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Friday, 31 August 2012

Review | Urban Therapy Twisted Sista De-Frizz Shampoo & Conditioner

A few weeks back, I reviewed Urban Therapy Twisted Sista's Blow Drying Creme, which I received in my goodie bag from the Beauty Bloggers' Afternoon Tea organised by the lovely Lizzie back in April. Today, I'm reviewing the De-Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner from the same range. Packaged in the same somewhat teenage, lime green squeezy tubes, these products promise to reduce frizz whilst detangling, calming, soothing and cleansing. An awful lot for one (well, okay, two!) product to achieve, no?!

"Frizz reducing cleansing formula for thirsty hair - delivers TLC right where it's needed. De-Frizz Shampoo for thirsty hair; gently cleanses hair without drying, smoothing away frizz and leaving hair soft, silky and static-free. Designed to meet the needs of hair that's crying out for a little TLC, the 'Twisted Sista' cleansing, conditioning and styling ranges are perfect for keeping your crowning glory... Just glorious!"
The shampoo is a translucent, white liquid which lathers nicely despite being quite runny upon squeezing it out of the tube. It has a lovely fruity, fresh smell, the same as the blow drying creme, and I find it leaves my hair feeling soft and clean. I really enjoy using this in the shower and it definitely helps to wake me up of a morning. It's also lovely to use at the swimming pool as it really helps to get rid of the chlorine smell!

"De-Frizz conditioner for thirsty hair is a product that truly understands the needs of moisture-starved hair that's prone to frizz. The clever formula delivers intensive conditioning where it's needed, without making roots greasy or hair feel lank. De-Frizz detangles, calms, soothes and conditions, leaving hair ready to style - minus the frizz!"
The conditioner is a slightly thicker, more pearlescent white cream, which works well into the hair and has a similar scent to the shampoo - I like products like this which are easily identifiable and clearly linked. Once rinsed out, my hair feels smoother than before and retains a hint of the lovely fruity scent. Once dried, my hair is definitely smoother and less frizzy, although I do find that it tends to go greasy quicker, so I only use these products every other wash rather than every time I wash my hair.

Overall, these are pleasant products to use and I feel they work reasonably well to reduce frizz. However, I probably won't repurchase, mainly because of the tendency to make my hair a little greasy. If you don't suffer from oily hair already, these products could well be perfect for you!
Urban Therapy Twisted Sista De-Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner are available from Amazon, priced at £3.99 for the set, consisting of a 200ml tube of each.
Have you tried any Twisted Sista products? What's your ultimate De-Frizz product?


Thursday, 30 August 2012

Review: Aapri Exfoliating Scrub Cream

This is another bargain I've picked up in Poundland recently; Aapri Exfoliating Scrub Cream with Apricot Exfoliants. This is aimed at Normal/Oily skin, which is me down to a T. It comes in a white plastic tube with a snap-open cap and a squeezy top, and the packaging features pictures of apricots and a little product information. At first glace, it reminds me quite strongly of the popular St Ives facial exfoliators, which is what made me pick it up in the first place. According to Aapri's website, "Aapri Exfoliating Facial Scrub Cream is formulated with natural apricot exfoliants and enriched with Aloe Vera, Vitamin E and Apricot Kernel Oil to deep cleanse and remove dirt, grease and dead skin cells. Its deep exfoliation aids the natural process of dead cell removal and helps resurface the fresh and radiant skin."

When squeezed from the tube, the product is a slightly translucent cream, as opposed to the opaque colour of the St Ives scrubs. The exfoliating particles are quite large, which becomes apparent as you rub it onto your skin - this is definitely a scrub for those who like to feel their exfoliators working, but maybe one to avoid if you have sensitive skin. Since this product is aimed at Normal/Oily skin, this is maybe to be expected. Apparently, Oily skin needs more help with exfoliating as the oil means that dead skin cells stick rather than falling away - lovely! You don't need very much product at all as it doesn't dissolve or break down as you use it - I'd say a blob the size of a penny is plenty for my whole face and neck area.

