UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

February 27, 2013

REVIEW: Reverence De Bastien Unguent for Nails and Cuticles

If any of you read my post on January's Birchbox then you'll have had a glimpse of this nail unguent before. I'm not going to lie, the word 'unguent' still makes me cringe in an inexplicable sort of disgust but we mustn't confuse that with my feelings for the product itself! My hands need a lot of maintenance as I have incredibly dry and sensitive skin but usually I'm not one to pamper my nails. In fact, they go relatively unloved most of the time, which seems like a terrible shame when I think of how much time I spend on other aspects of my appearance. This nail unguent (did you shiver too?) is a perfect pampering product for your nails and cuticles. The product itself is insanely girly looking as it is an incredibly pearlescent pink and has a gorgeous rose scent. The applicator is very well suited to this product's use, the thin nozzle allows you to apply a small amount of product directly to you cuticles and when you massage it into your cutcles the unguent has a very oily  feel to it. It takes quite a while to sink into the cuticles which can be quite annoying but I've found that if you do give it the time it needs the effects are worthwhile. I've been using this once (sometimes twice) a week since I got it and I have definitely noticed an improvement in my cuticles. They've been in such better condition than normal. I haven't noticed a difference in my nails but I haven't been using it for that long (only a month) so there might be bonus effects on them that haven't yet become noticable. Overall, this has really stressed the importance of using a product on my cuticles and I'm really glad that I recieved this in a beauty box. However, as this product comes in at about 15 euros I don't think I would repurchase it as that seems quite pricey to me. It would make a lovely gift though, especially for someone who loves having a perfect manicure!

What do you use to pamper your hands?


February 25, 2013

REVIEW: The Body Shop's Colourglide Shine Lip Colours in shades 03 (Pink Flash) and 11 (Rare Coral)

sheer natural lipsticks in pink and coral smooth colour
sheer natural lipsticks glide on smooth moisturising
swatch colours sheer natural lipsticks

I can't deny it, I've gone sheer lipstick crazy over the last couple of months (and I don't see my obsession any time soon). When I saw that the Body Shop, who are without a doubt one of my favourite brands, had released sheer lipsticks I rushed out to try them. Initially, I was super impressed. The colour range is great with a lot of wearable shades, lovely pinks, nudes and reds. They feel really luxurious on the lips, giving a sheer wash of glossy colour that is super hydrating (which is something I need in my lip products at this time of year). The packaging is also really nice, the usual silver bullet has been updated with a flash of gold which I think really improves the look of it. Everything set these up as products that I would really love. 

And I have been really enjoying them, I get a lot of use out of Shade 11 (Rare Coral), it's a colour that I'm hugely pleased that I picked up and one that I would definitely recommend. However, Shade 3 (Pink Flash) isn't as easy to wear and it doesn't feel as comfortable on the lips as Shade 11. It also isn't quite as sheer, which may or may not be a bad thing. All things considered, I was pretty happy with these lipsticks until very recently when I tried out some other sheer lipsticks that have a significantly lower RRP than these and I think I actually like them a lot more! So, although I would definitely recommend the Body Shop's Colourglide Shine lip colours I do think that at £10 each they are a little costly. That being said, I do think that these stand up against the very popular L'Oreal's Rouge Caresse Lipsticks in terms of quality but L'Oreal's range of colours definitely appears to be superior. All in all, these are a bit hit or miss. I do like them and I do think they're good products but they have a lot of competition to stand up against, especially considering their price tag.

The Body Shop's Colourglide Shine Lip Colours are available in Body Shop stores or online for £10.

Have you tried any of the Body Shop's make-up?


