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?

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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.

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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.

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Saturday 22 March 2014

Daily Makeup #1

Today I'm starting up a new feature as I've never really done face of the day type posts before. It always bugs me when people talk about the makeup products they're using and then they don't follow it up with a picture of how it actually looks on their face. So here's a look with a focus on thick black liner & cherry red lips. I started off with my Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in #2 which gives great coverage but also adds a wonderful glow to the skin. I concealed any blemishes & my undereye area with the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair before setting under my eyes with the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder. I'm always one for a bit of shimmer so I dusted a bit of my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light all over my face & highlighted my cheekbones with theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer. For blush I went for Illamasqua Naked Rose, it gives such a pretty flush to the cheeks. I then filled in my eyebrows using Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash & held my brows in place using MAC Clear Brow Set.

The lovely ladies at Baobella Boutique recently sent me a few new products to try out. Baobella Boutique is a free to join, members only online beauty store. They offer some amazing discounts on well known brands such as Clarins, Chanel, Decleor, L'Oreal, Maybelline & Lee Stafford to name just a few. There's a huge range of high end brands, drugstore brands and some that you might not have come across before. Each item is only available for a limited time period so you have to be quick to make sure you don't miss out on a great deal. If you like buying discounted beauty products (who doesn't?!) then it's well worth signing up for. I received an Yves Rocher duo worth over £40 yet you could buy it on Baobella Boutique for just £10.99! Yves Rocher is the number one makeup brand in France. All of their products are natural so if you're into that kind of thing then they're a great brand to check out. Not only that but their products are very high quality too.

I was extremely impressed by the Volume Vertige mascara. I love the curvy wand applicator. It really sculpts the lashes, giving lots of separation & definition without any clumps. One coat is enough for super long & thick lashes but I always like to add another to pump up the volume. It holds a curl so well & makes my lashes generally look amazing. After applying my mascara I lined my eyes with lots of Soap & Glory Supercat & MAC Chromagraphic Pencil in NC15/NW20 on the waterline. I finished off my look with a slick of Yves Rocher Grand Rouge lipstick in the shade Radiant Red. This lipstick feels really comfortable & moisturising on the lips. It features camellia oil, organic sesame oil & vitamin E to keep your lips in tip top condition. The highly pigmented formula simply glides on & it has a nice glossy finish. The staying powder is incredible, it lasts for hours even after eating & drinking. When it does begin to fade, it leaves a pretty red stain rather than a horrible ring around your lips. I love the packaging & it smells really nice too. Yves Rocher get a big thumbs up from me.

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Wednesday 19 March 2014

The Lush Lip Lineup

Me? A lip balm hoarder? Guilty as charged. I can totally justify it though! Lip balms are easy to scatter everywhere so it's always good to keep a few around. Some of these stay in my handbag & some live on my dressing table. I like to be able to top up my lips with a balm no matter where I am at that point in time. I think my obsession started when I was at school & everyone had those horrific little tins of Vaseline. I cringed every time I saw people whip them out & practically told them off if they dared to offer me some. It just coats the lips leaving them even drier in the long run. If you use Vaseline on your lips stop it now or... I'm not sure we can be friends anymore ;) From that point on I made it a personal mission to find a better lip balm & convert my friends. Carmex is still an old favourite of mine because it saved me from the hell of Vaseline. I've gone through countless pots of the stuff but the tube packaging is lot more convenient. It has a lovely texture & that menthol tingle sure is addictive. My mint flavoured Balmi is quite similar but with the added bonus of SPF 15. The little keychain makes this a great one for handbags as you can just hook it onto your keys or a bag strap.

Much like the rest of your face or body, your lips need a little exfoliation before treating them to some moisture. I normally go over them with my toothbrush or a flannel but if they're still a bit flaky then there's no better treatment than one of Lush's lip scrubs. I adore the sugary sweetness of Bubblegum but my favourite has to be the Popcorn one. It tastes like salted caramel & will smooth over even the roughest of pouts. If you're a bit lazy then Lanolips Lemonaid Lip Aid* will naturally exfoliate & hydrate your lips all at the same time. The combination of creamy whipped lanolin & organic lemon oil is hard to beat. It makes your lips feel absolutely amazing & the fresh lemon scent is truly delicious. Another incredibly yummy product is the Super By Dr. Nicholas Perricone Lush Lips conditioning balm. I think the Super range has been discontinued as you can only find the products in TK Maxx or online now. This uses coconut oil which is renowned for it's hydrating properties. It has a nice buttery texture & over time it definitely makes your lips softer in general. I can't get enough of it's subtle coconut taste & scent. I only hope I can find another pot when mine runs out.

