28 April 2013

Prepping for the Summer Feet

I'm not the only one to have rushed out to buy this year's sandals at the first sign of the sun a few weeks ago.. was I?

Well, believe it or not, this year I've been prepping my feet for quite a while in anticipation of wearing said sandals (which unfortunately hasn't happened yet.. come on sun!) thanks to having been trailling the Sanctuary Spa's Luxury Foot Polish. Being a pumice stone girl myself, this was a bit of a new adventure but a pleasant one nonetheless.

There are a few things I hate about using normal body scrubs on my feet. First things first now girls, let's not kid ourselves - if your feet have been through as many summers as mine have, no dissolving sugar scrub is going to do the job! Secondly, unless I want to fall flat on my naked bum in the bath, the oily residue that many scrubs leave behind aren't going to help.

The Sanctuary Spa Luxury Foot Polish tackles both those problems, and it has become a staple in my bathroom routine. Not only are the granules much rougher, they leave your feet squeaky clean and not  A&E-bound. It's also scented with a sea breeze type of smell, so it's refreshing and dare I say, reminiscent of summer holidays!

Does it replace a pumice stone? Actually, yes! Not only does this scrub improve the overall look of your feet and helps to make it look healthier and a little less deathly from having not seen sunlight in months, I've noticed callouses that no other product has really gotten rid of, are gone after 2-3 weeks of use! Now I don't know about you, but I much prefer this to abrasive ped eggs and even pumice stones!

For an incredibly affordable £5.50, the Sanctuary Luxury Foot Polish is a must have in your bathroom stash for the warmer months!

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26 April 2013

It's Paranormal..

Illamasqua Seance

Now you see it..

Illamasqua Seance

..now you dont.

Illamasqua Omen and Geist

"Why be normal when you can be paranormal?"
My first experience with Illamasqua polishes can only be described as.. out of this world (haha geddit). The brushes are nice and flat, the lid is easy to hold, the pigmentation is great and the consistency is super easy to use, the drying time is faster than your average on these polishes, which dry semi-matte/glossy, Seance is such a gorgeous, bright and fun purple.. oh and it glows in UV light. Needless to say, I am definitely checking out more Illamasqua shades in the future.

Now I'm not a heavy partier myself and don't find myself in UV light very often but the great part of these polishes is that they look fantastic on their own, AND Geist is applicable over any nail polish you own to turn it into a UV sensitive shade.. since I've been introduced to these, I've only had this vision of going to a club, and busting out my nails like "SHABAM!" Well, I'd be impressed.

Available for £13 for the top coat and £15 for the others (including a pink one called Ouija) from Illamasqua's Paranormal Collection on 30th April.


P.S. What's the freakiest film you've ever seen? Mine's definitely Paranormal Activity.. I didn't sleep in the dark for 2 weeks..
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23 April 2013

On the Road Skincare: Weleda One-Step Cleanser & Toner

It's all well and good to have palettes that have both blushers, bronzers and eyeshadows, and foundations in little pots - but what about skincare? Unless you've craftily manouvered your skincare routine around products you also have small sample sachets of, they're the stuff that can take up space and weigh you down.

Now if I could go bippity bobbity boop! and miniaturise all your skincare products for you, I'd be happy to but unfortunately I don't have any magical skills I'm yet aware of (I cross my fingers in hope). Instead, I bring you a fantastic discovery - a 2 in 1 skincare product that doesn't have you compromising your skin's health for lighter bags and smaller bottles..

Weleda One-Step Cleanser & Toner

There were several reasons why I absolutely loved this product. Aside from Weleda's use of natural ingredients, I found the smell refreshing and calming - even at night! It's very citrusy and herbal. The formula is super easy to use - you pour some on a cotton pad, and wipe away!

I absolutely love that this doesn't leave your skin tight. It's made for normal and combination skin so it provides a perfect hydration whilst removing make-up and I think it balanced out my skin really well. Since I've been home and using something else to cleanse, I've felt like my skin's got more dehydrated.. but that might be the heat? I'm not sure, but it definitely does hydrate, balance out and tone your skin :)

The thing that really stood out for me is the fact that I don't seem to get spotty after continued use like I do when I use make-up wipes so I can only assume that this is removing make-up better! That being said it's not fantastic on waterproof mascara, but it removes it enough so it's not all clumpy and gross.. but then again, my mascara only ever comes off with oil cleansers so it might be a bit of both there!

