UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

February 25, 2014

Currently Coveting #3

Photo credit,,,, and

 1  & Other Stories Body Scrub in Lemon Daydream - £7
 2  Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Buttercream - £10.50
 3  Benefit The PoreFessional - £22.50
 4  Lush Cupcake Face Mask - £5.95
 5  Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express Mascara - £7.99
 6  Sleek Eyeshadow Palette in 'Oh So Special' - £7.99
 7  Nars Creamy Concealer - £21

All these products are serious beauty crushes of mine right now. I can't wait to get my hands on another & Other Stories body scrub and that Sleek eyeshadow palette looks gorgeous to me right now - I'm definitely tempted to go shopping! What products are on your wishlist at the moment?


February 24, 2014

Tried and Tested: Superdrug's Naturally Radiant Brightening Eye Cream

ownbrand cruelty free eye moisturiser

In December I was browsing in Superdrug and I happened across Superdrug's 'Naturally Radiant' own brand range. I'm not usually one to opt for ultra-cheap drugstore skincare but Superdrug's own brand ranges aren't tested on animals and I know that their Hot Cloth Cleansers have gone down a storm in the last few months. Encouraged, I picked up their Naturally Radiant Brightening Eye Cream to replace the Body Shop's Vitamin E Eye Cream which I'd finished.

I didn't expect miracles from this eye cream, especially not for the £2-3 that I paid for it (I almost certainly remember it being on offer, I'm a sucker for discounts). I've found that it doesn't really do much in the way of brightening, it certainly doesn't have any sort of brightening tint to it. However, it does give a decent level of hydration that keeps my eye area moisturised and stops my under eye concealer from flaking or creasing throughout the day. It didn't improve my dark circles (sadly) but I have yet to come across anything that really does. If you're in the market for an affordable eye cream, especially if you don't have a long wish list when it comes to what you want from your product, then this is a great staple to incorporate into your routine. I know that at age twenty-one I shouldn't be getting too bogged down in eye-creams and what-not so this sort of product does generally suit my needs and it also suits my student budget. I wouldn't rave about it but I would buy it again. You can find it in Superdrug stores for £5.99 (but it is almost always on offer for around £3).

What eye cream do you use? Have you tried any of Superdrug's own brand products?


February 21, 2014

A Budget Buy: Collection Eyeshadow Pencil in Hot Chocolate

drugstore budget buy

I first bought into chunky Eyeshadow Pencils in the form of Rimmel's Scandaleyes Eyeshadow Sticks which I really didn't like. Since then I've given them a wide berth, until I swatched Collection's Work The Colour Eyeshadow Pencil in Hot Chocolate and noticed that it didn't budge from my hand all day. Eventually I returned to Superdrug and picked it up for what I think is a very reasonable price of £3.19 (and, remember, if you're a Student you are able to get a 10% discount with an NUS Extra card). All in all, I picked up a bargain product and I am happy to report that it hasn't let me down!

drugstore neutral brown eyeshadow affordable

Collection's Work The Colour Eyeshadow Pencil in Hot Chocolate is a gorgeous, slightly metallic, mid brown. It is very creamy and blendable and once applied I find that it really doesn't budge. I use this on my lids in place of eyeshadow as well as under my eyes for a more dramatic eyeliner look - both ways work well for me and the product hasn't ever smudged or left me looking panda-eyed. Honestly, the formula is really impressive and the colour is very wearable. I know Collection also stock a pink, cream, navy, grey and a black version of this product but that is the extent of the shade range. If they offered more wearable neutrals I would pick them all up! For the price I really don't think you can find a better product of this sort. I'd definitely recommend them and you can find the shade Hot Chocolate online here. 

Have you tried these eyeshadow pencils? Do you have any other budget make-up recommendations that you think I should check out?


