Thursday, 4 July 2019

June Favourites

NYX Bare With Me Spray, NYX Tinted Skin Veil, Revolution Fast Base Concealer, NYX Matte Liquid Liner, Fenty Setting Powder

NYX Bare With Me Prime Set Refresh Spray
My love for NYX has well & truly been rekindled with the launch of their Bare With Me Collection. I picked up a few different pieces from them last month & the first item that really impressed me is their Prime Set Refresh Spray. This multitasking spray can be used before, during & after the makeup application process. It's infused with aloe & cucumber extracts so it's ideal for sensitive skin. It primes your skin for makeup, helps your makeup to last throughout the day & adds a hit of hydration whenever you need it. You get a whopping 130ml for £10 so it's really good value for money, especially when compared to Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray & it'll keep your makeup in place just as well. I always use a spray such as this when working with powders to stop them from sitting on top of the skin. If you spritz a bit on top of your cheekbones before applying highlighter, it really makes the pigment pop & allows you to buff in the powder to perfection. One thing I don't like about this product is the spray nozzle. It seems to spurt out randomly rather than giving you a nice fine mist. I often end up with more of it on my t-shirt than on my face! I like the spray itself but I think I'll probably decant it into a different bottle.

NYX Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil
The next product I bought from the Bare With Me collection is the Tinted Skin Veil in Vanilla Nude. My skin has been pretty good lately so I wanted something really lightweight with minimal coverage for those super hot days when I don't want to wear a ton of makeup. This stuff fits the bill perfectly & works as a fantastic base when you just want to lightly even out your complexion. Like most foundations, I think it looks best when applied with a BeautyBlender but this is the kinda product you can quickly smear on with your fingers when you're in a rush to leave the house & you'll still look great. It looks very natural & allows your skin to shine through whilst covering any redness. The finish is quite matte but I think that adds to the whole natural appearance & means that it doesn't break down on the skin. It stays put for a surprisingly long time & even survived the recent heatwave. I picked up Vanilla Nude which is the lightest yellow toned shade & it's a pretty decent match. It actually has more of an olive undertone but it works well to correct any discolouration in my skin & blends in seamlessly. I just really love this product. It's so easy to use & helps you to look a bit more put together with hardly any effort. It's a lazy girl Summer staple.

Revolution Fast Base Concealer
Revolution have two foundation ranges that I really love - Conceal & Define and Fast Base. If you haven't tried the Fast Base Stick Foundation I highly recommend it. I was interested to see how its concealer counterpart performed especially as this concealer is only £3! The packaging is very similar to the Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer with the round fluffy applicator on top. This concealer provides lightweight buildable coverage & is ideal for brightening up dark circles. The formula is very creamy & easy to blend with just your fingers. You can easily pop this in your handbag for touchups throughout the day using the small cushion applicator. I really like the coverage & it delivers instant radiance with a really smooth, natural finish. This is one of the cheapest concealers I've seen in the likes Boots or Superdrug but it's actually one of the best. Think Touche Éclat but at a fraction of the price!

NYX Matte Liquid Liner
Another NYX product that I've been loving is their Matte Liquid Liner. I usually prefer felt tip pen style liners & was previously using their Epic Ink Liner. However the nib started leaking weirdly & began to dispense way too much product. The liner kept bleeding when I applied it & would sometimes run into my eye which I did not appreciate after spending an hour on my makeup! So I decided to pick this one up instead because I saw this gorgeous look by Alyssa Marie Artistry where she used this particular NYX liner. The Matte Liquid Liner comes with a fine tipped brush so you can get a really crisp line & a sharp wing. The liner is extremely pigmented & dries down to a fully opaque true matte black. It's really long lasting, doesn't smudge & doesn't make my sensitive eyes water. I thought the brush would be difficult to work with because I'm so used to felt tip liners but I've had no problems with it at all. It's a great liquid liner & I'm much happier with this product than the Epic Ink Liner.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Setting Powder
I've been dying to try some products from Fenty Beauty for so long but I could never decide what to buy first. I finally got the chance to play with their products in person when they recently launched in the Trinity Leeds branch of Boots. I had originally planned on getting the foundation but the finish is way too matte for my liking. In the end I came away with the Instant Retouch Setting Powder in Butter mainly because NikkieTutorials raves about it. I've been using translucent powder for a while but I wanted something with a bit of pigment to help brighten up my dark circles. Butter is a light yellow colour so it's a great match for me & adds just a touch of colour for a flawless finish. The powder itself is so finely milled & feels silky soft on the skin. I don't think I've come across such a superfine or lightweight loose setting powder before. It literally feels as light as air. It also has a subtle sweet scent which I really like. Once applied it has a blurring effect on the skin, hiding pores & smoothing over fine lines. It sets my foundation & concealer really well whilst airbrushing my skin to perfection. The finish is matte but not cakey at all. You can reapply it throughout the day & it'll keep your skin looking fresh. I've worn it out in the blazing sun, felt sweat pouring down my forehead & my makeup hadn't budged an inch. This setting powder is everything!

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Friday, 7 June 2019

CODE Beautiful Fabulous Lip Duo + Giveaway

CODE Beautiful Fabulous Lip Duo

If social media has made me self-conscious about anything, it's the size of my lips. I wish my top lip wouldn't disappear when I smile & that my bottom lip wasn't wonky from a childhood accident. Lip fillers seem like the best solution to my issues & even though I've found a fantastic nurse to perform the procedure, I'm still a bit anxious about getting it done. It's impossible to scroll through Instagram without seeing thousands of girls with cosmetically enhanced lips & most of the time, it looks amazing on them. However you often come across people who have gotten the most awful looking trout pouts. You can get weird lumps & the risk of necrosis is also pretty scary. Plus despite my previous snakebite piercings, I'm not the biggest fan of needles! So for something a little less permanent, lip plumping products are a much safer alternative. Visually you won't get quite the same impact but at least you don't have to worry about butchering your face in the process. I've been testing out a couple of lip enhancing products that I was kindly gifted by CODE Beautiful. They specialise in creating handbag essentials that are effortlessly effective & flawlessly reliable. As such they only have four products in their whole collection. I received their Lip Intense Plumper & Soft Smooth Lip Liner which promise to deliver more defined, volumised & hydrated lips without a needle in sight. Both products are cruelty free & vegan friendly.

