Friday, November 8, 2013

October favourites

October has absolutely flown by, and with it have come a flurry of new and exciting products. As well as my Autumn essentials that have helped me to overcome my dry skin and hair problems, I have collected a whole range of beauty bits that have made it into my basket of October favourites. 

First up is a little collection that I have been obsessed with for some time now. The L'Oreal skin perfection range is a new collection that promises to improve your complexion and reveal smoother, brighter looking skin. As someone who suffers regularly from breakouts and dull skin this is something I am constantly on the lookout for. And more often than not I find I am disappointed with the results. After using the L'Oreal skin perfection purifying micellar solution and being amazed with the results (you can read the full review here) I decided to team it with a few of it's siblings. I went for the L'Oreal velvety soft toner and Radiance revealing exfoliator. Using the micellar solution by itself already made my skin feel soft and silky, but teaming it with these two products improved it tenfold! The toner has a very thick texture, unlike anything I normally use and because of this it feels like it's working even harder to tighten and improve your complexion. This toner not only makes my skin feel cleaner but it seems to prevent it becoming greasy through the day. I tend to use this twice a day and rather than drying my skin out or making me feel like I've had a bad facelift, it gives a great base for my make up. The radiance revealing exfoliator enhances this effect further by acting as a hybrid of a face wash and scrub (I do love a scrub!) It has a gloopy texture with lots of little grains running through it which leave you feeling exfolitaed and baby soft! The smell of this face wash is amazing, so apricoty and fresh, and it easily washes away leaving a fantastic aroma behind it. I found once I had been using this exfoliator for a week or so little spots started to pop up on my cheeks and forehead, which is unusual as I'm usually a spotty chin kind of girl. However after pursuing for another week or so these all disappeared, and brighter looking skin was revealed. Well worth pursuing with!

Another drugstore treat I picked up this month that's well worth a twirl is the Superdrug Aloe Vera mud mask. This product is not only a bargain at £2.59 (!) but is designed to be sensitive-skin friendly. I sometimes find when I use facemasks that my skin has a complete meltdown the next day, howeveR with this my skin felt cleansed but not purged enough to bring all the dirt to the surface. The texture provides good coverage, and doesn't make a huge mess on application, because lets face it the last thing you want on a Sunday evening is to be cleaning up face mask. This is a very refreshing face mask for anyone who's skin needs a little pick me up!

Seeing as we're coming up to Christmas season (sorry, it had to be said) it only seemed right that I added a few splashes of red to my appearance this month. I was really intrigued by the new Barry M Matte polish, so on a recent Boots trip I picked up one in Burgundy Crush. Despite a few wobbles I was really impressed with the finished product once it was on my nails. The colour is gorgeous and the matte finish makes the varnish look very sophisticated. As someone who likes a bit of gloss I wasn't sure i would like the lack of shine, but the polish has a very unique look which is ideal for the darker Autumn days. Last but not least is a beauty product I've read dozens of reviews on, the Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick. I picked this up as I needed a deep red lipstick for a party and had a very tight budget. When i tested this out at the counter I was struck by the similarities it had to the MAC lipstick formula. As well as having a similar pigmentation, some of the colours were almost identical. I went for 'Diva Red', a dark maroon tone, very similar to Mac's Ruby Woo. The texture is very creamy and an excellent quality for a drugstore lipstick. Unlike some cheaper lipsticks which can lack coverage, the colour completely covers your lips, and doesn't highlight any dry skin or chapped areas that you may have. In fact it provides great moisture for your lips, and seems to hydrate them consistently as you wear. The colour lasts fantastically and doesn't need constant re-application through the evening. This is a definite make up essential for the Christmas period, and I will certainly be purchasing this in a few more colours.
Rimmel Moisture Renew in Diva Red

Barry M Matte Burgundy Crush Nail Polish - £3.99
Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Diva Red - £6.49

Autumn S.O.S: Combating dry skin and frizzy hair

It's cold, it rains a lot and the sunshine is almost non existent. This is my view of Autumn and if you're anything like me this cold, harsh weather does nothing but bad things for my skin. I recently posted an article revealing my Autumn essentials but as it gets colder and my energy decreases I'm finding it more and more effort to keep up with my beauty regimes. In light of this i have developed a very quick but effective way of combating dry skin and hair which requires the minimal amount of effort. 

I'm going to start with hair. Personally if the choice arrises between staying in bed for an extra 10 minutes or spending time de-frizzing my hair I am always going to choose bed. This combined with the fact I colour, backcomb, hairdry and straighten my poor hair means i need a good set of products to pop on. Enter Herbal essences Bee Strong shampoo and conditioner. This duo not only smells delicious (honey and apricot extract are an amazing combination)  but has a really creamy texture which has a great effect on your hair from the very first use. This definitely helps my hair to feel and look less frizzy, and instead leaves it with a velvety soft texture. Using these means i feel less concerned if i forget to use a heat protecting spray, and if I don't feel like straightening my hair I can afford to leave it au naturale. I've been combining this duo with a Toni & Guy shine gloss serum. I'm not keen on serums, past experiences have led me to believe they make my hair feel greasy and heavy. However this serum is extremely light and leaves my hair with a glossy, healthy shine. It may not get rid of my split ends but certainly helps to hide them, which is good enough for me. 

