Friday, 31 January 2014

The Fringe Roller by Sleep in Rollers

Ever wondered how to achieve a big bouncy fringe, aka The Scouse Certain Fringe? The answer is here...  the Fringe Roller from Sleep-In Rollers.
Where have you been all my life? And why weren’t you invented sooner? I’ve always struggled when using Velcro or heated rollers. Do I squeeze my fringe in one roller or squeeze two rollers in my fringe? Neither worked great so this really is the answer to my problems. Double the length of a standard roller, it fits the entire fringe/front section of the hair ensuring an even, bouncy finish. Unlike traditional sleep in rollers (see my review here) it isn’t of the spongy variety, so you might struggle to sleep in them, but I can hardly sleep in the spongy ones so it makes no difference to me. The roller is heat activated so blast with the hair dryer for 5-10 minutes before leaving to cool for as long as possible. An hour or so whilst you’re getting ready is ideal, then voile – big, bouncy, sexy fringe.
Sleep in Rollers Fringe Roller £4.50 each at Feel Unique here Are you tempted? 

Monday, 27 January 2014

Becca Bargains You Don't Want to Miss!

It’s no secret I’m a big Fragrance Direct fan, so when an email popped up in my inbox telling they had Becca products in stock, well you can guess what I did...
Becca Luminous Skin Colour RRP £32, Fragrance Direct £5.99/50ml here
I was stunned to see this stuff for £5.99. It’s £32 at Space NK. A combination of tinted moisturizer and sheer foundation, Luminous Skin Colour is said to visibly improve the complexion, yet looks incredibly natural on the skin while offering skincare, makeup, and sun protection in one ingenious product. There’s absolutely no need to apply moisturiser first. I’ve had a cold recently – flakey skin, red nose, you know the drill and instead of clinging to my dry patches, it’s actually soothed and moisturised them. The formula is soft and silky, melting into the skin instantly. The coverage is very sheer, similar to that of Laura Mercia Tinted Moisturiser. It gives a beautiful overall softness and glow (you can see the glow in the swatch below), but it won’t cover dark circles, blemishes etc. A natural, dewy finish – great for good skin days and “no make up” make up. I picked shade “Olive” which was a bit of a guess based on reviews but it matches my skin tone pretty well. As it’s so sheer you can definitely get away with up shading if you need to.

Becca Medium Tapered Eye Brush 10 RRP £19.99, Fragrance Direct £4.99 here
I love a good quality brush and this is unlike any I already have in my arsenal. The strongly tapered eye brush is perfect for precision application and fitting into the contours of the eye. Ideal for sweeping colour beneath the lash line, dotting highlighter in the inner eye and “winging” shadow outwards. Excellent quality, soft, flexible bristles that don’t moult or lose their shape. I’m really glad I took the gamble, only problem, I want more Becca brushes now! Wish I’d ordered the dual ended brow brush, but it’s January and I was trying to be good.

So that’s my mini Becca Haul. Head over to Fragrance Direct here if you’re interested in Becca bargains.

Friday, 24 January 2014

The Blogger Made Me Buy it Tag

Photo courtesy of Makeup Savvy

 I don't normally get involved in “tags”, they kinda remind me of chain letters, but this one has been doing the rounds and when Fee from Makeup Savvy did it, I sat up and took notice!