CODE Beautiful Lip Intense Plumper Nude Rose
CODE Beautiful Lip Intense Plumper Nude Rose
CODE Beautiful Lip Intense Plumper Nude Rose Wand

CODE Beautiful Lip Intense Plumper in Nude Rose* (£20)
This plumping lip gloss has such a unique formula. The gloss has been infused with coconut oil, sweet almond oil & castor oil for an instant boost in moisture as well as peppermint oil to give it a tingly plumping sensation. However the special ingredient is something that CODE Beautiful have called Hilurlip. This is an exclusive blend of hyaluronic acid, tripeptide-1 & dimethicone to help redefine the natural contours of the lips & create a more sculpted look. It promises to give you fuller lips over time. Hilurlip also contains compounds that protect the lips from sun damage & help to minimise the appearance of small vertical lines. The more you apply the lip gloss, the better the results!

The gloss comes in this gorgeous rosy pink shade which naturally makes your lips look larger. It's nowhere near as pigmented as it looks on the wand, in fact it becomes a very sheer baby pink that just adds a pretty tint to your lips. When you first apply the gloss you will feel an intense tingling sensation that lasts for about twenty minutes. During this time your lips will gradually plump up, creating a fuller pout whilst smoothing out the appearance of fine lines. The Lip Intense Plumper won't last through eating or drinking but the effects are still noticeable even after the gloss has worn off. I find it really comfortable to wear, it feels instantly moisturising & isn't sticky at all. It's one of the smoothest, silkiest glosses I've used & applying it becomes very addictive! After about a week of use I noticed that my lips were looking fuller without any product on so it definitely has a long term boosting effect. The results are very natural looking but it still makes me feel more comfortable with the size & shape of my lips.

CODE Beautiful Soft Smooth Lip Liner Nude Blush
CODE Beautiful Soft Smooth Lip Liner Nude Blush
CODE Beautiful Lip Duo Swatches

CODE Beautiful Soft Smooth Lip Liner in Nude Blush* (£18)
Although the gloss looks pretty by itself, the real magic happens when you combine it with this lip liner. The formula of this lip liner is one of the nicest I've ever tried. It glides over the lips with the greatest of ease & blends out smoothly with no harsh lines. It's a lip liner, lipstick & lip plumper all in one. The liner is packed full of ingredients to stimulate collagen, condition & give volume. You can just wear it as a traditional liner to prevent feathering or contour your lips but I prefer to fill in my lips with liners as a long lasting lipstick. This allows you to overline your lips without it looking too obvious. I think the rosy pink shade is beautiful & naturally enhances the colour of my lips. It makes my lips look so smooth & youthful. If you wear it with the Lip Intense Plumper it doesn't last through eating but if you wear it by itself the colour will stay put for hours. One of my favourite things about this lip liner is the packaging. It features innovative self-sharpening technology so you get a perfectly pointed tip every time. You just turn the lid clockwise until you hear it click & your lip liner will be ready to go!

Bare lips
Bare lips

Wearing CODE Beautiful Lip Intense Plumper
Wearing the Lip Intense Plumper

Wearing CODE Beautiful Soft Smooth Lip Liner
Wearing the Soft Smooth Lip Liner

Wearing CODE Beautiful Fabulous Lip Duo
Wearing the lip duo

CODE Beautiful Fabulous Lip Duo On Lips

Overall I'm really happy with these products from CODE Beautiful. They both look gorgeous whether worn alone, with each other or combined with other lip products. I love how they feel on my lips & although the results are subtle, they look fantastic. Plus this natural level of fullness is certainly more believable than suddenly getting 2ml of Juvederm injected into your lips! This fabulous lip duo will instantly enhance the look of your lips as well as increasing volume over time so they're well worth trying for both short term & long term results.

Fancy winning a set of these amazing lip products? I have teamed up with CODE Beautiful to offer a Soft Smooth Lip Liner & Lip Intense Plumper to one lucky person! Just use the widget below to enter. The giveaway ends on the 18th of June 2019. The full terms & conditions can be seen at the bottom of the widget. Good luck!

Win The Fabulous Lip Duo From Code Beautiful #14

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Sunday, 2 June 2019

May Favourites

e.l.f. 16hr Camo Concealer
Does anyone else remember the early days of blogging when you couldn't look at a single beauty blog without seeing e.l.f. hauls everywhere? They were a bit of a novelty for a while because you could only get their products online in the UK & the prices were absurdly low. I, for one, am so grateful that they now have stands in Superdrug because they have so many new products & it's really helpful to be able to swatch everything in person. One product that immediately caught my eye was their 16hr Camo Concealer. I love anything full coverage & the shade range really impressed me because there's something for everyone whether you have cool, neutral or warm undertones. I picked up Fair Warm which is an extremely pale shade with light yellow undertones. I swatched it next to few other concealers in Superdrug & it's so much lighter than Revolution's Conceal & Define Concealer in C1. This really sold it to me because I've always wanted that highlighted undereye look without having to use a true white concealer. The 16hr Camo Concealer provides full coverage with a matte finish. The formula is quite thick but it applies smoothly & feels lightweight on the skin. It dries down really quickly so you have to work fast, preferably applying it to one area & blending it out before moving on to the next. It covers everything exceptionally well, lasts all day & definitely gives me that brightening effect. In fact it might be a little too light for my skin so I sometimes mix it with something else. I'd say that the only downside is that it can be quite drying & if you have a lot of fine lines under your eyes, this might not be the best option. But if you want something that will cover every single imperfection, this is a great concealer.

