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Monday, 31 August 2015

Empties | August 2015

Ah, the end of August is upon us, and with it the end of all hope of summer... It's been a particularly poor effort this year, England, I must say. August hasn't been all bad, however - I have finally got my hands on my very own car, a lovely little blue Volkswagen Polo named Percy, which I'm super pleased about! It means an end to fights over who gets to use my mum's car, for one thing... In other news, I went for an interview in Leeds for a job I'd love but am still waiting to hear back as to whether I was successful - so fingers crossed on that one! I've also managed to finish off a few beauty products, so let's get onto those.
August Beauty Empties
August Beauty Empties1
Good Things Argan Oil Nourishing Cleansing Oil | This is a lovely affordable option when it comes to cleansing oils; I found it worked really well to melt away make-up and grime, leaving my skin feeling soft, clean and hydrated. It had the added bonus of smelling absolutely gorgeous which made it a real pleasure to use! Good Things are pretty widely available in Boots stores and this is definitely a product I'd recommend anyone to try if you like a cleansing oil or are just looking for one to try without breaking the bank.
Repurchase? Possibly.
Sure Maximum Protection Stress Control Anti-Perspirant | I picked this up on a complete whim because the temperature at work frequently exceeds 30°C and when you're running around after a motley collection of people with dementia, it can get pretty sweaty pretty quickly! I really liked the scent this gave and found that it worked really well to keep my underarms feeling dry and fresh. A new favourite, I think!
Repurchase? Already have.
Kleenex Shine Absorbing Sheets | I tend to use these before applying make-up, as I wash my face in the morning but don't generally put my make-up on til around 1pm, to give it more chance of lasting through work. I can get pretty oily in the interim, so these are handy for just giving me a nice base to work from. I think they may have been discontinued which is a shame, but I have a couple more packs that I picked up a while back in Home Bargains for about 29p per pack!
Repurchase? Yes, if I see them!
George Silk Finish Pressed Powder | This was very much an impulse purchase for me, thrown in the trolley in Asda on the off-chance it would be halfway-decent. It actually turned out to be one of the better budget pressed powders I've tried; it mattified nicely, didn't cake on re-application, didn't oxidise and didn't leave me looking like a ghost!
Repurchase? Maybe.
Naked Volume Body Building Shampoo | Man, was I glad to have this back in my routine!! I was massively disappointed to find that Naked appear to have ceased trading, but I did order four bottles of this shampoo from an online discount store, so I'm stocked up for a while!! This is the best SLS-free shampoo I've tried in terms of managing my prone-to-greasiness hair. It's also free of silicons which is great, as I don't like the things they do to my skin.
Repurchase? If I could, I would!
August Beauty Empties2
Naked Shine Buttermilk & Green Tea Hydrating Conditioner | I have another couple of tubes of this in stock as well, thankfully - it works really well to hydrate and smooth my dry, often unruly lengths without weighing my hair down or making it look greasy. It smells really nice and I find the texture is perfect - thick enough to stay on my hair nicely and feel like it's doing something, but not so thick it's hard to squeeze from the tube or spread through the lengths of my hair.
Repurchase? I wish I could!!
COLAB Sheer & Invisible Dry Shampoo | COLAB has definitely replaced Batiste as my dry shampoo of choice; I prefer it in so many ways! I think the scents are nicer, and the product seems so much more effective in refreshing my second-day hair. I also love that I don't get that tell-tale white residue in the roots with COLAB, which I have with every other dry shampoo I've tried. Add in its affordable price point and you're onto a winner in my book! I just wish it was more readily available, as I don't go into town very often to go to Superdrug.
Repurchase? Definitely!
Organic Surge Super Fresh Awakening Body Wash | I really enjoyed using this body wash in the shower; it had a lovely refreshing scent, lathered nicely, and left my skin feeling soft and clean. Being SLS-free, it's been gentle enough not to trigger my eczema, and the 250ml tube has lasted me really well, which makes this great value for money as far as I'm concerned. I had another tube all ready and waiting to go but I do see myself buying this again in the future.
Repurchase? Probably.
L'Oreal Everstrong Reinforcing System Fortifying & Vitality Conditioner | This seemed to go on forever! I finished the shampoo around a month before the conditioner and it just seemed to keep going... and going... and going. I'm glad to see the back of it to be honest, I didn't feel it worked that well with my hair and I wasn't overly keen on the Rosemary scent, either.
Repurchase? No.
And that's your lot for August! I think nine products is a pretty good effort in terms of clearing out my beauty stash, although it probably doesn't help quite as much when almost as many new products have entered my collection... Ah well. There's always next month! Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? I hope you've all had a lovely month and that September is even better!


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Review | Cetraben Cream & Lotion*

I was recently offered the opportunity to try out some products from Cetraben; designed with problematic dry, sensitive and eczema-prone skin in mind, Cetraben Cream* and Lotion* aim to sooth and moisturise, soften and protect, and absorb easily into the skin. I was kindly sent a 200ml bottle of each product and have been dutifully using them for the last month or so. Cetraben was a brand I was familiar with from work but hadn't previously used myself; I was intrigued to see how the products would fare for me, mainly on my very dry legs. A bit of background; I've had eczema since I was tiny and although it's much better controlled since switching to SLS-free products, I do still suffer from very tight, dry, itchy skin, especially on my calves.
cetraben Cream & Lotion for dry eczema prone skin
Both Cream and Lotion are housed in white plastic bottles which are each fitted with a pump for easy product dispensation; the clear plastic snap-on cap means the products should be safe to travel with which is handy. I've found that three pumps of either cream or lotion is sufficient to do one leg, and one pump does both arms; I tend to use more product on my legs as I know that's where I get the most dryness. Both products are fragrance free and have a very light skincare scent which is barely noticeable and certainly doesn't linger once applied to the skin. But is the cream or the lotion better...?!
Cetraben Cream Pump
I've been carrying out a very scientific method of comparing the two, whereby I've been using the cream on my left leg and the lotion on my right, to see whether I could notice any differences between them. In terms of application, they were much the same, both absorbing into my skin quite readily. Hydration-wise, both worked well initially, but I did notice that the benefits lasted a lot longer with the cream than the lotion; after applying in the morning, the skin on my right leg was feeling tight and super-itchy by bedtime, whereas my left leg was only slightly tight and not itching.
Cetraben Cream & Lotion Review
The cream, therefore, would be my pick in future, although I do think if your skin is only slightly on the dry side (or you're happy to apply more than once per day!), the lotion is also a great choice. Cetraben have also produced a range of helpful and informative videos, in collaboration with Dr Pixie McKenna of Embarrassing Bodies, to give you some tips and advice on dealing with problematic skin, which I'd really recommend giving a watch if you're struggling with your skin!
Have you tried Cetraben's products before? Have you ever suffered with eczema? What are your favourite bodycare products?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Friday, 28 August 2015

