Sunday, 20 December 2015

Alpha H Liquid Laser Skincare: Review



Alpha-H Liquid Gold is one of my most recommended beauty products and the first to make a marked visual difference to my skin, so I was really keen to try the Liquid Laser line and see what it has to offer that's different.

Alpha-H Liquid Laser is designed to address the challenges of 40+ skin, when production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid declines more quickly, leading to loss of elasticity and firmness.
An alternative to invasive treatments, Liquid Laser boosts skin's ability to repair itself, thanks to Juveleven, the very latest peptide technology.

Alpha-H Liqud Laser Concentrate is the key product in the range, a velvety gel-serum with quite a watery consistency, dispensed by pipette. Designed to tone, firm and brighten with plant extracts, AHAs and hexapeptides, this feels really dewy on my skin and leaves it feeling plumped and well hydrated.

Alpha-H Liquid Laser Cleansing Oil adds radiance to lacklustre skin and - unusually for a cleanser - improves moisture levels by 80%. Apparently... of course I can't measure this exactly but do have dry skin and this leaves it feeling comfortably soft and clean; never stripped. Its gel to oil texture is really easy to use; a good option for anyone a bit wary of regular cleansing oils. And another pump bottle = winning.

And finally, my hero product from the range...

Alpha-H Liquid Laser Super Anti-ageing Balm targets existing skin damage - lines, loss of elasticity and age spots - with actives including stable vitamin C, niacinamide and Juveleven. The semi-solid balm in a jar comes with a mini spatula and the tiniest amount goes a long way. It melts into the skin on contact and feels intensely nourishing, yet lightweight. Definitely one for night time use, this does leave a residue on my skin, in a really good way. The texture is sublime and my skin is loving this product.

It's rare that I come across a skincare line that makes me think, if I wasn't a beauty writer and constantly testing new products, I'd happily stick with this one forever. That's exactly how I feel about Liquid Laser and can't recommend it highly enough - if your skin falls into the target category (if not, try Liquid Gold!). One month of use has left my skin looking clearer, smoother and more velvety and hydrated - better than it has in a long time. (I actually noticed results quite quickly, but always like to test skincare for a month.)

The prices are high end but not extortionate, starting at £35.95. I have huge respect for the science, research and expertise behind Alpha-H and really believe you're getting a lot for your money with this brand.







SHARE:

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Last Minute Luxury Gifts


I've heard talks of pressies wrapped and under the tree since November when nothing was further from my mind. Us mere mortals don't need to panic just yet as most stores are still offering pre-Christmas delivery... I've rounded up some gorgeous ideas for last minute luxury gifts. 


My new obsession... I'm utterly smitten with this glorious scent and now understand why so many are infatuated with it. A little full on at first spritz, it settles on my skin with velvety, musky florals that I just can't get enough of. The perfume features top notes of tea and bergamot with sambac jasmine, orchid, freesia and rose at the centre on a base of patchouli. 




The ultimate indulgence, OSKIA's massage candle is made with May Rose, nourishing soya and coconut oils. Burn it while you bathe, then massage the rose scented oil into clean, dry skin (the oil doesn't overheat). The smell is calming and the oil feels deliciously nourishing. 




This purple satin box looks so beautiful it would seem a crime to wrap it up! Layer Iris Nobile EDP over the Bath Gel and Luminous Body Cream for an elegant scent that lingers til the party's over. The set includes 50ml of each product. 




I'm already a fan of Studio 10 make up and this brush set is the icing on the cake. It contains all the tools you need to apply a full face of makeup with beautifully soft and cleverly designed double ended brushes. I particularly like the Cheek and Eye Definer brushes. The snakeskin effect pouch to store them in makes it an even more glamorous gift. Purchased individually, these brushes would cost £154; the set is £75.


Roger & Gallet Bois D'Orange Fresh Fragrant Water and Hand & Nail Cream Cracker

Luxuries don't always have to be expensive... some provide all the luxe for a modest price, like these two from Roger & Gallet. Bois D'Orange is my favourite scent from this brand which I've raved about multiple times on here. Fresh, yet soft and woody it's a real crowd pleaser. The little cracker contains a Sublime Hand Cream and mini perfume sample. 



If you really want to spoil someone or unsure what to give the woman who has everything, vouchers for a pampering session are always well received. The Merchant Hotel Spa is seriously decadent and offers gorgeous facial and body treatments. I was treated to the Hot Lava Shell Massage on my birthday last week and can't recommend it highly enough... I practically floated out! They have some great Winter Sale offers at the moment too. 

There are some great beauty deals to be found this month - here are just a few:
Free delivery at Space NK until 18 Dec
Beauty Sale at Very Exclusive (on now)
Free cleanser with every order at Pai Skincare until 21 Dec
Daily promotions at House of Fraser until 3 Jan, starting with 10% off mascara 24-26 Dec

I hope this helps some of you... I'm off to order a few last minute bits myself before I tuck into the mince pies... 



SHARE:

Monday, 14 December 2015

The Best Winter Candles


I’m often asked about my favourite luxury candles, so have gathered up my top six to share with you. Every single one of these is a winner - no compromises here - and I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them.

