Monday, 30 December 2013

Makeup Brush Cleaning Ritual

As 2013 comes to a close I have made a few 'beauty resolutions' one being to be that little more organised when it comes to deep cleaning my makeup brushes. I own a mountain of brushes and flit between the same ones on a regular basis, adding a few extras to the mix when I am in an 'experimental mood'. However whilst I am rather good at spot cleaning every day I tend to take the lazy girls attitude towards deep cleaning, and whilst I always aim for once a week that doesn't always happen. So this weekend whilst my boyfriend returned to work after a long Christmas Holiday and to be in prep for the New Year I decided to grab all my brushes and head to the bathroom for the little Brush Maintenance. 

My routine for deep cleansing is pretty simple. I tend to favour a good old flannel and a moisturising anti-bac hand wash to do the trick rather than a fancy brush cleaning tool and specialised cleaner. I recommend picking up a few flannels from Primark or any other cheap shop and stashing them away specifically for brush cleaning. They will get stained, but throw them in afterwards with your hot wash and they are ready to be re-used the following week. 

Now to get started. I like to lay an old towel out on the floor and roll it up slightly at the edge to create a slope, then when you the wet brushes down water will run down rather than up to the handle. Once I have prepped I like to take the largest brushes first, usually my face brushes and saturate the bristles in warm water. The trick is not to get too much into the handle or it can erode the glue causing the bristles to fall out (RIP Sigma F80). Then pump 1 pump of hand-wash on to the flannel and start working that brush in circular motions and then rinse. If like me its been a while (naughty) then start the process again for a double cleanse. Place the brush on the towel and repeat with all the other brushes. I tend to find that the handles can get a tad grubby, especially the RT brushes due to the rubberised finish, so whilst the brushes are drying I will rub a face wipe over the ends to get them back to their original self. Finally if you have a few that are numbered i.e. MAC, Sigma etc then take the opportunity right now to slick a coat of clear nail varnish over the number to stop it fading. And hey presto your brushes are as good as new, well almost. Now all I need to do is keep this up into the new year. 

P.s: If you are lazy like me in terms of brush cleaning then I highly recommend picking up a spot cleaner for everyday which whilst it won't keep your brushes emmaculate it will stop a lot of the build up. My weapon of choice for this is Beauty So Clean Conditioning Brush Cleanser which you can pick up for around a tenner on Feel Unique. Happy cleaning!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Cuticle Maintenance

Review of cuticle remover treatments

It's certainly not the most glamorous of tasks, lets be honest. But a quick glimpse of my rather neglected cuticles the other evening told me that I had to do something, fast. There was a time when not a single cuticle product crossed my collection but having become quite a nail polish whore I have accumulated quite a selection. Whereas once 'sorting my cuticles' meant a quick massage and push back using my nails (cringe) in the bath I now reach for a triplet of products which see my nails go from shabby to chic in just a few minutes. 

For when my nails are OKish: When I have not left it too long between mani's I tend to find that a cuticle oil does the job. Sally Hansen's Vitamin E Nail and Cuticle Oil pretty much does what it says on the tin. I like to apply around the nails bed and then either massage in with my fingers or use a cotton bud to push the product about. You need to give your hands a good wash afterwards with this one if you are planning on painting straight after and I recommend a quick swipe of nail polish remover over the nail to ensure that all the oil has been removed. I like to apply this after painting my nails too and on a general daily basis as it really does keep dry patches at bay. 

For in between manicuresElegant Touch Cuticle Remover. Easy to find in most supermarkets and drugstores, it comes in at less than a fiver and pretty much does the job. I use this when my cuticles haven't been left for too long and just need a tidy. It comes with a brush,  which you pretty much apply like a nail polish all around the nail bed, leave for a few seconds and start pushing back with a cuticle pusher (if there is a professional name for this appliance then please let me know). Afterwards, wash and your ready to go.

When the big guns are called for: The latest edition to the 'cuticle family' is Sally Hansens Instant Cuticle Remover. I had been after this for a while, but not being readily available on the High Street it was going to have to be an Amazon job until I spotted this sitting alone on a shelf in TK Maxx for just £3.99. Heads up though that I have heard this could be making its way into selected Boots stores so sit tight. Unlike the aforementioned products, this is a gel like formula which you squeeze directly onto your cuticles, leave for 15 seconds and then start pushing back. The precision applicator and easy to squeeze bottle is pretty easy to handle and really does do the business. In fact my nails always look heaps better after using this. Word of warning though this is pretty harsh stuff so it does recommend only using twice a week. 

So if you are on the look out for cuticle taming products then I highly recommend throwing one or two of these in your basket next time you are in Boots... 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

