Wednesday, 30 April 2014

My Skincare Experiment || Results

About a month ago I wrote this post declaring myself a guinea pig in a skincare experiment! I was sick of spending money every month on new skincare products for my skin to still be red and spotty at the end. So I decided there and then to stop using crazy amounts of skincare products on my face every morning and night, instead choosing to use a Micellar Water and a Moisturiser or something similar.

I have to admit that before I conducted the experiment I was pretty stressed at uni with my dissertation and applying for jobs etc so that could have been a major factor in my unruly skin. However since keeping my skincare routine to a minimum I have had a selection of stressful times such as my job interview and starting placement, so it kind of evens itself out.

Anyway, on to the results. I have to admit I've been really surprised, my skin has been calm and relatively spot free for the whole month. There were times when I even used face wipes to take off my makeup and I think my skin enjoyed the break. I didn't see any dry patches from not using my beloved Hydraluron and I even found out my skin type for the first time in years. Originally, I thought I had normal to dry skin and it turns out I actually have normal/combination. This has meant that I can find products to suit my skin type without over doing it and it's also had a huge impact on my makeup. My foundation lasts much longer on the skin and it doesn't oxidise as much as it used to.

For the last few days I've been slowly adding a couple of products back into my routine. Firstly, The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil to take my makeup off and then moisturise my face with the Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum (reviewed here) mixed with a couple of drops of The Body Shop Vitamin E Over Night Serum and this seems to be really working for me. Althought I've decided i'm not going to stick to it like crazy, if I want a full cleanse I will and if not it isn't the end of the world. Controversial, I know!

What are your thoughts?

Monday, 28 April 2014

Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum || Review

Avene Soothing Hyrdating Serum Avene Soothing Hyrdating Serum Avene Soothing Hyrdating Serum

I received this from Escentual just over a month ago with the intention of trailing it and reviewing it as soon as possible. However, I then decided to go on a skin care ban (you can see my reasons why, here) so it wasn't appropriate to review this without giving it a good try first. I've been using this for a couple of weeks now so instead of giving you and in depth review, take this as a kind of 'first impressions' post.

The Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum* is for sensitive skin and kind of reminds me of my beloved Hydraluron. It's a clearish white colour and it's both a thick and thin texture at the same time. I'd say it's gel like rather than a cream as it's more runny yet thick, a weird description I know. Anyway, I take two pumps of this and it covers my whole face nicely.

The application is nice and cool, which aids it's soothing abilities. I like to use this after I've used an exfoliator as it soothes the skin and eases redness. It doesn't particularly have a scent, it just smells 'fresh', similar again to Hydraluron which I quite like. I don't like the thought of products targeted for sensitive skin having perfumed scents.

Because of my skincare experiment I've been using this in place of a moisturiser with a few drops of The Body Shop's Vitamin E Night Serum and it gives the smoothest, moisturised finish ever. My skin feels hydrated and calm at night and feels hydrated and glowing when I wake up. This combination is like good skin in two bottles, definitely both worth investing in.

Have you tried any French Pharmacy brands?

Saturday, 26 April 2014

You Beauty Discovery Box || April

You Beaty Discovery Box || April You Beaty Discovery Box || April You Beaty Discovery Box || April

So it's that time again, my little You Beauty Box lands on my doorstop and I discover two new products. I've been subscribed for 3 months now and I haven't been disappointed with anything I've received. That's partly to do with the fact that you choose your own products but the main reason is they have a great range of products to pick from, so it's hard to be let down.

Firstly I chose the Dr Organic Dead Sea Mineral Eye Rescue Ball (RRP:£8.99) I instantly added this to my box because my eyes have been red and puffy for a while now. I'm not sure what the problem is but this does a good job of cooling them down and 'de-puffing' them. It's a metal rollerball so you can imagine how nice this is for cooling the eye down, it's also really quick and easy to use because you don't need to rub it in.

Secondly, I decided to go for the Inika Mineral Eyeshadow in Gunmetal (RRP: £14.50) I'm not a huge fan of mineral products simply because I find them messy and hard to work with. I've seen some reviews about Inika before though and I thought this was the best opportunity to try it. I haven't yet tried it but the colour is gorgeous and i'm sure when i'm going for a smoky eye on a night out this will be what I use.

Both of these products are full sized so as you can see for £6.95 this box is so worth it. Have you subscribed to any beauty boxes?