Everybody's skin is different, and the cold weather effects people in a variety of ways, however for me my upper arms are affected the most. The cold months leave me with bumpy arms that don't make me feel particularly ladylike. I've found the best way to combat this is with a good scrub, and Soap and Glory do a particularly excellent range. My favourite at the moment is the Scrub 'em and leave 'em body buff, which has slightly larger particles than other body scrubs I have used. I've found this to be more effective than buffs with finer grains as it is more efficient at getting rid of dead skin. Using this scrub 3-4 times a week has definitely left me with smoother arms. Alongside this I've been using an old favourite Palmers Coacoa Butter. This formula is enriched with Vitamin E giving it a very creamy, rich texture. Rather than being greasy or leaving you with that 'sticky' feeling, this cream seems to melt into the skin making it feel really fresh and soft. This product also smells gorgeous, really chocolatey and decadent without being overwhelmingly sweet. For those really dry areas (ankles, knees, elbows...all the awkward nooks) I've been teaming this with the Balance Me Rose otto body cream. This has a really feminine fragrance, which some may find overwhelming but I really like. This cream is really nourishing and works almost immediately to get rid of dry patches, replenishing the moisture in your skin.

Lastly I've got a couple of handbag essentials for you. The first is one I've raved on and on about last winter, and I still obsessively use, the Lush Popcorn lip scrub. This is a product I use daily, but especially in the cold weather when my lips are particularity dry and chapped. You can use the full review here but this is an essential for anyone who wants smooth, exfoliated lips without any effort. Last but not least is another Soap & Glory beauty, Hand Food. This hand cream is the perfect product to pop in your bag or desk drawer and use throughout the day. It's not greasy and it doesn't take lots of frantic rubbing in. I've received several compliments when using this hand cream about the beautiful smell most importantly the softness of my hands. This is well worth investing in before winter creeps up!

What are your tips for avoiding the perils of the cold weather?

Herbal essences Bee Strong shampoo & condtioner - £3.89
Scrub 'em and leave 'em body buff - £8
Hand Food - £5

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

On my face this week #6

It's been a little while since I've written a 'What's on my face' post, mainly because I tend to display the same kind of 'look' on a daily basis. As someone who doesn't wear any eye make up (minus a bit of mascara) it can be difficult to vary my appearance, and I tend to always end up looking the same. However a couple of new products I've purchased recently have helped to take my look from a dewy spring face to a more Autumn friendly look. 

First up is the Collection 2000 'Primed and ready' smoothing make up primer. This is a no-frills product which does exactly what it promises - provides an even base for foundation and helps to hold make up in place. I love a good primer, and as someone with a very uneven skin tone it's essential for me to help smooth out my complexion before applying any foundation. This primer has a similar texture to Benefits porefessional and provides a velvety finish without feeling greasy or heavy. I've been combining this with L'Oreals Nude Magique Eau de Teint foundation in warm ivory. The ever -lasting battle for someone with blemish prone skin is finding a foundation that provides good coverage but doesn't look cakey, and this may be the answer. The texture of this foundation is extremely thin and silky to the touch (it feels almost like water) and it blends fantastically. This foundation is designed to look natural and it certainly does this, giving a smooth and flawless finish even on those problem areas. I've been finishing my base with the Seventeen 18 hour stay time concealer, which is very similar to the Collection 2000 lasting perfection concealer (which has a little review here) in it's packaging and application. I picked this up on a recent trip to Boots as i was finding the collection 2000 to be a little heavy on my autumny-dry skin and I have been really impressed with this alternatives coverage. It provides good blemish coverage but is slightly thinner than it's Collection 2000's alternative, and only needs a little buffing to look completely natural. 

(L'Oreal Nude Magique Eau De Tient - Warm Ivory)
Anyone who knows me well knows that blusher is my downfall. I am constantly on the look out for new blushers, and recently I have been dabbling with cream and liquid based blushers. My most recent experiment has been Benefits Posietint, which is a bright pink liquid blusher that is designed to last all day without fading. I love this blush as it provides just the right amount of colour, and highlights the apples of the cheeks without a need to add any highlighter underneath. The texture is quite thick which means a little goes a long way, and when blended the colour gives a beautiful glowing finish. 
(L - R; Benefit PosieTint, MAC Pink Plaid)

As I previously mentioned I don't wear any eye make up apart from mascara, so a good quality mascara is essential for me. To compliment my autumnal look I have been using a Dior classic (a slight splurge on my part...) the Diorshow Iconic in Noir. This mascara has a great brush, which provides great coverage in only one stroke and lasts all day without the need to reapply. It is very dark and looks dramatic, without being clumpy. It does a great job of separating lashes without skimping on the intensity of the colour or volume. A slight splurge at £23 (oops) but worth every penny. 

The autumnal colours flying around at the moment are amazing, but sometimes I find darker colours can be slightly tiresome and 'samey'. The longer, darker days tend to steer people towards browns and reds, but lighter colours can easily be incorporated into a look catered for Autumn. I've been using Mac's Pink plaid to actively prove this. This lipstick is a dark pink matte lipstick, without a trace of gloss or shine in it, making a perfect bridge between summer and winter. It compliments a less illuminated look by providing a bold colour, without being too dark. 

What are your must haves for a classic Autumn look?

Seventeen 18 hour stay time concealer - £4.50
Benefit Posietint  - £24.50
Diorshow Iconic mascara - £23
MAC Lipstick in Pink plaid - £15

Sunday, October 6, 2013

September favourites

September has come and gone, and Autumn is officially upon us! Personally September has been a pretty crummy month for me with lots of stress and spots, and I am very excited about October starting. This awful inbetween-y weather is seriously irritating! As with any other month I have discovered some extra special new products to share with you, so here are my September favourites.