L'Oreal SuperLiner Brow Artist

L'Oreal SuperLiner Brow Artist Review

If theres one thing that L'Oreal does well and thats eyes. Their recently discontinued (*sob*) Telescopic mascara has been my most re-purchased beauty item to date. So when they launched a collection of brow and liner products on the back of their 'Line of Beauty' AW13 trend I was all ears. Launched under L'Oreal's SuperLiner franchise the collection consists of 3 liners and a brow pencil - Blackbuster - a jumbo pen style eyeliner, Pefect Slim - a tiny 0.4mm precision eyeliner, Gelmatic - a gel liner in a pen applicator and finally Brow Artist* which I was kindly sent for review.
To give you a brief idea of what y brows are like - I have naturally unruly brows which over time have become rather sparse from being a tad over zealous with the tweezers. Whilst my brows have a relatively good natural shape they do require a little work filling in the gaps, and working on more of an arch as I attempt to regrow them. Lets just say I am certainly no Cara in the eyebrow stakes! As far as products go I have tried a fair few, with Cliniques Superfine eyebrow pencil tipping the top spot and MAC Espresso coming in a deserving second.  
Brow artist is sold as a 3 in 1 product, consisting of a brow pencil, wax and tamer brush all in one neat pencil sized portion. To start proceedings I have been using the brush to tidy up the brow area and prepare for shading, next up I fill in the areas needed with short strokes, almost like drawing fine hairs into the gaps, creating the shape I want. The pencil is quite dense, so I find running it over the back of my hand firstly softens it slightly and makes it slightly easier to work with.  Finally I use the brush end again to blend any harsh edges and give an overall natural look. For additional wear use the wax end around the edges to stop any movement throughout the day. 
For an easy to use brow pencil this pretty much hits the spot. The formula is slightly waxy and does need a good blend with the brush to take away the harshness and avoid being left with a scouse brow.  The waxy formula, however does negate the need for the 'finishing wax' and whilst the wax end is a nice extra, I am not sure it contributes any real benefit to the product other than giving it an added 'selling point'. Colour wise you are limited to only 3 shades - blonde, brunette and dark brunette. I have been using 03 Brunette - a straight up dark brown which I am pleased to report has no signs of an orange undertone. I would like to see L'Oreal extend the colour range, as I think red heads in particular have been left off of the shade chart. But as far as brow pencils go, this does exactly what it says on the tin, and is a pretty good pencil for its mere £5.49 price tag. 
Will you be trying any of the L'Oreal SuperLiner collection?

*PR Sample 

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Review | Lancôme Génifique



Walk into my bathroom and you will be presented with an array of lotions and potions from toners, to exfoliants to cleansers. Yes, skincare is my weakness. Naturally though I was happy to shuffle a few products around and make room for Lancôme' Génefique range*.  So for the past few weeks I have been slapping on the Génefique and eye cream.

The History: Génefique first launched in 2009 after 10 years in the making, promising to maximize the skins ability to hydrate and resurecting the skins youthful quality. Already a cult product amongst the Lancôme skincare range, it already boasts a newer advanced formula to compliment its original best seller. As I head closer to my 30’s it could not be a better time to put this to the test...

Génefique Youth Activator Serum*: Developed as a hybrid of a serum and a cream, it is just that. It has the lightness and texture yet has the hydrating properties of a moisturiser. The product itself is housed in a tall glass bottle with a pipet type applicator which uses almost a button like feature on the top of the bottle to withdraw and disperse the product. I find that one pump does the job worked into a freshly cleansed/toned face. The serum is light, but pretty hydrating at the same time. It left my skin feeling smooth and hydrating without the tackiness of a heavy cream. I have been using this in the morning straight after toning and before applying makeup as I have found that it provides the perfect canvas for longer lasting makeup. Could this be my primer dilemma sorted? For more of a kick, use at night under an overnight mask or oil. On the nights when my skin needs a little something extra I have been upping the skincare stakes and massaging this in before topping up with either Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask or Clarins Lotus Oil for super plumped morning skin. I definitely recommend this if you are looking to add a good serum to your skincare routine. Prices start at £58 for 30ml. 

Génefique Youth Activator Eyecream*: Developed to compliment the former is a lightweight undereye serum formulated to tackle fine lines and wrinkles. Whilst I can’t say this is an area that I need to tackle just yet, prevention is better than cure right ladies? Firstly although this is  lightweight serum, I did find that it took a while to absorb into the skin, and we don’t want to be messing around in this area for too long so I would suggest only using this before bed.  Although once it had absorbed my eye area felt smoother, it just did not cut it for me in the awakening areas and being an early starter this is something I strive for in an eye cream. For the time being I will be sticking to my Supergoop Anti-Aging Eye Cream. I do, however believe that if you do suffer from dryness under the eyes then this could work well. So for slightly older ladies, with dryer skin, it could be noteworthy! Prices start at £49. 

The above Génefique gift set originates from Harrods and comes with a 30ml Génefique, 15ml eye cream and a Visionnaire sample. Unfortunately this is now sold out.  But if you do fancy getting your hands on the range then it is available online and most major department stores...  

*PR Samples

Monday, 29 July 2013

Review | L'Oréal 3 in 1 Micellar Solution


A recent weekly shop saw the latest Micellar water from L'Oréal land in my basket - Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Micellar Water. Since Bioderma took the beauty world by storm I am pleased to see that many high street brands are following suit, with L'Oréal being the latest to serve up their own version. In case you have been residing under a rock for the past year then micellar waters have been the latest innovation in makeup removing, promising to dissolve and remove makeup. Whilst I rely on cleansing balms for a deep down clean, I don't rely on them to remove my makeup and tend to take a 2 step approach when it comes to cleansing.  I have been using this pre-night time routine to remove my makeup before moving onto a proper cleanse and I have to say I am impressed. I like to use one large cotton pad, sweep over my eyes and then move over my face. I will sometimes use 2 pads dependent on how heavy my makeup is that day. Boy does this remove, as a waterproof mascara gal this takes it all off. No more morning panda eyes when traces have been left behind. My only niggle would be that it sells itself on unclogging pores and clearing impurities, which for something that only works on the surface I struggle to believe, I certainly would not skip a proper cleanse afterwards.  If however, you are looking to adding a pre-cleanse to your skincare routine then I certainly recommend giving this a try. And for £5 a pop, whats not to love?