February 20, 2014

My Introduction to Liz Earle Skincare

Last year, I took part in a skincare project run by Sophia from Tattooed Tealady and as a result I got the chance to put some of Liz Earle's products to the test. I wrote about the three products featured in today's post over on Sophia's blog, but only very briefly. Now that I've been using these products for months and months (I'm actually on my second tube of the Hot Cloth Cleanser) I feel like I'm in a really good position to give some in-depth reviews and to let you know if these skincare products are really worth investing in.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser*

Liz Earle's Hot Cloth Cleanser is often talked about on blogs. It is a thick, cream cleanser that has a slightly minty/herbal scent that I apply to dry skin and really work it in with my fingers before removing with a damp muslin cloth. This cleanser is quite heavy so it can be a problem for some skin types and I've read reviews where people have mentioned it breaking them out. For me, this was never a problem but I wouldn't like to use it more than once a day. I loved using it in the evenings to remove make up and give my skin a deep clean. The thick formula made it very easy to deep cleanse and Liz Earle's Muslin Cloths (which usually come with the cleanser) are fantastic quality and help exfoliate the skin as you remove the product. I was very impressed with this cleanser and I would happily keep it as a part of my skin care routine. I think it would work especially well on those with dry skin because the formula is very nourishing but I have combination skin and I still enjoyed using it. A 200ml tube (as seen in my picture) costs £24.75 but you can get a 100ml tube with a muslin cloth for £14.75 (link here) if you're a first time user, and I think it is definitely worth the price tag as my 200ml tube lasted me about two months. 

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritz*

I've recently gotten into toners in a big way - I think they're the best way to refresh and calm your skin after cleansing and they can actually make a big difference to the way your skin looks. This Tonic Spritz from Liz Earle is incredibly refreshing and I find it helps to both brighten and balance my skin. I'm always working to help give my complexion a little more radiance whilst also trying to tame how oily my t-zone gets. Liz Earle's products really help with both of these things and I've noticed a big difference in the look of my skin and in the way make-up wears on it. I love using this toner in conjunction with the cleanser, and would recommend trying them together. You can buy it in a variety of sizes, including a small 30ml bottle if you don't want to splash out on something expensive that you haven't tried before (link here).

Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate*

In my opinion this is the crowning glory of the trio. I have to admit, it took me a while to fall in love with this facial oil. At first the scent really put me off as it is very strong and quite 'herbal'. However, that aside, the effects of this facial oil are incredible. My skin is softer, smoother and brighter and I find that since I started using my Liz Earle skincare routine my skin has been less rosy and more even in tone. I've always struggled with very red cheeks and this has become less and less of a problem, something that I really can't thank Liz Earle skincare for more really. It is an expensive product, coming in at £40.50 for a 28ml bottle (link here), but I have come to really see the benefits of using it. I for one would definitely buy a bottle of this now I know how much it does for my skin and I would definitely recommend it.

Have you tried any of Liz Earle's skincare range?


February 18, 2014

An Ode to Mac's Cremesheen Lipsticks (Fanfare, Ravishing and Shy Girl)

I know that not everyone will know about Mac's Cremesheen lipsticks so I'll cover that base first. Mac has a whole range of lipstick formulas each of which have a different finish when applied to the lips. Cremesheen lipsticks are very creamy and opaque - but not as creamy and opaque as Mac's Amplified  formula. They were the first Mac lipstick formula I tried and I loved Cremesheen's immediately. They're not too heavy on the lips and they're not at all drying, two factors that I like in a lipstick. I've swatched them below and if you want to see what they look like on my lips check out my Mac Lipstick Collection Post here.

Left to Right: Fanfare, Ravishing, Shy Girl.

I think Mac's Cremesheen Lipsticks are great year round but I particularly love wearing them in the colder months. I find that they're thick enough to offer a little bit of protection for your lips from the weather and they're creamy enough to keep your lips from feeling dry. I don't feel as though I need to prep my lips much before applying them (but I would do more than if I were applying one of Mac's Lustre or Glaze formulas). I might apply a light lip balm but I don't usually feel the need to exfoliate my lips or use a lip liner. They last on my lips for up to three hours without needing any attention but after that they do start to need reapplication. Cremesheen's aren't my favourite Mac finish (I still prefer Lustres, which I wrote about here) but they do come a close second!