February 22, 2013

REVIEW: Nivea Soft Rose Lip Balm

lightly tinted lip balm rose jojoba oil softening for dry lips
lightly tinted lip balm rose jojoba oil softening for dry lips
lightly tinted lip balm rose jojoba oil softening for dry lips

This was a highly impulsive purchase of mine. I was walking towards the till when I spotted this and I remembered that I'd owned one of these when I was a teenager and felt a sentimental need to repurchase it. I own a Nivea Essential Lip Balm which despite not being my favourite does get used quite a lot so I thought that even if I didn't love this Rose variety it would probably still give me a lot of use. I don't think I was wrong either. As you can see from my photos you get quite a lot of product in one of those little tubes, 4.8g to be exact, and the colour is extremely sheer (almost non-existent to be honest) which means that I can use this without a mirror, on the go and even over or under other lip products if I so wish. The tint it leaves is a very sheer, dusky rose colour that is true to the colour of the product and very similar to the product's packaging. Truthfully, I was hoping the colour would be less subtle so that this balm could stand in for lip stick/ lip tint on lazier days. I don't think this is the product for that, I'd be much more likely to reach for my Fresh Lip Treatment (which I received in January's Birch Box). All this aside, I do really like this lip balm. It's a little bit harder than my Nivea Essential which means that it doesn't melt onto the lips quite so easily making it easier to apply this sparingly. The packaging is really gorgeous for a product that cost me only £1.49 and the moisturising effects are good. There is some colour, albeit sheer, and as it has SPF 10 this will be good to wear during Spring when the sun starts to rear its head. For sentimental reasons I'll always like Nivea products and at such low prices they don't disappoint, so if you want a cute, girly lip balm whose packaging gives that very satisfying 'click' when you replace the lid then this is a good one to try. 

You can buy this lip balm in Superdrug stores where it is currently on offer for £1.49 (usual price £1.75).

What's your favourite lip balm?


February 21, 2013

REVIEW: L'Occitane En Provence Honey Hand Cream

soften hands honey scented natural hand cream 20% shea butter
soften hands honey scented natural hand cream 20% shea butter

I'm a big fan of L'Occitane products and their hand creams never fail to impress me. I picked this Honey version up in a haul I did about a fortnight ago, and I actually got this for free in an offer L'Occitane were running on their Facebook page. The difference between this Honey Hand Cream and many of the other scented hand creams L'Occitane offer is that, like the original Shea Butter Hand Cream, this contains 20% Shea Butter rather than 10%. Now, don't get me wrong, a 10% Shea Butter content will leave your hands very soft indeed but if you have quite dry and sensitive hands like myself then a 20% Shea Butter content will really transform your skin. I love lightly scented hand creams and this one has just the most gorgeous scent to it. It smells very obviously of honey but isn't too sweet or too heavy to induce that sickly feeling I sometimes get from overwhelmingly sweet scents (most notably in my case from coconut or vanilla). It is basically just perfect. It is thick and moisturising but sinks in quickly enough for it to not drive you mad, and the scent is noticeable without being off putting. And I haven't even mentioned the packaging yet! First off, if you haven't already tried L'Occitane's hand creams then you can be reassured that the packaging is thick enough and study enough to live through even the most chaotic of handbags. Secondly, the white tube with the bear eating honey stole a piece of my heart by making me reminisce about Winnie the Pooh episodes I'd watched as a child. It's cute without being childish, and sleek whilst being functional. Basically, this is a winning product in my eyes and even though I have a stash of L'Occitane hand creams I think this Honey variety will likely be the one that I go out to repurchase.

This hand cream is available in L'Occitane stores or online here for £8*.

What's your favourite hand cream?


February 20, 2013

NOTD: Barry M. Textured Nail Paint in Atlantic Road

nails inc concrete nail polish dupe pastel perfect for spring nail paint
(left: two layers  right: one layer)

I picked this nail polish up last Friday and was really excited by the idea of a 'textured' finish. I didn't really know what to expect, I'd seen swatches of Nail Inc.'s 'Concrete' effect polishes and I think the Barry M finish is very, very similar. The finish is matte and it feels a bit like sand has been mixed in with the polish. I went through a little bit of a love-hate relationship with this at first but I've decided (mainly due to how well it's worn) that I really do like this textured effect. I applied this on Friday and I didn't see a single chip for four days. FOUR DAYS. On my nails this is good, and for a nail polish that costs £3.99 this is absolutely stand-out value. It's also worth noting that even after the initial chip (which I think was probably my fault) I only really saw reasonable tip wear, not much further chipping. The colour is also really gorgeous, very delicate and girly but doesn't wash me out. I'm really impressed and once I've had a chance to wear and review the two Gelly polishes I've picked up I'll definitely be going back to pick another one of these polishes up. They're great if you know you've got a busy week ahead and they're a lovely alternative to glossy nails. 

