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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Lush 'American Cream' Conditioner

If you read Sunday's post, you'll know that I've recently branched out into the Lush hair care range.  My mum bought me this small bottle of 'American Cream' conditioner to try as a little stocking filler when it was my birthday a few months ago and, not that I want to spoil the ending for you, but I bloomin' love it! Honestly - I'm addicted.  'American Cream' is said to be a 'milkshake thick conditioner that helps cleanse and soften the hair' whilst leaving it silky smooth and super shiny. With its strawberries and cream inspired fragrance and soothing hint of sage and lavender, it really does smell good enough to eat! I was instantly sold on the scent - it is simply divine and the delicate hint of sage stops it from being overly sweet.  It's rather unique - definitely a more luxurious version of your typical, vanilla scented products.  The scent lingers on the hair for ages afterwards - I wash my hair every other day and I could still smell the scent after the second day - it's almost like a conditioner and subtle hair perfume in one in my opinion! I found myself deliberately swishing my hair about just so I could keep catching a whiff of this stuff - it's so dreamy...

Not only does it smell beautiful but it does an amazing job at conditioning the hair too. It isn't overly thick in consistency but it's so smooth and creamy in texture - you really don't need a large amount at all.  The first time I used this, I think I must have over-applied like I do with my normal conditioners - but you only need to work a small blob in through the mid-lengths and into the ends for this one to do its job.  My hair was left feeling so unbelievably soft and smooth - it was baby soft to the touch and the ends looked really shiny and healthy.  If you're going to be styling your hair the next day - I'd bear this in mind as I've found that it can make it a little bit fly away but this stuff really does deliver in the softening stakes! It's been a while since my hair has felt so soft and easy to comb through after washing. If your hair is in need of some gentle TLC and has been feeling a little dry and brittle of late, I really recommend trying a bottle of this.  I'd actually go as far as to say it works better than some of my deep conditioners (and let me tell you I've tried my fair share) and as soon as this bottle runs out, I'm going to invest in a larger size -  it definitely deserves a space on my bathroom shelf!  

The small bottle that I have retails at £4.50 for 100g (larger sizes - £8.95 for 250g / £14.25 for 500g) - it's more of a treat than a daily conditioner but one that's well worth it since you don't need to over-apply in order to see its moisturising benefits. If that doesn't get you hooked, the scent most certainly will! It's one of those pamper products I really look forward to using after a long day or simply when I just fancy a bit of a beauty treat - i found it worked really nicely alongside their 'BIG' shampoo too (review here) - together they really do work well at cleansing the hair and making it soft, shiny and altogether much more radiant and healthy.

You can find 'American Cream' on the LUSH website here.
Have you tried any LUSH hair products?

Sunday 28 September 2014

Lush 'BIG' Sea Salt Shampoo

Yes. I finally went there. I took the Lush obsession beyond the odd bath bomb or two.  After reading mixed reviews about their 'BIG' shampoo and having never tried Lush's haircare range before, I must admit I was a little unsure - but I couldn't resist the promise of fuller, glossier locks and quite fancied mixing up my haircare routine.  When I was on holiday in Greece this year, I loved the way my hair had so much natural volume in it due to the change in environment - a combination of the sun and the sea worked miracles for my hair and when I arrived home, I missed my swishy, volumised barnet.  The fact that the main ingredient in Lush's 'BIG' is sea salt made it my first port of call in a bid to recreate my bouncy, effortless holiday-mermaid hair!  

'BIG' is said to be a softening, volumising shampoo containing coarse sea salt, sea water and seaweed extracts. Whilst the salt helps to lift and add body, the extra virgin coconut oil and protein rich seaweed softens the hair and injects moisture.  Lemon and lime help to add shine as they allow the cuticles on your hair to lie flat, thus reflecting more light - oo it's all very scientific ya know! After doing my research into the ingredients, I hoped for summery beach hair in a tub...

The texture is unlike any other hair product I've ever used - it's gel-like, slightly lumpy/gritty (due to the sea salt) and feels quite cool to the touch.  I gathered a rather sizeable blob in my hands and began to work it through my hair - which is when I realised that 'BIG' is rather unlike any other volume shampoo I've tried in the past... it doesn't lather too well! *I've since been informed that you just need a lot of water to work up more of a lather - I guess I didn't add enough - to be fair, it did create a light lather but just not the level of suds I was used to!* It's a sensation I've not really experienced before and I must admit I was a little worried - I had visions of having to get straight back in the shower because it really didn't feel as if I was cleaning my hair and I was gearing myself up for a negative review (sorry, LUSH - I love you but you did throw me off guard with this one!). You have to work it through gently too as the bits of sea salt can be a little bit scratchy - but it actually feels quite satisfying - like a strange, sea salty head massage!  But despite my initial uncertainty, I was very pleasantly surprised.  Honestly, this shampoo really did clean and cleanse my hair amazingly well. I was amazed at how shiny and soft it was after just one use and my blonde appeared brighter and lighter - if you've ever used a cleansing shampoo, you'll know the feeling I'm describing. I was so impressed. My hair looked and felt so healthy and soft to the touch.

But the 'BIG' question (lolz), did it volumise? I have to say - it does do a great job at lifting the hair and making it feel altogether more 'swishy'. It looked visibly more lifted and 'plumped' at the root. I applied my heated rollers after drying and my hair was visibly quite bouncy and light - even more so than when I wash it with a regular shampoo. It wasn't a drastic 'oh my goodness my hair looks so volumous' effect, but it was certainly noticeable. I've been meaning to try it again alongside blow-drying my hair upside down - I can image this will work wonders (if you want to maximise volume potential it's always good to blow-dry upside-down - this is one of my usual tactics!) It certainly transformed my dull, lifeless hair into shinier, healthier looking hair and I really recommend this if you're experiencing limp, dry hair that's in need of a bit of a perk up!