September | I Have Plans For You!

I know, I know, I really should be making the most of the last few days of August, but I can't help myself; September is my birthday month and as such, there's always something that feels a bit special and "new beginnings" about it for me. I think it's probably also in part due to the whole back-to-school vibe that seems to be around at this time of year, but I really do love September. There are a few things I really need to get sorted out so I've decided to share them in a little post to try and make myself accountable...
See friends more. I'm dreadful for using the excuse of rarely having days off but actually, I mainly work evenings; If I'm not starting work til 3pm or later, I really have no reason not to do something nice in the morning or even go out for lunch! Well, okay, it means getting out of bed a little earlier than I might like, but I really do mean to put in the effort in September, at least twice, to meet up with some friends for a little catch-up, even if I have to go to work afterwards.
Find a way of getting to the Harry Potter Studios for my birthday. This one sounds deceptively simple, but my birthday falls on a Sunday which makes public transport a little tricky, and it's a five-hour drive each way... It's a long way to go for one day so maybe an overnight stay would be the thing? I desperately want to go, though, and my birthday seems like the perfect occasion, so I'm determined to figure it out. I'll get my mum on the case, she's a pro at these things!
Sort out the paperwork. I have such good intentions for my credit card bills and suchlike - I have lever arch files with organised dividers. I also have a massive heap of said credit card bills, tax forms, paperwork for my shiny new car... It would probably take me about fifteen minutes to sort it out, so that's what I'm going to do!
Throw some things away. I hate clutter and yet my life seems to be full of it. I'm perfectly sure that I'm holding onto things that serve no purpose and are never likely to, so I think I'd like to set a morning aside to have a little sort-out and maybe reduce my possessions somewhat! Obviously if things can be donated to charity shops or recycled, I'll do that rather than throwing them away per se - but throwing things away sounds better!
Get a haircut. I have a bit of a phobia of hairdressers. All you people who like having your head touched and your hair washed and what-not - I think you're mad. The thought of it makes me feel all hot and bothered and queasy and bury-my-head-in-the-sand. However, I can't remember when I last had my hair cut (I don't think it was this year...) and it really does need a good trim if nothing else. So I need to get on that.

Do you have any plans or aims for September? Do you find writing down the things you want to achieve, helps you get them done?


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

If I Could Only Have One...

I thought this would be quite a fun post to put together - if I could only have one of each product, what would I choose!? I'm pretty sure this is like a beauty blogger's worst nightmare and obviously it's all hypothetical because a girl's gotta have options yo' but IF (God forbid) I could only have one product in each category, these would be my picks...
If I Could Only Have One #bbloggers
Primer | The Body Shop Instablur | This is a new one to my collection and I have to admit it isn't my dream primer (I don't think such a thing exists to be honest!) but it is pretty darn close - it smoothes and blurs imperfections, gives a matte base, and prolongs the wear of my foundation. The only thing it could do better in my view is to keep my face matte, but that seems to be too much to ask of any product...
Foundation | GOSH X-Ceptional Wear Foundation | It's been a long time since I've repurchased a foundation, until I discovered this little beauty! It's super affordable, it gives me the perfect level of coverage even on a bad skin day (there have been a few of those lately!), it doesn't sink into pores or fine lines, and it lasts well. If I was going to complain about anything it would be the packaging, as I cut my last tube open to discover it was pretty much half-full. Other than that, this one is a winner for me!
Concealer | Soap & Glory Kick-Ass Concealer | Easy choice! I recently repurchased this one, too, and I'm so glad to have it back in my stash - I love that you get two shades of concealer, one for under-eye circles and one for blemishes, and I love the creamy texture which works really well with my skin. I find this goes on and stays on without sliding or seeking out my fine lines, and it covers pretty much everything I throw it at.
Highlighter | Benefit High Beam | I only have a tiny mini of High Beam which came in a Birchbox sometime last year but I have really fallen for it; it's so wearable and makes a huge difference in terms of brightening up my face. I don't know if I could bring myself to splash out on the full-sized product, but I am showing my mini a whole lot of love, so we'll see. I think this is the sort of product that would flatter most skintones, too.
If I Could Only Pick One Makeup Product
Powder | Collection Sheer Loose Powder | I think this is one of my most-repurchased products, not because I actively love it but because it's the best budget option I've found when it comes to powder! It's well-priced, it comes in translucent which suits me down to the ground, it works well to set my base and hide any shine, and it doesn't seem to cake no matter how many times I re-apply.
Brow product | Makeup Revolution I ♥ Brows Kit | I'm really not very picky with my brow products, to be honest. As long as it's a reasonable shade match, we're probably good to go! However, this is the kit I'm currently using; I use the darker shade of powder to fill in my brows as necessary, and occasionally I use the wax to set them (most of the time I can't be bothered!). You get a little brush and a pair of tweezers in the kit, as well as a mirror which is handy for on-the-go - not that anyone does their brows on the go, do they!?
Blusher | MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in 'Stereo Rose' | I think this was the hardest decision to make; if there's one product I buy to excess, it'd be blusher! I like to have my options, because some days you just want to add a little flush of colour to your cheeks, whilst other days you're going for more of a highlight/blush in one to brighten the face up... It's so hard to choose just one! MAC 'Stereo Rose' was my eventual decision as it is probably my favourite blusher, it's the one I go for when I'm not sure what to go for, if that makes sense? It's a flattering shade which is easy to wear and has a lovely shimmer finish to just add a little something to my face.
Bronzer | NARS Powder Blusher in 'Douceur' | I know this is cheating. I'm justifying it with the fact that I very very rarely wear bronzer, whereas I'm pretty partial (as demonstrated by the fact I've hit pan in a major way!) to a crafty sweep of 'Douceur' under my cheekbones as a bit of a contour. I know it's a blusher and not a bronzer but I don't care. In my defence it's an almost-brown shade...? Whatever.
Eyeshadow | Makeup Revolution Beyond Flawless Palette | Come on now, I was never going to choose a single eyeshadow, was I!? This is my biggest palette in terms of the number of shades it contains and it's been my go-to recently as it's just so versatile; there are so many options and it's perfect for everyday work-wear, interviews, casual daytime looks and nights out. I could probably only use this palette for the rest of ever. Probably.
If I Could Only Choose One Makeup #bbloggers
Eyeliner | Essence Kajal Pencil in '01 Black' | I don't actually wear much eyeliner these days; I've never got the hang of liquid liner and pencil eyeliner is really just too much of a throwback to being sixteen. That said, now and again, it's nice to use to just define my eyes a little more. I did really love my Stila Smudge Stick but I'm not sure whether I'll be repurchasing as it's pretty pricey for eyeliner, whereas Essence's offering is budget-friendly and does the job just fine.
Mascara | Benefit Roller Lash | It pains me to say this as generally speaking, I'm not a fan of Benefit's products, but I do think this is my favourite mascara at the moment! Again, I only have a little sample size which came with ELLE magazine a few months back, but when it comes to adding length, volume, and a true black colour, this is the one at the moment.
Lip product | ELF Studio Matte Lip Color in 'Tea Rose' | This is probably my most-worn lip product; I find it a comfortable formula and a flattering nude shade on my skintone, it's a go-to for all occasions for me! I'm not very adventurous with lip colour for the most part, it has to be said. I do really love this, though!! It also has a lovely vanilla-y scent which is a bonus.
Could you narrow your make-up stash down to just one product in each category? Would any of my picks be on your list? I'd love to see if you've done a similar post at all!!


