Saturday, 29 November 2014

November Empties

I've used up a bottle of Alpecin which helps my hair grow which I've already repurchased. I've finished up a bottle of the Argan Oil Hair Treatment which helped keep my ends hydrated but I won't be repurchasing. I've used up a Original Source Shower Gel in Lime which smelt so good and will be repurchased when I next see it on offer. I've finished up another bottle of the Soap & Glory Clean On Me Shower Gel which will forever be repurchased as I use it as a shaving lotion. I've used up a bottle of Imperial Leather Bewitching Bath Creme which created an okay amount of bubbles but sadly is now discountinued. I've finished up another Femfresh Daily Intimate Wash which is a must have for all woman and will forever be repurchased. I've used up a Herbal Essences Bee Strong Strengthening Intensive Mask which did an okay job as an intensive conditioner but I won't be rushing out to buy anytime soon.

I've finished up the Nspa Ultimate Cleansing Tonic which removed makeup really well but I felt that I went through it far too quickly. I've used up the No7 Hot Cloth Cleanser which is a brilliant budget cleanser and have already repurchased. I've finished another Garnier Simply Essentials Soothing 2-in-1 Makeup Remover which will forever be repurchased as it's a brilliant budget makeup remover and is always on a 3 for £5 offer in Boots. I've used up the Sanctuary Radiance Exfoliator which helped exfoliate and brighten my skin which will be getting repurchased as soon as I've used up a few more exfoliators. I've finished a big bottle of the Wilko Hand Sanitiser which is a must for on the go and applying makeup! I've used up the No7 Eye Makeup Remover which left a residue on my eyelids and didn't remove eye makeup very well and would never repurchase again. I've used up a Nivea Essential Care Lipbalm which helps hydrate my lips and will always have one on the go. I've used up the No7 Fanomenal Lash Serum which at first I really liked but towards the end, it started stinging my eyes but it does really work. I've finished up another Pretty Perfect Twist & Out Instant Nail Polish Remover which I urgently need to stock up on as it's brilliant for removing nail varnish.

I've used up four packs of the Wilko Maxi Oval Cotton Pads which will always be featured in a monthly empties as I go through them so quick but they're cheap as chips. I've used up two packets of the No7 Quick Thinking Wipes which I use for everything but removing facial makeup. I've finished a Revlon Photoready Skinlights Face Illuminator in Pink Light which I mix in with my foundation to create a dewy base which I've already repurchased. I've used up a Natural Collection Corrector Stick in Green which did an okay job at reducing the appearance of redness on my face but I wouldn't rush out to repurchase.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

November Birchbox Review

As the days are getting colder and the need to wrap up warm, the Cosy at Home theme of the November Birchbox is more than welcoming. I love nothing more than getting home from work and jumping straight into my onesie, taking off my makeup and settling down to watch some rather festive movies such as Home Alone for the billionth time already this year. There's quite a variety of products in the November box covering skincare, bodycare, haircare with an added bonus of chocolate which already gets a thumbs up from me.

The most exciting product for me is the full sized Dr. Jart+ V7 Balancing Toner (£18) which is the first product that I've tried from Dr. Jart+ which is surprising as almost everybody has tried something from the range. It promises to improve skin's youthful quality with it's advanced enhancing systwem whilst soothing and refining the skins texture. This is right up my straight as I love anything that claims to sooth and refine the skins texture. As I'm a huge fan of bronzers, I'm excited to see a generous sample of Lord & Berry Mini Bronzer in Sienna (£19) which is a super finely milled matte bronzer that helps acheive a bronzed glow without the shimmer. The shade is actually perfect as it doesn't look muddy or dirty on the skin.

I find that during the cold, winter months, my hair gets more tangled and frizzy so the Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle (£14) has arrived in perfect time. Once sprayed onto clean, damp hair it helps to detangle the hair, minimise frizz, protect colour as well as add some much needed shine which I can't wait to start using! I haven't tried anything from Weleda so their Wild Rose Body Oil (£19.95) is a welcome addition. It's a musky rose scent which doesn't smell artificial which whem teamed up with enriching jojoba and sweet almond oils, it helps to nourish and protect the skin whilst leaving it soft, supple and smooth. 