Overall, I have to say, 'BIG' is a winner in my books - if not for the volumising effect but for the fact it breathed so much life into my hair and made it look so much healthier.  It definitely provides a slightly different hair-washing experience - which actually adds to the attraction to this product for me.  At first, you might feel a bit unsure about the fact that it's difficult to get a lather going and slightly weird, lumpy consistency, but roll with it and I can guarantee you'll be left pleasantly surprised like I was.  I've used it a few times since and still have a load left - which is great considering this stuff isn't the cheapest of hair care out there. Priced at £11.35 for 330g, it's definitely more of a treat but one that's worth it for both the benefits it provides and the slight novelty value!  It also smells lovely and fresh - with a hint of 'ocean' in there (what else would you expect?!) and a citrus-y kick, it's quite a unique scent - one that completely freshens up your hair and lingers slightly even once you've washed and dried it. I can imagine it's going to be a 'marmite' product but personally, I love it!  Also, keep your eyes peeled for a review of their 'American Cream' conditioner soon - together with 'BIG' i think I may have found my newest dream team...  You can find 'BIG' on the Lush website here.

Have you tried Lush's 'BIG' shampoo? What did you think? 

Sunday 21 September 2014

My MAC Lipstick Collection

Now then. Before I begin, let's address the obvious - I have too many Mac lipsticks. 27 if we're going to be precise. I'm fully aware that nobody needs this many Mac lipsticks (or this many lipsticks in general for that matter...) but as a beauty enthusiast, they're something I both enjoy and appreciate having - for me, they really are the cream of the crop when it comes to lip products.  Over the past few years, they have become something of a staple in my makeup routine and I'm sure if you're a fellow lipstick-aholic like myself, you'll understand my deep rooted love for these beauties. They're a classic. Mac get it spot on the mark when it comes to lipsticks - everything from their sleek design, to the delicate vanilla fragrance to the outstanding variety of shades and finishes - I love it all - there's nothing like waltzing into the Mac shop and casting your eyes over the array of lippies! It's a beauty blogger's dream! My makeup never feels complete without a slick of lipstick or two, and I'll often spend a few minutes of a morning looking through my collection picking the perfect shade for the day. 

So, I've decided it's time to share my collection with you all.  I love reading about other people's Mac collections as it always manages to spark some inspiration - it seemed about time I finally shared my own! Whether you're after your perfect shade, need some inspiration or simply just fancy having a nosey into my lipstick drawer, hopefully this post will be of some interest to you!  I've tried my best to organise this post by splitting them into categories, (this was so unbelievably satisfying to do - believe me) and I've provided all details about colour and finish, as well as the Mac description of the shade (I've included these in the title of each lipstick in quotation marks - I'll pop 'LE' at the end if any are Limited Edition) - I've also tried to give my own personal opinion on the colour. So grab a cuppa, get comfy and prepare yourselves because this isn't going to be a post of the short and snappy kind! I'm going to tell you which ones are my all time favourites, which ones I maybe regret buying, which shades are great for everyday wear, which ones are perfect for seasonal wear, which ones work best for 'statement' night out looks and generally give you a little overview of my personal opinions on how each colour works (or doesn't work) for me. I've really loved photographing this post and putting all of it together - I really hope you enjoy reading it just as much!

L-R: Creme D Nude / Viva Glam Gaga II  / Blankety / Half n Half / Freckletone / Velvet Teddy / Paramount

Nudes, Browns and Neutrals

Creme D' Nude | Cremesheen | 'Pale Muted Peach Beige'
The lightest of all my Mac lipsticks.  I had high hopes for this shade being my go-to 'everyday' nude but in reality, it's just too light for me - especially now that my lipstick preferences have 'matured' and I prefer something a little more brown toned and warm. I like the fact that it's quite sheer due to it being a cremesheen finish as it makes it a little more wearable, but unless I'm going for the whole 'smokey eye', big hair, classic 'Bridget Bardot' look, it doesn't exactly work for me.  It's definitely a handy one to have in my collection and it doesn't go un-used. It's just not my favourite nude.

Viva Glam Gaga 2 | Amplified | 'Pale Beige Nude' | LE
It was a risk when I bought this and it's one that didn't exactly pay off as this is just far too 'concealer lips' for me.  The yellow undertones only add to this effect and I'd never wear this alone.  It's a good one for blanking out the lips for further colour but for me, that's as far as it goes.  It's just too much beige!

Blankety | Amplified | 'Soft Pink Beige'
Now we're talking.  If you want a classic nude and you have a similar skin tone to me - look no further than Blankety.  It's got just the right hint of pink so it doesn't make you look 'dead' in the face and the amplified finish really compliments the shade. I love this one.  It's very much my classic 'true nude' shade.

Half n Half | Amplified | 'Creamy Pink'
This is a step up from Blankety. It still has pink undertones but is slightly darker and has more of a brown tone to it.  I really love this one - again, I love the amplified finish and I think this is a great one to opt for if you want a nude lipstick, but with some extra definition.  Its slightly darker than my natural lip shade so it's not exactly a 'nude' as such - but its understated, classic, and can be worn with the majority of makeup looks.

Freckletone | Lustre | 'Neutral Peach'
This lipstick is most certainly an unsung hero of the Mac lipstick world! This is one of my most used Mac lipsticks ever and I always get compliments when I wear it.  Rumoured to be a favourite of Beyonce, this shade is the perfect everyday shade for pale and olive skin tones alike.  The peach undertone really warms up your complexion and brightens up your entire face in a jiffy - I find it to be a great one through winter as it really does help to counteract any dullness in your skin.  The lustre finish makes it so wearable too - the glossy finish and sheer colour is buildable and perfect for on the go as you don't need a lip liner.  I reckon this might one of my most favourite lipstick shades I've ever owned...

