Monday, 29 April 2013

Real Techniques: Expert Face Brush

Ok, so, I really did not need this, but in the perpetual quest for a flawless base I decided I'd use up some Boots points on the Real Techniques expert face brush. I'm glad I did.

I have a bit of a collection of Real Techniques brushes, they are great value for money and I am always impressed with the finish they give, so, decided that this would be money well spent.

The first thing I'll mention the bristles are, made from super-soft taklon, they survive wash after wash and don't shed, a problem I've encountered with brushes with natural bristles. This brush is easy to hold and handily (no pun intended) stands on its end when you aren't using it. It's a bit of a multi-use tool, i use with thicker liquid foundations, cream blushes and for blending and buffing make-up I have applied with my fingers. There's a great tutorial HERE on how creator, Samantha Chapman, uses this brush.

The result - the flawless base I've been searching for. I'd go as far as to say this brush is up there with some of the more expensive brushes in my ever-expanding collection. Have you tried this brush or any others in Samantha Chapman's collection?

Thursday, 25 April 2013

French Fancy: BIODERMA Sensibio H20 Micelle Water

I've heard A LOT about this product, itseems to be a staple for make-up artists and enthusiasts. However, as I rarelyhead across the English Channel, it's been pretty difficult to get hold of, until now. Whilst perusing on, I discovered the much-coveted micellar water was at last available to us in good old Blighty and ordered a bottle tout de suite. I've been using this for a goodfew weeks now and thought it was about time I shared my thoughts . . .

BIODERMA Sensibio H20 Micelle Water (also known as Crealine H20 ) is available here intwo sizes - 50ml and 250ml . I'd say the 50ml is more for travel, so, I opted for the 250ml, which was £9.99. This micellar water is for sensitive, normal to dry skin (also available for oily skin.) At first, I was not wowed – I expected big things given all the rave reviews I have heard from various bods in the beauty world, but after using for the last few weeks I’ve realised what all the noise is about. This is a super-mild cleanser, when swept across the face on some cotton wool, leaves my skin soft, clean and soothed. It’s alcohol and soap-free, so doesn’t dry or irritate the skin. It’s so gentle, it can be used to remove eye make-up (excellent time-saver, no more separate eye make-up removers), but so effective, it takes away every last scrap of my waterproof mascara.

My only negative,  I find need to use twice or three times to get rid of all my make-up and know my skin is completely clean, no bad thing for my skin, but the bottle has gone down pretty fast. I find I am preferring this to my usual cream cleanser – my skin justfeels so clean and I can skip a toner.

I’m now on the lookout for the 500ml bottle, as I think this is going to be repurchased many times and has found itself well and truly at home on my bathroom shelf. A big, fat recommendation from me! Have you tried this product?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Crème Jeunesse des Mains: Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream

It's a tradition in my family, every Christmas my dad buys me a mini-torch (even though I've lived in London for the last decade, they've proven useful once or twice, lost keys etc, but I'm not much of an adventurer ) and my mum buys me a tube of Clarins Hand Cream - guess who I take after more?

So, having consistently used this since I was old enough to appreciate the wares and fares Clarins have to offer, I reckon I'll be giving a pretty fair review. Firstly, if I wasn't gifted this year in year out, I would definitely spend the £20 to invest in a tube. It's worth it for the scent alone - ummmmm, pleasantly floral and distinctively Clarins. It's light in texture and not greasy, leaving the hands soft , smooth and nails hydrated. It softens skin around the nails and makes it easier to deal with, less snagging of little rag nails. I don't tend to use this if my hands are in a complete state, I would use something a bit more waxy in texture that survives a few hand washes, but it's the perfect hand cream to have in your handbag for every day use. You don't need to use a lot, one 100ml tube will see me through until at least October, so again, worth the money. The packaging, as ever with Clarins, is simplistic and elegant. If you haven't yet tried this hand cream, I'd recommend – its on offer at for £16.00 - bargain!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Elizabeth Arden – Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion

I find it difficult to get a Day Cream that's perfect for under my make-up. With combination skin, I find that some just aren't hydrating enough for the drier areas of my face. I have the common problem of an oilier T-zone and dry skin on my cheeks so getting the balance right is essential if I want hydration in the right places and a good surface to apply make-up over.