Friday, 26 July 2013

Rimmel Salon Pro | Summer Orange

Rimmel Salon Pro Nail Polish Summer Orange

Suffice to say I have found a new nail polish love. I didn't think the day would come when I would find a polish to rival my extensive Essie collection but Rimmel Salon Pro range have hit the nail on the head with this range. After Summer Orange made its way into my Boots basket a while couple of weeks ago its all I have been wearing on my nails since. A vibrant orange red its definitely a shade which stands out from the crowd. In fact I can't fault the range. Firstly, the brush. Hallelujah, other brands aside from Essie are taking note with the wider brush which allows you to glide your polish on in one swoop, goodbye messy nails. The formula is spot on - not too thick and not too runny, which allows you to get streak free nails in just one coat. With the brighter shades you need a couple of coats to achieve full opaqueness but the formula dries pretty quickly so once you have finished your second hand you can move straight back onto the first. Lasting time? Well my five day old nails in the picture are testimony that this stuff lasts. Aside from a little wear at the edges its pretty much chip free, albeit they were topped with a good helping of Seché Vite. With 32 colours available in the range and at only £4.49 a pop I have already scheduled another visit to Boots. 

Introducing: Glo Minerals Makeup

Mineral makeup has never really been on my radar, its something I saw pop up on the shopping channel on a lazy Sunday afternoon but it just never really pushed my buttons. The thought of combining both skincare and makeup together was something that I had previously dismissed, strictly keeping the two separate. But a few weeks ago I made a pact to forget my negative pre-empt judgement on mineral makeup. So when I was given the heads up about a UK launch of brand from across the pond I decided to embrace it. After all theres only so many times you can eyeball the mineral shadows in House of Fraser without wondering whats the deal... 

Glo minerals is a brand from across the pond. Launching in 2002 its already become a hit in the states and has just recently touched down on British soil. An award winning brand priding themselves on not only promoting flawles, high quality makeup, but makeup that benefits the skin too. Packed full of skincare goodness, the brands makeup comes complete with sun protection - Hello heatwave...

I briefly touched on their powder SPF in this post, and given the recent heat wave it has been proven to be an essential in my handbag. Their lip tint/gloss has proven to be the most non sticky formula of a gloss yet to date and whilst I was not overly keen on the liquid bronzer (a tad too sticky for my liking), the highlighter, a pearlescent subtle cream formula has been making an beeline for my cheekbones giving a subtle, natural glow. I like to apply under my foundation for a dewy natural look. My favourite of the bunch though has to be the eyeshadow trio in Amethyst,  a mix of aubergine and mauve, its the perfect collection of colours for a smoky eye with a pop of colour. Pigmented, long lasting with not a crease in sight on my oily lids - these get a big thumbs up from me.

Whilst I can't speak as to whether these really do benefit the skin for ladies that actively seek cosmetics free from parabens, fillers and nasties then I certainly recommend that you give these a try. Could I be a mineral makeup convert?

Glo Minerals are available now on the UK website - www.glo-minerals.com.

*PR Samples


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Beach Holiday Beauty Essentials

Beach Holiday Beauty Essentials

When it comes to packing for a week away in the sun I take packing my beauty essentials pretty seriously and its safe to say that aside from passport, tickets, money it takes precedence. In the weeks leading up to my holiday my iPhone notes section will be filled with random 'essentials' that I need to purchase pre departure. It's been a while since I indulged in a real beach holiday, so Kudos to my boyfriends sister for choosing none other than Party Island Ibiza as her wedding destination. With 3 months to go until take off I have already started the pre holiday prep and after taking in Lisa Eldridges latest video I am well and truly on my way to be sorted for a week in the heat!

Its easy to get carried away when it comes to packing and in the past I have been known to return with an arsenal of items which I did not use/need. I think its going away with my boyfriend that does it, not having the safety net of the girls, knowing that if you do forget an important makeup item your girlfriends are there to bail you out. However with a limited baggage allowance I need to whittle it down to the essentials that I know I will use and heres the spiel. 

A few weeks before take off I like to get my body prepped i.e. giving my body a little pre holiday tanning.  After many a fake tan fail I have found the safest bet to be of the gradual tanners/moisturisers. Garnier Body's Summer Body is probably the most user friendly. Easy to apply, quick drying and it comes in at less than a fiver. Sold. My only niggle is that it does have a rather potent fake tanning scent after it has dried. Apply at night and shower in the morning = problem solved, or else risk colleagues looking for the biscuit tin every time you walk past. For my face I have been adding a quick swipe of Clarins Liquid Bronze using a cotton pad. I use this after my final skincare step, just before bed. It takes a few applications to see a difference yet is so natural that no one would even think you have been topping up the fake tan. Tanning prep aside, its time to bring on the protection ladies. I am not going to go into a big lecture, we all know the importance of sun protection so lets use it. I am a big fan of the mists over the cream formulas. Albeit a tad pricier, but a lot more easy to use. Nivea Suns SPF20 Cooling Mist often gets thrown in my handbag on hotter days as its quick enough to use on the go without having to wait an era for it to dry. I tend to use a separate protection for my face and am a big fan of Clarins SPF30 Sun Wrinkle Cream which is a light formula which leaves a good base for make up without it slipping and sliding over my face. With this you will find that a think layer works best, and take your time to really work into the skin so that it sinks in rather than leaving a residue on the surface. If however you dislike the idea of applying a cream formula SPF then why not try a powder instead. I am really loving Glo Minerals Powder SPF30* at the moment which is a mineral based powder you can apply on the go. You literally give it a shake to disperse some powder into the brush and then dust all over your face. It adds an almost veil to the skin, which is undetectable so you can be safe in the knowledge that you are protected whilst keeping shine at bay.  Although the brush is a tad rough for my liking, I haven't burnt a bit fingers crossed! Just don't forget to reapply often. With protection of the skin variety covered its time to move onto hair. For all you water babes out there, you will know only too well the effects of chlorine, salt water, and sun on your hair. I can't count how many times I have come back from the beach and had to spend an age trying to get a comb through my hair to be left with split sun damaged mess. So this year I am going prepared. Mainly because I need my hair to be in tip top shape for the wedding, and with 3 free days prior to the wedding I shall be be topping up my tan in prep I therefore can't risk ruining my hair. So I will be packing the Philip Kingsleys Swim Cap*. You apply this to damp hair, I plan on dampening my hair and then running some of this through it before sweeping it into a fishtail plait of some sort - beach chic at its best! 

