31 July 2014

Save or Splurge: Dry Shampoos

Over the next week and a half, I'll be posting the result of a trial I've been working on with VoucherCodes. Our aim was to bring to you a series of products you might take to festivals or camping, and give you a low down on whether it's worth saving or splurging on those goodies! The first instalment of this trio is every girl's best friend on a lazy morning - the dry shampoo.

Under £5: VO5 Plump It Up Dry Shampoo
£3.59 from Boots
This stuff is amazing. Not only is it invisible unlike some other ones I've tried, it does the job without adding too much weight to your hair - I genuinely have no idea how it does it. My hair looks refreshed and when I run my hands through it, it doesn't get that tacky nor powdery residue. I also didn't need a lot of product, and noticed that I was using significantly less than the Batiste one that I always use. Very impressed!

Under £10: Lee Stafford Dry Shampoo Original for Oily Roots
£5.99 from Boots
Although I fell in love with Lee Stafford's heat protectant, this was definitely the weakest link in this trio. The product comes off whiter than the VO5 or the Ojon, and I require a lot more product than the others. It's also definitely more detectable when you touch your hair, and is more like the Batiste XXL than anything else. Next to VO5 and Ojon, this is definitely out of the running.

Under £20: Ojon Full Detox Rub-Out Dry Cleansing Spray
£19 from John Lewis
This one gave me mixed feelings. Firstly, I was SO impressed at how effective yet undetectable it was. You literally cannot feel anything on your hair at all - it genuinely feels like magic just happened. BUT, when you get up close you can see those tiny white powdery bits and getting rid of them took a bit of rubbing in and combing.

The Verdict: Save!
There is no reason to shell out for the Ojon one in this case - the VO5 is equally as good and for a fraction of the price!

Other SoS Posts:
Save or Splurge: Bronzers
Save or Splurge: Eye De-Puffers

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22 July 2014

The Truth About Beauty Sleep Is..

Image source: http://www.sheknows.com/beauty-and-style/articles/812333/5-tips-for-better-beauty-sleep

A Sleeping Beauty, I am not - in old t-shirts, pineapple hair and my sleep-talking tendencies, it's not a pretty sight (Ben's caught me doing weird dances in my sleep too..). I may not do it in style, but I do take my sleep seriously because there’s nothing like a good night time routine to help your skin be as lovely and glowy as it can be. Here are some tips from BedStar, so you can make the most of your beauty sleep!

Remove that makeup.. pronto!
I've been at uni, and I've had my fair share of late night studying - sometimes it's tempting to roll straight from door to bed, but your skin will not thank you if you leave your makeup on. Left-on makeup can block your skin’s pores and make you more prone to breakouts, so take the time to take it off (never mind the dirty pillowcases..) - high five if you can give it a full cleanse, but there's always a micellar water option for the really bad nights. My current favourite is Eucerin's DermatoCLEAN Micellar Water.

Adjust your sleep position for perky eyes
Who knew that your sleeping position can help those pesky puffy eyes and dark circles? With a good set of pillows from Bedstar to help prop yourself up, piling them a little higher can drain the fluid away from your eyelids. This will help prevent your eyes from becoming puffy and leave you looking fresher the next day.

Always moisturise
Whether you're dry-skinned or oily-skinned, it’s important to get into a moisturising routine before bed. Your sleep is the time when your body makes its essential repairs, including your skin, so you can aid its natural processes by applying a little moisturiser. My current pick is IndeedLabs Hydraluron Moisture Jelly.

Eat yourself beautiful
You really are what you eat, and a good diet will always reflect in your skin.. how many times have I woken up with Mt. Everest on my chin post-takeaway night? And as always, make sure you drink plenty of water – around eight glasses a day – to ensure your skin is fully moisturised and maintains its elasticity. Fruit and vegetables are also great for making your skin look radiant. In particular, focus on citrus fruits such as oranges to keep your vitamin C levels up, which will not only boost your immune system but also give your skin a healthy glow.

*Post in collaboration with Slap Up Media
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20 July 2014

Tresemme Volume Styler

You guys know hair isn't my forte - which is why I look for the simplest ways to make hair, well, presentable. My most recent venture was into stylers, and I've been trying the Tresemme Volume Styler for a few weeks.