Have you tried any of Mac's Cremesheen Lipsticks?


February 16, 2014

The Beauty Repurchasables

Since I began blogging I've definitely become more fickle when it comes to repurchasing products. New beauty products are released so often that I often feel pressured to give up on 'old faithfuls' so I can keep up with the constant barrage of newly emerging lines. What this does mean though is that when I do go out of my way to repurchase a product I know it must be pretty darn good, good enough to avoid a 'the grass is greener' mindset.  Today's post features nine different beauty products that I've repurchased and I'll briefly walk you through why they've maintained a place in my routine.

Moroccanoil Treatment
This hair oil has been raved about by many people (including myself) and I find that it really does make a big difference to the look and feel of my hair. I don't use it every time I wash my hair - simply because it would be too expensive a habit for me to maintain - but I do use it at least once or twice a week. I find I'm always left with softer, smoother and more healthy looking hair. I would definitely recommend it, especially these small 25ml bottles which make for affordable gifts (whether that be from  someone else or as a little treat to yourself).

Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub
I bought my first tub of Lush's Bubblegum Lip Scrub early last year and I used it all the time. Sadly, my first pot has now expired and I've cracked open a second one which I picked up in their Christmas sale. I find that it's a fabulous product to use for keeping my lips smooth and soft which I feel like I especially need to do as I'm a big fan of lipsticks (which always look better on freshly exfoliated lips).

Lush Honey Trap Lip Balm
I think I probably raved about this enough last year but if you want to know all the virtues of this lip balm (and why it's worth it's pretty heft price tag) you should read the post I wrote about it here. It has convinced a friend or two of mine to pick one of these up and I couldn't help but repurchase it when mine ran out.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask
I have combination skin but that doesn't mean that it doesn't sometimes need an injection of moisture, especially my cheeks which can get very dry and red. Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask is a wonderful product, you apply it like you would a moisturiser and leave it on your face overnight. I find that I always wake up with smoother skin and a more radiant complexion and I've never had any problems with it breaking me out. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone, especially those who struggle with dry patches or have overall dry or dehydrated skin.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask
Another Origins' face mask but this one is fantastic at declogging congested skin. If you have blackheads then this face mask should be on your radar. I find that it really helps clear out my skin as well as helping me manage the oilier areas of my face as the day after I use it I find my skin gets a lot less oily. I love this mask and my 100ml tube lasted me about six months of weekly (sometimes as much as twice a week) use. 

Lush's Porridge Soap
Lush's Porridge Soap is one of my favourite Lush products. I absolutely adore the scent of it and I find that it imparts its fragrance into the air when it isn't in use, leaving my whole bathroom smelling rather delectable. It contains oat pinheads which offer exfoliation but the oat soap itself is very mild and gentle so it doesn't aggravate the skin. I like to use it to wash and exfoliate my hands before I moisturise them but it also is great when used in the shower as it lathers up really well.

Good Things Total Wipe Out Cleansing Wipes
I'm not usually a big fan on cleansing wipes (they don't really cleanse the skin all that well) but when it comes to speeding up the removal of make-up I absolutely love these face wipes from Good Things. They're very moist which means they aren't scratchy and don't irritate the skin and they smell glorious - they smell quite strongly of berries but the fragrance isn't at all irritating to my skin.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Clearing Lotion
I couldn't go without mentioning a couple of products from The Body Shop. I love this Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion, especially the small 15ml bottle, which is fantastic when used as a spot treatment. It is really effective without being too harsh or drying skin out too much. And the small tube is very portable so you can keep it in your hand bag to apply it whenever you feel like a spot might be emerging.

