Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer hair favourites

Summer can reek havoc with your hair. Sun, chlorine, sea salt, sand and unexpected rain showers can all contribute to your hair going a little bit crazy. Here are the products I am currently using to keep that summer frizz at bay.

Aussie Mega shampoo and conditioner are my current favourite combo. They smell amazing, don't cling to the hair and leave it sleek and smooth. I struggle to find shampoos that don't build up in my hair, and this seems to eliminate the problem. I have very looooong hair and this cleans it thoroughly, leaving my ends nice and nourished. I've also found since using this pair I can go 3 or 4 days without washing (if I'm feeling lazy!) and my hair still looks really clean and fresh.

I've been experimenting with some hair oils this summer, something I've steered clear of in the past. I've always worried that oil would make my hair feel and look a little greasy, but with a little care and attention I've managed to avoid this happening. OGX Moroccan Argan Oil is my top pick of the oils. Putting a little on my hair when it's damp helps to nourish and leave my hair with a great shine. It also seems to protect my hair from the drying/straightening/backcombing that I put it through! I've been putting a little of this on the ends of my hair to get rid of any stray hairs in between washes, however I have avoided putting this on my roots as it can result in hair looking a little too shiny...

For those really hot, humid days I've been reaching for OGX coconut oil mist. Coconut oil in any shape or form is great for your hair, but I like this as it has a spray top so It's easy to get the right amount on. When on holiday I was spraying this on my hair before I stepped into the sun and I found my hair soaked it up and appeared much more hydrated. This product also prevents the hair from breaking, meaning less split ends! I love how silky my hair feels after using this spray.

The current craze in the blogging world seems to be salt spray. I have used a few salt sprays, but the best one I've found (without spending a small fortune - I'm looking at you Bumble & Bumble!) is Charles Worthington style setter salt spray. This doesn't dry out my hair or leave it matted, as some salt sprays can. I use this when I don't want to curl or straighten my hair, as it sets my hair into beautiful, natural waves. It can take a little shine away from the hair, but this can be easily counteracted with an oil. For backcombing fans such as myself it takes some of the work out of achieving voluminous hair!

Another hair cheat I've been using is Charles Worthington volume and bounce texturisnng spray. I initially purchased this as I it was highlighted as a dupe of the Ombre texturising spray. Personally I love it and think it helps my hair to appear much bouncier and give it a little more oomph. It smells great and doesn't leave my hair looking or feeling sticky. The only disadvantage is it needs quite a lot of hairspray to hold its effects in place. 

So there's my round up of top hair products. What do you use to keep that hair frizz in check?

Aussie Mega shampoo and conditioner - £4.69 - £5.99 (often on offer in supermarkets so keep an eye out!)

Starting a beauty habit on a budget

It's been 18 months since I started my blog, and for a long time before I started writing I was a beauty obsessive. I spent (and still do!) the majority of my time reading posts, making endless wish lists and filling up my Sephora basket online. As we all know it's easy enough to spend money, but how can you start a beauty habit without breaking the bank?

1, Read, read, read. 

Reading reviews is a great way to grasp whether the hype around a release is warranted. It can also prevent you from buying something that won't suit you. Following blogs allows you to hunt down those who have similar tastes to you (I know that gh0stparties has similar skin and beauty needs to my own) and take note of their coveted products. Having a good understanding of what goes into products is also helpful. I've built up a list over the years of ingredients and colours that don't gel with my skin (blush with red tones tends to be a big no...) and knowing this allows me to disregard some items before I even consider buying.

2. Sample it up. 

I am a sucker for a trend, which means as soon as I read a few good reviews on a product I immediately want to go and buy it. It takes a lot of self restraint not to but it really is important (if you can) to try before you buy. Most high end beauty brands will offer a plethora of advice and samples at the counters. Resist the temptation to buy online and go to these shops and ask to try a product. Many places will even provide you with a small amount to take away and use over a few days. If you're shopping in drugstores there are always samples available to try in store. I've found I have saved a lot of money by doing this. We don't all like the same thing, and it's important to only buy products that work for you.

3. Invest.

Investing in expensive items can sometimes be well worth the money. I often find buying one good item is better than wasting money on 3 or 4. Think about staples in your routine, that you're guaranteed to use everyday, and purchase ONE high end replacement. Be it a face wash, foundation, blusher or lipgloss, make sure it's not outlandish (gold eyeliner may seem like a good idea at the time) and that you're going to make good use of it. A boots haul may be fun every now and again, but I often find I appreciate items more when they come solo. 

