Thursday, 30 April 2015

Empties | April 2015

Yep, another month over, another payday has rolled around (and not a moment too soon!), and I'm here right on cue with another installment of my beauty empties! If you want to have a little peek at the products I've finished off in April and what I've thought of them, keep reading... April has been a pretty quiet month for me, I've mostly just been working and trying to keep up with my running/gym-going - serious training has now commenced for Total Warrior in June! I'm trying to save up to buy a car so I've been pretty boring this month really, I've been to a pub quiz with some friends (don't ask, it was dismal) and I met up with a friend from uni who I've not seen in three years yesterday, which was lovely - that's about as exciting as things have got, though! Have you done anything exciting this month!?
April Empties
April Empties Bbloggers
Asda SkinSystem Oval Cosmetic Cotton Wool Pads I am so disloyal to cotton pads, I will honestly pick up any old ones, wherever I happen to be shopping - these are from Asda and I wasn't keen, the oval shape made them seem a little too big somehow, I just felt wasteful. I'd avoid these in future for that reason, although if the standard small round ones were an option I'd definitely pick those up as they were nice and soft.
Repurchase? No.
Naked Soft Touch Silky Smooth Starflower Body Wash I'm sad to have finished up my last bottle of this, it's not available in my local Boots any more which is a real shame as it smells gorgeous and my skin was really happy with it. I have got some other SLS-free body washes to try so I'm looking forward to trying new things, though!
Repurchase? I would, if I could get hold of it more easily.
Boots Botanics All Bright Purifying Facial Scrub I mentioned this scrub in my post about the Botanics brand at Boots; I really like the All Bright range, but this wasn't a favourite for me, as I just felt it was a little too harsh. I've always been a lover of a good scrub, but recently I've been moving more towards much gentler manual exfoliation teamed with a good chemical exfoliant, and whilst this was nice, it was just a little too much for my skin - it's very similar to the St Ives Apricot scrubs, so if you like those, you'll probably enjoy this! Botanics do do another facial scrub in their Shine Away range which I love.
Repurchase? No.
The Body Shop Chocomania Sugar Body Scrub I picked this up in the post-Christmas sales and have tried to resist eating it every time I used it since... It smells so good, chocolate-y (duh!) and indulgent and really right up my street. Lovely. In terms of exfoliation I wasn't actually super-keen - I found the sugar granules dissolved too quickly to get a proper good scrub, though obviously that's down to personal preference and how much of a scrub you like! It also left a bit of an oily residue on the skin, although obviously that's good in terms of hydration...
Repurchase? Probably not.
Mitchum Powder Fresh Roll-On Deodorant I've used Mitchum deodorant since I was a teenager, I find it pretty effective and I really like the smell of the Powder Fresh variant; I'm not a fan of aerosol deodorants as they often trigger my asthma, so the roll-on or stick deodorants are usually my choice.
Repurchase? Yes.
The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector A new handcare favourite for me, this has worked so well to hydrate my poor dry, eczema-prone hands and keep flakiness to a minimum; as I mentioned in my review, I've been keeping a tube in my pocket at work and it seems to be just the ticket. My boyfriend also requested his own tube after trying a little bit of mine, which is high praise from him - you can take my word for that!
Repurchase? Already have and will do again!

April Beauty Empties
Boots Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner Another Botanics product! I've been using this for quite a few months now as my evening toner after my double cleanse; swept over my face on a cotton pad, it removes any last traces of make-up and cleanser, and the inclusion of AHAs means it works to dissolve any dead skin cells and other miscellaneous grime to keep my skin looking smoother and brighter.
Repurchase? Already have!
The Body Shop Almond Body Butter One of my absolute all-time favourite scents from the body shop, this is like spreading gorgeously hydrating marzipan on my body - I just adore it. This is so intermittently available now, I think it may have been discontinued but sometimes seems to pop up in the sales... If I see it again I'll definitely be repurchasing as this was my last tub!!
Repurchase? If I can find it!
L'Oreal EverStrong Fortifying & Vitality Shampoo I wasn't particularly keen on the scent of this shampoo (or its matching conditioner which I'm still trying to finish up!) - I found the rosemary a little overpowering and there are certainly better products in terms of leaving my hair feeling clean. Overall I was disappointed by this duo and won't be buying them again - the search for the perfect SLS-free shampoo continues!
Repurchase? No.
OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Conditioner This took a lot more using up than the shampoo (which I shared in my March Empties), but I got there! I love the smell of this duo, it's a really lovely scent which lingers on the hair beautifully, and it did leave my hair feeling soft and silky. However, the inclusion of silicons in the formula is a bit of a problem for me, as I'm pretty sure they're responsible for the massive breakouts I've been having on my shoulders and chest recently.
Repurchase? Probably not.
The Body Shop Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask You can't beat a good face mask in my book and I've really enjoyed this little number from The Body Shop for drawing all the gunk out of my skin and really leaving my face feeling super-clean and smooth. I've been using this a couple of times per week lately as it had started to dry out and become a little difficult to work with, but bearing in mind I've had this tub for going on for a year, I don't think it's done too badly!
Repurchase? Probably at some point, although I have plenty of facemasks to use up in the meantime.
Yves Rocher Long Lasting Moisturizing Hand CreamThis has been my bedtime handcream of choice over the past couple of months and as I said in my review, it smells lovely, absorbs quickly, and works well to hydrate my super-dry hands. It's an absolute bargain product, especially given the quality of the ingredients list.
Repurchase? Yes, I'd definitely consider adding it to an Yves Rocher order, though I don't think I'd place an order specially...
Have you tried any of these products? Did you like them? I hope you've had a lovely April, and here's to an even better May!

xo
[*Product provided for consideration.]