Although the glass bottle can be heavy, it's a good way to cut out toner but still have a good cleansing routine while you're travelling. I also find this incredibly useful at home. When I don't like how my foundation sits, I'll use to wipe it off. I also use it on lazy evenings when I can't be bothered to do my whole cleansing routine, but don't want to sleep with my make-up on.

It's a generally great multi-use product that doesn't leave you with awful skin like make-up wipes, and has great skincare qualities like balancing combination skin and getting some hydration in there!

It's available from the Weleda website for £13.95 or £10 from Look Fantastic (whom I haven't had a good experience with, but it might just be me!).

What are your travelling skincare must-haves?

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Launch & Offer: Bodhi Neroli Luce Face Oil

Almost half a year ago, I wrote about the launch of Bodhi's Desert Rose Face Oil and since then have recommended it to numerous amounts of people. To me, it's the go-to solution to all things dry-skin related - whether that's flaky skin, calloused elbows or even rashes, and it's never failed to disappoint. In addition to emolliating the surface of the skin and hydrating the inner layers, it also seems to have healing powers which I have been taking full advantage of!

So with all this rave about Desert Rose, just as summer starts looming around us and many people's skins start getting oilier, I was over the moon to hear about Bodhi's new face oil launch - the Neroli Luce.

Unlike Desert Rose, which was more for dry skintypes (which was working great for me during the winter despite my combination skin), the Neroli Luce is for combination skins. It has properties to hydrate skin from within, but also to rebalance how your skin creates its oils. Neroli also improves the elasticity of your skin, frankincense regenerates your skin, and the antioxidants and vitamins help to revitalise your skin.

As with the Desert Rose, the scent is phenomenal. I personally adore the smell of neroli, which added to my excitement about the product! I'm still on the hydrating products at the moment, but I can already feel my skin getting oilier so no doubt Neroli Luce will have a good trial run through my routine soon.. could it rival Clarins' Lotus oil? We shall see - review pending!

Here are all the ingredients of Neroli Luce, all chosen by creator Elijah Choo who uses natural remedies from around the world as inspiration for his products. Bodhi is a nasties-free brand, and does not use synthetic ingredients, parabens, sulphates, phthalates, propylene glycol, PABA, palm oil, mineral oil, paraffin, petrochemicals, DEA, synthetic colours or fragrances or animal ingredients.

Because of this, things can get pricey but they're currently running a fantastic offer, where you can try 5ml of either the Neroli Luce or the Desert Rose for £12 - and if you decide you like it, you'll get the £12 off a full sized product! The offer is available on Bodhi's website.

Have you tried Bodhi?
What's your favourite face oil?

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22 April 2013

Top 5 Foundation Application Products Video

It's no secret, right? I'm a base addict (I hope you've checked out my base products directory above!), which pretty much goes hand in hand with being an addict on ways to apply foundation. Today, I've put together a video of the top 5 products I like to apply my foundation, including my most recent, most favourite brush!

(Links etc., in the video bar on the YouTube site)

What are your favourite foundation application products?

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21 April 2013

Launch: Eve Snow Luxury Colour Brand

It's always exciting when an innovative brand launches, and I'm happy to say Eve Snow is one of them. I was just thinking earlier on the day about how some people just have the "thing" you need to make something big happen - like becoming a recording artist or starting your own company. Yvette Snowden (get where the brand names come from? :)) worked in fashion, and has now turned her hands to creating her own colour brand - starting with these nail polishes.

So why innovative? Unlike most brands who stop at taking the nasties out of products, Eve Snow goes a step further and adds 3 nourishing ingredients - argan oil, ginkgo biloba and vitamin E. So in theory, your nails get in better condition the more you wear the polish. Intrigued? I was!

In terms of the range, it's all very exciting. The shades are all colours I can see many people liking - lots of dark reds, a few pinky nudes and quite a few blues. The pink you see above is Pixie which is a blue-toned baby pink. I'm slightly concerned as to how it'll pull on my warm toned skin but we shall see! A favourite of mine was Modesty, which was a dusty light nude pink - boring old me!

So with a bit of a nudge, I went for something brighter in honour of the sun who has been peaking its head out these past few days. I got the gorgeous blue Ez Like Sunday Morning and Yvette's favourite, Prima Donna on my ring finger. Ez Like Sunday Morning is actually quite familiar, it reminds me of Rimmel Sky High or slightly like China Glaze For Audrey. Prima Donna, however, is quite unique and is a rose gold foil.