1) Who are your most influential bloggers?  Who are the ones that you really rely on for reviews and swatches?
Temptalia is my go to for reviews and swatches, especially anything MAC. Her pictures are amazing and review’s are so consistent and in depth. Bubblegarm was one of my first ever blogs, we seemed to love the same shades and brands so I really buzzed off her reviews. Also, the money saving girl inside me loves Makeup Savvy but her blog gives me photo envy! 
2) Do you buy a product solely as a result from one review from your favourite bloggers, or do you look for more reviews from others?
In my early days of blog surfing I definitely fell victim to bloggers hype. These days I’m much more measured. If I see a product on a blog that pricks my interest, I’ll usually research it some more and often swatch in store before I buy. Naturally there are some blogger’s opinions that resonate more highly with me because I’ve found them consistent/we like the same products/suit the same shades etc.
3) What is your most favourite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs?
That’s tough, so I’m choosing two. Liz Earle skincare – This was a mixture of blogging hype and peer pressure, either way I love the stuff (read my review here).  Caudalie Beauty Elixir – it was everything I wanted it to be, and more.
4) What is your least favourite item that you have ever bought as a consequence of blogs?
Got to say, there’s a fair few products that didn’t live up to the hype. The stand out one, and this is controversial, was Sleek Rose Gold. Between the hype and the difficulty I had getting me hands on it, it was never going to live up to expectations. It’s a nice blush, but I find it too gold and far too shimmery.
5) Name 5 products you have bought recently as a result of blogs.
Maybelline Moisture Renew Lipsticks, Sleep in Rollers Fringe Roller, Urban Decay Naked 3, Lush Tea Tree Toner Water and Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser.
6) Have you ever given into blogger hype? If so, which hype?
Same answer as Fee here..... BB Creams. Lots of hype, lots of product launches, tried a few, fell for none – moved on.
7) Have you ever avoided blogger hype? If so, which hype?
I’m currently avoiding the hype surrounding Oribe Dry Texture Spray. Texture and volume, it sounds right up my street and reviews have been so complimentary, but £38 for a glorified dry shampoo, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?
8) Is everything you buy based on blogger reviews or are there some items you buy without checking out a review?
Oh no, I’ve bought plenty of products without checking the bloggershere first. I often buy products from discounted online stores like All Beauty and Fragrance Direct (I just ordered some cut price Becca products from FD here). Sometimes it’s just nice to pop into Boots or MAC and buy something that catches your eye. Still, I am guilty  post-purchase-research and feel a little smug when I find out it’s a blogger tried and tested, like Collection Concealer (see it here), or celeb favourite like MAC Freckletone (see it here).
Which “blogger-hyped” products have you loved most/least? If you’ve done this tag, share your link, I’d love to read your answers.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

My Top 5 Nude Lipsticks

Did you see this one coming? After musing over the best of bold last month, it’s only fair I do the same for nudes. After all, I love to dabble with darks but my heart belongs to nudes.
MAC Creme d’nude Lipstick £15 here
My first true nude and it’s still my favourite. Described as a “pale muted peachy beige”, it’s a true pale nude. It may be too concealer-like on some lips, but for me it works a treat. The cremesheen finish means it’s soft and creamy on the lips, yet fairly opaque and long lasting. It’s the perfect pairing for the classic smoky eye/nude lip combo.
Rimmel Rimmel’s Moisture Lipstick Notting Hill Nude £6.49 (Currently £4.49 Boots here)
I’ve got big love for Rimmel’s Moisture lipsticks. They have a real luscious texture – creamy, plump and lip-hugging. This one’s only been in my collection since Christmas but it’s already a firm favourite. More of a dusky pink nude, it’s nude, but not too nude. If you find the likes of Creme d’nude too pale, try this!
Soap & Glory Mother Pucker Gloss Stick Nudist £8 here
I’m slightly addicted to this stuff. It stays on my desk at all times, if I’m not rubbing EOS round my mouth I’m generally slapping this on. A dusky pinky beige, it’s lightly tinted, moisturising and glossy. It’s the perfect daily nude. My lips, but better and more glossy... with a delicious vanilla scent.
MAC Freckletone Lipstick £15 here
Freckletone  could be the ultimate unsung hero. It’s a nude peach with a hint of  brown. Hardly exciting in the bullet, but on the lips transforms to a sultry caramel nude (see it in action here). Great on darker skintones/tanned skin.  The Lustre finish means it’s sheer but buildable with a creamy glossy finish. Plus it’s one of Beyonce’s favourites! If it’s good enough for Queen Bey...
Rimmel Let’s Get Naked £6.49 (Currently £4.49 Boots here)
Let’s Get Naked is a warm pinky/nude with a touch of peach that magically brightens my complexion. The colour pigmentation is really strong and the new formula is super rich and glossy. You can read my full review and see more pics here. 
So are you a nude kinda gal? I’d love to hear your favourites.

