoy it. Grab this bad boy from chemist warehouse.

EOS Lip Balm: This was the vanilla mint scent and it was really enjoyable. These are really difficult to find however, so almost not worth the trouble?

Planet Earth Body Lotion: Bought this from Target years ago and it’s just hung on in my cupboard. Bit meh tbh.

Schwarzkopf Silhouette Hairspray: Like me, a bit iconic.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream: I know this is a cult fave, but I don’t rate it tbh.

Garnier Cleansing Milk: I enjoy a good cream cleanser, and this one was no different. I probably wouldn’t buy it again but if you have very sensitive or dry skin it would be a good option.

Moogoo Milk Wash: Possibly the first Moogoo product i’ve used that I haven’t loved.

Lush Mint Julep Lip Scrub: Nice and minty fresh, but seriously just use some caster suger and coconut oil, it’s the same thing.

Indeed Exfoliator: This is a bit of knock off of the Dermalogica Microfoliant. Probably a little less successful than that product if I’m being super critical, but it’s decent.

Savvy Primer: Whilst this may not have done wonders for my skin, it was great for just providing products a base to stick to. And realistically, isn’t that we want them to do?

The Body Shop Facial Oil: Holy shit, this is the best facial oil I’ve ever used. Trust me, try it. You will be blown away.

So Fresh Wipes: I enjoy a moist wipe, and these stay moist. What more can you ask for.

 

And because I’m lazy, y’all missed out on my March empties, here they are below. Let’s just call this my speed review.

Swisse Cotton Rounds – Did the job

Nivea Makeup Remover -Absolutely awful

Natures Organics Blueberry and Coconut Shampoo – Already have another

Nivea Refreshing Toner – Good

Cream Cleanser – Ugh.

Simple Light Moisturiser – Classic

Schwarzkopf Strong Hairspray – Great

The Body Shop Spiced Apple Hand Cream – My everything

Vitaman Shampoo – Great

Nak Shampoo – Good

The Body Shop Tea Tree Night Lotion – Phenomenal

The Body Shop Maca Root Scrub – Don’t rate it

Calvin Klein Eternity – Ok

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Review: Rosehip Plus

By April 21, 2017 Skincare

Words by Matt Huxley

Rosehip Plus is one of those ubiquitous brands in the bathroom closets of the world. Chances are you heard some new age genie sprouting the benefits of Rosehip oil and happened upon this reliable brand in Chemist Warehouse.

Well. Rosehip Plus is so much more than that little brown bottle of oil that lingers for months in your cabinet. Whilst its oil is undeniably amazing – in fact I featured it in my favourite Facial Oils post – it has an entire range of skincare products containing Rosehip oil.

Cream Cleanser: I’ve used many a cream cleanser in my time, and this is surely one of the best. It’s a very hydrating formulation suitable for sensitive skin that leaves the skin feeling refreshed, hydrated and clean without having that squeaky feeling that I so detest.

Day Cream: While I probably wouldn’t use this as a day cream – the formulation is just that tad too rich for me for during the day – it’s great as a night cream during the summer. Good for those times where you need a bit of hydration, but without your face looking like an oil slick.

Night Cream: Love the pump action of this bottle for a start. The product is good and noticeably more rich than the day cream. I definitely would want this for winter, with a drop or two of the oil mixed in.

Roll on: When I first saw this I idiotically thought it was an eye roll on. Like duh Matt oil won’t sink in around your eyeballs. This is a great spot treatment for those skin areas where you need a hit of hydration – around the nose and the lips for example.

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The Male Makeup Conundrum

By April 4, 2017 Skincare

Words by Matt Huxley

Firstly yes it’s been a while. Secondly I’m not sorry.

I feel like lately the whole “should men wear makeup” issue has been back on everyones lips. With makeup companies for the first time using coverboys, the conservative side of society has been outraged. Why? Because it’s something different. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that people don’t like change.

Frankly I love it. As someone who can rock a highlight like no ones business I’m all for guys breaking into makeup. Why not! As long as you can do it correctly and not turn out like a 2005 Pete Wentz wannabe with bad guyliner. But that’s where I come in. Here are the products you need to ensure that you can do male makeup correctly.

1: A Colour Corrective Powder

Believe it or not, very few people have perfect skin. Most have pigmentation issues and unwanted colour in areas of their face. That’s where colour correcting comes in. Because I have quite a bit of redness to my face I will always go in with a green powder first to counteract this. This BYS one is cheap and blends easily. Using a small brush I can get into the nooks and crannies around my nose and dust it back over my cheeks to even out that tone.

2: A Matched Face Powder

I then go in with a foundation powder. I don’t ever go for a liquid foundation because a powder is far more natural in my opinion. The biggest tip I can give for a first timer is get your bloody foundation matched. Don’t just rock up to Priceline and pick what you think works. Go and get matched at a higher end boutique initially – they aren’t judging you. It’s their job. You can also ask to be shown how to apply it correctly.

