Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Hit & Miss Hair Products

Colab-Dry-Shampoo,Argan-Secret-Perfect-End,OGX-Kukui-Oil,CharlesWorthington_Instant_root-Concealer-DarkBlonde,WarmBrown,Bumble-Hair-Primer

Hair care is such a subjective thing and how a product performs often depends on our hair type. As my hair can be quite unruly, I often need to invest in salon quality products to encourage it to behave, but just like makeup, the quality of budget products is on the increase. Here is a quick run-through on what’s in my hair cupboard (yes that’s a thing), including the products that worked for me and those that didn’t, but might work for you.

STYLING PRODUCTS

I’ve mentioned CoLab dry shampoo (on offer for £2.32!) around here before. Launched last year by blogger and YouTuber, A Model Recommends, its fantastic lightweight formula doesn’t weigh hair down, feel gritty or leave white residue. It refreshes my hair, helping me squeeze in an extra day before washing, and comes in numerous scents - London is my favourite. Sadly I can’t say the same for CoLab Extreme Volume, which had way too much grit for my hair, though may well work wonders on very fine hair. Shout out to the travel sizes, love!

Argan Secret Perfect End and OGX Kukui Anti-Frizz Hydrating Oil are great styling products which can be used before and/or after heat styling. Perfect End smoothes and separates, making my hair look defined and piece-y rather than poodle-like, while Kukui oil tames frizz, adds shines and leaves locks smelling amazing.

Charles Worthington Instant Root Concealer is a spray on product that disguises roots to help eek out the time between salon visits. I hoped that either Dark Blonde or Warm Brown would work on my hair, but it looks like I’ll need to hold out for a redhead version… fingers crossed as I think this is a genius product. Try spraying onto a piece of foil, then painting onto hair with an old paintbrush for a natural finish.

I’m a big fan of my handbag sized tin of Bouffe Fixing Spray, which gives me hold without stickiness. To be fair, I don’t actually need to carry it around very often as its lasting power is so impressive that even morning after hair looks ok. Shame I can’t say the same for my face…

If you’re after a multi-tasking hair product then Bumble & Bumble Invisible Oil Primer is a great pick… don’t be put off by the oil element as it’s truly invisible. Made with feather light oils that don’t *feel* oily on the hair, this nourishes while keeping frizz and tangles at bay, adding heat protection and shine. It can be used alone or as a base product (just like makeup primer) layered under your regular styling products to add oomph to their performance.

OGX-Anti-Frizz-Shampoo, Mane Tail-Shampoo-Conditioner,John-Frieda-Miracle-Shampoo-Conditioner

SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER

As the name and jolly packaging suggest, Mane’n’Tail was created as a grooming product for horses - and is still used for this purpose. Word soon spread on the benefits for human hair after a horse owner used it on her own mane and loved the results; A-list celebs caught on, raved about it and a new phenomenon was born. I was sent this months ago and am not gonna lie, it took me a while to try it as I felt slightly uncomfortable about the whole concept. It works ok on my hair - I neither loved nor hated it - but am not a big fan of the texture and haven’t quite got my head around the horse thing. I do realise that maybe I’m the weird one here… horses for courses and all that (sorry, couldn’t resist).

OGX Kukui Oil Shampoo & Conditioner is another duo that the entire world and its wife adore, but although it smelt and felt divine, leaving my hair super soft, the Defrizz side of the Hydrate & Defrizz formula just wasn’t happening for me. I’ve gone back to this again and again as I really wanted it to work, but I guess there’s always one - and it’s impossible for every product to suit all of us. I’ll stick with the Hydrating Oil and try another shampoo from the range to see how I get on.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Miraculous Recovery is an impressive duo at a reasonable price, which did what it says on the tube and helped smooth my hair while keeping the appearance of frizz at bay. Designed for dry, damaged, unruly, curly hair (all the ticks) it performs well, smells good and lathers nicely.

Have you tried any of these - and which hair products are you loving (or not) these days? I’ll be back with some high end hair favourites soon…

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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Early Summer Self Tanning: Take 3

James-Read-Sleep-Mask-Tan

Hands up if you were caught out with pasty limbs not ready to be exposed to the world during the recent spell of warm weather? The sun has since been replaced with wind, hail and rain - oh the joys - which on the plus side, gives us a chance to sort ourselves out for when it reappears. Which it will. And yes I know that not everyone wants/feels the need to tan, but for anyone else looking for an early Summer, faux glow, here are 3 options that receive my seal of approval.

First things first, we don’t want to look like we’ve just stepped off a plane *yet*… this is all about a light golden glow, which in my opinion, makes everything look a little prettier and more presentable.

