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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Empties: December 2014

I hate to sound so clichéd but I really can't believe this post signals the end of 2014; I've not been at all consistent in posting through December, but I'm hoping to pick up where I left off now and get back into the swing of things as we head into January. I've a few new post ideas which I'll hopefully be getting up and running sooner rather than later, and I'm excited to see what 2015 will bring! December's Empties are a bit of a mixed bag; after finishing very little in November, I've done a bit better this month, which I'm pleased about, but there seems to be a lot of the same type of product which is a little odd...
December Empties
December Empties 2
Naked Smooth Silky Conditioner I love this stuff! It smells amazing, works really well to soften and moisturise the super-dry ends of my long hair, and is silicone-free so it doesn't build up in my hair or clog my pores on my back and chest, which I have noticed some other conditioners can do. I've been trying a few new things lately as far as haircare is concerned, but I do see myself coming back to this sooner or later.
Repurchase? Probably at some point.
Dove Hair Therapy Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo I can't remember which blog I saw this highly recommended on, but anyway I picked a can up to try and was actually pretty impressed; it smells really lovely, easily as good as my usual Batiste choices. It also worked pretty well at absorbing excess oil in my hair, without leaving as much of a white cast as other dry shampoos can.
Repurchase? Unsure, as I can't decide if it's worth the money.
COLAB New York Dry Shampoo Launched pretty recently by A Model Recommends blogger Ruth Crilly, I couldn't wait to try COLAB's Dry Shampoo and I went for the New York variant as the fruity fragrance sounded like my sort of thing. Again, this easily smells as good as my usual Batiste options and works well for my hair in terms of absorbing excess oil and freshening things up a little. It's also better than Batiste in terms of white residue, as well as being super reasonably-priced!
Repurchase? Probably; I was lucky enough to win a set of minis so I have one of each scent to see which I like the best!
OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo & Conditioner I really enjoyed using this duo, finding them to leave my hair feeling gorgeously soft and silky, whilst also lasting better between washes before it started looking oily. My only hang-up is the silicone in the conditioner, as it can tend to break me out, but so far I've not actually experience any problems.
Repurchase? Yes, I've already bought the full-sized versions of these, as well as another pair of minis for taking to my boyfriend's.
The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Day Cream* I was sent this as part of a little skincare bundle and was actually really surprised by how well it worked with my skin, as it's aimed at sensitive rather than oily skintypes; nonetheless, it didn't seem to make my skin any oilier, although it didn't do anything to control oil production either. That, alongside the fact that it doesn't contain SPF, would put me off purchasing this again, but I'm definitely keen to try other products from the range and it's by no means a bad product - just not ideally suited to me.
Repurchase? No.
December Empties 1
Natural Collection Loose Powder 'Cool Translucent' This is the second jar of this powder I've used and, whilst it's cheap and does the job, I do seem to be going through it at quite an alarming rate compared to the Collection version I was using previously! I'm not sure if it's just a smaller jar (I need to check) or if I'm actually using more, although to be honest for £1.99 that's not really an issue.
Repurchase? Probably, although I'm currently trialing a £1 pressed powder from Poundland, and there are a couple of other brands I'd like to try first.
Lush D'Fluff Shaving Soap This fruity little number has actually lasted a lot longer than I expected, although admittedly I haven't been shaving my legs quite so frequently now that we're into winter and there's only the boyfriend seeing them... That said, it smells beautiful, works well for shaving, and doesn't seem to dry my skin out in quite the same way as other shaving gels and foams do. A winner for me!
Repurchase? Yes, though maybe as an occasional treat as it is quite pricey for what it is.
Nip + Fab Glycolic Scrub Fix I love this! Aside from smelling beautiful and fresh, my skin seems to adore it - the scrub particles are just right and my skin has been looking so much clearer since using this regularly three or four times a week. I actually stopped using it for a week or so and really did notice a difference in my skin, which I think is the real test of any skincare product.
Repurchase? Already have when it was on offer in Boots!
Boots Cotton Wool Double Faced Round Pads Booooring I know, but one of life's essentials for removal of nail polish, eye make-up, and general use of toners and micellar waters. These are affordable, often on special offers, and do the job just fine.
Repurchase? Already have.
L'Occitane Vanilla Bouquet Hand Cream This magazine freebie has been a lifesaver through the cold winter months as the eczema on my hands has flared up really badly; I've been keeping this next to my bed to slather on each night and whilst it hasn't prevented my skin cracking and flaking, I don't think there's a product out there that could. It has, however, helped to sooth the itching and burning, whilst softening my skin up as much as I could hope for.
Repurchase? Maybe, although it wouldn't be my fragrance of choice.
Pop Beauty Face Magnet Primer This is pretty much the best primer I've tried in terms of keeping my make-up on my face, I raved about it in my review and I still love it just as much now! It doesn't do much for hiding enlarged pores but as far as keeping my forehead matte, it's pretty much a winner for me.
Repurchase? I will, once I've used up some other primers as I have quite the stash at the moment!
Accessorize Volumising Mascara I really enjoyed using this mascara, it was perfect for me in terms of being super-black and adding plenty of volume to my lashes - and that's pretty much what I look for in a mascara as my lashes are pretty long anyway. It didn't flake or clump and was pretty easy to remove with my usual eye make-up remover, too.
Repurchase? I believe this has actually been discontinued now, but I would buy it again if it was available.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Party Dress Picks Under £50

With New Year's Eve fast approaching, a new party dress will be on a lot of ladies' minds at the moment; as I'm working both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, I really have no excuse for shopping this year (boo, hiss!) but that hasn't stopped me having a little browse of all the sequinned beauties available at the moment...
Party Dress Picks
(Left to right):
Mandi Gold Leopard Embellished Midi Dress, £24
Of course a little sparkle is a must for NYE; the shift dress option makes hiding any extra Christmas pounds a breeze, which would be an important consideration for me! I'm loving the idea of straying from the more typical black/gold/red colour schemes with this gorgeous mermaid-esque New Look dress which I have to say is an absolute bargain. I'm also in love with the unusual design on the TFNC dress which I think would be really striking without being too much. The overlay top dress is another way of hiding any slightly curvier bits which may have appeared over the holidays... Finally, I don't think it's news to anyone how much I love leopard print, and I think this gold dress is my favourite; a ladylike knee-length, it's sparkly and also patterned - just my cup of tea! Do you have anything planned for New Year's Eve? What will you be wearing? Have any of these frocks caught your eye?


Monday, 29 December 2014

Recent Purchases | Sales Edition

Hello! It's been literal weeks since I've posted - I'm still alive, I promise! December has been a bit of a manic month for me with work, interviews and appointments for new jobs, Christmas shopping and a load of family stuff, so I've just not had chance to post all the things I was hoping to throughout the month. Still, onwards and upwards, hey!? I'm back now and I thought it'd be nice to share the few bits and pieces I've picked up in the sales, although I've been pretty restrained this year (admittedly through financial necessity more than anything else...)!
Sales Purchases Beauty
I love sales at The Body Shop as they're ideal for stocking up on essentials - for me, nothing beats their body butters in terms of keeping my skin soft and hydrated, as my eczema flares up almost at the mere mention of liquid paraffin. So I picked up a couple of body butters, one in Chocomania and one from the Limited Edition Christmas Glazed Apple line. I also treated myself to a sugar scrub from the Chocomania range, as well as impulse-grabbing a tube of Coconut hand cream as I reached the counter. I've got a Love Your Body card which saves you an extra 10% even on sales prices (they are more than worth the fiver per year that they cost) so in all this little lot came in at just over £20. I also, on a complete whim, picked up the Origins mask trio in Boots as I'd been eyeing it up before Christmas, and reduced to under £20 I couldn't help myself! Having tried samples in the past, I know I love the Clear Improvement mask, and I'm keen to try the other two.
I have also bought industrial quantities of Maltesers Merryteaser Reindeer (not pictured) from Superdrug as they're reduced to just 10p each, and I've bought myself a long-sleeved top (exciting, I know) from New Look for the bargain price of £2, (currently in the wash so not pictured either). It's dark pink, if you're interested. What have you bought in the sales? Do you go in with a plan, or just see what takes your fancy? Are you a stocker-upper like me, or an impulse buyer of utter rubbish? I'd love to know!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Review: Makeup Revolution The One Foundation

