Friday, 28 February 2014

Current Favourites

I don't do favourites that often, I don't know why, but I have some here for you today - some have been favourites for a while and some are new additions that I'm loving. 

Serozinc - I've been using this for over a month and I really like it. It's not a product where you see a dramatic difference in your skin but one I know is doing some good. It's a zinc bases product which acts as an antibacterial spray, calming and soothing any irritation and great for spot prone skin. I've also tried it on my little boy as it can be used as a nappy rash treatment. He had a rash on he's face so I sprayed this onto a cotton pad and wiped it over, the next morning the rash had almost disappeared. Yet anther reason it love this!

Nars Sheer Glow - A very recent addition and a foundation I have fallen for. The finish isn't so much glowy (as the name suggest) but more of a mixture between dewy and matte. It gives a slight radiance just making the skin look healthy. The coverage is medium but I think you could build it up more if needed.

Mac Prep and Prime Highlighting Pen - I'm a bit late to the party on this and have been loving it ever since I got it back in December. It really brightens up the under eyes making you look more awake and perfect for Kim Kardasian contoured look.

Aromatherapy Associates Bath Oils - I was very sceptical when I first tried these thinking how good could a bath oil be? But I have to say my bathtime is not complete unless I'm using them. I don't have a favourite scent, they're all very spa like and the smell lingers for ages. I don't think I'd buy a large bottle as it's rather expensive, bet repurchase miniatures again, their perfect as you only need a tiny bit and they last ages!

Charles Worthington Volume and Bounce Texturising Spray - I only bought this the other week after hearing it was a dupe for the Oribe Dry Texture Spray. Since having my hair extensions out I  have been loving my natural locks and the fact I can now use all these wonderful products in it without the worry that the extensions will ruin. The spray, used with my next favourite is perfect for achieving volume and movement to the hair. The spray is weightless and doesn't leave any powdery residue but adds a slight thickness and hold to the roots, ..smells nice as well.

Babyliss Root Boost - I've had this for as long as I can remember. It's the cheats way of adding body and volume to your hair without the need to blow dry or set it. This combined with the texturising spray are the perfect team and complement each other beautifully adding body and texture effortlessly.

Maybelline Gel Eyeliner in Brown - I'm new to gel eyeliner normally sticking to liquid but I bought this as a dupe for the Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade. I really want to try it but my colour is out of stock and there's a waiting list, ever the impatient person that I am I wanted to see if I would like the concept and thought that a gel eyeliner would give me an idea of how it would look and work. It works really well and lasts near enough all day without smudging. It does give a very defined brow and of course the colour is darker then I would normally wear, but I really like it. I'll still be buying the Anastasia Dip Brow but this will keep me going till then.

Random Favourite - Baby Muslin Cloths. I was going through my son old baby clothes and came across loads of muslin cloths that had never used, it got me thinking....What's the difference between these and the ones which are sold by the likes of Liz Earl or Emma Hardie?... Nothing, they're designed for babies so they're super soft and do the job of removing my cleanser just as well and at a fraction of the price!..Bargain!

What are your current favourites? Leave me a comment below, I'm always on the hunt for new products to try!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Review || Bumble and Bumble Mending Conditioner

Heard of Bumble and Bumble? Haha only joking, of course you have! The brand hit the UK market hard last year, and everyone was raving about the 'Surf Spray' and 'Dryspun Finishing spray' as well as  many more of their products including their shampoo's and conditioner's.

Before I start the review I just want to say a bit about my hair. When I first started using this I had hair extensions and have since had them removed. My hair texture is fine, and I have a good amount of it, not loads, but enough. Because my hair is fine it can be very weak and using bleach, tints and styling products has damaged it (I'm sure most people's hair is in this condition), so I thought this conditioner was the best one suited for my hair.

I like to think that when I buy a product I do a bit of research before hand, not wanting to waste my money and be left with a product I wouldn't use. Unfortunately I didn't research this, it was bought on a whim, I was whipped up in the bumble and bumble storm and swept away with all the hype.

The Bumble and Bumble Mending Conditioner is aimed at truly damaged hair, designed to repair chemically treated, damaged hair to strengthen and protect as well as delivering shine

As a hairdresser I am used to trying lots of different brands, all promising the same thing, and I can usually judge a product after the first couple of uses, going by the texture of the conditioner, how it sits on the hair and the initial result it delivers. I was disappointed with the results from the outset but persevered wanting to give it a fair test.
The consistency of the conditioner is a lot thinner than I thought it would be. Normally conditioners designed for "truly damaged hair" are quite thick and concentrated, so I was surprised that this wasn't, it's not runny but more of a thick styling milk. When using this ( as with all conditioners I use) I always leave it on for a few minutes, I never wash and go as I want the product to penetrate my cuticles and this can't be done in a couple of seconds, can it?
Usually when you rinse a conditioner off your hair is left feeling smooth and silky... no? My hair felt a little softer but nothing warranting the £25.00 price tag! To be honest when I first tried it I wasn't sure if the conditioner wasn't working as well due to my hair extensions, maybe the formula didn't suit or wasn't strong enough for the hair I had used. I've since had them removed and tried the conditioner again, confident I could give it a better chance now that my hair was in its natural state. But alas still no joy. In my opinion it conditions the hair no better than a run of the mill super market brand, in fact I'm currently using some products from Charles Worthington and I think they work just as well if not better and are a fraction of the price! Without this being a truly negative review I have found something I do like about the conditioner,... the smell, it smells kinda nice! So if you're wanting to send £25.00 on a conditioner that smells 'kinda nice' then this is it, otherwise save your money and give this one a miss!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Laurens Way Launches onto the Highstreet!

