Best of beauty this April – Spring picks

product review

Despite the extremely bi-polar weather that we are currently experiencing, it is officially Spring. Spring is often associated with new, fresh beginnings. This means we often switch up our make up too. Fresh, lighter make up, and a perfect excuse to refresh our product stock. (I’m using the word stock purposely, because I own so many products I could indefinitely open a shop).

Here are my favourite picks of what I’ve been loving this April;

1. Malin + Goetz Cilantro Conditioner, £20 for 236ml

Although this seems rather pricey for a conditioner, this 236ml size would last me years as I have been co-washing my hair recently. However, when I dye my roots every 6-8 weeks consequently I have to wash my hair (annoyingly as it’s so much commitment); and have fallen in love with this conditioner. It smells like a spa treatment, a natural relaxing scent. And it contains absorbent fatty acids, which are brilliant for over processed hair such as mine. It doesn’t weigh my hair down like some conditioners do, but leaves hair feeling revitalised and healthy.

2. Rodial Clear Brazilian Tanning Gel, £35 for 150ml

This is an amazing product for busy individuals wanting a natural looking tan. Again, it’s quite pricey but you can use it sparingly.

The formulation is super lightweight, meaning you can apply the gel like a normal moisturiser and gain a light, even tan.

3. Reb’l Fleur Body Must by Rihanna, reduced to £5 at Boots

Found this complete bargain whilst picking up all my beauty essentials on a recent trip to Boots. I don’t usually buy celebrity perfumes, which is probably not the wisest of choices from an economical point of view. I’ve realised they are usually cheaper than their designer counterparts, and can become some of your favourite scents. This Rihanna body mist smells gorgeous, it’s a girly scent perfect for Spring. Plus the 236ml bottle means that even wasteful individuals like myself won’t have to worry about using it up too quickly.

4. NYX Lid Lingerie Eyeshadow Palette, £9

This is £9 very well spent. Consisting of 6 basic looking colours, this palette has taken me from Winter to Spring effortlessly. With a beautiful combination of natural nude shades and bright colours. You can create an array of looks by experimenting.

(As pictured) You can create natural, pretty looks with the nude shades. You can easily convert these into more dramatic looks by adding in the brights; or alternatively by building the colour up.

How to get more beauty bang for your buck

On another note I wanted to talk about one of my personal goals for Spring, that I think may help everyone. I’ve been really disciplined in saving money this year, and yes that includes spending on beauty products (waaaah *sadface*).

As I’ve mentioned I took a trip to my local Boots last week to stock up on some essentials; and I managed to get all the products in this picture for £25!

I would like to share my tips on how to get the best beauty bang for your buck. Here are my top tips;

1. Special Offers

Of course when shopping everybody keeps their eye out for special offers, but you can be smart with offers. By stocking up on products that you don’t need immediately but in future, you will save yourself some serious money. For example, on my shopping trip I didn’t need two bottles of dry shampoo but seeing as they were half price, I got one for future use.

Building up a useful stock of products helps you not to buy needlessly. I’ve made a pact this year to use a product up fully before buying another similar product.

2. Clearance

Again, always check the reduced items on sale. I picked up this lovely Rihanna body mist for £5, which doubles as a perfume for me. I didn’t need it right now, but I was aware that my current perfume is running out; and £5 is much cheaper than any perfume I would have picked out in Boots. You will save a lot of money buying in advance.

3. Don’t double up

Another important fact to remember about beauty products, is that they do in fact have expiration dates. So we may think having 10 moisturisers in our drawer is a good idea – but actually you only use one at a time, and by the time you come to use the other 9, they may not be fit for purpose. Consumer wastage is a huge part of our capitalist culture, but it needn’t be. We can avoid endlessly throwing away products by sensibly buying what we need. Unless, as stated above it’s a product that you are aware you use everyday, and gets used up fairly quickly.

Ultimately, what we need to do is shop with a clarity. Instead of being blinded by pretty marketing campaigns, think about what you actually need and actually use.

4. Don’t be blinded by names

There are also certain products whereby you needn’t buy a known name brand. For example, I needed hay fever tablets. Instead of opting for Piriton allergy tablets which were around the £4 mark. I got an unbranded packet of allergy tablets for 85p, and generally when you cross check the ingredients in both branded and non branded – you find they are scarily similar. Naturally, this won’t be applicable for every product. But where you can, I would advise sticking to non branded as you will save a bundle of cash.

Happy saving!

