Sunday, 31 March 2013

L'Oreal Mousse Absolue: The First Reusable Hair Colour

I've dyed my hair at home for years, and over the past couple of years, I've become quite a big fan of foam colourants, so I was quite excited to see L'Oreal have launched the first reusable permanent foam hair colour. I've been using John Frieda's Precision Foam Colour for a while now and while I'm happy with the results I get, it pains me when I sport out a tenner for a dye for root touch ups and half of the bottle goes in the bin. 

Unlike regular dyes and foams that you mix up yourself, Mousse Absolue comes packaged in a nifty, gold bottle which contains two chambers (one for the colour and one for the developer). The two formulas are mixed as you dispense using the built in precision diffuser and the foam/mousse is applied like a regular dye. The separate chambers obviously mean the dye can be kept unmixed and therefore reused for multiple applications.

According to L'oreal, there's enough product in one pack to do an all over application and 1 root touch up on mid-length hair, 2 all over applications on short hair, and 1 complete application on long hair. So I suppose you might be able to squeeze a few applications out of one pack if you're literally using the mousse for roots, which sounds pretty good to me! 

12 of the 14 available shades

The mousse is available in 14 different shades grouped into blondes, browns and reds, and is available now from Boots and Superdrug at a special introductory price of £8.99. I have a bottle of John Frieda to use on my roots this time, but I think I might give Mousse Absolue a go next time my roots are in need of a touch up.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Butter London Sweetie Shop Swatches: Molly Coddled, Kerfuffle & Fiver

I picked up the shades from Butter London's Spring 2013 Sweetie Shop collection a couple of weeks ago, but have been waiting to swatch them for a couple of different reasons. The first is that the weather's been cold, dreary and miserable lately and not very Spring-like, and the second is, I'm still getting to grips with Butter's formulation, which is slightly thicker than I'm used to.

Butter London Molly Coddled, Kerfuffle & Fiver

I've been favouring Leighton Denny nail colours lately, which are much thinner than the Butter shades I picked up and easier to work with. The Butter brush has also taken a bit of getting used to, as it's stubbier and slightly wider than the Leighton Denny brush, and I find it a little bit more difficult to control. Anyway, some swatches of three of the shades from the collection...

Butter London Molly Coddled

Molly Coddled - A creamy lavender. This is one of the shades from the collection that I found to be slightly thick. I got the best, most even application when I applied two, thin coats of coats of colour. 

Butter London Kerfuffle

Kerfuffle - A soft creamy peachy/pale coral. Again, I found the formula to be on the thick side and did find Kerfuffle slightly difficult to apply, but I did get an even, opaque finish with two coats of carefully applied colour. 

Butter London Fiver

Fiver -  An icy mint green. I managed to get an opaque coverage with two coats, but the finish wasn't as smooth as I'd have liked, so i added a third after taking the photo above. I do absolutely love the colour, though!

While I've had a few application issues with some of the shades, I'm still completely in love with all of the colours from the Sweetie Shop collection. I'd been lusting after a minty green polish for quite a while, so Fiver is definitely my favourite of the bunch. They're all very pretty, though. 

I think the formula/brush problems I've been having are maybe more down to me than the formulation, as I'm used to other brand's formulas that I find slightly easier to apply. Overall, I've not had any major problems with any of the shades, and I have to say, they're probably the best pastels I've tried in terms of application and finish. The shades I've done full manicures with seem to wear/last well too. I got a good 4 days of wear with Fiver and Cuppa with Orly's Bonder used as a base and Seche as a top coat, which isn't bad at all. 

I did attempt to swatch the other three shades at the same time (Cuppa, Jasper & Fruit machine) so I could put them all in the same post, but the sun decided to disappear half way through swatching, so I'll post some photos of those in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Fekkai Essential Shea Ultra Rich Hair Mask

Fekkai Essential Shea Ultra Rich Hair Mask

Frederic Fekkai’s Essential Shea Butter Mask is a product I discovered last year. My shoulder length, fine hair was suffering the effects of daily use of straightening irons, and the ends were in horrible condition. I spent a small fortune on hydrating masks and treatments to try and soften and hydrate my frazzled ends, and found a few masks which really seemed to help improve the condition of my hair. Fekkai’s Essential Shea mask was one of them and it’s something I’ve used ever since as a weekly treatment.

