28 September 2013

Perfume Discount Websites

Some people say perfumes are things you never buy yourself, but rather, something you expect as gifts. But on the other hand, people say they're extremely personal - so you can't really blame your generous gift-givers if they don't get it spot on, right?

I've been fortunate enough to love most of my perfume gifts, but I reckon the fail-safe, best solution is to scour the internet (a great solution to many predicaments in modern life, I find) for a discount on your favourite perfumes - you won't feel too guilty about spending the dosh, and you'll get exactly what you want. Here is a low down of some of the sites I've found or used:

All Beauty
Previously known as the slightly dodgy name, "Cheap Smells", All Beauty sounds a lot.. cleaner.

Their discounts are pretty significant, and the one I picked out from this site that I'm keen on (after being enabled by Sam from Pixiwoo) is Versace's Yellow Diamond, which is discounted from a relatively do-able £46 to an even more do-able £38.20.

My favourite destination for Dior products, this site offers fantastic discounts. The perfume that's been on my wishlist longest is the Miss Dior perfumes, and while I've gone through numerous samples, I've yet to purchase my own, full-sized shabam. Undoubtedly when I do get to the bottom of my current sample, I'll be hitting this site.. the perfume is down from £66 to £52.80!

99 Perfume
Perhaps the least known of the bunch, and one I personally have never used, 99 Perfume looks significantly underdeveloped compared to the others. However, the discount is there, and more than anything, there is a range of perfumes that aren't on many other discount sites!

One is Les Nuits D'hadrien by Annick Goutal - I haven't yet had the chance to smell this one, but the notes of ylang-ylang, patchouli, vanilla and sandal wood sound right up my street!

Feel Unique
I cannot believe how much this company has expanded in the last few years, and for good reason. Although they've stopped stocking Clarins (not bitter or anything..) and have stopped discounting premium brands like Dior (yes, I did cross over to Escentuals for this precise reason!) - their perfume deals are still going strong. One of my favourites from their site is the Elie Saab EDT (not a fan of the EDP - they smell so different!), which is down to £28.90 from £34. However, *wink wink* I've just seen that it's only £17 at Boots - go go go!

Fragrance Direct

This is a site that I don't visit too often, perhaps because it's quite exclusive to fragrances, but my boyfriend has ordered from here before and has been happy with what he's got!

My spot on the site is the new Giorgio Armani Si. I've been liberally spraying this all over from my tiny sample tube since receiving it at House of Fraser. It's a gorgeous peachy smell with a warm base note.. phwoarrrrr. This is down from £44 to £38.99.

With Christmas coming up and all (a bit keen in September? Meh!), these sites might be of use for repurchasing some of your loved ones' favourite perfumes, or for one of those cheeky "I was shopping for someone else then something I love slipped into my basket" moments ;)

Which perfumes have you been eyeing? What's your favourite perfume or perfume discount website?

*Sponsored post.
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25 September 2013

HealGel Intensive & HealGel Eye

I'm always up for new skincare from up and coming brands - I don't always believe that the most popular products are the best, because everyone's skin is just so different. A small brand I recently discovered is HealGel - a brand created by plastic surgeons and biochemists, which started off the the HealGel Intensive, and have since expanded to HealGel Eye and HealGel Face.

In terms of the packaging, I really like the simplicity and the slight parody of medical products! But what I'm most impressed by are the pumps. They're super high quality and really easy to control - so much so that I can easily get 1/2 a pump if not less, which is all you need for both eyes for the HealGel Eye and also for the HealGel Intensive if you only use it for certain spots.

HealGel Intensive - £37.50
This formula was created to improve the appearance of scars, as well as to soothe bruising, swelling, redness and irritations. So people with rosacea, acne, eczema and psoriasis may find this product especially helpful!

In terms of the actual consistency, I was so impressed. I've tried the Dr. Jart+ V7 which claims to do the same thing, but I found it thick, gloopy and it sat on the skin. However, this HealGel Intensive is lightweight, smooth and sinks in the skin properly - so much so that I was happy to use it under my make-up because it made no difference to the finish of my foundation at all.

