UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

June 30, 2013


So yesterday I went along to the #LDNBloggersParty which was organised by Scarlett Dixon and hosted at a bar called Dirty Martini, just off Oxford Street. I had a really wonderful time meeting lots of new bloggers as well as getting to know some familiar faces a little bit better. I also had the opportunity to chat to some representatives of Cloud Nine and Orliflame cosmetics and to take a look at some of their products. 

It is always a little bit daunting heading into a room of strangers but a couple of people made the whole experience really enjoyable. I have to say a big thank you to Sophia (from Tattooed Tea Lady), Laura (from Lola and Behold) Kelsey (from Burnt Cookie) and to Charlotte (from Lilmisschickas). I met these four lovely girls in the morning for a bit of shopping and some brunch and had a really great time. Plus, knowing a couple of people before I arrived at Dirty Martini really made me feel a lot more confident when it came to talking to everybody else.

All in all I had a wonderful day, so thank you Scarlett for all your hard work! Everyone I met was really friendly and I'm looking forward to spending this evening catching up with new blogs and adding some people on twitter. If you went and I didn't get a chance to meet you then do link me up to your blog or add me on twitter @onelittlevice, I'm always looking for new people to talk to about beauty.

(And Kat, if you're reading this, thank you for the cocktail!)


June 29, 2013

Beauty Swap with Kayleigh from BeautyWish

There are some people in this world who, unseemingly perhaps, are mind-readers when it comes to gift giving, or in this case beauty exchanges. Kayleigh writes the blog BeautyWish and we were assigned to one another as swap partners by Hannah Marie (who organised the beauty swap which we signed up for). We spent a good few weeks emailing back and forth just chatting and getting to know each other's beauty preferences and for me this is usually the most enjoyable part of beauty exchanges. It's really interesting to be able to talk one-on-one with another beauty enthusiast

Above you can see all the bits and pieces that Kayleigh picked out for me. She knew I have a particular love for lip products and she really spoilt me and got me three! I finally have a Revlon Lip Butter to try out, I have been so sceptical about these for so, so long but I have to say that my first impressions were very good. She also picked out a Topshop Cream Blush which I'm very excited about as I love cream blushes and have been keen to try one for an age. I've already cracked open the Maybelline Mascara that she chose for me and couldn't be happier with it (a review of this is definitely on the cards soon). To be honest, I love everything. From lips to nails she chose splendidly. I'm really looking forward to opening and trying out all of these products and I'll be using and reviewing them all in the upcoming weeks. If you haven't already tried a beauty swap then I'd highly recommend the whole process to you. It really is so much fun, it isn't often you get to shop for other people with such a knowledge of what they like to use. I have to say a big thank you to Kayleigh, she's such a lovely person and she was a wonderful swap partner.

Have you ever done a beauty swap before? 


June 27, 2013

Soap and Glory Body Washes: Sugar Crush and Clean On Me

For the past six months I've not been much of a shower gel sort of girl and have definitely been favouring shower oils. But with the weather getting warmer and my skin less dry I have started to enjoy using shower gels again and the two gracing my shower at the moment are both Soap and Glory offerings. 

The front runner is definitely Soap & Glory's Sugar Crush Fresh and Foamy Body Wash, it's sweet lime scent is an absolute treat and I enjoy nothing more than slathering this on me. True to it's word it is both fresh and foamy, the lime scent is wonderfully fresh and invigorating and it makes it wonderful to use in the morning or if you have a post-work shower it's a lovely pick-me-up. Whether you apply this straight on to your skin or if you use a loofah, sponge or pair of exfoliating gloves, Sugar Crush Body Wash foams up mightily and a little (two pumps in my case) does the job- making this 500ml bottle a long lasting pleasure as I can see it lasting me months.

Clean On Me isn't quite as agreeable to me scent wise although I don't doubt that it will be right up some people's street fragrance-wise. What I like it for is that is creamier than Sugar Crush and is advertised as having a 'built in body lotion'. On my dryer skin days I usually turn to this (sometimes mixing in a cheeky pump of Sugar Crush if I'm really craving a boost of freshness) and I do notice a difference. I tend to use more of this, maybe three pumps instead of two, although this is probably needless as it foams up just as well as Sugar Crush.

Overall, I'd recommend both. Both are a pleasure to use and seem incredible value, plus I can't get enough of pump action products at the moment. There is something immensely satisfying about pumping out products  and if you don't believe me then you need to give it a try! You can find both of these in Boots for £6.00* and £6.50.

Do you like either of these? What shower gel are you using at the moment?



June 26, 2013

Review: The Body Shop Tea Tree Cool & Creamy Face Wash (for blemished skin)

When looking for a cleanser to banish blemishes it can be difficult to find something that ticks all the right skincare boxes. I wanted something: that wouldn't aggravate my often red cheeks, gentle, non-drying, able to get rid of blemishes and decongesting (able to get rid of under-the-skin spots). This isn't the easiest of lists and my usual cleanser, the forever repurchased Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion (which I promise I will eventually get around to reviewing) is fantastic for reducing redness and gently cleansing but I needed something with a little bit more zest.

