Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Neal & Wolf Ritual and Harmony Review

It's been a while since Neal & Wolf sent me a few of their haircare products to try out and review. I'm not entirely sure what took me so long to finally write up this review, as the two products I'd like to talk about today are genuinely brilliant and were an absolute joy to use!

Let's start with the Ritual Daily Cleansing Shampoo. I'll be honest with you right away and admit that I did not use this every day - but that's because I never wash my hair daily for two reasons:
1) It's not that great for my hair type to wash every day.
2) I'm way too lazy for that.

The shampoo has a very pleasant, slightly sweet salon scent (I get a good whiff of almond in there), though the smell does not linger on the hair once it's been washed out. It lathers really well and while there's normally not much I'd say about a shampoo, I do have to admit that this is somehow better than my usual cheap drugstore varieties. While it gets my hair perfectly clean, it doesn't make it feel stripped or straw-like like it often does with other shampoos. My bleached and treated hair wouldn't forgive me, but I reckon that with a normal hair type you could get away with skipping conditioner every once in a while and still end up with soft hair.

As for the Harmony Intensive Care Treatment I've already mentioned it a few times, but I simply cannot sing its praises high enough! I use this deep conditioner once a week, apply it to hair in the shower and let it do its work while I shave, exfoliate, etc...
It leaves me with silky and soft hair that is not greasy or heavy in any way. It does not sit like a film on hair to make it smooth like silicone-heavy hair masks often can. Hair feels really, deeply nourished and I get a lot less frizz, even in this horrible humid weather.

As for the packaging, both products look very elegant and luxurious on my bathroom shelves with their sleek packaging and I'm quite happy to have them both on display.

Personally, I always struggle to justify spending money on high-end hair care, but these two products have really been a bit of an eye-opener for me. I didn't see the benefits straight away - it probably took about 3 to 5 washes until I realised that my hair condition had just improved a lot. I'm already on my second tube of Harmony and I cannot think of any hair types that I would not recommend these to. They restore and they nourish, but without being too heavy even for fine hair - something I'd been looking for and could not find in many other products for a very long time.

The Ritual Daily Cleansing Shampoo retails at £10.95 while the Harmony Intensive Care Treatment goes for £12.95 (but you can also buy a gift set containing both products for £19.95)

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

July Wish List

July Wish List
Lowri Neon Abstract Jersey Playsuit, Boohoo, £15 // Gray and Pink Round Sunglasses, Marc by Marc Jacobs, £109 // Eagy Western Flat Sandals, Aldo, £50 // Xoco Arrow Wrap Bracelet, Dixi, £12 // Long Sleeve Mix Match Check Shirt, Topshop, £32 // Pow! Ring, Forever21, £3.15 // Cotton Candy Hi-tops in Pink, Inkkas, £75 // Miracle Leopard Purse, Monki, £6

Would you believe that I spent the majority of my life absolutely hating bright prints? Aztec prints in particular. And now I just cannot get enough of the stuff. Especially now that the sun has finally decided to show, I just want to surround myself with loads of bright colours - the trippier the better!
They got me dreaming of travelling and exploring distant cultures without really having to leave London. And those sunglasses - expensive they may be - are just screaming to be worn at a hot summer festival with a maxi dress and loads and loads of jewellery.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Beauteco Box July 13

Seeing as last month's Beauteco Box completely blew me away and managed to reignite my excitement for sample boxes, I couldn't wait for this month's choices to roll around. It's a little unfortunate that I already own quite a few of the products that came in this month's boutique (namely the Neal and Wolf Harmony conditioner and the Artdeco eyeshadow base and eye liner), but nevertheless I still made a choice that I was very happy with.

1) Neal and Wolf | Elevate
Full size: £11.95 for 200ml

Neal and Wolf were kind enough to send me a few of their items to trial a while ago, those this is not one of them. I'd never used anything by the brand before, but every single one of their products has seriously impressed me so far, so while I'm a bit gutted that I don't get to try a new brand with this month's box, I'm more than happy to give another Neal and Wolf product a go. This was one of the two products available in each of the three options.