4. Look for dupes.

This point may slightly contradict my previous tip, but it's not always necessary to spend a fortune on a product. Investing is great, unless you can find something with all the perks and a smaller price tag. Read blogs by those who really know the ins and outs of high end and high street make up, such as Lily Pebbles; a great example of a blogger who offers advice on hunting down high quality dupes. Keep an eye out for similarities in texture, colourings and ingredients between drugstore and high end items. 

5. Budget.

Trying not to sound too much like a parent, it is important that you keep an eye on what you're spending on skincare and makeup products. It's really easy to walk to aisles of boots filling your basket, but practice self restraint! I tend to put aside a budget at the start of the month, which means I make less impulse purchases and put more thought into what I pick up. If you want to go even further make a list of everything you buy, it can help you to release that you don't really need to buy 4 mascaras in one month...

So there are my tips. Do you have any great pointers for starting a beauty habit on a budget?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation

In December I purchased Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation. After numerous trips to the YSL beauty counter and reading a plethora of blog reviews I decided to take the plunge and part with £30 (gulp) in exchange for the beautiful glass bottle. I've waited this long to blog because I really wanted to be able to give a honest, all round review of it. And without sounding silly I think i may be a little bit in love. 

The packaging is really sleek and looks beautiful. Not particularly practical for taking away with you as it is quite heavy, but ideal for sitting on your dressing table. The pump is great and gives out just the right amount. 

The formula of this foundation is fantastic, and it offers a very good coverage without clogging the skin. I find this is ideal for my spot prone skin as the light texture allows my skin to breath. There are a good range of shades available, which makes matching to your skin tone easy. 

The foundation offers a medium coverage, but can be layered depending on the amount of coverage you need. I found that this foundation covered up all of my blemishes flawlessly and provided me with a very even skin tone. This can feel quite wet when you first apply, and I have found the best way to buff into my skin is with a blending sponge. But the finished look is illuminated, dewy skin. 

Seasonal advantages
I started using this foundation in the winter, and have taken it right through Spring and Summer. I've found that this foundation caters for all the seasons! Because it can be layered it lends itself to being heavier in the winter, and a lighter sheen in the summer. It allows the skin to breath and prevents it from becoming shiny or oily in the warmer weather. It also has great lasting power and I find I can go all day without reapplying.

No primer or concealer, one layer of YSL

So is it worth the rather large price tag? In a word, yes. This product not only offers long lasting coverage, but it illuminates the skin, giving a really flawless and dewy finish. It covers blemishes seamlessly and can be used without primer or concealer. I'm on my second bottle and I have no doubt I'll be taking another trip to the YSL counter soon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer skincare routine

This summer has been an extremely busy time for me. Not only have I moved into my own house (I feel like a real adult!) but I've adopted a little kitten called Megan! That doesn't mean beauty has taken a backseat, and I've been coveting a range of great products to share with you. Today I am going to talk about my summer skincare routine. Personally summer makes me lazy (or should i say lazier than usual...) and so the key for me is simplicity. 

In the morning I like to keep things super straightforward and I usually start by washing my face in the shower with my Clarisionic Mia 2 My current go to is La Roche-Posay Effaclar purifying foaming gel which i blogged about here. This is a great everyday face wash which doesn't cost the earth. It foams up well, has a great fresh feel and prevents my skin from looking shiny. 

Once I've washed my face I usually skip straight to moisturising. At the moment I am using Pepta-Bright even tone skin enhancer, which is a serum designed to enhance the appearance of skin whilst providing moisture and illumination. I love this as it also acts as a primer, blurring the appearance of imperfections and calming angry blemishes. It's a little bit pricey, but I can honestly say my first bottle lasted me about 2 months, even using religiously every day. And I've just repurchased so I must have been impressed...

The majority of my skincare goes on during the evening, when i have more time and I find putting in a little effort before bed means more sleep in the morning. 

First up is the removal of make up (personally my favourite part!) and for this I like to use a cleanser. My current love is The Body Shop's Camomile silky cleansing oil is from their new range of camomile based products. This promises to remove all traces of make up, whilst delivering soft, refreshed skin. I'm always wary of oil cleansers, as I suffer with spotty skin and this can cause a flare up. However I absolutely love this product. Not only does it remove all of my make up with only a few squirts but it doesn't leave an oily residue on my skin. It has a very subtle flowery scent and my skin feels beautifully smooth after using. Once I've used this I tend to use a cleansing solution soaked in cotton wool to get rid of any traces of dirt or make up. A great value micellar cleansing solution is Botanics All bright 3 in 1 cleansing solution. It unclogs pores and tones in one swift action leaving skin smooth and clear. 