You can find Barry M.'s Textured Nail Polishes for £3.99 in Superdrug or Boots stores or online here.

Have you tried any of Barry M.'s new nail polishes?


February 19, 2013

KMS California Add Volume Volumizing Spray

add volume to limp hair spray gel

I received this Volumizing Spray in my January Birchbox and was initially not really looking forward to using it! I don't often blow dry my hair or feel as though products like this really do much, so this spray had a double barrier to break if it was going to get close to my affections. Cutting to the chase though, I've used this three times now (and I get the impression this little bottle probably only has another one or  two applications in it) and I can admit that I wasn't disappointed with the product's volumizing effects. I used this on damp hair (at the roots) and then blow dried my hair. You can also layer this product up for added volume, and I gave this a try when I last used this by adding a second layer of product after I'd semi-dried my hair. Layering up the product didn't leave my hair feeling heavy or greasy and it did add extra volume to one layer of the spray. However, one layer does lift my roots noticeably so I wouldn't normally feel the need for this extra 'top up'. Overall, I really do like this product. Unlike other volumizing products I've tried (all which have been highstreet, drugstore brands) the packaging has held up amazingly, the spray is easy to use and the product applies lightly and evenly. This isn't a cheap volumizing spray but if like me you only use these sorts of products for night's out or special occasions then having a reliable product that is buildable in its applications offers you a great deal of  options. I would definitely recommend this volumizing spray compared to all of the others that I've tried, however, at this moment in time I won't be running out to purchase a full-size version of this as I really am trying to steer clear of heat styling. 

You can find KMS' California Add Volume Volumizing Spray (200ml) in Birchbox's online store for £14.85. 

What's your favourite volumizing hair product?


February 18, 2013

REVIEW: Cosmetics A La Carte Brow Ink in Taupe

eyebrow ink long lasting eye brow colour pen fine nib precise application
eye brow ink long lasting fine nib for precise application

I first heard of Cosmetics A La Carte Brow Ink in one of Essiebutton's videos, I can't remember which one it was now (I think it was an old haul video of hers) but I remember that she really raved about this product. So when I saw this Brow Ink in Grace's blog sale for a meagre £5 I snapped this baby up as quickly as I could. My usual brow routine used to involve filling in my brows with either my (relatively new) Body Shop eyebrow pencil or, using an angled brush, with my HD Brows Palette. I'd then follow this up with a setting gel/wax of some sort. Before using this Brow Ink I'd never used a product like this on my eyebrows so I didn't initially know what to expect. 

What I found was that I could incorporate this into my current eyebrow routine. It's possible to use this very sparingly as the extremely fine nib allows you to very precisely apply colour making it possible to very deftly shape you eyebrows. The fineness of the nib makes it absolutely perfect for using just around the edges of the eyebrow to help create a more refined look that really helps define you face. However, if you want to you can also use this to fill in your eyebrows- although the shade 'Taupe' is slightly too dark to use on a day to day basis to fill in my fair-medium eyebrows. However, when I have applied lightly it in this way it actually didn't leave me looking ridiculous like I worried it might. It just left me with more of a 'statement' eyebrow look that felt very new to me and therefore a little bit daunting but was still very wearable. Overall, I think this is definitely a product worth investing in. It has become a fixture in my day-to-day make-up routine as it is just so easy to use and the finished look it produces is really wonderful. I've fallen in love, and if you gave this Brow Ink a try I wouldn't be surprised if you did too!

Cosmetics A La Carte Brow Ink (in Taupe, Blonde or Sable) available for £22.00 online here

Have you tried a brow ink before?