I’m calling these my favourite Winter candles rather than Christmas candles, as I like mine to survive beyond the festive season, though it’s definitely a good time to have one  around if you’re expecting extra guests.

Oh and there’s also the fact that I’m not a big fan of your typical cinnamon and clove numbers… I’d rather have a pot of mulled wine on the stove!


The first two are great day time candles. Winter doesn’t have to be all about heavy scents… fresh, uplifting ones are a godsend on cold dark days and these two fit the bill perfectly. Neither are overpowering, so work well in smaller rooms and won’t interfere if you’re eating. Afternoon tea with Prosecco anyone?

MALIN&GOETZ VETIVER - I normally associate Malin & Goetz with skincare (Detox Face Mask is a beauty) but had heard good things about the candles - and it turns out everyone was right. Vetiver is a grassy, fresh scent that really boosts my spirits and I like the modern, urban glass. If you do fancy something more smokey, I think Tobacco and Dark Rum sound wonderful.

100 ACRES LEMON MYRTLE, LAVENDER & ROSE - First up, how pretty is the lace effect glass pattern when the light glows through this? I love a lemon candle and that’s the main note I get from this one, with an underlying sweetness from the rose. I often burn this by my deskside for its feel good effects on The Afternoon Slump. Hand poured, it’s made from ethically sourced soy and rapeseed with 100% natural essential oils.


Lots of high end candles are available in travel sizes and it’s a great way to try out new scents without breaking the bank. Ditto gift sets of votives at this time of year. These two are travel sized slow burners… I censor how long I burn them to help eek out every last whiff.

BIRCH & BROOK LIBRARY - I first posted this on Instagram as smelling of ‘contentment… leather bound books, log fires and memories.’ I still stand by that - and what could be better on a Winter’s night? A brilliant gift for book lovers - or anyone with a nose to be honest - there’s something really precious about this one and it’s vying for top place in this six.

RATHBORNES BITTER ORANGE, BIRCH TAR & BALSAM - ‘Tangy citrus top notes and a rich, black amber heart, blended with a smoky, woody undercurrent of birch, fir balsam and oak wood.’ I can’t really put it any better than that. This is one of those scents that makes me close my eyes and inhale deeply. I’d liken it to sitting in a huge leather chair by the fire in the foyer of a luxury hotel, where you catch a waft of forest air every time someone opens the door. (Not that I’ve ever been there, but I like the idea of it!) It smells expensive and quite masculine, in a good way.


If you want every guest to notice how gorgeous your house smells and ask where it’s coming from, go for one of these two. Think candles that smell like actual perfume… unsurprisingly as that’s exactly what both are based on - and they throw a lot of powerful scent. Perfect for  evening parties, these are like the royalty of home fragrances.

JO MALONE POMEGRANATE NOIR - I featured this rich, warm and heady candle recently, so won’t say too much more here, except to ask that you don’t rule it out, even if you’re not one of the perfume’s avid fans. It’s beautiful. Find my full review here.

CLINIQUE AROMATICS IN WHITE - I’ve saved the best for last with this one, which has absolutely blown me away. Definitely a candle that kicks off scent even when unlit, Aromatics in White is a pure creamy, sensual scent - all woman; yet not girly. I find it a little powdery with a waft of spice among the florals - a heavenly combination of violet leaf, rose water essential and amber gris. Imagine an elegant Parisian boudoir… pink velvet chaise longue, billowing curtains and a huge vase of white flowers; this is how they’d smell. I can’t get enough of it.

And yes, these are all quite spendy (and not all purchased by me), but once you’ve dipped a toe in, it really is hard to go back - and I’d rather have one spectacularly scented candle than several mediocre ones. If like me, you spend a lot more time at home during the Winter months, a lovely candle really is one of the best treats. I think so anyway…
SHARE:

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Festive Glitter Nails


Ready to get your sparkle on? Whether you fancy treating yourself or someone else, here are a few of my favourite festive glitter nail polishes…

Nails Inc Festive Cracker includes 3 mini 5ml polishes in seasonal shades: York Row - red and gold glitter top coat, Buckingham Terrace - deep wine red and St Johns Avenue - nude. The wine + glitter combo looks SO Christmassy on, though the glitter looks just as pretty over the nude shade, so I think this set will work well all year around. Bonus!


I’ve posted some pics of these gorgeous new Kure Bazaar glitters on instagram recently (swatches and on my nails). The gold shade, Crazy is particularly stunning, with vivid gold shards that look like golden sprinkles in 1 coat and add complete coverage in 2-3. Strass is a sophisticated dark blue that looks great on tips, over white or silver. Kure Bazaar polishes are 85% natural and toxin-free. Rose gold glitter, Diva is next on my list!

A peel off base coat is also available, though I find that the cheaper NYC one works equally well. Both allow you to apply glitter polish as normal, then peel it off when you wish; no faffing with removal. In terms of lasting power, I find that they work best used alone with glitter, rather than with a layer of polish in between.


I think Essie Summit of Style is my favourite glitter ever, with large bronze flakies that can be stroked sparsely on tips for a gold leaf effect, or applied all over for a densely packed finish that’s as glittery as it gets, yet remains sophisticated. Not easy to find these days, it’s still available here, where I bought my bottle for the princely sum of £2.49! (Deep blue glitter, Stroke of Brilliance is the same price.)