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Marc Jacobs Makeup Bag || Review

DSCN1114 DSCN1116 DSCN1117 DSCN1119 DSCN1122 DSCN1123
Marc Jacobs Black Crocodile Embossed Makeup Bag - £55*

This may be the most luxurious feature I will ever post on this blog and unfortunately it doesn't quite fit in to the 'student' element of my blog. However, after just being offered my first ever teaching job (whoopee) this is the perfect treat for any beauty lover.

I love Marc Jacob's perfume and I've been lusting over the Lolita palette forever so when I was offered the chance to review this makeup bag by Marc Jacobs from Harvey Nichols I jumped at the chance. Harvey Nichols is one of my favourite shops for high end products, admittedly I only shop there when I have lots of £££ (so rarely) but for treats and luxury presents this is my go to shop.

Now, on to the bag! The feel of this is just beautiful, it is so soft and luxurious that I was tempted to sleep next to it. It's a gorgeous black crocodile embossed neoprene cosmetics case with gold hard wear. I like the material of this as it doesn't seem like it will get mucky easily, I hate it when you end up with foundation marks all over. The inside of the bag is the same material, without the crocodile embossed pattern, again meaning that it wont get messy quickly. The gold hard wear adds to the expensive look and feel to the bag without looking tacky, the zip is also pretty sturdy which makes this a perfect investment if you're on the look out for a new makeup bag.

I will admit I was surprised by how small this is. The images made it look a lot bigger on the website so if you're looking for size over quality then there are definitely cheaper, bigger bags on the market. The dimensions are 18cm x 12cm x 4cm which shows how small it is but I was actually really surprised by what I could fit in it. I decided this is the perfect size for your hand bag so I added a few of my essentials. This actually fits in a body spray, real techniques retractable kabuki brush, lipstick, concealer, powder and mirror so please don't let the size put you off. I like to call this my Mary Poppin's makeup bag!

Overall this is lovely makeup bag and would make a perfect (graduation, wedding, birthday, celebratory) present. The packaging of this is also beautiful and I felt really special opening this when it arrived. I personally don't think I would pay £55 for this as a student but if I had the budget or was looking for a present, I wouldn't think twice about it. I think this will last for years and the wear will be minimal so it would be the perfect long time investment and i'm so glad that this is now a permanent fixture in my hand bag!


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

My Base For Work || Featuring Rimmel, Mac, Bourjois and Seventeen

I've struggled with my foundation for as long as I can remember now. It either slips right off my face approximately ten seconds after I've applied it or it just sits on my face and oxidise for the entire day. Finally, after years, I've found a combination which I'm pretty happy with and I thought I'd share it with you. Whilst I'm not 100% happy, it's such an improvement and it has given me much more confidence. DSCN1129
Firstly, I start by applying the Rimmel Stay Matte Primer to the inner section of my face, down my t-zone and chin. I do this to stop the oil coming through my combination skin which makes the foundation sit better on the skin. I haven't seen many reviews of this primer but I'm really enjoying it. Then I move on to the Seventeen Wow Highlighting Primer which I reviewed here. As I said in the review, I mix this in with my foundation of choice to give that glowy, dewy look. DSCN1130

My foundation of choice is Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream. Now I never thought I'd love a CC cream, I usually find they turn orange rather quickly and give little to no coverage. Not this bad boy, this has become my every day base. Mixed with the Seventeen highlighter this gives the nicest finish on the skin. The CC Cream conceals redness and provides me with enough coverage that I can confidently leave the house for a full day at work and not have to worry about my foundation throughout the day. DSCN1132
I finish off with the Mac Blotting Powder in translucent to set my base and keep oil at bay. I find with this I don't need to powder throughout the day and it really adds to the length of time my makeup lasts.

This is the perfect combination for my skin that I have found. Whilst I'm always on the look out for new foundations, this has really given me hope that my 'holy grail' base is out there somewhere. What is your favourite 'base' routine?


Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Body Shop Seaweed Pore Cleansing Facial Exfoliator || Review

The Body Shop Seaweed Pore Cleansing Facial Exfoliator The Body Shop Seaweed Pore Cleansing Facial Exfoliator
The Body Shop Seaweed Pore Cleansing Facial Exfoliator - £9
I've always had a problem with my pores, I find them really large and obvious and I've tried so many things to try and hide them. Whilst browsing The Body Shop in Manchester I picked up this exfoliator specifically targeted for cleansing pores (hauled here). I've been using it once or twice a week for about a month and I've really been enjoying it.