If you've never tried the NUXE Reve de Miel lip balm, what are you doing?! Go buy some pronto. This balm is a staple product for me. Whenever my lips get cracked & start bleeding due to the weather or illness then I can always rely on this stuff to sort them out. I normally reach for the stick during the day, it's a good one to take out with you & it is my go-to base for lipsticks. Unlike most lip balms it has a matte finish so it won't affect whatever you put on top. The pot stays on my nightstand as the texture is a little thicker. I always pop some of this on before bed to keep my lips moisturised overnight. Philosophy's Kiss Me Tonight is another brilliant overnight lip treatment. It makes my lips feel really soft & is very comfortable to wear. This stuff lasts for hours & I rarely have to reapply it. Whenever I use Kiss Me Tonight, it's always still on my lips when I wake up. It works just as well during the day for kissably soft lips 24/7. What's your favourite lip balm?

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Tuesday 18 March 2014

Spring Flowers

Dress - Chi Chi* / Shoes - Office / Necklace - Le Chou Chou Bijoux* / Bracelet - Black Tied / Ring - Regal Rose

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive this beautiful dress from Chi Chi. They make some uber-glam dresses that I would only really consider wearing for a party or special occasion. I'm rather pleased to see that they've added a few more day dresses to their collection like this Daisy dress. It's still incredibly glamorous but I wouldn't feel completely overdressed wearing this on a day out paired with a leather jacket. The embroidered lace flowers & diamante detail on the bodice are ever so pretty. I love the floaty skirt, it's a sweet shade of pale pink & the length is just right on me. I can imagine myself wearing this a lot during the Summer. I can't wait to crack out all my girly dresses again & blind everyone with my pasty legs!

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Thursday 13 March 2014

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Hair Tutorials

You might have noticed that I love experimenting with my hair. I've dyed it nearly every colour under the sun and dramatic hair cuts simply don't phase me. I've had everything from an asymmetric pixie cut to the 'Rachel' to a scene kid mullet (oh dear...). Creating different hairstyles on my own however is something I'm not too good at. Thank the lord for YouTube & all the wonderful hair tutorials on there. It's much easier to try out a new style after watching a video guide several times. At the minute I'm embracing my longish hair and I like to use products that can give it oodles of volume. Next time I pop into Boots I plan on buying some of the John Frieda Luxurious Volume products. I was using their Full Restore products but the Luxurious Volume Touchably Full shampoo & conditioner now come with colour protection which is great news for my bleached blonde hair. John Frieda have just unveiled some fabulous hair tutorials on their YouTube page using some of the products from the Luxurious Volume range. If you're into big hairstyles then you should definitely check them out!

Big Bold Waves

I've always wanted to recreate this kind of hairstyle but never knew how! Big bouncy hair is always a good look & this doesn't seem overly difficult. The John Frieda Fine To Full Blow-Out Spray used in this video sounds like a potential dupe for Oribe Maximista. I'll definitely have to try it out & compare the two.

Floral Curls

This cute but edgy rockabilly style would be perfect for anyone with shorter hair. I love the floral hair pins as they soften up what is otherwise quite a masculine look. I'm not sure it would suit me personally but I'm sure there's plenty of short haired girlies who could totally rock it.

*Written in collaboration with John Frieda

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Tuesday 11 March 2014

Mini Boots Haul

L'Oreal Miss Manga Mascara / Maybelline Expert Wear Mono Eyeshadow in Iced Fudge
Revlon ColorBurst Lacquer Balm in Demure

Three words. Eleven letters. Say it and I'm yours. Three for two. I have some kind of weird reverse logic when it comes to buying makeup. I'm happy to splash out £50 a time in Space.NK but I never buy makeup from Boots or Superdrug unless there's some kind of offer on. I guess I'm generally a 'quality over quantity' kinda gal. However the three for two deal in Boots is the ultimate enabler. I always take this time to try out a few new things & I'm very pleased with everything I picked up.