It’s described as an intense conditioning treatment, which replenishes, course, dry or unruly hair, leaving it soft and manageable. It contains sweet almond oil and Shea butter and it’s supposed to be used as a weekly treatment, on clean, damp hair. 

The mask is really quite thick in consistency and can be a little bit hard to spread. I find it’s much easier to apply if you warm it a little in your hands before applying. A blob around the size of a fifty pence piece is enough to sufficiently cover the ends and mid lengths of my hair. I don’t take it up any further than this as my roots tend to get a little bit oily, so stick to just the bits which need extra hydration. The instructions suggest leaving it on for 5-7 minutes, but I normally slather it on, clip up my hair and leave it on for a good half an hour before rinsing out.

Fekkai Essential Shea Ultra Rich Hair Mask

 What I’m left with after rinsing is really soft, silky smooth, hydrated hair, which smells delicious. The mask adds moisture and tames frizz without weighing down my fine hair or leaving it feeling heavy and the lovely scent lingers for quite a while after using too. In fact, I can still smell it in my hair the day after washing.

Fekkai Shea Hair Mask & a couple of other hair products I'm currently enjoying, Tigi's Moisture Serum & Fekkai's Glossing Conditioner

Fekkai’s Shea Butter Mask does exactly what it promises and the delectable scent makes it a pleasure to use. I have repurchased on a number of occasions now and will continue to do so. It’s a fantastic weekly treat, and I love the results I get after using. My only slight complaint is with the packaging. The masks thick, butter like consistency makes it a little bit hard to squeeze out of the tube when product’s running low. It’s only a slight complaint though, as the tube is soft enough to cut, allowing you to get to every last bit of product. 

Available from Lookfantastic (£25.00 for a 198g tube)

Saturday, 23 March 2013

All Set For Spring With Butter London's Sweetie Shop Collection

Butter London Sweetie Shop Collection

For Spring, Butter London have released a collection of 6 soft, creamy pastel nail shades inspired by the 50s. I have to say, I've never really been a big fan of pastel shades (application issues), but Butter's collection really took my fancy, and seeing as I had no similar shades in my stash, I nabbed the set of pretty colours.

Butter London Sweetie Shop Collection

The Butter London description: Flaunt your femininity with our new, bespoke collection of pastel nail lacquers. Inspired by the 50s, these soft shades will conjure up images of cotton candy, milkshakes and macarons. So go ahead, show off your sweet side! 
Butter London Molly Coddled, Kerfuffle & Fiver

Molly Coddled - A pretty, creamy lavender. I find the formula slightly thick, but did get a nice opaque finish with 2 coats.

Kerfuffle - A soft creamy peachy/pale coral. I had a few application issues with this one and find I get the best results with 3, thin coats of colour.

Fiver - An icy mint green shade. Possibly my favourite of the bunch colour and application wise. I got a smooth, opaque finish with 2 coats.

Butter London Cuppa, Jasper & Fruit Machine

Cuppa - A clean, light beige nude creme. I managed to get a streak free, even application with 2 coats.

Jasper - A bright, buttercup yellow. I also find I get the best results with this shade when I apply three, thin coats.

Fruit Machine - Bright and punchy baby pink creme. No application issues with this one. I get a smooth, shiny, streak free finish with 2 coats of colour.

Butter London Cuppa, Kerfuffle, Fruit Machine, Molly Coddled, Fiver & Jasper

All 2 coats of colour in the nail wheel swatches apart from Kerfuffle and Jasper, which are 3. I managed to completely nubbinize my nails recently (a reshaping session that went horribly wrong), so decided to leave the nail swatches for today, I'll post some photos of what the shades look like applied in the next few days, though.

