Monday, 31 August 2015

August Empties || Products I've Used Up

I've used up the Soap & Glory Clean On Me Shower Gel that seems to feature in almost every empties post as I use it primarily as a shaving lotion as it not only does it help aid in getting a closer shave but it helps moisturise my skin at the same time. I've finished up the Sanctuary Cleansing Burst Body Wash which was an okay shower gel however I wouldn't rush out to repurchase as there are much cheaper ones out there which do the same job. I've finally used up the Dove Dry Shampoo which at first I didn't like but then I grew to love it. It helped make second, third or even fourth day hair a lot more manageable whilst smelling really pleasant. I've used up the Sanctuary Body Scrub which is far too gentle for my liking as I prefer something a lot more harsh but it still did an okay job. I've finished up another Femfresh Daily Intimate Wash which all women should be using for those intimate areas.

I've used up the VO5 Heat Protect Styling Spray which has to be one of the better heat protections I've used as distributes the product out nicely whilst smelling really good. I've finished up a Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic which I went through far too quickly as I've missed how good it truly is! It helps to soothe and tone the skin after cleansing and/or chemically exfoliating without making the skin feel dry. I've used up the Soap & Glory Drama Clean Micellar Water which felt like I went through rather quickly despite it doing a decent job at removing the bulk of my makeup. I've finished up yet another La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ which is one of the only few serums that I use on a daily basis without fail. It helps to remove blemishes entirely whilst preventing new ones without irritating the skin. I've lost track as to how many tubes I've gone through of this now. I've used up a No7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum which again I use on a daily basis as it helps to prevent any signs of aging whilst hydrating the skin and making it feel silky soft. I've finished up yet another Hydraluron which is one beauty product that I cannot live without! This works as a magnet with your moisturiser to help hydrate the skin deep down and is another product that I cannot keep track as to how many I've gone through. I've used up a Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief + Whitening Toothpaste which is a brilliant budget toothpaste that not only helps with sensitivity but helps make teeth appear whiter too. I may repurchase this as soon as I've finished my current one.

I've used up two packs of the Wilko Maxi Oval Cotton Pads which are the only cotton pads I use as they're just the right size which fits my face without falling apart at the first sign of liquids. I've finished up the Pretty Twist & Out Instant Nail Varnish Remover which is basically a pot that has a sponge that has been soaked in nail varnish remover where you simply put your nail in and twist, until all the nail varnish is removed. It works brilliantly on all nail varnishes apart from glitters. I've used up a pack of the No7 Quick Thinking Wipes which I use for everything but taking off my makeup and will forever feature in these empties posts. I've finished up a MAC Eyebrow Pencil in Lingering which matches my brows perfectly and helps make them look fuller. Lastly, I've used up a Collection Fast Stroke Liquid Eyeliner which is one of the best liquid eyeliners I've used as it truly is black and doesn't budge.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Beauty Box || The Birchbox Beauty Junkies Box

Birchbox have definitely been upping the ante recently with their latest boxes which have been ranging from brilliant themed boxes to including cult beauty products. However for August, they've decided to go one step further and dedicate the box to all the beauty junkies out there and celebrate being a fully fledged beauty addict. It's jam packed with a variety of products ranging from makeup to bodycare with a few little extras thrown in for good measure. Without further ado, let's delve in and see what Birchbox are spoiling us with this month!

This month they're giving every subscriber not one but two makeup samples with the first being a Lord & Berry Blush in Lotus (£18) which is a neutral, rosy shade that is both stunning and flattering on the skin; whilst the other addition is a The Balm Bronzer in Desert (£15) which is pretty much almost identical to the cult favourite NARS Laguna in colour albeit containing a lot more shimmer that shows on the skin. Whilst the blush won't be getting a lot of love from me, I can guarantee that the bronzer will be getting used almost daily especially for heavier bronzed looks.

