29 March 2013

Tips! Makeup for Contact Lenses

One thing I often stumble across, especially when looking at reviews of eye make-up is whether something is compatible with contact lenses. Now I personally don't wear contact lenses myself, so I couldn't possibly advise myself but I think it's still an important issue - surely bad eyesight shouldn't hinder you from a health make-up usage?! So here are few tips I picked up from Acuvue..

The American Optometric Association
The AOA seems to be a good place to start - it has a page of recommendations and tips for make-up lovers who wear contact lenses such as putting on your lenses before applying your makeup - makes sense!

Eye Makeup that’s Easy on the Eyes
Eye makeup that is safe for the eyes and contact lenses can be a bit of a challenge to find, especially if you aren't familiar with ingredients. That being said, there's quite a few make-up products that contact lenses wearers should stay away from, and these include oil-based make-up products, lash-extending mascara (which has fibers that can irritate the eyes), and waterproof mascara (that could stain your lenses).

In addition, makeup items that are hypoallergenic or ophthalmologist-tested for contact lenses are good shouts, as are those which specifically state are for sensitive eyes. It's also important to know about irritant or drying ingredients, so you avoid products that contain harmful by-products that could destroy your lenses. 

Care is also important - when applying your mascara, use two light coats to prevent flaking and try to stay away from fake lashes! The glue could come into contact with the lashes, or the fumes could make your eyes super sensitive. And, of course, always, always, always wash your hands before you touch your contacts or your eyes!

Contact Safe Liquids and Powders
You may think that eyeliner, eye shadow, and mascara are the only makeup items you should be concerned about as a contact lens wearer, but any product that you put on your face could adversely affect your lenses.

Start by using an oil-free moisturizer and a water-based foundation, because the oil can be irritating if it gets into your eyes.

In addition, use pressed powder over loose powder so it's less likely to poof! in your eyes. Powders, including blush, should be applied with your eyes shut. Your makeup brushes should also be top quality brushes with bristles that don’t easily shed and get in your eyes.

Don’t forget to avoid using hand creams or lotions before handling your contact lenses as they can leave a film on your lenses!

I suppose a lot of these tips also go for girls who don't wear contact lenses - at the end of the day, none of us like stuff getting in our eyes. But things like ingredients are especially important for contact lense wearers, and I guess you need that extra level of care, because eyes are so sensitive yet integral - infected eyes are so painful and definitely not fun! So it's so worth knowing the ins and outs!

What are your top tips for contact lens wearers?
What ingredients have you come across that contact lens wearers should avoid?


*This guest editorial was written by Meredith Stone and edited by myself. Meredith writes about health and beauty topics and enjoys spending her weekend with her husband, Ben and her yellow lab.
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27 March 2013

Blush Crush #5: NARS Douceur

The thing with having medium-toned skin is that a lot of the times, bright blushers can look garish. I do love my fair share but it's quite difficult to pull them off in the winter time (and let's face it, we're pretty much still in winter here in the UK). So I've been looking for a nice, muted, dusty blush for a while and the one I settled on and have not put down for three whole months now, is the coveted..

NARS Douceur

First of all, we all know I love NARS blushers, so I'll keep the formula rave sweet and short. It's smooth, it's blendable, it lasts, it has the right level of pigmentation - boom, done.

The packaging, I also love. I haven't had the misfortune of melting plastics nor powders exploding in the vicinity of my NARS blushers so thankfully the dirty is limited to my manky fingerprints (mm lovely). I just love how compact it is, and how it comes with a mirror.

Now on to the juicy bit - the colour. For fair-skinned ladies like Meg from Lips So Facto, it pulls a gorgeous peach with a tinge of brown and she uses as a sculpting blush. For the medium-skinned like myself, while it retains the sculpting qualities from the browny tones, it seems to pull slightly pinker. You can see it in action here.

The reason why I've loved it so much is that it's so understated. Unlike my NARS Orgasms, Torrids or Tarte Blissfuls, it's very understated. I'm a heavy blush user so sometimes the blusher could be the centre piece but with Douceur, it's like the LBD - so simple and understated but absolutely stunning.