With this in mind, spurred on by it being a relatively new release, The Body Shop's Tea Tree Cool and Creamy Face Wash entered my life. This cleanser is a cream cleanser that tingles as it is massaged into the skin, this I would put down to the 'cooling' aspect induced by its inclusion of menthol. I like to use this in the shower which emphasises the cooling effect, however, it isn't overwhelmingly cooling making this aspect of the product a little bit of a gimmick, albeit a refreshing one. On the driest parts of my face (my cheeks) I do sense that it is just a tad drying but on the normal/oily parts of my face it is perfect, cleansing without drying at all. This suggests that it might not be suitable for very dry skin but normal, combination and oily skin types this is the one for you. It has a low salicylic acid content, always a good sign in a cleansing product, but like the rest of The Body Shop's tea tree range it's main cleansing ingredient is tea tree oil. Overall, its cleansing properties are fantastic and I think it does a really good job of thoroughly cleansing my skin without affecting my skin in any other way - it isn't left  very tight, dry or red. When I use this I do see improvement in my blemishes and I do think it slightly improves the appearance of my pores (over time). I'm unsure as to whether it is good at decongesting my skin, it seems as though it makes a difference but it doesn't magic those under-the-skin bumps away. 

The Body Shop's Tea Tree Cool and Creamy Face Wash has really impressed me. It's going to work for a lot of skin types and I think considering its £5 price tag it's pretty amazing stuff, much better than anything else I've used in a comparable price bracket. You can find it in The Body Shop stores or online here and I'd definitely recommend giving it a go next time you feel your skin is acting up.

Other Cleansers I've used and reviewed:

Lush's Buche De Noel - (link here)
Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish - (link here)
Laidbare DIY Two in One Cleanser and Toner - (link here)
The Body Shop Seaweed Deep Cleansing Facial Wash - (link here)

Have you tried this? What do you use when your skin is having an 'off' day?


June 25, 2013

Hooked On Honey: Lush's Honey Trap Lip Balm

soft effective honey and white chocolate lip balm intense hydrating formula soft smooth lips
soft effective honey and white chocolate lip balm intense hydrating formula soft smooth lips

I know that the convention is to get hooked on the idea of a product, or the smell of a product or even the look of a product before you purchase it, but sometimes, especially where impulse purchases are concerned, this process of falling in love with a product happens the other way around. Lush's sale assistants are notoriously charming people. I have yet to meet one who isn't cheerful, bubbly and helpful, and more often than not their disarming manner results in more than a few unplanned beauty purchases. Lush's Honey Trap Lip Balm is a prime example of this phenomenon. I don't need any more lip balms, especially untinted ones (tinted lip balms are a serious vice of mine) and I don't usually indulge in honey scented products. This spur of the moment purchase had all the makings for a future full of regret and self loathing, and yet somehow something magical occurred instead. I used it, re-used it and realised that it was wonderful. I had found a product, completely by accident and completely against all of my beauty shopping 'rules', that I liked every aspect of. In short, I realised that I had stumbled across my perfect lip balm.

Honey Trap advertises itself as a 'white chocolate balm for vanilla-honey kisses' and I'm sitting here now smelling it (if I'm honest, I never want to not be smelling it- it's like nasal heaven) and I can't decide if I can smell the chocolate and vanilla aspect. I can tell that the scent isn't 100% honey, it isn't quite strong enough to be so but I can't pinpoint the vanilla (although I don't doubt it's presence). All I can tell you is that it works, whatever is going on works really, really well. The good news is that its scent isn't even the best part, you have to brace yourselves for the formula. This lip balm is whipped like nothing else I have come across, it is soft and buttery and superbly whipped. It comes out of the pot smoothly on to your finger and then surprises you (every single time) by melting into the most nourishing, buttery texture on the lips. It contains both shea butter (first on its list of ingredients) followed by almond oil, this moisturising duo is good to spot as the two do a wonderful job at keeping lips soft and hydrated. Once there it doesn't sit on top of the lips but it doesn't disappear either, it occupies a satisfying middle ground where you can feel it working (probably the small proportion of peppermint oil it contains) but you know you don't have to keep constantly reapplying it. Oh gawd, if you're not already on the Lush website scoping out this bad boy then I have to wonder what it is that you're looking for from a lip balm! Honestly, its name is beautifully accurate, once you try it you'll be within its powers for good.  

Coming in at a not so sweet £5.50 you might think I'm mad. Is a lip balm worth £5.50? Well, maybe a lip balm isn't but the perfect lip balm definitely is. I'm never going to not have one of these. There's a statement for you! In all seriousness, this is the best lip balm I've tried in a long, long time (and I've tried a lot of lip balms). It perfectly skirts the line between functionality (it really works brilliantly) and fun (the scent, the packaging, the name) whilst also not being tested on animals. I'd highly recommend it, especially if you're a honey lover. 

Have you tried any of Lush's lip balms before?


June 24, 2013

The Body Shop Satsuma Puree Body Lotion and L'Occitane Ultra Rich Shea Body Lotion

My normal routine doesn't involve body lotions. To me body lotions scream 'summer', they scream healthy and hydrated skin. Most of the year my skin is in good condition, don't get me wrong, but the levels of effort required to keep it soft and hydrated go over and above the mere application of a body lotion. Body butters sound reassuringly rich, and anything with the added description of 'nourishing' gets my full attention. However, the downside of these heavy, rich products is often that they take longer to absorb and I have to sit / walk about semi-clothed for ages which (let us not lie to ourselves) is always really annoying. 