So far I've noticed that the formula is a bit mixed. The pigmentation is insane and unlike Nubar polishes which are also nasties free, but dries very flat and slightly matte, these have gloss like you've never seen. I think it puts OPI to shame on that front - it's rivaling Nails Inc! However, from observing my manicure I felt like the formula was quite thick and didn't settle flat on its own, and I had originally felt like my fingertips were a bit bulky. However, they settle really nicely after a few hours - very smooth, even and creamy. However, the drying time was quite standard.

After 3 days of intensive house-cleaning and washing, I see very minimal shrinkage but nothing too noticeable. The gloss is still there and the smoothness is gorgeous.

So as much as I want to hurriedly tell you how amazing my nails feel, unfortunately I'm still mid-test and letting the goodness do its magic for a few more days. Wouldn't it be exciting if the more you wore polish the nicer your nails got? Fingers crossed!

So all in all, a very exciting, innovative launch and I have high hopes for my results when I take these colours off!

You can check out the range on the Eve Snow website.

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12 April 2013

Urban Decay.. Half Sinned?

Unfortunately no, this isn't a new launch it's just me channelling my inner-chemist (which is close to non-existent) to replace my misplaced All That Glitters.. how do you misplace a pro-pan eyeshadow that was sat on your vanity for days is beyond me! Here's to hoping it turns up..

Anyway, in order to satisfy my slightly unusual need to wear All That Glitters, I picked up my NAKED Palette, thinking I'll make do.

Not really thinking about it, I decided to mix my two favourite colours - Sin and Half Baked, since one was too cool and one was too warm for my liking, and it created a lovely peach-based pale gold concoction..

The reason why I rushed over to my laptop to write this post is because I feel like Sin and Half Baked can be extremes for everyday if you're of a light or light-medium skintone. Sin can be incredibly pink which is why I often apply Naked Lunch which is slightly paler, all over my lid and switch over to Urban Decay to contour with Naked. A slight faff. And Half Baked can be so warm and in yo' face. When I'm slightly tanner, Half Baked is a dream but it's definitely one I reach for in the summer or on nights out. The two is a perfect mix which, obviously due to its MIA status I can't quite compare, is slightly less copper and a bit more subtle than All That Glitters, which were the two problems I always had about ATG.

I'm quite pleased with this discovery!

Do you mix eyeshadows?
What's your favourite make-up mixology?

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A Busy Bee's Tanning Saviour: Garnier Summer Body Moisturising Lotion

As I threw my hands up in defeat from refusing to shell out for foundations that matches my now pale yellow-toned skin, I reached - not for a full-on fake tan - but the one and only gradual tanner in my bathroom cupboard. Midst tanner-slather (hehe), I realised I hadn't really blogged about this beauty since I instagrammed it after its purchase last year and felt I really needed to do the Garnier Summer Body Moisturising Lotion in Deep Sun-Kissed Look some justice.

I bought this after reading Adrienne's fantastic drugstore gradual tanner comparison post. Now I do love a bit of St. Moritz and TanOrganic here and there, but the reason why I wanted a gradual tanner in the first place was because I found fake tan a bit of a faff when you're super busy. It has gorgeous finishes, but I couldn't be bothered worrying about if something was going to look streaky, remembering to wash it off in the morning, sitting butt-naked in the cold for ages while you slather it on, remembering to exfoliate right beforehand, going to bed smelling like biscuits etc., etc., I wanted something quick and easy to warm me up (and if I have time, make me a bit tanner!), which gradual tanners are perfect for!

The thing that sold me about this product (it definitely wasn't the packaging..) was the drying time and the consistency.. and perhaps the lovely but completely fake, apricot smell.

The drying time is very, very, quick and I imagine it's because the consistency is very gel-like and wet, as opposed to thick and creamy. I usually apply two layers and as soon as I feel it's sunk in a bit, I'm happy to put clothes on because it doesn't transfer once your skin isn't "wet". By 10 minutes you're dry but nice and hydrated. As much as I like heavy, rich body lotions at night time, I hate it when I cross my legs during the day and feel them slipping away. The Garnier Summer Body is perfect because it sinks in completely as I said above, but it also really hydrates.

As to the tanning effects, I'm usually about a NC25/30 when I reach for the tanner and after two layers, I'm probably about a shade or two darker than when I started. So I'm now currently sat here just around NC27 - if there is such a thing. As Adrienne says in her review, this darker shade that I've picked up does have a bit of a golden tone to it, so be careful if you're very sensitive to even a slight tone of orange.

