Friday, 27 September 2013

Bourjois Bronzing Products

Bourjois Bronzing Products |

Bourjois have most certainly had the best year for new releases. The cream to powders blushes and lip crayons stand out most to me and my collection have grown substantially thanks to the amazing makeup they continue to produce. A few products that were on my radar from release, but didn't make the transition to denting my bank balance until recently are the bronzing products.

Bourjois BB Bronzing Cream |

Starting off with the BB Bronzing Cream, I can't believe I didn't invest sooner. I was on the hunt for a new foundation, the sun had darkened my skin and my usual products just weren't cutting it. Instead of putting a tenner into a darker shade of whatever it was I was using at the time, I found my eyes settling on the Bourjois bronzing products. For the same price I could get something that could do it all rather than a product that would only last me a month or two and see the bottom of the bin. The concept intrigued me, a makeup bronzer that was more like a BB cream. Either use it as a base or mix it in with your usual foundation to bring it down a shade or two. Perfect! I have found myself falling for this dark cream and have continued to use it past my tan fading. I now apply it to the areas I like to contour and really buff quite rigorously, failing that I add the smallest touch to my foundation for a hint of summer glow. At first the colour might put you off, but blending is like a dream and I've had no issues with 'orange face', which is a main draw for any bronzing item I purchase.

Bourjois Bronzing Primer |

The second product is the Bourjois Bronzing Primer, something I never intended on buying. It wasn't until I saw Estée's post on it that I caved and promptly popped out to the shops. My issue had been that the colour, consistency and the application. It had always come across too dark when I'd swatched it in store and mousse had never been a formulation I enjoyed using either. Having seen that you apply it UNDER your foundation, everything changed. I take quite a liberal swipe of it, apply it under my cheekbones and really go to town blending it in. Then comes to foundation and you'll see such a subtle and natural shadow appear. It's definitely the best bronzer for getting a simple and understated definition, being able to layer it up afterwards if I find I've blended too harshly.

Now I'm hoping they release blush products along the same vein. A BB Blush Cream and Blush Primer? I'm seeing this as a big thing. Even just a lovely radiance BB or primer would make a world of difference. What would you like to see?

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Models Own: The Edit

Models Own: The Edit | Models Own: The Edit - Closeup |
(L-R) Copper Pot, Aqua Violet, Utopia, Snowflakes, Boogie Nights, Ibiza Mix, Beach Party, Bubblegum

I love a good nail polish, especially when it's by a brand I know and have several of. Models Own is one of those particular brands and I have a fair few in my collection now. I'm highlighting a few of my favourites for all the seasons.

Astonishing Autumn

For the toasty, warm months I like to pick tones that match the colours of the season. The Beetlejuice collection holds a selection of multi-tonal shades, each containing a mix of pearlescent colours for real oomph! Each one of these colours catches the light in a variety of ways, leaving a shimmer I haven't seen matched in any other polish to date. Copper Pot, a deep olive tan is reminiscent of the leaves on the trees, while Aqua Violet, a dark blue-green, reminds me of the nights getting darker and full cooling down.

Winter Wonderland

I like to add a little sparkle to my seasonal festivities, and what better way that doing it with your nails? The perfect combination is Utopia, a creamy grey-purple colour that works so well as a base coat for a multitude of glitter polishes. One such glitter polish that never fails to make a scene, from the Wonderland collection, is Snowflakes. Chock full of iridescent, shimmery pieces, it paints on flat and lasts for days. Reflecting blue and gold, this polish screams snowstorm and can also be worn on it's own for a hint of sophistication.

Splendid Spring

For the wetter months, we need something to perk us up, so a good solid pastel can do just that. The Fruit Pastel collection sees 5 pastel polishes, each lightly fragranced for a completely new experience. I wasn't sold on this until I was given Grape Juice as a leaving gift. After applying, leave to dry and then give your nails a good sniff. You'd be surprised how well it retains the scent, only wearing off after a few days, so a real talking point for all the dark nights. I am loving layering a dark purple glitter polish over the daintiness of the pastel. Jump to the Mirrorball collection for a little Boogie Nights, packed with purple, blue and pink pieces. It's a disco on your nails!