February 16, 2013

REVIEW: Witch Cleasing and Toning Face Wipes

great face wipes for oily or combination skin not too harsh

I received these in face wipes in a goody bag and was quite pleased as I've stopped buying face wipes but have always wanted to try Witch's because I've used other products of theirs in the past and they've never disappointed. My only concern regarding these was that they might be too strong for my skin or might irritate my eye area. The good news is they didn't, but I only had 10 wipes to use so I haven't been able to do a very long trial of these. I have the feeling that over time they might dry out my skin a little bit, not a problem for my t-zone but my cheeks really don't need to be dried out any more than they are! Overall, I liked the product, these wipes weren't too dry, they weren't rough and they weren't too strong. They did remove make-up well but I personally wouldn't really want to use these on my eye area every day and as this is where I wear most of my day-to-day make-up these wouldn't be something that I'd incorporate into my everyday routine. But if you like using face wipes and want to use some that really feel like they're cleaning your skin well then I'd recommend giving these a try. 

These are available in Superdrug stores or online for £2.99 for a pack of 25*.


February 15, 2013

REVIEW: Natural Collection Lipsticks in Raspberry, Sand Castle and Sorbet

great cheap lipsticks opaque colour boots own brand sheer natural collection
great cheap lipsticks opaque colour boots own brand sheer natural collection review swatch

I was in Boots a little while ago and I was in a bit of a cheap state of mind, I didn't want to splash out much cash but I really wanted a little treat. This mindset led me towards the Natural Collection stand and onto my first ever Natural Collection purchase. I've steered clear of the range before now as I'm not a big fan of the packaging, the white lipsticks to my eye have always looked and felt very cheap and flimsy. Although my feelings about the packaging haven't changed what did change was that I actually gave the product a chance and happened upon a colour that I absolutely fell in love with when I swatched it. The shade is called 'Raspberry' and it is just a perfect mid-pink that doesn't really look anything like Raspberries themselves but looks to me to be a very wearable shade. The pigmentation of the lipstick is fantastic and the name of the lipstick range as 'moisture shine' offered me prospect of a shiny, hydrating lipstick. Everything seemed to be perfect. 

As these lipsticks were on a 3 for £5 offer I thought I'd try out a couple of colours, I chose Raspberry and two sheer natural lipsticks in the shades Sand Castle and Sorbet. Sand Castle is a semi-sheer nude shade that is really very wearable on me as it isn't too dark or orange. Sorbet is also semi-sheer and is a quite glittery orange toned pink. Raspberry is by far my favourite shade, I really am quite in love with the colour! But I found these lipsticks uncomfortable to wear as they were quite drying and this really put me off picking them up. I'm sure they'd be a way around the drying effect (maybe if I were to layer up the lip balm) but as I don't have to do this with any of my other lipsticks I just don't want to. Another issue with these lipsticks is that they fade very unevenly and if you eat or drink you can bet your bottom dollar that you're going to be left with a lipstick ring around the outside of your lips. However, they really aren't all bad! They have great colour pay off and some of the shades are really gorgeous. As they're so cheap (£1.99 for a single lipstick, available in Boots stores) I do think they're worth giving a go as the colour range is fantastic but it's definitely worth bearing in mind that they're not mind-blowing products, but are great if you just want to try out a new colour.

(below left to right: Sand Castle, Sorbet, Raspberry)
great cheap lipsticks opaque colour boots own brand sheer natural collection swatch
lip swatch lipstick bright pink raspberry review intense colour

I haven't done lip swatches of Sorbet and Sand Castle (sorry guys) but I think Raspberry needed a lip swatch. I'm now officially on the hunt for a better quality lipstick in this exact shade, so if you know of one do please let me know!

Have you tried any Natural Collection lipsticks before?

February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Themed Wishlist

1  Lush's Mmmelting Marshmallow Moment
6  Lush's 'Be Mine' Valentine's Set

All of the above together basically sum up what I would consider to be my perfect Valentine's Day gifts (most probably from me, to me). Hope you all have a lovely day whether your're going out or staying in with a film like me :)


February 13, 2013

NOTD: Valentine's Day Nails ft. Barry M Nail Paint in Ruby Glitter

glitter nail polish drugstore highstreet top coat
glitter top coat swatches nail polish

Last Friday I did a little bit of shopping and whilst I was in Superdrug I picked up this Barry M Nail Paint called Ruby Glitter. I loved the look of it but once I got home I initially didn't know how I was going to wear it so I tried it as a topcoat over navy, red and pink varnishes to see what looked best. You can see the swatches I did above, but in the end I settled on wearing it over Nail Inc's gorgeous red shade St. James. I think they look really nice together! So yeah, this is the combination I'll be rocking tomorrow. 