I'm not a huge fan of floral fragrances although the English Laundry Signature For Her EDP (£60) smells absolutely beautiful! It's inspired by classic country gardens with rose floral top notes with a hint of musk. I doubt I would ever purchase a fragrance this expensive but I will cherish this little sample vial. Finally, I've already munched on the Montezuma's Mini Bar (£2.39 for 100g) but it is one of the best chocolate bars I've tried and will be one that I'll be stocking up on for sure.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo

Have you ever had your hair cut into such a style/length that you regretted it almost instantly? I have and I'm still paying the price for it. I used to have such long hair that was an absolute pain to dry/style as it was just so long and thick so when I was 13, I asked for it to be cut short to about shoulder length which has never truly grown past that length since. Fast forward seven years and with continuous hair cuts, heat defense and highlights, my hair is now almost at boob length which I'm so delighted with and it's all with thanks to Alpecin.

Alpecin (£5.49) is targeted as a caffeine shampoo that helps stimulate hair roots whilst washing which in turn reduces hair loss and promotes hair growth. Ideally, you apply it just like any ordinary shampoo but you leave it on the scalp for two minutes or more before washing out. The idea is that the caffeine is absorbed into the scalp which helps stimulate hair growth directly and the longer you leave it on for, the more caffeine will be absorbed.

I use Alpecin after finishing up a shampoo and conditioner duo which normally tends to be a week or two before my next hair appointment which I use every other day with a intensive hair conditioner being applied afterwards. I prefer to leave it on for up to five minutes whilst giving myself a head massage which I believe helps my hair absorb more of the caffeine. I've noticed that since using this, my hair grows rather quickly now with visible root growth a few weeks after my last hair appointment which just goes to show how incredible Alpecin works. One thing to remember is that everybody is different with different hair growth rates so this may or may not work for you.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Samples I've Used Up 017

Unlike most months where I use up lots of samples, this month I've found myself only reaching for Lancome's Visionnaire which has resulted in using up six samples of it. What I love about Visionnaire is that it changes your skin texture within as little as two days as well as improving your skins hydration for an all round smooth, plump complexion. As much as I love using it, I cannot commit to purchasing it in full size due to how expensive it is so I'm hoping that my large sample stash of it will tide me over until I'm next in duty free where it'll be slightly discounted.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Revlon Photoready Skinlights Face Illuminators

I'm a drugstore girl through and through as I much prefer getting more for money which is unheard of with high end items. With that being said, I haven't tried much from Revlon as I find their products to be a little overpriced although that hasn't stopped me lusting after a few things. For the longest time, I've been wanting to add some radiance to my base makeup and although my L'Oreal Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer does the trick nicely, it doesn't give that particular glow I craved so I decided to bite the bullet and purchase two of the Revlon Photoready Skinlights Face Illuminators whilst out in the States. 

The Revlon Photoready Skinlights Face Illuminators (£11.99) are a liquid highlight consistency that are packaged in a coloured squeezy tube based on the shade. They come in four different shades; Bare Light, Pink Light, Peach Light and Bronze and all claim to barnish dullness and even out skin with light-capturing crystals and photochromatic pigments.

I personally have the two lighter shades - Bare Light and Pink Light but out of the two, Pink Light is my most used. I tend to mix these in with my foundation, pouring an equal amount of foundation to an equal amount of the face illuminator onto a damp Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge before applying it onto my face. I find that using a sponge makes it more natural looking as it helps blend it in more to give off a natural glow/lit from within. Although that might seem a little excessive, you could use it by itself as a highlighter or to help perk up the skin on days when you're not wearing makeup.Overall, these are a brilliant product to have in your stash and a little certainly goes a long way as with daily use, one tube can last a good six months.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Sanctuary Radiance Exfoliator

If you're a long term reader then you will know that I used to exfoliate every single day which does more harm for you skin than good. Nowadays, I stick to mainly chemical exfoliators which some of my favourites include Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner and Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner. However, I miss using a manual exfoliator for those days where my skin looks a bit tired and dull so I've been using the Sanctuary Radiance Exfoliator for the best part of eight months which has been doing just the trick.