The effects? I certainly noticed my scars lightening after several weeks of applying it once a day to just areas where I needed it - I was really impressed! I used it after my toner and before my all over serum. I noticed it was very gradual, but I have to mention that the instructions state that it should be applied two or three times a day, so I imagine it's even better when used as instructed!

On the other hand, if you read my post a week or so ago about the L'Oreal Skin Perfection Advanced Correcting Serum, you know I said that one noticeably reduced my scarring. So which do I prefer between the HealGel and the serum? For effects, I personally prefer the L'Oreal serum, just because I felt a bigger difference and it's more affordable - however this has a massive caveat. The L'Oreal serum is a very potent and active product, which I've been told have caused allergic reactions to some people including Epiphannie. I think the HealGel Intensive, while still potent, is much more gentle and more appropriate for sensitive skins, especially as it's more tailored to healing skin i.e. implying that the skin has been broken or irritated, whether that is eczema, scars or acne. I think that's the main difference, but both are very effective at minimising scars so I can highly recommend the HealGel Intensive.

HealGel Eye - £32
The HealGel Eye promises to hydrate the undereyes and soften the appearness of puffiness, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles, and improve skintone and elasticity. It also claims to diffuse light to brighten the area.

I absolutely love this formula - I found it lightweight, hydrating and it sinks in beautifully. I love that it's not just softening the surface, but really works underneath the skin. Most of all, I loved that it didn't irritate my millia, which can grow with heavy creams. I've noticed that over time, my undereye is healthy, hydrated, comfortable and never irritated or sensitive. The thing that's set this eye cream apart from others I've tried is that it seems to have long-term benefits, and doesn't just hydrate your undereye for the time being when you've applied it. Personally at 23 though, I don't have any wrinkle qualms about my undereye - so I can't really tell if it's working to improve wrinkles, so if you're looking for an answer to those babies, I'm afraid this isn't the review that will enlighten you!

I do feel, in a way, that £32 is a lot of money for an eye cream, but I can't doubt that I've adored using it - I just love that it's so effective and actually improves the condition of my skin. But having used it for almost 2 months, I am almost half way through the tube. Whereas for example, with the Origins Eye Doctor, I used it for a good year before I was done with a tub I purchased for £25.

So overall, I'd say it's a fantastic eye cream that has long-term, effective results in terms of hydration and elasticity without overloading your undereye with unnecessary oils. However, I'm not the one to tell you if this is the miracle eye cream that will get rid of your crow's feet! Although, once it takes care of those, £32 will sound like nothing! ;)

Have you tried HealGel? What were your thoughts?

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20 September 2013

L'Oreal Skin Perfection Advanced Correcting Serum

A few months ago, my boyfriend's mom confessed to me her love for the L'Oreal Laser Renew Serum I had passed on to her. To be honest, as much as I was glad she enjoyed it, I was slightly envious that L'Oreal had developed such a good product for the earlier generations, whilst leaving us hanging with only the basic cleansing products (although I think a lot of us can sing our praises about their fantastic Micellar Water).

Lo and behold, out comes the Skin Perfection range you've probably seen advertised by Cheryl Cole (not a fan, but I let it pass). With my critical hat on and a slight grudge for the delay in their offerings for us 20's and 30's girls, I tried the Advanced Correcting Serum. I'm sorry L'Oreal for all my bad thoughts - I've fallen in love.

First of all - who doesn't love pink packaging? OMBRE pink packaging? That's what I thought.

I also love the pump - for a drugstore product, it's a surprisingly sturdy and well-made pump. It's controllable, and one pump and a half is enough for a full face.

L'Oreal claims this serum will do three things: refine skin texture, tighten pores and even and brighten skintone.

The consistency is what you would expect - a gel-like liquid. However, once you apply it on your face, it has a slight silicone-y effect which I feel makes your skin look smoother and preps it well for foundation. This is why this is my day-time serum! This definitely does refine skin texture in that sense - my skin and make-up look smoother and more refined!

