Tuesday, 29 July 2014

REVIEW: Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum

I do wish brands would stop packaging their products in reflective packaging they really have NO idea how bloody difficult it is to get a picture of it.

That's where the negatives stop when it comes to this product, I haven't really taken Clinique skincare products that seriously having used their three step system and being scared off for life but I am very impressed with this serum.

'Smart enough to understand your skin's past and change its appearance in the future. It addresses the appearance of uneven skin tone, lines and wrinkles, firming, or radiance. Ideal for all skin types, ages and ethnicities.'
I couldn't agree more with the claims that this product evens out skin tone, firms and results in radiant skin. I returned home from my holiday with a very uneven tan on my face and I literally grabbed this and have used it ever since and of course my tan has faded but it has faded very evenly and having gone to work with no makeup on last week a colleague said she couldn't tell because my skin tone is so even. I am attributing that to the Smart Custom Serum.

I would say this would be beneficial to all skin types, it moisturises without being greasy and is extremely light and silky without feeling silicone-y so it's perfect during the day under your makeup as well as for your night time routine underneath a suitable moisturiser for your skin type.

I commend Clinique for releasing a 30ml and 50ml size so that you don't have to shell out £68 the first time purchase although £48 (Link) isn't exactly cheap but worth every penny to me and it will always be serum in my skin care drawer.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

REVIEW: Elegant Touch LuxGel System

Elegant Touch LuxGel System*
As you should all know by now I am a huge fan of gel manicures particularly at home gel manicures so i'm always thrilled to see more and more brands enter the market especially from brands that you can pick up on the High Street.

Elegant Touch have brought their LuxGel system to the market and I've been testing it out over the past few weeks and I am impressed; In the starter kit you receive the Elegant Touch LuxGel lamp, Fast Bond Primer, Base & Top Coat, two polishes (Material Girl - A beautiful classic red and Sweet Dreams - a stunning lilac toned light pink), a nail file, some cotton pads and a cuticle stick. Basically everything you need to get started, they have some lovely shade within their gel polish range and I have a couple of extras which I'll include in upcoming NOTD posts.

As i'm used to the Red Carpet Manicure system I was a little apprehensive about the Elegant Touch combined base and top coat being as effective as separate products, the application is incredibly easy as with all gel manicures and I am really impressed with opaqueness of the colours. I imagined the Sweet Dreams shade would require about 5 layers to become opaque but two coats was all I needed and I was happy to see that the combined base and top coat didn't affect the longevity of the manicure as it lasted 15 days without a chip. Impressed.

I am most impressed with quality from the LuxGel kit in particular the lamp, I noticed straight away the number of LED bulbs (21 compared to the Red Carpet Manicure's THREE!) I notice with my RCM lamp that my whole nail doesn't get cured so once I remove the tacky layer at the end it takes off the uncured polish which leaves little gaps either side of my nail so I have had to learn to cure my nails in a certain way, because the LuxGel lamp has so many more bulbs it cures the entire nail so no more awkward hand positions or polish gaps.

The starter Kit is priced at £69.99 (Link) and individual polishes are £10 each, I highly recommend gel kits if you're a busy person who doesn't have time to do your nails twice a week or someone who only wears the same colour all the time; you can rely on chip free glossy nails for two weeks.
Two Weeks of Elegant Touch LuxGel Sweet Dreams* ... I love how different the shade looks in different lights

Thursday, 24 July 2014

REVIEW: Benefit They're Real Push-Up Liner

Having heard such wonderful positive words about Benefit’s latest release I was keen to try it out, liquid liner is pretty much my makeup uniform when making an effort so anything that promises to make the process effortless I am all for.

To describe the Benefit They’re Real Push Up Liner as ‘effortless’ would be like saying Mount Everest is a small hill. This stuff is effort…full.

With a felt tip applicator like the Eyeko Eye Do liner (review) my eyeliner is done in seconds, the Benefit one takes me about five minutes. The formula is just too dry, in my opinion if you’re going to produce a twist up product the product needs to be a lot thinner than this is, it is practically goopy and like a dried up gel liner that needs throwing out as soon as you start using it so I’m pretty sure after a few weeks it will be unusable. The applicator also doesn’t help the application, because it is made out of rubber it doesn’t absorb any of the product … great you think because you use less product … wrong, because it doesn’t absorb anything the product balls up into little blobs at the tip of the applicator as you pull it across your lid. If you don’t wipe off that residue you will make a total mess, so you actually end up using a lot more because you have to keep removing the excess throughout the application.

Of course I love a dramatic liner look but not every time I wear liner; It is pretty impossible to achieve a thin line with this product as the applicator is so clumsy and difficult so you have to constantly correct the balls up you’ve done which results in a thicker line.