I've been meaning to write this review for literally months but have kept forgetting to sit down and get on with it - I received a bottle of Makeup Revolution's The One Foundation in Shade 8 as part of a giveaway prize quite some time ago now and have been using it on and off ever since. This foundation claims to provide, "Revolutionary fusion technology • Adapts to skin tone and texture • Full coverage • Buildable • Matte finish."
Makeup Revolution The One Foundation Review
Presented in a black box with rose-gold type and a shade-signifying coloured strip at the top of the box, I think the packaging looks a lot more high-end than might be expected for the price tag! Within the box, the foundation is housed in a small plastic bottle with a black screw-cap and a small nozzle to make for easy dispensation of product. The formula of the foundation is very liquid, so much so that at first I thought it must have separated and I hadn't shaken it enough. Turns out that wasn't the case and it is just literally the runniest foundation I've ever used, by a long stretch! This makes it quite tricky to apply as it has a tendency towards running off my face before I've had chance to blend it in. However, it does blend well with the fingers, disappearing almost completely into the skin.
The One Foundation Makeup Rev
Makeup Revolution The One Foundation
I was pleasantly surprised by how good the coverage was from such a runny product; I'd call it medium-coverage but easily buildable due to how thin the consistency is - I can't imagine this ever going cakey or feeling too heavy on the skin. I was a little dubious about how good a match Shade 8 would be for me, given that I'm super pale, but it's actually only a touch too dark and works okay once well-blended; if I was to repurchase I'd go for Shade 6 or 7, though the lightest shade on the website is 2. It's a bit of a novelty for foundation to be too light for me and I have to admit I'm really impressed with the shade range for this product. Below, you can see the foundation alone on my skin before any concealer or powder, which should give an idea of the coverage it offers.
Makeup Revolution The One Foundation Shade 8
For me, one of the most important considerations in a foundation is longevity; I work as a carer so I'm constantly on my feet running round at work, without time for touch-ups, so I need a base that lasts well without fading, sliding or getting too shiny. I find this foundation pretty average in terms of lasting power; I always use a primer and set with a powder, and find that it lasts around four to five hours before there's a noticeable shine on my forehead and nose. The foundation doesn't appear to slide or go patchy which is always a winner, so for me this is a reasonably good base choice, and I'm happy with how well it lasts on my skin.
FOTD MR The One Foundation
[Products used: The Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser; Makeup Revolution The One Foundation in Shade 8; Soap & Glory Kick-Ass Concealer in 'Light'; Makeup Gallery Smoothly Does It Pressed Powder in '1 Translucent'; NARS Powder Blusher in 'Douceur'; MUA Pro Brow Kit; Makeup Revolution Redemption Iconic 3 Palette; Accessorize Volumising Mascara]
Priced at £4 for 29ml of product, The One Foundation is available in 16 shades from Makeup Revolution online; for the price, you could definitely do worse, and as far as I'm concerned this is a lovely affordable option - it offers decent, buildable coverage without going cakey and lasts reasonably well even on my oily skin. Have you tried The One Foundation? What are your favourite budget-friendly base products?


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Review: Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Conditioning Shampoo

In my apparently never-ending quest for a shampoo which suits my oily scalp whilst not irritating my eczema-prone skin, I picked up a bottle of Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Conditioning Shampoo, which claims to replenish moisture and add shine whilst being ideal for fine/limp hair - something I've always struggled to find in an SLS-free formula! I have to admit I had high hopes for this little number as whilst going SLS-free has inarguably helped my eczema, I really do struggle to go two days between washes as SLS-free shampoos in general just don't seem to be designed for oily hair.
Palmers Coconut Oil Formula Shampoo
"Discover the Polynesian secret of Pure Coconut Oil in Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Conditioning Shampoo with Vitamin E. A natural blend of ingredients replenishes essential oils that have been stripped from hair that has been coloured, relaxed, pressed or over-styled. This gentle, daily formula moisturises and softens, adds shine, is for all hair types, and removes build-up."
Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Conditioning Shampoo
The shampoo comes in a white plastic squeezy bottle with a flip-cap which is pretty easy to use; the shampoo itself has a thick, white texture, and I found it reasonably easy to spread through wet hair. It also had a beautiful smell; I'm a massive lover of coconut and I really did enjoy this. I'd say I used an average amount of shampoo and, as always, shampooed twice before following up with a conditioner. Unfortunately, no matter how much I rinsed (and rinsed... and rinsed) my hair just did not feel clean after using this shampoo; it felt like a sticky residue was left behind. I tried using less shampoo but that just meant I wasn't able to work it through all of my hair. As well as feeling unpleasant, my hair was looking oily and in need of a wash more quickly than I think I'd ever experienced before - under a day. I've used this shampoo around four or five times now and I really can't see myself finishing it, which is a shame as I hate to waste product.
Palmer's Coconut SLS-free Shampoo Review
All in all, this just didn't live up to my expectations and I've been left pretty disappointed; despite smelling lovely, this shampoo didn't leave my hair feeling clean and it did absolutely nothing to help with it being a little on the limp side; if anything, it made things worse. I can't honestly say I'd recommend this to anyone and I certainly won't be buying it again. Have you ever tried Palmer's shampoo? Do you have any SLS-free shampoo recommendations for oily hair?


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Pastel Polka Hearts Phone Case*

I was recently offered a phone case by Mobile Madhouse, and given how ridiculously clumsy I am, it seemed like a good idea to accept the offer! I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, so I had a scroll through the selection on their site and eventually settled on this super-cute pastel polka hearts design*; I was sorely tempted by a couple of their more festive offerings but decided I'd get more use from something less season-specific! I received the case within a couple of days, and it was really easy to use - it literally just snaps onto the back of my phone, leaving it feeling much safer and more secure in my clumsy hands! There are cut-outs for the camera and flash, speaker, and the buttons on the sides, so it doesn't get in the way of using my phone easily. The printing of the design is good quality, the case feels secure on my phone and I'm confident it'll do a good job of keeping it safe for me.
Pastel Polka Hearts Phone Case
Mobile Madhouse Phone Case
Mobile Madhouse offer a pretty awesome range of phone cases and other accessories for a huge number of phone makes and models, so have a look and see if there's something for your phone! It's easy to search by brand, and there's also an option to create a personalised case by uploading a photo of your choice - which could make a really lovely Christmas gift for someone special if you get your skates on! I have the Caseflex Polka Hearts Pastel Case which is £9.99. Do you like to use a case on your phone? What sort of design do you prefer? Would you consider using a photo of your own on a case?

[*Product sent for review purposes. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own.]

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Festive Picks: Knitwear

Even I can no longer deny that Christmas is here, and one of my favourite things about Christmas is definitely a good ol' Christmas jumper! A bit of festive knitwear can go one of two ways; either it's classy and subtle, or it's hideously tacky - the tackier the better as far as I'm concerned. I won't be buying one this year as I already own two Christmas jumpers from previous years, and it doesn't really seem justifiable that 10% of my knitwear is Christmas-themed... That aside, here are some of my favourites this year, from the cute through to the downright absurd!!
Festive Picks: Knitwear
Grey Christmas Penguin Jumper, New Look, £14.50
Stone Cracking Christmas Jumper, New Look, £14.99
Embellished Fairisle Jumper, Asda, £18
Brit Snowflake Jumper, Boohoo, £20
Merry Christmas Reindeer Jumper, New Look, £25
Elf Christmas Jumper, Asda, £8
Christmas Fairisle Sweater, Topshop, £25
Gingerbread Man Jumper, Matalan, £15
[Broken links removed, apologies for any inconvenience caused.]
Hopefully you can see that I've put the pretty/cute ones in the top row, and the more garish ones in the bottom row... But I would basically wear all of these if I didn't have to somehow fit them into my drawers for the rest of the year! What are your views on Christmas jumpers? Would you wear one? Which is your favourite from this little selection?


