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Friday, 31 July 2015

Empties | July 2015

I know, I know; I can barely believe we're now at the end of July, another month passed, et cetera... Seriously though, where is 2015 going!? I feel like Summer is pretty much over even though the kids have only just broken up from school, the weather for the last week or so has been pretty miserable! Someone needs to tell July that it is not February and this weather is inappropriate. I don't think anything noteworthy has happened this month; it's been a busy one nonetheless with plenty of work, volunteering, and losing patience with waiting for my car to be fixed... I've had a couple of nice walks with a good friend and eaten probably a bit too much cake - that's what winter weather in July does to you! Anyway, onwards with this month's empties; there are more than I was expecting, though still a pretty poor month for me...
July Empties #bbloggers
July 2015 Empties
The Body Shop Early-Harvest Raspberry Body Butter | This smells absolutely beautiful. I really love The Body Shop's fruity body butters and this one is no exception, it's sweet and fresh, and a product I genuinely look forward to using. That aside, it has also been doing a pretty good job of hydrating my eczema-prone skin, as TBS body butters usually do.
Repurchase? Yes - I already have!!
Eau Thermale Avène XeraCalm A.D. Lipid Replenishing Balm| I've been making an effort to finish this up for the last couple of months and it seems to have gone on forever! I'm done now though and I have to say, for all its marketing towards people with extremely dry skin, this didn't do much for me - after applying in the morning, my legs were just as dry and itchy as ever by the evening. As I mentioned in my review, it does contain Liquid Paraffin which my skin doesn't seem to like, so that could well be why.
Repurchase? No.
GOSH X-Ceptional Wear Foundation | I feel like I'm cheating a little by including this as I haven't actually finished it; I cut the tube open thinking there'd be enough for one final use, only to discover it was pretty much half-full! So I've decanted it into a little sample pot and will be using it up over the coming weeks. This is one of my favourite foundations, it gives a brilliant coverage and has a lovely finish, and lasts well on my skin.
Repurchase? Already have.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser | This is one of my favourite primers; it works pretty well at hiding the crater-like pores on my cheeks and keeping my make-up in place, all whilst smelling reassuringly of tea tree oil. If you're not a fan of the smell then you will not love this, but I do recommend giving it a try if you have oily skin, problem pores or both!
Repurchase? Almost definitely.
Batiste Blush Dry Shampoo | This is by no means a favourite but I do keep picking up Batiste as it's the most readily-available dry shampoo; I think this particular can came from Aldi! It does the job for freshening up second-day hair for me, though I definitely prefer CoLab having tried it!
Repurchase? Probably, though through convenience rather than preference.
Beauty Empties July 2015
Lacura Cotton Pads  Cheap and plentiful, I think a double-pack of these is about £1 and easy to chuck in the trolley whilst doing the food shop at Aldi! These do their intended job and they do it perfectly well - removal of eye make-up and nail polish and the application of toner. There is nothing exciting about cotton pads, I'm afraid, but there they are.
Repurchase? Yes.
Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder | I basically picked this up because I'd never tried it and have always heard how good it is. I feel like maybe I used a different product because I thought it was awful; there are definitely budget brands offering far better products at lower prices! The powder was chalky and unnatural on my skin and really didn't do anything to keep my skin matte. A massive disappointment for me!
Repurchase? Not in a month of Sundays.
CoLab Monaco Dry Shampoo | I'd been wanting to try this a while so I was positively gleeful to receive the travel-sized can in my Latest In Beauty #LIBAwards box earlier this month; I have to admit it's not my favourite of the CoLab scents, but it worked just as well as the other variants in terms of freshening up my roots and absorbing oiliness without leaving that tell-tale white residue.
Repurchase? Probably not this version.
Stila Smudge Stick in 'Damsel' | This came with my Stila In The Light palette and I loved it; it has a gorgeous soft, creamy texture which made it easy and comfortable to apply, and it lasted well even in my waterline. I think these are quite pricey for eyeliners but there are often some great gift-sets around the Christmas period so I'd consider picking one of those up, as I will miss having this in my routine.
Repurchase? Maybe.
And that's another month's worth of empties popped into the recycling! Have you tried any of these products? Any recommendations for powders that will keep my oily skin in check?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Introducing | sk:n*

