Saturday, 28 April 2012

My New Skin (and haircare) Wonders

I’ve had the immense pleasure of trying some of Holland & Barrett’s best selling beauty products. I know, I hear you... Holland & Barrett. BEAUTY. What now? Well, you know the old adage, beauty starts from within? We spend fortunes products that go ON our face, hair and body (often ones we wash off after a few hours) but what about the products that go INSIDE our bodies!

Have you noticed that the World has gone mad for Moroccan oil? Well Moroccan oil is basically a watered down version of Argan Oil, one of the rarest oils in the World, endemic to Morocco. The Moroccan oil that we buy is mostly silicones and fragrance, with some argan oil and linseed oil thrown in... and it’s pricey! So, why pay more for and an Argan oil by-product when you can get the real deal for less? This MiaFlora Argan Oil is 100% pure. It’s rich in fatty acids, which helps protect the skin from wrinkling because it becomes more toned. I’ve been applying it like a serum to my face and neck in the evenings for about three weeks now. My skin definitely feels softer and more moisturised. It’s rich and luxurious. It absorbs well, it’s not greasy and doesn’t just sit on the skin, it penetrates it. Not only is it great for the skin, it also works wonders on hair, repairing sun and chemical damage. Simply warm a few drops in your hands and work into parched ends... you’ve got to love a multi-tasker! Even Kylie’s a fan! In an interview with More Magazine Kylie said “I picked up some argan oil on a recent trip to Morocco... it really works”. Perhaps she uses it on her famous derriere?

Next up... Coconut Oil. It was recently given a glowing endorsement by one of the world’s most beautiful women. So it’s hardly surprising that coconut oil – the favourite beauty product of Miranda Kerr – has been flying off the shelves. Holland and Barrett’s sales shot up by 50% after the Victoria Secrets angel revealed she was a huge fan.
Perfectly Pure Coconut Oil is one of beauty’s natural must-haves. Extracted from the flesh of mature coconuts it can be drunk raw, used in cooking and baking or applied directly to the skin or hair as a moisturiser.  The oil contains fatty acids which are said to leave skin and hair smooth and shiny, and devotees have linked it with a host of other alleged health benefits, including aiding digestion and weight loss.

I apply it as a body moisturiser. It melts into the skin like butter! It's very rich and does take a little while to absorb, but it takles the dry patches on my elbows and knees like no other! It's perfect after the bath if you want a luxurious coating. I must admit, I'm having a little difficulty taking it orally. Miss Kerr claims to take around four teaspoons a day in cooking, salads and green tea. I've tried one teaspoon with lemon and hot water, which is quite tasty, although the texture's odd ... everyone knows oil and water don't mix.

I’ll keep trying, if it’s good enough for Miranda, it’s good enough for me! But use it sparingly... It has high levels of saturated fat and calories – a 15g tablespoon contains around 135.

Pure Coconut Oil £14.99 453g

And finally, the jewell in the crown Hydrolysed Collagen.

This is the one I was most excited about trying. You know how babies have the most perfectly soft, smooth, plump flesh? That's because their collagen levels are so high. As we get older our skin gets thinner and collagen levels collapse. This is definitely something I've been very aware of, particularly since my face isn't as chubby as it used to be. Fortunately you don't have to stick a needle in your face to boost the collagen in your skin.

Collagen is a complex protein which provides the major building material for growth, repair and maintenance of skin, as well as nails and hair. It can boost skin's hydration and reduce wrinkles. I've been taking these supplements for four weeks. During this time I've noticed two things 1) My complexion has never been so clear! As someone prone to spots my face has been suspiciously blemish free 2) My hair has had a major growth spirt. Whilst I can't say with 100% certainty that these supplements are solely responsible - other factors like hormones and stress levels also play their part, but good skin isn't something I'm willing to gamble on and for now I'm happy to continue taking collagen supplements. There are however two drawbacks - the caplets are like horse tablets, honestly I may choke in my conquest for better skin!

And they're expensive. 180 caplets (roughly one month's supply) of 1000mg Hydrolysed Collagen will set you back £19.35. But we'll spend £20+ on a blusher that makes us look healthy for four hours, why not invest in something that makes us actually healthier and for longer!
Check out the Holland & Barratt penny sale. If you're interested in trying any of these products, now's a good time... I'll be stocking up on collagen tablets.


Friday, 27 April 2012

What's in April's Glossybox?

April 2012's Glossybox has (finally) arrived...

When the postman handed me this very unassuming package yesterday morning I had no idea it was my Glossybox. In fact it sat by the front door for an hour or so before I decided to open it. Needless to say I was surprised to see this not-at-all-glossy, Glossybox inside. This month's box, The Natural Beauty Box contains "five natural beauty products guaranteed to make you feel your best, look gorgeous while at the same time satisfying the green goddess within!" All encased in a limited edition 100% biodegradable recycled box.