Neal and Wolf | Harmony
Full size: £12.95 for 200ml

This is the second product that was available in all three boxes. I own one of these babies already, but I'm starting to run low and I love it so much it's actually made it into last month's favourites (here). It's an absolute god send for parched and damaged hair like mine and I would repurchase it in a heart beat. I'll get a review up soon for those who may be on the fence, but till then just trust me - it's amazing.

3) Pukka | Radiance Serum
Full size: £32 for 50ml / Sample value: £6.40

And finally, this is the third item that came in each of the three box options. There may have been a bit of a situation when I pulled the protective foil off the tube and squirted serum everywhere - whoops! It's quite runny and has a very strong medicinal smell; you can really, really smell the manuka honey in there. Pukka is not a brand I've ever purchased anything from, so I'm quite excited to give this a go.

4) Eve of St Agnes | Refining Bamboo Exfoliating Polish
Full size: £18 for 50ml / Sample value: £5.40

Eve of St Agnes had a sample in the last Beauteco box and to be honest with you I didn't think their body balm really was that great. This sample, however, seems a little more promising. The exfoliator is thick and balm like and looks smooth from the outside, but is jam packed with tiny granules on the inside. And we all know I love a good and proper scrub! The scent is not entirely my cup of tea, but I'm still keen to see how my skin will react to this one.

5) Artdeco | Clear Lash & Brow Gel
Full size: £9.75 for 10ml

Yaaaaay, I'm so happy to see Artdeco pop up in this month's boxes! Growing up in Germany this was basically our version of Mac at slightly more affordable prices. I love their foundations and their huge colour spectrum, as well as their magnetic palettes which you can fill with every eye shadow / blusher / concealer / lip colour combo imaginable. It's a shame they're so hard to get hold of in the UK. I already own the eye shadow base that came in one of the other boxes as well as a few of their eye liners - and they're all pretty good! This one looks quite promising - I'm currently using MUA's clear mascara to hold my eye brows in place and it's not quite strong enough, so hopefully this will do the trick. One word of warning, though: Don't put it near your nose, it literally smells like PVC glue.

Total value: £46.45

So, have Beauteco box done it again? I'll be honest and say that I was a little disappointed that two of the main products this month are from a brand I already know with a product I already own. But, as I've already said, they're very, very good products that I'd happily repurchase anyway, so while the novelty factor isn't quite as high as it was last month, I still feel like I got a brilliant box. Once again, they're all products that I will use (probably till I can't squeeze another drop out of them) with impressive value for money. I'm already eagerly awaiting next month's offerings.

Friday, 5 July 2013

MUA Nail Varnish Shade 13

Let me begin by stating that my experience with MUA has been very hit and miss so far. Some products are so amazing that they've completely blown me away, while others left me bitterly disappointed. The thing about MUA is that with their ridiculously low price tag, it doesn't really hurt to experiment around in order to find a few more hidden gems.

Without beating around the bush too much, this one's definitely a hit. This is the old style nail polish packaging and I picked this up late last year. The new packaging reminds me a lot of Essie polishes, but I really hope that it's just been revamped on the outside and that the formula has stayed the same.

Shade 13 is a multi-dimensional iridescent green. In all honesty, no photos could possibly do it justice - you just have to see the multi-tonal shimmer in the flesh to fully appreciate it. There's a hint of gold and a hint of blue in it making for an incredibly vibrant and multi-faceted colour.

MUA Nail Varnish Shade 13 with flash
MUA Nail Varnish Shade 13 in natural light
It applies beautifully without any streaking and you could easily get away with just one coat (though the images above show two coats). All in all I'm just blown away by both the formula and the gorgeous colour.

