Thursday, 31 March 2011

Quick Review: Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask

I recently purchased a couple of cleansers from the Sanctuary range at Boots and was really quite pleased with them so I also decided to try one of the masks from the range. I have oily skin that's prone to break outs and blocked pores and I've found in the past that clay based masks have been pretty effective at deep cleaning my skin. Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask contains charcoal and kaolin clay and is aimed at oily, congested skin that's prone to blemishes. It's a self heating mask that's designed to gently warm skin and open up pores so the charcoal and kaolin can draw out impurities. It also contains essential oil of myrrh to sooth and calm and according to Santurary, it rebalances the skins oil levels and leaves skin silky soft.

Sanctuary Mask

Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask

I've used the mask a few times over the last couple of weeks and I've really enjoyed using it. There's something incredibly satisfying about slathering a thick layer of clay based mask over your face and the warming feeling makes it even more enjoyable. The mask really does get quite warm when it's applied and massaged in to slightly damp skin but not uncomfortably so and it quickly cools. The instructions suggest you leave it on for five minutes which I did the first couple of times but I decided to leave it on slightly longer last time I used. During this time the mask stays quite gloopy and doesn't harden or dry which seems to make rinsing off easier.

So what are the results like? Quite good actually, I've noticed an improvement in the amount of oil my skin produces since I started using and my face feels lovely and clean after rinsing. Moisturiser and serums seem to penetrate and soak in much faster after using too. The mask doesn't magically get rid of blocked pores but it does make them a lot easier to cleanly extract and i have to say, my face does feel soothed after I've used it.

Overall it's a pretty good clay mask and at £10.20 for a fairly large 100ml tube it's quite reasonably priced too!

What are your favourite deep cleansing masks?

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Bronzer comparison swatches

I posted a couple of pictures of the most recent addition to the bronzer collection last week (Becca's pressed bronzer) and mentioned a few others that I've tried so I thought it might be helpful to swatch a few of the ones that I have in my stash for comparison.

L-R Dior essential bronzer Amber, Vincent Longo terra bronzer, Nars Zen, Becca Calypso, Bobbi Brown Light 1, Benefit Dallas

As above only with flash

Dior's essential bronzer in 040 Amber I purchased last year when my skin was quite a bit darker than it is now so it's a little bit too dark for my nc15 ish skin at the moment. It has a slight shimmer to it which is a lot more prominent in the pan than it is on skin. 

I've had Vincent Longo terra gold bronzer lying around for ages and rarely use it because it's looks quite orange on my skin. Again it has shimmer which is slightly more noticeable than Dior essential.

I know NARS Zen is actually a blush but I find it dark enough and pigmented enough to use as a bronzer. I love the fact that it's shimmer free and looks incredibly natural and I also find it works really well as a contour powder. 

Becca pressed bronzer I wrote about last week. This one has shimmer in it but I find it looks really natural and leaves a transparent hint of colour with a pretty glowy finish. Really liking this one at the moment.

Bobbi Brown bronzing powder in Light 1 is another totally glitter/shimmer free bronzer that I've had for a while. I find this one to also be really natural looking and like Zen it also works well as a contour powder. Out of the two though, I definitely prefer Zen to contour with.

Benefit Dallas is not actually a bronzer but I thought I'd include it since it does create a healthy bronzed look when I use it. The pink in the powder obviously means it can only be used on cheeks and not all over the face but it looks pretty when it's used in this way.

What's your favourite bronzer? Do you prefer matte, or do you like a bit of shimmer?

Peter Thomas Roth Acne Clearing gel review

I first came across the Peter Thomas Roth range around 4 years ago when I was having a really hard time controlling my acne/clog prone extremely fussy skin. I tried pretty much everything I could get my hands on including benzoyl peroxide, topical prescription medications, antibiotics and entire skin care lines that cost me a small fortune. Admittedly most of the products I tried did produce positive effects but none of them actually cleared my skin completely apart from the antibiotics. I spotted PTR Acne clearing gel in a Space NK Christmas brochure and decided to give it a try.

What is AHA/BHA Acne clearing gel?

AHA/BHA acne clearing gel is a medicated oil-free blemish clearing gel for the prevention and treatment of acne. It's oil free, fragrance free and is formulated to help clear up whiteheads, acne blemishes and blackheads whilst also refining pores and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It contains 10% glycolic acid (AHA) to exfoliate dead skin cells and 2 % salicylic acid (BHA) to loosen sebum within pores. 