Now I usually don't do video reviews, but I felt like this was appropriate given I wanted to show you the product in more detail and demonstrate how I use it. Hope you enjoy!

You can get the Tresemme Volume Styler from Chemist Direct for £22.99.

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17 July 2014

Illamasqua GLAMORE Nudes in Minx & Cherub

 Cherub, Minx

There's quite a lot of posts about these new Illamasqua GLAMORE Nude lipsticks floating around, but these are the two lipsticks from their Coral Nude category - Cherub and Minx.

When Illamasqua launched their original GLAMORE lipsticks a few months ago, I loved them - they're so pigmented, creamy and comfortable to wear. I'm very happy to report that these new Nude versions are equally as delicious.

In terms of the shades, Cherub is a true peach - muted and mid-toned. When I first saw it, it really reminded me of REVLON's old matte lipsticks in Smoked Peach. It's super wearable because it has no hint of brightness that would make it unnatural or in-your-face. Personally, I find lipstick shades which are even remotely bright, become magnified in brightness against my medium/tan skintone. So something like this is a perfect way to wear an understated peach.

Minx has more a pink undertone, and is what I'd describe as a warm rose. Against my skintone, it pulls more like a "my lips but darker" shade and I imagine for darker skintones it'd be a great nude because it's so balanced in terms of the warm and cool tones. Again, it's very muted and so achieves that very natural look.

Personally, neither of these lip shades are what I'd usually go for (I think something like Rosepout is more up my street) but I'm quite excited to experiment with them because their natural shades are really in line with how stripped down make-up gets in the summer.

What I really like about this collection in general, is how they've kept the shades so muted, because unnatural brightness is my key concern when I'm trying to buy lip products for a natural look. From what I can see from other blogs, even the lighter shades seem to have been designed similarly and I think that's what really sets these nude lips apart from other ones. A real winner and a safe bet for truly nude lips, especially for medium to darker skintones!

These are £18.50 each from the Illamasqua website.

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16 July 2014

A KIKO Haul: A Quest for Natural Lips

Yesterday I found myself sauntering around Oxford Street without any particular aim other than to eventually perch myself at a Starbucks to wait for Fei from Peonies and Lillies for a long overdue catch up. Having resisted the urge to KIKO it up last week, it soon became unbearable and ultimately mandatory to at least pop my head in to see what was going on..

Recently, I've been noticing that what used to do it for me in the summer has ultimately changed, and the biggest change I've noticed was in lip products. Firstly, I am LOVING glosses this year. And secondly, Rimmel's Moisture Renew in Nude Delight and MAC's Warm Me Up lipstick just don't seem to do it for me anymore. I was finding my other token summer picks way too peach, and wanted a more natural but bright nude lip.

The first to go into my basket was the KIKO Supergloss in 109 Mat Pink (£4.90), which is this gorgeous medium dark bright pink. My lip colour is a similar darkness, but a duller red colour so I wanted something that would be a pop of colour without being flourescent or remotely in your face. This is literally the most gorgeous muted pink I own, and I'm so excited to wear it! As a formula, it's very pigmented but thin and smooth, and there is literally no sign of stickiness at all. It's a great pick for people who don't like the liquid-ness of traditional glosses, but want a bit more moisture on the lips than a lipstick.

The second was this pencil-style lipgloss - the KIKO Pencil Lip Gloss in 10 Dark Rose (£3.90). It was partly nostalgia that drove me to check this out, because I used to have a great product exactly like this back in high school. But ultimately, it was the shade. It's a mauve-toned dark nude that works well as a "nude but not too nude" with my tanner skin at the moment in NC30/35. The formula is more like a lipstick, but it has great pigmentation.

Overall, a successful haul! I am genuinely so excited by the addition of the Supergloss in my collection. The price vs. quality of KIKO products continue to amaze me, and these are no different. One thing I would say though.. that store needs to get rid of those crazy lights! There's a huge mirror on the left side of the door that will give you a better idea of what shades really look like.

You can get these and other products on the KIKO Cosmetics website.

