syrene skincare review

syrene skincare review

I didn’t want to like this range as much as I do.

I love good packaging – if you know me at all, you’ll already know this. I’m a huge sucker for a pretty label or a nice jar. And don’t even get me started on gold foil.

Syrene has all of this. Beautiful, frosted jars with shiny foiled letters… from the moment I laid eyes on them, I needed to try what was inside.

The ingredients sounded intriguing, too. The range boasts a whole host of natural ingredients like:

  • Kawakawa extract which is a native New Zealand leaf with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Pohutakawa extract which is supposed to soften skin and promote cell regeneration
  • Marine collagen
  • L22 which is a skin lipid that is supposed to make you look 22 (I think?)
  • Ephemer which is a powerful antioxidant

So why didn’t I want to like this range?

In a nutshell, the price tag. The toner and the lotion retail for NZ$99.99, the creme is NZ$109.99 and the masque will set you back NZ$119.99. So… not cheap.

I was lucky to be sent a sampler pack and I put the range to the test over a week. I would have loved to have tested it for longer as the range claims to have benefits for use longer than 28 days – unfortunately I can’t comment on if these claims are true.

But after using it for the last week my thoughts are as follows:

  1. It smells lovely. It’s got a sort of oceany smell that’s hard to describe. Also, it’s blue.
  2. The lotion and the masque leave your skin feeling a bit sticky, but not in an unpleasant way.
  3. Immediately after applying, my skin was GLOWING. It looked springier and fuller. What fine lines? I have no idea what you’re talking about.
  4. The lotion was an incredible primer – because it was sort of sticky, my foundation went on smooth and stayed put all day.
  5. I have sensitive skin and this did not react badly or make me break out. However, my skin is heavily affected by my hormones (lucky me!) and I only had a weeks worth of products so I can only tell you what it was like during the follicular phase of my cycle and not the luteal phase.

I would probably say the only product from this range that I wouldn’t buy is the Aquagel Refreshing Tonertoners don’t really do anything and this was no exception. I also don’t really trust a product that claims to “absorb into skin” and “soak up makeup and impurities”. I don’t think I want my makeup and impurities absorbing into my skin, thanks.

The Aqua Hydrating Masque was lovely, the Aqua Intense Creme was lovely and the Aqualight Moisture Gel made a fab hydrating primer.

All in all, if you’re looking for a bit of a luxury treat for your face, this range is fantastic and will look phenomenal on your bathroom shelf.

Is it worth it just for the packaging?


It’s just a bonus that the product is good, too.

If you would like to try Syrene for yourself, it is available from Health 2000.

As always, this post is entirely my own opinion. I received samples of these products for free however my opinion is completely honest and everything I have written here I believe to be true. It is my duty as a beauty blogger to give you the truth as I see it and I take that seriously.

a slick quickie about oils

Back in my day, when a girl reached “that age” she was handed a Dolly magazine, a training bra and a Nivea three-step pack and told: “oil = bad”. And I believed it, for a long time.

Oil-free moisturisers, oil clearing cleansers, mattifying primers… These are all products that I’ve had in my skincare arsenal for yonks because I believed the myth that oil is bad and must be got rid of at all costs.

And, funnily enough, I also thought I had sensitive skin. I had dermatitis that flared up for seemingly no reason. But alongside the dry patches, I also had an ocean of zits on my forehead and temples that just wouldn’t go away – no matter how much I scrubbed and cleansed.

Then oil came along and I wondered what I had been afraid of for so long.

Oil = good.

I use 5 different oils in 5 different ways and the change in my skin has been quite dramatic.