Have you tried Douceur?
What's your favourite understated blusher?
NARS blushers are available at £21.50 from SpaceNK or ASOS.


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25 March 2013

Launching: Pink Friday EDT by Nicki Minaj

There's not too much that can get me out of bed to be at Selfridges for 8:30am.. but a Nicki Minaj fragrance launch can. I must admit that when I found out I was invited to this launch, it was part for the fact that I love her music, and my curiousity as to what kind of fragrance she'd make, but part of it was for the anticipation of something outrageous.. let's just say I got my fix. What an experience.

The UK launch was in Selfridges on the 15th of March where Pink Friday will be sold exclusively until April when it will be released nationwide. Alongside her fragrance (which I'll speak more about in a bit), Nicki's gone the extra step and made a clothing line for her bust-shaped fragrance - Couture by Minaj. To my understanding, they're releasing 4 designs of which only 100 of each are made. Not exactly my cuppa tea, but I saw it first hand - the Barbz (apparently that's what Nicki Minaj fans are called) went mental. Here is the line in 'life size'..

Duchess of Pink

Whip it Like Minaj

Starships Minaj

The Barbz invaded at 9:30am when the shops opened - stampeeeede! 

So on to the fragrance itself. Now I love Nicki Minaj's music but when it comes to her clothes, I can't quite say I'd want her wardrobe so I was curious as to her taste in scents. I think I expected something heavy and sickly sweet, but to my extremely extremely pleasant surprise - she had gone for a floral musk.

Top notes: Starfruit, Italian Mandarin, Boysenberry - "thirst-quenching sweetness"
Heart notes: Lotus Flower, Jasmine Petals - "whipped with pink shades of floralcy"
Base notes: Vanilla, Carmelised Pear - "creamy indulgence"

Personally, I love it. I think it initially smells like really fresh berry juice you'd have by the poolside, and then it kind of melts into this warmer kind of strawberry cream-like scent (I realise it's not in the ingredients so my nose is just making stuff up..).

Now I did have a few friends smell it, and some liked it while one said that the initial freshness was too artificial - perhaps like detergent or washing up liquid. Having heard that, I kind of get it - the sweetness is definitely nothing nuanced or sophisticated. But as with any perfume, it's the base note that stays and that is definitely the sweet, creamy smell with the hint of berry.

Now the bottle - you'd imagine it's a love or hate thing, but personally I'm in the middle. One of the reasons why I think celebrity perfumes often look tacky is because their bottles are so cliche but made cheaply. There is literally nothing cliche about this bottle (except the slight Gautier vibe when you take Nicki's head off). That being said, it's not very practical for travel and I'm not 100% sure I'll like it on my vanity.. we'll see, but at the moment I'm appreciating the uniqueness more than berating the outrageousness.

And of course - here she is with her Starships costume. I'm loving her necklace too. Bask in the outrage ladies, bask in the outrage.

All in all, I'm very very happy with Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday. It's a great scent, and whether you like her Couture by Minaj concept or her extremely out-there bottle design, you have to admit it's a story, and that's more than most celebrities can say about their fragrances. It's been an experience attending the launch and I feel like Pink Friday really does go a long way to explain her artistic mindset.
 This fragrance is definitely an expressive artwork, and I'm happy to own a part of that - and actually like it to want to use it!

Keeping in mind her massive 'Barbz' following, I suppose this makes sense - the whole concept seems like it's aimed at the existing fans rather than trying to win new ones over. In a way, it's refreshing to see someone make something for her fans who will appreciate her kookiness, rather than just trying to make some extra dosh on the side by making an identity-less, boring perfume *cough* Kate Moss *cough*.

Pink Friday has launched in Selfridges 15th March and will launch nationwide on the 1st of April 2013.

Prices: £39 100ml; £29 50ml; £24 30ml.

What are your thoughts on Pink Friday and Nicki?

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24 March 2013

My Sunday Face

After kicking back and relaxing for an entire Saturday, Sundays can sometimes be a bit of a whirlwind. Doing the weekly shop, tidying the flat, putting on the laundry and getting some college work done after a cheeky nip out for a coffee or lunch with the boyfriend - not exactly arduous but there's some effort in there somewhere.