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Wishlist | The White Company

I'm having a bit of a moment, lately, with The White Company; so many beautiful things I absolutely do not need but desperately want nonetheless! There's just something about the clean, simple lines and delicate detailing that I'm struggling to resist... Here are some of my favourite pieces at the moment!
The White Company Wishlist
Lacquer Dressing Table Trays, £25 for set of three
These lacquer trays are just lovely, really simple but striking and they'd be perfect on a dressing table to display bits & pieces of jewellery, and keep things together. I really want to print & display more photos, it's so easy to forget now everything is digital, but having physical photos is so nice - I love this simple grey frame which would be beautiful for displaying a selection of photos from an event. I'm living with my parents at the moment so not getting much opportunity to do much cooking, but that doesn't stop me wanting this gorgeous heart-shaped oven dish - it's so lovely! Scarves are something you can never have too many of, in my opinion, and the print on this lace scarf is so delicate and pretty. I love the cut-out heart detail on the enamel tealight holder, I'd love to use this as a jar for makeup brushes - how nice would it look with the lacquer trays!? The lantern is possibly my favourite of all of these items, it's just stunning - I love the way it's styled here with the candle sitting in the moss, just beautiful. The Wild Mint candle sounds like a lovely scent and you can't really see here but the detail on the jar is really nice too - it'd definitely be one to clean out and keep! Finally, the leather bracelet; simple but timeless and elegant, this would go with basically anything and looks really classy.
What do you think of my picks? Do you like The White Company?

xo

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Born Pretty Store 5-Piece Cosmetic Brush Set*

A couple of weeks ago, the lovely people over at Born Pretty Store offered to send me a few bits and pieces to try and review; one of the items I chose was this 5-Piece Cosmetic Brush Set*, as my make-up brushes are a bit of a motley collection amassed from here, there and everywhere over the years, and I thought it would be nice to have an actual set! Consisting of a round brush, a flat brush, an angled brush, a tapered brush and a powder brush, the set sounded pretty versatile, with the website suggesting the brushes can be used for eyeshadow, concealer and highlighting.
Born Pretty Store 5-Piece Cosmetic Brush Set
All five brushes within the set came individually wrapped in plastic; they have smooth black handles, gold ferrules, and black fibres tipped with white. The fibres are apparently a combination of artificial and goat hair, which is something to bear in mind if you happen to favour artificial fibres in your make-up brushes. I've mainly been using the brushes in this set to apply my eyeshadow, and have found that all five brushes are lovely and soft; I've had no issues with fibres being cut badly or shedding, which are often problems with cheap brushes in my experience. All five brushes have also washed really nicely, again with no shedding or anything like that. The only thing I'd like to see is maybe the name/description of each brush on the handle; as it is, unless you're familiar with brushes, you'd have to hazard your best guess at which brush is which. I'm sorry these individual photos of the brushes aren't great - my camera seemed to keep getting distracted by the shiny ferrules and not focussing properly...
BPS Round Brush
The round brush is great for packing powder eyeshadow onto the lid; it makes building up a good level of pigmentation really easy. This is probably the brush I use the most from the set, it's a real day-to-day staple for me!
BPS Powder Brush
The powder brush is lovely and fluffy - I've found it's really nice for applying powder shadows more lightly for just a wash of colour; it's also great for applying powder highlighters along the cheekbones, nose etc., and I'd be tempted to give it a try for contouring beneath the cheekbones, although it might just be a little on the small side for that.
BPS Angled Brush
The angled brush is ideal for blending out eyeshadow, either cream shadow or liner for a smokey effect, or powder shadows to ensure shades are blended evenly.
BPS Tapered Brush
The tapered brush is perfect to apply shadow really accurately to the crease or inner corner of the eye, which is great for building up a more complex eyeshadow look; it means you can really get a darker colour into the crease, or a highlight in the inner corner.
BPS Flat Brush
The flat brush is lovely for blending concealer over small blemishes and areas of redness, giving a nice finish and allowing you to build coverage as necessary. This brush is also really nice for blending out liquid highlighters like Benefit's High Beam.
Born Pretty Store Brushes
Born Pretty Store's 5-Piece Cosmetic Brush Set is priced at £6.96, available here (price correct at time of writing but fluctuates due to exchange rates). At not much more than £1 per brush, they're definitely worth a purchase as far as I'm concerned; I'd call this an absolute steal for five versatile, decent-quality brushes! What are your views on cheap make-up brushes; would you give them a try, or do you prefer to invest in your tools? Have you tried anything from Born Pretty Store? Remember you can get 10% off using my code 'JESSMK31'!
JESSMK31

xo
[*Product provided for consideration.]