Sizzling Summer

Summer may be a long way off now, but capturing that holiday feeling is only a few coats away. I opt for neon bright colours to really draw out a tan, which leads me to oranges and pinks. The Hed Kandi range, inspired by the white isle, is full of fun and frolicking shades for those long nights out. My colour of choice is Beach Party, an eye-catching fluorescent orange that serves to make my fingers appear longer, my tan darker and just adds a little something extra to any outfit. Then we have a fairly recent addition, from the Ice Neon collection is the bright and bold Bubblegum. In the nicest frosted bottle, this polish has seen the most wear this past summer. I only recently discovered you're supposed to keep these refrigerated, to keep the colour as intense as possible. The colour stands out so much that I find myself reaching for this no matter what the season!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Starting Off Project: Week 5 - Blush

The Starting Off Project: Week 5 - Blush |
The Starting Off Project

Hitting the ground running at week 5 of The Starting Off Project, we have blusher. Take it or leave it, this little beauty essential is something every girl should have one of in their collection.

I'll admit that I was a blush newbie until a few years ago. It just wasn't something I was familiar with, I'd not been taught how to use it and had to go in a little blind after realising that my face was screaming out for a little definition. This is exactly why you need blush in your makeup stash: it just makes you look less like a porcelain doll and puts some radiance back in. You might be asking what the point of putting foundation on if you're just going to add what essentially is your natural face colour back, but this is key. Foundation, plus a little blush makes it look like you're not wearing makeup at all! People can tell right away that you have lots of makeup on if you've got a monotone face with no natural contouring or colour. All blush is doing is giving us a fighting chance, and it can be as subtle or as strong as you wish it to be. 

Blush, much like bronzer, can some in many different forms but are most commonly seen in powder or cream formulations. Most blushes are matte, but there are a few that have a touch of shimmer or even incorporate some golden highlights, cancelling the need for another step to your makeup routine. For the daytime look matte is preferable, reserving shimmer/glitter blush for nighttime or even for a body glow if applied lightly.

It's time to crack out that tried and tested skin colour theory again and if you don't know what you are, you can check back to my week 3 post about foundation. If you're warmed toned, peach, coral or even copper blush will suit your colouring best. For cool, pale pinks, rose, and berry shades are going to stand out. And for any neutral girls, pinky peaches and corals and burgundy will work a treat. I have neutral colouring and these are the shades I stick with and work best for me. 

Now to consider your skin balance. Powder is a good starting type and will work for most, but careful application is recommended for dry skin as it can cling to patches and appear slightly dull. It's best to build up this colour gradually as it's much harder to remove than it is to add. Cream or gel is great to use if you have dry or mature skin and has fantastic pigmentation. It gives a dewy, often sheer, finish that can be built up for a really dramatic look. Finally, stain or liquid blush is perfect for normal or oily skin beauties. It has unrivalled longevity and doesn't need reapplying through the day, but does take a little getting used to as it dries very quickly and blending is fairly rigorous. To apply any blush, use either a soft blush brush, stippling brush or your fingers if using a cream, gel or stain. 

What blush do you use? What is your next blush purchase?

Adrienne |


Friday, 20 September 2013

Teal-ightful Kimmy Case

Teal-ightful Kimmy Case with Makeup | Teal-ightful Kimmy Case Back | Teal-ightful Kimmy Case Front |

Sometimes an item you own jumps out at you and you can't help yourself but pair it with complimentary makeup and beauty accessories for colour co-ordinated outfits. Kimmy Case recently got in touch with me about a line of iPhone cases designed by women, for women, all in striking, bold prints. They are the perfect statement accessory and for the price, it's easy to have more than one in your collection. I went for the Oriental Hash Teal case*, a stunning teal and white pattern which moulds perfectly to your iPhone perfectly, resulting in a really lightweight feel to your phone. The case is really high quality and ultra durable. I also don't feel like my phone is going to fall out at any point, which is a problem I have with a lot of open iPhone cases, but certainly not this one. The print shouldn't fade over time either, as the designs are built in to the material, meaning loads of wear even when you scratch it.

I like to pair mine with a little Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow in Neptune along the lash line and smudged out with a blending brush to create a really grungy day time look. Keep it simple with a couple of coats of mascara, preferably Avon Supershock Max Mascara, for eyes that pop. Dab some Benefit California Kissin' lip shine on to make your teeth appear brighter, whiter and camera ready. Then finish off your look with Ciaté Nail Polish in Headliner, a beautiful opaque blue-green colour that brings out a tan and lasts for days with the right top coat.

What Kimmy Case would you pick?

