Friday, 23 November 2018

Image Skincare Vital C Travel Kit

Image Skincare Vital C Travel Kit* - £28

Travel kits are a great way of testing out new products before committing to a purchase. They're also really convenient for taking on holiday as you don't have to worry about decanting anything or being forced to throw away restricted items at the airport. I'm always eager to try new skincare products that are infused with vitamin C so I was really excited when Image Skincare kindly sent me one of their Vital C Travel Kits. After trying & loving their fantastic sheet masks I was keen to see how the rest of their products measure up. They're an American skincare brand so their products aren't very well known over here but I've heard loads of good things about this range in particular. In this set you get four products from their Vital C range & one product from the Prevention+ collection as well as an adorable silk eye mask designed by DANNIJO. This luxurious mask feels so soft & comfortable to wear. It blocks out the light really well & will ensure that your beauty sleep remains completely uninterrupted. Unfortunately I don't think that the eye mask or the pretty pink packaging are available in the UK but all of the skincare products in the Vital C Travel Kit can be purchased from Image Skincare.

The Vital C range is Image Skincare's original & best selling collection. It promises to rehydrate, repair & renew your skin. The products would be ideal for those with dry, dehydrated, redness-prone, sensitive or aging skin types. Vitamin C is especially good for brightening up a dull complexion so it's always an ingredient I look for when buying new products. Apart from the Hydrating Repair Crème, all of the Vital C products have a strong orange fragrance so if you don't like citrus scents, this might not be the best range for you. I managed to get one week of use from this kit so I definitely got a good feel for the products & noticed some visible results within that time. There were a few items that I completely fell in love with & some that I would probably avoid in future but I'm glad I tried this tester kit as it has given me a better insight into Image Skincare as a brand overall. After using some more of their products, it's easy to see why they're so well loved across the pond.

Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser
This creamy, hydrating cleanser feels so refreshing to use. The pale yellow cream turns clear as you massage it onto the skin. Image Skincare suggest massaging your face for one minute before rinsing it off. You can just use your hands for this but I found that it works brilliantly with my Foreo Luna Mini 2. It turns slightly milky & emulsifies when combined with water. This removes impurities whilst infusing skin with high levels of vitamin C to brighten as it cleanses. The cleanser has also been enhanced with retinyl palmitate to boost radiance & brighten sun-damaged skin. It left my skin feeling really fresh & balanced afterwards so it was well prepped for the rest of my skincare routine.

Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum
The next step is to apply the Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum. This is one of Image Skincare's best selling products & it is also my favourite item from the travel kit. Similar to the cleanser, this serum also has a creamy texture. It's really hydrating & adds instant radiance to a dull complexion. The serum helps to support collagen production which plumps up the skin & softens the appearance of wrinkles. It also protects against oxidative stress & environmental damage. This wonder serum greatly reduces redness & immediately makes my skin tone look more even. When I first tried the Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum I was shocked by how quickly it had transformed the appearance of my skin. I would definitely purchase the full size version of this serum as the results are truly amazing!

Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Repair Crème
I really enjoyed using the Hydrating Repair Crème. This rich, emollient moisturiser would be great for dry skin that is prone to redness & sensitivity. It intensely hydrates & provides long lasting moisture to the skin without making it look greasy. This cream features hyaluronic acid & ceramides which help to prevent the evaporation of moisture by forming a healthy barrier on the skin. The antioxidant formula protects against free radicals and it combats the visible effects of stress, fatigue & other environmental factors. It feels deeply nourishing & leaves my skin feeling exceptionally soft. This moisturiser would be the perfect way to revitalise & repair your skin overnight.

Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Masque
Another product that I would repurchase is the Hydrating Enzyme Mask. This product strongly reminds me of the Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel. Some chemical exfoliants can be too powerful for those with sensitive skin so fruit enzymes are a much gentler way to resurface the texture of your skin. This mask uses papaya & pineapple fruit extracts to gently dissolve dead skin cells. The fruity ingredients give it a gorgeous scent so it's a real pleasure to use! The creamy mask format keeps the skin feeling hydrated & it also features hyaluronic acid to further plump up the skin. It infuses skin with protective antioxidants & vitamins to reveal a healthy looking glow. I managed to get three applications from this little tube which is how often they recommend using it per week. You simply apply a thin coat to freshly cleansed skin & leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it off with cool water. I'm accustomed to using really strong acids so I was surprised when it made my skin tingle. This sensation only lasted for about five minutes but it must be pretty potent! It's a fab mask to use whilst soaking in the bath or chilling out with a good book. It left my skin feeling super soft, smooth & hydrated. My pores looked really refined too. I'd highly recommend this mask as it manages to exfoliate the skin without irritation or compromising moisture.