Monday, 20 April 2015

Top Five | Lip Colours for Spring

This post occurred to me on one of those four days we had last week when it looked as though Spring might finally have sprung... Then, of course, we went back to grey, rainy days and the whole idea became a bit too little, too late... As is usually the way. Nonetheless, I'm sharing it anyway in the hopes that there might be a few more nice days to come in the not-too-distant future! I'm not going to pretend I wear lipstick every day because that's simply untrue, but there's something about Spring that means I seem to remember a little more often... So here are some of my favourite picks now the days are (theoretically) getting longer and brighter!!
Spring Lip Colours Top Five
Top Five Spring Lip Colours Swatches
Collection Lasting Colour Lipstick in 'Sweet Tart' | £2.99 here |This range of lipsticks are super affordable and have a really lovely, creamy formula; 'Sweet Tart' is the sort of pink shade which just screams 'SPRING!!!' to me, I love it - it's so easy to wear and is bright but somehow without looking too much for daytime wear.
Sweet Tart Spring Lip Colours
Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in 'Elusive' | £7.99 here | I remember loving this when I picked it up last year, and then I've basically neglected it all winter. This is a very similar shade to 'Sweet Tart' but in a comfortable, wearable matte formula - because a girl always needs options!! I'd really like some more of the Revlon Colorburst balms as they're such a lovely formula.
Elusive Spring Lip Colours
B. Rich Intense Colour Lipstick in 'Eton Mess' | £7.99 here | This little mini-lipstick came as part of a gift with purchase set quite some time ago now; it's another really pretty nude-pink type shade which is flattering on and super-easy to wear. I really need to try more B. make-up as I've had great results from the brand so far!
Eton Mess Spring Lip Colours
MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in 'Speak Louder' | £15.50 here | I won this in a giveaway by the lovely Naffy a couple of months ago and seem to have been subconsciously saving it for a sunny day; it looks quite scary in the bullet, at least to me, but on the lips it's less dark and infinitely more wearable, with a creamy formula which is comfortable to wear and lasts reasonably well.
Speak Louder Spring Lip Colours
Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in 'Voluptuous Violet'* | £3.99 here | Again, this is quite a scary shade in the bullet but being a balm rather than a lipstick, it applies very sheer, so that rather than making my lips purple, it instead gives them a pretty pink-ish tint. This is really moisturising and again, comfortable to wear - perfect for slightly colder or windier days to keep the lips in tip-top condition!!
Voluptuous Violet Spring Lip Colours
Top Five Lip Colours for Spring
What are your favourite lip colours for Spring? Do you own any of these, or have any other suggestions?

xo
[*Product provided for consideration.]

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Review | Jerome Alexander Magic Minerals All-In-One Powder*