3: Shaping

After mattifying your face out with powder, you need to go back in and add some dimension to sculpt and reshape your face (if that’s what you want!). Be sure to choose a colour in touch with your skin tone. That’s where palettes can come in handy, there’s usually a colour to suit everyone. Start off with a cool toned matte shadow to sculpt out your cheekbones and jawline. Add on a subtle highlight (or get dat glow goin) and then brush on some bronzer if desired.

4: Brows For Days

If your eyes are the window to your soul, then the eyebrows are the window frame. Trust me, everyone notices a dodgy ass window frame. Use a clear brow gel to shape and maintain those bushy fuckers. John Howard was known for many things, good brows was not one of them.

5: De-Chap Your Lips

No one likes a crusty lip. The current fave lip balm on rotation is this great Mokosh one. Make sure you reapply daily and before bed to keep your peckers in perfect condition.

PS. Good makeup starts with good skincare 😉

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February Empties

By March 1, 2017 Skincare

Words by Matt Huxley

February for me was a month of trying to clear some of the clutter from my bathroom cabinets. As a natural hoarder you can imagine the pain that this causes me, but it had to be done! As a result I’ve had a surprisingly big haul this month, which I wasn’t expecting. Let’s get into it.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray
I’m always a fan of a nice face spritz, and this one was no exception. The rosewater notes made this especially pleasant during summer. I’m never entirely sure how much sprays actually do beyond base level toning and hydrating, but they are a lovely accompaniment through the hotter months.

Lush Lip Scrub – Santa

I’ve had this hanging around for a year or so, and I thought to myself, no, you need to get through it. So I’ve been devotedly scrubbing my lips every two days or so in the shower. It’s amazing how easily you can integrate a lip scrub into your routine without too much time or effort. The result? Smooth lips. Win win for me.

Luvenesco Face Cream

No. Dislike. Too perfumed, not hydrating enough and a bit of a shit product. I really just used this as much as I could because I despise wasting product.

Simple Face Wipes
Quite enjoyable to use. These wipes were good for quickly wiping off makeup or excess grime and stayed moist the entire time the packet was open – that’s a win in my book.

Tony Moly Peach Punch Foam Cleanser
Another product I just wanted to use up. Whilst this cleanser in general was not bad, it was so ridiculously perfumed that it made me wary of using it on my face – never a good thing. It cleansed well but left the skin a bit “squeaky clean” which I hate.

The Body Shop White Musk Sport EDT
A nice, inoffensive scent. I enjoyed this one on days where I didn’t want a scent too overpowering. It’s a nice all-rounder with a generic masculine scent.

Cutex Strengthening Nail Polish Remover
This is good. Good, good, good.

The Body Shop Shower Gel – Fijian Water Lotus
I loved this scent, it’s a beautiful fresh scent, with a bit of a marine twinge. Really enjoyable to use and foams up really nicely.

The Body Shop Shower Gel – Japanese Cherry Blossom
See above except it’s a light floral scent. Not something I’d get again, but enjoyable enough all the same.

The Body Shop Shower Gel – Italian Summer Fig
Ahh I have such a love/hate relationship with this fragrance. It starts off fruity and then goes quite sweet on me, with a musky undertone. It’s not great, but it’s nice to use on occasion. I feel like this is a very acquired scent. Few people will like it.

Sunsilk Longer and Stronger Conditioner
I’ve always enjoyed the Sunsilk ranges and this one was no exception. Whilst no conditioner will ever do a great deal to my type of hair (think thin as fuck), it adds a nice level of hydration whenever my hair is a tad dry.

Carmex Lip Balm
My go-to at the moment. Really enjoyable and a cult classic for a reason.

Nivea Micellar Wipes
Ugh never again! Rough as all hell and dried out halfway through the packet. NEXT!

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Facial Oils 101

By February 9, 2017 Skincare

Words by Matt Huxley

Ahh that dreaded word, OIL. People love to eat it, not so much want it on their face. Triggered. People have been conditioned into believing that facial oils are a bad thing. There are all these products out there aimed at “removing oil,” “stripping oil,” “oil free.” When in actual fact it’s the act of stripping all the oil from your face which results in more blemishes. By adding good oils on to the face, we can aid the skin in controlling sebum production, hydrate the skin, and even repair scarring and hyperpigmentation.

Still not convinced? The ancient Egyptians used Moringa Oil to keep their skin youthful and wrinkle free. Considering how well those mummies have lasted, there’s got to be something in it right? Oils are also lipophilic, meaning that they pass through the lipid layer of the skin quicker, preventing water loss and plumping the skin with moisture more effectively. Basically, oils are your secret weapon for hydrated af skin.

