Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Super Samples: Clarins

Hey everyone! It's been a really hectic month for me; I haven't had much time for blogging. Well that, and I seemed to have hit a little snag in the old brain about what to do. It's quality not quantity, right? So, today I have a series of free samples sent to me with my main Clarins order (post for those products coming soon!) I purchased a couple of weeks ago. I love companies like Clarins and Origins, where they reward your business with little pick-me-ups, and the best part is you get to choose them yourself from a vast array of products. But I mean, seriously, who doesn't love a free sample?

Gentle Eye Make-Up Remover - I bought the big version of the Instant Eye Make-Up Remover with this order, so haven't had the chance to have a good go with the 10ml Gentle sample. However, I have allowed myself a few tries and I have to say that it smells lovely (think subtle rose). Its ingredients contain organic camomile extract to soothe and relax; organic cornflower water to calm and soften; organic rose water to soothe, refresh and hydrate; and other gentle surfactants to remove residues and impurities. This one is especially good for sensitive eyes because of its gentle formula, however, I do prefer my Instant Eye Make-Up Remover or my Bioderma Micellar Solution to properly get off the more stubborn mascara. 
Final Verdict: 3/5

Pure Melt Cleansing Gel - A 3-in-1 cleansing wash for all skin types, the gel texture of this product is lightweight and oily when massaged into dry skin. The main ingredient is Marula Oil, which is meant to comfort, rebalance and revive radiance. It smells clean - what you want from a cleanser, really - and is designed to melt away every last trace of excess oil and impurities, including the heaviest and most stubborn makeup. Water activates the gel into a sort of silky oil that rinses skin clean. I think I would consider purchasing the bigger version of this, but for £19.50, it'll be one for the wish list! 
Final Verdict: 4/5

Beauty Flash Balm - Oh my goodness, I really love this one! First of all, it smells amazing - so fresh and clean. It's the ultimate pick-me-up for tired and stressed skin (perfect for someone like me!) The award-winning balm instantly moisturises, brightens and tightens facial contours so skin appears rested and relaxed. Olive and Witch Hazel extracts help to smooth the skin's surface, diffusing the look of lines and wrinkles. Okay, so I can't vouch for the final part of that description but having read the reviews older customers seem to rave about its formula. It also acts as a great primer, and contains algae extract to revitalise; bisabolol to soothe and soften; and rice starch to purify the epidermis. It's safe to say that I will definitely be picking up the big version of this the next time I toddle off to the Clarins counter in my local Boots! 
Final Verdict: 5/5

BB Skin Perfecting Cream - I'm kind of on the fence with this BB Cream. I received this sample in Medium and it's a little too dark for my fair skin; also, I don't really care for the smell so much. However, having said that, the coverage is pretty great for a BB Cream. Clarins claims that this product will even out your skin tone as well as revitalising and protecting the skin itself. It contains 3D radiance pigments, organic kiwi extract for vitality and a combination of katafray and the beauty blogger's favourite ingredient: hyaluronic acid, which helps to restore the skin's water reserves for additional softness and comfort. I'm still not sure about this one, but it seems to work great for a lot of people. Maybe I'll give it a go in the Light shade.
Final Verdict: 3/5

Cleansing Milk For Normal/Dry Skin - This soothing cleansing milk is designed to lift away make-up and impurities with spa-like efficiency. Its ingredients include alpine herbs to soften; St John's Wort and sweet almond to moisturise; hydrophilic oils to cleanse; Melissa, Juniper, Arnica to tone; Bio-Ecolia to preserve the skin's balance; and vitamins A and E to improve the skin's quality. I've only used this once as a tester (and the fact that it's a tiny sample) and I found it to be gentle on my skin but very thorough. Again, the product smells nice too! Once I re-establish a new skincare routine - and get through all the cleansers I already own - I think this one is next on my list.
Final Verdict: 4/5

Water Purify One-Step Cleanser - Finally I received another cleanser, and this one I can't say much about, simply because I have yet to try it! Still, there's no harm in giving you some information about it (no harm in my research either!) So, this cleanser seems to have some very good reviews up on the website. It's billed as a one-step product, suitable for oily/combination skin - one I may have some problems with, having normal/dry skin. In one simple step, this lotion formula is supposed to create the sensation of water-fresh cleansing without said water. Moringa seed extract gently rinses away impurities and light make-up with a fresh, non-foaming action; mint essential water purifies and tones, leaving oily or combination skin looking radiant and feeling revived. Sorry guys, you'll have to try this one for yourselves!
Final Verdict: N/A

What do you think of my sample choices? Have you tried any of these products before? Let me know!
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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

MAC Pro Palette Project - Month Three

Hey guys! I hope you're having a good week - how is it only Wednesday? I kind of dread the rest of the week because of work. Plus I pre-ordered Grand Theft Auto V months ago and it arrived on the release date (yesterday) and I don't think I've stopped playing it since. I mean, with the exception of an hour at uni today... I can just tell that work will go crazy-slow tomorrow and Saturday just because I want to play it all day! Anyway, I've taken a break from bank heists, beating up civilians for money and evading the cops to bring you the third instalment of my MAC Pro Palette Project - talk about double lives!