Next up is a generous sized Huygens Exfoliating Cream (£17.90) which is a cream based scrub containing nourishing sesame oil and anti-oxidant boosting green tea that uses rice powder particles to help smooth and slough away dead skin cells to reveal more radiant skin. As it is so gentle, you could easily get away with using it almost daily although for me, I think I'll stick to using a manual exfoliator twice a week. As it is one of the most cutest travel sized samples ever, I'll be reserving it for my next trip abroad!

Seeing as our face is covered, Birchbox have thrown in a decent sized Rituals Fortune Scrub (£10) for our body that covers both body wash and body scrub together. It contains an uplifting formula that is packed with sweet orange and cedar wood to slough away dull looking skin to reveal fresh, brighter skin that smells absolutely divine. I adore body scrubs especially those that smell almost edible so this will be getting used up almost instantly!

I've only ever used one clarifying shampoo in my life which is extremely gentle so I'm a little wary of the Kebelo Clarifying Shampoo (£13.95) as I don't want it to strip my hair colour, especially after getting it at the exact colour I've wanted it for ages. A little research into it and it apparently promises to give your hair a massive detox from both product build up and styling stress to leaving your tresses feeling incredibly soft and purified. Whilst it truly does sound good, I don't want to be taking that risk so this will be getting passed onto a friend who will get more use out of it than me.

A few little extras thrown in are the Formula 10.0.6 Overnight Success Spot Minimizing Patches (£2.95) which are essentially 21 teeny single use patches that are packed with tea tree extract and grape seed that help to soothe blemish prone skin overnight so that in the morning it's visibly clearer. I'm both a little skeptical and intrigued at the same time as to if these will work and if they're as good as to what they say there are. Lastly are some emoji themed stickers that are exclusive to Birchbox that are so adorable, I don't want to use them!

What do you think of this months box?

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Thicker & Fuller Hair Duo

For the longest time ever, I've been struggling with my hair when it comes to making it look fuller and thicker without having to resort to using hair extensions. Whilst I have had some success with the likes of L'Oreal Fibrology Shampoo + Conditioner that promises to make hair appear thicker with every use as well as using the Charles Worthington Volume & Bounce Texturising Spray for days when my hair is feeling flat and thin however they're both just not cutting it. Fast forward to my daily wandering amongst Boots and I discovered that OGX have released some new ranges including the Biotin & Collagen Shampoo + Conditioner.

The OGX Biotin & Collagen Shampoo + Conditioner (£6.99 each) is a high performance blend of Vitamin B7 Biotin that helps infuse nutrients into every strand of hair whilst the concoction of collagen and hydrolysed wheat protein helps create the appearance of thicker and fuller hair whilst making it healthier and adding some much needed dimension. 

Whilst I pretty much get on with all duos, this one I haven't had much luck with purely because of the conditioner. The shampoo itself is brilliant however the conditioner is far too thick to even get out of the bottle. It's literally a case of I have to use my teeth to dispense the product and even then it's far too thick to spread through my hair evenly. Although with that being said, it sure does a brilliant job at making my hair feel ultra soft and nourished whilst appearing more healthier than before. In terms of thickness, it does make my hair feel slightly thicker come morning but it is short lived as it disappears almost entirely the minute you apply heat. If they made the conditioner just a little bit lighter in consistency then they would definitely be onto a winner however for now, I think I'll stick to L'Oreal Fibrology as I know that it works well for me.

Has anyone else had this problem or similar?

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Samples I've Used Up 026

This month has seen me finally use up the last of my stash of the Lancome Visionnaire Serum which although I truly do love what it does for my skin, I just cannot justify spending £60 for a 30ml bottle which I know will barely last me a month. With that being said however,  I have found a dupe which I'm currently putting to the test which is only a fraction of the price so stay tuned for a review coming up within the next few weeks!

I've managed to use up not one, not two but three samples of Lancome Genefique which I use in the mornings after using Visionnaire the night before. Whilst I haven't noticed any ground breaking results with Genefique, I truly do like how soft it makes my skin and I believe that it helps my serums and moisturiser absorb a lot better. I have quite a few samples left of this until I think about buying it in full size however a quick google search brings up a dupe which I believe I already have in my stash, so we'll see how it compares.

