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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Empties | September 2015

Another month down, another assortment of beauty products finished off; September hasn't been the most productive of months for me in terms of beauty empties, but nonetheless here are the few products I have managed to use up this month. We won't go into the fact that it is now officially Autumn here in the UK... or the fact that we are creeping ever closer to the dreaded C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S. I am a fan of denial.
September 2015 Beauty Empties
September Beauty Empties 1
Boots Botanics Shine Away Face Scrub | I love me a good face scrub and I did feel like this worked reasonably well; I'm not sure it mattified my skin at all but it did a pretty good job of smoothing me out. It's not too harsh and my skin seems fine with me using it four or five times per week. All in all, for the price, this worked well.
Repurchase? Already have another tube in my stash, and I'd consider buying again in the future.
Asda Skinsystem Cotton Wool Pads | These were I think 99p for 200, and they did the job perfectly acceptably for me, but I did find they were a little too thin for my preferences. In future I'd tend to favour the Lacura ones from Aldi as they're just a little bit thicker.
Repurchase? Probably not.
COLAB Dry Shampoo in 'New York' | COLAB has definitely replaced Batiste as my dry shampoo of choice; it doesn't leave that horrid white residue in my hair and it seems to work better in making my hair actually feel cleaner, rather than just like I've sprayed a load of product in it. Sadly, COLAB isn't quite as widely available, so I'm stocking up whenever I'm near a Superdrug! New York is my favourite variant, it's a lovely fruity fragrance.
Repurchase? Already have.
September Beauty Empties 2
The Body Shop Glazed Apple Body Butter | This was a seasonal Limited Edition scent last Christmas (picked up for half price after Christmas, obviously!) and I absolutely love the fragrance; it's sweet and fruity, exactly my cup of tea. It works well as a body butter and leaves the kind of lingering scent that has me sniffing myself through the day like a bit of a weirdo...
Repurchase? If The Body Shop have the Glazed Apple range available again this year then I will for sure be stocking up!
Aussie Aussome Volume & Mega Instant Miracle Dry Shampoos | I think including these is kind of cheating as neither of them are actually empty; however, both the nozzles have broken meaning I can't get any more product out of the cans, so there doesn't seem much point holding onto them. These have been an all-round disappointment for me; they smell bloody awful, really chemically and horrible, and didn't do anything to refresh my hair.
Repurchase? Nope. All the nopes.
Beauty Kitchen Inspire Me Brightening & Toning Body Polish* | I've really enjoyed using this body scrub a couple of times per week, I've particularly liked using it on my arms, shoulders and chest; I often get a handful of spots in those areas, I'm not sure why, but using this in the shower every three or four days has really reduced the numbers, which is nice. I'm not sure about brightening and toning, to be honest, but it leaves my skin soft and smooth so I feel like I'm onto a winner and anything else would be a bonus!
Repurchase? Maybe.
Have you tried any of these products? I'd love to know if you agreed with me or had different experiences? Have any of you tried the Aussie dry shampoos?


Monday, 28 September 2015

Review | Maple Holistics Ancient Clay Facial Mask*

I was recently very kindly sent some products to trial from Maple Holistics; alongside the Degrease Shampoo*, the other product I chose was their Ancient Clay Facial Mask*, which claims, "Deep cleansing Fuller's Earth removes impurities and allows the skin to breathe, whilst Bentonite revitalizes and detoxes. French green clay firms, tones and tightens pores for a clean, refreshing effect."
Maple Holistics Ancient Clay Facial Mask Review
The packaging is simple but effective, nothing fancy - it consists of large white plastic jar with a screw-cap, with the mask itself being in the form of a powder; the instructions suggest mixing one scoop of the powder with two scoops of water to form a paste, before applying to the skin and waiting ten minutes, then washing off with warm water. I've discovered a couple of things, mostly through trial and error; firstly, one scoop is way too much, about half a scoop is plenty to cover my whole face.
Maple Holistics Ancient Clay Facial Mask
In addition, mixing the powder with water is far easier said than done, as it tends to become very sticky and lumpy and not really want to mix... I've found the best way is spreading the powder out in a fine layer and trying to distribute the water around, then quickly mixing with my fingertips before applying to my face. It still ends up a little lumpy, as you can see, but not too bad...
Maple Holistics Ancient Clay Face Mask
Excuse my very serious expression there... Once on, comparisons to Shrek and/or The Incredible Hulk aside, The Ancient Clay Facial Mask dries to feel quite tight on the skin, as is common with clay masks. I tend to leave it around 15-20 minutes to dry before washing off in the shower (I always wash masks off in the shower so I can put them right up to my hairline, where I always seem to get tiny little spots). My skin is left feeling clean but decidedly on the tight side, so following up with a good moisturiser is a must for me. I do think it clears my pores and firms my skin a little, though I have to admit I've not noticed any tightening of my pores - still, two out of three claims isn't bad! After using this around once a week for the past month, I've barely made a dent in the jar, so I think it's safe to say it's gonna last me a good while yet! Maple Holistics Ancient Clay Facial Mask is priced at $15.99 for the jar which I think is a reasonable price given the quality of the ingredients and the quantity you get. Have you tried any products from Maple Holistics? What's your favourite clay mask?