  1. I switched my morning oil-free, SPF moisturiser for a day cream that contains sweet almond oil, chia seed oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and heaps of other skin-loving goodies. I was a little bit concerned that it would disagree with my foundation but I haven’t had any issues. In fact, after a couple of weeks, I stopped using foundation because my skin has been so good. I use Goodness Every Morning Moisturiser – it’s bae.
  2. I was using a standard body moisturiser after my shower but I find when it’s cold, all I wanna do is get my jammies on pronto. Which, unfortunately, meant that I was skipping the moisturiser more often than I like to admit. The game changer for me was when I switched to the Pure Fiji Bath & Body Oil because it’s liquid so it absorbs into your skin almost instantly (cutting down chilly naked time) but it’s also really nourishing. It has a blend of coconut oil, dilo oil, macadamia oil and sikeci oil and honestly does wonders for your skin.
  3. I started using a hair oil to tame the frizz and add shine – it’s hard to find one that isn’t just a bottle of perfumed silicone with a pretty label but I really love the Hask Strengthening Shine Oil because, yes, it has a healthy dose of silicones but it also has bamboo extract, biotin, collagen and avocado oil. I use it on wet hair but I also rub a small amount in my palms and use it to slick down flyaways to give my straightened ‘do a little protection from humidity.
  4. After using my night cream (which is essentially a heavier version of my day cream, sans SPF) I just pat two drops of this gorgeous chia seed oil into my skin. I find that I wake up with nicer skin, I get less dry patches and it helps my eyebrow hairs grow (seriously, not even kidding).
  5. I also use oil to remove my makeup. I use Break-Up Make-Up Balm which is a delicious blend of chia seed oil, coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower seed oil and avocado oil that dissolves my makeup before I cleanse. This makes a huge difference because I’m not scrubbing at my face with cotton pads to convince my long wearing mascara to get the hell off my face. Less friction on the face = happier skin (and more eyelashes).

Other skin types benefit from oils too, though – not just skin on the dryer end of the spectrum. Nadia has a great breakdown of oils by skin type here. So, even if you have oily skin, oil still = good.

Do you guys use oils? Which ones would you recommend for your skin type?

As always, this post is entirely my own opinion. Everything I have written here I believe to be true. I received products for consideration from Goodness. However, I have chosen to repurchase with my own money and continue using them because I genuinely think they are good products.

beauty products you never need to buy, ever.

Makeup, beauty products you don't need
Need all of these… clearly
Looking back over my lifetime as a makeup purchaser, I can put my hand up and solemnly swear that I have bought some Dumb Shit. For example, I bought a $30 blue kohl pencil and only wore it twice because… bright blue kohl??? Then there was that time I bought a very expensive moisturiser in a tiny jar because it smelled nice, but it didn’t have any special qualities that you can’t find in a tub of Olay cream.

I’d like to save you guys the hassle and money by letting you in on a little secret. There are some products you just do not need, ever. These are products which exist purely as a money suck.

1. Toner – You’ve probably been using toner ever since you hit puberty and your mum bought you that Nivea three step set (you know the one I’m talking about). But it really doesn’t do anything for your skin. Water is perfectly capable of removing the last traces of your cleanser, your skin will pH balance itself, and it is physically impossible for it to “close” your pores. Save your money.

2. Anti-cellulite creamthere is just no evidence that they work. A topical cream cannot get through multiple layers of skin and into the fat underneath. You’d be better off getting a tan and learning to love yourself.

3. Eye creams – If you have really sensitive eyes, by all means, use a special cream to save yourself the stinging. But for the majority, your normal facial cream is perfect for the job and usually quite a lot cheaper. Just make sure that you pat the cream in rather than rub, as the delicate skin around your eyes is more prone to wrinkling.

4. Pore strips or peel-off masks – I know they sit right in that sweet spot between pain and pleasure, and it’s cool to see all the gunk coming off your face, but please for the love of your skin put them away. These products will actually do more damage to your skin in the long run. They strip off healthy skin cells and oils, they can cause spider veins and broken capillaries, and to top it all off they don’t get rid of blackheads – they just remove the top layer and leave the rest of the blackhead safe inside your pore. Using these strips will come back to haunt you. Do I need to continue?