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La Mer: Crème De La Mer Moisturising Cream review

product review

La Mer is one of those luxury brands that I have forever admired from afar. One of the main reasons being that it’s pricey, the skincare range starts from £100+. I have always wondered whether the prices were justified, if you spend £220 on a cream does it make you look 10 years younger? Glow like a unicorn? Or just fit into a certain societal stereotype?

I’m a huge fan of budget skincare and make-up. Who doesn’t want a product that performs as well as a high end one for half the price? It’s just logic. But recently I’ve started to delve deeper, and it’s not always that simple. I started to compare ingredients used within skincare. And you will notice that high end products use the same ingredients as budget ones. Let’s use Vitamin C as an example, two products can contain the Vitamin. However, is there a difference in potency? The way the ingredients are formulated could differentiate? These are the questions we should be asking when buying skincare.

My best advice when purchasing skincare is to research ingredients. If you know what ingredients do for your skin, you are then making more informed choices when choosing skincare. In turn, your skin should reward you.

Crème De La Mer Moisturising Cream, £120 for 30ml – Review

When we read skincare reviews, it’s often important to remember that everyone has a different skin type. What works for one person, doesn’t always work for everyone. Crème De La Mer is a heavy Moisturising cream that is aimed at those with dry skin. It claims to minimise pores, reduce fine lines and give a natural glow.

In terms of ingredients, these aren’t mentioned explicitly on the La Mer website. I found this odd, as high end face creams often boast about their natural ingredients. I did some online searching and I found that the cream does contain some natural products; Seaweed Extract, Eucalyptus Leaf Oil, Mineral Oil & Sesame Seed Oil. All of these ingredients are known for their hydrating properties to skin. But, disappointingly the cream also contains Linalool (for Fragrance), preservatives and Alcohol – all of these ingredients aren’t great for those with sensitive skin, or or allergies (Quora, 2018).

I have only been using the cream for a few days but I do notice a huge difference. I have stubborn dry patches that are often irritated by creams, this one soothes it. As soon as you apply Crème De La Mer, your entire complexion is lit up. It’s like putting on a spotlight in a dark room. I can visually see from the difference in my own skin, why this has become a cult cream for many woman.

It’s very rich in texture and thick. You don’t need a lot of it. Before you apply to your face, you must rub it in your hands to warm the cream. As it becomes translucent you rub onto your skin. This is brilliant for those who want bare faced beauty, and a natural glow.

Worth £120 for 30ml?

I’d say this really comes down to personal preference. In a sense, yes it is worth it. Simply because it is a heavy cream, you only need apply a small amount. It will last you at least 6 months. It performs as it claims. It just comes down to how much you are willing to or can afford to invest in your skin!

Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara: Influenster Vox Box review 

product review

I’ll be totally honest here, I have no clue how to use Influenster. Perhaps I’m just getting old (25, quarter of a century I’ll have you know), some of this technical social media online stuff I just have no clue about. I had been playing around with it, posting random reviews of cleaning products (how glamorous) and make up I had used many moons ago. But didn’t think much of it, however last week I received my first Vox Box from Influenster. 


Amazingly, my first box *which was received for complimentary purposes* was from Marc Jacobs Beauty. It certainly looked the part. It was their new Velvet Noir Mascara. It appeared luxuriant, with it’s classy monochrome design.  

Does it perform as well as it looks? 

The mascara has a rather large brush, and in this case size does matter. The width of the brush allows you to apply the mascara efficiently and equally.

The mascara ensures that lashes look naturally long, and are far from clumpy. There is one criticism – I did notice that it’s difficult to build up the layers, whereas with similar high end mascaras you can build layers for more volume quite easily. Is it worth the £22 price tag? I’d say, if you don’t own any other high end mascaras then invest in this one. If you do, then it isn’t really worth it; it’s not particularly special for the price. I believe you can get better. But it isn’t half bad either! And it’s a lovely producy aesthetically, it will look great on your dressing table. 

Overall : 8/10 

Three reasons why you need an anti-pollution spray 

product review, top tips

So I’ve been using Verso’s anti pollution mist for around 1 week now; and to be honest nothing has changed. My skin is exactly the same as it was before. Ah I hear you cry, why are you still using it? It is not only about the visible differences, it’s not about improving skin texture. Ultimately it’s about protection. 

As we are all aware pollution is at a dangerously high level, particularly in London. And not only can it affect our physical health, it can also cause premature aging. 

