May 25, 2015
May 22, 2015
May 18, 2015
May 17, 2015
May 16, 2015
May 15, 2015
May 12, 2015
May 11, 2015
I picked up these two Lush soaps from the Vegan Society's stall at the Natural and Organic Products Show - a slab of Ice Blue and Sandstone. I'm already a big fan of Lush's solid soaps as I really like the range they stock and I think that they're affordable and long lasting products. I already knew that Lush's soaps were cruelty-free and free from unsustainable palm-oil but I didn't know that many of them were also suitable for vegans.
Lush Ice Blue Soap* | rrp £3.10/100g
Ice Blue is a peppermint soap, and it's as refreshing as it is blue! It contains menthol which gives it a strong minty scent, along with fine sea salt which works to gently soften skin. Although it contains hydrating ingredients such as rapeseed and coconut oil, it does also contain SLS - an ingredient that encourages that satisfying foam you get in many shampoos and body washes, but that can also act as a skin irritant. However, if you're looking for a soap that will give a really good lather then Ice Blue is going to be a good option. It would work well as a body wash, or perhaps even as a shampoo (that's how lather-tastic it is), but for me personally I'm probably going to reserve this for use on my makeup brushes as it leaves them squeaky clean.
Lush Sandstone Soap* | rrp £3.40/100g
Sandstone also has a refreshing scent, but with a citrus rather than a minty base. Unlike Ice Blue it doesn't contain SLS, but it does still contain ingedients like rapeseed and coconut oil as well as other oils such as litsea cubeba oil and coriander oil. It also contains sand which acts as an exfoliating property, although it does contain far less sand than I'd imagined it would. However, the sand content coupled with the gentle citrus scent makes it really nice for use on the hands. It leaves them feeling clean and soft but not overly dry like a soap containing SLS might. Although I love Ice Blue's strong minty scent, I definitely prefer the consistency and ingredients of Sandstone.
Do you ever use solid soaps?
What's your favourite Lush product?
May 08, 2015
Personally, I'm not big on tanning. I have naturally fair skin that gets burnt in hardly any time at all, and that's during May! So in the summer I tend to layer on the SPF and cover up as much as possible. But when it comes to glamming up during the summer months, from pretty sun dresses to shorts, I do sometimes like to fake a bit of a tan. I'm not talking about anything drastic, just a bit of extra colour - especially in the form of gradual tan and bronze highlighters. Recently, I've been road testing some very summer appropriate beauty products and today I thought I'd share my thoughts on them all.
Cocoa Brown Gentle Bronze Gradual Tan* | rrp £6.99
I've tried quite a few affordable gradual tanners and I think that the best ones offer a natural looking bronze shade (that's certainly not at all orange) and when they fade they do so subtly, not leaving you looking really patchy and undignified. Although I wouldn't describe Cocoa Brown's Gentle Bronze as my ideal gradual tanning product, it's probably the best one that I've tried so far. At £6.99 it does a terribly good job of giving me a natural looking bronze shade that doesn't fade really awkwardly. I would say that it gives you noticeable colour much more quickly than some gradual tans but personally I quite liked this as it means that I don't have to reach for it so often, making the product go further. I'd always recommend applying even gradual tanning products with a tanning mitt, to avoid staining your hands - there's nothing worse than orange knuckles or wrists. I found that applying it with a tanning mitt gave a really even colour without any streaks. All in all, I don't think you can do better for the money and I'd definitely like to use this again during the warmer months.
He-Shi Overnight Ageless Tanning Balm Light* | rrp £22.50
This gradual tanning balm from He-Shi is a similar product to the Cocoa Brown Gentle Bronze but it's specifically designed for use on the face. I found that it gave a gradual dose of natural looking colour and it didn't break my skin out. You apply it at night and in the morning you can see a difference in the colour of your skin - it's the perfect product for using before parties or going on holiday! The colour fades incredibly naturally so you won't look weird or patchy, and when applied with a tanning mitt you can get a really even and believable finish. He-Shi is an incredibly trustworthy brand when it comes to tanning products and I wouldn't trust facial fake tanning to anyone less qualified! You might be able to cover your arms if fake tan goes wrong, but there's no hiding your face. But thankfully He-Shi have it totally covered and there won't be any fake tan disasters for me this summer.