My first two are skincare saviours that have been staples through my September skincare routine. I have been plagued by spots this month due to a stressful month at work, and these two products have helped me through it step by step! My first is The Body shop's Blackhead exfoliating wash, designed to help unclog pores for clearer looking skin. Personally I don't have a problem with clogged pores, but I do have a lot of trouble with dull skin and I've found this to be an instant solution to a tired looking complexion. The main ingredient in this scrub is Tea tree, which is a warrior against spots and when combined with the gritty texture of this face wash an absolute lifesaver. I've been using this wash twice a day and I've definitely noticed my blemishes have been less angry and my complexion generally clearer. I reckon this scrub may have made it into my top 5! Alongside this I've been dipping into Herbalism, a solid cleanser from cult skincare experts Lush. This is designed for troubled, greasy or spotty skin and contains a whole range of organic ingredients designed to help combat these problems. I've been using this in the evenings after scrubbing and it's helped to calm my tired skin before bedtime. It has a very thick texture which you mix with a small amount of water to make a paste. The result is a cross between a face mask and a cleanser, helping to brighten and tighten the skin. The smell is slightly strong (a little bit like sticking your face into a tub of herbs) but the result makes up for it.

Next up is the most recent addition to my nail varnish collection. I am a big fan of Essie polish and I was really excited about their new Fall collection, so when i saw boots had an offer on and Essie was involved I umm'd and ahh'd over all their new colours before settling on this one. After school boy blazer is a dark blue-black colour which goes perfectly with pretty much everything. I went for this colour as I thought it was slightly more exciting than a plain black but still had an Autumn-y feel about it. I really like the finish of this lacquer, it's glossy, shiny and applies really nicely (even if you're cheating and don't use a base coat...not that I ever do that). A worthwhile investment. 

The penultimate product is one I've been coveting for some time but it's been an absolute saviour in the cold weather. It's a lip balm from a company I absolute adore Figs & Rouge and the latest balm tops them all! Coco Rose multi-purpose lip balm smells beautiful, applies wonderfully and keeps lips silky smooth. Everything from the packaging to the subtle pink shimmery tone this balm has is fantastic, and It's definitely worth picking up a tube of this. I've had mine for a few months and It's still going strong! 

Last but not least is a new addition to the make up bag that i mentioned in my first video blog. Browzings by Benefit is a eyebrow shaping kit that comes in the form of a wax and powder, rather than a pencil or crayon. Firstly I would like to point out it is a lot less scary than it sounds! It comes with two brushes; a slanted angle brush and a blending blush. The angle brush is used to apply the brown wax, which is very thick but not sticky. It applies easily to the eyebrow and is invisible once it's there. It acts a little bit like a primer, helping to create a canvas for the powder. The powder is the step I was most scared about as i had visions of the powder sprinkling on my face and clothes but this was not the case. You only need a little bit of powder to fill in the gaps and the finished effect is a very defined brow without looking clumpy. I like a little bit of an arch to my eyebrow which can be hard to achieve with a pencil, but the intricate brushes allow you to be very detailed. This is a definite must for anyone who likes a groomed brow!

What are your must have products from September?

Lush Herbalism - £6.35
Essie After school boy blazer - £7.99
Figs & Rouge Coco Rose multi-purpose lip balm - £4.95
Benefit Browzings - £23.50

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Smashbox Photo Finish Blemish control primer

I am a huge fan of Smashbox products, especially their amazing primers, so when I spotted this new product I snapped it up without a second thought. I am an avid user of their classic Photo Finish primer, and this just seemed to be catered more closely to my skin type. I read realms of positive reviews before using, and it seemed to be the perfect partner for my blemish prone skin. This primer is described as being 'breathable' which is exactly what I look for, something that doesn't make my skin feel heavy and provides a good canvas for my foundation. And it also contains salicyclic acid, which is a good ingredient to look out for if you are prone to spotty skin, as it helps to calm and clear up.  All the boxes were ticked, the hopes were high and the expectations great. And it didn't deliver. I was really disappointed with the results! I hate to be negative about products but I used this primer for two weeks (Giving it a very fair trial) and I wasn't at all impressed. I found the texture to be very greasy and thin, unlike the original photo finish primer. The end result wasn't a velvet finish, but felt very wet and sticky. I tried using different amounts, but i found using less had no effect and using more made my skin feel damp. I also quickly realised that using this seemed to encourage my make up to melt into my face, leaving me looking very frazzled by the end of the day! Lasting power in make up is very important, and I felt bare by the end of the day when using this primer. I also felt let down by the lack of effect this had on helping to clear up my skin, it didn't feel help my skin to feel fresh but left me looking very sallow and dull. Maybe it's me being fussy but I think I'll stick to the original in the future. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Illuminating bases

No girl can deny that she hasn't looked at Millie Mackintosh's skin at some point and been incredibly jealous. Everybody loves a glowing complexion, and clear, dewy skin is the look every girl is aiming for. But in reality we don't have the time, or money (If only we could all have our own skincare range designed by Elizabeth Caroline), to get that kind of skin easily. So we have to improvise. In my attempt to get this sought after skin I have gone through quite a few illuminating bases. They go by several names, have several different price tags but all aim to do the same thing; give you a flawless finish. In order to save you time (and money) I've decided to cut out the middle man, and present to you my top three illuminating bases!

(L-R: No.7 skin illuminator, L'oreal lumi magique, Chanel sheer illuminating)

First of we have the cheapest of the bunch, L'oreal Lumi Magique Primer. This primer promises to enrich the skin whilst highlighting and adding contouring to the face. I found this product to be pretty good when applied to my cheekbones and under my brows, as it gave a very subtle glow. This is a perfect product for anyone who is a little nervous of highlighters (it is a very fine line between looking glowy and shiny) as it doesn't make you greasy and you can immediately see the effect it has on your skin. I definitely wouldn't use this product all over as it may make you appear a little ghostlike...

