Thursday, 28 February 2013

NOTD: Nails Inc Bling It On Romance

Hey Ladies,

I have the most blingtastic nails to show you today from Nails Inc, I love their Bling it On kits & have the holographic kit already so when their Romance kit landed on my door mat I practically tripped over myself to apply it.
Nails Inc Bling It On Romance *

The kit consists of;
- Porchester Square Nail Polish
- Electric Avenue Nail Polish
- 4 Bow Embelishments
- 50 Swarovski crystals (approx) in different sizes & colours
- Nail Glue
- 2 Cuticle sticks

Nails Inc Porchester Square happens to be one of my favourite nail polishes it is the perfect beigey/grey/purple combo & Electric Avenue is amazingly packed with silver glitter so is easy to get opaque.

The press images for this kit show the model with a lot of the crystals on the nails but there is a current trend for a single crystal on the nail so I went with that in homage to Viviana Does Makeup & added the bows to the thumb nails.

I found the bows to be quite big so my thumbs were my only option, it was easy to apply as per usual I got nail glue all over my fingers but it just takes some patience, as for the practicality they did catch in my hair & on my tights so it's not exactly an everyday look I would wear. I think this kit is probably best saved for a night out or a special occasion.

I love the look as did everyone in my office, the kit costs £22 & you can get it from LookFantastic - They have free next day delivery available from the 4th & 15% off if you spend £75 (Code: 15MARLF)  you can reuse the bows as many times as you like & with 50 crystals you can get quite a few manicures from the kit so I think it's definitely worth the price.

Are you a nail bling fan?

Sunday, 24 February 2013

REVIEW: Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

Hey Ladies,
I should warn you now there is a shot of me makeup-less in this post so: WARNING: Graphic Content.  I have been trying out the new Urban Decay BB cream over the past couple of weeks and thought I'd tell you my thoughts. In the past couple of years the market has been flooded with BB  cream launches and I've never really been a fan of Western ones as they tend to be tinted moisturisers slapped with the BB cream label so I was eager to see how this one measured up.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm*
'A five-in-one BB cream that minimizes pores, lines, wrinkles, and redness instantly and gives you significantly firmer, more-lifted skin in eight weeks.'

First of all I love the packaging, the metallic rose gold and pewter just means its nice to look at but it is practical too as it isn't a rigid tube so you can control how much you squeeze out so there's no waste and when you're getting towards the end of the product you'll be able to get out as much out as possible, plus it will be easy to cut open to use every last drop.

From the pictures you can tell it adds a lovely warmth to the face and does minimise some imperfections, if you have pretty good skin you this is all you need and it looks like you have nothing on your skin. The finish of this I particularly like, I find most BB creams to be quite radiant in their finish on the skin but this is a happy medium between matte and dewy so if you are more combination skinned this is a good choice.

Probably my favourite aspect of the Naked Skin Beauty Balm is the fact that Urban Decay don't claim that this is all you need, the use of foundation over the top is encouraged if you need it and so to me this is really a BB Cream: a product that moisturises, refines, brightens, and primes your skin ready for foundation. Most BB Creams on the Western market claim they'll replace your foundation but like I said are glorified tinted moisturisers so some people use them and hate them because it's not enough coverage, the Urban Decay BB Cream packages instructs you to add some foundation afterwards.

This is when the Naked Skin BB Cream comes into its own, have you ever had a foundation which is a matte finish and you want to wear it because you're on a night out or need to have it last all day but it can make your skin look dead and emphasise your dry patches? I certainly do and when I use this as my primer I get all the benefits of the longevity of the foundation but the BB cream makes my skin look healthier and stops any dry patches on my face from being an issue.

It is £23.00 and you can get it from LookFantastic & HQ Hair with free delivery. I am seriously impressed with some of Urban Decay's new offerings and my shopping list just keeps expanding, have you tried any of their new launches? 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

NEW: StriVectin-SH Advance Overnight Resurfacing Serum

Hey Ladies,

It's not often I post about a product that I haven't given a thorough testing however the new launch from StriVectin-SH has got me a little excited so I thought I'd introduce it to you as it's launching on Tuesday & then post my review once I have fully tried and tested it.