Rimmel Good to Glow Highlighter in Soho Glow 003 | rrp £4.99
If the concept of fake tan - even gradual tan - totally isn't for you, then you should try using a bronze highlighter like Rimmel's Good to Glow in the shade Soho Glow. Last summer I used Revlon's PhotoReady Skin Lights Illuminator in Bare Light, but Soho Glow offers a very similar colour and finish for less than half the price. I apply a reasonable sized amount of the product onto my fingers and then before applying any other makeup I blend it across my entire face. Not only does it add some colour to your complexion but it also adds a radiance that will still be visible once you apply foundation. Alternatively, you can mix some of the highlighter into your foundation and apply it like that. The finished look is a slightly warmer complexion with added radiance, an attempt at faking a naturally sunkissed glow that you can wear year-round.
What fake tanning products do you like to reach for?
Are there makeup products that you use to fake a golden glow?
May 07, 2015
I picked up Rimmel's Lasting Finish Full Coverage Foundation on a bit of a whim. I saw it in one of EssieButton's videos and I always think that her skin looks flawless so I thought I'd give something other than my trusty Revlon Colorstay Foundation a try. I picked mine up in a little superdrug haul at the very reasonable price of £7.99 and I've been wearing it pretty much every day since I bought it.
Rimmel offer two kinds of Lasting Finish Foundations, a medium and a full coverage option. I thought I'd opt for a fuller coverage because I already have some lighter coverage options I'm really happy with (ESPA's Tinted Moisturiser and Balance Me BB Perfecting Cream, for instance). When I wasnt a really flawless finish, I like to apply my foundations with the Real Techniques Beauty Sponge, and when I want a slightly more natural looking finish I prefer to use Japonesque's Pro Stippling Brush, as well as the Point Foundation Brush to add a bit of extra coverage around my nose and under my eyes. In the photo below I used my Real Techniques Beauty Sponge and I think it does a really good job of apply the foundation lightly and evenly.
Rimmel's Full Coverage Lasting Finish Foundation first applies with quite a light consistency and then when you blend the product into your skin it begins to feel a little bit more creamy, before finally "setting" on the skin. Once it's blended and set it really doesn't budge, it lasts tremendously well throughout the day without excentuating dry spots or pores. I find it incredibly comfortable to wear, even without a primer, and this more than anything is what keeps me reaching for it over my other foundations. True Ivory is a relatively good colour match for me, it leans towards yellow-tones rather than pink and I did buy it with summer in mind so it is just a little bit darker than my skin-tone. Overall, I'm really happy with this particular purchase and I'm considering checking out the Medium Coverage option now too!
Have you tried any of Rimmel's foundations before?
Do you wear a drugstore foundation?
May 06, 2015
May 05, 2015
This is the penultimate installment of my Mac Lipstick Collection - and today I'm going to be talking about Mac's Fanfare Lipstick. Fanfare is a mid-tone, blue based pink in a creamy Cremesheen formula. It's a very wearable shade that's entirely suitable for both day-time and evening makeup looks as the colour is quite neutral and unobtrusive. You can see what Mac's Fanfare looks like on my lips in the photos below.
I really liked Mac's Lipstick in Fanfare for a long time as I felt as though it was a pretty safe lipstick choice. However, over time I've found myself liking Fanfare less and less as I find the tone of the lipstick washes me out a little bit - I just don't look my best when I wear it. It is, however, easy to apply and comfortable to wear thanks to the Cremesheen formula. I don't think I'd repurchase Fanfare in the future but I am glad that I bought it because I have worn it quite a lot.
If you'd like to see the other shades in my Mac Lipstick Collection then you can catch up on all my blogposts here.
What do you think about Mac's Fanfare Lipstick? Do you have a favourite Mac Lipstick?
