Wednesday, April 17, 2013

First Hint of Summer

It's about time I gave you gorgeous readers something else to get you beautiful eyes stuck into! Apologies for my extremely late update, but I do have a really good excuse. Since I got engaged I haven't been spending any money at all. I think the last thing I bought for myself was a lip balm and even then I used my boots points - it was a good one though, the new Elizabeth Arden Intensive Repair Lip Balm to help with the dermatitis on my face and my wintry chapped lips. Honestly, engaged life is the best money saving tip ever! So unfortunately I don't have any beautiful new products to review for you, but I do have some ideas for summer (which is just about starting to let us know it still exists) and my wish list is, as usual, ever growing.

Ok so first up is tanning products. Or to be more specific, bronzing products. There is no better way to cheat a healthy summer glow than with a perfectly prescribed bronzer. There are endless options out there so I'll go through a few of what I consider to be the best.

Powders are definitely the easiest product to start with. They're very versatile and even a novice can achieve great results. They come in just about every shade you could imagine but for a really natural colour try New Elizabeth Arden New York in Bloom Radiant Bronzing Powder in Soft. It's the perfect blend of golden and skin-toned shades to create a subtle glow. It's so simple to sweep over cheekbones, chin, forehead, down the centre of your nose and across your collarbone. You'll look like you've had a week in the Med in seconds. Next up is Guerlain Terracotta Sheer Light Bronzing Powder. There are 4 seriously clever shades in this range - 2 for blondes and 2 for brunettes, natural or sunkissed. Use the natural shade for a healthy glow or the sunkissed for a more tanned effect. Once again this light powder can be applied anywhere you would naturally tan and is great at enhancing features. For a cheaper version try Rimmel 3 in 1 Shimmering Bronzer, which has three shades that can be used altogether or individually to highlight and sculpt. This is a great value product to see you through summer as it can be used all over the face to customise your bronzed look.

Next up are liquid bronzers. Rimmel Sunshimmer Instant Tan Make-Up is a quick and easy way to fake a tan for face and body. It dries quickly so it won't stain your clothes and has a natural matte finish. It's wash-off though so check the weather forecast before slapping this all over your bare legs. This works as a perfect base for shimmering summer make-up. For a really indulgent liquid try Guerlain Terracotta Skin. This is a velvety golden liquid that melts into the skin giving you a natural, sunkissed glow. It's full of skin-loving ingredients too which is a bonus and is ideal for wearing alone on bare skin. I'm a huge fan of the Guerlain Terracotta range. All of their products are easy to use and provide great results.

Another way to ease yourself into summer is to invest in a tanning moisturiser. Use a brand that still provides good skincare whilst gently tanning the skin on a daily basis. I adore Soap and Glory Glow Job Daily Radiance Moisturiser. This is a creamy moisturiser for the face that has a hint of bronze built in, and when used everyday helps to maintain a healthy glow. Also try award winning San Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan for Face. Again this is an effective face cream that gently tans the skin on a daily basis creating a natural looking glow.

When it comes to full on self tanning I'm a bit of a scaredy-cat as my skin is so pale and my patience so lacking that I always end up looking a total mess. I'm yet to actually find a tanner that is the right colour for my skin (too yellow, too orange, too brown...) so I stick to simple solutions and embrace my fair complexion. It looks more natural anyway!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Engagement HIgh

Just a quick one!

My lovely boy popped the question in Iceland and I said yes!! We're officially engaged, isn't that wonderful? We are both over the moon and seriously occupied with engagement highs and initial wedding planning. What a perfect excuse to buy all the most beautiful, delicate, pretty make-up I can get my hands on as well as a new fragrance (to match my flowers/theme?) and dresses and shoes and hair pieces... this could be my most perfect party ever.