I was recently sent a compact of Jerome Alexander's Magic Minerals*, which is described as a "Mineral Powder with Foundation, Correctors & Concealer all-in-one" - it sounded like a super-easy product for getting ready in a hurry, but I was fairly sure it was too good to be true. Read on to find out how I've been getting on!
Jerome Alexander Magic Minerals Foundation Review
"Magic Minerals covers, conceals and corrects all at once for a flawless look. This ultra-fine micronized powder is so smooth and light it naturally diminishes the appearance of age spots, dark circles and uneven skin-tone without caking or getting caught in wrinkles. Unique built-in Color Correctors hide skin imperfections instantly. Pink - Brightens pale, dull skin, giving a glow over the entire face. Lavender - Helps camouflage yellow and sallow skin complexions. Mint - For ruddy complexions, discolourations, blemishes or marks. For all areas of the face to camouflage and even out overall tone. Yellow - Covers discolouration under the eyes. Helps cover skin discolouration as well as bruises."
Magic Minerals Product Information
The pack includes the compact containing the Magic Minerals, which comes in the form of a pressed powder, along with a blending sponge and what is termed a "professional stubby brush" - to my eye, it's a miniature powder brush, but there you go. The brush feels to be of nice quality, with soft fluffy fibres and no shedding so far. The compact clicks open to reveal the Magic Minerals and a reasonable-sized mirror, which is always handy should you wish to touch up on-the-go. The Magic Minerals are a beige-coloured pressed powder with coloured pearls dotted throughout; these contain the four correcting pigments and make for quite an attractive product. I was immediately concerned by how dark the powder appeared, though, as I'm always wary of foundations making me look orange.
Magic Minerals
Upon application with the brush provided (ignoring the sponge as I'm really not a fan of this type of applicator!), I was pleasantly surprised to note that the coverage provided was much better than I anticipated - for some reason, I didn't have high hopes, but thankfully this turned out to be unfounded! In addition, the powder appeared to match my skin-tone quite well; it was maybe a touch too dark but only ever so slightly, and certainly not so that others would notice. I found that my uneven skin-tone was evened out well by the Magic Minerals, whilst blemishes were concealed quite nicely. My only remaining concern was dark shadows under my eyes; mine aren't particularly dark but they were still noticeable after application of the Magic Minerals, so if dark circles are a major concern for you I don't think this would provide enough coverage. Below, you can see my totally bare-skinned on the left, and wearing primer and the Magic Minerals on the right - you can see that redness is reduced on my cheeks and blemishes (including the red mark on my forehead where I banged my head on the side of the swimming pool, true story!), but my dark circles remain visible.
Magic Minerals before and after
Herein lies the other problem; all my concealers are liquid- or cream-based, meaning I don't really want to apply them over a powder product for fear of it looking cakey. That said, aside from the dark circles issue, my skin generally looked pretty good - even, smooth and bright without being cakey or overly powdery. Unfortunately, I found that oil started to come through pretty quickly on my forehead and nose (I do have hideously oily skin, but had hoped that it would fare a little better with a powder foundation. No such luck), which seemed to oxidise the powder quite badly, leaving me looking dirty - for want of a better word. In the areas where oil had come through, the powder darkens noticeably, meaning it looked like I had dark smudges on my face - not the look I'm going for, generally!
Magic Minerals FOTD
[Products used: The Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser; Jerome Alexander Magic Minerals*;
NARS Powder Blusher in 'Douceur'; MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in 'Stereo Rose';
Makeup Revolution I ♥ Makeup Brow Kit in 'Fairest of Them All'; 'Limber Up' & 'I Say Go'
from Makeup Revolution I ♥ Passion palette; Essence I ♥ Extreme Volume Mascara;
Clinique Chubby Stick in 'Voluptuous Violet'*]
I've also tried using this over a regular foundation and concealer, as more of a setting powder which offers a bit of extra coverage; it works well in this way, upping coverage and giving a nice finish without going cakey, but I had the same oxidation problem as oil came through, which is a real shame. I'm quite disappointed that this turned out not to work so well for me as it has a lot of promise and aside from the oxidation issue, it's a pretty good product; if your skin is less prone to oiliness and you don't have bad dark circles, I'd definitely recommend giving this a go as an easy-to-use all-in-one base product, but if you're oily like me I'd steer clear! Jerome Alexander's Magic Minerals are available here priced at £9.49. Have you tried Jerome Alexander's Magic Minerals? What do you think to all-in-one products like this? What's your favourite foundation?

xo
[*Product provided for consideration.]

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Review | Yves Rocher Sérum Végétal Wrinkles & Radiance Day & Night Cream*

I was recently sent a couple of products from the Wrinkles & Radiance Smoothing Care line in Yves Rocher's new Sérum Végétal range; I've been using the Day & Night Creams* for a month now, so it seems like a good time to share my thoughts!! If you spotted the Day Cream in my recent Favourites post, you might be able to have a good guess at the direction this review is going to take...
Yves Rocher Serum Vegetal Wrinkles & Radiance Review
Yves Rocher have this to say: "Our Botanical Beauty researchers have chosen Mesembryanthemum Crystalline, known as Life Plant, for its capacity to survive in extreme conditions. Its extract stimulates the mTOR protein in the skin which reactivates the cellular mechanisms that combat wrinkles. For a dual action, the botanical extract Oryza relaunches the oxygenation of cells to boost the skin's radiance. Wrinkles and fine lines are immediately reduced. After 1 months, the skin's radiance is revived in 86% of women and the skin's radiance appears revived on waking in 81% of women (Satisfaction test carried out on 102 women over 4 weeks)."
Yves Rocher Serum Vegetal Wrinkles & Radiance
Yves Rocher Serum Vegetal
Packaged in cardboard boxes which give the product details and ingredients, the inner packaging consists of two identical glass jars with silver detailing and coral screw-caps; they're nice to look at and go well together, although the fact that they're the same means you have to be careful to pick up the right jar for morning or evening. Both the creams are opaque and white in texture, with the day cream having a more gel-like consistency whilst the night cream is a little heavier. They share the same lovely fresh, almost fruity smell which makes them a pleasure to use. Both absorb pretty readily into the skin, the day cream in particular soaks in quickly, although the night cream is a little heavier than I would ideally like and takes a little more work. Bear in mind that my skin is extremely oily so I do tend to steer clear of heavier creams, if your skin is dry or even normal I'm sure this would be just perfect. Even on my oily skin, I don't feel like it's too heavy; it hasn't clogged my pores or left my skin looking dull, or anything like that. It's maybe just a little oilier than I'd like upon waking the next morning, but then again my skin is always oily in the mornings, so maybe that's just me being a bit too picky! The day cream, as I said, sinks in beautifully and leaves my skin feeling hydrated and smooth, with a great base for applying my make-up over. The only thing I'd like to see is the inclusion of an SPF - you'd think for an anti-ageing range, that would be an obvious point, but apparently not.
Yves Rocher Serum Vegetal Ingredients
In terms of results, at the ripe old age of 23, I don't have anything major in the way of wrinkles to reverse, but you know what they say - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! For that reason, I'm happy to start incorporating anti-aging products into my skincare routine at the moment even if I don't really notice any particular effects from them - if that makes sense. I do have faint smile lines and the beginning of a little crease in my brow as well, and I do feel that these have reduced over the weeks I've been using these creams; they have by no means vanished or anything like that, but they look softer, and I've found that my foundation is doing less settling into my smile lines, which makes me think they've reduced a little.
Yves Rocher Serum Vegetal Wrinkles & Radiance Day & Night Care
Yves Rocher Serum Vegetal Smoothing Care
Yves Rocher Sérum Végétal Wrinkles & Radiance Day Cream is available directly from Yves Rocher, priced at £21 for 50ml, with the Night Cream being the same price; Yves Rocher often run promotions, however, with this duo currently being almost half-price at just £10.90 each, which makes them an absolute bargain. I've really enjoyed using this duo and will continue to do so; they seem to work well with my skin and it's nice to know that my skincare is treating wrinkles before they develop. I do see this being a range I buy from in the future as the results I've seen so far have been promising - I really like the sound of the mattifying cream for combination skin, found here. Have you tried any Yves Rocher products? Would you be interested in the Sérum Végétal range? What do you look for in your day and night creams?