Revolution Conceal & Define Foundation
As a huge fan of Revolution's Conceal & Define Concealer, I was really looking forward to trying its foundation counterpart. I bought the shade F1 because I use the concealer in C1 & it's a great match for my skintone. My first impression was that it's basically the same as the concealer, just in a bigger bottle with a even larger doe foot applicator. After using it for the past few weeks, I'd say that's a pretty accurate assessment & I'm okay with that! This foundation provides lightweight but buildable coverage with a satin finish. I absolutely love how it looks on the skin. It hides blemishes & pigmentation whilst giving a smooth flawless finish. You can really layer it up for a truly full coverage base without it looking cakey. The formula feels creamy & comfortable to wear. I've had no issues with creasing & it doesn't emphasise any dry patches. It does last a long time on my skin but my t-zone gets noticeably oilier by the end of the day. Nothing a little powder won't fix but you might want to bear that in mind if you have very oily skin. Overall I'd have to say it's one of the best foundations I've tried in a long time. If you like the concealer, you will love this foundation.

Schwarzkopf got2b Glued Spiking Glue
This little yellow tube of hair gel is a multipurpose marvel. I originally picked this up because I saw some makeup artists using it instead of brow gel. You just get a little mascara wand, add a tiny bit of gel & brush the hairs upwards for natural looking bushy brows. I've tried it a few times now & really love the effect. If you have unruly brow hairs, this stuff will soon whip them into shape! Then I noticed some people on YouTube using it to secure lace front wigs. Now that I've sworn off the bleach I can't dye my hair fun colours anymore so I thought that wigs could be a great alternative & lace fronts give you the most realistic looking hairline. I never thought that hair gel could be used to glue wigs down but this gel is so powerful, it kinda makes sense! I also use it as a traditional hair gel in conjunction with a medium-bristled toothbrush. I mainly use it when I go to the gym because I have loads of annoying short bits near my hairline that always fall down when I put my hair in a ponytail. By brushing those bits of hair with the gel & the toothbrush, you can get really close to the scalp & they'll stay in place through even the most extreme workouts.

Pixi Vitamin-C Tonic
I've really started getting into Pixi skincare lately. I loved their Retinol Tonic so much that I had to go out & get the Vitamin-C Tonic right away. Just like with retinol, it can be difficult to find vitamin C products that are effective without irritating the skin. Pixi's toners aren't the most concentrated products but they still work wonderfully. The mild formulas are suitable for all skin types & are gentle enough to use on a daily basis. Vitamin C is such an important ingredient in skincare because it helps to promote healthy collagen production whilst boosting the skin's luminosity. This toner is a fab way to supercharge your skincare routine with vitamin C. It's made from a blend of citrus extracts & ferulic acid to brighten the complexion and gently exfoliate the skin as well as protecting against free radicals. The probiotics in this brightening toner help to protect & balance the skin's barrier. The toner feels very fresh & hydrating on the skin so it's really lovely to use. It has a gorgeous sweet citrus scent that reminds me of orange sherbet. Over time this toner promises to gradually diminish signs of sun damage, fine lines, scarring & other imperfections. I've been using it every day for a whole month & I've definitely noticed a difference in my complexion. My skin tone looks much more even, my pores are less visible & my face is glowing. This toner hasn't irritated my skin at all, which is something I was slightly worried about when I first bought it. I'd highly recommend this product as a gentle brightening solution & will be repurchasing it when I run out as I love the results!

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Gel
ABH brow products are my absolute fave & their Dipbrow Pomade is probably the best thing I've ever put on my eyebrows. So when they announced the arrival of their Dipbrow Gel, I knew I had to get my hands on it. The timing was perfect because every Anastasia brow product I own is in the shade Medium Brown which was looking a little ashy on me with my new hair colour. I went to the ABH counter in The Trafford Centre so that I could try out the other shades in person & ended up coming away with Dark Brown. It's a little bit deeper & warmer than Medium Brown which is exactly what I was looking for. Dipbrow Gel is basically a liquid version of Dipbrow Pomade. It's a highly pigmented brow gel with a long-lasting, waterproof formula so you can rub as much as you like, your brows won't be going anywhere. The unique formula adheres to brow hairs, creating the appearance of fullness & dries down to a seamless matte finish. It has made the process of doing my brows quicker & easier than ever before. One of the things I love most about this product is that you can dip a brow brush into the gel to add more definition or create individual brow hairs for a more realistic, natural look. It's an incredibly versatile gel & I rarely feel the need to use anything else. It might well replace every other brow product in your collection!

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Thursday, 23 May 2019

Ways To Take Your Blogging Game To The Next Level

[AD] Collaborative Content

When you first start a blog or if you're thinking about starting one, you don't always know what to expect. Although blogging has been around for some time now, when you're a newbie you often feel unsure of what you're doing. As long as you're enjoying creating your content, that's all that really matters. When you put in the hard work, your blog will begin to grow organically & opportunities will start to flood your inbox. If things are going really well you might consider turning your blog into a business instead of a hobby. Taking your blog as a serious business can actually be a lot of fun & it doesn't have to be a big deal or a lot of pressure. Sometimes you think that in order to take things to the next level, you have to put in a lot more time & effort. However you can continue to do it with the same passion & enthusiasm as you are now, just with a few simple changes to get some incredible results.

It's important to remember to work smarter, not always harder. That's quite often the difference between blogging for fun & blogging as a business or earning money from your blog. Most of the time, you can still put in the same amount of work (or perhaps a little more) but notice that the results you're getting are just infinitely better. When you've been blogging for a while you naturally become more knowledgeable & have a lot more experience in order to propel your blog to the next level. Blogging is an ever changing industry so there's always new things to learn & new ways to improve your results. Here are a few handy hints to help you to develop your blog & achieve professional success.

Set Goals For Yourself
Setting goals gives you a clear purpose of why you're doing this & what you want to achieve. I'd highly recommend coming up with a set of goals for blogging because they give you a reason to keep going when you feel like giving up. You can always go back to your goals & remember why you started blogging in the first place. Goals hold us accountable, especially if we share them with others. You might have a huge goal to strive towards like earning enough money to give up your regular job or it might be something much smaller like being able to pay for your weekly food shop using your blogging income. Come up with a positive statement or mantra & use this as motivation.