Monday, 20 January 2014

The Back to Basics Box – Glossybox January 2014

Starting with the good, Glossybox have had a subtle, but sexy little make over this month. The box is bigger (does this mean we’ll get some larger products?), the lid is deeper and it’s glossier – making it an even more attractive and durable storage option. Sadly, what’s inside the box is less attractive. The theme of this month’s box is back to basics, when they say basic, do they mean cheap? I’ll tell you what I got and let you decide….
Yu-Be Moisturising Skin Cream £13.50/33g Space NK  here
I was definitely happy to see Japan's no.1 selling vitamin-enriched “cult” skincare cream. Perfect for dry areas like lips, elbows, knees and cuticles, its non-greasy blend of antioxidants and camphor calm and protect skin, leaving it soothed, hydrated and beautifully soft. I gave it a quick test last night, it smells kinda medicated, like a Vicks or sudacream. Apparently it’s well suited to hands and feet, but with these tinsy tiny 2ml samples, I’ll never know. 2X3g samples worth £1.63.
Balance Me Super Toning Body Wash £10.25/250ml here
Balance Me, like Monu, is a brand that’s starting to get a bit repetitive. I don’t object to trying more than one product from a brand, but when it becomes almost a monthly fixture it get a tad annoying. Still this cute body wash with juniper, bergamont and lavender smells lovely a will coming in handy when travelling. 50ml bottle worth £2.05.
The Vintage Cosmetic Company Floral Slanted Tweezer £8 here
So these look cute and feel like a substantial tweezer BUT I already own Tweezerman and HD Brow Tweezers (also sent by Glossybox) so I’m a bit tweezerred out. I’m sure they’ll make a nice gift. Full size product worth £8.
Anatomicals Puffy The Eye Bag Slayer Wake-Up Under Eye Patches £6/3pack
Anatomicals, another glossy regular! These under eye patches will help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and revitalise the delicate skin around your eyes. I’ll give these a whirl, might come in handy on a hung over Monday morning. Two pack worth £4.
Beauty UK CC Cream £4.99/25ml here
You go all your life without a CC Cream then two come along at once (I’ve just discover and fallen for Olay’s CC cream, review here if you’re interested). So it’s a thumbs up for a CC cream but I find Beauty UK to be a really cheap brand and I haven’t liked any of their products so far. Full size worth £4.99.
Sorry this month’s review is pretty scathing. I just genuinely feel disappointed with the contents. Are these the most converted beauty products?... I don’t think so. It’s been a while since Glossybox have introduced me to a new gem like HD Brows or Weleda Body Oil. I'm thinking of trying Birchbox instead.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you subscribe to Glossybox? Are you happy or increasingly let down like me?

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Olay Regenerist CC Complexion Corrector Cream