I made a beeline for the Revlon stand as I couldn't resist the new ColorBurst Lacquer Balms. I loved the original balm stains, they're some of my most worn lip products. The Matte balms didn't appeal to me that much but the high shine formula of the Lacquers definitely did. I went for the shade Demure which is a soft peachy pink colour. It's a totally gorgeous 'your lips but better' shade. The mix of shea, mango & coconut butter feels lovely on the lips & it has a pleasant minty fragrance. As well as their glossy finish, the Lacquers contain small glittery particles to give the appearance of a plumper pout. Frosty or glittery lip products are not my thing at all but the shimmer is barely visible. It can make it feel slightly gritty but I'm willing to overlook that for the sugary sweet colour.

I've read a lot of reviews about the L'Oreal Miss Manga Mascara & it seems to be a very divisive product. Some people love the super voluminous formula whilst others find it rather clumpy. I knew it was something I just had to try out for myself. I love anime & manga so the advertising campaign had already piqued my interest. I assume they're going for a gyaru makeup look though rather than that of an actual cartoon character. If only I weren't so squeamish about putting in circle lenses I'd be rocking gyaru makeup all the time! Anyway, I'm a big fan of fat black voluminous lashes so I had high hopes for this mascara. It makes my lashes look really long, adds a decent amount of volume & holds a curl really well. It can get a little bit spidery as you layer it up but I don't really mind that. The conical shape of the brush allows you to coat every lash & it's easy to do your bottom lashes with too. I can't say I like the flexible wand. I'm used to using more force when applying mascara so it just felt a bit flimsy. I do think it's a good mascara overall but unfortunately it doesn't quite make me look like Sailor Moon.

The last item I bought was the Maybelline Expert Wear Mono Eyeshadow in Iced Fudge. I have a plethora of shimmery brown eyeshadows in my collection but there was just something special about this shade. It almost gives a metallic wet look to your eyes. If you're into one eyeshadow makeup looks then this would be a great product to buy. The colour is quite similar to MAC Satin Taupe but with a slight rosy tone. It wouldn't look out of place in the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette. The shadow is a bit glittery but it applies very smoothly without a great deal of fallout. It's an easily dupable eyeshadow & I'd be surprised if you didn't already own something similar but that doesn't stop it from being incredibly lovely.

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Sunday 9 March 2014

Organic Surge Orange Flower Toner

Organic Surge Orange Flower Toner* - £6.50

No matter what your skin type it's important to know when to use abrasive products & when to use gentler products. Otherwise you run the risk of drying out & irritating your skin when it's in need of some TLC. I used to be really into exfoliating toners but since discovering the wonderful Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash I find that I merely require something calming & hydrating afterwards. It's easy to go overboard with chemical exfoliants & as my cleanser uses lactic acid to gently exfoliate the skin it would be silly to follow it up with an exfoliating toner. Toning is an oft-forgotten step in skincare but for me it's completely essential. It bridges the gap between cleansing & moisturising so that my skin feels prepped for the products to come.

Lately I've been loving this Orange Flower Toner from Organic Surge. Their skincare products are always a good choice if you have sensitive or easily irritated skin. This toner features 98.89% natural ingredients, it is untouched by harsh chemicals & is alcohol-free. Alcohol content is something to consider when looking for a toner. Traditionally toners used alcohol because they gave the appearance of shrinking pores by drying out the skin. But who on earth wants drier skin? Even if you have an oily skin type you should go for something gentle & alcohol-free. That's why this toner works so well on all skin types.

As the name suggests orange flower water is the key ingredient here. It is renowned for it's healing properties & gives the toner a beautifully uplifting citrus scent. It also features centella asiatica extract to promote skin renewal and aloe vera to calm & moisturise the skin. It really helps to refresh & hydrate my skin after cleansing. It's such a lovely toner & effectively soothes any irritation. Generally I do prefer spray toners so I can use them as an instant pick-me-up throughout the day. I've decanted some of this into a small spray bottle from Superdrug. I keep it in the fridge overnight to boost it's cooling powers & then pop it in my handbag. I'm obsessed with it's invigorating scent & it's so cheap that I don't feel bad about spraying it as much as I desire. I've gone through countless bottles of Caudalie Beauty Elixir at £10 a pop so this makes for a brilliant purse friendly alternative.