I've finished up a sample of the No7 Youthful Eye Serum which I apply before applying any eye cream. Whilst this hasn't helped reduce the appearance of my obvious eye wrinkles which has been caused from lack of sleep, it does however make any eye cream I apply afterwards absorb a lot quicker and make the area feel incredibly soft and look hydrated! I've reviewed this in full which you can have a read about here.

I've used up a travel size CoLab Dry Shampoo in London which I kept in my bag for on the go. I much prefer this to Batiste because it doesn't leave the dreaded white cast which takes  a little while to get rid of entirely. I can definitely see myself repurchasing this once I've used up my current one. I was given a sample of the Estee Lauder Clear Difference Purifying Exfoliating Mask not too long ago which I managed to get two full face applications for it. Unlike some face masks, this contains tiny little particles which exfoliates the skin whilst you remove it. This helped make my skin feel incredibly soft and helped with any active blemishes reduce in appearance almost entirely the morning after. I will most definitely be buying this in full size in the next few months.

I haven't quite finished the Lord & Berry Eyeliner however because of it being a travel size  and thus sharpening it quite a lot, it has since run down a lot making it almost impossible to hold now. It's definitely one of the blackest pencil eyeliners I've come across however it doesn't quite beat the Rimmel Scandal Eyes. Lastly, I've used up a sample of Paco Rabanne Black XS L'Exces For Her which has to be one of their nicest smelling fragrances I've smelt! There's just something about it which smells so seductive and sophisticated which is making me want to buy it. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

Summer Fragrance Picks 2015

Now that Summer is drawing to a close and that we are now edging our way closer to winter which means jumpers and boots, I thought I'd share what fragrances I've been spritzing myself daily with during Summer. As you can tell from the image above, all these fragrances are well loved!

The Beyonce Heat Wild Orchid (£26.50) is one of the newest additions to my stash and is one that I didn't hesitate a minute in buying! With notes of pomegranate, honeysuckle and butterfly orchid to name just a few, this makes for one enticing, mouth-watering fragrance that just smells so exotic and fierce at the same time. 

One fragrance that I've had for quite a while now is The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Body Mist (£7.50) that despite being a body mist, it sure packs a punch and lingers on the skin for hours! It's one of the more uplifting fragrances of the lot that instantly puts a smile on my face the minute I spray it. I tend to layer this with other fragrances that wear it by itself purely for the fact that it seems to go with every fragrance I own.

Next up is Vera Wang Pink Princess (£34) that is one of the more messier fragrances of my stash due to it's pink glitter bottle that just seems to get everywhere. With notes of pink grapefruit, raspberry sorbet and marshmallow, this makes for one sweet lively fragrance. This is one that I tend to wear with the pink grapefruit body mist as it help enhances the grapefruit scent which in turn makes the scent linger longer on the skin.

Out of all the fragrances above, Joop Miss Wild (£29.50) is by far one of my all time favourites despite not spritizing it as often as the others. This is essentially the female version of the mens just more floral with hints of vanilla and spicy pink berries. I prefer to wear this when the other half is wearing the mens version as we're basically matching.

Last but most certainly not least is Jimmy Choo Exotic 2014 (£36.61) which is the exact same scent as this years version just packaged differently. This is the most sweetest scent in the line up whilst being fruity at the same time. It contains notes of blackcurrant sorbet and pink grapefruit which again I tend to layer with The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Body Mist. Unlike most EDT's which don't linger around for long, this one you can still smell many hours after spritzing which just goes to show how much of punch this fragrance has. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

A Real Techniques Offer You DONT Want To Miss!

It's not very often that I blog about offers however there is one offer in particular that has started today that you simply cannot miss! I'm sure we're all aware of the hysteria behind Real Techniques brushes and I'm pretty sure that we all own a fair few brushes from them. However until 25/08/15, the Core Collection Set is down to £10.99 instead of it's usual £21.99 which you simply cannot beat! 