How to use

The product is a clear, odourless gel that's quite runny in consistency. It's supposed to be applied to thoroughly cleansed skin in a thin layer avoiding the delicate eye area. It can either be used over the entire face or applied to specific areas where blemishes and blocked pores are present. I normally apply to my whole face instead of using to spot treat since the product is also supposed to prevent blemishes as well as heal existing ones. 

Once the gel's had time to sink in which isn't long (normally a few minutes) my face feels hydrated, smooth and clean. I sometimes add a little bit of moisturiser depending on the condition of my skin but I find the gel normally hydrates my skin enough without having to add more products.


After I began using the product four years ago I started to see results within the first week. There wasn't a dramatic improvement but blemishes started to dry and heal and blocked pores started to unclog, I also noticed an improvement in the amount of oil my skin was producing. After about a month of using I really started to notice a difference in the amount of new spots I was getting and also noticed a significant improvement in scarring from previous break outs and skin texture.  After a few months of continued use I really did start to see the results I wanted and I finally felt like I had my skin under control for the first time in a good few years. Instead of constant blemishes, I was getting the occasional spot that didn't last long and went away without leaving too much of a mark and my skin looked clear and even.

I've been using the product on and off for quite some time now. I occasionally stop using it and replace it with new products in case I get better results but I always end up coming back to this one. It's continued to work its magic and still keeps my face clean and clear without drying out my skin and making it red. 


I would recommend the gel to anyone who suffers with stubborn acne and clogged pores. It's not a miracle worker and it hasn't cured my problem but used as part of a routine with a few other products that I've discovered it really has helped me to deal with my skin issues. I've also used other products from the range and have had similar results with those too. I highly recommend the oil free moisturiser which hydrates my skin but leaves it matt and doesn't clog pores and the award winning Botanical buffing beads are also great at gently exfoliating and softening skin. 

    Does anyone use anything from the brand?

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Ojon Rub out review

I actually got suckered in to buying Rub out after being amazed by a demonstration on QVC where a hair stylist poured oil into a models's hair and appeared to completely clean up the mess with just a few sprays of the brands dry cleanser. I like my hair to be clean and fresh but find the condition of it is terrible if I wash it daily so try to stick to every other day. I am constantly on the look out for products to freshen up my hair on the days I don't shampoo it and also products to give a bit of volume and lift since my hair is quite fine. 

What is it and What's it for?

Rub out is a spray in dry cleanser or waterless shampoo that's designed to be used in hair and on scalp between shampoos or when you've overdone it with styling product. It contains a mix of Amazonian white clay, silk powder and rice and potato starches to revive, refresh and recharge hair without the need for washing. According to Ojon the formula erases impurities, oil and product whilst increasing hair volume at the roots and leaves hair looking and feeling cleansed, light and healthy. 

What's it smell like?

Hmm, a little bit odd really. I would describe it as being quite fresh and a little bit sweet but also very powdery and a little bit old fashioned, not really what I was expecting and not a scent that I'm particularly fond of.

Does it work?

The first thing I noticed after using was an increase in volume. I have experienced similar results with other dry shampoos that I've tried before but also got a slightly sticky feel which was not the case with Ojon. My hair did feel less greasy at the roots and felt lighter overall and I found it easy to style although I generally don't have problems with this anyway. There was no visible residue left on either roots or lengths but the lengths of my hair did feel quite powdery which is something I've found happens with most products of this type. 

Overall I was quite pleased with the volume I got from rub out and it did a reasonably good job at freshening up my hair but I was disappointed with the fact that results are not particularly long lasting and of course, the smell. 

So would I recommend/buy again?

Yes and no. The product does work quite well but the short lived results mean I need to use quite a lot of the spray on my long hair and rub out is pretty pricey stuff. I've already used quite a bit of my can and I'm still debating on whether to replace the current spray or try something else. The product certainly does work well when it comes to volume and although the results it gives are nowhere near as good as actually washing your hair, it does allow you to comfortably go that extra day without washing. 

Do you use dry shampoo? What's your favourite?

Friday, 25 March 2011

Brow pencil swatch comparisons

 There seems to be a lot of different products out there to make keeping your eye brows in check an easier task. I've tried all of them in some shape or form and the two I tend to use the most is powder and pencil. I find wax products messy and hard to apply and mascara type products aren't precise enough, don't give me enough control and seem to work better on thicker or fuller brows. Pencils allow me to fill in any sparse areas of my brows with ease and I find powder products give a softer look so I generally use a combination of both to define and shape. 

