Category: Beauty

Product reviews, new products I love.

Pampering and a product review: hair mask

neon-sign-465x345One of my good friends and I went for a bit of pampering this weekend in Clapham. We hit the London Grace nail bar and spoilt ourselves with shellac nails. Well actually, she spoilt me with shellac nails as a thank you for them staying with us. I’m a very lucky girl! The nail bar is beautiful and the staff are so friendly – I definitely recommend if you’re in London. Of course, I had to behave and order a black Americano, not a glass of prosecco. But that didn’t dampen my spirits – I was still thrilled for some R&R time. I haven’t been for a manicure in ages!

Fresh nails and fresh pressed juice (carrot, apple, lemon and ginger)
Fresh nails and fresh pressed juice (carrot, apple, lemon and ginger)

After our pampering and nail tidy up we walked through the markets in Camden and picked up some fresh pressed juices. Markets can be the hardest thing to wander while you’re trying to eat healthy. All the cheese, baked sweets and pastries and fresh baked bread can be very tempting! We managed to stick to the pressed juices before hitting the Common to extend our walk and chat. It was nice to be outside – breathing in the fresh air you often don’t expect in the city but the parks are just beautiful.

On the way back from our park walk we spotted an Oliver Bonas – my most coveted store. EVERY time I go in I purchase something. It’s a drug. I can’t help myself. Even if my boyfriend is with me telling me I don’t need something – less face it, when a man 1077469_oliver-bonas_gift_oh-k-hair-masksays that it only fuels your determine to buy it. I will not be told! On this occasion, being with a girlfriend, you only spur each other on – “oh you totally need that, it’s an investment”. So with her wiping the guilt from my mind I bought Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar – investment. As well as an Oh K! Hair Mask for us each. Now I have used a lot of hair masks in the past – I have blonde hair (not all of it natural, shush) but this means it dries out easily. Not to mention the awful, hard water in London that strips your hair of anything it has left. I followed the instruction on the packet – was hair with shampoo (no need for conditioner), towel dry and then add the conditioning treatment. Once you have rubbed it in from roots to tip you pop on the mask and massage that on your head for a couple of minutes. Then you wait, 10-15mins. You can actually feel the cap warming up on your head. Once baked, take it off and rinse you hair. Holy cow, it’s like silk. I was so impressed – I just can’t stop stroking it. The test of time will be how long it lasts, if it feels dry and crunchy after one wash I will have to re-write this post, but currently I’m over the moon and hoping the silky, smoothness lasts.

Why is charcoal good for my skin? And other such beauty questions…

So many beauty myths and queries, and so little time. I spent some time investigating some of my own beauty questions because honestly, I feel like the list is endless and companies keep coming up with some new fad or regime you simply must include in your daily living. Quite frankly, who has the fucking time?
At least we don’t still use the contraptions brought in in the 1940s.

Top of my list:

Why is charcoal good for my skin?face-mask-charcoal

Why is this good for my skin? I associate it with barbecuing. What are the benefits and why use it?
Active charcoal used in cosmetics is very porous, like a sponge – so its perfect for people with oily skin. I found an interesting fact on this;

So porous is it, in fact, that a mere two grams has a surface area equivalent to that of an entire football field.

The large surface area allows it to draw impurities from your skin, all that dirt and oil has no chance when being sucked up by the charcoal sponge.

Will rinsing my hair with beer make it thicker?

pint_1286545aI have fine hair, sometimes I love it because it’s easy to maintain, other times I cry because I want it to be thicker. I’m always after ways to thicken, or appear to thicken my hair.  I discovered this beer theory: A final rinse of beer at the end of your shower will leave you with more voluminous strands. Basically though the beer builds up the circumference of the shafts and leaves you smelling like a brewery until the scent dissipates. So I’ve heard, I’ve not tried it. Pros recommend instead trying a thickening shampoo – but I feel that is rubbish too. The best way I have found to appear to have thicker hair is with a spritz of dry shampoo in the roots – this gives volume and the allure of thick hair.

How often should I be washing my make up brain-blush-brush_300brushes?

Currently my answer is once every 6-8 months. However dermatologists recommend once a month. Crap.
How are you best to wash your brushes? Dip the brush in warm, soapy water—use shampoo or a mild bar soap. Rinse it, blot the brush with a clean towel, then use a blow-dryer to dry the bristles gently and leave to stand upright in a glass.
I know what I’m doing this weekend…

Is it bad to sleep with wet hair?

blond-blow-drying-hair-450x299Turns out air-drying may be more harmful than blow-drying: water causes strands to swell; over time, this could weaken hair from the inside out. A study was done where hair samples that were shampooed and then air-dried for two hours were compared to those blasted at various temperatures with a blow-dryer. Only the air-dried samples had significant damage to the cell membrane complex, the cement that holds cuticle layers together. Of course super hot blow-dryers don’t help with strong, healthy hair either. The best option, although not quickest, is to dry on the lowest heat setting, with the dryer held at least six inches away from the head.
I don’t feel so bad about my fine hair now…

In summary to my four questions above; I need to invest in a charcoal mask. Beer should be drunk and not wasted to rinse my hair with it. Make up brushes must be washed monthly, or at least bi-monthly would be better than my current brush washing plan. Finally, it is not advised to use my “I’m letting it dry naturally so it curls” excuse, and simply apply a low heat setting to blow-dry my hair.