I discovered Magic Effects Liquid Sequin polish when I was doing some work with Avon recently and fell head over heels with ‘Dazzle’ - bronze micro glitter with large fuchsia pieces in a sheer purple base - you can see pics of it on my nails here.



Jessica Phenom nail polish and top coat are impressively long lasting, shiny formulas and this little kit works out at great value (saving £10) if you fancy giving them a go. It includes base coat, a Phenom polish and Phenom Finale Shine top coat. Mine is the shade Caviar Dreams, a gorgeous blackened teal, which I swatched on my instagram. I think my next mani will be this with Essie Summit of Style glitter tips. Also available in 5 other shades here.


And finally, there’s no point in pretty nails without pretty cuticles and Margaret Dabbs Fabulous Cracker contains a bottle of her intensive Nail and Cuticle Treatment Serum to keep yours in tip top condition. Central heating and cold weather wreak havoc on mine at this time of year and I need to treat them twice a day to keep them looking semi acceptable.
SHARE:

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Soap & Glory Boots Star Gift: It’s The Whole She-Bang!

Soap & Glory Whole She Bang Star Gift

Soap & Glory fans, it’s your annual opportunity to stock up on your favourites at a bargain price, as Boots Star Gift for Christmas 2015 goes on sale at half price this week (£30, RRP £60). What to expect? The Whole She-Bang!

Inside are 9 of Soap & Glory’s most popular products: 

  • HAND FOOD Hand Cream,
  • THE RIGHTEOUS BUTTER Body Butter
  • THE SCRUB OF YOUR LIFE Body Buffer
  • CLEAN ON ME Body Wash
  • HEEL GENIUS Foot Cream
  • PEACHES & CLEAN Deep Purifying Cleanser
  • THICK & FAST High-Definition Mascara
  • THE RIGHTEOUS BUTTER Instant Sunkissed Tint Body Lotion
  • SEXY MOTHER PUCKER Lip Gloss in a NEW suits-every-girl shade Rose & Shine

The packaging of this year’s set is more luxe than previous boxes, with a zip up vanity case featuring a stunning pop art design by uber cool British fashion designer, Philip Colbert - a definite collectable!

IT’S THE WHOLE SHE-BANG will be half price at £30.00 (RRP £60) for a limited time only from Friday 11 December at 7.00am GMT. SOAP & GLORY’s Christmas Boots Star Gift is renowned for selling out, so don’t hang about if you want one. My best bet is set the alarm half an hour early to order online HERE and collect (free) at your local store.

SHARE:

Monday, 7 December 2015

Salcura: Dry Skin & Eczema Solutions


Much as I love luxurious body creams, my skin is prone to dryness and eczema in colder weather, varying from small dry dots to larger patches. 

Last month I experienced the worst case I'd known, with a large angry patch of eczema on my calf and red, cracked itchy skin on my palms. I didn't even know that was a thing before! 

I'm not talking slight itching here; it was red raw, can't focus on anything else, don't want to leave the house levels of irritation and distraction. Probably hard to imagine unless you've experienced it, but the closest comparison I can make is with my childhood experience of chicken pox. And I do realise that my experience was mild in comparison to many others. 

I'd tried all my usual trusted remedies, some of which brought initial relief, but the symptoms persisted. I then resorted to steroid cream, expecting instant relief, but nada. 

In the middle of all this, a package arrived from Bioskin with two Salcura products to try: Bioskin DermaSpray Skin Nourishment Spray for initial relief and Zeoderm cream for more intense moisture relief. DermaSpray is a fine liquid that sinks in quickly to provide instant itch relief, while Zeoderm intensely moisturises and relieves very dry or cracked skin. Made with 99% natural ingredients, the products can be used as often as needed and are best used layered (cream over spray). 

I'd been told that these could be as effective as steroid creams and while I was cynical as per, I was willing to give them a go. Within a few days the itching had stopped, the redness had gone and my skin felt normal again. Not even kidding and such a relief. I'd been scared to use any product that touched my palms, which as you can imagine is pretty tricky - they are now perfectly soft and supple again, with no itching or cracked skin. 

I still have to go back to these products occasionally when things threaten to flare up, but have never known such fast and effective results from an over the counter topical product and won't be without them again. 

I know from extensive experimenting with products for my son (who has had eczema since babyhood) that a lot of trial and error is involved and the same products don't necessarily work for everyone, but if you're looking for a gentle alternative to treat intensely dry skin or eczema, I'd encourage you to give Bioskin Salcura a go. 

There are lots more products in the range and I'll definitely give more of them a go. These two do have a slight medicinal scent, but as anyone who is literally desperate will agree, that's a small price to pay for the relief they bring. 

I'm planning to do another post on the various steps I take to manage dry winter skin and eczema, but was so impressed with this duo I needed to share with you sooner than later in the hope that they can help someone else. 

Salcura is available from boots.com or salcuraskincare.com

SHARE:

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Christmas Makeup Gifts 2015

IMG_0234

There are so many gorgeous Christmas makeup gift sets around that it’s hard to know where to begin, so I’ve narrowed it down to four across different budgets; two Christmas specials and two festive-friendly releases from recent months. I didn’t intend for them to coordinate so well - neutral with a twinkly accent appears to be the theme!