Makeup wise I like to go minimal and use long lasting products. I am a far cry from the girl applying lipgloss by the pool. For days when I need a little coverage I will be sticking to my Christian Dior BB Cream or Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser. Both medium/light coverage which are both versatile and buildable whilst still letting my natural skin show through. For some added colour its stains all the way. I recently picked up one of the Esteé Lauders Cello Shots which is a gel based cheek stain, and is ridiculously long lasting for a cheek colour and can be doubled up as a lip stain with a touch of SPF lipbalm over the top. Whilst on the subject of lips, if you are anything like me then you will want some colour whilst sitting by the pool or on the beach so your best bet is so grab your self some lip stains. I am still waxing lyrical about the Revlon Kissable Balms which are a permanent in my handbag, and I will be popping Honey and Rendezvous into my makeup bag this year.  

So with my holiday beauty essentials slowly but surely being ticked off the list, all thats left is finding A. a dress for the wedding and B. getting my 'bikini bod' ready! Onto Day 5 of 30 day shred I go...

*PR Sample(s)

Monday, 1 July 2013

In The Nude

Clockwise - Nails Inc Porchester Square, Rimmel Kate Soul Session, Essie Sand Tropez, Models Own Utopia, Essie Fiji

If I had to opt for one nail polish for the rest of my existence then its a safe bet that it would be one of the above. I tend to go from one extreme to the other when it comes to my nails opting for a bright in your face shade, or keeping things subtle with a safe nude colour. Theres something sophisticated about a neat nude nail with a high shine top coat that just screams i'm a grown up (honest). So I thought it was about time I pulled out my overflowing nail polish collection and gave a full edit of my top nudes. 

Nails Inc Porchester Square is probably the most coveted nude in the blogosphere, this happened to accidentally make its way into my possession via Glossy Box.  Described as a muted mushroom shade, I would say this definitely has hues or Barry M's Mushroom (remember that one?) yet with an ever so slight lavender undertone. I picked up one of the Rimmel Kate Salon Pro Polishes a little while ago, actually whilst doing my weekly food shop - food + purchasing nail polish = winner . And I am happy to report that for a relatively cheaper polish it packs a mean punch. I was pleasantly surprised (in a good way) to see that Rimmel have gone along the lines of Rimmel and introduced the wider brush which makes applying polish a dream. Albeit it took 2-3 coats to achieve full opaqueness the lasting power was pretty impressive, with almost a weeks wear without chipping. Models Own Utopia is probably the pinkest of the bunch with tones of both pink and lilac depending on the lighting. Ah Essie, a nail polish post would not make the cut without a couple thrown in. I picked up Fiji quite a long time ago and have developed a love hate with it ever since. Once applied I love it, its applying it that I don't. I find that with me you need about 3-4 coats to get a good coverage and being a neat freak Virgo this can mean that it takes several attempts to achieve a look I am comfortable with as its not very forgiving when it comes to flaws. Time and patience are definitely the key to this one. Another Essie which has whittled its way into my collection is Sand Tropez, a ridiculously gorgeous almost dirty nude shade which will look incredible with a tan...this is definitely going to be packed into my suitcase for when I finally escape later this year. 

So...are you a nude fan or do you opt for the more vibrant side of the spectrum on your nails?

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Whats in My Makeup Bag

Whats in My Makeup Bag - Beauty Blog

Every so often I like to sit down and switch up my makeup bag. To me my makeup bag houses my most reached for, every day products. Once I have a look  I am happy with then it will usually stick around for sometime before new products are added to the mix.  I try to edge towards the more natural look for everyday proceedings, stepping away from the flicked cat eye and focusing on the base, with a pop of colour on the cheeks, a natural lip and super curled lashes. Let me introduce you to the current line up...

Base wise I have been slapping on the Dior BB Creme in shade 02. Not to be mistaken with your average BB cream. Aside from a few added skincare benefits, I would happily place this into the 'tinted moisturiser' category. A light, dewy consistency, which gives a light/medium coverage that can be layered to achieve a fuller coverage. For contouring, my beloved Nars Laguna has taken a backseat, and I finally picked up Kevin Aucoin's Sculpting Powder in a rather mad Space NK dash a few weeks back. The receipt is still safely hidden from the boyf's eyes to save my sanity. I like to dust this lightly under my non existent cheek bones, and blend in circular motions a la Lisa Eldridge style for a natural hint of cheek bones. It does come with a small brush applicator however on a side note I would disregard this and opt for another. Like most 'free applicators' in my opinion they rarely compliment the product and often get thrown to one side. I then sweep Mac Melba Blush across the apples of my cheeks - a subtle light peach shade which was sitting unloved at the back of a drawer (I really should sort out my stash more often). Rounding up the base is another new addition -  Hourglass Ambient Light Powder. Probably my most sought after purchase which I had been eyeing up in Space NK for sometime since it landed in the UK earlier this year. Available in 6 shades, I opted for Dim Light - a neutral beige with a slight peach hue designed to blur imperfections and highlight a radiant complexion. Unlike conventional powders these use 'Photoluminescent Technology' to refract light and create a transparent coverage. No more cakiness? I'm sold! I like to dust this all over my face using a RT powder brush to set everything in place, and I can report that this is absolutely undetectable on the skin and really does leave a radiant glow about the complexion. 