I can deal with a pain in the arse application if I am happy with the overall look and longevity of the product, and with that I come to the most annoying aspect of this product because it transfers on me after about 3 hours and at about the 6 hour mark it looks crumbly and messy (as you can see in the pictures, the actual line looks creased & you can see where it has transferred onto my top lid). I will concede that I have oily lids but I have found liners to last on me a good 10 hours that cost half the price of this.

Benefit are the masters of building up hype for products and making them seem like they will literally a god send. They are so good at this you genuinely believe that it will be the best thing since sliced bread as we are constantly being bombarded with positive reviews and comments by their social media. Their campaign for this liner has been no exception and the danger with this type of marketing is that consumers can end up very disappointed by this ‘wonder’ product that isn’t so wonderful, I was certainly pissed off I wasted £18.50 on this product.

I usually don’t post negative reviews because I don’t have time to post all the positive reviews so there’s no point wasting time on negativity, however when I see a product getting all this hype and I can’t find anything actually good about it I don’t want my readers wasting money on it.

This product has no redeeming features, it’s over hyped, overpriced and just crap. If you struggle with liner buy a felt tip one because it will be a hell of a lot easier than the Benefit offering.

Have you tried it? Did you like anything about it?


Thursday, 17 July 2014

REVIEW: Bourjois 1 Volume Second Mascara

There's a few things I can always count on when taking a trip to boots; L'oreal lip products, Barry M Nail Paints and Bourjois Mascara. They just seem to nail each and every release and I continue to declare my love for their formulations and boy with 1 Volume Second they haven't let me down.

I can confidently say this is the closest in terms of results and time taken to get said results as my favourite mascara of all time (Benefit They're real if you're wondering) the main difference is the Bourjois mascara is nearly half the price.

It lengthens, curls and as it's name suggests volumises in one extremely quick coat, I was astonished (without trying to sound overdramatic) at how effective this mascara is. Confession time: for the past few months I had pretty much given up with wearing mascara to work (I know such a lazy cow) it was just an extra step I couldn't be bothered with both in the morning and at night in it's removal as the Benefit mascara is a bitch to get off. I have to say after popping my 1 volume second cherry I have worn mascara every day for work.

If I am being super critical the only negative I can see is that it does have a tendency to transfer onto my eye lid, I do have super oily lids so if you are more on the normal or dry side you shouldn't have this problem, I have invested in the waterproof formula so hopefully that should solve my issue. The flip side to this is that it is nice and quick to remove so if you love the Benefit mascara but dread the removal this mascara will be your new saviour.

Overall a brilliant mascara from Bourjois which will set you back £9.99 (Link), they are seriously pulling away from their competitors in terms of formulations; their fountains are fantastic, their lipsticks are brilliant in particular the Rouge Velvet Editions are phenomenal (Review) and I personally think are the best matte liquid lipsticks on the market and yet again proven themselves with this new mascara.

Bravo Bourjois you never let me down and thank you for pulling me out of my lazy makeup slump.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

NOTD: Nails Inc Richmond Gardens Floral & New YouTube Video

Some nail polishes come along and I just have to own it ... right then ... right there. The Richmond Gardens Floral polish was one, it's packed with turquoise, green, white and chunky floral shaped glitter. The base is clear so you do need to wear a coloured polish underneath, I paired it with a mint green gel polish that I custom mixed using a few Gelish polishes.

You do need to pack it on to get the glitter covering your nail and the floral glitter pieces are a bit difficult to get out of the bottle but once you do I love the look, it's just a great fun summer manicure.

It will set you back £10.68 (Link) and can liven up any dud nail polishes you may have.

In other news I totally forgot to mention on here that I have revived my YouTube career (HA) and made a video and of course it had to be a favourites so head on over to my channel (Link) and have a watch ... oh and don't forget to rate, comment and subscribe ... I already sound like a pro!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

REVIEW: Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

Occasionally I have to eat my words and concede I may have jumped the gun with my impressions of some products; Illamasqua Skin Base is definitely one of them.

I originally purchased this foundation when it was first released, as I don't live anywhere near an Illamasqua counter I had to rely on their foundation matcher online which just gave the mac equivalent for each shade, my NC20 skin was matched to their shade 5. I looked like casper the friendly ghost, casper the friendly ghost with flaky horrible skin. The formula was so chalky and clung to any dry patches I had and was impossible to blend in, I tried it multiple times hoping we'd bond but in the end I gave up and got rid.

Of course everyone else loved it and before I went on holiday I took the plunge and bought another bottle in a darker shade estimating my tan for when I returned, I've gone a whole 180 on this and love it. Although I still agree with my original thoughts that this isn't a BB cream as is marketed as there's barely any skin care ingredients and the formulation doesn't scream BB to me I just think Illamasqua were jumping on the BB bandwagon.

