Saturday, 17 November 2012

November: Beauty review

While some monthly beauty reviews may constitute my favourite picks of the previous four weeks, November has played host to a fair few products that I've used up – good and bad. Often, my impatience gets the better of me and I admit defeat to a product which may have proven me wrong had I seen it through to its dying day. As I've used every last drop of these products, I feel they've had a good enough test drive to be given a pass or fail. Without further ado...

Caudalie Vinosource Moisturising Matifying Fluid: A lightweight fluid that didn't irritate my skin or leave a greasy residue. The problem was, because it's so light, I needed to use more of it, and before I knew it, the tube's life had been squeezed out of it. It’s the nicest-feeling moisturiser I’ve used to date (step back, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel), but I’m still on the hunt for a wonder product that can conquer shine throughout the day.
Would I repurchase? Yes

Alpha-H Liquid Gold: After using every last drop of this resurfacing treatment, I would say it’s going straight on my Christmas list, but I just don’t think I can wait that long to have it back in my skincare routine. Within days of using it, there was a noticeable improvement in the texture of my skin, and now I’ve had to live without it for a couple of weeks, I’ve noticed my complexion regressing.

Would I repurchase? Yes (someone try and stop me)

L’Oreal Mythic Oil Milk: See review here. My other heat protectants just don’t seem to be filling the void since I used the last spritz of this.
Would I repurchase? Yes

MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer: I have a love/hate relationship with this concealer. At times it blends well, and at other times it works against my foundation and clings to dry patches. What it does provide is the perfect coverage. I’ve just purchased BECCA’s Compact Concealer, so I’m eager to see how it squares up.

Would I repurchase? No

No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Water for Normal/Oily Skin
: After religiously using lotions, washes and oils, I decided to dive in at the deep end and introduce myself to cleansing waters. What I found with this product was it didn't remove my make-up very effectively (I was going through cotton pads by the handful), and more often than not, the formula felt harsh on my skin. I’m still interested in trying out the illustrious Bioderma Crealine H2O, but this experience has sent me straight back to my trusty Seaweed Purifying Facial Cleanser by The Body Shop.
Would I repurchase? No

Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Mascara
: I’d been interesting in trying MUFE products ever since watching the Pixiwoo ladies rave about them. One trip to Sephora in Barcelona later, and I'm sold; this wand has worked wonders on my stubborn, straight lashes. If you’re like me and favour thick, dramatic lashes (and will turn a blind eye to a few clumps here and there), this mascara could be for you thanks to its dry formula. The only downside is that the brand’s availability in the UK is virtually non-existent, but I’ll be heading to Guru Makeup Emporium to repurchase this imminently.
Would I repurchase? Yes

Saturday, 1 September 2012

My summer secret weapon: Clinique Self Sun Face Bronzing Gel Tint

Getting some colour is one of summer's many perks, but when all of a sudden you're left with a host of foundations too light for you, it poses somewhat of a problem. At times like this, I turn to my faithful Clinique Self Sun Face Bronzing Gel Tint

You can apply it to your face before applying foundation, but I prefer to mix it in with my foundation of choice to make it a shade or two darker. Not only does it save buying a completely new foundation that may only suit you for a month, it's oil-free and instant, so no ugly surprises hours after application. 

What's more, a little goes a long way (I've had mine for well over two years now), and it's an incredibly handy product to take on holiday when you're inevitably going to get darker day by day. It also proves to be a great alternative to bronzing powder if you want to avoid any chalkiness in the heat – I just pop a smidgen onto my hand and using a foundation brush, buff onto my temples and the hollows of my cheeks.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Growing your hair

To many, this will seem like a redundant post. I can hear the cries now: “What, you think you deserve a medal for letting your hair grow long? Clap, clap.” Well, yes, actually. My hair grows slower than an injured snail, and there’s a reason why there are so many products on the market that guarantee the promise of tresses that could rival Goldilocks'. Believe me, I’ve tried it all – vitamins, supplements, hair growth treatments, extensions... Now that my hair is finally past my breasts (the quintessential rule of thumb), I can safely put it down to a number of things that will create minimal harm to the purse strings.