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Over the Hype 01 - Clinique Superbalanced Makeup

Over The Hype - Clinique Superbalanced Makeup |

It's a real shame when you come across a product that just doesn't quite live up to expectations. A fairly sporadic new feature, I'm introducing 'Over The Hype' for makeup and other products that I was so excited about and ended up falling short. I'm not usually one for negativity, but I found myself really shocked at a high end foundation that didn't deliver what was promised.

Being a bit of a Clinique hoarder, a trip to one of the bigger Boots stores means browsing the counters and I do like to see what's on offer. This particular trip I was after the Bottom Lash Mascara, after hearing such wonderful things and hoping it would put an end to the dreaded black eyes I would get from long lashes. I'd not long purchased their 3 step system for dry skin, which had been working wonders for a couple of weeks to rebalance my skin, so I felt rather naughty going back in for more products. It was then that the woman at the counter had colour matched my skin to Clinique Superbalanced Makeup.

I was very happy with my purchase, thinking that I might have actually found my holy grail in foundation after a few MAC foundation disasters. It wasn't until the next day that I was able to try it out. It blended okay, took a good amount of buffing for much coverage but overall I was fairly happy with the result, aside from the colour. It just wasn't the right tone, but I can thank fluorescent lights for that one. After just a few short hours I noticed the caking and it had all but rubbed off after a few more, leaving me with essentially a foundation-free face with lots of dry patches. I tried a few days later with the same results, and rotated the foundation in once more after that with hopes that it might just have been a 'bad skin' day. Having now looked on the website at the skin types this foundation is suitable for, it's no wonder I was having problems. It covers the spectrum from very dry to oily, which baffles me as dry skin and oily skin need completely different properties to sit on the skin well.

It was the last time I used it that was most interesting. A claim of being oil-free, tipping the bottle onto the back of my hand ended up coating it with a runny oil like substance. I have since stopped using it and did call out for help on twitter and Clinique did get back to me saying for me to take it back to the counter and it would be at the discretion of the assistant as to wether they exchange or refund me. This is fantastic customer service and not something I even expected from a used makeup product.

I still love Clinique, and dote on their mascaras as well as the moisturiser I have, you just can't win them all. I had the same experience with a MAC foundation that mirrored this, but has worked wonders on many others. I will take my foundation back and see if I can exchange it for another foundation that might work much better.

Have you had any bad experiences with a foundation before?

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

5 Product Face

The 5 Product Face Tag |

Over the weekend I figured I'd record another fun little video for you all. I attempted the 5 Product Face tag. I loved doing this one and actually decided that me not talking was probably best and cut the time down considerably! So here I am, in all my naked face glory, showing you the 5 products that can get you ready in no time. And yes, I did cheat by picking the Sleek Contour Kit #SorryNotSorry?!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Starting Off Project: Week 4 - Bronzer

The Starting Off Project: Week 4 - Bronzer |
The Starting Off Project

We're steaming right on into week 4 of the Starting Off Project and the topic of choice is bronzer.

What is bronzer and why do we use it? Bronzer is used to add a touch of colour, usually a natural, sun-kissed glow or for the ultra modern contouring we've seen adorning faces for a while now. They come in various forms, but are most commonly found in a powder and applied with a brush. Based on preference, you need to bear in mind that bronzer comes in matte, satin and shimmer. Shimmer is generally reserved for nights out or warmer months, matte for day to day wear and satin if you like a mix of the two.

If you've ever had a suntan, you'll know that it makes you look healthier, you apply less makeup and you feel full of confidence. Most of us aren't lucky to look like Californian goddesses all year round, so bronzer is our weapon of choice. The worry comes from finding that bronzer that will work for you, for your skin tone, and as we now know, your skin type. The last thing you want to do is throw money away on products that aren't going to suit you or just don't work with your skin, so to find the right bronzer for you, read on.

For a good contour, ensure picking a colour that's a shade or two darker than your natural, neutral tone. If you get it too dark, the colour can appear muddy and look dirty. For the fair skin lady, opting for a rose or peach coloured bronzer will compliment their delicate tones. Medium or olive skin will suit an earthy or copper coloured bronzer. And lastly, those with dark skin will be best suit rich, chocolate brown colours that have a slight shimmer. Some of my personal favourites for a healthy, bronzed look are MAC Sun Dipped and and Bourjois Bronzing Primer.