[*Product provided for consideration.]
Don't forget you have 'til midnight tonight to enter to win a Shampoo & Conditioner duo from Maple Holistics!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Review | Neal's Yard Remedies Body Lotions

September has turned out to be a pretty good month for magazine freebies; as well as the Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream I reviewed a few days ago, you can also get your hands on two variants of Neal's Yard Remedies Body Lotions with the October issue of InStyle. I picked up one each of the Bee Lovely and Geranium & Orange options, so here are my thoughts - just in time to pick up a tube or two, if they take your fancy!!
Neal's Yard Remedies Body Lotions Review
Both come in a squeezy plastic tube with screw-cap, with the Bee Lovely tube being a pretty sunshine-yellow colour with a honeycomb design and cute little bees, whilst the Geranium & Orange is a more mature-looking lilac and navy. The tubes are great for travelling with - indeed, I'm keeping the Geranium & Orange in my gym bag - so it's worth noting that the full-sized products actually come in a bottle with a pump, which might not be quite so handy for on the go, but would be easy to use with wet hands after a bath or shower. Swings and roundabouts.
Neal's Yard Bee Lovely Body Lotion Ingredients
Neal's Yard Remedies describe the Bee Lovely lotion as follows: "Moisturising organic honey is blended with energising organic Orange and Mandarin oils to nourish, soften and bee-utifully scent the skin", whilst the Geranium & Orange, "Combines vitamin-rich Olive and Pumpkin Seed oils with soothing Aloe Vera and pure essential oils of Geranium and Orange to leave skin velvety smooth and delightfully fragrant." With a base of natural oils and beeswax, you can expect these to be super-nourishing on even the driest of skins. Having a little look at the ingredients, however, I was surprised to note that the Bee Lovely lotion does contain Alcohol Denat. which is quite a drying form of alcohol and not one I'd expect from Neal's Yard, so if your skin is on the dry side I'd be careful with that and maybe opt for the Geranium & Orange instead.
Neal's Yard Geranium & Orange Body Lotion Ingredients
Both lotions are white and creamy upon squeezing from the tube; if anything, I'd say that the Bee Lovely lotion (on the left below) is ever so slightly thicker than the Geranium & Orange (on the right), but I only noticed when I compared the two side-by-side - I don't think I'd notice in day-to-day use. Both spread easily over the skin and absorb quickly, leaving my skin feeling hydrated, soft and smooth but not sticky or greasy. Both leave behind a lovely, delicate scent which has me sniffing my arms for the next few hours..! Neither has an overwhelming scent - both are subtle and "just enough", if that makes sense; the Bee Lovely has a refreshing yet grown-up citrus scent which is just gorgeous, whilst the Geranium & Orange lotion is a predominantly citrus scent with undertones of geranium which, again, is really lovely.
Neal's Yard Remedies Bee Lovely and Geranium & Orange Body Lotion Reviews
I've found both body lotions work equally well to hydrate my often tight and dry skin, leaving behind a subtle scent that hasn't irritated my eczema at all. Neal's Yard Remedies Bee Lovely Body Lotion and Geranium & Orange Body Lotion are priced at £21.50 for 200ml, but you can currently get a 100ml tube for just £3.99 with the October issue of InStyle which will be around for another week or so - I'd definitely recommend searching a copy down if you like the sound of these, as that's a right bargain! Did you pick up either of these Neal's Yard Body Lotions? Which do you like the sound of most?


