Tuesday, 31 July 2012

july empties

hair and shower empties: Lee Stafford Hair Growth conditioner, Rituals Yogi Flow shower gel, Lee Stafford My Big Fat Healthy Hair shampoo, Lee Stafford Hair Growth treatment

beauty empties: Collection Lasting Perfection concealer in 'Fair', Rimmel Stay Matte powder in 'Transparent', MAC Fix+

For the past month I've really been trying to clear out my stash of unused products - mainly bath and body products and a good few shampoos and conditioners. I'm actually kind of bored of experimenting with these things as I know what I like and what works for me and anything that I don't love, I want to get rid of.

The Lee Stafford products were all bought at the same time as part of a 3 for 2 deal in Boots. Lee Stafford doesn't really appeal to me any more - the violet shampoo was great when I was blonde but now the heavy, artificial lavender smell just makes me feel sick and the products don't do all that much for me. As far as making my hair grow these conditioners did nothing, they weren't even that good at providing moisture to my fried hair. So, I won't be repurchasing any of these.

I've seen the Rituals shower gel (which I received in my Christmas Glossybox) in a good few empties posts of late, I find it so funny that all bloggers get the same products at the same time and use them up around the same time too! Once again I won't be repurchasing as I prefer Lush or Soap and Glory for shower gels. This one is unique as it's actually a foam - it's basically the same consistency as shaving foam. I did use this while I shaved thinking it'd be really nice and moisturising but sadly this was not the case. The scent didn't appeal to me either, I prefer the sickly sweetness of Lush's Snow Fairy!

There is still a bit of product left in my Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder but it's just annoying to have to try and scrape around the edge so I'll give it one more swipe tomorrow and then it's going in the bin. I love this powder - it's cheap, cheerful and it does the job, and I've already bought a back-up.

This is the third Collection Lasting Perfection concealer I've used up and it's a firm favourite of mine (and everyone else's in the beauty community!) I bought this after hearing the lovely Leanne rave about it and haven't looked back! And yes, I have a back-up in my stores.

There is definitely still a couple more sprays left in the MAC Fix+ bottle but I wanted to include it anyway. I bought this about a year ago in the airport so it was a bit cheaper than the standard €16.50 (I think). It's an ok product but I'm not sure if I'm interested in buying again as the spray nozzle irritates me so much. It's not a nice wide mist but more of a very directional squirt. For toning down an overly powdery look I think I'm going to try the Avène Eau Thermale or a similar product by Vichy or LRP. Does anyone else have this problem with Fix+? I thought maybe I'd gotten a dud as everyone seems to love it so much!

Once again, I'd really love to hear your opinions about any of the products I've mentioned. I'm so grateful for every comment I receive! To counteract today's rather negative post I'm thinking about doing a 'Top 5 Most Reached For'-esque series so keep your eyes peeled for that over the next week :) x

Sunday, 29 July 2012

new skincare

Clarisonic Mia, Antipodes Juliet Cleanser, Alpha H Liquid Gold

Last week I went on a skincare spree. I finally treated myself to the Clarisonic Mia - which I purchased from Lookfantastic - and while there the Alpha H Liquid Gold found it's way into my basket. After making this hefty order (though it was not quite as painful as Lookfantastic were running a 35% off discount code at the time - the code was PR35 though it is no longer active, sorry!) I realised I didn't have a suitable cleanser to use with the Clarisonic when it arrived, and so over to Feelunique to get the Antipodes Juliet Cleanser which I saw in Megan's skincare routine video. So far I'm thrilled with my new purchases but I've only been trialling them since Thursday so it's still early days - I won't be reviewing these purchases for at least four weeks but you can watch Megan's video if you want to know more.
Just a short post today! I'm still trying to get into a blogging routine, I like posting every second day but I haven't been so consistent, I'm trying my hardest though! Hope you liked this little 'haul' post. If you use any of these then let me know as I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

nails & face of the evening

another nail-related post and a photo of my slightly boring evening makeup which I wore for a meal out last night. I love the look of Fear or Desire, which was released as part of Essie's Summer 2012 collection (I got mine from this Ebay seller). I love how this super bright polish looks with lots of silver jewellery and a plain white tshirt - mine is from Topshop Boutique. I think the turquoise accent on the ring (which I got from blogger Lily's jewellery shop, JWLRY) goes really well with the bright orange polish.
I would usually never dream of wearing something so bright so I kept it simple with the white tshirt, cuff necklace, black skinny jeans and ankle boots.
This is an example of how I would wear my makeup on an evening out, usually I don't wear any eyeshadow which is a pity as I have so much that never gets used! I used Urban Decay's Naked 2 palette and MAC's Satin Taupe for this simple look.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