Monday, 24 August 2015

Review | Born Pretty Matte Velvet Lipgloss*

I was recently sent a selection of products from the lovely online budget beauty store, Born Pretty; one of the items I chose was this Matte Velvet Lipgloss* in shade #17. Liquid lipsticks have been having a real moment recently and this looked like a great contender for a budget option - with 12 shades available, there should be something to suit pretty much everyone, from pinks and nudes through to reds and plums.
Born Pretty Store Velvet Matte Lip Gloss #17
I really like the packaging, which is a slim tube with a rounded end, almost like a test tube. The black cap unscrews to reveal a standard doe-foot lipgloss applicator, although I tend to prefer to apply with a lip brush - I find that the formula is a bit too thick and sticky to work well with the applicator supplied, and I tended to end up with too thick a coat, which took ages to dry and looked cakey and horrible. Applied with a brush, I find I have much better control and it ends up looking much nicer, though it is still a little patchy in places. I've found that it dries to quite a sticky finish, to the point that if I touch my lips together all the product seems to transfer to one lip... I've overcome this problem by applying a bit of balm over the top (photo above shows without balm - you can see it's a little patchy, the balm does even this out as well.)
Born Pretty Velvet Matte Lipgloss #17
Shade #17 is quite a bright one, I have to admit it's a little more neon than I was anticipating! The finish is pretty much perfectly described by the 'velvet matte' name; it's not completely matte, but instead dries down to a velvety finish - though that's kind of lost once I've applied balm over it! In terms of wear time, this is comfortable on the lips for a good few hours without eating or drinking; anything oily breaks the product down pretty quickly, so you do need to be careful what you eat whilst wearing this! When it comes to removal, an oil-based cleanser is your best bet as it dissolves the lipgloss so you can just wash it away easily.
Born Pretty Velvet Matte Lipgloss 17 Swatch
Remember you can get 10% off store-wide at Born Pretty; just enter my discount code 'JESSMK31' at checkout for the discount to be applied! The Matte Velvet Lipglosses are priced at £1.30 each and are available here in a choice of twelve shades, or you can get all twelve for just £13.03 - a bargain if there are a few shades you like the look of! I think this is a pretty good productfor the price, and definitely worth the effort it takes to make it work for me. Have you got on board with the liquid lipstick trend? What's your favourite finish for lip products?
Born Pretty Store Discount Code JESSMK31

[*Product provided for consideration.]
[Prices correct at time of writing but may fluctuate with exchange rates.]

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Review | Organic Surge Citrus Mint Shower Gel

I wanted to share a shower product I've been loving lately; Organic Surge Gently Cleansing Citrus Mint Shower Gel is described as follows: "This gentle shower gel will cleanse without stripping your skin of its natural protective moisture. Apply to damp skin with hands or a shower sponge, lather well, then rinse off, relax and enjoy our seriously fabulous fragrance. Wake up with our blend of energising peppermint, lemon and sweet orange oils." Anything that can help me to wake up in the morning is a winner for me, and if it comes in a skin-friendly formula which won't trigger my eczema - well that's a bonus!!
Organic Surge Citrus Mint Shower Gel
The shower gel is easy to dispense from the squeezy plastic tube with flip-cap; the scent is strong upon opening the tube and is one I loved immediately. If you've ever used Original Source's minty shower gel, think along those lines - fresh and minty, perfect for first thing in the morning! I tend to use this with exfoliating gloves in the shower to get a really good scrub; I find this shower gel lathers well and leave my skin feeling soft, clean and fresh. There's a tingling sensation for a minute or so after use, but nothing too much - just a gentle, fresh kind of feeling which I think is really nice.
Organic Surge Invigorating Citrus Mint Shower Gel
For me, the citrus notes are far less obvious than the over-riding peppermint scent of the product, and I think I can only detect them at all because I know they're there. That said, it is still a lovely scent and one I'm really enjoying reaching for in the shower! I've found that the texture of the shower gel is pretty much perfect, too; runny enough that it's easy to squeeze out, but not so runny that it runs out of your hands before you get chance to use it...
Orgamic Surge Shower Gel Citrus Mint Review
Organic Surge Gently Cleansing Citrus Mint Shower Gel is available here, priced at £6.75 for 250ml of product, which I think is a really reasonably price point for a lovely shower gel with skin-friendly, organic ingredients. It's definitely one I'd recommend trying if you're a lover of the Original Source shower gel but would like to try a gentler alternative. What's your favourite SLS-free body wash? Have you tried any of Organic Surge's shower gels?