Coverage: I apply all foundations with my fingers and I find this to be a decent medium coverage which you can definitely build if you enjoy more of a heavy coverage. It's almost gel like in formulation and whilst some people find it hard to blend with brushes I find it effortless with my fingers and a beauty blender.
Finish: I would describe it as somewhere between a matte and dewy appearance which I love, the older I'm getting the less matte I want my skin to look and everyone asks what I have on my skin when I wear it, that has to make it a winner, right?
Longevity: I have extremely oily skin and when paired with the right primer Skin Base lasts on my skin a solid 10 hours, if you have normal skin this would see you through a work day through to after work drinks easily. Very impressive.
Price: I had a look at my original review and in 2011 it was priced at £25 these days it will set you back £32 for 30mls (Link) that is quite a price hike to me, I don't know of any other foundations that have increased by that margin in that short a time. Not cool. Regardless I will purchase another bottle in my none tanned shade as it's a pretty standard price for a high end foundation these days.

I'm really glad I gave this another shot and pretty much use it every day as it gives such a beautiful finish on my skin and isn't too heavy a coverage for my working day.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

LookFantastic Top Picks and Discount Code Plus FREE GIFT

I often get emails with all sorts of discount codes for websites that i'm affiliated with, usually when this happens I immediately open said site and immediately use the discount code myself. Since i'm trying to be good I thought i'd start passing them on and what better way by sharing my wish list.

First up LookFantastic - 15% off (Link) with code SUMMER15 and a free CID Coral Crush Bronzer when you spend £28.

L'Oreal Professionnel Hair Chalk in Sweet Sixteen Pink (Link) £15
I've wanted to try hair chalks for the longest time and when I heard that L'Oreal Professionnel have developed a liquid chalk I wanted to try them immediately. I have always wanted bright pink hair all over (Not just my dip dye) but working in accounts means it's not the most professional look to have and the maintenance is something I am not prepared to do so a hair chalk that lasts a few washes are the perfect solution.

Ole Henriksen Power Peel (Link) £36
You know my love for chemical exfoliators well this one is supposed to pack a punch and using a three step peel process unveils smoother brighter skin. Yes please with cherries on top.

Benefit They're Real Push Up Liner (Link) £18.50
It had to be this yes? I am sick to death of being force fed info about this launch and I'm sure you are, people went out and bought it on release day and reviewed it the same day; I'm sorry but you need longer than a few hours to review a product. I am very skeptical about this so I hope Benefit don't let me down!

Ole Henriksen The Truth Is In The Eyes (Link) £39
We're always taught not to use any products near the eyes unless it's eye cream and as for exfoliators a giant NO NO NO. Ole Henriksen developed this product to exfoliate the delicate skin around the eyes and I have heard from trustworthy sources it is fantastic.

Aveda Soothing Aqua Therapy (Link) £26.59
After a recent body combat class which resulted in my calves being on the verge of cramp for 5 days ... yes FIVE days I realised it might be worth investing in some bath salts that relax muscles and basically just fix you. These sound like they'll do the trick to me.

L'Oreal Professionnel Hair Chalk in Garden Party (Link) £15 
As above with the pink but garden party is a gorgeous teal shade and as that is my favourite colour of everything I think my hair deserves to be that colour ... plus it would match my Herm├ęs Kelly.

Have you any products you're hankering after at the moment?

REVIEW: Nouveau Lash Extensions @ Jade Angel

Before I jetted off to Turkey at the beginning of June I popped down to my favourite beauty girls at Jade Angel in London and tried their Nouveau lash extension treatment.

Having seen many ladies with horrifically long spidery lash extensions I was a little apprehensive about the results but I love trying new treatments and when I thought about it I knew that Jade's girls wouldn't let me down and do a great job; I love being right all the time!

I was greeted by the biggest warm smile and big from Jade who runs the salon, I swear everyone should have 30 minutes with her once a month; the world would be a much happier place even if she didn't offer a beauty treatment in that time.

One of the lovely angels Zee Zee who is their resident lash expert took me into the treatment room and as expected was just as friendly and lovely as Jade. She explained what she was going to do and what to expect and asked me what look I was going for and I explained I wanted a natural look and nothing Katie Price-ish.

As the treatment is an individual lash extension rather than bunches of lashes the treatment isn't as quick as the later so I fully expected to be out for the count but happily Zee Zee and I had the most wonderful chat, not just the 'where are you going on holiday this year?' chit chat but a conversation like I was talking with an old friend she really put me at complete easy and it's rare that I can have such a varied conversation with someone I just met.