'Instantly helps smooth the epidermal layer gently, without any irritation while you sleep so you can wake up to softer, brighter skin in just one use.'

Anything that promises to resurface my skin overnight I will pretty much jump on as I tend to have very dull skin especially in the winter months and I have definitely shifted towards the chemical exfoliation options rather than manual exfoliation over the past year as I find it much more effective.

The serum contains willowbark & prickly pear extract which exfoliate gently without irritation, red algae extract to help brighten hyper-pigmentation and even skin tone and Rose bud which helps minimize the appearance of pores. Most importantly it contains the StriVectin-SH patented NIA-114 molecule which strengthens skin structure, stimulates cell repair and cell turnover and improves skin texture for skin health & an overall healthy glow.

It is released on Tuesday 12th February and is exclusive to QVC for 6 months for £39, I have tried a few StriVectin-SH products before and they never disappoint me so I cannot wait to show you the results.

Monday, 11 February 2013

HOLY GRAIL: L'Occitane Shower Oil

Hey Ladies,

Another holy grail post for you today and I never thought the day would come where I would declare a body product to be irreplaceable in my routine but I was very wrong.

L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil*

'L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil transforms into a lavish, softening foam that leaves a satin-like softness all over your body. This popular shower oil is rich in almond oil and nourishing lipids that cleanse and impart a delectable perfume.'

I don't really know why this is marketed as a shower oil because I almost always use it in the bath, this is part of my Sunday pampering night which consists of a bath, hair mask, face mask and full body exfoliation.

I use the oil in a few different ways during my pampering session; Firstly for the main purpose as a body wash, you only need a small amount and I spread it over my skin and once you mix it with water it emulsifies into a milk and you just wash it off. Secondly I use it as a shaving oil, it makes your razor glide on your skin beautifully and I tend not to nick myself with the blade at all when I use this. Finally I use it as a bath oil, I only picked this tip up when I watched a QVC presentation but when you add a little bit to running water it foams up a dream and the oil in the water nourishes your body in areas you might neglect (ie the unreachable parts of your back).

This stuff is incredible because it makes your skin feel like silk, I have never found a body wash where I don't have to moisturise after using, I can quite happily skip moisturising after using this if I am in a rush. Also the smell is amazing, I don't really think it smells of Almonds (read: Marzipan) it just has an incredibly rich smell & when you use it your skin smells lovely afterwards as well as your bathroom.

It is pricey at £16.50 however because I use it as a weekly treat it will last a long time plus I don't think you'd see the benefits of using it every time you shower as it moisturises your skin so well once a week is all you need.

You can get it from LookFantastic for £16.50.

Have you tried this or any other L'Occitane products? What are your favourites?

Sunday, 3 February 2013

REVIEW: Alterna Bamboo Smooth Duo

Hey Ladies

I have been recommended Alterna by countless hairdressers over the years and mostly not let it sink in, mainly due to the 20 or so sets of shampoo & conditioners that I already own. I finally have gotten the chance to delve into the brand with the Smooth range so though I'd report on my findings.

Alterna Bamboo Smooth Shampoo & Conditioner *
'Enriched with pure organic Bamboo extract, it works to effectively fortify and strengthen hair, whilst organic Kendi Oil (a rich source of essential fatty acids) works to repair and maintain hairs natural lipid layer.'

First of all I love the design of the bottles, not only because they're bamboo shaped but also because they have those click lock tops & you just squeeze it out, no mess no fuss!

Secondly, the shampoo is possibly the thickest shampoo I've ever used. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it does take a little longer to distribute through the whole of your hair than a thinner shampoo.

In terms of frizz control all I can say is 'Whoa'; I never thought my hair was particularly frizzy but once i'd used the combination of the shampoo & conditioner my hair was seriously smooth. It feels like I have run a pair of GHD's through it when all I do is roughly blow dry it.

Both products are sulphate & sodium chloride free and are available from Look Fantastic & HQ Hair for £16.75 each, I would recommend them to anyone with frizzy damaged hair, they will save you a lot of future damage from straighteners.

Have any of you tried anything from the Alterna range? What do you recommend?