The products I want to talk about today are Clarins new Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster for Body, James Read Sleep Mask Tan for face and No 7 Stay Perfect Instant Tan Lotion. All three give very natural looking light tans and will take you from pasty to Golden Girl in a few hours (or less). 

 

MADE TO MEASURE TAN TO SUIT YOUR COLOURING

Clarins-Radiance-Plus-Golden-Glow-Booster-Body-self-tan-drops-review

Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster for Body is for me, one of this Summer’s most exciting launches. I fell for the Face version when it launched last year and used it all Summer long, so welcomed this addition to the family with open arms. If you haven’t used this product before, it’s basically a little bottle of concentrated self tan drops, which you add to any moisturiser of your choice to create your own customised self tan.

HOW TO USE: For a very light tan, add 2-3 drops (per limb); for a light to medium tan, 4-5 drops and for a medium tan, 6-7 drops. This was my experience, based on my (rather pale) colouring. I started with very little as I had no idea how deep the colour would come up - and gradually added more with each trial.

NB these quantities are per arm - you’d need to add more for legs - probably the same amount from knee down and 1.5 time that for the thighs.

I’d recommend mixing in your palm before blending, to make sure you have the correct ratio of body moisturiser: self tanning drops - just so that your left arm doesn’t end up twice as dark as your right. Applying with hands or a tanning mitt both work well.

Le Couvent des Minimes Loving Care Body Balm just happens to be my current body cream of choice, which works very well with this as the thick cream comes out in tubes (like toothpaste), so it’s easy to measure how the same amount each time. It’s also an absolute beaut if, like me, you suffer from dry skin.

RESULTS: An extremely even golden tan that has very little scent during development (I didn’t notice any at all, but am assuming there must be some) and wears very evenly with no patchiness. The colour lasted 5-7 days on me. Not sure how much of this you’d need for a really deep colour, or if you could achieve one, but I’ll keep you posted on that.

IMG_4263 Clarins-Radiance-Plus-Golden-Glow-Booster-Body-applied

I spent a large proportion of today trying to capture the colour of this accurately on camera - and decided to include two - one in direct sunlight (above left) and one of the paler, inside of my arm in natural light. These were both taken after I’d used a higher dose of 6-7 drops per limb.

INSTANT COLOUR

No7-Stay-Perfect-instant-tan

I must admit No7 Stay Perfect Instant Tan Lotion (in Light/Medium) turned out to be way better than I expected. It goes on smoothly and evenly leaving a lovely golden colour. If you’re pale and struggle to find a non-orange instant tan, this one is worth a go! This saved me on my first ankles-out days of Spring - and yes I only applied it to my ankles… I’ve been known to patch tan the bits of skin peeking through my distressed boyfriend jeans in the past. Just me?

Last but not least, James Read Sleep Mask Tan Face (now repackaged, assuming formula is the same).  I’m a long term user of James Read facial tanners, which I find brilliant for pale skins in particular, as the colour is very natural. This one contains lots of skin conditioners along with the self tanner, so you wake up looking both radiant and golden! I tend to use this when I’m feeling organised - and the Clarins Face drops when I’ve forgotten to tan my face! I also like using the James Read for hands, feet and décolleté, where I don’t want my colour to be quite as deep.

Anyone else started tanning yet?

You can read my review of Clarins Radiance Plus Glow Booster for Face here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday, 26 April 2015

KIKO Modern Tribes: Review & Swatches

KIKO-Modern-Tribes-Collection-Spring-2015

KIKO Milano Modern Tribes is a limited edition Summer collection featuring soft peachy pink and bronze tones. Beautifully packaged in wood with gold and cream accents, the products are very wearable in soft, muted tones with a few little colour pops thrown in. One item in particular has stolen my heart… keep reading to find out which!

NB the sun was in and out like a yo-yo when I was taking these pics, so apols for the constant changes in lighting.

KIKO-Free-Spirit-Lips Cheeks-review-Modern-Tribes

KIKO Free Spirit Lips & Cheeks #1 + #5, £8.90

Kiko-Graphic-Rituals-Kajal-Liner-blue-3-green-2

KIKO Dawn to Dusk Volume Mascara, £8.90 |  KIKO Graphic Ritual Kajal Eyeliner #2 + #3, £6.90

KIKO-Free-Spirit-Lips Cheeks-swatches-1-5,Kiko-Graphic-Rituals-swatches-3-2

KIKO Free Spirit Lips & Cheeks in #1, peachy nude + #5, deep dusky pink are one of the few formulas I’ve tried that work equally well on both lips and cheeks. Most of these dual products are too creamy for one area or too dry for the other, while these look and feel good on both. Constant lip use might lead to some dryness, but I think you can see how creamy they are from these swatches, with an almost-matte finish. Best part is they are so easy to apply, particularly on lips, though blend easily onto cheeks too. #1 is a touch too nude on my lips (pretty good on cheeks), but #5 was an instant favourite. Oh and they come with their own giant sharpener, a la Bobbi Brown Art Sticks, which really impressed me for a budget brand at less than half price the latter.