The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Night Cream
The last product I'm going to mention today is The Body Shop's Aloe Soothing Night Cream. I find it strikes the perfect balance between being intensely hydrating without being too heavy. It never breaks me out and it really does calm and soothe my drier and more sensitive areas of skin. I'd highly recommend the whole of The Body Shop's Aloe line but I especially love this Night Cream and the Serum. 

That concludes today's post! It's been a bit long but I hope it's given you an idea of some of the products that I really, really love. I like knowing the products that people repurchase over and over as it gives me a better idea of what is a passing fancy and what people's established staples are. I'd love to know what are some of your 'forever repurchased' beauty products!


February 14, 2014

Skin SOS? Sort it out with Skin Shop

Recently I've been trying out a few products from Skin Shop, all of which are great for helping with various  beauty maladies! 

Silver Serum RRP £12.95* (link here)
This is my favourite of the three products I've tried. It's a very light serum containing MacroSilver which is supposed to help bad (spot-causing) bacteria that might be lurking on your skin and it stays active on the skin for up to eight hours. Unlike other spot treatments I've tried it feels very gentle and non-drying and I have definitely found that it has helped prevent the appearance of as many blemishes - especially around my jawline where I often get breakouts. It's free of parabens and fragrance and is definitely suitable for sensitive skin and I would highly recommend it to those who suffer from repeated breakouts in specific areas of the face. 

Liquorice Balm RRP £7.95* (link here)
This Liquorice Balm has an oily consistency and it isn't the most hydrating. However, it's unique selling point is that liquorice is supposed to be good at preventing and treating the breakout of cold sores. So if you're someone who suffers from cold sores (I do, but only very occasionally) it is very handy to have a product like this in my beauty arsenal. I have used it and given it a good try and I have to admit that as a lip balm in itself it isn't my favourite product, but I'll definitely reach for it in the future at times when I think a preventative measure might be a good idea!

Caviar Face Mask RRP £14.95* for 3 (link here)
This is the first of this type of face mask that I've tried and I have to admit that it was quite the experience! You lie the mask over your face and let the product sink into the skin for about half an hour. I personally found that making time to have half an hour of total peace and quiet to think was one of the greatest benefits of using this product. It gives you an excuse to pamper not only your skin but to rest your mind, which in our everyday lives generally gets overworked. The product itself is nice and I had no issues with sensitivity or breakouts. I definitely feel as though the price is justified and I found that the whole experience was worth the time you need to invest in using the mask. It helps give skin a rejuvenated appearance and texture and I'd definitely reach for this again when I wanted my skin to look fresh and glowing.

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you - I hope you all have a wonderful day whatever it is you might be getting up to! I'd love to know what products you turn to when your skin is playing up.


February 13, 2014

Review: L'Oreal Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution

I picked up L'Oreal's Micellar Solution as a replacement make-up remover when I finished my Vichy Normaderm Micellar Solution. I'd read on countless blogs how this L'Oreal Micellar Solution was a dupe for Bioderma and so I was quite excited to try it out. However, unlike Bioderma and Vichy's micellar solutions, I found that L'Oreal's aggravated my skin. After use, L'Oreal's Micellar Solution left my face quite red which I didn't expect at all. I do have sensitive skin, but I had absolutely no issues with Vichy's product which is aimed at oily, blemish prone skin so I wasn't expecting for the L'Oreal Solution (which the packaging states is "suitable for sensitive skin") to be a problem!

As I didn't have an awful reaction to it I did continue to use the product and now that I've finished it I feel comfortable talking about my experience with it. What I found is that it doesn't have the same light, water-like consistency as Bioderma and it certainly doesn't remove my make-up as well. I wear waterproof mascara and eyeliner on a daily basis and this Micellar Solution just couldn't remove it, regardless of how many cotton pads I went through. However, it did remove the rest of my make up perfectly well so I did put it to that use. I personally wouldn't repurchase L'Oreal's Micellar Solution, I think Vichy's is much better for my skin type (it both removes make-up and helps with my combination, blemish prone skin) and Bioderma is better as a make-up remover. I'm glad I tried L'Oreal's version, because I like to know how drugstore skincare ranks against some of my higher-end favourites, but on this occasion I wasn't too impressed. 

