Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm Review

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm is another one of those unbelievably hyped up products that was forever on my wish list, just because it's received so many good reviews. It would have been rude not to put my stamp on it, wouldn't it?

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm is a cream that is supposed to brighten and tighten the skin, but is most commonly used as a primer. The latter application was the sole reason I purchased this product, as I'd never really had a skin primer before that.
Of course I'd done my research and found out that the secret to using this is to not rub it into your skin as you normally would with face creams, but to rather pat it on. The whole point is that it doesn't sink into the skin, but that it forms a layer instead, which makes it easier for make-up to stick to.

The first time I tried this I used it in the morning and layered it over my daily moisturiser. Unfortunately, the feeling was anything but pleasant. I could really feel that there was a heavy layer of product on my face and it annoyed me all day long, making my skin feel hot and clogged up. I do have to say that I'm not a fan of heavy foundations just because of this nasty feeling, so anybody who's used to using full coverage products might not find this to be an issue.
What bothered me even more, however, was that it had clogged up my pores so much that I ended up with a few breakouts around my t-zone shortly afterwards.

Attempt number two was without moisturiser underneath and though I still got quite a heavy, stuffy feeling on my skin all day, it wasn't quite as bad this time and there were no resulting breakouts either.
Did it make my make-up last any longer though? Well, yes, but only marginally. I used it underneath Chanel's Vitalumiere Aqua foundation and it probably made it last about 1-2 hours longer. It didn't apply any easier or smoother, either. I also tried using it with a BB Cream, but application was a nightmare as the two products mixed into a thick gloopy substance on my skin.

Now, this tub had been purchased back in April and I only got a handful of uses out of it. I do quite like to apply it if I'm going out at night after a long day and need to redo my make-up. I'll then take everything off with a wipe and rather than moisturising my skin before the make-up application I use a splodge of this. It doesn't perform any miracles, but it works fairly well.

On a side note, the packaging is typical Clarins: white plastic with classic red writing - nothing to rave about, but it looks elegant and chic enough to not be hidden away anywhere. The scent is very faint and not noticeable once on the skin.

I don't really want to give this a bad review, because it's not a bad product. Obviously you have to be careful with layering your products, but that applies to all skincare, not just Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. I do have to admit, however, that I am a little disappointed. For £28 a pop, I would expect a primer to blow me away, but Clarins' "alright"-ish performance leaves me with a nagging feeling that I could have spent that money better elsewhere.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Inglot AMC Cream Blush in Shade 90 Review

Apologies for my absence from the blogging world again lately. The reason is not necessarily the usual life mess, but me and my boyfriend have actually moved into our first own flat not too long ago as well as starting new jobs, so we've been kept busy with settling, deep cleaning and buying exciting things like hoovers, washing machines and chopping boards.

A bit more exciting than chopping boards is the product I'd like to talk about today. It was purchased during an unscheduled visit to Poland (don't even ask) and even though I wasn't meant to spend any money I just couldn't help myself when I saw all those Inglot stand-alone stores and Sephoras.

Most of you will probably know Inglot from their affordable and supposedly great quality pick-your-own eye shadow palettes, but I felt like trying something a little different and as my blush selection isn't particularly big (yet!), I opted for a cream blush.

The packaging of the AMC cream blush is nothing special. The flat little pot is light and screws shut tightly, so it's great for travelling or even just carrying in your handbag for little top ups. It looks neither cheap nor luxurious, but it can be a little bit of a pain to unscrew the lid if you've got slippy fingers (for example because you've just applied a moisturiser). The pot looks tiny, but I was told by the sales assistant that it's extremely pigmented, so a little goes a long way.

And I have to admit, when she said it's pigmented, she really meant it! The first time I tried it I used my fingers and thought I applied light pressure onto the cream, yet ended up picking up way too much product and looked like a clown! All the while I had barely made a mark in the actual pot. Using a duo-fibre brush made getting the right amount out much, much easier.

As great as the pigmentation of this blush is, blending is a little bit of a nightmare. Again, a duo-fibre work made things a lot easier and fairly easily manageable, but blending this with bare fingers is nigh on impossible. It doesn't sink into the skin whatsoever, so whichever intensity you get upon first application is going to stay there. It wore for a good 8 hours on average before beginning to fade, but it did so evenly and without leaving any patches.

Inglot AMC Cream Blush in 90 swatch in day light
Inglot AMC Cream Blush in 90 swatch with flash
The shade I picked is called 90 - such a shame that Inglot couldn't come up with something slightly more imaginative. It's a mid-toned dusky pink which I would imagine would suit a wide variety of skin tones. Paler types like me just need to make sure to go easy on it and not layer it up too much. The colour reminds me a lot of a stronger version of one of my all-time favourite MAC blushers, Mocha.

At £9.00 a pop, these blushers are a steal for a good quality product which is long-wearing and insanely pigmented. I wish Inglot were a little easier to get hold of in the UK and their blusher colour selection is nowhere near as impressive as that of their eye shadows. If, however, I found a shade that really caught my eye and that I was desperate to get, I wouldn't rule out another sneaky little purchase.

Have you tried any Inglot products yet?

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Instagram Sunday #03

The Watch - wasn't quite as funny as I'd hoped // Dinner at Ed's, so much for healthy eating // Stocking up on magazines // Morning view // LFW tickets from Make Believe Beauty // Morning run - which one to choose?? // Stocking up on kitchen essentials // Souvenirs from a night out in Camden // Packing again // Mmmmmh fresh orange juice...