I’m not a big wearer of very bright eyeliners, but KIKO Graphic Ritual Kajal Eyeliners kinda make me wish I was... #2 is the prettiest leaf green and #5 a shimmery aqua blue… it’s all very Mermaidesque. 

Are you ready for my fave?

KIKO-Modern-Tribes-Tribal-Soul-Baked-Blush-Wild-Mauve-3-blog-review

KIKO Tri-bal Soul Baked Blush #3 Wild Mauve, £14.90 | Modern Tribe Face Brush £14.90

KIKO-Tribal-Soul-Baked-Blush-Wild-Mauve-3-swatched-swatches

KIKO Tri-bal Soul Baked Blush #3 Wild Mauve is just an absolute dreamboat of a blush… the three different tones (mauve, coral and pale pink) are large enough to use individually if you wish, though I generally blend them together (this has not left my cheeks for weeks). Use more of the two deeper shades (with the palest as highlight) if your skin tone is deeper, or vice versa on light skins. Blended together, Wild Mauve is a soft dusky pink with a hint of coral and has that glowy, smoothing finish that is just so skin flattering. I included a very light brush swatch above to show how subtle it can be, though the colour can be built up a bit more.

Big shout  out to the Modern Tribes Face Brush… I wasn’t expecting much from this as I’m always a bit sceptical about quirky brushes, but was actually really impressed. The ergonomic cut means its bristles hug the cheek contour perfectly, placing blush accurately in one simple sweep. Not sure how it would perform with a highly pigmented product, but with this blush, it works beautifully! If you’re clever, you can use it to place the three shades of this blush as contour, colour pop and highlight with one sweep.

KIKO Modern Tribes collection is available now in KIKO stores or at kikocosmetics.co.uk

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Friday, 24 April 2015

La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra

LaRochePosay-Toleraine-Ultra-sensitive-skin

La Roche Posay is a brand I often turn to when my skin is feeling sensitive. The Lipikar Baume A+ body lotion was a godsend for my dry Winter skin; Serozinc helps clear up minor skin irritations and I’ve used Citaplast Baume B5 to soothe everything from rashes and burns to parched hands.

La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra is a new addition to the range, aimed at ultra-sensitive or allergic skin - the first facial skincare product to be awarded the Seal of Approval by Allergy UK. Impressive, huh? Its stripped-back formula is as much about what isn’t there as what is. Enriched with soothing neurosensine, glycerine, shea butter and thermal spring water, it’s preservative-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free, alcohol-free, colourant-free, lanolin-free.

LaRochePosay-Toleraine-Ultra

While this light lotion does feel calming on my skin during rosacea flare ups, I’ve really fallen for its partner: Toleraine Ultra Eyes. Instantly hydrating and cooling around my eye area, this has kept any little patches of dryness at bay and sinks in quickly, leaving a perfect base for makeup. Perfect for sensitive eyes like mine, it doesn’t cause any stinging or irritation.

Do any of you suffer from sensitive skin or eyes?

La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra Fluide, £14.85 and Toleriane Ultra Eyes, £12.65 are both on offer at escentual.com where you can also pick up 2 x Serozinc for £10 and get 20% off ALL makeup until Monday!

 

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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Couvent des Minimes Eau Des Matines Cologne

Couvent-des-Minimes-Eau-des-Matines-Cologne-review,photos

Have you ever walked past super sophisticated French and Italians on holiday and caught a whaft of their glorious skin-fresh scent? If I close my eyes I’m there… linen shirts, tanned skin, sunshine - and that citrus fresh fragrance. It’s not overly complex; it just smells good and makes me feel good. That’s exactly how I’d sum up Le Couvent des Minimes’ Botanical Cologne of The Morning - or Eau des Matines cologne, to give its official name. I already love the body products from this range, so was optimistic about this new release. Designed to invigorate in the morning and set us up for the day, I’d say that’s exactly what it does (and frankly, I need all the help I can get).