The country's leading skin clinic, sk:n were founded in Harrogate in 1990 and now have in excess of thirty clinics across the UK, offering treatments ranging from laser hair removal and microdermabrasion through to birthmark removal and varicose vein removal. Alongside these in-clinic treatments, sk:n also offer a comprehensive range of skincare products in five ranges, including Cleanse & Exfoliate, Anti-Ageing, Anti-Blemish, Corrective and Repair & Protect, to address a number of skincare concerns.
Introducing skn Skincare
skn skincare products
I was kindly offered the opportunity to trial a few of these products, and have been sent their Facial Exfoliating Cleanser for normal skin*, their Blemish Control Lotion* and their Anti-Ageing Hand Cream*, which I have now been using for around a month. I really liked that each product came separately packaged in a cardboard box, which contained a little leaflet offering information about sk:n, the services and products they offer, and the range to which the particular product belongs. There's also a £25 off voucher for treatments at sk:n clinics.
skn Anti-Ageing Hand Cream
Anti-Ageing Hand Cream* | £15.75/50ml
Containing Vitamins C & E to protect against free radicals responsible for ageing the skin, as well as Jojoba Oil to moisturise and protect, and Peptides to stimulate collagen production in the skin, this hand cream claims to improve the moisturisation and elasticity of the skin. Straight off I was struck by the number of parabens in the ingredients list (I count five), which I simply wouldn't expect in a product in this price range. That aside, the cream has a nice, light consistency which is readily absorbed, leaving the hands feeling soft and moisturised. I do suffer with incredibly dry hands and didn't really feel like this was an intensive enough treatment for me, but generally speaking I don't think this is a bad product at all. If you're just looking for something to hydrate your hands, I think this would work just fine. My one concern would be that it seems to be lacking an SPF, which I'd think would be an obvious ingredient to include in a product like this?
skn Facial Exfoliating Cleanser For Normal Skin
Facial Exfoliating Cleanser for normal skin* | £26/200ml
A creamy cleanser containing Glycolic Acid (an AHA) for gentle exfoliation, this cleanser claims to remove dead skin cells, clear pores, moisturise and rejuvenate the skin. I've been using this as my evening cleanse after removing the majority of my make-up with my current micellar water of choice from Botanics. With its squeezy bottle, dispensing product is easy & hygienic; around a grape-sized amount is perfect for gently massaging over the face with the fingertips, avoiding the eyes, for a minute or so. I then tend to wipe off with a warm, damp flannel and follow with a toner. I was a little concerned about the Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil) in the ingredients list (it's a known comedogen, which means it can block pores, leading to spots) and indeed, I did seem to break out over the first week or so of using this cleanser; since then, though, my skin has settled down quite nicely, so I don't know that it was necessarily related. That aside, the Facial Exfoliating Cleanser leaves my skin feeling smooth and clean but not stripped, irritated or dry. I'd imagine this would be good for most skin types, though if your skin is particularly sensitive I'd give it a miss due to the Glycolic Acid.
{Update at the end of August: I have now stopped using this cleanser. I took a break for a week or so to finish up another cleanser to make some space within my bathroom, and within a day of coming back to sk:n's cleanser I was experiencing literally the worst skin of my life. My skin has never been great, but overnight I broke out like crazy. 26 spots on my forehead alone. Four huge, painful cystic spots on my left cheek. Spots in places I never usually get them - my eyebrows, my nose, my neck. I'm really disappointed as I did have high hopes for this product but I simply can't carry on using it.}
skn Blemish Control Lotion
Blemish Control Lotion* | £26/30ml
This lotion offers immediate treatment for developing blemishes alongside relief for acne-prone skin with active spots. Claiming to reduce oil production and reduce the bacteria associated with acne, without causing irritation, this lotion also contains Salicylic Acid to dissolve oil and other pore-clogging debris. This is a clear gel-like lotion which is easy to spread over the skin and sinks in quickly, allowing you to apply moisturiser, make-up and so on over the top. I have to say I haven't used this as religiously as the cleanser, maybe four or five days per week, as I'm dreadful at remembering to use it! I didn't really notice any reduction in oiliness on the days I did remember, and to be honest I don't think I've got any fewer spots, though I think they may have been healing more quickly than they would otherwise - it's difficult to be sure, isn't it!? I'd also like to point out that the ingredients list includes Alcohol Denat. which can be incredibly drying on the skin, so this is a product where I'd suggest you proceed with caution; I admit I was a bit disappointed to find alcohol second-to-top of the ingredients list of a product of this price point, but there you go. The alcohol was abundantly obvious insofar as it smells like rubbing vodka on my face. Nice.
skn skincare products review
Overall, I feel like sk:n's ingredients let them down a little; they're good products and I have found that they mostly provide, to some degree, the benefits that they claim, but for products in this price range I honestly expect better from the ingredients lists. Of the three products I've tried, I wouldn't buy the Anti-Ageing Hand Cream again, but that's mostly because I need something a little more intensive due to my eczema and my job; the Facial Exfoliating Cleanser and the Blemish Control Lotion fared a little better for me and they're both products I'd consider buying again, though I don't see myself rushing out the minute I run out as I didn't find them mind-blowingly good, and generally if I'm spending this much on skincare then, as I've said, I'd prefer something with a better ingredients list. {Update: there is no way I'd consider buying the cleanser again, as you could probably guess!} You can find all the skincare products offered by sk:n on their website here, and if you're interested in the treatments offered by their clinics, you can learn more here. Have you tried any of sk:n's products, or been to any of their clinics?

[*Products provided for consideration.]