NOTD: Essie 'St Lucia Lilac'

One of the biggest nail trends for spring and summer this year has been pastel nails and the best interpretor of this trend, for me, has been Essie. Their Diffusion line was released just in time and shades like Lilacism, Fiji and Mint Candy Apple'are really having a moment. I don't own any of the diffusion line - €13 for a nail polish is a bit too steep for me and I prefer to source my Essie and OPI polishes from a US Ebay seller. I got 'St Lucia Lilac' a few months ago, wore it for two weeks straight and moved on. However after seeing this post yesterday by one of my favourite bloggers, Jessica, I dug out my favourite milky lilac polish.

I think St Lucia Lilac is almost identical to Lilacism but I don't own both so I can't compare fully. Based on swatches I think the former is more muted and ever so slightly more blue toned. I think this is the Absolutely Shore to Lilacism's Mint Candy Apple, if that makes sense!

My base and top coat of choice are - no surprises here - OPI Nail Envy and Seche Vite. I think these are everyone's favourites! I went for a period of not wearing any basecoat at all after being so loyal to Nail Envy and my nails have really suffered, so please excuse the state of them! Every single one of them has broken - I'm not used to having them this short and this Instagram photo is a better representation of the nail length I'm comfortable with.

What have you got on your nails at the moment? And what's your favourite nail polish for summer? I don't think I could choose one but this is definitely my favourite this week!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

sunday skin saviours

(L-R: Lush Bubblegum lip scrub, Avène Rich Skin Recovery Cream, Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Boots Botanics facial oil, Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask, Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm, Lush Dark Angels, Boots Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm)

I'm not a big drinker and the main reason for that is how it makes me feel for the days following a particularly indulgent night out. It was my boyfriends birthday last week so Friday saw the whole family hitting a local restaurant/pub for a three course meal and an alcohol-heavy night - though not before a very necessary trip to the cinema (I wasn't waiting any later than the release date to see The Dark Knight Rises!)

A few too many Morgan Spice's mixed with salty food and a higher pollen count than usual meaning I woke up on Saturday morning with my skin dehydrated as well as chapped and raw in places after much sneezing and nose-blowing. I spent most of yesterday in a fast food induced coma so skincare wasn't high on the agenda and I'm really feeling the repercussions today. I always love Anna's 'Weekend Posts' where she discusses weekend pampering treatments so I thought I'd share the routine I'll be partaking in this evening to get my skin on the road to recovery.

First and foremost I'll cleanse. My skin is drier than usual so I'll be using the Boots Botanics balm cleanser I raved about in my hot cloth cleanser post. Next, a good exfoliation is in order and while my Clarisonic is in the post (squeee!!!) I'm using the Lush Dark Angels cleansing facial scrub. It's quite harsh which makes it perfect for giving the deep cleanse and exfoliation needed after a weekend of skincare negligence.

After this I'll pat my skin until it's slightly damp and then smooth a thin layer of this Sanctuary charcoal mask over my face. I'll occupy myself for the five minutes recommended time by giving my lips a good scrub with my favourite Lush lip scrub and then slathering on the Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm - Estée has done a great review on this amazing lip balm if you want to know more.

When my five minutes are up I will wash the mask away, pat my skin dry and spritz with the Caudalie Beauty Elixir. Another product with a massive following because of that Lisa Eldridge video, it's perfect for this Sunday routine as it's soothing and refreshing and smells amazing!

The Avène Rich Skin Recovery Cream is perfect for soothing my currently chapped skin and this is the next step in my routine. I'll concentrate this on areas which need it - mainly around the corners of my nose - and allow it to skin in for about five minutes before my next step; facial oil. This 100% organic one from Botanics is the first one I've tried and it's really reasonably priced at €14.99. I'll massage this all over my face using my fingers and the deep hydration it gives is amazing. It has the same herbally scent as the balm cleanser which I'm assuming comes from the 'nourishing rosehip' which they both contain.

