Monday, 28 September 2009

Review: Botanics Face Balm

When i was in Boots recently, they had a 3 for 2 offer on all skincare.
After recently trying out the botanics eye makeup remover and being highly impressed with it, i went back for more and thought i would try out some other things in the Botanics range.
One of the things that caught my eye was this "Organic, Face Super Balm"

The Price: £4.88

What the box says...

"This richly hydrating superbalm is blended for the use on areas that really need extra moisture. With Argan Oil to deeply moisturise and protect, plus shea butter to nourish and condition."

What is Argan Oil?

"The Argan tree is perfectly adapted to cope with the harsh conditions of heat and the drought of its native Morocco. The oil, rich in polyunsaturates and natural Vitamin E, has been the local women's beauty secret for centuries, nourishing and protecting the skin."

(I love that they explain the main ingredients on the back of the boxes. I wouldn't have had a clue what argan oil was had it not been there! Thumbs up Botanics!)

What I think...

During the winter, i get awful dry skin..not all over, just in patches..making my skin combination, and finding it hard to keep both the oily and dry areas at bay. I have been looking for something exactly like this to rub onto the dry skin.
I have already started getting winter skin, and its only depressing, summer is now officially over in my books. I have been using this for the past week or so, and its become my new best friend. The pot is small enough to chuck in your handbag or makeup bag to take it with you and apply whenever needed. It's very concentrated and so you don't need much. I love the consistency of it...i always feel like lotions dont moisturise my dry skin well enough, or i have to apply it alot more regularly. When i apply a fingertip amount of this, it lasts so much longer.
It's almost like rubbing vaseline into your skin, and the dry, flakiness that was once there, can no longer be seen. I also apply this before bed a bit thicker, and then when i wake up, dry skin is deminished :)

I'm so pleased i found this! I know it's going to be a life saver when it starts getting alot colder.

Hair of the Day

My fringe didn't sit well i parted my hair and curled it :)

I will never have gorgeous Kim Kardashian locks, but i quite liked it.
The first photo was before i left the house, and the second was a few hours later in my mums shop when the curls had dropped a bit.
What do you prefer? Big bouncy curls, or dropped, loose ones?
I think i like both!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Illamasqua Dystopia

I was introduced to this collection at the Illamasqua event a few weeks ago.
In all honesty, there were only a few things i really felt i would wear.
The collection is very different from the previous Sirens collection, which i would describe as "safe", something you could wear everyday for a summery, bronzed look.
This collection I would say is more vampy & smokey. Something i would probabaly be more likely to wear at night.

At the event itself, we were given 2 items to try out.
I was given the 2 lipglosses. One being a gorgeous milky pearlescent shade & the other a very scary metallic silver, which, i don't really think i will wear. Its a fab idea, but personally i think the only time i would ever rock a silver metallic lip is for a photo sesh. I've seen people dabbing it in the center of the bottom lip, and i agree that looks fab, but i think thats as far as i'd go.
The MA at Illamasqua suggested to use it on your eyes, i tried this & i hated it. I find it FAR too sticky to put anywhere near my eyes. Think of honey on your eyelids haha.
I immediately had to wash it off (and that took ages) I think if you want to achieve the mega metallic look on the eyes, stick to the liquid metals.

2 things i really did love from the Dystopia collection, were the pigments. I love that you can use these anywhere. Lips, Eyes, Cheekbones, Cupids bow, Collar bones, Clear Polish...etc etc.
And I highly rate the packaging idea, it has proved to be very a rule...are not tidy..
The two pigments are "Static" & "Android".
Static being a gorgeous pearlescent shade. It pictures awfully but looks amazing.
Android is a dark grey with fine particles of silver glitter...again, very pretty.
With all pigments though..there is fall out...annoying but it's hard to prevent this.

I didn't have anything like this in my makeup collection. I have heard fellow bloggers compare Static to a Mac Pigment (which i can't remember what it's called - so that was a whole lot of good..)
The Illamasua MUA (who by the way, was one of the nicest most helpful people ever, which i hadn't experienced at an illamasqua counter before...) demonstrated the foiling effect of the pigments using sealing gel. It looks amazing, and since i didn't own Mac's version, i decided to buy it with the pigments so i could use it for liner and minimising fall out.

Above are swatches of the pigments. On the left side of my hand are the pigments without the sealing gel & on the right is with. It makes such a difference.