Create A Better Brand
Something that a lot of new bloggers often overlook is that you need to think about creating a brand for your blog. What is your blogging niche? Do you want to provide the best makeup swatches or inspire people with your stylish outfits? Do you like sharing delicious recipes or documenting the lives of your children? There's nothing wrong with being an all-rounder but there are some clear benefits to having a distinct topic for your blog. You can target specific clients & show them that you're a specialist in that subject. Plus you'll only be writing about stuff you love which makes the whole process so much easier. Also think about how the way your blog looks represents your niche. You might decide to use different styles of photography for each subject. Colours, fonts, imagery - all of it matters.

Redesign The Blog
To help you make sure that you're creating the brand that you want & bring it to life, you could also think about redesigning the blog. Sometimes your old blog design might not look all that professional, nor does it suit your niche or what you're trying to achieve. You may find that you can improve your blog design to better suit your brand. When you do this, you'll feel so much more professional because of it. There's plenty of wonderful designs on Etsy that you can customise to your heart's desire or you might commission a web designer to make you something truly unique. If your blog looks good, it'll showcase your content in the way that it deserves.

Come Up With A Marketing Plan
Next you'll want to make sure that you have a plan for your marketing. This can seem quite daunting as there are so many different areas to focus on. When it comes to your social media, you'll want to be strategic about it. Make sure you post regularly, even if you don't have new blog content to share. Tag brands that you've featured on your blog because this can be a great way to find new contacts. Try to include SEO in all of your posts. Simple things like adding alt tags to your images & correctly naming your photos can make a huge difference. You may also want to start a newsletter to further interact with the people that love your blog. You can offer something in exchange for their subscription such as a free E-Book or some Photoshop Actions for them to download.

Get Your Name Out There
If you want your blog to be able to grow, it needs to be known. In order to be successful, it's important to get your name out there into the world. Brands won't offer you any opportunities if they don't know that you exist. So as you're coming up with your marketing ideas, make sure that you know how you're going to deal with your own online reputation management or get help with it. You can do this with social media but there are other PR tactics to consider too & that's why it might be a good idea to enlist the help of an expert.

Work With Experts
As blogs become bigger businesses, many people have started to hire others to help them out. If you become really successful you might want to hire an assistant to go through your emails or edit your photos. Not many people are quite at that level yet but you might still want to think about working with experts to help you grow your blog. This could be a graphic designer, a web developer, a marketing consultant or even an accountant, to help you with all the behind the scenes stuff. That way you can carry on creating content without being bogged down with the finer details.

Monetise In New Ways
When it comes to levelling up, you'll definitely want to think about how you can make more money. To do this, you need to consider diversifying the ways in which you do it. Are you using affiliate links, advertising or sponsored posts? If not, can you use all three to take your earnings up a notch? Personally I've found the most success from sponsored posts & affiliate links. Most of the time brands approach me for sponsored posts but I've recently started sending out pitches & it's not as scary as it sounds. Choose some brands that you love or are planning to feature on your blog anyway & ask them if they would be interested in working with you. Make your pitch personal to the client & explain what you can bring to table. Give them examples of your best work & tell them about your experience. Include some of your personality & finish with a subtle call to action. An easier way to do this would be to create a media kit with your stats & rates. It'll make you look really professional to boot!

Take On Freelance Work
One of the ways that many bloggers earn money is by offering freelance services. You might think that you can only make money from the blog itself but you can also use your skills & experience to find other work. This is where the idea of being a freelance writer can come in. You can write for businesses or media outlets & these often tend to pay better than sponsored blog content. Another thing to consider is registering for freelance job boards such as PeoplePerHour, UpWork or Fiverr. They might only be small jobs but they can certainly set you on the right path when it comes to making connections, building your portfolio & getting references. You never know, a client might really like your work & hire you for a much bigger project.

Create A Product
Another idea for you here is to launch a product. This could work in one of two ways. You could think about downloadables such as E-Books, online courses or design services. Some people are willing to pay a lot of money for your photo editing secrets. But another thing to consider is making merchandise. A lot of YouTubers come out with merch but there's nothing to stop bloggers from doing it too. Maybe you like the idea of creating t-shirts or notebooks or anything else related to your niche? I'd love to design a set of enamel pins based around makeup or skincare products. Let me know if you'd be interested in buying some haha!

Write A Book
Now this may not be the case for you but if you love blogging because you really love to write, then maybe you've always wanted to write your own book. If this is the case, you may find that you're actually put off from doing it because it feels like such a distant dream. But as you're building your blog, & essentially your online presence, you may find that it's the perfect time for you to think about writing that book. While you will need to actually get to writing, find yourself an agent & aim to get published. You could even publish it yourself via Amazon as the Kindle book market is growing all the time. There are so many bloggers, YouTubers & even Instagram influencers that have come out with books now so there's no reason why you can't write one yourself.

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Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask

Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask
Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask Powder
Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask* - £23

Face masks will always be the most fun way to treat your skin at home. I really enjoy trying them out, especially when they're as unique as this one. Not only does this mask come in powder form, you get to peel it off your face! The Algae Peel-Off Mask from Ultrasonic Beauty is designed to tighten & lift your skin. It is suitable for all skin types but has been specially formulated to treat tired, mature skin that has started to show visible signs of aging. This mask would be great for anyone with dry, dehydrated skin, wrinkles, loose skin, signs of fatigue or enlarged pores. It can also be used to soothe the skin after professional cosmetic procedures. I'm only 30 but sadly I have to admit that my face has already started to look puffier & saggier than before so I was rather keen to slap it on my skin & get peeling!