I've had my set for just over three years now and they're still going strong albeit the black handles flaking a little but the bristles themselves are just as good as the day I first bought them. Whilst I will admit that I don't use the majority of the brushes in them quite as much as I once did, I couldn't resist buying another as a backup for when my current one needs replacing. I'm pretty sure that these will be flying off the shelves so you better be quick to grab yours!

Will you be rushing out to your local Boots to buy one?

Monday, 17 August 2015

Beauty Box || The Radiant Skin Edit

One of my biggest bug-bears with my skin is that I can create radiant looking skin with makeup however when it comes to wearing no makeup at all, my skin can look quite the opposite and be rather dull. One morning at work, a fellow blogger shared a link to her blogpost citing how incredible value the Feel Unique Radiant Skin Beauty Box was which instantly made me purchase it, especially after googling for a cheeky discount code too!

The only product that I've tried from the box is the Caudalie Beauty Elixir (30ml, worth £11.50) which stupidly I did not review at all despite it being such a cult product in the blogging world. It is essentially a facial spray that is packed full with natural waters and essential oils that smells both incredibly refreshing and instantly perks up the skin. I used to use this as my toner daily however with this travel size, I'm going to preserve it for when my skin is in need of a pick me up.

Next up is a product that I'm most excited about trying which is of course the REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial (75ml, worth £32) which is the quicker acting sister of the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask just without the quite as dramatic results. I've never used this before but after reading up a few reviews, I'm rather excited to start using it! To use, you simply dampen your fingers and apply the mask whilst gently massaging it in as you apply it. Leave it for one minute so that the Vitamin C can do it's thing before rinsing it off.

Another addition to the box is the Glam Glow Youth Mud Exfoliating Mask (15g, worth £15) which despite being a rather small sample, it definitely packs a punch! This is another product that I haven't used before either however it is a cult product that I should have tried out sooner. It's a grainy feeling texture that you leave on the skin for up to ten minutes before removing it off which essentially manually exfoliates the skin whilst also chemically exfoliating the skin from having left the mask on. After removal, the skin instantly looks more clear and radiant. I'm truly hoping that I don't fall head over heels in love with this product as the price tag for it in full size.

Saving the best till last are the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads (x28, worth £12) which I've been debating about purchasing for the longest time ever! These act very similar to the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads which I've reviewed in full here albeit being slightly more travel friendly. Depending on your skin type, you can use these twice a day after cleansing to help gently exfoliate the skin which in turn will help make the skin appear more radiant. I'm literally so excited to start using these and I bet this will turn into a long love affair too!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Skincare Addition || Soap & Glory Drama Clean Micellar Water

Micellar waters are one of the few beauty products that took the blogging world by storm last year with the majority of skincare brands bringing out their own version including the likes of L'Oreal, Garnier and Simple; not forgetting that Bioderma were the ones who started the trend. Whilst I've tried my fair share of micellar waters, I've recently been reaching the Soap & Glory Drama Clean Micellar Water who as a brand can do no wrong especially when it comes to their infamous body range but in terms of skincare, I've only tried a few products including The Ultimelt which has to be one of the better hot cloth cleansers I've used after the likes of Liz Earle.

The Soap & Glory Drama Clean Micellar Water (£6) is an oil free, non-drying formula that helps remove makeup, dirt and impurities in as little as one sweep which leaves the skin feeling both fresh and smooth. As it contains a number of ingredients including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, rich peach and goji berry extracts, cool cucumber water juice, botanical cornflower extract and aloe vera leaf juice, it is suitable for all skin types.