Bobbi-Brown-Christmas-2015 

First up is Bobbi Brown’s Holiday Collection and the limited edition Greystone Eye Palette (top left), for office wear to glam with a top notch dual ended brush.

The Mini Lip & Eye Palette in Bellini includes a nude lipgloss, 3 matte eye shadows and two shimmer shadows. I find the latter work best as a wash of shimmer pressed over other shades rather than stand alone, dazzling glitter. At £26.50 this is a great intro to Bobbi Brown, which is probably why I struggled to find one in stock online! I also love that it’s handbag sized.

Shimmer Brick in Pink adds a silvery pink glow to cheekbones - while I’m not the biggest Shimmer Brick-er I like the cool tones of this one and if ever there’s a time for sparkle, this is it… my advice: restrict to tops of cheek & brow bones.

My favourite of all the above is the new Luxe Lip Color. The Neutral Rose and Soft Berry shades look gorgeous for Winter (I’m saving Retro Coral for Spring) and you’re bound to find a favourite among 24 colours of this new formula. Highly moisturising, these literally turn my lips from blah into soft and sumptuous… within a couple of minutes they literally look and feel smoother and plumper. The colour lasts well and the weighty, extra large golden packaging is super luxe.

There’s something about giving a single luxury lipstick that makes the perfect gift in my opinion, especially for someone unlikely to treat themselves - and you’ll be pushed to find a better one than this. I’ll definitely be treating myself to another.

I also posted about the new Sterling Collection recently if you’ll like a little more festive Bobbi inspo.

Pixi-Beauty-Christmas-2015-Contour-Palette,Silky-Eye-Pencil-set Pixi-Beauty-Natural-Contour-Kit

If you like to get a lot for your dollar, Pixi Beauty’s Christmas sets are great finds. The Natural Contour Kit includes 4 face shades (2 matte and 2 satin/shimmer), 6 matte eyeshadows and 2 large shimmer eyeshadows that could also be used as a cheek highlight. It’s an impressive collection and I’m especially excited about they eye shades as I do love a good contoured eye look, particularly forgiving when you have hooded eyes.

The Endless Silky Eye Pen Quartette (30% off) includes 4 richly pigmented, long wearing gel eyeliner pencils in Black Noir, Black Cocoa (dark matte brown), Deep Plum and Slate Grey. All really wearable and the plum in particular is a stunner. These really are silky smooth and very pigmented, easily smoked out with a pencil brush for a quick smokey eye.

KIKO-Silk-Pearl-Bronzer Cream-Radiance-Highlighter

KIKO Silk Pearl Illuminating Bronzer and Cream Radiance Highlighter are part of its Midnight Siren Collection and their Christmas bauble-esque shape and party-ready textures lend them well to festive makeup. It really is hard to go wrong with KIKO and I’m a fan of their bronzers; this one is light enough to wear in Winter - to match your face to a self tanned body or to enhance frozen features! The highlight has a cream to powder texture and comes in two shades; this is 01, a pale creamy champagne gold.

 Topshop-Beauty-Pyrite-Eyeshadow,Fools-Gold-Smoke-Stick

Last but not least is a personal favourite that I’ve been meaning to share for a while: Topshop Mono Eyeshadow in Pyrite and Smoke Stick shadow/liner in Fools Gold, which together give the quickest, easiest smokey eye. Pyrite has an intense glittery foil finish with incredible payoff and true wow factor. Fools Gold Smoke Stick is a metallic blackened gold that can be worn alone, smudged long the lashline or paired with the shadow - just dreamy… I’m wearing both in this pic and suggest you add an extra set for yourself if you’re ordering! Formula varies between the shades but these two are absolute winners and one of my best makeup discoveries this year.

SHARE:

Friday, 4 December 2015

Christmas Stocking Fillers / Little Gifts

Paul Joe-Lip-Treatment-Balm-tin

Stuck for stocking filler or small gift ideas? Here are 5 options to add to your list…

Paul & Joe Lip Treatment Balm - Paul & Joe are experts at beautifully packaging that even makes everyday essentials look exquisite. I’d happily whip this out and apply anywhere and everywhere.

This-Works-Kiss Hug-Christmas-2015

This Works Calm Kiss & Calm Hug - This Works make the best calming balms and sleep mists I’ve tried and this year’s Christmas offering is their cutest yet… a little kiss & hug of calm to hang on the tree. Apply on pulse points when in need of a kiss or hug (next best thing to the real thing!).

L'Occitane-Winter-Candle-Christmas-2015

L’Occitane Winter Forest Scented Candle - With notes of pine needles, peach and cinnamon, this may be small but it burns for 20 hours and I love the cute little tin. Also available in other fragrances.

Soap Glory-Three-Times-Butter-mini-set-Christmas-2015

Soap & Glory Three Times Butter - If you haven’t tried Soap & Glory body butters before, then pick one of these up for yourself too. The scents are amazing and they’re a great size for travel. The set includes 3x50ml of The Righteous Butter (my fave), Smoothie Star and Sugar Crush.

