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January 26, 2015

Balance Me Radiance Face Mask Review

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Natural Face Mask for radiant clear skin
One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Balance Me Natural Face Mask for clogged dull skin

When I went for my Balance Me skin consultation back in December one of the products that was highly recommended to me was Balance Me's Radiance Face Mask*. It was recommended to me because I have clogged pores and combination (dry/oily skin), and I needed something to help me gently but effectively exfoliate my skin - and this mask is good for all these skin concerns. It's first ingredient is water, followed by clay, so it is a clay mask but it's very light and the high concentration of sweet almond oil keeps it from being too drying. Essentially, the complex base formula is a creamy, light clay mask that does some cleansing but also helps to soften and balance the skin, making it perfect for combination skin-types.

In and among the clay you can also find small particles of walnut shell which add a touch of exfoliation. It's quite a gentle exfoliation but it might still be too harsh for incredibly sensitive skin, however, for me it's just enough to brighten and soften my skin without leaving it looking red. I like to gentle work Balance Me's Radiance Face Mask into my face when I first apply it, I find that this gets all the exfoliation out of the way at the beginning of the application so that the rest of the mask's ingredients can really get to work on my skin. I wait about ten minutes and find that a lot of the product seems to sink in and disappear. Once this has happened, I remove the face mask using a flannel soaked in warm water using small circular motions. The product is incredibly easy to remove so it won't irritate sensitive skin, and I find that the brightening and softening effects are immediately noticeable.

I've used a couple of 15ml mini tubes of Balance Me Radiance Face Mask before and they tend to give about three to four full applications. This means that a 75ml tube will give you approximately 15-20 applications, which I think definitely justifies the price. I picked mine up on for £18.00 with free delivery, but you can also find the 15ml tubes which are available for £4.50. 

Have you tried any Balance Me products before? 
What's your favourite face mask?

January 24, 2015

My First Experience with Japonesque

A little while ago I was very kindly invited to John Lewis Kingston to have my makeup done at their Japonesque counter - which was the first one to open in the UK! I hadn't ever tried anything from Japonesque before but I had heard wonderful things about their makeup brushes. I met the very lovely Kim (a very charming and experienced makeup artist who's worked with celebrities such as the Saturdays and David Beckham) who expertly talked me through Japonesque's incredible range of products before doing my makeup. I was blown away by the quality of the brushes (I would highly, highly recommend the Japonesque Pro Stippling Brush for applying foundation - I've actually just bought it for myself so I'm sure a review will follow next month) and I also really, really loved their lightweight Luminous Foundation (in Shade Two) and Velvet Touch Concealer (in Shade One). When I left the counter I was also very kindly given a couple of products to take home with me. I wasn't asked to review my experience or talk about any of the products but I've been so impressed that I wanted to share my thoughts!

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Japonesque Makeup Brushes Review

 free with the  purchase of any two products from John Lewis Japonesque Counters
Kim showed me how to use this brush when she applied my makeup and she encouraged me to use this for concealer. It's quite a dense brush and it works perfectly at applying just the right amount of coverage under the eyes and around the nose, which is exactly where I need a bit of extra help! It's a gorgeously soft brush and this travel size is perfect for on-the-go touch ups, whilst the larger sized brushes have a gorgeous weight to them that makes them feel incredibly luxurious to use. Before I started using this brush I didn't actually use a brush to apply and buff in my concealer, but I can notice a big difference. I think the application is so much better, and more consistent, than just using your fingers. I'm a convert!

available from John Lewis for £15.00*
This is another brush that Kim used when she applied my makeup. It's quite a small brush which makes it perfect for smudging eyeliner or precisely applying eyeshadow. It also works very well for doing your eyebrows. I'm not sure how I personally feel about spending £15.00 on a small eye brush - it seems expensive to me - but the quality of the brush is definitely very high and it would be a good addition for anyone really into trying new makeup brushes.

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Japonesque Lip Lacquer in Shade 01 Review
available from John Lewis for £15.00*
This is definitely not what you might imagine when you think "lip lacquer". It's an incredibly creamy and luxurious feeling lip product that's really enjoyable to apply - especially as it isn't at all sticky! However, this does mean that it isn't as long lasting as you might want it to be. That being said, because it's so creamy it really works wonders at plumping up lips and making them look fuller. I love Shade 01, it reminds me a lot of my Ilia Lip Conditioner in These Days as it's a similar warm, bronzed nude with a similar hydrating formula. I don't, however, love the brush. It just doesn't feel as high quality as the rest of the products and applies product quite thickly onto my lips. I much prefer applying  a little bit of product from the brush and then blending the product into my lips using my fingers. 