Image Skincare Prevention+ Daily Hydrating Moisturiser SPF 30
When using vitamin C products, it's really important to wear sun protection so I understand why they added this product to the kit. It's just a shame that this moisturiser was such a let down. I don't mind moisturisers with added SPF but they're not my favourite thing either. I'm a fan of the Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 50+ but it's still much better to wear a regular day cream & a separate sunscreen. This particular product is proof of that. The moisturiser feels really rich so it'd be great for dry skin & it doesn't pill when applied over the serum. However on anyone else it soon deteriorates into a greasy mess. The sun protection comes from zinc oxide so it's a mineral sunscreen. These sit on the surface of the skin creating a physical barrier against UVA & UVB rays. The main downside of physical sunscreens is that they leave a white cast on the skin. They're also thicker & greasier than chemical sun protection products. For me personally, combining this kind of sunscreen with such a rich moisturiser is a recipe for disaster. Worst of all, it never fully dries down. When I wore this it made my skin feel slightly tacky all day & touching my face felt rather unpleasant. I couldn't wait to wash it off at night! Overall I loved the Vital C range but this Prevention+ moisturiser definitely did not work for me.

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Thursday, 22 November 2018

October Favourites

Jordana Ticia Cosmetics Base & Sparkle in Stargazer
I have well & truly fallen down the rabbit hole of Instagram beauty brands. When you start following loads of Manchester-based makeup artists you'll notice that a lot of them use products from the same few brands & one that kept popping up in some of the most glam pics I came across was Jordana Ticia Cosmetics. They mainly sell lip products but Base & Sparkle is easily their best product. I've started favouring loose pigments over pressed eyeshadows for when I want something really pretty on the lid & I am completely obsessed with this easy to use eye duo. You simply apply the metallic cream eyeshadow base onto the lid with a flat eyeshadow brush like a MAC 242 & then pat the pigment over the top. Together they create the most beautiful, high shine effect on the eyes. Base & Sparkle comes in four different shades but Stargazer is definitely my favourite out of the bunch. It's a gorgeous soft sparkling gold that instantly adds a bit of glam to any eye look.

Doll Beauty Doll Light Highlighter in Like A Diamond
Another brand that I discovered via Instagram is Doll Beauty. They are probably best known for their incredible false lashes but their highlighters are absolutely stunning! They do a couple of different shades that I often combine for a blinding effect but if I could only buy one it'd be Like A Diamond. It's a bit lighter than Shine Bright so it's better suited to my skin tone & makes my cheekbones glow like nothing else. It looks super smooth on the skin & shimmers without being glittery or highlighting texture. I find that it works best if I apply it after spritzing some MAC Fix+ over my face as this amps up the pigmentation even more & allows the powder to really melt into my skin. I've been a fan of theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer for the longest time & this is the only powder highlighter I've found that has managed to surpass it's power whilst matching the pale yellow undertone. It's such a beautiful product & if you like your highlighters on the blinding side, then this is the one for you.

The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%
We all know how much I love The Ordinary but when I tried one of their earliest Vitamin C formulations, I wasn't too impressed. It had a gritty texture which was cosmetically inelegant & made it generally unpleasant to use. They have since released various other forms of Vitamin C & I decided to take a chance on their Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%. I went through a whole bottle of their Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA & was really impressed with how quickly it faded my post-blemish scarring. By combining it with Ascorbic Acid they've created a super-charged serum that reduces the signs of aging & lightens hyperpigmentation as well as brightening & evening out the skin tone. The texture is lovely to use, there's no stickiness, greasiness or grittiness. The propanediol base makes it feel perfectly smooth on the skin but it still absorbs quickly. I starting seeing results after about a week & it's managed to lighten my scarring even faster than the Alpha Arbutin alone. My complexion looks much brighter & fresher now, I'm really happy with the way my skin looks since I started using this product every morning. This powerful combo of ingredients is pure genius & definitely worth adding to your skincare routine.