Oh and to let you know, I ended up buying a lipstick from the Lancome Rouge In Love range in Rouge Valentine - the perfect red for pale skin - and a huge bottle of the new Jimmy Choo Flash from the duty free. The smell will forever remind me of our magical Iceland now. On the way home I found a total bargain gift set at Dior including the brand new Iconic Overcurl Mascara and the Maximiser/Primer for lashes. Perfect.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Duty Free List

I have a list I'm working on, and just two sleeps is all that lies between me and the execution of my list. I am of course talking about my Newcastle Airport Duty Free list! It's been slowly growing for a few weeks now with growing excitement of a) finally owning these coveted items and b) actually going away on holiday. My boyfriend and I are away to Iceland on wednesday and the real excitement has just started to kick in. It's not like any other holiday we've ever been on (I've never had to take thermal socks, a heat control hoody, a waterproof and ice-climbing boots anywhere before, that's for sure.) So to ease myself into the joys of outdoor adventures I am first going to fill my make-up bag with some goodies from the duty free. High on my list is the Dior Cherie Bow range, I've got my eye on Dior Addict Lipstick in Bow for a pretty pink pout suitable for all day, the eyeshadow palettes that boast shimmering golds and pinks and a perfect pale pink nail varnish in the form of Dior Vernis in Tutu. I could also fancy Lancome Rouge In Love Lipstick in Rouge Valentine for a more vampy red lip for the 14th and of course I'm dying to try the new Jimmy Choo Flash Eau de Toilette. I'm already a massive fan of the original Jimmy Choo fragrance and would be happy to add this new, fresh scent to my collection. Clinique have FINALLY  unleashed the Chubby Stick Tint for Eyes on the UK so I will definitely be perusing those colours as well. Unfortunately, as you can see, my list is probably a little too long... I will undoubtedly spend at least half an hour with everything in my hands until I can decide what I can't live without. I wouldn't worry though, these items will slowly make their way into my make-up bag one way or another.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Flu be gone.

Apologies readers, I haven't disappeared or decided I no longer have an interest in beauty, I've had the flu. Full on, nasty, horrible flu. I haven't exactly been up to getting out of bed let alone indulge in beauty products and subsequently tell you lovely lot all about them. I'm back at work tonight and (fingers crossed) on the mend so I'm sure I'll be up and running next week. Let me know if there's anything you want to hear/know/talk about.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Under the Weather Saviours

So I've been feeling really under the weather this weekend and as usual I turn to my bathroom cabinet for comfort, be it in the form of paracetamol and ibuprofen or a good old soul-soothing bubble bath. I woke up this morning feeling like a hippo had slept on my head so the first thing I reached for was the decongestant nasal spray to zing me to life, followed by soluble paracetamol (easy on the sore throat) and a delicious cup of coffee offered at my bedside from my wonderful BF. After auto-piloting through making a well deserved cooked breakfast (sundays are made for eggs and beans, right?) I plunged my exhausted self into a deep, hot bath filled with Soap and Glory's finest Calm One Calm All Bubble Bath. It really is ideal for aching muscles. It softens and cares for your skin whilst melting away your aches and pains all with a delicious fragrance so girly you can't help but feel pampered. It was also time for the hair-care regime and today's turn went to The Body Shop's Banana Shampoo and Conditioner. A perfect soothing routine for my aching head. After much wallowing it was time to get dry and moisturised. I didn't have the energy to rub in a thick body butter like I normally do, so I went for The Body Shop's Watermelon Body Lotion which is soft and light yet surprisingly hydrating, with a fresh, clean scent and texture similar to yoghurt. I find it very indulgent; I go around the house feeling like a giant dessert for a while afterwards. A quick face wash with Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean and gentle massage with Boots Botanics All Bright Day Cream and that's enough for now. My lips are seriously dry with all the nose-blowing so I have The Body Shop's Aloe Lip Treatment in my pocket for intense hydration and repair. I can't really face make-up when I'm feeling this poorly, so I'm just going to daydream about it instead and most likely spend the rest of my day internet shopping for the latest market must haves. The staff night out is coming up and at work and I've been spying on a new outfit from Next, and maybe some new shoes, and a new handbag for my holiday in two weeks...

Sensitive and Problem Skin

A colleague of mine has been asking about cleansers. She has super sensitive skin that dries out really easily and is prone to breakouts. I'm aware that this is a common problem for a lot of women in their twenties so I've been on a mission to find her a new skincare regime that won't break the bank. She's been using gel-cleansers that are aimed at clearing up problem skin but have left her face feeling tight and dry. If she then uses a rich moisturiser to combat the dryness then the breakouts seem to get worse and so she gets stuck in a cycle. I've been aiming to find a cleanser that is rich and moisturising but still has the deep-cleaning power of a skin treatment and an oil-free moisturiser that won't clog up the pores.