With complexion complete, lets talk eyes and for me its simple and natural all the way. A quick sweep of Naked 2 from the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette* - a straight up light tan brown does the job. It gives my eyes a little depth without looking like I am wearing any shadow - think contour for eyes. For top lashes, its a quick curl using my Shu Uemera curlers and couple of coats of L'Oreal Telescopic Waterproof mascara on my top lashes. I have heard on the grapevine that this has been or is to be discontinued so if you guys know of anything similar then please let me know. For my bottom lashes its a single coat of Clinique bottom lash mascara - a solely enabled purchsed by Ysis but one I now don't know how I lived without it. For brows I have been testing out the Esteé Lauder Brow Duo which actually featured on a wish list some time ago. I am still on the fence with this so watch this space for a full report. Finally, for lips I have been slicking on some Benefit Coralista Lipgloss*. Not to be confused with generic sticky glosses, this falls more into the 'sheen' category, think Clarins lip perfectors. Coralista is a sheer peachy shade which just adds a subtle hue of colour, with absolutely no stickyness whatsoever. Probably one of the few lipglosses which gets the thumbs up from me. 

Sounds like a fair amount of products for a work week right? But trust me when I say I have perfected this down to at least 10 minutes tops, which leaves time for one extra press of the snooze button...is it really Sunday already...

*PR Samples

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Eye Brighteners

eye brighteners, blog post review

Late nights and early starts have gradually started to take their toll on my peepers. Gone are the days when I could party until the early hours and run out the house bright eyed and bushy tailed first thing in the morning. I now find myself needing to add an extra 5 minutes in the morning to get my eyes looking relatively like I have had a standard eight hours. So I gathered up a few of my favourite awakening products that allow me to leave the house when the birds are singing without looking like a zombie...

Supergoop Anti-ageing eye cream*  - First up on the menu is prepping. After cleansing I like to dab a  tiny amount of this under my eyes, use the cooling metal applicator to give a gentle rub and then use my ring finger to pat the rest in. This is a real treat for eyes, brightens them instantly, leaves them protected with its rather high SPF37 yet leaves absolutely no residue meaning its the ultimate primer for under eye makeup. Ridiculously pricey? Yes, this will set you back £42 but is probably one of the few eye creams I have genuinely fallen in love with. 

YSL Touche Eclat -  The ultimate eye brightener. Yes its an oldie, but its a goodie. I have touched base on a few dupes however always come back to the original. On particular mornings when I have been particular naughty and failed to get a good nights kip this has been my saviour. I like to use a couple of clicks per eye and then blend to instantly look more awake. The best thing about this product is that you can build it up without looking one bit cakey. 

MAC Pro-long wear concealer NW20 - This was purchased on the rec of Ysis (Le Beauty Girl) and boy was she right, this little gem does not budge all day. You only need the tiniest amount, I like to warm between my finger and pat over the former Touche Eclat for a little extra coverage. Word of warning though this can get a tad cakey if you build it up too much, less is most certainly more. 

Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl in Nude - This was one of those supermarket moment purchases. You know the drill you just happen to casually walk past the makeup aisle and out of nowhere a few items have made it into your trolley. I like to sweep this under my water line to eliminate any redness. It has not got the best longevity yet sees me through to lunchtime when my eyes are relatively back to normal. 

Shu Uemura eyelash curler - Finally, I always think eyes look more awake when your lashes are curled. Whilst I don't have relatively short lashes, without a quick curl they can be non existent. I use the Shu Uemura ones, a rather pricey Buya Powa purchase on the recommendation of fellow bloggers. Yet, I don't think you need to purchase these, and a cheaper drugstore version would do just the same job. So if you don't have curlers yet, then get yourself down to Boots sharpish...

*PR Sample



Monday, 17 June 2013

Nails Inc & Cocktails? Im In!

Limited Edition Mali-Woo Woo*

Aside from food, wine and all things makeup related -  my ultimate weakness has to be cocktails and nail polishes. Despite the nail polish inn verging on full, when I heard that there was a collaboration going down with Malibu and Nails Inc I was in. Yes, thats right, Malibu have teamed up with Nails Inc and have created a Limited Edition nail polish based on their infamous Mali Woo Woo Cocktail! A hot pink number this is the perfect shade for the summer on both nails and toes, I am donning it on both. All I need now is a cocktail... 

A quick heads up, Mali-woo-woo will be available from Malibutiques only which are touring the country right now. So if you fancy getting some styling advice from none other than ASOS, grabbing a quick mani with Nails Inc, or just getting your hair primped via Toni and Guy then pop these dates in your diary!

Birmingham Bullring (25th-28th July)
Manchester Exchange Square (23rd-26th August)

All entry is FREE however you must be 18 or over. Can't get to one of the above? Then you could always grab yourself some Malibu, Vodka and Cranberry and knock up a Mali-woo-woo in your own home! 

*PR Sample

Thursday, 13 June 2013

KMS California - Frizz Fighter Kit

KMS california frizz fighter kit, haircare, blog review

For those that suffer with a slightly frizzy mane, then you will understand the anguish that comes with constantly having to avoid the rain, unavoidable changing temperatures and serum and straighteners are your best friend. Whilst my hair isn't your classic frizz case, and a far cry from being a Monica in Barbados, it can be flyaway and a quick wash and go is a big fat no no without a good blow dry, copious amounts of straightening serum and my trusted GHD's. So when the new Tame Frizz range* by KMS California planted itself on my doormat, I scheduled some me time in the shower and put these beauty's to use. A brand new to me, I was intrigued, the Frizz Fighter Kit has been formed as part of the Tame Frizz range and offers a selection of hair care products specifically designed to target the symptoms of frizz. 

