Saturday, 30 November 2013

Instagram: November 2013

Huge Lush Haul (post to follow!) | Stormy dog walk at the beach | Size 8, baby! | My Korilakkuma onesie came from Japan - amazing | Very convincing Chanel dupe | My most used Essie polish - Ballet Slippers | The perfect A/W lipstick in MAC Plumful | Rose-coloured bubble bath | Noms after work

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Vichy Idéalia Life Serum

Hi lovelies! I wonder, have you ever tried any beauty product - be it skincare, haircare or makeup - and instantly thought "why have I not given this a go sooner?" Well, I know I certainly have! This little gem shoots to the top of my skincare list, and I'm here to tell you exactly why.

After being a huge fan of the Vichy Idéalia collection for a while (you only have to take a peek at my BB cream review to know how I feel about the brand!), I was delighted to be contacted on the off chance that I fancied trying out the Idéalia Life Serum* to which, of course, I said yes!

As a pioneer in the science of anti-ageing, Vichy unveils a new approach in the treatment of skin ageing. I was pretty shocked to find out that 7/10 women recognise that they carry out at least one action that affects their skin quality in a negative way. These factors can be lack of sleep, pollution, stress, an unbalanced diet, lack of sport, hormonal imbalances, UV rays, or Winter's cruel dry weather. Vichy Idéalia Life Serum was created with all of these factors in mind. They accept that a woman's behaviour can affect the quality of the skin, and prematurely age us both physically and hormonally. Scary stuff, huh? Well, fight the signs of ageing with this prestigious glass bottle of pearlescent power!

"Instantly, complexion looks radiant and fresh, with a more even tone. Pores appear tightened and skin texture feels refined. Facial features look rested and skin looks younger and healthier." 

For me, I have to say that stress and lack of sleep are my biggest struggles in life and it definitely shows on my face. Since using the Idéalia Life Serum, I can honestly say that my skin feels so much smoother and brighter. I've also noticed that my cheek redness has reduced, and my drier patches have begun to behave better. I use it morning and evening, after cleansing - and sometimes I pop some moisturiser on afterwards if I'm having a bad skin day - and gone above and beyond the 8 days usage when you start to see results. Its milky-pearl texture makes it seem more like a moisturiser than a serum so it really feels like you're getting your money's worth. The texture is really lightweight, absorbs quickly, and doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy or sticky afterwards. It's also suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, so it really is for the everyday woman. And did I mention that is smells divine? A fresh, slightly floral scent which is a pleasure to apply.

So now I defer to you guys. Do you like using serums? Is this something you would like to try?

Vichy Idéalia Life Serum retails at £29.50 for 30ml, and is available from Boots nationwide.

*PR Sample

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

MAC Pro Palette Project - Month Five

Afternoon all, hope your week is going well! Today is the fifth instalment of my MAC Pro Palette Project and I'm beginning to really love how my 15 palette is looking - just five more refill pans to go before it's full! In fact, I have so many eyeshadows that I would love to own that I may have to buy another palette to fill over 2014. I've popped it on my Christmas list so hopefully I'll get a nice little treat under my tree on Christmas morning! But as it stands, I introduce to you two welcome additions to the palette: Sketch and Naked Lunch.

Sketch is described by MAC as "burgundy with red shimmer" and has a veluxe finish. I would say it's a lovely Wintery plum shade, perfect for blending through the crease to create a more defined and dramatic smoky eye. I've been really big into the dark plum smoky eye this season, as opposed to the usual black or brown most of us are used to. I think it's a welcome change! I've also been known to use this in substitute to black liner. The colour pay-off is brilliant as you would expect from a MAC eyeshadow and it also blends wonderfully with a 217 brush.

Naked Lunch is described by MAC as "minimal pink with shimmer" and has a frost finish. Similar to Nylon but pinker, I like to use this as an alternative to highlight the brow bone and inner corners of the eye, especially if I'm using a plum eyeshadow like Sketch or Cranberry. It also works lovely as a base, because it's such a subtle neutral colour with just a hint of shimmer. That being said, I think the shade is fabulous on its own for a very "barely-there", natural look. All in all another versatile eyeshadow to add to my collection!

What do you think of my recent additions?