Friday, 5 December 2014

Six Mini Reviews #10: Urban Veda, LUSH, Clarins & more

I've been on a bit of a mission lately to make a bit more of a dent in my stash of samples, meaning I've got another six used up already! I love beauty samples as an opportunity to try new things that I mightn't otherwise, and discover what works well for me and what doesn't, without having to shell out for the full-sized product. There are a couple of products in this selection that I'd happily buy again in the future - read on to find out which!
Six Mini Beauty Reviews #10 Clarins Lush Urban Veda Avene
Urban Veda Neem & Botanics Daily Purifying Facial Wash I'm not 100% certain where this sample came from but it was a generously-sized 30ml tube which lasted me a couple of weeks of daily use. The gorgeous minty fragrance and slight tingly sensation upon application made this perfect for a morning cleanse, doing a great job of waking me up and removing any oil and dirt which had accumulated overnight. At £7.99 for 150ml, this is an affordable product and definitely one I'll consider buying in full-size, once I've used up all my sample-sized face washes.
Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch Primer I can't remember where I came by this mini-sized pot of magic, but I do know it does a bloomin' good job of smoothing out enlarged pores and fine lines, providing a beautifully smooth base for foundation. At £26 for 15g of product, this isn't something I can afford to invest in at the moment but it's definitely one I'd like to buy again in the future!
LUSH New Charity Pot Hand Cream I picked this 10g trial-sized pot up whilst making a purchase in my local LUSH store, at just £1 I couldn't really say no, especially when it's for a good cause! I really enjoyed the scent but somehow my skin didn't; rather than feeling soothing and hydrating on my hands, like a hand cream should, I got a kind of burning sensation, and very little relief from the dryness and itchiness I'm applying hand cream to treat. I wanted to love it but unfortunately this just isn't for me. A full-sized 95g pot will set you back £6.95, whilst 240g is £12.95.
Eau Thermale Avène Extremely Gentle Cleanser I think I received this as part of a giveaway win a few months back, and have to say I've not been hugely impressed with it. Whilst it sounds good in theory, allowing for cleansing and/or make-up removal without the use of water which can dry the skin out, I didn't feel like my skin was left clean after using it. If it sounds like your sort of thing, a 200ml bottle is £8.
Sk:n Vitamin-Rich Cleanser for Oily Skin Another product I unfortunately wasn't impressed by, I found the scent of this cleansing gel really off-putting, and the product itself seemed to leave my skin feeling slightly sticky even after rinsing and rinsing. This is supposed to remove dead skin and clear the pores, but I can't say I really noticed much difference in my skin, although only having got around a week's use from it I wouldn't expect to. Not for me, despite my high hopes given its claims of suiting oily skins well. This is pretty pricey at £16.75 for 200ml.
English Laundry For Her Signature Eau de Parfum A Birchbox sample, this creamy, musky scent was right up my street and one I really enjoyed wearing. I'll admit it's not my usual sort of perfume choice but nonetheless I loved it, although I don't see myself shelling out £60 for a 50ml bottle any time in the near future!
So those are my six samples, definitely a couple to consider for the future with the Urban Veda Cleanser and the Clarins primer, and a couple I'm glad to have tried if only to rule out full-sized products. Have you tried any of these? How do you go about using up your beauty samples?


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Festive Picks: Make-Up & Nail Polish Gift Sets

I mentioned a few days back that I'm not planning on doing gift guides this year as such, but will instead be sharing some of my favourite sets in a few categories; in other words, the gift sets I'm sorely tempted to gift myself with this Christmas! You can see my skincare gift set picks here, and today I'm sharing the make-up and nail polish sets which are topping my wish list at the moment.
Festive Picks: Makeup Gift Sets
Models Own Luxe Nail Polish Collection, £10 | I will admit to having picked this set up for myself, I just couldn't resist; not only do you get four full-sized Models Own nail polishes from the Diamond Luxe collection, the set also includes nail art striping tape and a double-ended cuticle pusher, all for the price of two polishes! Shades included are 'Asscher Blue', 'Radiant Pink', 'Trillion Taupe' and 'Carat Coral'.
Soap & Glory The Perfect 10 Palette, £16 | This isn't a gift set by any stretch of the imagination and I don't know why Boots seem to think it is, but nonetheless it looks like a lovely selection of eyeshadow shades and I'd really love to find this nestled beneath the tree on Christmas morning. There is no argument to be made for me needing more eyeshadow palettes (seriously, I have way too many) but it's just so pretty. It's kind of reminiscent of the Urban Decay Naked palettes at a much more purse-friendly price point.
Urban Decay Black Magic 24/7 Double-Ended Eye Pencil Gift Set, £27 | I've heard so many good things about Urban Decay's 24/7 eye pencils that this set of eight shades is pretty irresistible. I absolutely love the look of 'LSD' and 'Tornado', which isn't available elsewhere - always a key player in increasing desirability.
Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Stick Eye Colour Collection, £38 | I've actually never tried any Laura Mercier products but I absolutely love the look of her Caviar Sticks; I'm a fan of anything that comes in crayon form, and this set includes six beautiful shades to try out, for less than the price of two of the full-sized crayons - a bargain if ever I heard of one. Space.NK are actually currently sold out of this set, which is probably for the best as far as my bank balance is concerned...
Bobbi Brown Warm Glow Christmas Eye Palette, £59 | Okay, so the price is pretty eye-watering and again, strictly speaking this isn't really a set, but it is an absolutely delectable palette! All nine shades are absolutely beautiful and looking at it is genuinely giving me butterflies, it's just so gorgeous. The lovely faux-croc case is just the perfect finishing touch to an altogether dreamy palette. Seriously, I think I'm in love.
ArtDeco Tribal Chic Blusher Set, £25 | Again, ArtDeco isn't a brand I've tried anything from in the past, but this blusher is absolutely stunning, and the inclusion of the brush just seals the deal for me really! Seriously, how beautiful is the compact?! And the design on the blusher itself is no less gorgeous. What a beaut.
So, are any of these sets on your Christmas list this year? Which is your favourite? Any other sets you'd add? You can also check out my pick of this year's skincare gift sets, if you're interested! If anyone would like to donate any of these to an extremely worthy cause (me!), there would be no complaints at all... Just saying.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The Bourjois Base

I recently picked up a few bits and pieces from Bourjois as I was feeling like I'd woefully under-tried the brand, owning just one cream blusher; for the past few weeks, I've been trying out their Happy Light Matte Serum Primer and their 123 Perfect CC Cream. Below you can see how I've been getting on as well as a few photos of the products in action!
Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream & Happy Light Matte Serum Primer
I'd actually never been interested in trying CC creams until I received a sample of Supergoop! in a Birchbox a couple of months ago and realised they offered much more coverage than I'd expected. Looking for a more budget-friendly option than the Supergoop! I decided Bourjois was worth a try. Long-term blog readers will know that I'm in a constant battle with my oily skin and will try pretty much anything that claims to mattify or improve make-up longevity.
Bourjois Happy Light Matte Serum Primer
The Happy Light Matte Serum Primer claims to, "Mattify the complexion in any light • Airbrush action for minimised pores." I like the packaging, with the pump making for easy and hygienic use, though I can't help thinking you don't get much product for your money! I've found that I need quite a lot of product per usage, around two pumps for my whole face, though that does give a nice smooth base for the CC Cream or other foundations, and my pores do appear minimised. In terms of mattifying, though, I've been kinda disappointed. Admittedly this is aimed at normal to combination skin, whilst mine is definitely on the oily end of the spectrum, but I've been really disappointed with the fact that my face appears shiny after only an hour or two of wear, even with powder to set my foundation or CC cream.
Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream
I picked up the 123 Perfect CC Cream in the shade 'Ivory', which is the lightest of the four available shades; I think four shades is a pretty impressive range for a product like this as they do claim to adapt somewhat to your individual skintone. Personally, I've found that 'Ivory' is a good match for my fair skin, and it doesn't appear to oxidise through the day. I'd say the coverage is medium but buildable, though I do still tend to use concealer over any blemishes; the formula contains three pigments which supposedly hide fatigue, redness and dark spots. I find that it's effective in brightening my skin and neutralising redness, though I don't really suffer from dark spots so I'm not very well placed to comment on that one. The SPF15 is a bonus for me as I'm truly dreadful at remembering to apply sunscreen, so every little helps as far as I'm concerned!
Bourjois CC Cream FOTD
I Heart Passion EOTD
[Products used: Bourjois Happy Light Matte Serum; Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream; Natural Collection Loose Powder in 'Cool Translucent'; Bourjois Blusher in 'Cendre de Rose Brune'; MUA Pro Brow Kit; Makeup Revolution I Heart Passion Palette; Accessorize Volumising Mascara]
Bourjois Happy Light Matte Serum Primer is priced at £10.99 for 15ml, whilst the 123 Perfect CC Cream is £9.99 for 30ml, available in a choice of four shades. Whilst I've been disappointed with the primer and won't be repurchasing, it might be worth a try if your skin falls more onto the "normal" part of the spectrum. Meanwhile, I've been really impressed with the CC cream and can see myself repurchasing in the future! Have you tried either of these products? What Bourjois products would you recommend I try? What do you think of Bourjois as a brand?


