Monday, 1 September 2014

August Favourites

Bourjois Instant Dry Nail Drops
The last time I went to the hairdressers I discovered that they had set up a DIY nail bar so that you could spruce up your nails whilst waiting for your colour to develop. It's such a genius idea & I had a lot of fun playing with all the products. I'd never tried nail drying drops before but one use was enough to convert me. At the salon I used the Essie Quick-E Fast Drying Drops but when I went to Boots afterwards I spotted this Bourjois version which was a bit cheaper. This product is basically a clear liquid that you drip onto your nail beds with the pipette to dry them off in a matter of seconds. I never have time to sit around waiting for my nails to dry properly so products like this are essential to me. I use a couple of drops per nail to make sure that everything has been covered & my polish dries off super fast. The oily texture also nourishes your nails & cuticles so it's a brilliant way to finish off your manicure.

Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Primer
I absolutely adore Bumble & Bumble's Hairdressing Invisible Oil. It makes such a difference to my damaged hair. That magical blend of coconut, sweet almond, grapeseed, safflower seed, macadamia nut & argan oils literally works miracles. Bumble & Bumble recently expanded this line by bringing out three new products. I think that their shampoos & conditioners are way too expensive but their styling products are little bit more affordable. I recently got the new Invisible Oil Primer for my birthday and I was instantly wowed by how much softer, shinier & generally more amazing it made my hair. This product has such a huge list of benefits, it basically does it all! It's main use is to offer protection against heat & UV damage, thus reducing breakage. A few spritzes of this lovely light mist all over my hair helps to detangle, soften, defrizz & tame flyaways. My hair is so much more manageable & easy to style. It totally transforms dry & dull hair and I don't think I could give up using this product anytime soon. I'm not sure whether I prefer this or the original oil but you'll probably get on better with the primer if you have very fine or greasy hair.

Lush African Paradise Body Conditioner
There's nothing better than a trip to Lush when you're in need of some quick pampering. One of my favourite treats are their body conditioners. I can hardly ever be bothered to moisturise my body when I get out of the shower so I prefer to rehydrate my skin when I'm still in the bathroom. After washing your body you simply massage this creamy concoction all over & then rinse it off. This conditioner is made from an indulgent blend of shea butter and cocoa butter along with almond oil, moringa oil & marula oil to deeply moisturise the skin. It feels so wonderfully hydrating without leaving any greasy residue. Lush have also included mango juice to brighten the skin and aloe vera to cool & soothe. It makes my skin feel softer than ever before & imparts a beautiful sheen that makes my limbs look nicely toned. Best of all this stuff smells absolutely incredible & the tropical scent stays on your skin all day long. African Paradise is probably one of Lush's most expensive products but by golly it's good!

Mavala Double-Lash
I'm forever trying out new lash growth products as I feel like my eyelashes aren't quite as long & lustrous as they once were. My mascara picking habit certainly doesn't help things as I often get unsightly gaps along my lashline. Some of the ingredients found in these kind of products can be quite scary & expensive to boot. I prefer to use things with natural active ingredients like Talika Lipocils & Indeed Labs Peptalash. I've always heard amazing things about this Mavala offering & it soon managed to find it's way into my shopping basket. I've been using this every morning before mascara & every night before bed for the past month. As a result my lashes are looking much fuller & thicker. They seem a bit stronger now too as I haven't had as many come out when picking off mascara. I wouldn't say they look much longer but I feel like their overall condition has definitely improved. The mascara wand style applicator is much better than those thin eyeliner brush style ones. It thoroughly coats each lash & can be used on eyebrows too.

Skinbreeze Blemish Fix*
I love dual-purpose products and that's why I can't get enough of this Blemish Fix serum from Skinbreeze. The combination of hyaluronic acid with salicylic acid is a dream come true for acne sufferers. This light watery serum will help to rehydrate your skin & fight blemishes at the same time. Salicylic acid exfoliates inside your pores, unclogging them to reveal clearer skin. It also has anti-inflammatory & mild antibacterial benefits. Regular use of a BHA product can reduce oil production but one downside is that it can also dry out the skin. That's why this serum is so lovely to use as the hyaluronic acid stops your skin from getting dry. Blemish Fix also contains seaweed extract to help soothe the skin. It's a very gentle yet incredibly effective way of clearing up blemishes. I normally use this serum in the morning before my moisturiser as I use an AHA in the evening. I like that I can use this under my makeup as way of fighting spots throughout the day. It's the kind of thing that would make a wonderful addition to any skincare routine.