I am a massive fan of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, as this was such a hit with me (see my review here), I thought I'd give some more products a go. This product has been a god send. Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion for combination skin is SPF 15, so is perfect base under foundation. It's light but hydrates the skin perfectly, not forgetting the dry areas and not overloading the oilier areas. In essence, it does strike the perfect balance for me and my skin feels great all day long. I love the packaging, it looks great and has a handy pump-dispenser. It  is slightly fragranced, it's a fresh not overpowering scent which doesn't last long.  The only negative is the price, it costs around the £30 mark, however, as I only use as a day cream, I have had this for quite a while and find 1–2 pumps are adequate. I would highly recommend, if you want to spend a little more. Its available here for £27.50 at, which slightly less than I paid and in my books, worth every penny. I'll definitely be trying out a few more products from this range.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Time to Prime: Revlon PhotoReady™ Perfecting Primer

I'm not massively into primers, only using them on days when I need my make-up to last longer than the working day and know I wont have a massive amount of time to reapply. I love Benefit Porefessional, buts it's expensive and I only use on special occasions. I was on the look out for something a bit less costly, that I could use more often – here's where Revlon comes in. This scary white-coloured primer was a fraction of the price. Revlon PhotoReady™ Perfecting Primer comes in a handy pump bottle, so you don't need to worry about too much coming out of the tube, I find that one pump dispenses just enough. I tend to use this on the oilier ares of my face, on my nose, chin and fore head, I don't really need to use anywhere else. The results? Well, it provides an even surface, it's undetectable in colour when smoothed over the face (so, you needn't worry about the garish-glowy white) and covers over any open pores on my chin and it helps my make-up last all day in the areas I find it disappears more quickly. It slightly calms any redness on my chin and nose also, letting my foundation do it's job. My one gripe, after every use, a little bit dries in the pump-opening, meaning you have to pick it out every time you use. But in all, well worth the £11.99 I paid for it. Have you tried this product? What were your thoughts?

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Time Ticks By - Gents Bracelet Watch from Sekonda

I haven't had a watch for years, my last one was expensive, I accidentally dropped it by the swimming pool and smashed the face into smithereens. After searching high and low for someone who'd mend it, and without any luck, I swore I'd never spend a fortune on a watch again. Recently, out of nowhere I've been hankering after a watch again, tired of scrabbling around in my bag looking for my phone to find out what time it is. So, I thought I'd look for a cheaper alternative to the Michael Kors beaut I've been lusting after. So, for the first time in my life I actually willingly went for the cheaper option in this Sekonda Gents Bracelet watch. I have looked at many fashion watches in stores like Oasis and Urban Outfitters, but I ended up buying in H. Samuel (I know, I think this is the one and only time I've been in this shop) as from searching for watches on the web, they had a really good and very reasonably priced range and there is a store local to me. Also, they were ale to take out the extra links on the strap (actually, removed most of the strap), so the thing stays on my wrist. I paid the princely sum of £29.99 for this watch, and i really think it looks great on. I chose the sliver colour in the end with the white face, as most of my jewellery tends is silver or platinum. Larger watches are very of the minute, so, if I'm going to save the big bucks for something classic that'll see me through more than a passing phase of mine. Here are a few more budget alternatives I've seen whilst searching:

Silver Face Casio £30 from Urban Outfitters : Retro look, perfect to add some edge to a feminine spring look

Round Dial Bracelet £40 from Oasis :  Simple, gold, classic look – would look elegant with a bit of a tan and a white shirt in summer

Round Face Analogue Bracelet Watch £35 from M&S : Gold? Silver? Can't decide – here's the perfect compromise

Are you with me or against on the masculine watch trend?

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Get Your Glow on - Nars Illuminator in Copacabana

I love a highlighter and I love Nars so this product was a rather obvious choice for me. Nars Illuminator in Copacabana is a pretty, iridescent, pale pink shade. This is a super-sheer highlighter, that when applied to the cheekbones gives the loveliest light-reflecting glow. It can also be mixed with foundation and gives a luminosity to the skin like you've never seen before. A word of warning, a little goes a very long way - so whilst £22 is quite a lot of money, I'd say its well worth it, the tube lasts a very long time. This highlighter is also available in Nars' other trademark hues - Lauguna, Orgasm and Super Orgasm. Copacabana looks great when my skin is at it's palest, in the dead of winter, I might invest in the Laguna for the summer months. This is a great multi-purpose product and a useful addition to any make-up bag. Have you tried any of the other shades?