Monday, 30 April 2012

April empties

I didn’t get through too much this month. I think I am almost done with all my half used bottles of products and small samples, but that being said my cupboards don’t seem to look any barer.

Naked boost revitalising shampoo — I managed to find this in the 99p store! I still want to love natural shampoos but my hair always looks and feels greasy much more quickly after using theses so I have taken to shampooing twice, which has helped but I never felt the need to do this with regular shampoo. I have started alternating the shampoos I use though as I heard a tip from DermTV that this was good for your hair — I will of course update on this if I notice a difference.

Advanced Techniques frizz control conditioner — My aunty used to be an Avon lady and after she quit we ended up with what seemed to be hundreds of bottles of this conditioner. I really like using the serum in the same range but the conditioner is nothing too special in my opinion.

Umbertio Giannini dazzling shine in the spotlight mist — this has to have been in my cupboard for years, I’m not even sure if the product is still available. Very glad to be done with this, I just don’t care enough to use this on top of everything else for the sake of a little shine.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish — I did a review of this very recently. I am down to my last bottle now but I  know QVC has a special value coming up on Thursday!

No7 protect and perfect intense beauty serum — I love this serum, this was just a sample I had left over but I also have a full sized one to use, which is my third or fourth tube. I will post a full review soon.

Kleenex eye make-up removal wipes — I took these on holiday with me and still had some left over when I returned. There are 30 sheets in a pack and I only needed one each time to remove all my eye make-up, which makes these good value for money. I still prefer the Halo wipes though.

Soap and Glory clean girls body wash — another sample body wash. I really liked this, my skin felt soft and moisturised after using and it has a nice subtle scent. I would consider repurchasing this.

White Glo extra strength whitening toothpaste— I wouldn’t normally include my used up toothpaste tubes in an empties post but this was actually included in the February Carmine box so I thought it would be worth a mention. There isn’t much I can say about toothpaste but I did have a comment that my teeth looked whiter in the time that I was using this so I would be tempted to repurchase it if I could find it easily.


Sunday, 29 April 2012

My favourite skincare Youtuber

Anyone who has read my blog for a while should know that I am all about skincare. I also love to watch YouTube videos and read blogs to get impressions of different skin care products but I am more selective when it comes to taking advice about how to take care of my skin.

My favourite YouTuber to watch for skin care advice is Dr Schultz on His videos are short, to the point and I have learnt so many interesting facts about different skin conditions and how the skin works. Although I believe he has his own clinic and skin care line, his videos aren’t just promotion for his own brand, which is something I really appreciate.

I am aware that I may be writing this and you have all heard of this channel but if not I would love to know what you think if you do check out his videos. Also if you have any suggestions for other skin care based blogs and YouTube channels to follow please comment below.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Liz Earle series: cleanse, tone and moisturise

So where better to start in my Liz Earle series than with the skincare? I believe cleanse and polish was one of the first things developed, and if it wasn’t it is definitely the product she is known best for.

Cleanse and Polish

As I said in the last blog post I have been a user of Liz Earle, on and off, for about 10 years. When I decided I wanted to sort out the problems with my skin, cleanse and polish was one of the products I turned to because it is so simple to use as well as gentle.

I’m sure many of you are aware that cleanse and polish is a cream cleanser, which you apply to dry skin and wipe off using a damp muslin cloth. It has a delicate scent and is very good at removing makeup (including eye makeup) easily, not quite as good as my clarisonic but much better than a lot of wash cleansers — also, using the muslin cloth there is also a gentle exfoliating effect.

At the moment I have the cleanser in a tube but I prefer the pump bottle since I can control the amount of product I get out much more easily.

I’ve heard Liz Earle claim she doesn’t have blackheads as a result of using this cleanser and although I haven’t noticed anything quite as drastic as that, I know a combination of this and the superskin oil (review to come) really helped to control my breakouts and even out my skin tone.

Skin boosting tonic

The skin boosting tonic (toner) is one of those products in the collection, which I believe is hugely underrated. It smells beautiful, is really gentle and refreshing on the skin and I can be used in a number of ways.

I won’t take credit for these ideas since I heard them all watching Liz Earle on QVC, I use a spray bottle to spritz the tonic on my face, which is refreshing and hydrating on hot days and I have also used this to set my makeup — not sure how good it is at keeping my make up in place but it does give a nice finish! Finally I also use soak cotton pads with the tonic and place them over my eyes when I put on face masks and want to imitate a home spa experience.

Skin repair moisturiser

This is the weakest link in the collection in my opinion. Over the years I am pretty sure that the formulation has changed, the scent seems more subtle than I remember (which is a good thing).