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Saturday 8 March 2014

HealGel Intensive

HealGel Intensive* - £37.50

HealGel is a skincare brand that I trust wholeheartedly. Their products were created by a group of plastic surgeons who wanted to make something that could aid skin recovery after surgical procedures. These people know their science & their products do exactly what they are meant to do. I've previously reviewed HealGel Face & HealGel Eye, both of which are products that I could no longer live without. However the original HealGel product was HealGel Intensive. This aqueous gel can be used anywhere on the face and body to soothe, repair & protect the skin. It has such a wide range of uses. Not only will it help to fade any scarring left over from blemishes but it'll heal up things like eczema, sunburn & bruises. You can even use it as a primer before makeup. Sounds too good to be true right? Wrong - just like the other HealGel products it really does work.

The gel itself feels very silicone-based, not surprising when Dimethicone & Polysilicone-11 are the second & third ingredients on the list. Normally that would worry me as I know that silicone primers can sometimes break me out but like I said, I really trust HealGel to look after my skin. They use silicone because it has been firmly established to be the optimal healing ingredient for scar treatment. It helps to seal in the active ingredients including Arnica and Madecassoside so that they can penetrate down to the deeper layers of skin where they are needed most. It also contains powerful peptides to increase collagen production & has anti-inflammatory ingredients to encourage a clearer complexion. It calms any redness & visibly plumps up any fine lines like my nasolabial folds. I don't really like to use this all over my face though. I much prefer HealGel Face for that as it's a bit more moisturising & has similar healing properties. The Intensive formula is best used as a treatment on specific areas. So say you picked a spot on your face & now there's a huge red scar leftover, you can apply a pump of this on it several times a day & the mark will fade much quicker than usual.

What really sets it apart from HealGel Face is that you can also use it on your body. I suffer from eczema which often leaves red marks on my legs & arms. A little goes a long way with this stuff so I've only needed a few pumps to cover those areas. The redness & irritation goes a lot quicker than normal & the gel has helped to treat the rash too. Eczema can be a tricky thing to deal with but this works like magic on it. I've also used it on a burn on my hand I got from the oven. After about four weeks of using HealGel Intensive, you can't even tell I burned it in the first place. I've not had any surgery recently but a couple of years ago I had to have half an ovary removed. The laparoscopic operation left me with an ugly scar under my stomach. Normally treatment only works on fresh scars but I figured I'd give it a go anyway. It will never disappear like my burn did but it does look a little bit less raised & horrible. Like any skin treatment you have to use it consistently for a period of time to see any difference but when you do, it is incredibly effective. This truly multi-purpose product is something that everyone should own. I'm just completely enamoured with the whole HealGel range and I can only hope they add to it soon. HealGel Lip would be the stuff of dreams, please invent it HealGel!

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Friday 7 March 2014

French Pharmacy Picks

There's no denying the outstanding quality of French skincare products. I've been to Paris twice but that was in my days as a young'un when I only cared about going to Disneyland so I never visited any of the amazing French pharmacies. Luckily the Internet solves all problems & nowadays you can very easily order French pharmacy products online. For some items I stick to eBay because you can find things pretty cheap on there. Plus you can get your hands on products that aren't available in the UK yet. Otherwise Escentual is always a good place to pick up things. Throughout March you can get up to 1/3rd off selected French pharmacy brands on their website. Boots & Space.NK carry a lot of these brands too. I've put together a list of some of my favourite pharmacy products. Vive la pharmacie Fran├žaise!

CAUDALIE: Everyone should try their Beauty Elixir. It's a cult toner/refresher for a reason. It helps to calm & hydrate my skin after cleansing. I adore the smell of this stuff & it always perks me up when I'm feeling a bit tired. I also love Divine Oil. I do appreciate an oil that comes with a spray pump. It makes it so easy to get the right amount of product. I like to spray this all over my body after showering for some lazy girl moisturisation. It's great at sorting out any dry patches. I also use it on the ends of my hair to add some healthy shine. A lot of oils can be too heavy for my hair but this is just right. It works on dry hands & cuticles too. Although you can use this on your face, I prefer to stick to just using it on my hair & body. The best part is it smells absolutely incredible!