Firstly, i'll start by saying this is a really harsh facial exfoliator so if you have sensitive skin then i'd probably stay well clear. I don't particularly have sensitive skin but for times when I want this to be less harsh I use this in the shower so the water makes it a little gentler. It has tiny exfoliating jojoba particles which break down and exfoliate the skin. Because it's quite harsh I tend to use it on a Sunday morning, preparing my skin for the week ahead. This gets rid of all the dead skin cells and gives me a much brighter complexion.

I find this hasn't done a massive amount for my pores in the long run but they do appear smoother and tighter after I've used this. I have only been using this for a month so maybe with more regular use I might see the change I wanted. I really enjoy using this and find that my skin feels much brighter and refreshed so i'll continue to use this. I'm really tempted by the other products in the Seaweed range so if you have any recommendations let me know.


Friday, 18 April 2014

Benefit Gimme Brow || Review & Swatches

Benefit Gimme Brow Benefit Gimme Brow Benefit Gimme Brow
Benefit Gimme Brow

This is definitely a purchase I was sucked into, damn Benefit and their cute PR packages filling my Instagram feed. I'm a sucker for brow products anyway so it was inevitable that I would buy this at some point.

I choose the Gimme Brow in shade medium/deep as I like strong brows and mine are pretty dark anyway. This is the perfect shade for me, it outlines the brows, fills them in and still looks natural. In the packaging, which is super cute FYI, you're supplied with a leaflet which gives you tips and tricks on how to use it. The best tip I've found is to use the end of the brush to define the brows and then use the brush to fill them in afterwards.

If you're using the tip to define the brows, definitely make sure you get rid of any excess product in the tube to avoid the 'drawn on' look. I then fill in the front bits using the rest of the wand. The small brush size is ideal for creating 'Cara' esque brows whilst still looking natural. I've used this both on it's own, especially those days when I need 10 minutes extra in bed and also when I've used my Elf Brow Kit for a really defined brow.

At £17.50 this is an expensive product but it's really worth it. It does the job perfectly on its own and also makes an extra impact when teamed with another brow product.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Drugstore Beauty Haul || Topshop, Boots & Superdrug

Drugstore Beauty Haul || Topshop, Boots & Superdrug
Oops, I've been hauling again! Now the sun is shining, I've definitely noticed that I've been reaching for more Spring appropriate colours. I've shared my Spring Makeup with you already but I've added a few bits to my collection just recently. Some of these things I've wanted for ages and others where just picked up on a whim, it's obvious I had a vision of colour when I went shopping ha!

Drugstore Beauty Haul || Topshop, Ah Topshop, how you never fail to suck me in! I literally cannot resist their packaging, especially when they have a cheeky offer too. When you spent £15+ on makeup you received a free Lip Cream, this was the perfect opportunity to pick up some pieces I've been lusting over forever. First up the infamous Topshop Glow in Polished. This product is raved about constantly so I knew I wanted to pick this up. This was £9 and it looks pretty similar to the Mac cream colour base in pearl which is £15. Next up, Magic Liner in Engraved (£6.50) this is basically a black eyeliner that I've wanted for the longest time. I'm awful at liner so i'm hoping this might help. The lipstick is a purchased influenced by the lovely Poppy who included this in her favourite lipstick video. The shade is Macaroon and it's a gorgeous pink colour perfect for Spring. Then as i'd spent over £15 (oops) I received a free Lip Cream so I decided to go wild and choose this beautiful bright orange colour called Pout. I have a bit of a lipgloss/lipstick obsession currently so this is the perfect addition.

Drugstore Beauty Haul || Boots & Superdrug

After all my excitement in Topshop I then headed to Superdrug and took advantage of the buy one get one half price offer on Maybelline. I've wanted the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer for a while after seeing someone comparing it to Nars' Creamy Concealer. I picked up shade 15 as shade 10 was pretty dark weirdly. Then I bought Maybelline The Falsies which again I've wanted to try forever. I see Tanya Burr rave about this all the time but I've never bought it, finally now seemed like the right time. Now on to Boots and i'm ashamed to say I bought another lipgloss. This Revlon lipgloss is the most beautiful lipgloss I've ever seen. I saw it weeks ago and then couldn't find it again so as soon as I saw it I had to pick it up. Definitely keep your eyes our for a review on this soon! Finally for £2 I picked up this Body Shop Born Lippy lip balm purely for the smell, honestly, it smells like nothing I've ever smelled before it's delicious!