After trotting off to the bathroom with 2 hefty bottles, I got to work. Undressing, wetting hair aside, I started with a 50p dollop into the palm of my hand and began massaging into my scalp (word of warning ladies, you only need half. Lesson learnt). After satisfying my sweet craving with its rather addictive, fruity yet subtle scent I was pleasantly surprised that this produced a really good lather, and removed tangles. Yes tangles literally fell out, albeit a quick brush before hand undoubtably aided this, but it definitely felt like it was doing a good job. My hair felt clean, I mean super clean yet not stripped at all. Next up I slapped on some conditioner, used the anti-static comb to rid any tangles and left to work for a few minutes whilst getting on with other in shower activities i.e washing, shaving etc and then finally rinsed, and rinsed again. Although the rather pleasant scent failed to linger as much as I would have liked, my hair did feel super clean and soft and as someone that suffers from a dry scalp I am happy to report that this did not irritate at all. A quick single pump of the non greasy de-frizz oil and I was good to go. Well good to move onto blow-drying that is. Now I won't say that this range is one of those instant gratification products, I have been using them a few weeks now before noticing a change. Yes, I was actually able to leave the house after a quick blow dry and bypass the trusty GHD's. Yes, you heard that right...is it time to ditch the GHD's? Not quite, but if you do suffer from barnet of the frizzy variety, or even slightly flyaway then these are definitely worth a try. 

The Frizz Fighter kit is available from June onwards from selected KMS salons and will be £29.50. You can find your nearest salon by clicking here. However after a quick peruse of both Beauty Bay and Feel Unique, whilst not offering the Tame Frizz range they do offer a selection of KMS products. 

*PR Sample


Sunday, 2 June 2013

Weekend Wishlist #10

weekend wish list, glamorous, summer, chantecaille, disney couture, zara bag, mac face and body foundation
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 

I think its safe to say that after my card got rather a battering this weekend that these items shall remain firmly on this post.  However I hold no promises and with summer approaching and a beach wedding/holiday on the horizon its about time I started thinking about my summer essentials. 

1. MAC Face and Body foundation 50ml - I have always had my eye on the F&B foundation but the mahusive bottle always put me off. Although MAC have now released the smaller 50ml bottles which are much more travel friendly for the everyday beauty obsessive. 

2. Glamorous Kimono - Love love love this kimono from Glamorous and after seeing Milly rocking it on her blog it has been firmly planted on my 'need/want' list. Shame that this is sold out, but its so pretty you can kind of understand why. This would be perfect to dress up or just throw over a bikini with some denim shorts to rock around the pool. 

3. Zara Neon Bag - I thought its about time I added a spruce of colour to my handbag collection and a solid black bag isn't going to cut it on holiday. Trust Zara to come up with yet another gooden', and this bright  number is big enough for all my airport essentials. Love. 

4. Disney Couture Bangle - I have mentioned before, bar a watch I am not really a jewellery person. However this bangle really caught my eye and I love the inscription 'Have Faith in Your Dreams' which is very apt as I am a big believer in following dreams whatever others may say. Apologies for getting a little deep...

5. Chantecaille SPF50 - When I saw the price of this I had to take a deep breath. I mean what makes a grown relatively sane woman throw down the best part of 100 notes on a sun cream right? I am yet to find a face sun cream that isn't greasy and the reviews on this have been nothing but praise. Not one to be seen bare faced on holiday this could be the ultimate primer whilst protecting our most valuable asset. I have said it before and will say it again, you only get one face so if you are going to splurge on anything then ensure that it is skincare. 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Mont Bleu - Handbag Essentials

Mont Bleu Swarovski Compact Mirror Blog Review
Mont Bleu Swarovski Crystal Nail File Blog Review

Some time ago I was sent a couple of items from Mont Bleu*. A brand which I was not familiar with, they are based in the Czech Republic and specialise in decorative beauty tools, all handmade. Not one to turn my nose up at an embellished tool I quickly welcomed these items to my handbag and thats where they have remained firmly since. First up is a compact mirror, silver, with a cute array of Swarovski crystals this is bound to gather a few admiring glances on the train. Next up is something I was most looking forward to trying - the crystal nail file. I am always looking for a good quality nail file and generally stick to cheap ones from Boots but they never last. This files my nails like a dream, plus comes with a rather handy little pouch so you dont have to worry about it scratching other items in your bag. I highly recommend getting your hands on a crystal nail file if you have not already. You can check out the range from Mont Bleu here. Its definitely worth a peruse if you are on the lookout for gifts.

*PR Samples 

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Illamasqua Blushers


There's one thing I can't do, and thats walk past an Illamasqua counter without swatching at least 2 of their blushers. But the one thing I have failed to do is ever actually purchase one. For that I apologise Illamasqua. So when I casually went on Twitter during my lunch break last week its like fate was on my side when they were offering a whopping 50% off. Cue a quick browse online and I ended up securing 2 blushers - Nymph and Sophie. I'd had my eye on Nymph for a while. It was a toss between Nymph and Well Dressed by MAC. And the sheer pigmentation for the former won me over hands down. A bright bubblegum pink, this applies ever so naturally for a flush of colour during the day. This is the one I am wearing in the photo and has been my weapon of choice for the latter part of this week. The second was Sophie - a blush made in honor of Sophie, a girl who was tragically killed for daring to be different. This is a story that really struck a chord when it hit the headlines back in 2007 on my birthday to be exact. I urge you all to read about it here if you have not already. Illamasqua describe it as a golden coral shimmer, and I can report that this is a pretty good description and it definitely has an aura of Nars Deep Throat about it which is a favourite of mine. 

Both blushers are soft, pigmented, easy to apply and above all have amazing longevity. In fact I don't know why I waited so long to purchase. Now just to find a place to store them amongst my overflowing collection of blushes, but everyones allowed a weakness right?