So now that I’ve promoted the hydrating benefits of oil, I’m going to really befuddle (great word) you and tell you that oils can be used to cleanse as well. Cleansing oils are a combination of hydrating and drawing oils. Meaning that the cleanser will keep your skin hydrated, whilst melting off makeup and impurities. Most of these cleansers will emulsify on contact with water, turning them into a milk which you can wash off. My current fave cleansing oil is this great one from Moogoo. It comes in a few different styles depending on your skin type. I’ve got the combo one and it’s fantastic.

Tamanu Oil (pressed from the Polynesian Tamanu fruit) is great at reducing redness that occurs with scar tissue. So if you have blemished skin then this is a good option for you. This Moogoo one is concentrated Tamanu oil, meaning that it has a funky smell and all of the skin goodness.

Rosehip Oil contains natural retinoid acid, meaning that it’s great for anti-ageing, as well as hydrating and improving the skin’s elasticity and firmness. Most oil blends contain at least some Rosehip Oil, and it’s by and large the most common single oil available on the market. Rosehip Plus and Iluka both do great ones.

Green Tea Seed Oil is by and large a Korean staple. This colourless oil is a nourishing and antioxidant-infused oil. It adds tonnes of moisture to skin and blends seamlessly into the face. Innisfree does a good one. Make sure to check out the rest of their green tea range too, it’s pretty fantastic.

Oil blends are a great way to cop a range of oils, specifically targeted for a particular issue – usually hydration. Working as a team is better than working solo right? Apotekah does a great one which is a blend of Jojoba, Apricot Kernel, Patchouli and Carrot Seed oils. It serves to nourish every layer of skin, brightens and improves problematic skin and complements natural sebum. Ps you get a sneaky 10% off with my code MATTH10. Ya welcom. Mokosh beauty serum is a newly discovered favourite of mine. Its blend of Camellia, Baobab, Hemp, Borage, Rosehip, Sea Buckthorn and Raspberry oil sinks delicately into the skin, restoring and building up the skins barrier, whilst providing nutrition to the deepest layers.

So make sure you pick up that facial oil today. Seriously you won’t regret it.

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Skincare Addiction Increased: Mokosh Skincare

By January 31, 2017 Skincare

Words by Matt Huxley

I am unashamedly a skincare addict. Every time I hear word of a new product launch, a new technology that’s being released or a new “miracle” product that has been discovered I actually get heart palpitations. I get more excited than at a buffet. Didn’t even think that was possible tbh.

However being a skincare addict comes with disadvantages. You’re in a permanent state of poverty, you are forced to send other people into Priceline for the basics like cotton rounds; lest you find yourself with a basket wandering the aisles, and you are required to undertake research to figure out exactly what is in the shit that you’re piling on your mug.

That’s where Mokosh Skincare comes in. I’ve been following these legends on Insta for ages, admiring their certified organic approach to skincare. Their products are made solely of ethically sourced botanical extracts, meaning that they’re fantastic for your skin. Plus they’re Aussie made. I was lucky enough to test out a few of their goodies, so you can get my thoughts below.

Facial Cleanser/Exfoliator/Mask
This Oat flour based exfoliant comes in the most epic jar tbh. Love it. It’s a gentle exfoliator that can feasibly be used daily (I found that I preferred it every second day as a scrub). I do struggle with 3 in 1’s most of the time, however I feel that this one works as all 3 pretty competently. The powder form is also cool in that you can mix it with other cleansers if you want to dilute it somewhat. It’s a versatile product.

Pure Hydrosol Toner
Ahhh I love misting toners, and this one is no different. Produced from damask rose and lemon balm, this cooling spritz is the perfect prep for moisturisers and serums. It’s really light and calming as well on the skin. My one issue? There’s not enough of it!

Raspberry and Pomegranate Beauty Serum
Whilst this is marketed as a serum, don’t be fooled, it’s a facial oil. And a damn good one at that. The blend of oils sinks effortlessly into the skin, leaving much less residue than others. I also found it to be very hydrating (obviously), but without saturating the skin. My actual favourite out of all the products I tried.

Light Face Cream
Look tbh, whilst I liked this cream, in no way in my mind is it light. On my skin at least it’s a rich blend of shea butter and oils. Having said that, it provides the utmost levels of hydration, and I have no doubt that on dry-very dry skin types this would get sucked up like ice cream in the same house as me. You get a shitload of product with this bad boy though. It’s a big jar for a face cream, and by only using the half pea sized amount that you’re instructed to, this will last for ages.

Coconut and Blackcurrant Lip Balm
A lovely, hydrating lip balm to get you through the day. It feels the same way as Lucas’ Pawpaw, but without any of the petroleum jelly. If anything, I wanted more and more blackcurrant! Can you tell that I love those sorts of scents?