Have you entered my international beauty giveaway? Win a new lipstick for everyday of the week
Have you entered my international beauty giveaway? Win a new lipstick for everyday of the week
May 04, 2015
I've had a seriously relaxing bank holiday weekend and it's left me feeling incredibly refreshed - and also really motivated to make the most of the week ahead. One thing that I really enjoyed about this weekend is that I took the time to really look after myself, and I mean this in so many different ways. One of them was by indulging in some old, and some new, beauty favourites, reaching for a few seriously luxe skin treats as well as continuing the mission to nourish my ever-parched hands. If you're looking to try some new beauty products then I can seriously recommend everything mentioned in this blog post. Read on to discover why exactly these are the beauty bits that I think are worth investing in.
Nourish Kale Enzymatic Exfoliating Cleanser* | rrp £16.50
I've only been using this cleanser for approximately a week - so this isn't a "proper" review - but it was, absolutely and completely, love at first application. The cleanser is entirely cruelty free, 81% certified organic and contains pomegranate enzymes that gently exfoliate your skin to leave it looking smoother and healthier, whilst kale extracts help to increase the suppleness of your skin. I often find that chemical exfoliating cleansers or masks can be a bit harsh on my skin but Nourish have struck the perfect balance. Although it's called a cleanser the product can actually be applied in three different ways - as a cleanser, an exfoliating mask or a revitalizing weekly facial. If you use it as a cleanser then you apply the product onto wet skin, whereas if you want to use it as a mask or facial then you apply it onto dry skin and leave it on for longer. I find that this makes the cleanser much more suitable for a range of skin-types, and it allows me to tailor my use of the product to my exact needs. This is all wonderful, but the best part is the fact that it gives instant results. Honestly, my skin hasn't been this smooth and glow-y in so, so long and I really do think that this cleanser is the reason why. I reached for this at the very beginning of my pamper routine to get rid of all my dead skin and to set the scene so my other skincare products can really get to work.
Caudalie Purifying Mask* | rrp £22.00
Caudalie's Purifying Mask is another relatively new addition to my skincare arsenal, and it's another winner. I've become so used to cleansing masks being very heavily clay based, difficult to remove and harsh on the skin, but Caudalie's Purifying Mask is a whole different ball game. Although it contains white clays (bentonin and kaolin) it's a very smooth and creamy mask with a 94% natural formula that works to balance the skin - clarifying and deeply cleansing without drying it out. I find that it's so much more gentle than my other masks, and it's really easy to remove too, so I've been reaching for it over pretty much every other mask I own. Another reason why I like reaching for it is because it's specifically designed for blemish prone skin and it's definitely made a difference to my complexion. It's been a great introduction to Caudalie's skincare range and I just know that I'll be reaching for this mask a lot from now on.
Organic Surge Replenishing Facial Oil* | rrp £23.50
Organic Surge consistently impress me - and this facial oil is no exception. It's cruelty free, certified natural and organic (55% of the ingredients come from organic farming) and it's made up of a mixture of argan oil, yarrow oil and essential oils. Together, they form a really luxurious facial oil that's very hydrating but also has a very light consistency that absorbs incredibly quickly into the skin. Organic Surge's Replenishing Facial Oil is designed for dry or mature skin, but I think that it would suit many skin types as you can easily adjust how much oil you apply each time - either applying it straight onto your skin (which is what I prefer) or mixing it with your moisturiser. I particularly like applying this facial oil after I've used face masks as I find that it instantly works to restore and hydrate my skin, leaving it looking really fresh and supple.
Botanicals Lemongrass & Ginger Body Polish* | rrp £19.95 for 175g
When it comes to looking after my hands I really do swear by exfoliation. If you struggle with dry skin then exfoliating before you apply your mosituriser can make a wolrd of difference! I've tried my fair share of exfoliaters and although I've only tried a sample size of Botanicals' Lemongrass and Ginger Body Polish it's finally replaced & Other Stories' Body Scrubs as my new favourite body exfoliater. The body polish has a gorgeous consistency, and it certainly doesn't hurt that it's also 100% natural and 82% organic It's essentially a very high quality sugar scrub made up of raw cane sugar, shea butter, lemongrass (for toning), mandarin (for balancing) and ginger (for detoxifying) essential oils. You mix a small amount of the scrub with warm water before using it to exfoliate your skin. A little goes a very long way and you can alter the ratio of water to body polish to create your perfect level of exfoliation. Although this works really well on the body, I've particulalry enjoyed using it to gently exfoliate my hands before applying my moisturiser. I find that this helps my mosituriser really get to work which gives me longer lasting results. I'd absolutely, without any question, like to purchase the full-size body polish now that I've had the chance to try this sample size out for myself. It's been a superb introduction to the brand and I'm now really keen to try out more of their extensive beauty range.
