Saturday, 31 January 2015

January Empties

I've used up the L'Oreal Fibrology Shampoo & Conditioner which helped make my hair feel thicker and fuller for longer and will definitely be getting repurchased ASAP! I've also used up the L'Oreal Fibrology Thickening Mask which I reserved for the weekends but also gave me fuller, thicker hair which felt thicker after each use - will be repurchasing as well! I've finished up another Boots Build Up Removal Shampoo which I use every single weekend to help remove product build up from a weeks worth of styling, which will be forever repurchased. I've used up the Batiste Dry Shampoo in Monochrome which smelt spicey and kept the majority of oil/grease at bay. I've finished up the Got2B Guardian Angel Heat Protection Spray which although it did the job, I will never repurchase due to the scent and that it didnt do anything other than protect my hair from heat.

I've used up the Neutrogena Alcohol Free Toner which felt like I was sweeping water across my face and left my skin without the dreaded tight/dry feeling. I've finished up the Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner which is one of the most gentle exfoliating toners I've used and one that I reserve for using in the morning as it helps perk up my skin. I already have purchased another one of these! I've finished up the Soap & Glory The Scrub Of Your Life which I still think isn't as exfoliating as to what everybody says it is however it does smell divine! I've used up a Mitchum Advanced Control Roll On Deodorant in Shower Fresh which I feel like has taken forever to use up but is brilliant value for money. I've used up a tube of Retinol Reface which has helped transform my skin, literally and I urge everybody to try especially if you're concerned about first signs of aging! I've finished up a Cuticura Anti Bacterial Hand Gel in Passion Flower & Mango which feels like I use on an hourly basis as I hate having dirty hands/feeling dirty hands.

I've finally used up the Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation which although I hated by itself, when mixed in with others it gave flawless, full cover with a radiant glow which I'm considering repurchased. I've used up another MAC Eyebrow Pencil in Lingering which matches my brow colour beautifully and helps define them nicely. I've used up three packs of the Wilko Maxi Oval Cotton Pads which will forever feature in these posts as I go through as quickly as drinking water. Lastly, I've used up a pack of the No7 Quick Thinking Wipes which I use to take makeup off surfaces etc.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

January Birchbox Review

Another month and another brilliant Birchbox where this time around, they've collaborated with Women's Health to bring us Hit Refresh; a box themed around the New Year when we're all starting afresh with resolutions, hopes and goals for the year ahead. To coincide with this collaboration, there's a brilliant subscriber offer included where you can get 10 issues for just £18, saving 52% which is perfect if you're planning on improving your health and fitness during 2015. Also included is a Hit Refresh booklet containing 12 bite-sized challenges with quick and easy ways to small little changes for big benefits. 

The first product that caught my eye is a 10ml Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (£30) which I've used in the past and I'm so glad to have back in my life again! It's a fast acting, exfoliating treatment which promises to give you radiant looking skin after just one use. Plus, it looks and feels exactly like marmalade!

Another product that I was excited to get is a full size Stila Lip Glaze (£15) in the shade Gleam which is a pretty shimmery pink shade that doesn't quite translate to that on the lips but none the less, it's still a beautiful shade that will work well over a pale pink lipstick.

Next up is a 5ml sample of HealGel Intensive (£37.50) which is raved about across the blogging world and is hailed as one of the skincare products to own. It helps to repair, soothe and protect skin whilst leaving the skin glowing and radiant. This has been on my wishlist for what feels like forever so I'm so glad that I've received a sample of it to try before I splash out for it.

One addition to the box that I'm excited about trying is the Philip Kingsley Body Building Conditioner (£19) as I've never tried anything from the brand before! It works to transform lifeless locks and tame flyawas and is best suited for fine, limp or frizzy hair which means that this is definitely ideal for me!

A brand that I've never heard of before which has been included in this months box is the Activbod Cooling Finish Lotion (£12) which apparently is the perfect way to re-energise after a workout with an invigorating menthol lotion that not only moisturises the skin but provides a soothing, tingling sensation upon application. As I don't personally workout, this will be getting passed onto Rebecca who cycles daily.

The final thing included in this months box is a Birchbox & Women's Health Exclusive Pilates Band (£7.99) which in all honesty is rather pointless as I don't do pilates and don't think I ever will. However, it's described as being the ideal workout aid for toning, improving muscle endurance and increasing stength - despite it looking and feeling like a stretchy band, it's a lot more sturdy and resistant than it looks!