However, with the incorporation of more regular body exfoliation and a plethora of useful, multi-purpose shower products (namely this and this) coupled with the better weather that we've been having, I've been led into new territories. The 'body lotion' is now a phenomenon to be found in my bathroom and there are two in particular that I want to talk about today. Let us begin with the purse friendly option, The Body Shop Satsuma Puree Body Lotion comes in at £8 for 250ml and has a very handy pump. I've definitely mentioned this product from the Body Shop before, although undoubtedly in the form of a passing complaint about it not being moisturising enough. However, now is its time to shine. With all the right conditions in place this body lotion is the star of my routine, it is so easy to use (I can't tell you how much I love that pump) and it absorbs almost instantly. No longer do I have to loiter waiting for a product to dry! Instead I can scamper on over to my clothes, get dressed and then spend the precious time I've saved on doing my make-up much more carefully. The scent is  also wonderful as it is really fresh without being overly sweet making it perfect for a morning pick-me-up. All things considered, this is a winner and I'll undoubtedly be repurchasing it over the course of the summer. 

Product number two is a fascinating mid-way point between a body butter and a body lotion. L'Occitane's Ultra Rich Shea Body Lotion is very much thicker and more intensely hydrating that The Body Shop's Satsuma Puree Body Lotion. However, like its counterpart it's absorption time is incredibly quick, so quick in fact that it never fails to surprise me. Using it today I watched as it was fully absorbed into my skin within a minute or two leaving me with blissfully soft limbs with no risk of greasing up my clothes if I were to rush into them. Honestly, it's a bit of a revelation. I didn't think I would find something this, dare I say it, nourishing that would be good to use on a rushed morning. The only downside to this is the price tag which comes in at a whopping £20 for 250ml. It's definitely more of an indulgence than something to be readily repurchased, however, I do think that it is wonderful and I do plan on picking up another. If you have dry skin and want to transform it into soft, smooth skin to show off throughout summer then this is something that might well be worth investing in. However, if you have more normal skin (skin that isn't visibly dry, flaky or cracked) then I would opt for The Body Shop's Body Lotions as they will hydrate your skin just fine with the added bonus of being somewhat more refreshing than L'Occtiane's Ultra Rich Shea Body Lotion.

I hope this was helpful for anyone on the look out for a summer moisturiser! Do let me know what you like to use during the summer? I'm on the hunt for other lotions to try now.


June 23, 2013

On the Fence: Topshop Cheek Duo in Desert Sun (Review and Swatches)

topshop bronzer and blusher in packaging on pale skin
review swatches blush bronzer pale skin summer
bronzer blusher pale skin affordable good quality
bronze blush drugstore long lasting good quality fine milled

This Topshop Cheek Duo in Desert Sun was my first ever Topshop make-up purchase. I lusted after it for ages and then one day I just walked into Topshop and said to myself 'It's time!' And folks, as always, better late than never. I don't know what it was that stopped me picking up any Topshop make-up before now. The suppose the prices initially seemed a little bit steep but everybody is always raving about how good they were, I finally just came to the assumption that they must cost so much because they were, well, really darn good. 

Saying this, I have to admit right off the bat that I was, and still am, a little bit disappointed with this Cheek Duo. However, it is not down to the product's quality, not one bit! It's the colours. In the pan the dusky rose blush and golden bronzer look so appealing, gorgeous even. They whisper promises of glowing skin, rosy highlights, a healthy warm glow... but making them work? That part just hasn't actually happened yet. The bronze shade in particular is just a little bit too orange toned to work on my skin. Due to Britain's lack of sun I'm still incredibly pale, and I'm worried that it won't be until I finally manage to spend some time in the sunshine that I'll be able to rock the gorgeous golden bronze shade. It swatches so beautifully, teasing me cruelly. 

The slightly, just slightly, peach toned pink blush is gorgeous, there's no doubt about it, and I have been able to wear this regardless of my pallor. And it is a great blusher! It lasts throughout the day, doesn't settle into pores, can be worn lightly or can be built up. however, I think the magic really comes out when you mix it with the bronze shade. It transforms into the most gorgeous peachy, bronze colour and is completely unlike anything I own or have swatched before. This is the colour I want on my cheeks all the time. But this is a colour that I just so unsure about- does it suit me? Something in my head says no, but something in my heart says 'who cares!'

I want sunshine so I can glow and shine. Britain needs a summer so I can work out if I'm meant to be a shimmery bronzed beauty or if I need to gift this gorgeous Duo away. I'm trying to make the combination of the two colours work, let me know what you think!


June 21, 2013

Guest Post: My Favourite Smelling Shower Products

Who doesn't love a product that smells so good you want to lather yourself in it? It might sound silly, or obvious even, but I love lovely scents. Everyone will have a few scents that smell toe-curlingly gorgeous to their noses and for me there are three products in my shower arsenal which I didn't choose because of scent but I certainly repurchased them with their scent in mind! Today's post is an ode to good smelling stuff and it's over on Chantele's blog, Daisy Dayz. I'd love for you to give it a read, I think you'll enjoy it- especially if you love good smelling stuff! [Link here]

What's your favourite smelling product?

