Saturday, 29 December 2012

Super Facialist by Una Brennan.

Super Facialist By Una Brennan Tea Flower Deep Clean Purifying Cleansing Wash, £7.99 for 150ml.
Super Facialist By Una Brennan Tea Flower Deep Clean Mattifying Moisturiser, £12.99 for 75ml.

I have a combination skin type- my skin is fairly normal but with an oily t-zone with blocked and enlarged pores on my nose and a little on my cheeks. I am prone to the odd blemish and my skin sometimes feels a little sensitive. I saw that Pampered Prince had reviewed a few products from the Una Brennan Super Facialist range, he seems to have a similar skin type to myself and while I had seen the range in Boots I hadn't taken much notice, I made a mental note to look at them in more detail next time I was there. In the same week Jess from Spoiltface recommended I try some products with salicylic acid in as it is effective at clearing pores and maintaining fresh looking skin. On closer inspection I noticed there was salicylic acid in the Super Facialist Tea Flower range. Perfect, I thought, I'll defnitely give these products a go...

Purifying Cleansing Wash:
My love for this cleanser has grown slowly. When I first used it, it seemed so thorough that I was worried it would be too harsh. My skin went red and was squeaky it was so clean! I perservered and saw results within the week, after using it twice a day the squeakiness and redness stopped happening. Applied to a dry face and thoroughly massaged in, it really has cleared out my pores a great amount. Not completely, but significantly. My skin has developed less spots than usual despite me leading a hectic and unhealthy lifestyle the past few weeks. The cleanser is a clear gel that foams up and I find that removing it with a hot cloth or flannel keeps my skin looking fresh. It removes any excess makeup gently, too. I have already bought a new one.

Mattifying Moisturiser:
I loved this moisturiser from first use. I was wary of a moisturiser that claimed to be mattifying but it is one I have fallen for and really enjoy using. It's a fairly light lotion that absorbs into my skin so quickly in comparison to other moisturisers that can feel like they are sitting on my skin for an absolute age before they soak in, and it doesn't leave a residue behind either. Similarly to the cleanser it contains salicylic acid, my skin has become more controlled, it feels more balanced and as said above, I have been a bit less spotty. Despite how light it seems, it is enough nourishment and hydration for my skin, I have experienced absolutely no dryness this winter. It creates a lovely smooth base for my makeup to go on top of and I have been known to apply two layers of it because I love it so much (and probably because I am deceived by it's mattifying properties). I have been using this as my day cream and the only negative I can give this is that it doesn't contain SPF.

Overall I have been really impressed by both products, they're fantastic value for money and great if you are on a budget and/or suffering from oily skin, breakouts or blocked pores. They're also SLS and paraben free.
You can buy this range from Boots, I got mine on a 1/3 off and I know they have recently been half price on the website so keep an eyeout for any other offers.

P.S. I hope all of you had a fantastic christmas and got some lovely presents and quality family time. We had a relaxed day, I cooked an EPIC roast dinner (8 different veg dishes!) and we drank Baileys all day. Ben spoiled me rotten with a new camera and some beauty bits that he must have read off my 'Wish List' tab!

Unless the product is tester sized, I don't review skincare until I have been using it for a month. I feel this gives me enough time for me to develop an honest opinion and to showcase any noticeable results.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Ciaté 'Cookies and Cream.'

It's been such a treat opening up each window on my Ciaté advent calendar. There's been a few questionable shade choices (there's a canary yellow that I know will go untouched) but overall they've been lovely picks. 
Opening up the window to 'Cookies and Cream' immediately prompted my nude obsession to come flooding back to me. I posted a while back about how much I was enjoying a nude nail- understated, feminine and so chic but with the onset of winter I felt compelled to wear deep redsdark greens and greys. The nude polishes got brushed aside and ignored.
'Cookies and Cream' reminded me straight away of my beloved 'Sand Tropez' from Essie. They're very, very similar, a warm pastel beige that even flatters pale, pink hands like mine.
In terms of application this polish was opaque in two coats but I applied three to stengthen the finish (they seem to chip on me a bit too quickly with two coats, other than that I can't complain)

I'll do a post with the 'best of' the advent calendar after christmas with swatches of my favourites, I just thought that this one was worth a mention in the mean time. It's certainly up there in the favourites!