Love Laurens Way fake tan's? Hate the fact you can only order them online? Good news is here!
For fake tan lovers there is a new contender on the high street, Laurens Way. The ex TOWIE star Lauren Goodger, sees her online success make its way to the high street by launching her tanning range in one of the UK's leading beauty retail stores, Superdrug.
Laurens Way tanning range has seen some great online success and is now finding its way onto the high street. This is fantastic news if you're not one for online shopping and now the tans are more readily available without having to wait delivery, a must if you've run out and need a fake tan fix pronto!

The tans launch in 22 stores stretched across the UK and Ireland on 9th March. The products will include all their tans in various formula's and colours ranging from Medium, Dark and the newly released Darker than Dark Glam Tan.
I'm sure if the range is a success you could expect to see them in a larger number of their stores this coming year, so keep your eyes peeled at your local Superdrug!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Highend vs Highstreet || Bronzer

Left-George Bronzer Duo for Blondes * £4.00 Right-Nars Laguna Bronzer £26.00
This is the first post in my High-end vs Highstreet series and I wanted to feature my new find from a very unexpected place.
You all know I love my Nars Laguna, its my go-to product of choice for bronzers, but at £26.00 a pop it can be a little hard to swallow at times!
So, this series is all about high-street alternatives and the one I have for you today comes from a very unlikely place..... Asda, yes Asda!
Now, I'm gonna be honest with you, I'm a bit of a make up snob when its comes to supermarket brands. I don't mind buying products from Boots and other stores but I find the whole idea of shopping for pasta and toilet roll as well as make up a little off-putting, it's not exactly the desired experience I have in mind when shopping for make up! Anyway... I was sent some products from Asda to try and this Bronzer Duo was included. On first inspection I wasn't that bothered about it, it looked 'OK' but I thought it was going to be too light for me and I probably wouldn't use it.
So I tried it one day, and I was shocked, yes shocked at how good it was! I was eating my own words and felt rather ashamed of myself for judging a book by its cover. **hangs head in shame** and let me explain why.....
As far as packaging goes it's a no brainier, this is where they are poles apart. The plastic George compact is no match to the iconic Nars black rubberised case, but its what's inside that
The colour match is very similar, not identical but not too far off considering the price difference.
The George is slightly warmer and has a tiny bit more shimmer when swatched, but on the face, used as a contour I couldn't really tell there was much difference, it did the job and it did it well and comes with the added bonus of a highlighter being included.
Longevity wise, there is some difference. The Nars with its higher pigmentation does last longer on the skin, but so it should do as it is over 6 times more expensive, I think we can cut Asda's version some slack there, don't you?!
If you're new to contouring and don't want to take the plunge on high-end make up I can definitely recommend George Bronzer Duo, it does more or less the same job as Nars but at a fraction of the price. I'm really impressed with it and it has definitely opened up my eyes to alternatives on the high-street... or supermarket shall we say!
Final thought..........
Even-though I love my Nars and it is more pigmented I don't think you can ignore the price difference in this case. The high-street offers a fantastic array of products that are themselves dupes of their higher-end counterparts and can be just as good and very much worth a try. I know many of my friends who are into make up (maybe, not as much as me) who would refuse to spend nearly £30 on a bronzer, and to be honest I don't blame them! If make up and beauty is your passion why shouldn't we treat ourselves to the best products out there, but if you see make up as just something that is popped on your face to make you look a little better, do you really need to be spending a small fortune on them?
Nars Laguna is always going to have a place in my heart but the difference in price is just ridiculous and makes me think....Is it time to stop being a make up snob and save some money where it can be saved? Or is spending money on a high-end  products more worthwhile in the end?

What are your thoughts? What high-street alternatives do you recommend?

Friday, 21 February 2014

Brand Focus || Origins

origins skincare range

Origins has been a brand that I have been trying out lately. One that has had great coverage and 5 star reviews. But do all the products really live up to the hype?

Brand ethics..
Origins pride themselves on using only 100% organic natural ingredients and essential oils in all their make up and skincare lines. All products are free from parabens and mineral oils. They source and manufacture their products using only earth friendly practises and renewable resources.

I think its fair to say that this is a brand that really cares about their products, only wanting the best ingredients to sell onto us (the consumer).