The product has a light, floral scent - nothing I can put my finger on but definitely pleasant and soothing to use. I tend to rub it into damp skin for a couple of minutes, before rinsing well and moisturising. I find it does a really good job of removing and flaky skin, clearing blackheads, and generally leaving my skin feeling soft and smooth, and looking glowing. This is a product I use two or three time a week rather than daily, as it's just not necessary any more than that.
Apricots are popular in skincare due to the fact that they are rich in Beta Carotene and Vitamin A, both of which are antioxidants and are essential to skin's health. Apricots also help to hydrate and revitalise the skin, which crushed apricot kernels make great exfoliators.
Overall, this is definitely one I'll be repurchasing, in part due to its bargain price - you guessed it, just £1 in Poundland, although the RRP is £3.99 for 150ml, which is around the same as St Ives.
Have you seen this scrub in Poundland? Would you try it? Or are you faithful to a particular exfoliator?


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Wish List: Office Wear Edition

As I've mentioned, I've recently started a new office-based job. All my previous work has been in retail or in cafes, so this is all new to me! I struggled at first with deciding what to wear, but I've got a few outfits worked out now which I have on rotation; I figure there's not much point buying many new clothes for such a temporary job. If I were working in an office long-term, though, these are some of the things I'd love to wear!

It's exceptionally rare that I like Topshop clothing; this is one of those rare occasions and I still think this dress is extremely over-priced. Nonetheless, this is a gorgeous colour and an on-trend piece with the peplum detailing and exposed zip in the back.

I'd wear these over black opaque tights with a white blouse for a smart/casual office outfit. They're actually a bit on the short side for me but I love the style!

I love pretty blouses and this is no exception; the delicate print and the contrast of the collar/neckline is perfect. My only concern would be that it's a little low-cut and/or sheer for work, so I may be tempted to wear it with a pretty lacy camisole underneath!

I've never been a fan of blacks and greys, so a jacket like this would be perfect to brighten up a plain top and trousers, whilst still being office-appropriate. This jacket comes in seven colours so there's something for everyone!

Ah, the classic black court shoe; timeless and elegant, heels are a must for those like me with short legs! The hidden platform allows you an extra couple of inches and means you don't have to get all your trousers taken up - which make them well worth the investment in my opinion ;D

A variation on the traditional pencil skirt, this lovely dress would need some bright accessories for me but would be the perfect staple piece for wearing with a statement necklace and a look-at-me bag!

Which is your favourite piece? How do you like to dress for work? What would your dream work outfit involve? I'm not sure if mine would be my pyjamas, or a fabulous party dress with some ridiculously high but ridiculously pretty shoes...
You can check out my basic office make-up here!


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Review: Provence Lavender Mask

I've got another face mask review to share today, but firstly I'd like to apologise if there are any stray "W"s lurking in this post; I think I've rounded them all up but I've probably missed some! Unfortunately, the W key has popped off my keyboard and I snapped the thingy (technical term) trying to replace it, so now I have no W key, and it's recently started inserting "W"s at random into everything I type, which is most annoying as I'm sure you can imagine! Anyway, fingers crossed this will be relatively read-able!
One of the items I received in my beauty box swap with Michelle was a "Provence Lavender Mask". I was intrigued by this, especially given that all the instructions were in Chinese, but once Michelle had kindly provided enlightenment, I learnt that this was a sheet mask, to be applied to cleansed skin and left for 20 minutes before removing and massaging in any remaining fluid, with no need to rinse.

As with most sheet masks, I had problems with this being too big for my face, but I've found through trial and error that careful folding and pleating can mostly eliminate this problem, as you can see below. I'm not a huge fan of lavender fragrances, so I was pleased to note that this didn't smell overpoweringly lavender-y. Instead, it had a pleasant, light and fresh floral scent which didn't linger on the skin once removed. My skin was left feeling smooth and moisturised, so I feel this did its job well! I'm not sure that I'd purchase again, though, purely due to the inconvenience of shipping products from Asia.

I've managed (I think!) to track down the Provence Lavender Mask on eBay, priced at £1.20. Please note, I have not bought from this seller so I can't recommend them, I'm just sharing the link, so order at your own risk!
Have you ever tried any Asian face masks? What were your experiences?