The Sanctuary Radiance Exfoliator (£10.50) is unlike any other manual exfoliator I've used which is partially down to it containing ultra fine apricot granules and grape seed which helps get into every nook and cranny. Whilst the apricot granules and grape seed help exfoliate, a trio of pumpkin, pineapple and papaya extracts hep to increase cell renewal and leave the skin soft to the touch with a glow of radiance. Just like with other manual exfoliators, this comes housed in a transparant squeezy tube which is very appealing to the eye as you can clearly see how much you have left.

As I mentioned above, I've been using this on a weekly basis for the best part of eight months and I'm slowly dreading the day that I've used up the very last dregs as this is truly a wonderful manual exfoliator. To use, I simply use a clean muslin cloth and put it under running warm water and then proceed to wash my face with it - ensuring that my pores are open as well as my face being damp before squeezing out a generous 50p sized blob. I then dot it over my face before massing it in circular motions for a few minutes before using the same muslin cloth to remove it. I find that doing this twice a week really helps to awaken my skin and reveal its natural radiance. I personally find that the size of the exfoliating granules are the perfect size to really help exfoliate the skin whilst not aggreviating it and cause damage. As I like to think that this is a more natural offering compared to the likes of my previous love, Neutrogena Visibly Clear Gentle Exfoliating Wash, I believe that this helps more with blemishes and active breakouts as it helps to reduce the size and redness and within a few days, the blemish is gone entirely. Overall, I thoroughly enjoy using this facial exfoliator and I will definitely be repurchasing as soon as I've gone through a few more in my stash.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

No7 Hot Cloth Cleanser

As my skin is dry, I find that using a cream/hot cloth cleanser to both remove my makeup and cleanse my skin is ideal. I've tried many different ones including Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish and Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser which I both love and will continue to use but I wanted to try something a different offering and so armed with a £5 off No7 skincare voucher, I bought the No7 Hot Cloth Cleanser.

The No7 Hot Cloth Cleanser (£9.95) is a rather rich and creamy cleanser that helps remove daily grime and makeup whilst leaving the skin deeply clean, soft and radiant. When teamed with a muslin cloth, it will gently exfoliate the skin and stimulate circulation.

The No7 offering comes in a clear pump which makes it easy and sanitary to use and shows you just how much you have left. Unlike other cream cleansers that I've used in the past, this is has a very heavy floral scent to it which may irritate even the most sensitive of skin so that is something to look out for. I personally don't have a problem with the scent although I do ensure that I remove every last trace of it just to be on the safe side. I use two pumps worth and massage it onto dry skin, ensuring that I work it in circular motions which acts as a mini facial before removing it with a hot muslin cloth. I prefer using this as my second cleanse as it is very creamy in texture which one removed, leaves my skin feeling really soft and supple to the touch without feeling stripped or dry. Since using this, I haven't noticed a difference in the amount of breakouts I've had but I have noticed how much softer my skin is feeling which I definitely belive is down to use this on a daily basis. Overall, this is a brilliant budget hot cloth cleanser which I will definitely be repurchasing when they are next giving out the £5 off No7 skincare vouchers which makes it a lot cheaper.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Herbal Essences Bee Strong Strengthening Intensive Mask

Hair masks are one of my favourite beauty treatments that I reserve mainly for the weekend as a little pampering treat. Most of the time, I use one of the many Aussie 3 Minute Miracles but more often that not, I prefer using a matching hair mask to the shampoo and conditioner that I'm using. At the moment, I'm currently using the Herbal Essences Bee Strong Strengthening Intensive Mask.

The Herbal Essences Bee Strong Strengthening Intensive Mask (£3.99) is enriched with extracts of honey and apricot which helps to strengthen the hair whilst reducing the appearance of any damage all whilst making the hair beautifully soft and healthy. It comes housed in a generous 200ml yellow tub with a screw cap lid which matches the other products within the Bee Strong range. The product itself is very similar in colour to the caramel rolo yogurt part underneath the chocolate with a consistency of very thick custard which despite it's deceiving appearance, it smells utterly divine of very sugary apricots.

