Friday, 28 March 2014

The Eye Care Edit

Eye products are a funny old thing. With other types of skincare products you can normally tell within a few weeks if something is making your skin better or worse. Eye creams are more of a guessing game. How do you know whether something will stop you from getting wrinkles in the future when time travel isn't an option? I think that's why so many people don't actually bother with them. It's an easy step to miss out when doing your skincare routine but it only takes two seconds & can make all the difference when you do get older. Genetics & your overall health will dictate the natural appearance of your eye area but using a separate eye product can help to reduce puffiness, dryness, irritation, dark circles & fine lines. This product roundup is aimed towards us young'uns. We might not have huge puffy bags & crows feet just yet but it's so important to start looking after your eyes in your twenties. The eyes are one of the first places to show signs of ageing & prevention is always better than cure.

THE GELS: Personally I greatly prefer eye gels over eye creams. If dark circles & puffiness concern you then I would recommend using a gel. My eyes get easily irritated especially during the Summer so a calming eye gel is exactly what I need. Organic Surge Eye Gel* is the one I always reach for when my eyes feel really sore. It contains aloe vera, green tea, witch hazel & menthol which can help to naturally reduce inflammation, puffiness, sagging & dehydration. I think gels work best with a pump otherwise you can end up with far too much product on your finger. If the Arran Aromatics Feel Good Formulas Green Tea Eye Gel* came with a pump it would be much better. This gel has a really thick texture so you only need a tiny bit. It has an amazing scent & feels so cooling, especially if you pop it in the fridge first. As it's so thick I like to layer it on as a refreshing eye mask, leave it for five minutes & then blot off the excess product with a tissue. It's a great pick me up after a day of hayfever hell. I also like the REN Active 7 Eye Gel. The texture is very lightweight, almost watery but I find it takes a while to absorb properly. When it does absorb it effectively smooths away any fine lines & really tightens the skin. It's not so great at hydrating the area though which is why gels containing hyaluronic acid, like the next two, are more worthy of an investment.

HealGel Eye* is my current product of choice. If you can afford it then you should definitely buy this one. It sinks in immediately & firms up the skin. The problem with most other eye products is that you can't tell if it's making a difference or not. HealGel Eye has had a visible impact upon my under eye area and has actually reduced the discolouration of my dark circles. The effects are cumulative rather than just being a temporary fix. Arnica is a wonderful thing. Like I mentioned previously, it also contains hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture to the area & plump up any fine lines. Alpha-H Absolute Eye Complex is very similar to HealGel Eye but it's dark shadow correcting properties don't quite match up. Otherwise, it's pretty damn good.

THE CREAMS: Creams are the better choice if you need something really hydrating. I don't find them as effective for dark circles unless you want something that works as a temporary solution. Origins GinZing Eye Cream is brilliant at perking up tired eyes. It contains caffeine to tighten & depuff the area. I love the shimmery light reflecting particles. They help to brighten up dark circles meaning that you don't need to use as much concealer. Some of the best eye creams I've come across are from Lierac. They're a French pharmacy brand so their products are tricky to get hold of but I found mine in TK Maxx. Lierac Diopticalm is an instantly refreshing eye balm. It is incredibly soothing & gets rid of any dryness. You can use this as an eye mask too. Lierac Diopticerne is one of the few creams that works well on dark circles whilst also adding plenty of moisture. The only good thing about Clinique All About Eyes is it's moisturising properties. It does nothing for fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness or dark circles. However it does keep the eye contours well hydrated & gives the area a smooth base for makeup.

THE TREATMENTS: There's loads of home remedies out there for eye problems such as teabags, cucumbers & backs of spoons so you don't have to spend a lot for an effective treatment. One of the cheapest but most helpful things to carry around with you is a bottle of eye drops. I'm using Optrex Refreshing Eyes Drops to wash out any dirt & calm irritation. I get really bad hayfever so eye drops & baths are a must have for me come Summertime. I want to give one of their eye sprays a go as they claim to not smudge your makeup but they are a lot pricier. Something I cannot live without is Liz Earle Eyebright. It is my favourite ever Liz Earle product & it is a miracle worker on tired eyes. If I'm struggling to get out of bed in the morning I pop some on a couple of cotton pads and leave them on my eyes for a few minutes. I instantly feel more awake & ready to face the day. I've also used this to clear a mild eye infection when I couldn't get to a pharmacy. It's so cooling & refreshing - perfect for hayfever season too.