After the whole BB craze (it kinda came and went and didn’t change my life) I wasn’t planning on falling for the CC craze BUT my friend introduced me to Olay Regenerist CC Cream and you know what, I’ve fallen.
Olay Regenerist CC Complexion Corrector Cream is a unique 3-in-1 swirly system blending serum, SPF 15 moisturiser and sheer foundation. This anti-ageing CC Cream instantly perfects complexion, hydrates skin, reduces the look of wrinkles and minimises the appearance of dark spot. It’s creamy, yet has a light fluffy feel that melts into the skin, instantly plumping and perfecting complexion. It reduces redness and imperfections and even makes my open pores less visible.
It’s exactly what January skin needs. I don’t feel like my skin is being covered or caked and because it’s one third serum it’s actually helping my skin repair itself. It’s ideal for a no-make-up, natural look, and if you required more coverage you can layer it under your usual foundation. I’m finding the sheer coverage works fine for me with a little added concealer to cover dark bags and spots. Worn alone its staying powers isn't as strong as a foundation's - it goes a good 6-7 hours before the fade and dreaded shine creep in. But it layers well if you need a touch up and I set mine with some MAC blot powder (review here).
Available in 3 shades Light, Medium and Dark. I’ve got the so called darkest skin tone, which is working well for me (MAC NC30 for reference) and with smart mineral pigments it adapts to match your colouring... like magic! It retails for £24.99, which I initially thought was pricey for Olay, BUT it’s a generous 50ml bottle (regular foundation is 30ml) and given that it’s packed with serums and moisturisers it’s actually quite reasonable.
Dewy, natural and actually good for your skin... it ticks my boxes. Currently £19.99 Boots here

Monday, 13 January 2014

Nars At First Sight Palette - Review, swatches and Get the Look

Could this be the perfect palette? It drives me crazy when you only ever use one or two shades in a palette and never touch the rest – it’s such a waste of make up and money. No such problem here since Nars have expertly edited the At First Sight palette with their iconic Laguna bronzer, much loved peachy blush “D**p Throat” and four day-to-night-to-weekend eyeshadows.

D**p Throat Blush 4g
It might be perfectly edited, but let’s be honest, it was D**p Throat that sold it to me.  It’s been on my wish list for so long, but I’ve been wrestling with me conscience – can I justify ANOTHER blusher? No, but a multi-tasking palette, maybe. Deep Throat is described as a “flirty, sheer peach.” It’s a warm coral with a hint of pink and a golden shimmer. It gives the cheeks a pretty peachy glow with a lovely sheen finish - emphasis on the lovely, it's almost glowing.  The texture is fantastic, very soft and smooth with no powdery residue. It’s a real hit for me. I never liked Orgasm – too fake and shimmery, this is more my thing.
Laguna Bronzer 4g
It’s funny I had this bronzer years ago and I wasn’t impressed. I remember it crumbled terribly, but other than that, I can’t recall why I didn’t like it... this time around I do. Maybe it’s the shimmer? It’s quite a shimmery blusher, not the kind you’d use for a contour. It’s the kind of blush you can sweep all over the face for an all over bronzy glow. It's a warm, medium toned bronzer - perfect for light to medium skin tones, I doubt it will show up anyone darker. It's fairly sheer too, I had to swatch quite heavily here.

These are actually my first Nars eyeshadows and, well, they’ve dazzled me! Great formulas, highly pigmented, easy to use and true to colour. The three shimmer shadows are soft and buttery and the matte is dense completely crease proof.

All About Eve is a flesh tones neutral with a pretty shimmer. It’s a great all over the lid colour or brow bone highlight.
Noveau Monde is a metallic silvery lilac. A real surprise for me. It looks more blue in the pan but you can see from the swatch it transforms.
Bellissima is a matte medium brown. A good staple colour worn alone and gorgeous paired with any of the other shades.
Codura is shimmering sooty dark brown. The colour really packs a punch.
Here’s the look... Laguna bronzer all over the face and D**p throat on the apples of the cheeks. For the eyes... A sweeping of Bellissima all over the lid using my trusted MAC  217 brush. A small dusting of cordura on the outer of the lids and Noveau Monde on the inner and mid section of the lids to sparkle, finished off with All About Eve on the brow bone.

What can I say, I’m hooked on this palette. Now there’s some price discrepancies going on here. Mine came from ASOS £32 here Sadly it's now sold out. Other sites have it priced at £45 HQ Hair here and Nars here. It's still a lot of Nars for £45!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

I'm a Liz Earle Girl... and my skin has never been happier!