Thursday, 24 September 2015

Six Mini Reviews #16 | Ghost, Trilogy, Givenchy & more

The time has come again; I'm still on what feels like a never-ending mission to use up a million and one beauty samples. I've actually had a bit of a clear-out in my room recently, discovered a whole stash of samples I'd forgotten I even had, and streamlined a little so that all my samples are in one place (I think) - I'm hoping this will make it easier to see what I've got, and motivate me to use them up! Anyway, onwards; this is the latest installment of my thoughts on the beauty samples I've been trying out.
Mini Beauty Reviews Trilogy Givenchy Benefit Ghost Smim
The Face Shop The Smim Radiating Moisturizing Cream | I have a feeling I've tried a sample of this moisturiser before; I really like the slight fruity scent it has, and found that it worked well to moisturise my skin whilst also adding a nice glow. I don't really know much about this product as everything apart from its name is in Korean... At £3.90 for 60ml on Amazon (please note, I haven't ordered from this Amazon seller) this isn't something I see myself buying in the future - it was nice to try but not something I'd go out of my way to use again.
Ghost Girl Eau de Toilette | Described as "a heady blend of fruity florals and woody base notes", this scent sounded pretty much exactly my cup of tea - and it was! Sweet and girly, it's definitely the sort of fragrance I'd choose for myself, and I found it lasted pretty well on my skin as well. The full-sized bottle isn't really my style but it's what's inside that counts, after all, and with prices starting at £25 for 30ml it's pretty reasonably-priced, so I may end up purchasing a bottle at some point.
Benefit The POREfessional Pro Balm | I've been through a few of these mini tubes now so I'm not sure if including this is classed as cheating? Nevertheless, it's a sample and I've used it, so in it goes! I'm not the greatest fan of this primer; I don't find it does much to keep my make-up in place or my skin matte. For me, there are better options available at much lower prices (like The Body Shop's rather lovely Instablur!) At £24.50 for 22ml of product, this isn't something I ever see myself purchasing in the full-size.
Givenchy Live Irrésistible Eau de Parfum | I got three days' use from each of these little magazine sample sachets, and have to say I really enjoyed wearing this; it's exactly my type of scent! This is quite sweet again but with a spicy kick to it which I loved, and it lasted well on my skin. Apparently it has top notes of pineapple, heart notes of rose, and a base of amber accord. Do I sound like I understand perfume yet?! Starting at £49.50 for 40ml, I'd consider treating myself to this one!
Trilogy Vital Moisturising Cream | This travel-sized tube has lasted me really well; I've used it for overnight stays and weekends away, and have found it works well as both a morning and evening moisturiser. It doesn't contain SPF which means having to remember to apply separate sun protection, but it gave a good base for my make-up, whilst still being enough for a nice dose of overnight hydration as well. It also smelt lovely, the rose scent I've come to associate with Trilogy products. At £24.50 for 50ml this is a mid-price range product for me, although if I were to repurchase I'd probably go for the SPF 15 version, which is a little more at £27.50 for 50ml.
Trilogy Very Gentle Calming Serum | I found this sachet in a little stash of samples I'd forgotten I even had - whoops! I got three or four days' use from it, using it morning and evening, but didn't really notice any obvious benefits. It did feel lovely on my skin and definitely added some hydration, but the other claims relate to reducing fine lines so maybe it's a little soon to say whether it helps with those - I also suspect I'd need to use it for a good while longer. At £28.50 for the full-sized 30ml, this isn't outrageously expensive and is, again, one I'd consider in the future.
Have you tried any of these products? What's the best sample you've tried lately?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Review | Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream

There are some pretty good magazine freebies around this month, one of which is a tube of Balance Me's Super Moisturising Hand Cream, which I picked up around a fortnight ago and thought I'd review so that you can pick one up if you like the sound of it! The sunshine-yellow tube caught my eye immediately as I was browsing the magazines in Sainsbury's, I really like the bright colour. The hand cream is described as "ultra effective and seriously soothing" - sounds perfect!
Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream Review
"Multi-award winning and seriously rich, our hand cream has been formulated with a unique and uplifting blend of renowned ancient skin conditioners benzoin and yarrow, as well as fatty-acid and vitamin-rich shea butter to leave even the driest hands smooth and soft to touch. " For me, the most noticeable thing about Balance Me's Super Moisturising Hand Cream is the scent, which is very lavender-y and not really the sort of thing I'd choose, although it's by no means unpleasant. It just wouldn't be my choice! The cream itself is easy to dispense from the screw-cap tube, and has a lovely balmy texture which spreads readily over the hands and absorbs quickly, without leaving behind any stickiness or greasy residue. I find it leaves my hands feeling soft, smooth and well-hydrated, which is basically what I'm looking for in a hand cream! I wash my hands very frequently at work so a good hand cream is a must-have and I do think this one works well and lives up to its claims.
Balanace Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream
Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream is available directly from Balance Me, with prices starting at £7.50 for 30ml, though you can currently get a tube with October's issue of Marie Claire for £3.99 (in the UK), so I'd say it's worth searching out if you like the sound of it! Did you pick up any of the Balance Me products with Marie Claire, or any other magazine freebies this month? What's your favourite hand cream?