I like to use a generous scoop of the product and massage it in all over my hair and leave it on for up to ten minutes before washing it out. As I find this to be extremely light weight, I can get away with putting it all over my hair without weighing it down or leaving any residue which many other hair masks can do. Once rinsed out, my hair instantly feels silky soft and healthier with an incredible shine without frizz once dry. I must admit that this hair mask definitely makes up for the rather basic matching shampoo and conditioner duo and is one that I will consider repurchasing in the future.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

My Winter Foundation Wardrobe

As the dark nights are getting closer and the need to wrap up warmer becoming ever more frequent, I've found myself rotating between a select few foundations recently which is unheard of, even for me. Now unlike most, I opt to mix my foundations together to achieve a better result which has resulted in falling back in love with foundations that I deemed an utter failure. As I can't see myself using anything else for the time being, I would like to introduce you to my winter foundation wardrobe.

The Neutrogena Nourishing Long Wear Makeup ($14.99/£9.46 for 30ml) is my most recent addition and is one that you can only pick up in the US sadly. It is a pour style bottle which you don't run the risk of pouring out too much due to how thick the texture is as it's not quite a thick mousse and it's not quite liquid either - it's in the middle of the two. As it's quite thick, the coverage it gives is medium coverage which you can either mix in with your daily moisturiser to sheer it out slightly or layer it up to give fuller coverage. For reference, I use the shade Classic Ivory which is the lightest shade they do yet it's quite yellow toned but when mixed in with say Bourjois Healthy Mix Radiance Reveal Foundation, it evens it out nicely. However when by itself, it can be a slight pain to blend and buff it all in nicely but a little elbow grease never hurts anybody. The finish of this can look quite natural if you don't apply too much however in most cases, it would leave the skin demi-matte with a bit of a glow. In terms of longevity, it lasts pretty much all day and that is without powder.

The Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation (£29.50 for 30ml) is the only foundation that I don't use all year round and instead only dig it out when the winter months roll around. It's a pour style bottle which means that you do run the risk of pouring out too much due to how liquidy the foundation although apparently a MAC Pump will fix your foundation pouring woes apparently. Many people deem this to be the fullest coverage foundation they've encountered but I would personally say that this is inbetween both medium and full coverage which you can sheer/build it up depending on which you prefer. For reference, I use the shade 1W1 Bone which is very yellow toned but when blended out, it matches me almost perfectly. The texture of this means that you have to work quickly in order to buff it all in as I find that it sets rather quickly. The finish of this is quite matte but it somehow lets your skin show through without feeling heavy. I find that this lasts almost all day with minimal touch ups and that is using both a primer and a powder.

The Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation (£34 for 35ml) is the only foundation that I have a love hate relationship with and has taken me the best part of a year to figure out if I love it or hate it since my inital review. As it's a squeezy tube, you can control how much you squeeze out which means that you won't necessarily waste it. I would deem this to be a full coverage foundation which unlike most, you really have to work at blending it all in due to the mousse like consistency. For reference, I use the shade Rose Ivory which matches perfectly when I first apply it but fast forward a few hours and it will have changed shade completely so this is something to consider when buying. The finish of this is quite glowy as it contains light-reflecting properties which helps add natural looking highlights to your face without looking overly greasy/discoball. I can easily go almost ten hours whilst wearing this foundation and that is with both powder and primer with minimal touchups.

The Bourjois Healthy Mix Radiance Reveal Foundation (£9.99 for 30ml) is by far my most repurchased foundation of the lot as I'm currently on my third bottle. As the foundation itself is a pump dispenser, you only need a few pumps worth for the full face which makes it by far one of the more cost effective per use foundations. This is more on low to medium coverage which you can definitely build up to a fuller coverage if need be. As it's a liquid, it doesn't take a lot of elbow grease to blend it. For reference, I use the shade 51 Light Vanilla which matches me perfectly in some lights whereas in others it can be a little pale. The finish of this is rather dewy as it gives off the whole glow from within and creates a luminous base. I mainly use this foundation as my mixer and will mix it with other foundations as I love the finish it gives. I can get roughly seven hours wear from this foundation when worn alone with both primer and powder which is standard.