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Ten Must-Try Products From The Body Shop

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you've probably realised I'm a huge fan of The Body Shop. Today I wanted to share my recommendations for products to try from their vast range! I do think a lot of their products are over-priced, but then again you can save 10% with a Love Your Body card and there are often offers and promotions available to get yourself a great deal! Also look out in store for the combination offers, which usually give you two or three products from a range with a significant saving. Product names are linked if I've done a full review!
Ten Must-Try Products From The Body Shop

Ten Must-Try Products From The Body Shop1
Tea Tree Pore Minimiser | £8.50/30ml | Get it here
This was one of my first loves from The Body Shop; quite aside from loving Tea Tree in anything and everything, it actually works really well at hiding crater-like pores on my cheeks and giving a nice smooth base for make-up. I frequently recommend this to anyone and everyone, I think it's brilliant!
Body Butters | from £5/50ml | Get it here
With what feels like dozens variants to choose from, there really is something for everyone when it comes to The Body Shop's Body Butters, and they are an absolute staple in my bodycare routine; I'm rarely without at least one in my stash! The butters are rich and creamy in texture, making them gorgeous to apply to the skin, and contain Community Fair Trade Shea Butter to provide up to 24 hours moisturisation - perfect for dry skin or those with eczema. Favourite scents include Coconut, Papaya and Vineyard Peach.
Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask | £14/100ml | Get it here
If, like me, you struggle with oily and/or blemish-prone skin, this is a must-try; it's maybe a little on the drying side so I'd follow with a good moisturiser, but it works wonders for sucking out dirt and excess oil from the pores, leaving the skin feeling smooth and clear.
Vitamin C Microdermabrasion | £15/75ml | Get it here
Perfect for brightening dull skins, I use this roughly two or three times per week, though sensitive skins should probably stick to the recommended once! It has a beautiful fine texture which is easy to spread over the face and hasn't caused me any irritation; it also has a lovely orange scent which makes it a delight to use. I do think it's overpriced so I'd recommend catching it when there's a promotion running!
Hemp Hand Protector | from £5/30ml | Get it here
This is a blooming brilliant hand cream and it's so affordable - if you're looking for a really intensive hand treatment, I strongly recommend giving this a whirl. It's one of the best I've tried, and I really do struggle with eczema on my hands which is exacerbated by excessive hand-washing at work.
Ten Must-Try Products From The Body Shop2
Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil | £11/200ml | Get it here
As the name suggests, this has a gorgeous silky texture and is really effective at simply melting away make-up, oil and grime from the skin. It feels super luxurious to use and I found it left my skin feeling properly clean and so nourished. I've been trialling other cleansers but this is one I'll be coming back to for sure.
Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream | £12/50ml | Get it here
I've actually only tried a sample of this and have yet to repurchase the full-sized product but I did really enjoy using it and found it gave a great base for applying my make-up over; obviously this is one for the oily-skinned ones amongst us, although if you're of a different skin-type, I've heard good things about the Aloe and Vitamin E ranges so they're worth a try!
Drops of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask | £24/90ml | Get it here
Again, I've actually only tried a sample of this but I did really like it; it's an odd kind of texture (it really is bouncy!) but it worked really well to plump and hydrate my skin overnight. It's definitely a more pricey product so again, keep an eye out for offers and promotions if you fancy giving it a try!
Vitamin C Skin Reviver | £16/30ml | Get it here
I can't believe I haven't reviewed this! I've been using it almost daily as a primer under my make-up and find that it's brilliant for giving a lovely smooth, even base to apply foundation over (thanks to the silicons in the ingredients list, no doubt!) whilst also really visibly brightening my often-dull skin.
Lip Butters | £4/10ml | Get it here
I'm not a fan of the lip balms (I find them sticky and not particularly hydrating), but the butters are a different story! A little bit more pricey but I think they're well worth the £4 as they last for ages and work really well to hydrate the lips without being sticky. They also smell/taste really nice which is obviously a bonus; I'm currently loving the Coconut version but the Mango one is lovely too.
The Body Shop Wishlist
As a bonus, I thought I'd also include three products I still want/need to try! As a beauty blogger I'm always trying new things and have a wishlist that's longer than I care to think about but hopefully these little gems will make their way into my collection for a trial run at some point in the near future...
All-In-One Instablur Universal | £14/25ml | Get it here
I feel a bit like I'm cheating by including this as I have actually already purchased it but I've not got round to trying it out yet! This claims to control shine, hide pores and blemishes and extend the wear-time of your make-up - everything I'm looking for in a primer, in short. You can expect a review on this in the coming months.
Blue Corn 3-in-1 Deep Cleansing Scrub Mask | £11/100ml | Get it here
Claiming to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise in one handy once-a-week treatment, I read a review of this a few weeks ago (though I can't for the life of me remember where!) and have been wanting to try it ever since.
Warming Mineral Mask | £11/100ml | Get it here
I've actually not heard much about this but I was looking at it in my local store a couple of weeks back and really liked the sound of it. Offering a gentle deep cleanse with a warming effect when applied to wet skin, it sounds like a lovely product! It also claims to absorb excess oil which is obviously a winner for me.
What are your favourite products from The Body Shop? I'd love to hear if you have any recommendations to share!