It also doesn't leave a dewy, wet finish or anything so it's okay for the oily-skinned. Also, I tend to break out if my skin isn't hydrated enough, but adding this to my day-time routine and keeping my hydrating serum for the evening doesn't seem to have affected anything.

In terms of pores? I really didn't notice too much but I never do.. the formula apparently contains a plant-derived sugar compound that has been found to reduce the appearance of pores.

The point I was most impressed with, however, was how it evens and brightens skintone. Since using this, I have seen a significant brightening of my acne scarring! I used to have a few constellation-like acne scars on the right side of my lip and I started noticing that I use less and less concealer there (and on my chin where most of my spots are), and progressively, that I could cover it with foundation. This is what sold me - I was so amazed!

The serum boasts two ingredients that are aimed at having effects like these: PERLINE-P, which is the combination of the aforementioned plant-derived sugar compound, HEPES (hydroxy ethyl piperazine ethane sulfonic acid...?!) and Eperua Falcata. HEPES has exfoliating and moisturising properties, and the latter has skin soothing and healing properties. Eperua Falcata, combined with the other two, can reduce redness. The serum also has LR2412 - which is from jasmonic acid and encourages cell regeneration.

So yes, while I have always been skeptical of drugstore skincare, this L'Oreal Skin Perfection Advanced Correcting Serum gets my seal of approval. I highly recommend this for people who are getting over their acne and want to complete the final stages to perfect skin. The range also has a primer, BB cream, day moisturiser and an eye cream.

The serum retails for £19.99 in Boots but currently on sale for £13.33 here.

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12 September 2013

L'Occitane Flowers of Love Shea Butter Collection

You have no idea how much I wanted to title this, "Flowers of Lurrrrrve" - because I'm mature like that.

Immaturities aside, this collection is EXCITING. As with many L'Occitane collections, the products have a new design - this collection in particular is designed by founder Olivier Baussan, and inspired by beads that are gifted as thank you's and signs of affection in Burkina Faso. Why Burkina Faso? Because that's where L'Occitane sources all their shea butter, and they have developed a really long relationship with the communities there since Olivier visited them in the 80's. So much so that L'Occitane is recognised by the UN for its fairtrade work there. So as you can imagine, it's quite a personal collection this! But on to the contents!

The collection consists of the following:
- Hand cream (£8.50)
- Full size hand cream (£19)
- Body cream (£16)
- Lip balm (£8)
- Solidarity Soap (£3.50) - 100% of profits goes to finance eye-health projects run by NGOs with the support of L'Occitane's charity, the L'Occitane Foundation.

The hand cream, body cream and lip balm comes in three fragrances: Rose Tenderness (pink), Subtle Violet (purple) and Passionate Jasmine (orange). As you can see I have one of each scent, and I have to say my favourite is definitely Passionate Jasmine! The full size hand cream is in their original shea formula which I've tried before and loved, and the Solidarity Soap is in the Rose Tenderness scent.

So far I've tried everything but the soap so I can give you an idea of how I feel about the products.

Firstly the Subtle Violent Hand Cream, and the most important point clearly is the fact that the lid is flower-shaped - I mean, come on, that's pretty cool. In terms of formula, it's lighter than the original shea formula but just as effective. It sinks in quickly, and doesn't leave a residue - just very smooth and soft hands! I find it quite interesting because I've tried 4 L'Occitane hand creams now, and they all have very different formulas - this one is in the middle and I imagine will sit well with most people. If you think the original shea is too heavy, do give this one a go! My only issue with this particular one is the scent - I find the violet a little bit too overpoweringly sweet and floral for my personal taste, but that's just me, you have loads to choose from! (I was amused by the hand cream bar in their Covent Garden shop downstairs!)

