Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Trial-Sized Tuesday - Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips

Ok, so blackhead's are gross, nobody wants them adorning their face and I'm yet to find a miracle product to cure them completely but pore strips really do work! Is it just me or does anyone else find it weirdly satisfying when you pull off that strip and see just how much junk has been pulled out of your pores? 
Randomly I received a sample of Biore Ultra Deep Cleansing pore strips in my ASOS order over the weekend so I thought I would give it a go last night. I do occasionally use pore strips on my nose, usually just Superdrug's own brand (Tea Tree) ones as I thought they were all pretty much the same...but I must say Biore's managed to clear more out of my pores than my usual brand.
Biore have brought out a reinvented pore strip, the Ultra Deep Cleansing strips, designed to remove twice as much dirt and oil from your clogged up pores. Having not tried their predecessor I can't make a comparison between the two but I can say this strip lived up to its description. The strips contain Witch Hazel and Tea tree to help get rid of the build up leading to blackheads and with continual use are reputed to reduce the size of pores...always a bonus!
I was so impressed (and kinda grossed out) with the amount that these strips lifted from my pores that I purchased a box from Boots today, along with a combo pack they do of nose and face strips.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Bourjois Summer 2014 Cream Blusher Swatches And Review

I've been dying to get my hands on the Summer 2014 cream blusher's ever since I saw the new line of products launch, so last week I hot-footed it down to Boots to pick up the new shades.

I absolutely adore Bourjois cream blushers, I (now) own all of the shades on offer. The new shades (Tropical Coral and Pink Sunwear) are just as much a pleasure to use as the other shades. They are richly pigmented and the creamy formula ensures they blend like a dream.

L Tropical Coral
R Pink Sunwear

Both shades have a bronze cast, perfect for sculpting or just giving that healthy flush of summer tan. Pink Sunwear is a illuminating tan shade with (as the name indicates) a pink undertone and a very fine gold shimmer. Tropical Coral (again as the name indicates) is a lovely coral shade of tan leaning more on the brown side, it gives you sun kissed flush of colour.

Both of the new shades are a dream to use, they blend so well that they are pretty foolproof to use, although a cream formula it applies almost gel like and doesn't tug at skin or move your base around. Both have a hint of shimmer and a semi-matte finish. At only £7.99 these are a must for your summer make-up stash!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Trial-Sized Tuesday - Arbonne Sheer Pressed Powder

A little while ago I was sent some products from a lovely representative of Arbonne. Arbonne is a new company to me, I knew nothing of them until I was sent some samples and discovered more about them through their website. Arbonne was founded in Switzerland in the 1970's by a group of leading bio-chemists, biologists and herbalists, together they have created skincare and beauty products unparalleled in quality and effectiveness by no other.

I have found myself gravitating more towards natural skincare and make-up in the last 12 months and Arbonnes promise of botanically-based products is what drew me to them. One of the samples I was sent was their Sheer Pressed Powder in the shade light. It came on a little film covered card and I have had around 3 all-over uses from the sample.

Description wise there is very little information on their website about the product apart from 'Light coverage pressed powder delivers a soft focus effect for natural looking radiance'. I can't say their description is far wrong. I don't usually use powders as the majority I have tried give that caked-on look and settle into lines and pores but this broke my preconception of powders.

When lightly dusted (with an all-over face brush) over my t-zone it took away the shininess of my oily skin but didn't give a totally matte effect, it let the luminosity of my foundation and skin peep through the powder. I usually only use a little powder in the summer months to help keep my oily t-zone under control so without knowing more about the product and it's contents I can't say I would be prepared to part with £27 for the full-size product. I can say that the few uses I did get from the sample I enjoyed and it delivered wonderful results.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

MAC Flamingo Review

A couple of weeks ago, much to my delight, I spotted on MAC's website that they had brought back a few limited edition items that will now be back in stock permanently. I hastily purchased Flamingo, a milky-neon peach/coral shade from the lustre range that I had foolishly not purchased the last time round.

(Unfortunately) I was blessed with naturally dark pink lips so some of the lighter shades of lipsticks don't always 'pop' on me, Flamingo comes out as more of a salmon pink on me which I absolutely love! The Lustre range are my favourites from MAC, they leave lips with a gorgeous sheen and you can either have just a slick for a more toned down look or you can easily build intensity.