The shades from the Sweetie Shop collection are the first colours I've actually tried from Butter. I'd heard lots of great things about the brand, but wasn't sure what to expect with the formula. I must admit, I do find application to be a tricky and the formula a tiny bit thick with a couple of the shades, but overall, I am quite impressed. All of the colours dry to an incredibly glossy finish, and the two shades I've done a full manicure with (Fiver and Cuppa) both wore really well. I personally love all of the colours from the collection, and the names actually, and I imagine I'll be reaching for the shades a lot over the coming months.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Base Products I'm Currently Loving

After writing a post on Vichy's Dermablend Corrective Foundation a couple of days ago, I thought I'd have a go at a post on the rest of the base products I'm using at the moment. I have oily/combination, acne prone skin and I've worn full coverage foundations for years to cover up blemishes and scarring. Thankfully, blemishes are less of a problem for me at the moment, but I still have quite a bit of redness and a few scars that require camouflaging. To be honest, I could probably get away with a lighter coverage foundation at the moment and have been testing out a few different tinted moisturisers and foundations that offer slightly less coverage, but I'm finding it hard to give up full coverage bases. I suppose after wearing heavier foundations for so long, I feel a bit naked without it.

Anyway, on to what I'm using at the moment....

Primer - I've always had a bit of a love hate relationship with primers, and until fairly recently, I skipped the whole priming step completely. I purchased quite a few different types last year from various different brands and while I liked some of them, none of them really wowed me. I received a deluxe sample size of Laura Mercier's original primer in a kit a few months ago, though, and I have to say, I'm really liking the stuff. I think what I've disliked about most of the other products I've tried, is the texture and feel of the product. Laura Mercier's actually feels lovely though - very light-weight and easily absorbed, and it doesn't leave that velvety/silicone-y feel on skin.

I must say, I haven't noticed any huge improvements in how long my make-up lasts since I started using the product, but I really like the lovely, smooth canvas this creates for foundation and concealer. Base products seem to glide on much easier with the primer underneath, and it seems to hydrate any slightly drier areas nicely and stops foundation clinging to them. 

Foundation - As I said, I'm still favouring fuller coverage foundations at the moment and two of my current favoruites are Clarin's Everlasting and Vichy's Corrective. I originally bought the Vichy to use as a concealer but have been using it occasionally as a base, too. It covers well, looks and feels surprisingly natural, and seems to hold up well throughout the day. On days when I feel like I need slightly less coverage, I use it to camouflage and cover up any blemishes that I have going on, and on bad skin days I use a teeny tiny amount of it with the Everlasting to completely conceal any nasties that have popped up.

I've been using the Everlasting for years now and have repurchased lots of times. It doesn't provide quite as much cover as the Vichy, but it still covers blemishes and redness brilliantly. It also applies and blends well, and unlike other full coverage foundations I've tried, it doesn't feel heavy or look cakey. While it doesn't quite hold up as long as Clarins promise, it does also wear really well on my combination skin when set with a loose powder.

Undereye Concealer - I was quite a big fan of Dior's Skinflash Radiance Booster pen for quite a long time, but decided to switch to their Sculpt concealer last year when I needed something with a little more coverage. The lightest shade seems to match my NC15ish skintone well at the moment and it does a fantastic job at concealing dark circles and reducing the appearance of any puffiness I have going on. I find the concealer applies and blends really well, holds up well throughout the day, and it doesn't settle into fine lines either, which is an added bonus.

Powder - Without a setting powder, my face tends to turn into a horrible shiny mess within a few hours of applying make up. I used NARS Loose powder to set for years, but last year when my skin changed and certain areas became slightly drier, I found the NARS wasn't really doing me any favours. It started to emphasize dry patches and began to generally look a bit heavy and cakey, so I decided to switch and gave La Mer a go, and I'm so glad I did. It's without a doubt the most natural looking powder I've tried and it feels amazingly soft, smooth and light weight. Unlike other loose and pressed powders I've used before, La Mer doesn't look flat or powdery at all, instead it leaves a beautiful glowy finish. 