So first up are the CLEANSERS: The No7 Beautiful Skin range is perfect for anyone with sensitive skin as it  is hypo-allergenic. My friend needs something non-drying so I would suggest the No7 Soft and Soothed Gentle Cleanser. This is a thick cream cleanser that can be used on cotton pads to sweep away make-up and impurities whilst gently caring for the skin leaving is fresh, soft and radiant. For an extra deep cleanse I would follow with No7 Beautiful Skin Exfoliator for normal/dry skin which buffs away dead skin cells to reveal a smooth, soft complexion. Both of these products are moisturising but give a good clean, perfect for sensitive skin. For my friends breakouts I would suggest alternating these products with one designed specifically for skin problems, such as Clean & Clear Deep Action Oil-free Cream Wash which works to cure spots and inflammation and help prevent future breakouts. The whole Clean & Clear range is great for problem skin provided it is not used every day, as it can dry out the skin making it even more sensitive. A personal favourite cleanser of mine that is suitable for any skin type is Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean Deep Cleansing Milk. The formula is almost like a moisturiser and works to dig out impurities from the pores whilst soothing the skin as you massage it in. It has a tingly fresh effect and a delicious peach fragrance that is really uplifting for use in the morning. This is also a perfect cleanser for removing make-up.

Next up are the MOISTURISERS: My friend is looking for a light, oil-free face cream that will prevent dry skin without clogging the pores. Neutrogena Visibly Clear Oil-free Moisturiser works to soften and hydrate the skin whilst still caring for blemishes. Boots Simply Sensitive Day Moisturiser is great at non-pore-clogging hydration. It also contains SPF 15 to prevent sun damage and vitamin E to soothe and protect. Simple Kind To Skin Protecting Moisture Cream is ideal for everyday use for sensitive skin. It's soft and nourishing, full of vitamin goodness to protect the skin from harsh environmental factors and also helps to beat blemishes and soothe inflammation. For a slightly more expensive skin treat I would opt for Clarins Daily Energiser Lotion. This is the perfect refreshing, light moisturiser for trouble skin that is hydrating enough for everyday use and light enough to keep skin clear and radiant. I use the cream version for my skin but my friend will surely benefit from the lotion.

I would also recommend any products from the Boots Botanics Ultra Calm or Organic ranges, both of which are perfect for sensitive skin and are enriched with skin-loving ingredients that work to improve skin's appearance and vitality.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Spring Trends 2013

Hooray it's finally payday! And there's no better way to celebrate than getting your hands on something from the delicious new Spring Make-Up Collections. So what's going to be big this spring?

First up is the RED LIP: Don't be fooled by the rows of pretty pinks and pastel hues that adorn the make-up shelves at this time of year, the catwalks were bright with electric red lips. S/S 2013 is all about that matte, high pigment look but without the harsh lines. Fluidity is the key. Now I know red is a bit of a statement for some people but don't be afraid to give it a try. I embraced my inner siren tonight on a date with the BF and went for simple matte make-up (courtesy of a Chanel powder compact), a slick of brown liner on the lower lash line (also a major trend this spring, more on that later) and a luscious layer of bright red lipgloss. I only used gloss because I don't actually own a red lipstick... but I still managed a high pigment effect by first staining my lips with Nivea Lip Care Cherry then covering with Jemma Kidd Make Up School Hi Shine Silk Touch Lipgloss in 18 Perfect Red. Both of these products have blue undertones and a slight pinkish hue to them which work perfectly with my pale skin and blonde hair. I also nodded to another spring trend by adding a little blush across the apples of my cheeks quite close to my nose, then using up the excess on the brush across my lids which helps to pull the palette together and warm up the complexion. I was quite pleased with the results, it didn't look as made-up as I thought it would. It was relaxed but grown up and needless to say I didn't get asked for my ID at the cinema. If you want a more polished look go for a classic red lipstick from MAC in Russian Red or MAC Red, or try a new bold one from the new Lancome In Love range such as Rouge In Love Lipstick in Rouge In Love or Rouge Valentine.

