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17 Mar 2014

Keeping the skin hydrated - Part 2 The Toners

If you read my previous post on keeping my skin hydrated you’ll know how my lifestyle isn't particularly good for my skin. I smoke, I eat a lot of shitty food and I don’t drink enough water – all of which are not good for my skin and can cause it to become dehydrated. To try and keep my skin hydrated there’s a number of products I use. My previous post featured the hydrating face masks I use, this post will focus on my toners of choice.

It’s only recently that I've started to double tone. All thanks to Caroline Hirons. If you’re a little unsure what double toning is, then this post on Caroline blog explains it way better than I ever could. The basics are to use two toners – one exfoliating and one hydrating. The exfoliating toner obviously exfoliates the skin, while the hydrating toner puts moisture back into the skin. I used to just use an exfoliating one, but now I've started to double tone I'm definitely seeing a difference in my skin. Although both the products I'm using as the moment are not actually labeled as toners, they both work amazingly well at keeping my skin hydrated and I use each one at the toner stage in my routine.

Hydrating toners

I've been using the much raved about Omorovicza Queen Of Hungary Mist for around 3 months now and I absolutely love it. I use it after toning with an exfoliating toner and instantly my skin feel soft, refreshed and super hydrated. It contains some fantastic ingredients such as Orange Blossom, Rose, and Sage Waters which purify and tone the skin, Apple Pectin which provides long-lasting hydration and restores suppleness and  Hydro Mineral Transference, Omorovicza's own patented mineral delivery system which is the core of all Omorovicza products. This leaves skin firmer, more supple, and younger-looking. 

I've really noticed how much it keeps my skin hydrated and healthy looking, while using it during these past winter months. I've always struggled with my skin in winter. The loss of humidity and frequently switching between the warmth of central heating in the home, to the cold bitter wind outside, leaves my skin feeling tight, red, and blotchy. A problem which I face every winter. Dry, dehydrated skin is not a pretty sight. Since introducing the Queen Of Hungary Mist (QOHM) into my routine though, there's been no sign of red blotchy dry skin, no dehydration issues, its almost as it my skin hasn't even realised that winters been and gone. It's stayed on an even keel and I've had no issues with horrid winter skin this year. 

Although it is an expensive product, its no more expensive than some of the moisturisers that I've forked out for over the years - in an attempt to sooth my winter skin. Moisturisers that have not had an effect on my skin like the QOHM has. 

I have no doubt that this will be a staple product for me for as long as I can afford it it's around.

Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray is my current morning toner. I tend to skip the double tone in the morning and just opt for a hydrating toner instead. The moisture Surge Face Spray is ideal for morning use as it preps my skin with a first layer of moisture, before I apply my daily moisturiser. This ensures that my skin is kept hydrated all day long. If I do feel my skin becoming tight and dry during the day though, a little spritz of this and its back to being plumped and hydrated within minutes. It doesn't affect my make up either. It leaves no sticky or oily residue,it just refreshes and moisturises. I can imagine this being a god send during the summer months too.

Coming soon: Part 3 - The Serums

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14 Mar 2014

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette

I’ve been reading a lot of mixed reviews lately about the new Smashbox Full Exposure Palette, so I thought it was only fair that I throw my 2 cents into the mix.

“Just like you dress to flatter your body shape, eye makeup should be applied based on your eye shape. After nine years of research looking at more than 5,000 eyes, the Smashbox R&D team narrowed it down to six main shapes. Their artists then created how-to’s based on the shapes to get the most gorgeous eyes possible with this palette”.

The Palette itself is a perfect mixture of matte and shimmer shadows. The top row being the shimmer shadows and the bottom row the matte shadows. The packaging is nice and sturdy and contains a large mirrow and also a double ended brush – one end for the application of the matte shadows and the other end for the shimmer shadows. A sample size Full Explosion Mascara is also included along with an eye shape chart with tutorials on how to create looks based on your eye shape.

Like I touched on earlier, there have been many mixed reviews on the Full Exposure Palette. Some have been quite disappointed while others have fallen in love. I guess that’s how it is with most makeup though – what one loves, another hates. One size doesn’t fit all.

So what’s my opinion?

One thing that’s missing from most of my other palettes is a good range of matte shades. Adding this palette to my collection has just filled that gap. 7 shades of gorgeous neutral matte shadows, that are soft and creamy, apply beautifully and blend with complete ease, all in one handy palette - is my dreams come true. The shimmer shadows are equally as beautiful, although it’s definitely the matte shades which I favor and which are the star of the show for me.

I have read a few reviews where people have had a little trouble with the shimmer shadows, applying very sheer and with fallout. I personally haven’t experienced this. With a primer and using the right brush and the right pressing down method to apply the shimmer shadows, I find them to work really well.

Swatched outside in natural daylight.

Available from Boots priced at £36.00

Have you purchased the Full Exposure Palette? Or are you thinking of purchasing it? I'd love to know your thoughts.

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15 Feb 2014

New - La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo [+]

Over the 4 years of writing my blog, I have tried an immense amount of skincare products. A lot of these products being aimed at blemish prone skin. So it’s actually a little strange that I have never tried the much raved about La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo – a product specifically for blemish prone skin and which many have hailed as a hero product.

Not to worry though, as I’m doing one better and currently putting the NEW and improved version to the test – La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo[+]

The new super charged version still works the same as its predecessor, except now it not only targets blemishes, unclogs blocked pores, and helps to refine skin texture; it also helps to prevent the nasty stuff such as scars and red marks that linger behind once the spot has gone. This is due to the addition of Procerad - a new Ingredient which is patented to La Roche Posay. Procerad helps to sooth the skin immediately and reduce the inflammation caused by bacteria while also preventing the formation of scars.