I must admit, it doesn't do quite as well as the NARS at keeping the oilies at bay, but I do still find it does a pretty decent job at controlling shine, and the finish and feel more than make up for what it lacks in the oil controlling department. It's pretty expensive stuff at £55.00 a tub, but after 6 months of quite heavy use my tub is still going strong.  

So, those are the base products I'm currently using and liking a lot. As I said, I think I'm going to try and give a lighter coverage foundation a go as the weather warms up, but the rest are definitely keepers.

Are you a full coverage foundation fan? Do you change your base products throughout the year or stick with the same ones?

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Vichy Dermablend Corrective Foundation

Make Up For Ever's Full Cover has been my concealer of choice for the past couple of years, because it does a fantastic job at covering blemishes and the shade number 4 is a near perfect match for my NC15 ish skin tone. However, when my current tube started running low, I decided to try something different, as MUFE is not only difficult to get hold of here in the UK, but expensive, too. I'd heard lots of great things about Vichy's Dermablend Corrective Foundation, and after watching this excellent video from Lisa Eldridge (Acne/blemish Covering Make Up), I decided to give the foundation a go.

Vichy's description: A smooth blendable texture that glides on evenly leaving the skin with a natural, lightweight flawless finish. Recommended for minor to moderate skin imperfections such as redness, acne scars and pigmentation disorders. Moisturizing all day long. With the soothing properties of Vichy Thermal Water. 12 hours of long-lasting flawless wear (16 hours with Setting Powder). It's also non comedogenic, paraban free, and SPF 35.

Vichy Dermablend Corrective Foundation

In the Lisa Eldridge Video, Vichy's Corrective Foundation is used like a concealer as opposed to being used all over like a foundation, and that's mainly what I've been using it for, too. I have actually tried it as a foundation as well, though, and find it works brilliantly used in both ways. I assumed the product would actually be quite thick and heavy and create a mask like effect used all over, but the liquid feels surprisingly light weight and blends incredibly well.

Consistency wise, the product is quite runny and I've found that used as a concealer or an all over base, only a tiny amount is needed. Used as a base, I only need to use half or slightly less than I do with my regular foundations (Clarins Everlasting & Armani Lasting Silk). The pigmented liquid applies and blends nicely and covers redness, blemishes and even dark circles ridiculously well. I've used similar products in the past that have provided a similar level of coverage, but I don't think any have felt or looked as natural as the Vichy. Whether I use to it to camouflage problem areas, or as a full foundation, set with a bit of La Mer's Loose powder, I get a near on flawless finish that doesn't look heavy or caked on.

Vichy Dermablend Corrective Foundation: Opal

Vichy claim that their Corrective Foundation will hold up for a good 12 hours used alone, or 16 if set with powder. I have to say, the foundation doesn't last quite as long as that on my combination skin, but it does last for biggest part of the day when set with loose powder. I do need to touch up/blot oilier areas throughout the day (this is the case with all foundations for me), but I've found that the base does generally wear pretty well, doesn't settle into pores or fine lines and I've had no issues with oxidation. I've noticed no problems with breakouts or blocked pores since I started using either and find the foundation fairly easy to remove at the end of the day.

Unfortunately, the shade range is quite limited with only 5 different shades available, luckily though, I've managed to find a pretty good colour match with the lightest shade, 15 Opal. I imagine the shade may be slightly too light come summer and some mixing might be required, but for now, the colour matches my NC15 ish skin tone really well.

Clarins Everlasting: Nude, Armani lasting Silk: 4, Vichy: Opal & MUFE Full Cover: 4

I've swatched Opal next to Make Up For Ever's Full cover Number 4, Clarins Everlasting Nude and Armani's Lasting Silk 4 to give an idea of colour.

Clarins Everlasting: Nude, Armani lasting Silk: 4, Vichy: Opal & MUFE Full Cover: 4

All in all, I'm incredibly pleased with Vichy's Corrective Foundation. The coverage it gives is fantastic, and I really am quite surprised at how natural it looks and feels. As I said, I purchased mainly to replace my tube of MUFE Full Cover and I must say, I do prefer the Vichy, which provides similar coverage, but is much easier to blend and in my opinion, more natural looking. It doesn't hold up quite as well as the Full Cover on my combo skin, but still does pretty well and is much cheaper than the MUFE, which is a bonus. 