Sadly, there wasn't any Embrace Matcha Green Tea (£24.99) included in my box but to be honest, I'm glad that they weren't in it as I don't drink tea or green tea for that matter and nobody else in my family does.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Retinol Reface

Indeed Labs are renowned for their cult favourite; Hydraluron and have a huge following of worshippers including myself as they can simply do no wrong! Recently, I've noticed a few signs of aging, in particular around my eyes and whilst I don't want to fully commit to anti-aging skincare just yet, I do still want to prevent it from happening so I decided to try out one of their lesser worshipped products; Retionol Reface.

Retinol Reface (£19.99) contains Retinol which is a derivative of vitamin E which is considered to be one of the most effective ingredients in helping to reduce any visible signs of aging. As it combines not one but three forms of retinol, it will help to create softer, smoothing skin whilst targeting the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and crows feet.

The product itself comes in a clinical, almost scientific white squeezy tube with a pump dispenser which makes it less messy and more hygienic. One pump of the thick, white cream will be more than enough to cover the face and neck although I much prefer to use a pump and a half just to be on the safe side. Once applied, it leaves my skin feeling velvety-soft and come morning, my skin feels softer and looks more plump. Since using this twice a week in the evenings for the past few months, my skin has changed completely! It is no longer uneven in texture and instead feels softer and I've noticed that products no longer sit on my skin. For somebody who shouldn't be worrying about the first signs of aging, this product has me converted as I simply cannot live without it!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Samples I've Used Up 015

Like always, I've used up quite a few samples of Lancome Visionnaire which will continue to feature in every one of these posts as I have a mountain of samples of these. Visionnaire helps to make skin smoother whilst reducing the appearance of wrinkles and pores. I use this on a daily basis to help even out my skintone and I've noticed that it has helped so much. Whilst I may not be quite ready yet to splash out on a full size, I'll continue using my samples whilst I save up my pennies.

I've used up a generous sample size of the Origins Ginzing Eye Cream which is unlike any other eye cream that I've used as it actually helps brighten up the eye area with results that you can see from the first use! It helps brighten up the eye area whilst reducing the appearance of puffiness and fatigue all whilst hydrating the precious area. I will definitely be purchasing this in full size once I've used up a few more eye creams!

I've finished up a tube of Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Soufflé Body Crème which smells almost dreamy upon opening the tube and leaves the skin hydrated for hours. I managed to get three full leg applications from this generous sized sample and whilst I love what it does for my skin, I won't be repurchasing in full size as firstly it's way too expensive and secondly the scent started to smell a bit off shortly after opening.

Friday, 23 January 2015

L'Oreal Fibrology Thickening Mask

Hair masks are one of my guilty pleasures and one that I reserve mainly for the weekend as a little pampering treat. Majority of the time, I settle for one of the Aussie 3MM but somtimes I like to match my hair mask to the shampoo and conditioner that I'm using at the time so recently, I've been reaching for the L'oreal Fibrology Thickening Mask.

The L'Oreal Fibrology Thickening Mask (£5.09) along with the rest of the Fibrology range has been specially formulated to penetrate and instantly expand the hair to provide more body and bounce, to create the apperance of thicker hair with a cumulative long lasting effect. It comes housed in a simple blue tub with a screw top lid which matches the other products within the range. The product itself is pink which not only very unexpected but is quite appealing to the eye and smells exactly like salon quality products.

I like to generously scoop out quite a fair bit to coat all of my hair and not just concentrate on my length and ends as recommended to do. As it is light weight, I can get away with that as I know that it will not weigh my hair down as it will give me a lot of thickness instead. Once left in and rinsed out, my hair instantly feels thicker and fuller with an unbeatable shine that lasts until the next day or so. Just like with the matching shampoo and conditioner, I will definitely be repurchasing this!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Boots Haul 016

I'm sure that I'm not alone when I was eagerly awaiting for when Boots 70% off sale which is where all of their remaining christmas gifts are 70% off. I personally didn't go mad like a lot of people and actually only picked up three things, one of which isn't even included in the 70% off sale.

I picked up two of the Oral B Pro 2000 in Pink which I only paid £10.50 each for which is definitely a bargain considering that the standard Pro 2000 is £69.99 at full price. The reason why I picked up two is purely so that I can have one at home and one at the other halfs as I nearly always forget to bring it with me when I'm staying the night. The other item that I picked up is the Origins Masked Marvels Set which I paid £19.99 for. I actually bought one of these when it was offer of the week at £25 and I'm more than happy to have picked up another one!

Did you buy anything in Boots 70% sale?

Monday, 19 January 2015

L'Oreal Fibrology Shampoo & Conditioner

As I'm currently trying to embrace my new year beauty resolutions when it comes to spending less and using more, I've been slowly whittling down my haircare stash into a much more manageable affair. One duo that I've been using recently is the L'Oreal Fibrology which I bought at the beginning of last year when it first launched.

