Sunday, 30 December 2012

My favourite things series: Scent

 A few years ago, my parents went overseas, and my mother brought back a sampler pack of BVLGARI fragrances for me. They were all very lovely, but one in particular struck me, and very quickly became a favourite of mine.

BVLGARI Rose Essentielle is a beautiful, subtle, fresh scent. It just smells like rosewater, so smooth and barely-there, yet sweet enough to give me a pick-me-up and make me feel more feminine.

I picked this one up on boxing day at Chemist Warehouse for $29.95, so it's an absolute steal at the moment. If you like rose-scented fragrances, or even if you're looking for a new, subtle scent, go try this one on.

This is how this fragrance makes me feel....

How about you? What's your favourite fragrance?

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Back to work...

Thank goodness the silly season is almost over!

I, for one, need a bloody good rest now, and luckily my boys are with their dad for the weekend and I am taking a well-deserved break from family duties and focusing on the things I would like to the house. Oh dear.

Never fear, though. I also have some plans to take myself out on a date to go see Les Miserables, and I am going to have a bit of shopping time There's something on my shopping list that I'd really love to have, and I think you guy will all go "Oh YES!" when I tell you what it is.

I'm going to buy myself a pamper session at Endota Spa. Down here on the Mornington Peninsula, we have the most beautiful setting for a spa EVER at Endota Red Hill, and I fully intend to get myself down there for a massage and a facial, using some of the birthday dosh that my parents gave me!

Their spa treatments are to die for, and they have the most wonderful facilities not only for a girlie day by yourself, but for couples treatments and groups (I'm thinking girls' day out in the new year!).

Even better than that, are the take-home treatments you can spoil yourself with afterwards! Endota have a gorgeous range of skin care, body treatments, and even my favourite thing in the whole world, NAIL POLISH, all quite affordable and beautifully packaged.

My pick for new years' pampering is definitely Endota Spas, which can be found all over Australia. Check out to find your nearest spa or buy products online!

All images from endota's website.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

From my family to yours!

There's lots of exciting things coming up in the new year, so stay tuned!

Thank you all for your support in my initial setup and first few months. My readers mean the world to me.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Summer style: Neons!

 All weekend, I've been battling migraines and excessive heat, but it didn't stop me from checking out a couple of really cute neon things and trying them out!

First is my BYS limited edition neon palette, which I got from Gloss a few months ago. I was a little bit ahead of the trend, because I'm just now seeing neons go crazy around the place.

 I've swatched the colours here on my arm for you. Not a great colour payoff, but they are perfect to start slow and build up the colour if that's what you want to do.
 Then we have the gorgeous Orly hot shots mani minis, which my awesome little wholesale beauty supply store just started to stock. These are so cute, starting with a coat of white polish to make the neons even brighter (thank you, Revlon for that little tip!)

The nail art I did over the top is really super simple, black and white with silver, but it really pops against the bright neon colours.
What do you think. Can you pull off a neon look this season? Are you determined to have a red hot crack at it? I most certainly am!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Enhancing natural beauty with a smile: Cleverwhite Dissolving strips.

Today in the mail, I received a sample set of Cleverwhite Dissolving Whitening strips for my teeth.

Usually, I don't put much stock in products like this, and after 32 years of sugar, soda, then coffee and smoking (which I don't do any more) all damaging and discolouring my teeth, I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that it's going to take a few hundred dollars' worth of in-the-chair-at-the-dentist whitening to get them really lovely and pearly.

But then I tried this...and now I'm not so sure.

Single use samples are always a little bit blah, because it's really hard to get an idea of exactly how the product is going to perform long term, or in a full course. These had me staring into the mirror, thinking maybe, just maybe, they had pulled my teeth up half a shade in one go. It's got me intrigued enough to go use the $5 off voucher I got with my sample and order some.

So how do they work?'s a clear strip, much like a breath freshening strip, which you place level with the gumline at the front and fold over the back of your teeth. As soon as it gets wet, it lso gets sticky and coats the teeth completely. They then dissolve over the next 10 minutes, and you're left with just a faint hint of minty freshness. My teeth felt cleaner after they had dissolved, too.