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June 20, 2013

Review: L'Occitane Shea Ultra Gentle Moisturiser

very effective moisturiser for dry or sensitive skin intense hydration

This post has been a long time coming. I featured L'Occitane's Ultra Gentle Moisturiser in a haul all the way back in April and since then I've been using this every single day, all over my face in the evening (two pumps) and just on my cheeks in the morning (one pump). With that in mind you can really get a sense of how long this moisturiser has lasted me and it has certainly reassured me that although the outlay (£25) initially felt very expensive, the quality of this moisturiser has meant that a little goes a long way making it last longer than cheaper moisturisers I've previously purchased.

L'Occitane's Ultra Gentle Moisturiser is, in short, a wonderful product. Containing 8% shea butter it skirts a fine line between intense nourishment and a lightness, and ease of absorption, both of which I find essential. It has transformed my skin. During the late winter and early spring I remember my skin often feeling tight and dry, and under close observation looking a little bit lacklustre. Upping the ante with my skincare regime has definitely helped, this moisturiser is really hydrating and absorbs quite quickly giving me instantly more plump looking and feeling skin. When I wake up in the morning I can see that my t-zone is left a little bit shiny so I don't use this on my t-zone in the morning (and I wouldn't use it during the day if you have oily skin, but oily skin does still need moisturisation so this would still be good to use overnight). It's formula is light, reminiscent of a lotion rather than a cream, but a little goes a long way and you can tell if you've used too much as it won't all absorb. I think that if you had very dry or dry skin this would make a wonderful day-time moisturiser as it is incredibly effective. As long as you use it sparingly (one-two pumps for your entire face) it works well under make-up and it definitely leaves my face looking much nicer with and without make-up. 

The packaging of this moisturiser also deserve a mention. The wonderful glass bottle (with it's equally wonderful pump) comes in a lovely box that makes it perfect to give as a gift (even if it's a gift for yourself...) and makes the £25 investment less difficult. I find it really quite an elegant addition to my dressing table and it's proved relatively sturdy as I've dropped it onto my carpeted bedroom floor twice thus far with not even a chip or a crack in sight. Given that has already lasted me over two months (giving it a current cost per month value of £12.50- already a lot more reasonable) I'm impressed, but given that it clearly will be lasting me at least two months more I'm completely won over. At the end of the day I'm happy to splurge on a really good moisturiser with high quality ingredients (oh shea butter, I pray you keep me looking young forever) especially if at the end of the day the product lasts five months giving it a cost per month value of £6.25. If you can afford to I would always suggest investing in your skincare and L'Occitane's Shea Ultra Gentle Moisturiser is as good a place as any to start! You can find this moisturiser on L'Occitane's website or in store for £25.

What moisturiser(s) do you use?


Sharing #1

Context: Watching the Apprentice alone whilst texting my best friend (who is also watching it)

Me: Why are they all in their pants?
Tom: Do you reckon they shower together?
[Cue the Apprentice candidates immediately beginning to talk about 50 Shades of Grey]
Me: ....

I realised today that as much as this is a beauty blog it is also my blog. As much as I love beauty products, and believe me I can talk for years about beauty products, I'd quite like to share a little bit more of myself. The format that I have chosen to do so is in the form of conversations I've had or that I've overheard. I think you can learn a lot about a person by what they choose to share with you and these posts (sporadic though they shall be) are going to be the format in which I'd like to share.

Now you know that I watch the Apprentice, and that I have a best friend who is collected enough to own and operate a phone. That's knowledge if there ever was any...


June 19, 2013

A Disappointing Product: Nip + Fab Shine Fix Mattifying Gel

Nip + Fab's Shine Fix Mattifying Gel made it's way into my life as a replacement for my beloved The Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser which finally, after six months of use, was finished up. Sadly, I've been using the Shine Fix Mattifying Gel for about three weeks now and it is just not been living up to my expectations. My oily skin (mainly on my t-zone) has been getting visibly oily throughout the day, to the same extent as it does when I don't wear any mattifying product at all.

Nip + Fab Shine Fix Mattifying Gel is a translucent gel which dries to a matte finish when applied to the skin.  On the packaging it promises to "mattify and absorb excess surface oil" and that the formula "regulates and absorbs excess oil flow throughout the day to help promote a fresh and healthy looking complexion". I would agree that when first applied it does mattify the skin and seems to absorb excess surface oil well. However, throughout the day this matte finish does not last and it does not appear to continue to absorb excess oil flow. Although it is wonderfully light on the skin, which is a wonderful quality in any skin primer, I fear that it may be so light that it does not actually stick around very long. I've tried using more product and this makes not one jot of difference. I'm incredibly disappointed if I'm honest! This is my first foray into Nip + Fab's skin care and I feel I've been let down. Plus, with an RRP of £9.95 for a meagre 15ml of product this has been a costly mistake on my part. If I were you I wouldn't bother with Nip + Fab's Shine Fix, as far as I can tell it might be good to use right before you take a photo, or if you're not planning on wearing make-up so you can reapply it throughout the day, but for a normal, everyday scenario this is not going to deliver the results that someone looking to control their oily skin would expect. 

In short, steer clear! I'm going to be repurchasing The Body Shop's Tea Tree Pore Minimiser, it has slowly become my Holy Grail product where matte skin is concerned. 

