Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Imedeen Hair & Nails Supplements: Beauty Resolutions #1

As a beauty blogger, I often have to discipline myself to stick to various regimes in order to thoroughly test products before sharing my views with you.  Sometimes it seems I perform so many ‘beauty rituals’ that I feel like a diva (& yes there are times when I feel like forgetting it all for a night & just jumping into bed!).  At other times I’m aware that I neglect certain procedures that I shouldn’t… simple things like applying cuticle oil religiously. 

So I’ve decided to lay my cards on the table and share with you which beauty regime I plan to stick to each month, in the hope that you can hold me accountable… in fact I’d love it if some of you would join me so we can spur eachother on!

First up is supplements.  Not very sexy, but I’m becoming increasingly convinced of their benefits.  Now I don’t know about you, but I’m useless at taking supplements.  I buy them full of great intentions, give them pride of place where I’ll see them daily (usually the cupboard where I keep breakfast things), be a good girl for a few days, then start thinking ‘oh I’ll take them later…’ and on it goes. 

IMEDEEN Hair & NailsIMEDEEN Hair & Nails 2IMEDEEN Hair & NailsIMEDEEN Hair & Nails 2

I’ve recently started a new set, which I’m actually excited about, because I really think they will work: Imedeen Hair & Nails.  I’ve heard great things about Imedeen’s skincare supplements, so am enthusiastic about taking these and hope my anticipation will help me stick to taking them regularly!

They claim to help maintain healthy hair and nails via a targeted combination of key nutrients and new formula upgrade.  Ingredients include up to ten times more Biotin than other supplements (for hair growth and follicle formation), zinc (to maintain healthy hair and nails), silica and vitamin B complex. 

I’m on a 3 month trial and will of course report back on my findings. Customers have even reported a difference in eyelash growth, so I have high hopes!

IMEDEEN’s Hair & Nails capsules relaunch in Boots nationwide tomorrow (August 1st) RRP £23.99

Anyone else up for monthly beauty resolutions? (why save these things for January?!)

Product provided for review

Monday, 30 July 2012

Mavala Denim Blue 178: Jeans for Genes Monday Mani

Mavala 178 Denim Blue Jeans for Genes Swatches

£1 from every purchase of Mavala’s Limited Edition Jeans for Genes Day Kit, sold exclusively through BeautyBay.com, will help transform the lives of children affected by genetic disorders.

The Swiss nail care brand has partnered with Jeans for Genes Day to raise cash for Genetic Disorders UK.  By purchasing one of these gorgeous sets you will also be entered into a draw to win an office manicure day for you and your colleagues with Mavala Nail Ambassador & Celebrity Manicurist, Jenni Draper.

And if all of that isn’t good reason enough to purchase, the polishes are gorgeous to boot!

Mavala 178 Denim Blue Jeans for Genes (7) Mavala 178 Denim Blue Jeans for Genes (3)Mavala 178 Denim Blue Jeans for Genes (2)

The dinky little kit contains a bottle of deliciously metallic polish in Denim Blue along with Mavala’s Super Base and Top Coat Fixator.

Mavala 178 Denim Blue Jeans for Genes Swatches (2)

The polish is so highly pigmented you could almost get away with a single coat, though of course I did two.  A beautiful dark denim navy, the iridescent shimmer appears almost royal blue in direct light.

Mavala 178 Denim Blue Jeans for Genes (4)

Excuse the nick in my forefinger nail above (where I was interrupted to make gravy!), but I love how the colour looks almost peacock blue in this image.

Mavala 178 Denim Blue Jeans for Genes (5)

In the shade, or a softer light, it just looks like a gorgeously glossy navy with a high sheen. Love it!

Mavala Limited Edition Jeans for Genes Day Kit costs £10.00 only at BeautyBay.com and is available now. £1 from every purchase will be given to Genetic Disorders UK.

Jeans for Genes Day is on Friday 5th October 2012, when people are asked to show support by wearing jeans to work or school in return for a donation - why not suggest it at your work or school? More info at jeansforgenesday.org

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Dr LeWinn’s Renunail Nail Strengthener: Rave Review

Dr-Lewinn's-Renunail-Nail-Strengthener (4)

This is the second bottle of Dr LeWinn’s Renunail Nail Strengthener that I’ve purchased.  I’ve tried others, but for really powerful, rapid results Dr LeWinn’s is a winner.