After this (perhaps excessive) routine I'm hoping my skin will look a lot brighter and feel soothed and recovered. There's nothing I hate more than my skin feeling dry so to me these steps are all very necessary! Once again I apologise for the lengthy post! If you want any more detail on a particular product please let me know as I'd love to start doing individual product reviews!
Do you have a Sunday skincare routine or any products you use to help your skin recover after a night out? Please do share! Also - if you've seen The Dark Knight Rises let me know, I'm a massive fan of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy and I couldn't contain my excitement at seeing the final instalment on Friday! I thought it was absolutely flawless and I'm going to see it again tomorrow! What did you think if you've seen it? xx

Saturday, 21 July 2012

wishlist #2

1. drink up intensive overnight mask, Origins.
2. makeup bag, Cath Kidston.
3. khaki shirt, Topshop.
4. core collection brush set, Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman.
5. biker jacket, Topshop.
6. ankle socks, Topshop.

What's on your wishlist this week? Coveting any of the same items as me? xxx

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

hot cloth cleansers

While the frenzy has died down around hot cloth cleanser in the beauty blogging and vlogging community, their popularity is still rife. Liz Earle's iconic Cleanse & Polish features in just about everyone's skincare routine with bloggers reluctant to talk about it 'in detail' for fear of repetition (don't worry, I am no different!)  I love a good hot cloth cleanser and it's my preferred method of evening cleansing so I thought I'd share three of my favourites and how I use them.

Hot cloth cleansers are so well received because they work for pretty much all skin types and are great multi-purpose products as they remove makeup, cleanse, give a gentle exfoliation (with the use of a hot muslin cloth - Liz Earle's are the best) and their creamy textures and nourishing ingredients also offer moisture to a dryer skin type. Hot cloth cleansers are my preferred method of evening cleansing; first I remove the bulk of my eye makeup with Bioderma or a similar makeup removal solution and then massage a euro coin sized amount of the hot cloth cleanser into dry skin. They dissolve away all traces of makeup (yes, even Double Wear!) and you can then buff away the cleanser with a muslin cloth which has been soaked in (comfortably) hot water. Most nights I even hold the hot cloth over my face for sixty seconds to really open my pores before I start buffing.

(L-R,  Boots Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm, Soap & Glory the Fab Pore Hot Cloth Cleanser, Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser.)

Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm, €13.49 for 70ml by Botanics, available from Boots stores: Unfortunately I never got to try and test the original formula (Megan has done a great post explaining the difference) in a way this works to my advantage as so many people are mourning the re-branding of cult Botanics cleanser. I love this cleanser and it even featured in my favourites. It's a really unusual formula and completely different to anything I've tried before which probably explains why I'm totally in awe of it. The formula is solid and reminds me of hair wax, but it starts to melt as soon as it comes into contact with the heat from your hands/face (as you might be able to see in the picture) which makes it really easy to work with. It claims to be 97% organic with nourishing rosehip and while, admittedly, the organic-ness of a product is not an attribute I'm too fussed about, I can attest to it's nourishing qualities. Some complain of the oily film it leaves on the skin but this doesn't bother me at all as I really slather on the moisturiser at night. My skin is slightly oily, I'd call it normal-combination but I'd rather be too oily than too dry so this is great for me, it acts as a sort of moisturising treatment on the nights I use it (every third night or so). It smells really nice and natural too, always a bonus!

Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser 100ml Starter Kit, €17 by Liz Earle, available here: This is probably number one most overexposed product in the online beauty community. It has a solid base of long-time, die-hard fans who have been using it for years and it is most frequently cited as being a great product for when you want to take your skincare routine 'back to basics' (as mentioned by Anna and Barbara). This is actually my first bottle of the iconic cleanser as it is generally only available online to Irish consumers, and after years of hearing about it, it hasn't disappointed! This is the main cleanser in my routine and I look forward to using it every night; it feels really smooth and luxurious and is great at removing makeup. Another worthwhile point is the customer service delivered by Liz Earle, delivery was speedy and I recieved no less than three of their fantastic muslin cloths with my order as well as a miniature sample size of Cleanse & Polish, samples of their Sheer Skin Tint (which Louise loves) and a ton of great brochures and leaflets about their products. Amazing considering all I bought was one bottle of cleanser!