As always a great investment from MAC...


Friday, 18 July 2014

Makeup Revolution Candy Queen Of Hearts Swatches & Review

I purchased this lovely baked blusher from Makeup Revolution a couple of weeks ago...I know my review is really late as there have been swatches and reviews flying all around the blogisphere but here goes...

Candy Queen Of Hearts

This blush is the perfect combination of colours to either wear blended together or alone. You've probably seen the Sweethearts Blusher by Too Faced, well Candy Queen Of Hearts is a complete dupe for Something About Berry by Too Faced. This baked blusher really does give you a sweet flush with just the right amount of shimmer for a younger, healthier looking complexion.

Top - all shades blended
Bottom - individual shades

At the moment I'm loving the middle peach-toned shade swiped over my bronzer for a nice healthy glow. This baked blusher is an absolute bargain (at £4.99) for the quality and size of the product and I'll probably collect the whole collection!


Monday, 14 July 2014

Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche √ąclat Foundation Review

I must warn you before you carry on reading that I have included photos of me before applying the foundation and it is not a pretty sight!

After falling in love with the iconic Touche Eclat highlighter from Yves Saint Laurent I have been mulling over purchasing their Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation and last week I coughed up the cash and purchased it. 

Yves Saint Laurent have transposed the magic of their legendary highlighter into this foundation to achieve the same effects of their highlighter only all over your face! The unique formula of this foundation targets shadowy areas and enhances the complexion with light.

Left - bare skin
Right - 1 layer of YSL Foundation

Left - bare skin
Right - 1 layer of YSL Foundation

Without foundation my skin is pretty yucky at the moment, I had a bad breakout a couple of weeks ago which has left me with some acne scarring and as you can see I have some broken capillaries around my nose. I'm naturally quite pale and use fake tan regularly (except for my face when I'm having a bad breakout) and the shade BD20 matched my body perfectly. I was quite concerned when I initially squeezed a pump of the foundation out as is is quite runny, however as you can see one layer covered my face quite well!

This was the finished result, I did go back over my most troublesome areas (my jawline) with a second layer of foundation and then applied some concealer to the most prominent spots and the results are quite flawless! This foundation really does what it says on the tin, it gives a dewy finish without looking sticky or shiny.

After around 6 hours of wear I was getting a bit shiny on my t-zone so next time I use it I'm going to try it with a mattifying primer and maybe a light dusting of powder (I have oily/combination skin so I get oily even with the most matte foundations). For shade reference BD20 is an exact match for the NC15 shade I wear in MAC's Studio Fix Fluid. I tried applying with a flat foundation brush (as most reviews said worked best) and my RT Expert Face brush but I found applying it with my Beauty Blender gave the most airbrushed results.

I would highly recommend this foundation to anyone that is looking for something illuminating to perk up a dull complexion...this really is an all-over highlighter for the face!

July Birchbox Review

On Saturday I received July's sun, sea & sand themed Birchbox. I was quite impressed with the speed of despatch and delivery this month (I had a right fiasco last month which meant I didn't receive my box until the end of the month!) so let's take a look at what I received in my box...

Laqa & Co Lip Lube
I'm a big lover of lip products, especially the chubby lip pencil style ones. I received Laqa & Co's Lip Lube in the shade Menatour, a sheer purple colour. There were two shades up for grabs (Bees Knees a coral shade) and if I could have picked then this shade would have been my choice. I found Menatour to be a very flattering fuchsia purple and it does leave your lips very hydrated...this has got to be my favourite product in the box.

Whish Three Wishes Body Butter

Yawn...another body product! Don't get me wrong, the opportunity to try a new body product every now and then is great, I do however seem to receive some form of body butter, lotion or milk EVERY month. I will admit I've not tried this out yet, it's been chucked in a drawer to try on a rainy day as Lavender is not one of my favourite scents. Whish Three Whishes Body Butter claims to be a non-greasy containing organic Aloe, Shea Butter and Raspberry butter to combat dryness and organic Seaweed extract to aid firmness of skin.