What are you lusting after from the drugstore?

Monday, 14 April 2014

Beauty Battle #04 || Mascara

Guerlain, Soap and Glory and W7 Mascara
Guerlain Maxi Lash Mascara - £23, Soap and Glory Thick & Fast Mascara - £10 and W7 Lashtastic Mascara - £4.99

For all of you who know me, you'll know that i'm a massive mascara fiend, I literally have drawers full of the stuff. I have pretty long lashes myself but I'm also looking to add more volume and to blacken them up, hence why my collection is so big. The fourth instalment of my Beauty Battle series is therefore obviously going to focus on mascara.

Guerlain Maxi Lash Mascara

Guerlain Maxi Lash Mascara - £23
I received this mascara for my 21st birthday (hauled here) after i'd been recommended it by the lovely Charlotte. I tried it in Selfridges and instantly fell in love. The makeup artist applied this over my original mascara and it surprised my immediately with how it looked. There was no clumpy bits or spider leg lashes, it just looked natural but like my lashes had grown about 25%! This looks perfect during the day for every day lashes because it doesn't clump but if you're looking for more dramatic lashes this can do just that! After a couple of coats it honestly looks like i'm wearing falsies without being clumpy and tacky. For £23 this is definitely worth every penny.

Soap & Glory Thick & Fast Mascara
Soap and Glory Thick & Fast Mascara - £10
Now this is a mascara I have purchased time and time again. The brush is the perfect size and shape for my lashes as it gives them more volume than length which as I've mentioned is what I need. Again, like the Guerlain mascara, this doesn't clump together or smudge underneath the eye. I do find this dries up quite quickly but I think it works just as well after this has happened. The wand is slightly tapered so it gets all the lashes perfectly and evenly coats the bottom lashes too. I will continue repurchasing this mascara even with more higher end mascaras in my collection, I just love it and it's perfect for my lashes!

W7 Lashtastic Mascara
W7 Lashtastic Mascara - £4.99
This is the cheapest of the three mascaras and in my opinion, it's definitely my least favourite. The brush is completely different to the other two and although this does get all the lashes, it doesn't add the volume that I personally love. I also find that after about 4 hours the mascara is half way down my face and no longer on my lashes which doesn't look attractive believe me. I do like the yellow packaging, although it does look slightly familiar! I've tried a few products by W7 and I have been impressed but this just isn't for me.

Guerlain, Soap and Glory and W7 Mascara So all in all, I'd definitely say that you get what you pay for with these mascaras. The W7 Lashtastic just doesn't do it for me but at £4.99 what can you say. The Soap and Glory mascara is one of my favourites and always will be, I recommended this to anyone and definitely think it rivals some high end mascaras but it's only £10. Finally the Guerlain mascara is the ultimate beauty treat, I definitely didn't need it but I love it all the same. It does a brilliant job of giving volume to the lashes and it makes me feel fabulous!

What's your favourite mascara?

Saturday, 12 April 2014

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain Lip Stain || Review & Swatches

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain Lip Stain - Voline Out of Control YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain Lip Stain - Voline Out of Control YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain Lip Stain - Voline Out of Control Swatch

Okay, so lets start by sharing some love for this beautiful YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain Lip Stain packaging! You have no idea how luxurious I feel when I wear this and trust me I've been wearing it a lot. My lovely boyfriend bought me this for my 21st birthday (you can see the haul here) and I chose the shade Voline Out Of Control which is a perfect purple/lilac shade.

What drew me to this (beside the packaging) is the formula of this and the way in which you apply it. The makeup artist tried this on me and applied the first coat, you can see the look this leaves. She then waited for about 2 minutes and applied another coat which really built up the look. Even after the second coat the lip stain is still quite sheer so if you're looking for a bold lip then i'm not sure this is for you.

After the second application the glossy stain, sinks in and leaves the perfect stain on the lips. This sounds like it would be really drying but it's quite the opposite, it's really hydrating and leaves a beautiful glossy finish to the lips that literally lasts all day. Because of the sheerness of this, I was so surprised by the longevity of this. It really does stain the lips whilst still being hydrating.

Application 1
Application 2
The applicator of this is the perfect shape for creating the perfect full lip. I find it really easy to use and I never end up with product bleeding from my lip. Although it is expensive, I definitely recommend them, I know I'll be buying more!


