Tuesday, 30 September 2014

You need a clarifying shampoo in your life and here’s why....

Pantene Clarifying Shampoo is probably my number one unsung hero. I mean, I use it every week, but I’ve never told you about it. Does your hair ever feel greasy and flat, even when you’ve just washed it? Does it seem to “get used” to your favourite shampoo and stop performing as well as it used to? If the answer’s YES, then it’s time for a Clarifying shampoo.

Also know as “purifying,” “detox” and “deep-cleansing”, clarifying shampoos are designed to remove stubborn build-up from your hair. Regular shampoo, dry shampoo, hairspray, hair oils, hair masks, mousse, volumising dust... it all builds up to create a nasty gunk!

Regular shampoos are formulated to leave hair moisturised and shiny, they don’t contain enough cleaning agent to remove nasty build ups. Clarifying/detox shampoos are all about the cleaning! They contain fewer conditioning agents, and more cleaning agents, giving hair a real deep down cleanse with zero residue.

There’s lots of affordable clarifying shampoos out there, Herbal Esscences, Tresemme etc, but a few years ago when my tresses were in need of a deep clean, Pantene was one of the few accessible brands offering one. I use this once every week to two, or whenever my hair feels weighed down. I use a generous amount and work up a real good lather. My hair always feel squeaky clean afterwards with no residue. My roots get their oomph back and my styling products are way more effective. Ive just returned from a week in Greece. Although I love my sun-lightened locks, my hair feels grim, weighed down by salt water and chlorine. I used this as soon as I got back and my hair feels soft, clean and shiny again.

If clarifying shampoos don’t already feature in your hair squad, I’d highly recommend checking this out. £4.69/500ml Boots


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Best of MAC Nude Lipstick

Whether you’re an avid reader of Beauty & le Chic or an occasional scroller, I’m guessing by now you’ve figured out at least two things about me. 1) I love MAC Lipstick and 2) I’m a nude lip kinda gal. So, let’s bring the two together BEST MAC NUDE LIPSTICKS.

Left to Right...

Creme d’nude (Cremesheen) – My first and truest nude. This is a real beige nude. If you want that smoky eye, nude lip look, JLo styleeee... this is the one. Plus it has a cremesheen finish making it beautifully creamy and moisturising.

Hue (Glaze) - A beige nude with a touch of pink. It fits perfectly between two of my favourite lipstick creme d'nude and creme cup. Silky and lightweight, it's a great on-the-go lippy.

Japanese Maple (Cremesheen+) - A warm nude with a touch of peachiness. Less nude NUDE than the two above plus it really brightens the face. The creamy gloss finish is divine, and a touch addictive.

Pure Zen (Cremesheen) – The newest nude to the party. A warm beige nude with a touch of peachy pink. One me it's a real face warmer. If you're looking for a nude that won't wash you out, this could be the one!

Shy Girl (Cremesheen) – A peachy nude with a touch of frostiness. A classic daytime shade. Not too nude that it washes you out, not too peach that it looks over the top. 

Freckletone (Lustre) - The 90’s nude. A real sultry toffee that works a treat on darker/tanned skin... like Queen Beyonce. I always take it on holiday with me - the perfect compliment to a bronzey look.

MAC Lipsticks £15.50 here. Do you love the nudes? What's your favourite? 


Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Glamour Beauty Power List (Latest in Beauty) Box

I have JUST received the Glamour Beauty Power List box and it's too good not to share. Every now and again Glamour magazine team up with beauty box power house Latest in Beauty to create the beauty boxes dreams are made of. No samples, no subscriptions, no nasty surprises and all of the products are hand picked by Beauty Director (and girl crush) Alessandra Steinherr.

The box costs £15.99 and has a whopping £83.47 worth of beauty booty inside the box! I love that everyone receives the same products (no beauty box envy here) and you get to see exactly what you're getting before you click "buy". The Beauty Power List Box includes...

  • Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
  • Philip Kingsley Daily Defense Conditioning Spray
  • Nude Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick (I received Coffee Craze)
  • Laura Mercier Foundation Primer
  • Eyeko Eye Make Up Remover Wipes
  • Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara (my current fave)
  • James Read Sleep Mask Tan
  • 12 month subscription to the iphone/ipad edition of Glamour

There's no a single item in this box that I'm not thrilled about. I saw Alessandra on QVC raving about James Read Sleep Mask so I'm super excited to try that. I'm off on holiday tomorrow and the Eyeko Wipes and the Philip Kingsley Daily Defence are a travel saviours!

Buy your box here for £15.99 with free delivery!


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Amazing Idealia Eyes

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then my poor soul’s a bit knackered! Sleepless nights, stress, working long hours at a computer, pollution, alcohol... all enemies of the eyes. Anything that’s going to help my tired, puffy peepers, I say bring.it.on! Vichy Idealia Eyes* is a three in one multi-tasker that relieves tired eyes, reawakens the skin’s natural radiance and simultaneously corrects dark circles and fine lines.