Couvent-des-Minimes-Eau-des-Matines-Cologne

Opening with apple, orange and lemon, it has a heart of pear and fig flowers with basil with a soft base of woods, cedar and musk.  It’s one of the few scents I own that I’d describe as truly unisex. This isn’t the type of fragrance to delicately spritz behind each ear and leave it at that… it’s a spray or splash on lavishly (I love that it comes with an optional atomiser so that you can choose) whenever the mood takes you - and smells particularly good on a warm day. Even when I’m not wearing this, I sometimes spritz it around my desk when I’m working, just to get that little energy boost it seems to release. A range of body products are also available in this scent if you want to layer up… as is the nature of cologne, it’s not the longest lasting on its own, so I imagine this would help.

Le Couvent des Minimes Eau Des Matines Cologne, £19 and full collection are available here.

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Monday, 20 April 2015

Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil

Bobbi-Brown-Perfectly-Defined-Longwear-Brow-Blonde-swatch-swatches Bobbi-Brown-Perfectly-Defined-Longwear-Brow-pencil Bobbi-Brown-Perfectly-Defined-Longwear-Brow-review-photos-blog

Just in time for the warmer weather, Bobbi Brown has released a new brow pencil that won’t smudge no matter how hot and sunny (aka sweaty) things get. Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil goes on easy, fills brows with natural precision and lasts the distance.

Available in eight shades, it’s a twist-up pencil with a slanted nib that can be used at different angles and a soft spoolie brush for tidying up and avoiding over-fill. Hold it sideways to fill in large areas, or at an angle for thin strokes… unless you’re naturally very dark, fine hair-like strokes give the most natural finish.

While the lasting power is impressive, what I love most about this is the texture. Some brow pencils have too much colour payoff and can make brows look crayoned in, while others have such sharp nibs I feel like I’m scraping them on to get enough colour. This one is just right - it goes on smoothly and effortlessly, without product overload and the nib allows fine, feather like strokes.

Twist-up nib | slanted tip | long wear | sweat + humidity-resistant | waterproof | 8 shades.

 

COMPARATIVE SWATCHES

Brow-pencils-for-blondes-swatches

I was colour matched to the lightest shade, Blonde, which looks perfect in natural or artificial light, though a touch warm under bright lights or in direct sunlight. It doesn’t have red undertones (my pet hate), more golden. I’ve swatched it next to the others in my stash to give you an idea of how it compares. As you can see, Nos 2, 4 + 5 are more ashy, while No3 is somewhere in the middle.

  1. Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long Wear Brow Pencil - Blonde
  2. Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Wiz - Taupe
  3. Sleek Brow Stylist - Light
  4. Pixi Beauty Natural Brow Duo - Natural Brown
  5. Bare Minerals Frame & Define - Natural Light (bit faint as ran out mid swatch!)

 IMG_3635

Here is a pic of Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil on my brows (which you may have spied on my Instagram) expertly applied by gorgeous Jade at the Bobbi counter in House of Fraser Belfast. Out of all of those swatched above, I find this new Bobbi pencil the quickest and easiest to apply (which is really saying something over my beloved Anastasia), though think a cooler shade would suit me better. According to reviews, the Grey pencil works well on blonde brows, so I’ll check that out next time I’m in town.

In design terms, it is very similar to Hourglass Brow Sculpting Pencil and Tom Ford Brow Sculptor, sitting between the two in price. While it costs a good bit more than I’d like to spend on a brow product, it gets bonus points for offering 8 shades in addition to the longevity factor.

What do you think… can you put a price on perfect brows?

Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil, £29.50

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Sunday, 19 April 2015

New: Bourjois La Laque Nail Polish - Review & Swatches

Bourjois-La-Laque-Nail-polish-swatches-review 

I had no idea that Bourjois was releasing a new nail range, so was really excited when these landed. Bourjois La Laque is a new formula of highly pigmented, runway-inspired colours, packaged in cute triangular shaped bottles. 12 colours will be released in May - and range from pastels to darks, with brights in between. A new precision brush for one stroke coverage and a no-drip stem help keep nail painting speedy and precise.

Bourjois-La-Laque-Nail-polish-swatches-review-

I could have got away with a single coat but added another to ensure that they were completely opaque for these swatches. Starting from my pinkie, these are:

  • Orange Outrant - a bright, tangerine toned coral
  • Flambant Rose - pinky red / reddy pink (loving this on my toes!)
  • Beach Violet - the kind of purpley plum that works in any season
  • Only Bluuuue - my pick of the bunch, the most perfect vivid royal blue

The formula is quite dense and coats nails quickly… I found that it worked best once I figured out the correct amount to load the brush with for a single sweep of colour. Too little and you have to double dip, which can cause unevenness; too much and you risk pooling in cuticles… always a getting-to-know-you process with any new formula. The brush splays widely with a little pressure and is cut in a curve to fit any nail shape. I didn’t have any issues at all with application - and didn’t do too badly considering this is my right hand (broke a nail on my left).