Origins Gin Zing Energy Moisturiser (£23.00) contains ginseng and coffee beans to awaken and hydrate the skin.
The cream is a light, almost gel like in consistency and has a gorgeous zesty orange aroma which is refreshing and up lifting in the mornings. For my combination skin I find the cream delivers just the right amount of hydration without leaving it feeling greasy or overloaded. As a moisturiser it does the trick but I think dryer skin types may need something a bit more nourishing to really feel any benefit. 
Gin Zing Eye Cream (£23.00 full size) contains the same key ingredients that are in the moisturiser, ginseng and coffee beans. The cream is designed to de-puff and brighten the under eye area.
I find the iridescent formula does highlight the under eye area slightly. As an eye cream goes it's nice, It doesn't get rid of dark circles completely, just makes them look a little better, and of course you still need to use concealer and all jazz after.
I don't really suffer with puffy eyes ( unless of course I have been watching a soppy rom-com) so I can't comment on whether it actually works at reducing this. It does hydrate the area enough for daytime use without leaving them greasy, so your make up doesn't slide off, but for night time I like to use something heavier and richer.

High-Potency Night-a-Mins (£34.00) contains vitamin's, minerals and moisture rich replenishers to aide dull and tired skin.
I love this night cream, the consistency is a lot thicker than the Gin Zing moisturiser but not heavy at all. When applied at night the cream is absorbed within minutes, leaving the skin feeling velvety soft and not greasy at all. When I have this on I find myself touching my skin frequently, in ore of how soft it is. This is definitely a product I think I will continue to use. For someone that was scared of heavy rich creams I was surprises that a) it didn't break me out and b) how light and non greasy it is.  A definite winner in my book!

A Perfect World for Eyes (£28.50) is a firming moisture treatment containing white tea and white birch extract which helps to reduce dark circles and new wrinkles from forming.
I use this serum at night as a way of fighting the early signs of ageing. The light moisturising formula is delivered in the form of a thick serum which hydrates the area around the eyes, taking just a few minutes to sink in, leaving the under eye area moisturised. As with most eye creams and anti ageing products its hard to judge whether they're actually working or not. I haven't aged in the last 3 months, so you could say its working, but does it really reduce wrinkles and lines from forming.....only time will tell!

Super Spot Remover (£14.00) needs no introduction on my blog. Regular readers will know I love this, my holy grail item at clearing up those pesky spots. This little marvel contains Salicylic Acid and Caffeine to help reduce redness and speed up the healing time of troublesome blemishes. It does exactly what its supposed it do and does it well.

Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask (£22.00 full size) contains hyaluronic acid, Avocado oil and mango butters designed to nourish the skin over night leaving it replenished and refreshed in the morning.
The rich cream smells gorgeous with a fruity fresh aroma and sinks in surprisingly quickly for a mask just leaving a slight residue on the skin. I've used this a number of times and was excited after reading such rave reviews on it. The cream does leave your skin moisturised but for someone like me with combination skin that has (I think) a good skincare routine I was left a little disappointed. I think this product has been hyped up so much I was excepting miracles when in fact its just a good moisturising treatment. If you've neglected your skin and suffer with dryness you'll properly see a lot more improvement than what I did. I  didn't see a significant difference but in the same breath it didn't overload or break me out. ..I think what I'm trying to say is I wasn't blown away by it,  it was just "ok".
I tend to use this on days when I'm feeling dehydrated, possibly when I've had too many wines the evening before. Its nice and makes my skin feel more nourished but it didn't do enough for me to want to  re-purchase when I've run out. Like I said if your skin is drier you'll probably notice more of a difference.

Ginger Rush Hydrating body cream ( £27.00 full size)  as the name suggests contains ginger, a rich warming cream that hydrates and moisturises.
The smell I think would be a love it or hate it kinda smell. If you love ginger then you'll like this, if not then this isn't the body cream for you. The scent is strong on first application but does mute down after some time. The cream is nice, it moisturises without feeling greasy or sticky and the smell that I thought was overpowering to begin with has grown on me. The fragrance is perfect for Autumn/winter but not something I would find myself reaching for in summer. If you want a treat and feel like spending some money then this is it, otherwise Soap and Glory Righteous Butter is just as good.

What are your thoughts on Origin products? Any that you think I should try next?

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

High-end vs High-street

High-end vs High-street
I'm starting a new series on my blog called 'High-end vs High-street', it's not necessarily going to be dupe posts, but more high street alternatives, and whether we need to spend more money to look better.
Before I publish the first article I wanted to ask you all a question... Can you really tell the difference between high-end and high-street make up when I products are on your face? Can others tell the difference?
Below are two sets of photos, one using all high-end products and the other using all high-street, can you tell the difference?
I don't want you to cheat (the answers are at the bottom)

Left - Face A  Right - Face B
Can we really tell the difference? I know packaging and marketing are a big thing when buying beauty products, and some have such a cult status that we buy them time and time again without a thought of the price and whether we can achieve the desired look for less.
There's no denying the rush you get when purchasing a new Mac lipstick or the latest Nars blush, I know I do, but do they LOOK any different to the products sold on the high street?
I would be lying if I said that I always purchase high street, if you read my blog regularly you will know I'm a sucker for high end products, but sometimes its not necessarily the product I love but the whole experience that goes with having high end products in my possession. The packaging is always so much more luxurious, and the formula's normally a lot better, but not always. The counters draw you in with their beautiful displays and the shop assistants are always there to guide you in the right direction, but is this what we are paying for? 
With the high-street bringing out corkers every other month should we be saving our pennies and not splurging on the high-end counterparts? Do our faces look more expensive if we spend £30 on a foundation or £15 on a lippy?
I think there is no denying the fact that higher end make up does tend to last a little longer and wear a bit better on the skin, this isn't always the case and does depend on skin type. I know if I'm going to a fancy event I will be wearing high-end makeup. I find it lasts longer and does make me feel more special, after all it's how we feel inside that determines how we act and how confident we

So how did you get on, which face is high-end and which is high-street?......

