Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Mix and match — peach lips

Just a quickie post today after I discovered this new lip combo. I tend to not use my brighter coloured lipsticks on a daily basis, but playing around today I decided to combine L’Oreal’s glam shine in aqua mandarin (which is not much better than a clear lipgloss) with Sleek’s "barely there” which is a bright peach colour with a hint of pink. The result was a subtle peach, which looked particularly pretty in natural daylight. 
I used a trick I picked up a while ago, which was to apply a lip gloss before lipstick for a more modern look. By applying this way I found I could control the colour intensity much more than had I applied lipstick first. Another bonus of applying lipstick in this way is that you are less likely to highlight dry lips! 
I plan on mixing up a lot more of my lip colours now, especially the ones that I have neglected. Do you have any suggestions for lip colour combos?


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Summer in London essentials

I may be posting this blog too late but with the amazing summer weather we finally had for a few days I wanted to share my summer essentials when at home in London.

Safety first: sunscreen

Even though my makeup contains SPF, on sunnier days I wouldn't rely on this alone for my sun protection. I really like this facial sunscreen from Simple. It has a light, non-greasy texture and absorbs into the skin quickly. I apply two thin coats — I am very conscious of the fact that if you don't apply the right amount of cream you won't get the protection stated on the bottle — which I then leave to absorb for a few minutes before applying my makeup.
Eye spy: sunglasses

I've developed a bit of a sunglasses addiction lately since I discovered the bargains that can be found at T K Maxx. In the past I always purchased cheap and cheerful glasses, which I considered almost disposable for use on holidays abroad. I wanted something more long-lasting this summer and that I would actually be careful with and after a friend suggested TK Maxx for cheap designer wear I find myself always checking out what is available.
Of course you have to look out for any scratches and you are unlikely to find the same stock at each store or a specific pair but if you aren’t fussy TK Maxx is definitely the place to look. One thing I would look out for is the highest UV protection level possible, which is graded between 1-4.

Nail power: bright nail polish

Bright and pastel coloured nail polish looks good at any time of year, but it looks particularly good when the sun can add to the shine. Summer is also the only time I bother to paint my toe nails.
Just in case: umbrella and cardigans

Well it is England after all and you have to be prepared for a sudden downfall. I carry a small umbrella in my handbag, which I picked up for £5 at Marks and Spencer.  It is not the sturdiest but does the job as long as there isn’t a strong wind too!
Finally, I always carry a cardigan or light weight blazer/jacket with me. The evenings can sometimes be on the cool side and again it's all being prepared, plus a blazer can be a nice way to dress up an outfit for an evening outing.

Let’s hope that the good weather continues and let me know in the comments what your summer essentials are.


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Tropic skincare — Liz Earle but better?

Fans of the apprentice in the UK may actually know this brand as the one by candidate Susan Ma. I managed to pick up the whole product collection at the ideal home show last year and although the packaging has changed since, I am assuming the products inside are the same!

I couldn’t help but compare this to Liz Earle, the pale colour of the packaging combined with the hot cloth three-step system was just too familiar. I have been using this for over two months now and I can certainly say that I prefer this three-step system.
The smoothing cleanser has a thick and creamy consistency, which when applied to the skin changes to a thinner consistency. The cleanser comes with a bamboo cloth, which is meant to retain heat for longer — which I would agree with — and have naturally antibacterial properties. The cleanser is very effective at removing makeup and my skin feels really smooth after using this.

The toner is my favourite product in the range, it has a light fresh scent and is really refreshing to use. I think it smells like rose water, even though the top two ingredients are aloe vera juice and camomile!
The moisturiser is my least favourite of the products, although as I have used it I don’t dislike it as much as I initially did. At first, even with my dry skin, I found the moisturiser too greasy feeling — and for this reason it is not something I would recommend for anyone with oily skin — but as I have got through the pot I have liked using it more and more. The scent isn’t pleasant, but it isn’t very offensive either. 
Some final things I thought I would point out is that I recognise all of the products ingredients, which is always a good thing in my opinion. The products are of 100% natural origin, cruelty free and vegan, which again is a positive for the brand, even though I don’t necessarily look out for these things when I buy skin care. 