Have you tried this micellar water? What make-up removers would you recommend?


February 12, 2014

A Plethora of New Brushes: Real Techniques and EcoTools

Buffing Multi task liner foundation setting crease Brush

I don't have much in the way of an excuse for this excessive influx of new brushes… I just wanted them. I really never get tired of the Real Techniques brushes that I already own (I own the Core Collection and the Starter Set) and I don't really talk about them much. I also saw the EcoTools brush set on quite a few blogs and I finally caved and bought it in the hopes that I might find myself an even more affordable alternative to Real Techniques brushes.

Buffing Multi task liner foundation setting crease Brush
Buffing Multi task liner foundation setting crease Brush

The "Sam's Picks' set from Real Techniques contains six brushes - a Multi-Task Brush, a Setting Brush, a Buffing Brush, a Liquid Foundation Brush, an Essential Crease Brush (limited edition for this set only) and a Fine Liner Brush. 

I loved the look of the Multi-Task Brush for the application of power (which I do throughout the day to mattify my t-zone) and it also works well for bronzing. The Setting Brush is fantastic for blending concealer, especially under my eyes, and I think I'll get  a lot of use out of it. The Buffing Brush is already a favourite of mine and I use it to apply liquid foundation - I would highly recommend this brush to everyone. The Liquid Foundation Brush is the only one I won't get much use out of, I just don't really like using it. The Essential Crease Brush is great for blending out eyeshadow and I find that I can never have enough of these sorts of brushes. Finally, the Fine Liner Brush is great for finely applying eyeliner, especially if you use eyeshadow as liner - which I often do.

This set has an RRP of £29.99 on FeelUnique and I feel as though it is well worth the money. I highly rate Real Techniques Brushes as they're wonderful quality, very soft and they last well. I've had my other brushes for nearly a year now and they feel almost as good as they did when I first bought them. They're worth investing in. 

The EcoTools Fresh and Flawless Brush Set contains five brushes - a Flat Concealer Brush, a Buffing Concealer Brush,  a Precision Foundation Brush, a Complexion Blending Brush and a Powder Brush.

I'm not as impressed with the quality of these EcoTools brushes compared to the Real Techniques brushes mentioned above. I don't like Flat Foundation and Flat Concealer Brushes so I don't have much to say on those and the Buffing Concealer Brush is a little bit scratchy (which I was very disappointed about) so this would put me off using it on my eye area. The set is redeemed a bit by the Complexion Blending Brush, which I find works well when used to buff liquid foundation into the skin. The Powder Brush is also good as it applies product lightly and evenly.

This set has an RRP of £11.99 on FeelUnique which I feel is very reasonable given how much I like two of the brushes and I'm sure I'll find an alternative use for the two flat brushes which will make the set more worthwhile.

RT versus EcoTools

I thought I would also just show you a comparison of the Real Techniques Buffing Brush and the two larger EcoTools brushes so you can appreciate the EcoTool brush sizes a little better. They really are quite dinky in comparison! All in all, I definitely prefer the Real Techniques Brushes as they're all very high quality but I am pleased with a few of the EcoTools brushes so I'm glad I picked up the set.

Have you tried any Real Techniques or EcoTools brushes? What make-up brushes do you use?


February 11, 2014

Currently Coveting #2

I own none of these photos. photo credit to,,, and

 3  Revlon Colour Burst Matte and Lacquer Balms in Elusive, Provocative and Vivacious - £7.99 each
 5  Lush Buffy Body Butter - £6.25
 6  Lush Angels on Bare Skin - £6.35

I've been really influenced by some fellow bloggers recently and these are the products they've got me lusting after. Have you tried any of these before? What products are on you wishlist at the moment?