Sunday, 20 September 2015

Wishlist | The Birthday Edition

It's been a while since I've shared a wishlist here on my little blog, but with my birthday coming up next weekend I thought it was the perfect time to share a few things I'm loving the look of at the moment! I've already had an amazing day out at the Warner Bros Studio Tour with my mum & brother, as well as some new running shoes off my parents and a Hogwarts scarf off my brother, so I'm not actually expecting to receive any of these things. It's really just an excuse to share pretty things!
Wishlist: The Birthday Edition
Tegan Ankle Boots, Hobbs, £179
Coal Face Facial Soap, Lush, £4.95
Zoeva Classic Face Brush Set, Beauty Bay, £52.95
Mystic Rose Phone Case, Paperchase, £12
Benefit Roller Lash Mascara, Debenhams, £19.50
I really love the look of Fleur de Force's makeup collection with Feel Unique; I don't tend to wear lipgloss so I'll be giving those a miss but I am sorely tempted by both the eyeshadow quads; 'Cosmic Bronze' in particular looks really pretty and super-wearable. I've been having a little browse of Hobbs's new season range recently (I've actually treated myself to a dress with a gift card I won last year...) and have fallen a little bit for these boots, which I know full well I'd never wear and yet inexplicably want anyway. I really like the sound of The Body Shop's new Spa of the World range and am intrigued by anything containing charcoal, so it's probably only a matter of time before this Body Clay makes its way home with me... I also really want to try the Vitamin C moisturiser, I'm wondering if it's similar to Origins GinZing? It has been ages since I've bought anything from Lush and I can feel a spree coming on, they've had so many fab product launches recently. I don't think Coal Face is new but I'd love to see how my skin gets on with it. A few of my make-up brushes are beginning to look a bit battered and well-loved now, so I'm thinking it may be time to invest in a decent set like this one from Zoeva - they're so pretty as well which is a bonus! I don't own an iPhone so this phone case would be utterly useless to me but I love the copper mirror-effect and the embossed skull - this is so me. I wish they made cool cases like this for my phone!! Finally, I'm coming to the end of my sample of Benefit's Roller Lash mascara and I'm a tiny bit gutted - I'd hoped I wouldn't like it but I really, really do. I absolutely can't justify spending nearly £20 on mascara, so it has snuck its way in here...

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Friday, 18 September 2015

The Warner Bros Studio Tour, London

You may remember I mentioned in this post about my plans for September that I really wanted to go to the Warner Bros Studio Tour in London for my birthday; I've been a massive fan of Harry Potter since I was about eight and I'd wanted to do the tour since it opened. Now my birthday isn't actually until the end of the month but it falls on a weekend which was pretty much all booked up already, so we decided we'd go early. We booked our tour for 2pm on a weekday, and one four-hour drive later we arrived, like giddy children on a school trip! I honestly had an incredible day (despite a migraine which meant I wasn't able to use the digital guide thingy) and thought I'd share some of my photos in case you missed my obsessive snapchatting my way around... First, though, I will say that I'd avoided spoilers before I went which definitely added to the magic - so if you haven't been and do plan to, I'd maybe skip this post!! This is going to be pretty photo-heavy, I have done my best to whittle them down (I took hundreds) but there are still a fair few...
Dumbledore Snape & McGonagall Warner Bros Studio Tour London
Hogwarts Letter Warner Bros Studio Tour London
Mirror of Erised Warner Bros Studio Tour LondonInvisibility Cloak Warner Bros Studio Tour London
We weren't 100% sure on what we were in for; despite being described as a "tour", the website states that you can spend as long as you like in the attraction, which led us to think it wouldn't be a traditional tour with a guide. It turned out we were right - the building is laid out like a tour which you follow round, and you can pay extra to hire a digital guide which gives you more information and facts as you walk around. I did find that there was so much to look at and read that I was struggling to remember to watch/listen to my digital guide even before the migraine kicked in, but I think they're a nice addition to the tour and certainly, if you've been before, I think they'd be a nice way to get something new from the experience. The batteries obviously weren't up to how long we spent there, though, as my brother's died pretty early on and again almost at the end, by which point mine and my mum's had also given up the ghost.
Neville's Cardigan Warner Bros Studio Tour London
The Burrow Warner Bros Studio Tour London
I found that most of the staff were really knowledgeable and helpful - one girl spent about ten minutes showing us the special effects make-up and talking to us about the wigs, costumes and so on, which was so interesting. In all, we spent around six hours in the tour itself, and a further 45 minutes or so in the gift shop. We paid £33 each for our tickets which I do think is reasonable - there is so much to see! Once inside, you're not supposed to eat or drink apart from in the designated cafe, which we found to be very overpriced. You can take your own food and drink in with you, though you'd have to carry it round with you. I really wanted to try some Butterbeer but by the time we reached the cafe I was feeling pretty dreadful and something so sweet seemed like a really bad idea - so I'll definitely have to go back!
No4 Privet Drive Warner Bros Studio Tour London
Potters Cottage Godric's Holow Warner Bros Studio Tour London
Azkaban Prisoner Number Warner Bros Studio Tour London
The gift shop was also amazing, with so many things to look at. Some of the items seemed really reasonably priced and others (namely the sweets - I would have loved a chocolate frog but wasn't up for paying £7 for one!) massively over-priced - I guess that's gift shops for you. I did think, though, that most of what they were selling seemed to be really good quality, rather than your typical cheap gift shop tat, which is nice - there were a few kids' bits and pieces that maybe weren't so great (fibre optic broomsticks?) but for the most part, things were quite nice. I didn't actually buy anything, but my brother did get me a Hogwarts scarf as an early birthday present ♥ I originally wanted a stripey Gryffindor scarf but they'd sold out, but then I think I like the Hogwarts one more anyway!
Chamber of Secrets Warner Bros Studio Tour London
Borgin & Burke Warner Bros Studio Tour London
Charity Burbage Warner Bros Studio Tour London
I have to admit to having got a bit teary-eyed a few times; when we first went into the Great Hall right at the beginning of the tour, at the Potters' cottage in Godric's Hollow and, without giving too much away, at the castle towards the end. I also found seeing Dobby in a little glass cabinet quite emotional - I've been told this is weird but hey!
Quidditch Balls Warner Bros Studio Tour London
Potions Warner Bros Studio Tour London
We had an amazing day out, it was well worth the money spent and the ten-hour round trip to get there and back, and I'd definitely visit again in the future! If you're a Harry Potter fan then I really would recommend a visit, as it's so interesting to see how the films were made - not to mention the sheer volume of props, costumes and so on, all in one place. I don't think it'd be much fun for very young children but I know I'd have loved it aged eight, so I reckon if your kids are fairly good readers and like Harry Potter, they'd enjoy it, though you may not get away with spending six hours there... Have you been to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour? Is it somewhere you'd like to visit?