Now for the application. You may feel silly doing it, but the best way to apply bronzer is to suck in the cheeks and pull a 'fish face'. You see that line that has suddenly sprung up from your ear toward your mouth? That's where you need to apply your bronzer. Blend in a thin triangle from the base of the ear down just before the lips, otherwise you'll look fairly silly with a dark like all the way across your face. The key here is blending, and do it as much as possible for a really natural finish. Then you need to consider where the light hits and where you'd usually get a tan. Down the nose, around the hairline and your chin. I tend to brush a little around my neck, under my chin so that my jawline is slightly more prominent.  Just be light handed and build up the colour as it's much harder to get rid of bronzer without having to start from scratch. The worst thing is to use your bronzer like you would if you were painting with poster paint, but it is wise to use long, sweeping gestures to apply your bronzer to the hollows of your cheeks.

Lastly, what brush are you using to apply your bronzer? A big powder brush is going to do a little too much damage to the area you're covering so you need a smaller, fluffy brush with fairly short bristles. I tend to use my blush brush for my bronzer, doubling it up for some great multitasking.

What bronzer do you use? If you don't, which one is on your wish list?

Monday, 16 September 2013

My Battle with Stretch Marks & Self-Confidence

My Battle with Stretch Marks & Self-Confidence |

Today I've decided to do something a little different, because I want to share with you how I started my journey into the beauty world. I know some of you may have pieced parts of a story together from places like Twitter, my skincare posts over on Tattoo Tealady and even some of the writing I've done for London Beauty Queen. But I want to share with you a very personal side of me, as I want every single one of you to know that things get better.

When I was younger and was in full swing of a hormonal battle with my body, I lacked self-confidence. Not just in the way I looked, but mentally, and it was the biggest and most heartbreaking thing I think I've ever felt in my entire life to date. The reason I had no confidence? Scars. Terrible, awful, gut-wrenching scars caused by intense growth spurts that left my body a ripped, raw canvas.

I was a massive tomboy growing up, preferring to have my face painted like a Ninja Turtle rather than have it adorned with glittery butterflies. I played football, I found male company much preferable to the bitchy conversations that my female friends had started adapting and I wore little to no makeup. This went on for many years until hitting high school, where I started to take a little more pride in my appearance and took note of boys in a way I hadn't really done before. I would take care to put my hair up in a ponytail, wear slightly shorter skirts, put on a little mascara and, most importantly, I'd smile more often. This was a good time for me, school holds a lot of great memories as well as some of the darker ones. Puberty came and I developed as any young girl did and my breasts growing at this point were fine. The stretch marks I gained mainly on my thighs were what made me switch to trousers, but they were fine and barely visible unless I was being particularly observant. In the few years of high school I went from being flat chested to having fairly sizeable breasts for such a slight person. However, it wasn't until the summer before college was due to start that things took a turn for the worst..

It was like it happened overnight, because looking back on it now it didn't seem as if everything happened over the course of several months or even weeks, it felt like days. I looked down and all I could see was red, stretched skin where my breasts used to be. I could hardly bare to look at them most days, switching bras between hasty showers was something that reduced me to tears. I was a wreck by the time the warmer weather was truly upon us and would wear oversized t-shirts and baggy jeans even in full 30 degree heat. It wasn't until I was in my usual cover-all attire, in the garden with my mother that it all came out. She'd told me to go get changed into a bikini, which was the last thing on my mind. Who would want to look at such a ravaged body? Who could bear that? It looked like I'd been mauled by a tiger, and to this day it's what my mum and I talk about whenever it's brought up. I burst into tears, all my pent up emotions flooding out of me and I didn't stop. It was like the seal had been broken and it felt like I must have cried for hours, but in that time I had been consoled and set to rights. First thing in the morning, I was to try a new 'wonder product' my mum had come across: Bio-Oil.

The next day, a massive bottle of Bio-Oil in hand, I sat on the edge of the bath and stared at the packaging. I chose not to believe that this could ever work for me. How could an oil change what had already happened to my body? It was no use, in my mind, it was already ruined and I'd never find someone to love something so hideous. But, resigned to worst case scenarios, I did use it. It may not have changed me overnight, but several months of continual use morning and night, with occasional extra use when I had the chance and my scars faded. Once not even able to look at my reflection in the mirror, I could see them disappearing before my eyes, and it looked like me again. I went to college, I started developing a different sense of style, I could feel myself changing into the person I wanted to be since before my body grew and I was left with life changing stretch marks. Yes, stretch marks don't ruin your life, but they ruin your self-confidence, which is as good as hammering the final nail in the coffin of a teenager with body hangups. I used that whole bottle up and the stretch marks look like fine, slightly silver/white dashes on my skin. I know I'll never be fully rid of them, but how they are now is something I'll take any day over how they were.