Have you tried this Mattifying Gel? Do you use anything to keep your oil skin matte throughout the day?


June 18, 2013

The Lipstick Question: Have you ever finished a lipstick?

Lipsticks, something about them encourages me to pick them up regardless of if I need them or not. Colourful, dinky and instantly transformative- lipsticks are my collectibles, a new addition is always welcome and they're displayed rather than stored. Whilst taking stock of my ever increasing collection this interest of mine (read: obsession) led me into a rather introspective mood. After penning the post that went up yesterday I suddenly realised that I have never finished a lipstick, I've never even come close! I definitely favour variety and enjoy picking out a different colour every day, one which matches my mood or my outfit. If I'm totally honest, I tend to wear more than one a day, changing my lip colour as soon as the evening draws in as an excuse to play around with two colours a day instead of one. At first I was curious as to whether it was just me who did this, whether I was missing out on "the perfect lipstick" - because if everyone else is wearing the same lipstick day-in day-out then I must surely be missing out on something. So I turned my question to the beauty blogging community on twitter:

The response was widespread and it was fascinating, I've included screen shots of the varied responses below:

June 17, 2013

The Budget Buy: Five Lipsticks Under £2

Over indulged lately but still craving a beauty treat? Sometimes the budget options aren't as "budget" in quality. I've hunted the internet and shops and found five lipsticks which feel and look good on the lips and not one of them comes in at over £1.99. Intrigued? Below I'll show you what, where and how to get your hands on some seriously affordable treats!

(Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Notting Hill Nude, Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in Sweetheart Tulips, Une Sheer Lips Balm in Shade 03, Astor Shine Delux Lipstick in Shade 013 Rich, NYC Expert Last Lip Colour in Creamy Caramel)

If you don't like the swatches don't be put off. On the lips these offer up an array of colours and textures that I promise won't disappoint! Let's start with the purple bullets (you can't go wrong with purple).

Rimmel's Lasting Finish Lipsticks
(shown here in Notting Hill Nude and Sweetheart Tulips) 

You can find these lipsticks on Fragrance Direct for £0.99. Yes, you read that correctly- 99p. I bought my two lipsticks from Fragrance Direct and would recommend both, on the lips they both look gorgeous and have a lasting time of 3-4 hours (no eating, sipping water) which for 99p is pretty darn good! Other shades I'd suggest giving a try are Berry Queen and Sloane's Plum (both of which I've seen in stores and swatched and the colours look really nice).

And if the colours you see don't tickle your fancy then head on over to Xtras for a slightly different selection all at the tantalizing price of £1.99 (including postage). Over on Xtras you can find Oxford Street Fuschia, another beautiful pink shade that I've swatched in store and it looks lovely (it's still being sold in Superdrug and Boots stores for £6.49).

Une Sheer Lips Balm
(shown here in shade S03)

Until recently Une were sold in Superdrug stores and now that the line is being pulled all of the products are being discounted. On Fragrance Direct you can find their lipsticks and these Sheer Lips Balms (which swatch as being pretty similar in texture and look to the Revlon Lip Butters) for £1.99. They come in natural, your lips but better, shades which all seem very similar. Shade S03 is my perfect MLBB colour so if you are darker in complexion or have darker lips look at higher shade numbers eg. S05 or S07.

Astor Shine Delux Lipstick
(shown here in shade 013, Rich)

This is the only one that isn't completely up my street. It's a glittery, high shine lipstick that instantly makes the lips look super glossy with a light pink tint. I like the colour and effect for a more fun sort of look (something I'd wear in the evening or on holiday) but it isn't an everyday product for me. You can find these on Fragrance Direct for £1.25 (currently in three different shades).

NYC Expert Last Lip Color
(shown here in the shade Creamy Caramel)

I picked this lipstick up in Superdrug for £1.99 and I love the colour, it's a dark nude, a really lovely sophisticated colour. A few of the lipsticks are glitter city and I wouldn't touch with a barge pole, but a few (this one included) are shimmer free, creamy in texture and last about 3-4 hours. I like how they feel on the lips and I think the shade range is pretty good, if you prefer buying your lispticks in a shop but still want a budget buy then these are worth a swatch!

There you have it. Five lipsticks (with alternative shades available if you don't like the ones that I chose) that at under £2 a piece are total bargains! I'd love to know if you decide to pick any of these up or if you own any already :)  Happy shopping!


June 16, 2013

Review: Diorskin Nude BB Creme Shade 001

bb cream light texture medium coverage skin feel

Dior's BB Creme was my first ever 'high end' base purchase and I can't deny that shelling out £25 (I bought mine from Escentual) wasn't the easiest thing in the world. I've gotten used to foundations that cost less than a tenner, but then again I've also gotten used to using base products which weren't perfect for my skin. On a complete whim (inspired by the many reviews I'd read) I impulse purchased, and when it arrived a few days later I was itching to try it out. Ladies and gentlemen, it is as wonderful as everyone has said it is. It has a lightweight feel without disappearing upon application and offers a decent level of coverage whilst somehow also managing to feel feather-light on the skin. I honestly cannot feel it when I wear it, which is exactly what I want from a foundation. It also works incredibly well on my combination skin, it doesn't aggravate my dry cheeks but it also manages well on my oily t-zone. This lasts me through an average working day without needing any seeing to, although I must admit that it looks better at the end of the day if I add a touch of powder (specifically on my nose) in the morning. Although it swatches quite pink when I apply it on my hand (which worried me as I definitely have yellow undertones to my skin) when I apply it with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush (its perfect partner) it is a remarkably good colour match against my far skin. 

