Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Burt’s Bees hair review

I was very kindly sent samples of Burt’s Bees shampoo and conditioner by Lush Duck after I mentioned on twitter that I was still searching for my perfect natural haircare.

As you would expect for natural products Burt’s Bees are paraben free, sulphate free, and free from other selections of nasties. I was sent the super shiny grapefruit and sugarbeet shampoo and conditioner. The smell of the shampoo in particular is strong and very refreshing whereas the conditioner is more subtle.
I am 50/50 in my opinion of this set. The big down side for me was that the shampoo doesn’t foam as well as I would like and feels matted and dry when you try to spread it. On the plus side I didn’t notice any build up and my hair didn’t look greasy after two days, which I found with the organic surge hair range.

The conditioner on the other hand is lovely to use. It has a thick consistency which spread throughout the hair well but, it is not as conditioning as I would like considering my hair is naturally very dry.

There were also a few pleasant surprises using this set. I found that my hair has not been so flyaway/frizzy on the occasions I have used it and although I tend to be dismissive of hair care product claims of ’super shiny’ properties this actually did give a nice shine to my hair.

I’m afraid Burt’s Bees hasn’t won me over completely. I am really after something that foams well and that I can work into my hair without concern that I haven’t washed properly.

Thank you to Lush Duck for the opportunity to give these products a try. Lush Duck is an online store which offers a selection of natural organic products including one of my favourite skin care collections, Organic Surge. They offer 10% off for new customers and best of all free postage!


Monday, 29 August 2011

Project 10 Pan complete!

So I have reached the end of my project 10 pan. It wasn’t easy and I am really glad it is over. I have learnt a lot from it and made a few decisions about the way I will spend from now on.

The holiday was the perfect time to you use the satin radiance moisturiser, it contains small gold shimmer which act to reflect light and gives the skin a subtle glow. I also finished off the Avon Ungaro perfume, Shashbox primer, Samy curl creme and the Bare Minerals night treatment, which proved itself to be huge value for money considering how long it has lasted.

You may consider it cheating but the only thing that was difficult to finish is the Bourgeois mineral radiance which I have now abandoned. The Witch concealer stick is almost done, so I will be placing an order with ELF today and take advantage of their 50% offer to stock up on my favourite concealer.

By doing the project 10 pan I have learnt that I am pretty good with my spending, and also that I don’t like thinking I can’t spend (who does, I hear you) but psychologically I found telling myself I couldn’t spend meant that I wanted too even more.

I’ve decided to just stick to my habit of using something then replacing it (which is especially the case for skin, hair and body products) and for makeup on the most part do the same for things like foundations, primers, concealers which the occasional indulgence in lipsticks, blushes etc. I want to do my best not buy for the sake of buying and enhance my collection rather than have multiple products of the same type (similar shades of lipstick for example).

I have also decided to set myself monthly goals/challenges for any products I feel are being forgotten or if they are close to being used, to finish them. I have mentioned this in a previous post and admittedly I failed miserably this month, partly because I forgot to take the ELF lipstick away with me on holiday.

For the month of September I have chosen Dove ‘hint of colour’ moisturiser, I was already half way through this before abandoning it last summer and hope that this will maintain my tan for a little longer. Just for this month I will include a second product and try again to use up the ELF ‘baby lips’ lipstick.

I would love to know if any of you have tried a project 10 pan and what you learnt from it.


Organic surge skincare review

After my experience with Good Things skin care (which broke me out) using Organic Surge has been a dream. All their products contain naturally derived ingredients and essential oils and are free from SLS, parabens, synthetic colorants and fragrances.

I have been using the daily care face wash and the intensive moisturiser for around 2 months which were recommended to me for my skin type by the representatives when I purchased them.

The cleanser foams amazingly well which I have begun to not expect from organic products. The cleanser has a subtle rose scent. When I use it alone it cleanses well although I would suggest taking any makeup off with a specific makeup remover before cleansing. I have also used it with my clarisonic and it works very well when you add some of the cleanser directly to the brush. After washing my skin feels very soft and the cleanser does not give that dry, tight feeling.

The moisturiser has a thick consistency but spreads well on the skin. It does leave a slightly oily residue when initially applied but sinks in quickly. The condition of my skin has changed considerably since using this, although that being said I don’t know if I can put it down to this product completely. My skin has always been dry but it now feels much more hydrated and smooth on a daily basis. The scent of this is similar to that of the cleanser but a little stronger. The only negative for me with this product is that it is in a tub rather than a tube purely for the purposes of hygiene.

