Are cleansing brushes worth the hype?

Mary Kay Skinvigorate
Cleansing brushes have been gaining popularity over the last few years and I have seen lots of blog reviews as well as marketing for the various different versions on the market. It has always intrigued me, but the price point for some of the higher end versions is enough to make me wince, and frankly, I’d rather spend my money on something else! I was lucky enough to win the Mary Kay Skinvigorate Cleansing Brush in a blog giveaway so I was pretty thrilled to be able to try one out without spending any of my hard earned cash!Continue Reading . . .

May Must Haves

May Must Haves
Oh my god, how is it the end of May already?! This year is just flying by! Well as it is the end of the month, it is time to resurrect my Monthly Must Haves. So without further ado, these are the fab items that I have been loving this month!


Haircare

haircare favourites

I have just bought my third lot of the L’Oreal Elvive Fibrology shampoo and conditioner, so it is safe to say I am loving them. My hair is already very thick, but I often feel I need a bit of a boost at my roots. This fab duo leaves my hair smelling great and feeling thicker and bouncier. Even my boyfriend has commented that his hair feels thicker!

I have also been loving the Aussie Miracle Recharge Conditioning Spray to keep my hair from getting dry and horrible. I have reviewed this bad boy for a guest post on Parie’s blog, Class and Glitter, which should be up very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for some haircare tips!

Makeup bag Essentials

Makeup Bag Favourites

Let’s first of all start with this beauty of a makeup bag from Primark. I love tribal prints and the monochrome fabric with the pop of bright yellow on the zip is summertime perfection for me. My current makeup bag needed an update and this one was calling out to me!

My lips always seem to get quite dry, and certain lipsticks make it worse, particularly matte finishes (sob), so my must have lip product is LUSH’s lip scrub. They come in a variety of flavours, but my fave is Mint Julips which is just like mint choc chip…yum! I have reviewed this before, so definitely check it out if you are considering popping this is your shopping basket.

Maybelline’s Lash Sensational Mascara could actually be my all time favourite mascara. Bold claim, I know. But this stuff works wonders! I did try Roller Lash when it came out, and if I’m honest, it didn’t really do it for me. A lot of people have said this baby is a great dupe for Roller Lash, but I actually think it is much better, plus it half the price. My lashes look so full and long that people have asked me if I am wearing false lashes!

Primark Fashion Nails

I’ve mentioned Primark’s £1 stick on nails before, but they have lots of super cute summer time patterns in store at the moment, I just couldn’t resist the little flaminigos and pastel icecream cones! They are the perfect way to jazz up an outfit if you don’t have time for a full mani. They are so easy to apply and they last for a good couple of days before they start to ping off.

Skincare

Pure Chimp Super Body Cream

I’m a huge fan of Purechimp products after trying out their Super Face Cream. Their products are completely natural and so they are ideal for those who have sensitive skin. Since I loved the face cream so much, I decided to purchase the body cream too. I’ve been stressed a lot at work recently, and this causes a dermatitis flare up (sorry if this is TMI!) on my elbows and fingers. This is really itchy and sore and can lead to my skin cracking and peeling. This fantastic cream can help to stop the rash plus it heals the cracked skin really fast. To put this into perspective, I had been applying a really rich hand cream to my sore fingers three or four times a day and was having no luck relieving it. I put this cream on once and the itching and soreness was gone overnight and within a few days it had healed. My sister gets the same thing and this is the only product that helps her out too. This really is a miracle cream if you suffer from skin allergies, I can’t recommend it enough.

DIY

Keri Smith Wreck This Journal

I recently won a copy of Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal in a blog giveaway and I was so excited because I have wanted to get it for ages! The moment it came through the letterbox I began flicking through the pages looking at all the different ways I will be destroying it. I have already completed a few of the pages and once it is finished I will write a post showing you what I have done! I really recommend this for anyone who likes to be a bit creative – or destructive! It would make a fantastic present as well.

What are your Must Have products? Have you tried any of mine?