My only slight gripe with the base is the tube. Because the consistency is fairly runny, I find the squeezy tube sometimes dispenses a little bit too much product, so there has been a bit of wastage. It's not a major complaint, though and overall, I really am impressed with the foundation and would definitely recommend checking it out if you're on the hunt for a full coverage base, or concealer that covers brilliantly and holds up well.

I purchased my tube from Escentual where you can currently pick up a 30ml tube at the reduced price of £10.33 (normal price £15.50).

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Leighton Denny S/S 2013 The Riviera Collection

For Spring/Summer 2013, Leighton Denny has released The Riviera Collection, which includes 6 limited edition creamy pastel pinks, oranges and pretty oceanic blues inspired by iconic Riviera destinations. I'm actually quite taken with the entire collection, but the pretty pastels and tangerine, Meet Me In Monaco look particularly pretty.

Here's the Leighton Denny description;

This season say bonjour to a summer of effortless glamour and sophistication with the Leighton Denny 'Limited Edition' Spring/Summer 2013 Riviera Collection. This elegant and timeless collection of six high performance colours will give you every excuse to unleash your inner Brigitte Bardot. 

Pink Promenade - A deliciously creamy hot pink - flirty, fabulous and all grown up. 

Yes we Cannes - A soft and dreamy pale shimmering green for a delicate touch of summer colour. 

Mine's A Rose - A flirty, fruity pink shade that warms the nails for that perfect summery touch. 

Get Your Cote - A stunning azure blue that's sailed straight this season's catwalk. 

I'm so Soiree - A stunning rich blue/green - perfect for making a dramatic entrance. 

Meet me In Monaco - A warm orange cream - instant summer style for nails. 

The collection's available now from the official Leighton Denny site and from Helen Marks (£11.00 for a 12ml bottle) And there are some great swatches of 5 of the 6 shades here.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Current Non Make Up Related Obsessions

Jo Malone Candles - I purchased a Jo Malone candle as a gift for a friend recently and it smelt so amazing in the jar that I had trouble parting with it. I ordered myself a Pomegranate Noir Travel Candle after sniffing the pressie, and am completely in love with the rich, fruity scent. The beautiful, comforting fragrance that fills the house is amazing and the scent seems to linger for quite a while after burning. They're a bit of an indulgent treat at £22.00 a pop (travel candles), but they really are lovely candles and I have my eye on quite a few of other available scents.

Wedge boots and shoes - I've been completely obsessed with wedge boots and shoes all winter. I love the extra height they give while still being comfortable. I managed to nab a pair of Sam Edelman lace up wedge shoe boots in a sale last year and they've been worn to death over the past few months. I've been eyeing a pair of Ash Bowie wedge trainers recently, and am very tempted to pick up a pair of the Kurt Geiger Webster Luella boots above, which are currently reduced in the KG sale.

Free People Rosary £28.00, Filagree Stone Ring £88.00, Stuuded Ring £78.00 & Etched Bracelet £28.00

Free People Jewellery - I'm normally not a big fan of jewellery, but I've been a bit obsessed with Free People's feminine, boho accessories lately. I picked up a couple of necklaces and a bracelet in a recent sale and am now lusting after quite a few of the pretty, more reasonably priced pieces on the site. I'm actually quite obsessed with the headbands and hair accessories, too.

Hope everyone's enjoying their weekend.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Clarins Satin Finish Age Defying Lipstick: 01 Nude Rose

For Spring 2013, Clarins released a new formula in their lipstick range, Rouge Eclat – Satin Finish Age Defying Lipsticks, which combine highly nourishing, age-defying benefits with luminous , satin finish colour. The formula is enriched with plant based waxes of mimosa, jojoba and sunflower, and also contains cocoa butter and a Nutri-Youth Complex, which according to Clarins, helps to create fuller, younger-looking lips with every use. 