The L'Oreal Fibrology Shampoo and Conditioner (£3.99 each) have been specially formulated to penetrate and instantly expand the hair to provide up to 80% more body and bounce to create the appearance of thicker hair, with a cumulative long lasting effect. Essentially after a few washes using the duo continuously, the hair will feel thicker for longer as the innovative filloxane will remain in the hair.

From the first use, my hair instantly felt thicker and fuller which I was rather surprised about as my hair can be as flat as a pancake after washing. I noticed that after drying and styling, my hair had incredible volume and it felt as if my hair had texture despite only spraying in leave in conditioner and heat defence. Even after a few more washes still continuing with using the same duo, my hair felt so thick! Almost as if I had extentions in just without the hassle of applying them. Even my hairdressed commented on how much thicker my hair felt and how much longer it was despite abusing my hair daily with heat. Overall, this is a brilliant duo which definitely lives up to its claims and is one that I will definitely be repurchasing.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Look Fantastic Haul 001

In my last haul, I mentioned that I like to do my research before I splash the cash on a product. This is not entirely true especially when one of my good blogging friends, Sophia from Tattooed Tea Lady, raves about a product which then makes me want to buy it, especially when she's used said product for a good few years. Sophia, this haul is all your fault!

The said product in question is quite simply the Pai Kukui and Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator which uses natural jojoba beads to gentle exfoliate the skin. The formula is enriched with exotic oils which leaves the skin both refreshed and radiant after use. As it contains high-quality ingredients, it is perfect for all skin types including sensitive and problematic skin. Now, I particularly didn't fancy spending £20 alone on a facial exfoliator however for just £5.50 more, I could buy the Pai Intensive Brightening Facial Limited Edition Kukui Collection which included both the facial exfoliator and the new copaiba deep cleanse AHA mask which comes packagaed in a nicely designed box complete with a organic muslin cloth. 

If that wasn't enough, I also decided to buy the Pai Intensive Nourishing Facial Limited Edition Rosehip Collection which includes their blogger favourite Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil and Rosehip BioRegenerate Rapid Radiance Mask which again, comes packaged in a nicely designed box complete with an organic muslin cloth. As I spent over a certain amount which I wasn't intending on doing, I receieved a generous sample of the Pai Camella and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser which is worth £14. Sadly, it would appear that I bought these on the better part of Look Fantastic's sale as both sets are now back up to £30 compared to the £25.50 that I paid for each at the time. None the less, it is still a good deal considering both sets are worth £50 each.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Space NK Haul 001

If I'm ever going to really splurge on an expensive piece of makeup, I want to make sure that I've truly done my research and read plenty of reviews from both bloggers and general customers. This is purely so that I know that I won't have wasted my money on it and that I will use it on a daily basis. With that being said, this is how I ended up on the Space NK website on boxing day, placing an order for two said items that I've been wanting for a really long time.

The first is one that I've had on my wishlist ever since Laura from Belles Boutique did a review on it. The product in question is the Laura Mercier Lip Pencil in Carnation which I actually managed to get for half price. It's the most perfect light toned pink which albeit may be slightly too drying on the lips but once teamed with a lipstick, it is absolutely perfect. I've already started using it and it is definitely love!

The other is one that I'm sure everybody has heard of which is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette which is by far the most amount of money I've spent on any one piece of makeup! It is a little smaller than what I was expecting but the three shades; Dim Light, Incandescent Light and Radiant Light are absolutely stunning so definitely make up for it. These can be used alone as a highlighter or all over as a face powder or a combination of the two which is definitely how I intend on using this palette.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Lush Haul 002

I am forever finding myself walking past Lush but never really venturing in as I have enough bath bombs from previous trips to keep me going for a while. However there is just some about their sweet, intoxicating scent that just draws you in and before you know it, you've already handed over your card and end up walking out with a bag filled with deliciously scented bath bombs that you may or may not have needed. 

I actually ventured into my local store the day after boxing day and they still had lots of stuff left so I couldn't resist picking up a few of their christmas items especially when it was all half price. I managed to get Cinders, Dashing Santa and Golden Wonder which are all bath bombs as well as the Christmas Hedgehog bubble bar which starts to melt the minute you touch it. I also picked up the Little Snow Fairy Giftset which came with a 100g Snow Fairy Showergel as well as a mini pink FUN which is not pictured. Overall, I'm extremely pleased with everything that I got even if I didn't necessarily need it all.

What did you pick up from Lush's boxing day sale?