If you want to get an idea of the shade and the level of coverage that it offers then I've included two useful images below, one is of my skin without any make-up and the second image is of my skin when I've applied just the Dior BB Creme. You can see that it doesn't offer full coverage, I would call it light-medium but it does a good job of covering up the redness in my cheeks and around my nose as well as smoothing over my pores.

how dior nude skin bb creme 001 looks on face covers redness coverage
I didn't notice how messy my hair was until now! Sorry guys, haha. 

Obviously it isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, the coverage might look too light, the shades might not be perfect etc. However, the feel of this product on the skin is something that makes it a winner, as well as its lasting power. I do struggle with the oil on my t-zone (it's been increased slightly by a change in my skincare routine, but will hopefully improve over time) and Diorskin Nude BB Creme works really well. I have, however, seen reviews of this product from people with dry skin who equally love it, which suggests that it would work well for quite a broad audience. I for one love it and think it is worth a try (even if you only get a sample) because finding something that feels this light on the skin that will actually last through the day is often a challenge. You can find it in Boots (in three different shades) for £30 or at Escentual for £25.50.

Have you tried this BB Cream? What base product do you like to wear during the summer?


June 13, 2013

The Comparison: Benefit Moon Beam and High Beam Dupes

comparing cheek highlighter high end product vs drugstore product close match

Like a lot of people, I'm a big fan of Benefit's make-up. However, more often than not I'm put off by the price of it. It isn't that I don't think it's worth it, I just don't always have £15-£25 to dish out on one item, no matter how much I like it. I've had Benefit's Highbeam and Benefit's Moonbeam for years now, probably far longer than you're supposed to hang onto a make-up item. They still seem good to use and have't gone funky but I am nearing the end of their use as I'm almost out of both of them (which seemed impossible to me for so long as there is so much product in a bottle given how little you need to use). So, with the thought of repurchasing them in mind I set out looking for dupes and I stumbled across a very similar looking pair of products from MeMeMe. This is my first foray into MeMeMe products, I've never tried anything of theirs before so I can't make any broad statements about the brand. I do, however, think that at £5.50 they're a lot more affordable than Benefit. I wanted to see just how similar the product (it's colour, consistency and longevity) was to Benefit's offerings so I've done swatches below and I will be comparing MeMeMe's Sunbeam with Benefit's Moonbeam and MeMeMe's Moonbeam with Benefit's Highbeam.

highlighter colour comparison dupe drugstore vs benefit
highlighter colour comparison dupe drugstore vs benefit

Benefit Moonbeam vs. MeMeMe Sunbeam

Despite looking almost identical in the bottle, Benefit's Moonbeam is a lot more apricot in colour than MeMeMe's Sunbeam which is a yellow-toned gold colour- this is most apparent when you blend each product out. The iridescence of Benefit's Moonbeam is a lot more subtle than MeMeMe's Sunbeam, namely because Benefit's Moonbeam is sheerer due to it's more liquid formula.

Benefit's Moonbeam is thinner, more watery and easier to blend than MeMeMe Sunbeam. However, because MeMeMe's Sunbeam is more like a gel than a liquid it gives you longer before it dries making it easier to use overall (especially if you aren't used to using this sort of product).

It was honestly comparable, almost the same. Although I think Benefit's Moonbeam wore a bit better than MeMeMe's Sunbeam.

 I prefer the look of Benefit's Moonbeam because it looks more subtle (better for daytime) and the colour is incredibly flattering on my pale skin. However, MeMeMe's Sunbeam is still very wearable and pretty although I think it is more obvious that I'm 'made up' when I wear it and I think it better compliments a bronzed face than a more natural, daytime, make-up look. These two products are not exact dupes specifically because of the colour difference.

highlighter dupes benefit vs mememe swatch and review
highlighter dupe high end vs high street benefit mememe cheek

Benefit Highbeam vs. MeMeMe Moonbeam

Benefit's Highbeam and MeMeMe's Moonbeam are very alike in terms of their colour, however, MeMeMe's Moonbeam is more of a baby pink shade whilst Benefit's Highbeam has an edge of apricot to it that keeps it from being so pink. Benefit's Highbeam is a lot more iridescent than MeMeMe's Moonbeam and is therefore less subtle when worn which, depending on what you're looking for, could be a good or bad thing. (You can always use less of Benefit's Highbeam than MeMeMe's Moonbeam for a similar effect, or you can blend it out more than I have done).

Benefit's Highbeam has a thicker consistency than MeMeMe's Moonbeam which is very thin and liquid-y. The thickness of Benefit's Highbeam makes it easier to blend and makes it hard to apply it patchily, which is a critique that I have of MeMeMe's Moonbeam.

Benefit's Highbeam wore better throughout the day, however, MeMeMe's Moonbeam was still passable but clearly did not wear as well.