There are 15 shades available in the range, which contains some really nice, soft nudes and pinks (sweet Rose & Petal Pink), as well as some brighter, more vibrant colours (Juicy Clementine & Pink Fuchsia). I've been on the hunt for a new nude lipstick recently, so I opted for one of the more natural colours n the line up, 01 Nude Rose, which is a soft, natural, fairly light, nude pink. 

Now, I'm not sure about the Nutri-Youth Complex and antiaging claims, but I will say that the formula, texture and feel of Clarins Age-Defying lipsticks are really lovely. The lipsticks have a blackberry and liquorice scent, which is a bit different and actually quite delicious It's quite strong upon application, but fades fairly quickly after the colour's been applied. The lip colours have a soft, buttery texture, which glides on nicely and creates a full opaque finish with a couple of swipes. The formula feels incredibly comfortable and light-weight (almost balm like but with less slip), and feels quite hydrating, too. I was really quite surprised at how comfy these do actually feel on the lips considering the colour pay off/how pigmented they are. 

Clarins Nude Rose, Armani 04, Dior 384 & Guerlain 550

Above, Nude Rose swatched next to some other pink-y/rose nude shades; Armani Shine Lipstick 04, Dior 384 Rose Scenario, and Guerlain Beige Nude 550. And below, a photo of the shade applied.

As with most hydrating formulas, I don't find lasting power to be great , but I do get a good 4 hours wear before I need to reapply, and a delicate stain is left behind as colour fades. I imagine the subtle stain would be much more noticeable with the darker, more vibrant shades from the range. When the colour does wear off, I've found my currently dry lips still feel quite soft and comfortable, so the cocoa butter, plant based wax formulation does seem to do a pretty good job at keeping lips nicely hydrated. 

Overall, I'm really impressed with these lipsticks. The comfortable, lightweight formula feels lovely, and Nude Rose is a fantastic natural shade that seems to work well on my fairly pigmented lips. I've been a big fan of the brand's foundation for years, but have never paid much attention to the rest of the make-up on offer. After trying their Age-defying lipsticks, I'm very tempted to give some of the lip products a go (the Joli Rouge Brillant Perfect Shine's look like a nice optiion for summer), and have my eye on a few other shades from the Age-Defy range, too.

All of the shades are available from escentual and cost £14.80.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Clarins Instant Smooth Self Tanning

Since break outs have become less of an issue for me and with warmer weather hopefully on it's way, I've been determined to lay off the heavier/fuller coverage foundations and have been on the hunt for products to brighten up skin and add some colour. I've been working my way through a few different lighter coverage foundation and tinted moisturiser samples, but have also been on the hunt for a self tanner. I spotted Clarins Instant Smooth Self Tanner on a recent trip to my local counter and after reading quite a few very positive reviews on the stuff, I decided to order a pot from Escentual. 

Clarins Instant Smooth Self Tanning

Here's Clarin's description of their Instant Smooth Self Tanner: A caramel tinted complexion perfector and self tanner in one. A new clever cosmetic shortcut that instantly tints the skin for a look that`s weekend-fresh and progressively develops into a gorgeous, semi-permanent sun-kissed glow. The whipped mousse texture is fresh and light, and A caramel tinted complexion perfector and self tanner in one. Just as you`d expect from a self tanner inspired by Instant Smooth, it`s also silky soft and glides effortlessly over the skin for a super-smooth, even and long-lasting finish. Think instant, re-touched, sun-kissed skin - in a jar! The self tan element takes just 1-2 hours to develop and for a progressively deeper colour apply daily to face and décolleté and then re-apply every 2-3 days. 

I think what appealed to me the most with Instant Smooth Self Tanning is the fact that it's inspired by the brand's primer, Perfecting Touch, and promises to prime, perfect and tan all at the same time. Consistency wise, it is very similar to the brand's pink paste primer – it's quite velvety, very easy to blend and has a matte finish. I'm not much of a fan of the Perfecting Touch as a foundation primer, but I do like how the product evens out skin when it's used alone. The caramel tinted gel has a similar effect, and feels very light and silky smooth. It has a faint almondy scent with a slight hint of self tanner smell, but I've found it disappears fairly quickly after application. 