I am using the normal/combination moisturiser at the moment (even though my skin is actually dry) and after 10 minutes I can still feel a very slight residue on my skin. I personally don’t mind this, but anyone with true combination skin might find this a bit heavy.

There is also a light moisturiser, for oily skin, and a dry skin moisturiser. There are also other moisturisers in her collection such as the superskin moisturiser (and oil), which I think are better.

I do think I have found a dupe to the cleanser and toner, which I will review soon! In the meantime I would love to know what you think and what products are your favourites.


Monday, 23 April 2012

Quick review: No7 exfoliating sponge

I didn’t want to spend my No7 voucher but it felt rude not to, so I picked up No7’s exfoliating sponge, worth £5.

The packaging states:

For radiant skin use regularly to help remove dead skin cells and aid circulation. Apply your No7 cleanser to the face. Moisten sponge with warm water and massage gently over the face in a circular motion. Use once or twice a week.

I only use this once a week, the sponge is quite rough (think of the scourer you get onto of kitchen sponges) and even though my skin is pretty resilient, more than once a week would be a bit harsh.

I use this in the shower after applying cleanser and very lightly, as the instructions state, massage over my skin in circular motions. I don’t spend more than a minute in total and then rinse off. You can of course apply more pressure, but I think this is too harsh and it just makes the whole experience unpleasant!

My skin feels very smooth and fresh after use but also a little dry. This is a great option if you want to work exfoliation into your skin care routine without a separate product (also a good holiday space saving product!)

However, this isn’t something I would recommend to anyone with sensitive skin, I think the sponge is too harsh and will just cause irritation.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Face of the night

This is just a quick post to share the makeup I did for a wedding last weekend. I decided to go for a classic neutral eye and used my Naked palette.

Naked palette: virgin, naked, buck, smog, toasted, dark horse
Saffron gel eyeliner 
No7 mascara 

Rest of face:
Bella Pierre foundation (cinnamon)
Bourgeois bronzing powder (contouring)
Sleek contour and highlight kit (highlight only)
Benefit Bella Bamba blush
No 7 marshmallow lip gloss 

I also attempted to overcome my laziness and attempt using false eyelashes. I managed to get it on one eye with the first attempt, but the other took about five! Any tips to make this easier would be much appreciated!


Friday, 13 April 2012

Clinique 3-step skin care system review

I trialled the 3-step skin care system from Clinque for the month of February. After a consultation with one of the staff in Debenhams I purchased skin type two for dry combination skin.

The set is made up of a mild liquid facial soap, a clarifying lotion and a moisturising lotion and promises to create the cleanest and healthiest version in just two weeks (or your money back according to the website). 

Individually I did like the products, but the results I found were mixed and I do not think that overall the products had a positive result on my skin. The cleanser lathers well and I could use it with my clarisonic easily. The scent wasn’t unpleasant, but I could smell a slight artificial/alcohol scent. I found the wash very slightly drying, but I do think that I probably should have opted for the kit meant for drier skin.

I enjoyed the process of using a toner again in my skin care routine. The clarifying lotion is meant to act as your exfoliation step. It does have an alcohol scent and contains salicylic acid (concentrations vary depending on skin type) to help move oil and dead cell build up, which I really like and I think this step probably was responsible for the positive effects I saw.  

The moisturiser was my favourite component of the kit, it helped to make my skin feel less dry and I didn’t find that I built up any flaky patches of skin over the time I used this. It soaked into the skin well and didn’t leave any residue feeling so I could move on to applying my makeup quickly. The only thing I disliked about the moisturiser was the bottle, which made is designed so that it is so difficult to control how much product comes out and toward the end, to get any product out at all.

In the first week I found that my parts of my face looked very clear and smooth, almost radiant, but other parts of my face were getting clusters of breakouts, which were deep under the skin, very inflamed and took a long time to clear. Over the weeks all that seemed to happen is that these breakout clusters spread across to different parts of my face so I never had a period of completely clear skin in the time I was using the products.

I’m not sure why this happened, considering I used the products for a month I would have expected if there was any adjustment period — although recently I’ve heard this is a beauty myth — that I would have got through it and seen the positive effects. I’m also not sure that if I had brought the kit for drier skin types, I might have had a better experience.

I brought the 3-step system as a trial kit for £20, which I think is a great set for Clinque to offer, being affordable enough to test the product out first before committing to full sizes. The fact that it lasts a month means that you do get enough time to really see how your skin responds to the products and make an informed decision. I would suggest that if you do decide to try this, really know your skin type and select the right kit.