In this case of these two products, although they definitely dupes as their colour match is pretty close I definitely prefer Benefit's Highbeam. However, the colour and effect of MeMeMe's Moonbeam is good enough, it is just a question of me preferring the texture of Benefit's Highbeam which I found easier to apply.

 I know that when I had been internet shopping I would have found a post like this handy to read so I hope you found my comparisons helpful! Let me know what you think of either product if you've tried it or if you know of any other dupes.


June 11, 2013

Indulgent Skincare: Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

Origins is a brand I've always wanted to try, even more so once I started blogging. Origins' products are hailed here, there and everywhere as Holy Grail items not so much to be used but rather to be treasured, adored and indulged in. Having psyched myself up to refuse to give into product hype (I blame that disastrous Rimmel Apocalips purchase that left me particularly critical of online over-excitement) I'd avoided Origins for fear of wasting my money.

Nevertheless, the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask lurked in the back of mind, it's presence fueled by the great promise of clearer skin and, more importantly to me, fewer blackheads. So when my best friend, the lovely Tom, (how he earned this adjective will soon become apparent) offered to buy me a gift of my choosing, for no reason other than that he is a lovely person, I asked if the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask would be too much to ask for. The tale was thus concluded with a shake of his head followed by the request that I tell him exactly how and where to find it and then, only a few hours later, to my utter glee and bewilderment it was placed in my hands.

And oh how thankful I am. After a very agreeable experience with another clay mask (read about that one here) I was expecting good things but I have to admit that this Origins mask went over and beyond what I had hoped for it. The rumours are true, Origins is a wonderful brand. It now occurs to me that all the pledges  that I'd read towards their products were almost certainly honest and now I feel obligated to add my own two cents. The Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Masks just sucks out all the nastiness lurking in your pores and the difference it makes to your skin after use is drastic, visible even. I love it! Now, don't get me wrong, it doesn't vaporize visible pores or cause all your blackheads to evaporate but it does improve the appearance of my pores and significantly reduce the size of my blackheads. Incorporated this into my weekly routine has made so much difference and I can tell that this tube is going to last months, most likely half a year. 

I still wouldn't call it cheap but at £20* it is affordable and for at least 24 applications (which is what I imagine it contains) it works out to be cheaper than buying individual one-use face masks. If you were hesitant like I was, if you didn't believe the hype, then my advice to you is to bite the bullet and find a way for one of their products to enter your life. You don't need to try this face mask but if you've been hunting for something that really helps with congested skin then I'd definitely recommend it as it's the best clay mask I've tried so far!

Have you tried Origins' Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask? Do you have a favourite face mask?


Guest Post: My Top Five Tinted Lip Balms

Tinted lip balms are some of my favourite products to use day to day and I always have at least one (often more like three or four) kicking around in my handbag. Sheer washes of colour and soft lips- who can say no? Not me anyway. So, since I've amassed quite a collection, I thought I'd write a post on my top picks and single out five of my favourites. The lovely Rachel over at Twenty Something Beauty is featuring this post on her blog and I'd love for you to go and give it a read, especially if you're looking for swatches and reviews of some products that I haven't featured on my blog yet.

Hope you like it! And let me know what your favourite tinted balm is, I'm always looking for more to try.

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June 10, 2013

Discovering Solivia Soaps: Not Just Your Typical Soaps

It isn't a secret that I love solid soap. Solid soap is fun and more often than not it's an environmentally friendly choice as it saves on packaging and, thus, saves on waste. When I got a chance to try out some new soaps, and particularly exciting soaps at that, I happily took it. Solivia Soaps is a wonderful small soap making company located in East London which sell handmade soaps which aren't tested on animals and which are free free from harmful and polluting chemicals. None of their soaps contain artificial colours or fragrances, which I certainly appreciate, as will anyone with sensitive skin. The main ingredient in Solivia Soaps is Olive Oil, a fantastic anti-oxidant, and the soaps I've tried out also include a whole host of other wonderful ingredients, such as shea butter, coconut oil and essential oils. They came to me beautifully wrapped in the post striking the perfect balance between retaining a high quality aesthetic (making them perfect for gifts) whilst not using a wasteful amount of packaging.  I know that not everyone is as big a fan of solid soap as I am but I think that Solivia Soaps are really excellent quality and I'm going to briefly review each of the four soaps I was sent explaining exactly where their merits lie.

Patchouli Lavendar, Lemon, Grapefruit Soap and Sweet Orange and Cinnamon Soap - £3.70* each

I'm going to talk about these two soaps together because I think that they're very similar in quality. Both of these soaps are perfect for washing your hands or your body, they both foam up when wet but not overly so, and they make me feel thoroughly clean after use without being too drying. Neither has a very strong scent when dry but their scent is slightly more noticeable when they're in use. Although I'm a fan of scented products I like that these soaps aren't overly fragrant, their subtle scents are pleasant and with something I'm going to use throughout the day I'd rather it not interfere with my perfume. Overall, I think these are both excellent soaps (they'd make a wonderful gift) and I'd definitely recommend them.