Bee Good Honey & Crambe Daily Hand Cream* | rrp £9.00
I've heard a lot of good things about Bee Good's British bodycare but this hand cream was my first foray into their range. Packed full of beeswax, honey, crambe oil and borage oil, this hand cream is quite nourishing whilst still being very easily absorbed into the skin. It has a light floral scent (reminiscent of lily of the valley) with just an undertone of honey, and all-in-all I'm rather enamoured with it! The cream itself doesn't have the thickest or richest consistency - especially for incredibly dry hands - but I love the formula. It absorbs so quickly and leaves behind a very pleasant matte coating on your hands that I'm convinced keeps them feeling softer for longer. I think that it would be a great product to use on-the-go, but you'll still find me using this at home as I just can't get enough.
While I was getting my hands looking their best I thought I would do a quick switch-a-roo on the nail polish front. I opted for one of my new Essie polishes in the shade Geranium, a simply gorgeous orange toned red. It took two to three coats to get an even opaque finish and then I topped it off with a coat of Orly's Nail Lacquer in the shade Clear which has a wonderfully glossy finish. It's not a typical spring nail polish shade but it's a very pretty shade that's bright enough to make a statement but still easy to wear.
La Montana First Light Candle* | rrp £35.00
If you're anything like me then when you go to have a bit of a pamper you'll love to set the mood. I like to do that with a good playlist and an even better candle. La Montaña recently sent me one of their candles in the fragrance 'First Light' which has a gorgeous floral/herbal scent that does as good a job as it possibly could to mentally transport you away from home and out into a hillside meadow. I think that the aroma of this candle is incredibly well balanced and sophisticated, and the scent is strong even when the candle isn't lit. Personally, I love that it has a strong aroma as it means that even when the candle isn't lit it can help scent a room, and when it is lit the aroma can quickly fill up the entire room. If you're tired of scented candles that smell fake, or that don't actually fragrance your home, then you'd really appreciate the quality of this candle. Plus, because these candles are made with high quality wax they supposedly offer a forty hour burn time - which is enough to fragrance your home for many, many happy days. This is my first time trying La Montaña's candles but it's been such a positive experience and I now associate them with very high quality fragrances. They're the perfect backdrop for some quality me-time.
All in all, this line-up of beauty products worked perfectly to give me the perfect mix of pampering and relaxation that I wanted from a chilled bank holiday night-in. Have you indulged in a bit of a beauty pamper this weekend? What products or brands do you usually reach for when you want to spoil yourself?
May 03, 2015
A couple of weeks ago I attended the Natural and Organic Products Show - a big trade show where natural and organic beauty, food and lifestyle brands showcased their products. Personally, I found it to be quite an eye opening experience as I'd never really understood just how many incredible vegan, cruelty-free and organic brands there are to choose between. Seeing them all together in one place really encouraged me to make better decisions about what I buy - not just for my own benefit but for the planet's too. Obviously it isn't an overnight sort of change, but I am going to try to be more mindful in my purchasing and consumption decisions. And one big change has been ditching Diet Coke... or at least seriously reducing my consumptiom. In it's place, I've started to drink far more natural and organic herbal teas. I've found that this simple swap has improved the way I feel - both physically and mentally. Today I'm going to be talking you through the four new teas I've been drinking over the last month - hopefully you might some find tea inspiration of your own!
May 02, 2015
April was a particularly busy month for me beauty-wise so this blog post is a little bit late in the making! I recently attended a blog event put on by Hot Hair, a company that specialise in hair extensions and hair pieces. Hot Hair launched fifteen years ago in Selfridges London and they're now sold in Selfridges Birmingham and Manchester (which really speaks to the quality of their products), and they're also available online and in their own boutique salons across the country.