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Five-Brush Face

I should start by saying that prior to starting blogging, the only make-up tools I owned were the foam applicators that come with eyeshadow; I simply had no idea that how you applied your make-up was just as important as what you applied, if not more so! (Have a peek at this post for more things I've learnt from blogging...). How times have changed; whilst I don't have the largest collection of make-up brushes by any means, I have a fair number which are used on a regular basis. Sometimes, though, it's nice to take things back to basics - if only because it means fewer brushes to wash! Whittling down your tools is also handy for travelling, as carrying umpteen brushes can really bulk up your make-up bag. So, this is how I apply a full face using only five brushes...
Five Brush Beauty
The five brushes in question are... the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, Real Techniques Powder Brush, ELF Studio Blush Brush, Born Pretty Round Brush from this five-brush set*, and a generic brow brush which has definitely seen better days... Yeah, I need to get that replaced!
Makeup With Minimal Brushes
Starting with the Expert Face Brush (this is a real multi-tasker!), I buffed The Body Shop's Vitamin C Skin Reviver into my skin, followed by Rimmel's Match Perfection Light Perfecting Foundation in 'Ivory'; I admit this isn't my favourite foundation when it comes to coverage as it's a little on the light side for my needs, but it is super-easy to apply and gives a lovely finish once powdered down. I topped up coverage where necessary (read: under my eyes!) with Soap & Glory's Kick-Ass Concealer in 'Light', applied with my fingers and blended out gently with the Expert Face Brush again. The same brush also came in for applying and blending theBalm's How 'Bout Them Apples Cream Blusher in 'Pie' (I added a bare hint of this on my lips, too), and for gently blending out NARS's Orgasm Illuminator along my cheekbones and brow bones. I then added a dusting of Collection's Sheer Loose Powder with the Real Techniques Powder Brush to set everything nicely.
Five-Brush Beauty
Base seen to, I added just a hint of Milani's Baked Blusher in 'Luminoso' along the tops of my cheekbones with the ELF Studio Blush Brush; this probably wasn't strictly necessary as I had already used the Orgasm illuminator and theBalm blusher, but having applied powder, I find this adds a little extra dimension to my face and stops it looking flat. Personal preference I guess! Next up comes brows; Non.U Brow Pencil* from Born Pretty can be applied straight from the pencil which is definitely handy for travelling, though I do use a generic brow brush to just blend it out slightly to avoid looking too drawn-on.
Makeup Revolution Beyond Flawless Palette
Finally, eye make-up; Born Pretty's round brush is perfect for lightly packing on eyeshadow, in this case from Makeup Revolution's gorgeous Beyond Flawless palette, and I finished off with a coat of Benefit's Roller Lash mascara.
FOTD Five-Brush Beauty
I actually really like the finished look; I think it's just the right amount of polished for everyday wear, and it certainly doesn't look like something thrown together without using the proper tools - to me, at least! What's the bare minimum of brushes you need for a full face of make-up? Does five seem like a lot to you? What are your essential brushes?

[*Products provided for consideration.]