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Best of 2014: Beauty Tools

For what feels like forever, I've been using the Real Techniques Contour Brush for not contouring at all  but rather applying highlighter. It's the perfect shape for applying just the right amount of highlighter to the tops of my cheekbones, brow bone and cupids bow. It's starting to look a little worse for wear with the amount of times that I've used it and washed it so a replacement will definitely be needed soon. Another brush that I've been loving throughout 2014 is the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush which I used to use to apply my foundation with but nowadays, I use it to contour with. The wide, firm shape of the brush is literally the perfect shape to contour my face with it as it fits perfectly within the hollows of my cheeks and does the job so effortlessly. Whilst I can be a little heavy handed at times, this brush will blend it all out within an instant ensuring that there are no harsh lines. 

2014 was definitely the year that I realised that makeup sponges are the best way to apply foundation with and in particular, the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge which I have repurchased multiple times throughout the year. It has three different sides which all work together to apply, blend and buff in the foundation seamlessly without looking caked on. I actually own a Beauty Blender which I haven't used yet as I'm favouring this over it purely because it's the best thing I've ever discovered! Midway through the year, I discovered that filling in my brows makes any makeup look ever more polished and in order to do so, I've been using the disposable mascara spoolies to help brush my brows into place. I buy these in packs of 100 from China for only a few quid which is definitely a few quid well spent as they do the job so well and they last forever, well until they get dirty that is.

One beauty tool that I've used on a weekly basis throughout 2014 is the Mister Mascara Precision Point Tweezers which I actually received for Christmas '12! These bad boys have still remained sharp for over two years and they're still plucking out any stray hairs just as well as before. They may be expensive for what they are but they are the best damn tweezers I have ever used! The last beauty tool that has wowed me in 2014 is one that I actually picked up in America which is the Michael Mercier Detangling Brush which I much prefer over a tangle teezer as it has a handle to hold rather than gripping the brush itself. This is actually meant for thick hair which I didn't realise until I opened it up at home but despite me having quite thin hair, it does the job really well. This helps remove any tangles and knots within seconds and I can even use it on wet hair without running the risk of damaging it.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Best of 2014: Haircare

For the best part of the year, I've remained loyal to only Dove Nourishing Oil Care Leave-in Conditioning & Care Spray which is a bi-phase liquid that you have to shake up to combine the two layers before use. Unlike other leave in conditioning sprays that I've used in the past, the Dove offering leaves my hair feeling silky soft and nourished whilst smelling absolutely divine. As it absorbs so quickly, there are no tell tale signs of spraying anything into your hair so you can quite simply spray, massage in and go. Whilst I may have been a shampoo floozy, I've remained faithful to only one for my ritual Sunday pampering which is none other than the Boots Build Up Removal Shampoo. This helps removes any product build up from a weeks worth of styling whilst leaving the hair afresh for another weeks worth of styling. Unlike others which strip the hair, literally; this leaves my hair feeling clean but soft at the same time and is one that I urgently need to restock up on ASAP.

Another sunday ritual product that I used a lot during 2014 are the Aussie 3 Minute Miracles. My personal favourites include Shine and Reconstructor but all of them are quite simply deep conditioning treatments that smell heavenly. I like to apply this liberally to my hair and leave it in for a good ten minutes or so before washing it off. After washing it off and drying, my hair feels silky soft to the touch and looks so healthy. During 2014, I used heat almost daily and in order to protect my hair, I used the VO5 Heat Protection Spray which helps protect hair up to 230°C which is rather impressive. I simply spray this all over my hair before brushing it out and then using my straighteners. I find that whilst using this, my hair stays straighter for longer and I don't suffer with quite as many split ends. 

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Best of 2014: Skincare

Last year was the year where I started using acidic toners on a more daily basis and most mornings, I found myself reaching for the Botanics All Bright Cleansing Toner which is by far one of the more milder ones I've used. As it contains hibiscus which is one of natures brightness boosters, it leaves the skin brighter and smoother and it doesn't break the bank either. There has been only one serum which I have used everyday without fail which is the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ which I much prefer over the original. This helps with any blemishes and scarring left from blemishes as well as helping with redness, minimising blackheads as well as offering oil control. This is quite literally one of my favourite skincare products ever and will be one that I will continue to repurchase time and time again.