And I do like to have a face on almost everyday. It's not too much about wanting to look made-up, but more about looking polished yet effortless - because you don't want to be the twat that has the full slap and smokey eyes on for a trip to Asda's. Also, I find I don't touch my face as much if I wear make-up. So my Sunday face usually looks something like this (scroll down for a close up!):

For my base, I mixed a bit of Maybelline's FITme Foundation in 220 with the good old Revlon Colorstay in 180 Sand Beige. Maybelline is one of my favourite foundations right now, and it reminds me of a slightly dewier Dior Diorskin Forever - but £20 cheaper.

Instead of worrying about those pesky spots, I choose to cover my undereyes with the ByTerry Touch Expert. This is no means as hardcore as Bobbi Brown's Corrector, but it's hydrating and has skincare qualities so it's great for the winter.

I always want my brows done, so a quick mix of the HD Brow Palette in Foxy is a necessity - no questions asked!

Cheek make-up is the one step I could never skip, so here we have the full sh'bang. I contoured slightly with the Physician's Formula Bronze Booster, and dusted a bit of Dior Amber Diamond (swoon). Over the top, I blushed up with NARS Douceur which has been a major blush crush of mine since the beginning of January (post coming soon!). These three have been gracing my cheeks for this entire year.

Eyeliner by far takes the longest time in my routine so that goes out the window on a Sunday, as does eyeshadow. So I've stripped it back to the ultimate eye-defining duo: Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers and the Maybelline Hyper Curl Volum' Express Cat Eyes mascara in Waterproof. These keep my lashes at 90 degrees all day and are absolute lifetime favourites.

An uber close-up in the name of the blog!

What's your Sunday face?


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22 March 2013

Top 3 High End Winter Moisturisers

Since we've been in what must be the longest winter since the Ice Age (unlikely, but I'm not a history major so let's leave it at that), I've been getting to test lots of different moisturisers to see if they really are fit for purpose - where there's a cloud!

Anyway, I do love high end products but often struggle to write features on them or fully recommend them because at the end of the day, the price plays a greater role in the test and this means I'm much harsher on them. Despite this higher threshold though, I'm happy to say I've found three that I am incredibly, incredibly impressed by and could hand-on-heart say they justify their price tag completely..

Yon-Ka Creme 28 - £35
I'm new to the world of Yon-Ka, and with many products being around 90% natural ingredients and the whole brand turning paraben-free soon, this is a brand to watch. Let's face it - any brand with a following that consists of Angelina Jolie, Victoria Beckham, Scarlett Johansson and Anne Hathaway is a brand to watch!

Creme 28 has its place in my night-time routine as the hydrating moisturiser. It seems to balance out my skin really well due to the incremental hydration it provides for the deeper layers of the skin, but it's also quite a thick cream, so it also softens the surface of your skin nicely too. A great choice for people who don't want that heavy feeling on your skin, but want both hydration and emollience - something I've found actually quite rare, despite many products claiming to do so!

Personally, I think serums and toners do the long-term hydration thing better than moisturisers in general, so I think this is a very special and impressive product in what it achieves, but a luxury product that could technically be replaced by said serums/toners. But personal budgets aside, when I judge it on its merits there's no question that this is a gem amongst rhinestones - you're paying for that balance of hydration and moisturisation that is difficult to find in many moisturisers, and £35 is pretty standard for that in my opinion!

L'Occitane Shea Ultra Rich Face Cream - £31
A firm favourite when the surface of your skin is feeling too much like sand paper to be normal! This is a thick balm-like cream that is slightly reminiscent of their brilliant handcream - both in terms of texture and smell! This has helped me wake up with supple skin on many mornings, and I really love how heavy and moisturising it is, but how it doesn't clog your pores nor make you feel oily. Personally, I haven't found better to smooth out dry patches and really envelop and guard your skin from the dryness in the air.