Monday, 27 August 2012

Review: MAC 'Cut A Caper' Lipstick

As I shared yesterday, I was lucky enough to win this MAC lipstick from Grace's giveaway on her blog All That Slap. This is actually the first MAC lippie I've ever owned, but it definitely won't be my last - I already have a few more on my wishlist! 'Cut A Caper' is part of MAC's Heavenly Creatures Collection.

Contained in the traditional matte black with silver detailing MAC lipstick packaging, this is a peachy/coral shade in the bullet which translates to a natural, coral colour on the lips. Being a lustre finish, it's quite hydrating and doesn't feel drying on the lips, which also means it's quite a forgiving shade in that it doesn't highlight any dry patches of skin. I find it lasts fairly well, giving a good couple of hours of wear, but it does tend to fade to become quite patchy.

I think this colour suits me, giving a very subtle hint of colour which has been the ideal finishing touch to my office make-up! The first photo below is half in shadow, but shows the beautiful, almost glossy finish really nicely. The second photo is a more true-to-life representation of the shade.

Do you own Cut A Caper? What's your favourite MAC lipstick?


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Lots Of "Thank You"s!

I've not done one of these posts for a while, but I just wanted to share a few things I've been lucky enough to win in giveaways lately, and also say a massive thank you to the lovely ladies who were generous enough to hold these giveaways!

Sian of Rebel Angel held a giveaway in conjunction with Vedette Shapewear to win a piece of their wonderful shapewear! Thanks to Sian and Vedette, I received this bodysuit which creates a lovely silhouette under fitted clothes - no more trying to remember to hold myself in! (Obviously this is not my photo - I'm using the stock one because a) You don't want to see my underwear and b) It was impossible to photograph without wearing it, and you certainly don't want to see me in my underwear!)

Grace from All That Slap held a giveaway to celebrate her blog's new look, offering a lipstick and eyeshadow from MAC's Heavenly Creatures collection. I was lucky enough to win and received the lippie in 'Cut A Caper' and the eyeshadow in 'Earthly'. Thank you Grace! I'll have swatches and reviews coming shortly!

Max Factor ran a retweet competition on their Twitter, where fifteen lucky winners received one of their new Flipsticks. Despite my Twitter account being suspended (for no reason!) soon after I won this, Max Factor were extremely helpful when I contacted them and I received the shade 'Gypsy Red', which again I'll be reviewing soon!

Aleta from The Nail Junkie very generously gave away two nail polishes, a butterLONDON polish in 'Slapper' and a Sally Hansen Magnetic Effect Polish in 'Graphite Gravity'. I've never tried butterLONDON polishes before and only a couple of Sally Hansens, so I was excited to receive these! Thank you Aleta! Again, I should have posts on these soon.

Noire of Bunny and Spice held a giveaway to win a lovely selection of Japanese goodies, including some beauty products, Mickey Mouse chopsticks (how awesome!?) and a beautiful purse. Thank you Nadine!
Thank you so much to Sian, Grace, Aleta, Nadine, and Max Factor for these lovely prizes; I truly am so grateful!
This also seems like a great opportunity to officially announce the winner of my 200 follower giveaway, the lovely Rachael of Island Girl Insights. I was so happy when Rachael's name came up as she's been a loyal follower and commenter for months, and it's lovely to see the prize go to someone who I know enjoys my blog. Thank you to everyone else who entered, and I really do recommend going to have a peek at Rachael's blog, it's amazing!


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Bargain Haul

Wandering round town this morning with my first paycheck burning a hole in my pocket (figuratively speaking, since I haven't received it yet...), I ended up making a few sneaky buys, mostly of bargains too good to resist.
First up, in Poundland, I found the ChitChat Juicy Lipsticks I reviewed the other day in a couple more shades.. So I got one of each to try! Here I have (top to bottom) 'Damson', a deep pink shade; 'Autumn Leaf', a bronzey number which I'm not so sure about; and 'Fiery Red', which is much as the name suggests - a deep red colour. Swatches will follow! I also picked up a ChitChat nail polish in 'Violet', which is small and medium purple hex glitter in a clear base.