Left - High-street    Right - High-end

Were you right? If so, how could you tell? I would love to know your thoughts!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Tiny Wishes Bracelets

Tiny Wishes is a company specialising in friendship and wish bracelets. If you've never heard of the concept before let me tell you...
The various bracelets on offer all have different meanings and are designed to make your wishes come true. The idea is that you tie the bracelet and secure it with a knot, with each knot you tie you make a wish. The bracelets are designed to last indefinitely and made from waxed Irish linen. Legend has it that when the day comes and your bracelet naturally breaks the wishes you made will all come true. Whether or not this is true is unknown but one thing is sure, you have to believe!
The whole concept around the bracelets is very unique and even for a sceptic like myself I find the whole concept magical and actually rather cute. 
These bracelets make an ideal gift for someone which can offer meaning and a sentimental touch for both men and women of all ages. The fact that the bracelets can break is all reflected in the price, which is very reasonable. Each bracelet retails for as little as £3.50 and comes in an array of designs and finishes. All with different meanings, metals and stones.

Tiny Wishes also offer a subscription service, very much like the beauty boxes you can buy, where each month you receive a bracelet though your door. There are 3 types of packages available, Silver £15.00 for 3 months, Gold £30.00 for 3 months and Platinum £40.00 for 3 months.
Silver - 1 bracelet each month
Gold - 3 bracelets each month
Platinum - 4 bracelets each month and 20% off discount code to be used against any purchases made.

All in all I find these a really lovely idea. I've got my bracelet on, with two knots as I'm greedy and want two wishes!lol I've been wearing it for a week now and the thread has stretched slightly but I think I'm going to have to wait a while before I find out if the legend is true, as it shows no sign of breaking yet. If you never hear from me again you know my bracelets life has come to an end and my wishes of winning the lottery have come true, don't worry though, I'll be having a cocktail for you all  on my own private island! lol Until then, tell me what you think of these bracelets and what wishes you have for the year to come?

You can check out more designs on the Tiny Wishes website.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Review || Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush Duo in Acid and Trip.

Daniel Sandler watercolour blushes in Acid And Triip

Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blushes in Acid And Trip

Left- Trip    Right-Acid
In this post I'm stepping out of my comfort zone with blushes in terms of colours and textures. Like many people I tend to use powder blushers and the occasional cream, while sticking to "safe" colours, none that are too "in ya face" because lets face it no one wants to look like a clown, do they?

Daniel Sandler is a name and brand I have heard of quite a lot. He's famous for he's Watercolour blushes, a unique watery formula that is "easy to blend" and "buildable".
I have been wanting to try them for ages and when I saw a picture of he's latest limited edition colours I knew I just had to get them.
I know what you're thinking.... Those colours look really bright how on earth could you want them? To be fair you we're probably right, but I knew deep down that they weren't going to be as bright and  they would be great colours for spring/summer. (I tend to go for corals and last year I was really into oranges, so I knew I had to try these)
 A warm zesty orange, almost verging on neon if built up. Worn lightly the colour is more of a burnt peachy coral, very wearable and no way as scary as it looks in the bottle. You can see from the swatches above that it can be worn much stronger and vibrant if needed.

 A beautiful Barbie pink, again like Trip it can be worn a lot fuller when built up into a neon fuchsia pink or worn lightly for a rosey flush of colour.

The texture is that of water which does take some getting used to if like me you're a dab and swipe kinda girl. Applying these are actually really easy once you have the hang of it. I shake the bottle and drop a tiny bit onto my finger and then dab two or three dots onto my cheeks. I then use a stippling brush to blend the colour out. It does blend out really easily, almost like water you could say which is apt as the formula does resemble water in its consistency. Once blended the colour sheers down but you can build it up for a more dramatic look if needed.
The blush looks very natural on the skin and sinks in without the powdery residue which you can get with some powder or cream-powder blushes. As the blusher is sort of a stain the colour lasts a lot longer on me then normal blushes, it doesn't smudge or go patchy and looks great for the majority of the day. I tend to find other blushes only last a few hours on my combination skin so this is a major plus point for me.

These blushes come as a duo and are available for a limited time only. If you fancy giving them a try they are sold on the Daniel Sandler website,  £25.00 for both.

What do you think of these colours? Have you tried Daniels Watercolour Blushes before?

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Your Skincare Questions Answered!