Finding a powder in a suitable shade wasn't a particularly hard task as I've found eye shadow (particularly MAC) works equally as well as products made especially for eye brows but finding a pencil to match my brows was slightly harder. I've found that most pencils seem to be red based which is a problem for me because I have no red in either my hair or eye brows and these types tend to look very unnatural and slightly gingery. I'm currently using Shu's hard formula pencil in seal brown which I love. It's a perfect match colour wise and the finish is really natural. I thought I'd post a couple of swatches along with some of the others I've bought and have lying around for comparison though.

L to R YSL brow pencil no 2, Dior powder formula in Chestnut, Dior powder formula in Sand, Urban Decay brow beater in Brunette Bombshell, Shu Uemura hard formula Seal Brown

Yves Saint Laurent's pencil was a bad choice and turned out to be much too dark for me, I'm not keen on the formula either though. I find the texture to be too soft and creamy and the lines it draws tend to be quite opaque and harsh.

Dior's powder formula brow pencils are nice and draw soft lines that look natural and are easy to blend. Chestnut is again too dark for me and has a slight purple hue to it but sand works well even on my fairly darker brows. 

Urban decay's brow beater is quite hard and draws quite sharp, accurate lines so I find I need to blend well with this one. The colour isn't bad but has a little bit too much red in it for my liking. 

Shu's hard formula was hard to swatch as it only draws on colour when the pencil mixes with the natural oils you have on brow hairs. Like Dior's powder formula, it draws soft lines but without the powdery feel/finish. Shu's hard formula is definitely the best match for me and is also the most natural looking and longest lasting.

What's your favourite brow pencil?

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Dior Incognito swatches

The final lot of Dior palette swatches today and today's offering is Incognito, a palette that generally doesn't seem to get a lot of love. I must admit, compared to the other palettes I've swatched the shades do look pretty boring and uninspiring. 

Incognito is the palette I use the most out the ones I own though and is the only palette I've ever used up entirely and repurchased. The five mainly matt, fairly pigmented shades are perfect for creating natural, polished eye looks and blend brilliantly. Lasting power is also fantastic even without an eye shadow primer.

Dior Incognito without flash

Dior Incognito with flash

I personally love Incognito, it's my go to palette when I want to create a simple eye look that doesn't require much effort. If you're after a neutral palette of shades which blend and wear well, I highly recommend checking Incognito out. 

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Dior Goldfever Swatches

Another lot of Dior swatches and today it's Goldfever. The iridescent palette contains five shimmery champagne and taupe shades that complement each other perfectly. All five shades are pretty sheer and leave a subtle wash of sparkly but non glittery colour on lids. I find myself reaching for Goldfever a lot, mainly to use the lighter shades as a highlighter but the taupe and Iridescent plummy brown are perfect colours for creating quick and easy eye looks.

Dior Goldfever Palette

Dior Goldfever

Dior Goldfever swatches


The palette was released back in 2008 and was limited edition but after searching around online, it seems it's still available from a few different places. While the colours in Goldfever aren't particularly unique and a couple of the shades are quite similar I'd still recommend searching around for one if you're a fan of champagne shadows, I don't think you'll be disappointed with it.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Clarins Perfecting touch review

According to Clarins, perfecting touch is a product that's designed to smooth skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and imperfections. It's a thick pink paste that can be used either before foundation or base make up application, mixed with foundation or used over specific areas after you've applied make up. It's a product that's supposed to disguise flaws, fill in pores and create a base that make up sticks to for longer. 

How to use it

I normally apply like I would any other primer (before foundation) to areas I feel need it. These are mainly on my cheeks where I have some enlarged pores and also along my jaw where I have a couple of scars from previous blemishes/breakouts. The pink paste becomes colourless and invisible as it's blended on to skin and has a smooth, velvet like texture that I'm not entirely sure I really like.

Clarins Perfecting Touch

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch


After application my skin feels softer, pores look less prominent and my face has a matt appearance. I definitely wouldn't say my flaws disappear which is what you're told this product will do on the Clarins website but my skin certainly looks a lot more even which is great. The velvety texture which I mentioned before is something that I'm not keen on as it makes my skin feel powdery and almost waxy which is a feeling I'm not used to but is something I'm willing to put up with if the look of my skin and foundation is improved. 

The foundation part is where the product fails a bit for me. I find it harder to blend anything properly over the top of the primer, something that surprised me a bit as the product is supposed to make this task easier. I think the fact that it's quite powdery in texture perhaps causes too much foundation to stick to skin? which in turn makes it harder to even the product out. I'm also slightly dissapointed that I've seen no improvment in the lasting power of foundation when I'm using this.

