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