 Woodwinked was not originally on the list of 15 eyeshadows I was going to buy for this palette (yes, I have a list) but it was so gorgeous swatched that I just couldn't resist buying it and adding it to my project. My swatch above does not do this baby justice, honestly. It's such a lovely shade, described as "warm antique gold" on the website, and yet again presents us with various application opportunities. I know I say this with practically every MAC eyeshadow but I think this is definitely my favourite in the palette so far. It's incredibly me and has been planted safely in the neutrals category with its warm bronze shade complete with a golden undertone that can work either day or night. It's also a Veluxe Pearl finish, so that golden undertone I mentioned comes in the form of a very workable shimmer. What's great about Woodwinked is that the colour alters slightly once blended so it appears darkened in the crease without having to apply another shade. It also works with other neutrals.

Satin Taupe, however, was on my original list. It's described by MAC as "taupe with a silver shimmer" and I would absolutely agree with that (my swatch is pretty bang on with this one). You wouldn't think that the gold undertones of Woodwinked and the silver shimmer of Satin Taupe would work together, but I've found myself experimentally using Satin Taupe in my crease for more definition and the shimmer is so subtle that it doesn't affect the overall look. It's also a beautiful alternative to a black smokey eye as this one can be used all over the lid and under the eye for more of a grey-brown smoulder. I think there's a good reason as to why this shade is so popular - it has enough depth to be paired with a wide range of colours, from plums to greys to browns. Such versatility has earned it a permanent spot in my pro palette.

I know, I know, I can't get enough of neutral eyeshadows - I think they may be my beauty obsession!

Any thoughts on my newest additions?
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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Honey by Marc Jacobs

Hi guys, hope you're having a lovely relaxing Sunday. It's my only day off now so I truly appreciate it so much more! Today I have for you a post that I've wanting to make for an age, but being a typical blogger I wanted to get the perfect photo using the perfect backdrop, and what better than this awesome Team Jacobs t-shirt from Net-A-Porter (expensive for a white t-shirt, sure, but I love it and it's so versatile!) The t-shirt is by LPD New York and features not only Marc Jacobs, but a whole host of other fashion designers including Vera Wang, Martin Margiela, Riccardo Tisci, and Hedi Slimane. They are all plain jersey-cotton - black or white - and have NFL-style surnames on the back with the number depicting their year of birth (Jacobs is '63, FYI). As for fit it's really loose, but you can size down for a tighter look. I just love it being looser, just so you can style it in other ways as opposed to just pairing it with some jeans or leather shorts.

Now that little story's out the way, onto the perfume!

I have had Honey by Marc Jacobs on my wish list ever since it came out and after I had a sneaky spritz in my local House of Fraser I knew I had to have it. Figuring that I would be good and wait it out until my beloved Dolce & Gabbana L'Impératrice finally ran its course (still the tiniest bit in the bottle!) I sat and pondered how long it would take me to use up the remaining perfume before taking the plunge. We all know that Marc Jacobs' fragrances are amazing, and the packaging is both unique and so, so pretty. This is actually my first eau de parfum from the fashion powerhouse, but I have loved these scents for years and now I finally have one in my grasp.

Honey by Marc Jacobs is said to be a "sunny delicious floral - energetic and alluring, with a sparkling golden touch. The perfect mix of brightness and warmth." I always love how perfumes are bigged up so much by flowery language when really all they need to say to sell it to me is "you'll smell great wearing this". I have to admit, the scent is a little strong at first and takes a moment to settle, but when it does you're greeted with a balance of both floral and sweet notes. The perfume contains pear, mandarin, orange blossom, peach nectar, apricot, honeysuckle, honey, golden vanilla, and smooth woody notes are thrown in there too! It's lovely and feminine, and actually quite a warming smell. I know this was released as a summer fragrance but I'll be wearing this all year round. 

I purchased this from Fragrance Direct at £59.99 for 100ml (RRP £68). It sounds expensive but there is a sizeable amount which will last for such a long time. Put it this way, I've had L'Impératrice (100ml in a bottle) for almost 2 years and I've only just hit the bottom... and it's not like I used it sparingly either! All in all, I absolutely love Honey by Marc Jacobs and I'm so happy I've purchased it. It definitely jazzes up my dressing table with its cute honey-bee packaging - bonus!