Clarins primer

Will I be buying again?

While this stuff does even out and generally make my bare skin look better, I'm not sure I'll be repurchasing. I rarely go without base make up/foundation so for me perfecting touch seems pretty pointless. For those of you who skip foundation or maybe just apply a little bit of concealor, it might be worth checking it out.

Do you use a primer? Which one?

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Dior Mystic Jade Swatches

Some more Dior swatches for you. Today, Mystic Jade. Another palette that I've not actually used much at all and another slightly weird combination of colours that I seem to have trouble using. The safe taupe/grey shade I tend to use quite a lot and I occasionally find myself using the shimmery peach but the other shades don't get a lot of love. 

Dior Mystic Jade Swatch without flash

Dior Mystic Jade swatch with flash

I attempted to photograph what some of the shades form the palette look like on but I had issues getting some of the colours to show clearly.

Does anyone else own Mystic Jade? Anyone have any suggestions on where to place the colours?

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Dior Night Dust Swatches

Just thought I'd post a couple more swatches of the Dior palettes I photographed a couple of days ago. Night dust is a palette I've had in my stash for ages and unfortunately it doesn't get used often. The combination of shades are different to other Dior palettes I own in the fact that they don't really seem to complement each other that well. Maybe it's just the way I use/apply them? 

Dior Night Dust Palette

Dior Night Dust

Dior Night Dust swatch without flash

Dior Night Dust swatch with flash

I find the glitter in the black shade to be a little bit too chunky for my taste and the mauve has too much blue in it for my liking. I do find myself using the rich brown shade fairly often though and despite the colours not being quite right for me, they do apply and blend really well and lasting power is excellent!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Dior Iridescent Leather Swatches

The sun was shining yesterday so I thought I'd use it as an opportunity to photograph some swatches of a few of my Dior eye shadow palettes. Iridescent Leather was released as part of a fall Dandy collection back in 2008 and is a palette I tend to use a lot. The warm, neutral, shimmery shades are perfect for creating natural but polished everyday looks or for building up to create a more intense eye. 

As with most of Dior's eye shadows, Iridescent Leather is nicely pigmented, blends amazingly well and is really long lasting. The five individual shades complement each other perfectly and can be used in a variety of different ways.

Dior Iridescent Leather palette

Dior iridescent Leather

Iridescent Leather swatches

As above only in direct sunlight

Do you have any favourite palettes from the Dior range?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Dr Sebagh Deep exfoliating mask review

Dr Sebagh deep exfoliating mask is by far the most expensive skincare product I have ever purchased. I noticed the pot of orange goo in a Space NK Christmas book a couple of years ago and was having major skin problems at the time (acne and scarring), so I actually bought it out of desperation if I'm honest. 

What is Deep exfoliating mask?

It's a mask aimed at exfoliating the dead layers of skin for faster cell turnover and reducing pigmentation, acne scars and melasma, and at the same time reducing sensitivity and redness. It's designed to clean and exfoliate pores, to moisturise skin and contains anti bacterial ingredients. The key ingredients are Lactic acid, Azelaic Acid and Palmitoyl pentapeptide-3.

How to use

The mask is supposed to be used once or twice a week on clean, dry skin and the instructions advise to leave it on for 5-10 minutes depending on how sensitive your skin is. First time users are instructed to leave the mask on for just three minutes the first time they use to avoid irritation. The product feels quite comfortable for the first five minutes or so but starts to tingle and sting a little bit towards the end of the ten minutes which is a little bit uncomfortable sometimes, but definitely bearable. When the ten minutes is up you're supposed to wash off the product with clean, tepid water. 

Dr Sebagh Mask

I noticed an immediate difference in my skins texture and pores felt cleaner after the first use. After using the product on a weekly basis over a period of a couple of months I really started seeing a difference in marks and scarring form previous break outs, and I also noticed a big improvement in the amount of blemishes I was getting. I also found the mask did an excellent job at drying existing spots and prevented those pesky purple marks or scars appearing after the blemish had healed.

After continued use my skin generally looked a lot more even and refined than it did before I added the mask to my routine and I felt pores looked less noticeable too. Overall I am really pleased with what the Dr Sebagh product has done for my skin and I'm impressed with the positive affects it has had on pigmentation, texture and redness. 

So is it really worth the huge £50.00 price tag?

I really do want to say no because the stuff is so pricey, but I feel it works wonders and would recommend the mask to anyone who has scarring, pigmentation, blocked pores or dull skin. The product definitely does what it promises and it's the only face mask I've purchased that has made a real difference to my skin. I know the initial cost of the product is really quite high but I estimate I get around 35-40 uses from a 50ml jar so cost per use is actually quite low. 