Velvet Teddy | Matte | Deep-Tone Beige
I'll be honest, I hated this when I first got it.  In fact, I almost sold it! However, as time has gone on, I've re-discovered it, seen it in a completely new light and now I have to say it's one of my favourites!  It's definitely not for everybody - I personally love my 90's inspired browns and darker nudes and this one is perfect for defining the lips without making too much of a statement.  It's a step up from 'Half n Half' (as you can see in the swatches, 'Blankety', 'Half n Half', and 'Velvet Teddy' are all very similar in tone). If you have darker skin, this might be worth looking in to if you're after a staple nude.

Paramount | Satin | 'Reddish Brown'
I wasn't sure whether or not to class this as a red, but the brick-like tone to it and distinct brown hint made me pop it in the neutrals camp. It's a bit of a in-between-y isn't it!? This is my newest addition and, like Velvet Teddy, isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea.  It's definitely got that 90's vibe going on (think Clueless, checked skirts, chokers and the lipstick to match!) I personally love this - I can tell already that it's going to be my Autumn favourite! It just reminds me instantly of chilly afternoon walks, crunchy leaves and darker evenings... Definitely one of my more daring shades and also quite unique.  I'm planning on a full review soon so keep your eyes peeled if you're feeling intrigued by's not one I tend to see on a lot of blogs!

L-R: Shy Girl / Cut a Caper  / Ravishing / Saigon Summer / Costa Chic

Peaches, Corals and Oranges

Shy Girl | Cremesheen | 'Creamy Neutral Coral Beige'
This is definitely another one of my all-time Mac favourites - and it's one that receives one heck of a lot of praise in the beauty blogging world! I find I have to layer this on a little bit to achieve the pastel peach shade seen in the bullet, but like Freckletone, it's another one of those perfect everyday colours to throw in your handbag.  The peachy tones warm the complexion and its really flattering when your skin is a little paler. I think Freckletone tops the mark slightly for me, but for a peachy creamy nude, this one is perfect.

Cut a Caper | Lustre | 'Mid-Tone Peach Pink' | LE
Sadly, this is a Limited Edition shade. I wish so much it wasn't as it's simply stunning.  I try to limit when I wear this simply because I love it so much and when it wears down I'll be a little sad to say the least.  I think I actually prefer this over 'Shy Girl' - its more noticeable, slightly brighter, and the pink tones in it work amazingly well with my skin whether i'm tanned or pale.  Again, it completely freshens up your complexion. It's a great all-rounder. Mac? Take note!

Ravishing | Cremesheen | 'Clean, Light, Peachy Coral'
This shade is a true coral.  Not too dark that it's overpowering, but noticeable enough to make a bit of a statement.  It's such a lovely summer colour and it's perfect for day or night. It can be a bit hit and miss for me - sometimes it suits me and others it doesn't - it's very dependant on your skin/eye makeup.

Saigon Summer | Cremesheen | 'Frosted Bright Orange'
I adore this shade - it's so pretty.  The orange tones are perfect for the spring/summer and set off a tan like nothing else.  The slightly frosty finish actually compliments it too and makes it much more wearable to similar, more well-known shades such as 'Morange'.  It's definitely a bit more 'out there' but i've worn this in the daytime to Uni and I've also worn it out in the evenings on holiday - surprisingly versatile!  It's definitely a true orange.

Costa Chic | Frost | 'Frosty Light Coral'
Cult beauty blogger fave alert! Whenever I go on holiday, I am never without this in my suitcase. It's amazingly pigmented, lasts incredibly well and is probably my favourite option if I really want my tan to pop.  It also seems to make my teeth look much whiter and brighter. It's super flattering on and the pink undertones make it really wearable.

L-R: Creme Cup / Plink!  / Fanfare / Bombshell / Speed Dial / Chatterbox

Mid-tone pinks

Creme Cup | Cremesheen | 'Light Blue Pink'
Another beauty blogger fave right here! Similar to 'Shy Girl' in lightness (does that make sense? Hopefully you get my jist there!), but obviously a pastel pink instead of a peach.  This is one of the first Mac lipsticks I ever bought and I've repurchased since. It's a classic nude pink - perfect for daily wear.  I love this in the wintertime when my skin is a little lighter. It looks amazing paired with a smokey eye.

Plink! | Lustre | 'Warm Seashell Pink'
I love Mac's description of this shade - because that's exactly what it is! It doesn't look amazing when swatched but on the lips this is a stunning shade! The yellow undertones are super flattering and the lustre finish gives a natural sheen. Like Creme Cup, this looks lovely with a smokey eye - but also adds a nice touch if you have next to no makeup on and just want something slightly coloured and glossy to pop on your lips. I love this one. It's quite buildable too.

Fanfare | Cremesheen | 'Mid-Tone Yellow Pink'
In my opinion, this is another one of Mac's shades that isn't overly raved about - but totally should be! I adore this one. It's a gorgeous, mid-tone pink with warm undertones and it looks gorgeous for everyday wear.  I have a full review of it here if you want to find out more about why I love it.

Bombshell | Frost | 'Bright Rosy Pink with Shimmer'
I feel like a broken record right now but this is another one of my faves!  I'm guessing it isn't overly raved about due to the 'frost' finish that everybody seems to dislike - but I definitely think some of Mac's 'Frost' finishes are well worth a swatch. I fell in love with this instantly - its so girly and bright.  I like it because the slight frosted finish makes it wearable for both day and night. It definitely lives up to its name - 'Bombshell' is the perfect bright pink - very girly and fun. I have a full review here.