Friday, 1 February 2013

REVIEW: Red Carpet Manicure Kit

Hey Ladies,

I finally made the decision to remove my gel extensions after Christmas and my nails were seriously damaged, like paper thin, I knew that i'd most likely fall into my old pattern of doing my nails every day or so for about two weeks then get sick of the constant chipping & book an appointment to get a new set applied.

However I was determined to kick the habit mainly due to the lack of salons offering gel extensions these days which i'm told is mostly to do with the introduction of gel manicures. Having dabbled into home gel manicures in the past I thought they weren't for me, it takes way too long and only lasted 4 to 5 days and when I went to salons for the service they only lasted about a week on me so it would be an expensive habit to maintain.

Investing in a LED lamp was my best option and so I purchased this kit, I bought it on QVC as it was available on 4 easy payments (£19.99 a month, which is less than I would have spent on maintaining my extensions every month) and the kit came with 2 extra gel polishes (which retail at £13 each), an accessories kit and removal kit.

Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro Kit

Red Carpet Manicure Plum Up The Volume
That was a lot of sharing I know! On to my actual review.

Application: If you are new to painting your nails it might be tricky to apply as you have to be careful not to flood the nail bed and also to cap the free edge with the polish, if you are confident doing your own manicures it is just like applying a normal nail polish, easy peasy. 

Time: The LED cures the polish in 45 seconds (30 for the base coat) which makes it so much quicker overall than a UV lamp to cure (2 minutes per coat). The manicure in total takes about 25-30 minutes from start to finish and the total curing time is 8.25 minutes so a third of the time it used to take me with a UV lamp. The element of the manicure which takes the most time is the removal process because this stuff is a bugger to get off, the first time I removed it I used their removal kit & instructions however this took a lot of soaking so now I just use tin foil & cotton pads soaked in a acetone based nail polish remover which is a little bit quicker.

Longevity: I was used to gel manicures lasting 5ish days on me and the fact that my nails were paper thin under the gel meant that for my first few manicures I wasn't expecting much, for once I am happy to say I was blown away. I had my first manicure on my nails for 12 days with no chips, on the 12th day my thumb got one chip (my own fault for picking) & I removed the manicure immediately (I have major OCD about leaving my house with a chipped nail) If I was a normal person it would have lasted 14 days easily. 

Value for Money: The kit's rrp is £89.95 which is an investment i'll admit, at the moment it is not available on QVC, BeautyBay do stock it at the same rrp but it doesn't come with the extra colours or accessories & removal kits which does make it seem expensive as you only get the lamp, one shade of polish, the prep, base coat, top coat and the purify cleanser & remover. I probably wouldn't have purchased it unless it was on QVC with the extras and so if you are considering buying it i'd wait until it is back in stock as you get a lot more for your money.

Overall: I really do recommend this kit for people who are interested in doing their own gel manicures, the LED lamp is very small but it is effective, it has a self timer so shuts off after 45 seconds (Over curing the polish is a bad thing) and the shade range from Red Carpet Manicure is forever growing & I for one want to purchase more shades. The kit gives you everything you need to get started and if you only ever wear red nail polish then it's all you will ever need. If you have damaged nails it will help grow out the damage as long as you remove the polish correctly & make sure to use cuticle oil every couple of days without having to worry about your nails constantly chipping. 

  • My top tip would be to make sure you are using very thin coats of each step, if you can't get the colour even after 2 coats add another, it will not decrease the life of the manicure, it actually gives the nail more strength & I have been using three coats of colour whilst my nails are damaged.
  • If you're like me & have hundreds of nail polishes and don't want to neglect them you can simply use the base coat and follow straight away with the top coat (I usually do 2 layers of top coat for added strength) Once cured go over with the purify cleanser and then follow with a normal nail polish and top coat, it is less time consuming than a full colour manicure & you can utilise your nail polish collection as well as the strength underneath the polish making it more chip resistant.
  • If you get bored (like me) of the shade on your nails instead of removing the manicure & starting over simply paint over them with a regular nail polish, as long as you use a none acetone remover you can do it as much as you like until the gel needs changing.
That was definitely a long one but I am really impressed by this kit, I need to get more shades for definite so watch out for those.

Are you a gel manicure fan or more of a traditionalist?