 What nail varnish are you loving right now?


February 12, 2013

REVIEW: The Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment

night cream for oily combination skin to reduce oil shine sebum all natural not animal tested
night cream for oily combination skin to reduce sebum shine and oil

So this night treatment is the night time moisturiser which works really well in conjunction with the Body Shop's Mattifying Day Cream. If you have oily or combination skin I would really recommend using these two products, I've been using them together since the end of December and I've noticed a big improvement in my skin. I used to struggle with oiliness which really frustrated me as I hate my make-up slipping and I really hate looking shiny! I was a little bit worried about whether the Body Shop's products would work as they seemed so cheap compared to other mattifying products that I'd been looking at. However, what I have found with both the Day Cream AND the Night Treatment is that they really do work brilliantly. They also haven't aggravated my skin at all (which is something I do worry about as I have quite sensitive skin). I have combination skin so chose to not apply these mositurisers to my cheeks as they are usually quite dry and need a moisturiser aimed at dry/sensitive skin but on my t-zone I really can't stress the improvement that I've noticed.

The Night Treatment is a gel formula that feels very much like a liquid. It sinks into the skin almost instantly and does provide a level of moisturisation which doesn't  ever leave my skin feeling tight. The concept of the night treatment it to balance out sebum production in your skin to help reduce the production of excess oil. I personally think it did this for me as I've been using it on my t-zone for 6 weeks now and I always wake up with oil-free skin that isn't at all dry- the perfect result really. I bought this when there was an offer on in store (but it's worth noting that there is almost always an offer floating around for the Body Shop) so although this has an RRP of £11 (available online here or in Body Shop stores) I think you'll almost definitely going to be able to get your hands on it for less than that. I paid £5.50 and to me that it was just the ultimate bargain. I'll definitely be repurchasing this as I've really enjoyed using it, although I still have about 2/5 of the product left which is brilliant after 6 weeks of daily use. The seaweed range has really impressed me overall, but I'd also high recommend their tea tree range if you have blemished skin, I've reviewed the Tea Tree Pore Minimiser and I have another review of a product from that range coming soon.

Do you have a night cream recommendation for oily/combination skin?


February 11, 2013

REVIEW: Lush Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask

face mask soothing cleansing gentle natural
 face mask natural soothing calming
review natural soothing cleansing

Last month I finished up Lush's Oatifix which gave my skin a welcome injection of moisture. However, over the last couple of weeks I've definitely been suffering from blocked pores, blackheads and (although not many) more spots than normal. So I decided to strike back against this episode of bad skin! The first part of my retaliation was going to pick up this Catastrophe Cosmetic face mask as I have heard such great things about it. I haven't been disappointed either!

This face mask aims to deep cleanse the skin but it does so in a way that feels incredibly gentle and did not aggravate my sensitive skin in any way. I actually have a patch of eczema on my face at the moment and I was reticent to get any of my cleansing products on this bit of skin but Catastrophe Cosmetic hasn't made it any worse at all which says a lot about the product to me! I've been applying this fairly regularly, every three days or so ever since I bought it. It's lasted incredibly well as I've found it is easier to apply thinly than other Lush face masks so I haven't had any wastage at all. Using it so regularly hasn't dried my skin out (although the majority of my face is oily not dry) and it has improved the appearance of my pores and helped get rid of spots, so it's definitely done the job that I wanted it to do!

My only complaint is that it doesn't reduce the redness in my cheeks at all, and after use although my skin doesn't feel dry/aggravated my cheeks are left their usual red self. This was a slight shame as both Oatifix and  BB Seaweed, the other Lush face masks that I've tried, have improved the appearance of my rosy cheeks. But I suppose one cannot have it all! I would still rate this highly as a great product for blemished skin and I would definitely repurchase it next time my skin misbehaves. 