Here's what I got...

Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum
Inika Cosmetics Certified Organic Eye Liner in Sappire
Monu Professional Skincare Enriched Body Cream
Figs & Rouge Lip Balm
Philip B Drop Dead Straightening Balm

I haven't had chance to try any of the products yet. I just wanted to share my contents. I'll give them a whirl and let you know if there's any gems. What do you think?

Are you still subscribing? What did you receive?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

New Lipstick Love... Costa Chic

I finally did it! I’m now the proud owner of MAC Costa Chic Lipstick. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nearly bought it. I’ve gone with the intension of buying, but somehow end up being talked into something else.
Costa Chic is one of MAC’s best selling lipsticks and has a frost finish. It’s described as a light coral, but I’d say it’s more of a bright coral with gorgeous pink tones – the kind of shade that looks great in the summer , especially with a tan. Don’t be fooled by the bullet! It looks very orangey on the counter (and in these pictures!) but in reality it’s much softer and the pink tones do shine through.

For a frost finish I wouldn’t say it’s especially “frosty”, but does have a slight shimmer/glimmer to it and it isn’t as moisturising as the cremesheen or amplified finish lipsticks. The colour payoff is excellent, just a quick swipe and my lips were covered. I quite like to dab this one on for a more natural look and it lasts hours! I teamed it with MAC's Margin blush, a bronzey peach, also with a frost finish.

It’s very similar to MAC’s Ever Hip lipstick, a limited edition shade from last years’ FashionFlower collection. At least it looks that way in the bullet, but Ever Hip is lighter and much creamer. Costa Chic is much more of a true coral with a slight frostiness.

Costa Chic V Ever Hip

I’m definitely pleased I finally took the plunge on this one. It’s lined up to be my go-to-lippy for my summer holidays!

MAC lipsticks £13.50

Friday, 20 April 2012

Say BONJOUR to Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover

This could be the product of the year, in fact this could be the product of my life! Bold words I know, but I can hardly type for excitement on this one! Introducing Bourjois' One Second Magic nail varnish remover.
If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, but not this time! This little pink pot magically removes nail polish in record time and without the need for cotton wool. The pot is filled with black foam soaked in acetone-free remover and sweet almond oil. Dip each finger, one by one, inside the little hole. Twist, hold for a second or two, remove and voile, polish free finger!

Seeing is believing! I get the concept, but didn’t quite believe it until I tried it with my own finger! The liquid-soaked foam instantly removes tricky polishes and is packed full of sweet almond oil to nourish your nails and cuticles. It even leaves them smelling of red fruit and vanilla! It’s not harsh and doesn’t strip the nail’s moisture, which is ideal for me because my nails are especially brittle and prone to peeling. In fact, my nails felt moisturised and cleansed. No mess, no need for cotton wool and no need for scrubbing back and forth!

At £4.99 it may be a little pricey for a remover. I've no idea how long it lasts and if it will fare so well against tough-to-budge glitter polishes, but for someone that changes their nail polish more than their knickers, it's priceless!

Bourjois' One Second Magic nail varnish remover is available at Boots now!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Love it, Share it... ASOS Ankle Boots

Buying boots in April, now that’s a first for me! But with no signs of summer there seems little point in buying more sandals (in fact I’m still waiting to wear last years) and I’ve wore my black River Island ankle boots to death (see them here) so I decided I NEEDED something similar! I love ASOS for footwear and I’ve had these grey-beige suede ankle boots saved in my wish list for weeks. Then, when I saw Victoria Secrets goddess Miranda Kerr rocking some very similar looking boots, I took it as a sign.

This style is so wearable.  Super comfortable, the colour goes with nearly everything and they’re the perfect daytime boots with just a little bit of height. Great with jeans and skirts, dress up, dress down... I just love them.
I own lots of ASOS footwear and I’ve always been happy with the quality. The suede is very soft and the insole is cushioned. Featuring stitched tab detailing, side zip fastening, an almond shaped toe, and a stacked mid-height heel. The only oddity with these boots is the fitting. ASOS footwear is usually true to size, but these are very generous. I swapped the 7 for a 6, which were slightly snug at first but I’ve seen wore them in.

They’re a great transitional piece that will hopefully take me through to the summer... if it ever shows.
August suede boots £50 ASOS available in Taupe and Black

Monday, 16 April 2012

This week’s nails... Pink Friday! Nicki Minaj for OPI

Good things come to those who wait! I do love a good OPI collaboration and the partnership between the nail supremo and hip-hop princess Nicki Minaj was a perfect pairing. I blogged about the stylish and sassy collection earlier in the year and was desperate to get my hands on Metallic 4 Life and Pink Friday, but in exercising a little restraint and savviness I decided to wait. And I’m glad I did because I picked them up in the Lookfantastic sale for £6.50 each.