Recently I was in contact with the lovely people at Farmaline. If you've never heard of them before they're a online pharmacy that sell all the well known skincare brands such as Bioderma, La Roche Posay, Nuxe, Caudalie, some of which are hard to find here in the UK.
While in correspondence with them I asked some skincare questions and concerns I had.  They responded and offered me some great advice and information which was gratefully received. So that got me thinking.... I can't be the only one who finds themselves baffled when it comes to skincare! What should we be using? What shouldn't we be using? Don't do this, make sure you do that, The list is endless and the whole area becomes very confusing and rather daunting to be honest. How do we know which products to buy and which ones to stay clear of?
I thought it would be a great idea to pick the brains of the people in the know, and hopefully help out and answer your skincare concerns as well. I put a shout out on Twitter and Facebook and these are the most asked questions....

Q. What are your thoughts on Chemical exfoiliators and Glycolic based products? Can we use them too much?
Chemical exfoliants are preferred for pretty much everyone, contrary to popular belief there are acids that do a lot more than physical scrubs. Physical ones give the direct satisfaction of scrubbing hard and feeling skin become smoother, what people forget is that a lot of scrubs (not the ones with perfectly spherical beads) still cause micro tears. Bacteria can enter through these and you're basically damaging your skin on a microscopical level. Imaging using this and creating tiny wounds, spreading out acne bacteria from pimples all over your face. Hard to fight acne when you keep spreading it out to new locations no?

Chemical exfoliants don't need that scrubbing action but still eat away at those dead skin cells. They either dissolve them or loosen them from the fresh 'living' skin, so you can rinse off once you're done and use water or a cleanser. 

Personally I prefer chemical exfoliants on a daily basis in a mild version that gently removes dead skin, but never aggressively peels. Those types of peelings I reserve for at night or under strict guidance of someone that knows what they're talking about. Don't go out and buy just any peeling/acid treatment. Many of the really expensive brands have the complete wrong pH level to have any real peeling effect. They're so mild or ineffective that you paid a massive amount of money, for something you could have mimic'd with a cheaper product. 

Once more, it's ALL about the pH level of the product. Once that's in order, no matter the formulation, base or added 'wonder' ingredients.. the pH needs to be correct in order to have any peeling effect. 

If you're scared of the word peeling you really shouldn't be. Peeling just means "the exfoliation of the top layer of dead skin cells". You're also peeling when you simply wipe a washcloth over your face.
Recommended products.. Avene Cleanance K Cream Gel, Alpha H Liquid Gold

Q. Best products and treatments for dry skin?
Dry skin can be caused by either lack of hydration (water) or oil, there's this whole sub category of "dehydrated skin" that wasn't known to the general public for a long long time. I personally have dehydrated skin which basically means that water retention in my skin is an issue. I dry out easily yet can still have that oily t-zone shine while my skin feels bone dry. Fun no?

Dry skin is fixed by changing your diet or skincare products. Products with hydrating oils in them are usually the first thing people go for and it has been proven very effective. Whenever brands slap the term "RICHE/RICH/CREAM" on something, it generally means that it's a product containing oils for dry skin. This helps to provide that supple feeling and fight the look of flaky skin as the skin doesn't dry out horribly anymore. There's a layer of product put on top that somewhat penetrates the upper layers of the skin and prevents further water loss and lack of oil. 

You can also start using facial oils on their own or as a serum underneath your regular products. I personally use facial oils very frequently at night, either with a hydrating serum underneath of on their own. They really do balance out the oil production for people with oily skin, or intensely nourish and repair dry skin. Just a few drops on their own, mixing it in with your moisturizers.. you can try so many variations. The goal here is to give the skin back what life took away during the day. 

Omega supplements offer the same benefits as products with oils in them, just don't forget that you need to take these for at least 3 months to see & feel full benefits. You're filling up the reserves of your body when it comes to "fighting dry skin". While new skin is being produced, it'll have the proper building blocks to create healthy skin + your skin's function to protect and lubricate the outer layer through sebum is increased. Supplements take time! A benefit of the Omega's is that they're great for skin, hair, eyes, nails, etc. They have a huge amount of benefits but never forget that prolonged usage of the omega's has a similar effect as mild blood thinners. Nothing to worry about when you're young but I've seen older people with coagulation products in their blood, they weren't allowed to use the omega oils anymore. It's fine in most cases when you're healthy, when you're unsure.. just ask your doctor or pharmacy.
Recommended Products.... Bioderma Sensibio Rich Cream , Darphin Hydraskin Rich, Avene Hydrance Optimale Riche

Q. Do anti wrinkle creams really work? What are the key steps to younger looking skin?
A loaded question as I'm part of a billion dollar industry that thrives on beauty. Anti wrinkle creams do work to keep skin in the best possible condition, looking glowing and being healthy. Most anti wrinkle creams are gimmick as all they do is plump up the skin or hydrate.
When skin gets plumped up it'll fill out your wrinkles a bit -or a lot depending on the ingredients and concentration of plumping ingredients- giving that look of anti wrinkle. There are NO magical ingredients when it comes to anti ageing except a handful proven effective treatment. Retinol (Vit A), Vit C, Vit E, Resveratrol, hyaluronic acid are the most common ones used in anti ageing products. They actually work at plumping up the skin, boosting collagen, healing skin or fight off oxidative damage. Those fancy anti oxidants you always hear about in creams and lotions, not many of them actually work effectively.