xo
[*Products provided for consideration.]

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Book Buys

I popped into town for lunch with my boyfriend at the weekend, he wanted to go in Waterstones, but of course it was me who couldn't resist buying things in there... It appears to be physically impossible for me to go into a bookshop and leave empty-handed!! I'm telling myself it's okay because one of the books I bought was on clearance at half price, and the other two were buy one get one half price, so I really got three books for the price of two.... So that makes it alright, yes!??
Book Buys
Daphne du Maurier The House on the Strand
I've been wanting to read some Daphne du Maurier for a while, thanks to Bee over at Vivatramp; her works sounds right up my street, so when I spotted The House on the Strand on the clearance shelf (I think because the cover is creased and the flyleaf slightly torn!), I had to pick it up. "Written in the great tradition of Edgar Allen Poe and H. P. Lovecraft, The House on the Strand is a gripping and masterfully written tale of history and horror with a fresh approach to time travel. When Dick Young's friend, Magnus, offers him an escape from his troubles in the form of a new drug, Dick finds himself transported to the Cornish manor of Tywardreath in the fourteenth century. As Dick witnesses the intrigues of the court there, he becomes fixated with Roger and the captivating Isolda Carminowe, and withdraws from the modern world to spend more and more time in the past. But his attempts to change history bring terror to the present and throw his own life into the balance."
Ransom Riggs Hollow City The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children
I read Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children last year and absolutely loved it; I've been meaning to read the sequel Hollow City since it was released. This was on the buy one, get one half price offer, so it would have been rude not to really! "September 3, 1940. Ten peculiar children flee an army of deadly monsters. And only one person can help them - but she's trapped in the body of a bird. The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There, they hope to find a cure for their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. And before Jacob can deliver the peculiar children to safety, he must make an important decision about his love for Emma Bloom. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience."
The Moth
The Moth was a bit of an impulse choice for the other half of the buy one, get one half price offer, as I'm wanting to read more in the way of short stories. "Truth is not always stranger than fiction. But after reading these 50 extraordinary stories, you wouldn't want to bet on it. The Moth is an American phenomenon - a live storytelling event that takes place in cities across the US. Anyone with a true, first-hand story to tell can pitch to take part, and if your story's goof, the Moth directors help you to tell it better. The 50 stories in this book are the very best of the best. Meet George Lombardi, the doctor summoned on a Saturday morning to fly to Delhi to save Mother Teresa's life. Listen spellbound to Annie Duke, playing her first World Series poker hand. Float with astronaut Michael Massimino, playing Gravity for real, repairing the Hubble Space Telescope. Hear Sebastian Junger talk about going to war. Or rock a rhyme with Darryl 'DMC' McDaniels of Run DMC. Oh - and why's it all called The Moth? That's a homage to the days before TV, before video games, when storytellers held court with the moths, out on the porch, and reigned supreme."
What are you reading at the moment? Have you read any of these? I'd love to hear any recommendations for books you think I'll love!!

xo

Monday, 13 April 2015

Review | L'Oreal EverStrong Reinforcing System Fortifying & Vitality Shampoo & Conditioner