Speed Dial | Cremesheen | 'Light Blue Pink'
I will always have a soft spot for this lipstick because it was my very first Mac purchase. Like Bombshell, this is a super girly mid-toned pink with a touch of brightness.   I've just realised that Mac describe it exactly the same as 'Creme Cup' on their website - strange! It's definitely more of a mid-tone as opposed to a light shade.  A great pink to opt for if you don't want something too bright but still want to make a little bit of a statement. It's almost like a slightly toned down version of 'Bombshell' - all the girly-ness without the frosty shimmer.

Chatterbox | Amplified | 'Bright Red Pink'
This is one of those shades that I really want to love, but I just don't. At least, not on myself.  I really don't suit this sort of pink unless I have a cracking tan! I don't think red-pinks are for me, sadly.  I'll wear it on holiday sometimes as I love the amplified finish and it does look lovely and smooth on, but I definitely seem to suit true reds and cooler toned brights much more.

L-R: Viva Glam Nicki / Saint Germain  / Show Orchid / Lavender Whip / Up the Amp
Bright Pinks and Purples

Viva Glam Nicki | Satin | 'Vivid Bright Pink'  | LE
Again, following on from Chatterbox, I do not suit this shade.  Bright, vibrant pinks are not my thing. I love how they look on other people but when I wear them they just look too barbie-ish and clash with my skin tone and hair colour.  This one is ridiculously bright - leaning on fluorescent - the swatch doesn't show it to it's true brightness and I think the camera picked it up more in the 'line up' shot.  Sadly, this hasn't had much wear whatsoever.  I'm tempted to give it another whirl over the winter - I know that it was loved by a lot of bloggers when it was first released so I must be missing something?!

Saint Germain | Amplified | Bright Bubblegum Pink
Ahh this shade... How it reminds me of my youth. I don't really favour this shade anymore but I keep it more for nostalgic reasoning ;) I used to love this bubblegum pink back in the day... It's certainly a bright one, that's for sure! I cringe slightly when I think back to it now - in my first year of uni i used to prance around wearing this thinking I was the bees knees. Oh dear Beth... You never know, I might wear it again one day but my tastes in lipstick have somewhat matured since this purchase...

Show Orchid | Amplified | 'Vivid Hot Pink'
Now, I'm aware of what I've just said about bright pinks not suiting me, however, the blue undertones in this one work much better.  This is my most coveted lipstick ever.  It's not one for the faint hearted - this baby is seriously bright! It's a gorgeous statement shade that makes your teeth look whiter, your tan slightly deeper and your skin a little brighter. It ticks all the boxes for a statement pink for me! It's earned a spot in my makeup bag for the next time I manage to jet away somewhere sunny...I have a full review and photos here. 

Lavender Whip | Cremesheen | 'Light Cool Lavender' | LE
I'm still undecided on this.  I have a very love/hate relationship with it and I only ever reach for it through autumn/winter due to the cool lilac tone. It's quite a 'young' sort of colour and at the age of 24, I'm not sure I really suit it... maybe a few years ago this would have been one of my favourites (Barry M's '129' used to be my weapon of choice in my teenage years...Google it and you'll see exactly why this shade reminds me of it... ;)) - I must have been feeling a tad nostalgic when I went out and bought this. I think the cremesheen finish works in it's favour though and I actually do like this when I've applied a really light layer - if worn in the right way it can be really flattering and subtle. Again, it isn't for everyone but I do have a little soft spot for it despite it not being one of my most worn... I have a full review here.

Up the Amp | Amplified | 'Lavender Violet'
I must have been feeling rather brave when I bought this - I definitely had a 'YOLO' moment ;) Like Lavender Whip, I really can't work out whether I like this or not.  It's a statement shade for sure and I'm still trying to figure out how to truly make it work for me.  It's definitely quite 'out there' and I'm not sure if I'm really an 'out there' person when it comes to lipstick... it's definitely a stunner, but its one that needs to be worn with certain clothes and makeup to get it to work.

L-R: Lady Danger / MAC Red / Viva Glam Rihanna / Dark Side

Reds and Burgundys

Lady Danger | Matte | 'Vivid Bright Coral Red'
This is my statement summer red. I love it! The slight orange undertone is perfect with a tan and it photographs really nicely too.  I love adding a gloss on top of this one to make it pop even more - it's a stunning bright red!  Definitely a staple shade to have in your collection.

M.A.C Red | Satin | 'Vivid Blue-ish Red'
This is my statement winter red due to the cool undertones. Saying this, I find this shade a little more wearable with my skin tone (compared to Lady Danger which I only reach for over the summer) - I actually wear this year-round. It's my classic go-to 'pillarbox' red. Definitely one of my most used reds in my entire collection of lipsticks.  Another staple shade - if you're after a classic red, look no further.

Viva Glam Rihanna | Frost | 'Frosty Blue Red' | LE
Very similar to M.A.C Red but with a frosty finish and slightly brighter.  I have to say, this photographs amazingly well and the staying power is so impressive - definitely one to opt for if you're off for a night on the tiles. It has a certain brightness to it that other cool-toned reds lack - it almost has a cherry hue to it. I have a full review here.

Dark Side | Amplified | 'Deep Burgundy'
The darkest lipstick in my collection, Dark Side lives up to its name! It's a gorgeous, deep toned burgundy and I love the amplified finish as it makes it such a statement and you don't need to build it up. It's perfect for the winter time and I truly love it - I wish i could get away with it all the way through the year! It's the perfect vampy shade with a tough of gothic glam - it looks lovely with cosy winter jumpers! I have a full review here.