The results were fantastic, I loved the finished look. They just looked like I had naturally beautiful lashes with mascara on and not at all fake. Even though I had my eyes closed throughout the treatment I could tell how painstakingly precise and her attention to detail as she checked and rechecked the lashes were placed correctly over and over.

Once we were done I was given all the aftercare advice and off I popped, as the lashes are attached to your natural lashes the extensions naturally shed with the lifecycle of your own lashes so typically the  lashes last 2 - 3 weeks.

I wanted to wait to review them to see how long mine lasted and they were still going strong after a solid 2 weeks, once the shedding became more than the odd lash or two I actually removed them myself with some oil without damaging my lashes underneath which I was pleased about because I had heard horror stories about people's lashes all falling out with their extensions; I think if you go to a salon you know and trust and don't just go for a cheap groupon deal you will be fine.

I definitely recommend Jade Angel if you're in the capital, it's just off Oxford Street and it's a little sanctuary in the crazy zoo called London. The website (Link) is now up and running if you want to check out the treatments available.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

REVIEW: Rodial Glamoxy Exfoliating Pads

I am a complete convert to acidic based exfoliation, not so much as a bead touches my face these days, acids are less hassle and if used correctly cause no damage to the dermis compared to manual exfoliation. My obsession is on par with my cleansing balm addiction at the minute; I now aim to try every one that is on the market and review as many as possible.

Personally I am not a huge Rodial fan; the marketing of their products make me a little mad at times for example their 'Size Zero' range; in general being a size zero shouldn't be encouraged as it can be dangerous and marketing that a bum cream could get you those results is ridiculous, I can prove to them myself it will do naff all.

Having said my peace I am not one to boycott a range that has decent products; I have used a few in the past and had good results so I was all over their exfoliating pads and a cleanser (review to come) when I was shopping one afternoon.

I would always recommend with a pre-soaked pad to cut the pad in half as they're usually more than enough halved unless you're the elephant man. Rodial recommend you use these twice a day; I am an experienced acidic exfoliating user but I only use them every other night, I find this a more effective treatment for my skin and lets face it the more you use them the quicker you run out and buy more, cha ching to Rodial.

These don't sting my face like the Caine + Austin Retexturising Pads (Review) which suggests they would be better for more sensitive skin but I still wouldn't go head first into these if you haven't used an acidic exfoliator before because they're still a strong acid, maybe start with the REN Clarifying toner first.

After one application you will feel a massive improvement in your skin the following morning, it will be so much softer and smoother and then after a couple of weeks you end up with the most glowing, healthy, evenly toned skin. They are fantastic if you have blemishes too, just avoid the area of the break out until the rest of your skin is treated then give it a thorough wiping and they will clear up in no time.

They will set you back £48 for 50 pads (Link), if you cut them in half you'll end up with 100 treatments, using 4 times a week the pads should last you about 25 weeks which comes to £1.92 per week. That is my girly maths helping you justify a great investment in your skin. You're welcome!

ASOS Sale Picks

I seem to be in a total dress/skirt phase right now and there are some lovely ones in the ASOS sale at the moment, seen as I can't buy any as I'm on my self imposed 'no more clothes' ban I thought i'd enable all of you!

Tropical Palm Print Maxi (Link) £27 down from £55
Love the print, cut, the slit and the material, such a lovely dress for the summer on your holiday or at a festival sipping pimms!

Mirrored Palm Floral Body Con Mini Dress (Link) £22 down from £45
I love these mirrored body con dresses but they can be rather unflattering to those of use with a few lumps and bumps, this looks a little more forgiving as it's not skin tight, perfect if you overindulge the all inclusive.

Denim Tilted Smock Dress (Link) £24 down from £40
We all know the UK summers can be a little .... unpredictable so it's a good idea to have an outfit more thermally sound and this denim smock has some sleeves and ... well is denim so could keep you warm when the British summer lulls.

Sheer Mesh Midi Skirt (Link) £12 down from £18
How pretty is this? I would just want to swish wearing it. I feel this is perfect for a summer garden party with some block heels and a cami vest tucked it with your hair messily platted and pinned up.

Peplum Hem Scuba Pencil Skirt (Link) £27 down from £45
I don't know why I love this but I just do, I think it's the tie dye. I'm a sucker for anything like this and the peplum will mean its easier to walk in than a normal pencil skirt.

Premium Laser Cut Skater Skirt (Link) £45 down from £60
This is just so intricate and I think ASOS have styled it perfectly with a bright yellow/chartreuse top tucked in.

Have you made a splurge in the sale or behaving yourself like me? ... I may have added the midi skirt to my basket.