The lipglosses i find to be quite sticky, and i do not like the applicators. I find i have to stare at it, make sure some comes out, i go to put it on my lips and its sucked back down...mine also got messy very quickly. However, one plus point of the application is that you can layer it on top of a coloured lipstick and not have the colour rub off onto the applicator. I also think these last a reasonably long time!

Left: Explode sheer gloss, Right: Galactic intense gloss

Besides the fact i think they're quite sticky and a little messy, i really do love Explode gloss. Its one of those shades that will tone down a bright lipstick and give it a gorgeous pearlescent glaze on top. I have been teaming this with a lot of different bright colours and i have become a little bit addicted to it. Would reccommend this one highly :)

Overall, i wasn't blown away by the collection, but there are some gems in there that if you dont already own something similar, you should definitely check out.
Hope this has helped some of you!

Review: Maybelline Pulse Perfection Mascara

I know there are a fair few reviews on this product, but i thought i'd throw in my two sense & give you my opinion aswell. :)

"Pulse Perfection" is the new vibrating mascara by Maybelline, which retails for around £14.99.
I never bought into the whole "vibrating mascara thing". When Lancome came out with an expensive version i didn't turn a blind eye. I was happy with the standard brush thanks!
But when i saw that a cheaper alternative had been made, i was intregued to see how vibration could make a difference to the appearance of the lashes.
In all honesty, my first thought was...
I buy my lancome hypnose in superdrug for £12, so £15 for a maybelline one, did seem kinda steep..or maybe i'm just stingy. haha

This is the wand.
It's like the "Define-a-lash" one.
I always stay away from plastic brushes, i find they clump more & dont grab each lash well enough, so usually, i will always stick to a bristle mascara brush.
However, i really like this one.
The vibration mechanism is on the end of the wand, where you "simply" press down for on...and release for off.
I say "Simply" as i know alot of people have had trouble grasping the technique. I did at first.
Yesterday my friend wanted to use it, and she went to do it, and got completely flustered and couldnt make it work...and ended up being totally freaked out by the vibration near her face. It was quite amusing.
I start from the base of my lashes with the vibration on, and when i reach the tips of the lashes, i turn the vibration off.

Before & After shots...

This was with 2 coats.
I think that this is a dramatic difference, i can see how some people may say it clumps easily, but i would never do more than 2 coats as i think this would make it slightly clumpy.
I seriously love the effect this mascara has on my eye lashes. It gives the effect i love & want with only 2 coats...usually i will achieve something like this with around 4.
It lengthens, and it thickens, and they looked so curly.
Just for reference i didn't curl my lashes before hand.
I am very very impressed with this mascara, and i will be repurchasing it when mine is finished.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Under Eye Circles & HG Concealer

I don't know why i'm showing you my eye without concealer.
They are my biggest hate...& if i could change one thing about myself..(besdies my legs) it would be that i had no dark circles.
Unfortunately, it kindof runs in my family, so concealer is the only answer.

When i say i have tried loads of concealers under my eyes, that is somewhat of an understatement...

The one concealer to have ever proved just right, is ...
*Drum roll please*

Gosh Touch Up Concealer in No2

I know i have mentioned this alot in previous posts, and i have had many people asking me questions on it, and emailing me about it, so i thought it was about time i did a proper review on it.

I think what makes this concealer work so well (with my skintone anyway) is the fact it has a salmony undertone...obviously, orange cancels out blue, so the pinky-orange tone of the concealer works very well to disguise the blue under your eyes.
There is one other colour in the same range, which is shade 1, but this does not contain the same i can't say it would perform aswell. I also love the consistency of it, how easy it is to blend and the fact it has NEVER gone cakey, which so many concealers seem to do under my eyes.

I thought i would show you some before and after images to prove how much i love it...
I still can't believe i am showing you all this..haha

I know the last picture looks edited, but i promise i havent touched the brightness or the contrast, i think i was closer to the window..or the sun came out...might have to tilt your laptop screen haha

I love this stuff so much. I just find it covers the perfect amount. If the concealer is alot darker than your skintone, you can always use a touch of light reflecting concealer over the top lightly, i sometimes do this when im feeling particularly pale, or dark eyed.
My favourite under eye combo is this concealer with a touch of Benefit Erase Paste in no 1 on darker areas. I havent demonstrated that in the above photos though.