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15 July 2014

My Summer Feet & Legs Picks

I am horrendous when it comes to body care, especially in the winter - buried in woolly jumpers, UGGs and jeans, who cares, right? But I suppose in the shorts-donning weather of summer, even I become a bit more conscious about how my arms and legs look.. more so the latter (I'm sure the arms will catch up, one day).

So recently I've been doing my best to be good about it, and have found a few products that I love enough that I feel I can maintain this routine. You guys know I'm a firm lover of L'Occitane body moisturisers, so these may or may not feature heavily..

Sanctuary Spa Luxury Foot Polish - £5.50 from Boots
I said it last year, and I'll say it again - this is a great foot scrub. It has solid grains that really get to work on your feet, and you'll notice your feet become brighter as well as softer. I also love how it doesn't leave any waxy residue, and leaves your feet squeeky clean, so 1) you don't fall over in the bath, and 2) it's prepped with fresh skin cells to absorb the next product which is the..

L'Occitane Dry Skin Foot Cream - £5 ~ £19 from L'Occitane
The only other foot cream I've tried is the one from Soap & Glory and to be honest I wasn't that amazed, and have since not tried any other foot cream until this one. Like other L'Occitane moisturising products, this didn't disappoint. It has a fresh scent, and while it takes a bit to sink in, your feet will feel so smooth and soft as a result! It's usually my tele-time treat where I sit, watch E4 and give my feet a good massage so I'm wearing flip flops care free the next day :)

L'Occitane Almond Lighter Legs - £20 from L'Occitane
I love the hand cream from the Almond range, but it turns out I love the leg cream as well! Not sure if it really matters that it's a leg cream rather than an all over body lotion, but it does have a very minty scent that relaxes your legs. I love it especially after showers because it absorbs so quickly and leaves you the softest legs that make you feel like you've got brand new ones!

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14 July 2014

Oxygenetix Breathable Foundation

I'd never heard of Oxygenetix but I liked the sound of it - a breathable, long-wearing foundation for the summer with SPF 25, great coverage and skincare benefits that are used on post-surgery patients. The brand claims to be incredibly popular in Hollywood, and also uses the patent-pending Ceravitae, which is an oxygen complex that promotes collagen creation and healing skin tissue. It also contains anti-bacterial qualities which are good for exfoliation and for acne-prone skin. Here's what I thought of it after I tried it for a few weeks..

The foundation comes in your standard pump bottle, which is light, plastic and well-made. It definitely shows its medical background with the design, but that's the least of my concern. I found the pump dispenses the perfect amount for a full face each time, which is great because I get no waste at all.

When you first pump some out, it feels almost like a foamy liquid because it's so light - it's actually an aloe gel-based foundation. This makes it sooo easy to apply! I tend to dot it on the skin and use my Sigma F84, but I imagine you can get a lighter finish with fingers or a sponge, or, it's even light enough to just buff it on with something like the Real Techniques Buffing Brush. As you'd imagine with a texture like this, it really feels weightless and hydrating on your skin. For my combination/dry skin, this formula is perfect. I'd recommend it for anyone other than perhaps the oily-skinned gals.

When applied, it translates into a high medium coverage and it has an impressively glowy and skin-like natural-matte finish. To get a full coverage I stipple and dab a bit more foundation onto certain areas, because it seems to be able to maintain that finish despite the layering.

My only qualm with the formula is its lasting power. It claims to be long-wearing and sweat and water proof - which, to be fair, isn't untrue, because there is formula still left on my face at the end of the day. However, it doesn't look particularly pretty. For me, it gets a bit patchy on oilier areas, like my chin and nose, so I'd recommend setting it and touching it up with power. If you're generally dry or normal-skinned, it'd probably last beautifully everywhere for you.

The Oxygenetix foundation comes in 14 shades - 7 blue toned, and 7 yellow toned. I think this separation is absolutely great, because there's nothing more glaringly obvious than wearing the wrong tone of foundation. At around the NC30 skintone, my shade is Beige, which is the third darkest yellow-toned shade. This gives you an idea of the wide range of shades they have!

I suppose this is a big sticking point - this bottle costs £45. Which is quite expensive for a foundation already, but this is made even pricier in comparison to other foundations by the fact that the bottle actually only contains 15ml. Now I do think it's better for them to sell 15ml for £45 than a typical 30ml for £90 because let's face it - who wants to part with that much for a foundation.