Once my skin is make up free I like to put some extra effort into removing my eye make up. I have sensitive eyes so i tend to use something that's not too greasy or fragrance heavy. Garnier 2 in 1 express eye make up remover  is my go to product at the moment for getting rid of any trace of mascara without the need to rub.

Last in my routine is moisturising. I normally start with my La Roche-Posay Effacular Duo [+] which i reviewed here. This helps my skin to stay clear and bright and although it's an extra step in my routine it has a great impact on my face. Last but not least I use an moisturiser. I like quite a thick moisuriser and Superdrugs vitamin E intense moisture is thick without being greasy. It makes my skin feel soft and prevents me from waking up with dry or dull skin. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Top tips to start sewing

I'm not claiming to be a professional sewer but I enjoy spending some quality time with my sewing machine, and in my books there's nothing better than being able to proudly show off your homemade goodies. The hardest aspect for me was actually getting started. I was lucky my mum who also wanted to start sewing, so we were able to help each other out. But If I had been riding solo I probably wouldn't have had the motivation to get started. So here are my top tips for starting a sewing habit (be warned, it's addictive).

1. DON'T go and buy a sewing machine. As tempting as it may be to run out and buy a shiny new sewing machine with lots of wonderful buttons , don't. As committed as you may be to starting a new hobby, sometimes even the best laid plans don't go as they should. Instead I would suggest borrowing one from a family member (a nan or aunt is bound to have a sewing machine) or scouring the charity shops for a cheap alternative. Lots of sewing shops also offer reconditioned machines which are absolutely perfect for beginners. And although an old/borrowed machine may not have 234 different stitches available, it will do the job and gives you a chance to test out your new hobby without spending a fortune. 

2. Look for a local sewing club or night school. Starting sewing without any support can be a little bit scary. Even with my nan's sewing machine at my disposal I was too afraid to start by myself in case I broke the needle/threaded the bobbin incorrectly (I wasn't even too sure what a bobbin was...). I was lucky to find a cheap night class that I could join, and this gave me the confidence to go home and sew by myself. Being around like minded people who also want to learn is a really confidence boost, and it means there's always someone on hand to help if you can't quite work out why your machine is sewing backwards. 

3. Make what you want to make. This sounds very silly but decide what you want to make and stick to your guns. Don't worry about starting small, but start with something you are interested in. If you're not motivated to make it, chances are you won't finish your project. 

4. Look in your wardrobe. If you fancy making clothes then look in your wardrobe before you start. As much as you enjoy lusting after 1960's style dresses, if your wardrobe is full of collared tops and jeans then it's pointless making one. Why? Because however much you like it, chances are you'll never wear it. Think about what shapes suit you, patterns you wear most and the garments that you're most likely to wear. This is a great starting point for making a piece that you'll really love. 

5. Choose your pattern wisely. There are thousands of modern patterns on the market, and there's also a high probability of finding some amazing vintage patterns in charity shops. However be cautious, If patterns are older they may be harder to follow with extremely complicated language! Brands I would recommend are Cynthia Rowley, New Look and McCalls. Ebay is a great place to start for patterns, just type in these brands and see what takes your fancy. Starting sewing can be intimidating due to all the complicated lingo, but these patterns offer the most straightforward instructions out there. 

6. Use your local resources. I laaaav material and I'm sure I'm not the only one guilty of wandering around John Lewis' material department wanting to buy everything my eyes land on. However tempting it is to buy an expensive Cath Kidston print, restrain yourself. Chances are there will be a sewing shop somewhere near you which will offer the same materials that can be found in a large department store for a fraction of the price. So pop into any teeny weeny material shops you spy, you'll probably pick up a bargain. 

7. Don't give up! It sounds silly but persistence is the key. If you're following a pattern and come across a word that looks foreign, don't let it put you off! There are plenty of you tubers that cover sewing techniques, many that offer advice and tips to make your sewing experience much easier. Practice makes perfect, and the more you sew the easier it will become. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

April Favourites

This months list is short but sweet. I've been trying to cut down on spending this month (I've not done particularly well...) which makes this list extra special as these are the bits that slipped through the net. 

First up is my top pick of the month and a product I've already raved about, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+]. You can read the full review here but in a nutshell this is a serum that reduces the appearance of blemishes and scars, evens the skin tone and makes the skin look much brighter. I find my skin is much clearer when I use this regularly, and it feels much smoother. Worth the investment!

Next up a basic, but an essential for every girl. Garnier fresh eye make up remover is my go-to product at the moment. I'm trying to avoid make up wipes as I find they dry my skin out and they don't quite do the job of removing every trace of my mascara. This is a simple, gentle make up remover that wipes away every trace of mascara without needing to scrub your eyes. Most importantly this product isn't oily and is suitable for those with sensitive eyes. I also like that this is in a purple bottle, although I know this doesn't improve it's effectiveness and just makes it look prettier on my dressing table. 