Ever on the hunt for the perfect haircare products (read: clean my hair well, deal with my oily scalp, don't trigger eczema on my hands/arms/legs), I've been eyeing L'Oreal's Sulphate-free range for quite some time, and finally got round to picking up the Fortifying & Vitality Shampoo & Conditioner duo when they were on special offer in Wilko's. I find that sulphate-free shampoos are very hit-and-miss; whilst they're much friendlier for my eczema-prone skin, I'm still searching for one that is also silicon-free (they seem to break me out on my back and chest) and leaves my hair feeling clean for more than 24 hours, as I don't want to be washing it every day. You wouldn't think that would be so much to ask...
L'Oreal Everstrong Fortifying & Vitality Shampoo & Conditioner
This duo are free of sulphates, though there are some silicons lurking towards the bottom of the ingredients list on the shampoo, and the conditioner features a few parabens, which I try to avoid, and also Mineral Oil, which is a trigger for my eczema which I've never even thought about being in haircare products before! L'Oreal say, "Our first [scalp and fibre] haircare system designed to target fragile hair and help intensely revitalise the lengths of your hair," which sounds pretty promising to me! The shiny tubes make for horrible photos, so I'm sorry about that...
L'Oreal EverStrong Shampoo
Starting with the shampoo, "A gentle cleansing formula, developed with no sulphates, to help reinforce and maintain the strength of the hair fibre, while invigorating rosemary oil provides a sensorial cleansing experience. [Rosemary Oil]: Known for its invigorating and vitalising properties. [Creamy Lather]: Offers a truly indulgent experience for your hair. [Aromatic Sandalwood Scent]: To revitalise your senses. Your scalp feels soothed. Your hair feels reinforced and nourished." The shampoo is a white, creamy-textured consistency and has quite a strong scent of rosemary, which I'll admit isn't for me, though it doesn't seem to linger in the hair so it's fine. It lathers pretty nicely and rinses out to leave my hair feeling clean. I have found, however, that it doesn't seem to keep my roots oil-free for as long as some other shampoos, which is a shame.
L'Oreal EverStrong Conditioner
Meanwhile, the conditioner; "A concentrated caring formula to help reinforce and weightlessly detangle the lengths of your hair. Leaves hair with more body and texture. [Rosemary Oil]: Known for its invigorating and vitalising properties. [Caring Crème]: Offers a truly indulgent experience for your hair. [Aromatic Sandalwood Scent]: To revitalise your senses. Your hair feels soft, stronger and reinforced." The conditioner has a similar fragrance to the conditioner, which I guess is nice if you like your products to match, but again I'm not really over-keen. The formula is creamy and easy to spread through the lengths of my hair, but also easy to rinse out without too much fuss, which is a bonus when  you have as much hair as I do! I've found this works well at leaving my hair feeling soft and silky, and any tangles are easy to comb out afterwards.
In all, I'm glad I've tried this duo but the scent, the silicons, and the fact that my hair doesn't feel clean for more than a day or so, means they're not for me; I do have a very oily scalp so if yours leans more towards normal, I'd say these are well worth a shot! L'Oreal EverStrong Reinforcing & Vitality Shampoo and Conditioner are available from Boots, priced at £6.20 each for 250ml of product; it's worth noting that mine were £3 each from Wilkinson's so definitely shop around and you could bag a bargain! Have you tried any of L'Oreal's SLS-free haircare products? Do you have any SLS-free recommendations for oily hair? I'd love to hear them as I'm finding a bit of a void in the market!!

xo

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Currently Loving | Five Favourites

I don't tend to share Favourites posts regularly, mainly because I'm a creature of habit and they'd get pretty repetitive, pretty quickly! I do think they're nice to put together every now and then, however, as my preferences tend to change from season to season and it's interesting to see what's getting a lot of love from time to time, so here are five products (well, four product & one set of tools!) that I'm really enjoying using at the moment. I've got a bit of a mix here of new loves, and things I'm rediscovering and falling in love with all over again!
Currently Loving Five Favourites
Current Beauty Favourites
Soap & Glory's Thick & Fast Mascara is an old favourite for me, in fact it's my all-time favourite mascara ever since getting my first tube as a freebie with a magazine around three years ago now - it's actually embarrassing looking back on that review!! I've had this tube for a while but I try not to have more than a couple of mascaras on the go at once as I hate wasting them, so I've been biding my time to open it. Now I have, I'm remembering again how much I love it; it gives just the right amount of length and volume, doesn't clump or flake, and is lovely and black. Yves Rocher's Sérum Végétal Day Cream* is a new addition to my routine, I should have a full review up on this next week so I won't go into too much detail here; suffice it to say I'm really enjoying its light gel texture and wrinkle-busting effects! GOSH's X-Ceptional Wear Foundation is one I reviewed a few months back and have been using pretty regularly ever since; I just love the coverage & finish it gives, the lasting power, and how good a shade match it is for my super-white winter skin (I say like that my skin is less white in summer. It isn't.) Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Hand Cream is basically summer in a tube; it smells incredible, I can't stop sniffing it at the moment. It's also super hydrating, a really lovely formula that doesn't feel sticky or greasy but still offers fantastic moisturisation. I found this whilst sorting out some boxes from when I moved back in with my mum last summer, what a gem to re-discover! Finally, I only received this eye brush set* from Born Pretty Store last week but have really enjoyed slotting it into my routine; I've been using a motley collection of eye brushes for so long that it's nice to have an actual set! The quality of these belies their tiny price tag, and again I'll be reviewing these in full pretty soon so I won't say too much more...
Have you tried any of these? What beauty products are you loving at the moment? How often do you rediscover an old favourite and fall in love all over again? I'd love to hear, so do let me know in the comments!!

xo
[*Product provided for consideration.]