Here’s why you should buy an anti pollution spray; 

1. Plan ahead 

So of course you won’t know right away if your skin is being protected, but think of the future. You don’t want damage to your skin – especially when given the choice to avoid it 

2. It’s an investment 

Some of the high end sprays can be quite pricey. But this is because the anti pollution sprays are still relatively new to the beauty scene, once they are mainstream, like anything they will be readily available in your local Superdrug for £10 and under. But it’s an investment in your skin, and you only get one skin after all 

3. Hydration 

Pollution can also cause drying of the skin, so using the mist before or after make up application can protect against drying elements. Brilliant for summer and winter. 

Makeup revolution lip kit review & worst of July 

product review

As a beauty reviewer you always have to try your utmost to be as honest as possible. And to be fair, I’m an understanding individual – it’s rare for me to write a bad review. I may mention some negative points, but I try to be as considerate as possible. But occasionally there are just some products you really do not get on with. And this week I have come across two. I decided I had to share with everyone so nobody else had to make the mistake of wasting their time and money! (Not to mention the dreams I was sold) 


First up we have Superdrug’s make up revolution lip contour kit in ‘Reign‘. Granted the kit includes a lip liner and lipgloss, and it’s only £6. Amazing value I hear you say. Nope. Nah uh. Because I was completely mislead, firstly am I right in thinking the colour on the box shows a pinky nude tone? Well much to my surprise, when I applied the lip liner it was orange. Yes orange. Coral orange to be exact, I mean yes people have different skin tones so I know some shades can vary a little. But this was so far from nude I wanted to cry at my sheer disappointment. The consistency was something else as well, let me tell you – it was like superglue. So people, if you think of buying this lip kit, please do swatches beforehand. And use a lipgloss. Or carmex. Or WD40. Your going to need it. 

Next awesome product of the month is this Vaseline stick (I don’t know how else to describe it). The only good thing about this is the added SPF. I brought this admittedly because it was cheap, at £2. However I swear to you, it does nothing. Gives no mousturisation whatsoever. I would be better off pouring a glass of water over my lips. And I invested because the good ole Vaseline pots always work, they aren’t the best lip balm in the world – but they do the job for the low price category. Honestly, do not bother buying this it’s god awful. 

Pink Floyd: Their mortal remains, a review 

Events & launches

They are just that band for me. And they always will be. I can sit here all day and describe to you in intense detail how they subverted the progressive rock genre, how they revolutionised album artwork, introduced light shows to music performances, and completely took the entire world by storm. 


The V & A exhibition: Their mortal remains is a complete testiment to the band. Firstly it is sponsored by Sennheiser, and attendants are given their own headphones for the exhibition. This was a nice touch, and allowed everyone to have a personalised, emotive journey – in typical Floyd style. 

It was arranged in chronological order, starting from the psychedelic 60’s; channelling the huge influence from the late Syd. This section was particularly emotional, Syds story is a sad one. A creative genius, who sadly took one too many LSD trips and never came back. This section consisted of a variety of their experimental stage pyschedelic album artwork, staged in trippy rooms that made you feel high as a kite and littered with artefacts left behind by Syd. Handwritten letters to his girlfriends, a picture of the bands first car (a Bedford, and of course much more). The highlight for me was a video interviewing the band and associates about Syd. When one guy broke down talking about him, it bought a tear to my eye. Syds section was tributary, emotionally provocative and trippy. Shine on you crazy diamond. 


Throughout the exhibition you can see many of the bands greatly recogniseable iconography. The inflatable pig from Animals, the teacher from The Wall, the heads from The Division Bell. Meanwhile you are hearing excerpts from every album as you move through room to room. 


The absolute ultimate point for me was the last room, the entire room was taken up by screens…and Comfortably Numb was playing – it was then2005 concert when The Floyd performed at Live 8. It really bought the concert atmosphere to the museum. 

I’d say this exhibition is worth the £25 admission fee. I felt more emotion visiting this exhibition than I have in the last year. It reiterated to me how much we must appreciate Pink Floyd, their music and the fundamental messages they were portraying. Because, as mentioned in the exhibition; so many of the critical themes explored (particular in Dark Side Of The Moon) are still relevant now for every new generation. Austerity, isolation, time as a concept, depression and harsh realities of everyday life – they all hold such resonance. 


 Progressive, atmospheric, thought provoking sheer genius, which is utterly timeless.  This is one exhibition not to be missed out on. 

Contouring: a review in context

reviews

Contouring; according to the online dictionary is defined as – an outline of a figure or body; the edge or line that defines or bounds a shape or object. Perhaps a term more commonly used in the art and design world, contouring has recently become a massive phenomenon.