Lush's Catastrophe Cosmetic costs £5.95 and is available in Lush stores and online.

Have you tried this face mask before? What's your favourite Lush face mask?


February 10, 2013

So, I did a little bit more shopping...

After a pretty busy, stressful week I decided to spend Friday chilling out and ended up spending the day with my friend Adrienne shopping and eating cake. It was a really fantastic day and I picked up some lovely goodies from Superdrug, Mac, L'Occitane, New Look and Primark. I needed a new hoody and t-shirt but everything else was very much spur of the moment shopping. I'm really pleased to be able to try some of these goodies though as the Mac eyeliner (in the shade Lord it Up) and the Maybelline Colour Tattoo (in the shade On and On Bronze) have been on my wishlist for aaaaages. I know I did a BIG haul last month so it does feel a little bit naughty to have bought so much more stuff so soon but sometimes there's nothing better than retail therapy!

I didn't pick up loads but I did feel as though I spent quite a bit of money! It was very naughty of me but it was a really great day so I feel it was worth it. I'd definitely recommend the cakes at Patisserie Valerie too, Adrienne and I had the most gorgeous slices of cake there.

Have you treated yourself to anything new recently? I'd love you to leave me links to any haul posts you've written :)


February 09, 2013

February Glossybox 2013

So this month's Glossybox is Valentine's Day themed and unlike last month the box contained a healthy proportion of make-up. I'm actually quite pleased with my box this month as I can see myself using every single one of the products

The value of my box this month is £24.49 based on the provided R.R.P.s of the full size products.

First up is Anatomicals You Need a Blooming Shower Your Nose Smells Rose Body Cleanser. This is a half-size sample which comes in at a value of £2.50 and is quite a hefty size for shower gel/body cleanser sample so I'm pleased about that.. I'm actually really glad that I received this as I LOVE rose scents and this one is very, very rose scented indeed. I also haven't tried anything from the Anatomicals range before so this is definitely a nice product for me to start with.

Next up is MeMeMe's Fat Cat Volumizing Mascara which is a full size product and has a value of £8. I love the matte black packaging and I've been pleased with the quality of MeMeMe products that I've tried in the past so overall this is another product that I'm happy with. (Although I wouldn't exactly say that this OR the Anatomicals products are 'luxury' items.)

The next product in this month's Glossybox was Sassoon's Shine Spray. I love Sassoon products, I've never owned any but I used to get my hair done in Vidal Sassoon salons and I always loved the products that they used on my hair. I'm very excited to try this but it is quite a small sample of only 50ml compared to the 250ml full size making the value of this sample £2.97. I'm very excited to give this product a whirl- I have high hopes for it!

The next product was a Miner's Lipstick. I've not heard much about this brand so can't really make much of a judgement until I test the product out. The shade I received is called 'Dreamer' and looked like a wearable pink shade until I saw how much glitter was in it... It's actually quite a wearable shade of pink but the glitter in it will probably mean that it doesn't get a lot of daytime wear. This is another full size product though with a value of £4.99.

The last sample in my box was a Micabella Cosmetics Mineral Eye Shadow in the shade Intelligence. I love the look of 'Intelligence' which looks to be a bronze colour (a staple shade for me) and I'm a big fan of mineral eye shadows so this is all round another good product in my eyes. The sample size is 1g giving this a value of £5.98. I was glad to see a more 'luxury' make-up brand in the box, it's just a shame that this wasn't full sized rather than the Miner's or MeMeMe products.

The little extra product included by Glossybox this month was a heart shaped lolly. This is in keeping with the box's theme and is a very cute thing to include but I have to admit that it doesn't appeal to me really! I'll be saving this for my flatmate when he gets back after the weekend. 

Overall, I was really pleased with this month's box as 4/5 of the products I really loved and the lipstick still could be wearable so it isn't a complete disaster inclusion. I'm also really glad that this month there was more make-up included in the box as sometimes I do feel as though these beauty boxes can be a little bit over-saturated with skin care but  not this month so I'm going to stay subscribed and hope that next month I have the same luck.

What did you think of this month's box?

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