The second skin illuminator is a No. 7 product which is described as a 'Radiance boosting beauty fluid' (it definitely sounds scarier than it is!) This product is more of an all rounder, as it can be used as a highlighter on isolated parts of your face, or mixed with your foundation to give an all over glow. I tend to mix this with a CC cream, as it blends perfectly to give a lovely texture. It looks slightly sparkly in the tube which I was worried may result in me looking like I was on my way to an 80's disco, but it has a very subtle shine. The texture of this is thicker than any other base I've used, which means very little is needed to cover the face. This is great for an everyday make up essential, and the brush attached to the end makes it easy to apply evenly. 

My last illuminating gem is the best of the bunch, although unfortunately the priciest. Le Blanc De Chanel sheer illuminating base was a purchase I made after reading reams of positive reviews, and it is definitely an investment I don't regret. Not only does this product smooth out skin, making it feel and look fresh, it also helps to combat any redness or discoloring on the skin. The base is very slightly scented but is not at all overwhelmingly flowery, and has a silky texture. I tend to wear this product under a very light foundation, and it provides a perfect canvas! This sheer liquid is designed to be applied all over the skin, with a little extra on the areas to enhance. This is without a doubt the ideal purchase for anyone who wants beautiful skin without putting on layers of make up. Easy, effortless and with amazing results.

What are your favourite illuminators?

No. 7 Skin illumiator Radiance boosting beauty fluid - £11

Autumn essentials

Sadly summer is very slowly coming to an end. And as we say goodbye to the long sunny afternoons, poolside holidays and impromptu beach trips it's once again time to switch the beauty regime. As much as I love the Autumn, it does pose some serious problems. Frizzy hair, dry skin and tired eyes to name a few. So I have compiled a short list of my must have Autumn buys...

I'm going to start with a new life saving foundation I've discovered - L'Oreal True match in Rose Vanilla. This has been around for a little while and I've been tempted to invest for some time so when my everyday foundation ran out I decided to take this for a spin. It promises a flawless finish and it certainly delivers on this front. This foundation doesn't require you to use a lot as it has very good coverage. It blends amazingly without leaving blotches or streaky lines, and is ideal for everyday use. The range offers a spectrum of shades so it's easy to match to your skintone (although this can also be quite daunting trying to pick between two nearly identical shades!) Most importantly It is currently rescuing my dried out skin, giving me a very subtle healthy glow!

My favourite brand at the moment is without a doubt L'Oreal. I'm not normally a huge fan but the last few months have seen me reaching for several of their products. My most recent purchase is their Skin perfection purifying micellar solution (what a mouthful!) which has had so much hype surrounding it the last few months. I'd heard some rumours that this was similar to Bioderma (the holy grail of all skincare) and I have to say this is probably the closest us Brits have to the genius that is Bioderma. This product promises to remove make up and impurities whilst also toning the skin. This cuts out the middle man, as there is no need to tone after using this, just moisturise and go! It isn't greasy, it doesn't dry out the skin and it's really soothing on application. After only using this a few times I felt like my skin was much clearer and had a fresh appearance. 

The next product that's had me succumbing to the hype is something most of you have probably heard of. Of course it is (drum roll please) Maybelline Baby lips! The long awaited and much anticipated product from the U.S that has had shelves in Boots completely cleared. I was lucky enough to purchase without much hassle and had my pick of the bunch! The range has 6 different colours which have various smells and shades but I finally opted for 'Mint Fresh' which has no colour but a gorgeous minty smell. The balm is very moisturising without being greasy, and is great value for money. I can't quite grasp why there's so much hype around these but as lip balms go it is good quality, perfect for trying to rescue those dried out lips. 

My next favourite is a hair saviour which I've been coveting for some time now. I definitely don't take as much care over my hair as i should, so when i find a product that works (and has quick results - I am very impatient) I tend to cling on to it. I've always wanted to try a hair oil, but all the faff that comes with it filled me with dread. VO5 Hot oil first appealed to me because it does not require heating before application. You apply it to wet hair, leave for one minute and then wash off. With only one minute to work I wasn't expecting magic but the results were fantastic! This oil helps to moisturise brittle or dry hair without making it greasy. I was really impressed when after one application my hair was already softer and easier to style. I tend to use this once a week and will definitely be repurchasing now my first bottle is empty!

Last but not least I would like to introduce to you my latest spot fighting partner. My daily skincare routine always seems to fixate on trying to get rid of blemishes, and this Lush favourite Grease Lightening has made my job slightly easier! I've been looking for a spot treatment that's strong enough to fight spots without making my skin feel dry for sometime and this seems to be it. It consists of Tea tree and Witch Hazel, which combined seem to be the perfect soothing remedy for red or irritated spots. I've been using this every morning and evening, and so far so good! I would definitely recommend this for anybody who needs a little bit of help keeping their complexion clean and fresh.

What are your Autumn must haves?

VO5 Hot oil - £4.29
Grease Lightening - £5.95

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

June favourites

I've been quite absent from my blog over the last few months, but that doesn't mean I haven't been buying copious amounts of new products to try! June has felt very busy, and this combined with the unpredictable weather (sunny one minute, downpours the next) has meant my make up has needed to be simple and guranteed to stay in place. After all, rain lines in your foundation is definitely not a good look.