As I’ve only been using the new formula for just over a week, all I can share at the moment are my first impressions – but they are good!

When I first received my press sample, I’d just broke out around my chin area. A MONSTER of a spot decided to take residence and was giving me some serious grief. It was angry and red, one of those painful to touch kind of spots. Its family had decided to take residence on the other side of my chin too. These were not as angry though – they were causing a bit of grief but nothing major.

As I said, my sample had arrived just in the nick of time. After I cleansed that night, I decided to give it a whirl. I’ll be honest here and say that I was not expecting it to work overnight, I thought give it a few days and my skin would start to clear up. I was wrong. By morning my skin was showing major improvement. The small side of the family were hardly noticeable, as if they had literally been nipped in the bud and the monster was no longer red and painful to touch. It was still there, but it was just like a little bump on my skin. I could not believe that overnight a whopper of a spot had nearly gone. Within 2 days, it had gone completely – and it had taken its small family with it. I’ve used some good spot products in the past, but none would have taken the Inflammation, the redness and the soreness away that quick. Maybe the redness yeah, but it would still be sore to touch for a few days. Overnight this stuff worked and I mean completely worked.

If a product like this can make such a difference to my skin in just a week – then I’m excited to see how my skin is going to look with continued daily use. Seriously, this stuff has amazed me.

I will follow up with a full review in a few weeks' time.

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31 Jan 2014

The Body Shop Shimmer Cubes Palette 23 and Born Lippy Plum Lip Balm

During my teenage years, I was always in The Body Shop. I had a slight obsession with their White Musk and thought it was the best product on earth. I was a late starter when it came to makeup though, and even though I did frequent the body shop often, I was never one to check out the makeup. My friends would be swatching away and I’d be stood covering myself in white musk. By the time makeup started to interest me, I was over my white musk addiction, which sadly resulted in The Body Shop being forgotten about.

So as you can guess, The two products below are actually the first makeup products that I've tried from The Body Shop – and Its fair to say that I’m impressed.

The Body Shop Shimmer Cube Palette 23

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I've really got no idea why I haven’t picked up one of The Body Shop's Shimmer Cube palettes in the past. The packaging is ideal for me. I’m a palette girl through and through when it comes to eyeshadow. I love the ease of a palette, as I always wear more than one shade on my eyes. The shimmer cube is different from any other of my palettes with 4 small single cubes of shadow housed in a larger cube. Each cube contains a whopping  3.5 grams of shadow. Which in total adds up to 14 grams of product. Just to compare, MAC’s  single eyeshadows each contain 1.5 grams of shadow. You see what I mean now? A hell of a lot of shadow is in them tiny cubes.

Palette 23 contains 4 gorgeous purple shades.They apply and blend beautifully and the shimmer is spot on. I don't like overly shimmery shadows. Disco ball eyes are not for me. The shades together look gorgeous when applied with a light hand, perfect for the day time. Although they are easily buildable, so if a more intense look is required, it can be achieved with ease. I have read that they look amazing when used wet too,  Im yet to try that though.

£16.00 may seem a little pricey for a palette, but when you take into account the amount of shadow included as mentioned earlier, then the shimmer cubes are well worth the money. I can see this lasting me for years.

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Born Lippy Plum Lip Balm

It’s rare that my lips are naked. I feel as if my whole body is naked if I step outside with no Lipstick on. Its not an ideal situation when I’m pushed for time in the mornings and running late for the school run. So I’ve decided I want to try and embrace the whole tinted lip balm thing.

Cue The Body Shop Born Lippy Lip Balm in plum.

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A lip product that gives a shot of moisture and also provides a hint of colour – what’s not to love. Once applied, It leaves a gorgeous but subtle glossy plum sheen on the lips, Ideal for those mornings when Im rushing, but still can’t leave the house with naked lips. 

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I also find its perfect to team with some of my drier matte lipsticks. It provides a great base for Sleek’s True Colour Matte Lipstick in Cranberry. Fab product for £3.00.

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I think a trip to The Body Shop is in order. I definitely need to check out more of the Makeup range. Any recommendations?

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20 Jan 2014

Winter Lip Colours

For me, 2013 was all about the lips. I finally stepped out of my nude-loving comfort zone and started to embrace a pop of colour on my Lips. During summer it was all about a bold and bright lip, while during autumn/winter I've been going for shades that are typically associated with this time of year - berry hues, darker reds, and pinks.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Gloss Stick - Pink Berry, Topshop Lipstick - Hazard, Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick - Mulberry, Sleek True Colour Lipstick - Russian Roulette, Miners Matte Effect Lipstick - Vixen

Estee Lauder Pure Color Gloss Stick - Pink Berry, Topshop Lipstick - Hazard, Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipstick - Mulberry, Sleek True Colour Lipstick - Russian Roulette, Miners Matte Effect Lipstick - Vixen

Finish wise, I prefer a matte lipstick with Topshop Hazard, Sleek Russian Roulette and Miners Vixen being the shades I’ve been reaching for a lot lately. The colder months can see my lips become a little dry at times though, so instead of a matte lipstick I reach for a more moisturising formula. Max Factor Mulberry and Estee Lauder Berry Pink are not only perfect shades for this time of year, but they also feel very comfortable and moisturising – which helps when my lips are slightly dry.

What shades have you been wearing this autumn/winter?
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