Sunday, 30 November 2014

Empties: November 2014

I'd like to clarify here and now; the last day of November is still not an acceptable time to start putting up Christmas trees. IT'S NOVEMBER. Cue the usual general sentiments of the month having gone far too quickly, the year nearly being over, et cetera... Seriously, though, what has happened to 2014?!! November has been a pretty awesome month for me, all told; I went for an interview for a voluntary position which will be amazing experience for what I want to do, and was successful, so I'll be starting that in the New Year once all the paperwork is completed. I've been put in touch with a potential full-time position that will be opening up soon, which sounds absolutely incredible. I can successfully execute a three-point turn (or "turn in the road using forward and reverse gears" as it's now called) and reverse round a corner (I'm learning to drive, in case that wasn't obvious...) Everything is starting to feel like it's coming together, which is nice. ANYHOW, enough rambles, here are my empties for November!
November 2014 Beauty EMpties
November Beauty Empties 2014
The Body Shop Papaya Body Butter It's no secret that I love The Body Shop's body butters and this fruity little number was no exception; it smells beautiful and worked well at keeping my skin soft and hydrated after a shower. These butters are an absolute staple for me and I tend to stock up when they're on offer as they're quite expensive otherwise!
Repurchase? Yes.
Natural Collection Loose Powder This is an absolute bargain at just £1.99 and it works as well as any powder I've ever tried in terms of setting my base and keeping my skin matte-ish for a fair few hours. My skin is super-oily so I don't expect a permanent matte finish from any product, but teamed with a decent primer this works really well for me.
Repurchase? Already have.
AEOS Gentle Exfoliant Blue This was a giveaway win and I have to say I was pretty disappointed with it; it smelt kind of off-putting, and the texture was weird. It seemed to be mostly a gel-cream with the occasional exfoliating bead, which didn't really feel like it was doing much to exfoliate my skin. Altogether not a winner for me!
Repurchase? No.
The Body Shop Shea Lip Butter I really like The Body Shop's lip butters as they're so nourishing and they smell absolutely gorgeous! A little goes such a long way as well, to the point where I think this pot has lasted around two years. I'm in the habit of slapping a bit of this on morning and evening, and find it works really well to keep my lips soft and smooth, and free of cracks.
Repurchase? I already have a back-up in a different scent, so I think I'm set for a couple more years!
November Beauty Blog Empties
Boots Cotton Wool Pads An entirely unexciting product but one of life's essentials, these work pretty nicely for removing eye makeup, applying toner, and removing nail polish. There isn't much more to be said, is there?
Repurchase? Probably, although I tend to just pick up cotton pads at random.
The Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment I really enjoyed using this lightweight hydrating gel as part of my evening skincare routine, finding it to leave my skin feeling smooth and hydrated without being greasy or sticky. I also really like the packaging of this with the pump making for easy, hygienic product dispensation.
Repurchase? Maybe; I have a few samples and other products to use up before I need to buy a new night cream.
Dr Organic+ Rose Otto Shampoo I really enjoyed the delicate scent of this shampoo and found that this bottle lasted me ages - around seven weeks I think! It did leave my hair feeling clean but maybe not for as long as I'd like, so I probably wouldn't repurchase this particular shampoo, but I would like to try some other Dr Organic+ products as the brand really intrigues me. The fact that the products are SLS-free is a definite bonus for me and my eczema-prone skin.
Repurchase? Maybe, though not this variant.
REN Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel I'm in two minds on this product; on the one hand, it's a perfectly nice cleansing gel, but on the other I felt a little underwhelmed by it, as I often seem to with REN products. Maybe I'm just expecting too much, but I didn't feel that it did anything to control my excessively oily t-zone, and given its name I don't think that was too much to ask? It's not a bad product but for the price, I'd hope for a little more wow factor!
Repurchase? No.
So, there they are! Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? How has your November been?


Friday, 28 November 2014

Review | OGX Renewing Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner

Recently I've been trying out some new haircare products, leading me to pick up these trial-sized bottles of OGX's Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo & Conditioner in Boots a few weeks ago. OGX used to be called Organix and I have tried some of their products in the past, but not for a couple of years, so I wasn't sure what to expect with these little blue bottles. "A unique, precious blend of Argan Oil of Morocco, which rapidly penetrates the hair shaft, restoring shine and softness while strengthening and creating soft, seductive, silky perfection."
OGX Renewing Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner Review
I really like the bottles; they're unusual in shape and striking in colour, and they look nice in my bathroom. I have a slight complaint in that the shampoo and conditioner bottles are basically identical, meaning I regularly pick up the wrong one, but as long as I remember to read the bottle before squeezing a handful out, that's okay! The shampoo is quite a thick gel texture which is light golden-brown in colour; I always shampoo twice but have found that I need much less shampoo than I'm used to using, to get a really nice lather which leaves my hair feeling properly clean. The conditioner is a creamy texture, again golden-brown in colour, which spreads easily through the ends of my hair and feels like it's being absorbed really well. I've noticed in the fortnight or so I've been using this duo, my hair has felt so much softer than before and really silky and smooth to the touch, which is lovely. My hair usually becomes oily really quickly, so much so that although I wash it every other day, it's often looking pretty horrible after one day and I'm utterly dependent upon dry shampoo! This duo seems to have helped with that a little and I've been managing much more easily to go two days between washes without feeling like I look a mess, which has really impressed me. I really would strongly recommend this duo for those with oily roots, although it isn't stripping in any way so I also think it would be lovely for pretty much any hair type. My only misgiving is the fact that both the shampoo & the conditioner contain silicons, which have a tendency to lead to me getting spots on my back and shoulders, so I'll have to see how I go in that respect.
OGX Argan Oil Review
OGX Shampoo & Conditioner Argan Oil of Morocco
Being SLS-free means this duo should be ideal for my sensitive, eczema-prone skin and although I've been suffering a little flare-up recently which I'm putting down to the change in the weather, it's easing back now so I don't think these are to blame. OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo & Conditioner are priced at £6.99 each for 385ml of product, available from Boots, where there are often offers available to save you a little bit of cash. They're a little bit pricier than other options but they're pretty big bottles for the price and a little goes a long way so I'd see them lasting well. I'll definitely be buying the full-sized bottles once I've finished these off! Have you ever tried any OGX products? Any recommendations for other product ranges I need to try?


