30 January 2014

L'Oreal Miss Manga Mascara

I'm guessing I'm not the only one who was slightly confused my L'Oreal's most recent mascara offering. Miss Manga? What does that even mean? (I know what it means - obviously, appropriate nationality - but it seems to be a bizarre thing to name mascaras.)

Anyway, I've been giving this one a go and the name honestly does not do it justice - it's a pretty decent mascara. If my lashes weren't so high maintenance, I'd probably love this. The mascara has a decent hold for curls and it doesn't clump too much (I sometimes like semi spider lashes so if you're not a fan - stay away). The winning feature here is definitely the volume it gives - this thing makes your lashes ginormous.

The wand is very flexible though, so you have to be a bit careful as sometimes you can try and push too hard and it'll just flop everywhere. But once you get the hang of it, you'll definitely reap the benefits. The cone shape is nice too, as it lets you reach the corners really well - reminiscent of my favourite Lancome mascara.

Is it a favourite? Not quite. For me, the curl is decent given it's a non-waterproof mascara, but my lashes are stupidly stubborn. If you're quite low maintenance on mascara and love a bit of volume and curl, the Miss Manga should impress!

Miss Manga is available for £8.99 at Boots and Superdrug.

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28 January 2014

The Illamasqua Sale Has Been Haul-ed

£22. I kid you not, £22 is all I spent on this amazing sale. I'm usually not one to rush to sales, because I don't believe in buying things just because they are cheap.. but as these were things I've had my eye on for quite a while, I couldn't help myself! After not quite getting on with the highly coveted cream blusher in Rude a few years ago (which is also in the sale, here, as is the equally popular Lover), I was determined to find a blusher that worked.. and some other things that "fell" into my basket.

The powder blushes you see above are Tremble and Hussy. Hussy is a popular choice for many people but I still haven't fallen in love.. it seems to pull ashy on me but maybe I'm applying too much? Judgment TBA. Tremble, on the other hand, I absolutely adore. It's a gorgeous light pink with a hint of peach. I'm loving the pale-ness of this, as it gives really doll-like cheeks! Definitely onto a winner here.

The Pure Pigment in Furore? Of course you've heard of it! I first saw this used by Nic from Pixiwoo, and have always wanted a gold-toned beige all over eye colour. I'm loving the pigment of it but have yet to remember to check its lasting power at the end of the day - I've been a busy bee!

Right now, the Illamasqua Freak perfume is on sale for £15 as well.. you have no idea how tempted I am since I got the mini sample from Glossybox years ago. Someone feel free to buy me a super early birthday present.


You can check out the Illamasqua sale by clicking the link above - it's on for another 24 hours!
Get an extra 10% off with code SALE10 :)

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26 January 2014

What's In Store from REN..

2013 saw the rebranding of the Moroccan Rose line, and the launch of Vita Minerale and Rosa Centifolia. So what does REN have up their sleeves for this year? Well I'm so glad you asked.

Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser
£16 - Available in February, currently exclusive to Marks & Spencer.
What was the Rosa Centifolia line (a series of cleansers in different formulas to suit everyone's tastes) missing? A hot cloth cleanser, of course. You may say that's so 2010 - which it kinda is, but if REN's making it, if nothing else at all the nostalgia is still going to cause a bit of a stir.

And rightfully so. This product is fabulous. It's a gorgeously genuine rose-scented cream, that makes you want to rub it on your face forever, and ever, and ever. The cloth it comes with is more of a towel, and removes the product beautifully, leaving your face soft, nourished and clean. I wouldn't recommend it for make-up removal - I stick to my oil cleansers for that - but for the second cleanse, this thing is absolutely glorious.

V-Cense Youth Vitality Day Cream and Revitalising Night Cream
£28 and £32 - Available in March from REN, SpaceNK (Day, Night).
Firstly - what on earth is V-Cense? It's a mushing of "vitamin C" and "frankincense". If you're thinking frankincense sounds familiar, it's because the V-Cense Revitalising Night Cream is exactly the same as the widely loved Frankincense Revitalising Night Cream. REN is all over the rebranding these days.

My skincare routine is about to get incredibly REN-centric because these creams are insane - I absolutely love them. The day cream is perfect for my dehydrated yet combination skin, because it hydrates so well and creates a nice, semi-matte and soft finish for my foundation. The hydration keeps my oils at bay for the whole day. The night cream felt way too light at first, but I find myself waking up again, with semi-matte and supple skin. These two feel incredibly similar in formula, but the science behind the day cream is to protect, and the night cream is to regenerate. Amazing.