Given the skincare benefits and the overall amazing formula, I still believe £45 is an acceptable price especially if you suffer from severe skin conditions or sensitivity and can't get on with any purely cosmetic foundations.

Unless you're getting it for the skincare benefits (you can read about them all on the Oxygenetix website), I think you could possibly find similar foundations. However, the formula is just beautifully lightweight and a dream to apply, and has a gorgeous skin-like finish. I can see why they recommend it particularly for the summer because you get the coverage but also the breathable feel! You also have to admit that the shade range is just fantastic. To pay an extra £10 than Chanel (if we're just talking price) for the skincare benefits as well, I think would be worth it.

You can get the Oxygenetix Breathable Foundation from Beauty Is Skin Deep and Effortless Skin.

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12 July 2014

Launching! REVLON ColorStay Moisture Stain

Left to Right: 001 India Intrigue, 020 Rio Rush, 055 Stockholm Chic, 030 Milan Moment

Left to Right: 001 India Intrigue, 020 Rio Rush, 055 Stockholm Chic, 030 Milan Moment

Top to Bottom: 001 India Intrigue, 020 Rio Rush, 055 Stockholm Chic, 030 Milan Moment

Whatever this super-pigmented lipgloss trend is, I love it. The L'Oreal L'Extraordinaires truly blew my socks off, and these REVLON ColorStay Moisture Stains are next in line.

Isn't it great when a drugstore brand comes out with an innovative packaging? I absolutely love these. The angles are so sleek and chic, and I'm absolutely loving piling them up on top of each other. Very OCD-friendly.

It's also worth noting if you see them in store that the "windows" are tinted, and that they aren't the lipglosses themselves. Do have a look at the wand before you buy :)

I also like that the applicator is a doe-foot sponge, and that the product itself isn't very long. I've said this before, but I think brushes for lipglosses are such a faff, and when a wand is too long the chances of missing your lips seem to suddenly multiply..

Again, full points from me. I feel like these are slightly thinner and lighter than the L'Oreal L'Extraordinaires, yet still as pigmented. 

But just like the L'Oreals, these kind of set on your lips and strangely solidifies which makes everything a little bit less messy. I also like that they're not super wet, but have a really nice glossy finish. I am very much a gloss girl at the moment!

This. This is where this Moisture Stain story falls apart. It comes in 12 shades with really fun names after cities and countries (although the lack of Tokyo did disappoint me a wee bit). And nude afficionados like myself will notice instantly - 1 nude? ONE nude? *smh* (for those of you who are curious, this is London Posh which is a gorgeous pinky nude).

In the darks department, we have 3, and while I really liked the look of the deep purple Parisian Passion and the vampy red New York Scene, Stockholm Chic seems to just be.. brown. Like, not even plummy, or even 90's beige, but like BROWN. WOOD, brown. Not in this decade, bro.

What this range really excels at though, are the brights. My top picks were definitely Rio Rush and Barcelona Nights for hot pinks, and Shanghai Sizzle is an absolute stunner of a red. The disappointment of the lot? Milan Moment. It's just a dirty orange.. I just don't get it.

If you find a shade you like - you will love it. The packaging and formulas could not be better - the packaging is chic yet super practical, and the formula is light, yet long-lasting, pigmented and comfortable.

These are available from August 2014 at £7.99 in Boots and Superdrug.

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4 July 2014

Empties #3

Is it hoarding or is it genius - I don't know, but I enjoy keeping empty products for months on end just to film this video. This time, it was a bit longer than usual and I'm actually disappointed at how little I've actually finished! Note to self: do better.

For those of you who are new to the concept, Empties are videos where people review things they've finished. They're often super helpful because it means that person has experienced the life cycle of the product, and so their opinions will have been developed over lots of time and experimentation! Enjoy :)

All the products are mentioned on the description box in YouTube.


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3 July 2014

Launch: L'Occitane Frisson de Verveine

L'Occitane's launch for this month is this Frisson de Verveine collection, which is part of their mainline Verbena collection.