It’s been one of the biggest beauty trends since last year; everyone is talking about it, everyone is attempting to create it, it’s the structured look we’re all longing for. But, the fundamental question here is, how easy is it to achieve?

I will give a brief outline of how to achieve the ”contoured” or ”structured” look. And then compare a Chanel contoured make-up look against the humble MUA brand retailed in SuperDrug.

Being a self-confessed avid make-up addict I could go into intense detail here (believe me, just this weekend I spent £320 on Chanel make-up, the addiction is real). Here are my top tips;

  1. You need the correct tools for the job

    Like anything in life without the appropriate equipment, you will end up with a half-done job rather then a professional looking one. For contouring you need a decent primer, concealer, foundation, powder (usually darker then skin-tone for highlighting). A good foundation brush, powder brush, blending brush…and yes, you guessed it, blusher brush. For the ultimate in contouring purchase a fixing spray to keep your make-up in place.

  2. Base to basics

    You need to start with a smooth base. To ensure your skin is in the best condition, always cleanse, tone and moisturise thoroughly. Especially before applying make-up, if you wear it everyday inevitably it dries the skin. Drinking plenty of water will keep your skin nourished from the inside. After moisturising apply a primer which is suited to your skin type (for example a mattifying one for oily skin).

  3. Layering is key

    After priming start with concealer, cover all blemishes. Next layer would be highlighting, you can use a darker tone to highlight cheekbones, hide nose shapes, hide dark circles. After these layers apply your foundation, then powder (before foundation you can also use bronzer to highlight cheekbones, or after foundation application)

  4. Blend, blend and blend some more

    Each layer needs to be dry before the next layer is applied, and needs to be blended in properly. Make sure you have sufficient lighting, and good quality blending brush. So that you don’t end up with the dreaded orange foundation line around the bottom of your face, it’s not pretty, it’s not classy, and it definitely isn’t successful contouring.

Most of the beauty industry would have you believe that the most expensive products are needed to achieve the best looks; but I don’t believe this. MUA, possibly one of the cheapest brands in the cosmetic industry, has coincidently taken the industry by storm. With prices starting from as little as £1 who could argue!?

Now I’m not saying I’m about to abandon my Perfect Lumière Chanel foundation just yet…But MUA gives healthy competition for the more prestige brands, (for any brand with those prices) and I am going to review it against the French fashion, beauty and perfume powerhouse that is Chanel.

Chanel stats

Price range – Products start from £18-£80+

Quality rating- 10/10

Description-

When you think of Chanel, several connotations appear within the mind; I always envisage a dreamy black and white setting, a classically beautiful woman with curves and flowing hair sitting in a Parisian café, sipping a latte sporting cat-eye sunglasses; her hair effortlessly blowing in the wind, and her nose high in the air. Chanel is classic, classy, up-market everything a woman aspires to be. And Chanel products, despite the huge price tag are a great investment. The foundation provides a great coverage for contouring, its light and not cakey as full coverage foundations often can be. Chanel face products are also perfect for contouring as they have developed a new technology which allows them to be light resistant; consequently you don’t look different colours in different lights. The products create a radiant, flawless finish. All in all, I can’t fault the products in regards to creating a contoured look. Only advice I would give is that the bronzing powder is highly pigmented so apply sparingly.

MUA stats

Price range- Products start from £1-£10

Quality Rating- 9/10

Description-

Comparing a much cheaper, but still great quality brand to Chanel is difficult. I can’t decide which brand is better for contouring;but rather advise that you mix and match, taking the best of both and combining (better for your purse strings as well no doubt). MUA has an extensive range of products when it comes to contouring, from £1 face powders and highlighting palettes, to brilliantly helpful hydrating fixing sprays. As you can see the look created is not any less flawless to the one created using Chanel. The quality of the actual contouring kit leaves a little to be desired, the concealer has great coverage, but overall quality is lacking. However, it’s perfect for a base, as it is slightly greasy you can cover with a mattifying foundation/powder to give a less shiny finish.

In conclusion this proves my theory that no matter the price tag every brand has its staple must-have beauty buys. And amazing looks can be achieved on a low budget! Main piece of advice here is: invest in expensive products because they do last longer, however cheaper alternatives could also equally turn out to be some of your favourite products. It’s all about mixing and matching.

MUA contoured look

MUA contoured look

 *For full details of products used please check out my next post.

Chanel contoured look

Chanel contoured look