Bourjois La Laque blog review

There’s something a bit retro about these shades, in a good way! They make me smile and I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of them. I currently have Flambant Rose (red) toes and Only Bluuuue fingers - I’ll report back on wear time pre-launch. Which is your favourite?

Bourjois La Laque

It made me so happy to see how nicely the bottles fit together - an excuse to collect them if ever I needed one!

Bourjois La Laque , £6.49 launches May at Boots, Superdrug and all the usual outlets.

 

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Friday, 17 April 2015

Sponsored Video: NIVEA Sensitive 3 in 1 Micellar Cleansing Water


Nivea-Sensitive-Micellar-Water-Cleanser  
My friends are probably fed up listening to me bore on about cleansing, but paying more attention to this skincare step has had a more positive impact on my skin than many others I’ve tried. While balms, oils and flannels are at the core of my regime, 9/10 days, micellar water is involved - for initial makeup removal before I cleanse my skin or eye makeup removal on a cotton pad. The latter is mostly about #SavetheFlannel!

Lately I’ve been using NIVEA Sensitive 3 in 1 Micellar Cleansing Water - part of NIVEA’s Daily Essentials Sensitive range, designed to help reduce redness, tightness and dryness - all of which I suffer from. I picked this up in Boots for less than £2 (on offer from £3.69), significantly less than the £10+ I usually spend on micellars.

It contains Provitamin B5 to help skin retain moisture and support surface skin cell regeneration, while Natural Grape seed oil helps reduce tightness and dryness. As the name suggests, Nivea Sensitive 3 in 1 Micellar Cleansing Water may be used on sensitive skins - and doesn't contain perfumes, parabens or colourants. It removes most makeup easily, leaving my skin comfortable.

Nivea invited some of the top UK beauty vloggers (Lily Melrose, Patricia Bright, Kaushal, and Alix from I Covet Thee) to test it out and share their opinions about the product on You Tube, which you can click to view below.




Find out about the NIVEA Daily Essentials Sensitive range on Nivea’s website or follow them on Facebook / Twitter
 


This post was sponsored by Nivea. All thoughts are my own.


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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

BD Trade Secrets: Budget Beauty Picks

Best-of-Tesco-BD-Beauty-review

As someone who mostly shops online, I was late to discover Tesco’s new look beauty halls and may have audibly gasped when I stumbled across one in Belfast (Knocknagoney). I’d just popped in for cotton wool pads and deodorant, yet there in front of me were rows of shiny beauty stands that wouldn’t look out of place in Boots or a department store.

I’ve since been trying out some of Tesco’s Barbara Daly line, now revamped as BD Trade Secrets. I dabbled in these products when I first got into beauty, about a gazillion years ago, but in recent months it’s re-launched with a new look, name and formula - some wrapped up in more glamorous packaging than I remember. Originally launched with makeup artist, Barbara Daly (in 1998, wow), the new improved collection was created with another MUA, Abby Ireland.  

Tesco-BD-Beauty-Dreamshine-swatch

My personal favourites are the Dream Shine Highlighter, Pure Matte Lip Melt in Independent and lipliner pencil in Sugar & Spice - swatched above in this order. Dream Shine, £7.99 (as seen in my March Favourites) comes in a pretty gold tube with a pump applicator and is a shimmery cool beige, pearly cream that works well on my complexion. I’ve shown it swatched heavily to give you an idea of the colour, then lightly next to that.

Pure Matte Lip Melt, £5.99 seriously impressed me and looks stunning on (I thought I had a pic of it on my lips but can’t find it for love nor money - if you’d like to see it leave a comment below & I’ll share one on Twitter or Instagram). Likewise, the lipliner pencil, £2.99 is soft, creamy and really well pigmented… the colour is more nude and less brown than it looks here, the perfect natural nude shade that I’ve been reaching for a lot.

The full line up photographed at the top includes Va Va Boom mascara with an arched wand which scared the life out of me but actually applies very well; Light-Effects concealer highlighting pen in #2 (too dark for me) and Flawless Primer (which I discovered softens fine lines when a little is gently patted over makeup or on bare skin).

While luxury makeup will always be my favourite, budget brands are absolutely catching up and I’m repeatedly impressed with the quality of some, so expect to see more scattered among my posts soon. And next time you’re in Tesco, check out BD Trade Secrets and let me know what you think - or have a look online here. (PS a little bird told me the products are made in the same factory as Charlotte Tilbury makeup - interesting!).