Friday, 24 May 2013

The Notebook

Noble Macmillan at Not on the High Street Review

Its safe to say that aside from an obsessive compulsive addiction to all things beauty related my other weakness is all things stationery related. Yes, I was the kid in the gift shop that headed straight to the pens and pencil section, collecting a plethora of rubbers and pencils alike. Whilst most kids dreaded the 'back to school' ritual, to me it meant the annual trip to WHSmiths for stationery supplies heaven. And whilst WHSmiths has been suitably replaced with Space NK for weekly indulgences, I still can't resist a pretty notebook, and my ears still prick as soon as someone opens the stationery cupboard in the office. So suffice to say that when Not on The High Street got in touch and offered me free range of their new Nobile Macmillan range I knew it was going to be a kid in sweet shop moment. For those not familiar with Not on The High Street, prepare to be acquainted. Starting back in 2006 the site was designed to provide quirky original gifts which people like you and I could find from the comfort of your own home. It now boasts over 50,000 products, all handpicked and original so if you are struggling to find a gift for the person that has everything then this is definitely a good place to start the search. 

After a quick peruse of the Noble Macmillan collection, this personalised notebook caught my eye. Never one to be without a notebook (the bloggers best friend) I knew this had to be mine, and it has been a firm staple in my handbag ever since amongst all the other girly essentials. Ok, without beating around the bush, its certainly not the most purse friendly of choices at £39.99 this is most definitely a payday treat yet would make an exceptional gift to someone. The Noble Macmillian range is a selection of good quality, classy stationery ranging from photo albums to kindle and iPad cases. So if you have someone that loves their stationery and you don't mind splashing the dollar for a milestone birthday, or anniversary then its definitely worth a look. 

*PR Sample

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Mavala SS13 Chili and Spice Collection


Mavala Nail Polish Chilli and Spice Collection Spring Summer 2013

If theres one thing that I am a sucker for and thats nail polish so when I feasted my eyes on these new offerings from Mavala as part of their coveted Chilli and Spice Collection* I was keen to give them a whirl. Breaking away from my Essie comfort zone wasn't too hard when I saw the  array of vibrant colours available, which range from a vibrant blue, bright enough to rival Nails Inc Baker Street to a straight up in your face red, all in a rather cute 5ml bottle. At almost half the size of a standard size bottle of polish these still pack a pretty mean punch and as someone that fails  to ever finish a bottle of polish the size does not affect me. Its not all about the size ladies right?. I digress. Despite the smaller bottle design these are pretty easy to apply, rather than being fiddly as I had envisaged for my chubs of fingers. The caps easy to get a good grip and the brush is pretty much the same size as a normal bottle of polish. First up on my agenda was Bamoka and if you saw my Instagram a couple of days ago I gave a quick preview (username: beckysmakeup).   A bright tuquoise bluey green this is a far cry from my usual shade of choice, and gave me the chance to break out of my colour comfort zone! The polish itself applies smoothy, no streaks and gives an almost opaque first coat, with the second giving it extra something. Whilst drying time is a little longer than desired, this can be worked around by applying thinner coats and using a quick drying top coat such as the aforementioned Seche Vite. Being someone that chops and changes her polish on a regular basis, longevity isn't usually something I look for in a polish as Seche Vite usually sorts that issue out regardless, so you are going to have to watch this space for how long this stays put!

If you fancy getting your mitts on the Chilli and Spice collection then it will be available from Boots, Debenhams and John Lewis from today for £4.50 each. 

*PR Sample   

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Hair Care Additions

Yuko and Macadamia Hair Review Anti Frizz

My haircare routine is pretty simple. Wash check. Condition check. Then its a quick no faff blow dry and a straighten with the odd spritz of dry shampoo for volume and I am good to go. With my no fuss routine perfected down to 10 minutes in the morning, I was sparing a few minutes to add some bolt on products in an attempt to up the condition of my hair and generally give it a more polished look.

Yuko anti-frizz leave in conditioner*.  Yuko is a brand specialising in hair straightening which also boasts a rather impressive product line alongside its salon treatments. More importantly with the likes of Jennifer Anniston reportedly being a fan I knew I had to give this a go. It smells ridiculously fruity and refreshing whilst detangles my hair amazingly. Specifically designed to react with heat styling my hair has never felt so soft and conditioned. Plus the no nonsense spray bottle means its easy to apply quickly after stepping out of the shower before attacking with a wide tooth comb. I like to pull my hair to the side and hold in a pony tail fashion and spray on the ends. Note that this is best used on the ends of the hair only as it can leave the roots a tad on the greasy side if used too liberally. 

Yuko's anti-frizz serum*. For those that suffer fly away hair or hair thats verging on the frizzy side this is your product. I like to add one pump of this between my hands, rub together and apply to the ends and then run the remainder over the top of my hair to calm fly aways. I have always steered away from serums due to their greasy formulas, or my tendency to use too much. This dispenses just the right amount and its non greasy formulation has definitely restored my faith in hair serums. Again avoid applying too much to the roots and resist the urge to apply too much. Remember less is more and you can always add more if needed. 

Macadamia Fast Drying Working Spray*. One thing that lacks from my collection is hairspray. To be honest I have never really found a purpose for it. Macadamia though is a brand I am familiar with yet had not ever tried. I like the fact that Macadamia have cleverly named this a 'working spray' rather than a generic hairspray. And I am pleased to see that hairsprays have come a long way since the days I used to spray it on like it was going out of fashion during the Croydon facelift school days (the shame)!. Since having a fringe cut in, I need something to keep it in place and serum just won't cut it without leaving me with a fringe stuck to my forehead. I have been spritzing this over my fringe and then brushing through to give it a boost. Albeit this does not keep it in place all day, it does allow me to leave the house with my fringe in a half decent condition. 

So whilst my hair will never be Kardashian perfect, a few additions to a somewhat simple routine has certainly changed my attitude towards my haircare in general. What additions are currently rocking your routine?