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Garnier Fructis Pure Volume shampoo and conditioner

Oh, the woes of buying shampoo and conditioner. I've had some good ones, some average ones and some bad ones, but somehow all the good ones seem to be extremely expensive, so I end up sticking to cheap and (hopefully) average. The thing with this combo in particular is that I had a sample of the two to play around with before purchasing the full size and I quite liked it. For the small price tag, it would have been rude to not buy the full size!

Garnier Pure Volume shampoo and conditioner (or Heisses Volumen as it is known in Germany where I bought these two bottles) claims to contain heat activated particles that lift and strengthen your hair whenever you use heated appliances on it. It's currently available in Germany, Australia and a handful of other countries, but I couldn't find it in any UK shops yet.

This offering from Fructis does not differ an awful lot from its other ranges. Both have a fruity but fairly artificial scent. The shampoo lathers and rinses well whereas the conditioner provides a good amount of slip, but does tend to drip if you want to leave it to sink in a little longer. If you're trying to avoid sulphates, parabens and silicones then stay away because these two are bursting with those ingredients.

As for the volumising claims my little sachet sample really seemed to work. I used the shampoo followed by the conditioner, towel dried my hair, then used a hair dryer, went to bed and straightened it in the morning. And my hair really did seem to have more lift and volume than usual, with the effect lasting pretty much all day.
However, that seemed to have been a lucky one-off. As I repeated the same procedure with the full sized products they did nothing special whatsoever. I tried using them in the morning instead, drying on different temperatures, but nothing. That initial hit of volume seemed to have gone forever and once again I was left with "average". Not to mention that the 48 hour claim was completely unsubstantiated.

I don't want to give this too bad of a review, because it's not a bad product. It's just as average as most of your other drugstore brands like Pantene or Herbal Essences. However, I feel a bit let down by the fact that the sample performed so well while the full sizes just did not do what they claimed.

I paid 2,25€ each for the shampoo and the conditioner.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Sample Summary #4

I have no Instagram Sunday post to share today unfortunately, as I haven't been up to much this past week apart from lots of naughty things nobody needs to know about! ;)
Life's a little hectic again anyway, as me and the boyfriend will be moving into our first own flat tomorrow, eeek! I can't wait to make it all nice and homely, though it will probably take some time until we have enough money to make it look the way we want it to look.
In the mean time I have my thoughts on a few samples I worked my way through again!

1) Maybelline Dream Fresh 8-in-1 Beauty Balm

Now, this made for an interesting experience when I opened up the sachet. The liquid inside was runny and - more importantly - luminous orange. Now, I get that some creams have a peachy apricot undertone to make your skin look healthier, but we're literally talking bright orange here. Not what I'd understand under "universal glow". Take a look yourselves:

Now, apart from the obvious orange-ness, the finish was really pleasant: light, but mattifying. Also, the in-built SPF of 30 is excellent. However, I spent a lot of time trying to blend it out, so it wouldn't look absolutely ridiculous on my face. Just when I thought I got it to an acceptable level and applied some powder and highlighter on top they ended up ridiculously patchy resulting in a fit of giggles when I looked in the mirror.
Sorry, this might be a good cream, but the shade is ridiculous. I might be pale, but nobody's naturally orange!

2) Lush Lemony Flutter

This little pot lasted forever and ever! Lemony flutter is an extremely moisturising all over balm, though I've been using it mainly for my cuticles. It's very rich without a doubt and smells very delicious. Citrusy, but without reminding me of kitchen cleaner. The main problem was that it was just so greasy that as soon as I started massaging it in it started running everywhere and making a huge mess.
A nice balm, but I don't think I'll repurchase.

3) Korres Wild Rose Instant Brightening Mask

I thoroughly enjoyed using this little sachet. The mask had a very light but pleasurable scent and an amazing light texture - a bit like spreading greek yogurt on your face. My skin began to tingle a few minutes after application, but it was by no means an unpleasant sensation. Afterwards, it did actually look brighter, nicely moisturised and refreshed. The effect didn't last particularly long, but the mask would work perfectly as a little skin pick-me-up before a big event or after a particularly stressful week.

4) Kiehl's Sachet Trio

I'm going to start with the Ultimate Strength Hand Salve. This stuff is amazing. I used it overnight, just before going to sleep, but it sinks in quickly enough to use throughout the day as well. I woke up with amazingly soft and nourished hands, even more so than when I do a little hand mask with vaseline or eight hour cream. For the winter, when my hands get extremely dry and my skin cracks, this is a must have!
The Ultra Facial Micro Serum was also a very pleasant product to use, just moisturising enough without overwhelming my skin. It didn't seem to perform any miracles, but I quite happily used up all of my sample
Lastly, the Ultra Facial Cream is also a very rich product which I feel would be more suited to dry skin types. It sunk in quickly enough and didn't leave any greasy residue on my combination skin, but I do suspect that it gave me a few breakouts, so I'll be steering clear in future.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Instagram Sunday #02

Interview blouse // Dinner at Hard Rock Cafe // First proper coffee in ages! // Doing the full touristy tour of London // New phone case arrived // I want a mountain of macaroons! // It may not be a mountain, but they were delicious // Wasabi = New favourite place for lunch // Sunday is brush cleaning day