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Review | Beauty Kitchen Inspire Me Brightening & Toning Body Polish*

I was very kindly offered a product to try from Beauty Kitchen, a British brand with the ethos that you shouldn't have to compromise on your beauty products to be good to the environment; they aim to offer products which smell great, look great and are great for the environment, whilst still being affordable. I chose the rather gorgeous-sounding Inspire Me Brightening & Toning Body Polish*, which claims to be, "Bursting with minerals and oils for detox, exfoliation and rejuvenation. With natural smoothing oils, sage, and detoxing mineral-packed pink rock salt, this body polish is perfect for cellulite or stretch marks on legs, arms, bums and tums!"
Beauty Kitchen Inspire Me Brightening & Toning Body Polish Review
Presented in a lovely, heavy glass jar, this is the sort of product you want to handle very carefully if using with wet hands in the shower as dropping it on your foot could easily result in broken bones - not that I've ever dropped anything on my foot in the shower... The body polish has a lovely herbal scent which I find invigorating and refreshing, it's lovely to use in the shower of a morning. I can definitely detect the citrus notes from sweet orange and grapefruit oils, as well as the mints and the basil. I've found the polish works best massaged into slightly damp skin, as the salt starts to dissolve to form a paste; using it on dry skin, I found I had to use more product to get similar effects.
Beauty Kitchen Inspire Me Body Polish Review
I don't know how I feel about the brightening and toning claims, to be honest - I think it's the sort of product you'd have to use regularly for quite a while to notice those kind of results. That said, it works beautifully in terms of leaving my skin feeling soft, smooth, and silky, and removing dead skin cell build-up will certainly work to brighten! The inclusion of lots of lovely natural oils (grapeseed, sunflower, sweet almond...)means that Beauty Kitchen's Body Polish leaves the skin feeling hydrated rather than irritated, too. Beauty Kitchen Inspire Me Brightening & Toning Body Polish is priced at £14.99 for 200g, available here. I'd say it's a reasonable price for this type of product, especially considering the lovely packaging which I'll definitely be washing out and re-using once it's empty, the fab natural ingredients, and whole earth-friendly aspect, and the fact that this body polish works so well! Have you heard of Beauty Kitchen before? Have you tried any of their products? Do you like the sound of the Inspire Me scent?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Makeup Revolution Awesome Metals Eye Foil

I picked up one of Makeup Revolution's Awesome Metals Eye Foils ages and ages ago, and basically forgot I'd ever bought it until I was having a little sort out a couple of days ago and re-discovered it lurking amongst my single eyeshadows... I guess that's when you know you have a make-up problem! I'd taken it out of its original packaging but I don't think I'd ever used it. Anyhow, the shade I have is 'Pure Platinum', which is exactly what it sounds like. I know that the Makeup Revolution Awesome Metals Eye Foils have been touted as something of a dupe for Stila's (much pricier) Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eye Shadows, but as I don't own any of the Stila shadows I won't be making any direct comparisons.
Makeup Revolution Awesome Metals Eye Foil Pure Platinum
In the Awesome Metals Eye Foil kit, you get a bottle of Liquid Primer, a jar of pigment, and a little mixing tray; I'm not sure what the original instructions said but those on Makeup Revolutions site suggest that you add a couple of drops of the primer to the mixing tray, mix in some powder, and then apply. I'd argue that the pigment isn't a powder at all; to me, it's decidedly more of a cream/gel texture, which is quite tricky to pick up with a brush.
Makeup Revolution Eye Foils Pure Platinum Stila Dupe
I've actually found that the best way of applying, for me, is to dampen my brush with the primer and then use that the pick up the pigment before applying directly to my eyes. I think 'Pure Platinum' is a really great shade for day-to-day wear, it makes my eyes look really bright and awake which is nice! As I said, I don't own any of the Stila Magnificent Metals products (nor am I likely to at over £30 a pop!) but I definitely think Makeup Revolution's offering are worth a shot if you're after something similar on a budget.
FOTD Makeup Revolution Awesome Metals
Benefit Sun Beam; Collection Loose Powder in 'Translucent'; Blusher & Highlighter from
Makeup Revolution Go! To The City Palette; Makeup Revolution I ♥ Brows
Kit in 'The Fairest Of Them All'; Makeup Revolution Awesome Metals Eye Foil in 'Pure Platinum';
Once on, the effect is maybe slightly less foiled than I was anticipating - but still a pretty cool look. I've found the Awesome Metals Eye Foil to last extremely well - they're pretty much budge-proof and have still been firmly in place on my eyelids after a full 14 hours of wear, including a shift at work where I'm constantly on my feet, running here, there and everywhere and, let's be honest, sweating a little. I've been really impressed with the lasting power and they're definitely a great option for hot weather or days when you're going to be pretty active.
Makeup Revolution Awesome Metals Eye Foils Pure Platinum EOTD Swatch
Makeup Revolution Awesome Metals Eye Foil in 'Pure Platinum' is available here, priced at £4. The Eye Foils are available in three other shades - 'Black Diamond', 'Emerald Goddess' and 'Rose Gold', if 'Pure Platinum' isn't your cup of tea! Have you tried any of Makeup Revolution's Awesome Metals Eye Foils? Would you be tempted to? What is your favourite type of eyeshadow product?