Do you like nude nail polishes? What nail polish are you loving at the moment?

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

New In! Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette.

Urban Decay 'Naked Basics' Palette, £20 for 6 x 1.3g (7.8g) 

I knew I had to have this as soon as I saw it advertised (I think in a magazine?) so I placed an order for it the day it was made available. How keen is that? 
The palette is an online exclusive at Debenhams and luckily for me it was during megaweek so there was 10% off too aswell as free delivery.
I don't own the Naked or Naked2 palette, while they always tempted me I always thought that shimmery shadows from Urban Decay always created a bit too much fallout for my liking, but I was confident this wouldn't be the case with a palette of 6 matte shadows.

The packaging:
It's smaller and more compact than I thought it would be, which makes it perfect for travel. I don't think the presentation is particularly good- the pans never look very secure and you might be able to see on shade 'Faint' that it looks a bit faulty as if it could pop out any minute. I like the mirror inside which covers the entire lid and I like that it doesn't come with any brushes, as they are wasted on me (but would perhaps be helpful for others.) It is made of hard plastic which is fairly protective with a click-shut mechanism.

The shades:
Four of the shades in this are exclusive to the palette, which is nice, eh? Urban Decay describe them as 'must own' and I am inclined to agree. Neutral shade eyeshadows are a must have in any girls basic makeup collection. I'm also a firm believer that eveyone needs a good, matte black and this one contains it.

Left to right:

Venus: This one is more of a satin finish rather than matte, it's slightly frosted and is a good highlighter or used on the inner corners of the eyes to widen and brighten.

Foxy: A wearable, buttermilk shade which is good at neutralising discolouration on tired eyes. A good base for any day-to-day look.

Walk Of Shame: I am in love with this colour, a creamy pale pink, but when I say pink, I mean the faintest most delicate shade of pink. This will look great if any of you like a vintage look, as there's something quite fabulous and retro about it.

Naked2: A light brown that is very buildable, great used all over the eye for a grungry gothic look or used in the crease to define and shade.

Faint: A stunning taupey brown, can be used in a similar way to Naked2 but for a deeper, more dramatic effect.

Crave: A matte black, that is pretty black. Nothing more disappointing than a watery black, which are so common in palettes. Great to line with, define, or deepen the browns. This one is very buildable too, I've been able to get it quite intense.

All of the shades are so silky to touch and really pigmented. They're not a bit chalky which is something some companies struggle with when creating matte eyeshadows. Worn with eye primer, the eyeshadows lasted a whole day and I experienced no creasing and minimum fade. This palette gets a thumbs up from me, I haven't put it down since it arrived.

Do you own any Urban Decay Palettes? Would a palette solely dedicated to matte shadows appeal to you?

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Bobbi Brown Brightening Face Powder

Bobbi Brown Brightening Face Powder in 'Brightening Nudes', £40 for 6.6g.

When I see the words 'brightening' on a product, I am immediately attracted to it. I had been searching for a new face powder for a few weeks and had decided that going high end was the only way, I was done with 17 and Collection 2000's offerings. I was about to buy the MAC mineralize powder but saw this on the Bobbi website and had to try it.

The powder palette is called 'Brightening Nudes' and holds 6 different shades, all subtle and almost pastel in tone including lilac, brown, pink and cream. The top 'layer' has quite a bit of glitter but this didn't transfer on to the skin in an obvious way and once the powder has been used a few times the glitter becomes undetectable. 

I have been using a really small amount powdered over my t-zone, and while I think it does lean too pink on my skin, I love the way it lets a luminous foundation shine through and how it doesn't make me look flat and lifeless which so many powders do. It helps maintain a healthy complexion firstly by not covering the foundation in thick powder and secondly by having illuminating properties itself. It contains sodium hyaluronate which is a great ingredient for keeping skin looking happy and fresh. You can see how it looks layered on top of Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation by clicking here.

It's packaged in a mirrored compact which feels so luxurious, it also came in a velvet pouch but that soon got discarded- I can't be doing with all that faff but it would help protect the compact if you are on the go.