February 09, 2014

Review: Neal & Wolf Harmony Intensive Care Treatment

affordable intense deep conditioner for all hair types

Last month Neal & Wolf were kind enough to send me their Harmony Intensive Care Treatment to test out.  Recently, I've definitely been investing more time and attention in my hair, it's reached that length (mid-length verging on long) where it needs serious looking after. As a result, I've been turning more frequently towards hair treatments in my ongoing quest to keep it sleek, conditioned and frizz-free. 

Neal & Wolf offer a compact hair collection featuring ten different products. Harmony Intensive Care Treatment is aimed at repairing damaged hair by offering an intensive deep-conditioning treatment. It is sulfate, paraben and cruelty free and it definitely looks and feels like a beauty indulgence without stretching the purse strings too far. 

What especially intrigued me about this hair treatment is that it promises to deliver "an instant transformation" in both the texture and appearance of your hair. I for one love the idea of having a reliable and efficient hair treatment in my collection that I can turn to whenever I have a big day or evening to look forward to. Whether it be a job interview, date, dinner or party, there are always situations where I'll need a 'quick fix' to get my hair looking its best. 

After testing this out over the last month I can definitely admit that it does a wonderful job of reviving my hair (even now, when it is in need of a good trim). I apply this in place of a conditioner, leave it on for five minutes and when I rinse and dry my hair I notice a considerable difference in the condition of my hair from the days when I don't reach for it. Harmony Intensive Care Treatment doesn't weigh my hair down at all (I have fine hair so this is often a concern of mine) and I really do feel as though it leaves my hair looking sleeker and feeling softer. My only concern is that the product is strongly scented - for me this is slightly off-putting. The scent is rich without being heavy and it is sophisticated.   I have consulted with friends and I am the only one who seems bothered by it, suggesting that it is just an issue to do with my personal taste. Additionally, I consulted other blog reviews and the scent actually seems to be part of the reason why many other bloggers enjoyed using the treatment. 

Overall - I think that if you're looking for a product to reach for to tame, smooth and soften your hair then this is a wonderful hair treatment to have on hand. I feel as though the product performs very well and for its price you get something very luxurious. I'm glad I've tried it and I'll certainly be reaching for Neal & Wolf's Harmony Intensive Care Treatment whenever my hairs deep conditioning. Find it online here for £13.50*.

Have you tried any of Neal & Wolf's products?


February 08, 2014

House of Fraser's #HouseOfFasion in Leeds

It's been a while since I started a post off with a giant image of my face, but when I'm having a good hair and make-up day I just can't resist taking a snap! Last night I headed down to Baracoa Luxe Bar in Leeds (and it really is pretty luxe) for House of Fraser's #HouseOfFasion - a charity event supporting Children's Heart Surgery Fund (link to their website here). The night showcased a number of fashion lines stocked by House of Fraser, Lush Apparel, AKA and LisaJayneDann, along with a make-up demonstration from Bobbi Brown and a charity raffle. I took some snaps whilst I was there (although my camera has played up a bit so I have to apologise for the lapse in quality) including some of my favourite fashion pieces from the night.

Baraca Luxe Bar Leeds
Bobbi Brown Make Up Demonstration
Charity Raffle

It was a great evening and I have to thank House of Fraser for inviting me along. The spring/summer fashion all looks lovely, I'm definitely going to have to head down to the Leeds store for a spot of shopping! It was also really nice to bump into some fellow bloggers - notably Joanna from Minty Essence, Katie from Curled Fantasies, Michelle from Satchels and Pearls, Faith from Music and Eyeliner and Hayley from Tea Party Beauty! That's all for today's post - I hope you enjoyed it and you can find all of House of Fraser's Spring/Summer collections on their website (link here).

What item(s) of clothing are you most looking forward to wearing in spring/summer once the sun has woken up from its winter slumber?