I can highly recommend it to anyone suffering from dryness on the surface of their skin - whether from the winter dehydration or dehydration from the sun (we wish!). To me, this is a fool proof solution to the dry patch crisis, and will be something I turn to in confidence should such a situation arise (knock on wood). Many moisturisers I feel lack that long-lasting balm/protection feature that really works on healing dry patches, which is why I feel the price tag is fully justified!

REN Ultra Moisture Day Cream - £27
This is like chugging a glass of water after a day out in the sun. The REN Ultra Moisture Day Cream is a true quencher! If I could rename it, I'd probably use the word 'hydration' instead of 'moisture' because it really penetrates your skin and freshens you up from within. My acne and oiliness is usually the result of dehydration, so this balances my skin by hydrating the inner layers of my skin. The formula is more like a gel (see pictures below), and sinks in so so well and doesn't leave any residue - perfect for the daytime!

I find it very difficult to find a moisturiser that does these things, so this is - dare I say it - holy grail status. Yep - I've pretty much made up my mind that this and the Clarins Hydra Matte will be my the two day-time moisturisers I will always have in my skincare shelf. REN always comes with the benefits of no parabens, mineral oils or any other nasties at all, so it's an even bigger nod from me! High five for HG!

REN, Yon-Ka, L'Occitane

REN, Yon-Ka, L'Occitane

So all in all, I leave the hydration up to the REN Ultra Moisture Day Cream during the day, and depending on how my skin is feeling, I'll choose between Yon-Ka and L'Occitane. Most days I go with Yon-Ka, but drying out acne (sorry for the visuals), break outs and dry pores/patches that foundations cling on means I turn to L'Occitane. With these 3, my skin has been steadily improving - when I'm not being lazy of course!

Although I've always found great moisturisers to be difficult to find, I seem to have had a good run this season! All three are products I can whole-heartedly recommend and they each have a distinct purpose for why I love them so much - and all these purposes are so hard to find on the market in my experience - which is why I genuinely believe these three are products that are worth that extra price tag. They do things that other moisturisers claim to do - but don't actually do!

What's your favourite/HG moisturiser?

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13 March 2013

My At-Home Hair Colouring with Scott Cornwall

A few months ago, I noticed something - I was becoming paler, and my black hair was washing me out. So I had a little moan on Twitter (as all bloggers do from time to time!) when the lovely Jayne recommended me the Scott Cornwall Colour Restore in Deep Red.

I was sent this shade because I was keen on keeping my dark hair, yet adding that warmth that would help to warm up my complexion and add a bit of dimension to my hair. Hair dyes can be really extreme and I didn't want to end up with a shade of brown I wasn't happy with - a wash of warmth is what I wanted, and this is what I got!

This is a curious product in that it's a semi-permanent colour but with a variety of uses. You can either leave it on like normal hairdye and really let it do its work, or you can use it as a conditioner once in a while to give it a light wash. I decided to have a go of both, and here are the results:

Left in for 30minutes..

Used as a conditioner..

As a dark haired person, the latter is perfect. It gives this dimension of brown that warms my complexion and looks like highlights, but it's actually a gloss of brown, and the light catching that section of hair. As soon as it's in the shadows, that section will look black again. It creates dimension without committing to bleaching my hair, so perfect for people who don't really want a new 'colour' - just an enhancement of your natural hair colour. I find it difficult to find a product that will give me the perfect shade of brown, or a 'wash' of colour, and this is absolutely perfect for that.

On a more technical side, the colour lasts for a very long time so I only find myself needing to use the product perhaps once a month, if that. This product also lacks any harsh chemicals so I have the peace of mind when I use it! It also comes with detailed instructions to use it to the maximum potential.

I'm really happy with this product, because I don't have to book appointments, I have complete control of how my hair colour is going to turn out and it's subtle enough yet provides enough dimension to give my hair the depth and my complexion the warmth that I wanted! It's great for dark haired people who want that subtle enhancement without committing to bleaching your hair for highlights.

You can get the Scott Cornwall Colour Restore Deep Red for £11.99 at Boots or online from KMI Brands.

What is your hair colour routine?