Monday, 14 September 2015

Review & Giveaway | Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo*

I was recently contacted by Maple Holistics to ask if I'd be interested in sharing their products with you lovely lot in the form of a couple of reviews as well as a giveaway! After a quick browse of their range I was super-keen to say yes; Maple Holistics are an American brand focussing on providing natural, premium products to enhance health, hygiene and daily living, using high-quality and pure ingredients to make each product as effective as possible. One of the products I was intrigued by was their Degrease Shampoo*; struggling as I do with an extremely oily scalp, I've been on the hunt for an SLS-free shampoo which will effectively clean my hair for the last few years. Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo boasts a range of ingredients, targeted to help treat oily, itchy scalps; Lemon cleans gently without stripping and offers antibacterial properties • Rosemary helps to stimulate cell renewal • Cypress has astringent qualities to help balance sebum production • Basil stimulates the hair follicles to restore and strengthen brittle or thinning hair • Jojoba and Peach Kernel Oils condition and moisturise sensitive scalps to treat dandruff and hair loss • and Botanical Keratin helps replenish the hair's natural proteins.
Maple Holistics Degrease Moisture Control Shampoo
But how have I been getting on? Well... the shampoo is easy to use, lathering in my hair without any problems, which is always nice to see with an SLS-free product; I know lather isn't strictly necessary to clean, but it's what we're used to, and it does make it easier to spread product through the hair in my experience. I've found a little goes a long way with this shampoo, meaning the bottle should easily last me a couple of months despite not being huge and me having a lot of hair! I always shampoo twice, once to remove any oil and product build-up and then again to ensure my scalp is properly cleaned; the scent of this shampoo as I massage it into my scalp is quite herbal and not one I'd choose, but it isn't unpleasant or off-putting. Once rinsed out, my hair feels clean, but with that feeling where you know you're in trouble if you don't use conditioner; I've just been using my usual conditioner on the bottom six inches or so of my hair, as usual.
Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo
I never blow-dry my hair anymore (I think the last time I used my hairdryer was at Christmas) but once my hair has dried naturally, it feels soft, clean and silky. Typically I wash my hair every other day but am heavily reliant on dry shampoo to look presentable on the second day; if I had a big event or a job interview or something, I probably wouldn't go with second-day hair! I've found that on day one of washing with Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo (i.e. I wash it in the morning and for the rest of that day) my hair is lovely and fresh; by day two, I still need a good dry shampoo to freshen up and absorb excess oil at the roots. This is by no means unusual and I've yet to discover a shampoo that can help my hair last longer than a day!
Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo Review
Maple Holistics Degrease Shampoo is priced at $16.95 for 8oz, which is around 200ml, available here. Maple Holistics have very kindly offered me the opportunity to partake in their #SummerofGiveaways and give away a shampoo and conditioner duo of your choice from their range, which you can see on their website. Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter, and make sure to enter the details it asks for as I will be moderating entries and removing any which I can't validate! This is open to residents of the UK, USA and Canada only - sorry to readers in other countries.
Win Maple Holistics Shampoo & Conditioner
The only compulsory entry is to leave an email address, which will only be used to contact the winner - all other entries are entirely optional, but the more you fulfil, the greater your chances of winning. If you're under the age of 16, please make sure you have your parent or guardian's permission to enter as we will require the postal address of the winner in order to ship the prize. The prize will be shipped directly by Maple Holistics and I bear no responsibility for this. You have until midnight on the 28th September to enter - that's two weeks from now. Good luck folks!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Review | The Body Shop All-In-One Instablur™ Universal

Recently I picked up a tube of The Body Shop's All-In-One Instablur™ Universal after coveting it for the longest time; I have a real love/hate relationship with primers and am constantly on the lookout for one that will tick all my boxes. In short, I want a primer to give me a smooth base and hide my huge pores, keep my make-up in place all day, and keep my skin matte. Not so much to ask, is it!?
The Body Shop Instablur All In One Univseral
The Body Shop make some pretty lofty claims for this little tube; apparently, an application of All-In-One Instablur™ Universal offers • 12-hour shine control • Reduced appearance of pores • Blemish hiding • Evening of the complexion • aaaaand extended make-up wear-time. If it can live up to all those, I think we're onto a winner!
The Body Shop All-in-one Instablur Universal Review
For me, the packaging is basic but functional; a white squeezy plastic tube with a screw-cap means it's safe to travel with without the fear of leaks, and it's easy to dispense product from the tube when you want it. The product is silicone-based (so one to be careful with, if you find silicones break you out) and translucent in colour, as you can see below, with quite a thick texture which is nonetheless easy to blend over the skin; I think it will suit all skintones as it's invisible once on the skin. I tend to apply either with my fingers, or my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, focussing on the areas on my cheeks with enlarged pores, as well as my forehead and nose where I tend to experience the most oiliness.
The Body Shop Instablur
Once applied, I do feel like my complexion is evened out, with pores and any blemishes being blurred, as you can see below; it's by no means enough for my skin, but if you have pretty good skin then there's a chance this would be enough for you with maybe a little concealer. I find it gives a lovely smooth base, which is easy to apply and blend foundation over, probably due to the silicones. My pores are far less obvious when I apply my base over this, as compared to without primer, or indeed any other primer I've ever tried. I'm also thrilled (no exaggeration!) to report that whilst I often experience shine coming through within the hour of applying my make-up, I've noticed that with The Body Shop All-In-One Instablur™ Universal as my base, my skin is still looking almost completely matte up to five hours later!!
The Body Shop Instablur Before & After
This is nothing short of miraculous as far as I'm concerned and I don't think I'll stop singing this one's praises for years to come! To my mind, it lives up to all of its claims with the exception of the 12-hour shine control thing - and even that, I'm happy with, as five hours is a huge improvement to me! My skin is extraordinarily oily so I do think that if you're the average, slightly oily person, you'd be in with a good chance of 10-12 hours of shine control. You can purchase The Body Shop All-In-One Instablur™ Universal here, priced at £14 for 25ml; for me this is a reasonable price as a little goes a long way, it works really well for my skin-type and requirements, and there are often offers available anyway. I'd definitely recommend giving this a try if, like me, you're after a smooth base which will help your make-up stay in place whilst keeping your skin looking matte! Have you tried The Body Shop All-In-One Instablur™ Universal? What's your favourite primer?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Friday, 11 September 2015