Best of all this range did not break me out. I managed to try out the range on a buy one get one free promotion, but even without such promotions the range is very affordable at £4-8 each and is available via their website as well as in stores. Although I didn’t like the haircare range too much the skin care has agreed with me much more and I would repurchase both these items as well as try out other products in the range.

That being said as much as I like this range once I am done with it I am on the hunt for something new to try so any recommendations are welcome.


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Jolen wax pearls review

I was given a half full pot of Jolen wax pearls to try from my cousin who originally brought it. As the name suggests the wax is originally supplied as pearls which you melt in the microwave and apply to the skin, it then hardens and you rip it off along with your hair so no strips are needed.

The instructions state that the wax should melt in the whole tub in three minutes. Even with the half tub I had and a 900w microwave it took closer to 8 minutes to melt the wax completely. You have to be very watchful of the time and not just leave it in there for longer since it will heat up so much that it can’t be used immediately.

The wax was very easy to use. Using the spatula provided I found the best way was to apply against the hair direction so that at the bottom there was a thicker layer of wax which you could then use as a grip to pull the strip against the hair as you would with normal waxing.

I would apply the wax to a few different areas first which gave enough time for the first area to set and then go back and remove the strips. Because of the consistency of the wax you can only make and use that strip once. The strips came off fairly well (with only residue left where the wax was applied more thinly) and were actually very good at removing even short hair.

Unfortunately there were a few down sides to the use. I was only doing half leg and this ended up becoming a race between me doing as much as I could and the wax cooling and becoming harder and more difficult to work with. As the wax did become harder it became stringy and messy and generally more difficult to use. I don’t particularly want to continually go back to the microwave and reheat, which I suspect would happen more frequently as you use up the wax.

Although it does work surprisingly well I would not recommend this product purely because it is not that easy to use. It cost just over £10 in Boots and considering how much wax you get through for quite small areas it is not very good value for money.


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Shellac manicure day 14 update

Two weeks of suncream, oils and chlorine and how did my Shellac manicure do?

Amazingly! This is day 14 and as you can see there is minimal chipping to speak of. The only thing is a huge amount of regrowth which cannot be helped, but looks much better than the usual regrowth and chipping combination that can occur when you are too lazy to remove your polish. The colour was perfect for my holiday and matched with a lot of outfits really well. That impressive shine also lasted throughout the time which is quite easily my favourite property of the polish.

In the first week the manicure was faultless, only by day 6 did regrowth start to become visible.

By day 10, I started to see what looked like lifting at edges. I actually visited a castle on this day and was climbing up the dodgy steps and noticed that there was a small chip but I think that this may have been from brushing against the stones. Having said that the shellac did a good job at strengthening my nails and protecting them against breaking which I am sure would have happened from the way I had been treating my hands.

I decided to reapply a second time just to compare regrowth as well as to observe how to take it off correctly so I can attempt to do this at home and then report back on how easy that is as well as determine how using the polish has left the condition of my nails.

The colour I opted for this time was “tutti-fruti” another beautiful shiny colour of pink with a hint of purple which shows up really well in the pictures. What I noticed this time was that the manicurist set some bubbles into the polish, which is frustrating when you know you have to look at that for at least two weeks!


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Spin Pin review

After seeing numerous reviews of the Goody Spin Pins I wanted to try some out for myself. Having thick curly hair any up-style take numerous attempts and endless numbers of pins and usually results in me giving up and wearing my hair down so these worked perfectly.

The pins work like a corkscrew, after putting your hair into a bun (no elastic band needed) a pin gets spun into the top and another into the bottom of the bun. I tended to go for a looser style of bun so that my curls could fall out and tested out a few different ways of doing this.

Low messy bun, this was the tightest style I did just leaving the ends of my hair out to create a messy look.  

Mid-height bun, looser than previously to look more styled and less like a bun

High bun and loosest of the three styles. 

The pins were perfect on holiday, having my hair down was just too hot so I was glad to be able to put it up in a more stylish way without using a scrunchy and that wasn’t a ponytail. Because I tended to go for looser buns I found that these did not hold well in the water although for use now I am back in the UK this is not going to be an issue! The tighter the bun the better the hold and because of the greater density of hair you are less likely to get the two pins colliding, which was the only other issue I found using these so I had to be careful to angle the pins to avoid this.