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Festive Picks: Skincare Gift Sets

I've decided I won't be doing the Christmas gift guide thing this year; let's be honest, I don't know anyone on your list as well as you do and anyone can Google gift sets or browse through department store offers for inspiration. Instead, I'll be sharing my top picks this year; a few gifts sets I'd be more than thrilled to unwrap come Christmas morning. With Debenhams currently offering 10% off beauty, that seems a good a place as any to start if you did fancy picking any of these sets up for yourself or someone special!
Festive Picks: Skincare Giftsets
Origins Super Star Minis, £35 (currently £31.50 at Debenhams) | As a huge fan of Origins products, this set of seven mini-sized products would be an absolute dream to receive; I've tried some of the products included but others are new to me, and as I don't have any Origins skincare at the moment (sob!) I'd be super pleased to unwrap this little set, including their much-loved Clear Improvement charcoal face mask and High Potency Night-A-Mins cream amongst others.
L'Occitane Hand Cream Trio, £22 (currently £19.80 at Debenhams) | Containing their ever-popular Shea Butter hand cream along with a tube each of Cherry Blossom and Lavender, this is a beautiful set for anyone who's a lover of a good hand cream; I personally love L'Occitane's hand creams as they're super-hydrating and work really well, without feeling greasy or sticky on the skin. As an added bonus, this trio is presented in a beautiful box making it the ideal gift purchase.
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Gift Set, £42 (currently £37.80 at Debenhams) | Confession time; I've never tried Elizabeth Arden's cult favourite Eight Hour Cream. This set, consisting of the original cream in full-size alongside an SPF version, a hand cream, a body cream and a full-sized lip balm, looks like the perfect introduction to the range at an affordable price.
Clarins Skincare Heroes Gift Set, £25 (currently £22.50 at Debenhams) | Clarins is another brand I have limited experience with, and this set of minis consists of a few products I'd be keen to try. The Beauty Flash Balm is a bit of a classic, whilst I love the sound of the Exfoliating Body Scrub and Moisture-Rich Body Lotion.
Kiehl's Skincare Heroes Gift Set, £36 (currently £32.40 at Debenhams) | I'm aware I'm running the risk of sounding a little repetitive here, but Kiehl's is yet another brand I've never tried and always heard good things about; in particular, I'd love to try their Midnight Recovery Concentrate, which is included in this set alongside 30ml bottles of Ultra Facial Cleanser and Moisturiser. The best part is, the Midnight Recovery Concentrate alone is £36, so you're essentially getting two products for free here!
Are there any skincare gift sets you've got your eye on this year? Are you prone to a little treat or two for yourself amongst your Christmas shopping, whilst all these amazing value sets are available? Just me!?


Saturday, 22 November 2014

A Make-up Clearout

I'm having a little bit of a make-up clearout today. You know those products that you keep telling yourself you'll finish up one day, even though you know full well that they really don't work for you and you wouldn't use them in a month of Sundays? Yeah, those. They're going! These are just a few bits and pieces I've been holding onto, intending to finish them off, but I'm finally accepting that that's not going to happen and clearing a bit of space - throwing things away is so therapeutic! I feel so wasteful throwing things away unfinished, but I know I won't use them so I'd rather have the space.
A Makeup Clearout
No7 Shine Free Primer I bought this not long after I started blogging so I must have had it around three years now; it's definitely past its best and I've not even used half because, quite frankly, it doesn't do what it claims. My skin is super oily so I really do need a primer that keeps shine at bay and this just isn't it. On top of that, it has a distinct smell of PVA glue...
Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara I've tried and tried to love this but the formula just doesn't suit me - I've never had problems with a mascara flaking until this one, and I hate the brush. I find it really difficult to work with and no matter how careful I try to be, I end up with blobs of mascara everywhere. It's also an absolute nightmare to remove, like, worse than They're Real!
MUA Primer I seem to remember writing quite a good review of this product a couple of years ago and I honestly can't imagine why now; I don't think it's actually available to buy anymore but honestly, this does nothing for me. It doesn't make my foundation apply more smoothly, last longer, or stay-shine free, which are the three things I look for in primer. I've had this at least a couple of years as well, so it's time to get rid!
17 Miracle Matte Skin Primer It's probably beginning to become clear how much of a primer hoarder I am! I didn't get on with this from the word go, it doesn't seem to set on my skin, instead kind of rolling up and peeling off as soon as I try to blend foundation over it, which is never a good look. It makes foundation pool in my pores really badly, and I swear it makes my make-up run more than it does with no primer at all. I was really disappointed with this and I honestly don't know why I've kept it as long as I have!

So, with a little bit more space in my make-up collection, is that an excuse for a shopping trip!? I'm actually trying to use up a few more products before I buy any new ones as I'm realising recently just how ridiculous my collection has become... Are you in the habit of throwing away old make-up, or are you like me and hang onto things telling yourself you'll use them, one day? Have you tried any of these products?


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Review: Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner

I've been on the look-out for a new toner ever since trying Skinetica a couple of months ago; I liked its addition into my skincare routine in terms of making sure to remove all makeup and cleanser from my skin, but wasn't won over by Skinetica's formula. I've been hearing for a while now about the virtues of an exfoliating toner, so after seeing Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner mentioned on Amiiee's blog, I decided to give it a whirl! I've been using it of an evening for around a month now.
Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner
I really like the packaging, which is bright and clean with a lovely illustration, fitting in with the rest of the Botanics range. The information given claims, "This revitalising toner helps visibly tighten pores and instantly brighten skin. Skin is left feeling fresher and prepared for moisturising. Hibiscus is nature's brightness booster and a wonderful hue of pink. Natural AHAs from the flower act as mild exfoliators to help leave skin smoother and brighter. Directions: Moisten cotton wool pad and sweep over face and neck after cleansing." The aperture of the bottle is small, meaning it's easy to dispense the product onto a cotton pad without wastage. The toner feels refreshing on the skin and as far as I can see, does a good job at removing any last traces of make-up; I can usually see some grime on my cotton pad once I'm done, which is strangely satisfying. My face isn't left feeling dry or tight, just clean and smooth. I usually wait around ten minutes before applying my moisturiser, to give the AHAs time to do their stuff. I've been using a few new products lately in an effort to clear my skin up and deal with my over-sized pores, so it's difficult to 100% attribute an improvement to any one product, but I really do feel that this toner has been doing its bit to help keep blemishes under control. I also think that the pores around my nose are looking smaller after a few weeks of use, though I do think those effects are in conjunction with Nip + Fab's Glycolic Scrub Fix - a winning combination if ever there was one!
Botanics All Bright Toner Review
[Ingredients: Aqua, Alcohol Denat, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Quillaja Saponaria Bark Extract, Sodium Citrate, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin.]
In all, you could definitely do worse for an exfoliating toner, and I feel like this product has made a positive contribution to brightening my skin and tightening pores. It's affordable and easy to use, and hasn't irritated my skin. Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner is available from Boots instore and online, priced at £3.99 for 250ml of product, though there are often offers on the Botanics range, so you should easily be able to pick it up a little cheaper than that - mine was £2.49. Have you tried any products from the Botanics All Bright range? What's your favourite toner? Have you tried an exfoliating toner?


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Christmas Party Fashion with George at Asda*

With the Christmas season fast approaching (much as I hate to admit it!), I was recently contacted by George at Asda about their lovely range of dresses, and asked to put together a party outfit*. I've always been a fan of George's clothing and accessories - there's nothing better than a cheeky shoe or outfit purchase alongside your weekly food shop, especially when the choice is this good! I actually really struggled to choose just one dress from the huge selection, but in the end I settled for a rather glittery black sequinned number, which you can see below:
Christmas Party Fashion with George at Asda
All Over Sequin Dress, £25
Bracelet Watch, £16
Envelope Cross-Body Bag, £10
Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in 'Alarm', £4.98
Contrast Toe Ballet Pumps, £12
Christmas Jingle Bell Drop Earrings, £3
George Quick-Dry Nail Polish in 'Shock', £1.75
Nothing says party like a little bit of sparkle, so I went for this gorgeous sequinned dress, the traditional LBD with a glitzy twist. A dress like this requires minimal accessories, but I think this beautiful watch would look perfect and it looks way more expensive than its bargain £16 price tag. A pop of colour comes in the form of a cross-body bag, though I'd probably tuck the chain inside and use it as a clutch to avoid it being too much with the dress. Red lips and nails would match the bag nicely, and George have a fab range of own-brand nail polish shades, as well as stocking some well-known brands like the Rimmel lipsticks. Heels might be more of the thing for a party outfit but personally I'd always go for flats as they're so much easier to dance in - a must-have at any Christmas party in my book! Finally, what's Christmas without some novelty earrings!? This multi-coloured Jingle Bells pair are super cute and I don't think they're too tacky. Ta-dah!
What's your ideal Christmas party outfit? Are you a fan of the traditional little black dress? How would you accessorise these sequins? You can actually get free delivery on orders over £45 from George at the moment with the code 'FREEDEL45' so if anything catches your eye, now's a good time to make a purchase and get ready for Christmas!