Inside the tub you get 200g of powder which you mix with water to create the peel-off mask. You only need to use a little bit each time so there's enough in here for several applications. The only other powdered mask I've tried is the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay which I mix with apple cider vinegar to create a supercharged clay mask that will eliminate all impurities from deep within your pores. Mixing masks up yourself can be a bit messy but it's also kinda enjoyable. Much like the Aztec Secret mask, this one has a very short ingredient list but it's packed full of nutrients to rejuvenate the skin. As the name suggests, the star ingredient here is algae in the form of spirulina. This blue-green algae is an extremely rich natural source of essential vitamins (A, B1, B2, B12, D, E, K) & minerals including zinc, sodium, calcium, selenium, iron, phosphorus, potassium & magnesium. When used topically spirulina intensively moisturises, reduces inflammation, tones the skin & encourages cell turnover to promote a more youthful looking complexion. As well as your face, this mask can be applied to the neck & décolletage so that they can also benefit from the firming & lifting properties. We often neglect these areas when using skincare products but they tend to be some of the biggest telltale signs of age, since the skin on our chest area is very thin & sensitive.

Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask Mix
Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask Applied
Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask Peeled

The instructions recommend using 2-3 tablespoons of the powder mixed with water to create a thick paste. However they don't tell you how much water to use. Personally I found that a 1:2 mixture of powder to water worked best. It kinda looked like thick green glacé icing once I found the right consistency. Another thing to bear in mind is how much of the mask to apply to your face. If you put too much on, it'll take forever to dry down. If your application is too thin, the mask will crack & won't actually peel off your skin. You want a nice even layer of product to truly benefit from the mask & make it easy to remove. The amount I tested on my hand was perfect & peeled off in huge chunks so I knew exactly how much to use on my face & neck. The wet mask mixture feels extremely cooling & refreshing on the skin. About 20 minutes after application, the mask will harden to a rubbery finish providing an instant lifting & firming effect. It doesn't feel tight on the skin like a clay mask but I definitely noticed that firming sensation. I then peeled the mask off starting from the bottom first.

As long as your application was decent, the mask is fairly easy to remove. It comes off in chunks rather than one huge piece but it's still really satisfying to peel it off your skin. There was a powdery line around my face where the edge of the mask had been but this is easily removed with a flannel & some water. After peeling off the mask you're left with super fresh, well hydrated skin that looks visibly lifted. It also leaves the skin feeling much softer & gives it such a healthy looking glow. The algae mask almost acts as a skin serum, helping to regulate the acid mantle. This increases elasticity & improves skin tone. It helps to smooth out fine lines & soothe irritation, minimising pores & imperfections. In terms of results it's very much like a sheet mask. You'll notice an immediate difference to your skin but the effects aren't particularly long lasting. Overall, I was really impressed with the Ultrasonic Beauty Algae Peel-Off Mask. I was amazed at how quickly it had de-puffed my skin & brightened up my complexion. It does a brilliant job at making the skin feel firmer & more hydrated whilst also minimising the appearance of pores. This mask is definitely worth checking out if you want younger looking skin without resorting to cosmetic procedures!

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Thursday, 16 May 2019

April Favourites

Josh Wood Colour Renewing Shampoo For Brunette Hair Prone To Frizz
When I dyed my hair back to brown, I needed to get some new products to help maintain the colour. Being brunette is much lower maintenance than platinum blonde but when you use a darker dye over bleached hair, the blonde bits will inevitably start peeking through over time. Using the wrong kind of shampoo & conditioner can make the colour fade even quicker. To keep these chocolate tones looking fresh I picked up some of the Josh Wood Colour products specifically for brunette hair. They contain advanced UV filters to prevent fade as well as saffron & turmeric to keep brunette hair looking glossy & vibrant. The shampoo & conditioner for brunette hair prone to frizz are a dreamy duo that have made my hair look healthier than ever before. They make my hair feel really clean & soft whilst keeping frizz in check. I love how gloriously shiny my hair looks & I'll definitely be picking up some new bottles this week as I've just ran out!

Soap & Glory Bubble In Paradise Refreshing Body Wash
Soap & Glory make some fabulous shower gels with utterly gorgeous scents. I normally go for their Sugar Crush Body Wash because I love the fresh citrusy notes but a couple of months ago I couldn't find it in any Boots store for some reason. In it's absence I decided to try their Bubble In Paradise Body Wash. This product is part of their Call Of Fruity scented range which is their exotic new fragrance with mango, papaya & coconut. It's such a lovely tropical scent that completely fills the bathroom. The formula is really creamy & feels moisturising on the skin. It lathers up well so you only need to use a tiny amount & having a shower with this beaut body wash is a great way to start your day.

Maybelline Dream Urban Cover Foundation
IT Cosmetics are so annoying. They've made one of the most gorgeous looking foundations of all time & yet they refuse to fully expand the shade range. 12 shades is nowhere near comprehensive enough & when drugstore brands like Revolution manage to bring out 50 shades of foundation, it just makes IT Cosmetics seem like they don't care. So when I heard rumours that Maybelline's latest foundation was a dupe for the Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream, I went out & bought it immediately. Maybelline are yet another drugstore brand who have a very inclusive range of foundation colours & 100 Warm Ivory is a perfect match for me. I use their Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation in the same colour so I knew it would be a safe choice. The foundation has quite a liquidy formula & it feels very lightweight on the skin but it still delivers in terms of coverage. I wouldn't say it's as full coverage as they claim but it certainly does a excellent job of concealing any redness & hiding the vast majority of my skin imperfections. I love the healthy natural looking radiance it gives to my skin & the smooth satin finish. The foundation provides SPF 50 & is enriched with antioxidants to protect against pollution. This is definitely my base product of choice for this Summer. The extra sun protection is always welcome & it lasts all day long on my skin. I don't think it's a perfect dupe for the IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream because it's not as moisturising & gives more coverage but it's still a brilliant foundation.

Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturiser
I used to be really obsessed with Origins skincare products but I kinda fell out of love with them as newer brands such as The Ordinary began to emerge. One product I always meant to try is their GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturiser & I recently got this little sample bottle from a beauty box. I'm a big fan of gel formulas because they work really well for oily/combination skin types. The lightweight formula provides just the right amount of hydration & sinks in really quickly so you can get on with applying your makeup. It has a gorgeous orange sherbet scent which makes it a joy to use. If your skin is looking a little tired then I'd definitely recommend trying this moisturiser. It's fortified with panax ginseng & coffee bean to instantly energise the skin giving you a healthy looking, vibrant glow. It really perks me up in the morning & has an immediate effect on the brightness of my complexion. I never looked this good without makeup until I tried this moisturiser. For super soft radiant skin, Origins GinZing is a wonderful product.

Nu Skin Nu Colour LightShine Lip Plumping Balm in Pink Tinge
I still haven't 100% decided if I want to get lip fillers or not. I've found a fantastic aesthetic practitioner to perform the procedure but I'm just worried it won't look right on my face. Until I fully make my mind up I've been trying out different lip plumping products to achieve a similar but less permanent effect. One of my favourite products I've discovered is this Lip Plumping Balm from Nu Skin. This lip balm feels silky & deeply moisturising on the lips. Rose hip oil is one of the main ingredients so it's rich in fatty acids. These fatty acids help the lip balm to improve the elasticity & moisture levels of the skin whilst giving your lips a full & even glow. There is a slight tingle when applying the lip balm because it contains menthol which improves blood circulation. It doesn't quite give you Kylie Jenner lips but it adds a more natural plumpness. This makes it a great base for lipsticks because it gives your lips a smoother appearance, so anything you put on top will be less likely to sink into fine lines. It also looks really pretty used by itself because it tints your lips with a soft baby pink hue.

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Thursday, 28 March 2019

Brunette Bombshell

Brunette Lob
Brunette Hair
Dark Chocolate Melt Hair

Having spent the last decade as a blonde, this year I decided that it was finally time to rejoin the dark side. Personally I think I look a lot prettier as a blonde & I loved being able to use pinks, purples or silvers to change it up whenever I got a bit bored. But when your hair is naturally as dark as mine, there are so many downsides to being platinum blonde. I hated the upkeep as my hair would only look good for a matter of weeks before I needed my roots done again. Sitting in a hairdresser's chair for over five hours was beyond annoying. Olaplex wasn't a thing when I first started getting my hair bleached so I've had to put up with ridiculous amounts of damage, breakage & chemical burns. My hair would never grow past a certain length because the ends would always look like straw & require cutting. Not to mention constantly staining the bathtub purple with toning shampoos! Basically it was a lot of work & although I did love the look, I've gotten to the point in my life where it became way too much effort. I wanted something super low maintenance that would cut my hairdresser trips down to the bare minimum.

That's how I ended up with this delicious dark chocolate melt! I went to Niché Salon in Huddersfield where Michelle gave me a rich all over colour with some free hand ombré for perfect subtle tones. It's a lot darker & warmer than my natural colour but I love it. I've had to change up my makeup a bit & go HAM on the bronzer most days because I can look a bit too goth without that warmth in my face. I think I need to get some new brow products though because ABH Medium Brown is a little too light & ashy for my current hair colour. Michelle also cut my hair into a blunt lob with some shorter pieces at the front to frame my face. I wanted more of a Bardot fringe but maybe I'll save that for next time. At least she cut off most of the blonde so my hair feels really thick & healthy for the first time in years. Anyway I'm really happy with my new low maintenance hairdo. I'm sure some people won't recognise me as I almost look like an entirely different person! Maybe that's a good thing?

Josh Wood Colour Renewing Shampoo Conditioner Brunette Hair

Of course, new hair requires new haircare! I always used purple shampoos & deep conditioning masks to maintain my blonde locks but brunette hair comes with a completely new set of challenges. As my hair is no longer dried out from all the bleach I have to wash it a lot more often to avoid looking like a grease bomb. But washing your hair all the time can mean that your colour fades a lot faster. There's still a little bit of blonde towards the ends so I don't want it the brown to fade & look brassy. There are quite a few products marketed specifically towards brunettes out there but a lot of them have really bad reviews. I spotted these Josh Wood Colour products in Boots & having checked the reviews on their website, they seemed like the best option. I decided to pick up the Renewing Shampoo & Conditioner For Brunette Hair Prone To Frizz (£10 each). They also do a shampoo & conditioner for fine brunette hair. I went for the frizzy one because my hair is feeling a lot thicker these days. I also like my hair to look really sleek & polished.

The Renewing Shampoo & Conditioner have been specially formulated with shade-specific ingredients to leave your brunette hair feeling clean, radiant & lustrous. They are suitable for all brunette shades because they're not colour depositing products. This means that they won't make your hair any darker but they will keep your colour looking fresh. They also won't stain your bathtub! The products contain advanced UV filters to prevent fade as well as saffron & turmeric to keep your hair looking glossy & vibrant. They have a slight herbal scent which won't be to some people's taste but I quite like it. I really love these products because they make my hair feel so clean & impart such a beautiful shine. They keep my hair feeling velvety soft & have definitely helped to lock in the colour. You get a professional finish at home & that's exactly what I wanted!

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Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Annabelle Minerals

Annabelle Minerals

When I first started getting into makeup as a teenager I found myself rather intimidated by the thought of using a liquid foundation. Somehow it seemed so grown up & way too heavy for my young skin. For one of my first attempts to cover up the abundance of spots on my face, my mum bought me a compact of MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation as powders seemed like an easier alternative. However I soon found that MAC foundations only made my skin worse, whether that was because something in them broke me out or I just wasn't removing it well enough I'll never know. So I started to look into mineral foundations because the natural ingredients are supposed to be better for your skin & provide coverage without clogging pores. I used Lily Lolo & Bare Minerals products for quite some time but I think I eventually stopped wearing them because they always ended up looking a bit too powdery on the skin. In more recent years I have purchased the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder & still use the discontinued pressed version to freshen up throughout the day. But these days I almost always reach for a liquid foundation. Most major beauty brands don't do mineral foundations & I think we've all become so accustomed to watching YouTubers apply liquid foundation with a BeautyBlender that most us of probably don't even consider using mineral makeup anymore.