I purchased my spin pins in a Claire’s Accessories outlet for £3.50. They usually retail at £5 and can be found coloured for blondes or brunettes.


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sleek in the Mediterranean

If there was ever a time to make the perfect use of my Sleek Mediterranean palette it was in the Mediterranean sunshine. I challenged myself to try and create new looks to the ones I have featured previously which I found a bit of a struggle if I’m honest!

I apologise now for the poor quality of pictures and use of flash, the lighting in the room was less than ideal and didn’t give justice to the brightness of the colours, I also don’t know what was going on with my facial expressions!

Look 1. Using the pinks and purples of the palette I placed ‘lotus flower’ all over the lid and ‘magenta madness' into the crease. To deepen the colour I placed ‘moors treasure’ into the outer corner very lightly and blended.

Look 2. I don’t really like this look but I thought I would include it anyway as it demonstrates the limitation of the palette for me. I wanted to make the use of the green just underneath the lower lashes, but the lack of neutrals in the palette meant I couldn’t do a neutral eye to pair it with which is my default look when I pick a bright colour for the lash line. Instead I opted for ’sand walker’ and ‘moors treasure’ in the crease.  

Look 3. Quite easily my most daring look to date. Not satisfied with my attempt at using the green I went for this peacock/ocean inspired eye. I started with ‘aquamarine’ in on the inner third, followed by ‘hummingbird’ on the remainder of the lid. I then placed ‘midnight garden’ into the crease and the green into the inner corner also working it lightly across the two blue colours. On the lower lash line I followed the colours as they were on the lid.

For each of the looks I used Urban Decay zero eyeliner (note to self must remember to pack a sharpener next time!) and mascara. 

With all looks on the rest of the face I used; Garnier BB cream (light), Benefit Coralista blush (with the exception of look 3 which was a mix of coralista blush and magenta madness eyeshadow, ELF eyebrow kit, and Sleek pout polish in monte carlo.

With the exception of 'summer breeze’ I believe I have used all the colours in the palette which is a first for me since I tend to go back to the same looks again and again.

My previous two looks are here and here. Which one is your favourite? If you have any requests for particular colour combinations let me know and I’ll see what I can come up with.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

What I took on holiday….

I have returned from Cyprus somewhat rested and a little tanned even after I spent all the time in the shade!

I thought I would start off with sharing the makeup I decided to take with me. I tried to stick to essentials and not go overboard with the packing, even then there are still a few things I didn’t end up using. The temperature averaged mid-30s (celsius) so I knew that makeup in the day wasn’t going to be an option, I did manage a few eye looks in the evening which I will share in another post.

Bella Pierre mineral foundation - used 5+ times
Bourgeois mineral radiance - used 4 times
Witch concealer stick - used 5+ times
Garnier BB Cream - used daily
Garnier eye concealer - used 4 times
Bare minerals night treatment - used nightly
ELF brow kit (shown above) - used 5+ times

Sleek Mediterranean palette - used 3 times 
Urban Decay double ended eyeliner - used 3 times 
Sleek luminaire - used once
Urban decay primer potion - used 3 times
Benefit coralista blush (not sure why I put this with the eye photo!) - used 5+ times

Sleek pout polish - Monte Carlo - used 5+ times  
Sleek pout polish - Bonaire - used once
L’Oreal Glam Shine - used once

Bella Pierre foundation and blush brush
ELF blush brush
Avon shadow brush
Smashbox shadow brush
Sonia Kashuk crease and angled brush

I assume a few of your spotted the BB cream added in the collection which I was gifted just before my holiday after gazing at in Superdrug on a few occasions. It ended up being one of my holiday essentials, a full review will be posted soon! 

I found myself going back to the same items so there were a few products I didn’t use. The Garnier eye roll on which I use daily normally made my eyes water, I assume because of the heat and possibly the mix of sunscreen underneath so I could only use it in the evenings. 

I’m quite impressed with my light packing, how much makeup do you normally take?


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

I’m going on holiday….

I’m off to the sunny island of Cyprus for 10 days. I wasn’t organised enough to schedule some posts but I know I will miss blogging and my contact with my readers so much.

I hope to take some pictures for outfit posts and write up what I used for skin and haircare, as well my makeup recommendations for the heat when I return.