October 2015 Magazine Freebies [UK]

I didn't do a magazine freebies post last month as it was a pretty poor month in my view! This month is looking a bit better, however, so here are some of the beauty goodies you can get your hands on with October's magazines, which are on sale throughout the month of September.
October 2015 Magazine Freebies UK
Marie Claire October Magazine Freebies Balance Me Rita Ora
Marie Claire (£3.99; Rita Ora on the cover) comes with a choice of three Balance Me skincare products; I went for the Super Moisturising Hand Cream, but there are also a Restore & Replenish Face Cream and Cream Cleanser available. All three together are apparently worth £36. In the magazine, you also get a 20% discount code for Balance Me (valid until the end of October), as well as sample sachets of L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Shampoo, Garnier BB Cream for Combination/Oily Skin, and a tester of Gucci Bamboo perfume.
RED (£4.10; Drew Barrymore on the cover) comes with an Organic Glam mascara, which I would ordinarily pick up but I have a serious mascara problem and don't even have space for any more, so I've given it a miss. Apparently this is worth £19.50, which sounds like a lot to me for a mascara from a brand I've never heard of, but there you go.
InStyle (£3.99; Emily Ratajkowski on the cover) comes with a choice of two 100ml Neal's Yard Remedies Body Lotions; I've picked up one each of the Geranium & Orange and Bee Lovely options which are on offer as these are an absolute bargain. You also get a tester card for Armani Sí perfume in the magazine itself, a sample sachet of Givenchy Live Irrésistible Eau de Parfum, which is really lovely, and a 20% discount code for Neal's Yard which is valid until the end of September.
October Magazine Freebies InStyle Neal's Yard Remedies Body Lotion Emily Ratajkowski
Also, Sainsbury's are running a buy two, save £2 offer on a selection of magazines which definitely includes Marie Claire, so if you're thinking of picking up a couple of these then it might be worth doing so in Sainsbury's, if you have one local! Have you spotted any other magazine freebies this month? Will you be picking up any of these?


Thursday, 10 September 2015

Here's Why You Need To Try Applying Your Eyeshadow Wet

Recently I've developed a real thing for applying my eyeshadow with a dampened brush; I'm sure we all know the frustration of a gorgeous eyeshadow that looks beautiful in the pan but as soon as it touches your skin it becomes chalky and sadly lacking in pigmentation. A damp brush can help! Here are my top five reasons for trying out applying your eyeshadows wet:
Here's Why You Need To Try Applying Your Eyeshadow Wet
Pigmentation | Using a dampened brush makes the colours of your eyeshadows appear much more vibrant, so for any shadows you have which are a let-down when it comes to pigmentation - a damp brush could be all it takes to make them bright and beautiful! I mentioned recently in my review of Born Pretty's Qiaoyan Silky Eyeshadow Palette* that applying damp makes a real difference to the pigmentation of these shadows. Here, for example, the left-hand swatch of the bronze shadow in the middle of the palette is dry, whilst on the right I applied with a dampened brush; you can see how much more pigmented it appears!
Applying Eyeshadows Wet
Metallic finish | A metallic finish is pretty on-trend right now, and applying eyeshadow with a damp brush is a great way to achieve this finish - particularly when it comes to baked shadows, like ELF's Studio Baked Eyeshadow Palettes in 'NYC' and 'Seattle' - I always apply these damp as it gives a gorgeous, almost foiled effect to the shadows!
Longevity | I often find that eyeshadow creases or fades after a few hours, possibly due to how oily my skin is; I'm not sure, but I do know it isn't a good look! Applying damp seems to reduce this problem for me; shadows which previously would be looking pretty poor after a shift at work, still look just as fresh as when I applied them - I think I'm onto a winner here. If you struggle with eyeshadow that won't stay put, try applying damp.
Versatility | For shadows which are nicely pigmented dry, applying them damp can bring out a whole new shade; it might be that shimmers stand out more, you get more of a colour shift, or a more intense colour comes through. Either way, you can make your shadows more versatile by trying them damp to see how they look! Here I've got Stila's 'Kitten' from the In The Light palette; it's super-pretty applied dry (on the left) for a subtle, shimmery champagne shade, but applying it damp (on the right) brings out a gorgeous pearlescent effect.
Stila Kitten Swatch Dry & Damp
Texture | Some eyeshadows are just a little on the chalky side, or throw up a bit too much fallout when you apply them; applying damp reduces this problem and really improves the texture of problematic shadows, in my experience. If you've got a gorgeous shadow that you just never use because of the mess involved - give it a try with a damp brush!
Do you ever apply your eyeshadows damp? Are there any other benefits you've noticed?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Bedside Beauty