I originally tried the Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum in an old Glossybox and it was the only product I received that I went on to buy a full size version of. This serum features organic grape water & hyaluronic acid to deeply rehydrate your face. The texture is quite creamy & it really helps to soften your skin. If you're not a fan of Hydraluron you might like this instead. It works brilliantly with the Vinosource Moisturising Sorbet. This is such a lovely moisturiser for sensitive skin. It immediately calms & soothes my skin leaving it feeling perfectly hydrated.

LA ROCHE-POSAY: By now you should all know how much I adore Redermic R. This is a retinol product so we're getting into hardcore skincare territory here but it treats my blemishes better than anything. Not only does it help to either brings spots to the surface or dissipate them, it heals any scarring too. It puts paid to any congestion or bumps under my skin and makes everything feel super smooth. If you don't suffer from spots then you can use this as it was intended - as an anti-wrinkle treatment. This is one of the best retinol products you can get without a prescription & it is contained within a moisturising base so it won't dry out your skin. So many of my friends have bought this & all of them love it!

If you want more of a regular spot treatment then I would recommend Effaclar Duo. It's one of those 'you either love it or you hate it' products because it will either sort out all of your skin problems, do nothing or make things worse. I've only tried the old version but they've recently brought out a new & improved version which now helps to prevent scarring as well as treating spots. Oh Serozinc, how I love you. This product is a little awkward to get hold of as you'll have to order it off eBay but it's well worth it. This is a hydrating spray toner that contains a zinc sulphate solution. It helps to calm down any redness, irritation & blemishes. You can even use it to treat razor burn & nappy rash. Brilliant stuff! Cicaplast Baume B5 is a multi-purpose soothing & repairing balm. It features a winning combo of copper, zinc & manganese to aid skin recovery. It is suitable for even the most sensitive skin & can help treat a number of different ailments. I mainly use it on my eczema as it offers instant relief to any itch & adds some much needed moisture to those areas.

NUXE: The Reve de Miel lip balm is one of the best I've ever come across. It makes your lips feel amazingly soft & hydrated. It's one of the few things I can rely on whenever I get dry & cracked lips. I love the matte finish & it has good staying power for a balm. It comes in both stick & pot form. I would recommend picking up both - one to keep in your handbag & one to keep with the rest of your skincare. I get a lot of use out of both of them. Another star NUXE product is their Huile Prodigieuse. This is a lightweight dry oil that you can use on your face, body & hair. It is incredibly moisturising without ever looking greasy. I like to mix this in with thick foundations like the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer to give my face a natural dewy glow.

LIERAC: I always spot Lierac products in TK Maxx and that's where I picked up two of their eye creams - Diopticerne & Diopticalm. I'm more into eye gels these days but if you prefer a cream formula then Lierac's offerings are some of the best. Diopticerne is a hydrating eye cream that intensively treats dark circles. Diopticalm is a soothing eye balm that will calm & de-puff your eyes. You can also apply a thick layer of it as an eye mask.

BIODERMA: No French pharmacy list would be complete without the inclusion of Bioderma Crealine H20. If you need a good makeup remover then this is the one to get. Micellar waters are far more effective than regular makeup removers as they use tiny oil molecules suspended in water. These molecules grab onto makeup & dissolve them without leaving any residue. It removes even the most stubborn waterproof eye makeup & is very gentle on the skin. Nothing compares to you Bioderma.

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Thursday 6 March 2014

The TMI Tag

Earlier today I uploaded another YouTube video. This time I took on the TMI tag after being tagged by Chloe. Get ready to hear me answer some random questions & ramble on about rubbish. Please give the video a thumbs up if you like it & don't forget to subscribe!