There are a couple of little drawbacks. First, they stickiness can be a pain if you happen to accidentally stick it to your lip instead of your teeth, so you have to be careful. Also, the length of the strip means that you are probably going to need two for the top and two for the bottom if you want to whiten all of your teeth, including back molars. If you're content to just do the visible front teeth back to the first molar, then one top and one bottom are all you need.

They come in a pack of 42 (a three week supply) for $29.95, and currently they are on special for $ compared to most other whitening systems, they are really affordable. Available at Priceline and

I'm off to order my box now, so stay tuned for a proper review in the next few weeks.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Review: BYS Nail art lacquer

Lots of you have asked me how I put my nail art together so nicely, and I'd love to take all the credit on the back of my creativity, but I just can't. 

Nail art has never been easier, thanks to nail art lacquers and polishes with very thin brushes, and my favourite ones are the ones from BYS.

They come in over 30 different colours, so there's one to match every nail look!

 The best part is the price. Coming in at $4.95 each, they are totally affordable, and anyone can have gorgeous nails!

Working the same way as a traditional polish, but applied with a very long, very thin brush which doesn't take long to get the hang of, you simply apply straight lines and brush strokes with ease to create and kind of nail look you want.

 All of the nail art looks pictured here were created with the help of BYS nail art lacquers. My collection is growing every week!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Trendsday: Christmas nails!

Everywhere I look, I'm seeing christmas-themed nail looks, so it's fairly obvious what today's Trendsday post needs to be about, isn't it?

Here is my holiday-themed look for you guys, a cute silver polish with a statement thumb nail, decorated with a christmas tree, star and all!

This is a fun little look that virtually anyone could do with the right combination of polishes.

What fun looks are you doing to celebrate the holidays?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas is almost here! Last minute gifts under $35!

 It's that crazy time of year again. The last minute rush to find that one present you forgot about, or the relative that was particularly difficult to find something for. Maybe, like me, you're trying to save money for something big (like an overseas trip next year!!!) and you need to keep the cost down a bit.

I thought I'd put together some last minute deals for you under $35 that you can find in pretty much any mall.

First we have 2 great gift packs from So...? fragrances. There's the So...? Superstar City Chic gift set at $14.95 and the So...? Rock'n'Roll In love Rock me set at $19.95. Both sets include a full size fragrance and coordinating products in the same range.

So...? fragrances have been around forever. I remember buying their scents in my teens and the fact that they are still producing quality scents at affordable prices is commendable.

You can get your hands on these, and other, So...? gift sets at Priceline, Big W and Pharmacies nationally.

Next we have Taylor of London Creamy Vanilla Orchid 5 pc gist set at $29.95. This one is amazing value, when you consider that usually the EDT by itself is $19.95. For the extra $10, you also get Hand and nail cream, body scrub, shower gel and body lotion; perfect for layering that gorgeous fragrance.
You can get this one at Priceline and selected pharmacies.
Next up, we have Puretopia, one of my favourite skin care brands. They've put together some skincare sets for us, and they are absolutely gorgeous. The packaging alone is beautiful, then add to that the amazing quality of Puretopia's products and you've got yourself a winner. Get yourself down to Priceline, Big W or selected pharmacies and choose one for yourself.

The Rejuvenate set is $34.95 and includes Pert and Plump ip filling and smoothing lip cream, Eye Rescue refreshing and detoxifying massing roller, and Pure Nutrition Essential Facial Serum. A real treat for your face.

The Holiday treats set is $24.95 and it includes my favourite Puretopia product, Glowingly Smooth Exfoliating and Renewing body scrub, Wake Up Invigorating and Moisturising body wash, and Soft and Smooth Hydrating and skin plumping body lotion.

Last but certainly not least, for the nail lovers, there's this awesome little crackle effects gift pack from Polished London. At $17.99 from selected pharmacies, this is the "Joy" set, which includes a red polish and 2 different crackle finishes to top it off in holiday style.