The concealer retails for around £6-7 & can be bought in Superdrug!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Want Big Smexy Hair?

I've been asked loads of times how i achieve alot of volume in my hair..

First thing is first though, if you have very fine hair, and not alot of it, it can be alot harder achieving volume in your hair..not impossible..just harder.

Luckily, i have quite fine hair...but LOADS of it, so i can use many different techniques.

Volumising Products Before Blowdrying

Obviously, before you do anything with your hair, after you have washed it, you need to apply some "volumising product" to the root of your hair..
This may be a number of different things, but these are products i tend to use regularly...

Mousse - I dont have a particular type i prefer over another. Mousse is something i tend not to reach for as often as i find it can get a little sticky, but it does do a very good job of lifting hair at the root, and works well in conjunction with rollers.
Tigi Bedhead "Superstar" range - I don't own everything in this range, but i do own the blowdry lotion which achieves fab volume after blowdrying. Although this whole line of products are designed to reach maximum voluminosity (is that a word) haha. See my review of this product HERE
S factor "Body Booster plumping spray" - This is one of my favourites, although the smell is very overpowering and often leaves me feeling sick, this product is simply just spritzed in at the roots on damp hair, and blowdryed. See my review on this product HERE
Clynol "Look At Me - Naughty Styling Fluid" - This is alot like the product before, although i do think this would work alot better on finer hair as the formulation isn't as sticky/strong. Review HERE

Blowdrying Methods

I know that most of you will already know this, but for those that don't i thought i would quickly mention it...

Blowdry your hair upside down.
It really is that simple, it's the quickest most effective way of achieving alot of volume in your hair. It's probabaly bad for the hair shaft as it's in the wrong direction, and could result in hair breakage over time, so would only suggest this if you have prepped the hair well before hand with some sort of heat protectant, and not on occasions, rather than everyday.

You can also use Large round natural bristle brushes, i own one by Tigi S Factor that is huge...but it works great. You simply curl the hair around the brush, pulling the root up and away from the head, and blowdry. I find it quite difficult getting this technique right, i guess im just cack handed. :)

Velcro Rollers

If i have time to prepare myself for a night out, and want ultimate volume, i will use velcro rollers. And i like to use different sizes for different sections of the hair.
It's best to use velcro rollers when the hair is almost dry, so a bit of upside down blowdrying after the volumising serum would be ideal. Then when the hair is still a bit damp, put the rollers in. I have seen some people put rollers in where they turn the hair down and backwards...i don't know how they achieve volume this way...i pull the hair upwards and back, lifting the hair at the root. :) You can then apply a tiny bit of flexible hairspray. I say Flexible because if you use something stronger, it might leave the hair a little crispy. I like to use strong hold hairspray at the root, but not over the hair on the rollers.

[Haha - Sexy!]
Sometimes you may need to use bobbi pins to secure the rollers in place.
You can then blowdry on a low speed, low heat setting until its fully dry, although personally, i find that if you leave it to dry naturally, it has better effect.
I tend to leave my rollers in for around an hour + (so yeh, only do this is if you are planning way ahead, and being super laid back and organised about getting ready haha)


Let me start by saying this is the worst technique for your hair, yet we are all guilty of a little backcombing arent we?
I try not to backcomb too much of the hair, in fact i stick to the crown mainly, unless you want to get more of a Diana Vickers esq style, in which case, you'd just go backcomb crazy.
If you start by sectioning the hair from the middle of your head, then backcomb, and hairspray each section until you reach the crown or top of your head, leaving the hair on the very top, to cover the messy backcombing.
I find a tooth pick comb the easiest way of backcombing but have also heard that a natural bristle brush does a pretty good job too.
I then secure with bobbi pins for a half up do or just hairspray if left down.

Here is my mum, modelling a backcombed half up-do. As you can imagine..its kindof impossible for me to take picture of the back of my head...believe me..i tried. the words of JPmetz...
Hairspray THE HELL

Yep, hairspray really does do a good job with volumising. Sometimes when im feeling reallly lazy, i just lift the hair, hairspray at the root and voila.

Some Hairspray favourites...
♥ Tresemme freeze hold
♥ Clynol (review here)
♥ Pantene Ice Shine strong hold
♥ S Factor Chic shine (review here)

I hope this has helped a few of you, i know it might be pretty basic to some, but sometimes i combine all of these methods when doing my hair..bad i know, and you might not...and if you want ultimate BIG hair...then you should too :)

Friday, 11 September 2009

Maybe she's born with it? Maybe it's Maybelline...