Illuminage-Eye-Mask    

Illuminage Skin Rejuvenating Eye Mask - I don’t spend a huge amount on stocking fillers, but if you fancy spoiling someone special then this would be a real treat. It’s a silky eye mask with copper ions to promote natural cell renewal and help reduce fine lines, taking beauty sleep to new levels!

SHARE:

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Beauty Chocolate Anyone?

esthetechoc-anti-ageing-chocolate

If you’re looking to branch out from the yawn-worthy tins of Quality Street this year, how about popping a box of chocolates with skin benefits under the tree? The world’s first beauty chocolate, Esthechoc claims to slow down the ageing process when eaten regularly. I’m certainly intrigued… I love chocolate more than I should admit, so a guilt-free licence to indulge has my attention.

And yes, I felt equally cynical, but there does seem to be some scientific evidence…

Its makers say it can change the underlying skin of a 50-60 year old into that of someone in their 20s or 30s. Tests showed that after four weeks of eating it daily, volunteers had less evidence of inflammation in their blood and increased blood supply to skin tissue.

Made using the same antioxidant that keeps goldfish gold and flamingos pink, a 7.5g bar of the chocolate contains the same amount of the antioxidant astaxanthin as a fillet of Alaskan salmon, and equal levels of free-radical fighting cocoa polyphenols as 100g of dark chocolate.

It launched this year following 10 years of extensive research by Cambridge Chocolate Technologies (sounds like somewhere I’d like to hang out!).

esthetechoc-anti-ageing-chocolate-Christmas-set

So what does it taste like?

To me, it’s neither mindblowingly gorgeous or at all unpleasant. I think it tastes similar to standard bitter dark chocolate - and for me works best with a cup of tea or coffee rather than on its own.

I think more sophisticated presentation would increase its appeal (esp as it’s not cheap), such as gold wrappers. I guess the brand is trying to maintain a slightly clinical element and the Christmas packaging is prettier than the norm.

ethetechoc-the-science 

Some more detail on the science bit from the back of the box. 

Would you give (or like to receive) a gift of beauty chocolate? I’ll certainly eat mine - and edit this post with an update if I notice any skin benefits. It’s certainly the most interesting press sample I’ve received in a long time!

Esthechoc’s Christmas Box is available at Harrods

SHARE:

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

My Pomegranate Facial Peel

Array-Aesthetics-Belfast 

I don’t often write about facial treatments on here, but recently enjoyed one that really stood out for me and wanted to share. I’d been curious about trying a facial peel for a while and also rather nervous about the whole idea, so was happy to find a highly recommended clinic and brilliant aesthetician.

I went to Array Aesthetics in one of Belfast city centre’s oldest and most beautiful buildings, with a carved stone and ornate ironwork entrance, stained glass windows, a sweeping staircase and beautiful tiled walls. When I entered the treatment room and was greeted with the whaft of a Jo Malone diffuser, I knew I was onto a good thing!

My consultation before the treatment began completely put my mind at ease. My aesthetician, Eithne, talked me through every element in detail. Her depth of knowledge on all elements of skin, not just the treatment, is something I have rarely come across - she immediately gained my trust and has been recommended to many others since.

Described as a Medi-Facial, my treatment combined deep cleaning and exfoliation in a number of stages. The show stopper - a Cosmedix Pomegranate Peel - is a light superficial epidermal peel with no down time, good for a beginner like me!

It contains 15% lactic acid to stimulate cell turnover and some of nature's most potent antioxidants, including pomegranate seed oil, green algae astaxanthin and red wine resveratrol to target skin damaging free radicals. I did experience quite a lot of tingling during this stage - which is to be expected - moreso for my sensitive, rosaceous skin. The peel is left on for 2-10 minutes according to skin type (mine was 3 mins) and deliciously cold compresses were applied after to cool my skin.

The final step was the addition of a protective balm, Cosmedix Rescue, with black cherries, willow herb, shea butter and an SPF (essential daily after a peel). This felt really soothing and smelt divine!

The next day my skin felt incredibly smooth and my sister (who didn’t know I’d been) asked what on earth I’d been using on my skin as she wanted to buy it immediately (I gave her Eithne’s number). My pores looked finer, skin felt softer and looked more radiant for a couple of weeks after. Makeup even applied more smoothly and seemed to last longer with all those dead skin cells out of the way.

I realise that a lot of this is only relevant to those of my readers who live locally, but you may be able to find similar treatments using these products near you via this Medico certified salon locator. My treatment at Array Aesthetics was complimentary on this occasion but I’ll 100% be back and was not paid to write this, just genuinely impressed. The Pomegranate Peel costs £60 and you can see the full range of treatments and prices here.

SHARE:

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Christmas Gift Guide: Body Beautiful

L'Occitane-Pamplemousse Rhubarb-Gift-Set-Christmas-2015

I’ve already touched on Christmas in my Jo Malone post, but this is the first of my official gift guides focusing on quality body products from brands that I know and love. If you knowing someone who deserves a little pampering, this one’s for you. I often find that sets like this offer an economical way to try new things or stock up on favourites.

I’ll try and let the pictures do most of the talking here… not my greatest strength I know, but here goes!