The concentrations are very important and pretty much anything in a jar can be disposed as effective long term. Once air touches anti oxidants, they start losing potency and many people want prolonged usage of their expensive anti ageing creams. They'll use a tiny amount cause it's so expensive and in the end they're just using a basic hydrating cream with nothing special in it. Airtight pump systems are the only thing you should go for when you're into the anti ageing market. I leave my anti ageing to a serum version in an airtight pump bottle, a stable serum version -stored in a dark and cool place + used within x months- or an oil. The formulation has to be stable and be kept in the best possible conditions to preserve any expensive bought anti ageing claims.

Until the pharmaceutical industry comes up with a stable anti ageing formulation that can be exposed to air -hello illusion- it's best to stick to what really works in good packaging. What people are really buying from most brands are insane claims that can mostly be reduced to fairy dust ingredients or just basic plumping actions. Nothing wrong with the latter as it's very good for skin to receive hyaluronic acid, a natural occurrence in our skin anyway, but stop selling it so expensively! 

To keep skin young it's the following things you need to do. 
-Eat healthy
-Drink enough water for your weight
-Exercise to get all your clean eating efforts transported throughout your entire body
-Supplement where needed (healthy young people need nothing)
-Use hydrating products until you notice that wrinkles don't go away anymore once you stop using facial expressions
-SPF is your Number 1 defence against ageing as the sun breaks down collagen, gives sun spots and causes wrinkles due to that. Prevention is key! We've come a long way since the thick and sticky sunscreens, there are a ton of cosmetically pleasing sunscreens.. look at the Asian market and pretty much all French sunscreens. 
-Smile.. relax and you'll limit production of cotrisol. This is a real nasty hormone that can be very detrimental to all staying young efforts.
recommended products.. Darphin Ideal Resource Light Re-Birth Overnight creamFilorga Meso-Mask Smooth Tight skinDarphin Predermine Densifying Anti wrinkle cream

Q. What are the best products for achieving clear skin and for keeping spots and blemishes at bay?
Hydration is THE best thing you can do for clear skin. All skin works better once it's properly hydrated, that's why you see so many facialists and dermatologists suggesting hydrating products. Once your skin is properly hydrated we can tackle any other problems. If you have acne there are multiple ways to treat this. 

Depending on the severity of the condition you can follow several guidelines. Anyone with hormonal acne, very big lesions, pustules, open/oozing active acne really need to get themselves to a dermatologist and skin drugstore product experimentation. You need real medical guidance and not what salespeople will tell you. 

For anyone with mild to regular acne a chemical exfoliant is what I always suggest. Under no circumstances are people with active acne (whiteheads) allowed to use physical scrubs. No matter how strongly the commercials push this for teenagers or people with acne, this tears open the pimples and you're spreading out the acne bacteria all over your face. Seriously, are you asking for more pimples.. then go ahead. 

Several acne products contain BHA's or AHA's to clean deep down into the pores or exfoliate the top layer of the skin, preventing those excess dead skincells and sebum from clogging up pores. Both acids are very effective and there are thousands of products containing them. Just look for a gentle exfoliant you can use in a gel or lotion form, stay away from cream formulations with these. The cream versions contain pore clogging ingredients, making acne worse once again. 

Other than using gentle chemical exfoliating products, I really need people to properly cleanse their skin. I cannot count the number of people that sleep in their makeup, not wash their face properly to remove excess sebum and slough off dead skin cells. If you don't do this properly at least once a day then you'll have an uphill battle vs acne.
Recommened products... La Roche Posay Effaclar K,  Bioderma Sebium AKN Crème , La Roche Posay Effaclar Astringente, La Roche Posay Serozinc

Q. What steps should we ALL be doing as part of our skincare routine?
-A gentle cleans in the morning depending on your skintype and needs.
-A regular hydrating product
-Using an SPF
-Serums are used to target specific problems, only if needed.
-A proper cleanse at night before bed (skin the micellar lotions, get a balm/gel/cream and get to work)

Q. Tell me, what is all the fuss with Serozinc? Everyone and their dog is using it! Is it really that good and what benefits to we get from using it?
Serozinc is a spray by La Roche Posay containing their thermal waters and added Zinc Sulfate in spray form. What you're spraying on your face is a water formulation that'll create a hostile environment for bacteria. Zinc sulfate is very good at killing bacteria thus clearing out the skin due to this fact. You basically cleanse and then kill off most residual bacteria that could cause any harm. It's also refreshing and will moisten the top later of the skin, giving better absorption to the serum or hydrating product used afterwards.

I'm surprised that no other brand has tried to mimic this Sulfate spray. It's quite basic but the unique component is the natural water that La Roche Posay taps from. This is unique in composition of minerals and trace elements. This formulation combined with the added Zinc Sulfate is hitting the sweet spot, probably not so easy to copy. 