Keep an eye out for these gift packs while you're out, pick up a really gorgeous, really nicely priced pack for someone you care about and maybe even one for yourself while you're at it.

Monday, 17 December 2012

How-to: Deal with an allergic reaction.

One thing that lots of us deal with at one time or another is allergic reactions to beauty products.

I experienced this myself for the first time on Wednesday night when I tried out a new cleanser and a wrinkle cream. Immediately after I'd applied it, my skin felt hot and started to sweat, I became very red, and broke out in a lumpy, bumpy rash.

So... when this happens to you, what should you do?

  • Don't panic. You're probably not going to die.
  • Don't put any other products on the affected area. Instead, just cleanse the area with clean, cool water.
  • If you have a cold pack handy, apply it to the affected area to cool down the skin.
  • Leave your skin alone for a couple of days and let it settle down by itself.
  • You could also take an antihistimine if you have some handy.
  • Don't blame the product. In my case, for example, my skin is used to having organic or naturally derived products used on it every day, and this product (s) was a heavy cosmeceutical. My skin basically just went "WHAT THE HELL?" and reacted in a violent manner.
I'm feeling much better now. My skin has settled down, and I'm back on the road to clear skin...and I'm being a little more gentle and cautious.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Local Producer of awesome things: Soap Bakery Vic.

 I was at the Emu Plains market this morning, and I found the most gorgeous little stall selling delicious looking and smelling soaps, formed into both rough cut slices and elaborate "baked goods" shapes!

I got 6 soaps for $10, and it was so difficult to choose just 6. I'll be going back next month for some more!

They are based at most of the Victorian craft markets, so keep an eye out for them. If you want to know when they'll be at a market near you, hit them up on facebook at

I'm going to add one of these soaps as a bonus to each of the giveaway prize packs so that you guys can try them too! Have a look at some of their awesome products below:

Saturday, 15 December 2012

(CLOSED) CHRISTMAS BEAUTY GIVEAWAY!!!!!! when I started thinking about doing a giveaway for Christmas, it was because I'd found cheap deals and thought I could put together some cool stuff and it wouldn't cost me much money.

When I mentioned to some of my lovely PR girls that I was doing a giveaway, they jumped on board and contributed some products, and now I not only have a little hamper to give away, I ended up with so much stuff that I have THREE prizes for this!

Let's have a little look at the prizes one by one:

Prize pack #1: Winner: Sara Byrne
Savoir Faire limited edition makeup kit (with thanks to bellabox for including such an amazing gift with their December box).
1 x Hair feather (with thanks to Sarah and Manny at
Hedkandi by Eylure Ibiza false lashes (with thanks to the amazing people at Eylure).
Covergirl fantastic lash high volume mascara in very black.
L'Oreal wer infinite eyeshadow duo in 202 tidal wave.
2 x OPI mini nail polishes.
1 x skinmiso pore beauty nose strips step 1 & 2.
1 x Lip Tattoo in green swirl design.
Max Factor silk gloss sheer frot in 370 cinnamon glow
The soap bakery Vic rough cut soap bar (random selection, not pictured)

Prize pack #2: Winner: Marwa Sayed
12 pack hair chalk sticks (with thanks to Sarah and Manny at
Hedkandi by eylure Glitterball false lashes (with thanks to the amazing people at Eylure).
Eylure Naturalites 150 false lashes (with thanks to the amazing people at Eylure).
Covergirl fantastic lash high volume mascara in very black.
1 x skinmiso pore beauty nose strips step 1 & 2.
1 x Lip Tattoo in rainbow design.
2 x OPI mini nail polishes.
Almay Pure Blends eyeshadow in Cocoa.
Revlon just Bitten Lip stain/balm in Lust.
The soap bakery Vic rough cut soap bar (random selection, not pictured)