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Review | Miss Sporty Mission Correction Multi-Action Foundation

Miss Sporty is a brand I don't really hear much about, despite the vast number of blog posts I read on a weekly basis; a budget brand found in Boots and Superdrug, they offer a range of basic products at purse-friendly prices. Personally, I really like their nail polishes and their mascaras are pretty good too, whilst one of my favourite blushers is also a Miss Sporty number. Recently, I picked up a bottle of their new Mission Correction Multi-Action Foundation, which claims to offer a concealer, foundation and highlighter all in one handy bottle.
Miss Sporty Mission Correction Multi-Action Foundation Review
I have shade 001 'Ivory' which I believe is the lightest of the four shades available, the others being 'Light', 'Medium' and 'Dark'. The bottle is made of plastic and is fitted with one of those pumps that pulls a plunger-like thing up from the bottom of the bottle, meaning you really do get every last drop of product out of the bottle; I wish more brands used these as I think they're brilliant! Packaging aside, what about the foundation itself?
Miss Sporty Mission Correction Foundation Review
"All in one foundation: Concealer, Foundation & Highlighter • Lightweight formula for an undetectable correction • Second skin effect for all day long comfort • Perfecting formula that leaves the skin soft, fresh and flawless. Recommended for all skin types. Dermatologist tested."
Of course, the risk with many-in-one products like this is that rather than doing one thing well, they do several things badly. I'll admit I was dubious when I purchased this, but I thought it was worth a try for the price, and 'Ivory' seemed to match my skin quite nicely; it's maybe a touch darker than I'd ideally like, but it blends out to work pretty well for me. Below you can see my bare skin on the left, and Miss Sporty Mission Correction Multi-Action Foundation applied over primer on the right.
Miss Sporty Mission Correction Foundation Review Before After
In terms of coverage, I'd say this is medium-full; I still need to add concealer over particularly dark circles, areas of pigmentation or blemishes, as seen above, but if you're in a hurry then I guess it's nice to have a base product which might allow you to skip the concealer on a good-skin day. In terms of the highlighter - I was a bit concerned that this would be a total nightmare for my oily skin, but there doesn't seem to be a shimmery finish or anything like that. It does literally just brighten the skin up; I don't know how it does it, but it does seem to! Again, I'd still generally add highlighter separately to my cheekbones and down my nose, but for super-quick throwing-on-a-face make-up, this is nice to have.
The finish it offers is semi-matte, in my opinion, probably partly due to the highlighting effect; the skin doesn't look dull or flat, but nor does it look shiny or oily. As always with my base products, I powder over it anyway to give a matte finish and help prolong wear-time; my skin is so oily that skipping powder isn't an option for me. I've found the wear time to be pretty good, with the coverage starting to become patchy after around 6-8 hours' wear, depending on the weather and what I've been doing. Oil comes through well before that though and I need to blot and add powder usually within the hour.
Miss Sporty Mission Correction Foundation FOTD
[The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Reviver; Miss Sporty Mission Correction
Multi-Action Foundation in 001 'Ivory'; Soap & Glory Kick-Ass Concealer in 'Light';
George Silky Finishing Powder; Essence Blush Up! Powder Blusher in 'Heat Wave';
Non.U Brow Pencil in #5; Born Pretty Qiaoyan Eye Palette #5;
Essence I ♥ Extreme Mascara]
Miss Sporty Mission Correction Multi-Action Foundation is available in four shades, priced at £3.99 for 27.3ml from Boots and Superdrug. For a budget brand you could certainly do far worse and I would recommend picking this up if you're looking for a purse-friendly base to try, and can find a shade match. Have you tried any products from Miss Sporty? Do you have a favourite budget foundation?