My next product is a simple, no fuss body wash. As silly as it may sound it can be difficult to find a body wash that isn't overpoweringly scented, but still provides a creamy lather. Dove bodywash revive  ticks these boxes. It is lightly perfumed with pomegranate and has a lovely thick texture. You only need a smidgen for it to lather up, so a little goes a long way! This product claims to refine and soften skin within 7 days, and although I've not noticed any miraculous difference I could certainly miss a day moisturising and my skin wouldn't dry out. 

This month I treated myself to some new nail varnish and my favourite of the bunch was from Essie's Spring collection. I deliberated long and hard over the beautiful array of colours and finally settled on Truth or Flare. This is a beautiful blue hue with hints of green when applied to the nails. The first thought when i applied this was how grown up it made my hands look! For anyone who wants to move away from sickly sweet pastel hues (as much as we love them, it's nice to have a change) this whole collection is ideal. 

Last is an old classic which I have currently revived. As much as I love lipstick, sometimes only a gloss will do, and for those times I find this is ideal. Dior ultra gloss plumping volume is a high quality gloss that not only provides great shine but also aims to add volume to the appearance of the lips. The substance has ingredients in which make the lips seem fuller and plumper, which combined with the gloss provides a great finish. The gloss comes in a variety of colours and there are nude tones as well as bright pops of colour which means everyone can find something to suit their style.

Essie Truth or Flare - £7.99

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top 5 drugstore must haves

As a young worker bee I am by no means rich, and although I am lucky enough to have a disposable income due to lack of mortgage and children (My little Mini One is my only expense!) I never seem to have enough to spend on make up and skincare. Realistically us girls can't afford to splurge all the time, and unless you're lucky enough to receive samples or freebies, this can make it very difficult to keep up with the beauty world. Recently the drugstore brands have really upped their game and are constantly releasing uh-mazing products that really give the high end brands a run for their money. Alas, can we afford to buy everything? Unfortunately not. So I've put together my top 5 drugstore products that are worth splashing the cash on. Want to update your make up bag for a small cost? Look no further...

1. Bourjois Poudre De Riz De Java (£9.99) - I'm starting old school. And when I say old school, I really mean it. This is a reinvented version of Bourjois' 'cult classic' from 1879 (really taking it back!) A very subtle illuminating powder this can be used to highlight a particular area or all over for a glint of a glow. The packaging is beautiful, the smell is lovely and the finish is really nice. Perfect for those Spring evenings when you want a very natural finish. 

2. The Body Shop Sheer Volume Mascara (£10) - Now. I love mascara nearly as much as I love blusher. I don't wear any eye make up apart from mascara, so it's essential for me to get it right or I end up looking like I haven't slept for a week. I normally go for high end Mascaras but I was really impressed with the effectiveness of this Body Shop find. The brush is a great twirly shape so it doesn't leave clumps and it separates the lashes as the mascara glides on. It lasts all day, and doesn't leave horrible flakes under your eyes as the day goes on. This mascara can also be layered which makes it very versatile, allowing you to choose how dramatic you'd like your eyes to be. Fab. 

3. No. 7 Stay Perfect foundation (£14.50) - I'm a bit of a secret No.7 fan (something I have definitely inherited from my Nan) and I've got a few of their products knocking around in my make up bag. One of my favourite things about this brand is their consultants are always so friendly and helpful. If you go into store they'll use their special colour machine to find the best match for you. Which means no ghost complexion or dodgy foundation lines - yay! The foundation itself is great quality, offers good coverage and blends nicely into the skin. Although it doesn't have the best lasting power, it does well as a everyday foundation for a natural make up look. It's never cakey, and it covers blemishes effectively. A great summer foundation as it's very light and lets the skin breathe. 

4. Real Techniques miracle complexion sponge (£5.99) - I enjoy a make up brush as much as the next person but I couldn't resist trying this sponge out and I'm really impressed. Unlike a normal sponge this is much easier to blend with, and offers three different sides. A rounded edge to apply foundation to large areas of the face, a flat edge for the contours of the face, and a curved edge to blend and buff small imperfections. This means instead of using three brushes you only need one sponge, perfect for lazy make up appliers like myself! The sponge offers a very smooth and flawless finish and is one of the only things that blends my concealer successfully to hide my spots!