Prize pack #3: Winner: Carly McKeown
So...? Superstar EDT 30ml (with thanks to the lovely people at So...?fragrances).
1 x hair feather (with thanks to Sarah and Manny at
Le Tan SPF30+ Coconut lotion (sample size)
Hedkandi by Eylure Twisted Disco false lashes (with thanks to the amazing people at Eylure).
Biore14 pack combo Deep Cleansing pore strips (with thanks to the wonderful people at Biore)
2 x OPI mini nail polishes.
1 x Lip tattoo in cheetah design.
L'Oreal wear infinite eyeshadow duo in 302 soft fern.
Nivea Gentle Cleansing Cream Wash (sample size).
Revlon Grow Luscious eyeliner pencil in graphite.
Rimmel London Vinyl Jelly lipliner pencil in 001 Moreish.
Maybelline XXL Volume mascara (not pictured)
The soap bakery Vic rough cut soap bar (random selection, not pictured)

--> So... how do you get your hands on these babies? It's really simple.
Take a photo of your holiday look, and email it to me at
It could be a christmas or a new year's eve look, it could be a party look, it could be makeup, hair, nails or even an outfit. I want to see how you're dressing up this year!
Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges, which will not include myself or any entrant in the competition.
Competition runs from today (Saturday 15 December, 2012) until 8pm AEDST January 5, 2013.
Competition is open to entries from any country in the world.

Entrants under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian's consent to enter.
Winners must be prepared to supply their address upon notification of their win.
By emailing photos of your look to Katy's Beauty Secrets, you are giving permission for the photographs to be used on my blog and on my facebook page without the use of your personal details, for as long as the competition runs, and with the use of your name, should you win, after the competition has ended.
All products in the prize packs are in new, unopened condition.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Challenge me: Nail art!

 I'm ok with nail art. I'm a naturally creative person, and I really love to make some pretty nails for people to look at. It makes me happy.

Lately, my friend Jan has been posting pics on facebook of nail art she's seen and liked and tagged me in the pics to see if I could recreate the looks.

So what I'm thinking is, maybe you, my dear readers, could join in the challenge!

If you see a nail art that you like, post the pic on my facebook wall here: and I'll post my recreation of the look! When I have a few to post, I'll pop the pics side by side in a blog post and we can all have a look!

You can also tag me @katylylak on Instagram and I'll see the pictures there if you happen to see something cool on there.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Review: December 2012 bellabox!

Ok...before I start this review properly, I have to say that we were led to believe the the December box would be epic and filled with colour (makeup) products. And though that is technically true and they have included a product here that retails for $110, I have to say that the remainder of the box is somewhat disappointing.

The box well and truly paid for itself with the one special product and it's a really good opportunity to pick up the makeup kit for next to nothing if you want it, but for beauty bloggers like myself who like to see different products in usable sized samples that we can try out and tell you guys all about, there really isn't much to show you this month.

So... enough whinging about a box I only paid $15 for. Let's get down to the nitty gritty.

Inside, I found:

Allegra Rhodes hand and nail cream, 5ml (regular sized product 175ml RRP $32.95)
It smells good, and is Red Lychee scented.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Secret Weapon Flawless Finishing Cream, 30ml (regular sized product 113g RRP $16.99
This will come in handy for my crazy hair. It's a good sized sample that I'll be able to get some decent use out of before I review it for you guys.

EmerginC Multi fruit Cleanser and Protocell Cream 3ml each (regular sized product 240ml RRP $55 (cleanser) and 50ml RRP $119 (protocell cream))
i've used products from this company before, and they're great, but tiny sample will probably be a one use thing and it's really hard to form an opinion on one use.

Compeed blister pad, single (regular sized product size unspecified, RRP $11.95)
This feels like an afterthought. Without knowing how many of these you get for $11.95, it's really hard to know whether they are value for money or not. However, for anyone who has ever had a blister...the benefits of relief from that are pretty priceless.

and last of all....the big product:

Savoir Fair limited edition makeup kit, full sized product, RRP $110
Ok, ok... it's pretty awesome, and the retail price of it makes the box seem really awesome. I got the winter toned kit, and as you can see below, it's full of makeup essentials. The packaging is nice and it has a really great sized mirror inside the lid. Would I pay $110 for it? Hell no. For that sort of price, I would expect full sized products inside.The lipgloss is quite decent sized, around the size of an OCC liptar, and the eyeshadow pans are small normal sized, but the baby-sized mascara, eyeliner and blush are a major disappointment for someone who already has a decent makeup kit.
HOWEVER, for the makeup noob, this is a really amazing kit, and it has most of the essentials to start creating makeup looks, along with some cool cards stashed away in the lid, under the mirror, to help you figure out how it's done. The main problem with this is that makeup noobs generally don't want to shell out over a hundred bucks to get their first bit of makeup, no matter how nice it is.