Sunday, 26 July 2015

Five Tips For Flawless Foundation

We're all looking for that perfect, flawless base when we put on our foundation in the morning, but are you doing it in the best way? Aside from the obvious like making sure you have the correct shade of foundation for your skintone, there are some easy ways to achieve a smooth, even coverage that hides imperfections without being mask-like.
Five Tips For Flawless Foundation Beauty Blog
Experiment | In terms of both products and tools, you need to experiment and find what works best for you. When you try a new foundation, remember the formula will be different, so try it a few ways to find the best method of applying it. Some of my base products are best applied with my BeautyBlender; for others, I favour my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, whilst others work best with (clean!) fingers. Sometimes a combination of all three gives that airbrushed effect I'm looking for. It's all about trial and error here to find a method that suits you. The same goes for the foundation itself; look for something designed for your skintype, with the level of coverage you prefer. There's no one-size-fits-all solution here!
Keep it clean! | Yes, you do need to wash your make-up tools. Yes, really. I know it's boring. Do it anyway. Honestly, I find it makes such a difference to how my make-up applies - quite aside from the fact that better skin = better make-up, and not introducing unnecessary bacteria from dirty tools onto your skin, will give you better skin. I wash my Beauty Blender before every use (this is easy as I use it damp!) and try to wash my brushes at least once a week, although I aim to wash those used for liquid or cream products after every use.
Five Tips For Flawless Foundation
Natural light | The light where I apply my make-up is truly dreadful but I always, always take a smaller mirror to a window and check my base in natural light; more often than not, I'll find brushstrokes or harsh lines that need blending out, that are simply invisible in the artificial light of my bedroom, but glaringly obvious once I'm in daylight. This is an easy way to make your base look more natural and flawless - always check in daylight!
Consider your base | Sometimes, for whatever reason, products just don't mix well; a certain primer can be brilliant under one foundation, and frankly awful under the next. If you find a foundation doesn't sit well on your skin, try it with different products underneath - that means moisturisers as well as primers. If you have dry skin, a good moisturiser will help prevent product clinging to any dry patches; for oily-skinned girls, a good primer can make the difference between two and ten hours wear.
Less Is More! | Applying too much product is a surefire way to end up with your make-up looking cakey and sliding around your face. Sure, we all want a decent coverage, but the best way is definitely to start with a little product and add more as and where you need it; it's way easier to pop a bit more on, than take it off again! Especially when trialling a new product, start with a small amount and add more if you need. All the setting powder in the world won't keep your base in place if you've used twice as much product as you need - you can consider that a bonus tip - always set liquid base products with a powder to prolong their wear!
Flawless Foundation Tips
I hope you've found these tips helpful, and I'd love to hear if you have any more wisdom to add! What's the best thing you've found for creating that flawless base?


Friday, 24 July 2015

Review | Merumaya Hydrate & Protect Hand Cream*

Merumaya is a brand I've heard a fair bit about, and always good things, so when I was offered a tube of their Hydrate & Protect Hand Cream* to try, I jumped at the opportunity! I'm always in search of new hand creams as my skin is prone to eczema at the best of times, and working as a carer means I'm constantly washing my hands or using hand-san, which tend to dry them out further; a good cream is a must for me. Merumaya Hydrate & Protect Hand Cream claims to improve moisture, hydration, plumpness and smoothness, alongside offering SPF15 to reduce further skin ageing.
Merumaya Hydrate & Protect Hand Cream Review
"An effective moisturising hand cream that absorbs swiftly and leaves hands looking rejuvenated; smooth, plump and youthful. HYALURONIC ACID addresses the complexity of effective and lasting moisturisation and helps the skin on the hands take on a firmer appearance. A broad spectrum system of sun filters provide SPF 15 to guard against UVA/UVB damage that can hasten the ageing of skin." The squeezy flip-cap tube (great for easy hygienic application!) comes packaged in a cardboard box which offers loads of product information, from ingredients and directions for use to a general background of Merumaya as a company and their philosophy.
Merumaya Hydrate & Protect Hand Cream SPF15 Review
The cream is thick and balm-like in texture, spreading over the hands easily whilst feeling rich and luxurious. I have to agree with the swift absorption claim; with just a few seconds of massaging in, my hands feel smooth and soothed but not at all sticky or greasy, which is great! I usually use this as I'm heading out the door to work each day and I can honestly say I've been using hand cream whilst at work, a whole lot less. My hands are generally less dry and itchy during the summer months but I'm pretty impressed by this and look forward to seeing how it fares as the weather gets cooler. At 23, my hands don't really show any visible signs of ageing, but I'm a firm believer in an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure, so I'm hopeful that using products like this will keep it that way!
Merumaya Hydrate and Protect Hand Cream
Merumaya Hydrate & Protect Hand Cream is available direct from Merumaya here, priced at £12.50 for 50ml; I admit it's not the cheapest of hand creams, but as it hydrates so effectively, I've found I end up using less of it than I do of cheaper creams, which makes it quite a sensible buy. It's definitely one I'd recommend if you suffer with dry or chapped hands, and I do think it'd be brilliant for nurses, carers, cleaners, and other people in jobs that are tough on the hands. Have you tried Merumaya's Hydrate & Protect Hand Cream? What's your favourite cream for keeping hands soft and smooth?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Recently Read