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10 March 2013

Overview: The Black Line (Cream & Liquid)

I must say, that in the years that I've worn make-up, eyeliner is probably the product I've worn for the longest and most consistently! (Yes, I speak of that horrid stage in the early noughties when all teenage girls at one stage or another seemed to smother as much eyeliner as phsycially possible under their eyes) That being said, I haven't really used that many eyeliners at all - I spent about 3 or 4 years using the K-Palette 24hr Tattoo eyeliner, and have only recently started venturing into other eyeliners and have really found what I'd been missing out on! Being a staple for many girls out there, finding the perfect eyeliner is a chore and a reward. Here are the few that I've been giving a go..

Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in True Black
Out of all the products I'll speak about today, this probably ticks the most boxes. I initially bought it because Tanya Burr said that out of MAC, Clinique and Bobbi Brown, this one dries out the slowest (quite bizarre considering they're all owned by Estee Lauder!) but it's much more than that. Sure, I've had this for almost 1.5 years now and it shows no signs of drying despite long periods of non-use, but it's really the softness that really sets it apart. It never drags on your lids, and it doesn't gloop or feather and always delivers a clear, solid black line. It lasts all day and doesn't smudge. My only down side with this (emphasis on 'my'!) is that you have to be good with the brush - which I'm not, and consequently it's hard to get the exact shape I want (my fascination with eyeliner shaping is slightly obsessive). It definitely is my fault and taste completely, and if you are used to using your own brushes with liner, this is even better of a product! It's personal preference in the end, but rest assured, you wont be disappointed with the product itself.

MAC Liquidlast in Black
I've had this for a disgusting amount of years, but the reason why is because again, I always knew it was my fault that I wasn't reaping its benefits. This comes with a thin brush (like the MAC 210) and the formula is liquid but slightly thicker. Personally I find it gets on my eyelashes a bit which I hate but again, if you can manouevre this, the formula is epic. It lasts so ridiculously long (to the point that you might struggle to get it off, so this is only for people who remove their make-up with industrial stuff.. like oil!), it's pitch black and it's neither glossy nor matte. It does take a bit to dry though so if your eyelid folds a certain way you may have to chill out for a minute with your eyes closed (not ideal for us late risers in the morning!) I've recently been getting on with this more and more, and once I stop getting it on my lashes, this could be one of my faves!

Diego dalla Palma Eyeliner*
In terms of pigment, you can't complain - this is crazy black and very matte. It also dries quite quickly so very good for the impatient, and it lasts really really well throughout the day. The formula is quite liquidy so it's easy to get a smooth straight line. That being said, I find the nib slightly hard, so while it has a great amount of control and a clear straight line, I think it can scratch a little. On the other hand, because the tip is quite pointed, you can really get a thin line if you want. Diego dalla Palma is known as the 'MAC of Italy', and this product is definitely a great option for people who want that defined, bold, super intense line :)

Clinique, MAC, Diego dalla Palma, L'Oreal Blackbuster, L'Oreal Black Crystal

L'Oreal Superliner Blackbuster in Extra Black*
Why L'Oreal thought they'd release another version of the cult eyeliner, I'll never know, but this is basically a massive felt-tip pen eyeliner. It looks a bit scary, like it'd be something Amy Winehouse could have sufficiently benefited from but actually, the tip of the pen is very very pointy. In fact, some may say too pointy. It does make you miss the spongy tip of the original Superliner and I've always had an issue with pens in that you can never really control the fluid itself. I struggle to draw straight lines on some areas, and do feel like it scratches your lid a bit. Not a bad formula or liner in general, but definitely not my favourites. I will give it credit for being the tidiest eyeliner though so if you're a bit kack-handed, sick of the mess from being exposed to the actual formula, or looking for one for the make-up bag, this is a good one to go for!