The products are similar in price to Liz Earle, which is really offputting for me.  The cleanser alone just under £15 and a kit with all three products and an eye roll on costing around £42. Overall I do like the products — but considering the price — not enough to justify another purchase unless I find it at a special price again.


Monday, 16 July 2012

Bioderma micelle solution review

Fellow beauty fanatics will know that feeling of excitement that comes when finding a raved about product — especially when that product is so difficult to get hold of.

Bioderma is one of those raved about products so I was very happy to find it in every pharmacy all over Dubai. In the blogging world, it seems to be considered the holy grail of cleansers, particularly for removing eye makeup quickly and without causing irritation.

So what did I think?
It’s alright.

I was expecting a “wow” and sadly it didn’t give me that. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it, I do and I can certainly understand where all the hype comes from — but it just didn’t impress me enough.

It is non-drying, has no offensive smell and is extremely gentle on the eyes. It is very good at removing eye makeup with one quick sweep, as for the rest of the face, I still ended up using a regular cleanser to remove a lot of residual makeup.

Considering it is so difficult to get hold of and is on the pricey side for a cleanser, I have to admit I am a little relieved that it is something I can live without.

So now I want to know, what product hasn’t lived up to the hype for you?


Monday, 9 July 2012

Stop cracking (me) up

I’m not going to lie, I picked this up because of the packaging. I never usually make a decision on a product by its cover but on this occasion I desperately needed a lip balm and this one was screaming “choose me!”
On a particularly chapped lip day, I was looking for a lip balm that would offer intense moisture that I would feel comfortable using during the day time. I have used and reviewed the Blistex intensive moisturiser but one of the things I disliked about it, is the fact it is a cream rather than a balm and takes a while to absorb, which means I only use it at night.
This anatomicals balm on the other hand is actually a balm. I found it to be really moisturising when my lips were at their driest, almost as effective as Blistex.

It has no scent, is not sticky and lasts well. I like the slanted tip applicator and the thickness of the balm means that you would have to squeeze on the tube pretty hard to end up with an excess of product on your lips.

Now I’m not going to lie, the packaging is cute but it helped my decision (a lot) that the price is very purse friendly £2.55 for 15ml of product.


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Seven deadly sins of fashion TAG!

Not too long ago I took part in a seven deadly sins of beauty tag. Although I am not much of a fashionista, when I was tagged by The Fashion It List to blog my fashion sins I knew I had plenty to share. 

1. Gluttony: What do you own in excess or extravagance in your closet?
Jumpers and hoodies. I am always cold and I love to be cosy at home so I spend a lot of time snuggled up in big jumpers. I don’t wear over half of them out of the house, they are purely for lounging purposes. I know it seems a bizarre clothing item to own in excess but considering the British weather they are a sensible choice! 

2. Greed: What type of clothing do you always have a desire to buy?
Anything maxi! I love maxi skirts and dresses, I feel so comfortable and feminine in them and they are really easy to wear, not to mention flattering!

3. Sloth: When you are getting ready to go somewhere but feeling too lazy to find something to wear, what is your go-to outfit?
Jeans, a long top/jumper, boots and a scarf. This for me is the ultimate dressed up yet casual outfit.

4. Wrath: What makes you angry when shopping?
That in the sale season everything is just piled up on the rails and no attempt is made to make the displays look good. I don’t like having to dig through everything (and everyone) to try and find something nice. I actually choose to do most of my sale shopping online for that reason.

5. Envy: Which celebrity's fashion sense or style do you most envy?
I actually envy fashion bloggers, like Dulce Candy and Buy now, blog later, more than celebrity’s. Bloggers style seems much more accessible and it helps that they buy clothes from some of the same places I shop in. 