So what happened to me after that? Now I look back on the younger me and wish I could tell her everything will be okay. That she will meet a man, that in fact she will have several relationships and even be living with the love of her life. That she will graduate with honours and have worked with some of the biggest clients she could ever think of. That she will even visit her best friend in America and spend most of that time in a bikini in the sunshine. All these things and more. It's a shame I don't have any pictures of me from that time, it would be nice to see just how far I've come, and how much further I've yet to go.

Recently I was contacted by the PR company for Bio-Oil and asked if I would like to be their Story of the Week on their Facebook page. I was blown away that they had gone out of their way to scope out the snippets of conversation I'd had about Bio-Oil over twitter and various other platforms that I didn't hesitate. My story went online on my birthday and made me feel ridiculously proud that such a product not only turned my life around, but allowed me an avenue into beauty. I know there has been some controversy recently about mineral oil being used as one of the ingredients of Bio-Oil, but I have had no negative results from this so can't attest to that fact. Mineral oil isn't a bad thing, it's not necessarily beneficial, but it's not going to harm your skin. For someone like myself, who has had their life vastly improved by something that did contain such an ingredient, I will never complain against it.

So that's me, Adrienne with the confidence to start up a blog, a YouTube channel and go to events. Who would ever have thought that?

Friday, 13 September 2013

Lisa Shepherd Express Color Bar

Lisa Shepherd Color Bar Menu | Lisa Shepherd Color Bar with Redken |

I'd never had my hair coloured professionally, my mum is the most talented hair dresser (now scientist to the stars) and has always had full creative control over my tresses. This was, until the opportunity to go and get my hair coloured at the Lisa Shepherd Express Color Bar* cropped up.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Roger & Gallet Fragrances

Roger & Gallet Fragrances |

I love a good fragrance, especially one from a brand that I'd not heard of previously. Roger & Gallet are just such a brand and when I was offered some of their perfumes, I had to do my research. Offering a natural touch of emotion and luxury everyday, R&G create perfumes and body care for the discerning individual. My first impressions were that of Penhaligons or L'Occitane, both brands I have loved for years so looked forward to trying some new scents.

Roger & Gallet Fleur de Figuier Perfume |

First up is the Roger & Gallet Fleur de Figuier Perfume with a head note of mandarin, also containing caraway seeds and grapefruit. A little longer on the skin and you smell fig leaves, musk, cedar, fig milk and fig pulp. All these wonderful ingredients mixed together makes for such a heady experience that it's fast become my go-to perfume for day to day. For those who don't like fig scented fragrances, this one is worth a spritz: gaining insight from the fig flower, this concoction draws from the delicate, much more subtle end of the fragrance scale and comes away with a modern twist on an old classic. I've had a love affair with figs since a young child and this adult fragrance is unlike anything I'd smelt before.

Roger & Gallet Huile Sublime Bois d'Orange Perfumed Dry Oil |

Then there is the ripe and fragrant Roger & Gallet Huile Sublime Bois d'Orange Perfumed Dry Oil. For body, hair and face, this nourishing oil is perfect slipped on after a decadent bath for an instant pick me up. The ridiculously overpowering smell of citrus (mandarin, orange and bigarade petitgrain), jasmine and cedar mix to form a delightfully intoxicating scent that lingers on the skin for much longer than expected. I've taken to slipping a little of this over my pressure points, along the ends of my hair and massaging into the neckline for a sumptuous, invigorating scent to fall asleep to. Not only does it smell good enough to eat, Huile Sublime Bois d'Orange has natural essential oil and vitamin E leaving skin feeling moisturised and hydrated. Perfect for my dry and sometimes irritable skin.

Have you tried anything from Roger & Gallet?

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Starting Off Project: Week 3 - Foundation

The Starting Off Project: Week 3 - Foundation |
The Starting Off Project

I'm covering all the basics of foundation in this weeks Starting Off Project. For a perfect base, this makeup product is essential!

So what is foundation? Foundation is a makeup product used to cover your entire face for even skin tone and to blur any imperfections. Often times you can find yourself having a good enough skin day to forgo foundation, but for most it is the staple of any good makeup routine. It comes in a variety of formulas, each more suited to one skin type than another but all requiring a little experimentation. Here, we work off our natural skin tone colour and if we aren't entirely sure on colour matching, we go for the lighter shade.