It's been a while since I shared the books I've been reading; now that I'm not spending three hours a day on the bus, I seem to be getting through an awful lot less literature, which is a shame as I love reading! I thought I'd do a little post on the things I have managed to read recently, though, to share my thoughts. I'd love to hear if you've read any of these!!
Recently Read July 2015
The Man Who Couldn't Stop David Adam Review
The latest installment of my love of books about Psychology; this was about Adam's struggle to overcome Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, presented in layman's terms, which made it an easy and enjoyable read which still made me feel like I was learning something. OCD has become a term that is thrown around so lightly and this book kind of fights back against that, which is brilliant; it's a serious and debilitating condition, and it does annoy me that people joke about it. Again, I really enjoyed this and I'd say it's worth a read!
The House On The Strand Daphne du Maurier Review
I've been meaning to read some du Maurier for ages and finally got round to it with this one, which I really enjoyed. Her writing style made it really easy to fall into the story, I felt like I was getting to know the characters and the setting, and found myself thinking about the events that had occurred even when I wasn't reading. Without giving too much away, I found the idea of the "drug" and the way it influences the brain, really interesting! I see myself picking up more of du Maurier's work in the near future.
Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro Review
There's a Healthy Planet book shop near where I used to live where you can wander in and choose three books for FREE! Honestly, it's brilliant, I pop in every time I'm passing, and picked this up on one such occasion. I'd heard good things about Never Let Me Go, but didn't actually have any idea what it was about or what to expect; again, though, I really enjoyed reading this. I found the premise really interesting and the way it was presented in the first person worked well, in my opinion. I really like books that make you think, and this was definitely one of those!
The Skeleton Cupboard Tanya Byron Review
Based on Byron's experiences of the Clinical Psychology training program, this was fascinating to me! I hope to enter the ClinPsy program myself at some point in the future, so it was interesting in that respect, but also just the way the characters were presented worked so well and really made me think. The course consists of six placements in different mental health settings, and the book presented an "amalgamation" of patients from each placement, so we meet six patients, from a young girl with an eating disorder, through to a sociopathic middle-aged man. I really enjoyed this!
The Alchemist Paulo Coelho Review
My brother lent me this and I have to admit I was dubious right from reading the blurb; turned out I was right, I just couldn't get into it at all! I did read it, but it took me ages for such a short book, and I just found the whole thing completely pretentious and very patronising. My mum reckons it's the sort of thing where if you believe in the things it's talking about (God, destiny, omens...) you'll take something from it, and if not... It's not that great. Not one I'd recommend, I'm afraid.
Have you read any of my most recent reads? Do you have any recommendations for me? I'd love to hear them, I'm always looking for new books to add to my teetering, unsteady "to-be-read" heap!

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Monday, 20 July 2015

Review | Origins Out Of Trouble™ Mask

Alongside the Clear Improvements and Drink Up Intensive Overnight masks, the Origins Face Masks Gift Set I picked up in the January sales also included a tube of their Out of Trouble ™ 10-Minute Mask. Described as a  "10 minute mask to rescue problem skin", Out of Trouble sounded like something my skin could use, as I am prone to random breakouts, extreme oiliness and general complexion misbehaviour. Read on to see how I've been getting on and whether I'd recommend!
Origins Out of Trouble Ten Minute Mask Review
Like the other Origins masks, Out of Trouble is packaged in a squeezy plastic tube with flip-cap, making it easy and hygienic to dispense product. This time, the tube is white, with product details printed in green. The instructions provided are pretty straightforward; "Layer over clean face and throat. Avoid eye area. Wait 10 minutes. Remove with damp washcloth." Sometimes it's nice to have something simple and uncomplicated in your routine, isn't it? Slap it on, leave for ten, wash it off. Boom.
Origins Out of Trouble Face Mask
The mask is thick, white and creamy in texture, squeezing from the tube relatively easily and spreading over the skin nicely. It has a refreshing, cooling feeling on the skin and quite a strong, medicinal scent which reminds me of something I can't quite place; it's not necessarily a scent I'd choose for my skincare, but it's not unpleasant and does smell reassuringly like it will work wonders for my skin! As the mask dries, it does become harder and stiffer on the skin, but not so much so that it hurts to speak or anything like that - noticeable without being uncomfortable. I tend to use this in the morning and wash it off in the shower.
Origins Out of Trouble Mask Review
With ingredients including Zinc Oxide and Sulphur to absorb excess oils, Camphor to calm and Salicylic Acid to gently exfoliate, I had high hopes for this formula! I've found that immediately after use, my skin does look and feel calmer and smoother; any redness including blemishes is reduced, and oiliness is gone, though that's the case from simply washing my face, too. I do feel that this mask helps my skin to look clearer and brighter, and using it once a week seems to work well for me alongside Clear Improvements twice a week, and Drink Up Intensive once or twice. Compared to Clear Improvements, I'd say this is gentler and more of a general perker-upper, whereas Clear Improvements is a bit more intensive in terms of fighting blemishes and giving a good deep cleanse. I hope that makes sense, as I was a bit unsure what the difference between the two would be!
Basically, I feel that Out of Trouble fits well within my routine and works well alongside my other Origins masks; it's not one I'd turn to in a skin emergency but for keeping my skin in good condition long-term, I feel it works well. Origins Out of Trouble ™ 10 Minute Mask is available here priced at £25 for 100ml; that's the same price as Origins' other masks, and again, a little goes a long way so I feel like a tube will last a while. Have you tried Out of Trouble? What's your favourite Origins mask?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Review | Benefit License To Blot*