Next up is a product that I have a stash to rival the likes of Caroline Hirons which is none other than Hydraluron. Just like with the previous product, I've been using Hydraluron without fail every single day, twice a day and it's been helping with my dry skin look ever so plump. It is essentially a magnet that acts with your moisturiser to help drawer it further down in your skin which unless you've used it yourself, you'll know what I mean. It is extremely pricey especially when my next product is essentially a dupe of it but I cannot get enough of it and what it does for my skin. Before I started using Hydraluron, I discovered Lacura Aqua Complete Multi Intensive Serum which acts almost like Hydraluron just not with as purer ingredients. This helped transform my dry, dull skin into soft, hydrated skin which lasted all day. I use both this and Hydraluron together especially when my skin is feeling drier than normal and both help keep my skin hydrated.

Throughout 2014, I battled many breakouts some of which took what felt like forever to go away. Almost every single time, I used Sudocrem which may not be to everybodys standards but it truly worked wonders for me. I would apply this on top of my night time moisturiser/facial oil on any blemishes and come morning, it would have reduced a considerable amount in size and redness and after one or two more nights, it would have disappeared entirely. One of the only lipbalms that I craved, used a billion times and stocked up heavily on during 2014 were the EOS Lip Balms. They come in a spherical shape that not only makes people ask what you're using but makes them so easy to use. Whilst they may not be the most hydrating lip balms on the market, the huge variety of scents sure make up for it. I've definitely made sure that I've got more than enough to last me before my next trip to America!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Best of 2014: Makeup

The only foundation that I have repurchased multiple times during 2014 as well as use pretty much every day without a doubt has to be the Bourjois Radiance Reveal Healthy Mix Foundation. It has medium coverage which can be built up if you wish but I much prefer to mix it in with other foundations due to the healthy glow that it gives my skin. It feels both lightweight and hydrating on the skin and easily lasts for a good eight hours. During 2014, I became one of those girls who craved a radiant, dewy look and I couldn't have acheived such results with the L'Oreal Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer which can be used as both a primer or highlighter or mixed in with your foundation to create a dewy base. I personally use it as a primer as I found that no matter how much foundation I applied over it, the luminousity will still shine through.

I am so grateful that I discovered the Revlon Photoready Skinlights Face Illuminator in Pink Light during 2014 as I simply cannot live without it! I mix an equal part of this to my foundation and apply it like normal which creates the perfect radiant, dewy base that has quite literally become my radiant secret weapon that I use every single day without fail. 2014 saw me using one bronzer alone for the best part of the year which is the NYC Smooth Skin Bronzer in Sunny which I truly regret writing such a negative review about. This is quite literally the perfect bronzer to lightly contour the skin, adding warmth to the areas that need it most. It's neither too orange or too muddy, it's just the right colour especially for us pale beauties. 

My heart stayed true to only one lipstick which is MAC's Creme Cup which I'm very nearly out of as I've used it that much! It's the perfect pale, nudey pink shade which is ideal for everybody especially those who don't feel quite as confident wearing lipstick. I use it on those days where I'm not sure of what lip colour to wear so I stick to what I know suits me which this one does ever so well. As it is a cremesheen, it doesn't last that long on the lips but I personally don't mind reapplying it every so often. Thoroughout 2014, I discovered that filling in eyebrows can make just as much as an impact as wearing a bright lipstick as it just makes your makeup look even more put together. For the best part of the year, I was using the Natural Collection Eyeshadow in Crushed Walnut which with a very light hand, matches my eyebrow colour perfectly. As you can tell, it is very much loved as I've already hit pan on it!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

My 2015 Beauty Resolutions

Thoroughout 2014, I purchased more than my fair share of beauty products and instead of using my new products, I stuck to what I know and adore and only occasionally ventured out of my comfort zone. For 2015, I want to change all that and step out of my comfort zone completely. I want to truly embrace what I have already in my stash and stop spending money on products on things that I may already have. In order to do this, I'm setting my self a few 2015 beauty resolutions..

1. Stop spending money on products that I already have lots of/don't entirely need.
As somebody who currently has backups of backups, I shouldn't really be needing to spend money on products that I already have lots of/don't entirely need/have something similar already.

2. Use up more.
This goes hand in hand with number one - If I stop spending money on products that I already have and instead concentrate using up those products then I will eventually get through my huge stash of products.

3. Embrace a brighter lip colour.
I have a ton of brightly coloured lipsticks yet I stick to my neutral safe zone of pale pinks and nudes. I need to start be more daring with my makeup as I might just find a brightly coloured lipstick which I feel really comfortable with wearing.

4. Stick to what I know.
I swapped and changed a lot of my skincare products throughout 2014 which resulted in plenty of breakouts. This time around, I want to have a skincare routine that will not only work wonders for my skin but will make me stick to it.

5. Buy more clothes!
I spent so much money on makeup last year that I rather neglected the clothes sides of things. I want to start spending my money on clothes that will go hand in hand with my new found obsession with a brighter lip colour.