Friday, 14 August 2015

Review | L'Oreal Infallible 24H Matte Foundation

I picked up L'Oreal's Infallible 24H-Matte Foundation in shade 10 'Porcelain' a few weeks back now; I had high hopes for a base that offered a great coverage with a matte finish and a good amount of lasting time. I've never yet needed a base that lasts 24 hours but if I can manage 14 I'll be happy! Claiming to offer a medium-texture yet full-coverage, non-cake base for 24-hour matte perfection, this sounded like a strong contender for my perfect base product!
L'Oreal Infallible 24H Matte Foundation
L'Oreal Infallible 24H Matte Foundation Review
The squeezy tube has quite a fine nozzle once you remove the screw-cap, making it easy to dispense the right amount of product. The foundation is quite runny in formula, which makes it easy to spread over the skin and means a little goes a long way. I have to admit I have really struggled to get to grips with applying this; as well as clinging to even the slightest bit of dry skin (which makes it a nightmare if you've had a spot or a bit too much sun!), I also found that it basically headed straight for my pores and sat in them looking frankly horrible. Not cool. The photos below show my skin on a fairly good day, on the left with just primer, and on the right with primer and foundation. As you can see, 'Porcelain' is a pretty perfect shade match for me.
L'Oreal Infallible Matte Before & After
I've found an application method that kind of works, but it does take some doing, so this really isn't a foundation I'd go for when I'm in a hurry; I need a good ten minutes just for my base, whereas usually I can do my whole face inside ten minutes! I've tried this over a few primers and have found it works best for me over Benefit's The POREfessional, which is a shame as that's far from my favourite primer... I've been applying the foundation directly to my skin from the tube, then buffing in with my dampened Beauty Blender; this seems to be the best way to reduce the pore problem. I've then been buffing in a little more with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, which doesn't work for application straight off, but seems to help in blending out the product pooled in my pores. Below you can see, mostly on my nose, how the foundation gathers in my pores after application with the Beauty Blender.
L'Oreal Infallible 24H Matte Foundation Pores
Once it's on, the finish is definitely matte and is one I could get away without powdering to set; it's not chalky or unnatural, just soft and matte. I do still powder over it, mostly through habit and also because my skin is just so oily! I'd hope after all that fuss to get it on my face in the first place, that it would stay put. Sadly, I've found that oil starts to show through within 1-2 hours and the foundation seems to go patchy after about six hours - falling well short of the 24 hour claims. This has really been an all-round disappointment to me, and more so because I had such high hopes for it I think!
FOTD L'oreal Infallible 24H Matte Foundation
[Products used: Benefit The POREfessional; L'Oreal Infallible 24H Matte
Foundation in 10 'Porcelain'; Soap & Glory Kick-Ass Concealer in 'Light';
George Silky Pressed Powder; Deborah Milano Natural Blusher in 'Cherry';
Makeup Revolution I ♥ Brows Kit in 'The Fairest Of Them All';
L'Oreal Infallible 24H Matte Foundation is priced at £7.99 for 35ml of product and is available in six shades. Overall, it's far from the best base I've tried and it's not one I'd choose in future, because it's just such a faff to use and doesn't really give the results I'd hoped for! Have you tried L'Oreal Infallible 24H Matte Foundation? How did you get on? I'd love to hear if you have any tips to share on how you've made it work for you?


Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Five Things I've Learnt From Blogging

I've now been blogging a little over four years; I honestly don't know where the time has gone!! When I started writing this blog, I was a nineteen-year-old student trying to fill some time in the summer between my second and third years of University; I was young and naïve and really had no idea just how much I'd fall in love with sharing my thoughts with people on the Internet. My full archive is still available on this site because, embarrassing as some most of my earlier posts are, I do think it's nice to see how far I've come! This little space has evolved from random ramblings and the odd cringe-inducing "outfit post" attempt, to something I'm actually pretty proud of and enjoy spending my time working on. I've also been having a little think, the past few days, and realising just how much I've learnt from blogging...
Five Things I've Learnt From Blogging
I have a skin type... and it's not 'normal' | I know; shocker, right!? I didn't really have any understanding of skin types when I started blogging; I just bought products at random and if I'd ever given it any consideration, I would have assumed that my skin type was normal or even dry because of my eczema. Through blogging, I've learnt what different skin types mean, how to recognise them, and what kind of products work best for me. Surprisingly enough, my incredibly oily skin reacts a whole lot better to products that aren't designed for normal/dry skins... Who knew!?
Ingredients matter | Previously, I was very much a pick-up-whatever's-cheapest kind of girl; I genuinely didn't see the point in spending more than I absolutely had to on skincare. Blogging has taught me so much about ingredients, how they work with our skins, and which ones to seek out or avoid. As well as now knowing about things like why I shouldn't be using alcohol on my face and what ingredients can lead to spots, this has given me much more control over my eczema as I'm able to avoid products which trigger it. This is probably the most important thing I've learnt from blogging as eczema really can make your life a misery and my skin is so much better since cutting out SLS in my shampoos and body washes.
Highlighter isn't just for revision notes | I had literally never heard of highlighter as a beauty product and it's not something I would ever have considered putting on my face until I started blogging; now, I have a slightly excessive collection of highlighters - liquid, cream, powder, I've got them all! - and they're one of my favourite make-up products. I really like how a sweep of highlighter down my nose and across my cheekbones can brighten my face up and make me look so much more alive.
You can fill your brows in | This simply hadn't occurred to me. Sure, I'd seen people who drew their brows on, but why would I want to do that!? I now can't imagine not filling my brows in each day; they're quite sparse and light compared to my dark hair, so filling them in makes a real difference in terms of framing my features and bringing my face 'together'. I love the difference it makes and honestly, brow products are one of my daily essentials!!
Boots is pretty much my favourite shop | I used to be all about the clothes shopping; you could lose me for hours in New Look or Primark, but now I'd much rather blow all my spare cash on skincare and make-up! I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or not? I have an unholy collection of face masks, cleansers, body butters and goodness knows what else yet I somehow can't help myself from adding to it at every given opportunity... There's a thrill in discovering a skincare gem that I just never got from buying a new top or pair of shoes.
There are dozens more things I've learnt from blogging (the fact that make-up brushes need washing springs to mind...), but these are some of the main ones! What have you learnt from blogging, or from reading blogs? Any confessions to share? I'd love to hear the most important thing blogging has taught you!