It’s official, I’m a Liz Earle girl! I’ve joined the gang. I say gang, it’s more of a cult! My Liz Earle obsessed friends have been trying to sign me up for a while – fighting over their selves to tell me how amazing it is and now that I’ve succumb, I’m doing the same.... but alas I understand why! Today I’m reviewing the “basic” three step skincare regime....

Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser £14.75/100ml here
With over 90 prestigious beauty awards under its belt, this iconic beauty must have is the original and the best! It’s rich, yet gentle and delivers instantly visible results. Packed full of goodies including eucalyptus, rosemary, chamomile and cocoa butter, it has a heady aromatic scent and every time I use it I feel pampered. I apply one pump to dry skin, working it in with a little massage before taking the muslin cloth (dampened with hot water) and placing it over my face. The warmth and steam open the pores, whilst the cleanser and cloth remove grime, makeup and dead skin cells to reveal smooth, clean, radiant skin. I’ve used the No7 hot cloth cleanser in the past, which is very nice but just for a quick comparison I immediately felt that this one is richer, purer, naturally scented and the muslin cloth bigger and better. I’ve been using this for three months now -  I wouldn’t go peddling this stuff if it wasn’t sufficiently tried and tested. My skin has never been better – clear, radiant and much more balanced... it’s really working out for me! I guess the only down side, it’s not great on eye make up. It removes it to an extend (don’t be afraid to work it into the eye area, it’s kind to eyes) but I still have to follow up with eye makeup remover. I also fell for the limited edition Grapefruit and
Patchouli version (the patchouli won me over).

Instant Tonic Skin Boost £13.25/200ml here
This isn't a toner,it's a magic skin elixir! With aloe vera to revitalise and soften and calendula, chamomile, cucumber and vitamin E to soothe and refresh the skin. This heavenly floral-scented, non-drying toner refreshes, soothes and brightens, leaving a fine veil of moisture on the skin. I could see the difference immediately after using this, my skin looks glowing. If you have the spritzer version you can use it whenever you fancy a little refresher.
Skin Repair Moisturiser Normal/combination £19.20/50ml here
I wasn’t planning to buy this because I love Steam cream, but there was a good skincare bundle offer pre Christmas – how could I resist! This perfectly balanced moisturiser softens, smoothes and conditions skin for a naturally healthy-looking glow. Of the three products, I guess this is the one I love the least. It’s not that it’s not good, it is, but it hasn’t wowed me. It’s thick and creamy in consistency but quite light on the skin. For me it’s a good daily moisturiser and forms a balanced base for makeup – it doesn’t leave me shiny or greasy, but does have a glow. In the evening I still like to use Steamcream (review here) and the to-die-for Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate (remember this?)
Final thoughts...
I'm really grateful to have found a skincare regime that works for me. It becomes tiring (and costly) flitting from one thing to the next, always mixing and matching and working out what works well with what. Liz (we're on first name terms now) is simple and fuss free. Sadly it's not the most budget friendly, but the products are rich and long lasting - my first cleanse & polish lasted three months plus you get a free sample, usually a 30ml travel size cleanse & polish worth £5.50 every time you order from the website. There's also "try me" size versions of all the skincare so you can try before forking out a lot of cash. Plus it recently popped up in selected Boots stores – points anyone?

You can buy Liz Earle products direct here, John Lewis here and QVC here. Where’s my Liz Earle girls at?

Monday, 6 January 2014

Hooked on Smashbox Shadow Liner

You know that feeling when you discover a new product (well actually this one found me thanks to the Christmas fairy – you know me so well) and it’s love at first use? You use it every day for at least a week before even considering using anything else and know straight away that it’s set to become a future staple... well that’s exactly how I feel about the Smashbox Shadow Liner in Black Gold.
It’s a stay-put shadow and long-wearing liner in one, there’s even a built-in smudger! Black gold, from the Fade to Black collection, is a rich metallic antique gold with glimmers of black and olive shimmer. It's a real eye popper. It works brilliantly with my olive eyes but I'd imagine it's a wear anytime, suits everyone kinda shade. It’s creamy, waterproof and glides on effortlessly with enough time to “play” before it “sets”. Super smudgy and totally foolproof to apply for an instant one step smoky eye and it lasts for ages with no sliding, smudging or flaking. It's very pigmented and catches the light beautifully. I’ve applied a single line on the upper lash and smudged a little along the bottom lash line in these pictures. For more drama you can smudge it all over the eye lid and wing it out. The gorgeous light-reflecting pearls give high-drama colour and shimmer that lasts. Yep, I’m hooked.