Seven things from LUSH to add to your beauty wishlist

LUSH wishlist

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 
After a long and stressful day at work, I like nothing more than running myself a bath, popping in a bath bomb and catching up on some trash TV on Netflix. I am currently down to my last bar of Fun (which can be used as a bubble bar – hurrah!) so I thought it was about time I made myself a little Lush shopping list.
When you really need to relax after a hard day, the Twilight Bath Bomb needs to be your go to product. The scent is lavender based to aid relaxation and prepare you for bed time.
This isn’t any old scrub, oh no! You can use this in your hair too! Sounds a bit bizarre, but the primary ingredient is sea salt, making it the perfect product to cleanse and create volume . Hello mermaid hair…
This bath bomb contains space dust. Yes. That’s right, SPACE DUST! If you listen carefully you can hear it crackle as it spins around in the water. You have to admit, that is pretty cool! The scent is deliciously sweet and fruity.
Now this one is completely new to me. I’ve never used serum as part of my skin care routine – I know I am a terrible human being – so I think I should investigate what will work for my skin. This seems to be ideal for my combination skin as it moisturises dry areas but controls oil too. Just one thing putting me off though – the main ingredient is Portobello Mushroom. I have a thing about mushrooms, I find them completely repulsive, so not sure I want to rub this all over my face…. Let me know if you use this and how mushroomy it is!
5. Green Bubbleroon Bubble Bar, £3.65
I love a bubble bar, and this cute macaroon smells so summery and leaves skin feeling really soft. Plus as it is a bubble bar you can get about four uses out of it! 
6. The Comforter Bubble Bar, £4.75
This is everyone’s holy grail bath product so I imagine it is on everyone’s LUSH wishlist! I love the gorgeous berry scent and how pink it turns the bath water. I also find that it lasts a while as you get a good amount of bubbles from a small chunk of the bar.
7. Karma Bubble Bar, £3.25
After The Comforter, this is probably my second favourite bubble bar due to the strong and sweet citrus smell. Again as this is a bubble bar you can get a good amount of use out of it.

What’s on your LUSH wishlist? Have you tried any of these products?

5 reasons you should go back to basics with your cleanser

Lush Ultrabland cleanser

If you are up to date with my posts you will know that I often suffer from troublesome skin and I have tried all sorts of wonderful products in my battle to combat those pesky spots. But recently I have found myself wanting to strip my skincare routine right back to basics. I was previously using a micellar water, an eye make up remover and an astringent lotion to remove my make up and cleanse my skin but I found this process to be too time consuming, too many products and actually not very good. So when I was in Lush about a month ago I started speaking to one of the lovely girls who worked there about what I needed from a skincare product and she recommended that I try the Ultrabland Facial Cleanser.

What really sold me with this product it the fact that Lush founders have declared this their “number one desert island product”. The cleanser is very mild and feels like a thick almost buttery cream which melts down into an oily consistency. It is very rich and it feels so nourishing. Now I know we all love Lush for their amazing smelling bath bombs, soaps and shower gels however this is a very different product. I’ve read some negative reviews where people say it stink…it really doesn’t Personally I think the name is very apt because the scent is ultra bland. It is barely there, if anything it smells slightly of beeswax but it is really no noticeable of offensive. It is just very pure and not chemically or artificial smelling like a lot of cleansers

The product is typical of Lush, very natural based with no nasties in there to cause flare ups for those with sensitive skin. Ingredients include almond oil, rose water, beeswax and honey which are perfect for soothing and hydrating your skin. Although I have oily skin, I actually love oil based cleansers more than anything. They are amazing at removing heavy make up including waterproof mascara and eyeliner, and Ultrabland does not disappoint.

I apply a small amount of cream to dry skin and gently rub in to my skin in small circles. When I get to my eyes, I very gently smooth my fingertips in a downwards motion to coat the lids and lashes with the products and slide the liner and mascara away from my eyes. I like to look in the mirror at this point because you look like a scary ghost with big black panda eyes/face (depending on how crazy you get with the sliding technique) Sometimes if I’m feeling silly I will hide and try to scare him because I look ridiculous and I’m childish :) When I am done clowning around I dampen my hands slightly and rub over the product as it slightly emulsifies the oil and helps to lift grime and make up from your face. Then using a damp face cloth I wipe away the product gently and voila I am clean and have a naked face once more.

So here are my five reasons you should go back to basics with your cleanser:

  1. It is fantastic at removing all traces of make up, not matter how heavy it its.
  2. Ultrabland is so gentle and it has never irritated my skin. If you are prone to allergic reasons or sensitivities to skincare products I really recommend you try his out.
  3. The antibacterial properties of this cleanser have really helped keep breakouts at bay.
  4. Thanks to the almond oil and honey it is a very moisturising cleanser and it leaves my skin feeling plump and soft after cleansing.
  5. Aside from preservatives, the cleanser is made with natural ingredients that have been selected for their fantastic properties so you avoid slathering chemicals all your face.
If you are persuaded to go back to basics with your cleansing routine, you can pick up the Ultrabland Facial Cleanser from Lush. It is available in two sizes, 45g for £7.25 and 100g for £11.50.
Are you convinced to strip back to basics? What Lush skincare products do you rate?