To pick a foundation, we need to examine our colouring. Warm, Cool or Neutral are the main underlying colours for skin. The best way to determine this is to have a look at the inside of your wrist in natural light while making a fist. Predominantly blue veins means you're Cool toned, green says Warm. If you have a mixture then you're Neutral, which means you can get away with having Cool or Warm toned makeup.

Then there's the type of coverage you're after. If you're one of the lucky few with glorious skin and few imperfections, you might want to plum for a sheer foundation. This will give you just a touch of colour and improve any discolouration. Light to medium coverage is a preference. A lot of BB creams have fairly light coverage but most foundations sit within the medium coverage scale. I opt for medium coverage during my  'problem' days where my skin my not be feeling at its best or I'm experiencing a breakout.

Lastly, the formulation. Liquid foundation is probably the most commonly used and one of my favourites is Revlon Nearly Naked. It's perfect for all skin types and usually has a lighter coverage, but is not always the case. It can come in a variety of finishes ranging from dewy to matte and is most commonly applied with a brush but a lot of people prefer to work it in with fingers. Cream foundation is ideal for anyone with dry, combination or normal skin and leans more toward the fuller side of the coverage scale, has a dewy finish and should be applied with a brush or sponge. The only cream foundation I use is Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse as most can be a little too much for my skin. For the oily skin beauties, powder-based foundations absorb excess oil while leaving a matte finish and is usually applied with a brush. My powder of choice (for setting my foundation mainly) is MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural. A mineral foundation is great for all types expect oily, especially those suffering from sensitive skin. This has a light coverage and matte finish that is best applied with a brush much alike to powder. ELF's Mineral Foundation is the perfect start for anyone looking for a bargain within this foundation type. Lastly, there are tinted moisturisers or BB/CC creams. Great for anyone who's skin is a little dehydrated for a 'barely there' makeup look. Apply something like Dr. Jart BB Cream with fingers for sheer coverage that's ever so slightly dewy.

Flawless complexions come with a little work, but if you pick the right foundation for you it can appear effortless. Don't worry if it takes you a while to get the right one for your skin type or colour, it's all about experimentation and is half the fun.

Have you got a favourite foundation that you can't live without?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Vichy Idéalia Life Serum

Vichy Idéalia Life Serum  |

In this modern age of technology it's no wonder we have many a late night staying up surfing the web, playing video games and texting friends. We eat too much, stress a lot and sleep far too little. Enter Vichy's wonder serum that's here to combat all our indulgences and repair our tired and frankly lacklustre skin.

The Vichy Idéalia Life Serum claims to freshen the complexion, even skin tone, rest your features while refining pores. This lovely little product has been tested under excessive life conditions, perfect for your average on-the-go girl. When I was approached to test this new serum out I couldn't believe just how perfect it was, especially after hearing that 8/10 women had found their skin more beautiful after use. How could anyone say no to that?!

Vichy Idéalia Life Serum Closeup |

Essentially there's a lot of science behind this one, there's 27 patents pending, 10 years of research and a whole lot of molecules involved. This serum definitely packs a punch and, being suitable for all skin types, is nothing to sniff at for the fairly reasonable price tag. I've been using this morning and night for a few weeks now and can't believe the quality and youthful texture to my skin. Not only does it feel plumper, smoother and more defined but I'm already seeing a reduction in my pores and my skin pigmentation is much more even. I'm actually blown away by how this serum has worked as I thought it might just be a marketing ploy, but have been more than pleased with the results. It sinks in quickly, without any pilling, smells like green tea and looks pearlescent in the light. I actually look forward to putting this on every day!

Would you try the Vichy Idéalia Life Serum? What do you currently use?

Friday, 6 September 2013

2x ASOS Gift Voucher Giveaway!

2 x ASOS Gift Voucher Giveaway |

As today is my 26th birthday, I figured I'd do the equivalent of giving sweets out after class and giveaway something special to two of my followers. I wish I could give you all a little something, but I just can't afford that just yet but maybe one day... So instead I'm offering 2x £15 ASOS gift vouchers all for you to get your hands on.

This time I'm only opening the giveaway to those within the UK, so I'm sorry to all my lovely international followers. This is due to making sure that the recipients get the full £15 worth of the prize. I will be doing another giveaway soon enough and this will surely be open to everyone!