Smashbox Waterproof Shadow Liners available in various colours £17 here. I want more already. Tempted?

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The Best of Beauty 2013

Happy New Year everyone! Before 2014 really kicks off I have to start with a rundown of 2013's best beauty bits. The cream of the crop... the class of 2013. I've trawled through the archives to bring you my most loved products of the last 12 months..... 

The Wet Brush* £6.95 here 
This cheeky devil may have only squeezed in in the last few weeks of 2013, but it's already earned its stripes as my product of the year! No more tugging and teasing, it glides through my hair like a dream and the rubberized handle means no more throwing it on the floor (yep I'm talking to you tangle teezer). Full review here.

Chanel Volume de Chanel Mascara £24 here 
This isn’t a mascara, it’s a magic wand. That's what I said back in September and I'm sticking to it! Instant volume and intense curves from the first stroke. Longer, plumper, thicker, glossier lashes. Jet black, bold, yet elegant... What's not to love? Full review and results here.

The HD Professional Eye and Brow Palette* £26.95 here
The HD Brow palette has been my single most loved/used/can’t-live-without product of the last couple of years, so when they launched the "Pro" palette earlier this year I was beyond excited. Super pigmented, naturally matte, fantastically smudgeproof and seriously long lasting. Plus with 6 shades to mix and match, the Pro Palette is all the customisable brow wardrobe you'll ever need. More here.

EOS Lipbalms from £4.99 here
In the year that everyone went mad for BabyLips, I fell in love with a different lip balm all together. EOS lip balms are super cute, smell divine (Summer fruits and sweet mint are my faves) and they’re over 95% natural. Easy to use without getting sticky fingers and keep lips soft and supple for hours... They’ve even had the Kim Kardashian seal of approval and featured in Miley's Can't stop video.

Maybelline 24hr Color Tattoo £4.99 here
I really fell for the little pots this year. The cream/gel eyeshadows are so easy to use, last for an age and come in some gorgeous colours - On and On Bronze and Metallic Pomegranate I heart you! Full review here

Lancome La Vie Est Belle from £41.50 here
When it comes to perfumes I like to play the field. I'm a new bottle every Christmas kinda gal but I rarely repurchase.... until now. In Lancome La Vie Est Belle I think I've found the ONE! I used my first bottle up in record time and got a new 50ml bottle for Christmas. What can I say, except it smells divine! Maybe it's the patchouli cos I'm pretty obsessed with that, either way it's a beautiful scent.

Maybelline Brow Drama £4.99 here
So by now you know I'm brow obsessed. But my brow routine is pretty laid back - comb, fill, go. But when Maybelline launched their brow mascara I had to give it a go. It works perfectly to sculpt and hold brows in place, whist adding a little colour and shine. I keep one in my handbag at all times to tame the wind swept brow.

Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate £20/10ml here
Oh my word this stuff is off the scale amazing! an aromatic blend of 100% pure plant oils including argan, rosehip, neroli, lavender and chamomile. It instantly hydrates, soothes, relaxes and plumps the skin... I'm addicted. Full review here.

Dr LeWinn's Renunail £16/30ml here 
My nail savior! This calcium enriched award wining treatment is the ultimate hero in nail repair - we’re talking results from day one and drastic improvement after just two weeks. I've been using this for three months now and my nails have never been stronger. No more soft, peeling, brittle nails, full review here

What were your stars of 2013?
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