I'm going to start with one product I've been trialing for a little while now, which has quickly become a staple in my morning routine. Origins Never a dull moment face cleanser is a product highly regarded and raved about by various blogs I follow and I decided to take the plunge and try it out. It promises to brighten skin whilst leaving skin feeling sleek, and it definitely delivers in both these areas. As an individual who suffers with relatively bad skin, which can flare up overnight, I have been really impressed with the effect this product has had. Not only has it helped my skin to stay clear (or at least clearer than usual!) it's also prevented it becoming as oily during the day. I'm always on the lookout for products that promise to brighten my complexion and using this cleanser in the morning gives me a very noticeable morning glow. I also love the texture of this face cleanser, as it's very thick and really feels as though it's doing a thorough job to clear away any impurities. Unfortunately the only thing I dislike about this is the smell. Personally I find it more overpowering than refreshing, but it's easy to live with the pong once you start to feel and see the effects of this fantastic product.

As well as shaking up my morning routine, I have also been testing out some new night creams. As I leave my early 20's and enter into my mid 20's (24 is fast approaching...) I find myself becoming increasingly paranoid about getting wrinkles. Because of this I've been trying to be strict with my moisturising routine, and despite my tiredness I try to moisturise every evening. Through my search for a good overnight cream I have stumbled across a little gem from Superdrug, Vitamin E nourishing night cream. This little cracker is not only ridiculously good value for money, It also smells delicious and makes my skin feel extremely soft. It promises to nourish and moustrise skin, helping you to look beautiful as soon as you wake up. This is perfect for anyone who suffers with dry patches on their skin as it has a very thick texture, and it provides moisture without feeling greasy.

In keeping with the recent effort I've been making with my skincare routine this month I have also been trying to put a minimal amount of make up on my face. I try to maintain a very natural face during the week and use very light coverage. In my attempt to put less on my face I have been mixing my own concoctions by using Beautiful movements Prime and create. This primer acts as a mixing medium which can be combined with powders or liquids in order to create a good make up base. I absolutely love this product and have been using it with a range of CC creams and foundations. It mixes flawlessly with a range of liquids and provides a beautiful finish. It also means there's only one layer, saving time on application!

Alongside this I have been using a Benefit classic, Some kind-a gorgeous liquid compact. This is described as a 'foundation faker' and can be used as an all over base, or as I prefer a quick fix for awkward blemishes. This is an old favourite that crops up every now and again and I cannot fault it. It does exactly as it says on the tin - provides a very swift cover without making you look oily or blotchy. I carry this around in my daily make up bag so it's always on hand for a quick cover up!

My last June favourite is a blusher (surprise surprise!) which was a complete impulse buy but has since become my everyday staple. The MUA Mosaic blush  is my first purchase from the Makeup Academy and I've been really impressed with the results it has delivered. The compact is Shade 3, a collage of browns, pinks and lilacs, which is swirled on application to give a very light English rose flush to the complexion. The texture of this blusher is very light and has a slight iridescent finish, which I really favour in a blusher. This product is very subtle and definitely a welcomed addition to my ever growing blusher collection!

What are your must have products for the fast approaching summer months?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Battle of the face scrubs

It's no secret that I love a scrub. Whether it's for your toes, hands, body or face I am a sucker for a new scrub. Although my absolute favourite is definitely a facial exfoliator, nothing beats the feeling of having bright skin which can only be achieved by scrubbing! I have quite a hefty collection of exfoliating scrubs (much like my obsession for blusher, it cannot be curbed!) which I use regularly. However I have decided to cut it down to my top 5 (it was tough!) and present you with my most loved exfoliating products. 

My first product is one I have blogged about before (cheeky, i know) but I absolutely love it! Vichy Normaderm 3-in-1 is a face mask, cleanser and a scrub. I use it first and foremost as a scrub and i am never disappointed. It has quite a powerful effect on my skin and makes my pores feel really clean. However it has no soap or nasty ingredients which makes it ideal for spot prone skin. I can use this product twice a day if my skin is going through a bad stage and it doesn't make it feel stripped, just clean. This is a product I've repurchased 2 or 3 times, and it always crops back up if I'm having a bad skin week. 

My next scrub is a Soap & Glory exfoliator, aptly named The Greatest scrub of all. I've only become a fan of Soap & Glory the past year or so and I tend to stick to their body scrubs but this product is definitely worth a purchase. This is designed for all skin types, which means it's a good idea to vary how often you use it. I've found through trial and error that I am best to stick to 2-3 times a week, and I tend to use it only in the evenings. This has a slightly grainier texture than other scrubs, which means it makes my skin feel less hydrated. I tend to avoid depending on it to make my skin feel bright, and use it combined with my overnight face cream. I really like the little 'spheres' of texture in this product that seem to pop as you scrub it into your skin and the smell is gorgeous. 

The next two scrubs are some high street gems I've picked up on my last couple of hauls. The first is a Superdrug special, from their Vitamin E collection. Out of all the scrubs I use this has the creamiest texture, with quite large, soft grains in it. It looks a bit like porridge (appealing i know) but smells delicious, and it glides onto the skin beautifully. You don't need a lot of this scrub and it tends to melt into the skin due to it's thick texture. I don't have particularly dry skin, so I only use this product when my skin needs a little t.l.c. and it feels very luxurious.

 My second high street bargain is from Boots Botanics 'All Bright' range. This purifying face scrub promises to 'buff away impurities' and i would say they're pretty spot on! This scrub also has a very thick texture, and looks more like a moisturising face wash than a scrub. The particles in this product aren't very large so it can be used in the morning as an everyday wash. Because this scrub doesn't feel as deep cleansing as the other scrubs I tend to use this when my skin is in good nick and It provides just enough to make my skin feel brighter.