I was recently sent a mini version of Benefit's latest addition to The POREfessional range, License to Blot*. Claiming to offer up to six hours of shine-free skin with its invisible mattifying spheres, License To Blot offers a specially-designed triangular-shaped stick to easily get into the oily corners around the nose, chin and forehead. Given my excessively oily skin, this sounded like a dream come true to me; how much easier is it to dab on something like this from a little twist-up stick, than mess around with powder and blotting papers and brushes!?
Benefit The Porefessional License To Blot
Benefit License To Blot Ingredients
First up, the sample I received is round, not triangular, so I have no thoughts to offer on how well that works - it sounds good in theory but that's as much as I can say! It seems a little silly to me to make half your ad campaign about the shape of the product, and then send out press samples which aren't even that shape, but anyway... The branding fits right in with the rest of The POREfessional range, which includes the original Pro Balm Primer, and the Agent Zero Shine Powder. I do like the packaging and branding of Benefit's products, but I'm often left feeling that they need to put a bit more effort into the products inside to live up to their claims... So how did I get on with License To Blot?!
Benefit License To Blot
My main concern was that dabbing this little stick onto my skin would simply smudge and/or remove my foundation, which thankfully doesn't seem to have been the case; it somehow glides over my face (probably due to the amount of silicons on the ingredients list!) without interfering with any make-up I'm already wearing, leaving behind mattified skin. So in that respect, I was very impressed. Unfortunately, for me, the six hour claims were way off; around two is more like it, though I do have very oily skin, and that's about as much as I tend to get if I blot and powder. I also have to admit to being a little iffy about the hygiene of dabbing a stick product like this onto my face mid-way through the day - I can't help thinking about all the bacteria which will jump straight across, breed merrily, and then jump back onto my face next time I use it...
Benefit The Porefessional License To Blot Review
Benefit's The POREfessional License to Blot is priced at £15.50 for the full-sized tube, which contains 4.3g. My immediate reaction is that that doesn't sound like much, but actually my sample contains 1.4g and I've barely made a dent in that over the month or so I've been trialling it, so I do see the full-sized stick lasting pretty well. I'd recommend picking this up if you struggle with oily skin and are looking for an easy, convenient way to address shine on-the-go, without the hassle of carrying powder, brush and blotting papers. Have you tried The POREfessional License To Blot? What's your preferred way to stay shine-free throughout the day?

[*Product provided for consideration.]
[Post contains affiliate links.]

Thursday, 16 July 2015

LatestinBeauty.com #LIBAwards Beauty Box

LatestinBeauty.com are holding the very first #LIBAwards, featuring eight categories of beauty products to vote in - and, of course, add to your very own personalised beauty box! You can choose three items for £8.99, six for £12.99 or nine for £16.99, and ordering a box enters you into a draw to win all the nominated products, worth £875!! I had a look through the nominations and ended up ordering the largest size box as there were quite a few products I'd been wanting to try, and I have the self-control of a small child faced with a large chocolate cake.
#LIBAwards Beauty Box
The eight categories include Best Newcomer, Skincare Saviour, Must-Have Makeup, Hottest Haircare, Green Award, Best Eye Makeup, Body Beautiful, and Cult Classic. Brands featured include La Roche-Posay, Burt's Bees, The Body Shop, Philip Kingsley and more - there really is something for everyone and I found it pretty hard to narrow down my choices! Some of the products are full-sized, whilst others are samples, but the website does tell you what size you'll be getting to it's easy enough to choose wisely. These are the products I went for...
Latest In Beauty Awards
Bee Good Honey & Propolis 2-in-1 Cream Cleanser • Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream • COLAB Sheer & Invisible Dry Shampoo in Monaco • The Body Shop Wild Argan Miracle Solid Oil For Body & Hair • DHC Deep Cleansing Oil • Philip Kingsley Elasticizer • Burt's Bees Lip Crayon in 'Hawaiian Smoulder' • Eye of Horus Scarab Sapphire Goddess Pencil  • Daniel Sandler Long Lasting Waterproof Eyeliner in 'Green Velvet'
A couple of these products have now sold out (the Daniel Sandler and Eye of Horus eye pencils, at the time of writing!) but there are plenty of other options still available, so if you haven't already, I recommend having a little browse on the Latest in Beauty site and seeing if anything takes your fancy - it's a great value way to try some new products or stock up on old favourites! Will you be voting in the #:LIBAwards? Have you tried any of these products? What would you add to your box? If you've not ordered one yet, you can do so here from £8.99! You can also get FREE DELIVERY this weekend only (18th/19th July) when you spend over £10, with the code LIBJULY15 - so there's really no excuse!!

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Three Ways | Makeup Revolution BEYOND FLAWLESS Palette