Models Own Fireworks Polish

This shade of Models Own polish (Rocket) was a bit of a random choice for a summer themed box in my opinion. Glitter polishes aren't usually my thing, but a red glitter polish in July?? I'm a massive fan of Models Own products but this one will have to go away until the festive season!

Benefit POREfessional Primer

Benefit's POREfessional is the UK's no.1 best selling primer and I'm probably going to get booed for saying this but I really don't rate it. I don't have massive pores but I do have a small amount of noticeable ones on my cheeks and this did absolutely nothing to disguise them and it left my face looking oily after a few hours. Admittedly the last time I tried this primer was a couple of years ago so I should probably give it a another shot before totally brushing it off, but this was not a product I was too enthralled at seeing in my box.
Balance Me Eye cream

Another meh product (in my eyes) is Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream. The only reason I say this is I am more than happy with my current eye cream so I'm not really looking to sample anything else, I could be wrong...this could be the holy grail of eye products! This three-in-one multi-tasking softens, smooths and brightens thanks to a unique blend of chamomile, lemon, cucumber oil, which-hazel, rose hip oil and carrot oil. Rich and easily absorbed its reputed to be perfect for the summer.

As a little lifestyle extra there was a nail buffer, which is a pretty handy thing to keep in your bag or your desk drawer at work.

I must say this was probably the worse box I've received from Birchbox so far. The majority of products on this month's shortlist have been around for a while and didn't really excite me to receive. I'm sure I'll absolutely love next month's box, it's just the gamble you have to take with beauty box subscriptions.


Friday, 11 July 2014

First Ever Lush Haul!

When ever I have an outbreak I always feel sorry for myself and reach out for some new skincare products or fandangled bit of makeup that promises to ease all my woes (in terms of being a consumer I'm the beauty industries dream!). After reading loads and loads of positive comments on Lush products via several social media platforms I decided to have a mini Lush haul. My nearest Lush shop is about 30 miles away so I ordered via their website (which is very engaging and easy to navigate might I add) and here's what I purchased...


After reading some fantastic reviews from fellow acne sufferers I decided to purchase Coalface, a gentle soap with antiseptic rosewood, sandalwood and absorbent charcoal. I would never have considered using a 'soap' on my face as they can be quite astringent but this is lovely to use. Coalface foams up really well and contains pieces of charcoal to gently exfoliate whilst you're cleansing. What I really love about this cleanser is the smell! You can really smell the liquorice root extract, when I open the bathroom door the room is filled with the gorgeous scent. I can't comment on it's abilities to shift my spots just yet as I've been using it for just under a week and I'm at that time in the month where I'm getting them pop up everywhere (damn hormones!).

Mask of Magnaminty

Another product with tons of great reviews is Mask of Magnaminty. I was a little unsure of the difference between this and the Self-preserving Mask of Magnaminty so I purchased both. This multi-purpose mask can be used anywhere on the body, packed with ingredients to clean, calm and clear the skin. I absolutely love the feeling the peppermint oil gives your skin, I've been keeping mine in the fridge and it's so cool and refreshing on the face. I also love the fact that this mask doubles up as an exfoliator when you're ready to take it off, just wet hands and buff the product into your skin before washing off.

Grease Lightning

The final product in my skin clearing spree from Lush was Grease Lightning an antibacterial spot treatment gel. As I've had a quite nasty breakout I'm finding applying Clinique's Anti-Blemish Solutions gel to my face quite frequently is drying my skin a little, so I thought I's try a natural alternative. This spot clearing gel is infused with antiseptic Rosemary, Thyme and Tea Tree as well as Anti-oxidant rich grape juice and Witch Hazel for an anti-inflammatory. I've applied this to a couple of spots before they've come to a head and they've gone back down after a couple days they're completely gone! 

I'm really pleased with my first ever Lush purchases and I'm looking forward to seeing the results of using them in a couple of weeks.


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Trial-Sized Tuesday - ESPA Optimal Skin Proserum

I've been meaning to try this sample of Espa serum since I received it with an order back in January, I used it yesterday morning and last night and here's my initial thoughts on the sample...