My last scrub is another repeat, but one I have repurchased a few times. Probably top of my list and one that will hold a firm place in my bathroom, Rituals brightening face exfoliator. I cannot rave enough about how good this scrub is for my skin. It's powerful enough to leave me feeling as though all my impurities have been washed away, without making my skin irritated. The texture is perfect, not too creamy and not too grainy. For anyone wanting to try out a scrub for the first time, this is the one I would recommend  Perfect for skin scrubbing pioneers everywhere!

Soap and Glory The Greatest scrub of all - £9
Vitamin E Exfoliating facial scrub - £2.99
Botanics 'All Bright' purifiying face scrub - £3.99

Thursday, May 30, 2013

May favourites

Okay, so I've been a little bit rubbish for the last month (and a half...) and for that i apologise. But I am back (ta-dah!) and i have a lovely lot of beauty bits that I've fallen for this month. It's a bit of a varied bag but it's all fantastic stuff. 

I'm going to start with a few hair treats that I've been using religiously this month. My hair seems to present me with a constant battle in day to day life. Either it's too long or too short (normally the latter) or it looks too fluffy, or it just falls completely flat and looks useless. Enter BIG; Lush's answer for all hair disasters. This shampoo has been my go-to for weeks now, and i cannot recommend it enough! Its main component is sea salt, which adds amazing volume to your hair without drying it out. I'm always wary of using products that claim to add 'volume' as I often end up looking like I've been dragged through a bush backwards. However this shampoo adds texture and shine as well as making my hair look like it's been styled without me putting any work in at all! Its pretty pricey at £11.25 for a tub but as you only need a pea sized amount to wash your hair with it's lasting me 3 times as long as a normal shampoo would. I'm certainly going to be using this shampoo all summer to achieve that effortless beach hair. 

Alongside this i have been using a texturising spray from VO5. Give me texture is a spray that is used on dry hair, either as an accompaniment to styling or as a lazy way out of doing anything. I often use this spray as a 'pick me up' when my hair isn't freshly washed. Another product that uses sea salt it seems to lift straight from the roots and make my hair look alive as apposed to a limp dish cloth. It also has a delicious smell which makes me feel like i'm on holiday, a fantastic bonus! 

With my budget for make up being slightly tighter this month I have rediscovered a few old favourites that have quickly been bought to the top of my make up bag. The first is Benefits Hello flawless foundation. Over Christmas this was a product that i lived in but it somehow got overlooked through the spring (possibly due to the BB/CC cream craze...) On rediscovering i soon remembered why i loved this foundation so much. Firstly it is so light and feels incredibly clean. It reminds me of a tinted moisturiser as it's very illuminating and offers a very light coverage. It's also oil free, so it lets skin breathe and doesn't make it feel greasy (hurrah!) or look shiny. As an alternative to a BB or CC cream i would use this as a summer foundation.

The never ending quest for the perfect blusher has led to another blush purchase this month (sorry bank balance). This time it's another great product from high street chain 'Me me me', The blush box! Since buying their llluminator (See blog post here) i have been keen to buy another of their items and this seemed the perfect choice. I went for pink as it was unlike anything i had in my collection and it was pleasantly surprised how much i liked it. The pink is very sweet and bright but not too sickly that it makes you look like a china doll. The consistency is relatively good but not fantastic, it's very powdery which means it can be easy to go over the top and apply too much but a good blusher brush puts an end to this. It comes with its own small application brush which i have avoided as it has a very flat edge which makes for a harsh finish. However the colour is gorgeous and as it has a slight shimmer, it gives a very pretty finish. 

My last face treat this month is a mascara from L'oreal. It was a few months ago that i purchased the  L'oreal Telescopic mascara (See blog post here) and i decided it was time to treat myself to another. This time I went for Falsh lash flutter as it was recommended by a fellow cosmetics obsessive (Hello Claire!) and i have not been disappointed  I've only had a chance to use this a few times as it's a very recent purchase however i have been really impressed with the results. The brush isn't too chunky which means i don't end up with massive clumps yet the formula seems to be quite thick which gives my lashes some life, making me look bright eyed and bushy tailed! I don't use any other eye make up so i need mascara to frame my eyes and this definitely does the trick. 

My last beauty find is a nail varnish to add to my ever growing collection! This is my first Bourjois nail varnish purchase and it is definitely one i would make again. I went for the So Laque Glossy in Adora-Bleu which is a beautiful shade, slightly darker than a pastel but perfect for the summer. I love the glossiness of this varnish and it reminds me of a less dense version of the Barry M Gelly varnish. It's very quick to apply as it only requires one layer to give a decent colour and i found it lasts for several days before chipping. This is definitely one i would repurchase in a range of colours. 

So there are my May favourites. What have you been using this month?

Lush BIG shampoo - £11.25

Thursday, April 11, 2013

On my face this week #5

This week I've been shaking my routine up a little bit and have introduced a couple of new products that i wouldn't normally touch (shows how brave i'm getting!) into my make up bag.

The first new product (not so exciting) is a foundation that I've read so much about over the last few months. I'm always on the look out for that holy grail of foundations and i think i may have found it! No7 Stay perfect liquid foundation is the perfect consistency for my combination skin, it's not greasy or oily and blends perfectly. The main concern for me when buying foundation is the coverage. Unlike some lucky souls i need a foundation that gives medium coverage as sometimes my skin can be pretty bad. No7. covers all my of my spots without making my make up look cakey, giving me the natural finish that i strive for. When i visited the counter i was pretty overwhelmed as No7. offer a lot of colours but the assistant was extremely helpful! They were able to match my skin tone very precisely to 'Cool vanilla' and the colour is exactly what i need. For anyone looking for an everyday foundation i cannot recommend this foundation enough.