Whilst all micellar waters pretty much do the exact same thing, the cute pink packaging is certainly a winner for me and makes it stand out amongst the rest of the Soap & Glory lineup. I use this in the evening and tend to soak about three to four cotton pads, depending on if I've wearing heavier makeup and it's almost all of. There is no constant rubbing or tugging at the eyes which means no irritation - winning! Despite this, I do feel that I'm going through this as quickly as water so I won't be repurchasing it for that reason although with that being said, they have made the bottle a lot bigger so it should last slightly longer.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Illuminating Powder 2015

There is only one collection that I look forward to being re-released every Summer; not because I buy every single product from it as that would both be ludicrous and expensive but because I get a weird thrill from seeing the same products being re-released again just like in previous years. That one collection is the Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess which has got such a cult following that I can completely understand why everyone goes crazy for it each and every year. I personally didn't get on with the infamous fragrance at first but it was only when I smelt it on myself that I understood why everybody said that it's a holiday in a bottle and instantly rushed out to buy a bottle for myself. Fragrances aside, this year they've re-released the Bronze Goddess Highlighter which they've renamed this year as the Bronze Goddess Illuminating Powder Gelee which I bought the very second I swatched it.

The Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Illuminating Powder Gelee (£32) is one half highlighter and one half bronzer but all round one hell of a beaut! The beauty of this product is rather the formulation as it's a slick gel like powder that effortlessly glides onto the skin instantly creating a glowing sheen to the skin without shimmer or glitter particles included. It creates a natural lit from within glow that doesn't need anything more as it looks effortless by itself. The gel based powder is not only long wearing but cooling on the skin too, it doesn't settle into fine lines nor open pores, making one hell of a fuss free product.

Unlike other highlighters that I own, the Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Illuminating Powder Gelee has a slight bronze tinge to it which instantly adds a little warmth to the skin which you can use as either a highlighter, bronzer or both. I personally wouldn't use it in place as a bronzer due to both the finish of the product as well as the shade however I would much rather pair it with the likes of say, NARS Laguna for an effortless sun kissed look without being too over the top. What I like the most of this product is no matter how much you apply, you can not over do it so I can often be found dusting this all over for a really radiant, lit from within look that no other highlighter can achieve. It may be one of the more expensive highlighters out there but I promise that you won't be disappointed!

Friday, 7 August 2015

Celebrate 80 Years with No7!

 Who would have thought that No7 have been around for 80 years now, eh?! To mark this special occasion, No7 have brought out a limited edition collection specially for their 80th Anniversary which I will talk more into depth on a seperate post as well as a free gift which is yours when buying any two cosmetics. Now I know that I say this about all their free gifts however you will want to get your hands on this particular one especially as it contains a voucher to get a free lipstick!

In true No7 style, they've included a teeny sample of their Intense Volume Mascara which has a traditional bristle brush to help create lush, defined lashes without skimping out on the volume! As with all No7 mascaras, you can build it up until you've reached your desired effect. Also included is a sample of the Skin Illuminator Radiance Boosting Beauty Fluid which contains particles of iridescent shimmer which reflects the light to create a beautiful, radiant healthy glow. This is one of those multi use products that is handy to have as you can use it as both a highlighter, primer or even mixed in with your foundation.

Just like with all the previous gifts, they've thrown in an eyeshadow which is the bottom shade from the Stay Perfect Forest Fruits Trio which is a beautiful plum colour that is very glitter based which would finish off any intense smokey eye look. The last addition to the gift is one that makes this gift worth while to get as included is a voucher to receive a free No7 match made lipstick which is worth £9.95! You can either book your match made service to find out both your foundation colour and the perfect lipstick to go alongside it or you can just choose any lipstick that takes your fancy. Unforunately, this voucher is only limited to the Match Made Moisture Drench and Match Made Stay Perfect ranges so any of their heritage or sheer temptation shades are excluded altogether. 

 Will you be running out to get this awesome gift?

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Rimmel Wonder'Full Mascara

I've definitely become a bit of a hoarder when it comes to makeup as I seem to buy everything that I see on offer which immediately goes into my backup makeup drawer - yes, I've become one of those people! I have more than enough makeup to last me for many years just I cannot seem to resist buying more especially when there are new products launching all the time! One said launch that I'm rather late to the party on is the Rimmel Wonder'Full Mascara which continues to be one of their more popular mascaras.