In Body Care, I got the infamous 'Carnival' by Technic, widely touted as a dupe for OPI's 'Rainbow Connection', for 99p. Through intrigue, I also purchased a Body Collection Crystal Suede polish in 'Mint Breeze' for £2.99, which I'll post about soon. I've later realised that Technic and Body Collection products are actually made by the same company!

I nipped into Boots and Superdrug for a few essentials; dry shampoo (£1.99), body lotion (£1.49), and hair ties (£3.25).

Finally, dodging a torrential downpour in TKMaxx, I put back the Essie and ORLY nail polishes I'd been planning to buy in favour of these beautiful gunmetal-coloured Ara boots. These cost me £34.99 and my mum's asked me to go back and see if they have her size! I spotted them on the shelf and, despite them being half a size too small for me, I tried them on anyway. I was thrilled when they fit me perfectly - it must have been a sign! They're so comfy to wear and they have a lovely furry fleecy lining to keep my toes warm in Winter Britain.

What do you think of my purchases? What have you been buying lately? Any good bargains to be had?


Friday, 24 August 2012

FOTD: Office Days

As a few of you know from chatting on Twitter, I started a new job on Monday, I'm just temping for my Mum's boss to help him out for a few weeks with some office work down near Manchester. It's a lot of travelling (around three hours driving per day) and pretty boring work, but it gets some pennies for me so I'm not complaining.
I've never worked in an office before, so I spent Sunday evening panicking about what I had that was suitable to wear, without giving a thought to my make-up! By the time Monday morning rolled around, I was late (typical!) and had to quickly come up with something to make myself look presentable. This is what I ended up with.

(Products in bold link through to my reviews) I started off with Benefit's The POREfessional, then used Boots Natural Collection Shine Away Foundation in shade 'Porcelain' as I wasn't sure what the office would be like and I didn't want my make-up to have melted off entirely by lunchtime if it was warm. I used Collection's Lasting Perfection Concealer to cover a couple of blemishes, and Natural Collection Blusher in shade 'Sugar Plum', which I bought on a whim a couple of weeks back and will be reviewing soon. I set this with Collection's Pressed Powder. I filled in my brows with Collection's Supersoft Kohl Pencil in '02 Birdy Song'. I then used ELF's Eye Primer under 'Verve' and 'Suspect' from Urban Decay's Naked2 Palette on my eyes, and finished off the look with Soap&Glory's Thick&Fast mascara, which is definitely one of my favourites.

What do you think? If you work in an office, what make-up do you wear?


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Review: ChitChat Juicy Stick

I've been eyeing up Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm Lip Stains, but have been reluctant to splash out £6 on what is essentially a tinted lipbalm. So, when I saw a post on Terri's blog about a Poundland dupe, I tracked it down sharpish! This is ChitChat's Juicy Stick in shade 'Peony', which cost me (you guessed it!) £1 from Poundland. I don't own the Revlon Stain so I can't make direct comparisons, but they seem like similar products from what I can tell; I think 'Peony' is a pretty close match to Revlon's 'Honey'.

This comes in very "teenage-girl" style packaging but once that's gone, it's a simple pink retractable crayon with a clear plastic cap, nothing fancy but functional. You get a fair amount of product; twisting the base reveals about the same amount as an average lipstick bullet. This applied really nicely to the lips, providing a pretty pale pink tint whilst feeling soft and moisturising.
 photo ChitChatJuicyLipstickPeony_zpsba521aa3.jpg

It easily lasts for a couple of hours, even when eating and drinking, and it fades evenly and is easy to touch up without a mirror due to its balm-like consistency.
ChitChat Juicy Sticks are available from Poundland for £1, and are also available in 'Fiery Red'.
Do you own any of the Revlon Just Bitten Stains? Will you be tracking down the Juicy Sticks?


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Review | TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Deep Treatment Masque

My hair has been in dire need of some love recently, so when I noticed a '1/3 off' promotion on TRESemmé products whilst browsing in Boots a few days ago, I treated myself with my Advantage points to their Keratin Smooth Deep Treatment Masque, for the bargain price of £3.66. This is normally priced at £5.50 for 300ml, and is available from Boots, amongst other retailers.
This comes packaged in a sleek, expensive-looking deep red tub with black and gold writing. According to the label, "This product transforms your hair to be smoother, straighter and easier to style with new TRESemmé Keratin Smooth. Infused with Keratin, each product reduces frizz and leaves hair gorgeously sleek and manageable. TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Masque is an intensive rescue for unruly, frizz-prone hair. Infused with Keratin, it deeply replenishes each strand for salon smoothness. Suitable for use after a salon keratin treatment. Gentle enough for use on colour treated hair."