I first discovered Talika when I tried their amazing Lipocils which is brilliant at growing back eyelashes & eyebrows. They have loads of amazing eye products including these unique Eye Decompress masks. You simply pop the white tablet into the blue fluid. The tablet absorbs the liquid so that you can then unfold it into a soothing eye mask. It really helps to reduce swelling & detox the eye area. It'd be great to take on a plane for some inflight pampering. I also like the Jamela 24k Gold Under Eye Masks*. They use pure gold leaf, hyaluronic acid and plant collagen to brighten & tighten the skin. They feel a bit weird & make you look a bit crazy. You have to leave them on for half an hour so I would suggest lying down in bed with them on so they don't slip off. Despite the weirdness, they do actually work quite well. Save these for a special occasion when you need to look your best.

What's your favourite eye product?

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Love Me Beauty Box March 2014

Love Me Beauty Box* - £10 + £2.95 Delivery

Every month Love Me Beauty offer a choice of three different beauty boxes. I have to admit it was rather difficult to choose one this month. All of the products sounded pretty amazing! Not only that but each box had six items instead of the usual five. I finally settled on menu one due to the inclusion of the Nip + Fab CC Eye Fix. As always Love Me Beauty have been very generous with their samples. My box had three full size products & three trial size products. Here's what I received:

BlanX White Shock Toothpaste
I think that BlankX are one of the few brands that you can find in Boots with truly effective teeth whitening products. I used to love their whitening mouthwash but I can't seem to find it in the shops anymore. Looking at their website it appears that they do still make a whitening mouthwash as part of this White Shock range so I'll be getting a bottle of that for sure. Anyway onto this toothpaste. The White Shock range features a peroxide-free formula that reacts to light exposure so it will continue to whiten your teeth throughout the day. Top dentist tip: don't rinse your mouth out or use mouthwash after brushing your teeth. You will just wash off the effects of your toothpaste. I have to say that this sample tube has me impressed. My teeth definitely look a bit brighter already. I'd be very interested in trying out their LED whitening treatment too.

Murad Sheer Lustre Day Moisture SPF 15
This is a really lovely moisturiser. I wasn't expecting much but it feels so comforting on the skin. The formula looks like a white cream but the texture is more like a gel. Avocado oil & shea butter help to soften & nourish the skin. It is instantly hydrating & makes my face look really dewy. It would probably be best for those with dry or normal skin types. If you have oily skin I have a feeling this would look far too greasy. I'm happy with my Clarins HydraQuench Lotion SPF 15 but if the Murad moisturiser was a bit cheaper I would consider buying this instead.

Deep Steep Moisture Stick in Lavender Chamomile
I love multipurpose balm products and I normally keep a couple in my handbag. But this lavender scented stick is so dreamy that it's quickly found a home on my bedside table. I like to apply it to my pulse points before bed to help me drift off into the land of nod. The formula of the balm is really nice. It features coconut oil, shea butter & cocoa seed butter to deeply hydrate the skin without feeling greasy. It sinks right in & is perfect for sorting out any dry areas like elbows, knees & feet. The Honeydew Spearmint stick in one of the other boxes sounds lovely too. I think I'll be picking up a couple more of these.

The Vintage Cosmetic Company Gracie False Lashes
I have a huge stash of false lashes from Eylure, Ardell, Kiss & Illamasqua but I've never tried any from The Vintage Cosmetic Company before. I love lashes with an invisible band as it means you don't have to whack on loads of eyeliner to cover the join. These would be a great choice if you're just looking to add some length to your lashes. They're very subtle & natural enough to wear during the day. They make a change from all the crazy unwearable eyelashes you tend to get in beauty boxes. I found these really easy to apply & I love the fluttery doe-eyed look they give me. I didn't really like the glue that came with the lashes. It was slightly too tacky leaving little strands of glue everywhere. Duo glue is a much better option.