Clarins Instant Smooth Self Tanning

A small blob of the caramel mousse/gel is all that's needed to cover my pre moisturised face in a layer of product. The velvety smooth, hydrating formula applies and blends easily, and leaves skin with a delicate hint of colour and a matte (but not flat) finish. It creates a lovely smooth-textured base for make-up and leaves skin with a hint of believable colour, which develops and deepens throughout the day. The end result is still quite subtle after one application, and the result still a lovely natural, sunkissed, delicate bronze finish on my NC15ish skin tone. 

Clarins Instant Smooth Self Tanning & Perfecting Touch Primer

Overall, it's a really lovely self tanner, that's incredibly easy to apply. The tinted, velvety formula makes it easy to see exactly where you're applying and get an even, streak free finish, and the natural looking, orange free tan that develops after application is fantastic. If you're looking for a self tanner that creates a natural and believable colour, I think Clarin's Instant Smooth is definitely worth checking out. And if you're a fan of the brand's Perfecting Touch primer, chances are, you'll like this stuff, too, as the texture, feel and finish are very similar.

Available from Escentual (£14.50 for a 30ml Jar).

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Free Elemis Loving Lips Quenching Lip Balm With April's Cosmo

Cosmopolitan are currently giving away Elemis skincare goodies from the brand's Fresh Skin range with the April issue of the magazine. The magazine is out now and there are three products to collect: a Softly Softly Daily Moisturiser Everday Mositurising cream (25ml), a Loving Lips Quenching Lip Balm, and a Skin Clear Mattifying Shine Control Moisturiser (25ml). 

Elemis Loving Lips Quenching Lip Balm

I had my eye on the Loving lips Quenching Lip Balm and managed to nab a tube at the beginning of the week. It's enriched with passionflower oil, sweet almond oil and vitamin E, and is supposed to soften, refresh and condition lips. 

Elemis Loving Lips Quenching Lip Balm

I have to say, I'm really liking this stuff at the moment. The light, comfortable texture and peppermint scent are nice, and I'm a huge fan of the hygienic, squeezy tube and slanted applicator. The non-sticky formula seems to sooth and hydrate well, and leaves lips feeling soft and supple for quite a while after applying. I'm normally not a great lover of minty flavours and scents, but the peppermint isn't overly strong or tingly and is actually quite pleasant. 

The magazine's out now and costs £3.60. The Loving Lips balm is a full size 10ml tube and is worth £8.00, so the mag's definitely worth picking up if you fancy giving the balm a go.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Current Skincare Routine/Products I'm Loving

Breakouts and oilies have been my two main skincare concerns for years, but last year my normally oily, acne prone skin went through a bit of a change and became slightly drier. I'm not sure if age is responsible, or if it was skincare routine and hormones/BCP (I suspect they all played a part), but breakouts became less of an issue for me and oilies less of a problem. I would still describe my skin type as combination (I still battle the oilies in my t-zone area), and it is still clog prone, but spots have become more of an occasional occurrence instead of a constant problem. 

Because of the constant breakouts, my main focus with skincare was finding products to reduce and prevent acne, reduce redness and also prevent scarring. When my skin changed, my focus instead moved to skin texture and pores and I went on the hunt for products to help refine and balance. My skincare routine at the moment is quite simple and fairly fuss-free, which I find works best for me. The products below are all things I've been using for a while now, and seem to be working well and helping a lot with the issues I mentioned above. Particularly the Alpha-H products (my skin seems to love glycolic acid), and Avene's Eluage.

Alpha-H Micro Cleanse, Balancing Moisturiser & Absolute Eye Complex

There are quite a few products from the Alpha-H range in my skincare routine at the moment, as I picked up a little kit from Beauty Bay in a sale last year. I don't remember how much I paid for it, but it contained 4 great (and generously sized!) products, which have all found a place in my everyday skincare routine.