V-Cense Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial
£30 - Available in March
This product isn't pictured because REN's still deciding on the packaging - like I said, they are on it with the branding. But this formula contains potent levels of vitamin C that will neutralise what REN call the "urban grey" - the damage you get from pollution and other oxidants in the air.

Now I've got two sachets of this, but haven't given it a shot yet. Rumour has it, however, that it reduces wrinkle depth by 14.4% and luminosity by 23.7%. I'll keep you in the loop.

Be sure to check REN, Liberty, Space NK, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer for when it's available :)

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24 January 2014

KIKO Ultra Glossy Stylo 802

Back in university, I was in Japan for the summer and my friend and I hit the MAC counters just for fun. Pretty much a beauty novice back then, I pointed at an advertisement and asked them which gloss I needed to get those perfect pink nude lips. The MUA had a bit of a blank stare, which I now realise was her moment of "what on earth do I say" when she realised how pigmented my lips were. She decided to then come clean and say it wasn't possible, and that I needed both a lipstick/lipliner and a lipgloss. And I thought - F it, I can't be bothered with THAT!

Fast forward a few years and I've found that perfect pout, the perfect lip product which is a gloss and lipstick in one - the juicy finish of a gloss, and the pigment of a lipstick. Credit goes 100% to the amazing Tijan from Tijan Serena Loves, who alerted me to the amazingness of the KIKO Ultra Glossy Stylo when we were visiting the brand new Regent Street store before Christmas.

I picked up the shade 802, because it's one of those shades I (and many other girls, I imagine) gravitate to - a light nude with a heavy tinge of pink. I was so shocked at its ability to hit the middle of pure pigmentation and a sheer lipstick (think MAC Cremesheen's baby with Chanel Rouge Coco Shine), as well as add the thickness and sheen of a hardworking gloss. I've honestly never heard of anything like it! Every "sheer" lipstick I've tried is glossy, yes but hardly too pigmented and usually very light on the lips. Every "pigmented" lipstick I have is very full on and again, quite thin in comparison to glosses. The thickness from this product literally looks and feels like you had gone through the effort of applying a gloss on top of your lipstick.

And there are perks to this product as well. To name a few, it smells like vanilla (like another lipstick we all know.. *cough* MAC *cough* - but without the price tag. The Ultra Glossy Stylo comes in at a mere £4.90! The packaging is also excellent - a sleek matte black, nice click to the lid and a distinctive curved body. AND, it has SPF15 and comes in 21 shades.

Pretty sure I'm onto a winner here ;)

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23 January 2014

Tips! Lightening Nude Nail Polish

If you're like me, and slightly anal about what polish colours are like, and can tell the difference between two hot pink nail polishes where most people can't - you probably suffer from a heavy, heavy box of nail polishes. 

If one of your niggles with a polish is that it's slightly too dark - perhaps due to preference or your skin tone, read on..

The solution, for me, is this gorgeous Essie shade - Mademoiselle. It's a creamy pale pink, with a semi-sheer finish. I originally bought this for its delicate touch that makes anyone's nails look polished, feminine and simply classy. Especially if you have long nails, it'll make them look like french nails!

However, after feeling that an old favourite, OPI Dulce de Leche, was a bit dark for the winter months, I decided to run an experiment. And voila - you can see the effects above (the middle finger has a layer of Mademoiselle on top). It's great because it's not just any sheer polish - the Essie flat brush means you can apply a smooth layer without scratching the shade below, and the evening formula means you wont have streaks of white where layers have overlapped. The slight pink tinge also makes it so that you don't get a white cast.

That being said, I haven't experimented on how it works with non-pink based colours, but I imagine there's a slightly less pink-toned equivalent for that! Another suggestion I have is from Maybelline's Colour Show line, which has a pure white which is actually quite sheer! :)

Let me know if you give it a shot! :)

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20 January 2014

Darphin Hydraskin Intensive Skin-Hydrating Serum

Hydrating serums - I want to try them all. Because my skin is always assessed by facialists as quite dehydrated, I find them key to my skincare routine. Without them, my skin will be oily and spotty - and these are exactly how I judge hydrating products. If they give me under-the-skin spots, they're out. If they don't stop me getting oily throughout the day, they're probably good and would work for post people (my skin is just needy). If they do neither - DAYUM.