February 07, 2014

A New Favourite: Rimmel Colour Rush Balm in Rumour Has It

chubby lip review swatches

Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains were my favourite lip product of 2013 and with their massive new release in January I'm sure Revlon will still be on my radar this year. But for now, Rimmel have taken the top-spot. Rimmel's Colour Rush Balms are relatively new to me, I didn't pick any up for ages because I've been wary of the massive influx of chubby lip products into the drugstore (that Revlon's success spawned). However, Rimmel's Colour Rush Balm have a formula made in heaven. Incredibly balmy, intensely pigmented and they leave behind a stain - they have everything I want in a lip product. I also have to admit that the shade 'Rumour Has It' is absolutely gorgeous and it could have won me over even if the formula hadn't been so impressive. 

chubby lip pen pink swacthes

You can see just how intensely pigmented Rimmel's Colour Rush Balms are from my swatch. They offer a moisturising dose of opaque colour that looks like a lipstick whilst lasting like a stain. I wonder how much longer I can wax lyrical about how beautiful this product is before I bore you! Below, I've swatched 'Rumour Has It' next to some other lip products (including two of Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains and one of Mua's Power Pouts) so you can compare its finish and colour.

comparison swatches
Left to Right: Rimmel Colour Rush Balm in Rumour Has It, Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Lovesick, Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Crush, L'Oreal Rouge Caresse Lipstick in Aphrodite Scarlet, MUA Power Pout in Crazy In Love

As you can see, Rimmel's Colour Rush Balms are a lot more opaque than Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains and a lot less glossy than Mua's Power Pouts. What they offer is very different finish, which for me justifies having them in my collection. I didn't really expect to love 'Rumour Has It' as much as I do but the shade is gorgeous and striking, but I find it a lot less daunting to wear than I would a shade of red. Overall, I'm really impressed and would definitely recommend Rimmel's Colour Rush Balm Stains which you can find in Boots and Superdrug stores for £5.99.

Have you tried any of Rimmel's Colour Rush Balms?


February 05, 2014

Boots Botanics: Ionic Clay Mask and Skin Relief Serum

declogging pore mask redness relieving skin treatment

Recently, I've been dabbling in higher end skincare brands but sometimes you can find some real gems from 'drugstore' brands. Boots (the UK's big highstreet drugstore) is home to many a great affordable skincare range, Super Facialist, Amie, Good Things (more to come on them soon!) and let us not forget Boots' own brand - Boots Botanics. I've tried out a few things from their range and two have stood out to me, the Ionic Clay Mask and the Skin Relief Serum. 

face mask for oily skin

Boots Botanic Ionic Clay Mask - RRP £6.99 (part of the Shine Away collection)

Clay masks are great for oily skin and skin that is congested. I suffer from blackheads across my t-zone and my t-zone is also very prone to being oily. I tend to only apply clay masks onto this area of my face because otherwise my dry, sensitive cheeks are irritated. This Ionic Clay Mask has a very thin consistency, it is actually watery. You have to apply this slowly so as not to spray yourself with product and you have to work quickly because the mask dries very quickly. I think that it does a good job at balance out my oily skin (the following day my skin is less problematic) but I don't think that it is a thick enough mask to do a thorough job at decongesting my pores - I don't notice a significant reduction in the size of my pores after I use this mask. That being said, for a quick 5 minute pick-me-up I do like reaching for this mask and I would repurchase it. However, if you don't have oily skin then I think this might be too harsh or it might simply not do much for your skin at all. In its place I would recommend Amie's Cooling Clay Mask (link to my review) or Origins' Clear Improvement Face Mask (link to my review). 

serum for red sensitive skin

Boots Botanic Skin Relief Serum - RRP £7.99  (part of the Ultra Calm collection)

