Dec 15, 2018

Swim and Skin. Featuring Andie, NIOD, The Ordinary.

I'm pretty sure summer is coming back to Sydney - soonish.

It has to primarily because my Andie Swim order just arrived and I'm hell-bent on wearing it to the beach over my break in January.  Andie was founded in 2017 by Melanie Travis whose mission was to create swimwear for women with 'real bodies' and 'real lives'.  The premise is simple: deceptively simple cuts, high-quality fabrics, a timeless colour palette and a free returns policy so that you can try a heap of options on in the privacy of your own home.  Andie has made good on its intentions so successfully that collections have sold out several times over and Demi Moore is an investor.

Andie has recently launched in Australia as a purely online business as it is in the US.  Postage is free and there are often discounts advertised on the brand's social media as well as welcome codes you can obtain by signing up to the Andie mailing list.

I recently placed an order using a 15% discount code (FLOATON15), loved what I received so thought I might as well write about it today.

First impressions:

  • the website is easy to navigate and there are plenty of reviews for classics in the collection which are based on user dress size and height so you can get an idea how a particular size and style would work for you
  • there is a swimsuit selection tool based on your lifestyle and any hang-ups you might about your body (not politically correct but I'll be straight with you - bathers for the beach shopping is all about 'deflecting attention' for me) which then comes up with a list of pieces and sizes for your consideration
  • there is a site that's specific for Australia and it seems to have a more limited range than the US one
  • shipping is free and quick, I think Andie Australia ships from Melbourne
  • there are four colour options available - black, white, bordeaux and terracotta there are no prints, only solids with gold-toned hardware where applicable.  Some styles are available in both a ribbed and smooth finish fabric.

The Tulum - black
The Tulum ($140 AUD) was the one piece I ordered.  I went for black, non-ribbed.

- comfortable, opaque spandex nylon fabric
- great cut!  Loved the high leg and the relatively high neckline.  The cross back was also very flattering
- these definitely do not look or feel like my training bathers for the pool
- easy to wear with shorts, a skirt or under a dress.

- there are removable cups in the front panel of the suit but they weren't as substantial as what I've tried on at Seafolly or Victorias Secret (back when they did swim... they were good times).

The Cartagena Top - black

For my mid-life crisis /  only live once / who cares what anyone else might think/ it's now or never two-piece, I went for the Cartagena top ($75 AUD) and The Bikini Bottom ($65 AUD) in safe bet black, non-ribbed again.

- both pieces were made of the same high-quality fabric as the one piece
- the top was double lined with the same lightweight, removable cups as the Tulum (I won't lie, I doubled up with a spare pair of cups I had from an old bra top)
- the Cartagena top comes with removable straps
- again, both pieces were very flattering with just the right amount of coverage for the more mature woman who remembers Demi Moore Herself with her surfboard when she guest starred in the Charlies Angels Full Throttle film with Cameron, Drew and Lucy
 - again they managed to flatter and provide some support without making you feel like you're trying to desperately squeeze yourself into bathers designed for the fitness model you so are not.

I'll let you know if I feel Demi / Madison's vibe when I step out sometime after the sun returns to Sydney.  Wouldn't trust myself with a surfboard though.

We've covered the swim, onto the skin.  I've shaken up my routine for summer (you know, for when it finally decides to commit to Sydney longterm).  Two things I've replaced are the eye product I use at night as well as the chemical exfoliant / general miracle worker I use for the rest of my face before bed.  My most recent products were both Alpha H (Liquid Gold and the Liquid Gold Firming Eye Cream).

NIOD's Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate ($100 AUD, Adore Beauty) is the subject of my most recent trial on moisturizing treatments for around my eyes.  It's a fragrance-free oil that is packaged in a dropper bottle.

The packaging may look familiar because NIOD is under The Ordinary's umbrella of skincare brands.  The outer packaging does give it away a bit about NIOD's price range being several orders higher than The Ordinary with its basic black and white boxes.

I'm using this eye concentrate at night.  Three tiny drops is plenty for both eyes.  While this is an oil, I don't find it too heavy for my skin and it blends easily.  There is lots of science and chemistry behind this product but all I want and need is something that moisturizes.  Bonuses are if I wake up looking like I've slept 168 hours non-stop and that the effect persists through the long day ahead.  NIOD came up with the goods on all fronts for me. 

In comparison, I was a bit disappointed with Alpha H's Liquid Gold Firming Eye Concentrate which had a more lotion-like consistency and didn't seem to moisturize or do much at all for me.  It was okay under makeup during the day but that's about the only thing I could find in its favour.

I seem to be in The Ordinary phase again.  After giving up with my first purchases at the height of the frenzy, I picked up The Ordinary's Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion ($17.90 at Adore but might have been a bit cheaper at Priceline where I bought mine) last week.

I've been using this nightly with the hopes that it would help with the occasional acne that's returned to plague me in my middle age.  It's also recommended for pigmentation and skin texture improvement both of which it's meant to facilitate by increasing skin turnover which I read to mean that it's a kind of exfoliant.  

What I love about the 2% solution is that it is both gentle and effective.  It doesn't sting (I use it at night) and does leave my face looking brighter in the morning.  That brightness could be the humidity doing its thing but in all seriousness, I'm really happy with its performance for the price point.

Last but not least in my new things round up is Essano's Rosehip Gentle Facial Exfoliator which I bought for $15 at Coles.

I'm a big fan of Essano's Rose Hip Oil and thought this scrub would be nice to try.  It is a grainy scrub that's definitely more gentle than other supermarket offerings.  Does anyone remember Aapri's apricot kernel scrubs?  It's had a modest effect on my face.  Alpha H's Daily Exfoliant works better for me.  The seemingly subtle effect of Daily Exfoliant become apparent when you stop using it for a few days.  Despite its barely there feeling on my skin while I used it, my skin was left smoother than after using the more obviously exfoliative product from Essano.  Oh well, it was good to find out in a roundabout way how indispensable Daily Exfoliant is to my routine.

And on that note, I'm off to get started on a busy weekend of 'Man It's Nearly Christmas and I'm So Underprepared' frenzied shopping.

Until next time!

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