5. Rimmel Apocalips (£6.49) - If you don't own an Apocalips yet then I urge you with every ounce of my being to go and treat yourself. This product is the perfect mix of lipstick and lipgloss. It offers shine without skimping on colour, and the finish is fantastic. If you like a pigmented lipstick this is definitely for you! As someone who suffers with dry lips I am often deterred from using lipstick, but this product is so hydrating and creamy it can be applied without the need to scrub lips first. It gives good coverage, lasts for a long time and the colour selection is amazing. My personal favourite is Nova, a deep pink which adds a great pop of colour to a dusky pink foundation. But I love them so much I may just invest in the whole collection...

So, that's my round up of fantastic drugstore products done. Perk up your make up bag without spending a fortune!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] review

Every now and again a product crops up that I want to try but I'm not really sure what it does. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] was one of those products. I read a few fuzzy reviews about it, but it wasn't until a fellow beauty crazed friend Amy (see her lovely blog here) recommended it to me I decided to take the plunge and purchase. 

So what is it? The product itself is a little like a mosituriser, it can be applied twice a day and melts into the skin just as a moisturiser would. Its texture is more likened to a serum as it is quite thick and not at all greasy. However unlike a run of the mill moisturiser this product is designed to help the condition and the appearance of your skin. 

Its first promise is to help correct the appearance of unsightly marks on the skin. Under this umbrella comes blemishes, permanent marks (such as acne scars) and dark patches. When i say promise I really mean it, as the company offers your money back if you're not satisfied with the results. Personally I think the serum definitely delivers in this aspect. After using for only a few days I found my spots were less angry, my skin had a more even tone and any scarring from long gone spots seemed to be reduced. I also found it helped any redness in my skin. I've now been using for nearly a month and my skin has definitely benefited from regular use. 

Secondly this product claims to deliver a more even skintone, refining the appearance of the skin whilst also controlling any shine. I was confused at the use of the words 
correcting and refining,  as they seemed one and the same, but after using for over a month I can see more of what they mean. My skin looks (and feels) healthier, more 'glowy' and definitely less bumpy. So alongside helping obvious imperfections, it has helped to refine the look of the skin overall. In terms of helping shine, I can definitely say my t-zone looks less greasy at the end of the day and my make up is less prone to falling off.

So, a strange product. Not a mosituriser, but not a serum to target problem areas. It won't replace anything in your skincare routine, so is it just another product to plonk on your face? Personally I really like it, It's adds about 25 seconds to my skincare routine and has quick yet noticeable results. Within a few days I noticed my skin looked in much better condition, and the longer I use for the healthier my skin feels. If you're looking for something to help spot prone skin I would highly recommend purchasing this. You can thank me later...

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] - £15.50

March Favourites

This month I have compiled a list of absolute gems! I've missed my last two monthly favourites due to a very hectic and busy period of time, but that just means this months round up is extra fantastic!

First of all I have a few Soap & Glory products. I am a big fan of Soap & Glory, and I'm especially partial to their scrubs (see review here) but this is the first time I've added so many Glory additions to my daily routine. The first two I cannot take credit for as they were gifts, but they've turned out to be staples in my getting ready ritual. First is Bright here bright now instant-radiance energy boost balm. This is an amazing balm that aims to add brightness and glow to dull, tired skin. It's applied as a moisturiser before foundation (or can be mixed with foundation, although I've never tried this) and definitely gives a beautiful glow to skin. The consistency is quite thick but melts into the skin effortlessly, resulting in an illuminated complexion. I've found this is especially good for hangover skin (!) that really needs an extra boost to look alive. I've been combining this with You won't believe your eyes, a mositurising serum designed to add some sparkle to peepers that have lost their zing. I find this is very cooling on my eyes as it is applied by three small rollers. The consistency of the serum is very thin, but it doesn't feel greasy or watery. It really helps to combat discolouration under the eye, as well as helping make up glide on seamlessly. 

You won't believe your eyes brightening moisture serum

My third Soap & Glory product (I sound obsessed!) is No clogs allowed deep pore detox mask. This is a self-heating mask that heats up once water is applied to the skin. It is designed to dig deep and clean out all those pesky pores. I originally purchased this as a face mask to use when I'm having a super detox day, but it's been so effective I have been using it as part of my Sunday night ritual. This face mask leaves my skin feelings really soft for a few days after I've used it, and has definitely helped to combat a few horrible clogged pores on my chin. Just as a little warning the heating sensation is slightly odd when you first apply the mask, takes a little getting used to!