What do you think of Honey by Marc Jacobs? What's your favourite fragrance?
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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo

I'm sure you're all well aware of La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Duo and, indeed, the mixed reviews it has provoked in most beauty bloggers around the globe. As a renowned cult product in the skincare category, I figured I was merely doing my duty by purchasing this and giving it a good go. I'm a sufferer of problem skin (although not as badly as my teenage years, and only really flares up during certain times of the month) so how could I pass up the chance well and truly?

Let's get down to the nitty-gritty...

First of all, what is it? La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Duo is a dual action anti-imperfection moisturiser which, when worked into the skin every morning and night before bedtime, unclogs and purifies those ugly pores we all get from time to time. It is said to reduce the development of future breakouts. The product is recommended for oily skin with an irregular texture, prone to imperfections, blemishes and spots. If you read my blog you know that I constantly moan about the fact that I have mostly dry skin, with the exception of my T-zone at times, so I was a little dubious about whether this would work to its full potential on someone like me. The formula is a bit watery at first; you have to give the tube a firm squeeze in order to get your desired amount. I would say that it's a cross between a sheer moisturiser and a gel. The scent is tricky to place, but I'm going to go ahead and say that it smells clean and reminds me slightly of parma violets? That's probably just me though! 

Now for the results. I've been using this for two weeks straight, morning and evening, and I have to say that it has certainly reduced the amount of imperfections I had and has made my skin look clearer and feel much smoother. I've heard other bloggers say that they've suffered breakouts and given up with the product entirely, and I think that's a shame. Other people, including myself, have really got on with it - sometimes all you need is some perseverance. La Roche-Posay also say the Effaclar Duo can be used as a makeup base as well, but I have yet to knowingly test this out properly. I would presume, however, that it would be a very sheer base as I don't think the formula is rich enough to last all day under makeup. It would be interesting to see if I'm proven wrong with this.

It's clear to see that the hype surrounding the Effaclar Duo is not going to die down anytime soon. Like I said, I've read both positive and more indifferent reviews but for me it is hands-down one of the best skincare companies on the market today. Don't believe it? Read my earlier review on my first impressions of the Physiological Micellar Solution and Thermal Spring Water Spray and you'll see that I'm a solid fan!

I purchased this online at Escentual, who currently have 15% off all La Roche-Posay products. Not that they're a super expensive company anyway, but it was nice to buy the Effaclar Duo for £10.12 instead of the retailed £13.50!

What do you think of La Roche-Posay? Have you tested out the Effaclar Duo?
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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Maybelline Baby Lips

Happy September, everyone! I can't believe this year is going by so quickly, in the blink of an eye it will be Christmas and we'll be in the comfort of cosy nights and shopping for gifts! I personally can't wait for the cooler weather - I do love a big chunky knit jumper but that's for another day, eh?

Now I know that the Maybelline Baby Lips range has been talked about to death in recent months by all your favourite bloggers, but I figured adding my two cents wouldn't hurt. It's nice to know what everyone thinks and recommends, especially when the products are totally affordable. I decided to wait it out until the hype died down a little bit, and as I type this I've seen at least three new reviews by bloggers that I follow! Oh well, here's my opinion...

I have incredibly dry and chapped lips, even in the summer months, so the idea of a moisturising lip balm that didn't involve the greasiness of Vaseline plus with added scent and colour was one right up my street. Taking advantage (as always!) of the Boots 3-for-2 offer on beauty products, I didn't hesitate to pop all six available Baby Lips into my basket. The cashier looked at me as if it was slightly excessive to be buying six of the same product but even the packaging had me sold; I absolutely love the bright bullets which have certainly added a pop of colour to my dressing table!

The exclusive lip-renew formula moisturises lips for up to 8 hours and, based on panelists' self-evaluation, lips are visibly renewed after just one week of use. I have to say that the balm feels lovely to apply; it practically glides on with utter ease to leave lips feeling hydrated and protected. It doesn't, however, stay on for a full 8 hours like Maybelline claims - but it does last a while without having to reapply throughout the day. Baby Lips comes in six colours currently in the UK and, in the order of the photograph above (left to right) they are:

  • Cherry Me - A gorgeous sweet cherry smell (which actually reminds me of my childhood) with a pretty pink tint.
  • Intense Care - Pretty much unscented with no colour, simply a moisturising balm.
  • Pink Punch - A slight strawberry hint that leaves lips with a cute baby pink pop.
  • Mint Fresh - A subtle spearmint scent with no colour, very fresh indeed!
  • Hydrate - I would say this is unscented, I guess close to the original Vaseline smell with no colour. 
  • Peach Kiss - A sweet peachy scent, providing a hydrating sheer nude hue to the lips.

I always carry at least one of these in my handbag when I'm out and about. Usually I take with me an unscented/non-pigmented balm (Hydrate or Intense Care) but also grab one of the pigmented ones for when I want a bit of colour on my lips. I think Peach Kiss is my favourite out of all of them - I do love a nude-based lip!

What do you think of the Baby Lips range? Which lip balm is your favourite?
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