The last foundation featuring in my winter foundation wardrobe is the No7 Stay Perfect Foundation (£14.50 for 30ml) which is one that I least like out of the bunch but I still continue to use it. Just like with the Bourjois offering, the No7 version has a pump dispenser but comes enclosed in a glass bottle so it doesn't make it the most travel friendly foundation. This is more on the medium side of coverage but it can definitely be built up albeit it will look a little cakey especially after the second layer. I find that it blends in with ease although you do need to take extra care around the nose and eyes as it tends to settle in fine lines. For reference, I use the shade Calico which again can match me perfectly or appear too pale depending on the lighting. The finish of this is inbetween matte and radiant as it just makes your skin appear flawless but without the heaviness on the skin. It claims to last for up to 24 hours but who really wears foundation for that long, seriously. I find that it lasts about ten hours or so with primer and powder as well as minimal touchups on the cheeks and under the eyes mainly.

Which foundations will you be using this Winter?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Imperial Leather Bewitching Bath Creme

There's nothing I love more than running myself a warm bath filled with bubbles during the cold winter months. I'm not too fussy what I use to make the bubbles as so long as it's cheap and smells good, I'll buy it. Recently, I found myself wanting to try something else to use in my bubbles baths so I decided to try the Imperial Leather Bewitching Bath Creme.

The Imperial Leather Bewitching Bath Creme in Blackberry Blossom & Wild Fig is unlike any other bubble bath I've tried as for starters, it smells absolutely divine! It scents the entire room with its bewitching, beautifully intoxicating, soul-uplifting scent. It creates a mountain of bubbles which don't necessarily last as long as the length of time I'm in the bath unfortunately. What I like the most about this is how soft my skin feels whilst I'm in the bath and this is just minutes after getting into it. Unforunately, it would appear that you can no longer buy it due to it being limited edition but I'm sure that they'll bring it out again next year.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Max Factor Colour Corrector CC Sticks

Recently, I've found myself feeling a little down when it comes to applying my makeup as my dark circles are becoming more noticeable which no amount of concealer will cover up as well as a tad of redness across my cheeks. No matter how much makeup I apply or how much sleep I get, I know that these won't cover up/go away entirely so I've recently found myself reaching for the Max Factor CC Sticks.

The Max Factor CC Sticks (£8.99 each) are a super creamy, blendable formula that are targeted to address specific skin issues that are available in six different shades - green to counteract redness; yellow to conceal dark circles; blue to get rid of dull looking skin and peach, pink and champagne to highlight any areas. Out of all six available, I've been reaching for just the three core colours - yellow, blue and green as I have more than enough highlighters to highlight my face.

For the record, I apply these CC sticks before my foundation just to help counteract any specific skin issues before masking them entirely with foundation. This is just to ensure that I have concealed them as best as possible and to achieve a flawless look. I tend to use the green shade first and it apply it across my cheeks, concentrating it mainly where any redness is and once blended it, any visible redness is gone entirely and instead, I have normal looking skin albeit with a slight green tone. With the yellow shade, I just apply it under my eyes in a triangular shape in a bid to highlight the area whilst concealing my dark circles. Whilst it doesn't conceal my dark circles entirely, it does do a pretty darn good job at it. With the blue shade, I tend to apply it mainly around my t-zone with a little more on my cheeks. I wouldn't necessarily say that this helps get rid of dull looking skin as it doesn't contain any light reflecting pigments to create a radiant base but it does make the skin look a little more awake. I will admit that these are not a must have beauty product to have as it does take a little while to apply and blend it all in but I do believe that they are worth it, especially if you're wanting a flawless finish.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Nspa Ultimate Cleansing Tonic

I've noticed that the minute I get home, I'm just itching to take off my makeup and apply multiple creams and serums to rehydrate my skin after a long day at work. Most of time, I use two different makeup removers; one of which is aimed specifically at removing eye makeup. However for those times that I can't be bothered to use two different ones, I use the same makeup remover and recently, I've been using the Nspa Ultimate Cleansing Tonic.