The last thing that I want to mention but couldn't personally vouch for, is about its relation to sensitive skin. Apparently, sensitive skin can react quite badly to this product so be careful :)

So yes, I've been incredibly happy with the Garnier Summer Body and it's an absolute saviour and it has everything I need from a gradual tanner to the point I'm not really fussed to try new ones - unless of course you insist, I wouldn't be a beauty blogger otherwise ;) I love it because I find that it by passes all the faffs of a fake tan, can achieve a very similar result naturally (but perhaps not as drastically!), and is perfect for a busy lifestyle.

The Garnier Summer Body Moisturing Lotion retails for £5.29 in Boots and Superdrugs, and comes in two shades - I've got the darker one :)

Are you a fake tanner or a gradual tanner?
What's your favourite gradual tanner?

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10 April 2013

A Perfect Springtime Pick: DHC Moisture Care Lipstick

DHC is like the Avon of Japan - they operate heavily on catalogues, and have been going for years and years. They're kind of a go-to skincare brand that most Japanese women have tried, and the coveted Oil Cleanser is evidence to that fact (which btw, is blimmin' amazing).

At my local DHC counter back in Tokyo, there's a small shelf with a bit of make-up. Unfortunately, there's not too many reviews online that I could go off so I swatched and walked away.

Fortunately for me, DHC have relaunched in the UK and I was lucky enough to be invited to their launch event a few weeks ago. Although I take ages to review skincare, I was also given a bit of make-up to try, and these DHC Moisture Care Lipsticks really stood out as on-trend, in-season and an all 'round lovely product.

OR03 Clementine, BR09 Brown Sugar and RD01 Pepperberry

These lipsticks are formula heaven. They glide on really smoothly, they give a healthy glossy-but-not-wet finish, are super nourishing and can really double up as a lip balm. I've been loving these in the winter, because applying these day to day means I'm never with chapped lips! They contain collagen to plump your lips and sodium hyaluronate to nourish, and boy do they do their jobs. Personally, I think it has good of an effect as the Clarins Instant Smooth Lip Perfector, but for cheaper and in lipstick form.

This is one of my favourite parts about this lipstick. While they're no MAC Matte finishes, neither are they YSL Candy Volupte. In fact, they are slightly more pigmented than Dior Addict Lipsticks, but for half the price and practically the same nourishing results. So it's a great balance between covering up your natural lips and having nothing on your lips, as it adds enough pigment to really show the colour in the tube, but still lets your natural lips show through. It's perfect for the spring when you want those bright colours, but not look overdone.

 The pigment is also quite long-lasting as they slightly stain your lips. However, there is the flaw that exists as in many Japanese lipsticks and that is the tiny glitter. To be fair, they're small enough to perhaps be considered sparkle, and you can't feel or see it once applied, but when I see glitter, it always sparks paranoia in me!

I wouldn't be a beauty blogger if I said I didn't care about packaging - I mean, look at these! The metallic muted pink bullets with the oh-so-appropriately springy butterfly and flower engravings are to die for, and I must say.. they do swing my feelings about this product ever so slightly in their favour!

Colour Range
My favourite is the OR03 Clementine and I also really liked PK04 Sweetpea when I had a swatch at the event. There's 8 different shades, and I'd say they're all generally quite muted or darker shades that are more appropriate for mature ladies. That being said, there were bright pinks and reds (including the one you see above) that anyone can wear but just aren't my personal taste. I'd say the swatches on their site here are actually quite accurate representations of the colour of the stick, so do have a look and see if any take your fancy :)

Overall, I'm very impressed. They're nourishing, have the perfect level of pigmentation for a coloured but natural lip look, and they look really pretty! They're also neither suspiciously cheap nor expensive at £11.50 and I can definitely say that Clementine is your typical, annual, Spring/Summer shade of peachy orange that you can get a lot of use out of.

What are your favourite spring lipsticks?
Have you tried DHC?


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9 April 2013

Your Thoughts & Suggestions: Replacing Dior

Yesterday I had a make-up clear out, and I realised that I really only absolutely adore a few of the foundations I own. For the past year or so, I've been firing into the air hoping for the best, but I realised it's time to go back to matching what I want with what's available out there - and you know what that means! One of my favourite things to do - blog research!

Now my favourite foundation of all time is the Dior Diorskin Forever foundation (review), which was the result of my last foundation hunt. But unfortunately since they reformulated it, they've gotten rid of the yellow-toned shades (I KNOW. WHY.). The foundation was medium to full coverage, lightweight, stupidly long-lasting, so easy to smooth out and blend, wore away unnoticeably and it looked so so natural. While my original bottle sits comfortably awaiting the day I get as tan as a NC35/40 again, I decided I wanted something similar but for my NC30-ish skintone. With these criteria in mind, I've narrowed down the contestants..