LOL at the Cheesy title...sorry, couldn't resist!
Have an equally Cheesy Photo that Shirley took of me at the event to go with it ;)

As some of you may or may not know, there was a big group of bloggers/youtubers invited to attend a beauty event at L'oreal Headquarters in Hammersmith for Maybelline yesterday.

Before the event started, i met with Sophie (Beautymarked19) & Shirley (Shirleybeniang)
& we headed over to Oxford Circus for a bit of retail thereapy.
Whilst at the Illamasqua stand we got chatting to one of the MUA there called Gillian & she was one of the nicest MUA i have come across.

[Me, Gillian & Sophie - Photo courtesy of the gorgeous Shirley]

It makes such a difference when someone is genuinely excited about the products on sale. (something i had yet to come across at an illamasqua counter) She was demonstrating how the pigments could be used & totally sold me on them...i wasn't planning on getting anything! She even posed for a photo, which she said she will try and Gillian...if you manage to find this, let me know! :)

After this we went on a "find Vicky (Peachykeencheeks) spree" She had only gotten a tad lost. :) Whilst we were waiting for vicky, Shirley asked a newspaper stand guy to take a photo of us. He turned out to be a flirty little bugger and asked Shirley for her name...and guess what she said...Lassie! As in, the dog lassie. It was quite funny. :)

[The photo he took..Me & Lassie ;)]

By this time we were panicking we'd be a bit late so ran to get the train after we'd managed to direct her to where we were. Whilst on the train we met with the gorgeous beauties Mushine (Bubblegarm) & Olivia (BeautybyOlivia), Once in Hammersmith we met with the adorable Anna (TheStyleDiet) and went over to the L'oreal building.

[Top Photo L-R: Sophie, Shirley & Vicky. Above L-R: Mushine & Olivia]

The event started by them encouraging us to stuff our faces with cakes and sandwhiches.. haha.
We then all sat and watched the presentation on the new ranges Maybelline have come out with, a few adverts for the products and an explanation of all the current ranges they have. I found the presentation really interesting as i felt i knew more about the brand and the things it had to offer.
After this, we were given 2 goody bags, the first was a selection of the products maybelline already have for sale & the second was the new items such as the "pulse perfection vibrating mascara" and the new colour sensational lispticks. I liked that they gave us the goody bags waaay before everyone went home, as it gave us a chance to look at the products together.
There were tables set up with all the foundations so we could be matched and take them home to try. As well as the foundations, there was also the nail polishes, the lipsticks and the eye products laid out for us to test and look at.
There was also 2 makeup artists available to do our makeup or to ask questions.
Overall i think the event was fab, very well structured & thought out, well catered, extremely friendly organisers/pr ladies & everything was so relaxed and fun :)

After the event a few of us girlies popped into Primarni in Hammersmith & bought a few things before heading back home.

Some more photos from the event...

The Goody Bags...
Thank you so much for such a fab afternoon/evening!
& It was great catching up (even if it was only briefly) with most of you.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Review: Bare Escentuals

I have had a few requests to review the Bare Escentuals stuff that i have or have tried, which i apply to my face. :) So here you go lovelies.

I have used Bare Escentuals now for 3 years.
I first heard about on the shopping channel...QVC i think it was, and before that me and my mum had never heard of minerals for your face & neither of us used powder.
I was always a liquid girl.
My mum actually never even wore foundation until we both decided to take the plunge and buy ourselves some Bare Escentuals.

We actually didn't purchase from the QVC website, we went and searched online for a cheaper site and found one (i still use this site, and will post a link at the bottom)
We both just totally guessed our foundation shade, although these days you can order small sample pots at a cheap price (which i would reccommend)

Besides the 9g foundation, we also ordered a 2g concealer, the concealer brush, and the flawless foundation brush.

The Mineral VeilPesonally, i don't think i need to use this too often. If i'm going out and have used liquid foundation and have cream blusher..the full works shall we say, I do like to use this. But since i have quite dry skin, i get kindof scared to apply this to powder foundation, incase of powder build up. Even though, this is SO finely milled it doesn't do that.
For those of you who like a translucent powder to set, i cannot reccommend this highly enough. I really do love how soft it is.