Overall I do think this is a fantastic product- it brightens the skin and works with radiant foundations to keep skin looking like skin and not a flat, matte mess. I have an oily t-zone and this powder makes my skin look dewy rather than shiny in this area and it doesn't cling or go cakey on any dry patches. Overall, a win win! It is expensive, £40 on a face powder is rather extravagant, but if you use as little as I do I can see it lasting a fair while.

What is your favourite face powder?

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Midweek Post: What have I been up to?

I have been a bit absent from blogging recently for a few different reasons. Firstly I have been working three jobs which has obviously been taking up a lot of time, then the days off I have had I have wanted to spend with friends or Ben, or on the sofa watching films! Secondly, I've lost a bit of 'mojo'- I'm using lots of products but I am having a bit of trouble forming an opinion on most of them, so I don't want to blog about them as that would be pointless, so I think I might include more makeup looks into the blog as I like to do them. Thirdly, I have been really busy aside from working, but it's those bits I'll include below :-)

I popped down to London a couple of weeks ago to be a practice model on a makeup course held by celebrity makeup artist Louise Constad. She was teaching a one day shortcourse to a lady who is a hairdresser at the BBC and wanted to branch out into makeup too. I'm booked in to attend Louise's 'Mastering Makeup' Course in March and she invited me down to meet her and to be a practice model. I really enjoyed myself, she has a crazy mini poodle who was so small! In the morning we had coffee and went through different magazines like Harpers and Vogue and talked through different makeup looks and trends. Couldn't help but notice an abundance of bleached brows! In the afternoon they did a natural makeup look on me, which included perfecting foundation and concealer, how to contour, different ways to do brows and a natural lip. Then they created a more dramatic look on me with graphic liner and Lady Danger lipstick from MAC (which I much preferred to the natural look ;-) ) My skin was so sore by the end of the day because my makeup had been off and on and off and on and being removed with makeup wipes each time which don't really agree with my skin. I had a great couple of days but they were so exhausting, really excited to do the week long course with Louise, March can't come soon enough!

Last Sunday I drove to Birmingham after work to see an old friend. On Monday morning we headed into Birmingham to do a bit of vintage shopping, we started in Digbeth and looked around the emporiums there. There was so many awful christmas jumpers I had to resist taking photos of all of them! She also took me to a sack sale where everything is a pound, and if you fill up a sack you get the lot for a tenner. I only picked up a couple of bits but I'm really pleased with them and you can't go wrong for £1 each! Later in the day we went to the German Christmas Markets which was absolutley huge, stalls included foodie ones with gingerbread, chocolates, candied nuts, deep fried cheese, waffles, pancakes, pretzels, reindeer burgers! Alongside mulled  cider and wine stalls, and Baileys hot chocolate. Shame I was driving home that night becaue I could have easily got pretty tipsy and spent the day tasting the alcoholic delights! There was crafty stalls too with German woodwork etc as well as local businesses that had hired pitches. Finished off the day in the Art Museum at the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition. I don't go to many exhibitions any more, but I should make more effort as I did a degree in Art History! I loved seeing Alma-Tadema's 'The Bath' in real life.

Right, I won't bore you with anymore, just thought I'd include the highlights from the last couple of weeks! Have you been to any christmas markets this year?

Monday, 10 December 2012

Empty Products- The November Edition.

I'm baack! Time to show you what I finished last month, what I thought of 'em, and whether I'll buy it again! Any questions you have about any of the products leave me a comment below and I'll get back to you.

Boots 'Smooth Care' Facial Hair Removal Cream- Oh yeah, I'm going there. It may be TMI for some people but I love this product way more than the Veet option. It's a hair removal cream especially designed for hair on the face, I use it on my upper lip as I don't like getting it waxed (the upkeep is too much/the hair will grow back uneven or coarse/I don't really want to walk around town with a red strip above my lip) nor do I like getting it threaded when I could save a whole lot of money and do it myself. The tube has lasted me a long time (let's say a year because it has a 12month expiry) and I think it is effective at what it does and a good price too. I don't experience any irritation or sensitivity after using this and it is a bargain.
Will I buy this again?
Already have!