The full size hand cream - this thing is 150ml and I imagine will last me yonks (perhaps not though, my boyfriend seems to appreciate its goodness too!). The original shea butter formula in the regular size is L'Occitane's second best-selling product, and one sells every 3 seconds. I don't question that at all - I love this stuff! It'll be perfect for the winter, because this formula is a little bit thicker, and leaves a bit more of a nourishing residue. But as I sometimes get intense dryness that actually makes my knuckles hurt and turn a bit red, this is and was a godsend last winter! I even used it on my face in Australia when the sun was drying my nose out like mad! I love that unlike the smaller size, the packaging is aluminium - it just feels more genuine and luxurious, and this collection's pattern is very pretty to have around the house. I love the blue packaging and I love the soft, shea scent.

L-R: Ultra Rich Body Cream, Lip Balm, Hand Cream, Full Size Shea Hand Cream

The Rose Tenderness Lip Balm - I am a fan of this formula! I like how it's gel, but it's not the shiny, gooey kind of gel. I don't know how to describe it, but I feel like when I was a kid, the school nurses used to give me ointments like this! So it's quite light on the lips, but super smooth and the finish is matte! So it's really nice for people who usually don't like much on their lips, or want to wear it under lipstick. I hardly wear lip balms under lipstick because they're either too thick (like Carmex) or too slippery and shiny (like Maybelline Baby Lips or other liquid lip balms). This is the perfect middle ground. The scent? I'm SO picky with rose smells, and this doesn't smell like genuine roses to me. However, when it's on the lips it doesn't bother me as much - it doesn't really even smell like roses, more like.. apples? I'm not sure. It's still a wee bit overpowering for my liking, and wouldn't pick it personally. But pick your favourite scent anyway - the formula is great.

Unfortunately, the Solidarity Soap is similar in scent to the lip balm so I'm personally a little put off. It's slightly diluted by the traditional 'soap' scent. Either way, I haven't tried it yet so that's all from me about that for now! :)

And one of my favourites of the lot (I couldn't choose between this and the full size hand cream!) - the Passionate Jasmine Ultra Rich Body Cream. I am SO SO picky about my body creams, but this ticks all the boxes - easy to smooth, lovely smell, effectively moisturises and nourishes, and doesn't leave a slimey residue that wont let me cross my legs. It's one of those perfect for any season, middle ground formulas which is lighter than body butters but not as wet as lotions, so I wouldn't necessarily regard it as 'ultra rich'. The smell is the subtlest hint of jasmine, so it's not overpowering like the other two scents in my opinion - it's just perfect! The packaging I find quite odd - it has a plastic container inside where the cream actually is, so it makes it look a little bit cheap when you open the tin. But whatever - the formula and smell is good, so I'm in!

The collection will launch on the 10th October 2013 and is limited edition.
L'Occitane is available on their website, Debenham's, FeelUnique and John Lewis.

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6 September 2013

My Favourite Eye Brushes Video

When I first started YouTube, I only ever used the sponge-tip applicators and while that might sound horrendous, there are some sponge tip applicators from Japan which are pretty freaking good.. but anyway, when I discovered the beauty world of YouTube, I purchased two - one small and one big, basic fluffy shader brushes and that was that. But soon, after watching so many tutorials and realising that this wasn't just a temporary amusement for me, I started building up a collection of brushes that would work for my eyes and my taste.

I think it's important, when it comes to reading beauty blogs, to not just take all the advice at face value but to evaluate how a certain product can fit with your face shape, your routine and your lifestyle. With all this in mind, I've narrowed my eye brushes to 6. These are my absolute favourite, and really the only ones I use regularly. So why not share with you guys?!


I hope you enjoy the video, and remember to check out my Top 5 Foundation Application Products video as well! :)

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1 September 2013

August Favourites 2013

So.. remember I promised in January that my next monthly favourites will be in 7 months time..? No? You sure? Okay fine, it was worth a shot.

But here it is! Not too much bodycare, haircare or skincare, just a whole load of Make Up Forever, Organic Surge and NARS, and more make up! :) Enjoy!


Thanks for watching :)

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