You may have seen my recent Beauty Haul post, in which I picked up Makeup Revolution's Beyond Flawless palette; I promised a post on that would be forthcoming, and here it is! I tend to prefer to share the ways I use a palette rather than just sharing swatches which can be found anywhere, so today I've got three looks I've created using shadows from the Beyond Flawless palette. First up, though, a few thoughts on the palette.
Makeuprevolution Beyond Flawless Palette Review, Swatches & EOTDs
The packaging is, to me, higher end than the price-tag; at just £8, this palette is super-affordable, and yet it comes encased in lovely shiny gold cardboard, the back of which shows you the shades you're getting. Within the box, the palette itself is Makeup Revolution's classic black plastic with gold detailing - again, it's lovely, though it doesn't half attract fingerprints! The palette contains a full-sized mirror for easy application, and doesn't waste any space with a useless foam applicator that no-one will use.
Makeup Revolution BEYOND FLAWLESS
Makeup Revolution BEYOND FLAWLESS Palette back of box
The shadows are a little smaller than I anticipated, but for this price (25p per shadow) I can't complain! Shade names are printed on a clear plastic overlay which helps to keep the mirror clean; I love that the shades have names! I've swatched a few of my favourites below just to give you an idea of the range of shades and the pigmentation. Left to right we have 'Sand Dune', 'Spice', 'Bistre', 'Stone Grey', and 'Cookie Dough'. The shimmer shades are spot-on in terms of pigmentation, whilst the matte shades are 'not bad' - they're not the best I've ever used, but for a palette in this price bracket they're more than acceptable!
Makeup Revolution BEYOND FLAWLESS Palette
Makeup Revolution BEYOND FLAWLESS Swatches
For my first look, I used 'Sand Dune' all over the lid, with 'Light Caramel' on the inner third and 'Muddy' in the outer third. I then used 'Cookie Dough' in the crease and the lower lashline, and added an inner corner highlight of 'Bare Pink'. This is quite a natural look, it's maybe one to pair with a statement lip for a night out or big event!
Makeup Revolution BEYOND FLAWLESS EOTD 1
My second look used 'Brunette' all over the lid, with 'Papaya' to brighten the inner third and 'Bistre' in the outer third and on the lower lashline. I think this is my favourite of the three as it's a bit smoky and mysterious without being over-the-top; I really like 'Bistre' for this!
Makeup Revolution BEYOND FLAWLESS EOTD 2
The final look features 'Pug' (what a great shade name!) all over, with 'Wholemeal' in the outer third and 'Sepia' in the crease and along the lower lashline. This is a lovely day-to-day look that you can throw on in just a couple of minutes to add a little definition to your eyes whilst still being really wearable and office-appropriate.
Makeup Revolution BEYOND FLAWLESS EOTD 3Makeup Revolution BEYOND FLAWLESS Palette Three Ways
As far as my thoughts on the palette as a whole go, I think it's a great buy - there's a brilliant range of nude shades that can be put together to create almost any look you can imagine; there are also quite a few which look stunning worn alone, like 'Immaculate' and 'Toasty'. The shadows blend easily and last well on me, even without a primer; there's a little creasing after a ten-hour day but nothing major. Makeup Revolution Beyond Flawless palette is priced at £8 for 32 shades and is available from Superdrug here, or direct from Makeup Revolution here. I'd just like to point out that I've never ordered from Superdrug online and have heard a lot of negative stories, so I'd recommend ordering from Makeup Revolution directly if you wish to purchase online - I've never had a problem with them! Have you tried any of Makeup Revolution's Flawless palettes? Which is your favourite of my three looks?


Sunday, 12 July 2015

Review | Sweet Cecily's Elderflower & Almond Hand Cream*

I was recently sent a jar of Sweet Cecily's Elderflower & Almond Hand Cream* to trial and report back on; Sweet Cecily's weren't a brand I was familiar with previously, but they are a British brand based in Whitby, North Yorkshire, offering a range of handmade natural skincare products for hands, face and body, alongside a number of 'make your own' kits which look like a lot of fun and would make great gifts, or even a little something for a hen do or similar!
Sweet Cecily's Elderflower & Almond Hand Cream
The packaging is really lovely and you can tell a lot of thought has gone into the branding; presented in a screw-cap jar, the label is printed with a lovely design featuring, you guessed it, almonds and elder! Being packaged as it is in a jar, this lends itself more to sitting on a bedside table, your desk, or maybe in your bathroom for after you've washed your hands - not really a product you can pop in your handbag or pocket so easily, and I would love to see this available in a tube for use on the go!
Sweet Cecily's Elderflower & Almond Hand Cream Ingredients
The cream itself is quite thick in texture, but feels really light on the skin; it absorbs quickly, offering a good level of hydration, and any stickiness is gone within a minute or so, leaving you free to get on with your day without leaving greasy fingerprints on your touchscreens! The scent isn't quite what I was expecting, with less Almond than I maybe hoped for, and more of a gentle floral fragrance which I take to be the Elderflower - it's a nice scent, don't get me wrong - just not what I was anticipating.
Sweet Cecily's Elderflower and Almond Hand Cream
The Elderflower & Almond Hand Cream retails at £6.95 for the 50ml jar I was sent; when you combine the fab formula, the natural ingredients list, the lovely packaging, and the fact that this is a handmade British product - I think it's more than worth its price! Have you heard of Sweet Cecily's before? Do you like the sound of the Elderflower & Almond Hand Cream? I'm definitely up for trying some more Sweet Cecily's products - the Green Clay Face Mask and Starflower & Calendula Body Lotion both sound gorgeous!