L'Oreal Superliner in Black Crystal
Why did you pick up Black Crystal instead of the coveted plain black shade you ask? Because I'm an idiot, is basically the answer. Although I felt my carelessness had bit me in the arse for the first few months of having this, strangely enough, it pulled through in the end! I had initially thought that it wasn't very opaque, but having gotten near the bottom (or for some other unknown reason), it's satisfactory black at the moment! Another bad thing I noticed and this hasn't gotten better, is the fact that it wont last very long if you don't have eyeshadow on - it'll flake off. Lastly, it takes a while to dry - so don't bat your lids too much or try to curl your lashes straight away - you'll end up with patch, messy, eyeliner. So why did it pull through in the end, you ask? Because I suppose there are ways around these faults, and I quite like the sponge applicator - it's easy to make the exact shape I want, and it's soft and gentle on your lids. It's not very assertive though and kinda floopy so it takes getting used to. I also always wear eyeliner and do my bronzer/blush while I wait for the eyeliner to dry before I curly my lashes so this has ceased to be a problem. Perhaps a tedious product, but it's workable and when it's workable, it's a winner! That being said, I'd probably go with the original formula next time..

My favourite? I'm not sure! I've gotten really used to the L'Oreal Superliner in Black Crystal, so I may go ahead and buy the actual solid black. Perhaps I should try a pen-style one next - I've heard the 17 one is great, any other recommendations? :)

What's your favourite black liner?

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6 March 2013

Tips! A Way Around No Pump Foundations

It really saddens me when I see people being put off foundation because there's no pump - sure, packaging can help how much you like a foundation but at the end of the day it has to be about formula. There are some great foundations out there like the Estee Lauder Doublewear, MAC Studio Fix Fluid, Revlon Colorstay and the new Nearly Naked that have achieved cult status, but are cast in a negative light as having no pump.

I personally don't see the lack of a pump as negative - in fact, I've struggled more with pumps than without pumps! The MAC Prolongwear Concealer and the Benefit Stay Don't Stray are prime examples of useless pumps because on many occasions, one pump is just too much and you can't control how much comes out.

Also, the reason why companies sometimes don't add pumps is because it's inappropriate for the formula and will cause more troubles in the long run - some of the foundations I mentioned above are renowed for drying quickly into a matte, powder finish. Imagine that in a pump - you wont have the pump for long!

Anyway, so how do I get around this, and learn to love a lack of a pump, you ask? It's simple.

1. Hold your finger on the opening.
2. Tip the bottle upside down.
3. Dot what's on your fingers on your face!
4. Repeat! (and wipe off excess on your jaw..)

I know it sounds simple, but I didn't think of it until I saw TiffanyD use this method for her NARS Sheer Glow. This allows not only for tidiness, but for control on how much you apply - it's easier to add than it is to take away!

I often use the 'chicken pox' method (sexy!) and just dot it around my face starting with areas where I need the most product. After that, the Cosmopolitan Beauty Blender or the MAC 187 is excellent for getting that even application. It allows for foundation to not bunch up in one area and be blended from there!

Have a go, and open yourself up to the world of pump-less foundations ;)


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5 March 2013

Pro Beauty 2013 & Haul

After last year I was so excited to go back to Pro Beauty, and it didn't disappoint. Pro Beauty is the biggest beauty trade show that takes place all across the UK, and lots of brands come together to sell their products to nail technicians and salon owners who are out for a bargain and looking for new services or stock to offer in their shops. I love the buzz of everyone discovering and trying new products, and the range from simple nail files and gel nails to the hi-tech massage chairs and teeth-whitening booths is just indescribably amusing and exciting at the same time. I also came across some innovative nail art ideas - from printing a photograph onto acrylic nails to stamping on patterns on nails with rubber stamps (the latter is perhaps more appealing to most!) the ideas in the room were endless.

The majority of the stalls are beauty gadgets, fake tan or nail products, but there's also a good range of mainstream and smaller brand skincare, a handful of make-up stands and a few brush stands too. The Christian Brows I discovered last year and reviewed here were there again, as were competitors HD Brows! Everything is at trade prices which means lots of discounts and products you usually would have to buy in bulk/online.

Enough babbling on my part, here are some products of my snapping away at the trade show itself:

LA Colors

Cool rubber stamp nail art from OMG Nails!

A Coco Beau dupe?

A CoverFX dupe?