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Wednesday 5 March 2014

Candy Coated

Coat - Topshop / Dress - In Love With Fashion* / Shirt - New Look / Shoes - Topshop
Necklace - H&M / Bracelet - H&M / Watch - Michael Kors

As someone who often fails to deviate from buying monochrome clothing I've been making a real effort to buy colourful things lately. I love pastel colours so I couldn't resist buying a pastel coat. I originally wanted a pink coat but when I saw this mint green one on the Topshop website it was love. I used to have that sailor swing coat from Topshop & the size 10 still fit me when I was nine months pregnant! As this was a similar shape I went for the size 8 & it's a perfect fit. I had to hunt down the last size 8 in the Trafford Centre & ended up getting the one off the mannequin. It was worth it though! I cringed a lot at the £89 price tag but hey, pretty coats are always a good investment right? I still want a pink coat as well but I'm struggling to find the perfect one. I adore this bright pink coat from Topshop so if they bring out a petite version I'll be snapping it up right away. Let's just ignore the price!

Carrying on with the pastel theme I've been wearing this gorgeous baby pink shift dress a lot lately. I got it from In Love With Fashion. I'm really into LOVE's Spring collection. They have a whole host of beautiful pastel coloured dresses available. I went for this shift dress as it's such a classic & versatile piece. It's so easy to wear during the day and then you can glam it up a bit at night with a leather jacket & some heels. I wore this out to the cinema the other week when we went to see The Wolf Of Wall Street. I absolutely loved it, Leo was robbed! I just wore my pink Topshop T-bars which are one of my favourite pairs of shoes. I keep wearing shirts under dresses too. I think it's because I secretly wish every dress had a collar.

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Tuesday 4 March 2014

February Favourites

Illamasqua Hydra Veil
My current primer of choice is Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer & normally that is the perfect primer for me. My skincare routine normally ensures that I have no weird dry or flaky patches on my face but sometimes it can be unavoidable. I recently had a bad cold and that always results in bad skin for me. My nose gets really dry, red & sore when I'm poorly so I needed something extra to calm that down. Illamasqua Hydra Veil is a temporary quick fix for any dry or dehydrated areas. This clear gel will instantly cool & soothe your skin leaving it feeling plump & incredibly hydrated. You only need a tiny bit to sort out your entire face. After applying it you'll be able to get a completely smooth & flawless base whatever the condition of your skin. No dry flaky patches in sight!

Bumble & Bumble Thickening Creme Contour
I got my hair did a few weeks ago & I decided to go for a centre parting again. I had my hairdresser cut in some long fringey bits so I could flick them out to the sides. I wasn't too sure what kind of product to use to keep them in place. I'm generally not a fan of crispy hairspray & didn't want anything that would dry hard like a gel. Instead I've been using this Bumble & Bumble Thickening Creme Contour. This styling cream adds shape, texture & definition to my hair without weighing it down. It's lightweight yet offers a good enough hold to keep my style in place. It also makes my hair feel thicker & more voluminous. If you like really biiiig hair, combine it with their Dryspun Finish spray. You'll get some full, volumised locks with plenty of style.

Barry M Lip Gloss in Toffee
I always think of Barry M as a nail polish brand but there are a few gems to be found in the rest of their product range. I'm especially fond of their lip glosses. Toffee (#2) is my favourite shade. It adds a beautiful nude sheen to your lips when used alone & looks lovely on top of any pink lipstick. It smells delicious too! These glosses don't last too long on the lips but they feel really comfortable to wear without any horrible stickiness. It's a must-have for fuss-free nude lips.

Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash
I absolutely love Anastasia products. If you need a new eyebrow product then Anastasia should be your first port of call. This pencil is really great because it provides the convenience of pencil application with the natural finish of a powder. The nib is retractable & very fine so you can actually draw on individual hairs with it. It's just makes it so easy to get the exact brow shape you want without looking harsh at all. It even has a spoolie on the other end to groom your brow hairs & blend the product. The colour range is one of the best I've come across. I highly recommend buying this product!

Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush
This brush is nothing new because Japonesque have made a silicone liner brush for quite some time. Real Techniques win though because theirs is cheaper, more readily available & works in exactly the same way. The easy to clean silicone tip allows me to get the perfect cat flick every time. It doesn't drag along the eyelid like some brushes or liquid liners can do. You can get such a smooth line with it & it's so easy to vary the shape of your flick or thickness of line. Obviously as it's not an actual brush, the tip won't hold much product. You do have to keep dipping it into your gel liner pot but I don't think that affects the application process at all. It's much more hygienic than a brush & should last for years to come.

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