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Japonesque Eye Definer Black Review

available from John Lewis for £12.00*
I'm not usually one to reach for kohl liner as I find that it can often smudge on my hooded eyelids. However, Kim used the brown shade on me when she did my makeup and I was really impressed at how quickly and easily this eyeliner could transform the appearance of my eyes. And no, it wouldn't last all day (I found it smudging underneath my eyes after eight hours) but it would last through an evening making it perfect for evening make-up looks. Kim recommended dotting it along the upper and lower lash line before smudging downwards into the lash line using the Small Eye Detailer Brush. As the Eye Defining Pencil has a very creamy, but not slippery, formula it's really easy to use like this and the finished effect leaves the lashes looking incredibly full and thick, without any heavy or thick line in sight. Overall I was really impressed and I'd recommend it over Mac's Kohl Eyeliners any day.

My overall experience with Japonesque's products has been overwhelmingly positive. Although there are a couple of things that aren't perfect, on balance all the products feel very high quality at a reasonable price tag. I particularly like their makeup brushes, they really are incredibly soft and luxurious. I've actually already gone and ordered the Pro Stippling Brush - coupled with the Point Foundation Brush it gives an incredible finish to the skin that I want to replicate everyday! My advice is to definitely stop by one of John Lewis' Japonesque Counters - and if you're in Kingston then do say hello to Kim, she'll be more than happy to help you :)

January 23, 2015

My First Murad Facial

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Murad Free Facial Review

At the beginning of the week I was very kindly invited to John Lewis Kingston to visit their Murad counter for a complimentary facial - an experience that is often made available to John Lewis customers! I was greeted at the counter by Felicity who expertly talked me through Murad's products and explained the holistic ethos of the Dr. Murad's company - the idea that skincare is only 20% of the solution and the other 80% has to come from healthy living. 

It was fascinating to have my face properly scanned and to actually see what my real skin concerns are. I was very happy to see that my eye area is much less dehydrated than it was when I had my skin scanned by Balance Me in December (regularly using eye cream makes such a difference), however, Felicity did help me identify that my real skin concern is pigmentation caused by sun damage. The only real way to battle this is to religiously apply products containing SPF, but she did also inform me that products containing high concentrations of Vitamin C can also really help minimise the appearance of dark marks and pigmentation. Murad actually has an entire Vitamin C range - I've been using their Vitamin C Cleanser since the beginning of December and it was one of my favourites from 2014 - and I'm really keen to incorporate more of these products into my daily routine!

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Murad Free Facial Review

However, my actual "facial" consisted of Felicity pampering my skin with a full skincare routine based on my scan. I was sat in an incredibly comfortable reclining chair, that despite being located in the beauty counter still felt surprisingly private and quiet. The treatment included a double cleanse using two of Murad's cleansers (Murad's AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser followed by the Essential C Cleanser) followed by a facial treatment (the Blackhead & Pore Refining Duo). Felicity talked me through all the different products and made me feel incredibly comfortable with the entire process. When we'd finished my skin really did look much brighter and I felt great. I'd highly recommend the entire experience, especially as they're often available in John Lewis free of charge! It's a really great way to try out products before buying them and it's also just a wonderful treat that will leave you looking and feeling great.

I have to say a big thank you to John Lewis for arranging the entire experience for me, and to Felicity who was so friendly and knew so much about Murad. It was lovely to come across someone so passionate about the brand they work for, she knew the answer to every question I threw her way! If you have a John Lewis near you then I'd definitely stop by the Murad counter next time you visit to ask about their facials. They'll honestly be more than happy to help you.

January 21, 2015

Recycle Lush's Black Pots for a Free Lush Face Mask

One Little Vice Beauty Blog: Free Lush Face Mask

Oh dear- look what I've gone and done, I've finished all the goodies. I love a good Lush haul, there's something really enjoyable about opening a new little black pot and some of the products I used last year were really lovely (I was a particularly big fan of Let the Good Times Roll). What you might not know is that when you've gathered together five empty black Lush pots you can return them to a Lush store where they'll recycle them and in exchange you can choose a free fresh Face Mask or fresh Hair Mask.

I recently recycled my empty pots and exchanged them for a pot of Lush's Cupcake Face Mask. I can hardly believe it but it's been almost two years since I used this face mask but I'm soooo glad that I picked up another pot. It's a wonderful mask for anyone with oily and blemish-prone skin and there's something really lovely about applying these face masks fresh from the fridge - they just feel so much more like a treatment than other face masks in my collection. And when I finally finish Cupcake (Lush's Fresh Face Masks usually last about six applications) I'll be saving the pot to eventually cash-in for another freebie…

What's your favourite Fresh Face Mask from Lush?
 Do you recycle your Lush black pots?

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