The minute I tested this I knew it was something special. The eye contour has the thinnest and most fragile skin on the entire face, so it needs extra TLC. Idealia Eyes has a unique spatula style applicator made of ultra-soft, flexible silicone. It’s gentle like your finger but precise like a brush.

How to use;
1. Apply gentle pressure on the end of the tube to squeeze a small quantity of product on the applicator.
2. Using the applicator, spread the product on the eye contour below the eye, starting on the inside and moving towards the crow's feet.
3. Without applying more product, smooth back and forth several times to spread product evenly.
4. Using your finger tips gently tap the eye contour area to facilitate penetration.

The cream is a natural pinky beige colour that has immediate brightening powers and blends out easily. It’s important to gently tap the eye area to ensure it’s all gone before you apply any make up. 

It does an AMAZING job of illuminating the eye area, making me look immediately brighter, more awake and less puffy. It has unrivaled skills when it comes to reducing and concealing eye bags (case in point, see the eye on the left) and after just two weeks, I'm finding that I need to use less and less under eye concealer. As for the appearance of fine lines, it's early day and thankfully I don't have many, but I certainly feel like my delicate eye contour is in safe hands and in the long term, Idealia Eyes will pay dividends. 

Vichy Idealia Eyes £23/15ml available from Boots (currently 25% off) | Feel Unique | Escentual


Monday, 15 September 2014

What's in the box? Birchbox September 2014

September’s a month that’s filled with nostalgia! The start of the back-to-school season has us reminiscing about the happiest days of our lives. The month’s specially designed Birchbox celebrates capturing these moments and making new ones. The products inside are designed to help you look your best during your happiest days....

Korres Citrus Showergel | £8
A get-up-and-go citrus body wash that helps ensure skin stays hydrated all day long. A really hand travel size too!

ModelCo Power Lash Mascara | £24
This month Birchbox gave subscribers the chance to choose between a ModelCo mascara or lipgloss. I went for the mascara, of course! The unique shape of the wand captures tiny lashes for maximum impact with minimal effort.

Skin & Co Truffle Therapy Serum Sample | £42
I’m in the market for a new serum... how did they know!? Truffle extract protects from free radicals, improves skin firmness and restores a health glow.

Benefit It's Potent! Eye Cream Sample | £25.50
Oh this is cute! Banish dark circles, smooth fine lines and protect against free radicals with this light peptide-packed formula. I slapped this straight on when I received my box on Saturday morning. It’s a real comfort to tired, sore eyes. It definitely helped brighten my nasty bags too.

Agave Healing Oil Treatment Sample | £16
A lightweight oil to smooth hair, build resiliency and boost shine and colour. Hair oils have to be the thing I like to see least in a beauty box. I have fine, oily hair and avoid oils like the plague.

This month we received not one but two Lifestyle Extras; a Birchbox Happy Days Photo Clip and a packet of Urban Fruit Magnificent Mango Pieces.

I’m pretty happy with this month’s box - inside and out! All of the products (bar the hair oil) will be put good use. I’m loving the eye cream and I’m quite impressed with the mascara too.

If you fancy trying Birchbox, use my friends referral link and we’ll both get £5 worth of points to spend in the Birchbox e-shop. Happy Days indeed!


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

New Brow Hero | Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow Pomade

The best thing to happen to Brows since HD... and even then MAYBE better?!!? Developed by former architect-turned-eyebrow maestro Anastasia Soare who has sculpted the eyebrows of everyone who’s anyone in Hollywood (Cindy Crawford and Penelope Cruz are clients), Anastasia’s DipBrow Pomade is the easy-to-use, long-lasting answer to eyebrow perfection.

Consistency/Application 9/10

A creamy gel-mousse – similar to gel liner, except a little spongier.  It’s extremely pigmented so a tiny bit of product goes a real long way and it glides on effortlessly. I started using it with my usual MAC Angled Eye brush (which I use to apply HD Brow powder) but I felt like I wasn’t getting the best out of the product so I ordered the Anastasia  #12 Brush.. Sucker? Actually it’s way better and works in harmony with the DipBrow. The angled brush has a smaller brush head affording improved precision and the bristles are firmer, so it picks the product up without really having to stab the brush into the pot. I tend to line the base of my brows before smudging it upwards with the brush and the spooly. The product adheres to individual brow hairs and can look very natural, but it does dry quite quickly so don’t mess around.

Shade 9/10

Now available in eight shades. The five original shades – Blonde, Auburn, Chocolate, Dark Brown and Ebony and recently added Soft Brown, Medium Brown and Taupe. I did agonise over the shades, ordering online without swatching the products in real life is always tricky. I went with medium brown and I think I got it right. It’s quite dark, but anything lighter may have been too warm.

Longevity 10/10

If this ain’t a 10, I don’t know what is! Like gel liners, this stuff does not budge, smudge or fade! I wore it for swimming to put it to the test... even the sauna couldn’t budge it. That said it washes off easily with cleanser so don’t worry about scrubbing. My normal wear time is around 10 hours, but it would last longer.