My next new product is a blusher (surprise surprise) from Sleek which is slightly different from my normal blusher choices. As someone with pale skin i tend to go for a 'English rose' look with natural skin and pink-ish cheeks, however when i spotted this colour i had to give it a whirl. The colour is called Pomegranate and is dark red with hints of rose tones. I'm always worried that wearing red tones will make me look too harsh but i was very impressed with the finish on this blush. The texture is really pigmented which means it lasts all day, and its very light on application which for the mere cost of £4.49 is a steal!

The last product I've been reaching for this week is an oldie but a goodie! Sexy Motherpucker by Soap & glory provides lip plumping action and a fantastic colour as well as a beautiful shine! The lip gloss is designed to enhance the volume of your lips and definitely makes a visible difference. I use this gloss in Candy apple which gives a very natural, nude colour, perfect for wearing alongside a dramatic cheek colour. For someone who doesn't normally touch lipgloss (like me) this is a perfect starting point!

Sleek Blush in Pomegranate - £4.49
Sexy Mothpucker in Candy apple - £9

Monday, April 1, 2013

March favourites

This month has been a gold mine of new products and it's been really hard to choose just a handful as my favourites. My main weakness is definitely buying new make up and this seems to have extended to cover skincare and hair products too...

I'm going to start with my star buy of the month which has to be Boots coconut & almond Leave in conditioner. This is by far the easiest leave in conditioner I've ever used as you simply spray in just before drying. There's no water, no mess and no fussing around timing how long it needs to be left in. I love the smell but it's not so over powering that you smell like a fruit salad. I've been using this daily and my hair is so much softer and easier to manage, and at £1.39 a bottle it is amazing value for money.

Next up is a soap and glory gem - Dr Spot. I asked for some suggestions of a fast acting spot remedy and this seemed to crop up the most so i decided to take it for a spin. It's a gel formula which is designed to help reduce the redness and calm inflamed spots immediately. I have been using this product twice daily on any pesky blemishes that have cropped up and it definitely helps to soothe them. This formula is quite strong and dries out the skin so i would be careful with over-use but it's one to keep in the drawer in case of unwanted visitors.

I've invested in a few new foundations this month and one that I've been really impressed with is the Revlon Nearly Naked in colour Nude (150). I picked this up in a Boots 3-for-2 deal (every girls downfall) and have been using this as an evening foundation. This coverage is quite heavy for me and i was worried it may irritate my skin but it's been fantastic. It gives a very natural finish and doesn't leave you looking like you're caked in make up. I've been teaming this with another high street bargain from Collection 2000 which is their Lasting perfection concealer. This is perfect for anyone with pesky spots or dark circles as it comes with a little wand. I tend to use a small brush to buff it in but it gives excellent coverage. 

My last make up favourite this month is another Smashbox purchase but this time it's for eyebrows. I don't spend a lot of time on my eyebrows as i have such a heavy fringe you can never see them. However i'm thinking about giving the fringe up (gulp) so I've been trying to keep on top of eyebrow maintenance  The Smashbox Brow tech to go is a eyebrow crayon rather than a pencil and has a slightly thicker texture. It doesn't require sharpening so is always ready to use, and has a slightly slanted edge which makes it easy to define shape. This product also includes a small gel and brush on the end which is designed to help the eyebrow stay into place once it's been brushed and drawn in. I really like this as it makes everything look neater! 

My last March favourite is the Barry M gelly polish or as it's formally known 'Hi Shine Gel effect polish'. I am a big fan of Barry M and own most of the colours (oops) but i wasn't convinced this polish would be any better than the standard formula. However after reading overwhelmingly good reviews i gave into pressure and purchased the polish in Prickly Pear (a pastal purple) and Papaya (a beautiful coral). The colours are gorgeous and look really summery, but what's most impressive about these varnishes is the shine. The gelly formula not only makes the colour pop but gives a lovely sheen to the finish. The texture seems to be thicker than the standard varnishes so you only need one layer and the last is fantastic. 

So that is where all my money has gone this month. What have you been buying this month?

Dr Spot - £8

On my face this week #4

This weeks face has been all about simplicity and (as usual) keeping things as straightforward as possibly. With Boots AND Superdrug having 3 for 2 offers over the last few weeks (sorry bank balance) I have introduced some new products into my routine that I absolutely love.

This weeks focus has definitely been creating a good base. As someone who suffers from spots regularly i need a primer that smooths out my skin, providing me with a good canvas to work with. Enter Smashbox photo finish foundation primer! I'd read a lot about this before purchasing and it definitely lived up to the hype. I've been applying this primer straight after moisturising and have found it really helps to soften my skin as its texture is so silky and smooth. I'm always on the hunt for products that give me brighter skin, and this product definitely gives a glowing finish as well as helping my make up to last for much longer. I've been teaming this with the Me Me Me Beat the blues illuminator. Unfortunately i cannot take credit for this combination and i have the lovely ladies Nouvelle Daily to thank for this discovery! The idea of an illuminator is to highlight the good bits (the cheekbones or the brows) and combining this fantastic highlighter with the Smashbox primer makes my skin look dewy and iridescent  It's a perfect spring look, and takes no effort to pop a bit on in the mornings.

My next must have this week has to be the L'oreal false lash telescopic mascara. I'm fussy when it comes to mascara as i have quite sensitive eyes and not very much lash to work with but this mascara has ticked all the boxes. It delivers more on length then it does on volume, which is perfect for a natural, day time look. I absolutely adore the brush, it's very long and delicate which means you don't end up with huge clumps. As someone who doesn't wear any other eye make up i like some definition to my eyes and this mascara is ideal for that.