My nails had become soft and brittle over the past few months and I was fed up with them, especially when posting nail pics on my blog - I felt I wasn’t doing the polishes justice - it was time to call in the heavies!

Dr-Lewinn's-Renunail-Nail-Strengthener

The reason I hadn’t purchased earlier is because Renunail doesn’t come cheap, but there are valid reasons for that.  Firstly, it’s twice the size of a normal bottle of strengthener or polish at 30ml/1 fl oz. Secondly, it works quicker and more effectively than anything else I’ve tried. It literally makes my nails hard as nails - and has done the same for so many friends that I recommended it to.  It’s a very runny formula, so only a little is needed, meaning the bottle does last me a long time.

“This calcium enriched award wining treatment product is the ultimate hero in the Dr LeWinn’s line.  Promising longer strong nails in just 4 weeks this nail strengthening complex is perfect for weak, brittle, slow growing and prone to chipping nails as an intensive SOS treatment.”

Dr-Lewinn's-Renunail-Nail-Strengthener (2)

I’ve been applying it once or twice a day for a couple of weeks and as you can hopefully see, my nails are now strong, healthy and for me - quite long - or as long as I like to go really.

The recommended programme of use is:

  • 2 coats daily for 5 days
  • remove on day 7
  • repeat process x 3 for 25 days in total
  • give nails a rest for 1-2 wks

While I have given my nails a break from polish the past week, I generally don’t stick to any kind of regime - I just apply Renunail when I remember, use it as a base coat for polish and sometimes apply it over polish.

It does contain Formaldehyde, which I know will put some of you off - and it’s advised to avoid cuticles during application (I have done so by accident & it just stung slightly - no biggy). 

Dr-Lewinn's-Renunail-Nail-Strengthener (3)

Normally priced at £17.50 at drlewinns.co.uk, I was lucky to pick it up at my local Sainsbury’s where the range was on offer for around £11 a couple of weeks ago.  I also got the top coat, which seems pretty good too - I’ll include it in an overview of my favourite top coats coming soon.

I also rate Nailtiques Formula 2, which I reviewed here - it works well if you’re not in so much of a hurry - and doesn’t make nails quite so hard. I wasn’t impressed by OPI Nail Envy, which did very little for my nails, though I’ve heard others rave about it.

If you’ve tried any other products by Dr LeWinn’s I’d love to know what you think of them… please do leave a comment below.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Dior Addict Lipstick Fall 2012 #646 Wild & #816 Instinct

Dior Addict Lipstick Fall 2012

I’m head over heels with these two Dior Addict Lipsticks from the Fall 2012 Collection: Wild #646 and Instinct #816.  While these two deep brown nudes look quite similar in the bullet, there are distinct differences between the two when applied.

Both are beautifully creamy and moisturising in formula; it would be difficult to ‘over apply’ them.  I love a moisturising lipstick, particularly in Autumn/Winter and am equally fond of a formula that can be applied ‘blind’, sans mirror - slick it on in the back of a taxi in confidence that it will look good.  Although well pigmented, the formula is quite sheer and glaze-like, difficult to get wrong, easy to get right and a pleasure to wear.

These kind of tones tend to be my Autumn Winter lip uniform. I may stray to a deep wine, red or fuchsia, but this is my version of an everyday ‘distinctive nude’ lip.

Dior Addict Lipstick in Wild #646

Dior Addict Lipstick 646 Wild Dior Addict Lipstick 646 Wild (2)Dior Addict Lipstick 646 Wild (3) Dior Addict Lipstick 646 Wild (4)

Wild is the lightest of Dior’s four new A/W lipsticks.  An extremely wearable copper brown with a subtle gold pearlescent sheen, Wild is really quite sheer on application - a light glaze of colour that dresses the lips without looking overly made up.

Dior Addict Lipstick Wild Swatched

This is my idea of a nude lipstick - slightly deeper than my natural lip colour, rather than the pale, almost skin toned shades that some associate with a nude lip.  Personally I don’t find lips that blend in with the rest of my face at all flattering; this is as light as I like to go.  If I’ve been eating or drinking, this can look slightly more orange/rust toned when first applied, so may look quite different depending on the pigmentation of your lips.