Packaging 9/10

Elegant, simple, sturdy glass jar. I like that I don’t have to worry about it cracking or crumbling like a powder but I do worry it would dry out before I’ve used it all up.

Results 9.5/10

Brows, brows and more BROWS. We’re talking professional looking, groomed brows without the price tag (or trip to LA). I expected this could be tricky to work with... WRONG. It’s stunned me just how fool proof it is. I feel like it’s taken my brow skills to the next level. I’m even getting more daring, adapting the shape and thickness of my brows. Plus the brush allows me to be very directional and precise meaning I can match ma’ sisters (sisters NOT twins remember) better than before.

Final Thoughts...

Eyebrow perfection! DipBrow make brows out of nothing (have a look at the youtube tutorials) even the sparsest brows look brow-alicious after a dip in Anastasia’s wonder product. Is it better than HD Brows? Ask me again in a few months but early indications are GOOD. I predict a future beauty hall of fame graduate.

DipBrow Pomade £15 Cult Beauty here


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Best of MAC - My TOP Five!

When I was 18 I moved to Newcastle. Student loan burning a hole in my pocket and two MAC counters in close proximity... you can guess the rest! Thing is, I didn’t have a clue where to start. Devoid of millions of beauty blogs and intimidated by the MUAs, I gravitated towards lip glosses. Sticky Lipglass and those double ended lip colour/glosses, remember those? If only I knew of the wonders waiting beyond the lip gloss section. For this reason I wanted to put together my personal BEST OF MAC.
Prep & Prime Highlighter Light Boost £18.50 here | Listen, if MAC ever discontinued this I would revolt! I ran out a few weeks ago and switched back to YSL Touche Eclat but after a week I made a mad dash to MAC for a repurchase. The yellow toned concealer is perfect at concealing under eye bags and generally helping me look more youthful and alive. A great highlighter, I use it under eyes, chin, cupids bow and frown lines.   
217 Blending Brush £19 here | The does-it-all eye brush. I can’t explain why it’s perfect, but it’s PERFECT! Lays product down and blends like a dream. I hardly ever do an eye look without it. So good I’ve been thinking about buying another – one for light colours, one for dark. Is that lazy?
Mineralize Skinfinish Natural £23 here | A bit of an unsung hero in my eyes. I use it every day but rarely rave about it. Truth is it’s a darn good face powder. Light and natural, it never looks cakey or matte. Applied after foundation it helps my skin look flawless and keeps shine at bay. I’ve repurchased it multiple times ... enough said.  
Lipstick £15.50 here | MAC’s lipsticks are unrivalled! A shade and finish for everyone. You never forget your first, Angel was mine! I still love it now, plus Creme Cup, Rebel, Pure Zen, Ever Hip, Dreaming Dahlia. Actually it would be quicker to list the ones I don’t like...... see!
Fix + £15.50 here | When I first reviewed Fix+ I described it as my “I’m feeling bad about myself” solution. That’s still so true. An aqua-spritz of vitamin and minerals, infused with a calm-the-skin blend of green tea, chamomile, cucumber, topped off with the fresh, natural, energising scent of Sugi. It adds radiance to the skin and finishes makeup. Spray it on. Skin drinks it up. 

I'd love to hear your MAC favourites?


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

My New Secret Weapon for Glowing Skin

At this stage in the game you think you know it all. Not in a Little Miss know-it-allkind of way but in a I’ve been around the block, tried a gazillion products and discovered all the gems?kind of way. Yet somehow this one’s completely passed me by.  New secret weapon for glowing skin.
I’m gonna put myself out there and say Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Powder* is the most stunning and natural powder highlighter I’ve ever tried. The ultra smooth baked face powder has a soft, silky, velvety texture that smoothes and blends effortlessly. The shade Highlightis a natural beige shade that provides sheer to buildable coverage and a multidimensional matte finish that imparts a hint of soft luminosity. It illuminated the face without being shimmery or frosty. It can be applied all over for a healthy post-exercise kinda glow or applied strategically to cheekbones, brow bones, cupids bow to highlight key areas (as per the picture below). It also has a slight blurring effect Is liken to Hourglasss Ambient Lighting Powders, blurring, not enhancing pores and flaws. The term matte radiance intrigued me. I wouldn’t call it matte, maybe more satin, but it does allow you to shine without being shiny”, highlighting and slightly mattifying at the same time... which is ideal for combination/oily skin.
Until now I’ve sworn by MAC Skinfinish Soft & Gentle, which Ill always love, but its more of an obvious highlighter with a strong champagne/frost finish that I struggle to sport during the day. Laura Mercier Matte Radiance powder gives a more natural and healthy glow that really lasts all day.  

  Thanks for reminding me that I clearly don’t know it all and still have plenty of gems to discover!

Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder £24 available from Urban Retreat Beautique

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