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush || Review

Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush
Real Techniques have the most affordable, brilliant brushes that I have ever used. They're so good in fact that if I could only use one brush brand for the rest of my life then it would definitely be Real Techniques. Whilst browsing My Pretty Face Place I spotted the new Retractable range and added the Kabuki brush straight into my basket, it was only £5.98 after all (RRP: £10.19).
I didn't need this brush and after I ordered it I did wonder where it would fit into my collection. I already own the powder, blush and contour brush but I knew I wanted this for something. So far I've been using this to apply blush to the apples of my cheeks and i'm loving it. It picks up just the right amount of product and distributes it evenly onto the cheeks, avoiding that dreaded 'doll' look. This would also be perfect for contouring due to the tapered shape.
Best of all, the new retractable feature makes it absolutely perfect for popping into your makeup bag and using it as a multi purpose brush on the go. You can just as easily powder your face with this and then use it to top up your blush and then pack it back into your bag. If you think, like me, you don't need this brush, I really beg to differ. I can already tell that this brush is going to save my skin (literally) in the future!
Have you tried any of the Real Techniques Retractable brushes?

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow || Review & Swatches

Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow
Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow
Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow
Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow
Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow

Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow - £17.50
If you're a Pale Jane like me, this post is for you! One of my 2014 goals was to conquer the art of contouring but everything I tried either it looks too shimmery on the face or leaves a horrible orange, muddy stain down my cheek. That was until I discovered Illamasqua's Cream Pigment in the shade Hollow and now my contouring conquering dreams don't seem so far away.
Described as a toffee hue, Hollow is a beautiful cream pigment that blends like a dream under the hollows of your cheeks. See, the name explains it all really. When this is applied it leaves a very muted brown, almost grey, ashy colour which forms the 'shadow' for the contour, I then take my Real Techniques Contour Brush and blend this upwards towards my ears, giving it a natural finish perfect for an every day contour. If i'm going on a night out I like to use this as a base and then add further definition with my Sleek Face Form Kit.
The wear time of this is pretty good, similar to the cream blushes by Illamasqua, i'd definitely say you'd be okay wearing this for work or university. Because it's a cream product I always worry about it sliding off my face however it stays put all day, even without a primer. You literally need a tiny amount if you're going for a natural look, so I'd say the £17.50 price tag is quite reasonable.
This is a multi use product that can be used on the cheeks, eyes and lips. I haven't tried it as on the eyes but I imagine it can give great definition to the crease when creating the perfect smoky eye. Also, I haven't tried it on the lips either but I can't see much use for it if i'm being honest.

Have you tried this before? What is your holy grail contouring product?

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Spring Nails || Swatches

Spring Nails ft Models Own Essie Barry M and Loreal Spring Nails ft Models Own Essie Barry M and Loreal

Spring Nails ft Models Own Essie Barry M and Loreal Swatches

Weirdly, I've found that Spring and Winter are the only seasons I really change up my makeup and nail polish. I'm not sure what happens in Summer and Autumn but my makeup just seems to stay the same. Anyway, on Friday I posted my Spring makeup update and today I have my nail varnish picks for the warmer months.

As you can see the colours are quite similar, I love pastels and light colours that go with pretty much everything. I just find them so easy to wear and they add a pop of colour to any outfit. First up Models Own Indian Ocean. This was one on my first Models Own nail polishes and it's one of my favourites. The colour is a kind of light blue with pink and silver running throughout. I love how it looks in the light, it looks different every time I apply it. Another Models Own purchase this time in the shade, Utopia. I featured this in my February favourites. It's the perfect mixture of purple, lilac, grey and taupe, I pretty much had it on my nails for the whole of February. The formula is beautiful and it lasts such a long time on my chip prone nails.

Next up, Essie's Virgin Orchid, this is another shade which is a mixture of colours. It's main colour is obviously pink but it has gold speckles running through. I love this for BBQs in the summer as it's a little something special without being too much. I love the formula of Essie nail varnishes, they apply so well and last well too. Moving on to more pastel shades, I've fallen head over heels in love with the newest Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paints in Huckleberry and Rose Hip. I love love love blue nails, so as soon as I saw this I knew it had to be mine and because it was 3 for 2 I couldn't leave the pink.

Finally, my favourite of all these nail varnishes is Loreal's Nouvelle Vague. I'm a sucker for purple nails so obviously I love this. I'd say it's more of a whitey lilac than a purple, it's like nothing I own already. I'm definitely going to be picking up the rest of the shades next time i'm in Boots.

What's your go to shades for Spring?
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