 

Dior Addict Lipstick Instinct #816

Dior Addict Lipstick 816 InstinctDior Addict Lipstick 816 Instinct (2)

I was in love with Wild until I tried Instinct. Fickle, moi?!  Instinct is a warm toned raisin brown.  The formula is so intensely soft and moisturising I could literally apply it every half hour without complaint.  I find this kind of colour incredibly flattering to pretty much any skintone, but think it looks best contrasted against pale Winter skin.  It’s the type of lipstick that transforms me from looking half dead to half alive of a frosty morning.

Dior Addict Lipstick Instinct Swatch

Dior Addict Instinct, applied.

 

Dior Addict Lipstick Wild   Instinct

Instinct (top) looks almost chocolatey here - smooth, creamy and without shimmer.  Wild’s golden sheen really isn’t overtly apparent on the lips, having more of a light catching effect than anything else.

 

Dior Addict Lipstick Wild   Instinct Swatched

Single and heavy swatches of Dior Addict Wild (top two) & Instinct.  The larger swatches are 5 or 6 applications, illustrating how impossible it is to overdo these shades.  You wear them; they will not wear you.  I’ll be interested to see whether the two darker shades, a red and plum tone, are equally sheer (see my pics and review of the whole collection here).

Dior Addict Lipstick in Instinct and Wild are Limited Edition shades, available at Selfridges from 30 July 2012 and nationwide from 10 August, RRP £24

Thursday, 26 July 2012

New: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser in a compact

Laura _Mercier_Tinted_Moisturiser_Compact

I’m excited to confirm that the rumours are true… a compact version of Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturiser will be available in the UK in September 2012.  The best selling tinted moisturiser - renowned as one of the most popular formulas ever - will come in a lightweight crème formula compact with SPF 20.

Like the original, the compact promises sheer to moderate, buildable coverage with a natural, dewy finish, suitable for all skin types.  I normally steer away from compacts as I find they don’t work well with dry skins, but have hope that this one might be a winner.  And while there’s no point in opting for tinted moisturiser if you’re after a foundation finish, I expect that the buildable element will be greater with a compact.

Available in an impressive 12 shades (Porcelain, Blush, Nude, Bisque, Sand, Fawn, Almond, Tawny, Caramel, Tan, Walnut, Mocha), it comes with a custom designed sponge applicator.  It’s available in the US now at LauraMercier.com if you’d like a look at the shades.

The compact contains 7.50 g/0.26 oz as opposed to 50ml/1.7 fl oz in the original tube.  The price will be the same, £33.

The new Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser Crème Compact will be available at Laura Mercier UK retailers nationwide beginning September 2012, priced £33.

Are you a fan of Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser?  Do you like the idea of a compact version?

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Dr Jart + BB Cream: Regenerating & Water Fuse Review & Swatches

Dr Jart BB

One of the most talked about BB Cream launches of the year, Dr Jart+ BB Cream is one of the longest standing formulas around.  Asia’s best selling BB cream,  it was developed in Korea in 2004 by a team of 21 dermatologists and comes in four formulas designed to address specific skincare needs {outlined in my previous post}.

For me, Dr Jart stands out among a plethora of recent BB launches by numerous major beauty brands, so I was really excited to try this one, which I considered ‘the real thing’ and somewhat set apart from the others.

Dr Jart Regenerating Ingredients Dr Jart Water Fuse ingredients

While personally I would have chosen the Platinum or Premium formulas (dry/ageing), it was great to receive two different formulas to compare, especially when I realised how different they are. Regenerating is aimed at sensitive skin, while Water Fuse is designed for oily (mine is dry).  Despite this, I have enjoyed using these products and am really impressed by their properties.

“Acting not only as a moisturiser, serum, primer and perfector, each Dr.Jart+ BB Cream
targets individual skincare needs… and has adapted ingredients, features and
benefits to deliver beautiful results.”

Swatches

Dr Jart Regenerating Water_Fuse_BB_Cream_Swatches

First up, the colour: Regenerating is several shades lighter than Water Fuse and leaves a slight chalkiness often associated with BB Creams.  This can easily be warmed up with powder, bronzer or blusher, but is worth noting.

Dr Jart Regenerating Water_Fuse_BB_Cream_Swatches (2)

Regenerating is a yellow toned beige while Water Fuse has more golden apricot tones.  Regenerating is also thicker and more creamy in texture, with greater coverage; Water Fuse is light and silky - and despite being designed for oily skin, feels moisturising.