[*Please note this is a sponsored post. I really do love George, though!]

Friday, 14 November 2014

Makeup Gallery Colour Story Eyeshadow 'Mocha'

Recently in Poundland I spotted a stand of 'Makeup Gallery' branded makeup products, and was immediately drawn in by the range of shades in the Colour Story Eyeshadow collection; I decided to pick just one to try, and eventually went for 'Mocha 8', which is a warm-toned mid-brown with shimmer in the pan. Priced at just £1 (you don't say...), I'll admit my hopes for this weren't particularly high.
Makeup Gallery Colour Story Eyeshadow Mocha
The packaging obviously isn't the best quality, but it feels sturdy and is pretty compact so it'd be ideal for travelling with, particularly as it clicks closed securely. Right from the first swatch I was pleasantly surprised by how soft and smooth the shadow was in texture, and how well the colour in the pan translated onto the skin, giving a gorgeous shimmery warm brown shade. I found application with my ELF eyeshadow brush was really easy, with the shadow blending nicely and no noticeable fallout. Photos below show 'Mocha' alone, with no primer.
Makeup Gallery Mocha Eyeshadow
I added a little extra dimension with a dab of 'Easier Affair' from Makeup Revolution's I ♥ Passion palette in the inner corners of my eye, but being a shimmer shade this could easily be worn alone. Mascara is Accessorize Volumising Mascara in 'Jet Black', and brows are MUA's Pro Brow Kit. Wear time was pretty fantastic; twelve hours with no primer was absolutely fine, no creases to be seen. Up to sixteen hours, again with no primer, saw only minimal creasing and only because I was looking for it. I have to say I've been really impressed with how well this has worn without fading or creasing, and I'd definitely consider picking up a couple more shades from the range next time I'm in Poundland. I've not noted any irritation or sensitivity around my eyes, which is always a concern with budget cosmetics.
Makeup Gallery Eyeshadow Mocha
Makeup Gallery Colour Story Eyeshadows are priced at £1 and are available in Poundland, though I understand availability varies; still, it's worth checking out your local store if you like the look of this. I can't remember exactly how many shades were available but I'd guess around 16. Have you tried these bargain eyeshadows? Would you consider purchasing cosmetics from Poundland or a similar store?


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Skincare Wishlist: Facial Oils

Time for another Skincare Wishlist, today looking at a few Facial Oils I'd love to try; despite having oily skin, which can make applying more oil to the face seem counter-intuitive, I really enjoy including oils in my skincare routine. I'm currently using a super-affordable option from Boots' Botanics range, but there are plenty more I'd love to give a go!
Facial Oils Wishlist
1. Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil, 45ml, £28.50
2. Superfacialist Rose Miracle Makeover Facial Oil, 30ml, £14.99
3. Sanctuary Therapist's Facial Oil, 30ml, £17.50
4. B. Replenished Facial Oil, 30ml, £6.97
5. Manuka Doctor Brightening Facial Oil, 30ml, £19.99
6. Dr Organic+ Vitamin E Pure Oil, 50ml, £8.79
I've tried (and loved!) Trilogy's Antioxidant+ Rosehip Oil but would love to give this slightly less expensive option a go as well. I really love the Superfacialist range from Boots and the Rose Miracle Makeover Oil can be used as a pre-cleanse treatment as well as in conjunction with moisturiser for added hydration. The Sanctuary range is one I'd really like to explore more and it has featured in a couple of my Skincare Wishlist posts so far; this oil sounds like a lovely, hydrating treat. The B. range at Superdrug is really affordable and I like how it's targeted towards different skin 'phases'. The inclusion of Manuka Oil in the Manuka Doctor oil intrigues me, and anything which claims to be brightening has to be worth a try! Finally, the Dr Organic+ range is one I'm liking more and more, the more I try it, and this Vitamin E oil sounds really lovely for soothing the skin and helping to repair damage and scarring.
What's your favourite facial oil? Have you tried any of these, or anything similar? I'd love to hear your recommendations!


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

NOTD: Nails Inc x Glamour 'Marylebone Mews'

Having picked up December's issue of Glamour which came with a bottle of Nails Inc nail polish in a choice of four shades, I was pretty keen to try out the shade I went for, which was 'Marylebone Mews'. I chose this shade thinking it would be a fairly typical greige-type shade which would be super-wearable; in actual fact it is decidedly lilac-toned, which gives a girly edge to a shade which is grungy at first glance, whilst still being really easy to wear. I found that the application with this shade was a little off, with the first coat being extremely sheer, and the second coat tending to go streaky unless I was very careful; nonetheless, two coats was enough for a reasonable amount of opacity. Photos below show two coats of 'Marylebone Mews' with no base or top coat; as you can see it dries to a lovely glossy finish.
NOTD Nails Inc Marylebone Mews
Have you picked up any of the Nails Inc shades with Glamour this month? Which shade do you like the look of the most? What do you think to 'Marylebone Mews'? Check out the other freebies available with magazines this month in my post here.


Monday, 10 November 2014

Six Mini Reviews #9: Supergoop, REN, Trilogy & More

Time for another little round-up of some samples I've finished off; see what I've thought of the products I've trialled, as well as whether I'm planning to buy the full sized products. I do love beauty samples as an affordable way of trying new products, but I have a bit of a tendency to stockpile them and just sort of forget to use them... So I've been making an effort to get them used up with my Six Mini Reviews series.
Six Beauty Samples #9
Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion A magazine sample, this sachet contained enough for one application on my arms and legs after showering; it felt nice on the skin and sank in quickly, leaving a feeling of hydration behind, but I found that the effects didn't last long. I soon felt as though I needed to moisturise again, particularly on my legs which are quite prone to dryness. I'd be put off buying this in the full-size (300ml at £5.10) by that, as well as the Liquid Paraffin in the ingredients list which does seem to dry my skin out as a rule.
Trilogy Cream Cleanser I've really enjoyed using this cleanser as an evening, finding it to feel lovely on the skin and do a good job at removing my make-up; I've been massaging it into my skin with my fingers, before removing with a hot flannel or muslin cloth. Aside from smelling beautiful, it's left my skin feeling clean and soft. I also love the packaging of the full-sized 200ml bottle, though at £22.50 it's slightly more than I can afford to spend on skincare at the moment. I do feel that Trilogy products are worth the investment and I'd definitely consider this in the future.
REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk I think this was another magazine sample, which again is a lovely cleanser and has been gorgeous to use of an evening to dissolve my make-up and leave my skin feeling clean and soft but not dry or tight. I always feel slightly underwhelmed by REN products, I never feel like they live up to the hype for me, but I have to say this is one of my favourite REN products I've tried to date. At £16 for 150ml, this is again a little beyond my budget currently but one I'd consider in the future as a gentle option for removing make-up.
Liaison de Parfum Stay With Me Eau de Parfum A Birchbox sample, I've really enjoyed using this; as quite a strong scent, it's lasted well and I've got plenty of use from it. It's a beautiful scent and exactly the sort of thing I like to wear, with notes of orange blossom, lily, vanilla and amber, but at £105 for the full-sized 100ml bottle there probably isn't much any chance I'll be buying this, unfortunately.
Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream I got two tiny sample tubes of this in the shade 'Light-Medium' in my August Birchbox; it actually gave a really good coverage, much more than I was expecting, and is a product I'd be happy to wear on its own on particularly good skin days. Popping my usual foundation on over it worked well for me on days where I needed a little more coverage. The shade was a little too dark for me, which surprised me until I realised there is actually a lighter shade, 'Fair-Light', which I'd go for were I to buy the full-size. I found this lasted pretty well when finished with powder, and left my skin looking clear, smooth and natural. £32 for 47ml puts this a little beyond my budget at the moment but it is a product I'd consider buying in the future.
Cattier Paris Masque Argile The third Birchbox sample in this post, I actually received two sachets of this mask and have got three usages out of the first, which is pretty good going. The pink clay mask is supposed to illuminate the complexion and soothe the skin, and whilst my skin definitely feels calm and smooth after use, I wouldn't say it does much in the way of brightening. I'll happily use the other sachet as it's lovely to apply and feels nice on the skin, but I don't see myself buying the full-sized 100ml tube at £4.25.
So another six samples bite the dust - have you tried any of these products? How do you make sure your beauty samples get used up?