1 - Alpha-H Micro Cleanse is described as an entire beauty regime in a bottle: deep cleanser, exfoliator, polish, mask, all-in-1. I'm generally not a fan of scrubby/granulated type exfoliators, but I love this stuff. The non-scratchy granules/beads remove dead skin cells brilliantly and leave my skin feeling amazingly soft and smooth. I normally use this once or twice a week by massaging it gently over skin and then leave it to sit for a minute or two to let the glycolic acid work it's magic. My skin looks brighter, fresher and smoother after using, and any creams or serums applied after seem to soak in beautifully.

2 - Alpha-H Balancing Moisturiser & Gentle Exfoliant. I'm currently using this as my daytime moisturiser. It's a light weight, easily absorbed moisturiser, which hydrates my combination skin well and creates a nice base for make up. The 10% glycolic formula seems to help keep the oilies at bay throughout the day, has really helped to improve texture, and really helped to reduce acne scars, too. I must admit, it's not the nicest smelling moisturiser I've tried and it does tingle a bit sometimes, but it really is good stuff.

3 - Alpha-H Absolute Eye Complex. I went through a bit of a puffy eye stage last year and tried quite a few different eye creams that promised to help reduce swelling, Absolute Eye Complex is the only product that really worked for me, though. The clear, thin gel feels quite cooling when it's applied and has a slight tightening effect as it sinks in and dries. It's definitely helped to reduce my puffy peepers, and I feel it's helped to improve the appearance of dark circles, too - not dramatically, but I definitely see a subtle improvement.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish & Avene's Cleanance Gel

4 - Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish.This was a PR sample that I received last year when the product was released. I was working my way through a bottle of Liz Earle's regular Cleanse & Polish at the time, so this one was stashed away. As far as I can tell, it's exactly the same as the original product, except this one contains rose and lavender, and comes in different packaging. I love the pretty packaging, but I'm not sure about the added rose and lavender. The scent is a bit too strong and overpowering for my liking and I have to say, I prefer the original. Like the regular Cleanse & Polish though, this does a fantastic job at removing make up and leaves my skin feeling soft, comfortable and clean.

5 - Avene Cleanace Gel. I've been using Avene's Soapless gel cleanser for a few years now. I'm normally quite fickle and tend to try different washes, but I've stuck with Cleanace gel because it does a brilliant job at removing any last traces of make up, and leaves my skin feeling lovely and clean. I've found a lot of cleansers and face washes aimed at oily and combination skin types tend to be bit harsh and drying, but Cleanace thoroughly cleanses my skin without leaving it feeling dry and tight. It's quite reasonably priced, too and the 200ml bottle lasts for months.

Avene Eluage Cream

6 - Avene Eluage Creme. I discovered this after searching through the skincare board on MUA for products to help improve texture. A few different products were mentioned quite a few times, but Avene's Eluage had some really positive reviews. Although it's aimed at more mature skintypes and is described as an anti-aging cream, it's working wonders on my combination skin at the moment. I was hesitant to try it at first, as it's quite a rich cream and I was convinced it would clog, break me out and leave my skin looking like a shiny mess. I have to say though, it's not done any of those things. In fact, I've noticed a reduction in clogged pores since I started using it, I feel it helps to reduce and quickly heal any blemishes that pop up, and I also think this has helped to balance. 

I've been applying a pea sized amount after cleansing every evening for the past seven months, and I'm really starting to see some positive improvements. My skin looks and feels more even, redness and scarring is reduced and my skin generally looks healthier. I really am impressed with this stuff and have just purchased another tube along with the Eluage gel that's available. I'll write a full review on both of them soon. 

Hyaluronic Acid Serum & La Roche-Posay Effaclar H

As well as the products above, I also occasionally use a moisturiser from La Roche-Posay (Effaclar H) when my skin's in need of a bit of extra hydration, and a Hydra-Vital Hyaluronic acid serum when dry area need some extra moisture. As I said though, I personally find that my skin behaves the best when my routine is kept nice and simple.

I thought it might also worth mentioning that the french skincare brands (Avene & La Roche-Posay) are currently on offer at escentual (25% off). And there are some pretty good deals on Alpha-H sets at Beauty Bay at the moment, too.

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