So...I'm not sure if I just did my first ever negative review, but I still see some positives in this box, and will continue my beauty sampling journey with bellabox in 2013, because they work really hard and produce great sample boxes.

Oh... and just for something really cool... I'm giving away my Savoir Faire makeup kit in the Christmas giveaway!!!!
This is something I'd decided to do before I got my hands on the kit, so I'm sticking with my decision, and now all I have to do is figure out what you guys are going to have to do to win ALL THE THINGS!

What do you think of the box? I know it sounds like I'm whiney and ungrateful, and I assure you this is not the case, just trying to look at the box critically for the review. I still think it's AMAZING that bellabox included such an awesome product.

Midweek pamper session: Face mask!

 Whether it's a pore strip, a full cloth or a liquid, there's not much I like better for relaxation than a face mask. Just the thought of lying down with a nice cooling mask on my face makes me feel instantly more relaxed.

So this evening we're going to take 20 minutes to give ourselves a little bit of quiet relaxation time and pamper our skin a little bit with a face mask.

Some of my readers have asked me how to choose the right mask for your face, and the answer really is that it's all down to personal preference. Some people like a heating mask, some like a cooling mask. Some people like a cloth mask, and others prefer a peel-off or the kind that goes on like a cream and dries out.

You should take a look at the ingredients and decide what will be best for your skin type, maybe even buy a few different ones to try.
The very best masks I've ever tried are skinmiso nose strips and lon vitalite 24K gold mask. They are amazing.

So... now that you've chosen your mask, go! Use it! Take 20 minutes, play some relaxing music and just chill out, forget about the world.

Trendsday: Lip Tattoos!

 I realize I'm a little late on the trend with this one, but I recently discovered these lip tattoos, and I really like them. Basically, they work in the same way as a temporary tattoo; place them, wet the backing paper, let them dry.

Then all you have to do is apply a little bit of lip balm over the top to stop them from drying out and you're all set!
I got mine from eBay for a little more than a dollar each!

You can find the ebay seller I bought mine from RIGHT HERE!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A special treat from Eylure!

This morning, I received a parcel. I had no idea what it was, but it was in a large bubblewrap satchel... so I was intrigued.

Inside, I found this box! What on earth is this all about? Disco?

Then I opened it, and everything made sense! It's the new release ultimate party lashes from Hedkandi by Eylure!

And when they say ultimate party lashes, they're not even joking a tiny bit! The lashes are Glitterball, an awesome, thick lash designed to give a really full look for the perfect NYE party face; Twisted Disco, a dual-length lash with plenty of pop to add a bit of sassiness to any party look; and my favourite, Ibiza, a black-and-blue tapered lash with tiny blue diamantes on the outer corner for an extra little bit of glam.

They include lash adhesive, and you can use them over and over, just be sure to clean them like I've shown you in a tutorial before, ideally after each use, to keep them gunk-free and your eyes happy.

But's the most exciting part. Eylure have given me a pair of each of these lashes to include in my Christmas giveaway!
That's right, a lucky reader is going to receive all three sets of these gorgeous party lashes, as well as a bunch of other beauty products AND a super-special surprise gift! I'm super-super grateful to them for contributing to the giveaway.

If you can't wait to see if you win, and simply must get out and find these lashes for yourself, it's really easy. Just head into your local Priceline store and look for the packaging with the cute party girls on the front! They are only $14.99 RRP, so really affordable, gorgeous lashes have never been easier to get your hands on! Be quick, though, because they're limited edition and won't be around forever!
Top to bottom: Glitterball, Ibiza, Twisted Disco