Monday, 10 August 2015

Review | Burt's Bees Lip Crayon

One of the products I chose for my Latest In Beauty #LIBAwards Box was this Burt's Bees Lip Crayon in 'Hawaiian Smoulder', which sounds like a gorgeously summery shade, doesn't it?! I love lip crayons as I find them so easy to use and comfortable to wear; I'm prepared to compromise a bit on the pigmentation for the low-maintenance aspect. I love that you can basically swipe on and go, and it's easy to touch up on the go as well if you so wish; there's no faffing around with lip scrubs and balms, since lip crayons are generally hydrating enough to skip the balm, and forgiving enough that scrubs aren't necessary.
Burt's bees Lip Crayon Hawaiian Smoulder
Burt's Bees Lip Crayon 'Hawaiian Smoulder' Swatches & Review
The Burt's Bees Lip Crayons come in a brown twist-up plastic casing which has two bands representing the colour of the product; the clear snap-on lid has a honeycomb design which I think is just a lovely touch! As you can see in my swatches above, one swipe gives a pretty wash of colour, whilst you can also build the product up for a slightly more intense colour pay-off. 'Hawaiian Smoulder' is a medium pinky-red which I think would suit most skin-tones; it looks quite natural on me and is perfect for day-to-day wear for a polished look without being overdone. It's probably not one for dramatic night-out make-up, but then that's not what it's designed for and I wouldn't expect it from a lip crayon, so that's fine!!
FOTD Burt's Bees Lip Crayon Hawaiian Smoulder
[Other products used: The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Reviver;
Concealer in 'Light'; Benefit Sun Beam; George Silk Finish Pressed Powder; 
In terms of lasting power, I'd say it's pretty average for this type of product; within a couple of hours the colour starts to fade, although it does so evenly, leaving a stain behind. Touching up is optional as the stain is enough to still look nice, in my opinion; that's obviously down to personal preference. I haven't found this lip crayon to leave my lips feeling dry or rough, rather, it hydrates them quite nicely - thanks to the Shea Butter, Kendi Oil and Jojoba Oil boasted by the ingredients list. Burt's Bees Lip Crayons are priced at £6.99 for 3.11g of product, available in six shades direct from Burt's Bees here; this has definitely left me wanting to try more of their products! Have you tried Burt's Bees Lip Crayons? What are your favourite Burt's products?


Saturday, 8 August 2015

Review | Born Pretty Under-Eye Sheet Masks*

I was recently very kindly sent some products to try out from Born Pretty, one being these Under-Eye Sheet Masks* which I found intriguing as I've seen similar products in the past, but at several times the price. I figured it couldn't hurt to see how I got on with these as I'm increasingly noticing dark circles under my eyes, as well as the beginnings of some fine lines. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mind getting a few lines here and there, as I really do think they add character to a face; that said, I also don't mind holding them off for a few years yet!
Born Pretty Store Under Eye Sheet Masks
The packaging is pretty basic, as you can see, and offers little in the way of product information or instruction; thankfully, the product page on Born Pretty's website provides instructions on how to use the masks. Basically, you need to thoroughly cleanse the skin before opening the masks, removing the plastic backing and applying to the under-eye area for 20-30 minutes; it's recommended that you use every 2-3 days for best results.
Born Pretty Under Eye Sheet Masks
I found these really easy to apply - the backing peeled off easily and the gel-like texture of the masks adheres to the skin really well. They're also easy to reposition so you can play around with where you put them if needs be. Once they're on, though, they stay on really nicely and I didn't feel like I needed to keep messing with them or pressing them back down; I could tell they were there but not in an uncomfortable way. The masks have a lovely cooling sensation on the skin which I really enjoyed for the half an hour I was wearing them. Below you can see my 'before' photo at the top, and 'after' underneath.
Born Pretty Eye Masks Before & After
I'm not sure how well these, worked, to be honest - I think I can see a slight reduction in my dark circles in the before/after photos above but that could just be wishful thinking! What do you think? That said, they felt so nice to use and they come in at just £1.17 for the pair, a far more affordable eye mask option than many I've seen previously! I would consider buying these again just as a little relaxing treat if nothing else - you can find them on Born Pretty's website here, and remember you can get 10% off anything across the whole site by entering my code 'JESSMK31' at checkout.
Have you ever tried under-eye masks? What have your experiences been? Would you try a budget version like these?

[*Product provided for consideration.]
[Prices correct at time of writing but may fluctuate with exchange rates.]

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Review | The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Miracle Solid Oil

Have you tried The Body Shop's Wild Argan range? It smells incredible! Seriously. Which is why I was perfectly happy to add a 50g tin of their Wild Argan Solid Oil to my Latest In Beauty #LIBAwards Box last month. Presented in a little round aluminium tin with a snap-on lid, this is basically exactly what it sounds like; an oil in a solid form, perfect for use on the body and hair. With a base of Coconut Oil, this also contains Carnauba Wax and Shea Butter in addition to the Argan Oil it's named for. The first thing you notice upon opening the tin is the gorgeous scent of Shea butter; I'm sure it's not just me that loves the warm, comforting scent! The oil is solid and a creamy yellow in colour; it melts on contact with the skin, but not too quickly, so you can hold your fingers on it for a few seconds without fear of picking up too much product for your intended use.
The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil Miracle Solid Oil
My favourite way to use this is on my elbows, where it works an absolute treat at softening up those often dry, flakey areas; I imagine if you were a fake tanner, this would be ideal to use the day before! It is also gorgeous rubbed into the feet to leave them feeling silky soft and smooth, I like to apply a layer before bed and wake up to lovely silky feet. The options are pretty much endless, this is a truly versatile product which can be used to moisturise pretty much anything and does so incredibly effectively. I'm not a huge fan of oils on my hair, as it becomes lank and lifeless so easily, but with this it's easy to add the tiniest amount for an intense moisture hit for the ends. It's not my favourite way to use the Solid Oil but it does work nicely and if you're a fan of oils for your hair, I'm sure you'd love this!
The Body Shop Wild Argan Miracle Solid Oil
The Body Shop's Wild Argan Solid Oil will set you back £8 for a 50g tin, though as always with The Body Shop if you keep an eye out for their regular promotions you can save a fair bit on that. A tin will last ages as you use the tiniest amount each time; I'd really recommend it for anyone who suffers with areas of dry, itchy, flakey skin as it's so easy to smooth a little on to really soothe dryness and hydrate the skin beautifully. I also think it'd also be perfect for travelling with as, being a solid product, there's less of a risk of messy spills en route, it's a handy size and has many uses! Have you tried The Body Shop's Wild Argan Solid Oil? What's your favourite way to use it?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Six Mini Reviews #15 | Pixi, Balance Me, La Roche-Posay & More