Last week I rocked Pink Friday, a creamy bubble gum pink with a crème gloss finish. I love this shade; the pastel hue is very on trend and perfect for spring.  The shade looks different under every light and I’m not sure my photos fully reflect how fab it is.


Artificial light

The formula is very thick and opaque, two coats is ample! I used a base and a top coat and got a good 5 days coverage, despite the fact I went swimming twice! I can’t wait to try Metallic 4 Life, watch this space.

The Lookfantastic sale is now finished, but the Nicki Minaj polishes are still available for £8.25 per 15ml bottle, an improvement of the UK RRP of £12!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

I Love Boots and I LOVE 3 for 2

Firstly I must apologise to those outside of the UK who must get tired of UK beauty bloggers going on and on about Boots. I often get people messaging me asking what it is and where it is... for those that don’t know Boots is the UK’s most popular chemist, specialising in health and beauty products, emphasis on the BEAUTY! There’s one on nearly every high street in the country, so if you’re planning a trip to the UK, chances are you’ll never be too far from one! Larger stores have humongous beauty departments and there’s always a good offer, or two... hence why I never have any money!

I couldn’t resist the current promotion 3 for 2 mix and match across beauty, hair and nails, especially when I discovered it included make up brushes!

First up the much sought after Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman Blush Brush £9.99. There’s been a LOT of buzz in the beauty world about this range and I’m probably the  last one to cave in. I was tempted with the four piece set that everyone seems to have snapped up, but I wasn’t convinced I’d used all of the brushes, especially that tiny concealer brush plus I already have a couple of stippling brushes. Dubbed as the perfect blush brush I was instinctively dubious about this one, but I’m happy, if not a little surprised to report that this brush is BRILLIANT. I’ve used it every day since I got it. It gives an absolutely flawless application of powder, when it claims to give HD results I’m inclined to agree. The bristles are extremely soft, evenly spaced and the head it perfectly doomed to impart powder perfectly and effortlessly. My only complaint, sorry there’s always got to be at least one, it’s a little large for a blusher brush. Personally I prefer a smaller brush blush like MAC’s 109.

Compared to MAC's 109

I like to be quite directional with blush application, plus I have a small face and for those reason think this size is better suited for face powder or bronzer. If they bring a slightly smaller version of this one, it really would be the perfect blusher brush. For now I'm using the tip for blush application or the whole brush for face powders.

Super soft bristles

Next I picked up the lesser known ECO Tools Baboo Buffing Brush £9.99 ...

I’ve seen this range in boots many times before but failed to be drawn to it, maybe it’s the branding or the misconception that being eco-friendly automatically diminish the quality – it’s not true, certainly not where this brush is concerned. I’ve wanted a flat top brush for ages! I’ve had my eye on Sigma’s flat top Kabuki brushes but postage to the UK is extortionate. The bristles are extremely soft – softer than natural hair and very heavily packed in making this brush very solid and sturdy. I’m finding it’s perfect for applying cream blush – simply dab onto the cheek until you have the perfect amount, then with small circular movements “buff” the product for flawlessly blended results. I’d imagine it would be great for the applying mineral make up too. I think both of these brushes are fantastic, especially given the price.
Completely flat top brush, great for buffing

So for my FREE item, I picked up another Revlon Colourburst Lip Butter, this time in Strawberry Shortcake £7.99.

It’s a very flattering blue based candy pink, with a slight frostiness. On the lips it reminds me a little of MAC’s Angel lipstick. It glides on easily and has a slightly milky/creamy texture that makes you want to press your lips together. It’s fairly opaque, for a lipstick/lip balm hybrid, but does have a tendency to wear off quite quickly. It’s a great daytime shade and I’m really enjoying wearing it. Read my full review of Revlon Lip butter here.

On to the hair treats...

I’m all about the volume, at least I try to be, so any product I buy has to have BIG, glam or bold in the title. For that reason I’m loving the Umberto Giannini Glam Hair range. Rock n Roll Extreme hairspray £5.61 in my new favourite, although I am fickle with hairspray, I’ve had many faves over the years. This one smells divine – the whole range does! I wouldn’t say it gives volume, but it certainly holds it. I give my hair a good shake followed by a generous spritz and voile – va va VOOM Volume. It holds brilliantly without any sticky residue yet you know it’s there... your style feels protected, unlike when I wear something like Elnett, I’m sorry but that stuff’s like fresh air!
Finally I picked up Conditioner and Mousse from my beloved John Frieda Luxurious Volume range £5.79 each. I won’t go into too much detail about this range, I love it so much it deserves its own dedicated post but I will say I’ve played the field when it comes to moose and volume friendly conditions (I have a cupboard full of unloved ones to prove it) and there’s none better than these two.  The conditioner is a hair saviour of mine – so thick, luxurious and incredibly conditioning, without being in the slightest bit heavy.
Wow, I didn’t intend on this being such a mammoth post, but 6 great products deserve a good reviewin! Let me know if you’ve picked up any great products lately.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Essie Aruba Blue