 Lots of incredibly high quality brushes from Royal & Langnickel - the SILK line is immense!

Affordable and dupe-able brushes from Crown Brush

A machine to print whatever photograph onto acrylic nails - in Claire's at the moment! You can take a photo of patterns from clothes etc., and match it to your outfit.

So what did I nab during my few hours at the show?

Ahava Refreshing Cleansing Gel, Royal & Langnickel SILK  Powder Brush, Crown Brush x4, Nubar Citadel, Nubar Earth, the earrings are Accessorize and a completely random purchase.. haha!

Overall, I had a fantastic time and have been enjoying my purchases so far. Like I said, I absolutely adore the atmosphere and I really enjoyed just strolling around at my own pace and discovering new products and brands as I go. I can highly recommend popping into a Pro Beauty show if there's one near you, as they are good fun, a great place to pick up a few bargains and more than anything, it's free to go and a great new experience for us bloggers and everyday beauty consumers alike! Read about my experience last year here.

Have you ever been to a trade show?
I went to the Taste of Christmas in 2012.. not sure it's a trade show but it was lots and lots of food to be tasted and tried!


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3 March 2013

Alterna Bamboo Smooth Shampoo & Conditioner

The last few months have been some of the busiest in my life, and I can only apologise for depriving you lovely readers of a review of two hair products that have gotten me through the hair nemesis - the frizzy, "tangled from scarves"-haired days of the winter. It looks like spring is nowhere in sight, so no word of a lie - these products have taken me through December to now with hair that is smooth, glossy and soft. These are..

The Alterna Bamboo Smooth Shampoo & Conditioner

The issue I have, if you remember from my Overview: Sulphate-Free Hair Products, is that my hair is "combination" - in the sense that my roots get greasy easily but my lengths is slightly damaged and therefore dry. In the humid summer, I love volumising products, but in this dry weather, the solution has been to use anti-frizz products - these Alterna products have fit the bill. When I use these, my roots stay cleaner for longer yet my lengths feel healthy and soft. It's the perfect balance, and even in the dry winds of winter, my hair has stayed smooth, glossy and frizz-free! In terms of effects, these are fantastic.

Like many of the hair products I use, these are parabens and sulfates free. However, I do have to note that there are LOTS of ingredients in there, including PEGs and some numbers here and there, so I don't think they're as "chemical free" as some other products out there.

Something else I absolutely adore is the packaging - they're very ergonomic, even with slippery wet hands because they're (cutely) shaped like bamboo stalks! Secondly, the lid is very easy to use. You twist it to open and squeeze (kind of like Heinz ketchup) so it's much easier to use with wet hands than clicking lids and tubes.

The curious part about the formula - the shampoo is like "slime". Not goo, but like the green, putty-like substance that us kids of the 90's used to play with. It's kind of like corn starch, when you aren't sure if it's a solid or a liquid - kind of like jelly! It doesn't make that big of a difference to the effects, but I imagine it's what contributes to the gloss and smoothness. The conditioner is rather rich and scared me off at first, but rest assured - when applied to the ends only, they're the key to the smooth, anti-frizz finish.

I've been using these Alterna products for almost 3 months now and while I haven't seen a long-term effect on my hair per se, there's no denying that they do the job well. My hair is less greasy, lasts better for longer between washes and more than anything, my hair feels super smooth and glossy. I did love the Naked Volume Building Shampoo and the Weightless Conditioner for drier weather for a lighter-weight and lifted look, but in this weather, the thing I want most is smoothness and gloss which these products deliver.

Overall, although the ingredients aren't as 'pure' as I'd like them to be and it would be great if they could minimise them as they go along, the Alterna Bamboo Smooth products are great for people who have a similar hair type to me, or are trying to make the switch to paraben/sulfate-free products. In terms of effects and packaging you can't go wrong with the Alterna Bamboo Smooth duo, these are perfect for this weather and for anyone that wants smooth glossy locks without the weight or the grease! Did I mention they smell kinda like soapy apples..? Win!

These are usually RRP £17 but available from around £14 each at BeautyBay or GorgeousShop.


*Received for consideration.
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