I think we all have a beauty product or two we like to keep within reach during the night; there are certain products you can expect to see on pretty much every nightstand or bedside table! For me, working evenings and therefore not getting in til 10pm or later most nights, when it comes to my bedtime skincare routine I'm really pretty lazy! I take my make-up off religiously before heading up to bed but whether I remember/can be bothered with things like moisturiser and eye cream is fairly hit-or-miss. I find it handy, therefore, to have a few necessities on-hand that I can slap on from the comfort of my bed...
Bedside Beauty
For me, hand cream is a must; I wash my hands a lot at work and they certainly show it. A dab of Sweet Cecily's Elderflower & Almond Hand Cream* is just the job before I drift off to sleep, to hydrate my hands overnight. I always try to use a lip-balm at bedtime, too; I've actually almost finished this one, which is a Cocoa Coffee one from this Etsy seller. Coffee might not be the obvious choice for a bedtime lip-balm but I find it a really comforting fragrance so there we go...
Bedside Beauty Products
Once or twice a week, I like to use an overnight face mask, in the shape of Origins Drink Up Intensive; I find this works so well as a really lovely shot of moisture to deeply hydrate my skin and help deal with any dryness and irritation. It also smells gorgeous so there's that. I rarely remember to use the CCS Foot Care Cream* or the Yves Rocher Anti-Fatigue Iced Gel* but when I do, they're just the thing for tired, sore legs and feet after a long day at work. Finally, I have my tin of The Body Shop's Wild Argan Miracle Solid Oil on hand for any dry patches, particularly my elbows; again, this smells lovely, and it works so well to soften up the flaky bits overnight. Also pictured: my One Line A Day Journal, available here, and If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts On Things Found And Lost And Hoped For by Jamie Tworkowski, which is my favourite book ever. You can order that here if you're interested.
What are your bedside essentials? Are there any products you'd add to my selection?

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

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Review | Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream

One of the products I chose for my Latest In Beauty #LIBAwards Box was the Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream, which has turned out to be something of a life-saver for me recently in terms of rescuing my skin from a horrible breakout caused by sk:n's Facial Exfoliating Cleanser. Having been using this for around a month now, it's time to share my thoughts! According to Burt's Bees, "Our rich cream cleanser with natural Soap Bark deeply cleanses, removing dirt, excess oil, and make-up. The 100% natural cleanser is also formulated with Chamomile and Aloe to gently soften skin, and a hint of Menthol known for its cooling and soothing properties. The result is skin that looks naturally healthy and fresh."
Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream
Presented in a large plastic squeezy tube with flip-cap, the packaging offers a good amount of product information and guidance; I really like the design on the front as well, it's pretty but in-keeping with the Burt's Bees brand which I'm growing to love the more I try. It's easy to squeeze the required amount of product from the tube; the cleanser is a thick, creamy texture which is white in colour. I've found around a pound-coin-sized amount is just about right for my whole face; this has been my evening cleanser of choice lately.
Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Cleanser
I start by removing the bulk of my make-up with my Botanics All Bright Micellar Water, before dampening my hands and then massaging in the Soap Bark & Chamomile Cleanser for a minute or so. It feels really quite luxurious on the skin with its smooth creamy texture, and I absolutely adore the scent which is really uplifting. I then use a hand-hot washcloth to gently remove the residue, in the manner of a hot cloth cleanser, as I find this the best way of removing all traces of cleanser and giving my skin a little exfoliation into the bargain! My skin is left feeling clean and fresh, yet soft and plump at the same time; this offers a deep cleanse without drying out or stripping the skin, which is always nice! It took this a few days to calm my poorly skin down but I did see my breakout fading noticeably each day over the first week or so of use; it's definitely one I'd turn to again in a skin crisis to heal spots without drying my skin out excessively.
Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Cleansing Cream Ingredients
Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream is priced at £10.35 for 170g of product, available from Holland & Barrett; it's a huge tube which will last ages so for me, it's well worth the money and it's definitely a product I'll consider buying again in the future! It's worth pointing out that Alcohol Denat. is lurking towards the bottom of the ingredients list, and this is mentioned by Caroline Hirons in this wonderful guide to alcohols in skincare as being quite drying. I haven't found this to be the case at all but I thought I'd mention it anyway; if you have dry skin I'd tread carefully but otherwise, really don't let that put you off trying as this really is a brilliant cleanser in my opinion! Do you have a go-to product when your skin's in a sorry state? What's your favourite cleanser?

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