I’m sorry if my posts are a little “nail heavy” at the moment, but I’m turning into a bit of a nail junkie. I can’t tell you how much better I feel having my tips coloured in and with so many gorgeous shades on the market I can’t resist. This weeks’ nails are bright, blue, shiny and new!
Described as a frosty sapphire blue, this shade is so striking, in fact, it’s ELECTRIC! Despite being a real disco shade, it’s very wearable and didn’t look too OTT in the cold light of day. In fact the shiny, multi-tonal finish looks great in natural and artificial light. The shade is very opaque with a decent colour payoff with just one coat, although I applied a second for good measure. The only downside, the colour’s very unforgiving if you don’t have a steady hand and it’s pretty messy to get off... a small price to pay for sexy nails.
I’m becoming a big fan of Essie nails and now that they’re available from Boots for the more purse friendly price of £7.99... I’ve a feeling there will be many more to follow.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Welcome to Miami... and Mavala

You know when you’ve been meaning to try something for ages, and when you finally do it’s brilliant and you could kick yourself for not trying to sooner? Well that’s what happened with me and Mavala nail colours. I’ve seen them around online, in magazines and beauty blogs, they even stock them in Boots now – you know you’ve made it when Boots stock you! Yet for some reason I’ve never got around to actually trying any of their products – they’ve been kicking around for over 50 years now, there’s really no excuse.
Mavala are renowned for their nail care products, gift sets and mini Nail colours, which come in a rainbow of 5ml bottles. Unlike the bottles, the range of colours is HUGE, seriously there must be over one hundred shades, retailing for around £4 in the UK.  Maybe it’s the size that’s put me off, 5mls is pretty small, yet bigger than OPI’s minis to put them into perspective (they’re 3.75mls), and let’s face it, how often do we really use the entire bottle?

Miami is a very cute and girlie pink. Universally flattering, it has a munti-tonal effect and a pearlised finish. The formula is top class! Easy to apply, great colour pay off and long lasting. The brush is a great size too, I didn’t really notice it was smaller and the best part... THE PRICE. I picked this one up on Fragrance Direct, one of my favourite online beauty retailers, for £1.99!
See the pearlised effect under artificial light?
It’s fair to say Miami won’t be the only Mavala in my collection for very long, in fact I’ve just ordered another called Marron Glace and I have my eye on Lagoon.
Fragrance Direct have a great range of Mavala Nail Colours from £1.75. Mavala is also included in Boots’ current 3 for 2 promotion.

What’s your favourite nail colour? Any recommendations?

Monday, 2 April 2012

You can play the field, but you always come back to your true love... YSL Touche Éclat

There isn’t a woman alive who hasn’t heard of YSL's Touche Éclat, with one sold worldwide every 20 seconds the original, and still the best highlighter has never wavered from its position as the No.1 highlighter for 20 years.

Now, it’s not that I fell out of love with this wonder product, but with all the good and incredibly cheaper alternatives that have flooded the market in the last few years, it’s fair to say I have played the field. Don’t get me wrong, I was never completely out of stock of Touche, I kept one for emergencies, but contrary to my previous fears, I could live without it!

My top picks were L’Oreal’s Touch Magique and more recently Lumi Magique, Clinique’s Airbrush Concealer and this little pink wand I picked up from Primark last year for about £3, unfortunately it's been discontinued... TYPICAL!

Most alternatives are pretty good; they conceal and cover bags but no one highlights like Touche! I was reminded of this last week when I ran out of Clinique and couldn’t find any of the others, so I reached for the touché! Boom- I could see and feel the difference immediately! I remembered why I loved it so much the first time round.

This limited edition and oh so chic version is called the Touche Éclat Tuxedo, a nod to the design houses’ iconic association with the tuxedo look. Yves Saint Laurent designed the first tuxedo for women in 1966, known as ‘Le Smoking’, which redefined women’s fashion. To pay homage it features a black velvet strip with the iconic ‘Y’ logo on the front of the pen. It’s completely irresistible, especially when I found it in the Debenhams’ sale last week for £17. In fact, it's so irresistible I feel like it should be just for show. Maybe I'll have to saviour this one and buy another? Either way, now that I'm back on the touche band wagon, I aint getting off!

To conclude, I don’t NEED Touche Éclat, but I WANT it! Yes it’s an expensive habit but it’s like eight hours sleep in a pen and that's priceless!

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