Nip + Fab CC Eye Fix in Light
I decided to go for this menu just so I could try out this product. Unfortunately this was probably the only disappointing product in the box. This product claims to be an eye cream & a concealer in one. The formula is far too wet meaning that it immediately sinks into any creases around your eyes. The colour match is fairly good. It does work to correct dark circles but the coverage just isn't enough for me so I have to use a proper concealer on top. I don't think it works as an eye cream either. It felt a bit tacky around my eyes even after a few hours of wear which wasn't very comfortable. It could potentially be good for someone younger at school where you can't wear too much makeup but it's definitely not for me. I'll be sticking to my Bobbi Brown Corrector in future.

Quintessentially English Bath Salts in English Rose
Bath salts are my current bath product of choice. They're great for drawing out toxins in your body & leave you feeling wonderfully relaxed. Personally I love rose scents so I think these salts are amazing. The mix of rose absolute, rose geranium & jasmine perfumes is heavenly & very romantic. They're incredibly indulgent & you can use the salts to exfoliate with too. The little rose buds are such a cute finishing touch. I really want to try the Quintessentially English Sunshine Bath Salts next because I'm a huge fan of citrus scents.

Even though I didn't like the Nip + Fab Eye Fix I'm still glad I went for menu one. I really loved everything else & I've found a few new things that I will be repurchasing very soon. You can subscribe to Love Me Beauty for £10 a month plus £2.95 delivery with no minimum subscription term. Love Me Beauty have kindly given me a special discount code so you can get 10% off your first box! Just enter SV10 at the checkout. Visit the Love Me Beauty website to find out more.

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Caudalie Vinoperfect Enzymatic Peel Mask

Caudalie Vinoperfect Enzymatic Peel Mask* - £29

At the moment the biggest problem I have with my skin is scarring. For once I am totally blemish-free (touch wood!) but I'm still having to wear quite a bit of foundation & concealer to cover up those pesky dark marks. Something that has really been helping to fade these post-blemish scars is the Caudalie Vinoperfect Enzymatic Peel Mask. If the thought of using a skin peel is scary to you, don't worry your skin won't suddenly start falling off. It simply speeds up the skin renewal process to reveal a clearer & healthier complexion. This thick & creamy white mask promises to deliver radiance to your skin in just 10 minutes. It uses papaya enzyme to naturally exfoliate the skin. At this point you might be thinking 'hey this sounds pretty similar to the Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel!' and in some ways you would be correct. Both offer a gentle skin peel in a creamy base that will brighten & exfoliate the skin without drying it out. If you tried them both once they would yield very similar results. However I prefer the ingredients in the Caudalie mask & for the purpose of lightening my scarring I feel that this one is the superior enzyme peel.

The Elemis peel has a focus on natural ingredients using papaya & pineapple enzymes to dissolve dead skin cells. The Caudalie peel also uses papaya but then they invited some glycolic acid to the party which is something that always works wonders on my skin. It tightens pores, gets rid of all kinds of blemishes & resurfaces the skin. Both peels are equally suitable for even the most sensitive of skin, it just boils down to which ingredients you prefer. Caudalie are known for their use of grape extract & this product is no exception. It features their patented Viniferine which is a natural active ingredient found in grapevine sap that has an exceptional effect on radiance & dark spots. Pro-vitamin B5 & grape-seed oil help to comfort the skin leaving it feeling soft & smooth. This mask is such a pleasure to use. I apply a thick layer with a flat foundation brush, leave it on for 10 minutes & then remove it with a muslin cloth. It has a pleasant scent & makes my face feel really fresh. As soon as I wash it off my skin looks so much brighter & the tone is more even. This peel mask is such a brilliant quick fix for dull skin. Using it twice a week has rapidly helped to fade my scarring so hopefully I'll be back to using a lighter makeup base again soon.

Thanks to Escentual's wonderful French pharmacy offer you can currently pick up this mask for just £23.20! You'll have to be quick though as the discount is only valid until the end of March. Don't forget to check out my French pharmacy product guide for some more purchase suggestions.

twitter / tumblr / youtube / instagram / bloglovin'