At Hot Hair's London event I was introduced to the brand and I had the opportunity to see their hair pieces in person - as well as being able to try them out for myself! I witnessed a host of bloggers having their hair completely transformed by the simple addition of wigs and hair pieces. I tried on a full wig - my first one ever - but I just couldn't get over how weird it was to see myself with radically different hair! I much preferred experimenting with smaller hair pieces which didn't radically alter the way I look. But in both instances I was surprised at how easy it was to use the artifical hair pieces - and by how high quality and natural-looking everything was.
In all of the pictures in this blog post I'm wearing one of Hot Hair's hair pieces called a Fairy Wrap* - a loop of artifical hair which you can clip around a bun or ponytail to quickly and easily add volume and drama to a hairstyle. My Fair Wrap is in the shade Butterscotch, and it has both brown and blonde shades in a mixture of tones that render it very natural looking.
I find the Fairy Wrap incredibly easy to use - I created a small, tight bun and then I just use some hair clips (about four or five) to secure the hair piece in place. Instantly, my hair is transformed from looking sad and rather un-done into looking much more elegant and stylish. It would be perfect for use on a busy morning, after a long day at work or even after a gym session when you just don't have the time to style your hair but still need to look polished.
There are quite a few shades to pick between - from very light blonde to dark brown, and everything in between. I was matched with the shade Butterscotch which in natural light definitely looks like a good match. Under some lights the shade can look a little stark and quite unlike my natural hair colour, however, although Butterscotch is quite blonde and I have brown hair, I find that it highlights the natural blonde tones amidst my brown hair and also offers a sort of dip-dyed look that I quite like.
Hot Hair's Fairy Wraps are priced at £14.00*, which given the quality of the hair piece seems very reasonable. It's nice to have such a versatile product to rely on in those moments when I'm running short on time or just can't be bothered with my hair! Hot Hair make many other types of hair pieces - including long faux-ponytails which I like the look of - as well as a whole range of full and half-head wigs.
Have you ever tried clip in hair pieces? Or even full wigs?
May 01, 2015
Last Monday I headed over to John Lewis' Kingston branch to see the newly launched Murad Treatment Room. Murad are a brand that I've become more and more invested in this year after I visited their Kingston counter in January for a mini-facial. I wrote about my experience with Murad's on-counter (which just means that they occur at the counter in the department store, rather than in a seperate room) facial treatments on my blog (link here). Although it was a very positive experience, I was really happy to hear that Murad were launching their own private treatment room in John Lewis' Kingston branch, so that facials and other treatments could occur in a more relaxing environment.
The photos featured above are all of the Murad counter in John Lewis' Kingston branch. You can see the general area that the counter takes up and that two facial consultations can occur at once, but that there's only really space for one facial treatment. The on-counter treatments tend to only be mini-treatments that last roughly 30 minutes. However, now that Murad have their own dedicated and private treatment space they can offer 60 minute facials - along with more holistic treatments such as relaxing massages.
The treatment room is tucked away just around the corner from the rest of the beauty department and outside the treatment space there's a big, comfy armchair for waiting visitors to relax in - as modelled by Ellie from Kingston First. Opposite this prive waiting area is the treatment room itself.
Murad's new Treatment Room is an intimate space that completely transports visitors away from the hustle of a department store and into a relaxing spa-like environment. It's a perfect way to privately indulge in expert skincare treatments from Murad's knowledgeable and friendly in-house team. All of the Murad representatives that I've met have been incredibly helpful and kind, and they're exactly the sort of people that you'd want looking after you in both a retail and treatment setting.
In the next month or so, Murad are also set to release new gift vouchers which will enable Murad customers to purchase products or treatments for not only themselves but also for their loved ones. I think that they'll be a fantastic gift option for those people in your life who already seems to have everything. If you'd like to make use of this treatment room then just pop by the Murad counter in Kingston's John Lewis and have a chat to one of the brand's assistants.
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