Q. Any products you would recommend to help close open and enlarged pores?
There no way to close open or enlarged pores. "They're not doors", like so many people have said and copied from the great skincare knowing people. Once pores are wide there's no reversing this. That's why it's a big mistake to squeeze out blackheads or pimples. You'll damage the pore wall and over time this will result in it losing it's strength to stay together in it's original form. It'll weaken and like an elastic band you cannot have it snap back once it's stretched out too far.

What you CAN do for enlarged pores is to keep them clean so that the look of "omg they're huge" lessens. As sebum gets trapped underneath a layer of dead skin, it'll give the common blackhead formation. You can see this process happening during the day if you like, so it's important to have products that constantly exfoliate or facilitate the flow of sebum. A clean sebum flowing pore is a happy pore and will be less visible.

For a cosmetic effect you can fill up the pore with makeup or product that's coloured, basically giving a fake illusion of poreless skin. This filling of the cracks/holes in your face is sadly usually blocking the pores and flow of sebum. You can imagine where I'm going with this right? Properly removal of any makeup at night is of utmost importance. 

Clay masks can be a quick fix to suck the pores dry of excess sebum, resulting in clean pores and less visibility. Sadly many of the clay masks are way too harsh and will overly dry the skin out, resulting in the skin trying to combat this by producing more sebum. Choose your clay masks carefully and never leave it on for too long. Also stop using drying products to fight oil, this will only make your skin angry and desperate to replace the lost oil by producing a lot extra.
Recommended products.. La Roche Posay Effaclar duo, Bioderma Sebium Mask

Q. What products would you recommend for sensitive dehydrated skin?
Bioderma Hydrabio Rich Crème, "The patented Aquagenium biological complex, re-trains the skin to generate in depth the hydration essential to its natural balance and to lock it in on its surface. Hydrabio Rich cream cream provides long-lasting hydration and restores the skin’s comfort, suppleness and radiance."
Avene Hydrance Optimale Legere, "A hydrating moisturiser for normal to combination dehydrated sensitive skin. Based on Meiboserin which limits the evaporation of the Avène Thermal Spring Water from the skin and Lipomucine which increases coverage across the skin. It also contains sebo-absorbing capsules for a light matifying effect and a matt finish."
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Spa Day crème, "Sensitive skin needs maximum hydration to nourish and restore. The gel contains thermal water enriched with hyaluronic acid, due to which soothes and makes the skin more resistant to daily aggressive influences of various factors. Skin is intensely hydrated for 48 hours. Efficacy proven under dermatological control."
Avene Anti Redness Calm Mask, "This ultra-soothing repair mask provides immediate comfort by cooling, calming and restoring comfort to irritated rasecea-prone skin."
Darphine Intral Reddness Relief Soothing Serum "High potency, soothing serum helps reduce the appearance of redness and instantly quiet discomforts associated with irritated skin. this delightfully scented formula softens sensitive skin and leaves a comforted, more even-looking complexion."

Q. Any tips for oily skin and keeping the shine at bay?
Stop using harsh and drying products. Include facial oils in your routine to balance out oil production. As you use facial oils you'll give a signal to your skin to regulate/slow down oil production as there's plenty available already. Once you start using drying washes or products, skin will fight back resulting in shiny and greasy looking skin very soon. 

A light blotting powder would be my suggestion while your skin transitions into a normal sebum product rhythm again. Also stop fighting that little bit of shine any normal skin gets. Why do so many people go for glowing radiant foundations or looking makeup, yet blot and fight off any oil? Embrace the natural glow skin gives off on it's own, enhance this but don't cover it up and then try to fake it with makeup. 

Blotting powder is one option but you can also use blotting papers or even a regular tissue slightly pressed into the skin. Again, don't fight the slight shine. If you get shiny way too fast after your morning routine, there's something wrong in the way you treat your skin or the products you use.. skin always tries to find balance. If you upset this process, it'll wreak havoc in the early afternoon.

I hope some of these questions have helped you, I know I now have a better understanding of what products I should be using. I would like to thank Philippe at Farmaline for answering these question for me. I'm sure if there are any other questions you have they would be more than happy to advice you and recommend products, you can tweet them and follow on Twitter... @FarmalineUK.

Has this post answered any skincare concerns you had? Any other advice on the questions asked?

Monday, 10 February 2014

Review || Loreal True Match Foundation

Swatch and then blended

Left - Bare face with just Bobbi Brown Corrector under the eyes. Right - True Match Foundation £9.99
It's been a while since I bought a new foundation, so while perusing the aisles of my local Boots I found this...
Loreal True Foundation contains Micro mineral pigments which are meant to match your skin tone perfectly. The colour range is quite extensive and I'm sure most people will find a colour to suit their skin tone.
The foundation is a little different and something I was unaware of until I read the packaging. The foundation is supposed to improve your skin making it look smoother, healthier and more even  within 2 weeks!
True Match is described as " Flawless looking" and " your skin only better". This was a product I had to try!
As you can see from the hideous before and after shots above, the foundation does offer really good coverage. Two pumps will create a medium coverage finish and one will create a light natural finish.
The texture of the foundation is very runny, much like Mac's Face and Body, so you do need to work quickly or you can find it runs off your hand or off your face! This being said, the light texture is then transferred onto the skin making it feel weightless. I would say the finish is semi matte, not completely matte in a flat unnatural way but with a slight luminosity to it, very unique as I've never used a foundation quite like this before. I find on my combination skin the wear time of this foundation is about 6-8 hours, after that it starts to get a bit patchy and wears off around my chin and nose.