Darphin's Hydraskin Intensive Skin-Hydrating Serum is, for me, under "works for most people". For the nighttime, it doesn't seem quite up to par with Hydraluron or Dr. Jart's Water Up Serum, but for the daytime, it's great. It slows down my skin producing sebum, and creates a fantastic base for the moisturiser to sink in. The formula is like water and it sinks in so beautifully, leaving you with nice fresh skin, and really kicks some energy and of course, hydration, into your skin. 

For most people with normal skin, or for people who don't suffer with dehydration, this serum would be sheer perfection. Especially if you find other serums a bit too thick (I've heard some people say the Hydraluron feels heavy and sticky), this formula could be ideal.

The serum retails for a £43 for 30ml, and doesn't contain any parabens or oils. I generally use 2 pumps, and found it to be disappearing quite quickly but nothing too disparaging! You can purchase this at FeelUnique (£41) or SpaceNK (£43). 

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19 January 2014


Like me, you may have heard of STEAMCREAM - but the extent of your knowledge may be that they come in 100's of different pretty tins. You're not wrong! The one I have here is one of their recent limited edition tins, "Ume ni Uguisu" - which is a Japanese proverb, which means "a great match" (well, literally, it means a bush warbler on a plum tree.)

So what exactly is inside these tins?


Slightly disappointed? It is, indeed, a plain white cream. It could be NIVEA for all we know?

Not a chance. It's what's inside this cream that sets it apart. This cream, which smells predominantly of lavender, but significantly watered down by smells of other ingredients, is handmade from natural ingredients (like lavender essential oils, neroli oil, orange flower water, jojoba oil, rose absolute). These are steamed together into this gorgeous cream. This steaming process is key (as you may have gathered from the name), as it creates a more natural binding effect than adding binding agents. Steaming results in a light cream which maintains the qualities of each individual ingredient, and when applied on the skin, each ingredient is allowed to really sink into the skin and do its job. Which means in theory, your skin should not only be soft on the surface, but really hydrated from within for a very long time.

My verdict?
Yes. It does everything it claims. On my hands, it delivers the same effects as other handcreams, i.e. soften the skin, but even when it wears off, my skin is still soft (unlike other creams that can actually dry out your skin in the long run!). On my body, it wasn't as heavy as a body cream, so I could cross my legs and sit on wooden surfaces without slipping everywhere, despite having nicely hydrated skin. And lastly, to my surprise, on my face - this thing was AMAZING!

I struggle to find moisturisers that are light enough to not make the surface of my skin oily, but hydrating enough, to not make my skin cells create oil. If my skin cells don't get enough hydration, it panics and produces its own oil, thus making my skin oily. So I need things like the STEAMCREAM that delivers hydration down to the skin cell. The only other products that have really done this to my satisfaction are the REN Ultra Rich Day Cream and the Origins Vitazing which are both double the price of a tin of STEAMCREAM.

So I am SO SO SO impressed by the STEAMCREAM! I cannot believe how effective AND multi-tasking this product is. It's also a plus that you can choose from a myriad of designs, and that there are always new ones coming out. The next limited edition ones are for Valentine's Day - Thalia (on the left) and Shu (on the right)!

L: Thalia, R: Shu

Here are some of my favourites..

Unfortunately, some of those are Japan exclusive!

If you're not please with some creams out there which just seem a bit greasy and doesn't seem to make any difference in the long run - give the STEAMCREAM a go. You can read more about it on their website, and they're sold on their website, ASOS and FeelUnique for £13.

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16 January 2014

Top Make Up Products of 2013

(She says, 2 weeks late.)

It seemed only apt that I start 2014 off (again, 2 weeks late) with a video of my favourite make up products of 2013. To be honest, 2013 was a tough year for me, which also meant beauty (and most things in life!) took more of a back seat than it had done previously. That being said, thanks to lovely PRs and the occasional shopping trip, I managed to find lots and lots of things that I've really enjoyed - and other products that I've continued to enjoy since before 2013.

If you're also a blogger, you KNOW these ranking things are massively difficult to decide on - if I could show you 50 products without losing your attention (which I definitely couldn't do!), I would. So I just went with my gut feeling. In which case, you may have heard of some before, you may have not - I may not have used some as long as others either. But I hope you enjoy these and thank you so much for all your support in 2013, and I hope you hang around for a (hopefully) great 2014!

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