*PR Sample(s)

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Weekend Wish List #9

Weekend Beauty Wish List
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 

After somewhat a busy fun filled week I have been left with a list as long as my arm in terms of products I am coveting lately. This week saw me attend my first blogger event in London at the Pure PR #puregetaway, and with the persuasion of the lovely Lisa and Alice I ended up at my second event of the night. So thanks ladies. I am pretty sure my bank balance is still recovering from a brief encounter with Liberty's and the Aesop counter though.  I digress. So onto this weeks wish list. 

1. The Body Shop  Banana Shampoo/Conditioner - I used to use this back in the day and heaven knows why I stopped. I quick whiff of this over the weekend took me back to my youth and it has been firmly placed back onto my shopping list. Its definitely a love it or hate it scent. I am definitlely of the former and  find banana scents rediculously addictive. 

2. Bourjois Cream Blushes - I got the heads up on these a little while back and I believe they are available from Boots on the 15th May (they are available at Selfridges now though FTW). This year saw Bourjois celebrate an incredible 150 years in the business and in celebration they have released a rather gorgeous selection of cream to powder blushes. Sweet Cheeks and Nude Velvet have definitely caught my eye. 

3. Topshop Joni Jeans - Just because I love a good pair of black jeans. I live in my Leighs and most recently purchased a few Zara skinnys which I adore. I don't think you can beat a good pair of jeans in your collection and they are definitely my uniform of choice. 

4. Argos Heart Drawers - A few years back I purchased the Alex 5 drawer. Cue a few years later and its the beauty  bloggers storage of choice. However having packed it to the brim I don't really want to buy another so this cute chest of drawers from Argos looks the perfect alternative. Just a shame it is sold out or it would be mine. 

5. Chanel  Les Beiges -  I don't think theres any lady around that has not seen nor heard  of this powder from Chanel. Every time I see a Chanel counter I have to have a swatch and admire it but at £38 its quite a lot of notes to part with for a powder. But with a few advantage points lurking about I may forego my Chanel lipstick purchase I was initially going to use my points for and put towards this beauty. 

6. Estée Lauder Brow Duo -  Whilst in London on Thursday I was treated to a mini brow make over by the absolutely adorable MUA Joanna Bernacka-Pettit. She used this on me and I was immediately sold. I am quite partial to the pencils which you don't have to sharpen, the Clinique Superfine is my  go to. But every time it runs out you have to buy an entire new one. I loved the fact that this is refillable so you can just buy re-fills each time which works out slightly cheaper than my current one. 

What have you been lusting after this week?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Essie Meet Me at Sunset

Essie Meet Me at Sunset Nail Polish Review and Swatches
Essie Meet Me at Sunset Swatches Blog Review

Essie Meet Me at Sunset £7.99 (Boots.com)

Its no secret that I have a weakness for Essie nail polishes, which are slowly but surely taking over my entire collection bar a stash of Nails Inc and a few miscellaneous offerings. Essie's Meet me at Sunset actually featured in a wishlist post back in April (post here) where I jabbered on about it being a possible dupe for Chanel Holiday. So, when beauty pro Anna confirmed this, it was unquestionable whether I would purchase or not to say the least. And so that brings me to this post as the proud new owner of Meet Me at Sunset, which has been sat proudly on my nails this (rather hot) week. Not for the faint hearted, this is a bright, in ya face reddish orange. Its definitely, a let me stare at my hands all day admiring the shade. As with all Essie nail polishes the application is one of my best finds yet, this I put down to their rather special brush which allows one swoop per nail. I am pleased to note that quite a few other brands are following suit with this style brush, in particular Bourjois Gel Polishes and Rimmel (take note polish brands). A couple of coats achieves a full, vibrant opaque covering, however if you are in somewhat of a rush then you could get away with the one coat, albeit it may not last as long as the 2. So in a nutshell I so believe this could be my summer shade of choice for a while. 

Have you found your perfect summer shade yet?

Monday, 6 May 2013

Aromatherapy Associates Bath & Shower Oils

Aromatherapy Associates Miniature Bath and Shower Oils Blog Review

Relaxing is something that tends to get neglected in my busy life. If I am not working, I am cleaning the flat, blogging, and grabbing a quick shower day to day. But every so often I like to run a bubble bath, light a candle and indulge in a glass of wine (or two). In fairness I am  a bath girl, I like to chill out in the tub often with a YouTube playlist, a stash of mags and just relax. Aside from bubble baths I have been really getting into my oils lately.  Face, body, nails you name it they have been oiled up and my latest edition is the Aromatherapy Associates Mini Bath and Shower Oils. The collection boats 9 of their popular bath and shower oils in minature form. Each glass bottle has enough for roughly 3 baths, a capful into a steamy hot run bath is all you need and just sit back and enhale the aromas. Relax Deep being a personal fave is a combination etivert, camomile and sandalwood aromas, which is perfect just before climbing into a warm bed for a good nights kip. If bathing, however is not your thing then fear no less as these can be used in the shower too which I have been doing of a weekend morning with Revive Morning being my go to option, a refreshingly wake me up scent of Grapefruit, Rosemary and Juniper. To use in the shower, I will get the shower going up to a nice temp and then rub a capful between my hands before rubbing all over my body and jumping in the shower. The hot steam really penetrates the oil into the skin and trust me you will be sniffing yourself all day after this. I do recall my boyfriend stated I smelt like that shop we have to go in (I believe he was referring to Space NK) which can't be a bad thing. 

Now these will set you back around 30 notes for the set. But at 3 bath/showers per bottle it works out roughly a £1 a bath which is pretty good going for a good quality soak! I did however have a snoop on Beauty Bay and they are currently on offer for £24.23 here.

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