I will be buying these vouchers with my own money and it will run for one month. I'll be emailing the two winners to sort out getting them their vouchers after the giveaway closes, so make sure you leave your email when you enter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Smoothskin by iPulse

Smoothskin by iPulse Device |

When I first started this blog, I didn't think I'd ever be harping on about hair removal, but here I am, several months in and I'm here talking to you about the Smoothskin by iPulse*. I hate shaving, I hate waxing, I hate epilating, I hate all forms of hair removal. It's all so tedious, you spend hours of your life staring at your legs/bikini line/armpits/INSERT BODY PART HERE making sure every last hair is gone, only to step out in your new dress and notice you missed a spot.

The Smoothskin by iPulse is an IPL treatment device. It's basically Intense Pulsed Light that targets melanin in dark hair, disabling the hair follicle and it proceeds to drop out. Typical treatment lasts 6 - 12 treatments for best results and I've used mine twice so far. The nice thing about this handy device is being able to use it while you're at home, there's no awkwardness about getting someone else to help you wax or being in the bath shaving, meaning you miss this weeks episode of Breaking Bad.

Smoothskin by iPulse Handset | Smoothskin by iPulse Logo |

Use is easy as it comes with a skin tone sensor that judges whether your skin is the correct tone to treat and adjust the power setting accordingly. After reading the instructions, this seemed like the best option and set about placing the tone sensor on the area I was to treat (don't forget to do a patch test first). There are 5 levels of light intensity and I was coming up at level II which is second from strongest, which made me slightly nervous but I knew it was what was going to get rid of as much hair as possible. You need to make sure you shave the area before use, then you apply some activator gel to area you wish to treat, press the head to the skin (making sure both contact pads are in contact with the area you wish to treat) and press the button. Don't look directly at the light, at this point you need to look away.

Smoothskin by iPulse Activator Gel |

I really like this device, the initial outlay is fairly steep but when you think of the overall saving cost of over a lifetime of hair removal, as the average woman spends £3,618 and this device nips in at £399.99. I didn't experience any pain, just a slight warmth but I had heard this can sting a little if you don't apply a good amount of the applicator gel. I think to repurchase the gel it's around £3 a bottle, and this is the only thing I have a niggle with as most of IPL devices don't require the use of another product to go to work. Overall though, I prefer this less invasive method of hair removal, especially as I am forever nicking myself with razors. I have two awful scars on either leg that look like they are mirror images of one another, so avoiding more of the same is going to be heaven.

At 100,000 flashes, the Smoothskin by iPulse is said to last a lifetime with regular use, which is impressive and with the slow regrowth (or lack of) I'm noticing, I will definitely continue to use it. A real bonus is that it can be used on the face, but I'm still working my way up to that. In the meantime, I will continue to use it while on the sofa, with a cup of tea, working it into my routine. 40 minutes with Ross discussing Cheers reruns should do the trick!

Have you tried an at home hair removal device and if not, would you be willing to try one?

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Haul #2

Haul Video 2 |

I'm going back to my roots with another haul video. I finally got to spend my Topshop gift voucher, have a look to see what I spent it on! Let me know what you would all like to see more of in the comments.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Starting Off Project: Week 2 - Concealer

The Starting Out Project: Week 2 - Concealer |
The Starting Off Project

This week, we're talking concealer. Probably my second favourite beauty product behind mascara, I love being able to pair these two together on good skin days. On to the nuts and bolts of this little makeup wonder!

Concealer is mainly used to disguise those pesky dark circles you get under your eyes, discolouration or any small blemishes on the skin. Depending on the type of concealer you buy, it can vary in colour, consistency and coverage. I was first taught to apply concealer after my usual skincare routine, which we covered in week 1, after primer (if you choose to use it) but before foundation. It is only in recent years that I've come to realise that applying your concealer AFTER your foundation makes for an even and longer lasting finish. If you have a particularly bad breakout and feel the need to disguise it, applying concealer before and after foundation can be a good solution. I don't recommend this on severe acne, you can clog the areas that need to breath, resulting in a longer heal time. On this note, only apply concealer to the areas that need it. Unlike foundation concealer doesn't cover large areas as should only be used where needed. It's highly pigmented and applying this to your whole face will not only cost a fortune, but look massively obvious.