5. Brow gel – I feel a bit sheepish about this one as I only recently bought myself a lovely expensive brow gel, but realistically it’s just clear hair gel in a tube with a mascara wand. If you are gonna buy one, make it a cheapy – or better yet, just steal some of your boyfriend’s hair gel and use a disposable spoolie.


If you guys have any other products you’d like to add to this list, leave me a comment below!

As always, this post is entirely my own opinion. I do not represent anyone or anything and everything I have written here I believe to be true.

break-up makeup balm // a gift to the universe

I think the Goodness Break-Up Makeup Balm is the best thing since coconut oil. And that could be because the main ingredient is coconut oil, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a gift to the universe.
Remember how coconut oil was supposed to give us softer skin, whiten our teeth, fix our straightener damaged hair, make our farts smell like lavender and make your ex-boyfriend want you back? Well… while it hasn’t delivered on all of those promises, you can bet your sweet bippy that it makes a fucking fantastic makeup remover. The Goodness Break-Up Makeup Balm is like coconut oil on steroids. It’s all that, and a bag of chia seeds.

How does it work?

You just warm a small amount in your hands and then smoosh-smoosh (technical term, ladies and gents) all over your face. Watch as it breaks up your no-budge eyeliner and gently dissolves your mascara without snagging all your lashes out. Then, once your face is an oily grey blur of mascara and foundation, take a hot flannel and wipe it all off. For best results, lay the flannel on your face for a few and give yourself a wee sauna facial (this is my mum’s trick from aaages ago, she swears by it) to help the coconut oil melt properly so you can wipe it off easier.

What don’t I just use coconut oil?

Remember when I said it’s all that and a bag of chia seeds? It’s also packed with all the other ingredients you pay $25 for at brunch with the girls. Avocado oil, chia seed oil, olive oil, sunflower seed oil… basically all the reasons why you don’t already own a house in Auckland. But then it’s also vegan (which means, unlike most makeup balms, it contains no beeswax – great for me since I’m allergic!)

The packaging is boss, once this is all used up I can see myself keeping things in the tin. It’s made in New Zealand. It’s all natural. It smells awesome. It’s also available for $19.99 at Countdown.
Honestly, I can’t find a fault.

If you guys try it, let me know what you think!


As always, this blog post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. Nobody paid me to write this post and everything I have written here I believe to be true.

the body shop himalayan charcoal purifying glow mask

I’m a sucker for face masks. Nothing says “luxury” like smearing something disgusting looking onto your face and relaxing for ten minutes while it does what it does. And sending hilarious snap chats to your friends so they can appreciate how good you look slathered in goo.

I got a sample of The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask and thought I’d give it a go, I had high expectations and I have to say I was not disappointed. It smells good. Not “ooh I wanna smell like this 24/7” but a very pleasant smell. It was the most hideous khaki colour, thick and mud-like with lumps of leaves, it was like applying swamp muck to my face – I loved it. It tingles as you apply it, some people have described it as stinging but for me it was gentle which is interesting considering most things make my skin sting (sensitive skin problems). The tingliness went away as it dried and it started to feel more like… like a cast, I suppose. And when I smiled it cracked.

Rinsing it off, I could feel the chunks exfoliating my face and leaving behind a rubbed pink but baby smooth version of myself. I moisturised, let it sit for a couple of hours, and holy moly. I am actually glowing. Due to the lottery of genetics I managed to avoid acne in my teens and now my only issues are a little dermatitis if I use something harsh and the occasional hormonal spot, so I have fairly good skin. Definitely leaning towards dryness if not properly cared for, so sometimes it can look a little dull. After this mask it was satin smooth and no trace of dullness or oiliness.

The Body Shop has a gorgeous new range of face masks and I’m definitely excited to try the others they have available. I think that with sensitive skin like mine this would be a once in a while treatment rather than a regular thing so I’m not sure if I’d splash out NZ$39.95 for a tub that will likely expire before I can use it. If you have quite active skin with a lot of blemishes this would be perfect for you as the charcoal draws out imperfections and leaves you scrubbed and pink. That and you just can’t beat the Swamp Monster Glam look….