Next up is EYES: There are major changes going on with eye make-up this season, the first being that the eyeliner had finally taken the plunge and is nestling neatly on the lower lash line, where it looks destined to stay all summer long. There's definitely a nod to the grunge look for now, with flicks and slicks being not too mod and always sexy. Any colour works here, simply choose what you will. I'll be sticking with brown for day, grey/silver for "just done" and blackest black for occasions. Try experimenting with the new blues that are making an appearance. Think underwater tones of turquoise and cobalt with soft lines and lots of blending. Try Topshop Eye Crayon in Kingfisher or Rimmel Glam'Eyes Trio Eyeshadow in Modern Blues. Another change to eyes that was seen all over the catwalks was the use of white, be it eyeliner or powder. High fashion beauty has gone Sixties Monochrome to match this seasons dresses, so big up your eyes with plenty white liner on the lash line, water line and out into flicks and finish off with lengthening deep black mascara. The white will really make the lashes stand out so go for big and dramatic. Models at Emilio Pucci were styled with dots of alabaster in the centre of the lid just above the lashes that were only noticeable when the models blinked. The effect was super flattering and brightening. Give this a go with Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in White and Rimmel's Soft Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Pencil in White is a must.

Now, for all you lovelies who are drawn in by the beautiful pastel spring colours fear not, for your taste is classic and shall forever be in season. Even luckier for you it is actually in season (hoorah!) so you can shop pink and peachily to your heart's content. The shades this season are ballerina pink, rose and neutral. Dior's Cherie Bow range is top of my wishlist with a silky new BB Cream, dreamy pink lipsticks and the prettiest pink powders. They've also released a first ever in the nail market - Nail Glow - designed to create a French manicure effect it one simple step. It makes pinks pinker, whites whiter and all with a glossy built in top-coat finish. Nail nirvana. Chanel's new range is big on neutral with a hint of golden shimmer. The Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long lasting Eyeliner in Or Rose is a perfect champagne highlight for the lower lash line. Bobbi Brown's Award Winning Brightening Finishing Powder is back with a new shade for spring - Porcelain Pearl - and is a perfect representation of spring's colour palette. It's probably one of those compacts that I would end up just looking at and never using because it's so pretty. Gold eyeshadow worked into a sultry, smokey look is also a favourite this season and very flattering. Team with simple black eyeliner, mascara, a dewy complexion and pink lip balm. Nails have been neutral all over the catwalks, but neon is still a firm favourite for the fashionistas among us so continue experimenting with colours and patterns. In fact the more garish the better. I've been spying on Essie's winter collection, particularly Snap Happy (a cheerful red) and Butler Please (a bright simple blue) which I want to team with a metallic tip. If you do go neutral why not try a nail wrap with a built in pattern? Lace effects have been big for a while and will definitely see you through spring. Try Nail Rock for some cool designs.

I'm sure I'll think of something I've missed but that's all for now. So to sum up, my payday pennies are intended for Diorskin Nude BB Cream, Dior Nail Glow and a lipstick from the Rouge in Love range at Lancome. It's about time I had a good red in my life.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hair Today...

So this is all about my complicated hair routine. I have a rota of hair products (mental, I know) which I truly believe helps to keep my hair looking it's absolute best. I have blonde highlights so I use a variety of blonde care products, colour care products and others as well.

First up is John Frieda Colour Renew for blonde hair. It's enriched with violet toner to get rid of any dark residue and build up than can make blonde hair look dull or, heaven forbid, yellow. I only use this product once a week at the very most because it's really rich. The shampoo is bright purple and lathers really well so you don't need a lot, and the conditioner is a paler violet and very, very moisturising. I try to keep it away from my roots but the whole point of this range is to brighten my blonde so sometimes I slather it on and just make sure I rinse for an age. I can honestly say it does what it says on the bottle, but if you use it too often and it can have the undesired effect of bringing out different shades in your natural hair colour that may not match your blonde. For instance when I used this product twice on one week the natural bronze in my hair became evident through the blonde and it did not look good. If I use this products sparingly it makes my hair soft and very shiny, with the baby blonde highlights that I like. I actually used this a couple of days ago and three people thought I'd been to the hairdresser! Amazing.

Next up is TIGI Bedhead Dumb Blonde. This is probably the most moisturising and nourishing range in my repertoire so, again, I use it sparingly. It smells like sweeties and sherbet and is a dream to use in the shower. In this case I would say definitely keep the conditioner away from your roots because it doesn't rinse out easily. The effect I find with this range is extremely soft and manageable hair with incredible shine and a gorgeous baby blonde. 