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Review | JOIK Skin Renewing Exfoliating Facial Scrub*

I've recently been introduced to a new skincare brand; with Estonian origins, JOIK pride themselves on offering natural, hand-made products for a little bit of natural luxury. The name comes from an ancient singing style of the Sami people, referring to cultural expression, carrying on traditions whilst developing with the contemporary world. I was very kindly sent a jar of JOIK's Skin Renewing Exfoliating Facial Scrub* to trial. I've been using this in the shower two to three times per week for a couple of weeks now, so read on to find out how I've been getting on!
JOIK Exfoliating Facial Scrub Review
JOIK Exfoliating Facial Scrub
Here is what JOIK have to say on their website: "JOIK cream-based micro-exfoliating facial scrub effectively but gently removes dead skin cells, improves skin tone and gives it a healthy glow. The scrub contains skin-renewing fruit enzymes with natural AHA acids, which help in skin regeneration. Fine olive stone and bamboo granules exfoliate while coconut oil, shea butter and sunflower oil moisturise and nourish the skin. Regular exfoliation also prepares skin for better absorption of nutritional ingredients from other facial care products."
JOIK Facial Scrub with Fruit Enzymes
Presented in a clear plastic jar with a black screw cap, the packaging is minimal and simplistic, but serves its purpose just fine as far as I'm concerned. Beneath the screw cap is a lift-out plastic protector to keep the product safe during travel etc., and also included is a little plastic spatula for hygienic dispensing of product. Since one of my main concerns with products in jars like this is the hygiene, I was very pleased to see this included! It's super-easy to scoop out a little bit of the scrub without having to put your grimy fingers in the jar. The scrub is creamy in texture and spreads easily over the skin, with the fine exfoliating particles feeling extremely gentle on my face; it's easy to work into the skin for a minute or two, and rinses away with next to no effort, leaving my skin feeling soft and smooth. I think you can see in the photo below just how creamy the texture and how fine the scrub particles are! There's a slight oily residue left on the skin after rinsing, but not in a bad way; it's not sticky-feeling or anything like that, it's more like I've just applied a moisturiser or facial oil to my skin.
JOIK Exfoliating Scrub
In all, I've been enjoying using this scrub as part of my skincare routine; it works well for me two or three times per week to make sure I'm exfoliating away any dead skin cells. It's gentle enough that I think even sensitive skins would be fine using it once a week, as per the recommendations, and the inclusion of oils and butters mean that it would be perfect for drier skins as well as oily skins like my own - a real all-rounder of a product!! JOIK Skin Renewing Exfoliating Facial Scrub is available in the UK from Love Lula, priced at £16.50 for 75g of product. It does sound quite pricey at first, but 75g is a pretty large jar and the spatula means you can easily scoop out the perfect amount so there's no wastage; I see this tub lasting me a good few months! Have you heard of JOIK before? Have you tried any of their products? Do you like the sound of this scrub?

xo
[*Product provided for consideration.]

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Review | Essence All About Matt! Fixing Compact Powder

I'd heard good things about Essence's All About Matt! Fixing Compact Powder, so when I spotted it in my local Wilkinson's, I picked one up, thinking it would be a good product to try in my constant quest to keep my oily skin under control! As affordable as the rest of Essence's line, All About Matt! Fixing Compact Powder is presented in a clear plastic compact with a flip-up lid, which clicks closed securely when you're not using it. The powder is bright white in the compact, and embossed with a pretty pattern of lines, with the packaging claiming, "Extremely smooth fixing compact powder for a matt and natural finish all day long. Helps to blend blush and foundation colours together. Fixes make-up when applied as finishing powder. For all skin tones."
Essence All About Matt! Fixing Compact Powder
To apply, I've been using my Real Techniques Powder Brush to buff the powder into my skin after applying my foundation and concealer; true to its promise, it suits my skin tone just fine, mattifying any oily patches without leaving me looking like I've dipped my face in flour. The "all day" claims have sadly not been borne out, with around four hours being the average duration of the matte effect. Then again, no powder I've tried to date has kept my face matte all day, so that doesn't really come as a surprise; I don't mind topping up my powder during the day... Which is where the biggest problem came in! I'd only used this a handful of times - maybe 8 or 10 - when it shattered in my bag, creating an unholy mess. I hadn't dropped it or anything like that so I don't know what happened really but I was a bit put out - when I hit pan in a powder, I expect it to shatter, but not before that unless I drop it from a height! I don't know if it's had a knock I don't know about, if I just had a slightly dodgy one, or if it's a common problem, but it has put me off repurchasing - despite it being a pretty decent powder at a budget-friendly price, it's not much good to me if I can't carry it in my bag for touch-ups! I will be attempting a rescue operation using a splash of surgical spirits to see if I can re-form the powder at all...
Essence All About Matt Powder Review
Available from Wilkinson's priced at £3 for 8g of product, Essence All About Matt! Fixing Compact Powder is an affordable choice and would be fine if you don't want to travel with it, but if you intend to pop it in your bag for touch-ups on the go, I'd be careful; I'm not saying don't buy it, as it could just be that I had a dodgy compact, but do mind how you go. Have you tried All About Matt! Fixing Compact Powder? I'd love to hear your thoughts! What's your favourite fixing powder? Are there any other Essence products you'd recommend I try?