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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Thru The Eyes Of Ruby

Dress - Poppy Lux* / Boots - Dr Martens / Sunglasses - London Retro* / Necklace - Urban Outfitters / Bracelet - H&M

Tomorrow is September 1st which pretty much means that Summer is now over. I've gotta admit I'm kinda looking forward to Autumn. I've already started to reorganise my wardrobe for the coming seasons & can't wait to start layering up again. I think that this adorable Heidi smock shirt dress from Poppy Lux is a brilliant transitional piece. Smock dresses are my fave at the minute as the shape hides a multitude of sins. This one has nice fit to it but I forgot that smock dresses are always oversized when I ordered it so it's a bit big on me. I don't mind though as it's very comfy & casual. I adore the ditsy floral print on it too. I tried to make it look a bit grungier to fit in with the current 90s fashion trend. I've always been inspired by the way that Courtney Love would wear clunky black boots with cute dresses. I'm still very much in love with my patent Dr Martens. I got them when I visited New York where they were on sale for just $50! I was recently sent a pair of London Retro sunglasses from Glasses Direct. These are the antique gold Sweeney frames. I love their round Lennonesque style, they're so very 90s. I thought they would go well with my grunge inspired outfit. Are you a fan of 90s fashion?

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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Brows On A Budget

Barry M Brow Kit / Collection Eyebrow Kit / Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr Cream Eyeshadow in Permanent Taupe

I'm so glad that brows are currently having a bit of a renaissance. I've always had an obsession with them & must have spent loads on tools, regrowth products & cosmetics for those two furry lines. Admittedly I've always been into high-end brow products because drugstore brands never seemed to realise that not everyone has really dark warm toned eyebrows. During my teenage goth phase I used to draw on my eyebrows with a black Rimmel eyeliner. It was not a good look, especially when the pencil started to smudge! There just weren't many other options in Boots at the time. Luckily things have improved a bit these days & most brands have cottoned onto the fact that people want groom their brows to perfection. To be totally honest I don't think I'd ever give up my precious Anastasia products in favour of these but it's good to know that more makeup brands are starting to take brows seriously.

The Barry M Brow Kit comes complete with everything you need to groom & define your eyebrows. It contains a creamy brown wax, a dark brown powder, a highlighter, tweezers & a double ended applicator. It reminds me of Benefit Brow Zings with the added bonus of a highlight powder. The tweezers are okay for plucking one or two strays but I wouldn't shape your whole eyebrow with them. The brush is surprisingly good. Normally I automatically dismiss brushes in makeup kits but the angled side is perfect for shaping your brows with the tinted wax. After applying the wax you then use the blending brush to build up your brows with the dark powder. Both the wax & powder are very easy to work with. The trouble is this kit only comes in one shade which is horrendously dark & warm toned. I tried using the wax & powder alone as well as together but either way they look horrible on me. The highlight shade is incredibly subtle & I found it hard to get it show up on my skin. I wish there were a few other colours available as this has the potential to be a truly fantastic kit. Hopefully Barry M will bring out a few more versions soon.

I much prefer the Collection Eyebrow Kit. Instead of a wax & a highlight, it comes with three brow powders. Used alone none of the colours suit me but they can easily be mixed & matched to create your own custom brow shade. The colours lean slightly warm but they're nowhere near as red toned as the Barry M colours. The dark brown powder is extremely dark but the texture is creamy with absolutely no fallout. It's easy to achieve whatever eyebrow shape you desire with this kit as the formula of the powders is really lovely. I find that a mix of the light brown with a little bit of the medium brown shade works well for me. The angled brush is exactly the same as the one in the Barry M kit & applies the powders well. I love that the kit comes with it's own mini brow gel. The formula isn't the best at keeping stray hairs in place but the plastic brush helps to neaten up your brows by pushing everything in the right direction. It also includes a fab little mirror which is the exactly the right size for doing your brows.

If you've ever wanted to try the Anastasia DipBrow Pomades but don't want to shell out £15 when you have no idea which colour to get, then give the Maybelline Color Tattoo 24hr Cream Eyeshadow in Permanent Taupe a go. Everyone went mental for these last year so chances are you probably already have this in your stash. Not only is it a wonderful cream eyeshadow but applied with an angled brush it's a decent drugstore dupe for Anastasia Beverly Hills' most innovative product. The formula isn't quite as creamy or natural looking so a very light hand is needed here but otherwise it works in a fairly similar way. You can really sculpt your brows with this, creating a clean but bold look. The taupe colour is buildable & would work well for anyone with cool-toned medium or dark brown eyebrows.

What's your favourite budget brow product?

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