And there we have it, my Mac Lipstick Collection. I'm aware it's probably a bit excessive but they've always been the perfect pay-day treat for me and I've loved collecting them and discovering more about lipstick in the process. It's impossible to pick favourite but I definitely have my 'staple' shades I couldn't be without - hopefully you've picked up on some of my most-loved throughout the post but I'll probably do a post at some stage in the future outlining my ultimate staple shades if this would be of interest.  Anyway, this post has been rather meaty without me rambling on any further... I do hope you've managed to gather some lipstick inspiration or have simply just enjoyed having a nosey into my collection!

What's your favourite Mac Lipstick? Is there any shade here that you have your eye on for your next purchase?!

Thursday 18 September 2014

Jerome Russell | Bblonde Lightening Spray

As I mentioned in my previous post, I often use lightening sprays and tints on my hair. My hair has been in such good condition and has grown no end since I stopped bleaching it and piling on the hair dye and for the past 3 years or so, I've tried my best to embrace a slightly more natural look when it comes to my hair.  Luckily, I quite like the colour of my natural hair but sometimes, especially through the winter, it can look a little bit lack-lustre. To combat dullness, I often cheat a little bit with lightening sprays and similar products - it gives my hair a little boost without me having to commit to a hair dye or highlighting kit because the results are gradual. For the past few weeks, I've been using Jerome Russell's Bblonde Lightening Spray*.  I've used their hightlighting kits in the past and have always managed to achieve a good result.  I've also always found Jerome Russel to offer me the closest result to salon-applied highlights (provided you use it carefully and correctly) so I had high hopes for this spray. 

As you can see from the guide on the side of the box, this is more for subtle lightening and lifting the hair a couple of shades as opposed to full-on lightening from brown to blonde.  As my hair is mid-dark blonde naturally, I'm able to achieve the desired result quite easily and quickly.  It gradually lifts the hair colour in around 3 applications and provides a permanent lightening solution.  To use, I simply spray on the area I want to lighten after I've washed and towel dried my hair (in my case, I tend to use it at the roots) and then I'll use my hairdryer as usual.  Because the product is heat activated, I concentrate the hairdryer in this area for a while before moving on the drying the rest of my hair.  It contains thermal protector which is a handy little bonus, as it limits the amount of damage from any further heat styling.  I noticed a difference after 2-3 washes and I stopped using the product as soon as I achieved the desired lift after around 6 washes.  I like the fact that this spray seems to work quite quickly and it also seems to limit brassiness.  Whilst I still use a purple shampoo alongside it to combat any yellow tones (if you're lightening your hair this way it's quite difficult to cut it out completely), it does seem to lighten the hair without causing those nasty 'false' looking brassy hints.  

As with most lightening sprays, it can dry out your hair a little. I always like to apply a deep-conditioner whilst I'm using these sorts of products to try and combat the dryness and limit any damage.  I wouldn't say as if it feels as if I have product left in my hair, but I can tell when I've used this as my hair can feel a little bit gritty - if you're going to apply it through the ends of your hair, it's worth being aware of as it might make your hair less manageable for the time your using it.   Aside from this, the end result is a lovely, naturally sun-kissed look - it's not dramatic but that's exactly why I like it.  It lifts the tones I already have in my hair and just brightens it up a notch - which, through the winter months, is exactly what I want.  I would have posted my results, but seeing as I use products like this quite regularly, I don't think you'd get a true idea of how it works.  I often get questions about my hair and what colour I ask for at the hairdressers and the truth is, I don't! I just use a lightening spray whenever I feel as if my colour needs a lift.  If you're thinking of lightening your hair but are scared of it looking too 'bleached', then it's well worth looking in to a lightening spray.  Just make sure you stock up on the deep conditioner and grab a toning shampoo before you start!  You can find the Jerome Russell Bblonde Lightening Spray on the website here, and you can also find it in Boots.  It retails for £5.99*.

Have you ever tried a lightening spray? What did you think?

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Chill* Ed Blonde Shampoo & Conditioner | Beat the Brassiness!

I've been a blonde for the majority of my life (aside from the one time I dyed my hair black on a whim and spent the next few months helplessly trying to get it back to a form of decent blonde - a task and a half I'm sure some of you will be aware of and also one of my life's greatest mishaps).  Ever since said dye mishap, I try to stay away from colouring my hair and all I'll do is tint it or use a lightening spray on the roots now and again. Whilst this means that my hair is pretty low maintenance, it also means that pesky yellow tones often show through and make my hair look rather brassy.  I find that ever since I've gone 'natural', the darker blonde seems to hold on to brassiness much easier than it did when my hair was highlighted and bleached. This is why I'm never without a purple shampoo.  It's pretty much a key part of my hair-care routine and I always make sure I have some handy - especially at this time of year as my hair tends to get a little duller.  As well as knocking out brassy tones, I also think a purple shampoo can really brighten and lift your hair colour - it keeps it looking fresh and bright.  Enter the Chill* 'Ed Blonde' Shampoo and Conditioner duo...

Chill* Ed Blonde Shampoo | £9.99* | Link
Containing grape seed oil, proteins and violet pigments, this shampoo is said to knock out bassy tones whilst richly moisturising the hair, and is suitable for use on coloured or natural blonde. Firstly, I was really impressed with the colour of this shampoo. If you've never used a purple shampoo before it's pretty scary to say the least, but the pigment and shade of it is exactly what I look for and as scary as it seems, it successfully takes away the brassiness.  I've tried slightly lighter ones in the past and I've found I've had to use them a few times before noticing any difference, which is all well and good, but sometimes you just want a quick fix! And that's exactly what Chill Ed Blonde gives you.  I noticed a difference straight from the first wash - and it's something I tend to use every now and again whenever I think my hair needs it rather than every time I wash my hair.