xo

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Oily Skin | Skincare & Make-up Tips

I recently had the idea of putting together a post of tips for looking after oily skin, and asking other bloggers to contribute - after all, with all the testing and reviewing that we do, who better to recommend products and techniques than a group of beauty bloggers!? Oily skin can be difficult to care for; there's the temptation to use "oil-control" products which in reality just strip your skin, there's the issues with keeping your make-up on your face, and there are the problems with pores clogging and skin looking dull. Hopefully some of these tips will help any oily-skinned girls (and guys!) learn the best ways of looking after their skin; obviously you need to remember that everyone is different, so what works for us won't necessarily work for you. That said, you should get a few ideas of things to try and maybe you can work from there - good luck, and we'd love to hear how you get on, or if you have any other tips!!
Skincare & Makeup Tips for Oily Skin
Mary from MaryGlow has some product recommendations to share; "Over time I have found some products that have helped me, including the Deep Clean Long-Last Shine Control By Neutrogena, and the Aveda Botanical Kinetics Purifying Gel Cleanser which removes oil and impurities. My favourite moisturiser is by Olay and is the Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream Moisturizer, this cream won't leave your skin greasy or anything, plus it helps rejuvenate my skin. I use these three products daily, morning and evening!"
MaryGlow
Mary also uses a homemade face mask once a week; 1tbsp of Oatmeal, 1tbsp of Honey, and 1tbsp of Milk or water, mixed well to form a paste and applied to the face for 20-30 minutes before rinsing. Oatmeal helps to absorb dirt and impurities from the pores, and hydrate the skin, leaving it soft and smooth, whilst honey has antibacterial properties and helps to fight any spots.
Nickki from Keeping Up With Coco offers the following tips:
"1. Using my Clarisonic Mia every day really helps my skin with oil control. I use it with my favourite cleanser every night while I'm in the shower. I have found that it not only helps with oil control, it helps with breakouts too!
2. Whenever I wear makeup I feel like it either sinks into my large pores or just slides right off my face, and to help with that I swear by my Benefit Porefessional Primer. I use it only where I do have large pores because I find when I rub it in other places, my skin tends to just not look right or get flaky. So my advice on using this is using your fingers to press the primer into the areas of your face with large pores.
3. And for my final tip is you absolutely must find a good foundation that works well with your skin. My current favourite is the Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous Foundation. I don't think it helps with oil control but it does last on your face all day and with a good powder you're set to go. Not to mention it also has medium to full coverage for all of your problem areas (aka annoying pimples)!"
Kuwcoco
Martisa from Truly Gorgeous Skin finds that using an organic Argan Oil daily, helps to balance sebum levels and thereby reduce breakouts - she recommends InstaNatural's 100% Pure & EcoCert Certified Organic Argan Oil.
Personally, I like to use a good primer under my foundation (my all-time favourite is Pop Beauty's Face Magnet Primer, which I've yet to repurchase, but it really did keep my skin matte amazingly well!), set it with powder, and keep blotting papers on hand throughout the day to absorb excess oil before topping my powder up. I'd also like to remind oily-skin sufferers that oil is not to be feared - I was so scared at first to put more oil on my face, but actually using a decent cleansing oil, and a facial oil mixed with my night cream, really suits my skin and certainly hasn't made it any oilier! If anything, it's actually less oily, and definitely less prone to breakouts. My final suggestion is to exfoliate regularly with a gentle exfoliator; I really like The Body Shop's Vitamin C Microdermabrasion, and I'm currently trying out JOIK Estonia's beautiful facial scrub. Acid exfoliators such as Nip + Fab's Glycolic Fix are another great option - I use the scrub from this range around every other evening. Oily skin can cause dirt and dead skin cells to cling, so a good exfoliating session a couple of times a week helps to keep the skin clear and bright.
Oily Skin Tips
And last but not least, Laura from What Laura Loves reminds us that, "Many people forget that oily skin can also be dehydrated. Using a product that adds a light amount of moisture to the face on a morning and doesn't completely strip the skin is important so that your skin doesn't go into overdrive, producing more oil to compensate for the dehydration. I actually use the Witch Overnight Clearing Serum (click through for my review) both at night under my moisturiser and alone each morning and find that it visibly hydrates my skin, keeps blackheads and blemishes at bay and makes a great base for makeup!"
I've found it really interesting putting this post together, as some of the things these girls swear by, just don't work for me - Benefit's Porefessional, for example - I want to love it but it just makes my foundation slide off my face! I'm also in two minds about the Clarisonic and similar devices - it's great that they work so well for some people, but this post by Caroline Hirons really made me doubt whether it would benefit my skin, and I would recommend reading her thoughts if you're considering investing in one. Do you have oily skin? What are your best tips for taking care of it and helping it to look its best? I'd love to hear in the comments if you have any more ideas to share!! I'm also thinking about putting together a similar post for dry skin, so do let me know if that's something you'd be interested in reading and/or contributing to!

xo
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