L'Occitane-Pamplemousse Rhubarb-perfume,bodylotion,soap,showergel

Pamplemousse Rhubarbe Tantalising Collection, £55  (worth £73) - Kicking off with a really special gift from L’Occitane, a beautiful gold & confetti box packed with products from the limited edition Pamplemousse Rhubarbe Collection, a collab with pastry chef Pierre Hermé. The presentation of this is really luxurious and I’m loving the fresh new scent.

L'Occitane-Pamplemousse Rhubarb-Gift-Set

Grapefruit is my favourite citrus and this is really authentic; the grapefruit is stronger than the rhubarb, though its tartness is still there. Think fresh and zingy, yet softly, just lovely. It’s one that can be sprayed liberally without overpowering and I love layering these products - a real feel good fragrance and lovely alternative to heavier winter scents.

Orla-Kiely-Handwash-Handcream-Christmas-gift-set-2015

Orla Kiely Geranium Hand Set, £22 - Not gonna lie, Orla Kiely packaging is a big pull for me and the cute storage tin that this hand wash and lotion come in is a real bonus. I’ve used the Geranium hand wash before, so am already a fan of its fresh, pretty scent. The little ceramic dish pleases me too as it fits neatly on the sink area and I can pretend to be all posh (even when I refill the soap with a cheaper alternative as I might have done in the past - shhh!).

Aveda-Stress-Fix-Christmas-gift-set

Aveda Stress Fix set, £32 Aveda has launched a number of gorgeous gift sets for Christmas and the simplicity of this one really appeals to me - who wouldn’t be happy with a giant tube of gorgeous hand cream? The acupressure roller ball with certified organic french lavender, lavandin and clary sage is honestly brilliant... a few deep breathes inhaling this from my wrists and I can actually feel the tension leave my shoulders. Both are brilliant for your desk or hand bag and I can’t think of a lovelier way to unwind on the go, which most of us could benefit from, stressed or not.

Balance-Me-shower-gift-set

Balance Me Bathing Beauties Trio, £12 - Balance Me Body Wash is one of the few shower products that I can use when my skin gets intensely dry. There’s nothing in there to irritate, they smell gorgeous and feel wayyy more luxurious than the price tag. Rose Otto is my favourite, but Super Moisturising and Revitalising are also lovely. This set works out at brilliant value (worth £18) and you could always divvy up with two for friends and one for you!

IMG_0051

Vita Liberata Perfect Party Glow Set, £29.50 (worth £46) - You’ve heard me rave about Vita Liberata self tanning products on multiple occasions and this set is brilliant for those devoted to remaining golden all year round, or at least until after New Year! The Tinted Lotion works particularly well on dry skin so is a good choice for Winter. Trystal Minerals is a loose bronzing powder (with dispenser) which adds warmth to your face or décolleté. Applied over moisturiser, it leaves a very subtle tint of colour with repeated use, so you even look healthy the morning after! The set includes a mini tanning mitt and full size, supersoft Trystal Minerals brush. The bronzing powder is around half the regular size; still loads and should last for ages.

Soap Glory-Christmas-set

Soap & Glory Bright & Bubbly, £10 - Soap & Glory do gifting brilliantly and have really pulled out all the stops this year. Bright & Bubbly is packaged in a mini hat box , about the size of a large square tissue box with gorgeous graphics and a silver glitter lid, definitely a keeper.

Soap Glory-Christmas-gift-hat-box

Inside are some of my favourites and a cute pink shower puff. Scrub of Your Life, Hand Food, Clean on Me and The Righteous Butter are all best sellers with good reason and smell absolutely delicious. I think they’re some of the best body products on the High Street and can’t believe this set is only a tenner (also on 3 for 2).

Which beauty gifts are you hoping to find under your tree? I’ll be back with suggestions for makeup, nails and more!

Quick Links:

SHARE:

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Omorovicza Skincare Review & 30% Off

Omorovicza-skincare-review

After we graduated, my best friend moved to Budapest to teach English… I’d pop over to visit her when I could get a cheap flight and we’d while away the hours in the amazing thermal baths, where locals of all ages would gather to socialise. Little did I know that one day I’d try a luxury skincare range originating from the walls of the beautiful city I fell for back then, based on the healing properties of its thermal waters.

Omorovicza is one of many skincare brands I’ve discovered through blogging and has been on my wish list for a while, so it was amazing to have the opportunity to try it recently. When I heard that you can save 30% on the (rather hefty) price tag for a few days, I figured this was a good time to share my thoughts.

Omorovicza-Illuminating-Moisturiser, Queen-of-Hungary-Mist 

Queen of Hungary Mist is one of the most hyped products from the range and when I heard people rave about it, the cynic in me would roll my eyes at the idea that it could be any better than any other facial mist. I’m always happy to be proved wrong (even if it will end up costing me a fortune) and hands up - this is a really beautiful product, which I’ve reached for multiple times daily this month.

It tones with orange blossom, rose & sage waters, hydrates with apple pectin and contains multiple minerals in a base of Hungarian Thermal Water. The ultra fine mist smells incredible, feels refreshing and hydrating and works well on its own or over makeup.