1. Chanel Perfection Lumiere - £36
Although seen by some as the devil which replaced the Pro and Mat Lumiere, I'm more than happy about the replacement personally as I got on as well with Mat Lumiere as a cat does a dog. This foundation claims to be long-wearing, comfortable to wear and easy to wear. However, my concern with this one is 1) that it's too matte and heavy, and will cling on to dry spots and 2) that the description directly contradicts itself saying it's matte but that it has radiance.. semi-matte perhaps? A good shout, if so.

2. Lancome Teint Idole Ultra - £27.50
This is another one that was reformulated soon after I purchased it and while I do love the old version, I have to say it wasn't the easiest to blend and felt slightly heavy on my face. I love the finish and the coverage is good, but I felt like it didn't sit on the skin as well as Dior. Perhaps the new formula is different? This claims to be full coverage, natural finish, comfortable and long-wearing.

3. Clarins Skin Illusion Liquid Foundation - £26
One that I so desperately wanted to own over a year ago, but couldn't because they didn't have my shade. Now that I am naturally paler, it looks like I have a shot. If I remember correctly, the finish was so beautifully natural, it was so easy to blend, very light-weight and it had a good level of coverage. My concern, however, is that it isn't as soft matte as I'd want it to be and not very long-lasting. The description also contradicts my impression of the coverage, as it claims to have a sheer coverage.

4. Guerlain Lingerie de Peau - £37
This foundation claims to be medium coverage with a natural, silky-smooth finish. To be honest, there isn't that much objective information out there and I'm slightly in the dark with this one. However, it has to be said that there's a lot of raving about this on Make Up Alley!

5. Dior Diorskin Forever Foundation - £32
Will I ever give up? Perhaps not. Although they've got rid of the yellow shades, they've brought out an apricot tone in the light-medium shade. It's worth thinking about, right?

Some others I've considered are the Clarins Ever Lasting Liquid Foundation, YSL Teint Resist, the Lancome Teint Miracle and the Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation.. and the Bourjois Healthymix! I have combination skin which is dry/normal on the cheeks and nose but slightly oily on the chin and forehead, so it's a bit of a toughy!

What do you look for in a foundation?
Have you tried any of the above? What are your thoughts/suggestions?

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3 April 2013

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

My love for the MAC Studio Finish Concealer is scarily close to unconditional, but there's no question that it's not the best for drier skin-types. So a few months ago when I was getting sick of applying darker concealer to my now paler skin, and on dry patches of spots, I thought - I need me a new one.

I headed over the MAC. And as much as I love MAC, this one purchase of the Pro Longwear Concealer revealed several flaws about the brand. 

The first flaw is that many of their sales assistants (not all, by any stretch of the imagination) will not listen to what you're asking for. I went in asking for a hydrating, full-coverage foundation - something like the Studio Finish but hydrating, and I came out with yes - a liquid, full-coverage concealer, but how anyone could think this product is hydrating is beyond me. It dries to a very matte finish which is better for redness and other non-drying related issues to cover.

So it may not be exactly what I wanted, but there's no question that it's a great, high coverage formula with a matte finish that may blend well for girls who like the matte foundation finish. This is a great start for a concealer!

But unfortunately, the product designers have really cocked it up and put it in a completely un-concealer-like packaging. What you see above is the least I could pump, and that covers the WHOLE of my wrist as you can see below. Unfortunately, when you're trying to conceal something, it's usually a small area on your face - a blemish, under your eyes, a dark spot and occasionally, some redness. This pump is so impractical and leads to either lots of waste, being put off using the product during rushed mornings, or having to buy a tub to dispense the whole product in.

I've seen many girls use this on YouTube as a foundation, and that's really what it works best for.. it's a very high coverage, matte liquid that gives you a lot of bang for its buck. So it's fantastic if you want something even more hardcore than the Studio Fix Fluid, and I have seen girls with severe acne scars use this and I imagine it helps to boost confidence.

So I suppose what I'm saying is that while the formula is pretty impressive - the product goes a long way, it has ridiculously high concentration of pigments and sets in a lovely matte finish, but the packaging makes a great concealer formula, into a foundation product.

So my next step is to find a great way to use this - whether that's to dispense it in a MUJI tub, or to blend it in with my moisturiser to create a customised tinted moisturiser. In conclusion I can only say that the formula is excellent, but if you intend on using it as a spot concealer, then you might want to think in advance about how to make your own packaging to get the most out of the fantastic formula.

Have you used the MAC Pro Longwear concealer?


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