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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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