Dr Jart Regenerating Water_Fuse_BB_Cream_Swatches (3)

If you scroll back up to my top swatches, you can see the extent to which my freckles are covered, giving you an idea of coverage (there is a small gap between the two blended shades where my biggest freckle is uncovered).

Dr Jart Regenerating Water_Fuse_BB_Cream_Swatches (4)

The difference between the two shades is minor indoors, though you can still see that Regenerating offers a touch more coverage.

Dr Jart Regenerating Water_Fuse_BB_Cream_Swatches (5)

After around half an hour I noticed that the product seemed to have settled into my skin, looked slightly more opaque and the dewy finish of Water Fuse had reduced a little.

Both of these formulas have an incredible texture and to me feel much more like a skin treatment than makeup.  Regenerating feels really rich and nourishing and while the slight chalky finish does nothing for me at the moment, it will probably be ok in Winter, warmed with a little blusher.

Water Fuse really does feel more like a product for dry than oily skin, purely because it feels hydrating rather than oily or shiny.

It’s a balm. That’s why it feels this way; that’s exactly how it feels.

Dr Jart Water_Fuse_BB_Cream_bubble

On application, you can see the little bubbles of moisture on your skin as you blend it in. It was difficult to capture this on myself, while blending, but I managed to do so on my sister - after applying several layers in the above pic. The droplets of water magically appear then disappear - it’s as if the products seals them into your skin.

Dr Jart applied

This is Water Fuse applied, with a teensy bit of Liz Earle cream blush on my cheeks and lips (review coming soon) and a very light slick of mascara: my ‘no-makeup-makeup’ look. Not the one I wear when I’m trying to look au naturel (good Lord that takes forever!); the one I wear when I’m racing out the door because I have no time for further pampering (which is quite often with two small children on an 8 week school holiday!).

I know I don’t look brilliant, but do I look a lot better than without makeup!  Dr Jart BB Cream smooths out the complexion and covers minor imperfections, slightly more than a tinted moisturiser would.  There is still some redness and shadows and the addition of concealer would help a lot - when I have time that’s exactly what I’ve been doing while testing this out over the past few weeks.  I’ve become much more comfortable (almost) in my own skin and that’s a good thing, right? 

Dr Jart BB Cream

Edit: Just found this pic on my camera, wearing Dr Jart with concealer, a little powder & blush - thought I’d include it to show how it looks worn like this!

If you don’t need a lot of coverage, I think you’ll adore this.  I’ve also used it under regular foundation or with a little light foundation where I need it most, both of which I love.  The fact that it contains a decent SPF and feeds your skin while helping you look better (or good if you’re lucky) is an absolute bonus.

Dr Jart+ BB Cream is only available at Boots in the UK, instore or online priced at £18-24.

I’d love to know what you think if you’ve tried Dr Jart - please do leave a comment below.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Essie Bikini So Teeny Summer 2012 Collection with Zuneta

Essie Bikini So Teeny Summer 2012

This week’s Mani post is over at Zuneta.com, where I’ve swatched Essie’s Bikini So Teeny Summer 2012 Collection.  If you’d like to see how pretty colours like these (& more) look applied, please pop over to

my guest post at Zuneta!

Have you tried any colours from this collection?

Essie Mojito Green Summer 2012

Monday, 23 July 2012

3 Wonder Serums: Murad Sleep Reform, Caudalie SOS & Vichy LiftActiv

Murad Sleep Serum (4)  Caudalie Vinosource SOS Serum  Vichy-Lift-Activ-Serum-10

It’s taken me a long time to get my head around serums.  I thought they were just another thing that skincare companies were trying to convince me I needed - and frankly, I thought I was doing well by using eye cream and moisturiser.

I still don’t think they’re necessary for everyone, but if you’re concerned about ageing, dryness or dehydration (or in my case, all 3!), then serums are your secret weapon.  Packed with active ingredients, their formula is lighter and finer than a moisturiser, so they penetrate deeper into the skin where they’re really needed.  Different formulas have multiple benefits, but key attributes include helping the skin regain & retain moisture; increasing collagen production and protecting against environmental pollutants.

There are so many to choose from, but over the last six months, these three really stood out for me: Murad Sleep Reform Serum, Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum and Vichy Lift Activ Youth Enhancing Serum.