I am not expecting to have any internet access to respond to emails and comments but I will do so on my return.

Stay safe and happy all, and I’ll be back soon!


Monday, 8 August 2011

September issue freebies

I have only picked up two beauty magazines so far this month after noticing some fab freebies.

Marie Claire are giving away Ciate nail polish. There are two shades available and I opted for the dark purple with shimmer called ‘wait until dark’. I have not tried Ciate polishes before, but I love the packaging even though it doesn’t fit in to my storage space that easily! I brought my copy from WHSmith where the magazine also contained a sample of Dove intensive repair conditioner. It smells gorgeous and I am looking forward to testing it out.

I also purchased Red magazine which has an option of two “Balance me” shower gels. These are 99% natural and I opted for the super moisturising wash. As a bonus the magazine also has an excellent subscription offer of 12 magazines for £12 and a free L’Occitane hand cream as well as Red exclusives membership. I signed up immediately and look forward to my first copy next month!

I will have reviews and swatches of all the products up soon. What magazines did you go for this month?


Sunday, 7 August 2011

Hot chillies, I’ve been shellac-ed!

First off, how do you like my attempt at a creative title? With my holiday approaching I decided I would treat myself to a nail treatment in the form of Shellac nails.

Briefly, the Shellac system uses a special type of polish which is part polish part gel I believe and which promises to last for 14 days without chipping. The polish is applied to natural nails in a series of steps, just as you would with any other polish. First a base coat, followed by two coats of colour and finally a top coat. Between each step the polish is set under a special UV lamp for between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. The end result is super glossy nails which are completely dry. I did not quite believe this at first and found myself being all delicate and trying not to touch them for fear of smudging. I have never had gel nails before, but this doesn’t feel like regular nail polish and also does not feel like a thick layer like false nails.

It took about 35-40 minutes to shape my nails and apply the polish with all the steps. There are 24 colours to choose from in the range so far and the salon I went to even showed me examples of some colours layered to give different looks. 

The colour I chose was ‘hot chillies’ a beautiful red/pink with shimmer. I tried to go for something unlike that I own, although this does reminds me of OPI ‘guy meets galveston’ which is more sheer and does not contain shimmer. I love the colour and the shine is incredible and unlike any other polish I have seen.

For a hand manicure with Shellac applied I found the cost is usually around £30-35. The salon I went to offers the service of just tidying up your nails and applying the polish for £22, which is what I opted for, but I am not aware of other salons which offer this which is a great option if you take care of your nails yourself or would just like to save some money.

I’m going to keep track of how well this polish performs and post an update when I return. I am told that chlorine and suntan lotion won’t affect the polish and all I will get is some regrowth so be sure to check back in two weeks for the update. If you have already tested out shellac nails, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought or even your blog post links so I can see what colours you opted for! 


Friday, 5 August 2011

Oh so special….

I realise I am late with this review considering this palette has been out for a while now. I was lucky enough to get this in the first week it was out, picking up one of the last palettes in the store.

My Sleek collection is slowly growing and I risk my palette reviews all reading the same since the quality of this palette is as high as previous ones. As usual the palette contains a beautiful selection of pigmented colours in a range of finishes.

Of the Sleek palettes I have this is my favourite. The colours are more neutral although there is a range of tones and the colours lend themselves to both day and night looks.

I was a bit concerned in other reviews when I read that this was considered a dupe to the naked palette, which I also own. But having them side by side I think you can easily justify having both and I don’t consider the oh so special to be a dupe.

My favourite colours of the palette are Organza, Gift Basket and Wrapped Up, which along with bow are the colours I used for my first look. I applied organza all over the lid, with gift basket in the crease and deepened that with wrapped up. I then applied bow to the browbone and in the inner corner. 

I also experimented with brown eyeliner for the first time and really like the finished result. But I will have a blog post about that at a later date.

Please share your looks with the oh so special palette, I am always grateful for inspiration. Also, if you would like to me to compare this with the naked palette let me know below.


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Nails of the week - Ring finger manicure

I decided to do the ring finger manicure this week, and it turns out it was just in time for the sunshine!

I’ve gone back to Barry M and am using my favourite colour, shocking pink and tangerine on my ring finger. I think these colours complement one another really well and especially since the tangerine shade is a shimmer colour which the pink is not. 

I love how simple yet effective this look is and I have had so many complements this week. Are you liking this trend?

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