Emma Hardie 'Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm'- This was a free sample, it was 15ml and came with an Emma Hardie facecloth. The sample lasted me approximately a week being used twice a day which is pretty good. I absolutely loved it, the whole process of using a balm to cleanse with feels so luxurious and this product really seems to pamper the skin, plus I experienced no negative side effects. See a more indepth review by clicking here.
Will I buy this?
Oh fo' sho'

REN Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk- Luckily I didn't pay for this as it was a 30ml sample. I first noticed how strong it's scent was, it was so intense and not particularly pleasent and for review purposes I tried it removing a full face of makeup. It removed makeup really well but three days after using this twice a day my skin broke out like I have never experienced in my life. I have never had a big problem with spots and at the age of 23 I never expected to have such a break out, my diet or liestyle hadn't changed and that was the only new face product I was using that week. I don't want to blame the cleanser but I don't know what else it could be. For empties sake I used it to the end, I wanted to prove myself wrong but my skin worsened. It has put me off the brand completely. Has anyone else experienced this?
Will I buy this?
No. Even if it didn't cause the breakout, I hated the smell. Too strong.

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic- This was a 50ml sample that came with a cleanse and polish that I ordered online. I adore the smell, it smells a bit like baby products. In a good way, haha. It contains some gorgeous ingredients such as aloe vera, vitamin e, and cucumber and is alcohol free which is a must have in a skin toner, too many contain harsh alcohols ready to strip your skin! This really soothes the skin after cleansing or exfoliating and makes the skin feel healthy and supple.
Will I buy this?
Yes, I treated myself.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Cream- I do think this is worth the £36 price tag, as it seems to have done wonders for my partner. He now uses it religiously! In texture this is a thick balm, which is a consistency I prefer in eye cream than to a thin lotion. My fiance has suffered with eczema for years and developed dry, flaky skin all around his eyes which is heightened in the colder months. Since using this every night he has experieced no flakiness or flare ups around his eyes and I do think it is due to this product. I enjoy using it too, though I can't see a huge difference on me.
Will I buy this again?
Yes, we both use it and it seems to help maintain his skin in a good condition.

Clinique 'All About Eyes' Eye Cream- This was a sample in a recent GWP. I'm always a bit wary of Clinique skincare, it is so laden with chemicals. The number 2 clarifying toner is an amazing stain remover....therefore it's not going anywhere near my face.
We had run out of the eye cream mentioned above so thought we'd use this in the mean time. It's a light consistency that feels like a lotion or moisturiser, it absorbs well and leaves the under eyes feeling a bit fresher. This didn't last us long so I can't comment on whether it improved my under eyes, but it didn't seem to do anything for Ben and his sore skin!
Will I buy this again?

Estee Lauder DayWear Moisturiser- This was a sample pot in the most recent Gift With Purchase. I like the cucumber scent this has but I would definitely recommend the oil free version over this one, it never seems to absorb like I want it to, always leaving a slight film on the skin! I never notice any benefits or bad points when using this, it is just average. I have used up a 50ml tub in the past but I can't say I love this or would want to use it again.
Will I buy this again?

John Frieda Full Repair 'Perfect Ends Sheer Mist'- This is similar to most heat protection products I have used in the past and seemed to do it's job well, it helped maintain a smooth feeling to my hair. I did notice it held the blowdry well too, which is a huge bonus. I think the bottle is too small though...
Will I buy this?
I don't think so.

Batiste Dry Shampoo in 'Cherry'- It's in my empties every month. I think it does a good job for the price, and I like the cherry scent the best.
Will I buy this again?
Already have!

Soap and Glory Hand Maid Gel-  Antibacterial Hand Gel is an absolute must have for me and this one by Soap and Glory is my favourite. While it removes any nasties your hands may have picked up, anitbacterial hand gel is self absorbing so you don't have to worry about rubbing it off afterwards as you would with normal soap. This one has a really nice scent which completely counteracts the high intensity smell of alcohol present in other hand gels. I really hate having dirty hands or feeling like they might be dirty, so this is a definite repurchase for me.
Will I buy this again?
Already have!

As always, let me know if you use any of these and what you think and link me to your empties posts because I lurrve reading them!