 

Murad Sleep Reform Serum

Murad Sleep Serum

Essentially a good night’s sleep, bottled, this highly sophisticated serum encourages skin repair and renewal during sleep to reduce signs of ageing.

“…improves collagen production potential by up to 62% while encouraging relaxation to soften the appearance of facial expression lines. Scientifically proven ingredients stimulate the proliferation of cells responsible for collagen production by 78%.”

Murad Sleep Serum (2) Murad Sleep Serum (3)

Murad is a brand I’d wanted to try for a long time - I believe in its science and found this product a pleasure to use.  It left my skin looking noticeably rested; a proper beauty sleep potion!  Frustratingly this is way out my usual price range, though as I type, my skincare guru, Caroline Hirons’ words echo through my mind…

And don't want to spend money on a derm? I see that £200 handbag honey. Your life, your skin, your priorities. But remember this: you only get ONE SKIN. You can always buy that handbag later.” Caroline Hirons, Beauty Mouth (go follow her blog - it’s all kinds of awesome - and after meeting her in real life I’m utterly in awe of her skin!)

Murad Sleep Reform Serum £89 (I know, I know!) BUT Beauty Bay currently has 20% off Murad, making it £71.20 (go on… read Caroline’s quote again!). 

EDIT, thank you to one of my favourite followers, Catherine, for letting me know that you can get 33% off any Murad purchases until end Aug 2012 with code "YOUMAG" at Murad.co.uk (Catherine highly recommends the starter kits!)

 

Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum

Caudalie-Vinosource -SOS-Serum

French skincare brand Caudalie is really special - one of the earliest brands I really fell for (& was heartbroken when my local Space NK discontinued, but it’s back - hurrah!).

As the name suggests, one pump of this serum is like a nutritious drink for the skin and leaves my face heaving a huge sigh of relief.  97% natural, active ingredients include Grape Water, Hyaluronic acid & Grape-seed Polyphenols for deep, continual hydration. 

Caudalie-Vinosource -SOS-Serum (4) Caudalie-Vinosource -SOS-Serum (2)

Super light in texture, it sinks in and feels deeply soothing, yet incredibly gentle and leaves my skin feeling plumped and soft.  Despite having dry skin, I can often get away without additional moisturiser when I use this.

“A moisturizing bubble: The S.O.S Thirst-Quenching Serum continuously captures and diffuses water deep within the skin to restore its moisture balance and leave it feeling soft and fresh.”

The light citrusy fragrance makes it even more of a pleasure to use, with mandarin blossom, lemon leaf, cucumber water and fresh mint.  I try to save this for days when my skin needs a little extra tlc and will most definitely replace it when empty.

Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum costs £26.10 at Feel Unique.

 

Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 Youth Enhancing Serum

Vichy-Lift-Activ-Serum-10

I’ve been really impressed with the Vichy skincare I’ve tried and this is no exception.  This product was Marie Claire Prix D'Excellence Beauty Award 2012 International Winner, and Good Housekeeping Reader Recommended 2012.

An intense anti wrinkle serum, it feels smooth and velvety on application and gives the complexion an instant boost.

“Vichy has identified… a driving force behind the natural renewal of essential collagen fibres and the surface skin layer: the Derm Source. This formula enriched with Rhamnose, a naturally derived active ingredient found in a Brazilian plant, helps stimulate activity in the Derm Source.”

Vichy-Lift-Activ-Serum-10 (3) Vichy-Lift-Activ-Serum-10 (4)

I love this kind of pipette style dispenser, particularly for such a liquid product - it’s quick, easy, hygienic and lets you see exactly how much product you’re using.

I prefer to use this with an additional moisturiser on top. Serum should always be applied first, before moisturiser; people often get confused about this, but applying serum first allows it to seep deep into clean skin where it’s really needed.  You may find that you need less moisturiser on top of serum, so it should go a little further.

I like to use this on special occasions or nights out for the instant boosting effect, though as with all of these products, I have also used it consistently on a daily basis for around one month.

Vichy Lift Activ Serum 10 Youth Enhancing Serum costs £25.05 at Escentual.com (15% discount; normally £29.50)

 

Which one is for you?

  • For significant anti-ageing: Murad Sleep Reform Serum (check out the range for several other ‘day’ serum formulas)
  • For instant hydration, softeness and added dewiness: Caudalie SOS Serum
  • For an instant softening effect: Vichy LiftActiv Serum

 

Do you use a serum

Press samples

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