Make sure you check out all the other fabulous products that Mokosh stock here!

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January Empties

By January 30, 2017 Skincare

Words by Matt Huxley

Look I get that there’s been a lot of skincare posts lately, but there’s more fashion content coming I promise! That being said, I’m doing a skincare series this year on my monthly skincare/bodycare/haircare empties. This previously was on my Youtube channel, but I’ve decided to refocus on my blog and am shifting the series over to here. You’re welcome! It’s a great way for you to see what products I’m actually using up, as well as my thoughts on them.

St Ive’s Apricot Scrub
Well I mean it’s a classic for a reason isn’t it. It’s taken me a while to get through this bad boy, and my skin’s never felt better. I’ve got a backup ready to go, that should give you enough indication of my love for it. Word of advice, don’t go in on your face with this, do a gentle scrub as the walnut shell exfoliants can micro cut your skin.

Biore Triple Action Toner
Nope. Disliked. It smelt largely of alcohol and had a drying effect on my skin. Usually I love biore products but this just didn’t do it for me.

Tresemme Styling Hairspray Extra Hold
Another product I wasn’t a fan of. I found that it was far too heavy for my hair, and clumped it together. This would probably be really good on someone with thicker hair.

Simple Purifying Cleansing Lotion
A decent, plain, cream cleanser. Inoffensive and did the job. That being said, it’s not a must buy for me. But if you have sensitive skin, this is the cleanser for you.

Simple Light Moisturiser
Holy grail product. You know this, you’ll be seeing it a lot this year just so you know.

Lynx Roll On Deodorant
Look a deodorant is a deodorant, I’m a foul sweater so nothing will calm my pits. The smell was inoffensive and it did what it was supposed to do. I just overpowered it.

Lush Lord of Misrule Shower Gel

Love love love this shower gel. The smell is fantastic and the colour is phenomenal. A pity it’s a christmas product.

Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel

Another christmas product, I love snow fairy. It’s too much for some people (wimps), but a shower with this guy is a candy-scented bonanza.

Schwarzkopf Extra Care Magnificent Strength Shampoo
I actually really enjoyed this shampoo! Whilst it didn’t give me loads of volume (nothing does tbh), it gave my hair a nice scent and cleansed any gel residue out of it thoroughly without stripping it. Would repurchase. Plus that bottle is ROSE GOLD. Dying.

Palmolive Black Orchid Shower Gel
I really enjoy this shower gel hey. It’s cheap and foams up an extraordinary amount. And whilst I’m aware that’s probably due to chemicals, it smells good so I don’t really care.

Buy Sigma Brushes here.

Don’t forget you can get 10% off all ApoteKah products using the code MATTH10.

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V Day Alone Time

By January 24, 2017 Skincare

Words by Matt Huxley

As someone who has spent the past 24 Valentine’s Days alone, I am no stranger to the bleak depression and hatred that washes over you like a storm cloud when you have a Facebook feed full of “happy” couples. The majority of whom started dating the previous week. Whilst I’m a definite believer in not restricting your affection for a partner to one day (which let’s be real is a marketing construct), I’m also definitely open to shopping up all the specialty products that appear at this time of year.

And that’s where Lush comes in. As a company that slays every holiday promotion, it’s no surprise that their Valentine’s Day collection is a killer. Bringing me more happiness than that bottle of wine ever could (and minus the headache), the unicorn horn fills your bath with pastel coloured, Neroli scented bubbles. Plus it’s a unicorn horn. I mean that’s every gay fantasy right there. Shoutout to Jade Jolie wearing one at the RPDR S5 reunion.

The Love soap smells absolutely phenomenal. Kinda similar to Rose Jam from the Christmas line, but with a bit more rose. This soap is nice and nourishing on the skin, without being too drying – something I struggle with in solid soap bars.

It wouldn’t be a Valentine’s Day promo without having a few products to keep your pucker on point. Yes I cringed at that statement too but we are going to go with it k? The Kiss lip scrub is great at exfoliating the dead, crusty skin off your lips. It reveals fresh, soft skin underneath and leaving it perfect for lip products. Plus it’s edible 😉

Following the scrub with The Kiss lip gloss adds a subtle shine to the lips, making them alluring af. Word of advice though, this is the type of product you need to prep your lips for, it will show up any cracks or dry spots on your lips. That being said, it’s nice and hydrating. Gives you a moist pout. Phenomenal.

So what are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Will you be rolling solo like yours truly or doing something special? Let me know in the comments below! Make sure you browse the Lush Valentine’s Day collection here (available from 26th of January).

Buy Sigma Brushes here.

Don’t forget you can get 10% off all ApoteKah products using the code MATTH10.

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