Bali Balm Lip Balm in Bergamot & Grapefruit*
Winter weather calls for a hardcore lip balm & this year my product of choice comes from Bali Balm. This luxury vegan lip balm is incredibly moisturising due to the fantastic blend of coconut oil, castor seed oil, kukui nut oil & candelilla wax. It instantly makes my lips feel soothed & hydrated which is exactly what you need at this time of year. This intensive lip treatment will shield your skin from the elements & will stay on your lips for hours. The rich formula contains active botanicals that are high in antioxidants & boast antibacterial properties. One of the best things about this lip balm is the bespoke flavour. Bergamot & Grapefruit is a wonderfully potent combination. The bergamot provides the soothing familiarity found in Earl Grey tea whilst you get bittersweet citrusy notes from the floral grapefruit. These ingredients give the lip balm a clean, crisp & fruity taste. Bali Balm are a really eco-friendly brand. Not only are their products vegan & cruelty-free, you can also send your packaging back to them for recycling once you've finished with the lip balm. Beauty products must generate a huge amount of plastic waste so it's great to find a brand that are so dedicated to minimising their environmental impact.

MAC Jamie Genevieve Lipstick
Jamie Genevieve is one of my favourite YouTubers of all time. She's such a beautiful person, inside & out. I love watching her full beat makeup tutorials as well as her weekly vlogs with Jack & Drogba. In terms of makeup Jamie is probably best known for her blinding glow, dark smokes & nude lips so it made perfect sense when she announced that her collaboration with MAC would be the ultimate nude lipstick. I went out to Selfridges in Manchester & bought it immediately. The lipstick is a medium beige with warm yellow undertones & it has a satin finish. Obviously as Jamie is really tanned it's a nude on her but it looks brown on me. I still really like the colour though as it's hard to find true beige lipsticks without any hint of pink. I love how Jamie always wears a darker lip liner & I think that her lipstick looks best with MAC Stripdown. I hope she comes out with more collabs soon as I'm pretty sure I'd buy anything she brings out. I recently picked up her Tired Girl Club t-shirt & it's one of the comfiest tops I own!

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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Lush Halloween 2018

Happy Halloween everyone! Instead of going out trick or treating this year I'll be chilling in the bath tonight with some of these products from the Lush Halloween 2018 collection. Lush are one of the few brands that actually bother to bring out Halloween products so I always look forward to seeing what goodies they have on offer. Last weekend I finally managed to pop over to Leeds & pick up a few treats. The main thing I wanted to buy was the Bewitched gift set. For £26.95 you get a soap, a bath bomb & two bubble bars along with a fantastically spooky knot wrap. They have loads of different limited edition bath products for Halloween but in my opinion this set features some of the best smelling products & the design of the reusable packaging was just too cool to resist!

Lord Of Misrule Bath Bomb (£4.25)
I don't often buy bath bombs anymore as I prefer the moisturising qualities of bubble bars but Lord Of Misrule is a Halloween treat that's not to be missed! When you first put it in the bath, this bomb turns the water into a creepy shade of slime green. As it continues to fizz the bomb cracks open to reveal a pink centre which creates some gorgeously gross looking bath art. It also has popping candy inside which crackles as the bath bomb dissolves. Once fully dissolved the entire bath turns a deep wine colour. It's a really fun bath bomb to watch! Of course the best part is the smell. The powerful scent comes from a spicy herbal blend of patchouli & black pepper oil along with vanilla for sweetness. It's warming & relaxing, perfect for a cosy night in.

Ghost In The Dark Soap (£5.95)
There's much more to this adorable little ghost soap than meets the eye. If you get him wet, he actually glows in the dark! Not a huge amount but it's still a fun gimmick for Halloween. Lemongrass & bergamot are two of my favourite fragrances so I really love the smell of this soap. It's a tangy & sweet citrus scent that lingers on your hands or body for ages. The soap lathers up well & feels creamy on the skin. Solid soaps can be quite drying but Lush make some truly lovely ones & Ghost In The Dark is no exception.