 

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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Hylamide SubQ Advanced Serum: Eyes & Anti-Age

Hylamide-SubQ-Anti-Age-Eyes-Advanced-Serum 

Remember how I raved about Deciem Hand Chemistry in this post and told you I was so impressed that I was considering using the products on my face? It happened. But the good news is that Deciem has gone one better and released new skincare products specifically for the face. Hylamide SubQ Advanced Serums launched in Boots today, promising results in 5-10 days - and having tried them out for two weeks I am happy (& slightly stunned) to concur that this claim is spot on.

There’s more coming soon (look out for a Booster Series in Summer), but the first two products to be released are Hylamide SubQ Advanced Serums - one for the Eyes and one for the face called Anti-Age. If you’re not familiar with Deciem, it was set up by the founder of Indeed Labs, Brandon Truaxe, and was Boots fastest-selling new brand launch, going on to win multiple awards.

Brandon made a very good point about skincare ingredients which really resonated with me: ‘While ingredients are truly important, a world-class chef and I can make a dish from the exact same ingredients with very different results (mine will be better!)… formulation absolutely matters.’

I have spent a lot of time researching the science behind these products, which I won’t go into now, but you can read for yourself here if you wish. To summarise, Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age Advanced Serum is for ‘multi-depth rehydration and visible reduction in lines and irregularities’, while SubQ Eyes is for ‘immediate and longer-term visible correction of under-eye ageing, puffiness and dark circles.’

What’s different about these products is that they have been designed to penetrate skin at an effective level, unlike many others which contain molecules too large to penetrate the skin, or so small that they literally slip through without effect. Hylamide is formulated to target the 3 important skin layers and subcutaneous layers at once. 

Whoops, I said I wouldn’t go into the science but I’m so intrigued by all of this, not least because of the results I’ve seen on my own skin. You know how much skincare I test and that it takes a lot to impress me, but this really has - and I’m particularly pleased that the mid price point is so reasonable - neither cheap or extortionate.

Hylamide-SubQ-Anti-Age-Eyes-Advanced-Serum-blog-review 

Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age is a clear, lightweight serum that sinks in immediately, leaving my skin feeling hydrated and looking glowy. It has minimal scent and leaves no tacky residue.

Hylamide SubQ Eyes is a slightly more dense, milky serum, which also sinks in quickly and has a subtle tingly sensation (not at all uncomfortable). My only niggle about this one is that product collects a bit around the mouth of the bottle, as you may be able to see under the edges of the cap in my pic above; a minor thing that doesn’t interfere with product performance - I’m just flagging it.

Both operate with a pipette, making them extremely hygienic and easy to use. I purposely haven’t changed anything else in my skincare regime since using these, so that I can measure their effects accurately. Not having mentioned any of this, I visited my (skin and skincare obsessed) sister, who asked what on earth I’d been using as my skin looked so well and so smooth (she also said she couldn’t see a single line, but I took that bit with a pinch of salt!). 

The main changes I’ve noticed are that my skin looks brighter and my pores seem smaller. This is physically impossible, I know, as pores can not shrink, but they’re less visible. Fact. A temporary effect of the product I imagine, but one that I think most of us would embrace!

Enough raving? I think so.

Hylamide SubQ launches in Boots today: SubQ Eyes, £27 | SubQ Anti-Age, £30

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Monday, 13 April 2015

Benefit Dew the Hoola: Review & Swatches

Benefit-Do-The-Hoola-set-QVCBenefit-Dew-the-Hoola-review

Meet Benefit Dew the Hoola, a liquid version of the top selling Hoola bronzing powder. This doesn’t launch until 2016, but Hoola fans can get their hands on it now as part of a QVC UK exclusive. Dew the Hoola is a matte, sheer liquid bronzer that can be worn alone, over foundation or layered under Hoola bronzing powder. Perfect for anyone who wants to warm up their complexion in a really natural looking way, the matte finish will be a big selling point, just as it is with Hoola bronzer.

 

DO THE HOOLA BEYOND BRONZE KIT

 Benefit-Do-the-Hoola-set-contents-QVC 

Dew the Hoola is one of 5 luxe sized Benefit minis, part of QVC’s Do the Hoola Beyond Bronze Kit. Pictured above from left, these include Hoola Ultra Plush Gloss, They’re Real Mascara, Benebalm, Hoola Bronzer with a dinky brush and star of the show, Dew the Hoola.

 

SWATCHES

Benefit-Dew-the-Hoola-swatch-swatches-colour-blog-reviewBenefit-Dew-the-Hoola-swatch-swatched-on-skin

Benefit Dew the Hoola - before & after

As you can see, the finish is completely matte and sheer - a wash of sunkissed colour that blends easily and is pretty much undetectable on the skin. My swatch shows one light layer of product, which can be built up a little for a slightly deeper colour, though I prefer to add depth with the Hoola bronzing powder. The difference looks quite subtle in these pics and is more obvious in real life, though still natural looking and I think this will work well on light to medium skins. In terms of colour, you can see from the blob of product that the tone is quite golden, slightly warmer than that of the bronzing powder, which is one of the most cool toned I’ve tried.