Friday, 22 November 2013

Clarins Mineral Loose Powder

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this time of year. On the one hand there's nothing I enjoy better than a hot gingerbread latte on a crisp Autumnal day. On the other hand, from a blogger's point of view, the shorter days can cause a bit of havoc. I've been really busy over the past few months, what with university deadlines and work, so I find it so difficult to take decent photographs in the diminishing natural light. So first of all, I can only apologise for the quality of my photographs in this post! I tried my best to enhance them with the use of my ever-so-pretty star fairy lights, but as you can probably gather, the natural light was disappearing fast.

Nevertheless, I have for you today a product which has really impressed over the past few months. I know I had a lot to rave about when I blogged the Rimmel Stay Matte Loose Powder, which I've come to find as a cheaper, high street version. However, since using this product I have had no need to go elsewhere for my loose powder needs. Without further ado, I introduce to you Clarins Mineral Loose Powder...

When it comes to translucent powders I really don't ask for much. All I want is a product that can reduce shine and set the makeup underneath. Clarins Mineral Loose Powder is an ultra-fine, lightweight mineral powder which promises a translucent radiant finish. The powder smells lovely and fresh, and is a pleasure to work with on the skin. It's very much a "barely-there" powder, which is comfortable to wear all day - definitely a big tick in my books! It comes in three shades: Transparent Light (01) - my choice of shade; Transparent Medium (02); and Transparent Warm (03). The product is "light-optimising" so it instantly captures, diffuses and amplifies the light.

A powder puff is included, but I much prefer to use my Real Techniques Setting Brush as it's a lot smaller and I only tend to set the makeup under my eyes and around my nose. It doesn't make the skin look cakey at all! The powder instead creates a natural, velvety complexion, and benefits the skin by mattifying facial oils and protecting against dehydration all day. 

Now to the price, for a reasonable £30 you get a whole lot of product (30g of lightweight powder) so I cannot complain in the slightest. Besides, it really works for me and I only need the smallest amount for it to do its job. I think it's safe to say that it's here to stay!

Clarins Mineral Loose Powder retails at £30, and is available from the Clarins website and Debenhams. Psst, it's also on offer for the special price of £24 over at Escentual!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Great Expectations: Naked 3 Palette

Hello lovelies! I hope all is well. Today I have for you an exciting snippet which I can't wait to grab with both hands! I'm sure you all know by now that Urban Decay are releasing their long-awaited, greatly-anticipated Naked 3 palette. And I, for one, am so excited about getting my little mitts on it! Everyone loves a good neutral palette and I'm no different. Urban Decay are known for their fabulously pigmented eyeshadows all wrapped up nicely in a stylish case for ease of reference and travel. I love the brand, and own the Naked, Naked 2 and Naked Basics palettes respectively. They've all become a part of my everyday look so I'm confident that the newest addition to the Naked family will impress me and get a lot of wear too.

So what's in store for us UD lovers?

Well, the Naked 3 palette presents us with 12 brand new rosy-hued eyeshadows. The shades look very different to previous Naked palettes - dare I say classier - and are a mixture of mattes, shimmers and glitters. There's something for everyone! The palette itself comes with a decent-sized mirror, double-ended eyeshadow brush and a mini Primer Potion, which is a lovely incentive. I'm predicting that this will be in the similar price range of the other bigger Naked palettes (around £36) but I'm more than willing to shed out that amount for a top quality product. The palette is said to go on sale from mid December in the UK (despite being released early by mistake at Sephora) so that's plenty of time to get it down on your lists for Santa!

Having taken all this into consideration, will you be popping the Naked 3 Palette on your Christmas lists? 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Current Makeup Removers

I used to be awful at taking my makeup off before I went to bed. Waking up with panda eyes and foundation all over my pillow was just not a good look at all. I've wised up since then - become less of a lazy bones. Even if I don't feel like I can be bothered to go through my evening skin routine - which, let's face it, we all feel like sometimes - I never go without a good makeup removal nowadays and my skin is much better for it. Today I have for you my current makeup removal products that feature in my bathroom cabinet or on my bedside table for easy reach (that lazy trait still is imbedded in me) I'd also like to point out that it was completely unintentional that 3/4 of these products are made by French companies, just a happy coincidence!

So first up is every beauty blogger's favourite: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution (500ml). Worthy winner at the Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards 2013, this product is fabulous at getting off any kind of stubborn makeup you may have on your tired face. It gently cleanses sensitive, normal or dry skin with a couple of wipes with a cotton wool pad. The alcohol-free solution is designed with redness-sufferers in mind. Cool and soothe your skin as you wipe away the day's makeup, and gain the power benefits of a cleanser to boot. Overall I really love this product. It not only has several benefits but it removes dreaded stubborn mascara, and dries quickly on the skin to leave it feeling refreshed and clean.