I spritz first thing in the morning - literally the minute I get up, post cleansing and as I work at my desk. To be fair, I’ve introduced a few other products recently which I’ll share soon, but I do think this boosts my dehydrated skin, which hasn’t suffered the usual dryness that kicks in at this time of year. And it’s really such a treat to use.

Radiance is a big selling point for me when it comes to skin care, so Illuminating Moisturiser was next on my must try list. Aimed at normal to dry skin, apple pectin and plum almond oil hydrate, while ruby crystal blurs the appearance of fine lines. A little lighter in texture than I expected, I pair this with a serum and need a richer moisturiser at night, but find that it makes a great base for makeup and the pump bottle is so quick and easy to use (I need all the help I can get in the morning rush).

Omorovicza-Gold-Eye-Lift

If you just fancy trying *something* from Omorovicza and aren’t sure what to treat yourself to, I’d definitely go for the Queen of Hungary Mist. It’s beautiful, hydrating and a pleasure to use.

For anyone concerned about lines and dehydration around your eyes - and of a certain age (I’d let you decide what that is, but I’d say 35+) - then my best discovery is Gold Eye Lift.

I try a lot of eye creams and few make a notable difference, but this one definitely has done. I took a second look in the mirror when I noticed - and am not saying the lines around my eyes have disappeared, but they absolutely look better. Better as in less noticeable, slightly softened and well hydrated. This is a rich cream and a teeny dot goes a long way.

It treats dark circles with vitamin K, resurfaces with vitamin A (retinol), reduces puffiness with arnica and offers a string of other benefits. Darkness, lines and puffiness = my main boxes ticked and I’m absolutely loving this. Unfortunately it’s also one of Omorovicza’s priciest products, though the 30% discount makes it slightly more palatable. I’m saving for my next pot already.

Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist | Illuminating Moisturiser | Gold Eye Lift

Prices shown include 30% discount, available until Tuesday 1st December 8am GMT, only at omorovicza.com/uk

SHARE:

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Dream Purchase: Rosie for Autograph Luxury Dressing Gown

M S-Rosie-Autograph-Hooded-Luxury-Dressing-Gown

A little off piste for me today but this M&S Rosie for Autograph Hooded Luxury Dressing Gown is truly one of my favourite purchases of the year - and kind of pampering related, right? Although pricier than your average dressing gown (worth every penny in my opinion), it has just gone into the sale at 30% off, so I had to share the love.

To set the scene, my previous dressing gown was a skanky 8 year old leopard print number around 3 sizes too big, purchased when (enormously) pregnant with my son. So I deserved a new one, right?

M S-Luxury-Dressing-Gown-black 

The Luxury Dressing Gown is really thick, cosy and kitten soft, more like a velvet coat than a dressing gown, with satin trims and a HUGE snuggly hood. If I haven’t already worn it during the day (so cosy it saves putting the heat on when working from home!), I purposely get into my PJs early so that I can wear it in the evening.

Good Lord who even am I - is this a middle life crisis or am I allowed to feel this way?!

I originally bought the Shimmer Bird Print dressing gown (now down to £19.25), also really pretty, but decided I needed a hood! I’m freezing in the mornings and a hood makes all the difference, so I now wander the house looking like the Sith from Star Wars according to my 7 year old son - and probably scare the pants of the postie.

I ordered the long, which is a couple of inches above my ankles (I’m 5.85) and sized up following the advice of 300+ rave reviewers on the M&S site. I’m glad I did - you can tell from Rosie’s pic that it doesn’t wrap around very far (not that I’d mind if I looked like her) - I’m a size 12 and bought the 16-18, which fits perfectly.

The M&S Hooded Luxury Dressing Gown is reduced from £39.50 to £27.65 and also comes in berry, ivory and a couple of other shades in-store. I’ve tried them all and think the black and ivory are nicest… I was unsure about black at first but it looks so velvety and plush that I really like it.

Beauty chat shall resume tomorrow…

SHARE:

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Instant Shine in a Can

Colab-Luxe-Shine-Spray.ColorWow-Pop Lock-Crystallite-Shellac,CharlesWorthington-ColourReviveMousse-ClearGloss

Have any Strictly Come Dancing fans noted how shiny Claudia’s hair is? I’ve never seen anything quite like it… oh how I covet that glossy mane. Blondes and redheads tend to be less blessed when it comes to the shine stakes, so I usually seek mine from a finishing product. I’ve been testing out three formulas that promise instant shine… here’s how I got on.

 Shiny-Hair-CharlesWorthington-ColourReviveMousse-ClearGloss,Colab-Luxe-Shine-Spray.ColorWow-Pop Lock-Crystallite-Shellac

Charles Worthington Colour Revive mousse is all about enhancing colour and shine, but since there’s no redhead version (boo hiss) I plumped for the Clear Gloss option. Applied to wet hair pre blow drying, this adds subtle shine, though didn’t blow me away. I imagine that the colour formulas would have a more noticeable effect - have any of you tried these yet? (on 3 for 2 at Boots if you’re interested).