Annabelle Minerals recently sent me some of their products to try out & since then I've been having a bit of a mineral powder renaissance. I think when you stop using mineral makeup you forget just how good it can be & I have to say I am thoroughly impressed with these products. Annabelle Minerals are a Polish cosmetic company who have just launched in the UK & as such it can be difficult to find reviews written in English. The power of mineral makeup comes from their ingredients. They formulate products containing only four mineral ingredients - mica for illumination, zinc oxide to mattify & treat minor blemishes, titanium dioxide for good coverage & sun protection as well as iron oxides to give them colour. This combination of ingredients helps to perfect your base without skin irritants such as parabens, talcs, artificial colouring, silicones or preservatives. Their products are also vegan & cruelty-free.

Annabelle Minerals Face Powders
Annabelle Minerals Coverage Foundation Sunny Fairest, Mineral Blush Nude, Radiant Powder Pretty Glow
Annabelle Minerals Coverage Foundation Sunny Fairest, Mineral Blush Nude, Radiant Powder Pretty Glow Swatch
Annabelle Minerals Packaging

I received three base products from Annabelle Minerals. These are the Coverage Foundation in Sunny Fairest, the Mineral Blush in Nude & the Radiant Powder in Pretty Glow. All of their base products are packaged in a durable plastic pot that comes with a moveable sifter to prevent spillage. In each pot you get 4g of product, which doesn't sound like much but is actually a really decent amount. They also have 10g pots of the foundation available to purchase if you want it to last even longer.

Annabelle Minerals Coverage Foundation Sunny Fairest
Annabelle Minerals Coverage Foundation Sunny Fairest

Let's start with the foundation. Annabelle Minerals have created mineral foundations with three finishes to suit all skin types - Coverage, Matte or Radiant. There are 22 shades to choose from with four different undertones. Unfortunately the colour range doesn't go very deep but I do appreciate the amount of undertones. I have a pale yellow undertone so I knew that I would be best matched to one of the Sunny range. Sunny shades were designed for women with warm undertones. They have strong notes of lemon yellow with distinct hints of gold. I received the Coverage Foundation in Sunny Fairest (£11.75) which is ideal for women with a very fair, warm toned complexion dominated by pastel yellow & white hues. At first the powder looked almost Simpsons yellow but it actually suits my skintone really well. For reference I wear NARS Siberia or MAC NC10.

The Coverage Foundation comes with an increased amount of titanium dioxide to fully conceal any discolouration, redness & skin imperfections. This also means that it gives you UVA/UVB protection with SPF 15. The formula is meant to provide full coverage & is suitable for most skin types, even those with dry skin. If you haven't tried a mineral foundation before, they are so easy to use. You just pour some of the product onto the lid, swirl your brush into the powder, tap off the excess & buff it onto the skin. The foundation looks best a few minutes after application, when the minerals have had enough time to melt into your skin. Unlike some mineral foundations, it's not drying at all & it doesn't look powdery. When I first applied this foundation I was amazed by how well it covers. Although I have a yellow undertone, I do have some surface redness in my face & this stuff immediately balances out my complexion.

The coverage is buildable without looking cakey or like a mask. When I use this foundation I don't have to use any concealer at all. I just use a smaller kabuki brush to concentrate the foundation in the areas that need a little more attention. The result is very natural looking with a subtle luminosity. The foundation feels really lightweight & comfortable to wear. It seems to smooth over my pores & doesn't gather in fine lines. I was surprised by how long it lasts on my skin. I have combination skin with an oily T-zone & it only starts to break down around my nose after about 8 hours of wear. My forehead gets a little shiny too but otherwise, it looks pretty flawless after a full day. I love the way it looks on my skin so I'd definitely recommend this mineral foundation!

Annabelle Minerals Mineral Blush Nude
Annabelle Minerals Mineral Blush Nude

When I first saw the Mineral Blush in Nude (£12.50) in the pot, I wasn't too impressed with the colour. It just looked really boring at first but as soon as I swatched it on my arm I fell in love. Blending it out on the skin transformed it from this almost brown looking powder to a fresh pretty pink. I love the colour so much & it looks absolutely beautiful on the skin. It features delicate pearl particles to illuminate & even out your cheeks. The blusher is very buildable & it gives such a natural flush of colour. I think it makes my cheeks look bright, perky & youthful which is certainly a welcome feature now that I'm in my 30s!

Annabelle Minerals Radiant Powder Pretty Glow
Annabelle Minerals Radiant Powder Pretty Glow

The Radiant Powder in Pretty Glow (£17) is such a lovely way to set your makeup. Although it looks fairly pigmented in my swatch, it becomes transparent when blended over your foundation. The Radiant Powder doesn't provide any additional coverage or alter the colour of the foundation at all. It simply imparts a luminous glow which makes the skin look fresh & well rested. I still felt the need to use my regular highlighter on top to make my skin extra glowy but I really like this finishing powder. It would be ideal for dull, tired complexions with fine wrinkles. I love the way that it almost airbrushes the skin for a naturally flawless finish.

Annabelle Minerals Eyeshadow Lollipop, Lilac, Cappuccino
Annabelle Minerals Eyeshadow Lollipop, Lilac, Cappuccino
Annabelle Minerals Eyeshadow Lollipop, Lilac, Cappuccino Swatch
Annabelle Minerals Purple Eyeshadow

Annabelle Minerals have some truly lovely mineral eyeshadows. Some of the colours are so stunning & as soon as I saw these pretty purple shades on their website I knew they would fill the lilac coloured hole in my makeup collection. Here we have Lollipop, Lilac & Cappuccino (£9.75 each). My absolute favourite has to be Lilac, it's such a fun pastel purple shade & it's really pigmented too. I used it all over my lids for a bright pop of colour & it looks utterly gorgeous. Lollipop is a much lighter & sheerer pastel violet so I wouldn't use it on it's own. In this makeup look I used it to highlight the inner corners & my brow bone, the effect is quite subtle but very sweet. I was surprised by how much I liked the Cappuccino shade, it's a staple coffee brown colour that naturally enhances your eyes. I think I'll probably get the most use out of this colour because it's a great eyeshadow for everyday wear. Here I used it mixed with Lilac to slightly darken the shadow underneath my bottom lashline.

