Category: Beauty

Product reviews, new products I love.

Should I squeeze my spots? And other such beauty questions…

In October I asked a few questions around beauty myths and found the answers. It’s time for another round of such questions. If you’ve got a question for future posts – let me know. Let’s all learn together.

This time we look at spot squeezing, hair washing, homemade versus store bought face masks, and teeth whitening – because we all know those teeth whitening toothpastes do jack shit.

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Birchbox: December review

I received my December Birchbox surprise in the post last week and was thrilled with the contents.

I’ll admit I can be useless with these packages – I think I’m most excited about the opening of the box and looking to find out what’s inside. I’m absolutely rubbish at actually using the products. This month though I have already made a conscious effort to use everything.

Top of the list for me is the Percy and Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm, it does wonders on your hair. I have mentioned before that I have fine hair – this Wonder Balm does what it says on the package. It’s wonderful. My hair looked full, thick and stayed styled the whole day and night. I did get caught in a rain shower and my hair became lank and heavy and a little greasy. But I can’t blame the balm for that – that was the rain.

Next favourite is the LAQA & Co. Eyelighter, which under your eyebrows, under your eyes or even used on your cheekbones gives you an instant lift. I’ve not savvy with the whole contouring malarkey – God do I wish I was – but this is an easy cheat to get a similar result. Especially around this Christmas period with lots of late nights out, it does wonders for dark circles under the eyes.

The full size product this month is the Ciate Fierce Flicks Eyeliner. While I myself do not partake in the eye flicks style – because of how it’s designed it’s very easy to add a thin or thick line without very little skill. You also get a dramatic line the first time, no need to go back over it and hope to get it right with each stroke.

Another winter Christmas requirement is a touch of golden fake tan – great to touch up your arms and décolletage in these cold weeks when you want to add a healthy glow. This month I was sent Benefit’s Hoola Zero Tanlines. I love that this tanning product comes with a sponge applicator attached to the tube, so it’s hands free and no one ends with orange palms. Winning!

I’m confused by the final product I received as it is a moisturiser for oily skin, even though I registered on the website that I have dry skin. But a bottle of Amie Skincare Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturiser showed up and I used it anyway. I did notice it dried out my skin so I haven’t used it again since. Which is a shame because it smells delicious. But having dry skin means if I don’t lather on a lot of moisturiser or oil my face can feel tight and dry all day.

All in all I’m happy with the overall package – I can see myself using the first three products every week, and the tan applicator on special occasions. When I’m not covering up my arms in on of my many seasonal Christmas jumpers.

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.