It doesn't lather extremely well, (which is something I've noticed with other purple shampoos in the past - i think it's a purple shampoo thing?) so I did have to work the product in quite a bit before I felt like I'd given it a good clean, but it worked well nonetheless (just bare that in mind if you like a good bit of lather!) Also, the smell of the product is lovely.  In my opinion, it has one of those gorgeous 'salon' smells to it which lingers ever so slightly on the hair once you've washed and dried it.  I personally like this - I'm always a happy chappy when my hair smells and looks salon fresh!  As for knocking out yellow tones, it did so straight away from first wash - without leaving my hair with that 'lilac' tone.  If your hair is naturally blonde like mine and you've always thought purple shampoo is for bleached hair - think again! I always use purple shampoos despite my blonde being quite dark and it works a treat!

Chill* Ed Blonde Conditioner | £9.99* | Link
I must admit, despite my love of purple shampoos I've never invested in a matching conditioner.  If my hair ever gets brassy, it's usually in the top sections and I've never really thought I'd benefit from a matching conditioner. However, it is undoubtedly nice to have a set - especially when you like the scent of a shampoo and want to keep it going when it comes to your conditioner.  This one is quite creamy in consistency and I've found it to be really moisturising - which is great if your hair is feeling a bit parched! It 'rebalances moisture in your hair and closes the cuticle to leave it super soft and shiny'.  Again, it contains grape seed oil and violet pigments to continue the treatment through to the ends of your hair and gives that extra little 'kick' in knocking out brassy tones.  I actually really like this conditioner - it's well worth investing in to use as a second-step to the shampoo. It leaves my hair feeling soft, shiny and manageable.

Overall, a fabulous option if you're after a new purple duo to kick out the brassiness in your blonde! I used to struggle to find them but it's great to see different brands popping up offering different versions - this is definitely a great contender.  It's worth mentioning that the packaging is also really lovely - it's girly, easy to use and looks nice on your shower shelf (the metallic finish also pleases me...its so pretty!) You can find the Blonde range by Chill* on the website here along with other products for coloured hair.

Have you tried anything from the Chill* range?

Sunday 14 September 2014

Bourjois Bronzing Products | Contouring Powders & Gold Shimmer Compact

Although summer is most certainly on it's way out, bronzing products are something I tend to use all year round.  I always find that a subtle glow through the winter months really brightens up my face and keeps my complexion looking healthy and fresh - provided I take it down a notch from my summer bronzing regime! I've been a fan of Bourjois' 'chocolate' bronzer for quite some time now. For me, it was always my go-to winter bronzer because it's a little lighter than some of my darker summer favourites.  That's why I was rather excited to see 2 new versions of the much loved 'chocolate' bronzer released this year. 

Bronzing Powder and Highlighting Duo | £7.99* | Link
I do love a good contouring product -  especially when it's something I can use when I'm on the go.  This duo is perfect for subtle contouring and sculpting - the highlighter provides a gorgeous flash of shimmer to the cheekbones, whilst the matte finish of the bronzing powder creates a nice, natural appearance.  I like it because it adds a touch of warmth to the face and works well as a subtle contour as well as an all over bronzing product. I like these powders because they're pigmented but not so much so that its difficult to blend - its so easy to use and it's definitely something I'd recommend for somebody new to contouring.  It's not something that's going to give you a strong 'chiselled' appearance but it's perfect for everyday use and for adding a quick bit of definition. It's something I'll be throwing in my handbag from time to time - it's lightweight and compact, and the '2 in 1' bronzer and highlight feature is just perfect for travelling with.

Gold Bronzing Powder | £7.99* | Link
I was a little unsure about this product at first - I usually hate bronzers with too much shimmer and this one is most certainly packed with the stuff! However, the name is a little misleading - this isn't really intended for sweeping all across your face but more as a 'second step' in your bronzing routine.  Instead of a normal highlight, the gold shimmer in this product emphasises your tan and adds a healthy, natural looking bronzed glow to your face and body.  I've quite taken to using this on my 'decolletage' (i always feel so posh and well-spoken when I use this word...) and also very lightly on my face. However - it doesn't really work as a highlight! I swept this across the tops of my cheekbones and instantly regretted it as it's quite dark! I use if more for adding a glow to the cheeks - in a similar way you'd apply a shimmery blush.  I've found it works much better when I've got a bit of a natural tan or a touch of false tan on beforehand - I've continued to use this now my skin seems to be getting paler and it definitely doesn't look as flattering without a bronzed base to begin with.  It's well worth popping a subtle fake tanner on the night before, bronzing your face as usual in the morning and then using this to emphasise the colour you've achieved as it can look a little false if not.  This is definitely one of those 'summer' products to pack in your suitcase however, if you fake tan now and again, its subtle enough to be used any time of year provided you don't go overboard with it!

Overall, 2 fabulous releases from Bourjois.  I really wish I'd had the shimmery powder earlier on in the summer as it would have been perfect for my holiday! Both products have that lovely 'chocolate' scent that the original bronzers have - I personally really like the subtle fragrance and chocolate inspired packaging and appearance. 

Have you tried any of these bronzing products? What will you be using now that autumn/winter is coming around the corner?