Optimal Skin ProSerum combines the exceptional nourishment of a treatment oil with the active benefits of multiple plant extracts to deliver naturally beautiful skin. Enriched with nourishing Omega 3,6 & 9, vitamins A & E and proactive natural extracts Tumeric, White Lupin and Sunflower. This advanced formulation helps brighten and even skin tone, enhance elasticity, firm and protect against premature ageing

Whilst I can't comment on the effects on my skins elasticity, firmness or fine lines I can say that this was a real pleasure to use. After cleansing and toning I applied a few drops before moisturizing, it quickly absorbed into my skin and left it feeling soft with a subtle glow to it.

What I really enjoyed about this serum was the scent, I could really pick up the Rose and Patchouli essential oils. I have oily/combination skin and am always very wary of heavy creams or facial oils but this sank straight into the skin and didn't increase my oily T-zone at all.

There are so many active natural ingredients in this serum it really is like a multi-vitamin for the face! To name a few of the skin-loving ingredients - Tumeric to enhance skin's radiance and even skintone, Rose Hip oil to promote healthy skin, Vitamin E and Evening Primrose oil to protect and regenerate skin cells.

I really enjoyed trialing this sample yesterday, I'm going to continue using the sample up and see what/if any difference it makes to my skin.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

July's You Beauty Discovery Box

This months You Beauty Discovery Box heralded the official start to the holiday season aptly named the You Travel Box. The You Travel edit was designed to offer a range of travel-friendly beauty must-haves and I must say the product shortlist was quite a good one! Let's take a look at the items I chose and my little extras...

Tan Organic Self Tanner

I chose Tan Organic Original Self Tan as I seem to have a small obsession with tanners of any form. This one is a sunless tanner made with natural ingredients that reputed to give you a healthy tan that fades perfectly without the unpleasant fake tan smell. Tan Organic contains no paragons, artificial fragrances or synthetic ingredients. I'm looking forward to giving this one a go on the weekend!

Loreal Miss Manga Mascara

My other selection was a no-brainer! I wear mascara everyday and I have read some positive reviews and blog posts on this mascara so I was interested to try it. Loreal Miss Manga Mascara features a flexible cone shaped brush for mega volume on top and bottom lashes. The 360 degree flexible brush eagles easy application. I've used this mascara a couple of times since I received my bx and I'm really pleased with it. It leaves my lashes volumised but without clumps.

This months extra treats were a sachet of Egyptian Magic multi-purpose cream, Dove Men Shave Cream (not sure why?!) and a 2ml sample of Agent Provocateur Fatale.

As with every month a great selection of products and extras and all for £6.95 (inc p&p). 


Saturday, 5 July 2014

Benefit They're Real Push-Up Liner Review

Unless you've been living in an underground bunker for the last month you can't have missed the hype surrounding the launch of Benefit's new They're Real push-up gel liner. 

My signature look includes eyeliner in some form, be it just a simple slick above the lash line or my normal go-to cat-eye flicks. When I saw Benefit were bringing out the first ever gel eyeliner in pen form (with an innovative soft tip that hugs the lash line) I just knew it had to be mine. 

I do own a few gel eyeliners already, one of my favorites being Maybelline's Eye Studio Gel, the formula is great and the little brush aids a smooth application but it dries up fairly quickly. At only £7.99 it doesn't break the bank to chuck it away when it starts to dry up but I do hate to chuck something away that isn't finished! For a long lasting liquid eyeliner I do love Illamasqua Eye Liner cake and sealing gel, I've found nothing that beats the durability of this. If I'm going out or I'm somewhere hot and humid I'll always use this as it does not budge! Most days however when I'm in a rush I have to give it a miss as applying liquid liner with a small brush takes a little longer than I have the time or patience for when I'm getting ready for work! Queue Benefit's They're Real liner...

When I initially went to use the liner it took quite a few clicks to get the formula up to the on first use go carefully as you don't want a huge amount of product rushing to the top! The rubber tip is alot softer than I thought it would be and it guides the product along the lash line very smoothly. The formula is blackest black and after a whole day of wear I didn't experience and transfer or smudging (I'm not the type to be rubbing my eyes when I have my make-up on however). The only thing I can really fault Benefit's new eyeliner on is using it for a fine feline flick. It doesn't deliver the precise results I was expecting. I found it's ability to draw a bolder flick fine but if you're looking for something with more precision I'd say this isn't the one. 