The Rimmel Wonder'Full Mascara (£7.99) is a new and improved version of the original just with the added extra of it containing argan oil. Unlike the original, this helps the lashes feel conditioned and not weighed down - no matter how many coats you apply! Combined with the ultra flex brush that has ultra-soft bristles that literally hugs the lashes, defining them from root to tip to help create clump-free, fuller looking lashes.

I will admit that I was a little skeptical when it came to using this mascara partially because I do suffer with gaps which was caused by eyelash extensions and I've literally tried everything to help regrow my lashes. However I'm not entirely sure why I was skeptical of using this mascara as although it hasn't helped regrow my lashes completely, it has helped make my lashes look fuller with every use. When used by itself, it does define the lashes more than any other mascara however I much prefer to use it for the finishing coat as it truly defines the lashes to create the ultimate fanned out look without skimping out on the volume. I wouldn't necessarily say that this is a bad mascara for what it does but it just hasn't transformed my life as much as other mascaras have.

Monday, 3 August 2015

The New Obsession || Primer Water

Out of all of the wackiest things I've bought since I've starting blogging, I would have to say that the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water (£20) has to be right up there with the Tony Moly Pocket Bunny Moist Mist as essentially you're just paying for fragranced water however the Smashbox offering is a little more than your traditional water spray. 

It's a silicone/alcohol/oil-free spray that comes with a long list of claims including the use of revitalising electrolytes in the formula which in the instructions state that you can use it before makeup, after makeup to help set everything in place or as and when needed to help liven it up. Whilst it works for me best all three ways, it works for me better as a before makeup step as just a few quick spritz gives me a dewy look, right before I've even put anything on (and anything applied afterwards just adds to the dewy look!)

Unlike most water sprays where it mists out the right out amount, the spritz on this can be rather tempremental so you can be anyway from ready to walk out the door to sitting around for 10 minutes waiting for it all to sink in and wondering if it's best to just start all over again. I personally settle for somewhere in the middle - ready to walk out the door with moisture on the skin as quick fan of the old hands makes it sinks in a lot quicker. A lot of people have been saying that this is a dupe of MAC Fix+ and whilst the ingredients lists for both do read similar in some aspects, it is a fair comment to make as they do perform similar roles despite it costing more than the MAC offering..

To sum it all up, does using the Smashbox Primer Water before/after applying makeup make things last longer? I'm not entirely sure as it's one of those products that makes the whole applying makeup feel more yet it makes it all look more professional however in terms of making things looking fresh again, it certainly ticks all the boxes!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

July Favourites

Another month has come and gone and I honestly feel like this year is well and truly flying by! July has been another whirlwind of a month and has been filled with lots of impulse buys so I definitely need to start saving up again! I've mainly stuck to products that I know work wonders for me so let's delve into which products I've been loving this month..

I've really been committing to really radiant, dewy skin and as I've been working my butt off at work - literally; I've been reaching for the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water to not only create a radiant base but also to set my makeup too. This has well and truly transformed the way I apply my makeup and will remain to be a staple product in my makeup routine.

To go alongside my radiant skin, I've been bronzing myself up to look as if I've been abroad instead of spending ten minutes dusting it all over and the only bronzer that I've been using is the Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Airbrushing Bronzer in Light Bronzer. I'm not entirely sure where they got the airbrushing idea from as I wouldn't necessarily say that this gives an airbrushed finish however it does go on very nicely and lasts for hours on the skin. As it's such a light bronzer, you can easily build it up to achieve the desired bronzed effect.

Just like last month, I've been really enjoying filling in my brows so I've been using both the MAC Eyebrow Pencil in Lingering to fill in any sparse looking areas whilst using the Benefit Gimme Brow over it to even out the colour and make my brows look that little bit thicker. These two together are literally the dream team and is one that I don't want to break up any time soon yet.

I've been really trying to use up my beloved MAC Lipstick in Creme Cup not to just finish it but because I truly love the colour! It's such a beautiful pale pink yet that looks so natural yet flattering on my skin and is one of my must used lipsticks.