Bewitched Bubble Bar (£4.95)
It wouldn't be Halloween without a black cat! This bubble bar features frankincense & bergamot oil to make your bath smell completely magical. It's sweet & woody, fruity & refreshing and unlike anything I've tried from Lush before. Like most bubble bars it can be crumbled in parts to make it last longer but if you only use a little bit the water will turn a weird grey colour which isn't the prettiest thing to look at. I'd recommend using the whole thing to turn the bath water fully black. Bewitched creates a ton of bubbles & it made my skin feel super soft. I hope that Lush come out with more products using this scent as it's very unique & something I'd love to experience more often.

Sparkly Pumpkin Bubble Bar (£4.75)
This bubble bar was the product that made me want to visit Lush at Halloween in the first place. I love anything sparkly or pumpkin related so this little beauty has been calling my name for a while. This is definitely the messiest product in the set as it's covered everything else with orange glitter but at least it'll be a lot of fun to use in the bath tonight. Sparkly Pumpkin turns your bath water a rich orange colour & creates mountains of skin softening bubbles. The blend of juniperberry, lime & grapefruit oils is truly gorgeous. It's a combination of warming spices & uplifting citrus zing. This bubble bar is the ultimate Autumnal treat, I just wish it was available all year round!

Magic Crystals Body Scrub (£10.95 / 300g)
Lush have also brought out two new body scrubs with their Halloween collection but these products will be joining their permanent lineup. They kindly demonstrated both products on my skin in store but I still couldn't decide which one I liked best. Thankfully they gave me a sample pot of Magic Crystals so I could test it out properly at home. I'm a big fan of Lush's body scrubs because they use salt as a base & always have the most gorgeous scents. Magic Crystals is really special because of the bright purple colour, it definitely looks like something a witch would brew up in a cauldron. The scrub smells strongly of mint with a hint of aniseed. It features menthol crystals, spearmint oil & peppermint oil for a really refreshing polish that will make your skin tingle all over. The scrub is made from fine sea salt & Epsom salts so it's great for rubbing over your muscles after the gym. They've also infused the scrub with fresh rosemary & sage which have antimicrobial properties to help cleanse the skin. The consistency of this scrub is quite thin but this means that you only need to use a little bit each time. Magic Crystals leaves my skin feeling soothed, soft & tingly fresh so this mystical minty blend is well worth trying out.

Scrub Scrub Scrub Body Scrub (£12.95 / 300g)
Even though I loved how incredibly soft Magic Crystals made my skin feel, I eventually decided to purchase a full size pot of Scrub Scrub Scrub. The juicy blackcuurant scent was utterly irresistible & is very similar to the fragrance of their Comforter bubble bar. In the pot it kinda smells like Wine Gums but the full fruity power is unleashed once you apply it to your skin. Scrub Scrub Scrub is a great release for Halloween because the pitch black colour is certainly a bit spooky. The scrub is black because it contains powdered charcoal as well as fine sea salt so it does a brilliant job of exfoliating your skin. Charcoal deeply cleanses the skin, absorbs excess oils & has antibacterial properties. The dark crystals are also infused with toning rosemary, grounding pine & refreshing buchu oils. It gently polishes & buffs away dead skin cells, leaving your whole body feeling baby soft. The consistency is much thicker than Magic Crystals but again a little goes a long way. The gorgeous blackcurrant scent really lingers on the skin & transforms your bathroom into a magical place. The only thing that's not so magical about this product is the mess it leaves behind in the shower. Cleaning up afterwards is a small price to pay for the beautiful fragrance & wonderfully soft skin. This is one of Lush's very best body scrubs & if you're a fan of The Comforter, you will absolutely love Scrub Scrub Scrub!

Bewitched Knot Wrap
Lush sell lots of different knot wrap designs but this one is exclusive to the Bewitched gift set. Witches & cats aren't just for Halloween so I'll be more than happy to use it all year round! It's made from 100% organic cotton & is the perfect gift wrap alternative. We waste so much paper when wrapping presents so this long-lasting, reusable packaging is an awesome addition to this gift set. You can reuse it as a scarf, a bag or a tea towel but my favourite way to wear a knot wrap is as a cute & quirky headband. I love the neon green & pink colours which complement the Lord Of Misrule bath bomb. It's a great way to brighten up any outfit & do your bit for the planet at the same time.

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