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Five Most Used: Beauty Tools

Today I've got another installment in my Five Most Used series, which I suspect may be the last, as I can't think of any more categories to share! If you can think of one I've not done that you'd like to see, please do let me know, otherwise let's get down to business with my five most-used beauty tools. This was a super-easy one to pick because there are only a few tools that I'd say are "essentials" for me - there's one more that got missed so I'm giving it an honourable mention here, and that's my brow comb, which is a godsend for blending brow powder to look natural. That aside, here are my picks:
Five Most Used Beauty Tools
Five Most Used brushes & tools
ELF Eyeshadow "C" Brush | I have two of these as they're super cheap and so handy to have for packing on powder shadow; I used them pretty much every day as they're so good. I really love ELF brushes as I think they're amazing quality for the price point and for me, this little brush does the job perfectly. It's not so hot for super-accurate application like if I want to define the crease, but otherwise I can quite happily apply all my eyeshadow with this one brush.
ELF Blush Brush | Another ELF brush, this is the perfect shape for applying blusher as far as I'm concerned and again, I use this daily. I find it really good for applying blusher exactly where I want it and it makes it picks up just the right amount of product, making it super easy to apply. I also use this brush for applying highlighter across the tops of my cheekbones as again, it's so easy to get it exactly where I want it.
BeautyBlender | I received this in a Birchbox a couple of months ago and despite having heard the hype, I didn't expect to be impressed with it really. That said, it's become a go-to tool for me for applying base and concealer; I wouldn't say I use it daily but maybe every other day, as I love the finish it gives my foundation, and the pointed end is perfect for blending concealer around the eyes. My only complaint is that it stains so it ends up looking dirty even after it's just been washed.
Real Techniques Powder Brush | My oily skin means powder is an absolute essential for my make-up routine if I want my base to stay put for longer than about ten minutes. This brush is perfect for me as it makes it so quick and easy to apply my powder and move on with my routine. I also tend to use this to gently blend out my blusher and highlighter just to make sure there're no harsh lines. I love Real Techniques brushes as they're so soft and this washes really well too.
Tweezerman Mini Slant Tweezers | Finally, another essential; tweezers to keep my unruly brows in shape as far as possible! Before I invested in these bad boys, I was just using cheap tweezers and I was honestly amazed at how much difference these made in terms of how easy it was to accurately pluck the hairs I was aiming for first time, every time; it's so easy to grab the hair you're after and these don't slip off, making shaping the brows so much quicker and easier. These are well worth the investment as far as I'm concerned!
So what are your essential beauty tools? Do you view any of these as must-haves? What are the brushes and other tools you couldn't be without? I'd love to know!


Friday, 7 November 2014

Review: Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation

Despite being a bit of a base product-addict, I'd never actually tried any of Rimmel's foundations until pretty recently. My skin is oily and blemish-prone, so for me a foundation has to provide at least a medium coverage which is buildable when I need it to be, and to last well one my skin without sliding around or becoming super-shiny within the hour. Not much to ask, then! I've been trying to expand my foundation horizons, leading me to pick up Rimmel's Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation in the shade '100 Ivory'.
Rimmel Lasting Finish 25H Foundation
"Full coverage foundation enriched with a comfort serum. Instant perfect coverage that feels extra comfortable and lasts all day. Sweat, heat, humidity and transfer-proof for up to 25 hours. Coverage that won't let you down."
First things first, the 30ml bottle is fitted with a pump, which shouldn't be a big deal but after using Revlon's ColorStay which is lacking a pump - trust me, I was thrilled to get back to the pump! Pump is beginning to sound like a made-up word now.. How many times can I say the word pump in one review? Pump pump pump. Ahem. One pump of product is pretty much the perfect amount to cover my whole face, although I sometimes add an extra half-pump or so if I'm wanting to really build coverage on a bad skin day.
Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation Review
I've been blending this into the skin after applying a primer, using either my fingers, my BeautyBlender, or my ELF Stippling Brush, all of which seem to work well; the foundation is easy to blend and gives a smooth, even finish without pooling in pores. I've not had any problems with cakiness when building more coverage, which is a must-have for me. I always set my foundation with powder, so the fact that this has a slightly dewy finish doesn't bother me; if you like a more glowy finish it's there, but if like me you prefer to go for a matte look, it powders down nicely. As you can probably see, this doesn't completely cover redness and imperfections so concealer is still a must for me for a completely even skintone. The shade I have is a good match for my fair skin and doesn't seem to oxidise as the day goes on, which is reassuring for us pale ladies!
Rimmel 25H Foundation
On my skin, this lasts around 4-5 hours before I get an obvious shine coming through on my forehead, which is better than average although not up to the standard of ColorStay. That said, I can easily blot or powder over it at that point so it's not too much of a concern, especially since the foundation seems to stay put even when I start to get a little shiny; it's generally still giving a good coverage when I get home from work, after around eleven hours wear. I haven't found it to settle into fine lines or anything like that, which I'm impressed with. 25 hours is obviously a ridiculous claim and I'm never going to wear make-up for that long, but it's good to know I still have coverage after 12-14 hours wear.
Rimmel 25H Foundation FOTD
Overall, if you have a normal skin-type then I can see this being pretty perfect if you can find a shade match. For oilier-skinned ladies like myself, it's still definitely workable as long as you don't mind blotting or topping up your powder after a few hours. The coverage is definitely there and the ease of blending and setting make this a good choice for me. Rimmel's Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation is priced at £7.99 for 30ml of product, making it an affordable option, and is available in seven shades from Boots and Superdrug, amongst other retailers. Have you tried this, or any other Rimmel foundations? What are your favourite base products?


Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Body Shop Aloe Range*

As you may have noticed if you're a regular reader on Just Jess, I have a lot of love for The Body Shop; their Tea Tree Pore Minimiser is one of my all-time favourite primers, and I'm obsessed with their Vitamin C Microdermabrasion, not to mention the Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask, but I'd not tried anything from their Aloe range. When I was contacted recently with the opportunity to try a few products from the range, therefore, I was super excited and keen to say yes please! I was very kindly sent an Aloe Soothing Gel*, an Aloe Soothing Day Cream* and an Aloe Calming Toner* to try and share my thoughts.
The Body Shop Aloe Range
Aloe Soothing Gel (30ml, £8.50) | This is the product I saw myself using the least at first glance, but on reading up on it a little more, it sounded perfect for use under moisturiser to soothe and hydrate the skin - almost like a serum. One pump of this is the perfect amount for my whole face, with the gel feeling light on the skin and absorbing quickly. It has a cooling effect and has been working really well for me under my day cream, now the weather's getting a little cooler, at keeping my oily skin well-hydrated without becoming greasy or sticky. To my surprise, I think this is my favourite of the three products I was sent and it's been a lovely addition to my routine - it's one I'd consider repurchasing for sure.
Aloe Soothing Day Cream (15ml, £4; 50ml, £11) | "Soothing" isn't necessarily what I'd usually go for in a day cream, but this claims to gently hydrate the skin without fragrance, colour, alcohol or additional preservatives, so I was keen to see how it'd suit my oily-yet-sensitive skin. The cream feels light on the skin, absorbs easily without leaving a greasy or sticky residue, and leaves my skin feeling soft and well-hydrated. I've actually really enjoyed using this and have found it has reduced the redness in my cheeks a little; I don't particularly struggle with redness and it's definitely not a primary skin concern for me, but it's nice to see that this product makes a difference, and it's meant to work really well with rosacea if that's a concern for you.
Aloe Calming Toner (200ml, £8.50) | This was the product I was most excited to receive; I've only recently started using a toner as part of my skincare routine and I'm still on the search for one that really works with my skin. I love sweeping a toner-soaked cotton pad over my skin to remove any last traces of make-up, cleanser and grime from the day. The Aloe Toner has worked well for this, leaving my skin feeling fresh and really clean but not tight or stripped at all. I don't think there's really much more to say; this works well for me to really clean my skin and soothe it after cleansing. I've actually mostly been using this of a morning after cleansing to calm my skin before I do my make-up, as I'm using an exfoliating toner in the evening. Nonetheless, it's slotted into my routine nicely and is another one I'll think about buying again!
All in all, my experiences with the Aloe Range from The Body Shop have been good and have left me wanting to try more of the products in the range; I'm definitely considering trying the Calming Cleanser and Gentle Exfoliator next. It's always nice to branch out a little in terms of skincare and I've been pleasantly surprised to find that products aimed at soothing the skin have worked well with my oily skintype. Have you tried any products from the Aloe range? What's your favourite range from The Body Shop? What main skin concerns do you try to address with your skincare?