COLAB Luxe Shine spray is the latest launch in this line by Ruth Crilly aka A Model Recommends. I’m hooked on the dry shampoo, one of the best I’ve tried, so was keen to give this a go. First up, the can itself is very luxe and reminds me a bit of Oribe, at a much more palatable £4.99. The second thing I noticed about this was the scent, which I personally really like. It wasn’t until I’d used it a few times that I noticed the label said ‘glossing hair fragrance’, so it’s actually marketed primarily as a hair fragrance, which adds subtle gloss.

*must keep up*

With notes of Bergamot, Oud and Cashmere (yep, hair spray has perfume notes now), the scent is soft and woody, not sickly sweet like a lot of hair products. The formula is light enough to use on fine hair and sprays a lovely fine mist which does add shine when my hair catches the light. A brilliant option for anyone who can’t wear perfume, or wants 3rd day hair to smell better than it looks! Normally £4.99, COLAB Luxe Shine spray is currently £3.99 at Superdrug HERE. (highly recommend adding a can of the Dry Shampoo while you’re at it - Monaco fragrance is the best, currently down to £2.49 HERE! *fills basket*).

Color WOW Pop & Lock Crystallite Shellac (brilliant product name) can be used on wet or dry hair and works by sealing the hair cuticle to lock colour in and dryness out, while a UV filter helps prevent colour fade. This adds a subtle shimmer without the disco ball effect. I like to add a little on the very surface of my hair post styling to smooth it out and add a sheen; I find that it also gives a little extra hold. While I do like this, the shampoo and conditioner remain my Colour WOW favourites… oh and I’m still hooked on the Speed Dry Blow Dry Spray (featured in My Most Used Products of 2014). I always use this when I’m in a hurry… brilliant for a late night blow dry before falling into bed - or when racing out the door.

My top pick of these three (and conveniently the cheapest) is COLAB Luxe Shine glossing hair fragrance.

SHARE:

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Bobbi Brown Sterling Nights Collection

 Bobbi-Brown-Sterling-Nights-Collection-Christmas-Holiday-2015 

If you think of Bobbi Brown as a neutrals-only range, think again, as the new Sterling Nights Collection is anything but. There’s a staple eye palette to balance things out and the rest is all about colour. Of course I’m not talking neon; this is grown-up, sophisticated colour with a sprinkling of festive sparkle… think jewel toned eyes, luminous cheeks and a WOW bright lip.

Bobbi-Brown-Sterling-Nights-Eye-Shadow-Palette

If you do prefer a neutral base, the limited edition Sterling Nights Eye Palette has you covered from day to smokey night looks. Inspired by star-studded skies, it includes a mix of matte and sparkle shades in mostly cool tones, wrapped in a luxuriously heavy black and silver compact.

Bobbi-Brown-Sterling-Nights-Lip-Color-Lady-Ruba-Atomic-Orange-swatches

Four limited edition Lip Colors include Lady Ruba (top), a festive orange-red and a sizzling hot Atomic Orange. Although they have a semi matte finish, these are rich and creamy with a fair bit of movement, so I like to wear them with an invisible lip liner to ensure a crisp edge. While I think these two shades will be very popular, personally I’d go for the Nude or Vixen Red shades, both quite dark and vampy (see here).

Bobbi-Brown-Sequin-Eye-Shadow-StarBeam-bronze-Constellation-purple-swatchesBobbiBrown-Sequin-Eyeshadow-swatches-Constellation-Starbeam

The stars of this collection are the baked, pearl-infused Sequin Eye Shadows, available in 4 shades and unsurprisingly selling out quickly. The bronze, Constellation (above) is my favourite, though Comet (emerald) and Moon Rock (sapphire) are stunning if you enjoy wearing brighter jewel tones. I’ve shown them swatched over NARS Smudge Proof Primer here, which as you can see, intensifies the already strong pigment.

The left swatch is Star Beam and right, Constellation. Star Beam looks like a blackened purple in real life and Constellation is way more shimmery and foil-like… their magic was impossible (for me) to capture on camera. I’d definitely opt for purchasing these in person as the colour marbling will vary between them and some will have more shimmer and sparkle than others. The gold in Constellation can be used pressed over another shadow, with the darker brown in the crease, or the two blended together for a shimmery brown - they really are very versatile. (I tried to show the ombre effect of gold at the top, brown at the base and a mix in the middle in the above swatch.)

BobbiBrown-SterlingNights-Collection-swatches

This pic shows the Sequin Eye Shadows without primer. Directly below them is my second favourite from this collection, a new shade of Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner - Black Ivy is a blackened green, which makes my grey-blue eyes look almost teal. Below the lipsticks are two of three new Face Highlighters, Seashell and Sunlight Bronze. The formula of these is really beautiful - smooth, creamy and pearlised (no glitter) - and I love the pump mechanism of the bottles. Also available in Pink, which I’d probably go for as I like a cool toned highlight, though pale gold Seashell also works well on me. Probably not one to invest in unless you wear highlighter regularly, but if you do, the formula is on point.

I’m loving the rich tones of this collection. If I had to choose, the Sequin Eye Shadows and Black Ivy Eyeliner have my heart.

Bobbi Brown Sterling Nights Collection for Christmas 2015 is available now at House of Fraser, Selfridges and Nordstrom. As I publish, some of the shades are available with 15% off at John Lewis.

SHARE:
© Strawberry Blonde. All rights reserved.
Blogger templates by pipdig