Sunshine Solid Shampoo Bar - £3.70*
I have a bit of a love hate relationship with this shampoo bar. On the one hand it does an absolutely fantastic job of cleaning my hair, once used my hair is clean for days. I have a pretty oily scalp so this is unusual for me but when I use the Sunshine Solid Shampoo Bar I can easily get away with not washing my hair for three days- a practically unheard of phenomenon in my household. However, and this is the drawback, I did find it drying when I used it regularly so as much as I fell in love with the effects of the Sunshine Solid Shampoo Bar I can't use it everyday and I don't think many people could without drying out their hair. Although, I do think that this is an uber budget weekly hair treatment (and a good quality one too as the ingredients are fabulous, it's full of a variety of nourishing oils) that you could reserve use of for one night a week. This is how I am using it and will continue to use it, as a semi-regular deep cleanse for my hair when I've gone a little OTT with product use. 

Super Moisturising Face Soap - £3.70*

I had a similar issue with the Super Moisturising Face Soap that I did with the Sunshine Solid Shampoo Bar. I found that the Face Soap, which was wonderfully novel to use, was very good at it's job but perhaps a little too good. It left my face feeling almost too clean with that peculiarly difficult to describe feeling of being  completely 'squeaky clean'. It didn't dry my face out but then I haven't used it every day and definitely not twice every day. But when I have reached for it I have noticed that it did a very good job of improving the look of my blemishes. I really think that this is mis-advertised because I don't think that is is moisturising in the slightest, but if you have the odd day when you feel as though your skin isn't looking it's best or is really oily at the end of a very hot day then I think this would be something lovely to have on-hand. I have a feeling that as my skin gets oilier I might appreciate it more but at the moment it isn't for me. Nevertheless, it is still full of high quality ingredients (olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil and macadamia nut oil) and is something that will definitely suit other skin types. 

Of the bunch I'd recommend the Sunshine Solid Shampoo Bar and the Sweet Orange And Cinnamon Soap but if you check out the Solivia Soap's website you'll find a whole array of other choices, one which is piquing my interest is a coffee and shea mix! All in all, I've been highly impressed by the quality of Solivia's Soaps as well as the lovely presentation of them. Now I'm back in London I'm keen to head over to one of their stockists in London but all of their soaps are available online here, currently all for the price of £3.70*.

Are you a fan of solid soaps? Would you give a shampoo bar a try?


Guest Post: The Beauty Audit

Today over on Georgina's blog, Make-Up Pixi3, is a guest post that I've written which runs along the same vein as the 'How Much Is My Face Worth' Tag. The Beauty Audit was a feature in InStyle magazine a couple of months ago and ever since I read it I knew I wanted to write my own version. The idea is to bring together all the products that you use on a day to day basis and to see how many you use and how much they're worth! It was a really fun post to write and hopefully you'll find it interesting, you can read it by following this link.

Hope you're having a good Monday and look out for another post from me later ;)


June 09, 2013

Collective Beauty Haul: High-er End Treats

Sooooooo... I went a little bit crazy on the shopping front. I've had a wish list the length of my arm for a while now and all it took was the promise of a few bargains for me to finally crack out my debit card and submit to the shopping urge. Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't get all of these beauties on the same day but rather over the last three or four weeks. I've tried a couple of them out but some of these items only arrived in the post this morning so in their cases it'll be more of a case of showing you them rather than having much to comment on!

Up first is my Escentual order, 30% off many french pharmacy brands (and a lovely £5 discount on the much acclaimed Dior Nude BB Cream) was too much for me resist. I picked up a 100ml bottle of Bioderma's Micellaire Water (with the intention to stock up on it later in the month if I like it),  Bioderma's Photoderm AKN Mat SPF 30 Mattifying Fluid and Dior's Nude BB Cream in shade 001. Look out for a review of each other these over the coming month! 

This purchase was very much made in the spur of the moment. With FeelUnique offering me a 10% off code I just couldn't help myself, Antipodes Divine Face Oil has been luring me in with its promise of plumper (and less oil prone) skin for the last few months. Along with my order came a lovely little perfume freebie.

I also made the most of Boots' 3 for 2 offer on skincare, one item has escaped this post (a Garnier moisturiser) but truth be told I don't really like it so it is not great loss, although I will still be reviewing it later this month. I was excited to finally get my hands on some Hydraluron (you can see I've stocked up!) and I'm currently trialling this with the hope of reviewing it next month. I haven't started using the Peptabright but I love the sound of it, I have a few marks left by blemishes which I'm hoping it can set straight. The other two products, both Soap and Glory, are wonderful and I've been using them daily since I bought them. I'll definitely be reviewing them both soon!

Lastly, I placed a small order with Naturismo so that I could pick up Jason's Vitamin E Oil 32000IU which is scar/stretch mark treatment. It isn't what I expected at all (but in this case that is a good thing) and I expect promising results for this. I'm testing it out on both scarring and stretch marks to see if it makes any difference. I don't expect I'll be reviewing this for a while as I'll want to use it for a month or two to see if it really works. In the meantime, I also picked up some Elemental Herbology sample sizes (Naturismo is brilliant for samples) and I'll be giving them a go and probably reviewing them all together. 

Sometimes you have to treat yo'self, and that I certainly did. Spending is going to be curbed in the meantime (although I do have a small Fragrance Direct order still to arrive, naughty me). I have a hell of a lot of products to test out and a whole backlog of reviews which I'm going to be catching up with. It's going to be a busy month, but a really fun one!

Have you been shopping recently? Found any absolute wonder products that you'd recommend?

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