How Vichy Dermablend foundation has improved my confidence

Vichy Dermablend foundation

I am usually quite reluctant to try out new foundations, I have been using MAC Studio Fix Fluid for years now as I love the buildable coverage. However I do find that for me, it can slightly exacerbate oil production and I regularly have to blot to avoid looking greasier than a chip pan. Whilst I have found some products that help reduce this, namely La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat moisturiser – I felt like an improvement could be made. So after reading lots of reviews I decided to try out Vichy Dermablend foundation.

Vichy Dermablend foundation

I know that I am a MAC NC15 so I used Temptalia’s Foundation Matrix to work out which shade I needed. If you have not used this tool before it is amazing. You can find hundreds of products on there so it really makes changing foundation easy as pie. So relying on the matrix I went with shade 15 Opal and I was pretty worried that it would be too dark. When I opened the tube I squeezed a tiny amount on the back of my hand and I was a little scared I’d look tangoed, but once I applied it to my face it blended in seamlessly and it is truly the perfect shade for me! I used my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush to buff in the foundation and I have to say it applies like a dream.

I worked in thin layers and built up the product on areas that needed a little more attention. I found that it was so high coverage that I could use it like a concealer. I switched to my Royal and Langnickel concealer brush and applied a small amount around my eye area and it really improved the appearance of my awful dark circles. The product is quite creamy but has quite a matte finish – I felt like I didn’t need to use as much powder to set it.

If you have read some of my other reviews, you will know that I have previously suffered from bad skin, whilst my complexion has improved a lot over the last six months or so, I still struggle sometimes with my chin area. So the real test for this foundation was if it could conceal the redness and blemishes that I suffer from. I decided the best way to do this was to take before and after photos to see if the coverage is really all it has been cracked up to be. Now I feel a bit self-conscious about these photos as it is not something that I really want the world to see, but if it helps someone else with skin that isn’t perfect then that’s fine by me.

Before

No Make up - blemishes and redness on chin area
Please excuse the towel!!

After

Vichy Dermablend foundation after photo

As you can see in the after photo, the redness, pores and blemishes are much less visible and my skin tone looks even. I was thrilled with the result and I think that the level of coverage is great. I have worn this almost every day now since I bought it and my make up still looks good after a long say of work, my skin is less oily that it was before and I feel more confident. So in my books this is a winner and I will definitely repurchase when I run out.

If you are tempted to give Vichy Dermablend foundation a try, you can purchase it from Boots for £16 or from Feel Unique for £17.

Have you tried Vichy Dermablend before? What foundations to you recommend for high coverage?

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat review

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat
If you have been reading my blog recently, particularly my post reviewing the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo you will know that I suffer from oily, spot prone skin (lucky me!). I have had such a good experience with the three products from the range that when I spotted Effaclar Mat on the shelf in Boots I just had to give it a go.

I love the packaging of La Roche-Posay products, it is so clean and clinical looking it almost looks medicinal. However, unlike the rest of the collection, the tube has a matte finish to mirror the use of the product – it is details like this that I just swoon over! (I know I am sad!)
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat is a sebo-regulating moisturiser, meaning that it controls the levels of sebum produced by the skin. Sebum is the proper name given to the oil in your skin, those like me with oily skin produce more sebum than those with dry skin. The moisturiser claims to be anti-shine and to reduce pore size.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat

I have been applying the moisturiser twice a day after cleansing including around the eye and neck area. The product feels very light which is preferable to me, I found because of this it sinks into the skin quickly. It is just the right level of hydrating for me. My skin feels plump and soft but not greasy and there is no sticky residue left behind.

I have found that my skin gets less oily throughout the day. Before using this cream I would need to blot a couple of times a day at least, but now I can get away with just blotting at lunchtime so I feel a lot more confident in myself knowing that my forehead isn’t glistening!

I can’t say that I have noticed that much of a difference in pore size, but I don’t really believe that any product can shrink them, it is just genetics. However my skin is looking clear and healthy with no signs of breakouts after three weeks of use so I am really pleased.