Last but certainly not least is my favourite product of this week (drum roll please) the long awaited and anticipated CC cream! I've been waiting to get my hands on a CC cream since their launch and after reading some positive reviews i decided to go with the L'oreal Paris Nude Magique CC Anti-Dullness Cream (what a mouthful). Now CC stands for 'Colour correcting' and the idea is it targets skin imperfections such as dullness or red patches, giving you a very even skin tone. I tend to have quite a dull complexion so i went for the anti-dullness which is a mauve colour. The texture of the cream is similar to a tinted moisturiser and gives a light coverage, so is perfect for the summer months. The formula is pigmented so it blends to your skin tone giving a flawless finish. It still baffles me that the cream blends so well without being initially matched to your skin tone, but it works! The product is very creamy and glides onto the skin wonderfully without making the skin feel heavy. I would definitely recommend this as a foundation replacement as i find even with my spotty skin it gives a very even coverage and even better it doesn't clog my pores, instead helping my skin to feel much clearer. 

What do you think of the new CC craze? 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Night skincare routine

My favourite time of day is without a doubt bedtime. Mainly because i get to sleep but partly because it's the only time of day that is guaranteed to allow me time to pamper my skin. Whether I've been running around like a headless chicken all day or not I will always dedicate a chunk of my evening to skincare. With so many amazing products floating around it can be hard to come up with a regular skin routine, but here's my bedtime routine that I've stuck to over the last few weeks. 

As a creature of habit I always use make up wipes to remove the bulk of my make up. I then use a eye make up remover to ensure all my mascara is wiped away. Garner Fresh essentials has been my number one choice for some time and i don't see that changing! I have very sensitive eyes which means i'm careful about the products i use but this is so gentle I've never had any problems. It also has extracts of grape which gives it a fresh and fruity smell as well as a soothing feel on the skin. Once I've removed my make up i wash my face to get rid of any leftover grime, my current bedtime face wash is Vichy Normaderm Tri-Activ cleanser. This is a 3-in-1 product that can be used as a cleanser, scrub or mask, although i prefer it as a scrub. It's very creamy and soft which makes it perfect for my blemish prone skin! I've been really impressed with this product as it's given me really soft skin without stripping all my natural oils away. Once I've done this I use a toner, Clarins Toning lotion has been a firm favourite for some time now (I'm on my third bottle!) and is one I've mentioned before (you can find the review here). I love it because it leaves my skin feeling really cleansed and fresh, Once I've done this and i feel my skin is suitably clean i move on to my moisturising routine. I've been drawn to pore refining products recently as i have some large-ish pores on my nose, and Dr Jart's Up-tighten serum has proven to be a very successful treatment. It comes in the form of a gel and slides easily onto the skin once the skin has been toned. I've been using this product for a few weeks and have definitely noticed results when applying my make up. After this i normally use an all-over moisturiser. I love Garnier's new Moisture Match range, and my moisturiser of choice is their Revitalising and hydrating gel. I adore anything for dull skin as i'm always aiming for a glowing complexion and this product is perfect for brightening. The consistency is quite thick and a little goes a long way. It's perfect for my combination skin and doesn't irritate my spots. Lastly and just before i go to bed i apply a lip balm. My favourite at the moment is  the Elizabeth Arden Eight hour cream. This is a classic balm and one that I had heard lots of fantastic things about. On initial purchase i was under the impression that it was designed for extremely dry or damaged skin, but I've found it is also a perfect remedy for cracked lips. Applying it just before sleep means that without any effort i wake up with lovely soft lips. 

Garnier Revitalising and hydrating gel - £5.99

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

On my face this week #3

After a crazily busy week and with parents evening looming my beauty routine has been seriously reduced this week. With very little time on my hands (due to some ridiculously early mornings) i have been reaching for some very simple products that require absolutely no effort.

My main concern this week has been covering my huge black circles that have decided to attach themselves permanently to my peepers. For this i have been using L'oreal True match Touch Magique in Rose Beige. This concealer is an absolute life saver for covering up dark circles and blemishes (my ultimate enemies) as it not only conceals but illuminates the area. I apply this underneath my foundation and i find it really brightens my eyes. This product has a small brush attached to the end of it which makes it really easy to apply and blend. I also find this product lasts all day without drying my skin out, an absolute must have in any make up bag!

I've been trying to avoid using foundation this week to give my skin a bit of a breather as i've had a few break outs this month. Instead i have been using The Body shops all-in-one BB Cream. I'm a bit behind on the BB craze and I've only been using this for the last few months but i have been impressed with the results. The product comes out as a white pigmented cream which immediately transforms to match your skin tone. The cream is described as light-medium coverage and i would say it's definitely leaning towards the light end. It blends beautifully into the skin, and when accompanied with a concealer (on those areas that need a little more coverage) it gives a great even result. I find this to be very hydrating on my skin, which is exactly what is needed after such a harsh winter.

Since wearing lipstick on a regular basis i've been really keen to start experimenting with 'statement lips'. However i haven't been brave enough to try out a red yet, instead i've been working my way up to this and testing out some bolder pink tones. My latest purchase from L'oreal is from their Rogue Caresse Range, Colour 203 'Rock 'n Mauve'. This appears to be quite a dramatic purple, but when applied to the lips is more of a dark pink. The main reason I love this lipstick is because it's so moisturising and hydrates your lips without feeling greasy. I've worn this lipstick on a few nights and found i've only needed to re-apply it once throughout the whole evening, which at under £9 is definitely value for money.

What lipsticks have you been wearing this week?

The Body shops all-in-one BB Cream - £12.00