Thursday 11 September 2014

My Really Simple Skincare Routine

I'll let you in on a little secret. I don't spend a lot of money on my skincare routine. I know - SMITE ME DOWN, beauty gods! Slap me on the wrist for I must be a bad blogger! I've tried my fair share of high-end products when it comes to skincare and I have to say, I really don't see a huge difference in the results they give compared to my trusty 'drugstore' faves. I'm a big believer in that, when it comes to your skin, more expensive doesn't neccessarily equal better.  There's not a shred of skincare snobbery where I'm concerned. Ohhh no - get me down the aisles of Boots and I'm a happy chappy.  As well as my belief that the price tag doesn't always reflect the quality, I also think that keeping your skincare routine as simple as you can works wonders.  I think we've all fallen victim to over complicating our regimes now and again - being a beauty obsessive, it's easier said than done to cut-out some of the steps from your routine.  I think it's all too easy to get sucked in to buying luxurious products purely because they look good on your dressing table. Well, sods to that, I say!

Skin care is such a personal thing which made me wonder whether or not this post would go down like a lead balloon - however, if you're at your wits end with your skin, are suffering with breakouts you cannot get rid of or just can't find anything to work for you, hopefully this post might inspire you somehow. I've found a bunch of products which really do work a charm - and aside from one high-end product (which actually does do what it claims) none of these products are over £15.00 - in fact, the 2 'main' products I use are less than a fiver... 

Ok, so you might have seen the header photo for this post and thought 'how the flippin'eck is that a simple skincare regime?' - but the reality is, on a daily basis, I only use these 2 products.  Nothing else.  I wash my face both morning and night with my Simple Spotless Skin Triple Action Face Wash (£3.99) and moisturise afterwards with a pump or two of Superdrug's Tea Tree Facial Moisturiser (£2.99).  That's it. Nothing snazzy. Not a bit of fancy packaging or a luxurious name to be seen.  I like these two together because they do a fab job at keeping my skin clear from blemishes - the face wash has tiny little beads in it which help to exfoliate gently and the moisturiser is a lovely consistency for every day use (although dry skin types will probably find it much too light). The tea tree definitely helps to calm my skin and I've been using both of these for years now - I couldn't be without them.

The only other face wash I will use is Arran Aromatics Lavender Tea Tree Reviving Toning Facial Wash (£12.95). I've spoken about this many times on my blog and it even made it into my 2013 favourites here. I use this when I'm feeling a bit stressed as it's such a relaxing wash to use before bedtime - I find it has really great calming benefits if my skin is looking a little worse for wear or dull. It's so cooling and calming on the skin and the scent is just heavenly.  The consistency is also really lovely  - a gel-like texture with small exfoliating beads which leaves your skin feeling smooth, soft and pampered. I must be on my 5th bottle of the stuff now.  I love it.  

Another brand I'm rather partial to when it comes to skincare is Organic Surge.  I really like their Blissful Daily Moisturiser (£8.49) for the wintertime as it's just that little bit thicker than my Tea Tree one (bare in mind I have normal-dry skin and this is fine for me, but if you have particularly dry patches, you might want to try something a little heavier).  It's really creamy and intensely moisturising but it doesn't sit on top of the skin so it's great for applying in the mornings when you need to do your makeup pretty swiftly after moisturising.  I'm also a big fan of the Organic Surge First Class Face Mask (£8.49). I must admit I'm not one for face masks as I just find them a bit of a faff and my skin often reacts badly to them - but this one is really gentle and fuss-free. It doesn't harden and it doesn't leave an obvious film on the skin - in some ways, it's just like applying a thick moisturiser.  I will pop some on 10 minutes before a shower and then wash it off in there - it's so easy.  I do this if my skin is feeling dull or 'clogged' up as it gets rid of any impurities - it seems to help clear any blemishes and leaves my skin looking a little more bright and fresh.

If you suffer with blemishes and want a really good product to clear your skin, I really recommend having a bottle of this in your bathroom cabinet.  It's expensive - but my goodness, it works.  I will always recommend this to anybody suffering with breakouts as it completely cleared mine when I went through a little spell of them last year.  It was a life saver and I doubt I'll ever find anything as good.  At £25.00 a bottle, the Harley Street Skincare Spot Busting Solution isn't cheap - but its worth every penny and I'm now on my 4th bottle of the stuff. It's great if you have quite a few blemishes in a certain area or if you have one of those stubborn under the skin spots. I won't say too much as I've reviewed it a couple of times on my blog - you can find it in my 2013 favourites post here.

And last but not least, my Origins Super Spot Remover (£15.00) is another one of my favourites.  I must admit I think I prefer my Harley Street solution however, this one is great for travelling with (i take it on holiday as it weighs next to nothing) and it's good to pop on if you have a small blemish or two.  This teeny tiny bottle has lasted me ages and it's well worth the money.

 So there we have it - my super simple skin care regime. Aside from a couple of more indulgent products, there's nothing overly luxurious or high-end - just good quality, well priced products that work a treat.  I used to over-complicate my skincare regime and ever since I've stripped it back to the basics, i've noticed so many benefits.  

What's your opinion on skin care?

Monday 8 September 2014

Makeup Revolution Buys | Mini Reviews & First Impressions

When I first heard of Makeup Revolution, I have to say I was rather intrigued.  I tried so hard to resist the temptation but the inevitable happened and I finally caved.  I think it has to be the eyeshadow palettes that are to blame for my shoddy willpower - there's so many to choose from and all of them look absolutely beautiful. I try not to buy too many palettes as there's only so many one girl can use, however, when I saw range I simply had to have a cheeky browse. Not only do the colours look so well put together and well presented, but all of the Makeup Revolution products are super affordable - perfect for a pre-payday treat or a little pick-me-up now and again.  I actually went into my local Superdrug store to have a good ol' swatch and a proper look at the collection instead of ordering online and I'm so glad I did. It was like a beauty blogger's dream sifting through all the palettes and I spent ages looking at all  of the singular eyeshadows too.  Here's what I ended up with (believe me I'm incredibly proud of myself for walking away with just 3 things - I could have easily just picked the entire stand up and took that to the till instead but I don't think the staff would have been too impressed...)