My next product is from La Roche-Posay, a brand I've never used before but had heard lots of amazing things about. I picked up La Roche-Posay Effaclar purifying foaming gel as it was on offer and I was after a foaming gel wash to replace my Origins Never a Dull moment beauty (sob), and I have been really impressed with the results. First of all the bottle is absolutely huge and the small cap only lets a small amount out, meaning no wasted product. I've been using this daily for a month and not even a small dent has been made in my bottle so far, definitely worth every penny. Secondly the product itself is extremely luxurious. It has a very subtle but clean smell and the texture is really thick, literally making it a gel, unlike some other gel cleansers. The products foams up really nicely, although I would suggest rubbing it together in wet hands thoroughly before applying to the face, as this definitely has the best results. I tend to use this product with my clarisonic and it works beautifully. One of the biggest differences I've noticed since using this is the lack of shine across my t-zone. Granted my skin isn't particularly oily, but since using this regularly I've found my skin is less prone to shininess and seems to be much smoother in the problem areas (namely my chin). 

Next up is a hairspray (possibly the first time I've ever blogged about a hairspray). Hairspray is a product used daily by most girls, so its general consensus that it can be difficult to find a good hairspray without spending a small fortune. Enter V05 Ultimate Hold Hairspray. This is something I picked up on a whim in Boots when i was re-purchasing Give me texture (see review here) and I am really glad I decided to give it a whirl. From the perspective of a girl with a heavy fringe, I need a spray that's going to hold my fringe in place but not give it a wet or sticky finish. I've found with this spray that the finish is really glossy (not glittery!) and it keeps any stray hairs in place. I've also found it's pretty good for backcombing hair, as it doesn't leave sticky residue behind and it has a glorious smell, which helps when you spray as much as I do! A worthwhile product to try out, at a fraction of the price for other hairsprays of this calibre. 

Last but not least is a slightly odd product. I received this in a Glossy Box before Christmas, and in the hecticness of the festive season it got popped in a cupboard only to emerge when I was having a clear out. Elegant Touch Rapid dry is a spray which is applied to nails once they have been painted and is designed to dry them within sixty seconds. It may seem slightly pointless, but for someone who paints their nails as much as I do, and mostly before I go to bed, it's a little bit of a life saver. This spray does a really good job of drying nails in ultra quick time, doing exactly what it says on the tin. Wonderful!

So that rounds up my March favourites, what have you been using this month?

Elegant Touch - £3.05

Monday, February 24, 2014

Clarisonic Mia 2: Review

The Clarisonic Mia 2. For nearly a year I have been lusting after this product, and anyone that would listen heard my endless list of reasons as to why it would be a worthwhile investment. I just couldn't bring myself to spend £120 on one (very small) item. However on Boxing Day, with my Christmas money in hand and the Feel Unique sale calling, I found the Mia 2 with 20% off. And that was the last incentive I needed to treat myself. I've been using my Mia 2 for 2 months, and I felt it was now time to share my thoughts and feelings on this brush used by skincare fanatics everywhere. 

So, what is the Clarisonic Mia 2? At the risk of sounding ridiculous, it is essentially a giant toothbrush for your skin. It is designed to give the skin a deep cleanse, getting rid of any impurities and dirt. One of the worries that many people have when thinking about investing in the Mia 2 is the damaging effect it may have on the skin, especially for those that have sensitive skin. Granted this may not be suited to everyone, but the brush is not at all bristly, and is soft to touch, especially when water is added to the equation.

The Mia 2 is the first Clarisonic to come with two 'speed's', which means you can choose how deeply you want your brush to cleanse. The brush moves in a circular motion, and the speeds are designed to suit sensitive skin, and normal skin. The brush head on all Clarisonic systems comes as 'sensitive', which means those who wish to can purchase different brushes to alter their cleansing experience. The other difference between the Mia and Mia 2, is the latter comes with a timer system, the clarisonic will only activate for a minute at a time, and at different points during this minute it will 'beep' to indicate you should move on to the next part of your face (nose/chin, forehead and cheeks). This means every part of your face is getting equal attention, and you don't need to faff around with timers.

Using the Clarisonic to fulfill it's potential is the next challenge. Obviously everybody is different, but I've spent some time experimenting and found the best way to suit me. I like to apply a liberal amount of cleanser to the wet brush (in a doughnut shape around the edge), wet my face and then start her up! One of the most difficult things to do when using the Mia 2 is to have a limp wrist. When you first start using it you feel you should put pressure on the brush to make sure it's getting down to the nitty gritty. But doing this only stops the brush from cleansing so thoroughly. So relaxed hands please ladies! Once the handset has shut down I wash out the brush and pop back into its handy travel case.

Okay so, it's easy to use and it's very pretty (it comes in a ridiculous amount of colours) blah blah blah but what is the point of having it? First of all it is the most effective make up remover you'll ever have. I use my Mia 2 once a day, which is usually in the evening. Because it is so deep cleansing, if I'm having a lazy moment I don't even have to take off my make up, which means i skip about three skin routine steps. More time for sleeping!