I have a friend who likes the simplest, most refreshing of fragrances - one of her favourites is the Lemon & Basil scent from Jo Malone. In my time knowing her, she hardly wears things that are sweet or floral. Immediately after smelling this Frisson de Verveine collection, I thought of her.

The scent runs across the collection and it is simply divine. You have that strong verbena smell, as well as a touch of fresh cucumber, some herby bergamot and a hint of sweet lemon. Which of these are stronger depends on each of the product, but this range is for the person who likes that refreshing feel, and none of that fruity, florally, sweet smells. It's a unisex scent, which gives you an idea of how lovely and neutral it is.

In the summer, I tend to go for lighter, fresher, zestier scents and to be honest with you, I would've chosen something like this had I gone and bought a new perfume (I have way too many to justify it though!). It's so light, and isn't stuffy at all - it's just so refreshing, natural and beautiful. If you live in very humid climates and don't want anything too much, this is highly recommended.

This limited edition collection comes with six products - the Cooling Body Gel (£20) and the Bath Salts (£16) aren't shown here, but here are my thoughts on the products you see above and the collection in general.

Fresh Shower Gel (£14)
To  me, most shower gels are just whatever - they do the job and that's enough. But this one ranks up there with other favourites, as it is just beautiful. It pulls more sweet than it does zingy in scent, but what I love is how it lingers after you step out of the shower. I really liked layering the EDT on top, and topping up with the Refreshing Body Mist throughout the day.

As for the formula, it's a true gel - even as I type, and it sits on my desk and wobbles. It doesn't lather like crazy, but I still felt like it did its job well as a shower gel. Even after the shower, my skin felt nourished and soft instead of dry and desperate for body lotion. If you're looking for a bit of splurge, I'd highly recommend this one.

Refreshing Body Mist (£12)
This is a spray that you can also use on your face, and it is meant to refresh and hydrate your skin. The spray isn't built very well, and I found that it spluttered a little bit which could get awkward if you're trying to spray it on top of make-up.

I found it okay as a liquid moisturiser - your skin definitely feels softer, but it was more the cooling sensation that I liked, which is why this will be getting a thorough testing this weekend when I go glamping :) Otherwise the scent has about an equal amount of sweet lemon and fresh cucumber.

Ice Gel for Legs & Feet (£20)
I love anything rollerball, so I was pretty excited to try this out, especially after one day where I had spent most of the day on my feet. Truth be told, it seemed to cool certain areas a lot, like on my inner calves but not so much on other areas - I found the Body Mist to be more effective for cooling! I also found that it was almost the massaging sensation of the rollerball that I really enjoyed rather than the gel. This also has a stronger zestier smell than the other products.

Ben, on the other hand, came home from Majorca with some sunburn on his shoulders, arms and back, and as we didn't have any after sun, I suggested using this. He did screech a little bit, and said it felt REALLY cold, but it worked amazingly and he went to bed completely happy with sleeping on his back and sides. Multi-tasking? Tick.

Frisson de Verveine EDT (£42)
Like most other EDTs that L'Occitane bring out, I really like this one. It has top notes of lemon and bergamot, heart notes of verbena and cucumber, and base notes of musk and cedar wood. Personally, I smell the lemon and verbena most, which makes this a gorgeously refreshing scent for the summer (it's also more of a zingy lemon than the other products).

As for lasting power, it wasn't superb but it wasn't awful either and the warm musk and cedar wood notes were clearly detectable. What you have to keep in mind is that this bottle is 100ml, which means you get quite a lot for your money but in return, I feel like it's something you do have to top up maybe once or twice during the day.

This is a great collection for the summer. It's just so refreshing and just what I feel like I need in a heat wave - something light, zesty, green and unstuffy in scent, and cooling in effects! My personal favourite out of the range is the Fresh Shower Gel, but I also think that EDT and Body Mist are really nice bits to have alongside it. The cooling sensation of the Body Mist is addictive, and the EDT just makes wearing a perfume in the summer enjoyable as opposed to 'too much' and stuffy. Compared to their Vitoria Regia Day Flower Eau de Cologne from their Au Brazil range, which I also recommended for summer, the Frisson de Verveine is much zestier and definitely unisex, whereas that one is more fresh with a touch more floral.

The Frisson de Verveine collection launches this July 2014 in boutiques nationwide.

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