Overall a fantastic mask. If you're looking for a product that gives serious results then I highly recommend you give Dr Sebagh a go.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Clarins Everlasting Foundation

I have to admit I'm a bit of a foundation junkie really, over the years I've tried most of the medium to full coverage foundations out there. I've sampled pretty much everything that Estee Lauder, Clinique, MAC, Dior, MUFE, Guerlain and most lower end brands have to offer. The most recent addition to the foundation collection that I've really fallen in love with though, is Clarins Everlasting. Clarins Everlasting is a medium to full coverage base which comes in a fairly large range of shades and is designed to be, as the name suggests, long lasting.

Clarins promise that you'll get up to 15 hours of wear which is a bit of an exaggeration, I find I get a good 8 to 9 with a couple of touch ups on my oily skin. The coverage is medium buildable and does a great job at covering up blemishes and imperfections without feeling heavy on skin and I'd say the finish is matte but very natural looking.

The shade range is pretty good and seems to cater well for lighter skin tones. I tested Cream 104 and Nude 105 which are quite similar but I found Nude was a slightly better match on my NC15 skin, Cream was slightly too dark and looked a little bit orange.

Clarins Everlasting

Clarins Everlasting Foundation: Nude

Clarins Nude 105 Swatch

So how much does a bottle cost? Around £23.50 for a standard 30ml bottle.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Quick Sanctuary Cleanser Reviews

Sanctuary is a brand I often spot  when I'm at Boots stocking up on essentials but never really take much notice of. I've tried quite a few of their body and bath products in the past but I'd never tried any of their face/skincare products. Last month I picked up a couple of £5.00 off vouchers at Boots and decided to give a couple of items from the line a try. The two products I picked up, Polishing hot cloth cleanser and Fresh faced purifying wash both had pretty good reviews online and with the money off vouchers I had, were a bargain.  I've been using both for the past few weeks now so thought I'd share my thoughts.

Fresh faced purifying wash is a gentle foaming wash enriched with vitamin E and glycerin to help balance the skin and increase moisture levels and chamomile, cucumber and witch hazel to cool and sooth. I've been using this ever day in place of my normal wash and so far I really like it. It smells quite fresh, foams up well and removes any traces of make up left behind by my make up remover. My clog/spot prone skin doesn't seem to be complaining either and I've not had any break outs, sensitivity or dryness since I started using it.

Overall a pretty good cleanser considering it costs around £7.00 for 140ml.

Polishing hot cloth cleanser is designed to open up pores and deep cleanse your skin. It contains Beeswax and Cocoa Butter to hydrate, Chamomile to calm and Gold of pleasure oils to replenish deep down moisture. I've been using this a couple of times a week in place of the purifying wash and I have to say, it feels really nice. I haven't noticed any major improvement in skin tone or texture but my face definitely feels cleaner, softer and hydrated after using and the lovely scent makes it a pleasure to use.

I can imagine the 125ml bottle will last ages considering I only use it twice a week but I think I'll be repurchasing when it runs out

Both of the cleansers are available from Boots and The Sanctuary site and they cost £7.14 and £10.20.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Dior Rose Diamond swatches

Powder shimmer is a brightening and highlighting pressed powder from Dior that's designed to add a subtle sheen to skin. There are two shades available in the range, Rose diamond 001 and Amber diamond 002, both of which do the same thing but give a slightly different affect.

Rose diamond contains five different shades of powder, which add really delicate highlights to the skin and leave a translucent glow on the areas the product is applied. The powder looks incredibly pretty in the pan with it's diamond pattern and Dior logo etched into the surface and it was this along with the promise that it would give me glowy skin without being glittery that drew me in.

Dior Rose Diamond Shimmer Powder

Dior Rose Diamond 001

 The five complementary shades in the compact can be used individually or mixed/swirled together and used on areas which you'd normally apply a highlighter. The colour is fairly sheer when it's applied and leaves just a hint of slightly pink transparent colour. Colour can be built up if you use a slightly heavier hand when applying and Rose Diamond makes a really nice, subtle pink blush on lighter skins. The shimmer in the product is visible but very natural and can only be seen if you look very closely. 

Dior Rose Diamond with flash
Dior Rose Diamond without Flash

Both powders are currently available on the Boots website where they are priced at £31.50 for 10g which I think is fairly expensive, but it is incredibly long lasting and the finish the powders give really is pretty.

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