The Fab Pore Hot Cloth Cleanser, €13.49 from Soap & Glory, available from Boots stores: This is a supposed dupe for the aforementioned Cleanse & Polish but for a better price and is more readily available to us on the Emerald Isle. It is very similar to Liz Earle's offering in everything from concept to consistency to scent. I do prefer Cleanse & Polish and I can't quite put my finger on why because this is a great product and they are very similar. I would definitely repurchase because of the differences in price and availability compared to Liz Earle. The formula is not quite as smooth and creamy as Cleanse & Polish and it is a little easier to massage into the skin as Liz Earle is thicker and so takes more time to break down. This is, perhaps obviously, my least favourite of the three cleansers I've mentioned but that doesn't mean that it doesn't deliver and I was perfectly happy using it before I discovered the other two! For a more in-depth review beaut.ie has done a great post!

Congratulations if you managed to read through my overly lengthy verdict on hot cloth cleansers. I appreciate any feedback, let me know if you've tried any of the products I've mentioned, if you love them or hate them or want to try them! Thanks for reading :) xx

Friday, 13 July 2012

five current favourites

(L-R: Rimmel Sunshimmer in 'Light Matte', Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation in '51 Light Vanilla', Sleek Pout Paint in 'Pin Up', Essie nail polish in 'Absolutely Shore', Boots Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm)

Just an insight into some products I have been loving over the few weeks. I have fallen into a bit of a rut with my everyday routine so none of the products are particularly exciting! Some are old favourites and some, new discoveries. I considered posting an 'everyday products' type post but when I laid the products out to be photographed I realised just how boring my daily routine is!

After Julie's video where she cited Rimmel Sunshimmer as her favourite self tanner I recalled using it two years ago on my eighteenth birthday and loving how fuss free it was, so next time I was near a Boots I nabbed a tube. I haven't looked back since! It's definitely saved me a lot of hassle although for special occasions I will continue to use St Moritz (and partake in the three day preparation which it entails!)

I bought this foundation on a trip to London in May when we had actual, real summer weather and my Estee Lauder foundation of choice was unbearable in the heat. I love this foundation as it creates a semi-flawless base and feels a lot lighter than my usual Double Wear. When I wear this I pair it with MAC Studio Finish concealer for extra coverage and I've really been enjoying a less full on (in my opinion!) look!

While the formulation of the Sleek Pout Paint isn't the best, I love the colour and the finish. An added bonus includes the oh so satisfactory application! I find the colour more flattering than MAC Russian Red lipstick and the finish more comfortable. I would LOVE to get my hands on an OCC Lip Tar to compare them, though, as I mentioned in my last post!

I bought Absolutely Shore on recommendation from Anna, I love mint polishes but the famous Mint Candy Apple seemed too bright for my tastes. I bought this from a US Ebay seller so it's not part of the diffusion line (available in Boots and Superdrug) but it's a lot cheaper! Application isn't great and it takes about three coats to achieve opacity but I love the colour so much I can get over it!

I haven't had this hot cloth cleanser too long but I've been enjoying using it so much. Alix raves about this and I trust her skincare recommendations so when I saw Botanics products were 3 for 2 in Boots a few weeks ago I snapped this up. It smells fantastic and it feels so luxurious and moisturising on the skin and at the end of the day I'm excited to use this product!

If you love (or hate!) any of the products I've mentioned let me know! I'd also love to know what your current favourites are and if there are any product recommendations you have for me! Sorry about the lengthly post but I wanted to give a mini-review of each product! xx

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

wishlist #1

(clockwise from top left)
1. acid wash jeans, Topshop.
2. skull necklace, Topshop.
3. Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid, Alpha H
4. Mia Sonic Cleansing System by Clarisonic
5. Lip Tar in 'Stalker', Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
6. oversized sunglasses, ASOS.

I'm on a spending ban at the moment so naturally I want to buy absolutely everything. Instead I thought I'd share six things I'm lusting over - maybe some of you feel my pain as I've included the ever-coveted yet ever-expensive Clarisonic Mia! What's on your wishlist at the moment and what do you think of mine?