"Unruly, frizz-prone hair"? That's my hair summed up, so this Masque sounds ideal. TRESemmé recommend using their Keratin Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner, before applying the Masque to the whole length of your hair, combing through (or using your fingers!), and waiting 3-5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
I didn't purchase the Shampoo and Conditioner so I've just been using this after my regular ones, around twice a week. The Masque is a lovely medium thick, creamy white product which smells pleasant and smoothes through the hair like a dream. After leaving for the recommended time, it rinses out without too much fuss and hair immediately feels super soft and sleek.

By the time I'd dried my hair after the first use, it was unrecognisable; I have barely any frizz and my hair still feels amazingly soft and smooth. I honestly cannot recommend this enough; I've used this four times and there's still well over three-quarters of the tub left (as seen above; bear in mind that I have thick, almost waist-length hair!) so it's extremely reasonable priced and, used once or twice a week, makes a massive difference to the look and feel of my hair. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is my all-time favourite haircare product. Full marks, TRESemmé!!
Have you tried the Keratin Smooth range? What's your favourite deep treatment for hair?


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Review: Montagne Jeunesse Clay Spa Masques

Montagne Jeunesse are introducing a new range to their already extensive selection of face masques and other skincare goodies - Clay Spa Face Masques. Like all of Montagne Jeunesse's products, these new masques are vegetarian-approved, made from natural ingredients, and paraben-free. Taken from their website:
"Introducing two NEW ground-breaking face masques that deliver a unique, enhanced cleansing experience. Specially sourced clays are infused into natural bamboo fabric making deep cleansing your skin quicker, easier and more convenient than ever before – creating a whole new type of face masque, a world’s first in face care!"
Montagne Jeunesse kindly sent me one of each masque to test and review.

First up, I tried the Glacial Clay Spa, which claims to give a "sensational skin clean" - just the ticket! 
Containing Glacial Clay from the Northwest Coast of Canada to cool, re-hydrate and deep-cleanse; Arctic Cloudberry to soothe, protect, and heal; and Red Grape to protect from free radical damage, this masque is formulated to refresh and sooth the skin. 

This is what the packaging has to say:

"Give your skin the ride of its life and feel the natural rush of cooling Glacial Clay cleanse your pores to the core. Antioxidant-rich Red Grape and Arctic Cloudberry juices from the glacial heights of Scandinavia work their magic to help maintain skin's natural barrier."

Following the simple directions, I applied the sheet masque to cleansed skin and relaxed for about 20 minutes before massaging my face, and rinsing the excess clay off. My skin was left feeling refreshed and extremely smooth, whilst redness was reduced. I loved using this masque and will definitely be re-purchasing.

The second masque is the Dead Sea Mud Spa, claiming to give an "extraordinary cleansing experience!" This masque's active ingredients include Dead Sea Minerals to draw out impurities and unblock pores; Seaweed to restore moisture, revitalise, and firm; and Sea Kelp to keep skin moisturised, nourished and youthful. 

According to the packaging, the masque will:
"Breathe life back into skin with intensely invigorating and revitalising Dead Sea Minerals. We've harvested the ocean's nutrient-rich Seaweed and Kelp right from the source - a satisfying boost for thirsty skin, and then some!"

Again, this is applied to cleansed skin and removed after around 20 minutes. Once I'd washed my face and moisturised, my skin was again left feeling super-soft and smooth, and really hydrated. This is another Montagne Jeunesse product I will definitely be repurchasing!
One of the main things I love about sheet masques is how little mess there is - you don't have all the fuss of trying to get it from packet to face without getting it everywhere else, and removal is a doddle as well. My only complaint really was the fact that the shape of the masques didn't fit my face very well, leaving a large amount of my chin uncovered, but that's an occupational side-effect of such a product.
Suitable for all skin types, the Clay Spas retail at £1.49 each and are available to buy from the Montagne Jeunesse website. They'll also be available in Boots from mid-August and in Asda from September.
Do you like the sound of Montagne Jeunesse's Clay Spas? Which will you try first?