The La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat moisturiser is £14 for a 40ml tube in Boots (who are currently doing 3 for 2 on skincare GO GO GO!). Personally I am more than happy to pay this because I can see a difference in my skin so it is likely to be something that I will repurchase when I finish the tube.


What products do you recommend for oily skin?

La Roche-Posay Skincare Effaclar Review

La Roche-Posay Skincare Effaclar
I feel like I have always had problems with my skin, but in reality my problems really began when I was about ten years old. The hormones were beginning to hit me, I grew really quickly and my skin suddenly transformed into the skin of a teenager three years too early.

However, as an adult, my spots changed. Now I was suffering from large inflamed under the skin type spots along my jawline, neck and chin. They were painful,  prominent and very embarrassing. I tried a lot of spot treatments that didn’t really work and I was on the verge of booking a doctor’s appointment when I read some really positive reviews of La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo on various beauty blogs. French pharmacy products were a pretty big thing in the blogosphere at the time (and still are) so I thought I would give it a try.
So the next day I made a beeline for Boots and happily found they were running a 3 for 2 offer on skincare products so as well as Effaclar Duo, I picked up the Purifying Foaming Gel and Astringent Lotion Micro-Exfoliant. The cardboard packaging (not pictured sorry) sported a label saying that it if it didn’t clear your skin, you could get your money back. Sounded pretty promising to me!

I absolutely love the Purifying Foaming Gel, it has replaced all my other face washes. It removes any traces of oil from my face and leaves it feeling soft and smooth. The formula is soap and alcohol free so it does not leave my skin feeling tight and dried out.

I don’t use the Astringent Lotion Micro-Exfoliant as much as I should do simply because some days I am running late and want a minimised skincare routine on work days. But I have found it to be very refreshing and I love that it is an exfoliant as well. I must prefer to use chemical exfoliants than scrubs because they are less harsh on the skin as well.

Honestly though, the hero product has to be Effaclar Duo. I use this twice a day, every day. Throughout the summer I have used in instead of a moisturiser, but the rest of the year I like to apply a light moisturiser over the top. The cream has cleared by skin up and on the rare occasions when a pesky spot does crop up, the cream helps to eliminate it very quickly and reduce any redness or scaring that is left behind. I have used a few tubes of this product and I am still loving it, so I can definitely say this is going to stay a major part of my skincare routine for a long time to come!

I religiously use these products and I cannot express enough how much good it has done to my skin. All of my spots have cleared up and I rarely get any now. My pores were once prone to clogging and huge and I while they are still on the large side (thanks genetics!) they are not clogged and look smaller.

My family and friends have even complimented me on my skin since using these three products so it has really boosted my self-confidence. So If you are struggling with oily skin, acne and blocked pores and you have not tried this range, I cannot recommend them enough! You can get them from Boots and often for a discounted price from Feel Unique.

Have you tried La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo? What skincare products do you rely on to keep your skin blemish free?

Freeman Dead Sea Minerals Facial Anti-Stress Mask Review*

Freeman Dead Sea Minerals Facial Anti-Stress Mask

A stressful day at work provided the perfect opportunity to try out the Freeman Dead Sea Minerals Facial Anti-Stress Mask*. The face mask contains some wonderful natural ingredients such as sea minerals, seaweed extract, kaolin, lavender and bergamot which work together to draw out impurities from the skin whilst soothing and replenishing it. The mask can be purchased in individual sachets, which is a great way to try it out and if you love it you can purchase a full sized tube.


The mask itself is the most gorgeous teal colour and it is quite thick and creamy in consistency. It smells very fresh and faintly like the sea, which is  soothing whilst relaxing in the bath. The face mask is very easy to apply and feels almost gel like rather than stiff like some clay based masks that I have used. I found that there was a lot more product in the sachet than I actually needed, so this would be great to share with a friend at a sleepover.

I washed the mask off after about 20 minutes and patted the skin dry. I found that it removed any traces of oil on my skin and left my pores looking great. As a sufferer of oily skin, I was pretty impressed with this! I’d say this is a product that is more suited for those with oily or combination skin, as it may be a little too drying for those with dry or sensitive skin.

For just £1.50 per sachet, I think that the Freeman Dead Sea Minerals Facial Anti-Stress Mask is a bargain and I will definitely use it to keep the shine at bay. The sachets are the perfect size to pop in your suitcase for holidays and weekends away to aid relaxation. Tesco will be launching the Feeling Beautiful range in September, so keep your eyes peeled when you next go grocery shopping!