Another post soon with more beauty questions. If you have any you think should be highlighted, feel free to let me know and I’ll include them in my next beauty questions post.

 

Sunday pampering

Today (Sunday) I spent an indulgent day pampering myself. My other half was otherwise disposed with his mates, I could have called a friend to hang out but days alone with no plans can be rare so I decided to use the day for myself.

I started with drinking coffee on the sofa watching Offspring season two – its on Netflix now! This realisation made my month. Next up was to test my new Panasonic lady trimmer. Earlier this year I made the decision not to be bald downstairs like a young girl. I had always been keen on Brazilian waxing, but this year I changed  my mind, perhaps it’s part of getting older. Of course the plan wasn’t to let it all grow wild, but also not to be as smooth as a dolphin. Anyway, I’m very happy with the lady trimmer so if you’re looking for one I can recommend it.

After a shower I put on my L’Oréal Pure Clay Purity Mask to cleanse my skin and relaxed in for an episode of Greys Anatomy. I’m sure you can see the trend I’m setting on chick-telly which my other half would not agree to sit through. Thirty minutes later I washed off my face mask, lathered on the moisturiser and got stuck into my nails to get them up to scratch for the week ahead. I picked Sally Hansen’s Red Eye in the Miracle Gel range because its bright and makes me happy. Plus I wear a lot of black for work so it adds a splash of colour.

I adore my man, but sometimes a day spent alone relaxing and indulging myself is very well received.

Product review: Maybelline Dream Bronze BB

I’m a firm believer, that unless absolutely necessary: hot date night, promotion day, professional photo day or mass spot break out day, there is no need to wear foundation every day. Some people may argue with me and say they have awful skin and simply must cake it on every morning, some may be right, but I think majority could get away without it. Plus, the less you wear foundation, the clearer and cleaner your skin is (not proven fact, just from my own experience). And of course, some days I’m just lazy and rushing out the door to work, my solution: BB cream.

Two weeks ago I purchased a new BB cream, the Maybelline Dream Bronze BB in light/medium. I’ve used many BB creams before, including some in the Maybelline range, but this is by far my favourite to date. It’s gel based so doesn’t dry out my sensitive skin, and means it is easy on application like another layer of moisturiser. I also love that it has a built in bronzer to give you a sun-kissed look, even on the most dreary of London mornings, plus the advantage of the SPF protection means I don’t need to add a daily sunblock.

I have found that it lasts all day, needing a touch up maybe if I were going out after work, but that would be the same with all make up. For the price (£6.99 at Boots), the convenience, the fact it’s travel size and it doesn’t dry out my skin throughout the day I can’t knock it. I’m thrilled to have found a reliable, every day product I can slap on my face and feel confident about.

 

 

Birchbox

I signed up to Birchbox in June of this year to test out new products, keep with the trends, and receive a package each month filled with goodies – because who doesn’t love that? The best part is that everything that arrives is travel size, perfect to use when you want to jet out on a cheap airline with only a small bag/carry on case. That’s my excuse anyway.

While I love the products I receive and am thrilled at opening up the package to  get stuck in and test them, I find that a week or two later I haven’t touched them again, umodel_co_highlightnless I’ve gone travelling as above. On top of this, I am a creature of habit and still go out and by the normal products I love on top of it. I’m basically spending more on beauty products than ever before and my bathroom cabinet and bedroom are starting to look like a mini department store. I need to make the effort to use these products regularly, or pass them on to friends and family. There’s no point in holding on to stuff if I won’t use it. Is it cheeky to gift them in presents if unused? That’s totally something I’d do.

My favourite product in my September box would have to be the ModelCo Highlighting lollipopTrio, never have my cheekbones looked so fierce. That would probably be my most used product received, that, and of course my Merci Handy hand cleansing gel in Lollipop flavour.

If you’re in the mood to try some new products and brands (some I’d never heard of!) definitely get yourself signed up, even if just for a month! If you do decide to sign up, use this link and tell them I sent you – you’ll get a £5 welcome and a pretty bracelet!

Product review: Gimme brow

Yesterday I popped into Boots during my lunch break to pick up a new bottle of my favourite face slap (foundation) from the Benefit counter, and was caught by a very savvy saleswoman. She saw me coming a mile off. After showing me all the new products Benefit have, (I absolutely adore their range already) she showed me something that would sort my absolute least favourite part of my face.

My eyebrows.

I find keeping my eyebrows in top shape my absolute beauty pet peeve. Sometimes they play ball and look amazing, and sometimes they’re all over the place and can make me look shocked or a bit loony. I do agree with what they say, that eyebrows can change the shape of your face and give you an instant facelift. So when the saleswoman told me there was a new product out that took all the drama out of eyebrow perfection I was all ears.

gimme brow is as good as she said! I’ve tried it today and I can’t knock it in any way. I love it because it grabs to skin and hair, creating brows where before there were none. Also, because it’s simply filling out the brows and hair you already have it’s practically foolproof! No random pencil fill in thick brows that look scary and it sticks to your natural shape and arch. I’m sold. It’s my new number one in my make up bag and will be applied daily, even if I forget my mascara.

This was not a paid post for Benefit, just sharing the love for other brow-troubled people out there. But if you are reading Benefit team, I am definitely open to free samples. For review purposes of course…