Overall I'm really pleased with it, its affordable, offers good coverage and is available in a large number of different shades. As for improving my skin.... I can't say I've notice any difference, that's a very big claim to be making Loreal! Lets say I haven't noticed it doing anything bad but I'll keep you all informed if I suddenly see a miraculous difference in my skin!

Have you tried Loreal True Match foundation, what did you think to it?

Friday, 7 February 2014

Review || Macro Lens for the iPhone

Detectable macro lens, wideangle, fish eye and iPhone tripod
Macro lens on iPhone lens. Other side fish eye lens

What I wouldn't give for a fancy camera! I think photos are an important part of blogging, having clear and detailed shots of products can give you , the reader, more of an insight to the item mentioned. I haven't got this option and am limited to what my iPhone will allow me to do. I do however try and make the most of my photo's. I make certain the lighting is good. I don't have fancy soft box lighting or daylight bulbs, but I do make sure there is enough natural light to give true reflection of colours and tones.  
When Christmas was approaching I asked my hubby to get me some lens for my phone. I had done some research online and found that they we're quite good. With the iPhone its very difficult to get up close and personal with your products, the images tend to lose focus and the fine details are lost.
When searching for my lens I found that they all seem to come in a three pack containing a Macro, Wide Angle and Fisheye lens. I wasn't too bothered about these but I was really intrigued to see how well the Macro lens would work.

Below are photos using the macro lens compared to the lens already on my iPhone 4s....

Top - Macro. Bottom - iPhone normal Lens 
This photo shows how well you can get close up shots. The photos taken with the iPhone show the difference in how well the macro is at capturing the detail, unlike the iPhone that loses focus and the image becomes blurry. You also get that soft focus background that is very hard to get without the macro lens
Top - iPhone lens,   Bottom - Macro lens
You can get up close and personal, capturing microscopic details like this photo of a Mac Pigment. You do get a slight blurring around the edges, but I think you would agree the lens does pretty well!
Top - Macro lens,   Bottom - iPhone lens
Top - Macro Lens   Bottom - iPhone lens

I think its fair to say that the Macro lens really does work. You can capture a lot more detail than you normally would just using the iPhone lens. It can zoom in on the most tiny of objects, only losing focus just around the edges.
I'm not gonna lie, it does take some time to get the item focused properly. You need to position the product really close to the lens (within a few centimetres away), move it too far away you will end up with a blurry mess, move too close and you can also end up in a blurry mess!

Do I think its worth having? Yes I do, it gives you an option that you never had before and lets you play around with your pictures to capture the right shot for your post. If you haven't a fancy camera and want to make more use out of your iPhone lens then I would definitely recommend checking it out. You can find a number of lens on Amazon.

Have any of you got more tips on creating better pictures with your iPhone?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Foundation and Bases || Dewy and Glowing Skin

Dewy foundations and bases

Spring is edging closer and that can mean only one thing....time to switch up your make up and embrace the glow! In a recent post I talked about ways of keeping the shine at bay and achieving the matte look, now it's time for the dewy look!
I don't know what it is but we all want that dewy healthy glow in the warmer months, even for a oily/combination girl like me who hates looking shiny I find I'll swap my matte foundation and bases for ones that offer more of a dewy finish.

Even if I'm after a glow I still like to use a oil free base and mix in a highlighter to add a bit of sheen. The highlighters I like to use are Nars Orgasm Illuminator or Benefit's High Beam. These can both be used on their own on top of your foundation, along the cheeks bones, down the nose and on the cupids bow to highlight the high points of your face. Nars is a warmer pinky, bronzed highlight whereas Benefit's is more pale with a cooler toned iridescent sheen . If you want something a little more subtle you can use the Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm. This gives a very healthy dewy glow to the skin with no shimmer or glitter but more of ( as the name suggests) a radiant glow to the skin.

The drug store is awash with light reflecting foundations and ones that deliver a "glow" to the skin. The two I like to use are Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation which is medium coverage giving a fresh healthy finish to the skin. Rimmel's Wake Me Up Foundation offers a light-medium coverage, the "anti fatigue" formula contains tiny shimmery particles delivering a great dewy finish to the skin. The shimmer is very visible in the bottle but on me I find it's not transferred onto the skin when applied, making it look very natural and not disco ball like at all.
If you require a full coverage foundation, Mac's Studio Sculpt formula is gel like, delivering the coverage you need without looking too heavy and still keeping the face with a natural dewy sheen.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light is the least shimmery powder from the series but still gives a soft air brushed glow to the skin, much like an Instagram filter. Daniel Sandler Radiant Sheen Illuminating Powder is a mosaic of four different colours, finely milled giving an almost wet like sheen to the skin. I tend to use this on my cheek bones but used lightly can be used all over the face as a setting powder much like the Hourglass powders. 

What is your ideal product to create a dewy, glowing base?