As always, this post is entirely my own honest opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. 

jam hands/the body shop strawberry hand cream

As a personal trainer, not only is it my job to touch sweaty people but unfortunately the equipment I’m constantly touching happens to be unbelievably germy also. Truly. Gym equipment has been found to have 362 times the bacteria you would find on a toilet seat. Because of this, I wash my hands with soap and hot water after every client and, of course, after my own work outs. Sadly, this winter, the skin on my hands has gone from being soft and smooth to dry and cracked. I have used heaps of hand creams to combat this – generally just opting for whatever smells the best, knowing I’m not regular enough with my application for it to have a real benefit.

But about a week ago, I left the gym after doing a work out and headed to the mall with my friend. I had washed my hands before leaving the gym and my poor, dry hands were sore. So I stopped by the beauty section to grab a free sample of some hand cream, not intending to actually buy any, I had just wanted a quick fix to soothe my skin. 

This is when I discovered the body shop’s strawberry hand cream. The smell was incredible. It wasn’t like the fake strawberry scent you get in kids shampoos or the syrup for milkshakes. As it’s made with cold pressed strawberry seed oil, the smell was more real – a bit like home made strawberry jam. You know, the kind with the whole strawberries in it. I bought it on the spot. Then, as I walked to my car and on the drive home, I realised how beautifully potent the scent is. It’s like wearing strawberry perfume.

And, amazingly, after application the dry flakiness of my hands disappeared. I have to keep applying it when I wash my hands, but it’s the only hand cream that I have ever used that made an immediate, visible difference. Which is awesome for somebody like me who’s not good at regular application. It’s absorbed very quickly so it’s not greasy feeling in the slightest. It just leaves you with delicious smelling jam hands and skin as smooth as a baby’s butt.

As for price, it cost me NZ$13.50 for a 30ml tube. You don’t need a lot when applying, a little goes a long way with this stuff, but it does come in a 100ml for $25.50 as well. It’s no tub of budget hand cream, but it’s perfectly purse sized and delivers on quality.

I got mine from Farmers but you can get it from the body shop, either on their website or in store. It comes in heaps of different scents also, I’m just totally obsessed with having ham hands.

As always, this post is entirely my own opinion and I do not represent anyone or anything. I purchased this product myself and my review is completely honest. 

is training with makeup on really that bad?

I have been training with makeup on for a few years now and I have had my fair share of unsolicited opinions about what I should and shouldn’t be putting my face. Of course, as a young woman, unsolicited opinions about what we wear are nothing new. But is makeup at the gym really as bad as people think?

Basically, when you exercise, you get hot. And when you get hot, you sweat. And then your foundation mixes with the sweat and gets all up inside your pores, which are extra open, in order to cool you down. Because you’re hot. Sounds simple right? Exercising with makeup on clogs your pores. So, in a nutshell, is wearing makeup to the gym bad?

The answer isn’t that simple. You have to remember that for some people, going to the gym is a terrifying experience. The benefits of going to the gym, even with makeup on, totally outweighs not going to the gym at all. So if you need makeup to feel comfortable at the gym, go for it! Another thing to remember is that eye makeup is unlikely to cause a problem unless it starts running down your face, and lipstick is totally harmless as long as you don’t mind it getting all over your drink bottle.

If you’re heading to the gym on your way home from work or on your lunch break and you already have a full face of makeup, it might be a good idea to carry some makeup wipes in your gym bag so you can take off your foundation before you get started. But if you really can’t handle being in the gym without some sort of coverage you can try using a powder instead of a liquid foundation as it’s less likely to clog up your pores. It may not last through the workout depending on how sweaty you get, but in the long run your skin will thank you. And if you can’t avoid training with your glam on, just make sure to exfoliate and properly clean your skin afterwards.

And remember, if it’s not your face, it’s not your problem.