I use a serum after I have finished cleansing but before I apply moisturiser. I tend to only use serums in the morning because in the evening I use a facial oil in their place. Serums are specifically for targeting your specific skin complaints and supplementing what your routine offers. I use a skincare routine suitable for combination, blemish prone skin but my skin is also quite sensitive and prone to redness. So when I 'add in' serums and facial oils I choose ones that will help improve these skin concerns. The Boots Botanics Skin Relief Serum contains marshmallow and liquorice, both of which are supposed to help calm sensitive skin. It is a very light gel that has little scent to it and I apply two pumps of this onto my hands before massaging it upwards into my skin. It absorbs almost instantly and I have never had a bad reaction to it. I've been using this serum for about five weeks now and I definitely think that it has helped calm and reduce the redness that is often present in my cheeks and that it has helped balance out my combination skin (I haven't had any dry patches on my face since I introduced this into my routine). I think that this is a real gem and I'm very happy to have stumbled across it. I'm definitely going to be repurchasing it in the future and based on the success of the Serum I am very keen to try the rest of the Ultra Calm collection.

The Skin Relief Serum definitely steals the show but I do still enjoy using the Ionic Clay Mask, it just won't be everybody's cup of tea! Have you tried either of these products? Do you have any drugstore skincare products that you'd recommend? 


February 02, 2014

Expanding My Collection: Illamasqua Cream Blushes (Seduce, Dixie, Rude)

makeup collection post review swatches

My obsession with Illamasqua's Cream Blushes began last summer when I stumbled into their Carnaby Street store. I'm not usually one to shop for make-up online without having seen products in the flesh. I'm painfully aware of how fussy I am when it comes to high end make-up - if I'm making beauty "investments" I want them to be the sort that pay off. Having not swatched or played with any of Illamasqua's products before I didn't know what to expect. However, when I had the chance to see their 'Seduce' Cream Blush in the flesh I knew I had found something that I needed. Luckily, it was in their summer sale and I picked it up at the reduced price of £10 (they're usually £18). I put a full review up of "Seduce" last summer with a swatch and a make-up look that I did featuring it, so if you want to see it in action you should take a look at that post here. Since then I've been waiting (with baited breath) for another Illamasqua sale so I could justify trying out some more of their Cream Blushes and this month I found two more, "Dixie" and "Rude", at the same £10 discounted price.

"Seduce" has served me pretty well so far. I've found that it offers very intense pigmentation but is incredibly blendable so you can use it to create very subtle flushes of colour as well as being able to build it up into a more dramatic colour. Since I've gotten my hands on "Dixie" and "Rude" I've found that they work similarly well and have the same dreamily creamy consistency as "Seduce". "Dixie" is a different shade of pink - it has a touch of red to it that lends itself to a watermelon-esque shade. Whilst "Rude" leans very orange but when applied to the cheeks creates a beautiful coral flush. They're both very pretty and different enough from "Seduce" to justify me owning all three.

colour dixie review
Top to Bottom: Dixie, Rude, Seduce.

I am a big lover of cream blushes and I've tried quite a few now including Stila's Convertible Colours (review here), MaxFactor's Creamy Touch Blush (review coming soon), Catrice's Lip and Cheek Colours (currently not available in the UK) and Bourjois' Cream Blushes. I personally find that Illamasqua's Cream Blushes are my favourite - although I think that Stila's Convertible Colours are a close second. Illamasqua's offerings have the most gorgeous texture, I find them really easy to apply and I love the way they look on my skin. They're definitely worth their £18 price tag, but I can only afford to stock up on them when they're a bit cheaper than that. 

arm swatches three illamasqua blushers
Left to Right: Seduce, Dixie, Rude

All in all, I love the colours I own and I'm sure in a couple of months I'll be looking to try out some more shades. I'd definitely recommend them and with their colour range there will be a colour to suit everyone's tastes. You can find Illamasqua's Cream Blushes on their website here, but the blushers that they put on sale won't appear here so it is worth looking in the sale section on their website. 

Do you like cream blushes? Have you tried any products from Illamasqua? I'd love recommendations for other cream blushes to check out too, I'm always on the hunt for good ones.

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