I've been powering my way through the beauty samples over the last couple of weeks and have amassed a fair few sachets and mini tubes to throw away, so it's time to share the next installment of my Six Mini Reviews; a brief run-down on my thoughts on each sample, along with whether or not I plan to buy the full-sized product!
Six Mini beauty Reviews Bbloggers L'Oreal Pixi Nourish Balance Me La Roche-Posay
Pixi Glow Tonic Beauty Elixir | I received this dinky sample bottle in my Latest In Beauty Glamour Summer Edit box and managed to get a week's worth of use from it, using it morning and evening after cleansing, as suggested. Aside from a slightly sharp scent (which I really liked, but my mum wasn't so keen on), I could barely tell I'd used this - except for, during "that week" of the month when my skin is usually at its worst, it was the best it's been in months - barely any break-outs, way less redness, and all-round smoother and brighter. The full-sized bottle is £18 so it'd be a bit of a splurge but I'm seriously considering a wee purchase!
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ | This was a sample I signed up for on La Roche-Posay's website, I think; I got a few days' use out of the 3ml sample, using as a moisturiser in the morning and a serum in the evening. I found it nice to use, with a light texture that absorbs easily and leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth and matte, but I didn't find it to keep my skin matte for any longer than usual. Maybe that would be a longer-term effect? I don't know. I would have purchased the full-size if only the £5 off voucher included with the sample hadn't expired by the time I received it - good work, La Roche-Posay! 40ml will set you back £15.50 which isn't too outrageous, so I might buy the full-size yet.
Nourish Kale Enzymatic Exfoliating Cleanser* | I was sent these two tiny sample pots and surprised myself by managing to get two uses from each one, so four in total. Described as containing Pomegranate enzymes for gentle exfoliation and Kale to improve skin's suppleness, I don't feel like four uses is enough to comment on those claims - what I can say, however, is that this had a gorgeous balm-like texture which felt really lovely and luxurious on the skin. My skin was left feeling really clean but soft, smooth, calm, and nourished rather than stripped or tight. At £16.50 for 50ml of product, this isn't the cheapest, but as I have demonstrated a little goes a long way and I'd definitely be interested to see what it could do for my skin in the longer term.
L'Oreal NutriSummer Body | I couldn't even tell you how long I've had this sample sachet. I have no idea. That's kind of gross, right!? Anyhow, I've used it now, despite not being a tan kind of girl; I didn't notice any difference, but then again I wouldn't really expect to given that this is meant to be a gradual tanner... It did feel nice and hydrating on my skin and absorbed quickly without leaving a greasy residue, which is nice, but I don't feel like one use (or even two, as I presume there was originally a Day 2 sachet since this one is labelled Day 1?) is enough to judge the effects of a product like this. I don't think this is even still available to buy. I feel a bit disgusting now. Please don't judge me.
Balance Me Super Toning Body Polish | This sample was also included in the Latest In Beauty Glamour Summer Edit and once again, I was quite underwhelmed, which seems to be a recurring theme with Balance Me products. The texture was nice and the scent was beautiful but I didn't feel like I got much of a scrub from it before it kind of melted away - even when I tried using it on dry skin before I turned the shower on. I will not be shelling out £18 for the 150ml tube, that's for sure!
L'Oreal Elvive Nutri-Gloss Luminiser High Shine Shampoo | I use these magazine sample sachets of shampoo knowing full well that I'll never buy the full-sized bottles as my skin can't handle the SLS if I use them regularly. Regardless, it makes a nice change and I do love trying new things! I wasn't impressed with this, to be honest; although it lathered nicely and there was enough to shampoo twice, even with my long thick hair, I didn't find that my hair felt smooth and glossy, as promised. It also did not work well with my oily scalp, and my hair looked lank and horrible by the next morning, when I usually wash every second day. At £3.99 for 400ml this is pretty affordable, so maybe worth a try if your hair is less prone to oiliness and you're okay with SLS, but I won't be buying it.
I'm on a bit of a throwing-things-away binge at the moment so I'm super glad to be able to clear out this little lot - it's so satisfying!! Have you tried any of these products? What were your thoughts? What's the best product sample you've tried recently?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Born Pretty Crystal Ring*

I was recently very kindly sent this gorgeous Crystal Ring* from Born Pretty, which features a beautiful clear and purple hexagonal prism-shaped crystal wire-bound to the silver-coloured ring finding. The ring is adjustable so should fit most people, although I have found that adjusting it to be smaller is quite tricky - it kind of pings back to its original size, so if you have particularly small fingers you may struggle.
Born Pretty Store Crystal Ring
Born Pretty Adjustable Crystal Ring
Born Pretty Store Adjustable Crystal Ring
The Born Pretty Adjustable Crystal Ring is available here in a choice of nine colours - I have #5 - priced at £2.28 including free worldwide shipping; don't forget you can get 10% off site-wide with my discount code 'JESSMK31' - just enter it at the checkout for your discount to be applied! I think this is a great price for a really pretty piece of jewellery and you could easily justify getting a couple in different colours! What do you think of the latest addition to my jewellery box? Do you like crystal jewellery? Which is your favourite of the nine colours available? I really like the look of #1, which looks like Malachite, and #8, which reminds me of a chip of ice.

[*Product provided for consideration.]
[Prices correct at time of writing but may fluctuate with exchange rates.]
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