I have been wearing Dew the Hoola across my cheekbones and temples, just as I would bronzer, but imagine I’ll get most use out of it as a wash of colour all over my face (where I don’t tan) in Summer. It’s easy to apply either with fingers or a brush, though I prefer to do so with a stippling brush.

If you fancy trying Benefit Dew the Hoola before it launches next year, you can pick up QVC’s Do the Hoola Beyond Bronze Kit now for an introductory price of £23.16 here (it will be £25.50).

 

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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

YSL Touche Éclat Blur Primer & Beauty Confidential

YSL-Blur-Primer-Review  

I’ve reached an age when a bit of a blur is a beautiful thing. Add a little sparkle to the mix and suddenly ‘blurring’ seems positively glamorous! As a long term fan of YSL base products (Touche Éclat foundation is a personal favourite; the highlighting pen not so much), I couldn’t wait to try the new YSL Touche Éclat Blur Primer. As the name suggests, this is designed to blur pores and fine lines, even skin tone and prime skin for makeup, helping it last longer. Here’s how I got on…

YSL-Blur-Primer-glitter-photo-pic

THE SPARKLES: These sparkles will put some people off and - I imagine - draw even more in. They appealed to me but I was also a bit nervous about looking like a glitter ball. Like all of the Touche Éclat range, this product is about boosting radiance - and while the sparkles play some part in that, their effect on the skin is much more subtle than I had expected. If I look very closely, I can catch the odd twinkle, but since most people (thankfully) won’t be looking at me via a magnifying mirror, this isn’t an issue. With the addition of foundation, the effect is even more subtle.

PRODUCT PERFORMANCE: Touche Éclat Blur Primer does minimise the appearance of pores on my skin and gives a slightly smoother overall look. Personally I would only use this under foundation, which I find applies more evenly on top - and definitely has better lasting power. I only need half of my usual single pump of product (I’m still using Clarins True Radiance), which I guess helps justify the price of this product. It doesn’t ‘set’ like some primers, but moves slightly when foundation is applied on top. This doesn’t affect its performance and I didn’t experience any balling, with those annoying flaky white bits that some primers can produce, just a lovely silky finish.

SWATCHES

YSL-Blur-Primer-swatch

You can see the fine sparkles suspended in the primer - this is a single pump of product, more than enough for my entire face (half a pump is actually enough).

YSL-Blur-Primer-applied-on-skin

The sun did come out between these two shots; annoying as it changes the light, but on the plus side this highlights how subtle the sparkle looks on my skin. It is there, but I honestly barely notice it under foundation. I think you can also see that there is an overall more radiant finish to my skin in this shot. For me, the performance is what really matters - and I’m very impressed by that.

If you’re thinking of investing in YSL Touche Eclat Blur Primer, now is a good time as it’s included in House of Fraser’s Beauty Confidential offer. This means you can get £10 off 30 top sellers at House of Fraser when you buy any other beauty product until 17 April 2015.

YSL Touche Éclat Blur Primer, £29.50 (or £19 as part of Beauty Confidential). You can see all 30 products included in the offer here.

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Monday, 6 April 2015

My Top 3 Perfumes

Narciso-Philosykos-Blackberry Bay-blog-review

My taste in perfume has changed quite a lot over the years - and while I don’t dislike any of those that I once wore, I’m now drawn to a completely different type of scent. I once had two distinct types: rich, leathery orientals like Jo Malone Dark Ginger and Amber Lily or D&G (Red); and skin scents, like Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Liquid Nude or Laura Mercier Fresh Fig (there are LOTS more, but we could be here all day).

Fresher, brighter fragrances seem to be my thing these days and while I always love to try new ones, I can’t resist the allure of Diptyque Philosykos, Narciso Rodriguez ‘Narciso’, and Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay. Here’s why…

 

DIPTYQUE PHILOSYKOS

Diptyque-Philosykos-review

If I could only wear one perfume forevermore, Diptyque Philosykos would be it. I’ve known this perfume for many years as my sister and close friend both wore it and obsessed over it, but I didn’t get it until I bought my own. Even then it wasn’t instant love… at first I liked it, but soon grew to love it. Philosykos is a fig based scent and to my nose, is juicy-sweet, woody and fresh in equal parts. Uplifting, calming and invigorating all at once… how can that even be possible? 18months on, it’s love at every single spritz and I can’t imagine ever tiring of it. FYI that’s a long-term perfume relationship for me as I’m very fickle, get bored with/ go off scents easily and usually love to switch them up a lot. I’m curious to try another Diptyque scent now and have lost so much time sniffing them in the corner of Space NK, so would love any recs you might have.