The product itself wasn't any more of a pain to remove than most eye products so I wouldn't say purchasing They're Real Remover is a must, for me it would just be one extra product to use and a waste of £14.50.Would I repurchase? Maybe. It's handy having a gel eye liner in pen form and not having a dirty brush floating round your make-up bag but for £18.50 I'll have to see how many uses I can get out of it.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Trial-sized Tuesday - REN T-Zone Balancing Day Fluid

So, as I mentioned in a post the other day my stash of samples is becoming uncontrollable and rather than having a cull (which is very much needed!) I though I'd do a post each week, testing out one sample and giving my initial opinion on the product. As I said before I'm well aware that using a product once is not enough to warrant going out and blowing £80 on a moisturizer, yet I can pretty much tell with most products how much I'll enjoy using it from that first initial application.  

For 'Trial-Sized Tuesday' I sampled a little tube of REN T-Zone Balancing Day Fluid that I received with and order a few months ago. Why I haven't tried it before is beyond me, it's designed with oily, combination skin in mind. 

I applied this light day cream after cleansing and toning yesterday morning. It left my skin feeling refreshed and lightly hydrated, it did slightly mattify my skin but not enough to affect my make-up (I have tried some mattifying creams and when you apply foundation over the top you can end up with a weird clumpy peeling effect...gross!).

For people who have a reaction to products containing Lavender this cream may not be for you, the Lavender is the most overwhelming ingredient I could smell when applying, I personally love skincare products that contain herbal scents. This day cream promises to be antibacterial and protect against free-radicals and combat the signs of premature ageing.

Although I've only used this product the once it would be something I would quite happily introduce in to my daily skincare routine to witness the long term benefits.


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

June's Birchbox Review

A bit of a late review of Birchbox this month due to the fact that for some unbeknown reason I only received my box on Saturday (after 2 weeks of emailing them seeing what the hell was going on). Anyways, this month's birch box was a Brazil theme in celebration of (I'm sure you're aware unless you've been locked in a bunker!) the World Cup kicking off this month. Lets take a look at what I received in my box...

Beauty Blender 

I was very happy to see that my box contained the Beauty Blender that everyone was desperate to get their hands on! I've been using it everyday since I received it and I can honestly say I'm converted from my my regular foundation brush (Real Techniques Expert Face Brush)! Used properly it does give a beautifully even finish, not streaks or uneven patches, just skin-looking...only better! The only thing I do find is that if you don't squeeze the excess water out properly it can drink up your foundation. I also love the fact that it came with the cleanser to clean it after every use.

Caudalie Vinoperfect 

Another product that was gratefully received was Caudalie's Vinoperfect Day Fluid. I think most subscribers were hoping to get their hands on one product by this luxurious French brands this month. Vinoperfect Day fluid promises to smooth lines, minimise pores and reduce dark spots. I'm looking forward to giving this day cream a go on one of my Trial-Sized Tuesdays.

Naobay Body Radiance Lotion

This fresh lemon fragranced lotion by Naobay was another welcome product in my Birchbox. I have a real affinity for moisturizers, especially those that promise to promote radiance and hydration. This light lotion is infused with ingredients such as avocado oil and shea butter.

O.P.I Brazil Collection

I was quite excited to see O.P.I featured in this month's box as I saw some gorgeous colors featured in some boxes. I however received You're So Flippy Floppy, a bright shimmery yellow...not my colour at all I'm afraid so I wont be testing this product out.
Silk + Honey Shea Butter Hair Mask

I am a bit of a sucker for hair treatments and was glad to see this in my box. I did try Silk + Honey on my hair on Saturday night and I must say it left my hair rather soft. Initially when I opened the tub for a smell I was not impressed, I was expecting the mask to smell primarily of Shea Butter, I would however compare the scent to Nivea Moisturizer. Despite the smell it was a pleasant little mask to use and it left my hair soft and shiny.

As a little 'lifestyle extra' there was a small flip-flop keyring in the Brazilian colors.

I have mixed emotions about this month's box, I think I would have been more excited about it if I received it when every body else had received there's and not 2 weeks later. Contents wise not a bad box, service wise however not so good.