Secondly it leaves skin feeling so incredibly refreshed and recharged. After only three days of using my Clarisonic I found my skin felt 100 times smoother than before. It also looked much brighter and my pores were much less prominent. Any pesky bumps on my cheeks seemed to have disappeared and my complexion looked much fresher. There is the slight disadvantage of the 'purge' which some Clarisonic users experience. I was lucky as I only noticed a few nasty blemishes on my forehead, but some people find that their skin breaks out completely once they've been using this cleanser for a few weeks. Remember this just means all the impurities are coming to the surface, which means fresher and healthier skin in the long run. I have to say since using the clarisonic I've even been able to leave the house without make up AND feel okay about doing so, which is a little bit of a miracle. 

Another huge advantage to using this product is the great effect it has had on my blemish prone skin. Unfortunately I have naturally bad skin, which means I have to take real care or I come up in nasty spots. I also find it impossible to leave spots alone when they do appear, which usually makes them much worse. The Clarisonic has not only reduced the spots I get, but it has dramatically helped with the size and redness of the ones I do get. If a spot pops up, the clarisonic helps it to become less angry and noticeable within one use. Deep cleansing is definitely the way forward.

Lastly I would like to highlight the effect using the clarisonic has had on the application of other lotions and potions! Due to the deep cleansing effect of the clarisonic, it only means that other moistursiers and serums are able to penetrate deeper, and sink more easily into the skin. This means the effect of any other products is immediately enhanced,vastly helping on the quest to a flawless complexion.

So, was it worth the money? For me, yes. It's easy to use, fuss free and has a great effect on my skin in more ways than one. It's very quickly earned it's place in my evening routine, and I don't see it budging anytime soon. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

December favourites

December has been an amazing month for my cosmetic drawers. Not only has it been my birthday (Officially in my mid 20's) and Christmas, but my little sister got a job at Superdrug (getting money off somehow makes it okay to spend a ridiculous amount on skincare). I have a whole range of products to share with you, and each of them have fairly earned their place on my official December favourites list. 

First up is a brand new facial exfoliator from The Body Shop which I have had my eye on for some time. The seaweed pore-cleansing facial exfoliator has managed to strike the right balance between giving a good scrub whilst still providing foam and moisture. This product has quickly been bumped up to be a prominent step in my morning routine and it never fails to leave my skin feeling fresh and deeply cleansed. Products that include seaweed in are designed to leave oily/combination skin with a matte finish and this is exactly what it does. I've also noticed this helps to keep any blemishes at bay, and I managed to spend Christmas spot-free thanks to this little gem! Alongside this I have also been using a Brightening micro polish from Superdrug's Naturally radiant range. I am a big fan of Superdrug's Vitamin E range, and I was keen to see if this range lived up to my expectations. The micro polish is designed similarly to a facial scrub and it aims to even out skintone whilst also getting rid of dead skin cells giving a illuminated and bright finish. This polish is slightly harsher than a normal scrub so is only needed once or twice a week, but I've definitely noticed my complexion is much smoother since I've started using it. I have a feeling the rest of this range may be making its way into my drawers soon...

In a bid to keep my skin looking as bright as possible I've been reaching for a skincare classic this month, a product that beauty fanatics everywhere agree is a holy grail. Bioderma's Solution micellaire is an absolute life saver for anyone that has uneven or spot prone skin. Since using this I don't think I could use any other millecular solution happily, it's just unfortunate that this is so hard to get hold of in the UK! The idea of the solution is to help banish impurities and make sure skin is completely clear of all make up. A lazy girls solution to removing make up and cleansing skin in one fail safe move! Another product from across the pond that I've been reaching for this month is Vichy's smoothing and illuminating cream. Thankfully this one is slightly easier to get hold of! This cream strives to help smooth skin, making make up much easier to apply and giving a very polished finish. I love anything that leaves me with a dewy complexion, and this is a great product for anyone who wants to achieve illuminated skin but doesn't know where to start. 