One of my simple favourites is the Banana shampoo and conditioner from The Body Shop. This is my go-to range for inbetween washes because it's light and rinses out really well leaving hair very clean and shiny. Obviously the smell is unique (I'm yet to find another banana hair range!) and is really uplifting. This range is perfect for any hair type to get a good clean but thick, frizzy or damaged hair will need some extra leave in conditioner afterwards. 

A cheaper range for blonde hair is the Lemon and Chamomile shampoo and conditioner from Boots. I love this stuff when my hair is clogged up with products. It's super cleansing and makes hair baby soft. Again though, use a leave in conditioner afterwards if your hair is prone to dryness. 

That's everything I'm using at the minute but I have loads of other products to review and bring back out the cupboard so watch this space for more hair updates.

Today's Products So Far

Today's products so far have been:

1) No7 Beautiful Skin Exfoliator for normal/dry skin
2) Clarins Daily Energizer Cream for dry skin
3) Benefit "It's Potent" eye cream
4) Nivea Repair and Protect lip balm.

1) This exfoliator is perfect for my skin. It's a really creamy formula that doesn't foam up too much when you rub it on your skin. Using gentle circular movements with the fingertips over the whole face (avoiding the eyes) you can feel the little beads working to slough away dead skin and reveal a beautiful, brightened complexion. It's not my favourite exfoliater ever but it's get a good 8/10 from me, mainly because the smell is divine.

2) This is one my absolute favourite facial moisturisers from one of my all time favourite brands. The orange cream softens and smoothes whilst revitalising the skin with an almost zingy effect. The smell is really uplifting and the results last all day. It's non-oily and a perfect base for make-up. There's a cream-gel version of this cream for more oily skin types and a whole range of cleansers and toners to go with it.

3) I'm still using a tester pot of this eye cream and I'm still not sure if I like it or not. It's very smooth and easy to apply, and it does soften the skin under the eyes but I'm yet to see any reduction in my dark circles (I'm cursed with them) and only a slight de-puffing action has occurred. I will finish my tester pot though as I hate to see a product from a good brand go to waste.

4) A perfect lip balm for the cold weather we've been having. Softens, smoothes and protects. Simple. It has a fresh smell and a really sturdy, wax consistency which is perfect for applying on the go - no sticky fingers here. I've been using this balm to cure seriously dry skin around my mouth and it's the done the trick in a few days. It lasts quite a while on the lips too so frequent application is not necessary.

Chanel Illuminating Powder

My newest purchase is definitely a good one. On a routine little trip to Boots yesterday with my mum she decided to treat me with some of her points and voila, here I am with a brand new shiny Chanel powder compact. But not just any compact, the newest limited edition Illuminating Powder from the spring collection. It's the most beautiful golden champagne colour intended to brighten the complexion with a halo of soft focus glow. And wow it really works!! I couldn't wait to try it so I used it last night when I was getting ready for work. Even taking it out of the velvet case feels like a luxury ritual, and revealing the powder inside brings a smile to the face at any time. It's beautifully stamped with their iconic interlocked double C and then covered in an intricate lipstick and rose print. It comes with a sponge applicator but I chose to use my MAC highlighter brush to sweep along my cheekbones (quite high, just under the eyes) and I even swept a little over my eyelids in place of my usual metallic eyeshadow. I was immediately impressed by how illuminating it actually is. My whole face looked brighter and warmer. A colleague commented on my skin at work too so it was clearly worth it! I'm sure it'll be a really versatile powder to use all over the face and on all skintones.

Good Morning

Good morning readers! This is the start of my new beauty blog for all you make-up and cosmetic crazies out there. My friends sometimes tell me that they don't need to read the trend magazines or read reviews for new products because they can just come and ask me! I've tried pretty much every product going. When something new comes out I just have to have it. Premium, high-street, supermarket, face, hair, body you name it, I've tried it. So I'm going to be blogging about different products and ranges, reviewing them for you and scoring them against others on the market. I'll try my best to post "How-To" tutorials and such like and obviously keep you bang up to date on what's trending. It might take me a little while to get going so bear with me, but hopefully I'll soon have all your cosmetic queries answered. Happy Reading!