Here are my tried-and-tested tips for growing your hair:

Turn down the heat. One hard lesson I’ve had to learn is while you may think your straighteners are your best friend, you would in fact be very, very wrong. A couple of years ago, my hair was shedding at a fast rate and snapping off constantly, and in the end, I put it down to using my straighteners nearly every day of the week. Because I wasn’t using them to make my hair poker straight, I didn’t consider it to be particularly damaging. Clearly, I was wrong. Upon returning to university last Autumn, I went cold turkey by deliberately leaving my straighteners at home and as a result, my hair has got thicker and longer and has been breaking off less. Most of all, I’ve realised I don’t need to use my straighteners every day, and now, I only pick them up about once a week.

Treat your hair as you would your skin. Moisture is key, and your strands will reap the benefits and thank you for it. For the past year, I’ve been using deep conditioners at least once a week. In addition, I would hugely recommend investing in a hair oil product that contains silicones to keep your ends in good condition (Moroccanoil Light has proved to be my favourite so far), as well as using a pure essential oil as an overnight treatment – I've been enjoying coconut oil as of late.

Wash your hair less. Now, I’m not saying rocking a Severus Snape ‘do is the way to go, but this follows on from my last point in giving your hair added moisture. Your hair needs moisture to prevent it from drying out and snapping off, and by washing your hair every day, you're depriving both your scalp (to encourage growth) and your ends (to prevent breakage) of their natural oils. If you're a serial washer, make an effort to leave your hair an extra day before reaching for the shampoo again. Soon enough, your hair will adapt to the new cycle and withstand grease for longer. I try and leave my hair three days between washing, and I'm certain it helps, not to mention requires a lot less effort.

Leave the hairdresser happy. The past few times I’ve paid a trip to the salon, I’ve reached a negotiation whereby the amount that's cut off is not so much as to perpetuate the vicious circle of going back to square one after every haircut, but enough to improve its condition and be worth the visit. By stating you want a trim, but making a firm and honest point of how little you want off and how disgustingly protective you are about your locks, the hairdresser should respect your wishes and want you leaving a happy customer.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Review: Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick for Rimmel

When it comes to nude lipsticks, I tend to sway towards the beige end of the spectrum. I don't know what it is about pink – perhaps I'm just scared of being too "girly" – but when push comes to shove, or the clock hand strikes 10 minutes late, I always end up reaching for the beiges, reds and plums over the pinks. For a while now, I've been on the hunt for the perfect beige-toned nude, and, by golly, I think I've found it, all thanks to the Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick Collection for Rimmel. Yes, apparently Miss Moss can do it all, including answering all my lipstick prayers.

The perfect nude in question comes in shade 03. It first grabbed my eye when my housemate sported it, and lo and behold, I dashed out to buy it the following day. Its the perfect mid tone; not so dark as to be unflatteringly ageing, but not so light as to bring back haunting memories as a teenager smearing concealer on your lips (we've all been there). The consistency is similar to MAC's Cremesheens, so the "too much of a good thing" rule does apply and your lips must be prepped beforehand. During the daytime, I've found applying it sparingly straight from the bullet washes me out a little, so instead I prefer to dab it on and work it into the lips. While I have yet to try this theory out, I expect that during nights out, it will sit perfectly with a smoky eye, allowing me to be more liberal with how much I put on.

How it compares with other nudes:

L-R: Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick in 03, Vivo lipstick in Nougat, Accessorize lipstick in Burnt Almond,  MAC Patisserie (Lustre)

L-R: Kate Moss Rimmel lipstick in 03, VIVO Lipstick in Nougat, Accessorize Lipstick in Burnt Almond,  MAC Patisserie (Lustre)

Monday, 11 June 2012

Beauty review: May

Here in Britain, May gave us the dose of summer we'd been lusting after and while the weather since has left a lot to be desired, I've been putting a selection of products to the test to see if they can survive the warmer months. Read on for my monthly beauty round-up...

Decléor Aroma Purete Matt Finish Skin Fluid Having never tried Decléor before, I had high hopes when I read that their Aroma Pureté range "enables those with oily and combination skin to find their natural balance". To my disappointment, the Matt Finish Skin Fluid fails to beat the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, which stands at a a snip of its price. As velvety as the Fluid feels at first touch, its results tend to be short-lived, and have only served to reinvigorate my hunt for a mattifying yet balancing moisturiser I can't live without.

Clarins Bronzing Duo Mineral Powder Compact SPF 15 This bronzer is a dream, coming in two shades, light and dark. The lighter shade is matte and perfect for a subtle contour in the daytime, while the darker shade has a lovely but subtle shimmer to it, making it the ultimate product to take you from day to night. What's more, the bronzer comes in a beautiful tortoiseshell compact, guaranteeing it a place in my handbag for the forseeable future. I have the medium shade, so I would imagine the light version would be a godsend for those at the very pale end of the spectrum.