[*Although these products were provided by PR for an honest review, all thoughts are, as always, 100% my own.]

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

December 2014 Magazine Freebies [UK]

The start of a new month means, amongst other things of course, the release of new monthly magazines, and the December issues which are appearing in shops now have some pretty good freebies available! I've only picked up one so far, but I have to admit there are a couple more I'm liking the look of rather a lot...
Magazine Freebies December 2014 UK Benefit Eyeliner
Elle (£4; Emma Watson on the cover) comes with a mini Benefit They're Real! eyeliner, tagged as the UK's number-one selling premium eyeliner; if, like me, you've been really wanting to try this but reluctant to splash the cash, this is a super-affordable way to give it a whirl and see if it works for you!
Glamour (£2; Claire Danes on the cover) features one of four Nails Inc polishes, which are worth £11 each and are generally amazing quality. I can in no way argue that I need more nail polish in my life but I will most likely pick up at least a couple of the shades available before the end of the month... Update: You can see my NOTD featuring Nails Inc 'Marylebone Mews' here.
Do you like the look of these gifts? Any you're desperate to get your hands on? Have you seen any fab magazine freebies around this month? Please do share them in the comments below if so!


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Five Ways To Be A More Considerate Blogger

Amongst the massive number of blogs and bloggers out there, it can be easy to feel like no-one is noticing you or reading your work. When you feel like that, it can sometimes become tempting to try to get people to notice you at any cost, but one wrong move can end up making things worse rather than better. That said, here are five of my favourite ways to make sure you're a considerate blogger!
Five Ways To Be A More Considerate Blogger
1. Make sure your blog is easy to read & follow.
It may sound obvious, but you really need to think about things like whether your font is easy to read on your background, whether your images are large and clear, and whether readers can easily find you elsewhere should they wish to do so! These things will benefit not only readers but ultimately you as well, since an easy-to-read blog is more likely to get return visits, and readers are more likely to follow you on other platforms if it's immediately obvious how they can do so. If possible, make it so a reader doesn't even need to leave your page to follow you. I'm much more likely to click a Facebook 'like' button than I am to open the actual Facebook page and then like it - I know it's lazy but that's the truth, so you may as well work with it!
2. Be original.
Again, this benefits yourself as well as others, but try your absolute best to come up with your own ideas. I know it can be hard and most of us find we're influenced by other people's work, but make the effort to put your own spin on an idea rather than just copycatting. Original content is always more enjoyable to read, not to mention the sense of pride which comes from creating something new and fresh. I always try to mention if I've been inspired by a particular blogger as I think it's common courtesy - a little sentence linking to the post in question makes it clear where your inspiration has come from whilst also allowing readers to see you can think for yourself!
3. Leave thoughtful comments.
I'm sure we've all had them, so we know that as a blogger, there are few things more annoying than spending time writing an awesome post, only for someone to comment saying, "Nice! Follow me!" followed by a list of their links on various platforms, giving no indication they've even read the post. The majority of people won't mind you leaving a link to your blog, but make sure that's not your sole reason for commenting - make an effort to read the post and say something of substance in your comment - a suggestion for a product, a shared experience, a tip or a question - rather than just, "Nice". I know I'm far more likely to want to check out the link in a comment if the writer has had something to say rather than just obviously copying & pasting a few words onto ten or twenty posts.
4. Sharing is caring
Most of us share our blog posts on our Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, amongst other places, but try to make a point of sharing other people's work as well. I try to retweet a couple of links each day just because I know it's a nice feeling to have your work shared. I personally really like it when someone I follow shares work that isn't their own as it's a lovely way to find new blogs on a similar topic, not to mention breaking up the stream of links to your own blog!
5. Be social
Get involved in Twitter chats and Facebook groups, but try to make sure you're not just spamming your link - a lot of people seem to just want to send their link to anyone and everyone rather than engaging with the topic and making genuine connections with others, which I think is a far more valuable way to get yourself out there! If you can help others, make suggestions and share your experiences, then people are likely to want to visit your blog and see what else you have to offer.
And there you have my top five ways to be a more considerate and thoughtful blogger - I try to keep these in mind when I'm sharing my posts and taking part in blogger chats, although of course I'm not perfect! Of course, there's no definitive right and wrong way to do things in the blogging world, so what works for me won't necessarily be useful for everyone else. Do you have any tips to add? Do you think about being considerate as you comment and share?


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Recent Buys | Bourjois, CoLab & Botanics

Over the past week or so I've picked up a few bits and pieces from Boots and Superdrug, so I thought I'd just share what I've been buying, as I know I always like having a nosey at people's shopping! Most of these things I didn't actually need but I felt like I'd been quite good spending-wise this month so I've treated myself a little to some things I've been wanting to try for a while.
Recent Beauty Purchases
CoLab Dry Shampoo New York Fruity Fragrance (200ml, £2.32) I'd heard nothing at all about A Model Recommends blogger Ruth Crilly launching a dry shampoo range until a few days ago, whereupon I immediately headed for Superdrug to see whether my local was stocking it. To my amazement, they had the full range, so I had a bit of a sniff and went for New York. The different fragrances within the range are named after famous cities, but as a lover of fruity scents New York was calling my name. This claims to absorb oil with a residue-free finish - sounds perfect! It's also even cheaper than my beloved Batiste.
Bourjois Powder Blusher in 48 'Cendre de Rose Brune' (2.5g, £7.99) Superdrug's 3 for 2 offer turned out to be a bit dangerous on this shopping trip; I had no need for another blusher and only really picked this up because I've not tried Bourjois's powder blushers in the past. That said, I love the packaging, which includes a mirror and a dinky little brush as well as 2.5g of product.
Natural Collection Loose Powder in 'Cool Translucent' (15g, £1.99) I'm almost out of loose powder so this was a kind of necessary purchase! I've been using the neutral version of this powder but decided I'd give the cool-toned one a try to see if it suits my skintone any better. Confession: I'm still not really sure whether my skin is warm, cool or neutral-toned. How do you tell!?
Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream in 'Ivory' (30ml, £9.99) I've only heard good things about this but despite that, I wasn't interested in trying a CC cream at all until I received a sample of a Supergoop! one in my Birchbox. I was pleasantly surprised by that so I decided I'd give a more budget-friendly version a whirl; enter Bourjois! This claims to provide 24 hour hydration whilst correcting fatigue, redness and dark spots, giving a luminous complexion and smooth skin. It also contains SPF 15 which is a winner for me.
Bourjois Happy Light Matte Serum Primer (15ml, £10.99) Primers are another product I can't claim to be short of, but having picked up the CC Cream I needed one more product in order to get a free one... Oh Superdrug. Anyway, this claims to mattify the complexion whilst giving an airbrushed finish to minimise pores; if one primer can mattify my skin and hide my lake-like pores, I am sold.
Botanics All Bright Eye Make-Up Remover (150ml, £3.99) As I mentioned in my Empties post yesterday, I recently finished my staple Garnier eye make-up remover and couldn't find it to repurchase, so I ended up trying something a little different. I've been getting on well with Boots Botanics' All Bright range so this sounded pretty promising, with its claims to remove even waterproof eye make-up, soothe the eye area and condition lashes.
See, I've been quite restrained really...! I'm pretty sure there are plenty more purchases I could have made, especially given that all the Christmas gifts sets are hitting stores round about now. Have you tried any of these products? How are you at resisting the 3 for 2 offers - are you like me, ending up buying two products you didn't really need just for the sake of getting the third free one? What have you been buying recently?

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