I'm not going to go into too much detail because I actually did a post about this product ages ago - you can read in full here. Personally, I think that La Roche-Posay's Physiological Micellar Solution (200ml) edges ahead of Bioderma - just ever so slightly! With this product I can actually feel the benefits if that makes any sense at all. I also think it is the most effective at removing mascara and gel eyeliner, practically ridding my face of it in one fell swoop of a cotton pad. You may have noticed that the photograph of this is an empty bottle - that's how much I love it. I already have another in back up, just in case of some kind of emergency, and I will definitely be repurchasing again and again. It's the start of a beautiful skin relationship!

Next up is the newbie to the pack, Clarins Instant Eye Makeup Remover (125ml). This is a bi-phase lotion, which means that it's part liquid, part oil and needs shaking up before use. I think it's pretty unique in that respect. It claims to melt away even waterproof eye makeup with its translucent oils. It's not the cheapest option, I'll grant you that, but you only need a small amount on a cotton wool pad for each eye. I tend to leave the pad on my eye for 10-20 seconds and then give it a good wipe to get everything off - and it does a great job of melting away every last bit! One gripe I have however, is that because it's oil-based my skin does feel quite oily after use. This one is quite a luxury for me, and I use it sparingly.

Yes, yes I know. Perhaps I'm committing the ultimate beauty sin by including makeup wipes in this post. Sometimes if you can't be bothered with the namby-pamby beauty routines and just want to go to bed, then I don't think there's anything wrong with using a pack of makeup wipes. For me, Simple is the only brand I'll use for this purpose. I've tried a lot of others in my time, and these Kind to Skin Facial Cleansing Wipes are the only ones that seem to do the job without making me break out. The quick and easy option, yes, but by no means is it something I would make a habit of using all the time.

What is your go-to makeup remover?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

An Introduction to Real Techniques

Hello lovelies! I hope you're having a good week and coping with the drop in temperature. Seriously, how cold has it been recently?! Anyway, this post has been a long time coming - a LOOONG time coming. As you already know, the whole beauty blogging world adore the Real Techniques makeup brush range - myself included. Over the past year or so, I've accumulated quite a collection. I love the variety, the application, and obviously the more affordable price tag! While I do own a couple of higher end brushes (MAC, Louise Young, and Bobbi Brown mostly) I've found that Real Techniques has taken over my cute IKEA brush pot - not even kidding.

I feel it's my duty to give you all a little background, even if you're not a newbie to these brushes. The line was created by fabulous makeup artist Samantha Chapman - one half of the amazing Pixiwoo duo on YouTube. I honestly owe most of my makeup looks to these two, and have cut down my morning prep by simply following their techniques. They make everything look so easy and break steps down in their tutorials so even the novices can have a good go! Now, the brushes themselves have been created to make that airbrushed look seem effortless. As you can see from the photograph above, the brushes have a colour-coded system to correspond to the key stages of application: gold for your base, purple for your eyes, and pink for your finish. The white brushes you see are the newer duo-fibre collection, which are equally soft and flawless! All the brushes have synthetic bristles and they feel so silky on your skin - they really are such a treat to use. I also find it super handy to have the names of the brushes printed on the handles which makes for easy reference when you're in a hurry to get your makeup done before shooting out to where ever you need to be. 

To learn more about the Real Techniques range, you can visit their website by clicking here.

With such amazing success with their original brushes, Real Techniques have since released a duo-fibre collection (as mentioned before) and now their wonderful Miracle Complexion Sponge. I have never really been a huge fan of sponge applicators; I always associated sponges with clown makeup or face painting to be honest! But the Miracle Complexion Sponge definitely lives up to its name, in that it made my skin look so much better. For £5.99, you get a 3-in-1 multi-functional sponge that will seriously improve your foundation application. The shape of the sponge optimises the process, with rounded sides to blend large areas of the face by way of stippling; a precision tip to cover blemishes; and a flat edge for the contours around the eyes and nose. I also find it's great for correcting imperfections and buffing in bronzer if I think I've accidentally popped too much on.

I have yet to discover a Real Techniques brush/sponge that I don't get on with. I'm delighted to announce that these beauties are here to stay!

The Real Techniques range is available to purchase from the Real Techniques website and Boots.
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