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Friday, 10 July 2015

NOTD | Essie 'Ignite The Night'

I picked up this stunning Essie polish for 20p off the Boots clearance shelf a couple of months ago now and whilst it's been a regular on my toenails since then, this is the first time I've got round to wearing it on my fingers, so I thought a quick NOTD post was in order to share its sparkly goodness! 'Ignite The Night' features densely-packed silver glitter in a clear base; my photos show three coats but you could easily get away with two for near-enough full glitter coverage. I've found this reasonably easy to work with; the glitter went on smoothly and the polish dried quickly to a textured finish, which could be smoothed off with a top coat if you'd prefer a glossy finish! I didn't use a top coat and I did find that this chipped very quickly on my fingernails, within a few hours of applying it, so I'd try it with a top coat next time to see if it held up any better.
NOTD Essie Ignite The Night
NOTD Ignite The Night Essie
Like most glitter polishes, this is a bit of a nightmare to remove, but I can't quite bring myself to care because it's just so sparkly and pretty while it's on - I love it! This would be the perfect choice for a party, night out or other special occasion; if I were planning a wedding, this would be a serious contender for wedding day nails for me! What are your thoughts on glitter nail polishes? Do you like the look of 'Ignite The Night'? I've managed to track it down at Superdrug if you're interested, though it's nowhere near my bargain price - £9.99 here. I'd say it's worth the spend as it really is a beautiful polish!


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Review | Rimmel Match Perfection Light Perfecting Radiance Foundation

I recently picked up a bottle of Rimmel Match Perfection Light Perfecting Radiance Foundation - I actually grabbed this in Asda without properly looking at it; I just bought it because I spotted the SPF 18 and thought it'd be nice to have for summer, and I have to admit I probably wouldn't have done if I'd read the bottle properly! I have very oily skin, so I tend to favour products which promise a matte finish, whilst avoiding anything with the words "dewy", "glow" or "radiance" like the plague... Thus, the following product description is pretty off-putting... "Traceless coverage foundation with Advanced Smart-Tone Technology for perfectly flawless skin under any light. Enhanced with Sapphire Radiance for an illuminating glow. Lasts all day." "Illuminating glow"..? Um...
Rimmel Match Perfection SPF 18 Foundation
Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation Has A Pump Bottle
Having bought it, however, I had to at least give it a try! The glass bottle is fitted with a pump (thank you, make-up gods!) which makes dispensing product easy and hygienic. The shade I picked up, which is 100 'Ivory', is a decent match for my pale skin; I have to say Rimmel foundations generally seem to suit my skintone pretty well. The formula is quite runny, meaning the foundation is easy to spread over the skin, and it blends in easily with either fingers or my Beauty Blender sponge.
Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation Swatch
The coverage, for me, is not enough. I have pretty blemish-prone skin and as you can see on the left below, it's been quite bad lately, so I need a base that will cover up these flaws. Unfortunately, Rimmel's Match Perfection Light Perfecting Radiance Foundation is quite a light coverage which is buildable to medium without getting cakey or heavy, but that's just not sufficient for me - on the right, there are plenty of blemishes still plainly visible. (Confession: I forgot to take the 'after' photo, so this one is taken the next day - a few of these blemishes had faded a lot in that time. That's also why I have my lip bar in in that photo and not the others!) If you're looking to just even out skintone and maybe hide a couple of minor blemishes, I'd have thought you'll be grand, but if you favour a more heavy-duty coverage I'd skip this. Finish-wise, the radiance claims are abundantly apparent; I hate the finish and would always, always powder it off to a matte finish. It just looks shiny, to me. I realise some people like a bit of a glow but it's not for me.
Rimmel Match Perfection Light Perfecting Radiance Foundation Before After
In terms of lasting power, this is pretty average. I wasn't expecting it to keep my skin matte and it doesn't; I need to blot and top up my powder after a couple of hours. The coverage lasts around eight hours but once it starts to face, I find it becomes a little patchy around my nose and forehead, where the oiliness is worst. This maybe wouldn't be such a problem for the normal/dry skintypes this is presumably designed for, but if you're with me in the oily-skin-camp, again this is a reason to skip this one.
Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation FOTD
[Taken the same day as the no-makeup photo above: Benefit The Porefessional Pro Balm;
Rimmel Match Perfection Light Perfecting Radiance Foundation in 100 'Ivory';
Veil Concealer in 'Oyster'; Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in 001 'Transparent';
Milani Baked Powder Blush in 05 'Luminoso'; Makeup Revolution Beyond Flawless Palette;
Benefit Roller Lash Mascara; Non:U Brow Pencil in #5]
Rimmel Match Perfection Light Perfecting Radiance Foundation is priced at £6.99 for 30ml, available at Boots here. For the price I think it's definitely worth a shot if you're after a lightweight, everyday foundation with light to medium coverage, with the added bonus of an SPF thrown in, but if you prefer a fuller coverage I'd give this one a miss. What's your favourite foundation? Have you tried this, or any other Rimmel foundations?

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