I was really impressed with these eyeshadows. The loose eyeshadow powders feel silky smooth to the touch & have a shimmery satin finish. I was worried that they would be messy to use but there was hardly any fallout & they blend out so easily. My eyes can be quite sensitive & water a lot depending on which eyeshadows I use but I'm happy to report that these didn't irritate them at all. I'd never really considered trying mineral eyeshadows before but the natural ingredients definitely agreed with my eyes.

I also received the Mini Kabuki Brush (£9) to use with the eyeshadows. The brush is excellent quality & the handle feels really sturdy. The densely packed bristles are soft & flexible, allowing you to sweep eyeshadow all over the lid with minimal effort. I used it to blend the foundation underneath my eyes too as it's the perfect size for concealer.

Are you a fan of mineral makeup? Have you tried any products from Annabelle Minerals before?

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Saturday, 23 March 2019

Keep Yourself Confident In The Way You Look

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Feeling confident in the way that you look is easier said than done but each one of us has a reason to feel beautiful. What is that reason? You are already beautiful! Every single one of us is beautiful in our own way. No matter what you look like or any of the things that you usually worry about, you need to remember that you can be pretty like you, not like someone else. Even the most objectively attractive people can feel like they're not good enough at times & I think that social media has a lot to answer for in this respect. Sometimes it can be really difficult to look in the mirror & not start picking out all of your flaws or take a selfie & not Facetune it to death. But the more comfortable you become with your appearance, the more confident you will appear to others. So if you're looking for ways to get this feeling of confidence, here are some ideas to help you out!

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
Comparison truly is the thief of joy & at times comparing myself to others has really knocked my confidence. Instagram can be a great place to get beauty & fashion inspiration but scrolling through your feed can also be a very toxic way to spend your time. You might be feeling perfectly fine until you come across someone with perfectly clear skin or an impossibly skinny waist & wonder why you can't look the same way. This train of thought can really damage your mental health & possibly lead to disordered eating, wasting money on cosmetic procedures or using apps to make yourself look unrecognisable. Chances are that the people you envy on Instagram don't look that way in real life either & the manipulation of photos can manipulate your sense of self. If using social media is making you feel so awful about your natural appearance you need to just delete the apps for a few days & stop engaging with that content. Don't follow people who make you feel bad about yourself & don't let what other people are doing affect you.

Practice Self Love Every Day
Learning to love yourself can take a long time but it can hugely boost your confidence. There are lots of simple ways you can practice self love, some of which can be done on a daily basis. Taking care of yourself shows the rest of the world how you deserve to be treated. Being kind to yourself about your appearance is pivotal to your own happiness & when you feel happy, you'll feel more confident too. It's easy to focus on the things that we dislike about our appearance so take the time to appreciate the things that you do like. Maybe your skin is looking really clear or your nails are long & strong. Write a list of these qualities that you can read whenever you need a quick pick me up. Learn to cherish all the things that your body does. Sure your arms might be a little flabby but they allow you to hug people, draw, write & carry things. You might not have a thigh gap but you can dance, run, jump & skip with your legs. Our bodies allow us to do so much & should be treated with respect, not self-loathing. We can be so harsh on ourselves that it verges on bullying & it's vital to take the time to fight this negative self talk.

Get Enough Sleep
One of the most important things you can do is ensure that you are getting enough sleep! It doesn't matter what your reasons are or how difficult you find it to get to sleep, it is essential that you get the rest your body needs. When you do this, you will find that you wake up feeling refreshed & your skin looks better than it has done in ages. Once you notice this, you are immediately going to feel far more confident in the way that you appear & that's just the start of it! If you do have trouble getting the right amount of sleep, there are a few hacks that you can try. Having a warm drink before bed, taking magnesium supplements or diffusing lavender oil in the bedroom can all help to promote natural sleep. Another helpful tip is to remove all the electronics from your bedroom so that the blue light doesn't disturb you. You might be thinking that you don't have a blue light but this is something that your electronic devices are constantly emitting which has been linked to difficulty sleeping. As such, this little trick is well worthing trying if you are trying to get the recommended hours of sleep in!

The Perfect Smile
Another thing that you should look at is your smile. It might be the case that you already love the way you look when you are smiling, a lot of people do because that's when we all look our best. It really is true to say that nobody looks better than when they have a smile on their face! But for some, they just don't feel confident in the way they appear. In fact I never smile with my mouth open in photos because I don't want people to judge me for having crooked teeth. Like I said, self love can be difficult & my teeth are the thing I struggle with most of all. That is where a company like Instasmile can help you. Providing you with the perfect smile is what a service like this can do for you, which will do wonders for boosting your confidence. You might not realise it now but once you feel beautiful when you are smiling, you are going to radiate confidence & the whole world is going to look at you in a different light!

Exercise Is Always A Good Idea
Finally, keeping fit is an excellent way to ensure that you feel good about the way you look. It doesn't have to be about weight loss, going to the gym is also fantastic for your mental health. When you exercise, the sweat clears out your pores giving you that refreshed glow that people are always talking about. But you will also notice that you start to look at yourself differently. It only takes eight weeks to see a difference & if you want to feel confident, you should certainly consider hitting the gym to tone up. I love the way that exercising makes me feel. I'm addicted to the rush of endorphins I get after a Body Pump class. I enjoy being able to lift heavier weights & pushing my body to do different things. I like that sense of fatigue in my muscles & being able to feel a little bit more muscle definition each week. Even gentler classes like yoga & pilates can have a strong impact on your body. I hardly ever run on a treadmill because it doesn't make me feel good about myself. Exercise should be something that you enjoy & when you start noticing those small changes in your body, your confidence levels will skyrocket.

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