6. Lust: Which store's outside appearance do you find most physically attractive, drawing you in?
I usually love the displays of department stores. They always have the most attractive and creative window displays, especially at Christmas time. Harrods and Selfridges are my favourite. 

7. Pride: Out of all the outfits you have put together, which are you most proud of?
Last summer, before my blog was solely beauty related, I did an outfit post wearing a play suit. I love how the outfit came together, I felt stylish, pretty, feminine and above all comfortable with what I was wearing. I’m just waiting for the right weather to rock this outfit again.
I tag anyone who wishes to take part, just leave me a link to your post below. 


Monday, 2 July 2012

June empties

I think this empties post is my biggest to date. I’ve managed to get through a good mix of bath, skincare and hair products and yet my cupboard doesn’t look any barer….go figure!
TRESemme naturals shampoo — I haven’t liked many natural shampoos but this is the only one I would consider repurchasing. It lathers up well and it doesn’t leave my hair feeling greasy as quickly, plus the huge bottle means that it lasts ages!

Urban Fudge (messy stuff) —I love the packaging and presentation of this hair “fudge”. Although it is not marketed at curly hair it left me with really nice tight curls. I did find that if I was over generous with the cream my hair ended up “crunchy”.

Umberto Gianini curl and twirl shampoo (sample) — I don’t know if this does anything for my curls, but it smells great.

Hair conditioner (sample) — not a sample worth noting but something else to add to the recycling pile.

Avon Advanced techniques frizz control — I’ve featured this before, another bottle down!
Moroccan oil — I have reviewed this in the past. I would like to look for a cheaper alternative if possible, so suggestions are welcome.
Balance Me body wash — this was a magazine freebie, it smelt ok and felt nice on my skin but nothing special enough for me to go hunting for.

Organza shower gel — this came in a perfume gift set, the smell is quite overpowering as a perfume so I didn’t love this as a shower gel.
Liz Earle cleanse and polish and instant boost skin tonic — I’ve reviewed these recently. This is the last of my cleanse and polish so I am looking forward to trying something new.

Bourjois foaming cleansing cream — this came in the goodie bag at the Bourjois event a few months back, but I don’t believe it is actually available to buy so I’m not too sure why they included it.

Neutrogena 2-in-1 fight and fade gel — this is my favourite spot treatment. I stocked up on this when I was in the US and surprisingly this small tube lasts a long time. As the name suggest it can be used to clear up existing spots as well as help fade any scarring left behind. I haven’t found anything as effective in the UK.

Halo eye makeup remover pads — I love these eye makeup removers, cheap and effective. Check out my review here.


Sunday, 1 July 2012

Nails of the week: Nail wraps

My nails were in bad condition after using nail glue a few weeks ago. Polish just highlighted the damage so nail wraps seemed to be the perfect solution to make my nails look presentable while they recovered.
To be honest, as much as I like the designs of nail wraps at £6.99 or more a packet, I would rather buy a bottle of polish! But, I did manage to find these Girls with Attitude nail wraps at Savers for £1.99…bargain!

They are really easy and quick to use. The pack contained 12 stickers in total, 6 of each size. All you do is pick the one that closest matches the size of your nail and stick it on, then using a nail file, file off the excess wrapping by using the file at a 90 degree angle. Because there were only 6 sizes available I did end up using two wraps on one of my nails to get complete coverage.
The whole process didn’t take more than about 10 minutes and with the exception of one nail I didn’t have any issues with the wrap creasing or bubbles forming. A few times I applied the wrap in the wrong position and it was really easy to peal off and reposition.

The wraps lasted just under two weeks — I had to remove them before an interview otherwise I would have expected them to last much longer. The photograph above was taken after 5 days and you can see a slight bit of wearing at the tips but this was barely noticeable.

I am now on the hunt for more wraps at Savers. I think these will be ideal to use while on holiday as a much cheaper and less damaging alternative to shellac.

So, nail wraps, yay or nay?

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