(These products were provided to me for the purposes of review. Regardless of this, I have provided my honest thoughts as opinions, as I always have and always will on my blog.)

Monday, 13 August 2012

Review: Revlon Lip Butter in 'Macaroon'

This was the third item featured in my 200 follower giveaway and the only one I haven't yet posted about, (I've reviewed MUA's Dusk Til Dawn Palette and the Barry M Chameleon Nail Paint), so I thought it was about time I got a little review up.
I only own one of the Lip Butters, so I chose my shade carefully, going for something wearable so that I'd get maximum usage out of it. I'm not normally a lipstick person, preferring to just wear tinted lip balm, so this is a great mid-point product for me; moisturising and pleasant to wear, whilst also giving a nice pop of colour.

The shade 'Macaroon' is a dark pinky red with a golden shimmer to it, which translates onto the lips in a subtle, pretty way. In terms of staying power, I find I get a couple of hours' wear out of this before it needs touching up, but this is easy to do on-the-go due to the buildable nature of the product - you need to be far less precise than with lipstick. I really like this colour, it's a classic 'my-lips-but-better' shade which makes it really wearable and means it goes with pretty much everything!

Revlon lip butters are available in fourteen shades, priced at £7.99 each, although they're often on 3 for 2 offers in Boots and Superdrug so I'd recommend looking out for those!
Do you own any of the Revlon Lip Butters? Which is your favourite shade?

(This product was purchased with my own money. As always, my thoughts are 100% my own.)

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Review: MUA Immaculate Collection

Although I did a post on some of the looks I like to create with the Immaculate Collection palette, I've never done a full review with swatches. Since it's one of my most-used palettes (along with Dusk Til Dawn and Urban Decay's Naked2), I thought it made sense to tell you guys what I think! Firstly, I apologise for the fact that these photos are taken once the palette has been used.

The palette contains 24 shades, a mixture of five matte, thirteen shimmery and six glittery numbers. Unlike MUA's 12-shade palettes, these shades are numbered on the back, although I'd still like to see MUA naming their shades. The back of the palette also provides a mini make-up Master-Class, showing you how to create a 'Green Smoulder' look. The packaging is similar to all of MUA's casing, a simple clear and black plastic palette which is lovely and flat, so great for travelling with. I have heard tales of the packaging being quite delicate but this isn't something I've personally had a problem with.

The swatches below are over ELF's Eye Primer. As you can see, the majority of the shades are extremely well pigmented, transferring well from palette to skin. The matte shades are the ones which let the side down, in particular the white (Shade 20).

For some reason, the palette shot here has rotated itself, sorry for the confusion there. These shades from the left of the palette all apply nicely, with a buttery texture and minimal fall-out. All translate well from palette to skin, although Shade 18 (the shimmery champagne in the middle bottom of the swatches) is very translucent and best used as a highlighting shade.

Again, mostly these shades from the middle of the palette apply beautifully. The matte white, shade 20, on the bottom left is all but invisible (in the swatch, you can just see the primer), whilst shade 21, the glittery chocolate brown shade, suffers from a bit of fallout, but otherwise these are good formula-wise. Shades 5 and 6, the blues in the top row, are very similar once applied, and the matte purple, Shade 13, requires some building. Shade 14, the glittery copper on the middle right, is my favourite from the whole palette, giving a gorgeous coppery finish.

The final six shades from the right of the palette are a little iffy; the matte brown at the bottom (Shade 23) requires a lot of building, and the shimmery purple (24) loses a lot of its shimmer once on the skin. The matte grey (16) applies nicely though, and 7, 8 and 15 are all at the high standard of the rest of the palette.
The Immaculate Collection Palette is available from larger Superdrug stores (those stocking the MUA Pro line) or direct from MUA's website, priced at £8.
Do you own the Immaculate Collection Palette? Do you like the look of it?

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