My next favourite is one that I purchased for myself just before Christmas (very cheeky I know). One of my favourite Beauty brands is Rituals, and I am especially a huge fan of their skincare products. However on my last trip this Miracle Scrub for hands caught my eye. As an avid facial scrub-pusher I decided to branch out and try the hand scrub and I am so pleased I did. Since using this I have never received so many compliments about the softness of my hands. Not only does this exfoliator smell fantastic, it takes seconds to use and the results lasts for hours. I've found since using this I've needed less lotion, as my hands are already mega soft, even in the gail force winds of winter! Alongside this I have also been keeping my nails in tip-top condition with a couple of new nail favourites. I've been attempting to keep my nails buffed and smooth with the Model's own 4 way nail buffer. This is the lazy girls answer to salon quality nails in 5 minutes. It's a great investment to any ladies beauty drawers. Next up is Maybelline's Express nail polish remover. This is a little pot of varnish remover lined with sponge which has a tiny hole in the centre. The idea is to pop your finger in, twist around and remove, by which time all your varnish should be gone! This has been a great Christmas saviour in my bid to remove hundreds of minuscule glitter pieces from my nails. The need for this remover was mainly down to my new  nail polish - L'oreal's Colour Riche in the aptly named Sequin explosion. This was my most sought after product over the Christmas period, and it seemed to be sold out everywhere, so when I eventually got my hands on it I was ridiculously excited! It certainly lived up to expectations and it is the best glitter I've used in some time. It applies beautifully, and can even be worn without a base colour. Most importatly it doesn't take weeks to remove. 

Next up is a scent I've grown very attached to that doesn't cost the earth. The Body shop's White musk smokey rose Eau de Toilette is a very light, pretty scent that doesn't fade within a few hours of wear. The scent is a perfect daytime fragrance, and I picked up the small bottle which is an ideal size to pop into a handbag for a day out!

Last but not least is my only hair based product of the month. I am a big fan of Herbal Essences Bee Strong range and I have managed to get through several bottles of their shampoo and conditioner over the last few months, so I decided it was time to invest in their Intensive hair mask. Everybody's hair needs some tender loving care, and due to the horrible English weather I thought it was the perfect time of year to do so. The mask smells absolutely gorgeous and has a very thick texture, meaning a little goes a long way. I've been using this once a week and have already noticed my hair is much softer and shinier. Using heat on my hair means I need to take care of it in order to avoid split ends and this hair mask has not only helped to disguise imperfections in my hair but also seems to be slowly repairing it to it's former glory. A highly recommended product!

What are your favourite products from December?

Naturally radiant Brightening micro polish - £2.48
Bioderma's Solution micellaire
Rituals Miracle Scrub - £11.50
L'oreal's Colour Riche Sequin explosion - £4.99
Herbal essence Bee strong Intensive hair mask - £3.99

Beauty Resolutions

Christmas has come and gone in a flurry of tinsel, sausage rolls and copious amounts of fizzy alcohol. The Christmas (and New Year) parties have been attended and slowly normality is creeping back. I am generally pretty lazy (New years resolution #1 is to make my bed every day, after 24 years I still can't manage to do it) but when it comes to skincare I don't mine putting in the extra time and effort. Therefore I have decided to make a list of Beauty resolutions that are manageable, and hopefully in the long term will make my everyday routines much easier. 

#1 - Deep cleanse
Generally I am pretty good at sticking to a morning and evening skincare routine. However it is very rare that I take the time to give my skin a really good pamper. Therefore this year my top priority is to give my skin some intense tlc at least once a week. I'm talking face masks, several cleansers and various moisturisers and potions. As part of this resolution I picked up the Clarasonic Mia 2 in the sales, which i solemnly swear to use on a daily basis to give my skin a real polish. My excitement when getting the Clarasonic was so ridiculous that i doubt this will be a problem to stick to!

#2 - Hair care
This is a resolution that I dipped into during the last few weeks of 2013 and one that has been a long time coming. I'm pretty lucky with the natural condition of my hair and because of this I can be pretty lazy in the hair department. However I have decided 2014 is the year I embrace the hair mask. I think it's about time I treat my hair to some real love and I plan to slather it in coconut oil and overnight masks until it doesn't recognise itself. Most importantly I promise to use heat protecting spray everyday...or at least most days.

#3 - Talon maintenance 
I love nail varnish, and these days I can't walk past a boots without popping in and picking up a new polish. However I am guilty of having chipped nails most of the time. Because of my job I spend the majority of my day doing arts and crafts or trying to tidy up after a class of 4 year olds so my nails get in a state of disarray quite quickly. My aim this year is to keep on top of my nails so they're always looking polished - even if it means re-painting them every night. How long can I keep that up?!

#4 - A blonde moment
This is more of an adventurous beauty wish then a resolution. I have always wanted to have blonde hair and in my teenage youth I did attempt to turn my chocolate brown locks a dusky blonde. However it ended in several bottles of empty hair dye and bright orange hair with white roots, not exactly the dream. So this year is the year I do blonde properly. Even if it only lasts for a month I want to tick it off the wishlist for good. 

What are your beauty resolutions for 2014?