The Nspa Ultimate Cleansing Tonic (£5) is a bi-phase makeup remover that you have to shake up to combine the two liquids. It contains a mixture of witch hazel, ginseng and bisabolol which makes removing makeup very quickly without irritating the skin due to it's soothing, hydrating mix. It comes housed in a rather generous 200ml pour style bottle that you can see how much you have left which is very convenient for those of us who tend to use more makeup remover than we'd care to admit.

Unlike some makeup removers that I've tried, I find that this removes makeup rather well in all areas apart from the eyes where it needs a little more elbow grease to ensure that every last trace is removed. I've noticed that if I'm wearing a heavier base which requires a little more makeup remover than normal then it can leave my skin feeling a little tight in areas despite it claiming to be kind to skin. Unfortunately, a little doesn't go a long way so I feel as if I'm going through this at a rapid pace so I won't be repurchasing this anytime soon despite how cheap it is. Although with that being said, it would appear that you can no longer purchase this.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Boots Haul 014

It may seem like a few months ago that I shared any kind of haul post but realistically, I'm buying things all the time but only a few things here and there. As Boots are now doing their advantage card evenings where you get £12 worth of points for every £50 you spend, I thought I would take advantage and stock up on a few essentials and splurge on a few things that I've been wanting for a while.

As it's currently three for two across all makeup, I picked up three of the Max Factor CC Colour Corrector Sticks in Blue, Green and Yellow which help to hide a multitude of sins. I already own one in blue but I thought I better pick up a backup as I love it that much. I also picked up a backup of the L'Oreal Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer which is the only primer I use as well as another Revlon Photoready Skinlights Face Illuminator in Pink Lights which I prefer to mix in with my foundation. As if I don't have enough mascaras, I couldn't resist picking up the Max Factor Masterpiece Transform High Impact Volumising Mascara which will hopefully give me the volume that my lashes need.

I had a few £3 off No7 makeup vouchers floating around in the bottom of my bag so I thought I better use them up and treat myself to some new No7 makeup. I decided to get three of their newest nail varnishes in Black Patent, Grey Mist and Snow Wash. Snow Wash literally looks like snow especially when put over Black Patent which is the nail combination that I'm rocking at the moment. I noticed that No7 had brought out a new limited edition palette called Radiant Spheres Highlighter which comes in beautiful packaging. The product itself is a mixture of shimmering gold and white which will look beautiful on the cheeks especially over the festive season. Lastly, I picked up a new fragrance in the form of Beyonce Heat Wild Orchid which I couldn't resist. It's a mixture of fruits combined with flowers which makes it such a beautiful scent.

Have you bought anything from Boots recently?

Saturday, 1 November 2014

October Favourites

October has been a very busy month as I've found myself landing a promotion at work (whilst still having to do my old role alongside it) which whilst I can't complain about it, it's meant that my workload has increased meaning that I haven't had a lot of time to blog. Although saying that, I have been spending an awful amount of time on Hay Day recently.. With all that being said, I thought I better share what I've been loving throughout October.

I've found myself switching up a few brushes and I've discovered the the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush is a brilliant brush to contour with due to it it's wide, stiff and defined shape. As always, I've been contouring my face with the NYC Smooth Skin Bronzer in Sunny which I'm very slowly starting to hit pan on! This is the perfect bronzer for any pale face beauty as it doesn't look orange or muddy on the skin.

I've been reaching for the Physicians Formula Mineral Glow Pearls Highlighter in Translucent Pearl to add some much needed glow to my face. A light hand is key to this as I have been known to go in rather heavy handed which has resulted in many discoball distasters. As I don't like wearing mascara on my bottom lashes these days, I've been defining them slightly by using the middle shade from the No7 Stay Perfect Eyeshadow Trio in Good Earth. The shade itself is a beautiful bronzey taupe shade with a hint of rose gold which finishes any eye look.

My last favourite of the month is actually an app which I've been using every time I go to bed called Sleep Cycle. It's a intelligent alarm clock that analyzes your sleep and wakes you up when you're in the lightest sleep phase. It monitors your movement whilst you sleep which in turn tells you your sleep quality, how long you were in bed, how often you were in a light/deep sleep. I personally find it quite helpful as I've realised certain factors cause me to have a light sleep whereas other things help me have a deep, fulfilled sleep.