Mineral Foundation
Let me start by saying, this is my HG foundation and i do go out and buy others in the curiosity they will be any better. But this always wins. Even though i have dry skin, this foundation really works for me. I do find that when i wear a liquid foundation, it sits in all my dry patches and the colour then becomes patchy. The coverage of this is SO natural and doesnt look powdery or cakey whatsoever. I always recieve compliments on my skin when i'm wearing's not "what foundation do you have on" it's, "You look really glowing today"
Which me likey!
I have repurchased this foundation 5 times over the last 3 years, and i can saftely say i would buy it over and over and over.
For those who aren't sure how you would wear a mineral foundation, you simply buff it into the skin with a's so easy. :)
It's also really good for your skin, as it does contain minerals. Personally, i have found this to reduce blemishes so much quicker, and i really believe it helps with the healing process. added bonus!
My colour shade is "Medium Beige", so if you are around an NW20 in mac colour, this shade would be perfect for you if you are wanting to try it out.
I really do love this foundation, and so far is the only thing that can make my skin look good for long periods of time. A million thumbs up for this.

"Faux Tan" Bronzer/ContourI do have a review of this already on my blog, with photo's to show the warming effect it has on my face. and you can read that HERE
I use this absolutely everyday without fail. My Nars Laguna is collecting dust since this came along.
Alot of people may be put of this as it is a loose powder, but i actually just find it easier to blend, and has a much better effect, alot more airbrushed.
Again, This is my ultimate HG product and will be repurchasing this when it's finished...which won't be a while as it's so pigmented and theres so much (another plus to having loose powder)

"Bisque" ConcealerThe first of the products i could probabaly live without. I love the effect it has when my skin isn't so bad, and i just have a few minor blemishes, as it really blends in well, whereas sometimes a cream or liquid concealer would be more difficult to blend into the skin/blemish. Although saying this, i have almost finished it..but then i have had this for 3 years haha.
If you have very minor blemishes, or small dark circles, i would reccommend this to you, but if you're like me, and you insist the problem is alot worse and needs maximum coverage, you will most likely be dissapointed in this.

"Sorbet" BlushThis is SO pretty! One thing i love about these mineral blushes is how natural they look. When i have buffed this into my cheeks, it looks like i am naturally blushing haha.
This colour in particular is a very warm, light pastel peachy pink & is a matte finish.
If you don't already own a BE blush, and you are a blush fiend, then what are you doing WOMAN, get yourself on one of the sites below and buy buy buy.
This is one of my favourite ever blushes, and i wear it alot in the winter. :)

The BrushesThe "Flawless Face Brush" - This, i believe, although scratchy and not very face-friendly, does the job better than any other brush because it was made especially for the application of minerals, and the BE minerals in particular. I have been using my body shop kabuki recently, but it wastes so much product, whereas these brushes are designed to transfer all colour onto the face as well as it can. I go through phases where i use different brushes for my minerals, but i will always come back to this one because it gives the best coverage and the best finish. I would reccommend this brush to those of you who want to try out these minerals, but if you hate brushes that arent as soft as a babys bum, then i wouldn't bother. :)

The Concealer Brush - This is my HG concealer brush. If i don't use my fingers, i'll be using this. The bristles are compact, which is awesome as it means good coverage, but the size of the brush is what i love so much about it. I just hate small concealer brushes. They're great for tiny little blemishes, but when you want to cover a larger surface area, theyre pants. And usually, i will be wanting to cover a large surface area haha. I don't just use this brush with the minerals, infact i think it works just as well with any cream or liquid concealer.

Where do i buy all my minerals i hear you cry?

Well my love's, i use 2 sites...

The first is GLOWGIRL, this is a UK site, however, they ship for free worldwide, and i have never had such amazing online service through any other site. I'll order on the thursday, paying cheaper prices that in stores or on QVC, and i will recieve it either the following day, or the day after..for free. I highly reccommend this site, have used it for three years and never been dissapointed. You can even earn points!

The second is an ebay seller/shop called STRAWBERRY LANE, they have fab prices on there too, and i have also had great service through them. They're eyeshadows are cheaper. :)

So that's my review of the face products i have and have been using for a long long time.
I'd really love to try out some of their eyeshadows, as i've heard some great things about them. If anybody has any reccommendations for shades they think i'd like, do let me know.