To get the best out of your concealer, place a few dots along your under eye area, a line down the length of your nose, a little on the chin and any other place where you feel the sun naturally reflects light. If you have any blemishes or other areas you want to conceal, go ahead and apply a little there too. Blend with either your ring finger, a stippling brush or a concealer brush. Set in place with a dusting of powder and you should be good to go for the rest of the day. This will brighten up your face, with very minimal effort and set you up for a little bronzer for some sleek contouring.

When choosing a concealer, the first thing to know is that there are a variety of them available that help with a multitude of skin concerns. If you want to mask imperfections choose one that's a shade or two lighter than your natural skin tone, and if you want to cover any pimples try and match your skin as closely as possibly so your job of blending is much easier. I've got a select few concealers that help me cover the spectrum and I couldn't live without.

My essential to add a spot of luminance is Maybelline Dream LumiTouch Highlighting Concealer. I've had a lot of bloggers complain about the brush at the end, but if you're not heavy handed and just glide the product on you'll have no issues. I've had mine for a few months and I've yet to have even a bristle out of place! Currently I've been dabbing a little of this on with a slick of mascara and running out the door. If you need a little more coverage, Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer is perfect for hiding a late night. If that still doesn't cut it you'll have to reach for the heavy duty stuff. Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer fits that bill, but isn't available in the UK so an alternative would be Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer, which can get a little cakey if applied too liberally.

If you're looking to counteract redness, GOSH do a wonderful Click'n Conceal pen that pumps out green pigment. "Green?!" I hear you say? Red and Green counter each other on the colour spectrum, so to balance out that angry, red spot you'll need a little green concealer and POOF, it's all but gone. I tend to pop a lighter coverage concealer over the green to make sure I haven't gone all Hulk and my preferred product is Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer. It's utterly hydrating and on the thinner side, perfect for that 'barely there' makeup look.

What's your favourite concealer and the tips you have for using it?

Monday, 2 September 2013

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquers

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquers |
(T-B) Big Bang, Apocaliptic, Luna

I'm back with another set of lip products to review! This time I thought I'd let you all know my opinion on the ever hyped Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquers. I've had these for a good while now but didn't buy into them when first launched. I was skeptic of a lip product that claimed to do the job of both a lipstick and a gloss in one. I have a sparse number of glosses in my collection, I just don't get along with them. So when I did pluck up the courage to try the Apocalips range, I decided on three shades that looked to be just what I was after.

Let me first start by saying I do adore the packaging, it's so different and really stands out in my makeup drawer. Plus I can see at a glance exactly what shade I'm picking up, which has become a big time saver for me. Once is is applied, I can see a massive colour pay off, more so than with any other lip product I've ever owned. These things POP!

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquers Luna |

Luna is a wonderful peach shade and most certainly the most wearable of the three. It almost seems pearlescent in the light.

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquers Apocaliptic |

Apocaliptic is a vibrant pink that almost steps into the red territory. If you're worried about pulling off a red lip, this is the shade to look out for. It's punchy but doesn't go the full distance.

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquers Big Bang |

Big Bang, my favourite of the three if we're talking ultimate red. It's sultry, chic and above all that it's the kind of red I can throw on with my most dressed down outfit and make it instantly on trend.

I love these colours, but there are definitely some downsides that make me hesitant to buy more. When opened, the lacquers have a little doe foot applicator which dips in the centre, supposedly to aid colour distribution with minimal reapplication. I find myself constantly wiping product back into the tube because there is simply too much of it.

I think I have a slight niggle with the gloss side, 'satin smooth shine' sounds fairly down played but these colours have a real sheen to them. They eventually set fairly matte after a time, but not before you've been outside and had your hair stuck to most parts of your lips. The nightmares I've had with these lacquers and getting product on most parts of my face is ridiculous. For a positive spin on that, they do last quite a while as evidenced when I had a splodge on my cheek that refused to budge!

Then of course there's the terribly cheap smell that pours out of the tube. It reminds me of the 'play' lipsticks you used to get in sets as a child. Luckily after you put this on your lips the scent soon fades, but it's really off putting initially.

All in all I do like the Apocalips range, I just don't love it. I only tend to wear them when I know I'll be at home all day either recording, taking pictures or if anyone is coming round to mine for a cup of tea! I may buy the Nude Eclipse colour as I've seen it on a few bloggers and it's just the kind of shade I'm after, so we'll see.

Do you own any of the Rimmel Apocalips Lip Laquers? What's your experience?