Sunday, 8 April 2012

March empties

I don’t usually post twice in one day but I wanted to get this up before we got too far into April. March was a strange month for empties since I was away for most of it and I had decided to only take  with me sample sizes of products I had lurking in the cupboards so that I wouldn’t have to bring anything back and have more room for my shopping!

So here is some of what I got through…

Benefit Carmella perfume — I had three samples of this. It is incredibly sweet and although I did like it I wouldn’t want a full sized bottle.

Benefit refined finish facial polish — the exfoliating beads on this scrub are just perfect for feeling like you have exfoliated your face well without feeling too rough. I am not sure what the cost of a full sized bottle is but it is something I would consider repurchasing. 

Body Shop mango body butter — I have always been a fan of these body butters but stopped buying them after the company increased the prices! 

Mythic oil — this was only a magazine sample but a little goes a long way and I got a good number of uses out of this. Unfortunately, as with my shampoo and condition (not pictured) I don’t feel like I can review these properly since the water in Dubai made my hair feel like straw and wasn’t in the best condition for the weeks I was there. 

No 7 blissful body wash x2 — The scent was light and my skin didn’t feel dry after using it but it’s not special enough for me to go for full sized products.

Soap and Glory the daily smooth body butter — thinking back to it now I don’t really remember much about this product! At least I know it’s not worth going back for. 

Liz Earle botanical fragrance — I hated this when it was first applied but as it settled it was much more pleasant. I wouldn’t consider a full size bottle though.

Garnier Ambre Solair face protect cream SPF 30— very light and non-greasy, I already had problems with breakouts because of the water but gladly this didn’t add to my skin issues. 

Garnier Ambre Solair Golden Protect SPF 30 — I really didn’t like this sun protection purely because of the amount of shimmer it contains, I should have guessed from the bottle though! 

Jean Paul Gaultier perfume — I already own a full sized bottle of this and it was good to have something with me that I knew I liked and was long-lasting.


Easter inspired nails

Just a quick post to show you my Easter inspired nails this Easter Sunday.

I used Barry M’s matt white shade all over the nails and let them dry completely before using manicure guides to paint parts of my nail in shade lemon icecream. Annoyingly, when pulling away the guides the line did not come away clean so I used silver glitter to cover this.

The finish isn’t as neat as I would have liked and the white shade I own is too streaky, but I like the idea in principal and will hopefully perfect the technique in another post!


Saturday, 7 April 2012

I’m back! Dubai haul

So after over three weeks in the Middle East I have returned! I had a lovely time, but it has taken me a while to get back into the swing of things here.

Dubai is full of huge malls with lots of well known brands for beauty, clothes and jewellery. Of course I was most interested to pick up beauty products that I can’t get here in the UK, so without further ado here’s what I got…

Bath and Body Works — I was actually picking up gifts but couldn’t resist treating myself too. I picked up a scrub, moisturiser and body spray all from the Aruba Coconut fragrance collection. I think coconut is one of those scents that divides people in terms of love-hate, but I love it! I like to use fragrance sprays on top of moisturisers to enhance the scent and make it last a little longer.  Because I had spent a set amount, I could buy travel bag filled with goodies for an additional £10.

Dubai seems to have pharmacies everywhere all stocking a huge collection of skin care products and I noticed that there are a lot of French brands available. I would have picked up a lot more if my luggage limit allowed but I limited myself to picking up a face mask, moisturiser and night oil from Alba and another face mask from Himalaya herbals. I have become very interested in Ayuverdic products (a traditional medicine native to India) but what I have tried in the past has been very harsh and more suited for oily, acne prone skin — so I was glad to see a product aimed at dry skin but that is still meant to help clean out clogged pores and minimise blemishes.

Finally the product I was most excited to find, Bioderma micelle solution! I have read so many positive reviews on this and even put it on my beauty wish list so I can’t wait to try this out.

I also picked up a few beauty purchases before I even reached Dubai! In Heathrow duty free I found a cosmetics store selling Victoria Secret. After swatching so many of the eyeshadows (and asking the opinion of my twitter followers!) I picked up the ultimate supermodels kit, which contains 64 eyeshdows, 16 lip sticks, 16 lip glosses, 2 bronzers, 4 blushes and 2 highlighters. I also picked up another set of body lotions and sprays in the Bombshell scent.

Finally I am not going to focus on these products too much but they are definitely worth a mention — I found a spa selling Nivea makeup, which I never knew existed! Unfortunately, I also found out that it is being discontinued but I did manage to pick up a selection of what was left for £2 each!

As usual I will be back will full reviews on these products as I try them. If you have tried these brands before I would love to know your thoughts.

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