How do you relax when you are feeling stressed? What if your favourite face mask?

Pure Chimp Super Cream review

Pure Chimp Super Cream

I have quite sensitive skin and often find that I am allergic to beauty products or the things I come into contact with in my ever day life. Often it is man-made chemicals that can trigger it off so where possible I love to try out 100% natural products to prevent irritation. When I found out about Pure Chimp I was really keen to give their products a go.

I opted for the Super Cream as from the description on the website, it seemed like it was a miracle cure for every skin related ailment. Like most beauty bloggers I love a product that can multi-task so it seemed like a great choice.

As I mentioned before, the cream in 100% natural, it is not tested on animals, suitable for vegans and it is handmade in the UK – surely these must tick some of your boxes! The cream is made from hemp wax, hemp oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, shea butter, banana extract and sea buckthorn oil. This luxurious blend of ingredients is rich in Omega 3 and 6 which it vital for skin repair and nourishment.

I have been using this product for a few months now when I feel like my skin is becoming dry. It is particularly soothing after suffering a cold when your nose can become quite dry and sore. Not only has this product left my face feeling soft and hydrated, but it has become a go to product for when allergies flare up. A little dab of cream soothes itching and repairs dry and damaged areas of skin. I have used the cream on my knees and elbows to prevent them from getting dry and it works wonders. This truly it a multi-functional product.

The Super Cream itself has quite a runny consistency thanks to the healthy oils it contains. As the oils are good oils, it means that they do not clog your pores, which is great for people who are prone to suffering from blocked pores. It is also a little bit grainy – but not in a scratchy way – which is a little unusual at first but it sinks into the skin beautifully. I love the Pure Chimp Super Cream and I am almost nearing the end of my tub. I will definitely be repurchasing the cream as it is amazing for sensitive skin.

If you want to give this amazing product a try, Pure Chimp are offering samples from the website for just £1, the perfect way to try the product before you buy a full-sized tub. You can purchase the Pure Chimp Super Cream from their website for £14.95 for a 60ml jar.

Do you suffer from sensitive skin? What products do you use to help prevent and soothe dryness or itchiness? Have you tried any of the Pure Chimp products?

LUSH Mint Julips Lib Scrub review

Mint Julips Lip Scrub from Lush

One of my pet peeves is having dry lips. Unfortunately for me, this is something that I regularly struggle with. Sometimes it is caused by the weather and other times by super matte lipsticks (MAC RiRi Woo, I’m looking at you…). So to solve my dry lip woes I decided to head down to my local LUSH store and pick up the beauty blogger favourite, the Mint Julips lip scrub. While the concept of a lip scrub does sound a little bit daft – my mum laughed when I told her about it!! – this is actually pure genius.

The scrub is made with the natural ingredients, caster sugar, organic jojoba oil, vanilla extract, tagetes oil, peppermint oil and limonene. This gorgeous concoction smells (and tastes!) amazing. It is exactly like mint choc chip ice-cream. The sugar gently buffs away dead skin cells from your lips leaving them soft looking and feeling and visibly plumped. The oils can then penetrate the new layer of skin to re-hydrate the lips.

Mint Julips Lip Scrub from Lush

Now, I mentioned earlier that Mint Julips not only smells like heave, but also tastes like it too! That’s right… you can eat it! Seeing as the main ingredient is caster sugar, and the rest is all natural, it is perfectly safe to eat the product. This means application is incredibly simple. You simply dab your finger into the pot picking up a small amount of product. I prefer to lick my lips first – I don’t really know if it matters, but my reasoning is you wouldn’t put a face scrub on a dry face – then gently scrub my lips with a small circular motion. As soon as you feel that you’ve scrubbed enough, simply lick it off! So tasty and so convenient!

If minty chocolatey goodness is not your cup of tea, never fear, Lush also stock this scrub in Popcorn and Bubblegum flavors. Popcorn is not my favourite scent, but the Bubblegum smells wonderful. Overall, I really recommend the LUSH lip scrubs for anyone who suffers from dry lips. There is a lot of product packed in the pot so they last for ages, but I know when mine runs out I will certainly by repurchasing. You can get your hands on your own from LUSH Cosmetics stores or their website for £5.50 for a 25g tub.

Have you tried any of the LUSH lip scrubs? How do you cope with dry lips? Which flavour do you prefer?