Diptyque Philosykos £58 (NB mine is in the old bottle shape - new one is even prettier)

 

JO MALONE BLACKBERRY & BAY

Jo-Malone-Blackberry Bay-review

Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay is not a million miles from Philosykos. It’s less sweet and skin-like, but has that uber authentic outdoor air about it that I love. The bay comes through strongly at first - in a gorgeous herbal hit that’s unlike anything else I’ve tried. I chose this for a Christmas gift and have just noticed that I’m halfway through the *bottle; seriously regretting that I didn’t get the larger size at the time (I did choose to get the smaller one AND a coat instead so really not complaining!). The blackberry notes contrast beautifully with the bay and this is a feel-good perfume that evokes  a sense of freedom and memories of countryside walks.

(*I photographed these in Feb, it really is half empty now!)

Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay £40

 

NARCISO RODRIGUEZ NARCISO EAU DE PARFUM

Narciso-Rodriguez-Narciso-White

I’m a huge fan of Narciso Rodriguez scents for both men and women - and hoped I’d love Narciso Eau de Parfum as soon as I saw pics of the bottle online. I mean, look at it.  Here’s another look…

Narciso-Rodriguez-Narciso-perfume-review-edp-parfum-White

It’s like an ornamental piece of sculpture, suspended in glass. Very different from my other two favourites, this is more of an original me scent, with a modern twist. Warm, sensual and intoxicating, this is my evening perfume, though I did love wearing it on the coldest Winter days and imagine it will also work well in the Summer heat. It starts out as a heady floral (gardenia and rose) but settles to an elegant sweet, musky wood - of the grown up variety. No surprises that it contains some of my favourite notes: vetiver, white musk, amber and cedar. This is really something special and I’m very grateful to my lovely sister for treating me as she knew how much I wanted it (thank you if you’re reading P! xx).

Narciso Rodriguez Narciso Eau de Parfum £32 (15% off)

What’s your favourite scent at the moment? Please leave me a comment below! You can read about more of mine by clicking on the Fragrance tab at the top of this page.

 

I’ve just received details of an event that any Ireland-based perfume lovers out there might be interested in - a one-day perfume-making event where you can learn about what goes into perfumes and make your own scent to take home! It’s happening on Saturday 9th May in Dublin, hosted by perfumenotes.ie with Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays.

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Thursday, 2 April 2015

New Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet

BourjoisRougeVelvet-Spring-2015

It was music to my ears that Bourjois has released three new shades of Rouge Edition Velvet, first launched this time last year (see my ode here). Regular readers will know how fond I am of this long lasting liquid lipstick with a comfortable matte finish, to the extent that they made my 2014 Favourites. I’ve been wearing the new shades a lot lately and my favourite is the one that’s open above, So Hap’pink.

Bourjois-Rouge-Velvet-So-Happink,Dont-Pink-of-it, Beau-Brun-swatches

From top, Beau Brun - a deep rust, Don’t Pink of It - nude pink and So Hap’pink - mid pink with warm coral tones… not your typical Spring shades, but all very wearable. So Hap’pink is one of those brights that’s really easy to wear for day time, adding a lovely pop of colour without looking like you’re heading out clubbing (as if, *snigger*). Don’t Pink of It is a really pretty nude and although I prefer nude lips with more of a sheen, I’m happy that this one works well with my skin tone.

I photographed these swatches 10 mins after application to give you an idea of how they look when settled on the skin. The ones below are after 20 mins - and as you can see, they look slightly more matte, but don’t dry to a crisp like some mattes do. I smudged them out a little to demonstrate that they do still move - and that they can be used as a stain. Note that once the bulk of their colour wears off, these do stain the lips, but not in a bad way… it’s all part of the lasting power. Beau Brun seems to be a slightly wetter formula than the other two; I haven’t worn this one as much as it’s more of an Autumnal shade to me. 

Bourjois-Rouge-Velvet-So-Happink,Dont-Pink-of-it, Beau-Brun-swatch-swatched-review,photos 

I highly recommend Hot Pepper, Ole Flamingo and Pink Pong from last year’s collection. I’ve worn them at least once a week over the past year and they’re still going strong - part of the beauty of rarely needing a touch up as the lasting power is so good!

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets, £8.99 are available at Boots & Superdrug, currently on 3 for 2 at both.

 

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