MAC Mineralize Satinfinish SPF 15 Foundation I've been very wary of MAC foundations ever since my encounter with the Studio Fix Fluid, which oxidised like crazy on my skin and made me look jaundiced. Thankfully, the Mineralize Satinfinish is a different story. Its fluid, water-based consistency is unlike any other foundation I've ever used, mainly because I've always shied away from bases that aren't oil-free. Although it doesn't have the staying power I've become accustomed to with my other foundations, I can't help but love its easy, lightweight and blendable formulation as we slip into summer.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo I wanted to love this, particularly as the French brand's Effaclar line comes on Lisa Eldridge's recommendation. On application every night, the product stings, and while at first I convinced myself this was merely a sign that "something was happening", I'm beginning to think my skin is more easily-irritated than I thought (odd, as La Roche Posay is formulated for sensitive skin conditions). Having said this, my housemate uses it and swears by it, so the jury is still out on this one. Watch this space...

Eylure Sex and the City Lashes – Carrie Let's not be fooled by the name tag – I see no Manolo Blahniks on my feet nor a glitzy Manhattan apartment to go home to. However, at £1.99 from my local Savers, there's no room for debate. While they're not the kind of lashes you can blag on an amazing new mascara, they boast a lovely fluttery style which are easy to apply, and I received a number of compliments on them when I sported them a few nights ago.

L'Oreal Professionnel Mythic Oil Milk This is working its way to becoming my favourite hair product. After the success of the Mythic Oil, this Milk formula is unbeatable as a lightweight alternative to my Macadamia Natural Oil Healing Oil Treatment. I often find hair oil is too heavy to use straight after I've washed my hair, and as a mist, the Mythic Oil Milk is the perfect fuss-free product to spritz into my locks before blowdrying. It doesn't hurt that its smell is absolutely divine as well.

Make Up Academy Professional Eye Palette – Heaven and Earth MUA is fast rising as a drugstore brand that gives value for money. At £4 and with 12 neutral shades, this palette is inevitably going to put itself up for comparison with Sleek MakeUP's Au Naturel palette. Heaven and Earth includes a gorgeous selection of warm and cool shades which are highly pigmented and include a fair few MAC dupes. My only grievance is that every offering is shimmery, which makes Sleek's version (which offers both matte and shimmery shades), a lot more user-friendly for everyday use. Nevertheless, this palette is sure to be at hand when I want to create a perfect summer night bronzed eye.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Review: Dermalogica Skin Renewal Booster

Dermalogica Skin Renewal Booster
Image: Dermalogica

I’ve never been a huge fan of Dermalogica, mainly because their range targeted towards combination/oily skins completely stripped my skin, dried it out and left it in a worse condition to what it was. I do however rate their products suited to drier skins and use two that I find are particularly effective, the first being the Skin Hydrating Masque which I’ve been enjoying for about a year now, and the second being a new discovery, the Skin Renewal Booster.

The Skin Renewal Booster is an exfoliating complex of hydroxy acids and soothing plant extracts to actively loosen dead surface debris, smooth the skin and improve texture. In my experience, it works wonders to eradicate any pesky dry patches on the face which I find my foundation and concealer are insistent on clinging to. The instructions on the bottle direct you to apply a small dose prior to moisturiser, though I find it works equally as well following. For those with dry skin, I would imagine it would work well in this way in place of a primer, while I like to use it with my Benefit POREfessional to create a flawless finish. As my combination skin continues to be at odds, I expect this will be one of my go-to products to keep the peace among my beauty staples.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Review: The Body Shop Lip and Cheek Stain

I donʼt know about you, but as the summer draws near I fall for a multi-purpose product quicker than my skin turns beetroot. Every step in my beauty routine must be quick, easy and fail-proof. As someone at odds with an oily t-zone day-to-day, Iʼm not big on using cream blushes, but as the temperatures get warmer, the powdered look is a big no-no. The Body Shopʼs Lip and Cheek Stain, £10, provides the perfect happy medium with minimal effort required. Dot onto the apples of the cheeks, blend out the edges and away I go. As for the lips? The liquid formula gives my pout a gorgeous berry tint which guarantees some serious staying power. Verdict? Itʼs the ultimate no-nonsense secret weapon for this season, taking me effortlessly from day to night.