However, I can't seem to find this particular shade on their online store anymore, so perhaps it got lost during their latest nail polish revamp? Please let me know if you have any idea what happened to this nail polish shade!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Review: Alberto Balsam Sunkissed Raspberry Shampoo and Conditioner

When I was at uni, loads of girls raved about Alberto Balsam - for cash strapped students it seemed to be the go-to shampoo and conditioner brand that promised good results at ridiculously low prices. Ironically, it was only recently that I decided to give them a go (hey, living in London is bloody expensive!) to see if they really were worth the student hype.
I picked up a bottle of the Sunkissed Raspberry shampoo and conditioner at £1 each from Poundworld, as that range promised to moisturise dry hair.

Both products come packaged in a squeezy tube and while they certainly don't look luxurious or expensive, it could be much worse at £1 per bottle. The smell is fairly artificial, but as it's pretty mild I find it rather inoffensive.
The shampoo is a tad sticky upon application (imagine squeezing out semi-set jelly), but gives an excellent lather and gets my hair nice and clean. The conditioner on the other hand is a tad slippy, so you have to use quite a lot, as it tends to just slip down the hair shaft.

I used this duo before bleaching my hair, so my tresses were in fairly good shape, apart from their natural dryness and a fair bit of frizz. Both the shampoo and the conditioner did alright. They sort of did the job of getting my hair clean and soft, but that's about it. No silky tresses, no bouncy locks. Just... clean hair. I know for a fact that if I used this due on my now pretty frazzled hair I would end up looking like a hay bale.

In the end, I suppose it comes down to personal priorities. If you're quite happy with the natural condition of your hair then these will do just fine, but personally, I'd rather invest in more expensive hair products that I know will look after my hair rather than just clean it. In a crunch, I'd say go for the cheap shampoo, but splurge a little on a conditioner from a more expensive brand for better results.

Monthly Favourites: June 2013

Last month has been absolutely brilliant for discovering new products that I really, really like, so it was about time to whack em all into one neat little post just in time for the monthly favourites!

1) Neal & Wolf Intensive Care Treatment
For months I was absolutely obsessed with Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle and while I still think it's an absolutely amazing product, I've now found something that's just as good (or perhaps even better?) for my frazzled tresses. It leaves hair silky smooth, soft and easy to work with without making it all sticky or weighed down by heavy ingredients. What's not to love?

2) Bourjois Cream Blush in 03 Rose Tender
For years I used to avoid cream blushes, as they'd leave a shiny, slobby film on my cheeks that would slide off after about half an hour tops. Oh, how times have changed and the latest cream-to-powder formulations cannot be beaten for longevity and workability. On the high street, this new Bourjois formula is my new favourite alongside my beloved Topshop blushes. I'd say the Topshop ones are better for bright, heavily pigmented colour, while those that are after a more natural and easy-to-use colour are best off with Bourjois. You can read my full review here.

3) Models Own Nail Polish in Pink Punch
I bought this shade back in December, but now that the sun's finally out it really comes into its own. I am absolutely obsessed with neons at the moment and this colour just glows in the sun light like there's no tomorrow. It also looks brilliant against tanned skin and makes me happy every time I look at my finger tips. Lasting power is about average and depends heavily on the top coat you use with it.

4) Palmers Cocoa Butter Body Scrub
I'm not a massive fan of the Palmers Body Butter and to be completely honest I only picked up this scrub because that's the only one that wasn't sold out in my local Superdrug. And I'm completely blown away. It's like a rich body butter that dissolves into creamy, gooey deliciousness once on the skin, with loads of little scrubby particles suspended within. It smells absolutely amazing and satisfies my need for proper mechanical exfoliation all the while being soft and gentle on the skin. Cannot possibly recommend this enough.

5) Amie New Leaf Exfoliating Polish
Anyone else notice that face and body scrubs pop up quite a lot on my monthly favourites lists? Admittedly, I do love that stuff quite a lot. This one came in last month's Beautecobox and I loved it from the moment I opened the little tube. It smells like Solero ice cream and really gets my skin squeaky clean, but without causing any irritation. A perfect product for in-the-shower scrubbers who need something a little stronger that won't wash off straight away.