The 'Essential Mattes' Palette | £4.00 | Link
The first thing I went for is this gorgeous palette containing an array of neutral matte shades.  I'm loving my matte eyeshadows at the moment as I find them much more natural and easier to wear in the daytime.  I quite liked the look of some of the lighter shades - particularly the yellow/peach toned ones as I find they work well as a base.  I was also drawn to the lovely mid-brown shade and the two lilac-browns next to it.  The palette is of a really good size (when i saw them online i imagined it to be a similar size to the MUA ones) and you actually get quite a lot of eyeshadow in each pan despite them being quite thin.  Admittedly, they aren't quite as pigmented as I'd hoped and some of them are a little hit and miss, but it's a fabulous palette nonetheless and I've really been enjoying using it.  The darker colours seem much more pigmented and less chalky but the majority of the shadows seem quite soft and smooth - for £4.00, you can't really go wrong.  I've since found they apply a little easier with a primer.

Nail Polish in 'Adore' | £1.00 | Link
Never one to say no to a nail polish, me. Especially when it's just £1.00! For £1.00 I have to say the packaging for these polishes is really lovely.  It's of a really good size, feels weighty and looks the part.  'Adore' is a beautiful mid-purple shade - really wearable, girly, and enough of a statement without looking too 'full on'.  The pigmentation is really good - all you need is 2 coats to get a good, even finish.  The only thing that struck me is that the brush can be quite streaky so you have to concentrate when you're applying it to avoid too many brush marks, however, this is easily solved as soon as you apply a glossy topcoat.

Vivid Blush Lacquer | £3.00 | Link
So far, I think this has to be my favourite product from the bunch. In all honesty, I don't usually get along with strongly pigmented cream blushes like this, but I'm really quite fond of this one.  It's lovely and creamy, and it's easy to dispense a very small amount due to the styling of the pump (you really don't need much at all).  I usually prefer a powder blush but I've been favouring a creamy consistency recently as my cheeks have been a little dry.  It's moisturising enough to create a dewy, fresh finish but not so much so that you end up looking greasy - I also like that it doesn't go completely matte and powdery on the skin too - it's just a nice, 'in-between' sort of finish. You only need a small dot of the product to blend into the cheeks so this will last you absolutely ages.  I reckon I'll do a full review of this with swatches soon.

All in all, some fabulous buys from Makeup Revolution - they certainly won't be my last! I can't wait to pick up some of the singular eye shadows, bronzers and blush palettes soon and I'm quite intrigued by some of their lipstick shades too (typical Beth!) I must apologise for the lack of swatches - I'll probably write up some full reviews of these products soon so keep your eyes peeled for those! You can have a browse of the Makeup Revolution range on their website here and they can also be found on Superdrug and in selected stores.

Have you tried anything from Makeup Revolution? What's your favourite product?

Sunday 7 September 2014

MUA Power Pout Lip Crayon in 'Rendezvous'

I'm definitely late to the party when it comes to lip crayons. I never really caught on to them until recently but, as they say, better late than never.  I jetted away on holiday earlier this year and I really wanted a subtle balm to pop on in the daytime - not only for a splash of colour to brighten up my makeup-less face but also to keep my lips hydrated through the day. I picked up a few magazines in the airport and one of the freebies happened to be a pink lip crayon - in all honesty I didn't think I would use it much but but it quickly became my go-to beach bag beauty staple and I was rather sad when I realised I'd lost it towards the end of the holiday.  So, when I got home, I set out to find a similar version on a budget.  Enter the MUA Power Pout Crayon - a cheap and cheerful addition to my daily makeup bag that's become quite the life-saver when it comes to effortless, everyday makeup.

As I'm currently on placement, I really don't want to look unprofessional at my desk slicking on the lippie every 5 minutes (as tempting as it is!) I've found this to be the perfect companion to keep in my handbag under my desk as it looks just like a lip balm but provides instant colour pay off too.  I don't need to use a mirror because the shade is fairly neutral and the shape means that it's easy to get an even finish without the need to spend time applying it - it's literally just a quick swipe and I'm done. The glossy, slightly sheer finish also adds to its effortless appeal and it's also quite moisturising to apply so it doubles up as a balm. Wear time is quite good for a lip crayon - the pigmentation is really impressive (there's no need to build it up in layers) and the glossy finish lasts for quite some time.  After about an hour, it fades but it leaves a lovely, subtle stain. 'Rendezvous' is a pretty, pinky-brown nude shade - very elegant, classy and girly. I've found that when it wears off to a stain it gets a little brighter, which is quite strange, but nice nonetheless as it still leaves some colour behind even after its worn off.  It's also great that you can twist the bottom of the crayon to get more product once you've worn it down a little - a lot of crayons I've seen actually don't contain a lot of product but this one seems to be quite good value for money.  The subtle minty smell is also a nice addition as it feels quite refreshing to apply.

Overall, a fabulous product from MUA. Although I haven't tried a lot of lip crayons, I've swatched my fair share in store and I've had a look at some of the higher-end brands in the past - I have to say, MUA have hit the nail on the head when it comes to pigmentation and finish and the packaging is just as good.  I really don't think you need to splash the cash on lip crayons when you can find gems like this for a fraction of the price.  You can find the MUA lip crayons in Superdrug stores and also online here and here - retailing at just £3.00. I'm really excited to pick up some of the darker shades for autumn/winter - there's a gorgeous berry red shade that's just perfect for the upcoming colder months.

Have you tried the MUA lip crayons? What's your favourite lip crayon? I'm looking to grab a few more!